Monthly Archives: June 2012

Me first!

First born child.

Incredibly stubborn.

Strong willed.

Wants his way.

Demands to be first.

Pouting

Pouting (Photo credit: dadblunders)

Do you have a child like this? Do you know a child like this? Were you this child?

I am a pretty calm person. I don’t get irritated easily. I have no problem letting others go first. While I am incredibly determined, I do not have the “me first” nature. I’m sure I did at some point, but I can’t remember it.

When I became a Mom for the first time, it took me a while to realize that these were qualities that my first-born has.  Looking back, I see this from very early on. He was not a good sleeper. He did not like sleeping anywhere but his swing. It took trying different things, and talking to other Moms until I realized that it didn’t matter where he slept, as long as he slept!

I have struggled over the years to find a balance with this. It can be difficult. I want him to be determined. I want him to believe strongly in himself and not let others push him around. I want him to realize that he is uniquely made. I want him to know that he can do anything he sets his mind on. I want him to be a leader. But, with all of these things, I want him to understand that he needs to learn to put others first and not be selfish. I find this to be a constant learning battle as a parent.

We’ve been working with him for a long time on this. He’s gotten much better. But, lately, the me first attitude has been out in full force. We take family bike rides together, and he always wants to be first. He has a very hard time letting his younger brother lead. Don’t most big brothers?

A few weeks ago, he had an incident of needing to be first, and ended up tumbling with his brother on their bikes. He was scraped up. And I was irritated! Of course, I checked to make sure he was okay. But this flew out of my mouth. “This is exactly why we tell you that you don’t have to be first! People can get hurt. What were you thinking??”

It wasn’t one of my finest Mommy moments, as I didn’t show much grace. I was so frustrated that he could not understand what we’ve been trying to teach him. It just wasn’t sinking in.

Then it hit me. Aren’t we all like that sometimes?

Until we actually experience the mistake and the hurt associated with hit, we usually can’t learn the lesson. And as parents, I think it can be one of the hardest things we will have to do. Sometimes, we have to let our children fall and suffer the consequences in order to understand these important life lessons.

How do you handle the hard lessons with your children?

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Filed under Emotions, Life lessons, Motherhood, Raising boys

Judgment or Grace?

Mike Foster is one of the founders of People of The Second Chance. He is an incredible human being. He started POTSC to show people how to overthrow judgment and liberate love. I love that line!

He has challenged me every time I have heard him speak. Keep in mind that I’m a pretty easy-going person. Most people would not describe me as judgmental. I feel like the majority of my life I have given people the benefit of the doubt. Most of the time.

Have I been rotten?

Have I been judgmental and mean?

Have I thought I was better than someone else?

absolutely.

And that bothers me.

POTSC challenges us to think differently. When others are crushing someone for a mistake they made, POTSC people are loving them. They are in their corner.

How do you react when someone makes a big mistake? Especially if they did it intentionally?

Do you rush to tell someone else about it?

Do you laugh?

Does it make you feel better about yourself?

Photo by People of the Second Chance

I have really been working on this over the last few years. But I find myself having to continually choose to show more grace every day.

With my coworker, who deliberately lied to make himself look better to our boss.

With my neighbor, who talked about my other neighbor rudely.

With the Mom who ignores their child.

With the person who willingly is hurtful to me.

With the person who expects me to drop everything for them, even though they’ve continually made poor decisions.

With my family members who take advantage of me.

With the person who dresses in a way that I would never dress.

The list could go on and on.

Yet, I choose to show grace. And love. And support.

I have a long way to go. But I am working on being able to say that I am a proud member of People of the Second Chance.

How can you choose to show grace to someone today?

Will you choose to be part of the judgment problem or the grace solution?

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Filed under Authenticity, Grace

Feeling or choice?

“Love is not a feeling, it’s a choice.”

 Emerson Eggerichs

I used to think love was a feeling. It was something you fell into. It just happened to you.

And I think initially it can be, when you start to date and explore relationships. But,when you are young, you often don’t really understand what it takes to love someone.

We think we know. We think that everything will be great. We think we will love the person no matter what.

Google images

But we have NO idea what life will throw at us. We don’t know that life itself will be hard.

That some days, we won’t feel like we love our spouse anymore.

That some days, it will take everything we have to just like them and not be completely irritated.

But, these are all choices.

While we don’t have a choice about how others treat us, we do have a choice about how we live. And our attitude.

We can choose to love someone, no matter what.

