Category Archives: Inspirational

Seasons

Standard

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything & I realized just how much I miss writing!  In my real world, I’m a grant writer, so writing is overwhelming sometimes.  This is different. There’s just something about sharing your passion, goals & dreams while encouraging others to do the same, that soothes the soul.

For many, many years I’ve dreamed of helping single parents navigate through difficult areas of this season in their lives.  Having been a single parent, now empty-nester, I’ve made so many mistakes, I couldn’t even list them. Helping others learn how to not make those same mistakes has become my platform. I was a Singles Director at my church for many years & this was one of the most rewarding seasons ever.  We walked through several painful experiences together while continually encouraging & supporting each other.

I’ve always wanted to have investment property or a business of some sort & in 2006 I got an idea that soon became a burning desire.  I wanted to develop a single parent community providing affordable housing, which is generally one of the most important factors of a family’s survival. This community would feature a daycare, which is yet another dire need. Onsite resource services such as case management; community referrals; job skills training; & education would also be components within the community. What seemed like a lifetime ago is coming into focus.  In 2015 I moved from Dallas to San Antonio.  I fell in love with SA during my early years from 2006-2009 of being a Corporate Trainer.  When I traveled here, I seriously felt home.  I loved everything about the City & spent all my spare time exploring its culture. When I decided to move from Dallas, I cast a very wide net for a Grant Writer position.  This would be a new learning curve for me.  I was a grants analyst & had only corrected or helped re-write grant applications for 6 years.  But…. in my past,  I was never a Corporate Trainer  either.  I had been a nurse since 1979, so…. when I wanted change, I learned, adapted, & changed.   As an empty nester,  I could’ve moved anywhere in the US, but kinda wanted a place on the beach!  None of those doors opened, so…. I searched for my next favorite thing…. culture. I applied for a position in with the BGC in NY.  NY!  Then…. I happened to search one more time within my organization & state to discover there was a job in San Antonio.  What? From being a divisional employee for 10 years,  first as a Corporate Trainer, then Grants/Program Analyst, I was familiar with all their programs; knew some of the staff; was familiar with the area & I had my fav restaurants already!  LOL!  Once I accepted the position, I began looking for a place to live. Other than those people from work, I knew a total of 3 people in SA. I put the word out to network with them toward finding a place to live. I was currently in a lease that still had 7 months left, so my tiny budget & with paying 2 leases was going to allow me to practically live in a closet!  Through a friend of a friend, I located a small duplex.  The only information I had to go by were a few pics sent from the landlord & a direct message from said friend of fei8end verifying my landlords were truly genuine people. Talk about stepping out in faith!  This was a giant, blind leap! As I packed for the move, I purged things that had moved with me since my divorce in 1994.  I know that was a painful confession, but…. we all have things we hang on to.  I despise clutter & loathe the thought of hoarding anything. While I was no where near that status, this was my chance to truly embrace the minimalist season I now wanted. Why would I pack up my cheering suit from the 70’s again?  My move would be in 2 phases, as I wanted to leave some things for my daughter to use until our lease was up.  I had my tiny U-Haul truck loaded up, put my car on a tow dolly & headed, sight unseen, toward my new destination. I’ll never forget my first day as a new resident driving into San Antonio. As I rounded the corner of the interstate, & when seeing the entire downtown view, I cried. I’m seriously very emotional right now even recapturing that feeling. I had that reaction about the Dallas Downtown Skyline sometimes, but this was very different. This was a completely new season in my life & except for staying within the same organization for my job, the slate was clean.

My very small place was 5 minutes from my new job & I quickly fell in love with my neighborhood. I began to realize I had common visions with many of them. This past year one of my very talented, brilliantly amazing, single parent neighbors wanted to have brunch to discuss some of her goals.  As I sat across the table from her listening to her plans, I had a surreal moment.  Every word she described were the exact words that had been spoken by myself years before regarding single parent communities.  Down to the life skills classes.  It was almost as if I zoned out of the conversation & heard myself explain these things during past conversations.  I immediately knew what it was. At that moment in time, God was reminding me that even though nothing in the natural had materialized regarding my goals/dreams, He knew they were still much alive.  I was reminded of this scripture:

2 Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.

 3 This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.

If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.

