GUEST POST: A RARE Find

WARNING: This blog has been taken over for the day.

We live in a disposable age. We throw away tons of food, we have to have the latest and greatest gadgets and toss last year’s models that are barely used. We can’t wait 30 seconds for a light to turn from red to green, and we often treat our friendships the same way. We would rather stay in our own little world then take the time to walk the journey with another.

Life is busy we say, who has time to get to know someone. Life is messy we say, who has time to get involved with someone else’s life mess, let’s just keep to our little corner of the world. And then someone comes along… That blows all of our theories and excuses away.

They prove to be that friend “that stickers closer than a brother” (proverbs 18:24), they have seen you cry and walked the devastation of heartbreak with you, they have been someone you can share your hopes and dreams with. They are the one, when walking down the hallway in front of you, will do a silly “go-fight-win” mascot move just to get you laughing. You know they won’t abandon you when the going gets tough, they are there through the thick and thin.

It’s a rare find indeed to have a true friend in your life. David and Jonathan of the Bible had this kind of friendship. This friendship will stand the test of time because the commitment grows by each passing day. It is the greatest blessing in this world and its worth finding and fighting for.

A true friend requires us to be authentic with ourselves and the other person. It is putting the other person first, its being genuinely happy for their success and it’s not competing to be in the limelight, but, just being glad to be on their journey with them. Its being their greatest cheerleader, never tearing them down, but always building them up. Even in times of disagreement (always bound to happen!) it is not yelling or fighting but caring enough to discuss and see the other person’s view-point and always being quick to seek reconciliation.

Its caring enough to speak truth into the other person’s life and hold them accountable and giving them full access to barge in to your life and hold you accountable. Its saying I care enough about you that when I think you are going down the wrong path or making a wrong decision, I am not going to stand idly by, but I am going to intervene and speak up and get involved in your life because YOU matter most.

It means instead of grasping and controlling, you are releasing and giving.

You won’t see a true friend walking out when life gets messy and hard. They face those hardships with you. True friends are accepting of one another and see each other as the unique gift that God made both of you and they celebrate those differences. There is only one way for a friendship like that to last and be healthy and that is to have a strong foundation built on Christ. If He is not in the middle of the friendship it is so much harder to maintain.

One of the greatest gifts that can ever be given to another is the gift of friendship.

Who are you celebrating today?

Who do you need to thank for their rare gift they have given to you?

Take time to thank them TODAY!

TODAY I am grateful and honored for such a friend in Cathy Jo, the brilliant mind behind this blog. I just know her as C and she is by far the coolest person I have ever met.

Just over a year ago this Nebraska farmer’s daughter walked into my life and had me running to find a Nebraska to English translation dictionary to figure out what she was saying!

C is so creative, funny, and such a servant leader, she just oozes with compassion, and she far surpasses the patience of Job. It did not take long to realized God had hand delivered something rare and very special to me and her friendship is worth more than all the precious gems of the world combined.

I call her the “snake charmer”, she truly has this ability to draw people in and engage them in the world around them. She is the kind of person you just want to be around all the time!! You just know you are going to walk away a better person for having been with her. Her smile and laughter is contagious!

I have come to lover her mascot moves, sharing peanut M&M’s, a million coffee shop chats, a few donut shop talks, her homemade anything (especially toffee!), many hilarious texts, and her “on the way home” phone calls just to check in and say hi.

I am even getting use to her not using transitional phrases, though it can cause for some “unusual” conversations. Just like the one incident the other day, I thought she was telling me someone bought an outhouse in Nebraska and turned it into a house to live in! I really was starting to wonder what kind of place she came from!!

C, you are ADORED beyond measure and I am so blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for taking time to mentor me, thank you for sharing your life with me, and for your gift of friendship – a truly priceless gift. Your passion for Christ challenges me to want to live more for HIM and deepen my faith. You inspire me to make a difference right where I am… because…life happens now.

Through all of the laughter and tears


Through all the questions and fears


Through all of the winning and losing and trying


I will be by Your side


Cause You and I are friends for life


(Geoff Moore and the Distance: Friend Like U)

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The Every Day Leader: The Journey

I recently was asked to speak to a group about a nonprofit that I am an Executive Director at. As I looked out at the group of ladies I was about to share my story with, I realized the audience was much different then what I had anticipated.  Most of these women were all older than me, had managed through life’s issues and weathered the storms.  I quickly realized I would need to rethink just what I was going to say that could make a difference.  In a room full of wisdom, life tragedies, joy, heartache, families, and everything that goes with living, I wondered exactly what I could share that they may not have heard or known. What could I say that would impact their lives?

As I talked about watching my grandkids play and dream of their lives when they grow up, we all had the opportunity to jog down memory lane for just a moment and remember those days of dreaming …what will it be like?  As we laughed together I was reminded that even with all the different paths we all take, the human spirit is incredible.  The will to overcome hard times, the celebration of joy, sacrificial living, serving and loving others, is found in each of us.  What kindles the will is having each other.

