Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day:
The all-American day to celebrate those went went before us for the cause of freedom and liberty, so that I can live in the "Land of the Free."

America, America, God shed His grace on thee...

The songs of our history and the songs we sing for celebrations of our country's freedom ring out loud and clear with an underlying there: GOD. He was the source of our country's strength and the foundation of our freedom.

And today, how can we ask Him to bless our country when...
  • We kill our unborn.
  • We take His Name out of our schools and landmarks.
  • We put ourselves before Him.
  • And on - and on - and on...

Today I pause before His throne and thank Him for my freedom to speak His Name out loud and read His Word unhindered. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Happy Independence Day - let freedom ring!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


A six-word statement to ponder:
Situations don't have to be permanent. 

Situations that suck the joy out of life need to go. That's it. No one needs to wrap their arms around the negatives and keep them around like lead weights that DRAG the life out of your... life.

Been there? Done that? Can relate? I'm sure everyone can.

Been there? Done that? Can relate? I sincerely hope you're not right now. But, if you are, let's make this journey together as I'm supporting others who need to move forward. Contact me - let's look at what we're dealing with right now and make the commitment: #NotNextYear

It's not that I'm not thankful for everything I have. I'm very thankful. But I have some goals, and that's where my new mantra came from: #NotNextYear

Not Next Year. 

One year from today there are things that will be different, because the things I don't want to be dealing with that are in place right now will be history.

It's easy to create a #NotNextYear list. Maybe it's those stubborn 5 pounds that will NOT drop off and go away. You've tried to get them off but haven't gotten serious about it because... just because. 

My husband was relocated to another city, and I want him home. We considered relocating there. We could rent out our home, rent an apartment there, I could find another job, and we could be together. But... this is our home. I want him here - in OUR home.

For me, this has become a #NotNextYear target, even though his sense of honor and duty are keeping him moving forward in his current job situation as he continues to dread each new day. 

Oh yeah - those stubborn 5 pounds? They are off and will stay on the #NotNextYear list because I don't want them back.

So how do I handle my #NotNextYear list? I took a pen and wrote down each thing that was draining my joy tank onto a piece of paper:

  1. What is dragging down my own "happy score" and sucking my joy? What things am I not content with in my life right now? What things do I NOT want to have in my realm one year from today?
  2. I asked one question for each thing on the list: Is it controllable? There are some things I absolutely cannot do anything about EXCEPT take the best care I can to deal with them. I have pain from time to time and I've pin-pointed it to MSG sensitivity. I don't want that pain "as much" next year, but I'm not sure that I can completely eradicate it. IF I was unfortunately dealing with cancer (I'm not - thank GOD!), I could write down that I want it gone, yet I couldn't control that outcome. I could take steps to help take care of myself, so that's what I would make note of.
  3. Carefully scrutinize each item: What end result do I want? Where do I want to BE with each of these "pain points" one year from today?
  4. Now... the process. This is the painful part. So many times, it's hard to do the process to get to a result, even though the result is WONDERFUL.'s time to bite the bullet and prepare for some pain.

For each #NotNextYear item:
Write down "Where I am" on one side of the page and "Where I will be one year from today" on the other side. Down the middle of the page: Note step by step how to get from "I am" to "I will be one year from today", including a timeline. We're creating a list of goals, and goals need to be SMART:
  • Specific: Significant, Simple - What you will do, answering specific questions of "who, what, why, where, when, which"
  • Measurable: Meaningful, Manageable - How to track the progress and measure the outcome, so ask these questions: "How much?", "How many?"
  • Attainable: Appropriate, Achievable, Action-oriented - Each thing needs to be something feasible, even if it's lofty. Say what you will do, and what the result will be.
  • Relevant: Results-oriented, Realistic - Each thing may be challenging, yet make it relevant and realistic to make your life better by driving your "joy-score" higher.
  • Timely: Time-oriented, Time-based - Lay out your timeline and the "due date" for step that is part of accomplishing each #NotNextYear item.
I alluded to some of my #NotNextYear items. I don't have many, and I'm focusing on just a few that will make my personal life more in tune with what I believe God's best is for me and my realm. I don't believe God wants married people to live apart, especially when they love each other deeply and want to be together so: #NotNextYear. I'm laying out my steps now to make it happen. The 5 pounds will stay off because I won't be fighting this weight battle: #NotNextYear.

So consider: One year from today, what do I NOT want to have in my life that's here right now? What joy-busters need to be GONE so I can get some joy-BOOSTERS flowing again? 

One year from today. Don't live in fear that it can't be done. I consider myself small, but MIGHTY because my God is in control of my life - you can give Him control of your challenges too. Make the conscious decision today to set your plan in place to get rid of the attitude-suckers so you can say: 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Comfortable or confident - where will you spend your day?

