When You Choose to Be Grateful Though You're $15 Short

“I need $100 in three weeks!”

My eyelids fluttered, trying to register my 13-year-old’s intensity. 

“I really want $100 to take to the coin show. Can I do some odd jobs around the house to earn the money?”

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Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally keep an extra $100 in reserve for possible coin show emergencies. 

I told him to put his goal on his vision board, imagine himself with the coins he wanted at the show, and to feel grateful — as if he already had the money. 

We started the next day with some deep cleaning in his bedroom, and I saw a potential first paying job for him: making a holder for his neckties. It was a place to start, and it fed my desire for order. I paid him a generous $5 for his time, as it was a pretty simple design. But it served its purpose, and he was happy to put a small dent in his goal.  

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During our cleaning spree, we found a really nice building set he hadn’t used in ages, and we felt it was another idea for revenue. We posted it online, and it sold for $30.

The countdown for the coin show was speeding up . . .  but only $65 more to go.

He had recently made some beautiful snowshoes out of tree branches with my son-in-law, and the family had taken an afternoon to try them out. They were very unique, and they worked quite well, so we encouraged him to make some to sell. He was super pumped when he got a commission for the snowshoes, and he made $50 just days before the deadline.

Well . . . it was time for the show, and he hadn’t met his goal. But I was so proud of his positive attitude and the gratitude he felt for making $85 in such a short time.

His afternoon at the coin show turned out to be a great adventure with my son-in-law, and he came home bursting with news. There was a great variety of coins, the vendors were excited to see someone so young who loved collecting, and he made some really good purchases. His enthusiasm multiplied when he found the very coin he had posted on his vision board a couple months before. However, it was more money than he had left. He moved on to another booth, when the vendor of that coin called him back. This very kind man crossed out the list price of the coin and lowered it $15! My son had just enough to purchase his most coveted item.

This is the part I love the most. 

My son then told me, “Mom. Do you understand what that means? If you add the $15 that I should have had to pay for that coin to the $85 I earned, I still met my goal. I had $100 in time for the coin show.”

I feel like this tiny bit of truth is a tragically well-kept secret. To see that my 13-year-old had learned it so young made me so happy. 

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Here’s the secret . . . our dreams and goals don’t always come the way we think they will. But  when we stay in a place of gratitude and belief, with God’s help, we will realize them. 

So what did my son do right? 

  1. He imagined in his mind exactly what he wanted, how he would feel if he got it, and felt gratitude, as if it had already happened. (Pretending is an art. Just sayin’.)

  2. He immediately moved forward with what he could do. He cleaned his room to clear out some physical space to receive what he desired.

  3. He accepted opportunities to move toward the goal — even though it only started out with a $5 job.

  4. He felt grateful for each step closer to his goal.

  5. He was willing to be vulnerable and “put himself out there” to sell his own creation.

  6. He worked hard.

  7. When he got to the end and it seemed he hadn’t completely met his goal, he still showed gratitude for what he did accomplish.

  8. When the $15 showed up differently, he recognized it, and his gratitude was overflowing.

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Now it’s your turn. Set your goals high. Believe you can reach them. Dismiss doubt. Expect inspired ideas to come. Act on those ideas, and show gratitude for each step along the way that takes you there. 

That’s how it’s done. 

What You Want WANTS You

The craziest thing happened today. One of my pregnant daughters and I have been preparing a Winnie-the-Pooh baby shower for my other daughter (who is also expecting). Looking to Pinterest Land for inspiration, we discovered original game prompts, One-Hundred-Acre Wood-themed food ideas, and even a Pooh Bear sign-in sheet that gathers guest autographs for a balloon bouquet.  

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After we spent weeks in the planning phase, computer hours designing our exact Pooh Bear needs, and a whole day with my talented mother to embellish our offerings, we just needed one more thing. A centerpiece. And it couldn’t be just any centerpiece. But who has a centerpiece with Pooh? (Just a side . . . Pooh anything makes me laugh. Did you know there is a cookbook called, Cooking with Pooh? I mean . . . gross.) 

We gathered some flowers that we thought might do the job, but we were really just grasping for straws. In that very moment — and I’m not exaggerating — Mom’s doorbell rang. She went upstairs to answer, and immediately called down to me, laughing. I walked up the stairs and saw one of my mom’s older neighbors dressed in a Winnie-the-Pooh shirt. We started giggling at the “coincidence,” and Mom explained why we were laughing.

