September 25, 2013


READY... “It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.”  ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

AIM…  “Why can’t you just listen to me?”  Ugh!  It’s extremely frustrating to me when my children do not listen when told to do something.  Most days I just feel like the only thing coming out of my mouth is the droning sound of the teacher in Charlie Brown comics, “Whaa – Whaah,  Whaa – Whaah – Whaah.”  (I know you just sounded that out so you could recall the voice yourself.  LOL!)  But seriously, I just want my words to be heard and acknowledged.

It is just as frustrating, if not moreso, when adults don’t listen.  Humans have an innate need to be heard; whether it is to voice an opinion or to provide instruction. However, the receiver of that information must decide to hear what you are saying. Your need to be heard will never override a person’s decision to hear what you are saying. After all, we can choose to listen to music with explicit lyrics, or we can choose not to listen to our co-workers gossip.  We can choose to listen to the sounds of birds singing in the morning, or we can choose not to listen to the cricket chirping in the corner of the basement.  Listening can be good and listening can be, well, not so great.  What we do with what we hear makes all the difference too.

So, are you a good listener?  When having conversation with another person, do you look him in the eye?  Are you engaged in the details of her story or do you check out and look around the room?  If you desire to be heard when you speak, I urge you to become a good listener to others.  Perhaps you will find they will return the favor. (Now, how can I convince my kids to LISTEN to my advice??)

FIRE!  Today, instead of checking your email, texts or Facebook updates on your smart phone, give your friends, family members and colleagues your full and undivided attention.  You’ll be surprised at the positive connections made through this simple act of respect and good listening skills.

Be Excellent!

September 3, 2013

The Pain of Change

READY  "There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.” ~Aldous Huxley

AIM…  Until the pain of change is greater than the pain of staying the same, people will choose to do what they know.  Sigh.  I know.  I have realized that I am no longer a spring chicken.  I’m starting to feel my season in life: emotionally, physically and financially.  I guess that means I need to make some changes in order to feel differently. 

Change is hard, though.  I don’t know about you, but I like it when I feel comfortable with my life, my routine, and my environment.  I don’t like it when my schedule gets shaken and stirred.  However, I do know, that when my life starts turning upside down, it’s time to embrace the new change that’s about to happen.  Yes, this mid-life mama has got to take time to care for herself and tackle some of these necessary changes head on.  What are you facing in your life that is pushing you to embrace a new change?

As we step out of our comfort zones to grab ahold of our new changes, remember it’s often helpful to enlist a friend who wants to change too.  Sure, it’s easy to tell yourself you are going to make the necessary changes to move ahead, but the accountability of another partner might be just the key to push you into making the next step forward and maintaining your commitment. So how ‘bout it?  Let’s stop procrastinating and start today making a baby step in the right direction for the positive changes we need in our lives.

FIRE!  Ask a trusted friend to help you start, and maintain, momentum toward achieving a new goal in your life.  Give her permission to ask you regularly about your progress.  Whether it’s making a career change, adjusting your budget, starting an exercise program or simply taking time each day just for yourself, you are worth every step that places you that much closer to victory.

Be Excellent!

August 22, 2013

When It Rains

READY... “I will send you rain in its season and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit.”  Leviticus 26:4  

AIM...  When it rains it pours… and pours and pours.  The first part of this summer was hard.  It rained EVERY DAY for at least 14 days straight, and I’m certain a few more.  YUCK!  I was beginning to think I missed the memo to start building my ark.  During that time, I began detoxing from all my commitments, everyone’s expectations and unplugging from my once over-committed, candle-burning-at-both-ends life.  As gloomy as the weather was outside, my driven spirit started feeling like I was stepping into a gloomy funk.  (Hence my divine absence, Friends.)

However, as the sun began to shine and brighten our summer, the fog started lifting on my gloomy funk and new life breathed into my world.  Ahhh, the refreshing and relieving sight of a clear calendar and no formal obligations.  While that moment only lasted for about 30 seconds, I reveled in the peace that flooded my once overwhelmed heart and mind.  I realized that the “Son” was shining and Jesus was trying to lift away the fog in my life and His light wanted to grow new fruit in me.  Galatians5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”   In order for trees to bear the best fruit, they need plenty of sunshine and water (rain).  Apparently, in my life, in order for me to actively demonstrate and enjoy the fruits of the spirit, I too need plenty of “Son”shine by letting God “reign.”

