Posts Tagged 'Inspirational story'

Take My Hand…

Ed and I were walking recently at Highbanks, one of our metroparks.  About 7 miles of trails that include hills, stairs, and straight-aways make Highbanks an attractive place for casual and serious walkers, as well as families.

Highbanks trail

Highbanks stream

On this particular day, as we were walking up the ‘very long hill,’ we came upon a mom with three children, a young boy about 4, a girl about 6 and the oldest girl about 8.

Interesting, all three children had ‘walking sticks.’  The girls were using them in ‘walking-stick fashion’- that is, holding the stick at one end, planting the other end, and allowing the stick to help them walk.  The young boy, however, was brandishing the stick like a sword.  You might ask, ‘How can that be???’  We had boys—we weren’t asking that question!

The girls were ahead on the trail, but the mom was with the young boy.  ‘I can’t make it up the hill,’ we heard him say to his mom.

‘Take my hand, and let’s do it together!’ the mom wisely answered as we passed them…and I believe that together they got up the hill.

What a great visual for the best way to get a job done!

What about you?

Is there a project under your direction that is lagging? It could be in your family, it could be at work, it could be a church or community project.  Is there someone who is falling behind with his or her responsibility in the project?  Do they need some assistance?  Do they need some encouragement?

Would it help if you simply said,

“Let’s do it together!”

Go for it!  And let me know what happens when you do.  I’d be delighted if you would leave your comments below.


A Productive Week for My Mom

My mom is 89 years old, and doing GREAT.  We are all so very proud of her.  In fact I’ve written three other posts about her.  Now, almost two years later, Mom still lives independently in her two-bedroom cottage on the same campus for seniors.  She still enjoys participating in regular activities up at the main building: exercise classes including time in the pool, dominoes, chapel, root beer floats, and special programs.  Last week, she told me about attending a class where she made chocolate roses- yummmm!

Mom celebrating her 89th birthday

Mom is still involved in off-campus activities. She attends a weekly Bible study (and still does the homework), a weekly seniors group at her church, a monthly seniors group at another church (seniors tend to be attracted to group settings where a meal is provided!), and  weekly church services.  Because my brother and sister live nearby, Mom stays very connected to immediate family as well.  Even though her grandchildren are not local, mom interacts with all three and now two great-grandsons via phone, emails, and even texting and video chats!  You certainly can teach an old dog new tricks! Mom is proof of that!

In spite of regular weekly events, there are still 24 hours in a day to fill, and you can only sleep, eat, and party so much.  So what does a senior Senior do with his/her time?

This week Mom sent me a note – yes, a handwritten note in the mail- that was priceless. Here’s what she wrote:

Sorry about the delay but you know how busy I am (or can think I am).  However did have a productive week (which I think means I didn’t misplace too many items that I had to seek- which means I wasn’t quite as busy in that sense looking for them!)

You see, Mom has observed that she and her friends lose things constantly, and a major part of their day is spent looking for them!  She has adopted a new philosophy that she easily shares with her senior friends when the conversation turns to what they have lost lately.  Mom says, “Oh, it’s not lost.  It’s just misplaced. You’ll find it in its new place!”

So how do you measure a productive week? Would love to read your comments below!

To Plan or Not to Plan. Is That the Question? Part 2

I looked at my watch. I turned to my husband Ed and said, “It’s 4:30.  I think we are officially lost. What do you want to do?”

Ed’s response, “Whatever we do, we have to do quickly. There’s not much daylight left.”

We quickly took stock of our situation: we had followed the trail next to a wash, had crossed onto the rocks looking for the continuation of the trail, and ended up in the  corner  of a canyon, staring at two walls of sheer cliff about 300’ high.  There was no trail to continue forward; we figured we had 45 minutes to an hour left of daylight, and both of our cell phones were dead. Of course our cell phones had our GPS location, communication with the outside world, and a flashlight app.

How did we get here?


Well, loosely speaking…we did.

Ed and I had decided a few days previously that we would take a hike in the desert on Monday, our last full day in Phoenix.  We planned accordingly.  Ed had purchased a book of loop hikes in Arizona, hikes where you start and finish at the same point.  He picked hike #44, called Garden Valley.  The trail was in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, about 30 minutes from Gilbert where the kids live.  The description of the trail gave every indication that we would enjoy our time: the trail was 8.6 miles long, taking about 5 hours to complete, and was rated moderate- which is one notch up from easy.  We had snacks, PB and J sandwiches for lunch, water and my sports nutrition drink, binoculars for bird watching, and the hiking book. Most of these items were in the backpack that I carried.  Yes, I did feel a bit like a packmule, but because I carried the pack, I made sure we stopped for snacks and water as that lightened my load.   So that was a good thing.

