February 24, 2010

The Power Struggle

READY8 “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” ~ Jimi Hendrix

AIM8 Love is such a powerful emotion. It draws people in, solidifies their commitments and binds hearts together, forever. You can love people, pets, food, material things, money, power and so many other things. Giving love and being loved in return can be a wonderful and positive experience; however, loving money, material things and power have the opposite result.

How many of you have known people whose positions at work, in the community or with an organization went to their heads and caused a change in their behaviors? Suddenly, the people we thought we knew started acting differently and didn’t treat us the same as before. What changed? For some, the power and authority that comes with leadership positions are so stimulating that they simply didn’t know how to adjust their actions to accommodate the new attention they received. For others, the new power and authority makes them feel as if they can boss people around and talk down to others. Being in a leadership position doesn’t make them any different than the rest of us. They simply have the power to make more decisions than those they are leading. No matter if they are doctors, lawyers, the CEOs of successful companies, presidents of school’s PTAs, volunteer council members or concerned parents, they put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the titles after our names or the amount of money we were paid were symbols of hard work and effort, not licenses to treat others as if they are less than important people?

Can you imagine what it would look like if the people in positions of leadership loved the people they led and expressed their love and appreciation on a regular basis? What would that feel like to work with and for a person who genuinely cared about us? Whether it’s for a paycheck or a volunteer organization, the commitment and effort of the people involved would be magnified as a direct result of the power of love. What an amazing vision! Just think what we could accomplish if we replaced the love of power with the power of love!

FIRE!8 Each one of us in is a position of leadership over someone…a child, an employee, or even a volunteer parent. Today, express your love to at least one of those people either verbally or in writing. Let down your guard and show your love towards him or her. That small act will go miles and miles.

Be Excellent!

*Thanks to my friend, Gwendolyn, for spotting the bumper sticker that sparked my inspiration for this message.*

February 16, 2010

Don't Go To Bed Mad

READY8 “My husband and I have never considered divorce... murder sometimes, but never divorce.” ~ Dr. Joyce Brothers

AIM8 Has anyone ever offered you advice for a healthy marriage? Everyone talks about how to have a successful marriage at one point or another. Maybe you chatted with a friend over a cup of coffee, or indirectly discussed the idea while playing hoops with the guys. After the honeymoon phase ended and reality set in, perhaps you confided in a friend whose marriage you admire that marriage was not what you expected. Whether you’re single or have been married for many years, the one piece of advice that is given most frequently is “Don’t go to bed mad.” At first, you may think to yourself “Oh, that will never happen.” Unfortunately, at some point in your marriage, you will have a disagreement with your spouse that will leave you frustrated at bedtime.

Ephesians 4:26-27 says “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” As upset as we may get over a situation with our spouses, we cannot allow the devil to have an open opportunity to sow even one seed of bitterness and resentment into our marriages. Our society gives in too easily when the going gets tough. Divorce rates are absolutely ridiculous, and, unfortunately, the statistics are against us. However, there is hope! We must pause long enough to let God into our lives. If we do, He will give us insight that will allow us to open our hearts to forgiveness. You may have to swallow your pride and set aside your selfish ways in order to reconnect with your spouse. Believe it or not, you will truly feel better and God will grant you both a restful sleep that evening and joy anew in the morning. Trust me, it’s worth the effort and will sow seeds of love, trust and commitment into the promises of your marriage.

FIRE!8 Take a break and call your spouse (or a loved one) in the middle of the day just to say hello. Ask him how his day is going and simply listen to his response. Do not talk about yourself (if you can help it) and tell him you just wanted him to know you were thinking about him and you love him. Imagine what a difference you’ll make in the middle of his day!

Be Excellent!

February 10, 2010

Mmmm, chocolate!

READY8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8 NLT

AIM8 Chocolate…oh what a lovely thought. Sometimes we feel like we can’t live without it. Other times, well, we still want it, even though we feel we don’t deserve it. When we are feeling down, chocolate can make us feel happy again. (Really, there’s scientific proof!) God’s love for us is much like chocolate. We desire His love. We feel we don’t deserve His love. We can’t live life fully without His love. When we are feeling down, God’s love can make us feel happy again…if we allow it.

Our lives can be so busy, that enjoying a piece of chocolate is no longer a pleasure. We pop it into our mouths and devour it without even tasting it. Because it’s Valentine’s week, many of us will be receiving chocolate as a special gift. I challenge you to do something different for a change. When you eat a piece of chocolate, hold the first bite in your mouth for a moment. Let the chocolate melt across your tongue. Focus on the velvety smooth texture, the rich flavor and the way it makes you feel. Aaahhhh, God’s love. It’s rich, it’s like a velvet cloak around us, and it makes us feel oh so good inside. Take a minute to appreciate what is good in our lives.

FIRE!8 If you have special valentines to honor this week, be sure to show them your love, and not just by giving them a store card or treat. Go out of your way to make sure they truly feel loved by you. If you don’t have a special valentine to honor, remember, God always loves you…no matter what! He is your forever valentine and wants you to feel truly loved every day.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Be Excellent!

February 2, 2010

Little Giggles

READY8 “I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.” ~Woody Allen

AIM8 There it is again -- the sound of contagious laughter. Down the hallway I hear the giggles of my darling daughter who is playing with her best friend, her big brother. What are they doing that is making her laugh so hard and giggle so much? Why can't I laugh like that anymore? Has life become that serious for me that I don't even capture small moments to laugh?

My own curiosity got the best of me, and I just had to investigate. As I approached their bedrooms, I found my son holding one of my daughter's socks and my daughter perched up on the top bunk of her big brother's bed. She was giggling away as he taunted her with her missing sock. Oh, to be filled with the simple joy of a child and find humor in a friendly game of “steal my sock.” It made me smile, and for that moment, I felt so blessed to have two beautiful children who are healthy, love each other and laugh about the small, silly things in life.

Sometimes we just need to take a break and laugh about those things in our lives that are truly the simple, silly things. We can always learn valuable lessons from our children about not taking life too seriously. As I turned to quietly walk back down the hall, I was thinking ahead to the next time they would be getting dressed, where maybe I, too, could giggle, laugh and play a rousing game of “steal my sock.”

FIRE!8 Spend 15 minutes a day doing something totally FUN! Read a joke book, watch a silly video or play a crazy game. You’ll find that the extra time you spent this week laughing and enjoying yourself was totally worth the investment of the 1 hour and 45 minutes in your life.

P.S. What do baby sweet potatoes wear to bed? Their yammies!! :-)

Be Excellent!