Category Archives: marriage

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!.

Being broke is never a money prob$em, but a thinking prob$em!

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I talk to people on a daily basis about the benefits of owning a home based biz.  I have been involved in a home based biz since September 2006 & can honestly say, from experience, that it is the greatest position in the universe.  Reading books such as “The Next Millionaires by Paul Zane Pilzer” clearly defines four specific areas in which to invest your time & resources with the greatest ROI.  Not only return, but HUGE return.  His prediction of having ten million new millionaires by the year 2016 is right on target.  He says if you have a business in just one of the four categories, you are guaranteed to become one of those predicted millionaires.  The categories are:

  • Home based business
  • Internet
  • Health / Wellness
  • Intellectual Distribution

My business embraces all four so you can see why I am so psyched all the time.  When you read the book “The Business of the 21st. Century by Robert Kiyosaki”  you will know even more of why I am psyched!  He states to have a successful business you need two things:

  • A Duplicateable System
  • Leadership

Yes!  Not only does my business have both, but it has both with excellence!  When I sit down with a potential business partner, I have nothing to hide, will not apologize for having pride in what I stand for & certainly know the benefits of being involved with this business model. I edify my mentors with assurance of knowing they lead with character, integrity & honor.  I have noticed many ways people attempt to justify not becoming a part of a home based biz.  It is easy to find blame or use excuses when honestly they don’t have the courage to step out on their own.  They also don’t have belief in themselves & listen to others who are cowards.  That may be strong, but everything I do is a step of faith.  As a single woman, I had to exercise courage to become a business owner.  I also had to get over myself by overcoming fear, rejection, intimidation, past failures, past successes, insecurities & self-sabotage.  I have become a better person in many ways because of this.  I love this scripture & apply it in every facet of life.

Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.~ Heb.11:1

I find some of the “reasons” people use as to why they can’t start their own business interesting.  It is real to them, but to me, it is just a sad assortment of selling themselves & their family short of  their highest potential.  I can recognize it because I used it too!  My observation is that when people say they can’t afford to invest in their future, they don’t realize the things they invest in on a daily basis moves them further away from freedom.  I used to partake of temporary satisfaction or self-entitlement.  I had a problem with compulsive shopping causing me to work even more hours away from my kids. Thanks to a world-class financial training system, I  have learned long-term vision & delayed gratification.  I haven’t “arrived,”  but I am totally not the same person.  It is amazing how I define my wants -vs-needs & discipline myself to them.

I often hear people say they can’t “afford”  their own biz as I watch them eat out every day for lunch & even several times a week for dinner; use the vending machines at work numerous times a day;  hit the restaurants & movies on weekends or other entertainment sources;  then there could the smoking habit or yes, even ***$$$ coffee; (Gals)ALWAYS have nails / toes / hair done, & sport the latest fashions; (Guys) ALWAYS have leagues/card games/hobbies/fantasy sports game pools. Some of these expenses are daily, weekly, bi-weekly & monthly, but if they ever calculated the cost per year, they would be surprised at the discretionary funds they could have.  I can honestly say I had to do this when I moved to Texas.  Budget?  What on earth was that?  I NEVER kept a budget & yes, it showed in my finances.  When I actually had to keep receipts & report to someone bi-weekly to explain why I purchased what I did, I gained control & exercised discipline.  I  vividly remember the first trip to Sam’s Club after beginning this program.  I loaded my cart in the usual fashion, strolled around the store & then realized, “How am I going to explain this to Blah-Blah?”  I immediately unloaded the things from the cart in their respectful place & never did it again. Seriously now I only visit Sam’s maybe once or twice yearly.  I gained control thus changing my thinking.  This was the precursor for what I would begin to learn 2 years later in my own biz.

I believe the saddest thing I hear  is to use their kids as excuses when they should be the reason.  My kid has ______practice, or belong to ______team or is going on ______trip.  Short term sacrifice for your kids could result in you being the parent who has a motor-coach or bus & is able to take the entire team to playoffs because you are time & financially free.  You would be the coolest parent in the community & a hero to your kids. Or…what about actually taking them to every point of history in our nation instead of letting a conveyor-belt school system teach them?  When school starts, you could buy supplies for your children & adopt kids for each of them to assist with supplies?  What about telling your wife to go shopping & there is no monetary limit to her spending because you now make more in a week than you did in a year from your J.O.B.?  Hey it’s summertime & kids camps are in progress all over the nation.  Could you sponsor ten kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to go?  Camps literally change lives & this is an investment worth making.  How about seeing the Angel Tree in your church at Christmas & adopting every single parent & their kids?    Maybe you want to help an aging parent?  Write a check to pay off their house not just a house payment here & there.

Here’s a novel idea!  How about practicing what I did with my daughter, son-in-law & grands did last year for Christmas?  We gave the gift of “presence” instead of “presents.”  We started small because we had recently had the expense of my son’s wedding in October so we limited our budget.  My son-in-law chose Chicago.  I live in Dallas & they live in the outskirts of St. Louis.  I drove to St. Louis where we went via Amtrak from St. Louis to Chicago.  We stayed near the Magnificent Mile & spent  time there exploring things that will forever be etched in our memories. We love aquariums & have added Shedd Aquarium on our list of ones visited.  Trains, aquarium, Giordano’s deep-dish Chicago style, pan pizza, shaved  Portillo’s roast beef subs, snow, American Girl, Lego Store, & etc. You know the greatest part of the entire trip for me?  Was it spending time with my grands & watching them as they explored the things they couldn’t wait to see?  Was it seeing my grands faces as they watched dolphins for the first time in their lives perform a Christmas play?  Should have been, but it was to hear my son-in-law talk to friends / family on the phone while we were there telling them they have to try this!  Priceless!    The possibilities are endless & are only limited by your imagination.

What I have learned is that people will always have money for what matters to them.  The mentality that you will always be in debt is a lie handed down for generations.  Our forefathers were entrepreneurs.  They networked within their communities.  They used the cash system.  Many first generation millionaires used the principles written about in the book, “The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason.”   Timeless principles that have endured generation after generation of millionaires.  How about the book, “The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko.”  This book is one of my favorites to resort to when I feel when the pressure of  “fitting in”  or “self-entitlement”  starts to creep in.   I keep it at my office!

Our future matters!  More than this, the future of our children matter.  Our ancestors & their families fled the tyranny of an evil government to what they pictured as freedom in a new world.  They had nothing but hope & a dream. Somewhere down the chain, we have marred that determination & have turned dreams into nightmares.   You see, debt isn’t the American Dream, it’s the American Way.

I admonish the people who have the courage to defend the rights of freedom globally by stepping out of their comfort zones, getting past two knobs — the TV remote & the door — and defending their family.  My favorite book & the greatest of all eternity, the Bible,  has sound, financial scriptures I will paraphrase:  “Be a lender to many nations & never borrow,”  “A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren,”  “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.”  Regardless of your faith, these are amazing principles, yet we would rather follow in the footsteps of our neighbors, friends, & even family members by being in debt living paycheck to paycheck.   At your hearts discretion, not your bank account, choose to be a blessing to many.  Reading the inspiring book  “L.I.F.E. = Living Intentionally For Excellence by Chris Brady & Orrin Woodward” gives tremendous examples of how to live a life that truly counts.