It will not be delayed. – Habakkuk 2:2-3

 I left that brunch in awe of what happened.  My neighbor’s words completely resonated within my heart.  I finally understood…. this season, right now,  was the future time. 17426391_10212265805710847_7975877978584076201_nWhat seems like years in the making is unfolding. That’s always the case, right? Fast forward…. During a County meeting we were discussing landlord incentives & because of my questions, I was encouraged by my local Continuum of Care to apply for funding that assists with property acquisition; rehab; & some tax abatement. My dream of having properties for single parents; senior citizens; homeless students; Veterans & those who need a hand up is happening.  I’ve had the privilege of talking to our Mayor, Councilman & other City/County department staff that want the same thing.  I’m working with a bright, energetic, knowledgeable, sassy Realtor who shares a passion for housing female parolees re-entering society.  Who knew?  I’m locating income properties that offer multiple units for long term rentals (LTR-1) & short term rental (STR-1) unit I’ll host through AirBnB. I’ve found the perfect location that offers at least 3 LTR units; 1 STR unit; & living space for me!  Score!  My intent is to offer properties to the very same organizations I work with on a regular basis. I will be a solution rather than a sounding board. My season from always living on the edge of possibly requiring assistance to providing it was happening.

If I can give one piece of advice it would be to never lose sight of the dream that burns your soul. From my Bible School days, the definition of soul includes your mind, will & emotions. Does your dream encompass these? My dream consumes them all. Here’s a constant thought process I have going on all the time. In my driving time or when I’m going to sleep, I’m purposely thinking about my home ownership & upcoming rehab venture! Using green glue & possibly cork panels as soundproofing materials for walls & this cool Iso-Step® rubber floor underlayment for soundproofing 2nd story floors. I can use Indow Window Inserts to preserve energy & provide sound barriers for my windows. What’s the best color of neutral paint to use? Do I want half brick flooring in the kitchens or use it as an accent wall behind the stove? Unless wood flooring is available, what color ceramic plank tiles do I use throughout the rest of the house? How will I enclose a patio to make a master bedroom & convert the laundry room as my new master bathroom because it already has a huge closet? What will my exterior paint & trim choices be? Should I develop a signature color palette to use throughout the City? Metal roof is my ultimate choice! Out of the apartment space available, do I construct 3 efficiency loft style apartments & 1 true apartment style units or 5 efficiencies? Is it R-4 or R-6 zoning for this property? To avoid purchasing separate laundry equipment for each unit, I’ll be relocating the current large shed to the other end of the apartment unit to serve as a common laundry room space.  Also by moving that shed, I will have either additional parking space or more back yard space for my pups. How can I incorporate earthen construction in my rehab process? Between the 2, which spare bedroom will be the living room for the AirBnB?  I’ll create a mini-kitchenette from an existing clothes closet so there’s only the need to remove the closet door & design the space. Done! It’s already drawn out!  I can rehab the bathroom using cool subway & black/white mosaic or that amazing vintage fleur-de-lis type tile. Then comes the entire conversation regarding the yard!  Landscaping is my thing, so…. the new style of using non-climb farm animal fencing panels are my fav now! The panels must be the smallest diameter as not to allow my tiny Chi-Chi to escape through them. Creating a food-not-lawns type concept is a must, so which property strip is the best for my fruit trees? I have Meyer Lemon; Mission Fig; Avocado; & some type of citrus tree.  I planted the seeds in a pot at work & can’t remember if it’s grapefruit or mandarin!  I only follow xeriscaping guidelines, so I can go crazy with my drought resistant plants & get vouchers from our water provider for doing so. Do I think the City would allow me to use part of their utility access land as a spot for my movable chicken coop?  As you can see this one property has my thoughts & minds captive! Then I research additional investment properties & the rehab conversation for them begins.  My determined will forces me to knock on enough funding doors that someone will grasp the depth of what I’m referring to & see how it fits into all the neighborhood stabilization/revitalization plans. Emotionally…. I can’t tell you how excited I get envisioning myself driving in the driveway of my newly rehabbed complex knowing how many people this will help & how much this contributes to the affordable housing dilemma.  More so, the realization of how my decision to transfer to a new job allowed me to bring all the puzzle pieces of my dream together. The vision was plain. Submitting to & watching God orchestrate this plan, in His time, has been an amazing experience.

Why list all these crazy thoughts? Any dream requires many layers of trial & error.  Hours of decisions; changes; planning; disappointment; tears; setbacks; delays; & starting over.  It’s completely worth it. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Cliche, but true. One of my favorite sayings is, ”I never promised you it would be easy. I do promise you it will be worth it.” Always remember…. Goals in stone.  Plans in sand.

