Turning Breakdowns into Breakthroughs

Often, the most difficult part of significant relationships is when an offense makes its way into our flow of living. A good example of the rare times an irritant can bring something good, is when a grain of sand that seeps into an oyster gets layered with nacre, the substance that transforms the sand to a pearl.

Working to resolve “irritants” in our relationships can allow the climate where we live or work to be more pleasant. Overlooked, it can fester and begin to have a negative impact mentally, emotionally and physically. These situations are often based on assumptions made by one party about the other. These assumptions can be “birthed” by idle chitchat from a third party and can make the normal routine very tense. Taking steps to overcome the grievance can restore peace to the relationship. Avoiding the effort to resolve them, can widen the gap.

Confront in a kind and loving way when necessary. It is normal to have a certain hesitancy around addressing an issue. Fear of things beyond our control is common. The fact that fear is present doesn’t mean the confrontation should be avoided. Calmly communicate what you are sensing and inquire as to what their thoughts are concerning the issue. Regardless of the response you receive, it will be more liberating to get it out in the open than to continue to fret about it. While it may not immediately bring the desired response, being proactive will pave the way for restoration.

Taking ownership of personal contribution in the breakdown can be empowering. Not every difficult issue we face is our fault. Some issues may have been created in the mind of another. Sorting out our feelings and determining what we are responsible for in the situation can create the environment for a more productive meeting. We can then be empowered to confront the other person in a manner that will be less hostile and diffuse the temptation to become defensive.

Journaling allows you to organize your thoughts and feelings and work through emotions before addressing the issue. This may help avoid derailing the process by anger.  Recounting the issue to a third party runs the risk of greater offense and more damage to the relationship. The smaller the ripple, the easier to get a handle on it. If you must talk with someone, consider an objective, spiritually mature person, such as a mentor.

A right motive is one that seeks to clear the air and restore peace. It will require actively listening to the other person as they share their thoughts and feelings. This is especially true if you disagree with what they are saying. Listening is demonstrating respect; it does not mean agreement. A good rule here is to consider how you would desire to be listened to in a situation that may be difficult for you to express.

I often find that when a person is truly acknowledged, listened to and heard, they feel safe and are willing to share and work through the process. It often takes the breakdown to bring the breakthrough. We may be working to achieve a higher level of relating than we could ever have imagined by allowing ourselves to grow in the process. Gaining a deeper understanding, may create a stronger bond in the relationship.

Consider, too, that the comeback will be better than the set back. And the restored peace that you experience can be priceless!

Going the Distance When Life is Tough …

Each of us as believers will have a common struggle at some point in our faith journey, and that is truly accepting that God loves us deeply and eternally.

Remember Satan is quite crafty at his tactics — that is why we call him the enemy.  He will allow us to go to church and be involved in the things that make us feel that we belong to the body of Christ, but his greatest attack is waged against us when we are feeling the press of God to go deeper in Christ and develop a level of intimacy that will allow us to go the distance when life is the most trying.

Think on Matt 6:33 where Jesus says that if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these “things” will be added.  He is actually referring to our basic needs in this life.  The important point here is that in reality, until we have developed intimacy to truly know God, it is quite difficult to believe that everything God is doing in our lives is for our good.

Our natural heart must first be satisfied by God’s love before we have what we need to give of ourselves to a spouse, friend, mission etc. The reason is because until we learn to accept and believe that God’s love for us is real and true the little child within, complete with all of his/her leftover childhood needs, comes out crying to be placated. This can create incredible stress in our lives and relationships.

The way to know God’s love intimately and deeply is to spend time everyday in His presence. This can be with your Bible, a journal, an inspirational book or devotional or just resting in a favorite spot with coffee or tea.  In this time, we simply ask God to meet us here. No agendas except to get to know Him and ourselves better.

Relationships, career, parenting, and wholehearted living  requires a lot of work and this discipline is the best readiness that I know to prepare us for listening, loving, supporting and encouraging a spouse or significant relationship, child, friend, co-worker or one who is seeking to know God. This time will also help us overcome any loneliness we may feel.

