December 28, 2010


READY8 “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” ~ Bill Vaughn

AIM8 As 2010 comes to a close, many people are looking forward to a fresh, new start with a brand new year. Before you jump ahead to 2011, have you taken time to think about what you did this year? Pause a moment to answer these few questions about 2010:

- What was your most memorable moment this year?
- What was your favorite laughable experience?
- Was there a situation that made you sad? What did you do about it?
- What was your proudest moment?

As you reflect on your experiences and memories, is there anything you would have done differently? My hope is that as you look back through 2010 you enjoyed more blessings than regrets and more laughs than tears. If you aren’t happy with your reflection, take a look in the mirror. Only you can change the course of the new year. Let’s walk together and choose excellence as people of integrity in 2011. I’m looking forward to sharing many more merry moments with you and hearing all about your successes and triumphs. Cheers to us!

FIRE!8 Take out a sheet of paper, or open a new document on the computer and jot down at least 15 new things you want to try or accomplish in 2011. You can be practical or creative, big or small. Save your list and periodically check back to see what you’ve actually accomplished. What a great way to physically see your personal victories!

Be Excellent in 2011!

December 22, 2010

Winning Christmas

READY8 “Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” ~Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

AIM8 Have you heard the Target holiday commercials about Christmas shopping and “winning Christmas?” The gal is talking about finding the perfect gifts for everyone on her list and implying that she’s going to secure the trophy for best present this year. Seriously? Is this what Christmas has come to? Sigh…editorial disclaimer ahead…

It appears to me that our society has gotten so caught up in materialism that Christmas has become nothing more than a commercial holiday. To some, it’s not a real Christmas gift unless it is purchased at a well-known department store and wrapped in expensive paper complete with required bow. Really? We’re not children any more; we’re grown-ups and we’re supposed to be mature and understand the true meaning of Christmas. I think there’s something about keeping up with the Joneses that gets into our heads (not our hearts) and we become materialistic maniacs during the holidays. I’ll admit I often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping as much as the next person. However, my eternal quest is to spend quality time with my family and friends during the holidays. This is a gift to me and to each of them.

So, if you’re on a budget this year, why not give homemade gifts? A homemade gift, whether it be food, clothing or decorations, is really a gift of your most precious commodities – your time, talent and love. Who wouldn’t want a gift that was handcrafted specifically with them in mind? Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the true meaning of Christmas does not come with a price tag.

I propose to you that in order to “win” Christmas favor this year, you do the following:

1.) Give generously and sincerely no matter where you bought the gift, how much it cost you or how long it took you to make it.

2.) Be a gracious receiver regardless of how big, how little or how unconventional the gift is that you are given.

3.) Carve out a few moments Christmas morning to find peace in the midst of the hurried pace of this week. Let the birth of a tiny baby, Jesus, rest in your soul as you reflect on all the gifts you’ve been given all year long. More importantly, be thankful for the gift God gave you long ago…the gift of life.

FIRE!8 Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Joyous Winter Solstice! (Did I miss any? LOL!) Honestly, I truly wish you and your families the best of everything this year. As I celebrate Christmas, your gifts of friendship, loyalty and love are what I cherish most of all.

Be Excellent!

December 14, 2010

I Believe

READY8 “We are what we believe we are.” ~ C.S. Lewis

AIM8 Believe! I absolutely love the various connotations this one word implies. Right now, I’m seeing the word believe everywhere I go because it’s Christmas. So for this season, does believe imply to believe in Santa, believe in miracles, believe in Jesus, believe in yourself or just believe in the magic of Christmas? I believe it implies all of the above for the right people in the right circumstances.

What do you believe? Some time ago I received a very insightful poem from a dear friend and it seemed fitting for our questions about believing. See what you think…

I Believe...
That just because two people argue,
It doesn't mean they don't love each other.
And just because they don't argue,
It doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe…
That we don't have to change friends if
We understand that friends change.

I Believe...
That no matter how good a friend is,
They're going to hurt you every once in a while
And you must forgive them for that.

I Believe…
That true friendship continues to grow,
Even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.

I Believe...
That you can do something in an instant
That will give you heartache for life.

I Believe...
That it's taking me a long time
To become the person I want to be.

I Believe…
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe...
That we are responsible for what we do,
No matter how we feel.

I Believe...
That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe…
That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it
Needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe...
That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe…
That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry,
But that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe...
That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had
And what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe...
That it isn't always enough, to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...
That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are,
But, we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe...
That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret.
It could change your life forever.

I Believe...
That your life can be changed in a matter of
Hours by people who don't even know you.

I Believe...
That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe…
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything,
They just make the most of everything.

So I ask you again, what do you believe?

FIRE!8 Believing is half the battle in life sometimes. Choose one way you can be a believer this week. Whether it’s believing you can do something yourself, or sharing your belief in someone else or giving time to demonstrate that you believe in the spirit of Christmas; just BELIEVE!

Be Excellent!

December 8, 2010

Naughty or Nice?

READY8 “Somehow, not only for Christmas, but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others, is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing, the poor and lonely and sad, the more of your heart's possessing, returns to you glad. ~ John Greenleaf Whittier

AIM8 Children everywhere are double-checking their behavior this month. Santa will be taking an inventory soon of their actions to determine whether they were mostly naughty or mostly nice. If the children are deemed nice, they will receive toys and treats Christmas morning. If the children are deemed naughty, they will wake up Christmas morning to lumps of coal underneath their trees. Hmmm…seems like a pretty easy decision. Be nice!!

What if adults were held to the same naughty and nice standards at Christmas as our children? OUCH! That sure makes some of us wince when we think about our behaviors over the past year. Were we mostly nice? Doing activities to help others, speaking kindly to family members and co-workers and taking care of ourselves? Or were we naughty? Telling little white lies, giving in to addictions or shaking our fists and screaming in road rage moments?

There is good news, my friends! It is never too late to redeem your “nice” status before Christmas. Choose to be a person of integrity and make excellent choices with your behavior, actions and activities. Just think, if “he sees you when you’re sleeping and he knows when you’re awake” then I know I am going to make sure I’m nice even when no one else is watching. Wow, seems like a lot to change in a short amount of time. Even if you simply focus on changing one small action, your positive improvement will make you feel better, and if nothing else, you’ll sleep better at night.

“So, you better watch out…”

FIRE!8 Choose at least one thing you can do today to be NICE to someone else. Better yet, choose to be NICE at least once a day until it becomes a habit. What a fun challenge to bless others when they least expect it!

Be Excellent!