Category Archives: Community

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.


Filed under #FinishYear, Community, Getting Healthy

You 2.0

We just completed an awesome series at our church called You 2.0. It was a series about redefining success and resurrecting your dreams. It was about choosing significance over safety, contribution over comfort, and embracing the path of uncertainty, mystery, and risk. It was about saying: Enough of ordinary. Average is overrated. Your life matters.

(For more details from this series, check out The Orchard Community’s Facebook page. There’s a great video by my Pastor about the series posted on April 11th.)

I have been learning to try to live this way over the last few years. I am continually understanding that there are things I can be doing to live a better story. I don’t have to live a numb, dull life. You can read how I started on this journey here.

I was extremely honored when my Pastor invited Rick and I to be a part of a group of people to share their stories during church last weekend. I talked about my blog, how your voice matters, and how I am learning to make a difference right where I am. Rick talked about starting mountain bike racing at the age of 43, and how he has taken significant steps forward in his faith over the last year. You can read more about his journey here. I have to tell you that it was pretty awesome. If you would have told me a year or two ago that Rick would be willing to get up in front of our entire church, for three services, and share his story, I would have said you were crazy! I am so proud of him.

I love Scott’s expression. I wish I knew what Rick had said during this picture!

We were honored to also share the stage with our friends, Toney and Laura Burton, Joy Thomas, and Tom Reber. They have amazing stories and each one of them inspires me.

Toney & Laura, Scott, Rick & I, Joy, and Tom

We heard so many great comments from people who were inspired by our stories. It is always nice to be able to help people see normal, real people who are taking steps forward. We certainly don’t have it all figured out, but we are all trying to live You 2.0.  A friend summarized our messages with this great status update on Facebook.

 No more waiting for “what if” moments… Time to let go of the brakes, accept who I’ve been created to be, believe my voice matters, take risks and live MOTOR!

We had a great weekend, and I felt good about being able to share our story.

We had some great laughs!

So imagine my surprise on Tuesday, when I had one of the worst days I’ve had in a long time. I am naturally pretty laid back and really don’t get worked up too often. But Tuesday was just one of those days. It stunk! I was extremely irritated and frustrated at work, and the day just continued on that same path. I don’t have days like this often, so it always catches me off guard.

I started doubting all of the things that I had just talked about over the weekend. The voices in my head were loud. And they weren’t nice. They were saying:  maybe I can’t really make a difference. What good can I do? Who am I to try to do this? Why can’t I figure out what my big dream is? Maybe I am not cut out for this.

That’s when I realized that fear, which is one of the things we talked about over the weekend, was showing up in full force. Fear was causing me to doubt myself. Fear was trying to isolate me. And as my Pastor always says, “Sometimes the things we fear the most are exactly the things that God wants to use.”

So, I am continuing to learn that living a unique life requires you to think differently. It requires you to constantly check where your attitude is. It requires you to understand that some days are going to be rough. It requires you to give yourself some slack. And to surround yourself with people who can help encourage you to keep living a better life.

Are you working on a dream? How do you silence those doubting voices?

Photos courtesy of The Orchard Community


Filed under Authenticity, Community, Dreams, Platform Launch Team

Does your Pastor have a bodyguard?

Does your Pastor have a bodyguard?

Mine doesn’t. I have heard of Pastors who do. I find it a little strange, although I know there are well known Pastors with huge followings who might need one. So far, mine hasn’t. But it does make me chuckle a little to think about it.

Although he doesn’t need a bodyguard, I am learning that he needs something else. He needs people to protect him. With prayer, encouragement, love, and understanding of the incredible time and life commitment he and his family give to us. Of course, other than prayer, he has not asked for this. And your Pastor probably hasn’t either. If he has been lucky, he has been getting this from his inner circle of friends and close community members. But, I think it should trickle down farther. I think our church communities should do a much better job.

Someone said, “We need to protect our pastor and his family”, to me recently.  I have always believed that, but over the last few years, I have come to understand how important it is.

