Defining Moments

Being the mom of three teenagers, we have some interesting conversations & experiences. In their lives, there a significant events that seem to be defining moments, like getting a driver’s license, taking their first solo missions trip (without me), getting their first job, etc. While these events are very monumental, it seems to me that the more important stuff happens in the preparation for these events. For example, my husband has been massively attentive to help them practice driving so they’re fully prepared when they take their drivers license test. And the work they do at home to clean, do laundry, etc prepares them to do good work on their first independent job, hopefully.
I say all of this to encourage both you & me that the defining moments are hopefully nothing more than the cumulative total of preparation & practice to ensure that these moments / experiences go off with great success. Don’t neglect the importance of daily routines & practice as these set us up to succeed for what can seem to be pinnacle experiences & events 🙂

Improving Some More

I’m sitting down to eat lunch as I write this & enjoying a tasty lunch. My lunch is comprised of Swiss cheese, triscuits & leftovers from last night’s delicious stew. As I’m eating this stew, I notice that it tastes better than it did last night, which is often the case with leftovers.
When I was growing up, I wasn’t much of a leftover fan until I had an epiphany. One day, I suddenly understood that when something is given a bit of time to culminate, it often turns out better than the initial product.
So when we want to grow & Improve, consider what it says in James 1:4, “Let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect & complete, lacking nothing.”
Never underestimate the important ingredient of time when it comes to the final product of growth & improvement 🙂

Getting What You Want

Despite our best intentions, all of us can struggle with getting what we want. And what we want seems to flitter from stuff, to time, to clothes, to gadgets, to health, to relationships and lots more. I was recently giving God an earful about not getting something that I thought I wanted. Instead of getting my way, it seemed like the exact opposite was happening & there wasn’t anything I could do to change the situation. But what I could change was my attitude – and our attitudes can be a powerful tool when we make wise choices. 
On top of working through my attitude choices in my recent situation, I also learned that while I may not always get what I want, I can trust God to give me what I need 🙂

Trust, Again

I recently did a blog about practicing our trust in God. As I’ve thought about this whole idea of practice, I’m also aware that there can be a few pitfalls along the practicing trust adventure. Here are a few things that you might find helpful with the practicing trust and pitfalls with adventures:

  • practice isn’t the place where we get perfect every time. Heaven is for perfect & earth is for practice
  • practice & mistakes go together like peanut butter & jelly, salt & pepper. Practice & mistakes are natural complements on the road to success 
  • practicing trust can have good bleed over in various areas of our lives: if we find it “easy” to trust God with our finances, then consider that the same trust can also be expanded to maybe your health, relationships, job or school 
  • trusting God is an essential component to growing in an intimate relationship with God

Things to Forget When Traveling

While I don’t consider myself a hard core road warrior, I do seem to travel a fair amount. With all of my traveling experiences, you’d think that is be a really nimble & savy traveller. Wouldn’t that be nice?!??
Alas, here are a few things I’ve learned in my adventures:

I often forget what I like the least. For example, when I travel I’m super attentive to remember my coffee supply but have often neglected to remember to bring my makeup. So I wind up stopping at Walmart or looking in airports for makeup & this can be very frustrating to be certain. 

In my traveling education, I’ve also learned to travel light, because I have to carry whatever I bring. Less luggage = less weight & smoother traveling. 

Being flexible makes traveling more enjoyable than being rigid & demanding

As we travel through life, these are good lessons to carry with his everyday:

*keep a healthy appetite for the Bible, prayer & consistent church in your life not merely as accessories but more so as essentials

*let go of the luggage & weights that could keep you from being lithe & agile: forgive quickly & well  

*remember that God is sovereign & our role is to adapt to God rather than demand from God 🙂

When Healing Hurts

This is a blog to honor my friend Kim, with whom I had an awesome chat last night. Kim is an entirely amazing person, nurse, mom, wife, COO & all around very groovy chick. We were chatting about a few ailments & she said something really insightful, “Sometimes healing hurts.”  To which I immediately replied, “blech”. But she’s right. 