When the Holy Spirit is our regular and constant Guide, we are able to look at our circumstances as a step in God’s purpose for us, coming to a deeper trust that He will work all things together for our good. Just as any success or achievement we’ve experienced didn’t happen overnight and required preparation, God knows exactly what we need and He allows for adequate time in this process.  Each lesson God brings benefits us in many dimensions and as He reveals His plans and purposes we need to be able to recognize that He is always working for our best.

Prayer and personal time with God provide a higher alert status that He is present and active in our day-to-day lives and in each encounter and every decision.  He uses this opportunity to smooth down the rough edges in our lives and then replaces them with the ability to surrender our heart at deeper levels and a desire to pray His will over our own.

His will is ALWAYS best, regardless of what it feels like. This is an important truth to grasp. He only asks that we invite Him to give us the “more” of the abundant life that He purchased for us.  He will lead as we go. His Word and guidelines are out of a heart of love for us to learn to accept His ways and avoid the enemy’s darts.

The next important step is to cultivate significant relationships with friends where we can be ourselves and be loved and accepted.  We can ask Him to help us find those with whom we need to be connected.  It is amazing how sweet life can be, when we invite God to enter into even the smallest of choices.

With God’s presence it’s like taking our lives off of battery power and plugging into His direct current =)

The Journey to Knowing ‘I am Enough’.

Several years ago, I had laser surgery on both eyes as a preventative measure against narrow angle closure glaucoma. During the weeks of my procedure and healing, I had to wear my glasses during my waking hours and not use my contact lenses. Not so bad, right?

Well, not anymore. But, it wasn’t always that way … At age 11, my already coca-cola bottle thick glasses were upgraded to bifocals. Pretty tall order for a little girl who weighed just over 50 pounds. Not the accessory that I wanted to add to my daily wardrobe. It didn’t matter how pretty my frames were, no one could see them for looking at two eyes that appeared to be a “uni-eye”.

The fun really started when I wanted to start wearing makeup. Guess what makeup does — it enhances your eyes so they can look larger. I tried every way possible to get mine to look smaller. I prayed often for my eyes to be healed.  If that wasn’t enough, I had overactive sebaceous glands and large pores.  So add acne to my list of “how do you see me now” wonderment and you get the idea of what middle school and high school were like for me. I was blessed to have cool, name brand clothes. But, no matter how I wrapped it, the package that I presented caused people to stare and whisper.

There were many times that I came home in tears wishing I never had to go to school again. (I homeschooled my girls, probably, in part, to feelings that I carried from this point in my life). Fast forward to age 17 – I discovered benzoyl peroxide, got my braces off and found a doctor that would fit me for contact lenses. With an overall improvement in my appearance, and starting college, I was moving up from stay-to-myself-shy to Sheri-the-social-butterfly. Suffice to say, my life in college was much different than high school.

While pregnant with my oldest daughter, I prayed daily that she would have perfect eyesight, straight teeth, and clear skin. (I did pray for my middle and youngest daughters as well… God has abundantly blessed!)

Over the course of time, I learned that my self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth were not necessarily better because I had evolved from my moth stage to the butterfly phase. Regardless of the outward changes, inside I still felt empty, unlovely and unlovable. I equated outward appearance with love and acceptance. What a disappointment to find this wasn’t the case at all. What a joy to find that the more I learned to lean on God, the more my mindset began to change.

At 22, after having grown up in church and spending some years being the prodigal, I got my business straight with God.   At 39, I began doing a faith-based weight loss program, and during this season in my life I learned that God had been with me for all those years and was teaching me how to lean into Him to learn to do life well. Having lost my dad in a car accident at age 9, I missed out on the valuable male insight he may have provided about guys, dating, not compromising my values to feel loved, marriage, car repair, career paths etc.

I began to ask God for the abundant life His Word promises. This would take me on a journey that led me to value people without being driven by my desire for love and acceptance from them.  I began to see myself as He sees me. I saw that I am beautiful and that every struggle I have faced has served to draw me closer to Him and to the understanding that He has seen me at my best and my worst and loves me unconditionally.

All the while, He was patiently teaching me to love myself. He sent little messengers along the way, like the little four year old girl who put her hands on my face and told me that I was pretty, that Jesus loves me, and when I get to heaven He would heal all the “holes” (acne scars) on my face. 

