December 30, 2009

Old Year Gratitude & New Year Resolution

New Year's Greetings, Dear Friends!
I want to thank you for all your kind words and encouraging notes over these past six months. I knew there was a reason I needed to send these messages, but I never imagined how God would use them to make a difference in your lives. I am so blessed to call you my friends and am grateful for your continued support. Thank you for reading my emails and and I ask you to continue providing me with your feedback...good, bad or indifferent. I appreciate your comments and enjoy hearing how these articles are helping give you a new perspective on life.

As we look forward to a new year, many of us resolve to do something different. Most people want to quit drinking, quit smoking, exercise more, lose weight, get out of debt and so on. At some level, we all want to become better people in the new year because it's a momentus occasion to start fresh and start over. I urge you to walk with me and consider becoming a person of integrity this year. I guarantee it will be harder than the majority of your other resolutions because it affects all the decisions you make on a daily basis. However, I assure you it will be the most rewarding resolution because you will not only feel good about the person you are becoming, but also you will feel good about the example you are setting for your family, friends and peers at work. So, are you with me? I will be right there alongside you and will continue providing weekly encouragement messages as we strive to become the people God intended...people of integrity!

Blessings for an amazing 2010,

Lead By Example

Ready8 "Travel the path of integrity without looking back; for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing." ~ Author Unknown

Aim8 Whether you are a parent or a friend of a child, you want what's best for the children you know. You want them to grow up to become good children, good citizens and eventually adults with good moral character. As an involved adult, there is a huge responsibility on our shoulders to help our children become people of excellence. So where do we start?

The best way to begin teaching integrity is to model good behavior; to demonstrate the results you expect from your children. If you haven't figured it out yet, you are the best example children can witness. where do you think kids hear to say "those words" you'd prefer they didn't repeat? Either they heard "those words" from someone else or, worse yet, they heard them from you. OUCH!

Take an inventory of your daily decisions. Do you spend time at work checking your Facebook account or shopping online? At the amusement park, do you fabricate your child's age to pay the lower rate? Have you ever used a copy of a software program instead of purchasing the registered product? Do you gossip about people you know, make poor movie and music choices or use credit cards excessively? Sure makes you stop and think, doesn't it?

Aside from the inappropriateness of your actions, what life message are you sending to the children around you? What does it actually cost you if you make that improper decision? The choice to be excellent and have personal integrity is always priceless and pays forward for years to come.

Fire!8 Practice what you preach this year. The next time you think about behaving in a questionable manner, STOP! Think about how it could affect your future, and the future of the children around you. Choose to behave in a positive manner. Our children are counting on you.

Be Excellent in 2010!

December 22, 2009

The Magic of Christmas

READY8 “The best Christmas of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with one another.” ~ Author Unknown

AIM8 I get such a giddy feeling every December. I love the season of Christmas and everything that surrounds it. I love the decorations, the delicious sweets and the decidedly different demeanor of the people you encounter on a day to day basis. I love shopping for the perfect present that will make my gift recipient’s heart smile. I love baking cookies with my children and making sure the snowman cookie has just the right amount of sprinkles on his hat. I love listening to Christmas music and often times find myself pulling out my cds in the middle of July, far before the season begins. I love going to church on Christmas Eve with my family and sharing the renewed joy that comes with the blessings of celebrating the birth of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I told you, I love everything about Christmas and could go on and on with reasons why I love it all.

Most of all, however, I love the magic of Christmas. Do you remember, when you were a child? You’d go to bed Christmas eve wound up with anticipation of what exciting surprises the next morning would bring? As kids, we’d be so stirred up that sleeping felt like it was going to be an impossible feat. Eventually, exhaustion and the threats of no surprises won out, and we drifted off to dreamland. Ahhh, peace and quiet at last. It’s during those quiet moments my parents would reflect on the blessings of their lives and prepare to share their blessings with us, their precious children. In the wee hours of the morning, we’d leap out of bed and hurry to wake our parents so we could race down the stairs to see what surprises awaited us. Our living room was soon filled with squeals of delight and childhood joy. The mystery and magic of Christmas morning filled the air as we tore through pretty papers and perfectly curled ribbons. My parents just watched, mesmerized by the merriment of their children and the marvelous glow on our faces as we opened the gifts we had longed for that year. It was in those moments, my parents wished they could capture the wonder, the excitement, and the love that encompassed the chaos of their Christmas morning.

