Category Archives: Thinking

Where are the Leaders?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

g

Comfortably Numb

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This morning, for some strange reason, the words, “Comfortably Numb” came to mind.  While this was clearly a song referencing the drug scene, I feel like this is what Americans have excepted with their debt. We have received a steady  infusion of mediocrity & complacency creating an apathetic numbness. Funny, but some of the lyrics say this:

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown the dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb

I talk to people daily whose response is, “I’m doing alright” & it saddens me to think they’ve compromised the dream of doing something great or even significant with their lives.  Doing alright is clearly a matter of opinion.  Christine Aguilera has a line in the movie, Burlesque, that hit a chord within me the second I heard her say it. When Jack asked Ali why she left her hometown, she says, “I looked around at everyone I knew & there wasn’t one life I wanted.”  I have to admit, there were people whom I admired because it appeared they had it all together until I realized appearances aren’t always what they seem.  It wasn’t the type of togetherness I ever wanted to settle for.  I still respect them as humans, but would never covet their lifestyle.  Some of these were doctors, lawyers, prestigious business men/women, executives, & etc.  Once you see beyond the norm into the realm of possibilities, it completely warps your brain!  Thank God!

The words from the Lennon song, Imagine, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” resonate deep within my soul.  I was a nurse at age 4.  Everyone knew it, especially the dogs who were usually my patients!  Later, after fulfilling that career dream, the stirring of being more & doing more kept nagging at me.  In 2003, through a desperate set of circumstances, a friend gave me the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”  by Robert Kiyosaki.  It provided the answers I knew existed.

In 2004 I left my hometown in Louisiana & moved to Texas with the sole purpose of discovering my destiny & fulfilling my purpose.  I have never had a problem with dreaming BIG!  I only had the problem of having the vehicle of making those dreams come true.  I realized working  as many hours per week as possible in 3 jobs  never provided that.  I have seen the effects of people who just accept this is a way of life for them.  You see it too. The glimmer of hope is erased from their eyes; their smiles are forced; relationships mirror the results & conversations locate their heart.   I am grieved, because as I have discovered, there is so much more.  I’ve never felt the numbness of giving up on my dream, only the anxiety of not getting it fast enough & there is certainly nothing comfortable about my lifestyle either!

I encourage you to inventory the parts of your life that perhaps you have buried.  Search your soul, which is your mind, will & emotions, to discover what really drives you.  What subject, when mentioned, excites you to the point of even bringing tears to your eyes?  What dream have you stuffed so far down in your psyche, only a soul search will unfold?  Once you determine this, believe me, there is a vehicle to provide the resources to accomplish it.  I know, it has changed my life to the point of never looking back in regret for making the choice.

 

There are many enemies out to steal your dream.  They come in the form of promotions, titles, pride, self-sabotage, friends, family, material things, etc.   The biggest enemy is, “I’m doing good” because good is the enemy of great.  If your dreams have been shattered, it’s time to dream again, only dream bigger than ever before.  The “Dream Giver” made sure you were born with seeds of greatness in you.  Break up the fallow ground, sow into the lives of others & receive a rich harvest in a life only imaginable in your dreams.

All our dreams come true if we have the courage to  pursue them –Walt Disney

Blessings,      

g                                                                                                                                                                          

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

Humbled by paperclips

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A short note this evening about an “ah-ha” moment I had today.  In processing grants there are usually several trees worth of paper involved on a daily basis.  Certain funders have persnickety requirements such as font size, margin width, word counts, no staples, page numbers, no page numbers, number of pages, double-sided pages & yada-yada!  Whew!  I’m tired just thinking of what I actually read through on a daily basis!

I am organized, sometimes to a fault!  When positioning several documents for mailing, I usually align clips in that they don’t bunch up at the same place when bundled together.  I know….anal comes to mind doesn’t it?  Anyway….I have discovered the wonderful assortment of paper clips.  I am now raising my right hand repeating, “I will not become a “clip-aholic” like I was a “pen-aholic” in nursing!!!”  There are some that just stand out in front of the rest. Sturdy, slick, heavy-duty & I always use them first.  Then there are the square ones I reserve for my files only.  And I have this cute one that is my symbol for my biz.  I never use it because I don’t want it lost.  Hey, it’s my symbol! My latest fav are the vinyl coated ones.  Colorful, clean, secure & colorful!  Yes…that’s my personality! I have found we have some regular paperclips that leave ugly marks on my pages.  God forbid!  Today allowed me the time to dig through my space & sort the ones I don’t care for.  In doing this completely worthless, time-consuming task I had my “ah-ha”  moment.  When I send documents out, I always send my semi-favorite clips leaving the ugly, distasteful ones to accumulate.  Why not send the ugly ones out instead & get rid of them?  Eureka!  I know… I actually wasted brain cells on that thought?