So today, I can wear my glasses without feeling embarrassed. I smile when I touch my skin and find that as my daughter Rachel suggested, by eliminating foundation makeup and simply using a concealer as needed has caused my skin to actually improve.

Sometimes, I still ask God to heal my skin and eyes, because He is able to do so, if that is His best for me. Regardless, I am now happy behind my peepers, when I choose to wear them, and in my own skin. It probably helps me to be more intentional in my actions so that my inner beauty, the work that Christ has done in me, can shine through..

I am incredibly thankful for the ‘journeys’ that God has orchestrated to help me learn to see myself through His eyes and understand that His plan was for me to recognize that with Him, I am Enough!!

The Freedom of Letting Go….

If there is one thing to be discovered about the root of most of our problems / issues / concerns / anxiety / struggles / failures, I would say it rests somewhere in the midst of an inability to let go of things that we believe ‘should’ bring a particular outcome.

I hope you will stay with me here. Learning the grace of holding to what is important and relinquishing what isn’t working is a tremendous game changer.

Consider the morning flight of an eagle… he lives in the moment, totally focused on his flight, likely sharply focused on a search for food. He’s not thinking about how unpleasant the weather is, what other birds think of him, will his next nest building be successful, or why he doesn’t have feathers as cheerfully-colored as the cardinal. He doesn’t have the anxiety that is associated with all of this comparison and desire to have things a certain way.

Our brains are bigger that the majestic eagle, which gives us the ability to solve problems, write poetry, build bridges and unfortunately, the ability, to create many issues or problems that we would be better off not having to deal with. We can easily step into feeling anxious, frustrated, depressed or angry over things that happen or might happen to us, then turn this feeling into an over-thinking session.

If we choose to relinquish what we cannot control (if we can’t control it, what’s the point of holding on anyway?), we are quickly able to reduce our stress and our propensity to procrastinate, improve our relationships, learn to embrace change, let go of difficult habits and become more present and intentional in our lives. This would certainly provide some freedom, right?

Stress and anxiety often come from wanting things to be or work out in a certain way when they can’t or won’t. A longing or a desire to avoid failure, difficult tasks, confusion or discomfort, often leads us to procrastinate. If we choose (and, it is a choice), to let go of the way we want or expect things to be, we can learn to accept and appreciate things as they are, allowing us to enjoy peace over chaos. This requires us to focus on the fact that God is Sovereign and it is all in His hands and under His control.

When we experience significant loss, such as a divorce, death of a loved one, or loss of a job, there is a grieving period that we will face… it’s best to step in and allow the grief to come as you feel the pain or loss. Pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice that we make when we choose to hold onto or obsess over things we cannot change. When we choose to release it, we can allow the process to grow us. This often requires a moment-by-moment choice in the early phases. If we are willing to ask God to be with us and to strengthen us, He will help us learn the things He wants to teach us during this season of our lives.

Fear is often the deep root of our unwillingness to let go of things we cannot change or control. When we want (or feel we deserve) things to be a certain way, we can become immobilized in starting our own business, losing weight or anything that requires us to step out of our comfort zone.

Things that don’t align with our ideal are often the very things that help us to grow or experience things beyond anything we ever imagined. The fantasy in our ideals is that they whisper (or yell) that our life will be “easy”, that we must ‘know’ what we are doing at all times and ‘feel’ totally competent and successful. We tell ourselves that if all of these ‘ideals’ do not align, we will avoid them and refuse to move forward.

It is God who is the initiator of all change in our lives, and He offers us the ability to let go of what isn’t working for us so we can pursue our desire to grow, build, create, and truly experience the best of our lives. The pathway to achieving anything of value is growing through the processes of our lives. When we attempt things we don’t know, we learn new things, new skills, and with practice, we can get really good at doing them. My husband, Jeff, says, “When we learn better, we do better!”.

We can learn to be thankful for the challenges that lead to achievement, the discomfort that leads to growth, and the uncertainly that leads to learning.

It is all a choice!

I just lost

What is the Potential in Your Promised Land?

What are the circumstances you are struggling with just now?  Are you trusting God in this circumstance?  Is your faith for the small things or is it big enough to believe the Lord for the bigger concerns in your life?