Suddenly her neighbor enthusiastically began telling us all about her Winnie-the-Pooh collection. She was so excited that we were doing a baby shower themed around such a “silly old bear.” And then she said . . . “Is there anything you would like to borrow to decorate for the shower?” 

Seriously? 

We were dumbfounded. I had never even met her. She couldn’t have known we were doing this shower. She just happened to be wearing her Pooh shirt on the day she decided to appear at Mom’s door. I still don’t know why she even came. 

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We abandoned our make-shift centerpiece and accompanied her back to her home. Winnie-the-Pooh books, ceramic “hunny” pots with “Bit-o-Honey” candy, stuffed tributes to Pooh Bear’s friends, and a large Pooh Bear greeted us there. And then, to our great amazement, she unveiled a Hundred-Acre-Woods ceramic tree. One animal was perched on each branch, and we immediately fell in love with it. Our baby shower decor just went up a few notches, and we didn’t even go seeking after it. We used what we had, did the best we could, and felt grateful along the way, and a miracle happened. 

So it’s a cute story and all, but why I am I sharing this today? 

Honestly - because of this . . . 

really do believe that things we think, say and do create a new vibration. And if you’ve ever watched a tuning fork sound, you’ll notice that its vibration starts others in the room to sound as well. Why? Because they tune into the same vibration. 

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I feel like this is what happened today. Our thoughts, actions, and words have all been focused on Winnie-the-Pooh. I believe we have created a strong vibration with four of us having been working on this project. Like attracts like, and the rest is history. 

But who cares? Why does it even matter? 

It’s just one more reminder that what we send out into the world comes back to us. That we can choose our words, our thoughts, and our actions more deliberately to create what we actually want to come into our lives. That we can send out more positive and faith-filled vibes to brighten others’ lives. And . . . that what we want, wants us.

And who wouldn’t want just a little more Pooh?

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Do You Trust the Master Navigator? You Can Choose

Have you ever established a goal, set your course, taken steps toward completion, and then watched it take a wacky detour? Yah. Me too. 

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How did it turn out for you? How would you define the outcome . . . negative or positive? 

This happened to me recently. I was traveling two hours south for a business meeting, and I left early to be sure I arrived on time. I pulled up the GPS on my phone, typed in the exact address, and then I went along on my merry little way. 

In case you don’t know this about me . . . bad traffic has, at times, caused me some pretty intense anxiety. But I chose to entertain happy thoughts as I drove, listened to an uplifting podcast, and pressed forward. 

About an hour into the drive I received a loud notification that said, “Slow-down ahead. Your arrival time will be delayed 13 minutes.”

I thought, “That’s okay. It’ll be fine. I’ll choose to be calm and cheerful, and I’ve allowed enough time for unexpected delays.”

A couple minutes later, not yet having hit the traffic, a new notification went off. “Slow-down ahead. There is an alternate route that will save you 16 minutes. If you want to stay on your current route, press “dismiss”.

I may or may not have panicked for a few seconds. 

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I think we’ve all learned that change can be hard. I was already familiar with the route I was currently pursuing and was comfortable there. I reminded myself that I had allotted extra time to be a little late, but I thought . . . what if the GPS is messed up? What if it directs me across some ridiculous, broken-up gravel road in the tulies somewhere? (That’s a story for another time.) My heart was racing, and I’m sure some wise-guy angel was playing the countdown Jeopardy song in my head. There was no time to waste. I had to decide. 

I clicked the “accept” button. 

I was re-routed to another freeway, onto a highway, and then miles down the road I merged back into my familiar path. I experienced zero slow-down during the entire trip. The GPS gave clear directions in a calm voice, and I arrived at my destination a full hour early. For real. 

Wow. What a ride. 

Because I arrived ahead of time, I took the opportunity to really ponder what had just happened. I saw a beautiful parallel for life. 

So here we go.

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We each have a goal. More than one, I hope. And in order to achieve our aspirations, we have to be very clear at the onset about our final destination. What do we want our dreams accomplished to look like? This would be like the exact address I typed into my GPS. 

