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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Spiral Up or Spiral Down?

IMG_6114The mind is a powerful tool that can work for us or against us. I am working through the book 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, and I am continually struck by how important it is to be proactive when it comes to the mind.

Our thoughts spiral. Negative thoughts go on a downward spiral, feeding off of each other, and producing more negative thoughts and emotions. These thoughts turn into emotions, then into words, and finally into actions. The spiral happens instantly as well as over time. The same is true of positive thoughts. They spiral upward, producing more and more positive thoughts, taking our emotions, ideas, words, and actions in a positive direction.

When I hear negative words coming out of my mouth or feel negative emotions going on inside I try to correct them. I attempt to make myself feel better.

I use things like ice cream (or any sugary sweetness!), food (drive-through, overeating anything), screens (iPad games, Netflix), or sleep.
What do you try when you want to eliminate negative feelings?
Some common ones are food, drugs (over-the-counter ones too!), alcohol, sleep, TV, movies, busyness, exercise.

The reality is that none of these things make negative emotions go away. They may take away the sting of the emotions, but only temporarily. It’s kind of like a really bad burn. Unfortunately, I have had a few bad sunburns in my day, so this comes from first-hand experience. Hanging out in the sun for hours and hours feels amazing and usually the awareness and pain of the sunburn don’t come until after the sun goes down. Then, great pain occurs. We put an awesome, medicated spray on sunburns and it feels amazingly cool. But the coolness doesn’t last. After a little while more spray must be applied, and a little while later more spray must be applied.

Band-aids and medicated sprays are awesome, but they don’t work on negative emotions. We must deal with these emotions at their source. This is where the principles of the Joy-Filled Life book come in. In order to combat negative emotions, words, and actions, we must work on the source – our thoughts!

This is a tough one. Some of those negative (and untrue) thoughts have been running through my mind for years. Weeding those out take time and effort. I must really want to change in order to do the work required.

Do you have negative thoughts, feelings, words or actions that creep into your life on a regular basis?
Do you want to create a different story and a different pattern? A pattern that is filled with positive, upward spirals?
If you answered yes to these questions, then please click the “follow me” button at the top of the page so you can receive notifications of future posts. As I work though this process of rooting out negative thinking, I want to share the journey with you.

The extraordinary journey is not just about our actions and accomplishments, it begins with our thoughts.

Don’t just “Do”, Be Extraordinary!

An Extra Hour of Life

carribou“Life is getting up an hour early to live an hour more.” -Caribou Coffee

I am generally not a morning person so my personal life motto would read more like this: Life is sleeping in an hour later because you can.

When I read the Caribou coffee-cup quote at an airport recently, I realized that my thinking about life and time are very selfish. I work for myself so I can use my time how I choose. I love that I don’t have to answer to a boss or request a boss’s permission in order to chaperone a field trip, take off for the day with my husband, or grab a long lunch with a girlfriend. These are all good things – freedom!

I wonder whether, because of this freedom I have, am I living the hours I do have in an extraordinary way? Do I hunger for this life and time, and for the difference I can make? An extraordinary life is one lived with hunger, fire, and passion. There must be purpose and vision. There must be direction and drive.

I shared in a previous post how I went through a season recently where life was marked by the “mere passing of time”. Rediscovering my passion and purpose was a process. Reengaging life with hunger and drive took time. But, finding the reason and desire to live more each day is vitally important.

Wherever you are on the journey, may you put more into life and get more out of life in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Are you hungry to get up and live another day?
Are you living your life with purpose?
Does that purpose drive you to get up and get more out (put more in) to your day?

Be Extraordinary!

Ultimate Responsibility

Blame is kind of like a drink that tastes good initially, but leaves an awful aftertaste in your mouth.

Blame is easy and even causes me to feel better for a little while, but then it leaves me with the awful taste of bitterness and bondage.

I faced a challenge recently in which another person was at fault in many ways. It was easy, natural, and even justified to blame my hurt on this individual. However, this blame left me feeling more hurt and bitter rather than free from the situation.

This is where “ultimate responsibility” comes in. I must find all the ways and all the places where I am responsible – where I had, and made, a choice. There are some big ones. Once I speak the words, “I chose to . . . ” then I begin to experience freedom and I can begin to move past the place of hurt where I so easily get stuck.

dff4d7f632fbb924dae6656f5174c82aIt is amazing what pressure is released and what freedom is experienced, when we begin to own our actions and our decisions.