Do you see God as big enough?  If not, problems may seem too big, and your failures may seem insurmountable, and your peace may be adversely affected by your trials. It’s time to remember that God is the same God who delivered the Israelites from Egypt, kept Daniel safe in the lion’s den and was present with the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. Do not allow your inability to comprehend how big God is to limit the plan He has for your life.

If we are continually comparing ourselves to others and feeling as if we don’t measure up, we will be powerless to use our gifts and talents to glorify Him and bring the joy we long for in our lives..

 In Numbers 13, a scout team had been sent into the Promised Land and reported that it was flowing with milk and honey.  However, in addition to their positive report, they add a but… The downside is that in this land of promise there are giants.   Men so large are reported that the scouting team is made to feel like grasshoppers. They momentarily forgot God’s provision and guidance to the nation of Israel in times past.   They neglected the fact that He had always kept His promises.  Instead of seeing the potential, they concentrated on the problems in the promised land.

God came to give us a full and joyful life, not a life lived from crisis to crisis.   He never promised a life free of problems but He did promise a life never free of His presence.

Someone once said that,  “The problem with Christianity isn’t that it has been tried and found wanting; but rather that is has been found difficult and left untried.”   Are we giving up in our darkest hour, because we aren’t taking God at His Word and living in the light of His promises?

Are we prepared to face life’s ups and downs? Or are we exerting too much energy on things that distract us from going deeper with God? The storms of life will come. It’s not a matter of if, but when!. It may be time to step out of our comfort zone and into God’s capable hands and allow Him to fulfill the work He wants to do in us.

We truly recognize the potential in our promised land, when we realize that God is at work in us and through us and that He specifically gave us the talents we possess to be used for His glory. His design for us is unique and special, and He reveals His plan for us step by step. His expectation of us is simple obedience.

William Hulme said, “Because I know the WHO, I can handle the WHAT, even without knowing WHY.”   If we are unwilling to believe this, we will probably see more problems than potential in our promised land. The Giants will make us feel like a grasshopper and will crowd out the view of our land of milk and honey.

God’s plan and His timing are perfect. The wisdom of His plan is that He wants to lead us into the promised land. He will do so if we hold on to His promises and rely on His Word.   Follow in His footsteps.  Celebrate the wonderful creation you are – and use and enjoy the talents that you have been given.  Be an inspiration to others, rather than murmuring because you do not do the things they do. Allow God is help you discover the things you do well and do them with all your might as unto the Lord! (Hint: The passion God may reveal in Your Life, may be in the places where He has allowed you to be wounded the greatest!)

The Gift of Being Present

In God’s creation, we (humans) are the most unique. For the most part, most every other living thing, animals or plants, (squirrels do like to store up nuts), live entirely in the moment. They don’t consider tomorrow’s weather; or worry about who they’re going to meet with this week; they are certainly not concerned whether they will be respected by others; or whether they’ll be successful in their lives. They simply live.

This unique ability may actually be one of our biggest challenges, often creating a fundamental source of unhappiness when allowed to roam. Could it be that the ability to ponder the future creates both worry and discontentment for many? How often does God admonish us in His Word to be still and wait on Him? If we focus too much on our regrets from the past or our fears for the future, we miss out on living in the moment… a huge piece of calm and contentment.

What if we were to reflect for a minute, on what it might be like to live as other beings of God’s creation…. the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees?

  • They live in the moment – observing their surroundings and God’s gift of nature. They don’t think about much of anything or anyone until it intersects their daily path.
  • They don’t worry – at all; although they may have to react to a predator occasionally. Yet, they do not waste today worrying about the future.
  • They don’t spend time thinking about what others think of them. They live content in who they are because that’s exactly how God designed them to live.
  • They know how to rest. Just observe your fur baby who lives peacefully with no guilt, no troubles and no fear, worry or doubt. We, on the other hand, tend to view “busyness” as the mark of worth or value.
  • They are free and unencumbered to focus their time and energy doing what it is that God designed them to do – being a beautiful flower for the benefit of nature or a family pet providing love and affection to their humans.