When it rains it pours.  BUT, when God reigns in your life, He pours blessings into your world.  He pours forth His love, His mercy, His forgiveness, His tenderness, His peace, and His everything wonderful.  Next time it rains, I will look to the sky and be grateful for the bountiful harvest that is to come.

FIRE!  Take a quick break to step outside and enjoy a moment of sunshine today.  Ahh, the warmth of the sun feels so good you can’t help but sense God’s love shining down on you…not to mention the boost of Vitamin D – divine vitamins!  

Be Excellent!


June 6, 2013

The "F" Word

READY... “Insane people are always sure that they are fine.  It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”  ~ Nora Ephron

AIM... It’s the most common response out of everyone’s mouth, “I’m FINE.”  Yep, it’s that infamous “F” word which covers so many bases.  When someone asks how we are doing, why do we resort to telling folks we are fine when, in fact, we are most often not fine.  Why don’t we say we are fantastic, fabulous or fair?   Why don’t we say we are freaked out, in a funk or feeling frustrated?  More often than not, we don’t want to take the time to share how we really feel because we don’t want to get into a discussion about what is really going on in our lives.  However, there are times we don’t want to share our real feelings because the person asking isn’t someone we would necessarily share our intimate details with; he is simply being polite in his asking.

So, are you resigned to live a life that’s simply fine?  I encourage you to step outside of the “fine” life and live boldly and own your feelings.  If someone you trust asks how you are doing, surprise her with a REAL answer.  You might be amazed at her response because you didn’t just pass her off with the typical “fine” answer.  Be great.  Be sad.  Be angry.  Be under the weather.  Be peachy.  Be overwhelmed.  And always…be excellent!
FIRE!  For one day, I challenge you to be anything but FINE.  Use this challenge as a fun experiment to see what kind of reactions you receive from folks.  If nothing else, it will be an entertaining day!  

Be Excellent!

May 23, 2013

A Letter To My Teenage Son

READY... “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NKJV

AIM... A Letter To My Teenage Son:

Wow!  You are growing up fast!  Wasn’t it just yesterday you were watching Blue’s Clues and playing with Thomas the Train?  So many things seem to have changed in your life, and my life, in such a short time since you turned 13.

You know, being a teenager is hard, but being the mom of a teenager is hard too.  As you continue to grow and mature into a young man, here are a few things I want to make sure you know:

1.    I love you; plain and simple.  When you are happy, I love you.  When you are sad, I love you.  When you are mad at me, I love you.  When you make mistakes, I still love you.  I will celebrate all your victories, big and small, and love you always.

2.   Be yourself.  Learn to love who God created you to be.  You are unique and different.  There’s no one else in the world like you.  When everyone wants to look the same and do the same things, do what YOU want to do and wear what YOU want to wear.  Kids may tease or make fun of you – it’s just because they are jealous of your self-confidence and it’s the only way they know how to cover up their insecurities.  Do your best to ignore them.  They aren’t worth your time and energy.

3.   Do your best. Always.  No matter what you do in life, make sure you always give it your best effort.  Whether you are taking a test in school, playing music for a concert, trying out for a sport, mowing the grass, cleaning your room, or babysitting your little sister – you want to be sure you’ve given everything your best shot and can feel good about the outcome or end result, whatever it may be.  No one likes receiving a bad grade or having to re-do a chore or job.  However, if it was performed with your best effort, then you’ll have no regrets.  If the results aren’t as you expected, evaluate your effort and try harder next time. 

4.   Be a good friend.  Everyone needs at least one good friend they can count on.  Be sure to listen when your friend needs to talk.  Stick up for him when the world attacks.  Lift him up when the chips are down.  Have a high five and fist bump ready when he’s successful.  Be supportive an encouraging when he’s scared.  Be trustworthy and learn to keep his secrets.  Be loyal and stand by him through the good and the bad times.  Have fun together.  Laugh until your stomach hurts.  Be buds for life.

5.   Respect girls/women.  You are just starting to recognize the external beauty of young women.  As you mature, you’ll realize that external beauty is a bonus – the real beauty of a woman comes from her heart and her character.  Treat girls with kindness.  Be polite.  Open doors for them. Offer your seat so a woman can sit down.  Be a hero and a knight in shining armor.  Be a good listener.  Buy flowers, just because.  Laugh together.  Treat her like a princess.  Smile.  Be kind to her mother and father.  Tell her she’s beautiful.  Be faithful.  Be a gentleman at all times.