There is another layer of ownership. We say a phrase in our house all the time (my kids could quote it for you!): My response is my responsibility. Sometimes I don’t choose what happens – I didn’t make the actions, decisions, or cause the events – but I still must live with the consequences. This is where I do have a choice. This is where my response to life is totally up to me – my responsibility.

Taxes are a part of life for most people. We don’t get much of a choice as to whether we will be charged tax or need to file taxes each spring, but we can choose our response and our perspective on paying taxes. Check out this video that illustrates how we can choose our perspective on something as mundane as taxes:

Watch now.

What unpleasant circumstances, events, or situations are coming your way? What is your response? Are you busy blaming people, circumstances, or the government? Or are you choosing to see the joy, blessing, or growth opportunity in your situation?

We all have a choice. We can blame, resulting in bitterness and bondage or we can take responsibility, resulting in an extraordinary life of freedom and growth.

The choice is up to you!

Be Extraordinary!

Inspiration For Sale (Tamale Purchase Required)

InspirationFrequently on Facebook I run into something extraordinary. More often than not I hear people complain about all of the complaining and drama on Facebook, but the amazing stories are there too if you look for them.

I was inspired by a post written by my Facebook friend, Heather. If you are ever looking to buy or sell a home in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Heather is your woman. Here is Heather’s story one Wednesday morning in September:

“I’m home working this morning. Two offers, a couple new listings coming up, and inspections to complete. Kinda busy, but handling it fine in the quiet of my home office. Kids are at school – you know – a normal early fall morning. Then there is a knock at my door. Standing there was this little lady I have seen in the neighborhood before. She has a few little ones and I was thinking maybe she lost her dog or something. I say good morning and she does too, then she asks me if I want to buy some tamales. I see a heavy pack on her back. Weighted down with a bunch of them.

“I decline.

“I wish I hadn’t. But who buys homemade food from someone knocking on your door, right? Then she asks me if I have received her flyer and hands me a flyer about housecleaning. We talk a little more. She is bonded, licensed, and lives nearby. I promise to refer some clients her way who also live nearby. I tell her I am a Realtor and she recognizes my name. She gives me a couple extra flyers and we say goodbye. I go back to my desk and start working again, but I can’t stop thinking of her. What must it take for her to provide for her family, walking door to door selling food? She obviously spent a lot of time on the tamales AND she cleans houses too.

“The strength of women I meet often inspires me. It fills my spirit, but this lady really did today. Next time she comes by, I will buy the tamales. Sending her lots and lots of success energy today. Feeling inspired.”

There are so many things to draw from Heather’s story. When you think about what it means to live an extraordinary life, what lessons can you draw from the lovely woman selling tamales and house-cleaning? What lessons can you draw from Heather and her response to the situation?

So far in the story there are valuable lessons and I hope you are seeing them, but Heather did not become Senior VP at Coldwell Banker or receive numerous awards in her profession by sitting back. Heather was moved, even “inspired”, and here is what she did next:

tamale“I went and chased her down!!!
“My conscience was YELLING at me!
“We are eating them right now for lunch! They are still warm!! Soooo good!!”

Heather was moved, inspired, and then she took ACTION!

Are there any lessons for you now? How can you take the lessons of this story and apply it to your business, family, health, marriage, or finances?

There are ‘tamales’ worth having and they often require getting off your butt, getting out of your house, and even chasing them down the street. And the payoff is totally worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

Connect with Heather for your house-buying or house-selling needs by clicking here.

Do You Need an Achilles’ Tendon Rupture?

achillesAchilles’ heel: a fault or weakness that causes or could cause someone or something to fail
i.e. I am trying to lose weight, but ice cream is my Achilles’ heel.

It took the rupture of my Achilles’ tendon to make me aware of an Achilles’ heel in my life.

In August of 2002, Joe and I had been married for nearly 6 years. AJ was 14 months old. I was 10 days shy of being 6 months pregnant with BJ. I was coaching middle school volleyball. I was the janitor for our church. Joe was a full-time youth pastor. Life was full and challenging, or so I thought.

On August 27, towards the end of volleyball practice, the other middle school coach and myself were playing a little 2-on-2 with our girls (yes, I was 5 1/2 months pregnant and felt great!) I bent to pass a ball and felt the fateful snap as though someone had hit me in the back of the leg. I waddled (yes, waddled) to the ball cart and wrapped up practice immediately. I then went and sat on the sideline and wondered if it was my Achilles. (I considered this because my brother-in-law, Dan, had ruptured his Achilles just 6 months earlier with a similar story.)

