Category Archives: Inspirational

Becoming our mothers!

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As we near the weekend set aside to honor mothers, many of us no longer have a mother to celebrate.  This is dedicated, not only to my mom, Bessie, but to those of you who want to remember yours.  During my many years as a nurse in the medical sector, I was a Rascal.  I say I turned into my mother at a very early age.  Here’s why!  I was raised on a farm with the opportunity of being primarily self-sufficient.  We raised our own produce & canned some for the winter months.  We had farm animals that provided all our meat & dairy needs.  We even made our own butter & cream. Yummy! There was nothing better than fresh cream mixed with cane syrup on my mom’s biscuits!!  Certain fields of corn was raised to grind into corn meal, grits & make hominy.   Hominy….. made in a large black wrought iron pot over a fire. Yes….I loved it!   My mother sewed most of our clothes & we didn’t have a dryer until I was in high school or later. We sold produce to local merchants & livestock at auction providing funds for almost everything else.   My first vehicle was the tractor & if that wasn’t available, the riding lawn mower was the substitute!   I would rather get sweaty & dirty working in the field with my daddy than to spend one moment in time cleaning house. Yuck! Of course being a daddy’s girl meant I did what he did anyway so….

Now for the holistic / natural tendencies I possess!  In our small town there was a natural artesian well that produced mineral water.  Not the crystal clear kind, but the rusty metal looking kind as it contained salt & an assortment of minerals.  In 1913 it was accidentally discovered during the drilling process for an oil well.  The men noticed as they were exposed to this water, any skin problems they had would disappear. The state had the water tested discovering it contained two pounds of minerals to a gallon of water, bubbling out of the ground from 2,800 feet below the surface at 116 degrees. The State of Louisiana created a Health Resort providing a Motel, Bath House featuring whirlpool baths & massage therapy.  My dad was active for years during the development &  was actually a masseuse there.  Doctors would actually write prescriptions for patients to have a 21 day series of baths for arthritis.

This water was used for any & all medicinal purposes.  There was a spicket where we could fill gallon jugs anytime we wanted.  We snorted it for sinus / allergy problems, gargled with it for sore throats, etc.  There was a small community rectangular pool referred to as “the foot pool”  Daily visits provided conversations with locals & outsiders who would come to spend the summer there.  Any skin problems were resolved by doing this.   We could collect sediment from around the spicket & use it as a paste for sprains/strains, etc.  We even threw our dogs in the overflow pond for fleas, ticks, & God forbid, mange.  People moved there from all over the state.  Some would come stay in the Motel Courts Apartments or another apartment complex, while others purchased small homes used as summer houses so they could come stay.  OH…..they all loved our farm produce!  A restaurant overlooked a hill & below the entry way was a beautiful koi pond.  When I was little my daddy would take me there every day.  I always had chocolate ice cream & to this day, it was the best.  Below the restaurant was a  community swimming pool which, until middle school, was filled with the rusty-brown water.  My friends & I worked at the resort & cafe during our senior year of high school.  I can still remember the menu & how amazing  the yeast rolls were.  Turkey & dressing was always the Sunday menu feature.  And then there were the pies!  The salads were so crispy fresh as the secret was to soak it in a bowl of ice water & MSG. I know now that is a bad ingredient, but then…..it was simply the best.  My senses are going crazy even as I type this blog!

With an economic downturn, the upkeep, repairs on pumps, etc. were deemed unnecessary by the state of Louisiana and the resort was closed.  This was a very sad era in my life.  My dad sold our tractor when I was in junior high school & I was devastated & the closing of the resort after high school compounded my disappointment.  Our community dwindled & shrank to almost nothing.  As years passed, the state deemed the property at risk & razed the buildings to the ground.  The wells were capped, as they still produced even after the demolition.  This brings tears to my eyes knowing my beloved childhood memories were just bulldozed to nothing!  My dream  for many years has been to rebuild the ancient  ruins & re-dig the wells.

Genesis 26:12-18

12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him.

13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.

14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.

15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.

16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”

17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there.

18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.