You know what’s funny?  A week after I accepted the job in SA, the NY BGC contacted me & offered me the position. They were willing to offer relocation incentives & wanted to know when I could start!  One week. Timing is everything.  My destiny was set & the new season of my life was unfolding.  And what about the beach? Padre Island South Beach is only 2 hrs away & I love weekend trips there!  Who knows…. maybe a vacation property is in my future!

I attempt to practice being a student & read articles daily to provide insight, wisdom, instruction & guidance.  #3 of this article validates my plan is right on course.

What dream stirs your soul?  What season of life are you preparing for? I pray you find solace & encouragement in knowing it is possible, regardless of what you see in front of you right now. God will either give you a dream or give you to a dream, so determine which it is & act on it. I can’t wait to hear about your success!

Blessings,

g

12920306_10209039956386630_5070813261834452907_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

90 days later!

Standard

I began the AIP (Auto Immune Protocol) diet in January & my original intention was to only follow it for 2 weeks until our Greatest Loser Weight Loss Challenge at work ended. After the 2 weeks, I extended it for a month. It’s suggested to follow the plan exclusively for 90 days as an elimination process identifying triggers that exacerbate auto immune symptoms. In my case it was excruciating neuromuscular pain from fibromyalgia & osteoarthritis unrelieved by any measure I attempted. I never thought I’d ever make it for 90 days! 

I can honestly say that 90 days later I’m ever so grateful for the challenge & sacrifice of well loved foods. I feel so much better, have lost weight, have increased my energy & activity related endurance levels. I still have to respect knee pain, but am not limited because of constant neuromuscular pain. 

People asked how I could possibly resist some of my favorite foods & my response was easy. When people have peanut or other allergies that cause untoward reactions,  they live their lives purposely & consciously avoiding those triggers. My pain was so intense I wanted to have lab tests & X-rays performed to determine what the culprit was. Those who know me well knew this was extreme because I avoid this at all cost. Constant, continuous, unrelenting pain is my allergic reaction! For years, as a nurse, I took care of patients who had diabetes, renal, cardiovascular, or other disease processes & couldn’t understand how they could be so non-compliant with diet & exercise. I would be instantly irate when they nonchalently responded, ”everyone has a vice & eating or smoking is mine.” Or, ”everyone has to die, so I’m going to eat what I want, take extra insulin or my doctor can just prescribe a stronger blood pressure pill.” Really?? Really. They were consciously aware of what made their disease progress quicker, were already experiencing debilitating side effects & refused to take control of it because of simple pleasures. In my case, simple pleasures were stealing quality of life from me & I couldn’t allow it any longer. 

Most of our lives we’ve heard the saying, ”We are what we eat.” During my childhood we raised all our own vegetables; had abundant access to fruits & berries; raised cows, pigs, & chickens for meat, dairy & eggs; plus we dried corn for grits, cornmeal & even made our own hominy. We also fished & hunted! Veggies & farm animals were raised & grown as organically natural as possible, then canned or cooked without additives or preservatives. My parents used wild herbs such as sassafras root, mullen tea, pine needles, & other natural sources for medicinal purposes. We lived off the grid before it was popular! Later in life, choices of fast food, preserved everything & foods severely lacking any nutritional value were my daily diet. Even after giving up fast foods & being careful to stay away from preservative laden foods, I developed systemic pain. 

For many, many years the only dairy products I consumed were cream for my coffee, kefir & yogurt. When I ate cereal I only used soy milk.  After watching the documentary,  Food, Inc., I boycotted soy bean products because of Monsanto. I began drinking rice milk then converted to almond milk. My pain was confined only to arthritic joint pain manageable with large doses of daily Naproxen Sodium. What was healthy about this picture? Once I was introduced to the fermentation evolution, I began making my own yogurt & kefir to use in my daily smoothies. I tried making them with almond or coconut milk & never got the consistency I liked, so I purchased an amazing ultra processed, lactose free, extra calcium dairy milk. My yogurt & kefir was very delicious. What could be wrong with that? I would’ve never related my increase in pain to this had I not participated in the AIP diet. Also….for many, many years I never considered myself having an intolerance to gluten. When someone mentioned gluten intolerance I automatically assumed it was digestive related, such as Celiac disease, & knew this wasn’t my problem. Ignorance wasn’t bliss on my part regarding gluten effects.  Once I learned, through my fermentation education, that the gut is as important as the brain & plays a mirrored correlating role in our health, I realized gluten affects us in different ways. I never ate much bread, but had recently been consuming a fabulous, healthy brand maybe once or twice weekly. Then….. although I was careful not to comsume a bunch of carbs, without readily having the label to review, gluten is mixed in many common foods we aren’t aware of.

