A Cluttered Stove Top!

Recently, I took a life-coaching class from Steve Garcia called, Let ‘s Roll: Healthy, Happy, High-Impact Leadership. After assessing my life by answering a series of questions and using a  pie chart called,  The Wheel of Life,  I determined what was going well and what needed some TLC.

I scored pretty well in Work and Education, Money, Spiritual and Personal Growth, and I am pretty content with my Physical Environment. Great! So what were my lowest scores? Health & Self-Care and Love & Intimacy. . . now what?

Although I  acknowledge myself for going to doctor and dentist appointments throughout my life, I am realizing that I am not sleeping or moving enough and I want to lose weight. And even though I love my dear husband and feel safe and secure with him, I realize that life gets busy and I was missing opportunities to connect with him.

So, I took a good look at what I needed to do, grabbed my hearty class workbook, and set some goals:

1. Take weight loss and getting into shape seriously. This means carving out time in my schedule for working out and actually showing up. It means setting goals such as burning 300-500 calories a day on the treadmill at least 4 times per week. My next step is to work with a trainer to help me know how to use the workout equipment that looks so daunting and scary.

2. Love and Intimacy go hand in hand so I  decided that I want to commit to spend time with my husband, encourage him, and plan date nights (even if it is only an hour). The rest will follow.

How about you? Have you set some goals recently? Are you making progress or getting frustrated that you can’t get traction? It takes a while to figure this stuff out so be kind to yourself along the way.

Just so you know, even though my plan looks good on paper, I am struggling; I am an overachiever and have about 16 other goals that I created. Steve encouraged me to think about goal-setting in relation to a stove-top.  A person can only focus on cooking what’s on the front burners while the other two pots may simmer in the back. We can realistically only make progress on four goals at a time without getting frazzled in the kitchen. Instead, I am trying to do a year’s worth of cooking in one afternoon. Sheesh! I am making a mess and getting frustrated often. I need to put some things away and clear some clutter off my kitchen counters and put away all but four pots. I am not sure how to tackle this all yet but today, I will get a work out in and spend some time with my husband. At the end of the day, I can place a check mark next to my front burner goals.


I am a lucky blogger. I can write just about anything without fear of anyone reading it. There is only one follower of coaching4calling….me! So what is it I want to say today?

First, I want to acknowledge myself for getting up at 6:00 am every Wednesday for the past three months to write. I have a dream to speak and write and am taking steps to make it happen.

Second, I want to encourage not only my own heart but other people who might be looking for someone to love them well during their growth pains. I read a verse today that said, “I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding”  (Jeremiah 3: 17, NKJ). May we all find real life pastors (The Good Shepherd, church pastors, life-coaches, friends, mentors, etc.) who will help us gain understanding in anything we might be facing.

Finally, I am getting closer to determining what I want my blog, my life, and my purpose to be about…encouraging & equipping Christians to find their God-given calling! As I seek my coaching certification, I want to be about coaching people to find their calling especially Sunday School teachers at our church.  My pastor, Steve Garcia says his mission is to, “serve the people who serve the people.” I want to, “serve the people who serve the children.”

That is it for now… no great blog post, just musings and thoughts to ponder for the day. I will leave us with this question:

If you were to sum up your life’s purpose in a statement, what would it be? My purpose in life is to … 

First Comes Fear, Then Comes Love, Then Comes Strength…

Strong women jump out of airplanes, do stand-up comedy, smoke cigars while speaking about literature in swanky uptown bars in New York City, and run successful corporations. Right?

Strong women don’t cry all night because they are afraid of the decision they just made to move into an inner city neighborhood. Strong women don’t ask for people to pray for them because fear is consuming them. Strong women don’t wait until their upstairs neighbor gets home at 3:00 am to finally fall asleep because now they feel safe. Or do they?

Much like the Ugly Duckling saw only its flawed exterior and was shocked when it had transformed into a beautiful, majestic swan, I only saw my fearful self, crying out to God and wondering why I had chosen to move into the ‘hood.  I wasn’t strong or brave. I just loved the kids I worked with and wanted to live nearby to understand their lives and world better. But somehow in the process of being fearful, I became strong.

I learned to trust God’s word that said he would protect my coming and going. I recently read my journal entry dated a few days after I moved in. “Tonight was pretty scary. As I was getting out of my car, I heard multiple gunshots which at the time I thought were fireworks but unlikely since it was December.  I became nervous and ran inside my apartment. Later, the news reported that a man in his wheelchair had been fatally shot 25 times just three blocks from my apartment. Supposedly, the victim’s arm stayed extended as he pointed his weapon at the police and they continued to shoot at him.”