Why the history lesson?  You can see how much natural elements, fresh produce, local farm supported efforts & community played such an important role in my life.  As I grew up, I realized how important these were & how I wanted to continue as many of the traditions as possible.  In high school I  learned to sew & as I had my children, I sewed their clothing.  I remember entering clothing in the Parrish fair that even made it to the State fair! I tried to always have a small garden or even bag beds of our favorite things such as tomatoes, watermelon & cucumbers.  During the summer I canned veggies & made relish.  Synthetic medications were never my first choice, as natural organic remedies were my first pick.  To date, I eat organic / all natural.  I support local farmers & entrepreneurs.  An amazing friend recently made home-made soap & gave me a bar.  It is heavenly!  Holistic remedies are my treatment of choice for what ails me. I regret not teaching my daughter how to sew, or push for it to be taught to her in high school, but I did purchase a sewing machine for her last year & know she can teach herself via YouTube tutorials or local classes.

I guess the only thing left to do in being even more like my mom is to eat cereal for supper.  That happened 4 times last week.  I guess I’ve arrived!  While there were some habits I never picked up from my mother, such as smoking,  I find the things that really matter carried on.

Feel free to share what traditions, habits, methods you have in common with your mom.

 

Happy, happy Mother’s Day & remember to pass on what matters most!

Blessings,

g

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

Seasons

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During the time of being the Singles Director, I taught a lesson on recognizing the need to change seasons in our life.  This was learned many years ago during Bible College. One of my favorite evangelists mentioned that not changing seasons when God clearly positions you to do so can be dangerous.  It’s as detrimental to your life purpose as doing your own thing.  In fact, that is exactly what you’re doing.  This caught my attention.  At the time, I wanted to teach adults.  Up to that point, for several years, I had the most amazing honor of teaching kids.  This was extremely fulfilling, yet there was a tug that it was time to lengthen my cords & strengthen my stakes.  In other words….. I had to step out of my comfort zone into a place that required me to learn & grow.  Hearing this man speak that sentence was a defining moment &  so much so, that over 20 years later I still remember where I was sitting in church when I heard it.

It reminds me of this verse, Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.

What are some things you feel a “tug” about doing?  It can be a number of things.  Ministry? Career? Business? Relational?  I have felt a stirring for the past several  months in several areas of my life.  I have learned all too well this requires prayer & seeking the heart of my Daddy God.  I feel at peace about some things, while others are clouded from my knowing.  I constantly hear the scripture….to everything there is a season…..

Around the same time period in my life of hearing about the seasons, I heard this quote:

People change when:
a.they hurt enough that they have to–hurts, disappointments, failures, abuse
b.learn enough that they want to–mentors, educational programs, life skills
c.receive enough that they are able to–validation, benefits, incentive programs, rewards
–John Maxwell

Again, this was such a revelation, I remember hearing it & tears immediately filled my eyes.  I quickly realized I wanted to be obedient to change as necessary, be flexible & adaptable to the call or “tugs” of God.    I can’t possibly know what you may be facing concerning changes that need to occur in your life.  I can understand the turmoil it brings when you don’t obey.  I pray the peace of God that passes all understanding guards your heart & your mind in Christ Jesus as you make decisions involving current & future seasons of your life.

Always remember…..you are never alone in this journey & each season of life brings beauty, strength, courage & ability to reach for the next. You are also planting & empowering someone else to make changes.   I encourage you to take time & perform an intense self-evaluation & prepare to embrace change.

Make this your quest in every area of life.

Blessings,

g

Act like the Mom! Excellent parenting advice for mothers from Terri Brady

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Usually when you purchase anything it comes with instructions.  Some are pictures, which are my favorite, & others come with explicit, technically written instructions.  Those are the ones I can almost guarantee will have parts left over!

The funny thing, that aside from the book of the ages, the Bible, there are no instructions handed to you when you leave the hospital with your newborn child.  You are left to figure things out on your own or solicit advice from others.  Parenting skills differ & unless you are associated with people who give solid, character based, advice it can be a scary ride!  Then…..each child is different so what worked with one, may not be applicable to the other.  There is, however,  an assuring constant.  Learning & applying basic parental boundaries will allow our children to thrive an any culture or environment.

