For Mom’s Eyes Only: Patience

Be patientPatience. From one mom’s heart to another.

If I am honest, I do not always show patience to my children, even though they are so valuable to me and I love them so much. Patience shows that what my children have to say is important and worth hearing. When I am patient, I wait to hear the whole story before I begin to speak and before I formulate responses in my mind. Patience allows God’s wisdom and love to catch up with my initial emotional responses. Patience affords me the space to think clearly and respond to my children’s actions, attitudes, and words with love.

I want to love my children with patience. I want to value their opinions, ideas, and thoughts. I want to value what they, as young people, have to offer. I want to pause long enough to truly hear all of the great and wonderful things they have to say.

Child of Mine: You are funny. You are adorable. You are innocent. You are thoughtful. You are smart. You are creative. You are unique. You are bold. You are a dreamer. You are hopeful. You are beautiful.

If I don’t respond with patience I miss all of these beautiful thoughts, words, actions, and feelings.

Child of Mine: You are hurting. You are angry. You are sad. You are misunderstood. You are in conflict. You are searching. You are hoping. You are wanting. You are lonely. You are afraid.

If I don’t respond with patience I miss all of these emotions that are shaping their lives and future choices from the inside out. Without patience, I will also miss out on the opportunity to walk the path of their lives alongside them.

I have so much to offer my children, but I lose the platform for sharing and communicating my ideas with them when I don’t take time to hear what they are saying, with and without words. So often, I want to get my thoughts out. I want to have influence over their decisions. I do this out of love for them, but it doesn’t come across that way when it is not done with patience. I can’t control their future choices or change their past choices by talking at them every chance I get.

Ultimately, I don’t want their silent obedience. I want a relationship with them. I want them to relate beautifully with God. I want them to live a life full of impact, faith, love, and the realization of their greatest dreams. This relationship I desire is not solely dependent on them. It begins with me.

Moms, will you join me in the following commitments?

I choose to be quick to listen and slow to speak.
I choose to listen to the entire story before I formulate thoughts or words of response.
The answer may not always be yes, but I choose to listen with the intent to understand my child’s heart.
I choose to be patient.

Moms: Be Extraordinary!

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Thanksgiving Blog-Venture Day 1

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Are you naturally producing joy and thankfulness?

Philippians 4:8, in the Bible, states:

Ph48Whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
Think About These Things!

Often I hear people (myself included) talk about “trying harder to be joyful or thankful.” Forcing a good attitude or smile on our faces isn’t fooling anybody, especially ourselves. The answer – the secret solution – to lasting joy is found in the final line of the above verse. “Think about these things” . . . think. It does not say to “feel” these things or to “do” these things or to “say” these things. We are supposed to think about these things.

In so many areas it is easy to put the focus on the external, the feeling, doing, or saying. With focus on the behavior we will see immediate results but we don’t always see lasting results. It takes work to change the patterns of our thoughts. Our thoughts are always on – we produce tens of thousands of them a day. We have thoughts while we do anything and everything, including sleep. These thoughts are products of thought patterns formed throughout our lifetime. The subconscious thoughts that go through our minds today are results of hours, days, and years of thought practice.

This is a good thing, right?

It is a good thing if the thoughts we think are true, honorable, just, pure, etc. But many of us have thought practices that build negative thought patterns.

Thoughts of fear and scarcity.
Thoughts of loneliness and abandonment.
Thoughts of sickness and death.
Thoughts of disappointment and failure.

If these are our thought patterns, what do you suppose the resulting feelings, words, and actions will be?
Will these negative thought patterns allow you to be genuinely joyful and thankful?

What would it look like to take gratitude, thanksgiving, and joy and make them year-long characteristics of our lives rather than seasonal ones?

If this was natural then everyone would be full of gratitude and joy. So, if you really want this for yourself, your family, your co-workers, and anyone else you influence, then you will need a proactive action plan.

What will you do this year to produce more gratitude, thanksgiving, and joy?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

50 things1. Give Thanks Jar.

Write things you are thankful for throughout the year on slips of paper and put them in the jar. On Thanksgiving, read through the papers. I love the detail and stories that could be recorded in this jar. I got this idea from Becca’s blog.

2. I’m Thankful for You.

This is something you would do for a specific person. Write out what you love about that person. In Darren Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect, he talks about filling up a notebook for his wife for a whole year and then gave it to her as a gift for Thanksgiving. I used a pack of spiral bound 3×5 cards and did a similar concept over a shorter timeframe for my husband, Joe.

gratitude tree3. Gratitude Tree.