But as I reread my journal and think back to those days, I know the Lord was right by my side showing me His love and asking me to love my neighbor. He’d say, “I love you, my child. Don’t be afraid. You have so much joy and radiance and it will be shown to your neighbors. They need love. Will you love them?”

One afternoon, my new neighbors said hello. I found it funny that the first thing they said to me was, “Hita, (Spanish for daughter), we ain’t rapists or thieves or nothing….

It was both endearing and disturbing, but each morning Antonio was there to say, “What’s your story, Morning Glory?” We would catch up on life and wish each other a great day.

Through multiple positive interactions with people in my neighborhood, I began to trust and develop caring relationships.  I began to learn the truth of “perfect love casts out all fear.” I began to view everyone, even people I probably shouldn’t have, as safe loving children of God who needed love and some TLC.  Looking back, I can see that I was transformed into a woman of strength. I took risks, prayed with honesty, and loved well in the midst of being a fearful little soul.

After living in my little apartment a few years, I bought a home in the heart of my neighborhood, taught at one of the toughest inner city schools in Denver, and mentored many children. My scared little soul blossomed into a fearless and strong one!

People often tell me they think I am strong, but I wish they could know that I freak out when I think of wearing a dress and looking pretty out in the real world; that I shake like an earthquake before I get up to make an announcement at church; that I’m terrified to blog but really want to be a writer and speaker.

Do you think that’s the case with all of us? Whether we jump out of planes, lead others, or live in a community as a minority, I’ll bet there’s fear involved. Rhonda Britten, author of Fearless Living, says, “You’ve heard it said a thousand times, when it gets down to it, there are only two emotions: fear or love.”

So, what’s your fear? Do you only see your Ugly Duckling fearful self right now? What risk would you be willing to take to overcome that fear and be transformed into a Strong, Beautiful, Fearless and Loving Swan?

Keep Dreaming!

A few months ago, I was flying high as I set new goals, made some progress and began to pursue my calling in life. I felt like nothing could stop me.

This week is another story; I am stuck! It is a bad stuck…making me say things like, “I don’t want to be a blogger. What if someone reads this? What if no one reads this? Who cares anyway…do my words make any difference?  Just forget (or another word) this dream! If I can’t write a blog post, how can I ever dream of speaking or inspiring anyone? I suck!” Can anyone relate?

I think Joseph, the guy with the colorful coat may have felt stuck, too.  Although he started out with a pep in his step as his father’s favorite child and dreaming of his brothers bowing down to him, he didn’t know how much he would have to go through before his dream of becoming a big-wig would become a reality.

As a young man, Joseph was thrown into a cistern, stripped of his prized robe, sold to some merchants by his own flesh and blood, forced to live in another culture, wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct, imprisoned and forgotten. He must have grieved like never before. Did he begin to question his dream?

We may know our calling like the back of our hand or it may be as vague as Obama-Care but when we begin to identify our calling and start to go for it, stuff starts to happen that can make us question why God is asking us to do the seemingly impossible. Write a blog? What?! Speak in front of live people?! No way! Lead people to understand their calling in life?! Let someone else with more experience do that! Come out from hiding and shine?!! You have got to be kidding, God!”

If we say yes to God and begin to live out our callings, we can often be misunderstood, attacked, tempted, scared, and/or immobilized but we can’t stay there. Joseph didn’t. No one saw Joseph arrive in Egypt and said, “He is supposed to be large and in charge. Make him the Pharoah and call it a day!” Instead, Joseph was faithful in his day-to-day life and with the Lord’s favor showed leadership in each and every situation. He won people over and moved toward his calling.

So what is your purpose or calling? What is God calling you to do? What are your dreams? Are you skipping along happily trusting they are going to happen? Are you seeing some fruit forming? Or are you stuck…ready to cry and give up hope that God can pull you through this and make you stronger?

Wherever you are at in your journey, I pray you never lose your connection with God or lose sight of your purpose, even if it takes years to come to fruition. Joseph ended up in a pretty good place so keep dreaming!

Redeem the Time!

What would you do if you only had five years left to live? Dallas Willard was battling cancer when he said, “he regretted all the time he wasted, not because he compared himself to other more efficient people, but because he began to see what life could be” (pg. 191). Dallas Willard was a pretty famous Christian speaker, writer and ministry leader but he even wondered how much more there could be in life if he had redeemed the time he had been given.

Dallas explained that if he had  redeemed his time, he would have been able to say yes or no without anxiety, speak honestly and confidently, willingly disappoint people as well as bless people, fill his mind with noble thoughts, share without thinking, see without judging, and been ever so humble that each person he saw would be an object of wonder and he would have loved God (pg. 191).

