The Work

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
– 1 Corinthians 10:31

Drama.

While some seem to live life in a starring role of melodramatic complexity – that’s not my calling. There’s work to be done and – in that doing – a sense of fulfillment to be found from a job well done.

That means – for me – avoid that drama at all costs.

That means finding the positive in everything, focusing on the truth, and chasing everything that does not matter out.

Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussin’ and fightin’, my friend.

That means – for me – sanity is found through focus and keeping that smile on my face. And sanity is a terrible thing to waste. icon_wink

Stick with your work.

Do not flinch because the lion roars.
Do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs.
Do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits.

Do your work.

Let liars lie.
Let sectarians quarrel.
Let critics malign.
Let enemies accuse.
Let the devil do his worst.

But see to it nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the work God has given you.

He has not commanded you to be admired or esteemed.
He has never bidden you defend your character.
He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood (about yourself)
which Satan’s or God’s servants may start to peddle,
or to track down every rumor that threatens your reputation.
If you do these things, you will do nothing else.
You will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord.

Keep at your work.
Let your aim be as steady as a star.
You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered,
wounded and rejected, misunderstood, or assigned impure motives;
You may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends,
and despised and rejected of men.
But see to it with steadfast determination,
with unfaltering zeal,
that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being
until at last you can say, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.”

Anonymous

The taste - and see that the Lord is good

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6 Steps to Save Your Sanity

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

MH900391672Life is running at full-speed on steroids right now – for  you too? I cannot believe it’s been 6 months since I’ve been here in my own personal happy place…  Where has the time gone? Oh WAIT – I have a good idea where: I’ve been taking care of a complete website overhaul for www.FlexArmInc.com and blogging for them as much as possible, along with doing their social media on the fly. Add a job description full of duties and “my” life can become almost non-existent as it revolves and evolves into being the consistent company spokesmouth for FlexArm Inc.

It’s easy to lose oneself in all the flurry. I’ve done it repeatedly.

The experts will tell you: Balance is key. Moderation in all things. I reply with a giggle: bahahahahaha… SURE! Easy for you to say!  It’s also incredibly easy to lose your mind when the forces that be overwhelm with requests, needs and to-dos to-be-completed last week at the latest. Period.

It doesn’t need to happen. Sanity is a terrible thing to waste. Life is very short, and there really is no time for fussin’ and fightin, my friend.

Do you feel a distinct need to…

Save your sanity?

This is how I maintain mine:

1. STOP: when I feel overwhelmed. There are times in everyone’s life when the expectations and requests far outweigh the resources one person has to fulfill quickly. I am that “one person.” Repeat after me: I AM THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON TO ME. No one will take care of me like I can take care of me so I HAVE TO take care of me! When I feel the stress invading my realm is coming too fast and is a bit to much to handle, I stop right there and…

2. GO: to a happy place. I have to make myself close my eyes, breathe and displace myself momentarily to regroup and find discernment, clarity and energy to think through the needs that surround me when I’m being bombarded. I have to take a momentary snippet of time to fill my arsonel with ammunition. SMILE. BREATHE. Time to get up and take a quick visual or real power walk to clear out the gunk and open up to find solutions.

3. STOP: trying to “please” everyone. I can’t – ’nuff said. While on of my greatest joys is seeing the smile on someone’s else’s face because I’ve made their world better in some way, shape or form – I can’t do it for everyone concurrently. Just because everyone wants the sun, moon and stars for them on a silver platter at this present moment doesn’t mean I can stop and scramble to fulfill everyone’s immediate requests. SMILE. BREATHE.

4. GO: prioritize the challenges and issues. Life is not all about first come, first served. It’s all about being effective. It’s about adding value. It’s about getting it done right – and well. You can’t do all of those for everyone at the same time. So figure out what needs to be done first based on my values and work through it. Sometimes it means saying NO or telling someone I have to get away to tie up loose ends.

5. STOP: being in a rut. Ruts get me nowhere fast. What am I doing over and over that is dragging me down? Who is in my life that’s sucking me dry? Why am I allowing it?  I simply ask them to stop sucking my life and consider pouring life instead. By doing so, they will do positive things for themselves too. If they choose not to, I have to find some distance from the negativity to stay +positive+.

6. GO: take time to do something fresh and re-freshing. Take a walk. Go somewhere new. Roll the windows down in my car, turn up the music and sing at the top of my lungs while driving through the countryside checking out the cows (Yep that was ME in that red Jeep). Plan a quick trip to somewhere I’ve never been to. Plan how I’ll knock off a bucket list item or two. Do SOMEthing I love to do and never get to do because of everyone else’s requests.

stop save your snaityLife is made up of STOPs and GOs.
There are time I have to take a moment to STOP…
So I can GO.

