Where is Your Focus?

Where is Your Focus?
Hey. You. How are you? Hmmmmmmmm…….
Let’s try that again. How ARE you? Like for real? Are you loving life? Are you thriving? Do you get up each day looking forward to what’s next? Do you have goals? Plans that make you happy? Are you thinking of the future? 
Or maybe do you have a seat on the struggle bus right now? Are you having a hard time looking forward to much of anything? Do you find yourself just putting one foot in front of the other?

I confess that I’m a whole lotta both right now. I have done so much personal development in the past 6ish years that I truly don’t stay in the valleys very long anymore. I’ve developed some coping skills. I’ve learned enough about myself to know when I need to change things up……or realize when I’ve forgotten to stick to the routine that keeps me in the center of the road! 
We sold our house in three days. YAY! We had nowhere to go. BOO!
We found a house to rent. YAY! It’s only available for two months. BOO!
It’s on a beautiful island in a lake. YAY! There is a gator. BOO!
It’s quirky and cool and the kids love it. YAY! I drive a minimum of four hours a day now. BOO!
We are building a new house. YAY! The site plan isn’t approved. BOO!
Life is just full of light and dark, good and bad, mountain tops and valleys. So, what do you do when things seem out of control? I don’t mean hypothetically. I mean for real. What do you actually get off your heiny and DO? Here are a few of the things I do.


Clay and I took a walk around a beautiful lake this weekend. After all, it’s called Lakeland for a reason, right? It was lovely and we got to spend time together outside while we moved. Lakeland is our home only for a few weeks and it’s a charming little town. We are going to find a new lake to explore this weekend. And yes, we’ll keep our eyes open for gators, because…..Florida wildlife is big and scary.
As I’ve mentioned before, Clay loves breweries. The vibe. The relaxing atmosphere. We have noticed a lack of fear of the virus in these places, too, which is a blessing to us. I’m pretty sure beer kills viruses anyway. (wink wink) Out of all our time in Florida, our favorite brewery is in Lakeland, so we are enjoying spending time there right now. It’ll be a bit of a drive again soon enough.
I forgot to do my oily routine a couple of days in a row. Big mistake. HUGE. A quick lesson as to why they work. Everything in the world has frequency…..including you and me. When our frequency drops, we feel crummy. When it drops further, we get sick. When it plummets, we die. No. Really. It’s not a joke. 
Oils also have frequency. Pick high-frequency oils and you will support your body in raising your frequency. Certain oils have frequencies that match particular body organs, parts, or entire systems, which is why we have favorite uses for them. 
But you don’t have to know all that. You can just pick the ones you like and use them and know that it’s good for you. I oiled up this weekend when I was feeling particularly yucky and within minutes (I’m not making this up) I felt like the sun came out.

Typically (but not particularly right now) I would like to take a drive. Something about a change of scenery makes everything feel a little better. Drive alone and crank up Hamilton in your car. It certainly works for me, although this morning I got distracted by my desperate attempt to master rapping Guns and Ships and missed my exit…..detours are good. 
Music is an easy way for me to keep my mood in check. Recently I switched back to listening to Contemporary Christian music. The music on the other stations is okay, but the talk between was not edifying in any way. Even just the benign stuff was affecting me. I turned back to Joy FM and found that the same DJ I listened to every day ten years ago is still there. It was like coming home.
I’ve also plugged back into a faith community. After weeks (maybe even months) of prayer about whether to go, God whispered something I didn’t expect. For now, I’m back at my old church and attending with Clay, which is such a nice blessing. I love this church for so many reasons, and it’s lovely to be welcomed back.

Lastly, I offer the advice of my father in law. Look around. There are always people who have it worse off than you. Always. Don't stop at just looking, though, you will be blessed if you find a way to help. Recently I was reintroduced to this song by Matthew West. Have a listen!

Do any of those things resonate with you? Leave me a comment and tell me what you do when things feel heavy. Let’s encourage and inspire each other!

Loving and Enjoying Your Peeps

Loving and Enjoying Your Peeps
Can I ask you a tough question? What was it like being isolated with your family during the lockdown? If you discovered that your household is a war zone and your marriage is on life support, improving your family relationships should be a major priority in 2021. Maybe even your first priority. My husband and I did exceedingly well during our quarantine, but it wasn't without work. We've spent a lot of time over the last few years working hard on our relationship and it paid off during quarantine. I know others weren't as lucky.

You CAN eliminate stress, create better boundaries, and bring more balance to your family life. I know it because we've done it. We still have relationships to work on, but things are as good as they've ever been and it's a joy to be where we are now!

