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Monday, April 23, 2012

Morning Glory

I love mornings. The world is beginning to wake up, birds are singing songs of hope and joy. It's a pleasure to have your head up, looking for all that is fresh and full of possibilities.

That's how I want to approach my day. And the week. Head up, looking for possibilities.

Instead of having my head down, trudging through the mundane, I will look for ways to be a positive influence in the lives of people I come in contact with.

Whether it's a word of encouragement, a hug, an "attaboy" or "attagirl," or simply listening to someone's story, I want to connect with others in the way that God has intended.

How will you be ready for your God appointments this week?




Sunday, March 18, 2012

Awake My Soul

What a glorious morning God has given us today!

I love running on Sunday mornings - it's quiet, everything is blooming, it smells fresh, and it kind of begins my worship before church.

Today was especially nice though. I saw the bright sliver of the moon. I saw a deer - just a few feet away as I ran along. And then, the sunrise. I was in the right place at the right time and it was rosy and purple and beautiful.

I had such a sense of peace and hope come over me as I realized that God is in control of everything.

He reminded me once again that I need to be present in each moment - aware of the sights, sounds and people He has placed in front of me.

Had I not looked up when I did, I would have missed the deer as she dashed into the trees.

Had I not looked, I would have missed the glory of that sunrise, because when I looked again, the vibrant colors had faded to pastel, and then were gone.

I could barely see the moon as I rounded the turn to come home, but it was bright and stunning when I started out.

I will face the day with eyes wide open to see what God has in store for me!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Today's the Day

I spent three days last week at the most effective leadership training I could imagine. It was the EntreLeadership 3-day live event with Chris LoCurto, based on principles in Dave Ramsey's bestselling book EntreLeadership. This is intense, effective training for leaders in business and in life. And I'm hoping to unpack some of the information over the next few weeks here in writing.

Life must be intentional. It's not how old am I, but how many days do I have left and what will I do with those days?

Do you have a life plan? A life goal?

One of the things we talked about early in the training was the importance of dreams, visions and goals. "Life does not hand you your dreams; you have to make them happen. Dreams are essential to winning, but they must come out of the clouds and be more tangible and touchable." That's what we heard, along with the fact that you take a dream to a vision, and the vision to goals.

Also, goals will have more impact if they are in each of the 7 areas of the "Wheel of Life" -- career, financial, spiritual, physical, intellectual, family, and social.

So be honest, how many of you have goals in each of these areas? And also live your life with these goals in front of you? How much better would life be if we did live with these goals in front of us?

I will admit right now that I don't. I have goals for my work, but I can't say that I have a real "life plan." I have always struggled when someone asks, "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" I need to change that.

Time spent praying, contemplating and dreaming would be time well spent, I think. Before I can really incorporate any of the other principles we learned, I need to start with being intentional about WHY I want to incorporate them into my life. What is God's plan for me? Where do I want to be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?

I think my three words are a start - CONNECT, TRAIN, and ENJOY are keeping me grounded in the day to day of life. Now it's time to figure out where those three words are taking me, and be intentional about going there. Starting today.

What dreams, visions and goals do you have?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

One Step Ahead

I have a confession to make. Actually two confessions.

I have never considered myself a runner, but in the last 6 months, I've been running more often, and more miles, and even having days where I don't want to stop. And I look forward to running every morning. I think that means I'm becoming a runner.

I also have never considered myself a writer, but as I write documents for work, blogs for work, and this blog, I'm realizing how enjoyable and therapeutic it can be. Guess you know what that means...

But neither of these goals has come quickly. In fact, both are the result of a series of small steps. Baby steps.

It's not always the giant leaps that get you ahead, but just small, steady forward motion.

Which gets me thinking about what other goals I should be moving forward. Instead of being bogged down with the latest and loudest and ignoring other things, what small next action could I take to make progress on other things?

I think that will be my focus this week - baby steps. Rather than be head down in the most urgent project or task, I will look for opportunities to move ahead on other stalled projects and goals.

What projects or goals could you move ahead with baby steps?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Won't Give In

When I decided to start blogging at the first of the year, I thought this would be a great way to hold myself accountable for my three words, CONNECT, TRAIN, ENJOY, and chronicle my progress through the year. Simple, right?

What I've discovered instead, is that this blog is more important than that. Writing has helped me work through some challenges, and keeps me focused in the right direction. It's very easy to sink into negativity and frustration when things get tough. I feel like I've been hanging on by my fingernails lately, and having to force myself to "look at the bright side" instead of falling into a hole.

