The ‘March’ of tiny victories..

This has been a successful few weeks of sticking to personal resolutions, (both behavioral and spiritual) and in a way I guess I’m not that surprised. Nothing helps me focus my attention on all that is good in life (and good for me) quite like a touch of turmoil and uncertainty..and March has provided both.  It’s almost as if the negative “life noise” pressing down on one side invigorates my mind to be more determined than ever to press down harder against it on the other.

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Go “Team Positive!”

 

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photocredit:123RF.co,Stevan Sheets,Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

Thanks for calling.

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I was meandering through a local nursery yesterday looking for some herbs to plant when my daughter called from college. I found a bench that had a few concrete bunnies on it and sat down amongst them while we talked. I sometimes wonder what my kids think before they call me..

“Oh, oh..it’s been a week, I’d better call mom..”

“I am so excited, I’m calling mom!”

“Ugh, I’m so bored.. I bet mom’s available..”

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All I know is no matter the reason, it warms my heart every time they reach out. 💜

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photocredit:Mommyish

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trusted enough to be “real.”

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I was able to spend some time with a wonderful group of women yesterday. We talked about grand babies that were due, vacations that were planned and Spring.

And then, like a soft breeze, the mood changed as one of the ladies began to share a painful experience she was dealing with..then another opened up..then another.  There were tears of sadness and solidarity; words of encouragement and prayer.

Later in the evening, I thought about what a solemn privilege it is to fully share in the lives of our friends..to be valued and trusted enough to be real.

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photocredit:blogger

 

 

Becoming an expert..

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I was reading an interesting piece yesterday about how the US Treasury Department trains people to identify counterfeit bills. You’d think they would carefully study the various forms of fakes, but instead they focus on the authentic currency and become experts on that instead.

It makes sense doesn’t it?  You become so familiar with what’s authentic and desired that any variation or deviation immediately stands out.

Huh….time for immediate real life application! 👍

For starters, you have to know exactly what you want.  Whether you are looking for an apartment, working towards a better body, searching for a soul mate, a new job or a happier self..you have to really study and become an expert on what’s important to you. You need to create a crisp and clear image of what your authentic “gold standard” looks like.

When my daughter was searching for a new place to live, she had a spreadsheet listing her “must-haves” and her negotiables. This very specific list was an invaluable guide as we rushed around looking at various properties to rent.  Her ability to measure each option against her preferences kept us hyper-focused and on track.  She found an apartment in a brand new, unfamiliar city, in one day.

It seems so simple, but you have to become an expert on what you want.

If your goal is to get in shape, you can’t spend every morning examining what you hate about your body in the mirror. Instead, create a specific image of the improvements you are after and focus on that. If you are looking for a partner, don’t spend weeks dissecting failed relationships, focus instead on the type of person you think would be a great match- be specific and use that as your guide.

I can personally attest to the many hours I’ve wasted because I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was really after. Conversely, when I “name it and claim it” I usually am successful in my pursuit.

Recently, I had a prolonged problem with an extended car warranty. The issue was bouncing back and forth and back and forth until I finally contacted the manager and told him specifically, clearly, what I wanted- in this case a full and immediate refund from the dealership- I did not want to be stuck between them and the warranty company for one more day..

A check arrived Fed-Ex within 24 hours.

The only thing that changed this situation was I finally was able to CLEARLY articulate a very specific and attainable goal..I didn’t want “the problem fixed” anymore, because truthfully,  I didn’t even know what “the problem” was..

I wanted $588 from the dealer..

immediately..

period.

Redirecting our focus and energy from the problem to the solution, from failure to success, from the fake to what’s real, from what’s broken to what works, from what bothers us to what we desire…becoming an expert at identifying what we want....This is a strategy for success that’s worth examining..

one that’s curiously brought to you by the US Treasury Department..

Go figure. 😉

 

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photocredit:wikiHow

 

 

 

 

Micro-achievements

If you are the author of an adventurous travel blog and by chance just uploaded photos of your Spring Break tour through the dead zone around Chernobyl- don’t read on..  you will not be able to relate to someone like me.

