Thursday, November 16, 2017

Giving Your "All"

Excellence. I strive to do excellence in all I do. 

It stands out when I see someone else working with the goal of excellence.

It shouldn’t stand out. But it does. Excellence seems to be a rare trait.

How many times have you had to go back to the car service center because someone didn’t fix something right the first time? The same goes for “fix-it” guys. 

How many times is your day messed up because you had to “re-do” something that someone else didn’t do right?


People just don’t seem to be invested in what they are doing. They don’t seem to be invested in OTHERS.

That grieves me.

It doesn’t matter to me, if I don’t live with the results of a job I do…. Because someone else does. And what I do is a reflection of me. So, I want to go the extra mile. I want to do things with integrity, honor, and excellence.





These are traits we should take with us as we do our jobs. As we walk in relationship with others. And, as we train up our children. They are all part of having and working with excellence in mind.

Doing the least we can do never benefits anyone. It doesn’t make anyone feel better or grow stronger. It’s simply a patch – never a permanent fix.

It feels good to invest yourself in all you do. In all you are. It feels good to know you did the right thing – spent the extra time – and put in the extra effort. EVEN if you don’t get paid extra. EVEN if you don’t get acknowledged.

It WILL pay off for you. In your reputation. In your feelings about yourself. And in the way you live your life.

Excellence. Try it. Achieve it. 

Give it.

We all hunger for it.

Friday, November 10, 2017

When Someone Sees Something In Us

Not too long ago, a woman told me that I had a ‘great vibe’ about me. She told me that I could do anything I set my mind to.

Then, someone else saw a picture I posted on facebook, and they told me that I was beautiful. When I politely told them ‘thank you, but that I didn’t see myself that way,” they replied again with a “own it. You are! “

Why is it so easy to believe the bad stuff about ourselves? And why is it so much harder to believe the awesome?

I think I’m nice. But, to think I can do anything I set my mind to? Hmmm……

And I think I’m cute. But beautiful? C’mon. 

What if we claimed the good things that others said about us? What if we truly started “owning” them? Not just for a “hot second,” but for a whole month? A year? A lifetime? Maybe then, we’d start fulfilling our true potential!

When someone compliments us, in whatever way, shape or form that comes in, I think that is an “I love you” message from God. A way that He comes down into the details of our lives to let us know that we have MORE to give. MORE to be. 

We limit ourselves more than anyone else can limit us. We deny ourselves things because we don’t believe we deserve them. We don’t believe we are worthy.

But we are. We are every bit as worthy and deserving as that “beautiful” person you see walk into the coffee shop, or that successful business guy that struts into the office.

If someone SEES something in us, isn’t that to be celebrated? Isn’t that worth something?

I think it is. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Motherhood: It's Allll Tiring, But It's Allll Good

Allll of parenting can be exhausting.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking once your kids are older, that you won’t be tired. You will.  But it’s a different kind of tired.

I think, when children are very young, you are PHYSICALLY tired. They demand a lot of you. They need your help on a lot of things. And so, yes, this brings physical exhaustion. And that physical exhaustion lessens as they grow up. It improves. But, a different kind of “tired” replaces it.

When your kids are teens, and young adults, you are EMOTIONALLY tired. There are lots of choices to make. Some FOR your kids, some WITH your kids. Some battles to walk through with them as they make their own choices. So, if you wonder why you feel tired all of the time – it can be because all those choices, conversations, decisions, and hurdles; even if they are good ones, they take an emotional toll on you.

You will never not worry about your kids.

You will never not love them.

Parenting can be tiring – yes. But oh, such a joy, it is! It’s a joy when they are young and think you are the best thing in the world. It’s a joy when they are young adults, and they desire your company, or want your feedback on something.

The hugs feel so special when your kids are young. But they feel so special when they are older, too. Each one, given by choice.

I loved being a mom when my kids were little. I loved doing their hair, picking them up from school, buying them cute clothes, and tucking them into bed with a story. 

I LOVE being their mom, now that they are young adults, too. I still love finding them cute clothes and shopping WITH them. I love watching their favorite shows with them (even if that show wouldn’t have been my choice), and I love hearing a story about something that happened in their day.

Motherhood. It’s all tiring. And it’s all good.

