Practice kindness…

I have been noticing on Facebook how easy it is for some to post frequently about their hardships. I am all for honest and open sharing, but I sometimes wonder if Facebook is a misuse of sharing our struggles. When someone posts frequently about their hardships, I want to encourage them to find a support system of real people AND practice kindness. I have learned that when I struggle to find something joyful or inspiring to share, it is time for me to look outside myself and give myself away….

I found a great little box of cards that are called Practice kindness cards. I would like to share one with you tonight….

The effect of one good-hearted person is incalcuable…Oscar Arias

So, I would like to encourage you to be one good-hearted person. Do something simple that brings joy to another….

I have learned that it doesn’t have to be big nor cost any money….be creative and have fun reaching out to someone else.

It is my hope that each of us will take time to practice kindness and in return each of us will experience deep and lasting delight (and some perspective) that will carry us through our own difficult times!

 

November ~ a month of growth….

It is almost November and one thing I know about November is that it is No Shave November. 

November is the month men grow their mustaches as they raise awareness for prostate cancer. The movement began in 2003, inspired by breast cancer awareness efforts, and has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, sprouting ‘staches across all seven continents and raising $42 million last year. Women often participate as well by letting the stubble grow out and join in the awareness for prostate cancer, as many men support the awareness of breast cancer.

And so I got to thinking about November and growth and I decided I am also going to focus on growth in certain areas of my life during the month of November.

I am planning to grow my hair out into a new style….November will be the month I get past the crazy making stages and let my hair grow instead of changing my mind because it gets difficult!

I am planning to grow my cardio endurance. I will be committing to rigid sleep and wake up times so that I can grow my endurance by getting to the gym every morning for cardio. I plan to do this as an add-on to my daily schedule I currently have in place.

I am planning to focus less on loss and more on growth. I am planning to focus on my routine and discipline and choices. I am planning to take November one day at a time and see if I can get closer to my goals than I am at the end of October. Every day is a new invitation to change and grow and for that I am grateful. I have worked out hard in October, but lost sight that wellness is not just about hours in the gym. It is about rest and cardio and play and pushing myself to new levels….oh yes and not quitting when things get difficult, and that difficult might be in hair length, food choices or breaths per minutes. Here is to a November full of growth and awareness!

 

 

Echos….

Remember the fun of finding a place that echo’s….

I loved riding my bike through a tunnel when I was younger and it seemed as if I could have stayed there for hours calling out and hearing the words bounce back…..

And then I begin to think about the echo in context of this question: What we do now echoes for eternity…what will.your echo sound like?

I know that I hope my echo includes being advocate, passionate and compassionate. I also want my echo to include that people are more important than things and tasks and that relationships are hard work and well worth working at. Somehow also woven into that echo are the words kindness to self and others and curiosity creates a delightful mystery in living.

Hmm, that is not such a crisp echo, but it is what flows from my heart tonight. Of course I want my echo to resonate my faith, but I don’t want the echo of my faith to push people away (believers or unbelievers), but rather invite people in, so our echo’s can mix and create a unique echo which glorifies my Maker.

And so, I wonder what the echo of your life is. If you were riding through the tunnel, what message would bounce back for your ears to hear. Every day holds opportunity to ensure our echo is as we desire. Live well and enjoy the echo!

 

 

What is it you need to hear….

I was talking to a friend today and asked him this question….what is it you need to hear?

His situation is unique to him and yet the question resonated with me the rest of the day.

I began to think about certain relationships and what it is I desire to hear.

My Mom has been so very gracious on my journey to wellness reminding me that she loves me at every twist and turn….

My friend Cathy and I are spending a weekend together in Traverse City and I am so blessed by her words that it isn’t what we do, because being together is the best.

My friend Mark spoke words to me yesterday of my strength, tenderness and beauty as I have journeyed through a difficult situation with a friend.

I would like to think more about what I would like to hear in my meaningful relationships. I would like to give more thought to what words I can offer to others that speak to the dignity of those I care about….

What about you? Are you aware of someone near to your heart who is needing to hear something from you? Or are you the one waiting for certain words from someone you love? Consider asking for what you need and being generous with what you have to offer!

 

Journeying…

I love Thursday nights. I get to spend 2 hours with six women and my male co-leader and we talk about the journey of life.

We sit around the table after the large group teaching and we share for 90 minutes. The time goes quickly and I stand (or sit) in awe of how our stories intersect and how a group that were complete strangers five weeks ago, now feel connected and curious about one another.

Tonight we talked about contempt and comparison. We shared how we struggle and the power of believing truth. Some were invited to define a vision for themselves and others invited to grieve. There is a lot of intent listening, pursuing and nodding of heads. There is a growing awareness that we share many of the same struggles and longings. Each week I am grateful for a small group who is committed to living life differently. It is a courageous journey to walk. It is a rewarding way to live….

I want to close with a favorite quote of mine which I find so true in each and every journey group I participate in….

‎”Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Reach out and touch someone….

Do you ever face the question if you should call or email someone you would like to communicate with? I find myself faced with this dilemma ever day.  There are many moments where sending an email feels easier. As I think about what easier really means, I am thinking how it requires less of me. Sometimes I choose email because it is easier, quicker and cleaner. But I am more aware lately that when I choose email, I miss an opportunity to share in a relationship. I am more aware lately that when I choose email, I miss an opportunity to reach out and care. I am more aware lately that when I choose email, I miss an opportunity to share with others about what is new in my life as well.

