Inspired by Kindness

Inspired by Kindness

She sits at a welcome desk in the hallway of a dimly lit medical building.  It is an older building, sort of a hodgepodge of confusing hallways linking together X-ray departments, oncology units, and physical therapy departments.  Most people entering this building are there because they are injured or sick.

My first time to enter this building was two days post a total hip replacement and to say I felt out of sorts is an understatement.  I shuffled my steps with the aid of a walker and my already bad sense of direction was heightened by the fog of pain medicine.  I looked down the hall and the entry door to the physical therapy clinic felt like an impossible destination.  Soon a very kind lady was at my side asking me and my husband if we needed assistance and encouraging me with the idea that it will only get better from here.  She ended her encouragement with these words, “ I promise to be praying for you and I sure hope you start to feel better sugar.”  When was the last time someone called you sugar?    

Since that day I have been greeted over a dozen times with the same sweet smile and some form of encouragement. I have learned her name is Mary.  Mary has big hair, big eyelashes, a stellar big white smile all on top of a very petite stature.  I have witnessed first hand that her heart is the biggest of all.  There isn’t a time I have walked into this building when she has not greeted me personally.  At the same time, I have seen her assisting patients in wheelchairs, giving directions to lost patients and always with a big smile on her face.  This past week as I came into the building I didn’t see her at first but then I looked over at a couch nestled in the entryway and there sitting with a couple was Mary.  She was praying with them and they were all crying.  I slipped past the door and into my physical therapy session not wanting to disturb this sacred moment.

On my way out, I stopped to tell her what an amazing lady she is.  She was so humble in receiving my compliments and she told me her goal each day was to create an environment that helps people know they’re not alone – even in the most painful moments of their lives.  Mary serves as an inspiration to me and I am sure so many others who have experienced her kindness and love.

My encounters with Mary have me asking myself how can I better show up in the lives of others to encourage and share the love of Jesus?  How can you?

The Sky Is The Limit

The Sky Is The Limit

If you knew that you would not fail, what would be some of the things you would try to do?  That question was recently asked of me when I spoke at a local MomCo group.  I have to confess, I told them they could ask me anything and yet I was surprised by the depth of this question and I only had a minute to think about it and respond.  I will tell you my answer in just a minute but first let me tell you what I have been thinking about since that question was asked…

How often in my life did I not try something because of the fear of failure or was worried about what someone else would think. Sadly, more times than I felt ok with admitting.  What was I afraid of? What would it matter if I really failed?

Then I thought about the times when I was brave and tried something new or had a big idea and it didn’t go so well and you know what?  I actually am thankful for those failures because I learned so much each time.  It made me stronger, it actually made me more determined to try again and honestly, when the idea did work, it made the success of it all that much sweeter and satisfying.

I worry that in recent years we have been telling each other that it’s not ok to fail.  Social media influences have helped fuel the idea that you have to be perfect and your ideas have to be perfect before you even try. If we are being super honest, we know that is not true.  As a matter of fact, we all have failed at something and 100% of us will fail again in the future.  That is a commonality that all of us share.  

Since the question posed is intended to get us thinking, I hope you can reflect back on a time when you failed and what you learned from that experience.  I also hope this question fuels you to think bigger, think better about the possibility that your fear of failure is holding you back from doing some pretty spectacular and satisfying things in this world.

So back to the original question, what would be some of the things you would try to do if you knew you couldn’t fail?  I answered I would write a book and publish it. I would learn multiple languages and I would open a beautiful floral shop. I would secure scientists who could cure cancer and eradicate hunger and poverty.  Once I allowed my brain to think big, it was actually a great exercise to challenge myself on not being afraid to think big and try.  Yes, we can fail but what if we succeed?  That gives us all something to think about and that is my challenge to you – answer the question and then start trying. Also remember, it’s ok if you fail. That failure might just be what prompts you to succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

An Encouragement For Young Moms

An Encouragement For Young Moms

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I was reflecting on my day and mid way through brushing my teeth, I ended up in tears. Why?

I am so grateful for my relationships with our four adult kids. It just so happened that I had talked to each of them yesterday and those conversations were filled with details of their everyday lives and their hopes and dreams for the future. Each call ended in an exchange of I love yous.

Mamas – read the story book ( for the 1,000th) time, make time for snuggles, stay up late and talk to those teenagers and cheer them on in their activities. I am convinced those hours spent long ago were the building blocks to where we are today! Have there been bumps along the way, of course! Parenting isn’t easy but it is easily the best gig on the planet!

