Category Archives: Freedom

Amelia- Her first year!

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One yr ago to date I brought a sad, terrified, withdrawn, unhealthy dog home with me.  48- 72 hrs prior she’d been rescued from one of the most horrific puppy mill busts in Tx. Left in the hands of someone paid to take care of them, 63 dogs were found in a 90° building, standing in pools of green stagnant water to keep cool,  filthy & coated in mud & feces.  They had actually resorted to eating each others feces for ultimate survival.

From that hell hole she was taken to the HSNT Fort Worth Shelter. I had posted on FB about being ready to adopt a dog & I particularly wanted a small Yorkie. Melissa Kitchen, Patron Animal Saint of Trinity Loft(PASOTL), sent me the link on Thurs about the bust & then went with me on Fri to find my Yorkie. After realizing my Nav was taking me to the wrong shelter, we course corrected & made it to FW.  Even though I had called  earlier, the shelter staff said they weren’t completely ready  & were still bringing dogs out. We looked the shelter over. No Yorkie!  Melissa had gone before me & said there may be something I like! Of course I had to talk to every dog in every cage, so by the time I got to the last room, last cage…….there she was. Cowered down & turning completely away from me,  I found the only Yorkie there! Our wrong directions was actually the perfect time delay necessary in allowing them time to bring her out!  I wanted to hold her, but she was petrified. We took her out & she smelled so bad I almost couldn’t hold her. She was the one!! We put her down for me to complete adoption paperwork & were amazed at her curiosity. It was like watching a blind person receive sight. She took in every second, especially the outdoors view.  I knew immediately what to name her. She needed a strong, determined name representing how she has survived & would still overcome many challenges. From that moment she was chipped & in the next couple of days, spayed.   She then would be released to me!!  What a whirlwind she must have felt like being in. Caged, abandoned, rescued, transported, chipped & all these people!!

On the drive home, Melissa read the instructions they gave me about owning a puppy mill dog. In tears we discussed what torment these animals were subjected to. They wouldn’t be familiar with grass, sunlight or kind human interaction. This broke my heart & I knew she had to be shown grace, mercy, patience, but most of all love!

On Monday 6.1.12 I picked her up. Groggy from surgery, I put her in the front seat & headed to Dallas. The first thing I had to do was scrub her! The shelter was overwhelmed with the number of dogs they received & they only had time to do the tests necessary to adopt dogs out. Her skin was horrible & I seriously thought I was going to use the entire pack of Q-tips on her ears.  Her mouth was equally as disgusting! Yuck!! She was emotionally & physically exhausted so once clean,  I just left her alone. She slept on a nice, soft, comfy bed without moving for almost 24°.

Her journey has been amazing! I’ve been there for many first time experiences. Grass, soft bedding, natural organic & even raw food diets.  She was seriously convinced the leash would kill her, but quickly realized it was her ticket to long outdoor walks! Living in a loft meant getting used to the elevator. I began noticing her obsessive behavior while waiting for it! She memorized the sound of the dings & knew the doors were about to open!  She developed a routine & immediately adapted to her environment! She made instant friends!! Tuxedo & Jasper were her wrestling buds, BJ was her sprinter, who’s human, Wendy, brought her back upstairs one day because she got on the elevator all by herself!! Leo was the lovey, who lived next door & always wanted to give her kisses! Star was bigger, but super sweet & Porterhouse was the sweetheart who’s human, Chris, helped chase her around the entire parking lot late one night  bc she got off leash. They were precious  & I enjoyed watching their interaction every day.

The most difficult challenge  I’ve faced was her digestive system. It took 9 months to regulate! I think their extreme survival skills caused her to develop something! Her diet is strict! She only eats Organix Small Bites by Castor & Pollux.  No human food except for occasional spoon of eggs & her 1 slice of bacon every evening. She loves bacon!!    She takes chondrointin  chews every day bc she has popping hips due to hip dysplasia. I think she has arthritis like me!!

When we moved from our Dallas Design District loft to a house, she spent several weeks exploring every room, nook & cranny bc the house was over double the size of the loft!! I’ve learned she is afraid the dark when put outside by herself,  loathes rain & snow! She never experienced change of seasons so these were new for her. June bugs were weird little creatures that she quickly determined weren’t necessary to befriend!

The human interaction & trust factor is ongoing. While she won’t let me pick her up, she freely gives me kisses & is at the side of my bed very early every morning  encouraging me to get up!! I wanted a snuggle bunny, but that will take more time!! Unless she’s Aced! That’s another adventure Lilli & I experimented with!!

She’s  passive aggressive towards Lilli, but not so much Kaelleb. She’s never minded Bryce or Russell, but Summer isn’t as popular! A walk causes an immediate attitude adjustment & the word T- R- E- A- T makes her come home if she’s exploring the neighborhood too long! She goes to Cosmepawlogy for  grooming faithfully & loves to ride in the car. She eats her morning food only if she’s in the same room within close proximity to me.

This year has been about introducing her to a culture of humans who truly love & take care of their animals. Assimilating her to weather changes,  day vs night, cats & bugs, & of those 2…..she likes neither!

Puppy mill rescues are extremely challenging, but the intrinsic satisfaction of knowing anything & everything you do for them is greatly appreciated far outweighs any challenge.

As I write this, she is outside in her yard enjoying what she so deserves……FREEDOM!!

Amelia Murphy is a survivor & here’s to the next phase of our journey together! Find your pet at a shelter or rescue facility & begin enjoying what love they can bring!

Blessings,

g

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2012 DFW Fourth of July Celebrations

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In celebration of our Independence Day, DART provided information on some family friendly events taking place in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex & surrounding areas.  Most are free & sound educational & FUN!

Enjoy your freedom & celebrate our Independence!