We can choose to take another step forward in our relationship.

We can choose to work through our problems, instead of taking the easy way out.

Everything in life is a choice.

How you choose makes all the difference in the world.

Do you think love is a choice?

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Filed under Love, Marriage

My Dad

My Dad was awesome

My Dad

He was strong

He was compassionate

He loved Jesus

He loved people

He had a servant’s heart

He was kind

He was happy

I only had a short number of Father’s Days with him. And I know I didn’t get to tell him how much he meant to me nearly enough.

His example is still helping me today. Decades after he went to heaven.

I am so thankful for the time I had with him, and the wonderful example he was.

On this Father’s Day, I am thankful for my Dad. I am also thankful for my husband, who is a great Dad to our boys.

Dads – never forget the impact you are leaving on your children. It will be felt for the rest of their life.

What do you love most about your Dad?

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Filed under Family, Fathers, Thankful

I am a Warrior

I remember looking at pictures of a friend doing the Warrior Dash last year. I also remember thinking I could never do that. I said I wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t have it in me. I wasn’t a runner.

Fast forward a year later. I’ve been getting healthier. And I’ve been working out consistently. When my kettlebell friends suggested that we sign up for the Warrior Dash earlier this year, I was very nervous. They had to convince me to do it. I still didn’t think I would be able to finish it. However, we kept working out, and getting stronger, and started running more.

Guess what? I am a Warrior! I survived the Warrior Dash today!! This was one of my FinishYear goals, so I am excited to cross it off my list.

They Kettlebell crew before the race

We have an awesome group of people who work out together at 6am most mornings. We are like a family. We push each other, and encourage each other, and love watching each other get skinny strong. There are some amazing success stories from these people in this picture. I was so glad to get to experience my first Warrior Dash with all of them.

My friend Joy and I after the race

If you’re not familiar with the Warrior Dash, it is a 5K run with obstacles like climbing over walls, under barbed wire, swimming through mud, and running over fire (just to name a few.) It was awesome!! 

My super encouraging workout buddy, Jordan

I love this group of people who help push me to do better every time I work out. They motivate me, encourage me, and celebrate with me. I am so thankful for all of them.

But the bigger lesson that I continue to learn is that I can do more than I think. Let me say it another way. YOU can do more than you think.

Too many times, we tell ourselves that we can’t do something because of fear, or because deep down we know it’s much easier to make an excuse than to do the hard work required. I am very proud to say that I finished the race today. I would not have imagined a year ago that I would be able to do this.

Which leads me to wonder what I will be doing next year at this time that I can’t imagine now. Because I am convinced that once we tap into this hidden potential, unbelievable things can happen.

What is it that you think you can’t do?

Stop saying you can’t, and start working towards making it happen! Let me know what it is in the comments, and I would love to help encourage you.

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Filed under #FinishYear, Community, Getting Healthy

Peace

I have never been a major worrier. Most people would describe me as pretty laid back, or calm. But, I have had my seasons of worry.

English: Biting one's lip can be a physical ma...

English: Biting one’s lip can be a physical manifestation of worry. Español: Morderse los labios puede ser una manifestación externa de inquietud. Русский: Плачущая девочка. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I lost my job

When money was very tight

When we were behind on our bills

When I couldn’t find a new job

When I started to lose confidence

When my marriage was falling apart

When I wondered how we could get through it

You could add so many things to this list. But, that was then. Before I learned to stop fighting God. Before I learned to truly trust. Before I learned that I don’t have to do everything on my own. In fact, I had managed to mess up quite a few of those things entirely on my own.

The peace that comes when you finally say yes, and learn to live in conjunction with Him is indescribable.

“Love and fear are literally incompatible in our bodies.” John Ortberg

I am learning to live in this peace and state of happiness that I have never felt.

Have you experienced this? How are you pushing past the fear?

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Filed under Motivation

LifeChangers – Making music

LifeChangers

It’s a series about people just like you and me, who decided to do something different.

They decided to change their life, or the lives of others around them.

They are inspiring.

They are making an impact right where they are.

They are passionate.

They are full of life.

And they are willing to share their story.

I will never forget the first time I heard Taylor Phelan sing. He was a guest worship leader at our church, and he sang How He Loves. His passion and the impact of that song hit me hard. I could not stop crying. It was one of the first times that I truly started to get a glimpse of just how much God really does love me. I was an instant Taylor fan. His voice and style are unique. He is an incredibly gifted musician.