You are most likely tired and often feel overwhelmed, honestly – at times I still do because you will always be their mama – but I can tell you your investment today is your reward in the future! God chose you to be the mom to your kiddos and He does not make mistakes. You got this mama!

Patience  – It’s Always About the Journey

Patience – It’s Always About the Journey

I spend a lot of time in airports and on planes.  These last few months of travel have been filled with weather delays, cancelled flights, mechanical and medical emergencies.  Oh the glamorous life of travel – haha!

All of these delays and cancellations has really required me to stretch myself in the area of being patient.  I will be honest, it’s not easy and I struggle with being a patient person. Can any of you relate?

My observations have led me to believe there are two camps when dealing with situations that require us to be patient…

Camp 1  These are people who are calm, understanding, compassionate, and persevering.

Camp 2  These are people who are frantic, judgmental, complain and are impulsive

We have all heard the sayings, “Patience is a virtue,” “Good things come to those who wait,” or just the simple phrase of “be patient”.  Easier said than done, right? It doesn’t help that we live in a frenetic world that keeps timing to a hectic pace fueled by modern conveniences, quick fixes and expectations to change over night.

I found some research by Sara Schnitker that said, we need to practice patients in three areas of our lives.

  • Patience with others
  • Patience with life’s hardships
  • Patience with ourselves and our daily routines

I have asked myself some tough questions and I am encouraging you do the same.  When confronted with a challenging situation do you live in Camp 1 or Camp 2?  If you answered Camp 2, you are being super honest and that is a great place to start.  It is our awareness that ultimately can bring about change. So much of life is out of our control but we can control how we react to it.

I am reminded of a passage from the Bible – Ephesians 4:2

God asks us to “conduct yourselves with humility, gentleness and patience. Accept each other with love.”  Accepting and loving are always great guidelines.

Here are a few things I always keep on hand when traveling so that I have what I need to remain calm, understanding, compassionate and ultimately persevere through the situation.

  • a full water bottle
  • several high protein snacks
  • a book ( I am a huge fan of my kindle )
  • a great play list
  • charged headphones 
  • a portable phone charger

I then incorporate prayer, kindness and understanding to those relaying the messaging, and a light hearted approach to those sitting around me.  Always wanting to be part of the solution, not the problem. Do I always hit the mark, no, However; I do feel a sense of improvement as I navigate challenging travel and I believe this  is spilling over into the personal areas of my life too.

I hope this helps just knowing that many of us want to be more patient and there are things we can do and practice to make our responses to life’s quirks and mishaps a bit more doable.  Life is always about the journey.

Genuine Hospitality

Genuine Hospitality

I received a panic call from a friend last week and here is what she said – “Help, I’ve been asked to host Thanksgiving dinner and I am freaking out!”  Mind you, this is my friend who lists Door Dash as her BFF.  After I told her to breath, we talked it out and what she was really afraid of was entertaining.  Trying to impress her sister in law and worried about everything she didn’t have. So we flipped the narrative.  Let’s not worry about entertaining, let’s just open our doors and make people feel welcome. That is hospitality and my friend is so good at loving people she will be the perfect hostess.

Three things to think about so you are not worried about entertaining but are able to show hospitality…

  1. Replace “ Here I Am” with “Here You Are”

2.   Remember opening our homes to guests has nothing to do with the size of our home, the decor, or even the food.  It’s about the ability we all have to make people feel welcome.

3.  There is no grand blue print to follow aside from loving others.

You’ve got this!  

It’s Ok To Ask For Help

It’s Ok To Ask For Help

Why is it so hard for some of us to ask for help? “Allow people to help you, why rob them of the blessing to give?” That might be one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. It came during a very difficult time in my life when I was struggling with my health following a double mastectomy.

I was always the one helping others, making meals, watching other people’s kids –  you needed help, I was your girl.
However; when I was the one in need, it felt awkward and uncomfortable and sadly in my own pride, I tried to still do it all.
Thankful for a friend who challenged me not to rob her of the blessing to love and care for my family.

I have gotten so much better at accepting help, even asking for help when I need it. It definitely is something I still struggle with at times but I have come to believe we all need someone to hold the umbrella for us when we stand in the storm.
Don’t be afraid to ask or receive help.