Healing can hurt sometimes:  
*healing in our bodies causes us to use muscles & functions that have been broken
*healing in our emotions can require us to correct & untwist dysfunctional mindsets & behaviors
*healing in our hearts causes us to walk in uncomfortable dependence on the Lover of our hearts
Let the healing process move forward with wholehearted engagement 🙂
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learning from mistakes

When I was 19, I dislocated my shoulder playing intramural basketball in college & had surgery to repair my rotator cuff.  Being a very smart & savy 19 year old, who knew everything & was highly independent, I didn’t want anyone’s help.  I even remember my kind & patient roommate chastizing me about how I might possibly regret not letting people help me with my shoulder recovery.  God bless my roommate – she was right & I was wrong.

Now I’m in my late 40s and have struggled with my shoulder for almost 30 years, most recently dislocating it during a  snowboarding adventure.  Having acquired some tread in life, I don’t want to make the same mistake that I made in my late teens, even when it means being altogether uncomfortable and asking for help.

The Bible is full of great examples of people who learned from their mistakes:

  • Joseph & his brothers when they came to buy food in Egypt
  • Moses not killing Egyptians when he returned to liberate the Israelites from Egyptian slavery
  • Paul stopped persecuting the church after his Damascus Road experience

Maybe it’s only bad to make mistakes when they’re the same ones over & over & over & over & over again 🙂

a requirement to succeed

I was in 5th grade when I first tried to play basketball & I was 100% horrible.  Neither of my parents are particularly athletic nor did they have alot of athletic background or experience.  Furthermore, we didn’t have lots of sports stuff when I was growing up so my recess basketball games at school were the extent of getting some initial experience.  For whatever reason, I wanted to be good at basketball so I decided to keep trying even though I was awful.  I didn’t have much success at the beginning of my efforts, but I kept trying.  I had horrible shooting form because I wasn’t strong enough to get the ball to the hoop.  I couldn’t dribble to save my life & I was more uncoordinated than  any 5th grade girl in my class, but I kept trying.  When I entered 6th grade, I joined a school that had a girls basketball team & I shockingly made the Varisty squad, but was soon demoted to JV, but I kept trying.  Throughout my middle school years, I continued to play basketball & because I kept trying, I began to improve.  When I was in 8th grade, we had a freethrow competition to see who could make the most free throws out of 50 attempts.  I tried really hard & came in 2nd on my team.  I went on to play basketball in high school and kept trying to get better.  I continued to improve and was privileged to be on a team that went on to win the state championship 🙂

Moral of the story:  long-term success requires that we keep trying

turkey update

Happy post Thanksgiving! I hope your day went well, with lots of peace, joy and enjoyable food 🙂  A few days ago, I posted about how I don’t really care for cooking turkey because of the litany of failed attempts my family has endured over many years.  Well, I’m happy to report that yesterday’s turkey was totally tasty!  It wasn’t burned, not too dry, not undercooked nor any of the other ways that I’ve ruined turkeys over many years – yahoo!!!

So here’s some encouragement.  Think of something that you’ve been trying to get good at for a long time, then consider a few things:

  • perhaps the lessons you’ve learned from the failures just helped you to understand better what doesn’t work
  • be thankful that you don’t have to make the same list of mistakes – you can make new ones
  • perhaps you next attempt will be the one that brings you success
  • if you next attempt doesn’t succeed consider that you’re one step further from failure & closer to success 🙂

 

cooking turkey

With Thanksgiving  popping up in less than 48 hours, I am facing my age-old nemesis, the turkey.  I think that I’ve figured out almost every way to ruin a turkey (undercooking, overcooking, offering a burnt sacrifice, along with many other accidents).  So I’m totally keen to throw in a lasagna & call it good 🙂

But alas, I will do the traditional turkey & there’s a good chance that I’ll get it right this year – hope springs eternal.  And this is exactly my point:  hope springs eternal.  Just because I’ve had a litany of turkey traumas doesn’t mean that this year is going to be another “challenge.”  After a 1,000 failed attempts with his light bulb invention, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Happy Turkey Day! 🙂

Getting Better!

