Welcome to #2015 – What are you adding, keeping and getting rid of?

As you welcome the change of a calendar year, you may also be reflecting on the changes that you want to make in your life.  Some question why you should wait until the calendar changes to make these changes. Honestly, I have no answer because I believe in constant self evaluation but it seems like January 1st is the perfect day for the big evaluation.

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black background

Most of you who follow this blog have read about the Add, Keep, Get Rid Of list in the past.  Rather than making a bunch of promises or resolutions, take some time to consider:

What do I want to add to my life? Be intentional about some of the things that are missing.  You may not be able to make the change today but create a plan for the year that will allow you to integrate those changes into your routine so that it becomes a lifestyle change and not for the moment.  For me, I want to add sightseeing… Ok, I know that may sound a little crazy but I visit so many cities for a variety of reasons but I usually focus on the business of my trip and neglect carving out a few hours for myself to experience the city, even some familiar cities.  So I plan to become intentional about sightseeing when I travel.

What do I want to keep in my life? Not everything has to go.  Take some time to think about what is important to you, what do you want to preserve in your life.  I’m a firm believer in living your priorities.  This one requires that you think about your top three priorities and evaluate your resources – time and money.  Are you making the time commitment and using your financial resources to keep those priorities at the top of your list? It goes without saying that my ministry, being a mom, studying and building my business are at the top of my list.  Today, as I work on my budget for the upcoming year and evaluate my back to school schedule, I will be seeing ways to ensure those things are kept at the forefront so I don’t get caught up with busy work that isn’t important to me.

Finally, what do I want to get rid of?  Admit it.  We all have some habits that we need to get rid of.  Some of us have some people in our lives that we need to get rid of.  Think about those things and/or people that kept you from achieving your goals in the past, that prevented you from being the person you want to be.  As I get this seminary thing under control, I need to get rid of procrastination.  I want to be more proactive about reading, completing my assignments and writing my papers.  I got the job done last semester but I definitely see some areas for improvement.

Being the person you want to be, most importantly – the person God created you to be, is hard because it requires that you live at a higher standard than just existing and going through the motions.  However you choose to chart your course forward, be intentional about the type of life that you want to live.


Does my #vote really matter?

I am not ashamed to admit that when I first turned 18 I wasn’t that excited about voting.  Although I knew about the Civil Rights Movement and Women’s Liberation, it didn’t really dawn on me how voting affected my life.  Even when I was in college, I didn’t quite get it.  We were living in times of prosperity and growth so not many people had that much to complain about. I was young at the time and oblivious to a lot of what was happening in the world, outside of my immediate circumstances.

However, as an adult… this is a whole new world.  I am more conscious of what is happening around me, how it affects my circumstances today and how our decisions affect the world that we are creating for our children.  I am concerned because it seems that a lot of society still doesn’t get it.  Your vote counts because the majority wins.  It doesn’t matter who is the most passionate, who buys the most campaign ads, who has the best ideas or who gives the best campaign speech if WE don’t get out and vote for them.

Today is the day for you to make your voice count.  If you don’t know where to go and vote… click this link >>>>> http://www.rockthevote.org/

Take some time and find out who is running for office and what their plan is for our future.  We are at a critical point in our society and voting from now and into the foreseeable future should be a priority in your life.  The decisions that are being made by our government affect your ability to find and maintain gainful employment, to attain health insurance, how our civil liberties will be protected and so much more.

There are just a few things that I hope you will keep in mind…

  • We must vote and keep in mind the collective interest of the citizens of our country.  Any candidate that only wants to represent people like them, even if you are one of those people, should not be elected.  A political leader should want to make sure
    ALL citizens are taken care of.
  • The future of our society depends on the leadership and guidance of these individuals.  If the only thing a politician can offer is smear attacks against their opponents, what do you think they are going to do when they are in office?  In my opinion… continue to be divisive and distracting.
  • Don’t consider how long someone has been in office or how inexperienced they are politically.  There are many qualities needed to run a government, which is essentially like running a million, billion or trillion-dollar corporation (depending on the level of service they are offering themselves).  If you wouldn’t hire them to make good corporate decisions then how you can you count on them to run our government?
  • Think long and hard about those demanding that they take back America.  First we need to figure out who they want to take it back from… then we need to know where they are planning to take it because moving backwards should not be an option.  We need visionaries who are committed to working together so that real legislation can be passed that makes our country a better place to live not restoring old policies that have created a disparity between.
  • Finally, don’t forget Civics 101… Our government is made up of three branches of government.  You can not depend on any one branch to make a significant difference.  Don’t blame our President for our economic mess… there is more than enough blame to be distributed to all members of Congress, past and present, as well as past leadership.  Our government is an imperfect system being run by imperfect people who should be doing their best to make a positive difference in our world.