I see many families post photos of their gratitude trees during November. What about leaving the tree trunk up all year and putting up different colored leaves during different seasons? Christmas – red and green; Valentines – red, pink, and white; March – green; May – spring colors; July – red, white, and blue (for my American friends). I found a fall tree as an example on this blog link.

Whatever idea you use, please do something to promote gratitude in your own heart and for those around you. Please share your ideas below so we can encourage each other as we grow in gratitude.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Oh Man!

I love my family!

I love my family!

That unsettling moment when . . . you realize the problem one of your children is having actually stems from your poor choices and not just theirs! I just had one of those gut-wrenching realizations during a discussion with one of my kids. My child is fully owning and processing that poor choice and now so am I.

My personal lack of discipline directly impacted my kid. Would he/she have made the same choice even if I was fully living the disciplined life I desire? Perhaps, but I am taking this nudge in my spirit as a real wake-up call to get some things in order and under control in my personal life. My personal disciplines have been lax at best.

The reality is that every choice, to do or not do something that I know I should or should not do, is critical and impacts not only my life and dreams, but those around me as well. I am not alone in the consequences of my choices.

This comes on the heels of my aha around the extra effort it takes to make a life extraordinary. If I wasn’t sure which area needed a little extra attention, it is crystal clear now. I can’t simply hope things get better. It is time to make a plan, set it in motion, and install accountability. There is much at stake.

Be Extraordinary!

Managing Life’s Disappointments

photo 2-1I was watching my 7-year-old, Celina, attempt to manage some disappointment the other day. Actually she made no effort to manage it — she was feeling it fully. Her second grade world often involves disappointments like not receiving the pencil prize, or losing three minutes of recess because the entire class would not be quiet. On this particular day things did not turn out how Celina had planned in her mind. She and BJ (her 10-year-old sister) had sold pie certificates from the local pie company for a school fundraiser. They worked together and knew they would share the prizes. If your kids have done fundraisers like Jump Rope for Heart or jog-a-thon you know they have a list of prizes that accumulate based on how much is sold. BJ and Celina had sold enough to receive prizes A-G and had figured out who would keep which prizes.

On prize day, the girls got off the bus with only a small envelope. Apparently the listed prizes were only for the sale of cookie dough; the girls had sold only pies. Celina was devastated. She was especially sad over the loss of the finger puppet. Did you read that? She was devastated because she didn’t earn the finger puppet! It seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?

photo 5Perspective. In Celina’s world it was a big deal and a big disappointment. Life didn’t go as she planned. I can be guilty of the same thing; in the middle of a situation it is easy to lose perspective and only see the one thing that didn’t go as I wanted. Celina became so focused on what she did not have that she could not even fully enjoy what she did have. Do you want to know what she did have? BJ and Celina were the top pie sellers in the whole school, and won a $50 gift card to Toys R’ Us!!! She could buy 100 finger puppets with $50!

Are you so focused right now on the thing or things that are not working, that you are missing out on the big prize? It is easy to do this in marriage, parenting, business, health, etc. My challenge to myself and to you today is to gain a little perspective. Step back from your situation and look for the blessings you are missing. You may be surprised at what you find.

Be Extraordinary!

photo 1-1 photo 4-1 photo 3-1

I Have a Seasonal Craving . . Routine

Calvin shows the importance of a routine.

Calvin shows the importance of a routine.

I love summer – sunshine, long days, late nights, campfires, kids riding bikes and, now that we live in Michigan, thunderstorms. One thing that does not seem to exist, in the beautiful and lazy days of summer, is routine. I wouldn’t trade these summer days, but there does come a time when I start to crave routine. Our family has always lived in an area where school begins the day or two after Labor Day and by the start of school, I have a heavy dose of routine-cravings going on.

One of the challenges of having a home-based business is maintaining a consistent routine. Recently, I realized that the spontaneity I enjoy in having my own business is both a blessing and a curse. For years I have run my business more like a hobby, fitting it in where and when I can. However, running a business like a hobby produces the results of a hobby. I make a good income, but have plateaued as I became complacent, even lazy, about my business routines. Now that I want more – the full results of the powerful, residual, life-changing business that I have – I must take on the routines necessary to achieve those results.

These realities bring me back to the value of setting goal-driven, intentional routines. As school gets underway so do the routines, habits and disciplines that move me closer to my extraordinary dreams. Will it be challenging? Absolutely! Will it be worth it? Most definitely!

What routines will you embrace that will move you closer to your extraordinary dreams? List them in the comments.

Be Extraordinary!