Fast forward a few years later, and Taylor decided it was time to start truly chasing his dream of being a musician. He started a band called The Canes. They are a rock band from Chicago comprised of four members, none of which are native to the Windy City. Taylor, the lead vocalist, and guitarist, Micah Garman, are joined by Kevin Couch and Joey Beaver to complete the current band lineup. With a wide variety of backgrounds and influences, their music is an interesting blend suitable for any audience. You will be captivated by an energetic live show littered with moving lead lines, fuzzy bass and empathetic vocals.

They released their first track titled Starry Eyed earlier this year. You can check it out on iTunes. They are in the process of finishing their first album, which is scheduled to be released later this summer. And now, they are working on a Kickstarter campaign to fund a 23 city tour in the fall.

What I love about The Canes (in addition to their music) is that they are chasing their dream. They have worked incredibly hard to get to this point. They have been very smart and enlisted the help of some very strategic visionary partners. They have signed with Medallion Media for their first album, and will use the tour to promote the album.

Courtesy of The Canes

When I saw that they were using Kickstarter to help raise money for the tour, I knew I wanted to help. Every dollar helps them fund their dream. And, they are giving away some pretty cool things with different levels of donations.

The Canes are LifeChangers because they decided to chase their dreams. They are putting everything they have into this first album and tour. They have music that needs to be heard. Check them out, and I’m sure you will agree that they are on to something big.

How to help:

Kickstarter campaign

Follow them on Twitter

Follow them on Facebook

Check out their website

Buy their single on iTunes

If you were this close, wouldn’t you want someone to help push your dream forward?

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Filed under Dreams, Encouragement, inspiration, LifeChangers

Love Does

Love Does by Bob Goff

I am constantly reading books. And I typically enjoy most of the books that I read. However, sometimes there are ones that really impact you. They move you to do something. This was one of those books. 

I had heard about Bob from Donald Miller’s blog and his books. I have to be honest. Bob seemed larger than life. He seemed like someone who was so amazing that you could tend to get irritated with him. Why? Because you automatically think that you could never be like him. You want to. Deep down, you want to be as generous and giving and whimsical, but you just can’t. There are always a million excuses why you can’t. And Donald Miller is describing him as the person who has had the greatest impact on his life. Ever! Donald Miller. The one who has written amazing books that have impacted people all over the world.  

But then I read this review on Bob’s website:

“For anyone who’s wanted to change the world but thought they needed money, a committee, and permission to get started, Love Does shows what can happen when you decide to do instead of plan, act instead of strategize, and fiercely, invisibly fight for the possibility God has gifted you to uniquely see.”

So I ordered the book. And, I loved it right away. Bob has a way of making you feel like his friend. He has a way of writing in a manner that helps you see that he ISN’T larger than life. He is a normal person. But he chooses to LIVE life. In a secretly incredible, awesome way. Bob starts off by explaining how his office is on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland. He talks about how most people never go there when they visit Disneyland. They always think they will get to it next time. Then, I love what he says.

” Tom Sawyer Island is like most people’s lives, I think: they never get around to crossing over to it.”

He goes on to explain, “Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget. Their dreams become one of those “we’ll go there next time” deferrals. The sad thing is, for many there is no “next time” because passing on the chance to cross over is an overall attitude toward life rather than a single decision. They need a change of attitude, not more opportunities.”

Wow. Can anyone else relate to that?? 

This book hit home with me. I have been continually reminded of how we can make a difference right where we are. We don’t have to move to Africa. We don’t have to start a non-profit. We don’t have to have a huge dream. The bigger difference sometimes is made right where you are. With the people who are in your life. Your family, your neighbors, your coworkers, your acquaintances. We can all make a difference. We just have to be willing to do it. Here are some of my favorite lines from the book. There are so many great words of wisdom in here!

“God usually chooses ordinary people like us to get things done.”

“I used to think God guided us by opening and closing doors, but now I know sometimes God wants us to kick some doors down.”

“Actually, the real game of Bigger and Better that Jesus is playing with us usually isn’t about money or possessions or even our hopes. It’s about our pride. He asks if we’ll give up that thing we’re so proud of, that thing we believe causes us to matter in the eyes of the world, and give it up to follow  Him. He’s asking us, “Will you take what you think defines you, leave it behind, and let Me define who you are instead?””

“I used to think religion tasted horrible, but now I know I was just eating the fake stuff.”

