Category Archives: Friends

Seasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

g

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We are America

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Winning-vs-finishing

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

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

-1Tim 4:7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

g

What Luck!

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

g

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

Living Sacrifice = The Difference Maker = a Great Attitude

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

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

A Living Sacrifice to God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read, reflect & realign today!

Blessings,

g

2012 DFW Fourth of July Celebrations

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

Enjoy your freedom & celebrate our Independence!

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

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

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

Blessings & Happy 4th. of July!

g

Why take the 90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be the ripple & pay it forward.

Blessings,

g

Enroll in the 90 Day MFC, using # 61244967

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

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

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