Thursday, September 26, 2013

Words that spoke to me...

There are many things in life that just aren't easy. Parenting is one of them! Along with loving difficult people.  The following words spoke to me, reminding me to be patient and loving, along with giving thanks for having the honor to raise children.

By Mary Southerland (

"Have you noticed that sandpaper people are usually needy people? I have discovered that irritating behavior is often nothing more than a plea for help in disguise. True love - God’s love - looks beyond abrasive behavior to see and meet the real needs of a difficult person.

Meeting a need in the life of a sandpaper person can be messy and usually demands a sacrifice of some kind on our part. It is easier to simply placate or avoid difficult people than it is to love them the way they need to be loved. It makes our life easier. For example, when we see that sandpaper person coming, we turn around and head in the opposite direction. When the caller ID identifies our sandpaper person as the caller, we do not answer. Hurried conversations replace a listening heart. We offer tolerance instead of acceptance. And God is not pleased. He is committed to our character - not to our comfort.

God wants us to love each other in the same way that He loves – unconditionally. In fact, God wants us to love in such a way that the people around us will know we are fully devoted followers of Christ. I wonder what our relationships would look like if we did. Who knows? That sandpaper person may very well turn into a velvet person."

I've been blessed with 4 kids --- a set of twin daughters who are 20, a son that's14, and an 11 year old daughter.  My husband is crazy enough to want to add more kids to the bunch... bless his heart.  He has a pretty big one (I am lucky!!).  So, as I continue to accept the reality of adding more to the clan, with a teen and pre-teen already in tow, I will just keep remembering that I am able.  Parenting is not for the faint hearted... well, effective parenting anyway.

The picture reminds me just how precious we all really are --- everyone just wants to be loved and accepted.  So, I am committed to doing my part, as a parent and able-minded human on this Earth, until I am called Home.

Amen <3

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Be Bold. Embrace Change...

Feeling the need to let some thoughts flow...

First, I've partnered with a wonderful new business venture that includes helping people look their best.  ( Gaining confidence and embracing aging (because we can't stop the clock people).  For the really bold people in my life - I'd love to partner up with them to help them fulfill goals they have. Whether it is confidence in something new, extra money for fun things, expanding their network, or just have some influence on the lives of others.   

It has taken me time to fully embrace my recent life transitions.  In the past 2 years...I decided to become a student again (lifetime, right?).  I chose to do the hard work of healing past hurts.  I married my very handsome best friend (and 5th grade crush).  I became a full time Momma.  I reluctantly decided I did not want to continue pursuing my high tech sales career.  I humbly and faithfully made the decision to stay at home and care for my family.

During this journey, I have felt discouraged and encouraged.  Many of my friends could not understand why I would choose not to work.  I mean really, I do reside in the Bay Area known as Silicon Valley, and it is quite expensive to boot.  I've always been part of the hustle and bustle.  I had chosen to know no other way... until I finally got quiet.  Sat still.  Just listened.  (Oh, and for those that know me - I cannot believe I closed down the internet browser at 12:20 am on 9/20/13 and chose not to purchase the iPhone 5s.  What is happening??! lol)

That is when it finally hit me.  I am passionate about people, not things.  Mainly, women and children, but I had this overwhelming desire to love people, walk by people, and encourage them in their journey.  To have a servant hood mindset.  To seek out what is most important to them and encourage them to pursue it.  To help them put fear into its proper place.   Gently remind them fear should ignite the fire (passion) to follow their hearts desire. Desire is placed in our hearts for a reason.  Generally, fear paralyzes us from doing anything about it.  So, I have boldly decided I won't sit around waiting for life to happen.  I intend to make it happen.  For me.  For my family.  For those lives I encounter on my journey. 

I am excited to be part of change. To encourage and lovingly walk by people who want to help themselves live bold, live loud, and live with intention. Live with Truth.  I'll accept all the no's to get to those yes' that want to be bold.  To live a life that they can say "Ahh, I may not have a million in the bank, but wow I am rich in love and in blessings!" It's how I feel when I see people light up about their transformation of mind, body, and Spirit.  I had no idea it would lead me to this moment... helping people look their best one day at a time.

Choosing to invest in myself and others is a huge blessing for me.  When we feel good about our appearance we just generally have the over all confidence to tackle the world --- accept the adversity with less fear, fight for what we're passionate about, understand that others needs love and encouragement, and to know that each day we have touched someone's life in a positive way. Even if its just to say 'Hey, I am thinking about you.  Praying for you.'  It is my prayer that my new venture will allow me to give back to what is important to me.  Helping women (and men) be confident in who they are.  Understanding and accepting they are wonderful as they are. Come as you are.  Grow.  Learn.  To be fearless as they invest in themselves to achieve whatever dreams or goals they have -- big or seemingly small.  We deserve it.  We are all beautiful.

Amen! <3

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

James 1:2-4...