DART to Independence Day fireworks and events:
Dallas Area Rapid Transit is your ticket to Independence Day celebrations in north Texas from the dawn’s early light to the twilight’s last gleaming. Plan your trip by visiting http://www.DART.org/fireworks, by using the online trip planner at http://www.DART.org or call Customer Information at 214-979-1111.

DART buses and light rail follow a Sunday schedule and the Trinity Railway Express does not operate on July 4.

  • July 3
  • Addison Kaboom Town features dazzling fireworks choreographed to music, plus great food, Imagelive music, and the spectacular Addison Airport Air Show featuring the Cavanaugh Flight Museum Warbird Flyover. Fireworks will be launched at approximately 9:35 p.m. Stay after the fireworks for a concert featuring Emerald City at 10:15 p.m. Admission is free. Events run 5 p.m. to midnight. Addison Circle Park is at 4970 Addison Circle Dr. Information:972-450-2851 or addisontexas.net/events/KaboomTown. Addison Transit Center
  • Farmers Branch Independence Day Celebration honors America’s independence with free live music and spectacular fireworks at the Farmers Branch Historical Park. Tour the historical buildings, indulge in delicious concessions and enjoy kids’ activities. Park gates open at 6:30 p.m. with a concert by local party band TOP beginning at 8 p.m. Fireworks follow the show at approximately 9:30 p.m. Farmers Branch Historical Park is at 2540 Farmers Branch Lane. Information: 972-919-2620 or farmersbranch.info/play/special-events. Farmers Branch Station
  • U.S. Army 36th Infantry Division Band performs at the Dallas Arboretum as part of the Spring/Summer Concert Series and Chihuly Nights. The “Lone Star Band” is the premier musical organization of the Texas Army National Guard, and the concert features arrangements of ceremonial band, instrumental and popular music. Bring a picnic or enjoy tasty treats from Highland Park Cafeteria while you lounge on the lawn of the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage. Admission prices range from $9 to $22. The Dallas Arboretum is at 8525 Garland Road. Information: 214-515-6500 or dallasarboretum.org/concerts. Union Station or South Garland Transit Center, then Bus Route 60
  • July 4
  • Dr Pepper/Snapple Group Fair Park Fourth celebrates Independence Day with a free, family-fun event. Enjoy “dancing water” shows at the Esplanade Fountain, musical entertainment, games and plenty of Fair Park food. Explore Fair Park’s participating museums offering free or reduced admission. Stay for a patriotic concert by the Dallas Wind Symphony at 8:00 p.m., followed by a spectacular fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. in the Cotton Bowl stadium. Festivities run 4:30-10 p.m. throughout Fair Park, 1300 Robert B. Cullum Blvd. For Information: 214-421-9600 or fairpark.org. Fair Park Station and MLK, Jr. Station
  • Irving Independence Day Parade begins at 9 a.m., followed by a patriotic concert and free watermelon at Heritage Park, 217 Main St. Information: 972-721-2501 or cityofirving.org. South Irving Station
  • Irving Firecracker Fourth is an evening of entertainment at the intersection of Las Colinas Boulevard and Lake Carolyn Parkway with a patriotic concert by the Irving Symphony Orchestra. Activities include inflatables and water slides, and food concession stands and vendors will be available. Festivities begin at 5 p.m., with a professionally choreographed fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free, and event parking is $5 at the Irving Convention Center parking garage, 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd. Information: 972-721-2501 or cityofirving.org. North Irving Transit Center, then walk to Las Colinas
  • Old-Fashioned Fourth in Historic Downtown Carrollton celebrates Independence Day with family fun at the shops, restaurants, and antique stores. Take a patriotic picture at the gazebo or grab a piece of watermelon as you stroll around. Historic Downtown Carrollton is located at 1102 W. Main St., near I-35E and Belt Line Rd. Information: 972-242-4490, historicdowntowncarrollton.com or facebook.com/historicdowntowncarrollton. Downtown Carrollton Station
  • Flagpole 8K Celebrate our country’s birthday with this annual run along the eastern shores of White Rock Lake and the peninsula neighborhood. Cost is $25. The race starts at 7:30 a.m. in Norbuck Park, 200 N. Buckner Blvd. on the southeast corner at Northwest Hwy. Information: whiterockracing.com. White Rock Station, then Bus Route 428
  • Plano Symphony Orchestra Patriotic Pops at the Eisemann Center for the Performing Art features the Plano Symphony Orchestra, the Plano Civic Chorus and the Patriotic Pops Chorus for a rousing concert honoring our country and the people dedicated to preserving our freedom. The show is at 3 p.m. and tickets are $10-$35. The Eisemann Center is located at 2351 Performance Drive. Information: 972-473-7262 or planosymphony.org. Galatyn Park Station
  • ImageStar-Spangled Spectacular! with the Dallas Wind Symphony says “Happy Birthday, America!” like no one else. This celebration will have you feeling red, white and blue from the top of your stovepipe hat to the tips of your star-spangled toes. Tickets are $16-$38. The show begins at 4 p.m. in the air-conditioned comfort of the Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. Information: 214-428-2263 or dws.org. Pearl Station

Blessings & Happy 4th. of July!

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Why take the 90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge??

