Category Archives: Wealth thinking

Seasons

Standard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

g

12920306_10209039956386630_5070813261834452907_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90 days later!

Standard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings, 

g

Measurements…

Standard

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

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

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

I like this quote concerning criticism: 

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

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

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

Blessings, 

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

g

Living Sacrifice = The Difference Maker = a Great Attitude

Standard

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

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

A Living Sacrifice to God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read, reflect & realign today!

Blessings,

g

Why take the 90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge??

Standard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be the ripple & pay it forward.

Blessings,

g

Enroll in the 90 Day MFC, using # 61244967

Becoming our mothers!

Standard

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

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

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

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

Genesis 26:12-18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Blessings,

g

Who are we not to?

Standard

ImageBeing involved in a leadership development organization allows me the opportunity to utilize otherwise wasted time to invest in my self-directed education.  Let’s face it, we all lead busy lives.  I inventoried the time I have in a 24 hour period & determined where I could cut activities out which do not get me closer to my goals.  I love listening to music.  Pandora is currently playing my favorite genre selections of ’80’s, soft rock, country & instrumental right now.  In the morning while getting ready for work was time I could carve music out of my routine & plug into some amazing teaching CD’s.  This time, along with traffic time, is dedicated to feeding my psyche & not my emotions.  Over the past 6 years I have been educated in areas including politics, economics, relationships, finances, leadership, living my dash & leaving a legacy.  If you would’ve told me 10 years ago I’d be comfortable enjoying  a conversation about economics with anyone, I’d have to question what substance you’d been on!  Seriously, certain (most) subjects were met with rolled eyes & fell on deaf ears.  The only thing that changed where I was then & who I am now is associating with people hungry to learn, grow, change & make a difference in the world.  I became a hungry student & love the quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

This morning I was listening to a CD & this comment caught my attention.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  — Marianne Williamson

While all of it was brilliant, the one sentence that burned in my spirit was, “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”  WOW!  When we buy self-sabotaging excuses daily, who does it serve?  I’m fat! I’m single! I’m middle class! I’m not popular! I’m……insert your excuse here……. WHAT?  What could possibly carry any weight against the paragraph above?  Nothing!  All of these excuses can be converted to empower yourself & others.

I invite you to join me & others in taking the 90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge.  Locating where you are, where you want to be & what it takes to get there is a vital step in the right direction.  Self evaluation is a critical & often an overlooked or avoided test we should all take at different life intervals.

I recently watched the movie, The Help & adore one of the lines, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

You IS!

Blessings,

g

Seasons

Standard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make this your quest in every area of life.

Blessings,

g

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

Standard

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

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

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

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

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

She watches over the affairs of her household

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women do noble things,

but you surpass them all.”

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

g

Act like the Mom!.

If we must protest, protest ignorance.

Standard

Last week my BFF’s & I attended the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for a GNO event.  Traffic was blocked at several locations for the Occupy Wall Street protesters.  I had heard this happening in NYC, ATL, & now it was in my home town.  I have to admit, I was completely ignorant as to why this was going on.  As we passed the protesters, I read their signs & watched their passionate attempts to have their voices heard.  The Dallas PD was doing a great job as well with traffic, crowd control, etc.

In the next few days I Googled the term, 99% and found this site that helped me understand some of the reasons for the protesting.  As I scrolled through reading the comments one caught my attention.  I guess the reason it did was because the writer resonated many of my similar beliefs.  I realized at that point, I too, was a protester.  However, quite different from the ones that stand on the corners of Wall Street or other government buildings across the nation.  I believe the type of protesting I support is the fiber of what will truly make a difference in our nation.  Let me explain.

Many of the comments made in the referenced web site complained about missed opportunities, loss of jobs, inability to purchase homes, unfair treatment from the government, bank bailouts, capitalism, the rich getting richer & etc.  As I read, I realized years ago I used to chime in on such convos, but today I will not entertain being a part of them.  Instead of being part of the problem, I am becoming a part of the solution.  Following men such as Orrin Woodward & Chris Brady,  who develop leaders globally, I have learned many of the problems we tend to blame on the government are self-inflicted.  In reading & listening to the audio, “The Creature from Jekyll Island,” I understand historical beginnings of government control on money.  Gaining new information from credible sources have helped me learn how to alleviate my position as a “victim” of society & become a catalyst for change.  I am a protester against why our nation is disseminating before our eyes.

How can such change occur?  Simple.  Everyday practices done in small increments over time compound into affecting a person, community, generation & nation.  Slight edge mentality develops long-term results in every area of our lives. How much more do you think these changes will make a difference as opposed to public protesting?  A closer look at this quote reveals how:

 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.