Think about what you would do if you knew you couldn’t lose.  Being broke is never a money problem, but having broke thinking.  This is something easily changed.  Another of my favorite books, “The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson” has made a tremendous difference in my life & in the lives of millions.  The simple phrase, “It’s easy to do and it’s easy not to do” captures my attention when I have to make decisions daily toward the disciplines I have set.  Get a mani/pedi bi-weekly or learn from millionaires every day?  Easy!  Pay a salon to color my hair or do it myself so I can attend a convention? Easy!   Slight edge discipline in every area of our lives can change the course of history for our family.   Be the person others write about in ancestral searches as the Rascal who made the difference.

Change your thinking, change your results. Build trust in yourself once again & fulfill the destiny you were created to fulfill. On the journey, help someone else fulfill theirs.  Pay it forward & dream BIG!!!

Blessings,

g

Should’ve, Could’ve, Would’ve or Live a L.I.F.E. of Zero Regrets!

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For all my girlfriends who will celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend & for those who are surrounded by people they love,(well… this should totally cover everyone right? ) this post is dedicated to you!

We live busy lives & should never equate busyness to productivity.  When I divorced, I used to work 3 jobs in order to support my kids & I missed quite a bit during the years between 1994-2004.   I was labeled as a “survivor” & knew no other way of doing things.  In all honesty, was it really worth it?  What did I accomplish? Who benefited from it?  The choices I made forced me into doing what I did.  I didn’t have a mentor who could advise me otherwise.  I can’t use that excuse either, because there are plenty of books I could’ve read leading me to making better choices.  The funny thing was that when I decided to move from Louisiana to Texas, I left that mindset behind. I worked 1 job, become heavily involved in ministry & enjoyed my time with Bryce, who was still at home.  I attempted to spend as much time with Summer & her family during the year as well.  My life at this point was busier than ever, but I was doing the things I loved.

change & leave the old behind

What changed?  One little book.  Seriously. All my life, in the depths of my being, I longed for more.  I knew I would never be satisfied with status quo.  I was a dreamer from as far back as I remember.  The vehicle I thought would magically make those dreams come true, nursing, was not it.  I was hungry for more.  During the worst trial of my life, (well…one of the worst trials), a friend gave me one book.  Not money, not another job, not a pat on the head promising prayer, although I knew they would pray with/for me.  The book was “Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.” It revolutionized my life.  I won’t elaborate on the path it lead me to, but let’s just say I became a hungry student & changed some things in my life.

We can prioritize our lives or live our priorities.  I truly believe in living a life of Zero Regrets!  My BFF, Glenda, sent this post from Erma Bombeck in an email & I’m sure it’s been read plenty of times.  The strange thing about the human psyche is that we can read something over & over before it resonates with us. When my other BFF, Joy, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42, it made me realize again that while we can’t  know what our future holds, we can know the one who holds our future.

“When I was a child my mom used to tell me, “Someday”  we will take that trip, do this or that, etc.  I went to our calendar & asked her where the day “Someday” was because I couldn’t find it.” – Tina Rasmussen 

“Somedays”  do not come printed on our calendars.  We have to write them in ourselves.  Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life or make a difference in the lives of others.

Enjoy the words below & maybe do what I had to do…..evaluate your life. No…that is not a typo!  You can’t re-evaluate your life until you have evaluated it first right?   I can only pray that when the day comes & finds you reminiscent of your past, you will smile knowing you changed what you needed to change, discarded toxic relationships, forgave quickly, loved deeply & now welcome eternity.  

Blessings in L.I.F.E. = Living Intentionally For Excellence!

g

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER – by Erma Bombeck 
(written after she found out she was dying from cancer)

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day. 

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. 

I would have talked less and listened more. 

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded. 

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’  living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. 

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. 

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. 

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. 

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains. 

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life. 

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. 

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle…

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later… Now go and get washed for dinner.” There would have been more, “I love you’s” &  More “I’m sorry’s.”

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it .. Live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!

Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.
Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us… 

Preparation + Opportunity=Successful Singles

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        Out of curiosity I typed the word, “Singles” in my browser & came back with about 244,000,000 results relating to the word.  Guess what the majority of the sites were?  Dating!  There is a saying, ” Success = Preparation + Opportunity.”  This post will not address dating, but being a successful single business owner.  I want to discuss that in-between time!  I have found this is the greatest season to seize the opportunity  to prepare in every area of life.

         If you are single building a home based biz by yourself, I commend you more than you could ever imagine.  While I am in business for myself, I have never, ever felt like I’m in business by myself.  I have been blessed from the beginning to be surrounded by the most incredible, dedicated & devoted mentors, life coaches & best friends one could ever dream of.  I have an equation;  1 x 0 = 16  + 1000’s.  This is my support system as a single adult in a professional networking business.

 “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecc.4:12

  

The worst excuse anyone could  possibly  allow themselves to believe is that this profession is only successful for married couples.  I approach it as being enrolled in the most prestigious university ever established!  My degree upon graduation? A changed life – MINE!  Let’s explore some areas of life that you, like myself,  have the potential of expanding.  How does this profession prepare you for life in general or even potentially being married?  Being immersed in a world-class, ongoing educational training system has allowed me the opportunity to expand my thinking in the following areas:

  1. Relationships / Marriage:  Learn about how marriage should be.  This is such a blessing to observe couples who make their marriage a priority.  During my season of being a singles director, I studied & taught on relationships. Had I actually practiced this during marriage……Uh… never-mind!    Being deluged in a culture passionate about changing the rate of divorce in our nation, has forced me to take this study to an entirely different level.  Knowing communication is a huge factor in marriage, I am continually learning how to develop excellent communicative skills.  The four personality types + five love /apology languages = how you respond to  accepting, approving & appreciating people for who they are & who they can become.  I have always loved to talk & loved people.  This is totally different! Did you know that listening is an integral facet of communication?  Yea, it really is!  
  2. Wealth thinking:  Knowing  that divorce can occur because of financial stress caused from our inabilities to live below our means, not practicing delayed gratification & having  the absence of long term vision, I am getting a well-rounded education on finances.  See it’s not merely teaching someone how to make money, but how to keep it & make it work for you that creates wealth.  How reassuring will it be to a potential mate knowing I already know how to manage my finances, set & reach goals for rewards & invest wisely.  Have you noticed the prices of silver & gold lately?  Are you aware of what happened historically when this occurred? Did I ever care before?  No!  Knowing the pieces of the puzzle conventional education never taught me allows me to feel empowered.  
  3. Politically:  The thought of what is happening in our nation politically is not just something I can join a group & picket against.  When you are financially stable, independently wealthy, surrounded by a million-strong, like-minded, forward thinking culture of people,  you will naturally make a difference.  This is often done without voicing your opinion, but letting your light shine before man in living by example.  I love the saying, “What you do speaks so loudly, what you say I can’t hear.”  Leadership is influence.  I am no longer straddling the fence on what I believe politically.  I am interested in what is transpiring on every level & am willing to do my part which, by the way, is more than casting a vote during election time.  Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely thank everyone for doing that, but freedom ensures a voice not limited to electoral seasons.  Do you think a potential mate would feel honored to have a someone who is not oblivious to this scene?

        There are so many other areas of potential growth that can take place during your season of singleness.  This is the greatest time &  opportunity to practice edification & promotion because you are constantly doing so with your mentors.  Remember the principle of sowing & reaping? Partnering with a mentor offers a tremendous accountability & leverage system.  Everything you partake of during this time, do so with all your heart, for you will reap an abundant harvest!  “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.”- Isaac Newton

        I believe building a business as a single adult will be a catalyst for married couples.  It will help them be even more determined when they see your success!  You will instill hope to an entire generation of single adults, not limited to age or economic status related groups.  This season of your life exemplifies community–common unity–because you are continually forced to practice interdependence. I know this is totally opposite of what corporate America teaches, but the results will be totally opposite as well!  