The gist of the story is that in my eyes they are ugly, useless & in my way.  To someone else they could be useful & welcomed.  I realize it is just a stinking paper clip, but bear with me here!  At that moment, I couldn’t help but think about the gifts & talents God has given to us.  We allow insecurities, poor self-talk, the opinions of others, fear, intimidation, or complacency sabotage  us to shuffle the gifts back in the proverbial drawer of life becoming useful to no one.  In our society we have a growing number of “given-ups”  instead of grown-ups.  We may possess an uncanny ability of drawing the best out in people, yet we shrink because if we fail, we will leave a mark on our soul or reputation.  To someone else, we could add value & display the hope, faith, trust & courage  they need to take another step.  Our smile, positive words, kindness in action, affirmation, & belief in who they can become should never be reserved, but freely offered. Who are we to hold them back because of our tarnished self-perception?

My drawer is sorted, not neatly, but sorted, (see! I’m not THAT anal! ) I purpose to send all the clips out that were once held back in hopes that when returned, they will be newer & shinier!  No! It’s not selfish! I’m recycling!   In L.I.F.E., I purpose to use the gifts & talents God has entrusted to me in hopes to help humanity.  The return will be better because I have already gained valuable insight! Who knew?

Humbled again in such a simple lesson. In-tune to learn more & more of the nature of the One who sent His best so that I may be picked from the crowd as useful.

Blessings,

g

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.-Jim Elliot

Celebrate The Memories Of…..

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In recent events involving the freeze in pay for our military, the anticipated repercussion from the capture & debated death of Osama Bin Laden, & knowing how our reservists are probably working with the disasters plaguing our nation, I want to take a moment to publicly acknowledge my sincere appreciation of all those dedicated to our freedom.

One of my Facebook acquaintances, Qais Khan, who is a Corporal/Specialist at United States Army posted this days ago:

“I’m a Soldier, I don’t make political decisions, I’m not invited to conferences to declare war, I’m not the one determining who is the enemy, neither do I choose where I should go to war next. I don’t get paid the big money to make those decisions, but I’m ready to destroy and fight until my last breath, hoping my superiors are making those decisions with keeping me in mind.”

This is the heartbeat of most of our military men & women.  Recently I joined in to provide  “A cup of Joe for a Joe” through http://www.greenbeanscoffee.com/  & it is beyond rewarding to receive their thanks of how something as simple as java brings connection to those who support them.

I heard this letter being read this morning & was moved to tears.  I honor those who have served, are serving, have lost loved ones through service, or those who know someone dedicating their lives to the service of our nation.

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,–

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

From the future, thank you President Abraham Lincoln for taking the time to acknowledge this mother’s grief.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend,

Blessings,

g

Blue Hue Effects

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Here’s a question I heard this weekend.  If you watch TV every night for 5 years & do what it tells you, will you be financially FREE? I think debt, disillusioned, distressed, & destroyed are more terms to identify the results from this practice.

Lets explore your options!  As a result of media influences, how many will:

  • have a cable package that costs more than our support to our local church or charity?
  • finance exercise equipment that is never used?
  • apply for every credit card available for rewards that will change the next month?
  •  fill  cabinets with the wrong foods & kitchen with gadgets which will supply the  next garage sale?
  •  have all the toys: TVs, game consoles, stereo equip  only collecting dust b/c they are working 3 jobs to pay for it?
  •  re-fi their house which will cost  more money annually due to closing costs than their current house note?
  • do a reverse mortgage  on a home that is almost completely paid for?
  • buy that car causing insurance payments to increase?
  • have that gastric bypass surgery, lap band, or sleeve only to realize it was a quick fix & not a discipline for the root cause?
  • join a weight loss clinic, because the previous surgery didn’t keep the weight off & they are the exact same size as before?  Now they are paying fees to join &  for purchasing boxed processed foods with little to no actual nutritional value.
  • join a gym because it soothes the middle age insecurities, become sexy,  have an affair &  lose everything they were having trouble keeping?
  • wonder why they are on Xanax for anxiety, blood pressure meds to prevent a stroke & sleeping pills to help us forget we begin the rat race over in T-6hrs!

This is just a short list of influences the media has on our daily lives.  Reality TV is as far from reality as it can get, yet we numb our minds living the lives of someone else when we were created for greatness. Reality is, we need to turn it off & engage in activities that will challenge us to become who we are destined to become.

The average person has 24 hours to a day. Lets break it down with 6-8 hours spent on sleeping; 8-12 are spent on work, not including time to get ready & commute time which could add another 2-3 hrs.  Then, once home, if you have small kids, you pick them up from daycare, do homework, prepare dinner, get ready for bed & the cycle begins again.  In that home time, how many people shuffle their kids to video games, DVDs, etc. while the blue haze from the TV hypnotize their minds away from existence?  More than I would like to calculate. So how many hours are actually left out of those 24 to spend communicating, building relationships, preparing for our future or serving others? What about using that exercise equipment?

