Culture Consciousness

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I love buzzwords, well… most of them.  There are some that literally force me to exercise moderate amounts of emotional intelligence.  While riding in the elevator at work, I read a poster with a very familiar scripture. Funny how I ride the elevator daily, read that poster daily & today these words were illuminated.  This is why we suggest reading scriptures, books, etc., more than once as different parts come alive each time. Studies reveal your understanding of audio recordings happens around the sixteenth time.  It’s amazing how the human mind intakes & files information.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. – Romans 12:1-2 Message

I love how this translation speaks to us about culture consciousness.  I’ve quoted this passage for years & love how the word of God is timeless regardless of the trends.  God truly is the same yesterday, today & forever as is His instructions to us.  As we attempt to fit in, become accepted, are noticed, etc., let us be reminded of what we are called to do & that is to be set apart as His chosen ones, His ambassadors.  This is the culture we should create, embrace & make appealing to the masses.

Blessings,

g

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Living Sacrifice = The Difference Maker = a Great Attitude

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

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

A Living Sacrifice to God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read, reflect & realign today!

Blessings,

g

2012 DFW Fourth of July Celebrations

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

Enjoy your freedom & celebrate our Independence!

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

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

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

Blessings & Happy 4th. of July!

g

Cloud of Witnesses

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Being a part of a Leadership Development Organization has allowed me the privilege of associating with men & women who have seriously determined to change the course of our nation.  Without haughty delusions of grandeur, this journey of change begins within each individual. Listening to their stories defining where they were, are, & will be has transformed my life.  These aren’t people who motivate simply for monetary gain, but allow us to walk with them on their daily execution of incremental, slight-edge transformations.  Through their transparency, I have learned character, integrity, perseverance, acceptance, conflict resolution, financial wisdom, how to think for myself & how to read.  This is actually a minuscule list of how I’ve grown in the past 6 years.  I can’t even imagine how anyone liked me before applying the principles learned!  I was a good person, but we all know that good is the enemy of great.

Through various outlets, our assimilation into the social networking age has afforded us access to embrace leaders thoughts & practices on a daily basis.  Instead of reading negative media content, thousands of people nation(s) wide are becoming educated in areas of commerce, finances, culture, economical forecasts, leadership, relational communication, politics, & faith.  In accepting the quest of changing our nation, it’s imperative for us to learn all of those .  You know what I like the most about all of this?  I’ve had a front row seat in observing the maturation & increase of leaders just popping up.  Leaders who are not on any lists of fame yet, but  have applied the knowledge gleaned daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly who are hands down making a difference. We all know overnight success is a lifelong journey.  I think of this scripture concerning wisdom & applied knowledge.

Prov. 1:2-7 ~for attaining wisdom and discipline;for understanding words of insight;3for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,doing what is right and just and fair;4for giving prudence to the simple,knowledge and discretion to the young—5let the wise listen and add to their learning,and let the discerning get guidance—6for understanding proverbs and parables,the sayings and riddles of the wise.7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Common people are doing the uncommon & disciplining themselves to learn, grow & change on a daily basis. Such growth is seen as they become debt free, communicate better with their spouses, develop relationships with their children, become active in the community & even commit to a higher calling, acknowledging Jesus as Lord.  But wait??? I thought we were talking about a business, right?  We are. Man, a triune being, is a spirit, has a soul & lives in a body.  Through  integration of principle based character development, every area is examined & people are amazed at what they discover about themselves. It is truly my favorite aspect.

In reading posts this morning, I had an epiphany of one of my favorite scriptures!