But first, let’s figure out where you are. It’s the first step to creating a plan for improving your future.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your family relationships? If you answer “1,” that means low/bad/least true, while answering “10” means “high/good/most true”:

•. I would rate my current family situation......... ____
•. We eat at least one meal per day together as a family.................................... ____
•. My immediate and extended family is functional.... ____
•. Thinking of family makes me feel happy......... ____
•. I am honest with my family members............ ____
•. I work hard at being a better family member... ____
•. I set aside personal time with my family without phones......................................... ____
•. My family is loving, patient, supportive and respectful.......____
•. I hold no hurt feelings toward any family members......................................... ____
•. I feel I spend enough time with my family to meet their needs...................... ____

When I first read the book Oola: Finding Balance in an Unbalanced Worldits authors—Dr. Dave Braun and Dr. Troy Amdahl—recommended strategies for improving family life. “Family” is one of The 7 F’s of Oola: a proven formula for living a life of less stress, more balance and greater purpose.

As a Certified Oola Life Coach, I help clients not only create goals across all 7 areas of life, but also prioritize their tasks and—most importantly—stay accountable to accomplishing them week by week. In fact, I’ve joined forces with Dave and Troy to bring my followers the Oola formula via a 10-week coaching experience designed to transform your life, your finances, your relationships and more. Message me and we can jump on a call about it.

Is it time for a new plan of action?

Is it time for a new plan of action?
Can you believe it? 2020 is almost over. Which makes these final months of the year your best opportunity to make sure 2021 is more balanced and more abundant. If you are like most of the world, this year has felt a bit chaotic and haphazard.

If you’ve been following my posts, you know that I’m big into getting what you want in the 7 major areas of life. It’s something I learned from Dr. Dave Braun and Dr. Troy Amdahl—The OolaGuys—who teach how to create balance in our unbalanced world.

Now, as a Certified Oola Life Coach, I help clients address what’s not working for them in the areas of fitness, finance, field (career), family, faith, friends and fun. Then we go to work correcting those stressors and bringing about the lifestyle, relationships and financial security you need to be happy, balanced and growing. Because, after all, who doesn't want to be happier, more balanced, and growing in all the right directions?

Two Months to Go: What Will YOUR 2021 Look Like?

With October winding down and this whole crazy year almost behind us, people are starting to call 2020 a wash. The Lost Year. An epic fail. But before you give this year the heave-ho, why not spend the last couple of months of it deciding what you want your next year to look like? Why not start putting the tools in place to make 2021 so great that you don't give 2020 another moment of negative energy?

Whether it’s make more money, be home with your kids, improve your marriage, have fun, get healthy, or something else – the Oola formula gives you the steps to get there. The key is to decide where you need to make changes, write out your wish list, and start taking small steps every day toward 2-3 goals at a time. It’s a three-step process that’s part of the 10-Week Oola coaching experience that I offer to my clients. 

The reality is that you can have anything you want, but you need to start focusing somewhere. Follow my next few posts and you’ll have a wish list of things that will transform how you live—and even who you are as a person.

Have some ideas of what you want already? Whatever your wish list includes for next year, drop a comment below and share it. Maybe some of those dreams and wishes feel so big that you don't feel like you can even put them to words. (Pssst....they are NOT too big!)

The Oola formula can be a big help toward getting there—so if the 10-week Oola coaching experience is something you’d like to pursue as 2020 winds down, message me and we can jump on a 30-minute discovery call to explore the idea of working together on your goals. I’m here to help 2021 be a breakthrough year for you.

Navigating the Nuts

Navigating the Nuts
A few weeks ago, I shared that we were putting our house on the market. No big deal. People do it all the time. Truth be told, we’ve done it three previous times ourselves. We know what to expect. We know what to do. 
No longer is the military moving us. We’ve moved ourselves by choice before, but never in conjunction with the selling of a house and nowhere to move to once we vacate. Yes, you read that correctly. We have nowhere to go.
We are building a new house and it’s so super exciting. It’s not centered on 100 acres with a ten foot high electric fence around it as I’ve longed for most of my life, but other than that one detail….it’s pretty much exactly what I want. It’s a toss-up whether I’m more excited about the kitchen island that will seat all six of my favorite people at once or the fact that I will have a spacious (one might even say extravagantly huge) office for the first time ever. For this work at home Mama, that is hard to beat!
The market was right for selling our house. We knew it. Even if the timing wasn’t perfect, it was the thing to do. After all, can you imagine trying desperately to sell a house knowing your closing on the new construction home was looming. Let’s be honest, there really wasn’t a perfect option to be had.
Knowing all this, we decided to just go for it. Clay painted a few rooms. We had a handyman touch up a few minor things that we had been just living with because they weren’t a big deal. I picked a date for pictures and went for it.
The house went live mid-day last Saturday. Showings started Sunday with four, one of which gave us the cutest little “pick me” letter written to Ginny & Moomer (our cats who hosted the showings.) Monday night yielded five more showings and two more offers. We decided to allow showings one more night and choose by noon on Wednesday. 
Now we are under contract and our closing is November 6. You read that right. Far less than a month. Nowhere to go. Oh, God will work it all out, but I have to tell you, I’m sick of looking at rental options. We need a 4 month lease with the agreement of month to month after that, because let’s be honest…..no new construction home ever closes when they say it will. I’m expecting 6-8 months in this “halfway” house.
We’d prefer to just have a furnished place so we can “Pod up” our stuff and just have it magically appear at our new house. We have four pets. We have 4-7 people living over the next few months depending on the timing. 
In short, life is a little nuts. It’s interesting that I did that blog post a couple weeks ago about God giving us more than we can handle. It’s almost like He knew I’d need my own words. But isn’t that just how He works? Always giving us exactly what we need exactly when we need it. He’s never early, but He’s also never late.