I often have the opportunity to speak with new families about what makes our church so unique. Most people are typically drawn to our Pastor and his teaching very quickly. He is dynamic, honest, and extremely relational. I remember feeling the same way when I first started attending.

And then came the first summer. The summer is when he takes extended time off. I remember for the first few years, I dreaded summer at church. Because I knew he wasn’t going to be teaching every week. I knew why he takes the time off. He does it to reconnect with God, relax, spend more time with his family, and reset his thinking and priorities. But back then, it didn’t matter to me. I didn’t like it. I preferred his teaching over others. I liked his funny stories. I always got something out of his message. That was not always true with some of the other people teaching.

And then one day it hit me.

All of those things were about ME.

I wasn’t thinking about him.

I wasn’t thinking about the amount of time he spends preparing his message each week.

I wasn’t thinking about the countless hours he spends with the staff preparing for each series and teaching to be impactful.

I wasn’t thinking about all of the thousands of things he does that go along with his profession.

I wasn’t thinking about how he doesn’t have a Monday through Friday job which only asks for 40 hours a week.

I wasn’t thinking about the sacrifices his family makes so that he can do what he does.

He is a Pastor.

His job could go on 24/7 every day if he allowed it.

And quite honestly, I was choosing my attitude towards the other people speaking. I was determining that I wouldn’t get anything out of their message. And it wasn’t fair.

I have gotten to know my Pastor and his family pretty well. I absolutely love their hearts and where they are leading this amazing community of people. And I now realize how much he and his family need a break from leading. He needs to be able to step away, and spend quality time with his family. He needs to silence all of the noise, and truly spend more time with God. I have watched him learn to adjust his schedule to do this more throughout the year, but the summer is the time when he can really focus on that. They have learned what they need to avoid burnout. And I think that is wonderful.

This year, he and his family are taking a long trip to Thailand. And I am so excited for them. As I think about what it will do for them to be out of the country, spending time together and planning the adventures that await them, I can’t help but smile. I know what they have invested in our community in order to make it what it is. And it has not been easy. Now it is our turn to invest back in them. To help them know how much they are truly appreciated. To give them time to rest.

This advice isn’t just for my church family. You can easily apply it to your Pastor and his family. My heart aches when I read stories of Pastors and how they are treated by their own church community. The fighting and struggle and heartbreak is sometimes unimaginable. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Does your Pastor understand the value of taking a break?

What do you think of the idea of protecting our Pastors?


Filed under Community, Faith, Family

What will you finish in 2012?

As you may have figured out from previous posts, Jon Acuff  has had a big influence on my life this past year. Reading his book, Quitter, and attending his Quitter conference, really impacted me. It somehow flipped a switch in me. Or helped ignite a flame that was dwindling.

It’s so weird when someone’s words and suggestions really resonate with you on a deep level. Especially when you don’t know them. I didn’t have the chance to meet him at the conference. Other than an email or comment or twitter exchange, we’ve never spoken. However, I believe God uses unexpected people to help speak things that you need to hear.

That has been the case with him over the last half of this year. His words and the experience of the conference have prompted me to make changes in my life. Of course, there are many others close to me that have helped encourage me as well. And I am so grateful for the communities of people that I have around me! I know I would not have been as open to this message had I not already been working towards making significant changes in my life through their help.

I recently came across a list that I wrote of my goals for 2011. It kind of shocked me, as I had forgotten that I wrote it. I am not a big New Year’s resolution person. I typically don’t follow through on them and I get frustrated with myself when I don’t.

That’s why in June of this year, I decided to do something different. I decided it was time to make some lifestyle changes. I decided to get healthier. The main goal was to lose weight, but it wasn’t the focus. I wanted to change the way that I approached it. I wanted to take it slow and improve a little bit every day, instead of trying to drop a huge amount of weight upfront and not be able to maintain it. I have done that plenty of times in the past! I wanted to be a healthier me. 