Hebrews 12: 1-Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

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Whales 2006
David Lavery Photography-Cork, Ireland

While this scripture primarily speaks of those saints of old who have gone before, now cheering us on, it also quickened me to think of how modern-day technology uses the “cloud” to store & maintain information.  We have a purpose & a destiny to fulfill, but most of all we have been commissioned to leave a legacy for the next generation.  We have amazing leaders, both seasoned, new & emerging who are  committed to change & impact nations.  Take advantage of this wonderful  “cloud” of available media.   Glean from their life lessons.  Impart to others what you have discovered because after all, the highest form of edification is duplication.   The information we have available will quickly obliterate the garbage in – garbage out mentality & this should be a quest of everyone.

Enjoy the journey because after all…..the journey is the destination.

Blessings,

g

The self shrinking stomach!!

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I made a Facebook comment that raised questions & I wanted to address it. Several years ago I found myself extremely obese, miserable & unhappy with the way I let myself get out of shape. This happened over a course of time & I knew better. I had worked in nursing my entire life & saw first hand the effects obesity played in disease processes & quality of life. Dietary non-compliance is a self-centered, self-inflicted death sentence with no respects to age.
In previous years I had successfully lost weight utilizing Sugar Busters as a lifestyle. I never referred to it as a diet, because it had to become who I was. I started this lifestyle again when one of my best friends underwent gastric bypass surgery. In an attempt to support her, I learned what / how she could eat & I was also going to incorporate these to help me lose weight. Win/win! Here were the most important details.

1. Eat only the amount of food that fits in the palm of your hand when cupped. This typically can be measured as 1/2 -1 cup. Don’t freak, trust me it’s not only doable, but will be sufficient.
2. Eat several small meals daily
3. Do not waste calories on non-nutritional food choices. Instead include a balance of protein, carbs, & fats
4. Sip small amounts of liquids during meals
5. No carbonated drinks
6. No battered meats. This is a total waste of nutrition
7. Exercise daily- not necessarly food choices, but this is important in metabolism, toning muscle, & preventing saggy skin as you lose weight.

Thus my friend “support” began. I was already following Sugar Busters, so I instituted portion control. I have to admit this was strange at first, but it became easier. It takes 20 minutes before your brain registers you’re full. Truth is, you’ve already eaten too much before you’re full. If you push away from the table feeling stuffed or miserable, you’ve completely overeaten. This is why sound nutritional judgement is essential. The first twinge of fullness is your sign to stop, not when your plate is empty. Resources reveal drinking large amounts of liquid with meals not only robs food of nutritional value, but it causes a pseudo full feeling forcing the need to eat sooner than necessary.  The stomach can hold a minimum of 500 ml. or 1/2 liter.  A 44 oz. cup is 1301mls.  Not only are you stretching your tummy, but washing away any nutritional value food could possibly have. These factors alone contribute to our nations epidemic of obesity & malnutrition. It sounds like an oxy moron, but it exists. I suggest watching the documentary, “Super Size Me.” Our nation responded appropriately.

The first few days of portion control were weird. When my stomach signaled hunger, I ate small portions to turn the signal off. When it signalled being full, my psyche had to completely adjust at the amount that satisfied hunger. Several small meals actually prevented my body from becoming overly hungry, increased my metabolism, therefore resisting to urge to store fat. Being on Sugar Busters eliminated poor food choices.

I began noticing I could no longer eat a regular plate of food, so I purchased less in groceries to bring meals to work. I already didn’t purchase alot of junk food for home & Sugar Busters shrank that even more. Buffet restaurants were a waste of time & money. Sharing meals with friends saved money & I could eat off any fast food menu for $2 max. At that time I was a single parent & my friends were other single parents so…. this was a huge advantage. See a pattern here?? Shrinking my meal size while instituting healthier choices not only caused my stomach to shrink, but saved money in my budget. I also wanted to believe these choices were a great example for my son, who was still at home. Obesity related disease processes lead to time loss from work or job loss from disabilities. This, in turn, leads to financial strain within families, relational compromise, & more. Wow!! Who knew food or rather misguided use of it could cause such dilimmas?? Money spent inappropriately in food is one of the largest budget busters of all time. Somehow food moved being a sustaining life force to a pleasurable destructive force. We shouldn’t live to eat, but eat to live.