The next step is to create a general plan to get there. Sometimes my GPS gives me a few different routes designed to get me to the same location. So, in our finite minds, we choose a plan that will move us in the right direction to obtain our desires. 

Here’s the cool thing. It’s important to know the general direction of our destination, but we do not have to know all the steps. I was only familiar with a part of my path. The rest was in the hands of my GPS to take those last steps to get me to the correct address. The same thing is true for our goals. We just need the next step in moving toward them, but when we make the effort to take the steps that we do know, we prepare ourselves to receive further direction. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt. One clue at a time? And who doesn’t love a treasure hunt? Everyone needs some adventure in their lives, right?

Now it’s time for us to start moving. On my trip, I drove in the direction of my destination. I could have used the frontage road, taken the freeway, or traveled awhile on State Street, but no matter which option I chose, I was still progressing toward my meeting. 

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This applies to goal setting as well. Because we may not know all the steps to finish it, we simply need to move toward our objective in the best way we know how. And we’ll get there. Eventually. 

As I traveled the long road, my GPS warned me of an upcoming slow-down. Isn’t it interesting that I had to make a choice? I could stay on my current path, enduring a snail’s pace for fifteen or more minutes, or I could trust my GPS to re-direct me without a decrease in speed. In that moment I took a chance, and my trip offered pleasant progression the whole time. 

The path to reach our goals provides the same kinds of opportunities. We can choose to stay tuned in to the “Master Navigator” (a.k.a. God or our Higher Power) to give us ideas, new steps to take, and alternate routes. We know in traffic, and also when we pursue our dreams, there may be speed traps, fatigue, accidents, distractions, traffic, and even angry drivers. But as we stay connected to the Master Navigator, He sees ahead, He knows what roadblocks we’ll hit, and He gives wise and inspired ideas to smooth out the journey. 

One more thing to consider — during my journey I was given the choice to stay on my current route, pressing “dismiss” or to accept the suggested change. 

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We will receive many thoughts and inspired ideas to encourage and support as we pursue our goals. In those moments, we, too, have a choice. Do we trust the Master Navigator enough to heed His wisdom and counsel? Even when it takes us out of our comfort zones into unfamiliar territory? Or do we play it “safe” and do what we’ve always done?

Accept? Or dismiss? We have a choice . . .  

(Jeopardy music echoing in the background.)

What will you choose?

It's Your Journey: You Don't Have to Apologize

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Have you ever had one of those moments when you say something really profound, but you didn’t mean to? I mean . . . you don’t even realize just how profound it was until it touches someone else, or it stops you in your tracks? 

Here’s an example. I was chatting with a friend about weight. We were discussing people who sincerely struggle with a cycle of weight . . . they lose it. Then they gain it. They lose it, and they gain more. They’re certain they will never do that again, and they commit that this time they will lose it for good. And . . . it comes back once again. 

Why the discussion? It may or may not have something to do with the challenge I have personally faced in the past . . . since the time that I was in junior high school. We’re talking about a 35-year-old weight roller coaster. But recently I have learned so much from these cycles. I am a pattern girl. (What even is that?) Well . . . I really thrive when I can find types of people that keep showing up in my life, similar experiences that keep happening, or the underlying reason that I do the same things over and over, and so on. I want to shout for joy as I tell you that I believe I have finally ended this weight cycle for me. 

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However, as I was sharing my thoughts with my friend, I hadn’t yet ended the cycle. I knew I was so close . . . my breakthrough was just around the corner. But as we described the problem that - ever so many people face - whether in body image or a plethora of other examples, this is the profound thought that escaped my lips: 

“I don’t have to apologize for my journey.” 

Huh?

So what do I mean by that? 

Simply this. Every one of us is on a journey. We are all trying to be our very best selves. We wouldn’t learn much if we became our best selves in the first 3-5 years of our lives. That’s why we call it a “life’s journey.” I believe I am on this planet to become the very best me. And I feel that you are on this planet to become the very best you. But “becoming” is a process. In my experience I feel I have been given a perfectly prepared package of problems for me to face in this life. Not because I did anything wrong or because of an unjust God. Quite the opposite. I believe that these challenges have been divinely prepared to assist me to become the very best me. For real. 