Even though my own kids have families of their own, I am extremely fortunate to associate with women of integrity who offer marvelous advice.  Many of whom have multiple children, busy lifestyles, partner with their husbands in business & simply live life to the fullest.  Schedules, discipline & practical applications of raising children to honor parents, worship God, & serve humanity are included for anyone to glean wisdom from.  As a mentor, leader, coach I purpose to soak up these instructions that I may convey it to others.

I am sharing the post from one of my amazing mentors, Terri Brady.  Her examples, stories, & passion to be the woman God designed her to be is unparalleled in the world today.  I love, admire, & respect her immensely. Feel free to read her other posts as well & you will see why she shines in our organization!

After all…..the greatest reward a mother could aspire to is best said in Proverbs 31:27-29

She watches over the affairs of her household

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women do noble things,

but you surpass them all.”

Blessings & please click on the link below to read Terri’s post.

g

Act like the Mom!.

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

Learn from history or repeat it’s mistakes.

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I have never liked history.  I was a science freak & it therefore led me to a road in medicine.  I would listen to anything rather than having to hear boring historical events.  It’s amazing what happens when you are willing to learn new information.  My journey has taken me from anti-history to a lover, listener, & learner of what courageous men & women accomplished for us.  My favorite genres in movies are romantic comedies, documentaries, & action.  Why wouldn’t I like what history provides? History gives us, loyalty, friendships, courage & even love.

Through a National Geographic documentary, I have learned something that, in reality, mirrors what is going on in my life at this exact moment.  Here are some historic examples of choices, leadership, friendships, fortitude, courage & destiny.  Again…I am learning to embrace history, learn from it or repeat its mistakes.  Can you imagine being written about because you took a stand or chose the road less traveled?

Here is a quote that was written at Arbroath Abbey shortly after the death of William Wallace, 13th. century Scotland– “For as long as but a hundred of us shall remain alive, never will we on any condition be subject to English rule. For it is not glory, it is not riches, neither is it honor for which we contend, but it is for freedom.”  William Wallace is single-minded & charismatic in that he gained the trust of people to follow for the right reasons giving them back the belief that they would win their freedom. A common man had a notion to sacrifice for an ideal, not to lord over people, but to empower them & set them free.  Surreal how close to home his story resembles people in my life.

Theodore Roosevelt’s diary entry, Feb 14, 1884 read, “The light has gone out of my life.” Through personal tragedy & loss, he exiled to the west, leaving his present life behind.

Though he was not good at the art of riding or shooting, Theodore’s guts & resilience won respect of other cowboys by learning how other people lived their lives.  This served him well as president.  Exile, humility & denying past successes or failures enabled him to discover his strengths & how he could impact a nation through serving others. I admire how he never succumbed to having a victim mentality.

Another figure in history that has made an extraordinary contribution is Ben Franklin.

“Be generous with that which costs little; Sincere interest, friendship, & good council.”

Franklin was known as an inventor, entrepreneur, and statesman who put the common good before power & self-interest.  Some of his greatest American inventions we continue to enjoy to date are the first lending library; insurance companies; police & fire departments; & the first hospital. His thought process was to pursue happiness not by getting richer, but living more fully, by doing right by & serving your fellow-man, not by exploiting your fellow-man. “The noblest question in the world is what good may I do in it?”   We should take the time on a regular basis to ask ourselves this question.

In any leadership position, people should seek the council of who they consider wise, experienced or credible.  Wise counselors don’t tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.  The saying, “Experience is the best teacher” is only half-true.  Someone else’s experience is the best teacher saving precious time when it comes to learning lessons in life. This of course, can be taken quite to the opposite spectrum. A primary example of this treachery was a sorcerer, Rasputin who offered counsel to Russian czars. His deception & wicked counsel led the entire family to a brutal execution in 1918. Charisma, manipulation, & merely saying what people want to hear is not wisdom one should value or give.  Mentors love us into the future & sometimes….it is tough love that helps us face brutal reality.