I love movies, but discipline my time even for those.  I have not had cable in over 3 years & can’t imagine what I would do with it now.  My vice was DIY, HGTV or CSI, Criminal Minds, anything that would make me try to figure out the solution before they did which appealed  to my melancholy personality with intrigue & details! During the phase of  HGTV, DIY my budget reflected the cause & effect from those shows. I could justify that it  would save me money rather than paying someone else to do the project & believe me….I have taken on some projects.  In actuality, my time is worth more than what it takes to indulge in said projects & technically I should have paid someone to do it.  However…I have left every one of those projects behind for someone who may or may not appreciate my hard work & labor of love. For example….I spent a couple of years & quite a bit of finances landscaping a yard for a house I owned in Louisiana.  It had a beautiful semi-circle drive which I lined with white miniature Crape Myrtles.  I had a gorgeous bird house pole with a purple wisteria & extraordinary curb appeal around the house itself. Trees such as Wax Crape Myrtles, Curly Willows, Purple Plums & Cherry. Flowers like powder puff, camellias, Althea, roses, hydrangea, lilies, lambs ear, dusty miller, sweet potato vines, containers with perennials, & etc.  It was amazing & lush!   When I sold the house, the person who bought it had a fear of snakes & leveled everything.  EVERYTHING!  So much for my investment right? Of course….I was “hypnotized”  to believe it would increase the value of my home.

Anyway…below is an interesting article I found on the subject of TV media influences.   While it is from 2007 & there are many articles available, I can only hope we understand the importance of  feeding our subconscious mind.  Even if the TV is in the background, our subconscious mind is very alert picking up on what is being said & suggested. Consider the effect of what these inputs will make during the next 5 years. Monitor your budget & analyze for yourself.

Blessings,

g

http://www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html

How would you spend it?

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I am fortunate to work in an organization that honors the privilege of sharing weekly devotions.  Wednesdays are the day we, as a building, take 20 minutes to hear from the hearts of people who love to share the gospel, an encouraging word, or my personal preference, a great book.

This week was exceptional in that the devotions were presented by someone who works in the youth department for our division.  He & I share a kindred spirit of entrepreneurship.  You can tell this is intricately woven in his work ethic  &  leadership roles.  It is refreshing to have someone in the 95% realm who reinforces 5% thinking at every level.

I will use an excerpt from his devotion time that adds a twist on a question we routinely ask.  Business as well as our J.O.B.’s require strategic management of our time & resources.  There are so many great books demonstrating  how to organize your time.  “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” enlightened my senses of how time is wasted.  When I served as the Singles Director of our church there was a story that I have never forgotten.  I’m certain it came from a book I used during a Sunday School semester.  The story was told of a man who met an older gentleman still zealous about his life goals.  The older gentleman, I’ll call “Sam,” approached the man, I’ll call “Jake,”  & begin to ask questions about some of his own goals.  Sam told Jake he developed his life goals & wrote them down on an index card. Sam proceeded to pull a tattered, faded, index card out of his wallet. I can remember a few of his goals.  One was to travel the world & to date, Sam had visited several continents & his places of interest many times.  Another was to be financially independent in which Sam had been debt free for years having quite a nice nest egg.  Still another was his health.  Sam asked Jake to guess his age.  I personally suck at this, so I avoid this question at all costs!    Jake guessed a number placing Sam over 20 years younger than his actual age.  Jake was intrigued at Sam’s specific intent in accomplishing his goals & inquired how he did it.  Sam told Jake his system.  Sam takes the index card containing his life goals out daily.  He then looks at his schedule for the day & if one thing doesn’t involve accomplishing his goals, he avoids it.  This discipline, over time, (slight edge!)  has produced the results Sam ventured to gain many, many years before.  At the time of reading that story I had just started my journey as a business owner & that completely blew me away.  I had a crammed, jammed, filled schedule commanding my attention in 14 different areas.  (My number of exaggeration is always 14!! ) Between work, parenting, ministry, business, & an anorexic social life, I was stretched.  Since then, I have learned things will either move you closer to or further away from your goals.  You have the choice.  As Viktor Frankl concluded during his time as a hostage in the concentration camp, between stimulus & response is choice.

What I gather from Sam’s story is that if something doesn’t serve your dreams or goals, don’t entertain it.  I have mentioned this before & it bears repeating…..this even includes toxic relationships.  Please don’t get me wrong or read anything into this.  As humans, these people are valuable in the sight of God.  I respect them as that, love them where they are at, but refuse to allow their influence to infiltrate my life in any way.  I will never be rude or disrespectful, but I will not devote my quality time in their midst.  I have an inner circle of coaches, mentors & leaders who have full reign, while others are peripheral.  I have been a people person all my life, but somehow, this has always been a standard practice for me.