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While reading one of my favorite “cyber mentors” blog this morning, Bob Burg discussed having a weak or strong team is a direct result of leadership who surround themselves with superior people.   Of course my experience has been extremely positive.  As with all good resources, his blog got me to thinking.  Trust me, you want to associate with people who cause you to think, not just think tell you what to think.  Here was some my response:

Of course Bob you know my greatest examples are Orrin Woodward #6 & Chris Brady #11 on the World Leadership Guru Top 25 List!! Their examples have definitely trickled down & continue to saturate throughout our entire organization. I listened to a CD by Orrin yesterday back to back because it totally resonated in so many areas. Since 2006 I’ve become a hungry student in so many areas. Who would have ever put a conversation about politics or economics with me in the same room, much less contributing to & enjoying it! 😉

I went onto thinking how following such men & women of influence have impacted many areas of my world.  Without this association, I don’t want to even begin to imagine where I would be.  I would’ve never developed a passion for reading or taught my singles Sunday School class out of “You Don’t Need A Title To Be A Leader” by Mark Sanborn. Through those principles, our band of singles had the most leaders within the adult ministry structure!! This was ministry, what about family? How does something like this affect family?  Because our organization has a top 5 book list, I was able to refer “Personality Plus” to my daughter, Summer, in an effort to deal with my beautiful, strong-willed, granddaughter.  Shortly after, Summer & husband, Russell, pastored a church in Arkansas where other TEAM biz partners happened to attend. They decided to teach a weekly  adult class on personalities in an effort to develop better relationships within the church. This past weekend I suggested my daughter re-read the chapter on cholerics!! Said granddaughter is now 9!

One of my favorite family examples comes from my son.  Summer married a few years after my divorce leaving Bryce & I to live at least 14 years discovering the glorious ins & outs of single parenting.  My only regret is not having been exposed to all the amazing information I now have access to during those painful experimental years.  Anyway….. back to my favorite example right?  I was driving to Arkansas to spend Christmas with  Summer when Bryce called me. We had celebrated Christmas early & I gave him 3 books with an assignment to read, write book reports & he would get the remainder of his Christmas gift of cash. He wasn’t happy, but loved cash!  He chose “The Anatomy of Peace” by the Arbinger Institute as his first book. During this call, his first question to me was, “Did the mom & son characters in this book remind you of me & you?”  I spent the next 2 hrs. of my journey conversing with him about the book.  This made the trip better not just that the roads were dreary, dark, & icy, but I just loved discussing it with him.  He renamed the characters with people he associated with in his every day life enabling him to relate to it better.   His full-page book report was amazing & stated everyone in the world needs to read this book.  Of course I carefully chose that book because it taught me a valuable lesson on how to communicate with Bryce. I was obviously failing & falling short in that category!  Sadly I must admit, I was the character of the mom to a “T.”

Story after story follows in how books, CDs, & associations with quality leaders have helped thousands develop character, integrity & the fortitude necessary to not only cope & survive, but develop other leaders & thrive.  Marriages have been restored, families have been strengthened, finances have been controlled, debt irradiated & much, much more.  My life has completely changed.  I strive constantly & continually to improve developing  into the person God designed me to become.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones (fabulous books too!) stated, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.– Charles William Eliot

Recently LIFE launched, what we believe to be, the most brilliant expedition yet!  The testimonies discussed in the paragraph above are multiplying across the nation.  Average people have accepted the challenge & are realizing this is an asset they can use in every area of their lives.  I encourage you to take the 90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge.  After taking the self-test, order the pack which includes three phenomenal books & thought-provoking CD’s.  During the 90 days, you will associate with amazing people through Challenge groups & experience for yourself the opportunity for a  lifetime of change.  It is only the beginning of change & as I came to realize 6 years ago, will be the greatest decision you ever make.  We are quick to engage in fitness for our bodies, while neglecting our most valuable asset, our minds.

I hear people all the time saying, “You can’t change the way things are, just accept them.”  This statement tugs on my last reserve of self-control forcing me to answer with emotional intelligence…nicely!  Together we can begin to change ourselves & assume responsibility for change within our family.  As a family we contribute to the change of our community.  The effect of change within communities will infiltrate into our towns or cities.  Cities taking responsibility & instituting change are catalysts for causing change within our state.   States will reinforce such change through influence with other states.  As a whole, states will bind together & foster change within our nation.  Nations will unite wherefore changing our world.  When we look at the HUGE picture it can be overwhelming.  When we practice incremental changes as defined in the book, “The Slight Edge,”  change occurs.  I didn’t do this purposely, but doesn’t this sound like how our precious United States became the resilient nation it is.  A few brave men & women accepted their duty to change so others, you & I,  would experience freedom & liberty.  Can you institute this challenge in your church?  Support group?  Book club?  Of course you can!  As one of my favorite historic characters stated: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” Sir Winston Churchill.  Legacy can begin with you!

Be the ripple & pay it forward.

Blessings,

g

Enroll in the 90 Day MFC, using # 61244967

Who are we not to?

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ImageBeing involved in a leadership development organization allows me the opportunity to utilize otherwise wasted time to invest in my self-directed education.  Let’s face it, we all lead busy lives.  I inventoried the time I have in a 24 hour period & determined where I could cut activities out which do not get me closer to my goals.  I love listening to music.  Pandora is currently playing my favorite genre selections of ’80’s, soft rock, country & instrumental right now.  In the morning while getting ready for work was time I could carve music out of my routine & plug into some amazing teaching CD’s.  This time, along with traffic time, is dedicated to feeding my psyche & not my emotions.  Over the past 6 years I have been educated in areas including politics, economics, relationships, finances, leadership, living my dash & leaving a legacy.  If you would’ve told me 10 years ago I’d be comfortable enjoying  a conversation about economics with anyone, I’d have to question what substance you’d been on!  Seriously, certain (most) subjects were met with rolled eyes & fell on deaf ears.  The only thing that changed where I was then & who I am now is associating with people hungry to learn, grow, change & make a difference in the world.  I became a hungry student & love the quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

This morning I was listening to a CD & this comment caught my attention.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  — Marianne Williamson

While all of it was brilliant, the one sentence that burned in my spirit was, “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”  WOW!  When we buy self-sabotaging excuses daily, who does it serve?  I’m fat! I’m single! I’m middle class! I’m not popular! I’m……insert your excuse here……. WHAT?  What could possibly carry any weight against the paragraph above?  Nothing!  All of these excuses can be converted to empower yourself & others.