6.   Be a young man of excellent character.  Make wise choices.  Be honest and trustworthy.  Never compromise your personal standards.  Establish boundaries.  Have integrity.  Stand by your good morals and values.  Always remember it’s important to do the right thing when everyone is watching you, but it’s more important to do the right things when no one is watching you.

7.   The love of money is the root of all evil.  What I mean is, it’s ok to work hard and make a good living and to save some money for a rainy day.  However, money doesn’t buy happiness; it simply gives you opportunities for more choices.  Your attitude about money can make or break you.  Don’t be greedy.  Be responsible with your money.  Save some, spend some, give some away.  God gave you the ability to earn your money, respect Him and give 10% back to God.  He will always provide for your needs as long as you are responsible.  If you can bless others, be a blessing.  Make wise choices about how you spend your money.  Just because somebody has brand new things, doesn’t mean you need to have the same brand new things too.  They may be in debt up to their eyeballs.  Be smart.  Buy what you need, when you need it and a little frivolity now and then is ok.  Having lots of money and things doesn’t make you a good person or a better person.  Period.

8.   Just say no to drugs and alcohol.  Seriously.  All it takes is one time and you could be dead.  Get high on having fun in life.  Don’t think a medicine is going to make you feel good about yourself or what’s going on in your world.  Learn to have fun without those outside influences.  You’ll be safe.  You’ll be responsible.  You’ll be thankful because you will see what drugs and alcohol will do to the kids around you and it’s scary, sad and will negatively affect you for the rest of your life.  Make smart choices.

9.   Sex is beautiful….when you are with your wife.  God created man and woman to have children and grow the world.  He wanted sex to be a symbol of love between a husband and wife who are committed to each other for life.  Unfortunately, our world has taken this beautiful connection and ruined it with all sorts of perverse media outlets and empty promises of satisfaction outside of the safety of marriage.  I can only hope and pray you will shield your eyes and ears from the negative sensations that will tempt you in school, work and life.  My prayer is for you to commit to a pure heart, mind and body that you can gift to your wife on your wedding day.  I promise, it will be truly beautiful for you both.

10.  Above all else, God loves you.  All these things I’ve told you are ways you can grow up to be a mature, young man.  However, life is full of difficult situations and temptations.  Should you trip up, make a poor choice or fall short of your ideals – God will still love you.  He created you, designed you for a purpose and already knows what you are or aren’t going to do.  And yet – He still loves you.  Nothing is greater than God’s love and His promise of heaven and eternal life.  So remember, you are human, you will make mistakes in life; but God will be waiting with open arms to hug you, welcome you back, give you peace and love you no matter what…forever.

I hope you take these words to heart.  Please know I only care about your well-being and want the very best for you while you are in my care here on earth.  I believe in you, always, and look forward to the future and watching you grow into an even more amazing young man.

Love you always,
Mom  xoxo

FIRE!   Teen years are trying years.  Do you know a teenager?  Make a date to spend time with him or her over ice cream this summer and talk.  Ask questions.  Listen to his responses.  Affirm her dreams and aspirations.  Be intentional about connecting.  You will be an incredible blessing.  

Be Excellent!

May 14, 2013

I Gotta Rep To Protect

READY...  “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”  ~ Benjamin Franklin

AIM…  “Hey, I gotta rep to protect!”  These days, most kids don’t seem to care about their reputation.  In fact, many of them think it’s funny or cool to have a questionable reputation because that gives them notoriety.  Really?!?  Who told them those actions or behavior choices were cool?  Why aren’t their parents correcting their uncool behavior?  Perhaps their parents are too cool to correct?  You know the ones; “those parents.”  The parents who think it’s fantastic that they are their kid’s friends.  The parents who don’t read their kid’s text messages or review their Facebook page or Instagram profile.  The ones who think curfews are old fashioned and watching inappropriately-themed movies with their kid is hilarious.  Really?!?  Who told them those actions or behavior choices were cool?  What would THEIR parents have to say?

Truthfully, the pressure to be a cool parent is daunting.  However, the pressure to raise your children to become responsible, God-fearing, intelligent, polite, outstanding citizens is even more daunting.  It takes time to sit down and talk to your children about their lives, who they are hanging out with, and what they like or dislike.  It takes time to review their technology usage, monitor their electronic conversations, and ask questions about their online friends and connections.  It takes time to investigate movies, music and the latest apps and establish age-appropriate boundaries AND enforce those boundaries.  Other parents might say that you are weird, uncool or not normal to be infiltrating your kid’s world.  I say, I’d rather be uncool and weird every day of the year and know I have a kid who is going to make a positive difference in this world.  Hey, I got a rep to protect too!