Over the course of two years I lost 100 lbs. My stomach would quickly let me know it had enough. It actually physically hurt to even look at a Big Gulp sized cup.  I felt marvelous, had more energy & my self esteem increased. I went from size 22-24 clothing to 10-12 & some 8-10’s. I never added the exercise factor, but by losing this amount of weight over an extended period of time, I was never saggy!! I realize now had I added exercise, I would’ve  accomplished it faster!! But… I kept it off longer!! In reading books by the leading economist, Paul Zane Pilzer, I learned how nutrition, self esteem & money went hand in hand. He suggests that empowering people to take control of their diet /health enables them to become empowered in every area. I highly suggest reading “The Wellness Revolution & The Next Millionaires.” His books are insightful beyond description.

In the past couple of years I’ve gained some, but definitely not all, of my weight back simply because I became lax in my eating habits. As the book, “The Slight Edge” teaches…..it’s easy to do & easy not to do!! In being associated in a health & wellness business I did, however, become more & more health conscious. Watching the documentary, Food, Inc., changed my life. Learning about genetically modified foods, meat processing, hidden FDA approved practices, etc,. seriously woke me up. My new charted course was to eliminate fast foods, GMO’s, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, become 100% all natural / all organic, support locally raised producers, & more. I was now accountable to what I witnessed during my years in the medical field, & also what I’d recently been educated on. If I develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc., it was completely self-inflicted. I had the knowledge & self control to reduce these risks.

So…..I am armed, ready & excited to lose the added weight, become physically fit & feel good about it. I’ve been steadily practicing portion control & I’m definitely feeling the change. Educating myself has caused me to walk away from foods I would have otherwise allowed. While Sugar Busters helped me eliminate certain foods, I’ve fine tuned it.  I believe preparing mentally by recognizing what triggers unhealthy eating habits is critical. I’ve met numerous post gastric bypass candidates who have gained their weight back & more. This saddens me knowing the expense of the surgery was just wasted. Yes, just as you can shrink your stomach, you can stretch it again. Root sources must be dealt with & I must deal with mine daily!!   Here are some of those daily health & budget  practices:

1. I rarely now, if ever, eat fast food regardless of being hungry or how convenient they are. Once you watch Food, Inc., you won’t either!!  I avoid chain restaurants to support locally owned & operated establishments. I read every label of food I am not familiar with. If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it. Period. For instance … do you know what’s in your ice cream? Even some of my favorite Braums, Blue Bell, Ben & Jerry’s?? Nope. I resort to locally owned places who make home-made gelato. Afrah’s in Richardson!! 75 N> Main street exit #24B. You know I love them now right? I know that’s an isolated example, but seriously ….. read labels. If you must purchase ice cream, I suggest Breyers or the all natural from Aldi.

2. I confess. I love chicken just about anyway you prepare it. I haven’t been a fan of red meat for quite some time, but chicken is my love with tilapia or salmon in second place. I used to eat Popeye’s chicken every Tuesday because I could eat 2 pieces for $1.07. Hey that was frugal & portion controlled right?? Right, except it contributed to the obesity-malnourished epidemic!! From July 5, 2011- Jan 5, 2012 I went without eating one piece of fried chicken. Once I ate it again, I realized it wasn’t worth adding it back in my life!! I make things myself & have my own rotisserie. It’s excellent for chicken, pork loin & veggies. Even better…..no preservatives & budget conscious. I’ve recently discovered Pollo Regio. A locally owned mexican restaurant that serves the best grilled chicken I’ve had in forever. I’m not sure of their ingredients, but I am learning Spanish!! That will be a special treat only!! Chipoltle is my choice for southwestern style burritos as they are a featured supporter of pasture raised animals. Their amazing story is shown in Food, Inc. Since their portions are so large, I have two meals for the price of one burrito bowl. Portion controlled, frugal & nutritious. Yay!