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When Shame Hangs Around 

While I consider my sincere belief that challenges are a blessing rather than a curse, I also recognize that I have carried a lot of shame over the years because of this cycle. It’s been kind of like this . . . when the bathroom scale displayed socially acceptable numbers, I felt worthy to show up in the world. When the numbers were higher than I deemed appropriate, Shame came to stay at my house, told me I probably shouldn’t leave the house, assured me that I wasn’t worthy of love, and reminded me that this was the umpteenth time I had been through the cycle. Just to make sure I was left in utter defeat, Shame ended the conversation by planting in my mind that, without a doubt, all my friends were talking about it.

Nonsense! 

Who has time to sit and worry about whether I’m up twenty pounds or not?

Journey of a Lifetime

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I am on a journey. You are on a journey. And it is part of the human experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s our relationship with money, our experience with holding down a job, whether or not our mornings are productive this month, or even if we’re having a good hair day or a bad one. It is your journey. It is my journey. 

It’s time to be more gentle with ourselves. We have a lot to learn in this life, and that’s okay. There will be ups, and there will be downs. Some days will be easier to smile than others. I believe that all these things will give us experience and be for our good. 

So when we find ourselves . . . once again . . .  less than our ideal, you and I can both hold our heads high and say with relief, “I don’t have to apologize for my journey.”


Ready to Receive? Run for it!

Kids’ bedrooms. Redone. Fresh paint. New decor. Personalized new look. Fully prepped and completed . . . by whom? 

Not me!

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My teenagers did it all themselves! We’ll discuss more about that miracle in another post, but I made an amazing observation during that couple of weeks’ process. While my kids both waited for the spectacular themed tapestries they had each selected for their own room (coming clear from China and less trackable), they ran to get everything else prepared to receive it. They both decluttered their rooms, let go of items that were unnecessary - but hard to part with, and dropped off unwanted items at the thrift shop. They chose their own colors and put a fresh coat of paint on their walls. Each piece of furniture was sanded and painted. They spray painted frames to match the anticipated tapestries and got them hung. As the delivery date was still uncertain, my daughter searched for clear thumbtacks and kept them in a pile on her nightstand to be at-the-ready when her tapestry arrived. 

I find it interesting that BOTH of their packages arrived weeks before the projected delivery dates online.

What Does Football Have to Do With It? 

My dad has always teased me, saying that I don’t know the difference between a football and a soccer ball. I took P.E. in school, so I’m familiar with all of the balls. Just sayin’. Even though Daddy likes to exaggerate sometimes, let’s just say that I have never been much of a sports fan. 

With that in mind, I learned a powerful lesson directly from a football analogy. 

I participate in a weekly Mastermind call, and a couple weeks ago one of the women members asked us to consider the job of a receiver on the football field. Thankfully, I’ve seen enough snippets of the game to understand what she was talking about. This is super cool in relation to getting your goals - so stay with me. 

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The receiver’s job is to break away from all the players blocking him and run like crazy, poised and ready to catch the ball. When he first takes off, and even along the way, the quarterback hasn’t even thrown the ball to him yet. But the receiver does everything he can do to prepare to receive the ball that he just knows is going to come his way. When that ball shows up, he catches the ball (hopefully), and the play progresses. 

Now consider . . . if the receiver waited until the quarterback threw the ball to start running, he would not be in position to receive the throw. 

Isn’t that a fascinating principle? 

Get Ready, Get Set . . . 

Just like the receiver, (because in goal setting — we are the receiver) once we have set our goals, we have to prepare to receive them. 

How do we do that, you ask? 

We simply move forward on those things we do have control over that moves us in the direction of our goals. 

In one of my faith’s book of scripture it says, “Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” (D.C. 123:17)

I love this! My kids did this very thing. They wished their tapestries could arrive the same day they ordered them, but I sincerely believe the process was sped up (instead of taking an additional month to arrive) because they cheerfully “ran for the ball, expecting it to smoothly land in their hands.” And it did. 

GO!

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What goals have you set? Have you been sitting on the sidelines hoping something would happen? Or can you clearly see it in your mind and are ready to move? 

Decide what steps you can take to move toward your goal. Even if they seem insignificant (like collecting the thumbtacks to put the tapestry up), remember that every single step you take sends a message to the universe that you are ready to receive the thing that you desire.

You’ve got this. Now is the time. 

Just RUN for it!