Comfortable. That's how I like my weekend. Happily going through a list of to-do's without the schedule of a normal weekday workday.

Comfortable. What if every day was calm, quiet, serene, relatively stress-free? Maybe that's retirement holds, but am I ready... or do I even want that? I'm not totally convinced the majority of people who retire sincerely want to be... comfortable.

Comfortable.... or confident? Would I rather live a blase life... or a determined one? Would I prefer to float through life - or determinedly breast stroke?

Do I want my days to be relatively meaningless - or meaningful? Do I want to accomplish the mundane - or the amazing? Do I want dinner conversation to be tolerable - or terrific?

Comfortable days come few and far between, and are meant to be enjoyed as relaxation, refreshment and renewal. Perhaps the majority of life is meant to be LIVED and pursued as productive, proactive, and invigorating?

As I'm writing a lot of content right now - for a lot of other people - it amazes me that months can go by without my taking time to put my fingers on my keyboard in my own realm. There are times I wish for nothing to be on my planner, no one to be waiting for me, and time to be on my side. But, after one comfortable day, I still prefer to be occupied with a few too many things to do rather than have too much time on my hands.

I woke up comfortable. Tomorrow? Where will confidence take me to deal with the challenges of the moment and more that pop out of nowhere as the day unfolds? To exciting new realms, I'm sure. 

July 5, 2013 - UPDATE: Apparently this is a theme, as reported in today's edition of Fast Company:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The truth? I'm slowly being poisoned...

And you may be too. Check your kitchen. Your poison may be waiting in the cupboards and refrigerator.

Do you ever have muscle aches for no real reason? Do your joints swell at times, for no reason? Do you feel trashed sometimes, have brain fog and at other times feel really good? You may be getting poisoned without your permission.

I was.

If you ever experience...
Achy muscles, joints, brain fog, and just plain feeling trashed for no REAL reason, there may be a very real reason lurking in your food. MSG seems to be everywhere in processed food and, although we think Chinese when we think MSG, you may be surprised where it's hidden. One day the joints in my foot were achy and crampy and it dawned on me that I was snacking on probably a little too much junky-crunchy snack food the day before that was FULL of MSG. When you have a few minutes, read through this profound article and consider just saying NO to what may be causing your body to rebel against itself:

I always suggest that you seek medical attention if symptoms warrant. I did. Blood testing showed MSG senisitivity and I take natural supplemnents - and drink lots of filtered water - to counteract what my be snaeaking into my body through my food. 

If you seek medical attention for symptoms as I had and they find nothing or WORSE - try to tell you it's purely situational ("You're getting old") - consider reading your food labels and creating a journal of what you eat. Your body may THANK YOU if... you're slowly being poisoned...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Layoff

I've been laid off.
Four words that create a huge impact. You hear about layoffs on the news, in the grocery line and in conjunction with industry closures. "Layoff" is such a commonly-used word that it's pretty much part of everyday language.

I feel badly for others when they say those words. I do. I hurt for them.

But now... I will feel pain for them.

My life has changed because those four words hit home - literally.

I feel different - much different - since the moment those words came from someone I love... and live with.

Those words hold a whole new meaning at our house since the afternoon the phone call came with my husband's voice saying those words: "It's just what we thought. We've been laid off."

No. It's not "they" who were laid off this time. WE've been laid off.

Our home will never be the same.

Emotions continue to run rampant as we lay out strategy - tactics - people to see - places to go in dealing with this. Now our lives are focused in a new realm: the job search. Unemployment - and a job search.

Underlying anger. Disdain for a company that let hundreds of people just go after years of committed dedication. Fierce determination that this will not get us down - that the new purpose is just around the corner.

Fear. Uncertainty. Frustration.

HOPE. FAITH. Underlying joy that we are not in control. Almighty God is. He knows what's ahead in our own "parade" route of living.

This is not just about a job. It's about a LIFE. It's about dignity - purpose - being. It's about integrity. It's about commitment - and reward for such. Loyalty. Giving - and receiving.

It's about being the head of the home, the bread winner, the provider. Regardless of what I do as an employee, he is the one whose focus is his job. I have my home - family - roles as a woman.

He is a man, and his resume has an end point. And we don't know when or if it will have a continuance.

His definition is now redefined. He will be unemployed.

Here's looking forward to the hope that lies in the days ahead, as his purpose becomes redefined and his life takes new meaning.

Whatever that looks like.

#TBD #ToBeContinued

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Speed bumps...

The speed bumps of life.

They can come out of nowhere and lurch you tremendously - if you're not careful...