This is a quick pat-on-my-back post for being able to follow through on three goals I set for myself last week- none of which involve an Olympic trial, losing 20 pounds, applying a nicotine patch, scaling a mountain or a geiger counter.

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                             #1 Drink 68 oz of water a day

                             #2 Take all of my vitamins

                             #3 Exercise my heart (vigorously) three times.

 

That’s all I asked of myself (outside of my regular routine)..and I’m happy to report I actually followed through..yes, for seven whole days.

Do micro-achievements matter?

I’m a FIRM believer that they do because each small achievement is a brick laid on the pathway to greater things. 

So this week’s goal is simple: REPEAT

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photocredit:FlipKey,The Quotepedia

The folly of a personal “exchange rate.”

There are people I know who feel their personal value is subject to the same fluctuations as the world’s currencies.

As an American businessman living and running a company in Germany, the exchange rate was a very important factor in my dad’s everyday life. He’d get up in the morning.. check the weather, the headlines and peek at the ever-fluctuating value of the dollar against what was then the pre-Euro, German Mark.

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Fast forward a few decades and I also have friends who wake up in the morning, check their Facebook feed, and calculate their value by comparing themselves against the lives of their 598 “friends.”

Sally just got married (I’m still single)

Jane took at trip to Bali (I haven’t had a day off in months)

Mary lost 50 pounds (I just let my gym membership expire)

Nancy landed a new glam job (I’m making minimum wage)

and the real kicker…

Tammy ate at some fab restaurant last night (I heated up McDonald’s left-overs)

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It doesn’t take but a few minutes of clicking for us to devalue ourselves, what we have and who we are. Our personal valuation takes a hit every time we compare ourselves against a standard created from a collage of everyone else’s best moments.

I too spent many years basing my personal worth not only on comparisons to others, but on my own works, my physical appearance, abilities I did or didn’t have and the fact that my dad was a successful person and hey, I was his daughter! Needless to say, my personal exchange rate was in constant flux.

It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I realized I could abandon this constant

“pressure to measure.”

I learned that my value is securely grounded in God’s steadfast, never changing love for me. This value doesn’t wax and wane depending on how much I make, what I do (good or bad) or how I look. He isn’t monitoring me on some celestial Facebook feed to make sure I’m measuring up..

“The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

There is an almost indescribable sense of freedom that accompanies the realization that my value is firmly rooted in my relationship with a God of grace, compassion and a love so deep that he sent his son to earth to die on my behalf so that my salvation could be secured.

Eternal life in heaven isn’t a reward for perfect people, it’s a gift completely unrelated to any “human performance level.” Sadly, there are many who simply cannot accept the thought that their destiny is not tied to personal effort OR that someone else they may consider a complete loser could share equally in God’s gracious inheritance.

Our value isn’t tied to what I do,

it rests squarely on what He did.

Of course none of this means that I stop trying to become a better version of myself..but my efforts at self-improvement take place within the context and security of my relationship with God who paid the price for every single one of my shortcomings.

That exchange right there is the only one that matters.

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photocredit:The Times of Islamabad,Genevieve Magazine,Pinterest

 

 

Monday “go-getter” / Wednesday “forgetter”

I laid out three small expectations for the week..

Don’t laugh, these are seriously small goals, but I know how undisciplined I am, and I had to start somewhere.

#1 Drink 68 ounces of water every day

#2 Take my vitamins- all of them-every day.

#3 Challenge my heart at least three times this week.(not emotionally 😉; physically through exercise.)

So here we are on Thursday and (shocker) so far I’m not only on task, but I’m doing even more than I hoped.

You see my problem isn’t ability; it’s consistency. 

I’m  a Monday go getter..

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but a Wednesday forgetter.

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That in a nutshell is what I need to address

and nothing is as motivating as

success!

 

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photocredit:Fitness & Wellness News,Runner’s World