We may all benefit from cultivating the art of rest and contentment, thereby, experiencing the freedom of not frantically pursuing the next shiny object that often leaves us empty and unfulfilled. Being mindful of this, may help us to enjoy life by design, which translates to mean being present in the moment and enjoy the times of our lives!

The memories we create by being fully present are the moments we’ll remember all our lives!

Developing Patience Reduces Anxiety

Recently, I woke up with the thought that God tells us not to be anxious (Philippians 4:6). Our willingness to live out this guidance principle from His Word allows us to meet the challenges of life in a more purposeful, less-stressed frame of mind. Patience is a huge piece of emotional wholeness and comes from our living intentionally, or as I like to coin the phrase, “Life by Design, not Default”.

Later this same day, I decided it was time to untwist the cords on my plantation blinds on two windows upstairs. They have been left in a tied-up state because they are not in my typical line of vision as I mostly am downstairs. At first, I was letting thoughts of irritation invade my peaceful mindset and not utilizing patience. I was focusing on not wanting to do this right now because it was too warm in the room and the many other things I could be doing that would be of more value than standing there untwisting the blinds. As soon as I recognized that these negative thoughts were actually making the project more distasteful, I challenged my thoughts to reflect back on my early morning musings about patience and anxiety. I began to focus on how thankful I am to have a nice home and to have the opportunity to delight in making it a cozy and peaceful home.

I often get a front-row seat to moderate anxiety, with my beloved fur-baby, Max. He is a 4 year old golden retriever, and really has a challenging time accepting change. He wants to be fed and walked at the scheduled time his internal clock dictates to him. If I move a chair or a lamp, he has to review what has happened and be given time to adjust. If my hubby, Jeff, who is Max’s best bud is away, Max may pace a while, whine at the door or lounge with his big head and beautiful puppy eyes, resting on my lap. He likes sameness. He is incredibly anxious and pants fairly loudly when he isn’t having his routine to go down the way he expects.

I’m a lot like Max. I like to sit in my same place whenever I am. I like to drink my coffee or tea from one particular mug. I like the bed made as soon as I get out of it. When I return home, I beat a path to place my purse in the same spot on the same shelf, time after time. I actually do not like to travel (yep, now you know my biggest quirk), because I like to sleep in my own bed! My reasoning for this behavior is that, more than anything, I absolutely detest having to search for anything or readjust to new surroundings.

I began to think of how God is teaching me to choose to be patient and work in a calm manner, rather than murmuring, and allowing my feelings of discontent to make me feel like I have a right to grumble. I thought how I have been given a gentle nudge by Jesus, who loves me and wants the best for me.

In this and numerous other incidences, when I stop and listen to myself and overwrite my dislike for doing certain things or being in certain places, I can happily agree that the anxiety I feel around being dissatisfied can quickly turn to peace and a serene state of mind, when I choose to accept my situation and simply be patient.

As Grandma always said, typically about uncomfortable circumstances, “It came to pass, not to stay!”

Where can you focus today to help you reduce your anxiety and experience emotional wholeness and more lasting joy? I’ll bet it’s closer than you think!

Live Life by Design, not default. When you are intentional, you catch many more moments that will take your breath away!

Sheri xo

100 Worthwhile Pursuits for Creating Your Best Life

The movie “Bucket List” challenges us to consider what we like to do and where we enjoy investing our time. However, I don’t want to count down to death so I’ve decided to combine the major focuses in my life into a list of pursuits that will challenge, encourage and inspire me to continue to grow, learn and mature in ways that I have yet to imagine!

I chose the term “pursuits” because I have a fond memory of one of my final conversations with my Mom, just days before she left this earthly life and entered into the arms of Jesus. She knew her time was short and I asked her if there were any words of wisdom that she had for me. Her answer was thoughtful, “Focus on what is important. Cease from worthless pursuits”.

My list of worthwhile pursuits starts here:

1-Write for the Glory of God and the refreshment of others.

2-Learn the values of “less is more”.

3-Give of my time, resources and life to others as opportunity arises.

4- Keep that which is necessary.

5-Enjoy the simplicity of life.

6-Continue to be a student of the Word and of people.

7-Mentor and be mentored.

8-Give God my life as a blank page daily to be filled by His plans for me.

9-Listen well!

10-Ask engaging questions to build authentic relationships.