I invite you to join me & others in taking the 90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge.  Locating where you are, where you want to be & what it takes to get there is a vital step in the right direction.  Self evaluation is a critical & often an overlooked or avoided test we should all take at different life intervals.

I recently watched the movie, The Help & adore one of the lines, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

You IS!

Blessings,

g

Restoring the joy of giving through pattern interruption

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I love Mondays!  I love Mondays!  I love Mondays!  What I focus on expands so…… I am practicing expanding my love for Mondays!  I had to share a quick post about a tiny portion of  my morning with you. I work for a non-profit organization who is responsible for placing Angel Trees throughout cities nationwide.  I, however, work in a department processing grants & contracts for funding throughout the Texas Division.  It’s not rocket science, but we are two totally different ends of the spectrum.   For some reason, most complaint calls regardless of the nature, are forwarded to our department.  I believe it is because we are very resourceful & truly dedicated to helping humanity. I say “we”  loosely because my boss is the best person for running interference.

With that being said, this morning I received a call from a dear, sweet lady who was extremely concerned & overly frustrated regarding an “Angel” she adopted from one of our many DFW Angel Trees.  Immediately I thought this call should be forwarded to someone more equipped to handle this situation.  Then she told me her dilemma.  The child is 7 yrs. old & his “want” was a hand-held game.  She quickly explained almost every Angel she viewed on the tree wanted a MP3 player except this one.  She continued to tell me how guilt ridden she is because she has looked at EVERY store possible & can’t find a DS or other hand-held game consoles.  Of course she interjected the obstacles of her disabilities, traffic, busy stores, the price, extra games &  how she couldn’t stand the fact that this 7 yr. old wouldn’t have his wish if she couldn’t find it.  The words frustrated, guilt, overwhelmed, & guilt, kept coming up in conversation.  Did I mention guilt?  As I listened to her, I carefully wanted to help bring her back into the true focus of Christmas & the goodness she displayed for adopting an Angel.  Once she finished explaining, I thanked her for picking an Angel off one of our trees & emphasized how much I appreciated her supporting our organization, but most of all blessing the life of a child.  Guilt was again mentioned & I explained that guilt was her choice.  This was nothing we remotely wanted her to feel or experience.  I suggested other gifts similar to hand-held games & explained the child was 7.  I confided, from my experience,  my own children would make out their lists & there were more times than not, when they didn’t receive all on the list.  I inquired about her children & how she personally handled this.   I suggested other shopping venues that offered a bundle which included games & console.  Most of all I listened & reminded her the guilt & frustration was not the reason for the season.  The joy of giving should be the dominate force, not guilt.  I mentioned the frustration & anxiety she feels right now is not the expectation for my organization as we would not want it to hinder her from adopting another Angel next year.  She quickly explained this was her yearly practice.  I attempted to help her see what she would feel next year if she continued this emotional roller coaster ride instead of enjoying the reason she has this practice.  At every turn, I tried to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Another very hard subject was to discuss the following months ahead if the child did receive a game console requiring new games.  Could the parent supply additional games or would they be at the mercy of yet another  opportunity to provide them?  Was there something just as enjoyable that wouldn’t require a financial commitment to maintain?  There is cyclic behavior we are attempting to break & something as simple as a game forces this behavior to continue.  I wasn’t trying to damper the spirit of giving, but offering an alternate solution that would also assist the parent.

Our conversation continued as I helped her understand her heart & motives were pure, & again thanking her for participating in this beautiful seasonal opportunity.  The frustration & guilt were robbing her of the pure joy she deserved to experience as the reflected what the child would experience upon opening his gift.  I shared the indescribable feeling I treasure  from years of watching children during Angel Tree distribution times. Working with volunteer fire department staff, as they lovingly joined their hearts to ours, is a priceless moment in time never to be taken from me! Seriously as I write these words, tears fill my eyes as I can see the precious faces of children elated with joy & happiness.  That is something I wish everyone could personally experience.  I assured her whatever she decided upon, her chosen Angel would have a smile & a warm feeling of gratitude in his little heart knowing he was special enough for someone to pick him.  Isn’t this what we want to accomplish?

We laughed & by the end of the conversation, she felt at peace & was very thankful I helped her.  You know what?  I’m glad too.  I realized I could have forwarded the call, it would have gone to someone’s voicemail [this is our busiest time of year & everyone directly or indirectly involved with Angel Tree Distribution is crazy busy], & her emotions would have escalated.  Or she could have gotten in touch with someone who had dealt with a million calls by 10am. Quite possibly this person would not have been prepared or equipped to re-frame the spiraling emotional minefield this person felt.   I was never equipped to understand or intervene with this method until I began learning & growing personally through LIFE, an amazing leadership & personal development organization. When you take the time to  pattern interrupt a situation, diffuse it at the root cause, resolve can then be accomplished.  The initial heart motive is illuminated, as in this case, the pure joy of giving shines as that faithful star shined ever so brightly from the heavens leading Kings & shepherds to our greatest gift.

Jesus is the reason for the season!

Merry Christmas & Blessings for a prosperous New Year!

g

If we must protest, protest ignorance.

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Last week my BFF’s & I attended the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for a GNO event.  Traffic was blocked at several locations for the Occupy Wall Street protesters.  I had heard this happening in NYC, ATL, & now it was in my home town.  I have to admit, I was completely ignorant as to why this was going on.  As we passed the protesters, I read their signs & watched their passionate attempts to have their voices heard.  The Dallas PD was doing a great job as well with traffic, crowd control, etc.

In the next few days I Googled the term, 99% and found this site that helped me understand some of the reasons for the protesting.  As I scrolled through reading the comments one caught my attention.  I guess the reason it did was because the writer resonated many of my similar beliefs.  I realized at that point, I too, was a protester.  However, quite different from the ones that stand on the corners of Wall Street or other government buildings across the nation.  I believe the type of protesting I support is the fiber of what will truly make a difference in our nation.  Let me explain.

