Make Every Day Opening Day

It’s not often you attend a baseball pre-season kick-off event and walk away a better person. But that’s exactly what happened February 1st at Southside Christian School – thanks to our head Coach, Ken Ledford, and Monte Lee, head baseball coach at Clemson University.

It was Coach Ledford’s 2nd annual First Pitch dinner/team announcement event for our middle school, JV and varsity baseball players and their families. My #18 outfielder, Griffin Grom, will begin his 2nd season with Sabre Baseball Nation and will continue to benefit from the collaboration and camaraderie of this incredible team. For this, I am eternally grateful.

So, what made us better people? I don’t think anyone in the room would disagree that the combined messages from these influential coaches motivated, inspired, enhanced or sparked each of us in some unique way.

What follows are practical insights and encouraging words that will help me continue to push myself and others to be better, more often. Which ones resonate with you?

  • Make every day opening day.
  • Your 1st game is no more important than today’s practice.
  • Be great where your feet are.
  • Sit up front and in the middle. It matters.
  • When you’re on time, you’re late.
  • Burn the ships! A reference to Cortez conquering the Aztecs.
  • No retreat. No surrender.
  • It’s not difficult – it’s time consuming.
  • Continue to do things that point to Christ’s character. All the time.
  • Actions speak.
  • There is a difference between fear and danger. Conquer fear.
  • We over me.
  • Stats don’t matter. Help the team win.
  • YOU are your best friend. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
  • Replace ‘have to’ with ‘get to’ and see how perspective changes.
  • Clemson TIGERS:
    • Toughness
    • Integrity
    • Gratitude
    • Excellent
    • Relentless
    • Selfless
Advertisements

2018: The Year of Endurance

Happy New Year!

A time to reflect, reset, revitalize and relaunch. No doubt, my PIVOT strategy for 2017 catapulted me in a whole new direction and there is no end in sight. For every wind of change, I am extremely grateful.

So, what’s next? 2018 is all about continuing the momentum. Running the marathon, not the sprint. Stretching to new heights, setting new boundaries and finding unique ways to win. All in the spirit of ENDURANCE.

endurange

Or even better described through the book of James:

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1: 2-3)

It’s definitely not rocket science, but ENDURANCE will take effort, learning, dedication and curiosity. Don’t you think? Tell me, what’s your 2018 all about?

 

Deliver A Daily Dose

Deliver A Daily Dose

It’s so true, and often extremely effective, to reflect on how we RECEIVE a daily dose of inspiration. Doing so gives us motivation, drive and ammunition to get things done with a positive impact. To switch things up, I’m going to reverse engineer this concept and share a few ideas on how we should strive to DELIVER a daily dose of inspiration.

  1. Offer praise and recognition for efforts and a job well done
  2. Say thank you – there can never be never enough gratitude
  3. Smile – it really can keep others guessing, and asking ‘What gives?’
  4. Be a STAR – Someone They’ll Always Remember – stand out in a crowd
  5. Go beyond yourself – give back to the community
  6. Listen intently, with a desire to encourage, take action or assist
  7. Show off – not with an intent to brag, but rather to excite and spark interest
  8. Be a student in life – learn something new every day and share this knowledge
  9. Look people in the eye – be serious, authentic, transparent
  10. Send hand-written notes – it’s a lost art in today’s digital world

Sometimes the little things go such a long way in making a difference. If you simply take time to ‘stop and smell the roses’, it can have a meaningful effect on those around you. So, what’s holding you back?

So many books. So little time.

So many books. So little time.

Sitting here reflecting on a year gone by and remembering I have a ‘jar of thanks’ to look forward to on New Year’s Day. So glad I started putting things to be thankful for in a mason jar this time last year!

In what spare time I have, I truly enjoy reading for spiritual, personal and professional development. I simply cannot read enough and almost wish I didn’t have to sleep so I could fill my brain with more and more.

I’m taking a moment now to capture what’s at the top of my list – number one, so I can remember and keep track, but number two to share with others who are looking for a dose of something new in 2015.