FIRE!  Talk to your child (or a child in your family) about what they get excited about or what they really like to do (other than play with electronic devices.)  Get interested in a few things they enjoy and see your connections grow and your positive influence will rub off.

Be Excellent!

April 19, 2013

One Moment

READY... “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away.”
AIM…  Twenty-four hours a day.  Seven days a week.  Can you do it?  Can you stop long enough to hit the pause button in your life for just one moment?  One moment.  How long is that really?  Is one moment the same as one second or is one moment one minute?  No matter how you interpret it, one moment is all it takes for you to realize your life could be over in one moment.  One moment is all your need to recognize you are blessed with many of life’s conveniences that others cannot afford.  One moment is all you need to give thanks to God for the loved ones you are surrounded with who care for you day after day.  Yep, that’s all it takes is one moment. 
Life is zooming by at lightning speed.  It could all come to a screeching halt in one moment.  Let’s take one moment to breathe; be thankful; think of those who are less fortunate; love with all our hearts.  And maybe, just maybe, we’ll realize that moment by moment, life is just too precious not to appreciate our moments and savor every single one.
FIRE!   Here’s your one moment.  What will you do?  Ready?  Go…
Be Excellent!

April 5, 2013

Lost In The Fog

READY... “It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world.  Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.”  ~ Joseph Conrad

AIM…  Slowly, the cloudy haze rolled in across the grassy field.  Moment by moment, the mist crept closer, sweeping my face with sprinkles of the wet air.  Soon, the fog enveloped my entire being.  I could no longer see past the end of my outstretched hand.  It surrounded me.  I was lost in the middle of what seemed like a vast nothingness. 

Ever feel like you’re caught in the middle of a huge brain fog?  Yep.  That’s been me for the past few weeks.  I apologize for not keeping my loyal readers stoked with inspiring messages.  I’ve literally been lost in the fog. 

So much has been going on in our media I wanted to address.  But with the sensitivity of the topics, what would be appropriate?  So many exciting things are going on around me.  But what should I share and what’s been overdone? 

I’m stepping out of the fog today, ready to recommit and challenge my readers.  You may like what I share, you may choose to disagree.  That, my friends, is what makes this world interesting.  We all have voices and we are all entitled to share our views.  My hope is that your view is steeped with integrity, good moral fortitude and a passion to change the world.  Are you ready?  Let’s step out of the fog together.

FIRE!   Being stuck in the fog is not fun.  You can’t see in front of you, behind you or even on either side of you.  Today, shine your light and step out of the fog.  Make a commitment and let’s go for it!

 Be Excellent!

March 13, 2013


READY... “This above all:  To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”  ~ Hamlet, Shakespeare
AIM…  Are you being true to your own self?  Do you act differently around different people?  I mean, who ARE you, really?  Being authentic is simply being you.  You know, the genuine, unaltered, real version of you.  Do you even know who YOU are?  It seems that people have so many expectations about who they want us to be in life. However, the only people we have to be is ourselves.  If you have to change who you are to please someone else, that should raise a huge red flag.  A leopard doesn’t change its spots; we shouldn’t have to change our personalities either.  As long as we have a clear conscience about the life we are living and the choices we are making, we have nothing to worry about. Just be real!  Authenticity is hard to validate in our society.  However, just give it time.  A fake person will reveal herself one way or another. When you are yourself, you chose the easy path.  If you are being yourself, you’ve got nothing to worry about.  You won’t have to fill shoes that your feet don’t fit into.  What a relief!

FIRE!   Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently.  This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.  ~ Lance Secretan.  Isn’t this exactly what we are all looking for; authentic leaders and friends we can trust?  So…what about you?

Be Excellent!

February 28, 2013

The Blessing Of A Friend

READY... One good reason to only maintain a small circle of friends is that three out of four murders are committed by people who know the victim.” ~ George Carlin

AIM…  “You gotta have friends.”  “And friends are friends forever.”  “That’s what friends are for.”  There are so many different songs singing the praises and value of a good friendship.  It’s true.  Friends really can be friends forever.  Friends are there to cheer for you in the good times and cry with you in the not so good times.  Friends are there to laugh with you until your stomach hurts or you pee your pants.  Friends are there to pick up the pieces when life crumbles around you and help you put them back together.  Truly, what would we do without our friends? 