Many of the comments made in the referenced web site complained about missed opportunities, loss of jobs, inability to purchase homes, unfair treatment from the government, bank bailouts, capitalism, the rich getting richer & etc.  As I read, I realized years ago I used to chime in on such convos, but today I will not entertain being a part of them.  Instead of being part of the problem, I am becoming a part of the solution.  Following men such as Orrin Woodward & Chris Brady,  who develop leaders globally, I have learned many of the problems we tend to blame on the government are self-inflicted.  In reading & listening to the audio, “The Creature from Jekyll Island,” I understand historical beginnings of government control on money.  Gaining new information from credible sources have helped me learn how to alleviate my position as a “victim” of society & become a catalyst for change.  I am a protester against why our nation is disseminating before our eyes.

How can such change occur?  Simple.  Everyday practices done in small increments over time compound into affecting a person, community, generation & nation.  Slight edge mentality develops long-term results in every area of our lives. How much more do you think these changes will make a difference as opposed to public protesting?  A closer look at this quote reveals how:

 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.

Imagine, if you will, a small group of committed people practicing these methods stamping out the ignorance of how to live sensibly. 

A. Live within your means & begin to eliminate debt-all of it! Sit down & write out all of your monthly expenses paying attention to all purchases made within a three-month period.  There are little “foxes” that spoil the vine when it comes to sucking the life out of your income.  Such “foxes” that virtually go unnoticed are vending machines, coffee shops, convenience stores, unreturned video rentals,  purchases that allow a year or more to begin payment toward the balance, credit cards of any kind,  eating out for breakfast, lunch & dinner  during the week, smoking, alcohol, & other vices.  Mint.com, a free service, keeps me posted on purchases dividing them into categories.  Once you discover all the areas you spend money, begin targeting what you can carve away. If 50% of all marriages that end in divorce are largely because of financial stress & differences, what percentage can be eliminated when we resolve debt?

1.       Bring your lunch to work. Stop the fast food frenzy!  Your wallet, health & waistline will love you for it!  If you must stop & purchase coffee, I suggest McDonald’s.  Great coffee, great prices. This is the ONLY thing I purchase from there!  When eating out in a restaurant, drink water instead of tea or coke (I’m from the south where everything is coke first, & then you say what kind!)  Share a meal with a friend.  Did you know it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that it’s full?  Do you realize how much food you can consume before that happens?  Seriously…..portion control helps your body & wallet!

2.      When you stop to get gas, don’t go inside. Pay at the pump to avoid purchasing the junk causing your total to creep beyond the necessary.  You stopped for gas!

3.      If you need furniture, appliances or other major purchases, save & pay cash for it.  We live in a micro-wave, self-entitlement dispensation of time & this mentality has caused people to falter in their basic responsibilities of food, clothing & shelter.  There are terrific places where I live that  offer the same exact furniture at half price or less than that found at those “wholesale to the public” places offering extended credit terms.  When it comes to major purchases, I’m a research shopper.  This has paid off for me tremendously.  If you can’t pay your rent, chances are when that payment comes due, you won’t make it either.  Go even deeper than this….do you really need it?

4.      Vices can include smoking, drinking, nails, hair, spas, etc.  I have a business partner that realized he could have purchased a ticket to one of our leadership conventions with the money he spent on cigarettes.  I admire him so much for making the choice to stop smoking.  His lungs, heart, body & bank account will reveal the harvest of doing so.  Local beauty schools offer hair cuts at reduced prices.  Learning how to color your own hair or having a friend to help will benefit all involved. Set goals for other things once you have paid debt down or carved some of the other areas out of your budget if there are “must haves” in your life.

5.      Purchase used vehicles.  Vehicles depreciate the second you drive off the lot.  Reading the book, The Millionaire Next Door, enlightens us on how first generation millionaires live.  It was amazing what I realized when I read that book.  Having to have the appearance of being rich has caused us to become broke.  The wealthy don’t care about appearance.  In paying cash for used vehicles, you also save on insurance which can be applied to other areas of debt. Please be careful of the kind of used car you buy because as parts need to be replaced, you don’t want that to be a “fox.”  Mentor with someone before purchasing.

6.      Utilities can be a tremendous area of savings.  Go wind!  Use smart meters when available. If you live in a power vacuum, MOVE!  I live in a well insulated loft & never once used my heat during the winter.  Even when we were shut in due to the snow, I never used it.  There were 2 months that I actually had a credit on my utility account.  Sweet right?  I have to admit, I was the woman who would never, ever adjust the thermostat when I left for the day.  During the heat wave this summer, I complied with the request from our loft manager concerning adjusting thermostats to 85 when we left for work.  You know what happened?  Every time I got home, my thermostat was never above 76 degrees.  It was comfortable & I lowered it only when I went to bed.  I also unplug everything I can reach. This has made a huge difference.  These are the type of adjustments you make & put the extra money toward other debt & maybe you can squeeze in something you can’t live without.  Not both, either –or!

7.       Commute to work.  I never rode on public transportation until I worked a nursing strike assignment in San Francisco.  On the few days I was off, during the month there, I rode the BART.   My friends in La were very concerned for me, but when I saw elementary school children & the elderly riding it daily, I felt safe.  The first time gas prices spiked to almost $4/gallon, I asked if our workplace offered reduced bus passes.  Several of us decided to partake & it changed my daily commute costs.  Instead of being stuck in Dallas traffic, I could relax & leave the driving to someone else.  Many apartment complexes are on the public transportation lines.  Save gas, contribute to lowering the carbon footprint, resist road rage & take a nap if you want.  It is also the greatest harvest field to encourage hurting people.