It wasn’t until I was older that I really started appreciating Christmas. One Christmas afternoon, my mother and I were reflecting on the events of the crazy morning and recounting memories of Christmases past. It was then she spoke her motherly words of wisdom… “I hope someday you have children just like you.” Now, she might have meant, I hope they get into all your cupboards and pull out all your pots and pans. She could have meant, I hope they throw temper tantrums in the middle of the mall and you have to drag them off kicking and screaming. However, on that day, she meant I hope someday you have children who believe in Jesus and the magic that comes with the spirit of giving so your Christmas mornings will be filled with glorious memories…just like mine.

Thanks, Mom, for blessing me with your words of hope. Yes, we’ve had our share of temper tantrums and kitchen chaos over the years. Luckily for me, we do have children who are “just like me” on Christmas morning and fill our home with glorious wonder and squeals of delight so I can cherish the memories for years to come.

FIRE!8 On Christmas Day, take lots of pictures or even videotape the chaos! Later when things quiet down, take a moment to write down the funny things everyone said, the most memorable reaction to a gift and your reflections about the day’s events. Tuck your note away in a special place so you can read it again next year and enjoy the memories of this Christmas all over again.

Have an Excellent Christmas!

December 18, 2009

My Grown Up Christmas List

Today as I listened to Christmas music on the radio in my car, I heard Amy Grant singing "Grown Up Christmas List." It's such a beautiful song and I truly love the inspiring message of the things on her Christmas list of wishes.

This year, I have been recognizing how truly blessed my life really is. There's really nothing I absolutely have to have for Christmas (although we HAD to buy a new refrigerator last weekend - Merry Christmas, Honey!) Anyway, I must admit that I do enjoy opening a surprise gift or two on Christmas day. However, for me, my grown up Christmas list truly lives in my heart. The things I really desire aren't necessarily tangible gifts. My Christmas list consists of ways I can become a better wife, mother and friend, to love other people more deeply and to be an example of excellence for others to follow.

What's on YOUR grown up Christmas list? A new sweater, a better job, world peace? Perhaps you feel that you also want to help inspire others to greatness. If you can relate, please send those who may need a nudge the link to my blog. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of our peers, one message at a time. In the meantime, make excellent choices for yourself this holiday season. Pause to reflect on the spirit of Christmas, the humble birth of Jesus, and enjoy being enveloped by the love of your family and your friends.

Have an Excellent Christmas!

If you or someone you know would like to receive the weekly Arrows of Integrity messages, send an email to and I'll add them to the distribution list.

December 16, 2009

Be The Blessing

READY8 “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” ~ Acts 20:35 NIV

AIM8 I’ve been making some observations and thinking lately. That could be scary, I know! Everywhere I go I am faced with the huge amount of need in our world. I pass the Salvation Army red buckets on my way into several stores. Cashiers ask me if I want to donate extra money to buy Toys For Tots, coffee for the Military or groceries for the Food Bank. At the mall, there are donation boxes for Coats for Kids, ornament tags for the Angel Tree and gift wrapping services for various nonprofit organizations and churches. It is frighteningly overwhelming.

The thing that really gets me is that this ‘need’ in our world lives right in our very own communities. All you have to do is just look behind you in the grocery line, in the cubicle beside you at work, across the pump at the gas station or in the pew behind you at church. Just because there are organizations working to help provide necessities to those who are less fortunate on a larger scale via the public eye, does not mean that those who are closest to you don’t have needs too. Maybe they have houses and clothes and jobs…but are they dealing with addictions, living paycheck to paycheck or coping with relationship issues?

So what, Lori? What does that mean to me? What it means is that each one of us can help make a difference in our world, right in the community of people we know. Helping fulfill the ‘need’ doesn’t have to be overwhelming. All you have to do is make a choice each day to “Be The Blessing” to someone. Dear friends of mine adopted “Be The Blessing” as their family mission statement in order to help teach their children how to make a difference in the lives of others and how to become better people themselves. Being the blessing can be something as simple as taking a sick friend some chicken noodle soup or leaving an extra bag of groceries at the home of a working mother. You could offer to babysit free for your married friends so they can have a date night together. Maybe this year instead of buying another sweater for someone who has everything, you decide to donate that money to a special charity in that person’s name. The options to “Be The Blessing” are endless. I encourage you to get your family involved too. Ask your children or your relatives how you can all “Be The Blessing” together. I can assure you, you’ll feel amazing, you’ll teach an incredible lesson and you’ll be helping change the outlook in someone else’s life.