Amazingly, writing this blog has helped me ask more right questions - instead of "why is this happening to me?" I'm asking "how can I make this situation better?"

I have been reading the book QBQ: The Question Behind the Question by John G. Miller, which has definitely spurred better questions and more personal accountability. I highly recommend this book because it helps diminish the tendency to be defensive and blaming, and promotes a higher sense of teamwork and productivity.

Talking to a dear friend today also boosted my self-confidence, and helped cheer me up. Some friends just know what you need when, right? Love those relationships - that's when the CONNECT comes into play.

I have had no problem with TRAIN - running every day and adding to my workouts - and working on training for work.

What I struggle with the most is ENJOY. Of my three words, that is the hardest for me to accomplish. But you know what? This week I will work hard so that I "won't give in" to the negativity, and will do what I can to make my situation better. My goal this week is to seek some ways to ENJOY.

What are you focused on to improve your situation?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Beautiful Vision

Do you think about your blessings when you are struggling with challenges?

I know I don't - at least not right away. But a friend reminded me this weekend - it's the little bright spots that help you get through the hard times.

In other words, we need to pay attention to the blessings, even in the midst of struggles.

I will admit this had not been an easy week - or month - for me. I have struggled with challenges at work that have tested my spirit.

If I listen to my friend though, I will focus on the "personal best" times I have had on my morning runs several times this week. And the fact that I've heard birds singing in the mornings again, and have seen a couple of gorgeous sunrises. And connected with some friends I haven't talked to in months.

I also need to focus on the accomplishments and not the long list still to go - I have completed or moved forward on several major projects that are important for the ministry.  And we have been able to bless clients by keeping their electricity on, helping them stay in their home a little longer and giving them food.

What beautiful vision of blessings will you focus on this week?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We Can Touch The Stars!

Have you ever noticed how when the pressures of life are the worst, you tend to look downward and inward? But if you happen to look up and see the moon - or the stars - it can change your whole perspective!

I've spent the last few days struggling with work and life overload, and trying to maintain a positive perspective on things. I have found that God tends to put the things I need to see and read in my way at times like this. Leaving work yesterday, I glanced up and saw the moon - just a sliver, but it was so beautiful, it took my breath away. Many of the blogs that I've read recently have emphasized seeing obstacles as opportunities (Michael Hyatt), and the importance of a positive outlook.

The inspiration culminated with a podcast by Dave Ramsey for his EntreLeadership book, in which he talks about personal accountability. The podcast includes an interview with John Miller, author of QBQ: The Question Behind the Question. If you want to listen, click here and choose Link 5 Personal Accountability.

The QBQ approach is to ask "what can I do to make a difference today?" I can choose how to react. He says that "stress is a choice." I love that it helps me to make things happen instead of letting them happen to me.

My three words, CONNECT, TRAIN, ENJOY, are still viable when I can choose how to react to the stimuli coming at me.

So now I am CHOOSING to be positive, and to take one thing at a time so that I accomplish things to the best of my ability. I will surround myself with positive people and positive affirmations to help me touch the stars!

What will YOU do to make a difference today?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Whisper on the Tide

CONNECT, TRAIN, ENJOY

When I first read about 3 words from Chris Brogan, it struck a chord inside me. You know how it is, everyone makes resolutions at the first of the year, but then things start to happen and by the end of January, you've forgotten them all. Or you've broken them, so you figure why bother?

But I can already tell that adhering to my 3 words is a different process, infusing each decision I make with meaning. In just two and a half weeks, I find myself mentally referring to them as I plan my day - and I'm planning my time more effectively.

I am more intentional. I balance my decisions on whether it hits one of the 3 words. For instance, I have returned to my Sunday School class at church after an absence of way too long - and find myself reconnecting with friends I had lost touch with.

I downloaded a workout app for my Blackberry that tracks how far I run and how fast, and I'm better able to track my training. I have also changed the way I schedule my work week, so I can schedule blocks of time to work on training documents and other priorities. Helps productivity!

The other, possibly most important change in my thinking, is that I am letting myself have fun, whether that is listening to music because I enjoy it, or reading for fun, not work. Or going for a walk to soak in some sunshine. I am trying to plan some "fun" in my life. What a concept!

I have a long way to go, but I'm excited that I'm feeling a difference in my life. The Whisper on the Tide will become a shout!