The devotional excerpt I want to conclude with is this:

Everyone has 86,400 seconds in a single day to do what they please.  We know almost a third of that time is taken away for rest during the night, leaving us with 57,600 seconds to spend & like it or not, we are going to spend it.  Sometimes it really helps or motivates us to put things into perspective.  Let me show you what I mean by that.   If these seconds were pennies, & these pennies were given to us each week, you would have $576 dollars per week given to you extra.  If the only rule was that you had to spend those pennies every week, & it didn’t matter how, just as long as you spent them, I’m sure most of use would find a way to do that wouldn’t we?  Everyone knows that you can’t get this time back, in fact, we all know that, but why don’t we seem to care?

Suggestions:

  1. Make a to-do list at the end of each day for tomorrow

    Bryce Canyon National Park

  2. From that list, set your priorities
  3. Question everything. Ask yourself: “Is doing this really important?”
  4. Avoid clutter.  Put things in their proper place.  Keep it simple
  5. Do things with excellence, but avoid perfectionism
  6. Use a calendar. Helps you see the bigger picture
  7. Think about your long-term goals: How does each thing fit with your purpose?
Funny how these coincide with the conversation between “Sam” & “Jake” right?  One of my fav quotes is, “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is what are we busy about.”-Henry David Thoreau.   We should never confuse activity with productivity.

I can’t speak for you, but Sam’s story resonates within my being these days.  Maybe entering the empty nester phase has spurred me to truly live my dash! There has been too high a price paid for our freedom….the Cross of Calvary, the courage of our founding fathers &  daily defense from our military to continue skirting around accomplishing our purpose.

Blessings,
g

Ephesians 5:15-17 (The Message)

  11-16Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

17Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.


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… 

Don’t Faint, REAP!

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Just a quick note ( I promise!) to reflect on the past few days.  By being associated with a profession that offers ongoing leadership development, we attend weekly meetings, monthly seminars & quarterly conventions four times yearly.  This is quite different from having your J.O.B. send you to a workshop once every few years expecting you to change the company environment.  While I worked in nursing, we were required to obtain yearly CEU’s, attend round table meetings, have regular in-service trainings, etc.  I have to say,  because of having that in my psyche going into this biz, I believe God set me up to have the mindset necessary to embrace what I value so dear in our Leadership Training System.

I know….short. Anyway….. Being in an arena of thousands of people expressing a common goal, community, common-unity–to change lives– one can’t help but feel refreshed mentally, spiritually, & emotionally.  It is physically exhausting, but enduring, because the mind somehow over rules the body!

This Major(what we call our quarterly conventions) created in me  a sense of experiencing an entirely new beginning.  Usually my passion for business is refueled, my vision is clarified, & new goals are established.  This time it was different in that I felt like I did when I became a business owner in Sept. 2006.  The fact that I have endured & persevered many, changes in that time period, was somehow rewarded this weekend.  I was reminded of the scripture, “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good, or abate our courage, for at the right time we will reap a harvest-if we do not give up, quit or faint.” Gal. 6:9.  I have seen people become disillusioned when they didn’t become a millionaire as fast as they thought, or reached a point of opposition & weren’t willing to relinquish their comfort zone.  Opposition could be defined as simple as not being willing to read a book, or change the source of their media input.  My heart grieves for them.  The old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”  yet it produced some of the finest scholars, artists,  philosophers, & spiritual sages who, to this day, are considered invaluable.  All I know is this, more than any other time in my business history, it was confirmed that my reward for “sticking” is totally worth my investment!

In flying home from Milwaukee, WI last night, our plane was delayed, weather in the Dallas area caused our flight pattern to be re-routed to points crazily beyond normal. Once we arrived we realized news had become widespread about the death of Osama Bin Laden.   Surreal in knowing he was responsible for using airplanes to devastate our nation in costing thousands of lives, jeopardizing our freedoms, crashing our economy & causing widespread panic, closure is finally here for us.  I found it  ironic hearing this news actually on a plane, coming home from spending the  weekend in an environment immersed with leaders who dedicate & devote their entire life helping people obtain FREEDOM.

Never the less……I am filled with a warm, reassuring feeling that I have accomplished the right thing in not becoming a statistic by quitting.

I felt this passage of scripture embraces & encapsulates this weekend for me:  Philippians 3:12-14: Focused on the Goal   “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”

When you want what God wants for the same reason He wants it, you feel you are invincible.  He will empower & equip you for the challenges.  He will bring divine appointments, divine connections & supernatural relationships your way.

Joshua 1: 6 states: “Be strong, take heart, & be courageous; for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.”    We have a promise & faithful is He who promises, who also will do it. This is the time,  this is the place(wherever you are), & we are the people.

Run like the wind!

g

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