Remember, it’s not the size of the blessing that matters. Every small effort to help someone else makes a BIG difference. Just do it!

Check out for more information about this incredible movement. Thank you to the Figaretti family for their inspiration and determination to change our world one blessing at a time!

FIRE!8 Pay for the order of the person behind you in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant or the check out in the grocery store. Enjoy the giddy feeling of knowing you just blessed someone’s day!

Be Excellent!

December 9, 2009

Be There

READY8 “From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another… The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other." ~Emily Matthews

AIM8 It’s December, ‘tis the season for office parties and holiday celebrations. Most of us will be attending a social gathering or hosting an event of our own at some point this month. As the hostess, our nature is to make sure all the appropriate foods and decorations are ready and just the right number of guests will be invited to attend. It is so easy to get caught up in making sure we have the best appetizers, the best beverages and the best atmosphere. We spend so much time fussing over all the details of the party that we can actually forget to pay attention to our guests.

Life is too short to worry about fancy decorations or gourmet snacks. We need to slow down, evaluate what’s really important and just ‘be there’ for our guests and give them our attention. We need to sit and listen to them talk, laugh at their jokes and love their warm company. Who knows what kind of long-lasting impression you will make on an unsuspecting guest.

So this year, as you plan and prepare for your holiday get-togethers, forget about being the ‘Hostess With The Mostess.’ Order pizzas to be delivered, eat potato chips and pretzels out of bags and simply enjoy good conversation and quality time with your friends. Very likely, you will have the most memorable party of the year!

FIRE!8 Send an email invitation to a few friends for an impromptu holiday gathering. Have each person bring his or her favorite snack and a beverage to share. Look at old pictures, laugh about the good ol’ days and enjoy each other’s company.

Be Excellent!

December 2, 2009

Holiday Humor

READY8 “I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.” ~ Bernard Manning

AIM8 Every once in awhile we need to have a good laugh or two. This time of year can be stressful or depressing for some folks. So today, I thought it would be appropriate to break out a little humor to lighten up your mood. Enjoy this parody of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. Even if you don’t have children of your own, this ought to make you chuckle.

*(Disclaimer - My apologies for the lack of spacing in the poem. The blog doesn't seem to like extra spaces in this centered style. Read it anyway, it's funny!)*

A Parent’s Night Before Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas
when all through the house
I searched for the tools
to hand to my spouse
Instructions were studied
and we were inspired,
in hopes we could manage
"Some Assembly Required."
The children were quiet (not asleep) in their beds,
while Dad and I faced the evening with dread:
a kitchen, two bikes, Barbie's town house to boot!
And, thanks to Grandpa, a train with a toot!
We opened the boxes,
my heart skipped a beat-
let no parts be missing
or parts incomplete!"
Too late for last-minute returns or replacement;
if we can't get it right, it goes in the basement!
When what to my worrying eyes should appear
but 50 sheets of directions, concise, but not clear.
With each part numbered and every slot named,
so if we failed, only we could be blamed.
More rapid than eagles the parts then fell out,
all over the carpet they were scattered about.
"Now bolt it! Now twist it! Attach it right there!
Slide on the seats, and staple the stair!
Hammer the shelves, and nail to the stand."
"Honey," said hubby, "you just glued my hand."
And then in a twinkling, I knew for a fact
that all the toy dealers had indeed made a pact
to keep parents busy all Christmas Eve night
with "assembly required" till morning's first light
We spoke not a word, but kept bent at our work,
till our eyes, they went bleary; our fingers all hurt.
The coffee went cold and the night, it wore thin
before we attached the last rod and last pin.
Then laying the tools away in the chest,
we fell into bed for a well-deserved rest.
But I said to my husband just before I passed out,
"This will be the best Christmas, without any doubt.
Tomorrow we'll cheer, let the holiday ring,
and not have to run to the store for a thing!
We did it! We did it! The toys are all set
for the perfect, most perfect, Christmas, I bet!"
Then off to dreamland and sweet repose
I gratefully went, though I suppose
there's something to say for those self-deluded-
I'd forgotten that BATTERIES are never included!
~ Author Unknown

FIRE!8 Laughter positively affects many aspects of your life, including your physical health, mental well-being and energy. Read a joke today or listen to someone recount a funny story and give yourself permission to laugh out loud!

Be Excellent!