STOP trying to do it all at once –
GO take life’s requests in tiny bites.

STOP trying to be the best at everything –
GO find some experts and ASK for support.

STOP trying to work non-stop until everything is done.
It never will be.
GO make do-able goals.

With that, I say let’s start living and stop existing.
Life is a TERRIBLE thing to waste.

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4 Easy Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation

A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.
– Proverbs 22:21

Looking for a job? I’ve talked to a lot of people like you. I’ve talked with many job seekers whose resumes have crossed my Inbox and desk – and there are many more I haven’t talked to. Why? Because I checked them out online first. When I do, I can assume they won’t be a solid fit for the job I need to fill or the company culture I want to bring them into. Maybe I’ve misjudged, based on things I saw. But…

I am not alone.

Consider this – you can say or do a lot of things in life. But, when something goes online, you may as well say it stays forever. That Facebook rant about your boss? Oops – I just saw that.  I’m going to BE your boss if I hire you. That image of you doing whatever it was you should’ve kept offline – that just gave me THE reason to put your resume aside in favor of a more conservative candidate.

That awkward post you made ages ago is probably still be visible to the public – to me, as a prospective employer.. That “interesting” picture of you may be lingering online, ready to be clicked on. Do you know how much of your personal information is easy for anyone to find?

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little effort and the right security measures, you can take command of how you appear to others online. You can keep your private life private from me – and maybe get that chance for an interview.

1. Google you
Ever do a Google search for someone and get a big surprise at what you found? Do the same for yourself… Then pair your name with previous employers and locations. Check any organizations you are part of as a volunteer or participant. This should turn up pretty much everything said about or by you on social networks and blog sites.

Don’t forget to throw your name into popular people-search sites like PeekYou. Those can dig up dirt that other search engines don’t find. Combine all of this with a manual scan of your Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Scan for older posts you might have forgotten about that you wouldn’t want others to see.

2. Clean it up
If you find any questionable posts on your social networks, deleting them is usually easy. Just select the post and wait for the delete button to appear. On Facebook, it’s an X. On Twitter, it’s a trash can.

If the post was made by someone else, it’s a little tougher to remove. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though. Send the person who owns the post an email and explain the situation. Never underestimate the power of kindness and asking politely.

3. Promote the positive
Search engines are picky about what content makes it to the top of their pages. It has a lot to do with what content is the most recent and popular. However, Google likes displaying pages that are updated often.

Keep active social media profiles. Try to post once or twice a day on your own profiles, blogs or personal website. Once Google sees how active a user you are, your new positive results will begin to bury any older negative posts that turn up.

It’s not a bad idea to start profiles on less common social media sites as well. Google will push your YouTube and Google+ profiles up because Google owns those sites. Having a LinkedIn account for business networking is a grea
t idea for self-promotion and professional networking. This is especially true if you have a common name. Who knows what those other Jane Smiths and Steve Johnsons are doing online. You don’t want someone to mistake them for you!

4. Keep watch for new bad posts
Cleaning up your online reputation doesn’t do much good if you don’t keep it clean. Be proactive to keep your positive information high and your negative information offline.

Your online reputation is part of you. Keep it reflective of your most positive attributes. Who knows who will be looking for you online? It could be me!

social media online reputation

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The Thread

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
– Hebrews 11:1

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
– Romans 10:17

Days are filled with sorrow and care…
and sometimes it gets tough to keep the joy in the journey, much less have any to spread. It’s easy to say “Have faith!” to others… It’s just tough to listen to, internalize and really HAVE faith when too much of life becomes far too overwhelming.

 

The thread that holds life together can become very thin, very worn, and close to the breaking point at times. Easily. Life is hard…

but God is good.

God is there in the middle of your road, and He knows. He’s before you, behind you, above you, below you, and all through you if you are His child. The journey originates with Him. His plan takes us on our unique path, and His light provides the way for us to follow. He gives us His Word as a tangible place to go, to hold onto, to share, to chew on, and to find grace and strength for the journey. It’s there we find the source of faith, and it’s there we can find the joy renewed in spite of life;s speed bumps.

Faith: The thread of eternal hope that runs through a finite life.

It’s the thread that binds each of us together individually, and it is the thread that binds His children together. It’s the thread that needs to remain strong so we can show others by our life Who is in control and Who the focus of our life really us.

Faith. May we seek to find our strength in the eternal journey and not get bogged down by the details of life that are momentary.

May we seek to glorify the God of glory, our Creator and Sustainer, for life, breath and hope. May that thread remain strong and secure.

give thanks taste and see that the Lord is good Thanksgiving

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The Focus

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

– Isaiah 41:10

The focus of weekends is supposed to be enjoyment. When the to-dos get too deep, it’s hard to find any happy place of escape on a “day off.”