When God Gives You More Than You Can Handle

When God Gives You More Than You Can Handle
My absolute least favorite Christian catch-phrase has to be “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Does anyone actually think it is true? I mean, if you are willing to spout that nonsense to someone, you surely must’ve not encountered much turmoil in your life. 
Let’s consider for just a moment that the phrase is true. Would stating it to someone in the middle of a scary diagnosis, a sick child, an ugly divorce (or anything else for that matter) make them feel better? I sincerely doubt it. Even worse, could it cause them to waiver in their faith? I can almost hear the voices in their head saying things like, “I don’t feel like I can handle this, so what’s wrong with me? Maybe God really isn't good.” I’m imploring you to stop repeating this phrase in times of trouble. Strike it from your vocabulary altogether.
I believe that God often allows things to continue in our lives for our own good. Oh, don’t mishear me. God didn’t make your child ill, make your spouse fall out of love, or give you a scary medical diagnosis. God is good. Period. All of the aforementioned things are a result of a fallen world, our sin nature, and continual litany of terrible choices. 
Genesis chapter three tells us that when God kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, He told Adam he would toil all the days of his life. Eve was told that she would suffer in childbirth. (I don’t know about you ladies out there, but I have a little bone to pick with her when I meet her on the other side of the veil over that one.) Life was going to be full of challenges as a result of their choice to disobey God and sin.
When God kicked them out, it was for their own good. No. Really. Stick with me here because it’s about to get good. 
What was in the middle of the Garden of Eden? Two trees, right? One was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The other was the Tree of Life. God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden after their eyes were opened to good and evil. Why would He do that? I think He did it out of great love for them. If they would have then eaten from the Tree of Life, they would have been forever separated from God. His great love for them caused Him to banish them from the garden and remove the temptation. I don’t know about you, but that is both deeply reassuring and deeply troubling.
With that background, let’s go back to “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” In the case of Adam and Eve (and the entire start of this fallen world we live in) God absolutely handed it out to them. Things snowballed from there. If you are a woman who has birthed a baby, you know a little about pain you don’t think you can bear. If you have lost a loved one, you likely know about a heartbreak that felt like more than you can bear. We, as humans, know turmoil and pain.
How we deal with that pain makes all the difference in the world. Do we grumble, curse, and shake our fist at the sky? If we are being honest, yes, yes we do. Anyone that says they don’t is either Jesus or a liar. But what about after the initial anger/sadness/despair/heartache passes and we settle into the dull ache? What do we do when there is no end in sight to the situation? What do we do when the crisis is really over, but we are left with pieces of our heart missing? What do we do when we are certain that we’ve either reached the end of our rope or discovered that it’s actually a noose?
What we do next is everything. What we do next is the whole reason I brought up this topic. We have two choices in this space. We can turn our back on God and say, “Since I am suffering without release, there must be no God or at least no loving God.” Or, we can lean in, listen to that still, small voice and trust. 
My priest posted a status update on Facebook that has caused me to ponder these things this week. Father Stavros said, “Faith is not about finding the reasons for the bad things that happen to people. Faith is when we continue walking even when we can’t find a reason.”
I’ve had worse weeks than this one for sure, but the stress is there this week just the same. My husband had to make an emergency trip to Ohio and his father passed away (not unexpectedly) Friday evening. A couple of my kids are going through some challenges that Mama can’t swoop in and fix anymore. (Bigger kids = bigger issues…..I’d give just about anything to be bandaging scraped knees again!) Our house is going on the market this coming week. Life is busy and full and there are heartaches. Nothing unexpected or even unusual…..just….STUFF. 
All this “stuff” is absolutely more than I can handle. It is. God in His infinite wisdom knows that I’m woefully unequipped to handle all that is being thrown at me. He also knows that NOTHING is too much for Him.
The real statement that we could gently (that word is very important….don’t miss it!) be making to folks as we love on them and minister to them is this:
God will never give you more than you and He can handle together.
We aren’t meant to deal with things alone. Far from it. We are meant to love God and trust Him to walk us through every single challenge we face. When we do just that we find that no matter the outcome of our trial, He is still good and faithful. Our trials are for our sanctification. That is worth believing!

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