90 days later has helped me realize I love AIP & while I may introduce some foods back in, I intend to continue this practice as a lifestyle. I’m allergic to excruciating pain, lack of energy, & limited mobility! If you experience any auto immune disease related symptoms, I strongly recommend you read this article & begin the AIP diet. 

Life is just what me make it & I was making myself sicker. 

Blessings, 

g

Amelia- Her first year!

Standard

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

We are America

Gallery

Measurements…

Standard

There are many ways to measure success.  Materialistic measures are most visibly noticed.  We’ve seen, however, this is not an accurate measurement. Unless you know that the person is debt free, pays cash for said materialistic pleasures, lives a complimentary lifestyle portraying character & integrity……this measurement is merely a mirage. 

Reading has become one of my favorite pastimes & early in my TEAM LIFE System Book of the Month years, a great book came down that, to date, I normally have in my trunk.  The book? Critical Choices, authored by Dan Castro  – a fellow Texan.  This book  portrays choices men & women made against all odds.  Many of  their choices & creations we continue to enjoy.  We travel in airplanes that are not supposed to exist & they just landed on Mars!! We drive Eco-friendly,  flex-fueled or electric cars that were laughed at! Many enjoy gadgets preposterous to most cultures & etc. Hotels are built into the atmosphere, or out of ice.   Talk about successful accomplishments!  Another book of the month that depicts how people pushed through tremendous odds is Dance Until It Rains by author Vic Johnson.  As you read, each chapter personally resonates  within you .  

A more common measurement many of us endure on a regular basis are naysayers or critics.  I gauge business ventures on leadership & only surround myself with the best of the best.  Why should I consider the number of critics as a measurement?  Hope.  Yes, that’s right, hope.  A critic surfaces when you challenge their belief & will be your best cheerleader.  They have to be right regardless of  what you can prove. It’s all about them! In the moment, their fury & their hurtful or unnecessary words never sound cheerful or welcome.  In the end, when you win, not only did hope in yourself prevail, but there is hope for them.  Our worst critics may be family, friends, acquaintances or people you’ve just met. We all have them & lets face it….they’ve been around for eons.  Jesus could do nothing in His own home town.  He mentioned to the disciples to shake the dust off their feet & walk away from certain circumstances.  There is also a scripture that warns us not to give that which is holy to dogs or cast our pearls before swine.  People didn’t receive or respect Jesus. They are not always going to receive or respect us regardless if we offer Christianity or business opportunities.  Don’t take it personal, but continue to walk in what you feel is worthwhile.  Attacks generally don’t happen to people who aren’t attempting to make a difference.  Kudos to you! 

I like this quote concerning criticism: 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

There are a few amazing books I would suggest for you to adopt for personal victories;  Resolved: 13 Resolutions for life by Orrin Woodward, Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, & The Compassionate Samurai by the late Brian Klemmer.  I truly believe once you obtain a personal victory & silence inner criticism, limiting beliefs, or self sabotage, you can endure any external sources.  

People may never exhibit the courage to do what you do.  Even if it’s just barely tolerance in the beginning, love them anyway.   Measure your success, not so much in the number of critics you accrue, but the number you offer hope to in the end.  

Blessings, 

To escape criticism: say nothing, do nothing, be nothing”   –Elbert Hubbard

g

Winning-vs-finishing

Standard

In light of the Olympics taking place right now in London, our morning devotions were centered around a very familiar passage of scripture.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

-1Tim 4:7

ImageMany times the end result focuses on whether or not we win or lose.  Olympians train for years in hopes to receive a gold medal. They are not celebrating a piece of gold valued around $10,000.  They celebrate what years of preparation has done in them as individuals, for their team & their country. They would never trade that for anything!

In life, each of us have fought good fights, although they may have seemed pretty bad at the time!  We have finished a particular course & in no way does this measure whether or not we won.  Finishing a race or course, regardless of the difficulty endured, speaks volumes of us as individuals.

We can look around & see how many people have not finished any course.  Let’s face it…..America is filled with “given-ups” not grown-ups.  Once we endure a struggle, trial or test, we look back & realize it helped define how strong we truly are.  Win or lose, not giving in or giving up is the most important trait to possess.