That’s where I was this morning, when I grabbed my run-around to-do list and took off to accomplish it.

While in the car, I thought to myself…

This is not happy. This is overwhelming. My focus is OFF.

Not that life has to be “happy” along with everything else. It would just be nice to enjoy more life instead of always being…

BUSY. The focus gets lost when there a long list of  “need-to-be-done”s.

So I thought to myself…

What makes me happy?

It sounded like an icebreaker question, and my gut responded: teal blue.

Not a washed out bland sort of blue-green, but deep, bold in-your-face TEAL BLUE.

What else makes me happy? Thinking of things that make me happy is one, so I wrote down a list of 10 things that make me happy and, you know what?

I was happy. My focus had re-adjusted.

The overwhelming to-do list had found its place in my priority list as I contemplated my own happy list and I decided…

I need to do this more often.

I need to put the things that are not in my control in a place where they are under my control, and I need to focus on not being unhappy.

With that – here goes my own list of 10 things that make me happy:

  1. Teal blue. I need to wear it more often.
  2. Time with God. Church activities, worship, music ministry, working with others, working with our church kids are part of my life and add to the busyness. It’s the silent times, the times that I meditate on God’s Word and thank Him for His grace and mercy in my life that give me peace and joy in spite of the chaos around me.
  3. Time at home, in my cocoon. Time with my husband, my daughter, our inner circle of friends, and our church family give me a sense of belonging, purpose and acceptance that the world loves to steal away.
  4. Serving others. Helping. Doing something for someone. Smiling at others – and watching them warm up and smile up. Encouraging someone. Being kind to someone. Showing love – even when I don’t like it. Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussin’ and fightin’ my friend.
  5. Healthy things. Healthy food. Taking a walk/jog/run. Sunshine on my shoulders. Passing on the candy bar, the cookie and the junk food. Drinking lots of water. Eating my own home-grown tomatoes. Healthy is happy!
  6. The world is such a noisy place. There are so many things attacking and vying for attention that being away in silence is refreshing. Running in silence. Standing here typing in silence. Taking time away from the noise to clear my head is a refreshing thing.
  7. Inspiring people. Inspiring quotes. Positive energy. Feeling the YES of life.
  8. Making something better. Leaving a room cleaner than I went in. Cleaning up typos on a document. Adding value, making my world a little nicer and helping others do likewise.
  9. Knocking things off my to-do list. Putting a line through each item that’s staring at me so I can throw it away when it is DONE.
  10. Leaving a legacy. Leaving a heritage. It’s going beyond leaving things better than when you found them (#8). Take a risk to reach out to others and be an inspiration. Be an example. Teach a class well. Mentor someone. Write blog posts that inspire others. Take time to grow others.

Those 10 things broke down into 3 steps for me, and I encourage you to find your focus:

Choose to be happy. smile confidence
Find your own J-O-Y (Jesus – Others – You) things that make you happy.

Encourage others to do likewise.

The taste - and see that the Lord is good

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5 Steps to Boost Confidence

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them,
for the LORD your God is the One who goes with you.
He will not fail you or forsake you.

– Deuteronomy 31:6

confidence

I confess – inside I am a chicken at heart. It’s taken me a lifetime to build confidence: in myself, in others, in the fact that I have a place in this world and if it’s to be – it’s up to me.

What about you? Does the thought of being around people as an active participant in their lives make you a bit nervous, light-headed, and on the verge of just plain miserable? There’s hope. I know. I’m living proof. There’s a lion inside of you, just wanting to wake up and roar.

The first step is realizing your confidence level is a bit shaky. The next step? Acknowledge it, then decide that today is the day you will begin to live WITH people instead of outside their realm. After all, no man is an island – and that’s each of us and all of us.

So where will you find that confidence you need to face each day – and the people around you – with a smile? The answer: Within yourself. It’s a decision, a choice, and a commitment to become the best YOU possible, and that means as part of a planet filled with people. Here are 5 steps to boot your own confidence that have helped me build mine:

smile confidence1. Be you. Have the nerve to be yourself. YOU – the unique and productively positive, value-added, talent-filled YOU. Start by checking in with yourself to be sure you aren’t people-pleasing, holding back, criticizing, or down-playing who you truly are. Start by appreciating yourself and your gifts, talents and attributes. Next, acknowledge the great things you’ve accomplished throughout your life. Finally, accept you for who you are. Yes, it’s wonderful to want to grow, shift and change, but acceptance first is key. Having goals is an awesome thing – accomplishing them begins with knowing who you are, believing in yourself, and stepping out in your strengths. After this you can work on looking and being your best at all times, trying new things, making eye contact, and embracing your uniqueness.