“Jesus doesn’t invite us on a business trip. Instead, He says let’s go after those things that inspire and challenge you and let’s experience them together.”

“It seems that what God does most of the time when He has something to say is this…He doesn’t pass us messages, instead He passes us each other.”

“I used to think I needed to record stories, but now I know I just need to engage them.”

This doesn’t even cover half of the passages that I have underlined and gone back to in this book. It is so engaging and powerful. I want to share this book with as many people as possible. So, I am giving away a free copy. Just leave a comment below, or on Facebook. Retweet this on Twitter. I’ll randomly choose a winner by Tuesday.

I am confident you will get something out of this book. If you’d like to learn more before you order the book, or win it here, here are some additional resources. My friend Kristen, or Keeks, is doing a chapter by chapter review of the book on her blog. That’s how good this book is!  And my friend Andy also did a great podcast  review. Stop over there and check them out for additional views on the book.

How do you engage stories?

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Filed under Authenticity, Book review, Dreams

One year done!

One year ago this week, I made a decision.

A decision that would change my life.

I decided to get healthy.

I didn’t go on a diet.

I didn’t starve myself.

I didn’t start working out only for a short time and then quit.

I wasn’t even quite sure what my plan was.

But I did know that I was committed to getting healthy.

I knew that I was six months away from turning 40.

I knew that I was out of shape.

I knew that I wanted to stop the yo-yo dieting cycle I had been on for most of my adult life.

I was sick of it!

Photo courtesy of Itsfitnessbaby.com

And now, a year later, I feel great.

I am still working on making healthy food choices. Continuously.

I workout 4-6 times per week.

I engage in community with people who encourage and support me.

I challenge myself to do something new.

To run farther. To try a new workout. To push myself harder.

Am I exactly where I wanted to be? No.

But, the results have been encouraging.

I am smaller. I feel alive. I feel happy. I feel strong.

I trust that I can continue to live a healthy lifestyle.

It starts with choices. Every day you have the option to make them.

What choice can you make today to live a healthier lifestyle?

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Filed under Getting Healthy, weight loss

LifeChangers – Do Something!

LifeChangers

It’s a series about people just like you and me, who decided to do something different.

They decided to change their life, or the lives of others around them.

They are inspiring.

They are making an impact right where they are.

They are passionate.

They are full of life.

And they are willing to share their story.

I first “met” this week’s LifeChanger at the Quitter conference last year. I say “met”, because I connected with her on Twitter at the conference. We never met in person then, and still haven’t. For the longest time, I could never remember her first name, because I just knew her as Keeks! Her website and email and twitter all have Keeks somewhere in them.

Keeks is her nickname. Her real name is Kristen. And she is one of those people who I just instantly liked. We share common interests in books and movies, have a circle of online friends that overlap, and support each other’s blogs. It’s kind of crazy how that happens all online sometimes.

She has a really interesting story. I love her honesty and willingness to share from the heart, even when she knows some people may not like it. One of the ways that we connected recently had to do with the movie, Blue Like Jazz. She and I both saw sneak previews, and posted about our experience. But, she did something afterwards that I thought was super cool. I’ll let her give you a little background about herself, and tell you more about what she did in her own words.

Me: Tell us more about Keeks

Keeks:

I’m the third daughter, third child with a normal and Christian upbringing. I am the baby of the family and if you’ve read anything about birth order – I’m the description to the finest detail mixed in with only child. My mom and dad provided a lifestyle of “you only live once, so let’s go on vacations” – I’m thankful for this because my dad died when I was 16. My sisters are 10 and 12 years older.

Early memories include being drug to every church event under the sun, being a very young kid who tagged along at every youth group activity. I learned from my parents and sisters how to tee-pee, fork yards, pull pranks (although I’m a hopeless prankster because I’m too scared of consequences), and surprising people with a van wired with a special horn that honked out songs (Like “Happy Birthday” or “For he’s a jolly good fellow”).

The time my dad was sick and died was about a two year “process”. I really sunk into a funk and would rebound often. I’d say now at 32, I finally feel really good and really hopeful for the future. His death just about did me in. BUT at the time my father was so sick, I met my best friend. Our friendship is the answer to both our family’s prayers for a Jonathan/David Godly friendship. Our friendship is one of my reminders of what love does exponentially.

Again I’m 32. Single. And still wondering what the hell? Did I piss God off so much He is making me take the Paul route? I’ve lived in Oklahoma all my life. I am one of the weirdest people I have ever met. At least I realize I’m weird and I’m really trying to move into fulling embracing that. I like Wes Anderson movies like they are some sort of legal drug.

