November 30, 2010

Bitterness Beware

READY8 “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.” Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

AIM8 I’m certain, at some point in each of our lives, we’ve each encountered a difficult situation. I don’t mean frustration at work or juggling life and school activities. I mean a situation that rocks the very core of your soul. A situation that makes you shake your head, questions your purpose and leaves you empty with no answers or direction. It is in times like these when we need to recognize our existence, plant our feet firmly on the ground and allow God to move in mighty ways. It’s times like these when the devil looks for a weak moment to get his evil thoughts into our heads and hearts. If we let those negative voices play over and over in our minds, what will results be? A life full of bitterness, resentment, anger, depression, isolation and a wake of disastrous relationships and loneliness.

When you recognize yourself in a soul-shaking situation, stop and recognize your thoughts and feelings. Don’t internalize the negativity that comes with tests and trials. Let God lead the way and give you grace to handle each moment of each day. Turn your thoughts toward positive and uplifting changes. You may not be able to control the situation; however, you can control your reaction to the situation. If you feel that all hope is lost and no one can help you…God will always be there for you and will never leave you. He is faithful, even in the midst of the most unbelievable circumstances. Trust Him and be free.

FIRE!8 Life throws us all a curve ball now and again. Put on your gear and be ready to catch the fly balls you encounter before they get a chance to become grand slams. Grab a Bible and a good friend for reference, if necessary and let God be the umpire of your life.

Be Excellent!

November 23, 2010

Remember Your Manners

READY8 “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.” ~ Fred Astaire

AIM8 It’s Thanksgiving week! Folks everywhere are loosening up their belts for the big turkey day feast on Thursday. Some people are lacing up their running shoes to get ready for the super duper shopping day on Black Friday. What are you doing to prepare for the Thanksgiving weekend festivities?

Perhaps each one of us should take five minutes to sit down and write a list of a few things we are truly thankful for this year. To be honest, I’m thankful for good manners. I love it when I hear people using good manners with each other, especially in public. Sadly, good manners seem to have been lost in the shuffle from age three until adulthood. Even for some adults, good manners are a nuisance or an unspoken understanding. How in the world are our children supposed to grow up using good manners if they don’t even witness their parents, their teachers or the people they spend time with using good manners?

When we were young, our families reminded us regularly to say please and thank you. If we forgot to say either one of those words in the proper context, we were immediately reminded and promptly corrected. Nowadays, we’re lucky to hear people say thank you if we hold the doors open for them at the grocery store!

I am far from perfect and do not claim to be Miss Manners by any account. However, on occasion, I make using good manners a personal game. I will intentionally say thank you to my server every time he or she brings something to my table at a restaurant. As my server, she is putting extra effort into making my meal a great experience and because I appreciate her effort, I want to be sure to express my gratitude. It’s amazing what kind of response and attention you receive when someone knows he or she is appreciated. Have you ever tried it? What about the checkout line at the grocery store? Remember, we’ve had conversation about this situation before! Make the cashier’s day by saying thank you at the end of your transaction…especially if he or she doesn’t say thank you first!

What about good manners in your home? Do you tell your children thank you for listening and following instructions when you ask them to clean up their rooms? Are you making sure your spouse feels loved and appreciated for working to provide for your family’s needs? Play the good manners game at your dinner table, making sure each person says thank you after passing a requested item. Or better yet, making sure each person thanks the cook for creating a delicious meal to fill an empty tummy.

So, it’s Thanksgiving week. Make sure you don’t overlook the importance of being thankful for everything you are blessed to have and experience in your life. Use your good manners to express your gratitude with each person with whom you spend time with this weekend. Your expression of thanks will fill your heart with joy and the other person’s heart with kindness and love.

FIRE!8 Your mission this week is to say “Thank you” to each person who does something for you this weekend. Perhaps he may open a door or get you a drink; she might cook you a meal or bag your groceries. Whatever the task, take time to show your appreciation and say thanks!

Be Excellent!