Keeping the faith is not as easy as it sounds.  I’ve got amazing friends who have endured traumatic experiences & have completely relinquished faith.  Not just relinquished faith in God, but faith in people/humanity, trust, Christianity,  & worst of all….themselves.  This truly grieves my heart.

I want to take a moment to congratulate you the Olympians for their extraordinary accomplishments.  Mostly I want to congratulate you for fighting when you feel like you don’t have another punch left, finishing when you feel like quitting every day, & keeping your faith in people who love you, a God who will never leave you & most of all…..the phenomenal person you are. I love the picture used in this blog. The London Bridge represents what happens when you finish your race.  You gain wisdom, sometimes born of pain, & strength.  You can bridge the gap & pass the torch to someone who is experiencing their own fight or battle.  Run, finish & keep the focus on what your victory can portray for others.

We may not always win, but we can always finish.

Blessings,

g

What Luck!

Standard

On Friday July 13, 1984 I accepted Jesus as my Lord, Savior, & best friend. Unlike when I was 12 y/o, I’ve never looked back or compromised my conviction to serve Him. This particular time in my life was very rocky.  I had just re-married 6 months earlier, & had received some trying news.  We were facing a huge battle & during a home (cell) group meeting we surrendered our lives to God.  He was a last resort out of a desperate plea for help.  Regardless of the reason, that singular decision has carried me many, many years.   The journey brought me through building a house, having a miscarriage, having my son, getting a divorce, selling a house, surviving bankruptcy, being a victim of an internet scam, being a single parent for 18 years, etc.

As I look back, one plea for help grew into a covenant relationship that has been my ever-present help & first choice for solace.  I’m more in love with Jesus today than I’ve ever been & continue to see His hand at work in my life.  His answers are not always yes to me for certain questions, but He always reveals the reasons & they are WAY better than a yes answer could have ever been.

ImageI don’t believe in luck, coincidence, karma, or whatever.  I believe the omnipotent, omnipresent, Jehovah God is in total & complete control.  We may feel like Peter sometimes when Satan desired to sift him as wheat.  He was comforted when Jesus said, “I’ve interceded for you.”  Turbulent times create fear, anxiety & even hopelessness.  Instead of looking to the stars, leaving things to chance or trusting in man, I look to the one who created the stars, controls the universe & is extremely faithful.  He is ever-living to make intercession on your behalf.  Ask, seek & knock as He will answer, be found, & open doors for you.

In 1984 was a lucky Fri 13th. for me & continues to exceed my expectations as a child of the most high God.

Blessings,

g

P.S. Today, Friday 13, 2012,  my son & daughter in law are adopting a dog.  What a lucky day for a precious creature!  #life

Living Sacrifice = The Difference Maker = a Great Attitude

Standard

I am fortunate to work in an organization that offers weekly devotions, or devos as I refer to them.  It’s a 20 minute mid-week reminder that regardless of our job assignments, we are first called to serve God.

Today devos were out of one of my favorite passages of scripture, Romans 12: 1-8 & I like through verse 13.

A Living Sacrifice to God

1And so, dear brothers and sisters,a I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.b 2Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

3Because of the privilege and authorityc God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.d 4Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

6In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

9Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10Love each other with genuine affection,e and take delight in honoring each other. 11Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.f 12Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

There are hundreds of directions to go with these passages of scriptures.  Being a living sacrifice is a constant reminder that it’s not all about us, but offering ourselves daily to Christ.  Proving His good, acceptable & perfect will clearly defines we have a choice as to which will we center our lives around.  Why compromise accepting good when perfect is available?  It doesn’t mean we are perfect, but that there is a perfect will God offers for us to walk in!

ImageThe key focus today is found in verses 6-13.  Paul describes not just the gifts we may possess, but the attitude in which we are expected to use them while serving others.  I love the book by John C. Maxwell, The Difference Maker.  Our Ladies Book Club used this book in the  past & it is absolutely one of my favorites.  I know I say that about almost every book I read, but the message in this book is amazing.  Paul referred to being not only others centered, but to do so with a great attitude.  Clearly attitude is the difference maker when it comes to how we are perceived as we serve others with the precious gifts & abilities God has given us.

I have to be honest in that I needed this reminder today.  I get so busy in going through the motions of simply doing that I need to take time to realign my attitude in doing things sacrificially irregardless of me, myself & I.  There is no room for glorifying God if I get in the way & my attitude doesn’t mirror my actions.

Read, reflect & realign today!

Blessings,

g

2012 DFW Fourth of July Celebrations

Standard

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!

g

Why take the 90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge??

Standard

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