I wouldn’t trade a moment. I own every one of those tears, sleep-deprived nights, worry lines, and times of celebration. I own those proud “mom” feelings.

They are my kids. My pride and joy.

My life made fuller. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

We Need God EVERY Hour

Oh, God, how I need you. Every hour I need you.

We are fooling ourselves to think we don’t need God EVERY HOUR. Every day.

Yes, we need Him in the big events of our lives – like strength for delivering a baby, help escaping floods after a hurricane, or protection in the midst of evil.

But we still need Him every hour of what we see as “normal” days too.

We need Him when we are tempted to eat too much at mealtime.

We need Him when we resent our spouse for something they did.

We need His help for creativity when we are given that assignment that we don’t feel qualified to complete.

We need Him when we are sick.

We need Him when we are out driving amongst so many other personalities – who may be driving in ways we don’t agree with.

We need Him when we sluggishly prepare another meal.  When we scrape our wallets for another home repair.

We need Him when our children hurt our feelings, or when we feel lonely.

We even need Him in the moments of joy. We need Him to remind us of where our help comes from, and from whom all blessings flow. We need Him to keep us humble, thankful, and joyful.

Yes, we need you, Lord. EVERY HOUR we need you.

Let us not forget to live our moments without you as a part of them. As the LEADER of them.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Which Voice Do You Listen To the Most?

Our “self-talk” pulls some of the strongest weight in our lives.  What we tell ourselves about who we are, how others view us, and what our value is…. sometimes those very thoughts outweigh the verbal words that are actually given out loud to us by others.

On our “bad” days, the words we tell ourselves matter a great deal.  As do the words we tell ourselves on our “good” days. The question is – which ones do you listen to the most?

I know that sometimes when I’m feeling really low, my own thoughts and the voice in my heart that whispers to me – it can lift me up on out of those blues – or sink me deeper into them.

When I’ve had a victory in my life, the encouragement and thankfulness I feel inside, can also implant itself strongly into my character; so that the next time I’m faced with challenges and hurdles, I’m more positioned to deal with them. Instead of falling victim to them.

Which voice do you listen to the most? Which one do you let take root in your heart and soul? The voice that speaks loudly on the low days… or the one that shouts on the good ones?

Oftentimes, it’s the negative thoughts and words that we let stay longer than they should. I’m not sure why that is. 

If we feel conviction, determination, or the need to persevere when life deals us a blow, if we are feeling heartache – those feelings can be used for growth and movement in our life.  But if we are feeling and thinking shame, unworthiness, or inadequacy; those thoughts need to stay in the moment and not come with us into the next day, the next challenge, or the rise out of the sadness.

We ALL feel unworthy and inadequate at times. That’s why I say; those feelings need to stay in the moment. It would be great to say we don’t feel them at all – but I don’t think that’s reality. We WILL feel them. We are human. The key is, to remember we are only feeling them because we are hurting.

So we need to leave them there in that hurting moment and not take them with us.

What we tell ourselves about ourselves matters.  Someone else can encourage us to the moon and back – but if we don’t believe them, it won’t matter. We need to watch how we speak to our own heart and soul. Craft our words wisely and value ourselves enough, to tend to ourselves with love, kindness, grace, and gentle prodding towards growth.

We will have good days and bad days in life. Lots of both.  What will you tell yourself  on those days? And which voice will you listen to in the long run?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Move Those Feet

My grandpa used to have this saying that he got from his dad.  It was, “If you don’t got it in your head, you got to have it in your feet.”

Translation? You need to take action.

A lot of us rely on other people to help us get what we want.  Now, support is important in life.  Networking is powerful. But we can’t sit back, and expect other people to supply us with the information, connections, or life, that we desire. We have to work for it ourselves.

Some of us are naturally gifted in things. But for most of us, we have to work hard at what we want for ourselves.  And there’s something to be said for that. Working hard brings depth of character, compassion, generosity, and authenticity that nothing else in life can give. 

You don’t take things for granted when you understand what it took to get something.

What do we do to serve others, instead of simply just desiring others to serve us?  You build rapport by serving others. You build connection. That’s how you build relationships that stand out.

Whether it’s information you seek, a job, community – whatever. It’s your responsibility to spark someone else’s interest, so that you can start moving towards that goal you have for yourself.

