A 10/10 Kinda Day!

My life-coach is awesome. She sends me weekly texts to ask me what I want and takes time to list her hopes for me: “to have an excellent week (like a 10 on a ten-point scale kind of week)…full of joy and wonder at all the Lord is doing and will do in my life!”

Instead of focusing on how to get everything done on my to-do list, I pondered what a 10 out of 10 day would look like. Sure, it means checking things off my list but it also suggests a frame of mind. How do I want to BE as I go about my day? Will I have joy? Will I see people in the check-out line? Will I encourage others and have fun while I am cruising through my list? What does a 10/10 day look like?

For me, it looks like many things:

  • being confident and not hiding while I am out and even looking for ways to bring joy to others while I am at it
  •  being patient with my four-year old
  • being present with my family when the day is coming to a close instead of cramming in more
  • thanking Jesus each time I get something done or when it turns out to be easier than expected
  • praying for people I see during the day
  • taking time for reflection
  • remembering how loved I am by my Father in Heaven and letting that love flow out of me to others

What does a 10 out of 10 day look like for you? I hope you have just that kind of day, today!

Encouragers!

“I love your shirt! And is that your beautiful little girl?” she asked while passing me on the toy aisle on her way to the pharmacy. We stopped to chat about how cute clothes are for kids today opposed to when she was  a child (I’d say in about 1940). I could have talked to this lady forever! Why? Because she was an encourager! She saw me! She affirmed me as a mom, a woman, and person alive in this world. She made my soul feel good!

I had taken my little one to the doctor earlier and ran a couple of errands. In reviewing my day, I can’t remember anyone saying hello or stopping to chat. I doubt I even made eye contact with anyone prior to this lovely bubbly bright pink wearing lady.

Where are you, O Encouragers?! We need you! Please stop us when we look like zombies and say hello. Notice our children and how weary we are as we get them in and out of car seats all day. Notice us and sprinkle a little water into our droopy souls as you smile or give us a compliment. Let us know with your body language that we might actually be good parents and that we will get through this day. We need you! You have so much to offer.

Thank you, dear encouraging woman at Walgreens! You changed my day, my mood, my heart, and my blog post.

Let it Go!!!

When the doorbell rang, my four-year old ran to see who it was. She stood transfixed as she peered through the glass door. It was Elsa from Frozen!! As we opened the door to let her in, the other four-year old guests came running to say hello. This ice princess with a high voice,  white braided hair and a beautiful blue sparkly dress became the heroine for the next hour leading the girls in dances, stories, and songs. It was magical (pun intended).

I had hoped that her presence would be a gift to not only my little princess but the other princesses in attendance. For the most part, she was. The girls left the party proudly wearing their tiaras as they sang songs from Frozen and eagerly looked into their loot bags for gems. It was the adult departures that left me feeling a little like a melting Olaf. I knew that other girls birthday parties were coming up and moms were thinking about what they were going to do as I would be if I just attended an over the top party.  As I walked guests to their cars, I stuttered and apologized for being excessive and put myself down.

I did this for a couple of reasons. First, I know how I feel after leaving an amazingly decorated house or delicious dinner party…instead of being grateful, I compare my home to theirs and it never stands up. I don’t want people to feel this way when they leave my home  so I downplay things or put myself down. The other reason I downplay my strengths is because I haven’t learned to love myself fully yet. I base it on what others think of me and seek approval instead of showing up fully and gloriously alive in who God made me to be without apology. I am getting there.

Ortberg suggests that the soul needs gratitude because, “all of us get so caught up in ourselves that we too often don’t take the time to be grateful-to God and to others” (pg. 170). Instead of comparisons and self-deprecation, I want to choose gratitude! I want to say, “Thank you for cooking for me and using your God-given talents to treat me to a delicious dinner! Thank you inviting me into your beautiful  home and sharing your gift of hospitality with me. Thank you for this outrageous birthday party and using your gift of generosity to bless me!”

May we,  “let it go”. . .all of our comparisons, feelings of inadequacy, fears and judgments. . . so we can embrace, enjoy, and be grateful for the very fun and precious moment right in front of us.

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.

Musings

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!