8.      Cable, dish network, etc.  Get rid of it all!  How much do you currently pay in these areas?  How much are you short each month once all bills are paid?  This is a huge “fox” stealing not only money from your budget, but precious family time.  The average father spends 38 seconds a day looking into his child’s eyes yet how many hours does he spend looking at TV?  So you think you can dance is more popular than so you think you know what your children faced at school today.   There is a serious epidemic of ignoring the most important things in our lives…..the only thing we are able to bring to heaven….our family.  Replace this time with reading great books on finances, relationships, history & see how your life will change for the best!  Read with your kids.  Instill this habit at an early age. Unplug the TV & plug into your real life, not reality portrayed by someone else. If people are so far in debt, they should start a home based business or get a second job. Either way, nightly entertainment from T V isn’t the answer just like blaming Wall Street isn’t the answer.

9.      Out of town travel costs can be cut tremendously by using services such as Priceline.com & bidding on flights, hotels & rental cars.  I have radically saved in this area as I never pay full price.

B. Shelter is an essential part of our budget.  There is controversy whether or not it is better to own or rent.  I have done both & for this season in my life there is no way I would own anything unless I paid cash for it.  Unless your house creates an income or is paid for, it is a liability.   I am a design & landscape freak.  Admittance is the beginning of overcoming right?  As an empty nester, I choose to live in a loft.  I have a wonderful maintenance man who replaces my light bulbs, replaces my air filters & fixes anything that breaks (which is a tiny savings in itself right?).  I don’t pay water, trash or sewage which is at least a $60/ month savings.    There is a fabulous lawn management group that keeps our property manicured year round.  I live 8-10 minutes from work saving even more money on transportation & it is located on the DART line, within walking distance to my beloved AA Center & the popular Katy Trail for walking / biking.  I do not pay HOA fees, property taxes, high insurance prices, or other expenses included in being a homeowner. You may not believe you could move your family into an apartment complex, but there are alternate choices.  Either way, I would suggest looking at where you currently live & decide if it is the best place or if it is the source of your frustration.  Are you fighting over the lawn?  Garbage? Neighborhood situations? When you work 60-80 hours per week to make ends meet, when are you actually enjoying your oasis?  If you must purchase a home, consider an unconventional way of doing so & use NACA.com.  Not only do they offer no down payments programs, low-interest rates, but also utilize a strict budget management program which assures you buy what you can afford.

C. Clothing is a subject some people will argue over.  I speak to people on a regular basis who place this above many other areas of living importance.  Really?  Why?  Appearances right? I used to sew for myself & my kids & I know what goes into clothes.  In my area there are fabulous thrift stores, outlets & other choices where I find fashionable clothing at amazing prices.  It is my choice to shop thrift stores as a point of actually giving back to my community.  Numerous times I have found pieces of clothing with the price tag still on them.   I have also met vintage store owners shopping at the same thrift store I frequent to purchase items to sell in their shops, at an increased price of course.  I buy what I like & am not a label girl at all.  Interestingly enough, my closet contains designer clothing purchased at thrift store prices.  Buying seasonally is a great choice as well as holding clothing swaps between friends especially when small kids are involved.

D. Food, primarily grocery purchases, soars with the increasing costs of fuel necessary for distribution.  Many cities have instituted farmers markets.  This not only provides healthy alternatives, but supports local businesses.  I shop at a small, neighborhood, local, market that features all natural / organic foods primarily from local farmers.  It costs me much less than the big box stores because it is their specialty.  I purchase smaller quantities that prevent spoilage which prevents waste.  There are many wonderful ways to cut the grocery budget.  Do inventories of what you purchase versus what you never use & eliminate the difference.  Again, stop the fast food frenzy.  Allocate this cost back into your grocery budget & watch the savings add up.

I realize this has been a long blog, but after reading the reasons for the Occupy Wall Street Protesting, it has been on my heart to write.  By gaining control of our expenses, eliminating debt, taking a risk for successful entrepreneurial opportunities & making contributions to our communities, we will be the percentage of people who provide the answer our nation needs to thrive.  Just as our forefathers left the tyranny of an evil king to establish a new nation, it’s our responsibility, not our government, to establish personal change. We can’t continue to blame the wealthy simply because they choose to sacrifice & risk what it takes to succeed, while we choose to rack up debt & complain. Imagine a group of people who practice the things outlined above.  We will impact our economy in a positive way increasing capacity.  In becoming economically independent, we will provide the stimulus instead of needing one. 

Don't just carry a sign, be one!

If these suggestions are elementary to you, please consider taking the time to mentor someone who is struggling.  

Blessings,

g

 

Stoplights of Life

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I had a “eureka” moment on my way to work this morning. This certain event has happened millions of times during the past 38 yrs., but somehow this morning, it caused me to think differently.  

I have been tweaking my quick route to work & there are two stop lights that regardless of what I do, I am always stopped by.  There is one located at the Market Center & World Trade Center, Dallas, which is iffy!  While stopped at the Market Center light this morning my “moment” occurred.  I was in the center lane behind one other vehicle & just as the light changed, cars on each side of me zoomed past.  The vehicle in front of me finally took off & we continued our journey.  Nothing extraordinary, just normal stuff right?  

As this happened, I was enlightened that this is exactly what happens to us in life.  We are all on a journey & there are things that could stop us along the way.  Some things are unavoidable, while others are distractions.  I have realized in the past 5 yrs. most are self-instituted distractions.  Once you stop the momentum, even for a season, it is extremely difficult to gain it back.  Being in the “middle lane or middle of the road” in life is not always the best lane.  The story I often use to describe myself is “The Tortoise and The Hare.” You know the story & we see it hundreds of times in life & business.  Some people start off zooming past everyone, have a false sense of accomplishment, stop to rest, & lose the race.  The others are steady, confident, & never stop focusing on their goal.  The journey is the destination & we often miss the most beautiful parts of it.  The cars this morning were a metaphor of  our journey.  Many things break our focus & cause us to stop pursuing the things that will produce the greatest results for us.  We look around & it appears others are zooming past us. Stopping, being distracted, or just quitting on your dreams & goals take much more effort to get started again than if we would have simply exercised the example of the tortoise & just kept going.  You may not appear to be gaining traction or zooming past others, but you will win the race.  Here are some great quotes on momentum. 