Pay attention to the people in your life. Pay attention to the opportunities that cross your plate. And be intentional about focusing on your priorities for your life.  Be ready to “move your feet.” It’s not painful. Actually, it can be a lot of fun. Yes, it can be hard work – but you will see yourself make progress. You will see yourself grow. And you will see the action you take, pay off.

Reach out. Reach up. If other people help you here and there along the way – fantastic! But, don’t expect it. Don’t count on it. Persevere, work hard, and be diligent.

Having the life you want is up to you. Reaching the goals you want to reach is up to you.

Move those feet.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

When You Can't Find the Right Words to Pray

Earnest prayer. Deep requests. Heartfelt praise. Sometimes our hearts feel things so deeply – there are just no words. We are confounded to know how to express ourselves, and don’t know how to possibly convey our feelings into words.

We want to pray, but we don’t know how to pray.

I love where in the Bible it says,

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Rom. 8:26

Did you catch that? God prays on our behalf. 

Oftentimes, when we find words escape us, we can simply ask the Lord to pray on our behalf. We can have confidence and complete peace that the prayer is in line with God’s will, because He is the one praying!

In these moments when our hearts are feeling so much, oftentimes, our feelings come out not in words, but in tears. As we sift and seek out our own feelings, as we ponder how to come up with the right words to give weight to what our heart is feeling – tears fill up in our eyes. And those very tears are sometimes all we need.

Those tears tell God everything we want Him to know.  They tell Him everything our heart is trying to say. They tell Him the full extent and depth of what we want to say in prayer. Those tears ARE our prayer.

We don’t have to give God a grand gesture in our prayers. We don’t have to have big words. We don’t have to be really holy, and our prayers don’t have to be lengthy in order to be passionate.

I look back on God’s example in the Bible and He never did anything grandiose or flowery. He always did things simply, with a genuine, loving heart.

What could be more simple or genuine – than our tears?

All I know, is that sometimes when words escape my tongue, they form in my eyes with a glisten, and I think that is perfectly acceptable to God. He knows our heart anyway, and He knows that we are not always eloquent.

I think sometimes, our tears are the exact PERFECT prayer.

So if you, like me, struggle at times with the deep emotions in your heart and you can’t seem to find the right words to bring before the Lord, remember that He sees all and He knows all. He can see and feel your heart.  And if your tears should come at times, as mine do – know that if our God is a God who chooses to pray for us and on our behalf when words escape us, that He too, will accept and value your tears with the weight and meaning which comes behind them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Get Some Distance

It seems we develop patterns in life. We are creatures of habit.  We drive the same way to work and church.  We do the exact same thing upon waking up and right before bed.  We turn to the same comforts when we are sad, and we respond in the same way when someone hurts us.

Habits. Patterns.

It’s no wonder that we find it hard to overcome certain weaknesses or challenges in our lives. 

It’s no wonder, that we don’t always see what others see happening to us and inside of us.

I have found that the greatest catalyst for change in my life is when I change up my days. Whatever it is that gets me out of my normal routine, whether by choice or necessity  - it breathes fresh air and focus into my life. Focus, that was often, so very necessary.

Only when I get away from my habits and routines am I able to see things more clearly.  Distance helps me analyze and see my life from another vantage point.

A needed vantage point.

We can too easily live our lives in our own created bubbles. Even if we are very sociable people, we have created certain boundaries that we are satisfied and comfortable with. So when we have a hurdle in our life, or something inside of our souls that needs a little “tweaking,” we aren’t always in the best position to deal with it, until we can get away from the very things that allow some blindness to occur in our eyes concerning that matter.

Sometimes, our friends and family members can cast a little light onto the issue for us. But we aren’t always in a place where our heart is ready to receive what they have to say.

Distance can give our hearts the strength and the space it needs, to accept that something needs to be dealt with or handled differently. Something needs to change.

We all have things in our lives that need to be addressed from time to time. We all get “pricked” by truths we’d rather not acknowledge about ourselves. But it’s those very pricks that can spur us on to healthier habits, and a healthier place to be – overall.

Get some distance. Get some distance from your routines, habits, and “go-to’s.” Even if for a day. Get to a point where you can see what needs to change.