Integrity.  (Ethically)

What does it mean?
Defined as adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
I would also say, as would others, it is the things you do when no one is watching.  It is the truth of your heart - it's the consistency of choosing the right path, regardless of the painful or isolating outcome of the integral choice made.

I have the great honor and privilege to be married to my best buddy, Jeff.  He is far from perfect, but he has been a wonderful example of what choosing Integrity looks like.  He has chosen at times to take the hard path to redemption, but he has allowed God to work all things for good according to His purpose/plan.   

Jeff chooses humility when it comes to his soldiering days.  He does not often speak about the experience.  However, as I continue to do life with him, and while I know I have been his greatest challenge and blessing (all rolled into one passionate pretty package).   I think about how God has built Jeff's character in the past few years.  Bending him to the point of broken.  Letting him fall so far that most people would crumble.  The words of his Colonel (below) put so much perspective into how I believe Integrity just seems to no longer matter to most people anymore.

"First, I submit that my opinion in this regard should be heeded. I spent almost three decades soldiering in three armies for two different countries and in three different wars. I know men, and I know battle. In addition to this experience, and far more significant in my mind, is the fact that my wife of 33 years and I have raised a son to honorable manhood in spite of the modern condition. Finally, I have been successful in business, and, presently, as a Special Education teacher of children with intellectual disabilities.

Without reservation, I testify to you now that Jeffrey Sinclair was the most heroic and honorable of all the 900+ soldiers under my command during the deployment of my Air Assault Infantry Task Force during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. With the clarity of hindsight and in-depth retrospection, I deem his actions in combat, day in and day out, and the impossibly bitter, no-win dilemmas he faced and invariably overcame with honor, more than qualify him for this claim.

His personal courage is something I never questioned, and, to be frank—given  the business in which we were engaged—physical bravery was such a given, so universally displayed, I held it to be among the most mundane of virtues. What it is that makes Jeff the hero of heroes among my soldiers is his moral courage. His rectitude in this regard was on daily display, but his actions in one particular instance forever guarantees his place in my heart as a righteous being.

Suffice it to say, without any impetus than his own heart, he chose the hard, right over the overwhelmingly, seductively easy wrong. Jeff did the right thing at the right time where simple inaction would have allowed him to sail along unscathed. I don’t mean to be cryptic, but I see no purpose in providing details. Jeff’s heroic and selfless actions at what was the very pinnacle moment of my unit’s combat tour, saved the honor of the unit. His sense of right and wrong was a true and unwavering beacon that directly caused my vast and far flung organization to survive with its collective soul intact.

Many soldiers act out of a sense of reward. They fantasize about medals and honors bestowed by higher echelons of power and prestige. This is beneficial as it motivates the common man to acts of goodness. Jeff’s motivation comes wholly from within. Jeff’s reward for his many outstanding accomplishments and particularly for his single, sublime act was ostracism and worse from the venial, base, and rotten many that served with us. Yet, true to his nature, he soldiered on; he bore the burdens, he daily placed himself in harm’s way...he did his duty until the deployment, mercifully came to an end."  Col. F.

Those words remind me how amazing people can be in the face of adversity.  It challenges me to continually search my heart and mind.  Not to live up to the standards of what people think I should do or be.  Not to live according to how others may or may not think of me.  To live according to what I know is my Truth, my Journey.  The journey won't always be easy, but without a shadow of doubt, I know the right choice is the best choice.  Recognizing I am not living to please others.  I want to please my Father above.  (Jeff, thank you for doing the very hard right thing!  Your service to this country is a blessing to me and so many others who will never know what a true hero you are! I love you!) 

So, at times when I don't feel like doing the "right" thing.  Or being loving towards those I really just don't want to love -- I'll do it anyway because I want to be a woman of Integrity.  A woman of Love.  Oh, I get to be angry at injustice, but all it's doing it is motivating me to do better.  Be intentional. Be a more compassionate woman:

A Wife.  A Mom.  A Daughter.  A Sister.  A Friend...

Ephesians 4:32

Thank you to those who will hold me accountable and love me through this journey... all my love

Amen <3

Monday, September 9, 2013

Love my path...

Oops, it's been a minute since I've written.  I have been pretty busy lately --- embracing my role as Wife and Mom and everything else... <3 (love it!)

Recently, I was chatting with a couple of friends who reminded me that walking the unknown does not have to be scary or dark.  It can be as amazing as this photo above... the path is clear, it's wide, and it's beautiful with many adventures ahead.  There will be moments of calm.  There will be moment to climb.  The light shines on the dark.

We can always makes excuses why we don't keep moving forward, but when the path is laid out so clearly - just embrace it.  Don't fight it. Step by step - you can make it.  Encourage yourself.  Be encouraged by others.  Press forward.  God walks by and with you and sends amazing people and situations to grow us, bend us, teach us.  There is no such thing as failure, just experiences and lessons... Grow.  Stretch.  Reach!

Amen <3