        I have 3 “IT” factors that I stand by daily while building as a single woman. It was originally reserved for stage, but since all the world is my stage…I will share! 

  1. Subm”IT” to a mentor. Not just any mentor!  Find one that has the fruit on the tree, operates with the principles of character & integrity holding the bar high for you.  Finding a mentor who will not only love you where you are, but also love you into YOUR future is priceless.  Etch goals in stone, write plans in sand & PDCA with them on a regular basis.  
  2. Perm”IT” that mentor to speak into your life.  If your mentor is anything like mine, you will have more positive spoken over you than any point in time.  Who couldn’t use this? The more you understand the position your mentor assumes in your life, your family, your dream, while it may seem they are strong with their advice, you will embrace it.   Remember….the uniform of a leader is thick skin & a soft heart.  Permitting your mentor to offer strategies that pattern interrupt the things that are holding you back is vital to your success.  
  3. Comm”IT” to your dreams.    “Nothing happens unless first a dream” – C. Sandburg –  If you don’t have a cause bigger than your applause, you will never build a biz.  If your purpose isn’t bigger than your  paycheck, you will never build a biz. Setting a goal to make enough money to pay your house or car note is not big enough.  That can be accomplished by working OT or acquiring a second job.  Your dream has to be so big, the only way it can be accomplished is to work with others to reach it.  Search your heart & find what makes you almost cry when you think about it.  This is a great start in locating your passion. Guess what happens?  Once you learn the dreams of others & become so determined in helping them accomplish theirs, you wake up only to  realize….your dreams have been fulfilled too!!  I’ll never forget when that switch was made in my heart.   It changed my life.  Big dreams are imperative, but it’s extremely important to set dreams incrementally in order to build trust within yourself.  Once you accomplish a dream or goal, reward yourself & raise the bar.  People quit in life & in business all the time &  >90% of the time it is because they’ve never located a dream that was big enough to drive them out of their comfort zone. Complacency will always welcome them home to mediocrity.   A great piece of advice….“Build your dream, not your business.” – Laurie Woodward 
        I believe in you & I believe our nation is waiting for us to rise up & show them what we are made of!  One of my recent fav quotes: Caterpillars to butterflies; sand to pearls; coal to diamonds….It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that counts!”  I love that each of these examples overcame adversity, enormous pressure, & irritating obstacles in becoming brilliant, beautiful, priceless, sought after works of art!!  You are such a piece of art masterfully created by God Himself to accomplish a purpose & destiny only you can fulfill. 

Blessings,
g

The Theory of Forced Associations

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During a meeting this week my mentor mentioned something that got me to thinking.  He explained that while he was in Jr. High School, lockers were assigned alphabetically.  The names P-S were in his group. To date, he is still friends with those guys & best friends with one of them.  They were forced to associate because of random locker assignments.  Did it end with just a mere friendship over unlocking a lock?  There were kindred spirits at play as well.  Both guys, Kirk Porter & Raffaele Recchia were entrepreneurs.  From buying candy in bulk & selling it at school,  to buying old cars that would be used in movies, they were always looking at alternative income sources.  Both were from Michigan & if I’m not mistaken, Kirk’s dad was transferred to the General Motors plant in Arlington, Texas.  Does the theory of forced associations end in Jr. High?  The cool part is that it actually affected my life.

Kirk marries a Texan girl, Nicole.  They start a family, build a house in Ovilla, Tx,  & attend The Oaks Fellowship in Red Oak.  In 2004, I moved from Louisiana to Texas.  At the time of my move, I knew one family  in Texas. One. In an attempt to find an awesome youth group for my son, Bryce, we began attending The Oaks.  There were three classes suggested that all newcomers, who are interested in leadership positions at The Oaks, attend.  One was a 13 week course, Discovering Your Purpose.  Time progressed,  & during the course of attending church on Sunday & Wednesday, my sphere of knowing only one family increased & I had made several friends.  Who do you think was taking that same class?  Kirk & Nicole Porter.  To this day, I remember our last class.  An assignment was given to us to stand up in front of the class, read our spiritual gifts test results, match it to our passion & explain how the intertwining of each would place us in a ministry.  I still have that paperwork & love to read over it again & again as a reminder of how far my journey has evolved.  Many people spoke of teaching Sunday School, being involved in Missions, & various other awesome ministries.

I will never forget the look on the faces of people as I stated mine.  My bold & confident speech went  like this, “My spiritual gifts are administration & discernment. Prophecy & prayer are also among the highest scores.  My passion is for single parents.  If you were to cut my heart open, you would find that each beat would be beating for a single parent.  My determined purpose is to fill stadiums of single adults, both nationally and internationally, instructing, equipping & empowering  them  how to survive as a single adult.”  By this time, jaws dropped & stares intensified!  I continued, “I want single adults to know they are not alone & do not have to feel alienated in what could be the greatest season of their lives.”  I thanked everyone &  sat down.

Kirk presented for he & Nicole.  He mentioned that they were interested in missions, street evangelism, church planting. Because of his background, he wanted to be the best dad & husband he could be.  It was emotional for him, & became emotional for us as well.  Thirteen weeks of forced associations, learning together, created a bond.  We wanted what everyone wanted.  We encouraged & supported each other to be the best at where their passion would lead them.

Did the theory of forced associations end at a required class?  Well, no!  Kirk & Nicole became Small Group Directors & I became the Singles Director.  Because of our church leadership structure & the fact that I taught a Small Group…we were “forced” to interact on a regular basis.  Mutual respect was established, as well as friendship.  In 2006 Raffaele entered the scene again.  I love him for being the faithful friend he is & I am forever grateful for forced associations!  Raffaele had discussed with the Porters’ about this internet business he was doing.  He sent info to them in the form of audio recordings.  He then came from Michigan to Texas for a visit. On the last day of this visit, being pressed by Kirk, he explained the business to them.  Being the ambitious people they are, Kirk & Nicole soared immediately!  Shortly after becoming biz partners with Raffaele, they exposed me to the opportunity.  We have been partners since September 2006 & my life has forever changed. You see…I moved from Louisiana because I was looking for something different.  In 2003 I had been given the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, by the one and only person I knew in Texas.   Imagine that! See…..success occurs when preparation & opportunity meet. Lease Purchase Real Estate was the catalyst for me, a single mom, to forever leave behind my Louisiana family & life-long friends, walk away from a lifetime nursing career & move to a state knowing only one family.  God knew all along that the theory of forced associations would come into play.  I call it divine appointments, divine connections & supernatural relationships!

Bible scholars see thin, scarlet threads intricately woven throughout the Bible.  Read how a harlot saving a disciple is mentioned in the Hebrews “Hero Hall of Faith.”  How a widow clinging to her mother in law,  gleaning wheat of a prominent man, led the lineage of Jesus.  Joseph who being sold into slavery, put into prison, & interpreting dreams of a King, led to saving his family & the nation.  Many times forced associations aren’t pleasant, but the reward is beyond description.

At this point, I encourage you to look deeply at the associations in your life.  Are they helping you move closer to or further away from your passion & purpose? In the past several years, I have shed lots of weight. Weight in the form of associations with people who do not contribute to my purpose in life.  People, who if allowed, would have sucked the life out of me.  Does this sound cruel to you?  It may, but my heart continues to beat for single adults & there are stadiums to fill.  Because of other professional associations I have submitted to,  I can show them how they can not just merely survive, but thrive in a community as a single adult, while paying the gift of life forward .  My life purpose is to hear amazing words from my Father, not hang my head in regrets because I neglected to embrace the thin scarlet threads He has woven in my life.