Our only car was a stick-shift and so I had one of the moms drive me home, and then Joe took me to Urgent Care. It was on that table in Urgent Care that I heard those awful words: You’re Achilles’ tendon is ruptured. Knowing what Dan had gone through (4 months of on-the-couch recovery) made the news so real. A thousand questions rattled in my mind, like “How in the world are Joe and I going to manage our busy little life now?” I was benched!

Ten days later (the doctors wanted to wait until I was a full 6 months pregnant), I had surgery. I spent a good part of two months with my leg elevated above my heart. Pain was intense and there was little I could do without help.

The rupture of my Achilles’ heel revealed my personal Achilles’ heel: I preferred to tackle life without help. I was a Lone Ranger. I thought I was stronger if I did things by myself.

The list of things I needed help with and the numbers of people who stepped in are countless, but I am going to recount a few because it was through this humbling process that I realized how much I need other people in my life.

* Joe coached girls volleyball (girls anything) for the first and last time. Those girls still call out, “Coach Joe!” when they see him around town.
* Joe did my janitorial job at the church.
* Debbie offered to watch AJ and her son, Josh, would come pick him up. This began a great relationship and all of our kids ended up spending time at Debbie’s Daycare over the years.
* Janice cleaned my bathroom. It was disgusting and she did it without complaint, without question, and with tons of joy.
* Meal after meal after meal came to our door by loving people from our church.
* Taking a bath and washing my hair. Yes, I needed help with these tasks too. Getting around on crutches at 6, 7, and 8 months pregnant was no easy feat, let alone getting into a bathtub while trying to keep my casted leg out of the water.

Life is best lived in the companionship and company of others. In fact, this is how we were created. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 sums it up well.
Two better than one“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!”

What is your Achilles’ heel in life? Are you willing to acknowledge it and take action to make changes? Hopefully it won’t take the rupture of an Achilles’ heel to get your Achilles’ heel in check.

Be Extraordinary!

Birthday Ice Cream . . Yummm

starbucksThe extraordinary journey doesn’t always seem all that . . extraordinary. Sometimes it lacks the intense feelings and emotions that are experienced in other moments. I had one of these experiences on my birthday.

No, my whole birthday was not one of those experiences. The day was filled with peace, fun, laughter, new friends, old friends, hugs, cards, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and free coffee from Starbucks. It was a wonderful day and I knew (as I know now) that I was loved, appreciated, and cared for by many.

But I did have one little moment.

birthday moomersI honestly thought my trip to Moomer’s (America’s best ice cream and only 15 minutes from my home) would be an emotional and inspiring experience. That sounds so silly even as I write it, but I really believed that would be the case. After all, I had gone more than eight months without eating ice cream even though I have been to Moomer’s well over ten times in those 8 months.

I love ice cream! I worked at Baskin Robbins for several years in college and did not grow tired of it, but only found more flavors to love and enjoy.

And yet, in spite of this love, I held to my commitment of no sweets, treats, or ice cream for more than eight months. Because of this “ice cream fast” I thought that eating the ice cream would be an amazing, thrilling, and emotional experience. I pictured a “What About Bob?” moment when he is eating dinner with Dr. Marvin’s family and truly enjoying his mashed potatoes and hand-shucked corn. There were so many moans, yums, and looks of pleasure on Bob’s face.

My chocolate peanut butter and peppermint stick in a cup was just ice cream – really great ice cream – but just ice cream. I enjoyed every bite, but it was still just yummy ice cream. In fact, the anticipation of the ice cream was so much greater and even more fun than the eating of the ice cream.

This may sound silly, but I have a feeling some of you understand.

This was a victory. Food, especially sweet food, has had a grip on my life for years. To simply enjoy something, without obsession, is amazing and I am so grateful I was able to experience ice cream in that way.

Darren Hardy talks about fasting from things (movies, wine, ice cream, spending money) that potentially have a grip in his life. The only way to really know if something is controlling you versus you have control over it, is to fast and take great notice to your response. Hardy does a 30 day fast of some sort every few months just to make sure he is still the master.

Is there a ‘master’ in your life that needs to be put in its proper place? What do you need to fast from in order to regain control?
Be specific. How long and from what specifically will you fast?
Be accountable. Now share what you are going to do so you can receive support and greatly increase your chances of success. The comment box is open.

Be Extraordinary!