What would you do to redeem the time you have left? I would like to live with the truth of what God says to me and be a soul-full person doing some pretty amazing stuff for God! I would like to live my life a little more boldly and expectantly and with a lot less fear and worry. 

A character in the Bible who lived a redeemed life is Joseph, a young boy sold into slavery by his own step-brothers. Yet, Joseph knew he was going to be great. He had been given a dream. He bragged about it to his brothers and told them they would one day bow down to him. He believed what God showed him. But I wonder how Joseph felt when he sat in the dungeon for years. Did he still believe God then? Did Joseph realize in his heart he would one day become the Ruler of Egypt and save his people? I think he did. It was wild for sure but inside his heart, he knew what he was destined for. I think you and I do, too.

Have you heard God’s voice showing you what He has for you? Is it something great but hard waiting and trusting Him for it? I encourage you to believe and care for your soul in the meantime by, “arranging your days so that you are experiencing deep contentment, joy, and confidence in your everyday life with God” (pg. 89). Let God develop your soul and lead you into His plans for you. Don’t get discouraged and give up. He has too great of a plan for you to do that.

If you have your Soul Keeping book, read page 191 about what  a redeemed soul looks can be. Then, get out a pen and some paper and determine what the life you are called to be living looks like. Make a bulleted list of at least 5 things you know God is showing you about the life He is calling you to live. Make people ask what they asked at Dallas’ funeral: “How did such a life happen” (pg. 194)?

Many blessings as you care for the most precious part of you. . . your soul!

Confession Time!

Confession time… I talk too much, think about what I want to say before the other person is finished, get extremely angry at my husband for not good reasons, let my three year old watch way too much TV while I work, let my mind wander with thoughts that are not aligned with God’s will, and I think poorly of others and myself at times. There’s more but I need to keep this a blog post and not a War and Peace sized novel!

What does this say about my soul?

  • I am selfish at times.
  • My priorities might be out of focus.
  • I struggle with anger.
  • I trust myself more than I trust God at times.
  • My soul needs God’s unconditional love.

The good news is that “God is merciful, showing us our true hideousness only in proportion to the courage he gives us to bear the sight,” says John Ortberg…Wow!!!

I desperately want God to give me courage to bear the sight of my sins but not so I can beat myself up. God doesn’t even do that. Instead, He humbly gave up His life for me so I could walk in forgiveness and freedom. But I want to know what so easily ensnares me so I can grow.

Jacob in the Bible deceived his brother for his birthright. He had a heart that was deceptive. Later,  he was the one who was deceived and was given the wrong wife. He had to work for another seven years to get the woman of his dreams. Years later, Jacob was tricked again by his sons who had sold their little brother into slavery and told their father that he had been killed by a wild animal. Trickery! Deception! Repeated Sin! We all suffer from it!

What will the consequences of it be in our own lives? For me, it’s living with an unsettled and fractured soul.  My sins are like road-blocks that detour me instead of allowing me to run the race full speed ahead.

Let’s take some time and write an honest letter to God and confess our sins. Let Him fill us up with His cleansing and healing love. Then, let’s write ways we want to change as we move forward. Feel free to “share with the class” or keep it between you and God. As we progress, let’s trust Him enough to move forward in ALL He has for us!


I want to discover who I am meant to be much like Michelangelo did. He said, “Many believe – and I believe – that I have been designated for this work by God. In spite of my old age, I do not want to give it up; I work out of love for God and I put all my hope in Him.” He knew what he was made for and became it!  How about you? Have you discovered your calling? Do you work at it or are you just waiting for it to happen?

One way to find out if you are being proactive is to  look at your schedule to determine what is important to you. If you have 17 workout sessions listed, maybe health is important. For me, it’s meetings, kid’s camps, and work.  My calendar is telling me that I am a woman of appointments and a working mom but it is also not saying something. It is not saying that I love creativity, writing, speaking, research, working toward my calling, and soul-care because those things are not scheduled into my day.

Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”  What do I need to “chisel” away in my schedule to get to the “angel” or the core of who I am and was designed to be by my Creator?

Think for a minute about what things are blocking the real you from emerging. What can be “chiseled” away? What is the core in you waiting to be freed and discovered? May the Lord work on us and transform us! The world needs to see the Masterpiece we were created to be for His glory. Chisel away and find it!!!


“I want to do whatever I want! Why do I have to follow that dumb rule? If I follow the rules, will I still have fun? I have followed all of the rules and my life still stinks,” are words I hear from my friends and even from my own mouth at times. It is not fun following rules but ironically, the soul gains freedom by doing it, says John Ortberg and oh yes . . .God, too!

