Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Three Things Every Day

I’m out of town on business this week.

I crossed a few states lines, two time zones and a great big river before checking into a beautiful boutique hotel. In route, I saw the St. Louis arch from afar and sent a photo to Cody to update him on my travels. While doing so, I took a wrong exit and ended up on a side street in East St. Louis. At the lonely end of a scrap yard. Where they dump the bodies. I was white knuckled during my 12-minute detour of dread, while visions of Dateline danced in my head.

On the way west, I actually crossed two extra state lines than what my GPS mapped, having crossed the same state line twice. It became painfully clear at mile 313: I don’t often travel solo in My Life, AC (after Caroline).

I packed seven days’ worth of clothes; I’ll be here three days. I packed 20 lbs. of jewelry that won’t come out of the bag; I’ll wear the same turquoise set for the duration of the trip. Three belts. Four pairs of shoes. Nail polish. Snacks. A book. At this point I don’t know if I’m at the Wildwood Hotel or an Extended Stay America.

The business side of my trip has been very good, but SEO goals and analytics are not why you’re here today. I hope.

One of the speakers said something very simple during our Tuesday morning session. I found it worth writing down. As I sat to write this week (in my big, comfy king size bed that I didn’t have to make this morning), I thought it worth sharing with you.

If you do three things well every day, you will make progress in different areas of your life, daily.

Maybe it is  cleaning the bathroom (not just wiping the toothpaste off the spout).
Maybe it is diving into your daily devotional and really reading the listed scripture, contemplating the afterthought questions and praying about the message.
Maybe it is focusing on communications and returning the two phone calls you’ve put off for some time.
Maybe it is cleaning up the barn in a way that you would be proud to show around a last-minute guest.
Maybe it is shutting your office door and diving into the tough project for an hour straight, giving it your undivided attention.
Maybe it is taking ten minutes to actually sort through the stack on the kitchen island and put things where they belong. (FYI: belts, fundraiser reminders, spare buttons and mail don’t belong on the kitchen island).
Maybe it is going to visit parents, grandparents, or a forgotten friend.
Maybe it is balancing your budget, taking a look at where your money is actually going.
Maybe it is reading an extra book to your child before you tuck them in.
Maybe it is going on a walk, run or skip (did you know it is impossible to skip and not smile?) to clear your mind for a few minutes.
Maybe it is clearing the refrigerator of bad contents and wiping down the shelves that you’ve not given thought to in a year.  
Maybe it is paying close attention to yourself when those red flag arise - and addressing them appropriately. 
Maybe it is sitting down with a cookbook and creative thinking to map out your meals for a week or two.
Maybe it is carefully choosing your words to change direction of thought.

By paying enough mind to 
three simple things 
throughout your day, 
you’ll no longer be carelessly 
going through the motions to maintain; 
you’ll be living with intent.

This time tomorrow I hope to be on the second floor of a farmhouse where I can hear a mousetrap go off in the basement. 

Some gals just don't sleep well in boutique beds. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Building Strong Children

It's been a bad week, huh?

We'll never understand the reason behind Sunday night's tragedy in Law Vegas, and frankly I wondered if I even had anything to write about this morning. Sunday night has left me sad, uninspired and wanting terribly to just be with my family in our living room. 

Then I saw someone on Facebook share a video showing exactly what the shooter's hotel room looked like when he opened fire. It was a virtual tour of the setting he was in when he made a horrific decision. 
I don't want to see that. 
I don't want to be in his element. 
I don't want to hear about his life, his buying history or his girlfriend. 
I don't want to know anymore about him. 
He was a terribly broken human being. 

I want to think about moving forward. 

This quote has been on my mind all week. 
(As I write this, it's only Tuesday. Jesus, take the wheel.)

"It is easier to build strong children 
than to repair broken men." 
- Frederick Douglass

So starting now, 
lets focus on building strong children. 

This means setting an example in how you treat other people, whether that be at the school pick-up line, on the sports field, at home or in a restaurant. 
This means setting an example in how you use your words to encourage, discipline or guide.
This means setting an example in how you honor your spouse, your parents and others that you consider family. 
This means setting an example in how you take care of yourself; your body, your mind and your faith. 
This means setting an example in how you take care of things around you, leaving things better than how you found them. 
This means setting an example in how you make choices, taking into account the the things that matter, against the ones that don't. 
This means setting an example in how you determine and honor your priorities. 
This means setting an example in how you spend your "free" time. 
This means setting an example in how you value your daily work. 

Who knows? Maybe it won't be only children you influence by living well. Those around you may begin to emulate your example, one by one, building a character of integrity in a world that desperately needs it. 

People on this earth are broken, some certainly more so than others. Let's commit today to do everything in our power to grow a population that values one another. By being kind, extending grace and loving one another, let's show the rest of the world that we value human life. 

Even when it brings us to our knees.