“Each other” crosses all lines….age, socio economic statues, race,  and religion .  It involves truly caring for another and being willing to walk alongside and do the journey together.

We all have different paths we walk down – each with different experiences to share.   Yes, we each have something to offer. 

May we always be willing to walk the journey with others!

The Every Day Leader: Masquerade

Ever wonder how you will make it through the day without anyone know how you really feel?  Perhaps you are dealing with a difficult relationship or family issues that seem never-ending.  Maybe you are wondering how to manage through an unexpected financial situation or you might be dealing with concerns at work or over work, maybe a mistake you made….

Personal stuff.  The stuff you don’t really want everyone to know.

We live in a world today that says to keep our masks on. 

The message we often hear is to save your hurting for when you are alone.  We learn to keep things in, bury them deep.  We learn to wear a mask,  not wanting others to see our fears, our insecurities, or our messy circumstances.

We think we have to be strong.

We tell ourselves we have to keep up the image.

We think it is better to put on a smile instead of letting others see us vulnerable.

We have been experts of masquerading, we know the dance steps well and hold our masks tight.

All of us have things we have to deal with at some point in our lives.  How do you deal with the hard things, the messy things?

Do you put your mask on? 

As every day leaders we don’t have to walk the journey alone, or put on a mask so no one knows when we are hurting. It means we don’t have to be perfect or have perfect lives.  It means we can be honest with others as we walk through the hard times or when we are struggling.  When we are honest and allow others to see us – we show we are authentic and others are more likely to be authentic with us.

By being authentic we are modeling that is okay to be vulnerable and that it is okay to reach out and share with another and help carry each others burdens.

Every day leaders are truthful even in the tough times.  Modeling authenticity and allowing others to walk the journey with us.

The Every Day Leader: TIME OUT!

 

The empty bench. What stories it could tell.

The bench can symbolize loneliness or time alone, moments of relaxation or contemplation.  Regardless the reason, taking time away  is a powerful tool, one that is almost always needed.  This is true especially when we go through hard times or need time to replenish.

Have you noticed that there seems to always be a bench nearby?  When was the last time you took advantage of a bench and took some time away? The hard times of life that we go through seem to affect us the most.  Those circumstances can have a positive or a negative affect on us, but rarely leaves us untouched.  I have met many people on my journey that have been through hard times and are still positive with an incredibly joyous spirit. 

On the flip side, I have also met many other people who have been through the tough times of life and are still holding on to the hurt, resentment or even bitterness.  Instead of letting the hard times make them stronger they let it define who they are and who they have become.

                      In both situations the hard times have left an impact.

How is it that people are affected so differently? Going through the tough times and coming out better requires us to be intentional in our behavior and attitude.  We must consciously think about how we are and how we will respond.  We can’t just leave it to chance or do nothing.

We must be intentional to decide and to do something.

 Will you respond by being bitter or better? 

This is a phrase many of us have heard before.  The difference between the two is being intentional to choose how we want to live, think and speak.

Oftentimes it means taking the time, time we don’t think we have,  and getting away to reflect.

Taking time alone is vital to who we are as leaders.   Time away to reflect or contemplate renews us.  It is during this time that we think through the circumstances and make conscious choices.  It is also a time that we take care of ourselves. We cannot give to others what you don’t have.

It is only in those quiet alone times that we get renewed. It is making time to sit on that bench for a personal retreat, whether it’s a few hours or a whole day. It is intentionally saying I can only be at my best when I plan to take time away, to surround myself with things that feed my soul and spirit, that energize and inspire me or to make decisions about the things we are facing. We are more creative, more understanding and patient, and are better leaders when we take a time out and invest in ourselves.

 Everyday leaders long to be at their best.  We know that life can be hard and is messy.  We know that life is unpredictable.  Yet, we also know that God has given all of us the ability to choose how we will respond to those circumstances.

Everyday leaders, choosing to be better instead of bitter, even in the tough times.  Intentionally planning personal retreat time and investing in ourselves so that we can be better for others and make a difference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Dreaming

Somewhere over the Rainbow  Israel “IZ” Kamakawiso’ole 2011

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Ooo ooo ooo Ooo ooo ooo
Somewhere over the rainbow

Way up high And the dreams that you dreamed of

Once in a lullaby
Oh somewhere over the rainbow

Blue birds fly And the dreams that you dreamed of

Dreams really do come true
Someday I’ll wish upon a star

Wake up where the clouds are far behind me

Where trouble melts like lemon drops

High above the chimney tops

That’s where you’ll find me
Oh somewhere over the rainbow

Have you heard this remake of this classic song from years ago?  It is a beautiful remake! It is a reminder of a carefree life that allowed us to dream dreams and have our troubles melt away like lemon drops.

 Oh to have such a life!