But how does  that work? How does following God’s Law revive my soul and increase my freedom?  Ortberg suggests, “to become truly free, you must surrender” (pg. 147). Abraham was willing to surrender his only son (much like Someone else we know) because his trust in God was greater. Because of that act of obedience,  Abraham’s faith was strengthened and his soul became free.  Maybe his freedom came when he embraced God’s overall plan for the world and his place in it…He didn’t have any control over what God might do but He obeyed anyway.

As I drove through the Starbucks line to get my 4-year-old a cake pop, I pondered how I could obey God more by living more simply… I know, ironic, right?  We all resonate with this… it’s the tension that inevitably comes from living in the time and place that we do.  What does obedience look like in our everyday  busy modern American lives? The ten commandments are a great place to start but what else might God be asking us to do. Let’s pray and ask the Lord for what He wants from us.

God’s law and my soul’s freedom are connected! Maybe that is why I am so often depleted and downcast and. . .un-free.  I may not be obeying God.   If so, then how might I learn to obey God more in the future?

After praying, list five ways God might be asking you to obey Him:

So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess” (Deuteronomy 5:32-33).

Big Gifts from a Big God!

Grab a pen and paper and jot down 7 things you are grateful for. Here are some categories to get some ideas going: (Health, Home, Family/friends, Job, Food, Nature, Education, Opportunities, Talents and Skills).
Here are mine:
I am grateful for…
1. Being in a Bible study group with authentic ladies who love Jesus.
2. My two daughters who teach me how to play.
3. My amazing husband who encourages me daily.
4. My church and the people who go there
5. Books that lead me closer to Jesus.
6. The ability to play softball.
7. Coffee and dear friends to share it with
Now, think of some things you desire and list those: These are more personal and revolve around your heart’s longings, not necessarily your goals.
Although we have many things to be grateful for, we still find ourselves longing for more at times. King David was a man who wanted more (maybe not in a good way) but instead of talking to God about it, he took something that didn’t belong to him and caused a lot of pain for the people around him as well as in his own life.  God confronted David after he sinned with Bathsheba and was grieved that He had given David so much but it wasn’t enough. God told David that He could have given him much, much more if he had only asked.
Bob Hudson suggests that behind every sinful act there is a holy desire. This makes me wonder two things…can we ask our Good Father to meet our longings or will we sin in order to get what we want? I wonder what David was really longing for when he made a terrible choice that afternoon. Take some time to get specific with God about your heart’s desires. If needed, take time to repent for not going to God with your requests. He loves us and forgives us!
 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ~Matthew 7:11

Attending to the Soul!

If you were walking past a plant and saw it looking a little droopy, what would you do? Would you dump the last of your Starbucks coffee into it? Walk by and ignore it?  Tell someone else about it and hope they do something? Would you get some water and pour it into the soil and fix the problem yourself?

Personally, I was pretty droopy on Monday. Actually, that is an understatement. I had one of the worst Mondays ever! My soul woke up and decided to have a temper tantrum all day. I was depressed, angry, grieving, bitter, closed off to others, and had eaten three cupcakes on Mother’s Day  (thanks, Jill!)..not good!!!

Instead of lovingly caring for my soul and giving it what it needed, I damaged it even more by exposing it to the harsh elements of unkind self-talk, shutting out my husband, and entertaining bitter and unloving thoughts…all day long! It took until 8:30 that night and my dear Muslim friend from Syria to snap me out of the danger frostbite zone I was heading for.

Thankfully, I began to give my soul some much-needed nourishment by talking with friends, reading my Bible, asking for prayer, going to sleep, talking with my life-coach, journaling, and exercising. My soul began to thaw and straighten up a bit.

How about you? If you took a look at your soul, what would you see?  Would you see a soul that is shallow, cluttered, or hardened or a soul that is thriving, healthy, and flourishing or maybe a little of both? Do you offer your soul refreshment just as you would water a wilted plant when it needs it, or do you further the depletion process by neglecting your soul, hoping it will hang on a little bit longer and not wither completely?

We have a choice to let our souls become unhealthy, infecting others with our foul moods and bitterness or we can, “keep our souls carefully because we want to bring life and not death to those around us” (pg. 97).

Would you quickly jot a list of 5-7 things you do for yourself when your soul is a little wilted? And if you are so brave, would you share some not so healthy things you do to your soul?

In Sunday school this week, we are learning about Barnabus and how he encouraged the Christians in Antioch. May we, “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). Maybe we can learn some new soul-care tips from each other as we attend to our souls this week. May we be so healthy that we BLOOM in all that God has for us.