Sometimes we see them coming as a bump, rising in front of us as we go down the path of life. We can prepare - slow down - take action - skirt around it. Even if we hit it, we can deal with the damage because we've prepared - at least a little.

The surprise speed bumps are the hardest, because they hit without warning: *BAM!* Then we have to regroup and recover, and the damage can be pretty extensive, both inside and out.

Even the speed bumps of life that we see coming affect us, and can affect us significantly IF we don't handle them well. Remember - they happen. We all hit them. All of us. So...

Here are 3 steps to consider moving through before you have time to build up emotions that can lead to negative consequences:
#1 STOP. You've hit a speed bump. Don't make the damage worse until you assess what is going on. 
#2 BREATHE. Inhale. Exhale. Remind yourself: I can deal with this. I will deal with this. I've dealt with speed bumps before and I will deal with this too. I can't stop the fact that it happened. I CAN and WILL deal with it appropriately.
#3 COUNT. Count to 10 if you're angry or upset. Count your blessings if you're hurt or disappointed. Either way: Are you breathing? One. Can you see? Two. Can you get up out of your seat? Three. You're alive, breathing, seeing, and able to move. That's so much more effective than the alternative. Is there at least one person you can lean on? Four - or even more as you think of those people who are there for you no matter what. You need them now. Then literally thank God for each of your blessings. He is the one who blesses with blessings - acknowledge that. Remember... He is in control. He really is! Remind yourself that He knows the beginning and end of all things and this is part of His plan. You will be better for this experience - you really will - as you deal with the consequences of this speed bump.
Okay. You've assessed the challenge. The speed bump was hit. You have the ability and self-confidence to deal with it. The sun WILL come out tomorrow - or the next day.



Look for ways that you can learn from this challenge - and help others through a similar situation. Make the intentional decision that you will grow and come out better from this experience. Be strong and help others who may be affected. Be the one that is going to MAKE IT and MAKE IT STRONG.

Always... put facts behind and before the challenge. What happened? What is happening? What steps do I need to take? And, above all, bury emotions. Trust God. Breathe. Smile. And watch for the sun as it returns to the sky in your life.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Time can change anything

Once in a while my eyes land on an article that makes me stop right in my tracks, put everything aside, and think.

Many articles I read are really informative and enlightening. Many grow my knowledge base and horizons a bit larger and stretch my world a little fuller.

This one just made me think. Think about where I am, where I'm going, and what my impact is. This one made me think about my LIFE. My life right now. My life as I exit my youth and enter the realm of the mature.

"You only get one chance. Make sure you LIVE."

It's time to ask yourself some questions:

Do it while you have time to change the answers.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Silence

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10.


Can you hear.... the silence?

In today's culture the sounds of silence have been replaced by every imaginable sound: music, talking, streaming video from smart phones, tablets, computers and big-screen tvs. There is nowhere you need to be without your podcasts, playlists, or music to live by.


Stop. Move away from the speakers. Turn off the volume. 

Take some time for peace... and quiet... today. You may be surprised at what you can hear in the silence..

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lessons From the Ordinary

Everyday life. We go through it, and the funniest things stick with us.

Last Friday I visited a business for maybe the sixth time. One of their staff members saw me from the across the room. She smiled and waved to me. Sure, I recognized her. I smiled and waved back. Did she have to smile and wave? Absolutely not. But she took the opportunity to acknowledge me. I'm still smiling about that encounter.

This weekend I read an inspiring post by Micheal Hyatt - actually from a guest blogger, Skip Pritchard - about ordinary things that ordinary people do that bring joy to life. I've read it, and re-read it. And it continues to impact me in the same way. There are lessons all around us, every moment of every day. We can use our time to positively impact the lives of everyone around us in the most innocent ways by: acknowledging them positively, not ignoring anyone or praising others without praising them too (we ALL have merit), and remembering that...

We all have baggage. Let's help others carry theirs by smiling and extending a hand across the board. Playing favorites and taking people for granted isn't inspiring at all.