I know I am SUPER, EXTRA blessed to have many, many friends.  I have friends whom I have known since my school days and friends I met when I moved to our new town.  I have friends who were at my wedding and friends I hang out with at my kids’ soccer games.  I have friends I enjoy chatting with over coffee and friends I can catch up with over a quick text or phone call.  I truly have the BEST friends a woman could ask for.  When the chips are down, my friends lift me up.  When I’m soaring sky high, I lift my friends higher.  That’s what it’s all about, right?  Besides the simple fact that we have the innate need to love and be loved; friends are there to love us so we can love them right back.

Thank you, to each one of you, for being my friend!

FIRE!   Be a blessing to a friend today.  Write her an encouraging email.  Drop off her favorite treat as a surprise.  Send a funny card in the mail.  No matter what you do, you’ll be adding more cement to your valuable relationship as friends.                                                              

Be Excellent!

February 13, 2013

Valentine Pressure

READY... "Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart." ~ Unknown

AIM…  Hi.  My name is Lori.  And I’m a hopeless romantic.  I’m addicted to sappy love songs, hearts and flowers, romantic movies, love notes, small gestures of the heart, slow dances and happily ever afters.  Valentine’s Day really is just another day, right?  Wrong.  Commercialization has blown this simple sweet day to remember your loved one into an expectation of expensive roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, sappy Hallmark cards and for what?  To compare your Valentine gifts to that of the person in the cubicle next to you?  Wow.  Has our society stooped so low that we can’t be the least bit creative on our own that we have to rely on the stores to be able to express our love to our mates?  The answer?  Yes.

The solution?  Create!  You read that correctly, create your OWN Valentine’s day treats.  Oh, but I don’t have time, Lori.  Hogwash!  We ALL have time if we WANT to make time to show our loved ones we care.  Perhaps you are in the middle of a difficult relationship right now.  All the more reason to reach out and create ways to show your mate you really DO love him or her. 

 But how?  Here are a couple extremely simple ways that will knock the socks off your mate’s feet and show him (or her) you REALLY love him. 

1      Write a love note.  Remember back in the day before texting when you had to write notes to each other to express your feelings? (Will you go with me?  Check YES or NO)  Yep, take just 5 minutes to write a love note expressing how much you love and appreciate your mate.  Tears are almost a guaranteed result.

2      Cook a special meal or dessert.  Comfort food usually works the trick for most men and  women, including anything chocolate which releases those good-feeling endorphins.  Not a chef?  Surprise her with carry out so she doesn’t have to cook, whew!  Add a few candles to that take-out treat and voila – instant relief and satisfaction.

3      Show up naked.  Yep.  Doesn’t take much more than that to express your true feelings about your mate.  Think I’m wrong?  Take the challenge!

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!  I encourage you to be creative this year.  Forget the stores and all their expensive merriment, enjoy some old fashioned fun with love.  Perhaps you’ll start a few new traditions?

FIRE!   Choose at least one of the ideas above to put into action for Valentine’s Day.  Heck, if you’re really feeling the love…do all three!!  Hugs and Kisses to you.

Be Excellent!


February 6, 2013


READY “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” ~ Oscar Wilde

AIM…  All of us have encountered a few folks who have been less than lovely to us at one time or another.  Perhaps you even experienced a short burst of road rage on the way to work this morning.  The following short story is a great illustration of what might be causing those not-so-nice attitudes.

~ The Law of the Garbage Truck ~

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car just by inches!

The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy ~ I mean he was really friendly.

So I asked, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!"

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call:"The Law of The Garbage Truck."

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run all around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointments. As the garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you.

Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, resentments, anger, and frustration; so...........

Love the people who treat you right; pray for the ones who don't. Life is ten percent what you make it, and ninety percent how you take it.

FIRE!   If you run into a “garbage truck” person today, smile or wave and keep walking or quickly and quietly exit on the nearest detour.  Here’s wishing you a blessed and garbage-free day!

Be Excellent!

January 30, 2013

Pep Talk

READY “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost

 AIM…  Ok, who needs a pep talk?  Seems to me many of the folks I know are feeling the winter blahs.  Even the status updates on Face Book are riddled with woes of sickness, dismay about the weather and disappointment about the world in which we live.  Even I have succumbed to some of these blahs and am admittedly struggling to feel inspired or motivated. 

 I have great news for us all!  Here’s just the pep talk we need to get out of our slump.  Just click this link and get ready:

Alright, I’m pumped and ready to make my own Space Jam movie.  How about you?

 FIRE!   You were made for more!  Get up off that couch and make your move!  It’s time for you to make a difference, my friend.  We were made for more!

Be Excellent!