Values – Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Values are those deeply held beliefs that give direction to our lives.

What do you Value?

Is it family, or honesty? What about your health? Maybe its, marriage or your faith? It could be your lifestyle or your child’s education. Do you know? If you do, how do you know? We might say we value something, but does that value come from a deep and reflective decision or have we heard somewhere that we “should” value this or that thing or idea? Read more

2016 Word of the Year

What’s in a word?

Most people tend to agree that words are powerful. Words have the power to create or destroy; bless or curse. If it’s true that words are so powerful, it makes sense to harness that power in a positive way and use them to illuminate our path and influence our outlook. That’s the idea behind my previous blog post, “Finding Your 2016 Motto in Five Easy Steps”.  Read more

Finding Your 2016 Motto in 5 Easy Steps

I love January!

Like a brand new journal, January represents a fresh start or a clean slate. It’s a great time to reflect on what’s going well, what needs work, and to make changes if necessary.

One way to give our New Year a jump start is to choose a word that can help define or refine our direction. This word will be the theme, or motto, for the coming year.

You might already do this, but maybe you don’t! If not, I invite you to consider giving it a try! You might be surprised at how transformational adopting a word can be! Claiming a meaningful word as your motto can change the trajectory of your whole year.

Following are 5 steps to help you identify, claim and live your annual motto.

Step one:

Pray – The place we always begin – we go to God, we ask him for clarity and direction in choosing our word. Keep this intention a part of your prayer for a few days before moving on to the next step. Journal any lights or inspirations during this time.

Step two:

Write – With journal and pen in hand, begin writing words that come to your mind. Think of words that inspire you, words that attract your attention, and words that challenge you. Whatever comes to your mind during this step, write it down.

Step three:

Categorize – Using the words or phrases from the last step, look for common themes and sort them accordingly. The theme with the most words wins!

Step four:

Research – Using the winning theme from the previous exercise, look up synonyms for the words and, or theme. As you write these down you will see a pattern emerge. The pattern will point you to your word.

It’s possible that you won’t need all of these steps to identify your motto. God knows the word He wants for you, the one that will inspire you, challenge you, and help you stay the course. He may make your word clear as day during the first step of prayer, but then again, maybe not. Since these steps can be enlightening, and help us “buy into” our word, going through all five will be beneficial either way.

Some years my word is super obvious, some years I have to go through all the steps and then some! Other years, I just take the information gleaned from the method I described above, and simply make a choice based on what I think would bring the most personal and spiritual growth. I love the process of unlocking the deeper meaning of words, so I go through all the steps regardless of when my word shows up.

This year, two words showed up very quickly, and with equal clarity; POSITIVE and INTENTIONAL. The more I worked with them though, the more I discovered that being intentional is an important ingredient for maintaining a positive outlook. So, the word POSITIVE, is my motto for the year!

Step five:

Internalize – The final step in this process will help us internalize the motto; creating an acronym. Using your word as the foundation, create an acronym including words that further describe how you plan to live out your motto. As we create our acronym, we need to remember to include the means and attitudes that can help us nurture and grow our theme in all aspects of our lives; spiritual, personal, and professional.

Here is the acronym I came up with this year.



Silver lining





Going through these five steps will help you choose a word as your motto for the year. It can help you define, or refine your direction, and act as a compass when you lose your way. Taking the time to discover your word or motto for this year might be just the element of change you’ve been looking for!

Watch for my next blog post as I unpack the ingredients of this P*O*S*I*T*I*V*E acronym and explore some of the important attitudes that help promote a positive outlook





The Struggle is Part of Your Story

We all have a story. Your life is your story. If you are reading this, you are still living your story.

Just like any story, ours has a beginning, a middle and an end. That’s not enough though! To say only that a story has a beginning, middle and end, leaves us with a mediocre story. To write a story that is more than mediocre, we need to have all the right ingredients. An intriguing plot, an interesting setting, a dynamic protagonist, and a detestable antagonist are just a few of the essential ingredients necessary for creating a story that is better than good.

God has taken care of the plot and the setting for our story, hasn’t He? Just look back over your life to see what I mean!  And what of the protagonist? Well I must say, we are pretty dynamic aren’t we? And we make fabulous protagonists! As much as we might wish there was no antagonist at all, I will be willing to bet that we all have at least one detestable antagonist in our story. These components, plot, setting, protagonist, and antagonist, are important for any good story, including our own. However, to create more than just a good story, requires one more powerhouse ingredient. Conflict.

Conflict. It seems the most excellent stories have the most intense and dramatic conflict. From books to movies, or legends to historical accounts, the most captivating stories include a healthy dose of conflict. Out of all the stories told though, think of the ones that captured your attention and left a lasting impression. They are the life stories of real people aren’t they? Stories of how a real person has endured and managed their struggle well. It doesn’t matter if we know them personally or not. There is something in those stories that draws us in. Perhaps it’s the fact that we can relate in some way or another? Perhaps we need to see those triumphant successes to give us courage to conquer the conflict in our own story? Whatever it is, we love those stories; they encourages us to persevere in our own.

The conflict in our story is present in our own personal struggles. Struggles can include trials, tribulations, and temptations. It can be with a person or it can be the circumstances we are faced with. It can be the loss of a loved one, or financial ruin. Whatever the struggle it becomes part of our personal story. The conflict can be emotional, and even uncomfortable at times. We may spend a great deal of time and energy avoiding the pain caused by our struggle. Don’t! Instead of avoiding the conflict, lean into it. Remember, it’s the conflict, which makes for an excellent story. Don’t avoid the discomfort caused by the struggle, because it’s that very conflict that gives us, the protagonist, a chance to find out and prove what we are made of!

It’s through our struggles, and our conflicts, our sorrows, and our disappointments that we are tried, and tested; sometimes to our breaking point. Throughout the struggle we learn, and grow. Along the way, we have the opportunity to respond positively or negatively. We have the opportunity to learn and practice virtue, or resist and fall into sin.   When we patiently, and prayerfully endure the conflict in our story we become who God needs us to be. We have the opportunity to create a story that will inspire others and encourage them to persevere in their own story.

The most excellent stories we hear are the ones involving real people living through real struggles, demonstrating heroic virtue along the way. The real struggles in your real life are part of your real story – make it an excellent one.