11-Set healthy limits [boundaries] that I may be intentional in the moment.

12-Be alert to the moments that take my breath away.

13-Visit the places that provide moments and views that take my breath away.

14-Diligence in loving my husband and children so they will know the promise of my commitment.

15-Invest, include and invite others to gain the best God has for them.

16-Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, walk often and get enough sleep.

17-Manage my stress well so that I have the emotional energy to deal with the issues in my life.

18-Face and overcome the fears that seek to hinder God’s best in my life.

19-Recognize that with God all things are possible!

20-Read something uplifting and encouraging daily.

21-Live, eat, drink, work, sleep, travel, in moderation.

22-Resolve conflict before it becomes resentment.

23-Be thankful in all things and to all who demonstrate kindness.

24-Accept the things I’m unable to change; be proactive to change the things I can.

25-Avoid excess in all things.

26-Be the friend I’d like to have.

27-Help as many others as possible to learn to get what they need and want from life.

28-Always enjoy a front porch with rocking chairs.

29-Catch a sunset every chance I get.

30-Actively enjoy my husband =) and the things he’s interested in.

31-Love as though I’ve never been hurt.

32-Enjoy my work everyday.

33-Meet my neighbors.

34-Live simply in the home Jeff and I build together.

35-Enjoy living debt free.

36-Leave a legacy to our children that will carry them all of their lives.

37-Take lots of pictures.

38-Gain wisdom around the things of importance.

39-Enjoy fireside chats often.

40-An openness to trying and learning new things.

41-Memorize as many of God’s promises as I can.

42-Learn to cook like my grandmother – a dash of this and a dash of that! Yummy!

43-Remind myself to slow down, sip the tea, smell the roses, smile for no reason.

44-Cease from strife and worry – all things work out in God’s time.

45-Trust God’s heart when I am unable to see or understand His ways.

46-Allow my experiences to be stepping stones for myself and others to benefit in unexpected ways.

47-Appreciate the true value in every relationship I have.

48-See the good in all things – even if it requires much effort.

49-Truly believe and live out the fact that God is good all of the time.

50-Accept others as they are in hopes that they will become all they can be.

51-Remember the movies, songs, fragrances that bring back happy thoughts and great memories.

52-Cut all excess baggage so that I may travel light.

53-Stay connected to those who encourage me and to ones I need to encourage.

54-Provide a home environment that is peaceful and a blessing to all who visit.

55-Serve those who have nothing to give in return with a hug, a kind word, a sandwich, and hope.

56-Be a super resource to help people learn ways to improve the value of their lives.

57-Be open to constructive criticism.

58-Speak up for what is right and good.  Say no to what is bad.

59-Find a little humor in every situation.

60-Laugh at myself more.

61-Spend more time gazing at life in childlike wonder.

62-Minimize the things in life that pull me away from what is really important.

63-Create traditions that draw our family closer in heart and in presence.

64-Be open to learning there is more than one way to accomplish the same goal.

65-Eliminate my habit of nail biting.

66-Be present at the important events in the lives of those I love.

67-Realize that the less often I make life “all about me” the more I enjoy it.

68-Be fun and pleasant to be with.

69-Be open to anything that will stretch me in positive ways.

70-Live in the freedom I have to do life as I choose so I can serve in love and not out of obligation.

71-Ability to speak truth in love when someone needs to hear it for their growth and maturity.

72-Consider the impact my choices, words, and actions have on others before I make or do them.

73-Wisdom in leadership development.

74-Develop the heart of a coach so I can be Great in my coaching practice.

75-Set goals based on my values.

76-Accomplish goals that positively impact me and those I care about.

77-Value my husband as the one who God has given to me to share this life with.

78-Provide a great model for others to live authentically.

79-Be involved in organizations that increase the quality of the lives they touch.

80-Spend lots of one on one time with those I love.

81-Brand myself not as one who merely seeks financial success but adds true value to the lives of others.

82-To seek to understand rather than attempt to fix others.

83-Have a working knowledge of Biblical truth to give an answer to those who are hurting or to those who are simply curious.

84-Overcome my tendency to judge and replace it with a heart to encourage.

85-Have empowering and enlightening conversations in my travels and around home.

