Grandparents leave fingerprints too

When I received a call from our son to say that his nine-year-old daughter had placed second in a one-mile, cross-country race that involved 125 girls from 23 schools, I was excited for her. Okay – I was proud!! I wasn’t at the race to yell from the sidelines but you can bet that I let her know on the phone how proud I was of her.

Remember when someone cheered you on? How did their words or actions affect you?

Now translate that to your grandchildren, or children who don’t have a grandparent or one living nearby. What difference would it make in their lives if they knew you were in their corner, cheering them on?

You may have limited resources for gifts or the ability to travel to your grandchildren. Or you may have health challenges that keep you from being active with them. Or you may have difficulty expressing yourself. But you can still be their champion.

Whether you live in the same house, or across the country, or around the world from a child in your life, there are many ways you can instill confidence in them. How about a handwritten note or card. Or a timely phone call or text message. Or an encouraging email or Facebook message. Or simply a look that says, “I love you.” The possibilities are many.

What action or step can you take this week to encourage a child – whether they are related to you or not?

Chime in below about how you champion the children in your life.


Defying Expectations

A number of years ago, my husband and I were out for a walk when the subject of expectations came up. We were frustrated about two things. One — what seemed like unrealistic expectations that people were putting on us. And — two — the failure of co-workers to meet our expectations on a job they had committed to.

I remember throwing up my arms and saying, “Maybe if we don’t have expectations we won’t be disappointed.”

The reality is that if we don’t have expectations, we won’t go anywhere. We’ll be stuck just where we are and we won’t see others move forward either. What about our expectations? Are they healthy? Are they limiting? Are they inspiring?

What expectations do you have — of yourself — or of others? What expectations have others put on you? What expectations does God have of you? What expectations have you overcome in your life? What expectations do you want to overcome?

Click here for our special invitation to you. It’s an event where you will get in on the inside scoop with four exceptional women who defied expectations to achieve extraordinary accomplishments.


Be Doing What Makes a Difference

Off and on, I ask myself whether or not the “doing” and “being” sides of my life are balanced. On the one hand, I like to be involved in planning, strategizing and juggling different activities. I also enjoy helping others think through where they’re going and help them work out how to accomplish their vision and goals and manage their time. But sometimes I think I get so wrapped up in the “doing” — where I want to go, what I want to accomplish, and how I’ll do it — that the “being” side of me suffers.

If we’re honest, most of us would say that it’s easier to get up and do, than to sit and be still. For some reason, we think we need to be busy, or appear to be busy. We think we need to rush around and take advantage of that window of uninterrupted time to get as much done as possible. And we miss out on simply enjoying a cup of tea in the peace and quiet of the moment.

It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of taking on a job or position before considering whether or not it fits our gifts and abilities. We say “yes” to something because we feel obligated and end up regretting it. We get involved in activities that don’t fit who we are and what we can contribute with the gifts and abilities God gave us. And we take things on that put us into conflict with ourselves.

Before you fill your schedule with more activity, think about who God created you to “be” and what He created you to “do.” If you’re overwhelmed with what’s on your plate or you’re in the process of deciding whether to take on a new position or project, here are four questions to consider.

1. What are your God-given gifts and abilities?
2. What activities are you currently involved in?
3. Which of your involvements do not utilize your gifts and abilities?
4. Which involvements make you want to get out of bed in the morning?

The answers to these questions will help you evaluate where to put your time so that you can maintain a good balance of “doing” and “being.”


Living Intentionally in 2011

Check out a planning tool that really works. I’ve used it for a number of years, and many others that I’ve coached have said that it has made a difference in their lives. Even my son-in-law Sherman Hu says, “Without my mom-in-law working with me to determine my values and helping me through this yearly review and planning document, I’d still be unfocused.”


Mentoring through the shadow

Each breath was a gift as Donna’s husband lay in the Cardiac Care Unit of the hospital, connected by tubes and wires to machines that beeped and churned. It had been less that 24 hours since the ambulance rushed Max to the ER while Donna and I raced home from Seattle.

As we stood with their family around Max’s hospital bed, the heart specialist and two nurses entered the darkened room and described the severity of Max’s massive heart attack. After a short pause, the doctor then told us that, given his condition, there was nothing more they could do. It was shattering news, yet there was peace and calm in the room as Max gave his response to the resuscitation question and the family affirmed his wishes.

“Doctor, what exactly are you saying?” asked Donna, when she followed him into the hallway, needing to confirm what she thought she’d heard the first time.

“I am so sorry,” he said as he placed his hand on her shoulder. “But there is nothing we can do. It’s only time.”

Reaching her hand to his arm, Donna then assured him. “No, Doctor. Don’t be sorry. You see, we’re Christians. Since Max’s by-passes thirty years ago, we’ve never known how long we might have here together. But we do know where Max is going.”

The doctor gently smiled and replied, “Oh, I see. You’re believers.”

While I was taken by the doctor’s gentle and compassionate manner, it was what I witnessed over the next few days that really impacted me.

Following the doctor’s pronouncement, calls were made to family and friends who arrived to give comfort and support. But it was difficult to limit friend’s visits to only five minutes at a time. People came to be an encouragement and left being encouraged by a man who, forever the mentoring pastor, was more concerned about them than what was happening to him. Oxygen masks, IV drips, monitoring machines, and a weak voice didn’t take away from Max’s natural inclination to minister to each person who entered his room. Even in the midst of his “valley of the shadow” as described in Psalm 23, he gave visitors hope and assurance.

At Max’s request, the church elders also came. But, instead of being the givers, they also became the receivers as they stood in a circle around the bed. One by one, Max affirmed each of them in their leadership role and charged the whole group with challenging words of wisdom. Though they had come to minister to their fellow Elder, they too came away inspired and encouraged.

That was two weeks ago. Today, Max is home, though quite limited with only 25% of his heart functioning. But, as his eldest son says, “God has given him some more time on this earth to minister to others. Because that is what my dad does, he touches other people on this earth all the time.”

For now, Donna says, “We’re taking it one day at a time.”

How about you? Are you walking through a shadow time in your life or know someone who is? Rest assured, there is no need to be fearful in the valley of the shadow. Hope is alive. Read Psalm 23.