If you have the guts to keep making mistakes, your wisdom and intelligence leap forward with huge momentum. -Holly Near

One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.-Michael Korda

Success comes from taking the initiative and following up… persisting… eloquently expressing the depth of your love. What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum toward success in your life? -Tony Robbins

If you are stopped in life, I can only suggest making the choice to begin again.  If you have goals & dreams that you have longed to accomplish, begin again. If you are at an “intersection” in life & don’t know what to do or which path to take, please find a credible mentor & discuss a game plan.  Playing it safe, staying in the middle of the road is something I would suggest for you to reconsider. Following those who play is safe is even more detrimental to your goals & dreams.    I love Ben Franklin & believe he is one our greatest examples to follow. He says, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”   It isn’t about you!  It’s about the countless thousands of people who could be given a spark of hope by your courage & momentum to accomplish great things.  Here is something to ponder, “Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.” – Thomas J. Watson   I couldn’t have found better words to say it!  Sounds like a Rascal to me!  

I encourage you to count the cost of what each decision will make in your life & in the lives of others.  What will the result be if you quit?  What will the result be if you succeed?  Who will benefit or lose from each decision?  The choice is yours. Choose wisely. 

Blessings, 

g

Where are the Leaders?

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Many years ago, 27 to be exact, my best friend’s husband was being relocated to a military base.  This in itself was difficult as I loved her dearly. The other factor making a huge impact was the part of her being the director of a well-known AOG children’s ministry, Missionettes.  She was fabulous!  I on the other hand was her “helper.”  I served perfectly happy as the craft person.  I went from class to class each Wednesday night & devoted time with the kids performing arts & crafts.  This was my niche.  We were a busy group with meetings, camps, promotions, etc. & I loved to assist!

The Christian Education leader was a brilliant, resourceful, passionate, woman named Doris Asbury.  She talked about kids as though there was nothing more important on the face of the earth than ministering to them.  I, on the other hand, had 1 kid of my own, but didn’t like kids.  I know that is weird, but it was true.  I liked crafts.  Teaching kids annoyed me. Doris would tell stories that would hold your attention forever concerning how to teach kids.  I would listen & think, there is no way I would ever get this thrilled over children’s ministry.  You can imagine the number of times I rolled my eyes & let the speech go in one ear & out the other.  Yes, I was not interested.

No way until my friend moved leaving a huge, gaping hole for that program.  Doris called me to her office & informed me I had to be the director because I knew everything about the program.  I laughed & said, “No way, I am a follower not a leader!”  She strongly encouraged me that I had to do it because there was no one else.  I leaned across her desk & told her she had one month to find a replacement.  30 days!   I was adamant the director was not going to be me.  I went home, got on my face & admitted my dislike of teaching kids to God & asked Him to give me His heart.  One month turned into 4 yrs.  Our program grew, we had teachers & assistants for each class, each child & teacher had uniforms, we entered & won many promotions, attendance was at an all time high, missionaries would visit us while on furlow & I sincerely learned to love kids.  Each age group that I declared I would NEVER teach, I taught  at some time, falling deeply in love with them.  One night during pre-class praise & worship, a 3 yr. old gave her heart to Jesus.  A couple of months later she & her father died in a car accident.  Children would pray for their parents, friends, lives & their tender spirits melted our hearts.  That 4 years was the most incredible time I have ever had.

Having that background, several years later I was the program director for Saturday Sunday School which operated out of our Bible School.  Along with my administrative duties,  I was a clown!  Literally!  I painted my face each Saturday, wore my bright clown outfit & loved my time with kids. To this day, kids have a very special place in my heart.  Such a place that there are times I feel like giving everything I own away, taking my favorite red back pack & moving to Brazil to work in our MORE Project.  I would trade room & board for teaching Life Skill Classes!  This haunts me more some days than others.  Working in Singles Ministry for over 17 years, having such a passion for single moms & their kids mirrors the ministry there & I feel it would extend I feel called to do.

This passion & love would have never been developed had Doris not strongly encouraged me to stand in the gap, & make up the hedge.   She was a leader who developed leaders.  Leaders accept you where you’re at, but love you into the future.  I am forever grateful Doris loved me enough to love me into children’s ministry.  Since 2006, I have been extremely blessed to be partners in a leadership development organization. I believe leadership is lacking in our nation in epic proportions.  I listen to personal development CD’s every morning while getting ready for work & throughout the day while driving, or at home instead of watching TV.  This morning a quote was given that I had to research because it pierced my soul (mind, will & emotions).

We live in the crucible of a most extraordinary moment in time. Never
before have we faced the vast ethical and leadership challenges that lie
before us today. Those leaders who guided the moral fabric of society
up to this point are coming to the end of their leadership careers. New
leaders must be empowered to take their place. Who will share the vision
of emerging leaders? – Mentoring Leaders , Arrow Leadership

My story of time spent with children is just a mere fraction of what our nation needs.  Percentages of absentee fathers, abandoned children, divorce, business failures, & character compromises increase on a minute to minute basis.   I have repeated the word crucible over & over today. The definition that screams loudly at me is this:  a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development. 

Never before has our nation, or planet for this matter, needed a more concentrated force of influence than right now.  I can’t force anyone to change.  I can, however, change myself & emulate the change.   John Maxwell, #1 World Leadership Guru says, ‘Leadership is influence.”   I love the quote,  “A rising tide raises all ships” & I believe we need a tidal wave of leadership development in our midst.