86-Stand at the finish line often as those who have struggled overcome pain, sorrow, and fear.

87-Create an environment of love and peace wherever I go.

88-Be transparent with others and allow them permission to be themselves.

89-Speak to a group or to one with words that refresh and build up.

90-Proactive in hearing the needs of others and in letting mine be known.

91-Overcome passivity with assertiveness.

92-Experience miracles often.

93-Live consistently out of love and grace.

94-Let go of every weight that anchors me to fear or pain.

95-Truly care about the success and joy of others.

96-Be the best wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend I can be.

97-Live in such a way that the bad things I do are forgiven, and the good things I do bring glory to God and encourage others to seek a better path.

98-Overcome fear of failure and recognize it as the means for the greatest success.

99-Eliminate negative and limiting self-talk.

100-Love with all of my heart.

I had a lot of fun creating this list. And, I am encouraged to focus on what will truly add lasting value to my life..

Sheri

60 Years of Simple Wisdom Nuggets

Today is a brand new day with new mercies. Your life is a blank piece of paper. How will you fill it?

Confrontation that seeks to clear the air and restore peace is in making the effort to listen to a person share their thoughts and feelings.

Whenever you are in doubt, don’t.

Finding value in life’s difficulties often results from asking the right questions… “What can I learn from this situation?”

When you don’t know what to do, do the next basic right thing.

Obstacles are the things you see when you take your eyes OFF the goal.

A good reputation is of more value than great riches.

Guarding our words spares us unnecessary trouble.

In order to motivate people and release their potential, one thing is required … you will need to believe in them.

Neither affluence nor education can surpass simple tenacity in the pursuit of success.

The one who finds wisdom enjoys life and the favor of God.

Do not withhold good from the one it is due.

The first lies we need to learn to avoid, are the ones spoken by our fears.

Anxiety in the heart causes depression; an encouraging word can bring peace.

Take care of what’s important to God and He will take care of what’s important to you!

A wise man changes his mind, a fool never does.

To be trusted is the greatest complement. It reveals the true character of the one trusted.

When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of making a change we become willing to take the steps necessary to move forward.

Concentrate on the condition that you want and not the one you are trying to dispose of.

Treat others they way you would like for them to be and that is what they will become.

We never miss the water until the well runs dry. Whatever we take for granted has the risk of running dry.

Relinquish what isn’t working for you … and you’ll become all you are meant to be!

Consider when you have been wronged that if they are able to live “with it” you are able to live “without it”.

Whatever you look for in any given circumstance, you will find. Look for the bad, that’s what you will find; look for the good, that’s what you will find.

The best days of life begin when you learn to want what you have as opposed to striving to have all you want.

Love is the commitment to the welfare of another.

Perhaps our time here is not so much to accomplish tasks but more to enjoy the presence of God in childlike wonder.

Attempting to solve problems with the same mindset that created them is a waste of time.

If people talk to you about others; they talk to others about you.

Every moment, every breath is a gift from God.

Love the people who treat you well.  Pray for the ones who don’t.

Learn not to trade what you want most for what you want right now.

Leaders look for and do the things others won’t.

Don’t jump out of the frying pan into the fire.  Don’t be impulsive; you may find that your situation will actually worsen.

If you need undivided devotion; get a dog.

Whatever you do, do it without grumbling.  Grumbling makes every task more burdensome.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.

Take long walks and lots of pictures.

Record the voices of your children and your parents.

Don’t feed your mind or body with bad things.

Learn to enjoy your own company.  Solitude can be empowering.

Sing while in the shower and in the car with children.  It helps you to engage, and it helps them to remember.

Fear is an awesome motivator but a cruel taskmaster.

When you do all you can do, God will show up and do what only He can do.

Read a portion of Scripture everyday. Apply its principles.

Doing your best trumps not trying when you can’t be the best.

Be thankful in every situation; the good ones for obvious reasons; the difficult ones for the lessons.

There is more opportunity for maturity during adversity than at any other time.

Whatever your current situation, it came to pass, not to stay.

Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

If someone will lie to you; they will steal from you.

Live by your values.  Work from your passion and strengths.

Relinquish your past mistakes, and accept yourself with laughter.

Say what you mean, and truly mean what you say.