Expect To Win – Carla Harris

Start With Why – Simon Sinek

What Would A Wise Woman Do? – Laura Steward Atchison

Actionable Book Summaries – 652 of them

Thrive – Ariana Huffington

Get Off Your ‘But’ – Sean Stephenson

Kill The Company – Lisa Bodell

Take a minute to share what’s on your list! Happy holidays one and all.

Paw Prints On My Heart

Image

Over the last 36 hours I’ve experienced pain like never before – and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. Our family lost Safari at 4:02am on September 20, 2013 after 16.5 years of ecstatic joy, unlimited play and unconditional love. She was a golden retriever/basset pound puppy – a surprise gift from my husband right after we moved into our first home. She loved every human being and learned to love children even more after we had Griffin and Morgan in 2004-2005.

Dogs are so emotionally responsive – the major reason I am and always will be a dog lover. When I was sick at home laying on the couch, she was at my feet. When I left for work in the morning, she always knew I’d return and would wait patiently in the sun room in front of the big palladium window keeping a watchful eye. And when I was on the deck grilling, she would hang out waiting for a taste test. She was consistent, resilient and ever-faithful. She loved to relax in the sunshine on the screen porch at our lake house. She was always super quick to scoop up any type of food that dropped to the floor – except for lettuce. My heart aches beyond expression.

But I will also describe to you a few key experiences within the past week that are key indications she was saying good-bye and it was time for her to cross over the Rainbow Bridge. These realizations are helping me heal and I hope maybe they do the same for others.

Dog-Gone Daisies

Every year, my perennial daisy bush blooms in late spring and again in late summer. For some reason, this year, we had no white daisies in March and April. The bush itself was full, green and lush. Just no blooms. My husband and I often commented how odd that was. Then, 3 days ago, last week before Safari passed, I saw the first speckle of white in a bud about to burst open. And don’t you know by Friday morning, 4 hours after her passing, I counted 10 full daisies shining in the early morning sunrise. It was a sign. Those were a gift from Safari and a present I could share with my children. I sent each of them to school with a daisy on their binder to remind them how special Safari will always be…even when she is no longer with us.

Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad

I’m a Catholic school girl and remain to this day a very spiritual, faith-inspired person. On Thursday, September 19th I re-tweeted this: “@Scripture_Truth: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. -Psalm 118:24”. I added the comment to this re-tweet that I say this every day. This verse has always resonated with me. I loved singing that hymn every Wednesday morning in school mass. It reminds me that every day is a gift. That same September 19th morning, I mentioned this verse to my kids in the car, who attend a wonderful Christian school, and how much it meant to me during my school years. At lunch, I went back to school for a gem-mining science exploration project with my daughter. While in the classroom, I randomly glanced up over our minerals, rocks and gems to see a huge wall banner decorated with rainbow butterflies. Inscribed in the middle was Psalm 118:24. I was rejoicing. I was glad. And now I will always remember that Safari spoke those words to me several times that week. Priceless.

A Safari Sleep Over

My kids are ages 8 and 9. Reading is a very big part of their studies as they no longer learn to read, they read to learn. We are required to spend at least 15 minutes a night reading and we love doing it. On Tuesday, September 17th, Morgan was reading to me on her bed and Safari softly sauntered in. She stood in the middle of the floor, intensely looked Morgan straight in the eye for about 45 seconds – enough time for Morgan to notice. Morgan said, “Mom, look at Safari. She’s listening to my story.” You see, about a year and half ago, Safari lost her hearing. But Morgan was right, Safari was there focusing, listening and hanging on every word that child had to say. Noting this, I got up to get her dog bed from beside my bed where she ALWAYS slept and bring it into Morgan’s room. Safari immediately curled up and in minutes, was snoring softly in a satisfied sleep. It was her first and ONLY sleep over with Morgan. How special.