Moving back in history, we see there is always hope in an attempt to save civilization. In doing so, one must fight & be prepared to die for it.  In 1415 England, Young King Henry V faced an army of French Soldiers numbering 25-27,000 against his small army of 5-6,000 men.  Henry exhibited faith, rallied his troops & strategically fought the battle to win one of the greatest battlefield reversals of all time.  A sense of duty, courage & love for their comrades prevailed against mere numbers.  Faith endures insurmountable odds.

Another pivotal battle in June 1940 proved to be even truer as Winston Churchill led the Royal Air Force through the convictions of their cause & sense of duty for their country.  The Royal Air Force took on the might of the most powerful air force in Europe, Hitler’s German invasion against Great Britain.  They were outnumbered 4:1.
Bob Doe, a 1940 RAF pilot recently said, “If you believe in yourself & believe in what you’re doing, then you’re twice as strong as if you don’t.”  He was about 20 yrs. old at the time of the invasion.  By the end of a spectacular battle that literally altered the course of the war, not one German soldier stepped foot on British soil. The Nazis were defeated. Impossibility faced them yet, hope & belief were restored.

We have courage, counsel & what is left?  There is a sense of love & trust forged in relationships that trudged throughout history.  Ordinary people tested their courage & resolve while accomplishing extraordinary things.  Relationships built on unlikely friendships, racial & cultural divides, are often the reason many quests are accomplished. Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgay was the first to attempt toscaleMt.Everest.  These men, a beekeeper & a yak herder, were as far apart from common as ever imagined, yet their similarities & passion at heart made history.  The journey of friendship, developed through hardships, can cause struggle in every areas of one’s life.  Emotional, spiritual, physical, mental & psychological facets are all challenged when one attempts to support another toward a common goal. Amazing what can happen when we get over our self & learn to serve others.

In April 1909, Peary & Henson, a white admiral & a black seaman successfully planted the Stars & Stripes in what they calculated as the North Pole.  This 22 yr. journey facing racial conflicts, danger, hardships & death portrays an uncommon friendship, turned partnership.  Peary accepted the fact that without Henson, the son of a sharecropper, he couldn’t make it. When we begin with the end in mind & admit we don’t know what we don’t know, we can accomplish feats that have never been done before.

Throughout history we have examples of circumstances which threatened our mere existence. We read about reluctant leaders who earn the trust of people through self-sacrifice.  We see the results of wise counselors who give advice when it is needed most.

We rehearse battles fought against all odds where soldiers fight of love, respect & duty not hate or power. Most of all, we rehearse the power of friendships that triumph over evil.

If victory is to be achieved, there will have to be certain losses. And there will certain debts that have to be paid to fate, to time, to death, but what it glories is loyalty, courage and the willingness not to give up.  I have witnessed this more in the past 6 yrs than I have throughout my entire life.  This now resonates in my being.  It has only happened by mentoring with men & women who exemplify each of the courageous examples given.  In life, there is dream, struggle, & victory.  I don’t always choose my struggles, but I will continue to dream & I certainly can choose who I celebrate the victories with.

Sometimes I hear people say hurtful things like, “They were friends as long as they were in business together.”  This sad interpretation locates their heart & defines their knowledge of what it is truly like to become involved in the dreams of others, the sacrifice of what it takes to fulfill them & the resolve to work past the struggles.  Many people give up on their dreams.  I am careful to surround myself with men & women who have not.  This is accountability for me to adhere to.  If someone has quit on their dreams or has not cared enough to invest in the dreams of others, what commitment will they have to me?  I fight staying focused & committed within myself therefore, I can’t allow outside forces to add to the test of my will.  As in historic examples, I am friends with many people, yet choose to invest quality time, energy & focus into like-minded, forward thinking people who I can trust will in turn sow hope & belief into my life.

The victory is worth it all. There is good left in the world & there is hope that is worth fighting for to the end.  Life is happening, morals are challenged daily, and freedoms are being stripped away on a regular basis.  You may not ever wield a sword or spear, but there is a fight to faith.  You will have to decide & will be held accountable for what choices you make with the time that is given you. Your courageous decisions could be in a book, on a Kindle or read online in classrooms by future generations. Choose wisely how your story will be written & remembered!

Blessings,

g