smile confidence2. Live opened up to love and lightness, possibilities, people, and the beauty of the world. Remain open minded that you can learn from everyone you meet. Be optimistic that your life is and can be extraordinary. Make it happen. Look for the good. It really is everywhere WHEN you focus on it.

smile confidence3. Create your own opportunities and jump into them. Don’t wait for that *whatever* to appear. Start with small steps daily to get what you dream of. Ask for help, ask for connections. Do things you’ve never done before. Take the risk towards a positive outcome. Ask for chances and big things. Be bold. Take risks. For some, this may mean trying a new food. For others it may be taking on a new sport, exercise or project. For me, it was all of the above and then some. Trust me – you will feel the positive difference in the days ahead.

smile confidence4. Sort through everything you are doing now in your life, and rate each item 0-100%; 100 being that it makes you feel on fire, fueled and fulfilled. Get rid of or lessen the things on the list that aren’t at least 90% to make the space for greatness, rewards and your dreams to come into your life. Next start to shape and sculpt your life by design. What about the things you are currently doing, can you be better at? What are your dreams, and are you on your way to them? Rid your life of the negatives and energy-drainers to focus on the positive fuel for positive outcomes.

smile confidence5. Talk to yourself and others positively. Throw away any negative thoughts about yourself. Treat yourself like a star and others will too. You are. LIVE IT.

Your confidence is within you.
Find it.
Fuel it.
Fulfill it.
It’s YOUR LIFE. Live it!!

psalm 139

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The Team

… let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
– Hebrews 12:1

It’s those times when the team is there for me…
that make me so thankful I don’t run the race of life alone.

Hamstring plus tendonitis equals a bad combination which creates a pain in the rear. Literally. Seriously. It’s something I’ve been fighting for the past 2 months since I ran a little too fast, a little too hard, a little too long.

Ow – located at the base of a rear cheek. And just when it eases up – yank… I’ll pull it – just like I did yesterday when I moved a little too fast in the production area of our warehouse yesterday – which leads to…

OW. Or, after a few minutes of being up and around, leads to OW: Supersized.

Every time I walk. A pain in the rear. Right rear, at the base of the rear, to be exact.

Problem is, I was leading charge for our company team to be part of a 5k event. Today. The day after I re-jiggled my hamstring out of its string and into the pain-in-the-rear position. And, as I walked late yesterday, I began to dread the tomorrow which became today. As I lay in bed last night, trying to relax and get comfy despite a squealing hamstring, I wondered…

How will I make it to the finish line?

The answer?

I was running with a team.

I wasn’t alone.

My team was running with me.

I found out how much that meant as the morning unfolded.

the teamI got up to 60-ish degrees and rain. It was RAINING hard early this should’ve-slept-in-Saturday morning. By the time I left for the 5k, it was just plain dreary with mist – but at least it wasn’t pouring.

I was dreading it – in spite of the BioFreeze I had slathered thickly on the base of my right rear. When I arrived, my dread grew into ohhhh-nooo dread as I was directed to park in a parking lot probably a half-mile from where the team was gathering. As I made my way there, the owww-eee reality whispered gently in my ear:

Uh oh – What have you done…?

2014-07-19 09.21.12But I found them – the team – and the smiles and giggles made the owww-weee soften as we laughed at the rain and smiled at the challenge. Even as I took pictures of the line before me, waiting for the launch of the race, I saw members of the team – MY team – and my focus took aim on the finish line next to the starting point.

Readyyyyyy….

Setttttt….

GO Team – GO!

And off they ran, and off I walked, taking picture after picture of the course as I progressed through the miles. It kept my mind off my butt, and that wasn’t a bad thing.

2014-07-19 09.17.47I made it. I MADE IT!! I wondered how, I wondered when, but I never wondered if…

After I found my place with the team as we gathered at the start of the course.

Even though there were a number of places to stop, to short-cut, or even give it all up, memories of gathering with the team propelled me through the streets with the rest of the runners, joggers, walkers and strollers. And when I rounded the last corner of the course…

the teamThere they were. the rest of the team.
Rooting me on –
CHEERING me on –
Waiting for me to run through the final leg of the course so we could be reunited again as THE TEAM THAT MADE IT through the race – together again.

2014-07-19 08.47.09When life brings on the dead ends,

The speed bumps,

2014-07-19 09.00.49The puddles,

The pain of making it through…

Find the team you can count on to run with you to the end –

Because life is not a simple sprint.

It’s a marathon.

And we all need each other.

Together
Everyone
Accomplishes
MORE.

the team

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