What surprised me most when I saw the list was that I had actually made significant progress on almost every item on the list. Wow! I don’t think that has ever happened before. And, remember, I had not been focusing specifically on the list.

So how did I do it? I made a commitment to do it. And, I had communities of people supporting me. When I decided to get healthier, I joined a kettlebell class. The relationships that I’ve formed with people who are getting stronger and healthier (and my incredible trainers) has had a huge impact on my desire to keep going. They support me and encourage me.

After I went to the Quitter conference, I have continued to stay in touch with other people who are also learning to follow their dream. While we don’t speak often, we have continued to support each other in our blog comments and given support through Twitter.

As I have walked through my faith journey over the last few years, I have been surrounded by a community of friends and leaders that have helped me learn to take steps towards becoming the person God wants me to be. This has helped me grow in my faith, and also helped me start figuring out what I think God wants me to do in this life.

These are just a few examples of things that I have done this year. Which is also a very long winded explanation for this post. Once again, Jon has challenged me. This time, it’s to be intentional about 2012.

He’s challenged me to commit to FINISHING my goals.

Not starting them.

Not just work on them.

But, to finish them.

As he so eloquently states, “Starting a project doesn’t change the world. Finishing a project changes the world.”

So, now I’m going to challenge you. Come along on the ride with me! Figure out what your goals are for 2012, and commit to finishing them.There will be a community of people supporting you and keeping you on track. I am willing to be one of them!

I am currently working on my list right now. Wow, it is tough to decide what the right balance is between pushing yourself and being somewhat realistic given your time constraints. But, I am committed to do it! And, Jon helps with that too.

I am so excited about the possibilites of approaching it from this angle. Last year was about learning to dream again and getting myself to commit to start things again. Now, I am going to work on finishing them!

I’d love to have you join me!


Filed under #FinishYear, Community, Dreams, Encouragement, Motivation, Quitter Conference


What does the word community mean to you?

 This word keeps coming to me over and over again. I think it’s because I have found it again. I think I lost it for a long time.

 Maybe in the past you used the word “group” or “club” when you thought of something you belonged to. We are so familiar with them when we are young. We go to school together, we play sports, get involved in extra curricular activities, and strive to fit in somewhere. What we longed for was to do life together, in a community.

 Looking back, I realize how being involved in these communities helped to keep me accountable, and I was living life with these people on a regular basis.  I could not miss practice or a performance without someone wanting to know where I was. I was required to keep moving forward.

 Somewhere along the lines, though, we lose the importance of this concept. Part of it is getting out on our own and trying to make our own life. Another part of it is our mobile, relocating society. Many of us no longer stay in our hometowns and start a life there. We move to a new location. We have a hard time meeting our neighbors because we are too busy. We detach ourselves from people because it requires work to develop new relationships and communities. Everybody seems to have their own agenda, and not be as concerned about others. And quite honestly, life is hard! Starting a career, being in the workforce, getting married, having kids – these are all things that help us keep a selfish perspective.

 I read a great book called ‘Refrigerator Rights’  about how so few people feel close enough with their friends and neighbors to go in and help themselves to something in their fridge without asking. This is due to so many reasons, and I have been at the point where I didn’t feel like I had any friends or neighbors that could do that. It was a very lonely time.

 However, this idea is starting to show just how effective it can be in my life. Why? Because it makes you accountable, it makes you feel good, and you feel supported. There is something unbelievably comforting in knowing that there are people you can call when you need them, or who are praying for you regularly. There is nothing like having a goup of people who are pushing you to be better, whether it’s regarding your health, spirituality, fitness, work, or any other area of your life. You can drop your kids off when needed, you can offer to take someone else’s kids for them, and you can be there for them when they need you. You can get together regularly and build relationships with your families.

 I love that we are building these relationships with neighbors and people from our church community, as well as other friends in our lives. It makes an amazing difference in your outlook and your life.

What are your thoughts regarding community? How has this impacted your life?

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Filed under Community, Friendship, Motivation