I am eternally grateful for Kirk & Nicole Porter.  I have watched Kirk, not only be an amazing dad & husband, but be a mentor to men across the globe, encouraging them to do the same.  Nicole is a beautiful, amazing women of strength & influence.  They are my best friends, yet I continually allow them to be my mentors. Who knew alpha-assigning lockers would lead to associating with world leaders, building successful  communities, transforming so many lives, creating so many friendships & embracing so many dreams?  Only Jehovah God Almighty! In February 2007, during a Leadership Convention held in the St. Louis Ram Stadium, Nicole turned to me & said, “Here’s your stadium!”  To this moment, it brings tears to my eyes knowing at any moment I could have missed this opportunity.

Let me ask you a question? Who in your life could have such an impact? Life is precious & I urge you not to waste another second until you find them.  But … I will push one step further & encourage YOU to be that person to someone!

Blessings,

g

I am a Cougar!

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I am beginning a series on living single, dating, cyber dating sites & sharing the passion I have for empowering women to be strong during the season of singleness.  Not isolated per sey to women only, but I can only write from my perspective!

Me, Monica & Glenda

During a meeting with a local Dallas & national group, Mocha Sisters, my best friend, biz partner and partner in crime, Glenda Pogue, A.K.A. Thelma, had the privilege of meeting an amazing woman from Austin, TX. Dr. Monica Anderson is a professional in the area of dentistry, but is also an accomplished author & motivational speaker.  Both Glenda & I have the dream to support, encourage & help women develop strong mental attitudes, established career paths, & positive relational experiences.  The talk we heard was a luncheon meeting that resonates within my heart.

Being single for 16 years now has allowed me to weather many storms of relational seasons.  I actually didn’t date for the first 10 years of being single.  When people ask me, “Why?” I merely explain that I have no clue!  Seriously, I believe, it was because of the people I associated with. Don’t get me wrong, they were good people!  Theirs were a lot of marriages hanging in the balance, unfulfilled, or lacking in what I imagined I wanted for a third round.  I simply decided I was better alone. I have, since that time, read a tremendous assortment of books on dating, marriage, relationships, attitude, self -development, &  leadership skills. I realize those were the missing link, not only in myself, but in most of the marriages I saw.

The sanctity of marriage is something I adore & embrace. When I divorced, I “told” God “HE” had 2 years to correct what needed to be corrected, change what needed to be changed, but I HAD to be married after 2 yrs.  Yea, WOW!  I think that is why there is a scripture that says, “He who sits in heavens laughs!” My BFF in La. used to say, “You will find love when you are not looking for it!” This used to literally infuriate me beyond measure.  Let me ask you a question.  When you love the marital relationship as much as I did, loathe being single as much as I did, become depressed seeing PDA, holiday embraces, etc., WHEN ARE YOU NOT LOOKING FOR LOVE? On Valentine’s Day every year I would confess out loud to everyone I worked with that I was going to receive a dozen red roses from the love of my life.  One year, after hearing this many years, I believe my co-workers pitched in & sent me flowers.  Ironically, one of the guys that everyone thought should date me was very jealous.  I knew it was a joint venture b/c they spelled my name wrong!  Seriously….the “love of my life” would hopefully know how to spell it!  Right?

I can honestly say that moment of not looking finally happened. Jokingly, I would comment, “I don’t need a husband, just give me a dog.  A tiny, non-shedding, cuddle-loving, dog.  I can go as I please, never answer to a man, stay up as late as I want, cook when & what I want & just snuggle with a dog on the couch.  I can build my business & never share a single dime of profits with anyone, but the charities of my choice.”  I was set! This statement, over time,  began my observation concerning my state of singleness.

I was heading to church one Sunday morning this past year & had the most amazing conversation with God.  I realized I was content.  Content in being single.  Content in perhaps finding a mate at some point. Content.  At that moment, I made a “pact” with God.  The same God I demanded a 2 yr. correction limit on!  I said, (through joy, tears, & almost a  “deliverance” type exhilaration), that if the plan, purpose & destiny He has for me could be fulfilled as a single woman, I will happily remain single until I meet Him face to face.  If that plan, purpose & destiny could only be fulfilled partnered with a husband, I trust He would lead, guide & direct me to him.  I only want to bring Glory, not grief to His name.  I realized that probably took 14 yrs. too long to discover, but…finally…I am content!

Me, Joy & Glenda

I purposely surround myself with beautiful, strong, determined, women I admire immensely. At this point, I realize I completely agree with what Monica, Dr. mOe, describes as a “Cougar.”  I laugh at the worlds definition, but see it everywhere. It definitely fuels my passion!

If you are a single woman, especially in challenged economic times, you must know you can not only survive living single, but thrive.  Lately, my heart is beating louder & louder to fill stadiums nationally & internationally to portray this message of hope to single adults.

Ladies, you are fearfully & wonderfully made in the image of a Holy God.  Never compromise your convictions for the trade of companionship.  Tiny, non-shedding, cuddle-loving, lap dogs never hit, verbally abuse, or devalue who you are! You may, however, have to pick up after them!!

Blessings,

g

Pass the envelope please!

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To anyone who has moved….my sympathy.  I am still living out of boxes, but I did just move Thursday so…I have a few days grace right?  Know what part I love the  most about moving?  Cleaning out & throwing away the JUNK!  It just thrills me to see trash bags of my past sitting on the curb!  As I mentioned before, I despise clutter so….moving provides me the opportunity to hone in even more on that quality.

The other thing I love is of course strolling down memory lane.  Bryce was getting married the weekend before my move so I was going through some photographs for wedding table decorations.  I sat in the closet of the spare bedroom weeding through what seemed like thousands of photos.  I could hear laughter, reminisce of conversations around such events the pics captured, & remember what season of life I was in.  Of course there is always the, “I was so skinny then” convo in my mind, or “Look at that big hair!”  Some pics caused emotions such as pain to surface as well.  Pain of losing parents, pain of divorce, pain of knowing the struggles I experienced at that particular moment in time, pain of losing friends to far away places like Texas, Montana or Minnesota!   Through the pain, I can’t help but realize just how far I have come since then & it was actually because of the pain I survived.

The day of having the make ready crew come in to clean for me came.  This is my least favorite part of the move & I hired it out!  I found myself sitting in front of a wooden 2 drawer file cabinet cleaning out personal info. I was not bringing the cabinet so…. This was the second hit of reality for me.  I just thought the pics were it!  This is the second of three!

While scanning over files, I noticed the divorce papers.  Those brought me joy!  Then I found an envelope of personal testimonials concerning Bryce.  When he was in 3-4th. grade his dad went an entire year without seeing him.  I will spare details.  At that time Bryce made up stories to tell various nannies.  They would come to me heartbroken sharing them.  They included his dad getting killed in the war, being shot while hunting, etc.  Each time I secretly hoped they were true, but had to confess to the nanny they were fabricated.  I couldn’t understand as this was unusual for Bryce.  The Holy Spirit is so amazing in revealing the unknown.  He allowed me to see that during this time, Bryce fabricated stories as closure.  It was easier to believe your dad is dead rather than wonder why he doesn’t love you enough to see you.  Fabrication was better than feeling the pain of rejection.  This made sense, yet grieved me to know a child, my child, had to do this to cope with an absentee father.