Let challenges bring growth and not create excuses.

Let go of resistance and find a surprising peace.

Ask engaging questions to build authentic relationships.

Be alert to the moments that take your breath away.

Manage stress well in order to have the emotional energy to deal with the issues in life.

Resolve conflict before it becomes resentment.

Catch a sunset every chance you get.

Enjoy your work everyday. If you don’t, find the work that will enable you to.

Meet the neighbors.

Live debt free.

Leave a legacy to your children that will carry them all of their lives.

Enjoy fireside chats often.

Develop an openness to try and learn new things.

Memorize as many of God’s promises as possible.

Remind yourself to slow down, sip the coffee, smell the roses, and smile for no reason.

Cease from strife and worry. All things work out in God’s time.

Trust God’s heart when you can’t see his hand.

Make amends and work out your conflicts.

Avoid destructive habits and people.

Keep your commitments.

Be a person of your word.

Don’t return evil for evil; overcome it with good.

Do as much good as you can, as often as you can.

Pray to God with real words in a real way.

Substitute acceptance for judgment.

Stay connected to those who encourage you and to ones you can encourage.

Find a little humor in every situation.

Minimize the things in life that pull you away from what is really important.

Be present at the important events in the lives of those you love.

Realize that the less often you make life “all about you” the more you can enjoy it.

Be fun and pleasant to be with.

Seek to understand rather than attempt to fix others.

Overcome the tendency to judge and replace it with a heart to encourage.

Stand at the finish line often as those who have struggled overcome pain, sorrow, and fear.

Live in such a way that the bad things you do are forgiven, and the good things you do bring glory to God and encourage others to seek a better path.

Today is my 60th Birthday! And I wanted to share some nuggets of wisdom I’ve gathered along the way in my life journey……. what nuggets have you gathered?

Sheri 

Growing Wise: My Child, My Teacher, My Friend…

This is a special tribute to my three amazing daughters on the birthday of my middle daughter, AnnaLynne!

Dear Angel, AnnaLynne & Rachel

From the moment I first saw your face, you gazing with eyes not yet focused, me gazing with eyes filled with wonder…until the moment when I watched you fly from the next to meet your appointments with life, I am certain that being your mom has been the most rewarding, fearful and joyful experience I could ever hope to have. I am convinced that it is you who has been the teacher, and I have been the student.

You begin making sentences, with “Why, Mama?” Later in your teen years, you said “Why not, Mom?” Your stream of endless questions kept your thirst for life as a continual quest. You never tired of learning and growing and exploring and dreaming and creating. All I had to do was comment that I wasn’t sure how or if a particular thing could work to set you in motion. You put your heart into the things you are passionate about. This is one of many big lessons I have learned from you. Be passionate about what and who you love!

Even before you could speak, your eyes asked questions and your tiny hands reached to touch, learn, taste and see. I would stop to teach you numbers, letters, animals, colors, textures, foods, shapes, trees, flowers, stars, and clouds. We read books and you became the much-loved characters. Your imagination was infinite. You would lead, and I would follow. I grew so much more aware of the world around me through the wonder in your eyes.

You taught me trust, delight, and hope. You gave my life meaning and purpose. You held a mirror before each of my attitudes and you role-played all my reactions. You became the reason for me to make better choices, to mean what I said, to live what I believe, and to internalize all that is good in my life. It is you, who connected the dots for me. In a sense, I grew up right along with you. I wanted to be more like you. I still do!

I understood why God said that to get into heaven, I would need to become as a little child. I learned that your spontaneous way of doing life was so much more freeing than the legalistic and controlled way I had attempted to live it. You wiped away the dust from my daily routine and colored the common things with fresh ideas and showered me with delight to hear your giggles and laughter. You made things new and gave me a reason to be myself again, to live authentically.

You gave me eyes to appreciate and see the value in people, whether they were aged or from different cultures. You saw the beauty in the plain and creativity in those timid or challenged.

And in this season of our lives, I can simply be there for you….  because you have grown into the most beautiful young woman, not so much my children, but now, my friends.

You taught me that love is my commitment to the welfare of another. You are the reason that it all makes sense for me now. I love you!

Your Forever Fan, Mommy =)

Sheri