 The song can take us back to our childhood for just a few moments, but then reality seems to jump right in front of us again.  Often that reality is filled with deadlines, people issues, us trying to do it all and be all that someone expects us to be. Life is often so busy where we constantly are juggling everything and trying to find a balance that seems to always elude us.

I wonder…where do our dreams fit in?

When was the last time you even really allowed yourself to dream?

Are we so busy that we have forgotten what are dreams are?  Often our dreams come from a passion we may have.  Our dreams often evolve from our true nature talent and desires that God has given each one of us.  It is what makes us unique.  Yet so much of the time the dreams we have get put on the back burner.  Life gets in the way, the noises of the day drowns out the still small voice that gives wings to those dreams.

Do you even remember your dreams?

What would the world look like if we each remembered those dreams and made a commitment to rediscover them, and then set out to pursue them with all we had… what we would be like as every day leaders? How different our lives would look.

Finding our dreams doesn’t just happen.  It requires us to be intentional.  We have to actively take the time to remember, rediscover or discover for the first time, and entertain the idea of “what if?”

When we as everyday leaders are in tune to what our dreams are, we begin to think and act in a way that makes those dreams come true.  We begin to tap into the way God made us and to be our best selves.  We begin to be what we were created for, instead of settling for the mediocre or what others want us to be.

Every day leaders take time to dream.

We need to take the time to dream and to reignite the dreams we once had.  We know that when we are doing things we love it shows.  When we are in our sweet spot others see that and are drawn to it and we can’t seem to get enough of it.  This becomes a great opportunity to influence those around us. Work never seems like work when we are operating in our sweet spot.

I want to be that every day leader that isn’t afraid to dream. I want to intentionally act upon my dream, tapping into all the beautiful and wonderful ways that I have been created.  I want to be my best.

I want to encourage others to dream and not be afraid to pursue those dreams!

Oh somewhere over the rainbow

Way up high

And the dreams that you dare to Why, oh why can’t I?

Oh somewhere over the rainbow Blue birds fly

And the dreams that you dreamed of

Dreams really do come true

The Every Day Leader, being intentional and dreaming to make a difference in the lives of others.

The Every Day Leader: Freedom

Fourth of July celebrations are often rolled out in a grand fashion to celebrate America’s freedom all across the country.

Many times there is a local symphony that performs, with each instrument fine-tuned for their unique purpose and moment in time to play. The performers are musicians who show exceptional ability and technique, striving to be perfect in their performance.

Our lives are like that symphony.  We all have specific parts to play, with specific gifts and talents. When we excel at our gifts and our strengths, just like the musicians, we allow ourselves to be part of the bigger picture.  When we use these gifts and strengths as every day leaders to impact others, the beauty of our lives explodes in vibrant color and song like a 4th of July celebration.

For the lives we touch… freedom and hope is given.

There are endless resources available to help each of us to discover our passion, our gifts, and our strengths.  Once we discover these, it is up to us find the best places to use them. 

We must CHOOSE.  We must choose to discover who we are and where we fit in.  We all have a place to be used, our lives  to count and that special place in the symphony… the symphony of life.  There is nothing quite like knowing who you are and operating and living in your sweet spot!

Make a difference with what you love to do.

It takes all of us to make up that beautiful song, orchestrated perfectly to make a difference. Together.

The Every Day Leader, Living a Life of Intention. Choosing to find our strengths and talents living and operating in OUR spot in the symphony of life.  Making a difference in the lives of others.

The Every Day Leader: Determination is YOUR strong Foundation

Have you ever seen massive tree roots coming out of the ground, roots so big and thick you could almost build your own little fort in them? Tree roots come above the ground looking for moisture, often times of severe drought has brought them originally to the surface. While the tree roots would generally grow down in search of water, it will do what it needs to, It has a natural instinct to find what it needs.  It is determined to survive.

Determination is the runner that gets up each day and trains.  Determination is what the child has as she climbs back on her bicycle without the training wheels for the hundredth time, trying so hard to learn to ride without them.  It is determination that sets us apart from others. 

Our goals are accomplished through constant determination. First, we must know what those goals are. Secondly, we must have a plan and be willing to carry that plan out to meet those goals.  This often requires a discipline and our will to make it happen no matter what.

It is a choice we make.  This choice sets us apart from so many others who would rather just settle for a life of mediocrity. Every day leaders make intentional decisions to make something happen and to are willing to carry it out, this enables them to have an impact on the world they live in.  Just like the tree in the picture.  It is a huge tree that provides shade and has been around a long time.  The roots sought the moisture it needed and did whatever it took for their growth.

What are you determined to do in your life as an everyday leader?  Do you have a goal set before you?  We must know what we are working towards.  We must have the end result in mind and the discipline and determination to carry it out.  This is what produces a lasting impact. 

Know where you are going.  Be intentional.  Have discipline and determination to get there. 

The everyday leader Making a difference in the life you lead.