September 29, 2009

Just Say No

READY8 “Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” ~ Josh Billings

AIM8 There you are once again, stewing in the familiar territory of deciding whether or not to volunteer for another committee. Is it for one of the many activities of your children, your church or your place of employment? You realize you can't possibly take on one more thing in your busy schedule. And yet, the people on this committee really NEED you. You desperately want to say yes, but that small quiet voice in your head is nudging you to say no. You take time to think it through, you may have even prayed for wisdom about making the right decision, yet your brain tries to convince you that you could really be an asset to the people who want your time commitment. Still, the twinge in your stomach raises another red flag that perhaps you really aren't meant to take on this additional responsibility. So, what do you do?
You just say no.

Truthfully, it's as simple as that. You've weighed all the options or prayed for God's leading and as much as we'd like the trumpets to blow and a billboard to be displayed with the correct answer, God doesn't often work that way. God is there in those quiet voices, those gentle nudges and those instinctual feelings of what's right or wrong. He uses those subtle nuances to see if you are truly paying attention to His direction. The good news is that when you learn to recognize those promptings and follow His leading, just saying no is absolutely liberating.
Oh, by the way, the people who needed you on their committee will most likely be understanding about your decision. Later they will discover that they actually needed a different person who was divinely appointed to help them. Guess what? It wasn’t supposed to be you this time around. Whew!

FIRE8 Stop and re-evaluate your priorities and commitments. If you are stretched too thin or have too many obligations, do yourself a favor and bow out gracefully before your lack of involvement creates stress and imbalance in your life and the lives of those who are counting on you.

Be Excellent!

September 22, 2009

Enjoying Life

READY8 "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost.” ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

AIM8 Thank you to my dear friend Melissa Z. for sending me this inspiring story a few years ago. It had an impact on me which is why I kept it. Today, I’m hoping it has an impact on you too.
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds NO quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups..... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups . They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee.

"God brews the coffee, not the cups........... Enjoy your coffee!"The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God. ~ Author Unknown

FIRE8 Send an email or a personal note to a person who has made a difference in the way you look at life. Tell them “Thank You.”

Be Excellent!

September 15, 2009

Building Confidence In Others

READY8 "To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.” ~ Author Unknown

AIM8 As we go through our lives, day after day, it is difficult to be your own personal cheerleader. In fact, some people might actually think you are a little strange if they were to witness you patting yourself on the back or giving yourself a little pep talk in public. However, it is not difficult to be a cheerleader for other people. There are so many ways you can help encourage your friends and family members or boost the confidence of students, employees and other folks with whom you are associated.

A friend of mine is a high school teacher. She has many students who walk through her doors year after year. What makes her special is that she looks for ways to make a difference in the lives of her students. She takes the time to ask them about their lives, their interests and their aspirations. She makes it a priority to remember when her students have important sports or extra-curricular activities and voices her support to each one individually and collectively. There have been times when she has actually gone out of her way to show up at their events just so they know that someone out there really cares and truly wants them to succeed in life.

Down the road, when those students are grown and have families of their own, who do you think they will remember as someone who had an impact on their life? You see, it’s the little things that count. Kind words, compliments and supportive actions do not take much effort on your part. You just have to decide that you want to help encourage someone else and make a difference in his or her life.

FIRE8 Give someone a sincere compliment today. Tell someone you are excited about what she is accomplishing. Take the time to be present to show support at a special event or activity for someone who needs her own personal cheerleader.

Be Excellent!

September 8, 2009

Little White Lies

READY8 " Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” ~ Spencer Johnson

AIM8 Have you ever told a white lie? After reading this story, you may want to rethink your options before stretching the truth.
Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Baptist Church Ladies Group in Tuscaloosa, but forgot to do it until the last minute. She remembered the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets, found an angel food cake mix and quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, and helping her son pack for Scout camp.

When Alice took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured. She thought, 'Oh dear, there is no time to bake another cake.' This cake was important to Alice because she wanted to fit in at her new church and in her new community of friends. So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake. Alice found it in the bathroom - a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and covered it with icing. Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect.

Before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter Amanda and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30AM and to buy the cake and bring it home.

When Amanda arrived at the sale, she found the attractive, perfect cake had already been sold. She grabbed her cell phone and called her mom. Alice was horrified - she was beside herself. Everyone would know! What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, and ridiculed! All night, Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.

The next day, Alice promised herself she would try not to think about the cake and would attend the fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a fellow church member and try to have a good time. Alice did not want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at Alice because she was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa but, having already RSVP'd, she couldn't think of a believable excuse to stay home.

The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old South and, to Alice 's horror, the cake in question was presented for dessert! Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake! She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor's wife said, 'What a beautiful cake!' Alice still stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, 'Thank you, I baked it myself.' Alice smiled and thought to herself, 'God is good.'

FIRE8 There is no such thing as an innocent white lie. All lies hurt someone, including the person telling the lie. Today, choose to be honest with everyone, choose to be sincere in your conversations, and choose to be a person of integrity in all your actions. I promise that tomorrow it will be easier to make those excellent choices again.

Be Excellent!

September 1, 2009

When I Grow Up

READY8 "For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 NLT

AIM8 Have you ever thought back to your childhood days and remembered what you wanted to be when you grew up? Did that dream actually come true for you? Why or why not?

Many of us go through life and simply give up on our childhood dreams. For some reason, we think that those ideas or aspirations are out of reach. Friends, God gives you the desires of your heart. If there is something you have always dreamed of doing, don’t put it off another day. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step. Whether it’s a baby step or a huge leap, God is waiting to make your dreams a reality.

FIRE8 Do something for your future today. Sign up for a college class, send your resume to your dream employer, pray for wisdom and guidance or simply take a break and rest. God is waiting to help you take a step in the right direction.

Be Excellent!