November 16, 2010

Roller Coasters

READY8 “Never get on a roller coaster that leaves full and comes back half empty.” ~ Johnny Hart "B. C." Cartoonist

AIM8 Have you ever ridden a roller coaster? If you have, you know that there are going to be nerve-wrecking climbs up the clacking track and stomach-gripping drops down the steep hills. If you were brave enough, maybe the roller coaster you rode included butterfly-inducing double loops or even nauseating corkscrew rolls. Whew, it makes me sweaty just thinking about it!

Life is just like a roller coaster. Some days it feels like you’re climbing up an endless clacking track, wondering when you’ll reach the top of the hill. Other days your emotions may get tossed up and down, round and round and you are left feeling dizzy and nauseous. For most of us, life is blazing by at record speed, just like the drop of that first roller coaster hill.

So how do we survive this roller coaster called life? First, be sure to buckle up and grab the safety bar. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Safety and security in your home, with your job and your family relationships are vital to your personal success. Second, surround yourself with loving friends who will cheer you on to victory. Doesn’t it always make the roller coaster ride a little more exciting when you know you have other people screaming along with you? Finally, when all else fails, throw your hands up and enjoy the thrill of the ride. What do you have to lose other than your lunch?

So, hold your ticket firmly in your hand, take your place in line and get prepared for this bigger and faster than ever ride you’ll never forget called life!

FIRE!8 Having a rough roller coaster day, week or year? Grab a friend and throw your hands up, scream out loud if you need to relieve some tension, then enjoy a victory high-five knowing you just made it over the first hill.

Be Excellent!

November 9, 2010

The Stress Mess

READY8 “If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” ~ George F. Burns

AIM8 Long hours and difficult employees, financial and family issues that come with the holidays, children with their school requirements and endless social activities…Calgon, take me away! Stress is the result of the tremendous pressure we put on ourselves to be everything to everybody, do everything they expect, while keeping it all together at home. It’s enough to send anyone off the deep end at any given time. Here are a few ideas to help you keep your stress level in check.

1.) First of all, breathe. Right now, as you are reading this message, take a deep breath in, pause, and release it out. Ahhh…just ten simple seconds of tranquility will help your body take a much needed break.

2.) Second, escape the madness and give yourself five to ten minutes to refocus your efforts and redirect your plan of attack. You’ve probably heard that eating an elephant yard by yard is hard. However, inch by inch, eating an elephant is a cinch! Break down your stressful triggers into bite-size portions so they are easier for you to manage and experience small victories on a daily basis.

3.) Lastly, recognize that we are all control freaks at some level. Let go and let God be in control. We are not super humans and cannot possibly do everything. God can and will give us strength, patience, wisdom and peace to handle whatever life throws at us. Don’t forget: sometimes God puts other people in our lives to help.

FIRE!8 I am giving you permission for “me time.” Take a long hot shower or a bubble bath tonight. Let the stress of the day, melt away as the hot water relaxes your tense muscles. Then watch all your worries be washed down the drain.

Be Excellent!

November 2, 2010

That's A Mom For You

READY8 “Sweater, n.: garment worn by a child when its mother is feeling chilly.” ~Ambrose Bierce

AIM8 For some reason, I have felt the weight of the world on my shoulders this week because I’m a mother. I am so fortunate that my children are happy, healthy and hilarious. There is never a dull moment in our house thanks to my kids…and hubby! So in honor of all my friends who are moms, I thought I’d lighten up this week’s message with a fun little story I received from another mother. If you have ever read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff with your kids, you will love the story that follows.

If You Give A Mom A Muffin
If you give a mom a muffin,
she’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She’ll pour herself some.
Her three year old will spill the coffee.
She’ll wipe it up.
Wiping it up she’ll find dirty socks.
She’ll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
she’ll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her
she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She’ll look for her cookbook.
The cookbook is setting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse
that is being dumped out by her two year old.
She’ll smell something funny.
She’ll change the two year old’s diaper.
While she is changing the diaper the phone will ring.
Her five year old will answer and hang up.
She’ll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her
that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are… if she has a cup of coffee
her kids will have eaten the muffin that goes with it.

~ Author Unknown

FIRE!8 Hug a Mom! Being a mother is a BIG job that often comes with only a paycheck in hugs and kisses. If you are proud of your mom or a friend who is a great mom, be sure to tell her today. It might be the only formal confirmation of her hard work and efforts she receives.

Be Excellent!