3. I went from drinking Diet Coke & sweet tea to water with lemons. Maybe twice yearly I’ll have a DC.  When I had my knee surgery I purchased Sierra Mist because it contains real sugar. It took every fiber of my being to drink Sprite in the recovery room!!  Do you know how much you can shave off your bottom line charge when eating out by just drinking water?? Lemons are such a tremendous benefit as well. Read about it!! Some sources reveal using lime or lemon in water may avoid some food borne sickness when eating out.  I’ve completely eliminated all sugar substitutes & I’ve recently reduced my sugar consumption used in coffee / hot tea to half. I use only organic sugar & local, raw honey. My favs are a Whole Food vegan (as if sugar cane has a heart right?) or Zulka, a mexican variety.

4. I rarely ever go to Starbucks. This was more of a budget buster & over rated addiction for me. When I do go, I get the coffee of the day. When traveling & want coffee, I stop at McDs (the only thing I buy from there!!) When meeting a business partner locally, I meet at Oak Lawn Coffee or Buzzbrews. Oak Lawn is locally owned using their coffee to support local causes. Buzzbrews coffee is $2.50, bottomless & oh so good! An added bonus…..Buzzbrews offers vegan/vegetarian choices & purchase all their bread from a local indy baker. Alternative sources are available if you seriously value your health & budget.

5. Farmers markets are wonderful, but I always ask where their products are from to avoid purchasing food overages from chain distributors. I primarily shop from Aldi,Kroger,Sprouts, Whole Foods, or Central Market. Again…read labels.
I know you think this must be expensive, but they are more economical than Walmart. I purchase enough veggies/fruit for three days at a time only. When I bought more, it wasted, causing me to throw money in the trash. Nutritious & frugal. This requires meal planning, but is so worth it. Buying fresh veggies supports my preservative free practice!!

6. I’m lactose intolerant & drank soy milk for over 10 yrs. Food,Inc. exposed Monsanto GMO soybeans, so I boycotted by switching to rice milk. It’s made from brown rice which is essentially a protein. I support a cause & provide an alternative protein source. This was a huge sacrifice because I loved soy milk, but you know what?? I fell in love with Rice Dream Vanilla milk! I have now switched to Aldi Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk. I sweeten with stevia for eating cereal.
My yogurt of choice is Aldi greek yogurt. Of course they are all natural, hormone free, yada-yada. That’s a given!! Every day for breakfast eat one yogurt with probably 2 Tbsp Flax/Chia mixture purchased from Big Lots. It’s yummylicious!
Do yourself & your kids justice by reading yogurt labels. They’re frightening!!

7. Grain/ nut sources are important & I choose those carefully. I rarely, if ever buy bread just to have at home. When I do, it’s Ezekiel or Genesis bread found in the freezer section because it’s live sprouts. It’s a complete protein source & good. Pastas are rare, but I generally get the vegetable trio. I do love glass looking rice noodles & my mac & cheese is Ann’s organic brand. Although I don’t eat rice alot, I love Jasmine, Brown, or Basmati rice.  Without consciously doing this, I’ve eliminated gluten almost completely. Quinoi is my newest love. It’s fabu with sauteed veggies!! I purchase unsalted nuts & grind my peanut butter fresh at Kroger, Central Market or Whole foods. I won’t even buy the containers they graciously grind for us! I buy small quantities to avoiding spoiling. There’s nothing better than PB on my banana!

8. My friend had been following the blood type diet achieving great results not only in the way she feels, but with losing weight. I read that book eighteen years ago & said I’d NEVER do that. Want to know something funny? In my process of eliminating bad food & becoming health conscious, I’ve perfectly adopted the Type A diet without even knowing it. Never say never.

