For Busy Moms~6 Steps to the Best Lent Ever

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Are you a busy mom?

Do you struggle to live out your lenten plans?

What if I were to tell you I have a different way to observe lent this year?

Today’s busy moms face a pace and lifestyle that can set us up for failure if we try to approach Lent the traditional way. I’d like to suggest a different approach to lent this year. Read more

Breathe~ Part 2

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At the risk of belaboring the word of the year topic….. I have had a few requests to share the exercise I go through after choosing my word. So here it is!

For me, naming the word of the year just isn’t enough. I need to cultivate a deeper understanding of the word, and what it means to me, so that it takes root and truly blossoms.  I want my word to resonate in my subconscious all year long.  I want it to ring in my heart and steer my intentions.  I do this in two steps.

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Breathe – 2017

I know I’m a little behind with this whole “word of the year” thing.  It seems everyone else in the world has had theirs nailed down for months!  I’m normally right there with them!  Usually, I’m super clear on my word and can’t wait to implement it!  Not this year though.  This year I didn’t like the word that kept creeping into my conscience.  So I’ve spent the last two months resisting it. 

I wanted this year’s word to propel my personal and professional growth.  I was looking for a word that would inspire me to let go of familiar and get out of my comfort zone.  I wanted a word that would be a symbol, a reminder, a motivation for me to reach for more and unlock my true potential.   I was looking for a high energy word that would illicit an enthusiastic “ya…lets do this!”.   

But all I got was – Breathe.

Breathe – Come on, seriously?!  This low key, boring word?  Certainly not!   I wanted a word way more exciting that!

However, the more I looked for a more “suitable” word to be my mascot for the year, the more the word “breathe” kept showing up.  It literally showed up everywhere!  It made its way into my social media feed, my conversations, what I read, and what I listened to.  It even appeared at my favorite gift shop, on everything from jewelry to coffee mugs.  Too bad!          I didn’t think it fit what I wanted for 2017….so… I ignored it all and kept looking!

Two talks, a song, and a quote…..That’s what it took to get my attention and reconsider the possible impact of this boring… er-um… “quiet” little word.  

Quite? Yes.   Boring? No.  I had clearly underestimated the power of breathing.  Each of these events, the talks, the song and the quote are great stories to be told at another time.  For now, I’ll just say I was reminded that when you ask God for His help, listen carefully for the answer, it may come in an unexpected way, and it may not be what you want to hear, but it IS what you NEED to hear. 

The common theme through all these events was the powerful impact breathing can have on the outcome of a moment, a day, a year… a life.  I was reminded how breathing can slow things down, and help me reconnect with my best self, so that I can show up as that self more often.   

I was also reminded how breathing creates a space for calm reasonable reflection.  A space where I can remember who I am and what my purpose is.  Where I can grow in confidence.  Breathing can facilitate the growth of that confidence into courage.  Courage to face the unfamiliar, and step out of my comfort zone…into the growth zone.  Whether it be personal or professional challenges or changes, taking a deep breath is the first step to reaching for more and unlocking my full potential.   

BREATHE – what a perfect word for me this year! 

In case you wondered….

The two talks were ~ “The Lost Art of Pondering” and “Navigating Change Gracefully”

The song was ~ “Breathe” by Johnny Diaz from the “Everything is Changing” album

The quote ~

The Lost Art of Pondering

 

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The other day my daughter and I watched an American Girl movie called “Felicity”. It tells the story of a young girl’s life in colonial New England. A time when proper etiquette included a controlled tongue and a well-trained mind. In those days, it was considered an art to ponder one’s opinions and words carefully before speaking. As I watched the story unfold, I realized how far we have come from those proper days.

It this current culture it seems the art of pondering as been lost. Where our ancestors found value in calmly reflecting on events, or coming to decisions slowly, today it seems we are condemned for thinking too much or taking too long to make a decision. Statements like “hold your tongue, consider your words carefully before speaking”, and “sometimes it is better to say nothing” were the norm. Today, I fear they are the exception.

Pondering slows things down and creates a space where we can breathe. In today’s culture, it seems faster is better. While pondering promotes a thoughtful response, the current culture promotes drama and emotional reactions are glamorized. Pondering is like pressing the pause button, it invites an attitude of intentional living where peace and well-being thrive. Unfortunately, we live in a time where it seems the pause button is broken, and the word intentional has taken on a life and economy of its own. The thing with pondering is…. it doesn’t always come naturally. It can be hard.

We live in a world where we’re encouraged to avoid anything that is hard. Pondering is especially hard when being still doesn’t come naturally! That’s me! I am NOT a natural ponderer. I have activator in my list of top five strengths, so my first inclination is not toward the calm or reflective.  But rather the quick and active. Add that to the endless list of interruptions that come from my state in life and the distractions of our technology saturated culture, and its no wonder I have such a hard time pondering!

Even though, I understand the value and importance of the art of pondering, it doesn’t make it easier! It still takes a huge amount of effort for me to be still and quiet my mind. But the good news is the more I do it the better I get at it, and the easier it is to do it the next time. Just like any art, the art of pondering takes consistent practice. This can be as simple as setting aside a certain time of day, on a regular basis to practice being still and quieting your mind. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. And the better we get, the more peace and well-being we’ll enjoy.

Although we live in a culture where the pace we keep is definitely faster and the distractions available are far more than our ancestors, the art of pondering is still essential to our peace and well-being. Our ancestors knew that slowing things down and being more deliberate would benefit their society.

How might our society change if we resurrect the lost art of pondering?

 

 

Gratitude Survey – How Much Do You Have?

 

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I love the month of November and the opportunity to reflect on our blessings!  I also love it because of how it prepares us for Advent.  I think gratitude is to Advent, like a nutrient rich fertilizer is to a healthy garden.  Without it, the outcome is weak and lacking.  Since Advent is the time of year where we prepare ourselves for the best blessing of all, the birth of our Savior, it’s critical that we cultivate a heart that can fully recognize and appreciate that gift.

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