There are lots of areas in my life that I’m trying to improve: fitness, cooking, relationships, ministry, leadership & more. If I’m not careful, all of this could be overwhelming. But this is something my dad would always say, “inch by inch, it’s a cinch but yard by yard it’s hard.”
So I’m making incremental changes & starting to see some improvements. I can tell that my health is getting better, my cooking has fewer burning torches, some relationships have been more stable & there are some other good things that are going on. So let’s keep our focus on God, remain thankful & keep growing inch by inch 🙂

a secret for making high quality decisions :)

When I was younger, I used to make decisions really fast and sometimes this worked out well for me.  Quick decisions are helpful when you’re low on fuel for your car or when you’re dehydrated and need to drink more water.  Quick decisions, however, are not as helpful when the stakes are higher – as I’ve recently learned.

Last month, I had a situation come up that was really important & I needed to make a very high quality decision on this issue.  Thankfully, I didn’t just do a quickie snap decision but rather took a few days to think, pray & evaluate.  After taking a little bit of time and getting some high quality input & advice from other people who were well qualified to give input on this type of situation, I made a really excellent decision and the outcome has been extremely wonderful.

I’ve come to the conclusion that when I need to make a high quality decision, it helps to give it some high quality time ,)

continually learning & growing

One of the things I totally enjoyed about teaching High School was not only watching my students learn, but also my own learning experience as I taught.  I learned lots about the content I was presenting, about the diverse learning styles of very different students & about myself.  Needless to say, I love to learn & being a mom has ramped up my learning curve WAY MORE than any High School or college teaching I’ve done.  Here are some things that I’m continuing to learn through my kids:

  • giviving & being generous is better than being a “getter” or being selfish
  • what’s evident on the surface doesn’t always reflect accurately what’s happening in a person’s heart
  • patience – ’nuff said
  • responsibility is a process & sometimes we take 3 steps forward and maybe 1 or 2 sideways :/
  • different is different, not better or worse, just different
  • little things can often be WAY MORE cool than big things ,)

correction

I’ve been on both sides of this correction topic – receiving correction (Sarah, your performance is sub-standard and you’ll need to make significant improvements if you plan to continue in this role) and giving correction.  Neither position is very pleasant, but correction is very important and here are a few pointers:

  • if you’re receiving correction, be mindful to listen and not argue, deflect, make excuses or blame others.  If you receive the correction well and in a constructive way (regardless of how the person presents it), you can grow, learn, get stronger and be a better person.  If you receive correction poorly, you’ll probably have to go through the cycle again & it might be a more painful experience the next time around :/
  • if you’re giving correction, be mindful to deal with the behavior that needs to change without attacking the person and use several concrete examples of the wrong behavior.  It’s also necessary to be clear and firm, explaining to the recipient the preferred outcome or method for their actions.  Finally, be constructive and affirming, believing that the person can change.

There are heaps and heaps of wisdom in the Bible that pertain to correction, so please consider reading about the life of Eli in 1 Samuel 1-4 and also Hebrews 12, as starting points.  Let’s allow correction to be constructive in our lives 🙂

Managing weakspots

If you’re like me, we tend to enjoy swimming in our strengths, but try to abandon our weakspots on a desolate island, hoping to avoid any long interactions with those weaknesses. I prefer to arrange my life around my strengths & avoid those troublesome weaknesses. Even with my best efforts, I still have to deal with my weaknesses. So here are some things that are helping me:
*acknowledge rather than deny – denial isn’t truly helpful
*be humble – everyone has weakspots, even if they don’t admit them
*get help – my best source for help is God
*forgive yourself when you fail – perfection is permitted for only one Being, God
*celebrate progress – I may not be where I want to be, but at least I’m not where I was 🙂

your feedback please

Greetings!  I made a concerted effort in 2011 to blog more consistently & I’ve found this I like this format quite a bit.  If you’ve noticed, I try to do a couple of things:  stay brief, relevant & insightful.  At the same time, I’m not very interested in jumping into uber controversial subjects (politics, etc).  Sometimes I’ve done this better than at other times.  So what I’d like from you are suggestions:

  • are there topics you’d like me to write about?
  • do you have suggestions of things you’d like me to do or not do?
  • general thoughts?

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated and thanks MUCHOS for reading!!  I want to get better this year & I appreciate your help 🙂