We’ve heard from some of our community that the emails we send out daily did not reach everyone. Here are the recent videos in case you missed yours via email. Many more to come daily throughout the rest of February.
It’s been a great beginning to this series, with these incredible friends sharing their stories this week…
I hope you’ll share this series with your friends, and drink in every video as if it’s a Valentine sent to your inbox every morning during February.
And tell us what YOU have done for love!
Life is so full of tough decisions, decisions that carry huge ripple effects and bring stress as we make them.
I was pondering this in depth yesterday on my morning run, a run I did not want to do given the frigid cold temps and the attractive alternative of staying cozy inside.
But out I went, donned in warmest running gear, wondering if I was crazy. About 15 minutes into the run I felt toasty, motivated, and proud I was out there running.
Which reminded me of how making tough decisions is often similar, requiring the following key steps….
- Get Counsel — Do your research and talk to those who have made similar decisions. Ideally find a few who have also regretted decisions and find out what they’d do differently next time. Gathering information will lead your heart and mind in a general direction, so you can…
- Get Moving — Sometimes we just have to move toward one of the alternatives in order to know whether or not it’s right. Sure it would be nice if full assurance was present before moving, but rarely does this happen. So pick your choice and move toward it at which point you’ll…
- Look for Confirmation — From family members, close friends, others you trust who have walked similarly before you. Getting their thumbs up and green light about the decision is vital. If the majority disagree then it pays to pay attention. We’re all tempted to think “I’m unique and no one can really understand,” but rarely is this the case.
- Change Courses if Necessary — You may be down the road a ways, but if you realize you simply can’t continue, then STOP, turnaround or take another path. Better to have walked and rerouted, than to never have walked at all.
Decision-making is like a muscle, it gets stronger and more defined as life progresses. We learn from mistakes and learn to know ourselves better in the process. It’ll always require faith and guts to get out of complacency and into decision mode, but unique and exciting doors await those who get off center and go for it.
Some of my own life decisions that were super tough include…
- Do I take a pay cut to take a new job I really want? (I did it.)
- Should I go for a different role within my company, and risk negative changes (I did but didn’t get the job.)
- Will a move to NYC after years of building my career in Tulsa be worth starting over? (I did it and loved it in spite of many sacrifices.)
- Should I be open to date a guy who is divorced with four kids? (Yes and oh my has it been amazing albeit not without its challenges.)
- Should I give up fertility treatments or keep trying? (Gave it up, tears and questions on what could possibly ever bring this dream to fruition.)
- I’ve never wanted to adopt, but should I at least pay the $$ and get the paperwork done? (Did it and while it fell through initially, three years later our twins arrived!)
Whatever tough decisions you’re facing today, I’m cheering you on, confident that as you move forward, mountains will move on your behalf.
If you need encouragement this Thanksgiving then get ready…
A few months ago our dear friend, Asher Paul, who works at Good Housekeeping, asked if I thought Cady would be willing to share her story. Here is the beautiful outcome of their collaboration.
I learned details never heard before, with tears flowing, recalling this journey. We still ache with loss, but rejoice that this story is about God’s glory, a glory made brighter through faith and love.
Ever feel that way? Like you’re being given a gift you want to give back, trade, or simply detest??
In the last several weeks I’ve heard from friends saying….
Help, my hope is forever and completely gone.
How can I get through this and not always feel like I got the consolation prize?
I have no control and my reaction is pitiful. I feel like a fraud and SO quickly am back in a place of anger, sitting here facing the fact that my ONE option is to embrace what God is doing, and all I want to do is scream.
Processes are tough, really tough. This making of ourselves into strong, resilient, teachable warriors is not for the faint of heart.
I shared with one of my discouraged friends how many years and years it took me to break thru, cross over, and finally experience a lasting sense of joy, waiting so long for marriage and children. Told her how our responsibility is to declare what’s true about God even when our own experience doesn’t validate it.
Our son Jordan died of cancer but I will never give up praying for sick people to receive their miracle, because miracles DO still happen every day.
This morning I wrote to a friend who has spent tens of thousands of dollars, tears, and years trying to get pregnant, to no avail:
Praying over all of this for you guys. My experience is as you take steps in certain directions the Lord leads and opens your heart to possibilities that you may not have even wanted or been open to before, it’s all part of how God directs His ultimate plan. IF there is a child who He wants to be parented by you then that child will come to you. We get to do our part but trust Him to open and shut the doors all the while working in us and for us. He is our advocate. He is Good and Kind and a Generous Shepherd. He does not tempt or taunt or try us beyond our ability to bear it. He blesses and lavishes. Our joy eventually overflows. I love you and am weeping in prayer even now as I stand w you for the outcome of your faith!! Great joy awaits….