The year passed, I accepted a travel nursing assignment both in New Hampshire & then onto Florida.  I had contacted school principals in both states, apartment managers, etc. & was ready to depart on a journey finally leaving the state of Louisiana.  Then…one evening…the Forest Hill Police department appeared on my doorstep to serve me papers restraining me from leaving the state of La.  What?  How could this be?  Apparently absentee father was now filing for complete custody of a child he had neglected to see for a year.  Long story short….I didn’t get to do the travel assignments, but the most wise, Alexandria judge gave me permission in front of all my enemies that at the end of the school year, I could travel anywhere I wanted with my son by my side.  Grace!

In the bundle of testimonials was the most painful folder of all.  My daughter was eight when I married Bryce’s dad.  For 10 yrs. her life was difficult to describe.  She excelled in school, church, was the most incredible daughter anyone could ever imagine.  Her teachers loved her, she was surrounded by the best of friends.  I actually didn’t work for most of those years so she was definitely allowed to participate in almost everything she wanted.   Why difficult?  She was an avid reader & writer of poetry.  She kept a diary through most of her life.  In the folder she attached some of the pages of her diary.   A mother can only imagine what it felt like reading what your daughter truly felt living in the house with a man who only spoke to you when he wanted to reprimand you.  For years I felt like the liaison of my blended family.  The thermostat in my home was set according to my husband’s moods.  Needless to say…this ended. As I read those pages of  Summer describing what a phenomenal mom I was, how Bryce was very well taken care of,  what a horrible relationship & influence his dad was, her subjection to his anger, hatred, & outbursts were hard to bear.  Yes, I had read these pages years before, but…it never gets easier.  She mentioned a very poignant moment of watching her little brother cry in the car one day wondering why his dad didn’t love him.  I couldn’t help but just want to look my kids now 22 & 33 in the eyes & tell them how sorry I was for ever subjecting them to this.

The third hit came when I was unpacking my new loft.  No, they don’t come pre-packaged….you know what I  mean!  I found a school folder from when Bryce was in around the 5th. or 6th. grade.  His class assignment was to write an essay to describe his best & worse days.  His best was a trip to Universal Studios with his dad & step-mom.  He never mentioned them, only the rides.  The worst day was when he thought he failed 4th. grade, went to summer school, aced it, & realized the school district had mis-graded the LEAP tests, proving he passed to 5th. grade.  I remember how horrible 4th. grade was, how many trips I made to the school, how many sessions I had with the principal, etc.  I also remember  how the summer school teacher brought hope & belief back into the life of a child.   That wasn’t really painful at all. The painful part of this was somehow a report from another child in Bryce’s class was attached to his.  The writing was so tiny, I almost needed a magnifying glass.  Child psychologists could diagnose this, but I just wanted to read the essay.  The child described the worse day of his life was when the CPS workers came into their home and took him & his siblings away from his mom. They were placed in foster care.  Later he described how his mom got heavily involved in drugs preventing the reunion of their family.  As I read this, tears rolled down my face realizing the difference in the contrast of the best & worst days between these two boys.  The precious note from the teacher written in red ink will forever be etched on my heart. It was as if I was reading an excerpt from the movie,  Blindside or Precious.  You see….things really do happen in real life.

In our lives we will all experience the best & worst days.  The pain endured in a horrible marriage, subjecting my kids to abusive behavior blinded by love, led me to divorce.  Through the pain of divorce, raising kids alone, I realize I am the woman I am today because of it.  My kids are rooted & grounded in Christ, whole, drug free & without any apparent scars.  Pain, when allowed, will strengthen the weakest area of your lives.  I love the saying, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” The three of us learned to minister past the pain & are now well equipped to offer solace to those walking in the path we once walked.

The contrast between the boys reminds me of how utterly selfish we can be.  While unpacking this past weekend, I was determined to store my precious Christmas decoration collection.  I lifted heavy boxes & storage containers by myself while climbing my rickety ladder.  Once arranged, I couldn’t help but think that same storage area would be the home of men / women in Hong Kong classified as cage dwellers.  I felt very grateful for every square inch of  my 832 sq. ft. loft.  I complained the next day that my temporary flannel sheets made my bed too hot, then while scanning my beautiful daughter in laws mission trip to Kenya,  seeing them sleeping on the floor & the next day I very gratefully made my bed.

We can allow the pain of the past to paralyze us or we can push past it knowing we will be better because of  it on the other side.  I have counseled with woman after woman & witnessed them as they stayed in situations as described in my life simply because they fear being alone.  I have also seen the scars of their children.  You see….your fear is not just your fear, but it resonates to generations just as courage does.   While I felt sorry for subjecting my kids to that relationship,  I realized  I exercised courage & left it, knowing life would be difficult. There has never been a point when I followed God’s guidance in my valleys, that he didn’t bring me through the pass to the top of the mountain.  I never said it was always pleasant, but I went through it!

I want to encourage you to look at yourself.  While I was the Singles Director, I encouraged frequent self-evaluation.  I can honestly say this season of my life is filled with joy, love, hope, belief, expectancy & yes, even challenges.   I will embrace the good, the bad, & joyfully expect miracles.  I will also determine to reach out to others because I can  discern the pain in the eyes of another.  Remember….I saw it for years in the mirror.  Please don’t misinterpret this blog post as a green light for divorce.  Not to confuse you, but I do believe there are times when you need to leave a marital relationship.  God describes the bonds of marriage & when those bonds are defiled, the conscious becomes seared,  & lives are in the balance…I believe there is release.

God is faithful, but he does expect us to step out in faith during the times we feel we will utterly faint.  He gives us strength, but we have to know when to exercise it.  It’s like the exercise equipment in my loft complex. It won’t cause me to get in shape until I use it! I  believe we frustrate the grace of God when we refuse his help by staying in situations because of fear.  I also believe it grieves him when he sees his children experience abuse, pain, disappointment, grief & hopelessness unnecessarily.

Pass then envelope of whatever causes pain in your life.  Read it & search for the answer.  I only pray you have courage to face the fear & embrace what life you could truly lead.  Most of all….be grateful.

Jeremiah 49:11–Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.

He is truly the Father to the fatherless and a defender of the widow!

Blessings,

g



Are you a relational clutter bug?

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The saga continues……the moving saga that is!  As I begin collecting boxes to begin my packing regime,  I realize yet another thing I am thankful for.  I am not a clutter bug! This made me think of how widespread this phenomenon can transfer into every area of our lives.

For instance:

Relationships – many people have the tendency to acquire friends who clutter their lives & create a negative influence.  I have a huge percentage of the sanguine personality trait & genuinely love people.  This, however, is not a fault.  I have learned to filter the people I actually include in my inner circle.  Being influenced by someone is more seductive than you imagine, therefore you must be careful of whom you associate with.  While serving in the single adult ministry, I recognized cyclic behavior patterns that are almost embraced.  This is primarily traced back to the root of low self-esteem & lack of self-confidence, but never the less….people become involved with people they can either control or feel worthy to be accepted by.  This is something that quickly causes me to utilize emo intel (emotional intelligence! ) because if not….I become angry.  Angry to think we settle, retreat, or compromise.  We clutter our lives or futures with people who will never help us rise to our fullest potential.  This may be harsh, but even some of our family members will conflict our future.