Imagine, if you will, a small group of committed people practicing these methods stamping out the ignorance of how to live sensibly. 

A. Live within your means & begin to eliminate debt-all of it! Sit down & write out all of your monthly expenses paying attention to all purchases made within a three-month period.  There are little “foxes” that spoil the vine when it comes to sucking the life out of your income.  Such “foxes” that virtually go unnoticed are vending machines, coffee shops, convenience stores, unreturned video rentals,  purchases that allow a year or more to begin payment toward the balance, credit cards of any kind,  eating out for breakfast, lunch & dinner  during the week, smoking, alcohol, & other vices.  Mint.com, a free service, keeps me posted on purchases dividing them into categories.  Once you discover all the areas you spend money, begin targeting what you can carve away. If 50% of all marriages that end in divorce are largely because of financial stress & differences, what percentage can be eliminated when we resolve debt?

1.       Bring your lunch to work. Stop the fast food frenzy!  Your wallet, health & waistline will love you for it!  If you must stop & purchase coffee, I suggest McDonald’s.  Great coffee, great prices. This is the ONLY thing I purchase from there!  When eating out in a restaurant, drink water instead of tea or coke (I’m from the south where everything is coke first, & then you say what kind!)  Share a meal with a friend.  Did you know it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that it’s full?  Do you realize how much food you can consume before that happens?  Seriously…..portion control helps your body & wallet!

2.      When you stop to get gas, don’t go inside. Pay at the pump to avoid purchasing the junk causing your total to creep beyond the necessary.  You stopped for gas!

3.      If you need furniture, appliances or other major purchases, save & pay cash for it.  We live in a micro-wave, self-entitlement dispensation of time & this mentality has caused people to falter in their basic responsibilities of food, clothing & shelter.  There are terrific places where I live that  offer the same exact furniture at half price or less than that found at those “wholesale to the public” places offering extended credit terms.  When it comes to major purchases, I’m a research shopper.  This has paid off for me tremendously.  If you can’t pay your rent, chances are when that payment comes due, you won’t make it either.  Go even deeper than this….do you really need it?

4.      Vices can include smoking, drinking, nails, hair, spas, etc.  I have a business partner that realized he could have purchased a ticket to one of our leadership conventions with the money he spent on cigarettes.  I admire him so much for making the choice to stop smoking.  His lungs, heart, body & bank account will reveal the harvest of doing so.  Local beauty schools offer hair cuts at reduced prices.  Learning how to color your own hair or having a friend to help will benefit all involved. Set goals for other things once you have paid debt down or carved some of the other areas out of your budget if there are “must haves” in your life.

5.      Purchase used vehicles.  Vehicles depreciate the second you drive off the lot.  Reading the book, The Millionaire Next Door, enlightens us on how first generation millionaires live.  It was amazing what I realized when I read that book.  Having to have the appearance of being rich has caused us to become broke.  The wealthy don’t care about appearance.  In paying cash for used vehicles, you also save on insurance which can be applied to other areas of debt. Please be careful of the kind of used car you buy because as parts need to be replaced, you don’t want that to be a “fox.”  Mentor with someone before purchasing.

6.      Utilities can be a tremendous area of savings.  Go wind!  Use smart meters when available. If you live in a power vacuum, MOVE!  I live in a well insulated loft & never once used my heat during the winter.  Even when we were shut in due to the snow, I never used it.  There were 2 months that I actually had a credit on my utility account.  Sweet right?  I have to admit, I was the woman who would never, ever adjust the thermostat when I left for the day.  During the heat wave this summer, I complied with the request from our loft manager concerning adjusting thermostats to 85 when we left for work.  You know what happened?  Every time I got home, my thermostat was never above 76 degrees.  It was comfortable & I lowered it only when I went to bed.  I also unplug everything I can reach. This has made a huge difference.  These are the type of adjustments you make & put the extra money toward other debt & maybe you can squeeze in something you can’t live without.  Not both, either –or!

7.       Commute to work.  I never rode on public transportation until I worked a nursing strike assignment in San Francisco.  On the few days I was off, during the month there, I rode the BART.   My friends in La were very concerned for me, but when I saw elementary school children & the elderly riding it daily, I felt safe.  The first time gas prices spiked to almost $4/gallon, I asked if our workplace offered reduced bus passes.  Several of us decided to partake & it changed my daily commute costs.  Instead of being stuck in Dallas traffic, I could relax & leave the driving to someone else.  Many apartment complexes are on the public transportation lines.  Save gas, contribute to lowering the carbon footprint, resist road rage & take a nap if you want.  It is also the greatest harvest field to encourage hurting people.