Just as I fell in love with teaching kids, I have fallen in love with learning.  There are ka-zillions of sources for leadership development, but I have always had discernment on who to follow.  Numerous opportunities, both in business & ministry, have presented themselves to me, yet in my spirit, I knew to walk away from countless many.  I have had the privilege to learn from the #7 & #12 World Leadership Gurus, best-selling authors, & other credible men / women who have earned their  respect. This association has broadened my horizon & helped me gain a perspective unlike any other. This is a leadership movement like no other.

If you feel called to become the person God has intended you to become  & have no idea where to begin, there is hope.  There is a world-class educational system in place for you to learn from.  Executives, corporations, renown ministries & organizations use it on a daily basis. It is a level playing field as we all have much to learn & lots of growing to do. Peter Senge once stated in an interview, that a learning organization is a group of people working together to collectively enhance their capacities to create results they really care about. This describes the mutual passion of those involved in our education system to the letter.

As the quote mentions above, who will share  in the vision of emerging leaders?  Will you answer the call?

Blessings,

g

Voice of Truth

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This weekend was spectacular!  My best friends / biz mentors reached & were recognized for achieving a very prestigious business goal.  We also introduced our Team name, Spartacus, to the world. This in itself was epic, but our amazing mentors came from St. Louis as hosts for the combined statewide business seminar.  Along with them a New York Times & Wall Street Journal best-selling author, #12 World Leadership Guru, co-founder of our business & mentor came as a guest speaker.  As you can tell, we were stoked!

I have been in business with my friends since Sept. 2006 & have seen the challenges they have faced, sacrifices made & changes they have welcomed.  They deserved this & much more.  This moment was surreal.  Since I have been in business that long, I too qualified for recognition.  Our business is the #1 community building organization & has been for over 10 years.  College textbooks are now aware of the power of community building & has featured our organization as being the one you can trust. It is totally awesome!  Being recognized for something no one else qualified for at this weekend seminar is a sanguine’s dream right? That was true until the voices began to battle over the moment.

We all have them don’t we?  Voices– negative, positive, indifferent, etc.  We have to choose at the moment which voice to believe.  I have had much practice in this area.  In 2004 I moved from Louisiana to Texas being totally obedient to God.   I knew one family in the Dallas area.  I moved with a 15 yr. old son, 2 Jack Russell Terriers, 1 aquarium of fish, & a cockatiel named Sweety Petey!  I left everything & everyone near & dear to me behind.  I gave up a 25+ yr. career in nursing to pursue lease purchase real estate.  One day, on my way to work, I was having a very loud, yet silent conversation with the “voices.”  I will never forget the place.  I lived in Lancaster, TX at the time & was at the TX-342 & I-20 intersection right at McDonald’s.  At this “intersection” the negative voice was screaming & winning big time!   As I crossed the overpass I will never forget what  happened.  Listening to the radio, KLTY played “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.  I listened to the words, with tears streaming down my face, I knew I made the right decision.  After all…..to obey is better than to sacrifice right?

This past Saturday pre-seminar the news of reaching Team 100 should have been tremendous.  I was having the battle again.  Let me break down the conversations.  To help you understand, Neg=Negative (of course) VOT= Voice of Truth

Neg: Anybody can be recognized as a Team # whatever. That is nothing special.

VOT: The way we build our community, Team Approach focuses on building depth.  According to the new L.I.F.E. Compensation Plan, I’m in a perfect position for increase.

Neg: If you’ve been in so long, why are the Porter’s being recognized as new Round Table Members & you’re just a Team 100?  Turbo 10?

VOT: Look around! I don’t see any of the faces that started when I did! Go ahead!  Not only in my business, but many other businesses as well.  Most of the Policy Council, major leaders & groups talk about how many times they went back to zero.  They also talk about endurance & perseverance.  People quit.  They quit in business, quit in marriages, quit college, quit on their dreams, quit on life.  Being a Team 100 proves I’m not a quitter!  I’m still here!

Neg: You’re single & this is a couples biz.  Give up now because you will never make it any further.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            VOT: Really?  Au contraire!  This is a perfect season for me to build a business.  I am an empty nester without babysitting challenges, without kids schedules, without spousal schedules or anything that others face. Oh…I see! It was OK for me to be a single mother of 17 yrs, work 3 jobs, take care of cars, houses, bills, schedules, & everything else required. I worked in an industry that would have NEVER allowed me to become financially independent.  Why is this not the perfect chance for me to become who I am destined to become?  I addressed this very topic in an older blog.  I can answer why it is OK for the negative voice to attempt to try this on me.  Society says so.  I am not concerned about what society says.  I kissed status quo goodbye many, many years ago. If I’ve succeeded since 1994 raising kids, going to bible school, working, buying houses, etc., how much more can I succeed in an industry with a proven system guided by the most amazing mentors on the  planet!  Besides…..I don’t have to share my money with anyone!  There!  That is an awesome reason to build this single right?

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

I’m not sure what voices you are listening to these days.  Many of you hear the same voices on a regular basis.  I implore you to consider shutting the negative voice out by inputting  more positive  information.  It is a choice.  You can make this choice, even if it’s incrementally at first.  By applying slight edge principles, these choices becomes easier.  The voice of truth will overpower the negative & you will feel stronger, more deserving.  Besides….others will become empowered by your choices & God will receive the Glory.  After all…it’s all about Him!

 

One song read my mail, shut the negative voice out & allowed me to have a fresh, new look on my Texas adventure.  Oh…later that year, in 2004, I met Kirk & Nicole Porter at church.  We were in the 13 wk. “Discovering Your Purpose” class together, worked as directors in ministries &  formed a friendship, later becoming the foundation for being in an amazing business together.  See how thin threads weave destinies?  What if I had listened to that negative voice?  I don’t want to begin to imagine that path!

Listen carefully, mentor wisely & seek the voice of God to direct your path.

Blessings,

g