When I became a network marketing professional I attended my first leadership seminar &  it changed my life.  This may sound cliché, but it is what it is.  While listening to a very successful couple, Mark & Jenn Paul, share their story of dreams, struggles, &  apparent  victories, I heard the sweet, still voice of the Holy Spirit.  To many, this suggestion was not of God. I received ridicule and rebuttal from many of my closest friends, but to me, it was the clear, precise, &  clear-cut direction I needed to hear.  I heard, “You need to lay aside the singles ministry.”  Then, I didn’t realize the impact this one command would now make on my life.  I didn’t merely attend a singles Sunday school class or small group, I was the Singles Director.  My primary focus had been on developing leaders within the singles ministry & creating a community consortium with 9 other area singles ministries in a bi-county perimeter.  Why was this the right decision to make?  Why did it look like a demotion to some & a promotion to me?  Simple.  I learned I would be more effective as a mentor, leader, coach to singles nationwide in business.  My sphere of influence greatly expanded. Relationship requirements & personal growth & development expectations increased.  I had to determine what was more important.  Was it mentoring with successful entrepreneurs who would impart wisdom, skills, knowledge & challenge me to grow far beyond my current level of leadership capabilities or continue planning the monthly social calendar?  I had to un-clutter my relationships. Does that mean I stopped liking those people? Absolutely not! I just withdrew giving permission for certain people to influence my schedule,  decisions, & life.   There is a mantra  by a man I respect in business.  It is a check point & balance each time I read it. “I release those things which  no longer serve me.”- Randy Gage. To some this may sound cold or insensitive because I am referencing relationships.  To me, it is imperative if you wish to develop the potential God has ordained that you to walk in.  Let’s face it…..the Bible even tells us Jesus was not taken seriously in his own home town.  While he served the multitudes, he kept company with 12. He instructs us not to cast the pearls of our wisdom before the swine.  Even further it is said for us to shake the dust off our sandals & move on.  Why then do we insist on holding onto relationships even God himself would not support?  If I read correctly, this wasn’t just one or two people, but entire towns.

Clutter in any area of our lives can be detrimental to our success, but relational clutter can be deadly to dreams–your dreams & the dreams of others.  While being the singles director I enforced frequent self evaluations.  I didn’t know the meaning of P.D.C.A.– plan, do, check & adjust– but I did understand we have to frequently look inside out to see if we are progressing or digressing.  Don’t enter another relationship with “junk in your trunk.”  I challenge you to read this quote & apply it to your sphere of relationships. “Most people stay the same person and attract the very things they want to repel” – Claude Hamilton. I will not be like most people.

The second & last category of clutter I wish to discuss is in your thinking.  You may have thought this was going to be a blog on crammed junk drawers, closets overflowing with memorabilia you need to trash, or clothes from 3 sizes ago you will never wear again.  It is.  The way you think is directly related to all those things.  I recently read the brain can’t entertain more than one dominant thought at a time.  Why then do we insist on those dominant thoughts being negative ones?  Why do we keep those clothes that are either out of style or no longer fit?  Why do you see people you haven’t seen in years & they have never changed their hairstyle? Why do you visit friends & leave feeling like you want to go home & throw away everything?  Do you ever ride with someone else & it leaves you wanting to take your car to be detailed?  We hoard for many reasons.  There are great discussions on this subject & I will not attempt to discuss them.  What I will discuss is simply this.  A trip to the mirror of your choice will answer many of the reasons for the behavior listed above.  You are not happy with yourself.  You do not believe in yourself.  You have listened to the wrong people saying the wrong things about you instead of listening to what your creator says.  I think the Bible says you are the apple of His eye. You are fearfully & wonderfully made.  He records the conversations you have about Him & He collects your tears.  If he has engraved your name on the palm of His hand, why would you ever believe you are not worthy?  This goes way beyond someone having a tattoo of your name on their bicep!  You clutter your mind with way to many, “What if’s?” rather than asking, “Why not?”

I have never understood the state of depression.  I firmly believe it is a choice.  Chemical, schmemical!  I’m not talking about bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, etc., but depression. Many times it is a cry for help, but mainly a selfish excuse to prevent dealing with what requires your attention.  I realize there are lapses of momentary depression related to certain situations we face, however the length of that stage is a choice.  Depression creates clutter & diagnosis your inability to be honest with yourself.  Not dealing with certain things whether  relationally, physically, financially or materially can be traced back to our thinking.  Check your motivation & chances are if you are not running for a cause, serving others, chasing a dream or running from a dread, you are stuck in Sluggsville.  Change your thinking & change your results!

I have a love hate relationship when it comes to moving.  I have a mantra when it comes to whether or not you need something.  “If in doubt, toss it out.”  If you have things boxed that you haven’t used since the last time you moved, chances are, they will just occupy space.  I had to come to terms with my need to own power tools.  I am such a do-it-yourself, tool-belt-diva.  I recently realized that stage of my life is dormant & I do not need to pack every gadget I have collected.  One day I will own the beautiful historically registered Victorian Pink Lady,  the sprawling Tuscan Villa Estate, the cottage at Martha’s Vineyard, the 1br/1ba Craftsman near my babies,  &  the beach front villa on some exotic island, & when I do, I may or may not invest in what I need.  As for now….having maintenance on speed dial serves me.  All I require is my cute,  tiny, purple, floral hammer, my small electric drill/screwdriver, my small Dremel, a small assortment of screws, nails, both white & super glue.  I won’t even own duct tape.  I know that is like the anti-Christ of homeowners, but seriously….I left that behind when I moved from La!  Everything I “need” will fit in one drawer of my cute utility room storage unit.

Simplistic pleasures

Maybe I am becoming a decor minimalist as one of my ER docs touted he was.  At that time, I could never saw myself as this.  Now…I am content.  I challenge you to inventory your life in the areas of clutter. It may be painful at first, but I promise it becomes easier.  Act as though you are moving.  You are…moving on.

Blessings,

g

Dreams, Struggles, Victories & How You Measure Them

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It’s Thurs. Sept 16th, @ 3am. The alarm went off to awaken me from a 2.5 hr. power nap.  This day has been anticipated for 3 months.  What you ask?  Our Major Leadership Convention in Milwaukee, WI, referred to as simply, “Major.” Quarterly we pack 10,000 (+) leaders in arenas across America & Canada to associate with the top leadership gurus worldwide.

It had been such a push.  Just as John Wooden had strategic plays assuring top wins for years, we have such a play.  We call Hut 1, Hut 2, Power Player or referred to as H1H2PP!  This is the elite measuring line to achieving our goals & accomplishing our dreams.  Sparing the details, just know it is statistically proven to work.

There is a war in our nation which affects every area of life as we know it. In case you have your doubts, please don’t take my word for it. Instead  read the correlation from Kitty Werthmann during 1938 in Austria. Or better yet,  read the 10 Planks of Communist Manifesto.  The similarities are frightening.  I’m committed to securing freedom on every level, as this affects not only myself, my family, my friends, but generations to come.  Many people look at obstacles as road blocks.  I choose to look at them as opportunities to learn, grow & change.  Here are just a few of the minor obstacles I faced since this past Thurs prior to Major.

As I worked with several of my teammates to secure H1H2PP we faced several “no-shows.”  Knowing I belong to the greatest community ever, I never feel sad for me when people are not people of integrity honoring their word of being where they say they are going to be. I am sad for them for missing something that can reshape their lives.  Down to the wire, I didn’t win.  Or did I?  While our measuring stick is H1H2PP, there were many amazing things that happened.  My team pushed through their comfort zones to contact, schedule & attempt to share the passion with people. Digging deeper into information, growing, changing & being determined to win are all on the measuring line.  Flights, hotel rooms, & finances were restructured in order to be present at Major.  If you knew some of the stories, you would know what a sacrifice & commitment they made to be there.  While there is not a recognition for these things, I know in my heart what KUDOS they deserve.