The decisions that we make today will impact our future.  Don’t VOTE based on superficial issues, take a moment, use Google and get to know the people you are electing to lead our nation.  Most of us spend more time researching celebrities, who can do nothing for us, then we do the political leaders in charge of our future.




You are the sum of your influences

Treat yourself, don't wait for someone else to treat you

A lot of times we try to deny the influence that our past has on us by simply saying that we have moved on.  Yet moving on is not the same as dealing with, accepting and moving forward.  We deny the effects of the people in our lives by thinking we are stronger than them and will triumph over whatever comes our way.  For example, sometimes you share your goals and visions with people who may be your family or friends but because they can’t see it, they will distract you from where you are supposed to go.  They don’t do it out of malice but simply because the experiences have told them it is not possible for them, therefore they don’t think its possible for you either.

What we don’t realize is that we are the sum of our influences.  Everything that happens to us, around us and because of us will have an effect on us.  These effects are sometimes positive and sometimes negative.  Guess what… you have control over that.  Many of us discount the impact that we have on our destinies because we don’t fully embrace our power therefore never realize our purpose.

Did you know that we are all created separate but equal?  That is not just jargon on a legal document but it is reality.  The sum of those influences from the day we are born until this moment has an impact on each decision that you make.  Otherwise, how can two people raised in the same environment, whether a drug-infested ghetto or a million dollar mansion, will take different paths and achieve different levels of success.  One person may look at their situation and resent everything around them and vow to take a different path while the other will accept life as it is and continue down the same path.  Do you see the key to these situations?  Each person made a choice.

You are not the victim of your circumstance.  No matter how much you may try to blame those around you for your situation, you have a choice at every turn and those choices not those people will dictate what happens next.  We have become so accustomed to allowing others to define us, dictate our steps and create our images that we lose sight of ourselves.  Even when dealing with your past, you have to realize that you can continue to wallow in everything that could have been, should have been and would have been or you can accept that it made you who you are and work toward who you want to be.

You are the sum of the influences and it is up to you to decide whether that will be a positive or a minus.  I choose victory and I am a positive.  What are you?

Success Secret #39

So far I have shared 38 secrets to success and find myself wondering if there are any secrets left.  But, everyday I encounter a new situation that teaches me a new life lesson that I feel compelled to pass along.

Lately, I have been meeting more new people.  Meeting new people as opposed to continuing to engage with people that you already know involves you sharing some things from your past to help them get to know you.  People who have known you for a while already have some knowledge of your past and have made judgements about who you are and what you will become based on what they know.  I began to think about how much we allow our past to define our future.

Success secret #39… acknowledge the past, live in the present and plan for the future.

How many times have you allowed what has happened in your past to dictate your actions moving forward?  Something tragic or unfortunate happens and you use it as a crutch to stop moving forward.  How often do we get so caught up in the past or the future that we can’t appreciate today?  How many of us are so busy that we have no time to plan for the future?

Doing all three takes focus and dedication to an end goal but it imperative that we acknowledge our past because if we don’t recognize the mistakes and celebrate the successes then it will be hard to move forward.  All of life’s experiences combine to show us what we should AND should not be doing.  However, we have to also be aware of our current circumstances.  We have to have the ability to stop and smell the roses today because tomorrow is not promised to anyone.  While doing those two things, we also need direction so that we are moving forward.

How do you do all of that?  Three easy steps:

  1. Acknowledge your past by keeping a journal so that you can go back and reflect on some of life’s experiences.  When you are in the middle of a storm it is often hard to see clearly ahead but once you have been delivered, you can go back and often identify what got you in the situation.  It will also help you to remember some of your best moments more vividly.  I don’t have a great memory so committing those experiences to paper brings a smile to my face when I can go back and read what I was thinking and how I was feeling.
  2. Live in the present by taking at few minutes at the end of each day to reflect on what happened during that day.  Think back over the conversations that you had, some of the places that you went and allow your mind to replay the movie of your day.  While in the hustle and bustle of a busy day, there are many things that we overlook but when you wind down and reflect, you are able to catch some little details that could help set you up for success the following day. (After your time of reflection, you should consider writing your journal entry.)
  3. Plan for the future and dare to dream.  You have heard me say this many times before but the only limitations we have in life are the ones that we place on ourselves.  Think about what you want out of your life, without regard for why you can’t but with the zest of how you will.  This freedom of thought and vision is so powerful that you will become an unstoppable force in your own life.

My goal is for everyone I know to live their best life.  I don’t have all of the answers but I have made peace with my past, live each day as if there is no tomorrow and believe that whatever happens next will be better than I ever imagined.  This line of thinking hasn’t failed me yet so it could work for you too.  Success doesn’t just happen, you have to create it…