My day job is at a community college in the library. Most people think I am a librarian – I’m not. Most days I refer to myself as a faux librarian. I am an introvert. So I have a ratio of one day of people, 3 days at home to recover. My real job? The one I am passionate about is: I’m a writer. The books at the library are my source of comfort and inspiration.

Me: How were you impacted by Blue Like Jazz? And what did you do about it?

Keeks:

Blue Like Jazz the book came into my life soon after it released. And as is my quirkiness: I rejected it. I don’t like trendy stuff (and I felt like everyone was reading it), but in 2010 I found myself unemployed, drifting, and the book called to me. Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller. Dang. His writing is so conversational. So easy stream of consciousness. And it just snuggled up next to my heart and hasn’t left.

This book was more than just a conversation starter about the Church, more than essays about a man finding God outside of religion – this book was just so honest. Unwaveringly truthful in a sea of books that want to give you a to-do list to discover you, God, passion. I liked that each time I’ve read the book since then – it’s different because I’m different.

And then there is Blue Like Jazz the movie. Can I just convey my excitement that this movie has caused bewilderment between all camps of people? This movie – all its rawness, all its messiness, all its quirkiness – it is just so me. Or rather I can just relate. The bumbling along, the crisis of faith, the immaturity, the people pleasing – oh my gosh – the humour — all of it just made me think that there are movies, writers, actors, directors, etc that get people like me…we are some crossbreed of all things and we just want to be known. No judgement, no critiques, no fixing – accepted, simply accepted.

I knew about the upcoming movie and the story behind it because my oldest sister had helped fund it when the movie lost its financial backers. I was inspired. I didn’t have the money, but I knew I wanted to help. I joined Civil Disobedience. Civil Disobedience is a group that promoted the movie. Every week or so we would received assignments to go out and create some attention toward Blue Like Jazz. I was a lousy civil disobedient. I mean I did some of the tasks, but I was trying to do things quietly and I kept placing stuff up around my work. Writing blogs, tweeting. I wasn’t a person dressed up as a sexy carrot, you know?

But then the group received a challenge to take a picture with a sign that you filled in: I misrepresented God….and I’m sorry. 

I wanted to do something a bit different. Something bold for me. I went home. Grabbed a stack of notecards and started writing. Each one, each note, each thought.

I realized I was acting like God, but didn’t know God. Humbling. Very humbling. I was misrepresenting Him.

I took the cards and left them in various places – doors, windows, mirrors, my church, bathrooms. There is one card I wrote to those who work at abortion clinics and I’m in the process of sending them personalized cards. I had never considered their story. Never considered that the God I know and I love – would simply love them. It’s heartbreaking to see how destructive our attitudes, our judgements, our distancing of ourselves from things is not keeping us safe – it’s wounding our souls, it’s wounding others’ souls.

I actually still carry these cards with me. This is kind of like a touchstone for me. I write the cards, I leave them places, and it’s out of my hands.

Blue Like Jazz helped me step outside of myself. Blue Like Jazz gave me hope.

Hope that in all my quirkiness I am not alone. What Donald Miller and Steve Taylor have done is broken down a barrier between the church bubble and the rest of the world. And I love love love this.

 Me: What do you want others to know?

Keeks:

Strive to live your life undeniably real. Each of us has so much to offer, so much to learn. My greatest fear was that my writing would push people away; instead, I’ve found people who embrace my irreverence, who embrace me – they accept me for me.

My fear was completely laughable when I received this tweet:”@keeks4prez Just read your latest post. You got me at f*ckers and God ordering your steps. Hooked!”

Also, find something that inspires and challenges you and put it into action. You will be amazed at what happens along the way.

Living transparently is such a struggle for me; each time I publish, each time I sit down and write I am facing the fear. And I am weakening fear’s grip on me. But it is hard to be unflinchingly honest. I will write something like the unicorn post and then all I want to do is delete it.. But I know I am not alone. There may be one other person who needs to hear these words. And so I leave my posts up. Unflinchingly honest means I have to be vulnerable.

Thank you, Kristen, for sharing your story. Your words are beautiful and encouraging. As your blog tagline says, you are “living a better story by sharing yours.” I am so thankful to know you, and look forward to the amazing ways that God will continue to use you and your story. You are truly a LifeChanger!

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Filed under Authenticity, inspiration, LifeChangers