So….back to 3am Thursday morning.  I had packed the night before (this gets easier as I have certain things that just stay packed at all times!), so I got ready really fast, & pulled my bag off my bed ready to roll.  Much to my dismay, I also pulled or a better term is ripped a muscle in my lower back that immediately began to spasm.  What do I do? It’s now 4:10a., I have to load up, drive to Dallas, park my car at a remote lot & be at DFW Airport by 5am.  After tears & buckling to my knees, I packed my car anyway.  The good thing is that I experienced the joy  of driving 85-90+ on I-35N with no traffic!  I arrive at the remote lot, park & the shuttle driver was at my car immediately to help with luggage.  Then….I can’t bear to step up into the shuttle.  Deep breathe & just do it! FYI…because I experience motion sickness when I fly, I don’t eat anything prior to a flight, so I can’t take my potion for pulled muscles, Aleve &Valerian.  The shuttle driver lets me out in plenty of time to catch my flight….so I thought.  I had never flown Air Tran so….this was a first. I get inside, can’t find their check in anywhere.  When I asked, the guy tells me to go outside & down 4 gates.  Great!  Any other time, this is not a problem.  Pulling my tote, wearing my backpack, carrying my purse & pillow, while being unable to walk without excruciating pain, is not the time to rush 4 gates down.  Anyway….I get to the gate, Air Tran is of course the LAST check in station.  While checking my bag the attendant informs me I had just missed the cut off time to check luggage.  Really? She offered a flight to ATL instead.  Now I don’t pack my bag for carry on.  Besides the toiletries we, as females, can’t travel without, were the necessary 1/2 case of EMV’s, our amazing energy drink.  I thought….what the heck? I will attempt to board with my bag.  So….I drag all of it to security right?  Of course I hear the words, “We have to do a bag check!”  Every single item she pulls out has to be trashed.  “Some people” wouldn’t have had a problem replacing everything.  I am not “some people.” I had allocated money to purchase training tools & my seminar ticket for the next Major.  I would not compromise this!  So….I did the next best thing…..I was escorted back to check in.  Now if you could imagine the stares!  Pillow, backpack, purse & bag!  Real suspicious character right?

I go back to the same wonderful lady & she gets me on the 6:25a. flight to ATL, then standby to MKE, but she “said” she has me on the flight.  So….I surrender the non-stop to MKE now being rerouted to ATL.  I arrive at ATL by 9:25a.  I spoke to the representative about the possibly of a window seat & was informed she would not look at it until 12:30p.  I have a great loonnnngggg breakfast, take my pulled muscle potion & look forward to reading.  I run into my biz partners from San Antonio & we had a great chat.  At 12:30p. I proceed to the desk only to be informed I am 1st. standby.  What? I mentioned that the rep from DFW told me I was on the flight.  I misunderstood.  I was on the 6:25a.  flight!  I would be told at 1:27pm., not a minute earlier,  if I had a seat on the 1:30p. flight.  As I sat back down they announced the flight was overbooked & needed 4 vols to opt out for RT vouchers.  They would accommodate them on the 1030p.  flight to MKE.  I go back to the desk to find out where that leaves me!  Again…they wouldn’t know until 1:27p. I took a deep breath & immediately began to align my thoughts toward securing a seat, which was my #1 focus.  So….I sat & listened.  When almost all had boarded,  I made a conscious decision to position myself as if I were getting on that flight.  I walked to the desk in front of the rep & waited.  They continued to call names of passengers not yet checked.  Then…..they called the people who had opted out to inform them they didn’t need them to change their flights for 10:30p.  I didn’t care.  I wasn’t moved.  I was getting a seat on that flight.  Then….a flight attendant was waiting standby & was allowed to get on the flight.  Wait a minute!! If I was 1st.  in line…..what was she?  I didn’t care.  I wasn’t moved.  My San Antonio buds were on board watching for any empty seats!  Three more people ran up to the desk to check in.  I didn’t care.  I wasn’t moved.  It was 1:27p.  I’m standing in front of the lady who checked my flight schedule 3 times & she picks up the mic to announce, “Geneva Murphy, please report to gate C4.”  Humor me right? I get on the flight, walk to the back, spot a window seat & the attendant tells me there are no seats.  OOPS….she had overlooked one.  I sort of notice this guy standing in the back of the plane as if there are no seats left.  I get seated, notice a mom with 2 kids then board the plane.  Then….the attendent that had allowed me to board came on.  Uh Oh! Was she going to tell me to get off? I wasn’t moved. I was on the plane.  We closed the door & left.  My elephant was charging to MKE!

We arrive in Milwaukee only to find our hotel rooms hot as blazes.  WHAT?  Some of my partners had already been moved from their previous rooms.  We open the windows, go out on the town, honor our tradition of having coffee at Alterra, our fav coffee shop,  then to Mo’s Irish Pub, & had cheese curds from Rock Bottom.  Fun times with out-of-town groups are the highlight of flying in one night early. We get back to the room to have a group meeting only to  find the heat on.  We were informed that they had to turn the air back on.  My partners were moved the third time & we slept with our windows open.  While it was cool outside & I had da-ja-vu from childhood with open windows, it was not enough to chance being smothered!

The next morning when we inquired about the heat being on in our rooms, we were informed that the hotel had a one pipe HVAC system & people complained about being cold so the heat was turned on.  I had never heard of a one pipe system & certainly didn’t see on their website that you may have to sleep with windows open.  When the manager proved he obviously never read ANY people skills books, I changed reservations to the Hyatt.  Now you have to understand I am not being a prima-donna, but wanted to accommodate the others I was rooming with.  We loaded up on our way to an elite meeting, I ran in, registered, gave a tip to the bellman to load my luggage in the room & to  please adjust the thermostat to 60 degrees.  After his eyes bugged out &  he questioned me if I was sure….I told him it would be fine.  I can’t tell you the difference between the 2 hotels, & this was even without seeing the actual room. Daylight & dark are underrated terms to use.  Learning later that some of our partners had their laptop stolen, someone entered their room to smoke illegal drugs, leaving their stash in their room, to the heat/air situation…..I was glad to have switched.

Another obstacle reared it’s ugly head…one tiny problem.  On my way from our elite meeting on Fri to the venue arena, I realized I had done something I had never done in all my trips to Majors.  My heart plummeted to my little toe.  I had left my ticket where I always put it.  Yeah…back in Texas.  I immediately had to get another one.  I would not be discouraged nor dismayed.  I knew what I was to gain by being there.  Of course it was beyond belief.  I get to my room after only to realize my phone charger was left at the previous hotel & when called, they had not had one returned from housekeeping.  Yay…..no communication.  I would manage, & no….I was not going to by another charger.  I had 1 at home, a car charger & 2 USB chargers.  Training tools were more important!

Saturday morning we had Grown Up Girlfriend Breakfast with one of our leading ladies.  No phone, & my camera batteries died.  No biggy…..deep breathe & move on.  It was phenomenal to just be around her.  We headed to the meeting, I presented my Major tik to the door person at the venue arena only to realize a few minutes later, I had given them my Jan 2011 ticket instead of the current one.  Yay….I went to the gate, went to where they were counting event stubs & they were beyond accommodating.  When I’m ready to blame it on a “blonde moment” I saw other stubs just like mine so……I was not alone.