You owe it to yourself.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

If You Can't Like Yourself, No One Else Will Either

We all have a story.   It’s fascinating to me, that most of us don’t know someone else’s WHOLE story.   A lot of us like to keep certain chapters hidden or unknown to other people. We like to tuck those tragedies, hurts, and lonely parts away; for only us to see, know, dwell on, and remember.

But when we do that, we can’t move on. We can’t heal. We can’t become WHOLE.

Some of us don’t even want to.  We don’t know HOW to. We don’t feel we deserve to move on from that spot of deep hurt and pain.

A lot of us are good at acting happy. We give to others, we act cheerful, we encourage, and we show no signs of the unhappiness lurking just beneath our surface.

Or so we think.

The thing is….it shows anyways.  Unhappiness always shows up in our face, in our attitude, in our actions. Somewhere.

If you can’t like yourself – if you can’t forgive yourself – if you can’t find yourself valuable…. it’s hard for others to like you, forgive you, value you, too.

We often sabotage ourselves. What we want the most, we push away. What we need the most, we refuse.  Loneliness and isolation become our friend.

There is no pressure in isolation. No pulling on us to face things we don’t want to acknowledge, or face.  There is a certain sense of comfort in being alone, even if it’s the last thing we need.

We can think we’re good at fooling the world. But we’re not.  We can think we will find happiness or contentment in something we are relying on (which may be different for everyone) – but we won’t.   We can think placing boundaries and walls up in our lives will protect us – but they don’t.

What’s inside still lives inside. What hurts still hurts.

You have so much to give. You have so much potential. Don’t let whatever that hurt is, win over you.  Don’t let it mislead you into living a life less than the one you deserve. 

There is far too much good in this world, and in people, to shut yourself out from the love, the laughter, the blessings, and the richness of relationships.

FACE that hurt. Claim it as a part of your story. And turn it into a strength.

Learn to like who you are – even with those unfortunate moments as part of your story. Respect what you’ve been through, and empower yourself to turn those hurts into testimonies of victory.

You don’t have to be perfect. And people will still like you. You just have to find yourself worthy of being likeable, too.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Don't Lose Your Identity In Your Spouse

When you are first in love, it is so easy to be wrapped up totally in your “other.”  All you want to do is be together and when you’re not together, you’re thinking about being together!

It’s what I call, the “magical” phase. Everything seems brighter. Food tastes better. It’s as if life comes alive.

And yet, as fun as this time is, it’s also dangerous. It’s dangerous, because it can be so easy to lose yourself.  And if you lose your identity at this point, it can be hard to get it back.

Love is a wonderful thing. Knowing that you have someone else to walk through life with, to lean on, and someone who “has your back,” – well, there’s nothing else like it. And once you get married, and the years fly by, it is such a comfortable thing.

But, you are you still YOU. And your spouse is still who they are. You each have your own bents, your own wishes, desires, habits, and personalities. Some of those will overlap, and you will share common dreams or likes. Others, will not. And the ones that don’t? The ones that truly make up YOU? You shouldn’t lose those.

There are some things in life that are only meant for us. We don’t have to share every thing we enjoy with our mate. In fact, it can be very healthy to have our own interests along with shared ones. It is good for us to do some things on our own. It is good for us, to maintain some sort of independent personality aside from our marriage.

It is GOOD!

Don’t lose yourself in your spouse. Don’t lose your identity or the very things that make you so wonderfully you. Your spouse will actually love you for staying YOU! And you will love them if they don’t cling to you every moment of your life. Can I get an amen?

We all need things that are meant solely for us in life. (Healthy, growing, things.) Just because you may enjoy working in the yard, or running; doesn’t mean your spouse has to enjoy those things or do them with you. Of course, there should be some things in life that you enjoy doing together – and if you don’t know what they are, I encourage you to set out and find some. But, there are some things that you should also set out to protect. Things that are just for YOU. Maybe it’s having your own reading time, coming up with your own ideas for projects (that you don’t have to consult or get your spouse’s input on), etc.

Independence in certain things is not bad. It’s just defining who you were meant to be as a person.

So, enjoy your love. Focus on your marriage. Grow it, prioritize it. But in the process, don’t neglect yourself. Don’t FORGET yourself. Stay true to the things that make you YOU.

You will be healthier emotionally for it, and your marriage will even thrive because of it.

Two wonderful and separate “you’s” in a marriage – make one great “US.”


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