9. My most recent dietary elimination is excess use of salt. You have to understand how big of a deal this is. I was the kid who would sneak rock salt to school & pass it out like candy. It was nothing for me to simply pour salt in my hand & just eat it. Everything was better with salt. Grapefruit, apples, watermelon, canteloupe, tomatoes, avacado, celery & more.
Well…..salt isn’t my friend due to making my ankles swell. Cankles aren’t attractive! This adjustment meant not eating bottomless bags of sunflower seeds, jerky, pickled delicacies, bacon,(What?)sausage, & etc. I switched to sea salt & most recent, pink hymalayian only. Guess what? By consistently following a raw food diet several times a year & resisting the urge to add salt, things are now often too salty for me. This one process eliminated yet another entire group of unhealthy food choices. Yaaaaaaaay!

10. The final tidbit is drinking more water. I mentioned earlier not to drink so much with meals, but this advice is targeted throughout your entire day. From the moment you get up until you go to sleep, adjust your water intake way up. Unless you are on fluid precautions, drinking a gallon of water every day should be a goal. More often than not, we eat instead of adequately hydrating our body. We mistake thirst for hunger, hit vending machines (another blog entirely!), & rob ourself from the opportunity to crash the viscous cycle of being healthy. I consider the water used to take my morning supplements, drinking during work hours, my drive home, dinner meals & even the water I drink when I get up during the night. One gallon is an easy measure to accomplish. Be creative. Use sliced cucumber with mint, lemon, ginger & etc. Before long, you’ll crave it!

So you see…self-shrinking your stomach & adopting a healthy lifestyle really is possible. I’m already down a size by reinstituting this practice.
Discipline yourself by instituting several small,nutritionally balanced, quality meals while decreasing the quantity. Add exercise & you’ll accomplish so much more than weight loss.  Commit to your health because you & your family are so beyond worth it.

Blessings,
g

Interview between Robin Sharma & Richard Branson

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It amazes me that once I began submerging myself in leadership development information, my interests completely changed.  Instead of picking up a magazine or reading a completely negative, gossip-laden, news post, I gravitate toward entrepreneurial articles that will challenge me toward attaining my goals & dreams.

I subscribe to emails from Robin Sharma & this is one describing his interview with Richard Branson.  I admire both of these men & wanted to share with you.  Enjoy!

Blessings,

g

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hey Geneva,

I hope you’re great! Just finished an event with Richard Branson in Bucharest (a city known as the “Paris of The East”) and wanted to share my takeaways with you to help you take your career and life to its next level of wow.

ImageRichard was polite and larger than life. A pleasure to share time with. And a man who clearly adores all he does. I encourage you to read his autobiography “Losing My Virginity” as well as his book “Business Stripped Bare” if you haven’t gone through them yet. Uber-inspiring. For people who want to become Remarkable Entrepreneurs – and express their absolute best.

Anyway, I’ll get right into some of my observations as well as the ideas we discussed. Please don’t underestimate the power of these simple ideas – superbly executed, they yield brilliant results.

1. Politeness Matters. As mentioned, Richard Branson was unfailingly polite. He mentioned to me that when he was a kid, if he criticized someone, his mother would make him stand in front of the mirror at home and say, “what you’re seeing in others is really what you’re seeing in yourself. So look in the mirror.” This educated him on the key leadership habit of looking for – and then encouraging – the gifts and talents within other people.

2. Be Massively Independent. When Richard was just four years old, his mother stopped her car and instructed him to find his own way home, over many miles. When he was about 12, she told him to cycle 100 miles to Bournemouth alone, to visit a relative. He expressed to me that these childhood experiences were his mother’s way of growing his self-reliance. And building the invincible inner core that has served him so well as an entrepreneur.

3. Screw It – Just Do It. What makes a great company (and great life) isn’t so much the inspiring idea as the flawless execution around the big idea. As Edison once said: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Richard shared that much of his success came from his philosophy to disregard the naysayers and those telling him his dream was impossible and just get the dream done. (Please remember: the impossible is generally just the untried). This is a man with a giant bias towards action.