This week, Nov. 9th, was World Adoption Day, a day I never thought would have been relevant to my life, but adoption has been God’s surprise and lavish gift, one I would not have chosen and would not trade.
These two darlings came to our family in a season of great trial and loss. They’re not blonde like I always imagined, but look so much like their daddy and brothers. Every day we lavish them with big fat kisses, reminded that God’s different is better…better and bigger…bigger heart, bigger faith, bigger story leading to bigger glory.
It took big faith on the part of their precious birth mom too, big boldness to believe that the end of one story means the beginning of another.
Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the Global Women’s Summit at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. My dear friend Charity Wallace was the visionary behind this event, and my own work with the Bush Center Women’s Initiative afforded the invitation.
First Ladies from around the globe were there, along with leaders representing some of the most innovative solutions impacting women and children around the globe.
The sessions were engaging, stimulating, and challenging. I continue to marvel at how much President and Mrs. Bush do to change lives all over Africa, the Middle East, and beyond. President Bush described their motivation several times, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Several recurring themes emerged and my own observations include the following…
Small is Big – Virtually every speaker, be it a First Lady or a young entrepreneur, described themselves as small or insignificant, not out of insecurity or false humility, but in comparison to the issues they face and the needs to be met.
It struck me how often we all feel like this….small, lacking what it takes, insecure, even fearful. But this is where some do and some don’t. In other words, those who do simply do, they pick up the baton, run however they can run, and by doing so make an impact, typically far surpassing their expectations.
Collaboration is Everything – Everyone spoke of partnerships, of joining forces, learning from one another, building on others’ successes and failures, and how important it is to find others who say YES.
A highlight was when Michelle Obama joined via the web (she would’ve come but was hosting the Pope in D.C.), and she and Laura Bush described how much they admire one another and work together to build upon each other’s work. It was proof that women agree on far more things than they disagree on. “And it’s not just us it’s also our teams….our teams collaborate all the time,” they both said.
Stats Prove the Opportunity – These stats from various speakers were interesting and challenging..
- The median age in the world is 29 (younger in many developing nations)
- 3 billion people live on about $2 a day, and most are dependent on rural agriculture
- In just 12 years, 7 million people have received AIDS medicines in Africa, changing the pandemic tide, one that was taking out women of child-bearing age in particular
- Cervical cancer and breast cancer accompany the AIDS issues. 85% of cervical cancer is in developing nations. Mothers die, children are abandoned, society suffers. But the HPV vaccination is being widely distributed and screenings are expanding, Household vinegar is being used to treat cervical cancer at just 4 cents a treatment!
- When you give a woman a development dollar 90% of it goes directly to her family.
There was so much more but these are summary highlights. I left deeply challenged and hopeful, committed anew to use every resource of time and talent to invest and make a difference, at home and around the world.
Parting thought…What a wonderful time to be alive and be a woman!
Ron and I spoke for a couples conference last weekend in Jersey City, right next door to where my Deloitte office was for six years, overlooking downtown Manhattan.
I shared a point with the crowd that was a reminder of a nugget that set me free years ago when I first woke up to it. It is simply this…
JOY IS NOW
Not later when I’m married. Not in the future when I’m paid more and work less. It won’t be when the boys are raised or I finally get pregnant. It also won’t be when my boss finally sees me. No, joy is NOW.
The subtle yet ever-pervasive thought of being more joyful later when such and such happens is a constant enemy of contentment and happiness. It seems to plague us all, in some seasons more than others. Really though, I promise you, joy is now.
Our job is to pause and recognize it, call it out from the monotonous and mundane.
Gratitude uncovers it. Smiling extends it. Encouraging someone else multiplies it.
I was reminded of this afresh as Ron and I walked after the couples conference, by my old office, then took the ferry I used to take daily on my commute. Those were years that felt long on work and short on pleasures, but now a part of me wishes I could return to those moments for just a day.
Memories of routine workdays include a fondness now, grateful for lessons learned, projects I now miss and people I treasure but never see.
Yes joy is now, and later too, not because life is perfect or without tears, but because joy is like a good medicine that permeates darkness with promise that this too shall pass, and this too is precious.
Will you join me? Let’s drink it in, the here and now, through the transformational lens of joy.