8.      Cable, dish network, etc.  Get rid of it all!  How much do you currently pay in these areas?  How much are you short each month once all bills are paid?  This is a huge “fox” stealing not only money from your budget, but precious family time.  The average father spends 38 seconds a day looking into his child’s eyes yet how many hours does he spend looking at TV?  So you think you can dance is more popular than so you think you know what your children faced at school today.   There is a serious epidemic of ignoring the most important things in our lives…..the only thing we are able to bring to heaven….our family.  Replace this time with reading great books on finances, relationships, history & see how your life will change for the best!  Read with your kids.  Instill this habit at an early age. Unplug the TV & plug into your real life, not reality portrayed by someone else. If people are so far in debt, they should start a home based business or get a second job. Either way, nightly entertainment from T V isn’t the answer just like blaming Wall Street isn’t the answer.

9.      Out of town travel costs can be cut tremendously by using services such as Priceline.com & bidding on flights, hotels & rental cars.  I have radically saved in this area as I never pay full price.

B. Shelter is an essential part of our budget.  There is controversy whether or not it is better to own or rent.  I have done both & for this season in my life there is no way I would own anything unless I paid cash for it.  Unless your house creates an income or is paid for, it is a liability.   I am a design & landscape freak.  Admittance is the beginning of overcoming right?  As an empty nester, I choose to live in a loft.  I have a wonderful maintenance man who replaces my light bulbs, replaces my air filters & fixes anything that breaks (which is a tiny savings in itself right?).  I don’t pay water, trash or sewage which is at least a $60/ month savings.    There is a fabulous lawn management group that keeps our property manicured year round.  I live 8-10 minutes from work saving even more money on transportation & it is located on the DART line, within walking distance to my beloved AA Center & the popular Katy Trail for walking / biking.  I do not pay HOA fees, property taxes, high insurance prices, or other expenses included in being a homeowner. You may not believe you could move your family into an apartment complex, but there are alternate choices.  Either way, I would suggest looking at where you currently live & decide if it is the best place or if it is the source of your frustration.  Are you fighting over the lawn?  Garbage? Neighborhood situations? When you work 60-80 hours per week to make ends meet, when are you actually enjoying your oasis?  If you must purchase a home, consider an unconventional way of doing so & use NACA.com.  Not only do they offer no down payments programs, low-interest rates, but also utilize a strict budget management program which assures you buy what you can afford.

C. Clothing is a subject some people will argue over.  I speak to people on a regular basis who place this above many other areas of living importance.  Really?  Why?  Appearances right? I used to sew for myself & my kids & I know what goes into clothes.  In my area there are fabulous thrift stores, outlets & other choices where I find fashionable clothing at amazing prices.  It is my choice to shop thrift stores as a point of actually giving back to my community.  Numerous times I have found pieces of clothing with the price tag still on them.   I have also met vintage store owners shopping at the same thrift store I frequent to purchase items to sell in their shops, at an increased price of course.  I buy what I like & am not a label girl at all.  Interestingly enough, my closet contains designer clothing purchased at thrift store prices.  Buying seasonally is a great choice as well as holding clothing swaps between friends especially when small kids are involved.

D. Food, primarily grocery purchases, soars with the increasing costs of fuel necessary for distribution.  Many cities have instituted farmers markets.  This not only provides healthy alternatives, but supports local businesses.  I shop at a small, neighborhood, local, market that features all natural / organic foods primarily from local farmers.  It costs me much less than the big box stores because it is their specialty.  I purchase smaller quantities that prevent spoilage which prevents waste.  There are many wonderful ways to cut the grocery budget.  Do inventories of what you purchase versus what you never use & eliminate the difference.  Again, stop the fast food frenzy.  Allocate this cost back into your grocery budget & watch the savings add up.

I realize this has been a long blog, but after reading the reasons for the Occupy Wall Street Protesting, it has been on my heart to write.  By gaining control of our expenses, eliminating debt, taking a risk for successful entrepreneurial opportunities & making contributions to our communities, we will be the percentage of people who provide the answer our nation needs to thrive.  Just as our forefathers left the tyranny of an evil king to establish a new nation, it’s our responsibility, not our government, to establish personal change. We can’t continue to blame the wealthy simply because they choose to sacrifice & risk what it takes to succeed, while we choose to rack up debt & complain. Imagine a group of people who practice the things outlined above.  We will impact our economy in a positive way increasing capacity.  In becoming economically independent, we will provide the stimulus instead of needing one. 

Don't just carry a sign, be one!

If these suggestions are elementary to you, please consider taking the time to mentor someone who is struggling.  

Blessings,

g