Why did I take such pain to describe such petty instances?  In my time of being in this profession, I have seen people buckle, change their minds to attend Major & miss associating with the quality of people they could have been around for yet smaller, more minuscule instances.  These moments forced me to exercise emotional intelligence, surrender control of things I couldn’t change & deal with the situations at hand, all while portraying a great attitude.  While some of them created huge deficits on my single budget, I know it was worth it.  Success never goes on sale, you have to pay full price.  We all have dreams to fulfill, face struggles & celebrate the victories.  It is a choice each time in whether or not we will allow a struggle to paralyze us.  This Major focused on relationships & communities.  I had the privilege of mentoring with several of my team mates that I would have allowed crazy obstacles to cause me to miss.

The flight home from MKE to DFW proved I did all the right things.  I talked to a realtor from D.C. who was extremely interested in the Leadership Development program.  He had never heard of many of the books I mentioned.  When my meclizine kicked in, I napped with pride knowing we truly are community & our product is people.

Change occurs when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.  I was not allowing tiny hurdles to obstruct my opportunity from gaining priceless nuggets of wisdom.  I also have to remember….It doesn’t just affect me, but I lead by example.  I am learning  never to major on the minors & minimize the drama at all cost.

Blessings,

g

Leftover Alterra scones w/ organic eggs for breakfast!

I now pronounce you…

Standard

The journey of being single the past sixteen years  has been a priceless journey for me to embrace.  When I first divorced, I “told” God He had two years to “fix” whatever was wrong with me because I hated the single life.  Two years was the deadline for me to become perfected as to what He designed me to be as a wife.  Well……maybe I had a lot more junk in my trunk that I envisioned.  I realize I will never be perfect, yet I will continue to strive for my personal best!  I now have a pact with God. Like He isn’t sitting in Heaven laughing at me, but nevertheless….My pact is simply this: If I can fulfill the plan, purpose, & destiny He created me to fulfill as a single adult, I will live my days as a single bringing honor to Him.  If that plan, purpose & destiny can only be fulfilled joined in marriage to a man with a specific destiny, plan & purpose, I believe in His time, that man will be exposed.  I also submit to changing, growing & developing into the person God has designed me to become.  So far….I am content.

It actually took me ten years to “date.”  I wouldn’t even use the term date because it was way to serious for me.  I referred it to simply “going out” with someone.  As I have been involved in a world-class leadership development organization, my entire perspective in many areas of life has changed.  I truly believe that is what had to happen. While I have been single this amount of time, I wouldn’t take a second away from it.

One thing I have been aware of  lately is the fact that I believe the wedding vows we recite are deceiving.  How? As I spend time in the living rooms across America, I have noticed that the vows taken during the matrimony service somehow excludes a persons right to fulfilling their dreams as well as the respect of their mate’s dreams as the marriage progresses.  In the bliss of developing a relationship where did the fact that the bride or groom has explicit dreams, goals, ideas, etc. disappear?  Let’s take for instance the bride desires to be a writer.  She has manuscripts tucked away and elusive dreams of seeing her books in print.  Perhaps it is children’s books or novels, that since early childhood, she has envisioned the pictures on the pages and book signing events. Or the groom wants to invent a gadget he believes will revolutionize the way we grill. You fill in the blanks!

During the wedding ceremony as they are gathered in the midst of friends, family, loved ones (as if those are separate from friends & fam right?), the vows begin.  The norm is said, but is this what they are truly saying? “Dick, do you take Jane to love, honor, respect, cherish, esteem highly above yourself,  as long as you both shall live? In sickness & in health, for richer or poorer, til death do you part? Do you vow to work 40-60 hrs. a week or more, jump when the boss says to, volunteer for overtime, require that Jane does the same? Do you vow that when you begin to have kids you only allow her to take off for six weeks or less, then place your children, one by one, in a daycare with people who will experience their “firsts” before you do? Do you vow to buy the big house you can’t afford, the cars you can’t afford, the toys you can’t afford, and get in debt just as your friends, family and loved ones do? Do you Dick vow to suppress Jane’s dreams of becoming a writer because there won’t be enough time and certainly not enough money in the budget to allow her to pursue her creative abilities? Do you Dick vow to become unbearable  around year three because the insurmountable stress begins to weigh heavy on your mind and oozes into your relationship? Do you vow to compare your wife to the other guy’s wives because they can’t blame themselves so they naturally blame their wives?  Dick do you vow to become involved in extracurricular sports teams on the weekend because you would rather not be the father you need to be to your children? Dick do you vow to Jane that instead of discussing with her problems as they arise, you will discuss with the bartender of the local pub or better yet….your stylist? And when the laundry list of  “Do you’s” end, Dick say’s, “I do.   Then the person performing the ceremony turns to Jane and proceeds to ask her the same questions in female gender related contexts.  Of course these probably include the incessant shopping trips based on entitlement reasons.  Jane would vow to hide said purchases or get the red pen and re-mark the items even more discounted.  Vows to ignore Dick’s love for designing a patent whereby allowing him a passive/residual income to where they could retire early from corporate America.  Or the vow to become emotional after childbirth begging Dick to take on a second job so she can stay home or even purchase an even bigger house? Catch my drift?  When one is gazing into the eyes of the person they feel in their heart they can’t  live without,what happens?  We suddenly find ourselves passing as ships in the night and somehow that is acceptable.  Are the words, “For better or for worse?” self-fulfilling prophecies?

Subliminal messages are powerful.  The above scenario is the American way, not the American DREAM.  Our forefathers risked their lives to make America the land of the free.  They were entrepreneurs who forsook all and everything to make sure their families were taken care of.  What happened?

The revelation of subliminal wedding vows have influenced my decision to enter the dating scene again.  I have concluded that if those are the vows I am expected to repeat once the relationship gets serious enough for marriage….I DON”T!   I will remain single, get a dog or even better….a Betta fish!

The greatest thing on my side right now is that I have the honor and the privilege of mentoring with husbands and wives who are not OK with this either.  I regularly encounter marriages on the brink of divorce because of the subliminal vows above.  Once husbands/wifes are allowed to dream again, embrace the message of hope, begin to respect each other for who they originally fell in love with and looked into the eyes of on that glorious day, they are resolving to do what it  takes to stir up the passion lost. They have chosen delayed gratification to enable them to get out of debt. The develop long-term vision to plan their now bright future as two parent homes instead of two parent incomes. Most importantly, they are discovering the family unit again.  I virtually live through those encounters.

There is love, there is hope, there is a bright future ♥

If you are married, I challenge you to take some time this weekend to remember what you saw in your bride / groom.  What God has joined together, let no man put asunder-apart, divide, disjoint, or become independent.  No man, no debt ratio, no lack of vision, no “keeping up with the Jone’s, no death of dreams, no ‘American way”, let nothing divide.  If you decide, renew those vows without any destructive subliminal messages.  Reprogram your thinking to include the thoughts you once believed for and about each other.  There are countless other marriages waiting to hear your testimony of renewal.

If you are in the engagement phase, I challenge you to truly think about what you will be saying to each other on that day of commitment.  Perhaps you should counsel or discuss with a successful married couple who have overcome the devastating blows of what some label as normal.   There are also some amazing financial awareness programs available to educate yourselves on what not to vow to each other!

If you have chosen to live the single life, I completely understand.  If, however, you are still bitter because you didn’t survive the subliminal vows, I implore that you do not impose that onto others.  Instead please embrace your life now, search your soul for peace, determine & pursue your destiny as a single adult.

I used to believe that marriage would diminish me, reduce my options. That you had to be someone less to live with someone else when, of course, you have to be someone more.–Candace Bergen

Blessings,
g