4. Lavish Praise on People. I know you know this: the bigger the dream, the more important the team. Having worked with many of the best entrepreneurs in the world, I’ve learned that every single one of them gets that you can’t do it alone. Beautiful to have a brave vision. But the real key is finding the genius-level talent to get that vision delivered into reality. And if all you know how to surround yourself with is mediocre people, you’re destined to experience mediocre results. Richard is brilliant at finding the right people that bring his targets of opportunity to life. And he confirmed that once they are on his team, “I lavish them with praise.” Our takeaway: relentlessly celebrate+develop+inspire your people.

5. Be a Radical Innovator. When he was a young entrepreneur with nothing more than the little college newspaper THE STUDENT, he still showed a lust for disregarding all the rules. He challenged the status quo. And disrupted what was considered normal. An example: he somehow was able to get John Lennon to do an original piece of music for him. He then put the song on a special disc and packaged it into the newspaper, right next to the interview he’d done on the rock ‘n roll legend. At Virgin Records, he recruited the Sex Pistols and reinvented a whole category of music. At Virgin Atlantic, he gave passengers massages on airplanes and dropped them home in limos. And with Virgin Galactic, he’s taking people into space. Very cool. Fantastically bold.

At the Bucharest meeting, he told the 2500+ people in the concert hall that “sometime in your lifetime, every one of you will have visited other parts of the universe.” And I believe it.

6. Build Your Brand. Richard Branson gets branding. He knows what he – and the Virgin name – stands for. Fun. Good Value. Strong customer service. And so at every possible opportunity, he evangelizes all it stands for. Oh, and he’s also clearly a master of getting attention. From hot air balloon adventures that made global news to showing up at a press conference nearly naked to promote Virgin mobile, this Remarkable Entrepreneur gets the value of owning a share of our brain cells.

7. Find Your Necker Island. Get this: Branson paid roughly $300,000 for his beloved Necker Island. He and his then girlfriend Joan were visiting the Caribbean on a getaway. They fell in love with Necker – but it was about $4,000,000. But he wouldn’t give up (let’s never discount the power of a ridiculous amount of persistence around your most closely loved goals). A few months later, the owner needed cash. Branson made his deeply discounted offer. It has served as his retreat away from the world for many years. Here’s the real point: in the world of so much noise and complexity, find your personal retreat (even if it’s an aged wooded bench in a public garden) where you can withdraw to think+create+renew+rest.

8. Lucky Wins. We make luck. Enough said.

9. Don’t Do It If It’s Not Fun. Branson wears a smile pretty much all the time. He laughs naturally. And radiates happiness. Zero doubt: he loves his life – and all that’s in it (George Clooney said he’d swap his life for Richard Branson’s – much to the delight of Richard’s wife). The lesson for us: life’s just too short to be doing work that destroys your soul. This is the best time in the history of the world to become an entrepreneur. Find work you adore. And get busy changing with world with it.

10. With Gifts Come Responsibilities. OK, so Richard Branson’s one of the richest people on the planet. But he gets that being good trumps shiny toys. He mentioned to me that, “with great wealth comes great responsibility.” And so he’s spending a lot of his days evangelizing Virgin Unite, his foundation that helps kids in need. Reminds me of what my amazing father taught me – using the words of the great poet Tagore – growing up: “Robin, when you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Son, live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.”

So there you go. What the iconic Richard Branson shared with me on a sunny Wednesday in Bucharest. I hope the lessons also serve you well.

Robin

Why take the 90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be the ripple & pay it forward.

Blessings,

g

Enroll in the 90 Day MFC, using # 61244967

Becoming our mothers!

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

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

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

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

Genesis 26:12-18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Blessings,

g

Who are we not to?

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

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

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

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

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

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

You IS!

Blessings,

g

Seasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make this your quest in every area of life.

Blessings,

g