Star Light, Star Bright

At dusk, on Friday, September 20th, 15 hours after her passing, our family gathered in the cul-de-sac at our home for a heart-felt balloon launch with love notes to Safari. We quivered and tearfully read our messages to one another while the crickets chirped in the silent late summer evening. On the count of 1-2-3, we released four helium balloons into the sunset and stared into the sky watching them rise up into the heavens –  one step closer to the dog we will always love. About 90 minutes later, I’m on the phone recounting the day to my parents with respect and reverence. I look up outside that same big palladium window where she always sat to see a huge, single bright star in the sky. At first, I actually thought it was an airplane landing since we sit right in the flight path of the local airport. But this light was not moving or blinking. It was incredibly bright and staring me straight in the face. It was a symbol. A message stolen in time speaking to me that Safari had made it to the other side with confirmation that she received the balloons with our messages.

Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

I will never be the same without Safari. But I wouldn’t give up one glorious memory, one crazy day mess or one precious moment I spent with her. Safari made permanent paw prints on my heart, with several obvious clues that even loss produces miracles.

Kids Are Like That Sometimes

It’s been a bit hectic getting back into our routines after Christmas break. Alarm clocks. Schedules. Homework. Being on time. Choosing outfits. Figuring out dinner.

But I’ve made a conscious decision to be more intentional with my family – especially at the end of the day before rushing into evening routines. So yesterday I park the car, take a deep breath in the garage to clear my head, come inside, set my stuff down and see the kids snuggled in front of the fireplace.

Before I get the first word out, my son says, “Hi Mommy! Did you have a good day at work?” Funny, that’s the same question I was going to ask him about school. It instantly brought a smile to my face to realize that there are moments like these where I feel like my children care more than I do. Or that they are reading my mind and staying one step ahead. Or that they are teaching me a lesson for a change.

I kinda like when that happens.

intentional

Puzzling Therapy

It started about a month ago. I sat down at the kitchen table with my kids on a lazy Saturday afternoon and pulled out the 100 – 300 – 500 piece options we had in our Disney multi-pack puzzle box. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Image

A heap of pieces or mind-boggling quality time?

The kids were sporadic in their participation. Finding all the flat edges. Grouping like-puzzle pieces together. Sorting by color. Trying to imagine the finished product to mirror the box cover. Then they got bored and found something else to do…leaving mom to ‘clean up the mess’. Typical, eh?

So I finished the Mickey Mouse Soccer Star puzzle and moved onto to finish up Pixie Dust and Princesses. And when it was all said and done, I actually enjoyed myself in the process. Here’s what I gained:

  1. A true sense of accomplishment
  2. Quiet time to myself
  3. Ability to let my mind wander
  4. Creative inspiration
  5. A peaceful, uninterrupted mind game with myself and the jagged edges

It wasn’t until I found myself Christmas shopping a few weeks later that I realized how much I enjoyed puzzle therapy and wanted to share it with others. So, when my sister-in-law asked what to get my son, I recommended a puzzle. When I stood and watched my daughter achieve her first ever experience on ice skates in Rockefeller Center, I bought the puzzle to match as a stocking stuffer. And I could not resist a challenging gift from the lakeside cottages series titled “Rest Stop” for my husband…1,000 pieces and all.

And the rest is history. My husband and I enjoyed the 4-day long weekend anticipating the New Year with several hours together at the puzzle table. It was a challenge. A distraction. An escape. An opportunity to sit side by side. A chance to contemplate how the sky, flying geese, lakefront, landscaping and stone cottage was ever going to come together. Hours flew by. Pieces started falling into place. We’d stand up to stretch our backs and legs. Occasionally we’d make sure the kids and the dog had food and water. 🙂

And then the moment of truth arrived…we had 8 pieces left. And we could not wait to tell the kids it’s time to finish our work of art! We agreed both of them could simultaneously put the last 2 pieces into place. We cheered ourselves in victory and celebrated our accomplishment at 4:44 pm on New Year’s Day.

Puzzles are an addiction, but also a type of therapy at the same time. It was well worth the hours put in and I cannot wait to see what puzzling mind game comes next! And I do believe that I’ve started a New Year’s tradition for the Grom family.

Cheers to 2013!