Here's the post from Micheal Hyatt's blog:
"Every year, I meet incredibly interesting people. You may think I’m thinking of famous people. Yes, famous people can certainly be interesting. Equally interesting, at least to me, are people I meet in everyday life.
For example,
  • The barista at the coffee shop who remembers exactly what I want.
  • The guy who waves me into the car wash with the slightest flick of his hand indicating where my tires should point.
  • The newly-minted, hilarious college graduate who told me his future: two wives (he says his first marriage won’t work out), three kids, a dog, and a dead-end job.
  • The lady at the bookstore who smiles when she sees me rearranging the shelves, putting my favorite authors’ books face-out.
Be Alert
Each one of the people crossing my path offers an opportunity to learn. I study people shuffling by at a busy store. There we go, I think, as I imagine where they are heading. People are incredibly fascinating.
Sure, some disappoint. You wonder why you work so hard at some friendships when it’s clearly a one-way path to nowhere. Then there’s family, some family members are truly biological—with blood coursing through their bodies to prove it. Others we adopt, friends who are so true we wouldn’t dream of letting them go.People teach us remarkable lessons if we are open to learning. Criticism we launch at someone else likely has its roots in our own shortcomings.
Slow Down
Today, as you rush through your day, look at those around you a little closer. Slow down just a bit—you don’t need to view the text message the minute it chimes. You don’t need to check Facebook and Twitter as if you’re looking for signs of life in a patient.
Just watch. Listen. Ask some questions.
See Beyond
If you can see beyond the obvious, you can learn some incredible lessons.You may discover that the barista prides herself on remembering your drink because she’s really good at it, and her father always told her she was stupid. She’s incredibly bright and works hard to overcome his harsh words. She absorbs your praise faster than your coffee does the cream.
Lessons: Everyone is hurting in some way. Everyone needs praise. Get comfortable with praising good work.
You may discover that the car wash guy is the lead singer in an up-and-coming band and has a real shot at making it. His backstage stories are better than a movie. And his writing is better than most professional writers.
Lessons: Everyone has a hidden talent. Take time to get to know your employees. Often the most needed skills are right in front of you.
You may learn that the college graduate was influenced by his parents’ painful divorce and his insight on relationships beats anything you’d read in a book.
Lessons: Age doesn’t equal wisdom. Learning from mistakes and the failures of others can benefit you more than you realize.
You may find that the bookstore lady is a book herself, full of knowledge you can tap into. She’s actually a retired business executive, filling time. She knows how to incorporate businesses, develop marketing plans, and lead strategic planning.
Lessons: Often what we see is just the surface. Take time to realize the full abilities of the people around you.
See these people are anything but ordinary. Everyone has something extraordinary that can change you. A different perspective, a unique experience, a gift. We’re all ordinary people, but we are all extraordinary in our own way."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"...The Good Ol' Days?" A published personal perspective...

“In the good old days…”

We were out of touch.

Face it: We…
> Wrote letters – maybe.
> Made phone calls – maybe.
> Made appointments to connect in person – maybe…
Or tried to.
We trusted our morning paper and our television to keep us in touch with the world and – even as news broke –it was already old.
In the time it took to…
> Go to the store and buy film for our camera,
> Take pictures,
> Use up the roll of film,
> Wind it up in our camera and drop it off at the store,
> Get it back a week later,
We lost weeks of time and our kids grew two inches.
By the time you…
> Got the brainstorm to write that long overdue letter,
> Bought stamps,
> Found paper, pen, and an envelope,
> Wrote the letter,
> Sealed it up and found a mailbox,
> Heard about its arrival a week later,
You, as the letter-writer, not only forgot what you wrote, you moved past the highlights of the letter and were entrenched in a lot of other new and exciting events and happenings.
And you needed to repeat the whole process. AGAIN.
> We get the idea,
> Brainstorm the idea,
> Fine-tune the idea,
> Implement the idea,
Then go on to the next idea with as many people as we can think of, as quickly as we can move our fingers. Instantaneously!  As part of our daily life.
As fast as you can grab your smartphone, tablet or other techno-device, you can release your ideas-thoughts-opinions-solutions, building relationships and generating much more of the same as you simultaneously and instantaneously breathe…
> With spelling and grammar check,
> With enhancements,
And create a beautifully-finished product that is signed-sealed-delivered-received NOW.
DONE. And you still have a LOT more hours of sunshine left in your day for MORE! :-)
Now we can be found, be social, and be useful while we breathe and live life, because
> Relationships are PART of life, and
> Relationships ARE life.
And now we can enjoy a much fuller and deeper life because of the instantaneous way we can enjoy our relationships throughout our life.  All because of social media.
Have a thought?
> Share it!
Have an idea?
> Pursue it!
Have a question?
> Answer it!

Want to stay in touch?
Facebook it!
Want to be in the know and stay in the know with the latest and greatest trends, news, and ideas?
Tweet it!
Want to network and share professional discussions with colleagues?
> Get LinkedIn with your network!
Want to share expertise in an engaging visual format?
YouTube it!

So for the hour that you just spent online, what did you accomplish?
A lot more than…

“In the good old days…”

~ Sandy
Sandy is the Internet Marketing Management Director for Now Marketing Group, where we enable your organization to ‘be found, be social and be useful’ through online relationship marketing. While yes – it’s true!! – she’s lived through some “good old days”, she definitely enjoys the advantages of the “here and now” so much more.
Think Social Media is just for teenagers? Sandy’s still a teenager.. with a lot of years of experience!