There is a time and place for email. Email will likely be a tool I use every day for many days or years to come. But I want to be very aware of when picking up the phone is a choice that may be more honoring and rewarding. May I never lose sight that even though technology is a blessing, God’s design is that we were created for relationship. Best I have seen, relationship is not experienced well via email and face book. Communication occurs, that is for sure, but relationship takes us reaching out and touching someone….even if that is via telephone! This old commercial seems to say it well. Follow the link and give it a try!

Reach out and touch someone

 

 

Two hands on the wheel….

Every once in a while I get the feeling that I may be having a “parental feeling.” Most recently this has occurred in relationship to Olivia and Anne taking drivers training. I am not sure how Janneke and Henry are already old enough to be driving. It seems like just yesterday I was loving being an Aunt to these toddlers. 

Now as they take the wheel, I seem oddly aware of my own driving habits. I find that it is easy for me to be a distracted driver. It happens almost without thinking. I am working on being much more aware and intentional. I have discovered a very simple action that draws all my focus back to the road. It is simple. It is two hands on the wheel.  When I have two hands on the wheel, I feel my focus come back to the car. When I have two hands on the wheel, I set my phone, my water bottle and my reaching for a piece of gum aside. When I have two hands on the wheel, I tend to look straight ahead and focus 100% on driving. I wonder if that is why way back when I was in drivers training, they were pretty adamant about the importance of driving with two hands on the wheel!

Give it a try, bring your focus back to the road by putting two hands on the wheel. And remember that you are being watched, by all ages, as you model good driving habits for those who are near to your heart. Be safe and be well!

 

Marveling at the journey….

One year ago today I was embarking on an adventure. I was ready for life change, and I signed up for a two-week weight loss boot camp to see if I might finally experience some results. I ventured into those two weeks believing my body was stubborn. One year later, I am amazed at the transformation of my heart, body and soul. I had wanted to lose 100 pounds in a year. I have lost 50. I could be disappointed but I am choosing to be thrilled. My journey continues and my body will continue to change. I am learning new habits, practicing new ways and celebrating new milestones!

I have learned that it is healthier to focus on wellness instead of weight loss….

I have learned that I can do much more than I believe I am capable of….

I have witnessed this quote come to life with my fellow journey mates: ‎”Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis

And so, one year later, I am touched by the words of my friends who I have only known one year and yet feel as if we have shared a life time together. I share a few of them with you so you can also marvel at the friendships birthed on this journey. Never hesitate to invite others into your struggles. I believe you will be blessed!

From Heather: Happy Anniversary! I can’t believe it is a year since the doors opened, and we all walked in, a year since we poured out our stories and cried for perfect strangers, a year since we all learned that we are not alone in the battle to be healthy, and there are so many like us that are having the same struggles, a year since cameras followed us through circuits, climbs and the pool. A year since the worst heartburn and nausea in my life. A year since a power outage at 4am on the north shore makes everyone but Cara go back to bed. A year since a bond was put in place between all of us, and no matter where we are, we know that we have people who care about us to back us up!! Thank you to you all for your love, support, and words of encouragement, you’ve helped me in more ways than I can say. Oh, and thank you, Mark Zuckerberg for creating Facebook and making it so easy to stay in touch with my Fitness North Family. Love you guys!

From Robin: Good morning. One year ago today is when we headed up north for the life changing journey we are still on. We have come a long way. I am reminded daily that we are works in progress. Thank you for all of your words of support and friendship through the course of this year. I am blessed to have each of you in my life. I am still amazed at what we endured during those cool crisp mornings on the North shore. Have a life changing day

And my words to my great group of friends: I feel like today should be our own holiday. It was a journey we started together and will journey till our last breath. I am more aware of my potential and my pit falls. I have different goals but the same longings. I am blessed and I am grateful. You all remain dear to my heart! May we be filled with kindness, grace, drive, and never-ending endurance in the path we journey for ourselves and with others! A big hug and bubble yum bubble to you all! ♥

 

The Help…

Tonight I saw a very good movie….The Help

The Help is an inspirational, courageous and empowering story about very different, extraordinary women in the 1960s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project — one that breaks society’s rules and puts them all at risk. Filled with poignancy, humor and hope — and complete with compelling, never-before-seen bonus features — The Help is a timeless, universal and triumphant story about the ability to create change.

As I watched the story line unfold, I loved how this movie shows the beauty of story and the power of breaking the silence. My heart ached throughout the movie at the reality of racism. I felt deep joy (tear provoking joy) at the tenderness shown between the black help and the innocent white children. I felt deep respect for the women who spoke of the dignity and the depravity of the people they served. I loved the courage displayed by many and the many scenes where individuals took a stance for what they knew was right. This move showed individual strength and the support and love of community. And perhaps my favorite line from the movie is “you is kind, you is smart and you is important!” What wonderful words to give to a child!  Click on the link and enjoy the wonderfully tender exchange. And share those words with someone you love today!

The Help ~ You is kind, You is smart, You is important

 

Squeals of delight….

Recently my dear friend Betty Lee came from Texas to lead a small group at the journey retreat. I was the lucky one who got to pick her up at the airport and spend some car time catching up on life. Now, if you have Betty and I together, there isn’t much (if any) silence. But this car ride was unique.

It wasn’t the silence that made this ride unique….but squeals of delight. Riding with Betty that afternoon reminded me of the beauty that surrounds us in the trees and the color. 

I have to admit that I don’t always see the beauty because I know right after this season comes winter. But as I drove with Betty, I realized that I want to squeal with delight (at least internally) at the beauty that I see every day. I am guessing there is even beauty to be found in the winter.

I wonder if you are a squealer when you are surrounded by beauty. Give it a try, it was a delightful ride that fall afternoon when I saw my surroundings through the eyes of a friend who delighted and squealed at God’s handiwork!