These photos give you an idea of what we were hiking through.

Ed leading on the Dutchman's Trail

Weaver's Needle, an important landmark

A wash along the trail

Ed standing by a Saguaro Cactus gives perspective about size

Although I did periodically simply stop and look around to enjoy the beautiful setting of the trail, and Ed would stop to identify an unknown bird call- we kept moving at a good pace.  At one point, Ed commented, ‘This is taking us too long.  We should have been back by now.” A short time later, we found ourselves cornered in the canyon.

We prayed for signs, and as we backtracked, we did indeed see trail signs that we had not seen before.  I interpreted three stacked rocks as ‘This is the path, no turn here,’ remembering trailblazing signs from Girl Scouts. This week I discovered that there are other meanings for that particular trailblazing sign, so I am extremely thankful that the Lord gave us good direction in spite of my faulty memory!

We finally arrived at our car in the trailhead parking lot at 5:45 pm, and drove out of the park with the sun sinking quickly behind the mountains, very mindful of the Lord’s graciousness in giving us the signs that we needed when we needed them.

Bottom line: our PLAN was a simple 5-hour hike, and that’s what we prepared for. Reality was a 7-hour hike, including about three hours of being lost in the desert, and that’s what we were unprepared for!

PLANNING gave us a very unexpected result, which required a heightened dependence on the Lord Jesus. This hiking adventure  was a clear reminder that ‘A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).’

So did these two personal illustrations give any clarity to your own decision about planning for 2012?  To plan or not to plan?

Read Part 3 for my response.

Motivation for Change

“We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.” Jim Rohn.

In today’s economy, it certainly seems that many people are considering change because of the desperate nature of their circumstances. You may be one of those people.

It’s December.  2011 was perhaps not stellar for you and your family.  You don’t want 2012 to be a repeat!

Referring to the above quote, desperation may get you jump-started to consider change and you might even make an attempt to do something different, but I have not observed it to provide lasting motivation for change.

However, if you are committed to personal development, inspiration enters the change-scene. You can discover why you want to change (typically it needs to be more than money!). You can then discover how to change. Inspirational motivation could lead you to then inspire family and friends.  Don’t you want to be involved in that process?

It may be that although it is one situation/emotion/passion that gets you started on a path that is actually a change (a new business, a new lifestyle, a new relationship, a new location), you may have to discover something else that keeps you motivated…keeps you moving down that path toward your  bigger dream/your goal.

As a student and then a teacher, I had not thought very deeply about why I was doing a particular thing.  Whatever I was doing just seemed like the right thing to do…it was logical.

However, over the years of owning a business, I’ve had to discover my ‘why.’  Others who started this venture with me had fallen by the wayside.  I kept going. Why?

For me it had to be more than making money, more than the fantastic incentive trips, more than the friendships of business associates and customers, and even more than making a difference in people’s lives—all of which happen in my business by the way.

Two factors continue to surface whenever I examine my motivation for persevering with business: freedom in determining my schedule, and time with family.  The two have become almost inseparable because we are separated from our entire family living here in Columbus.

Geographically, we have family in AZ, TN, IL, SC.  We’re not exactly clustered!

Right now, when I have opportunity, there is a very strong pull toward Phoenix because of these two little boys. Imagine that!


Discovery of a new train

'devoted to one another in brotherly love'

What’s your motivation for change? What is your WHY that keeps you headed in the direction of your dreams?

I’d love to read your comments below.

She’s 87 and Quite a Lady! Conclusion

(Conclusion of my inspirational Toastmaster talk)

When I visit, mom always had- and still has- a list of little things for me to do for her. You have to understand that Mom gets assistance from the landscape workers; my sister and niece help her—my brother and his wife help. You see, Mom can keep a crew busy all the time, regardless of the season! But there is always a list for me.

“Mom, what’s on your list?”

“Just a couple of things- only if you have time.”

The items on the list  range from taking things up into the attic for storage, bringing things down as the seasons change, putting together the fountain pump so that it would work, getting the right size piece of tubing from the hardware store for the project, etc. spreading woodchips for a garden path…you get the idea. Oh, and I always have to measure mom with my tape measure, measure her body fat % and BMI with my hand-held monitor…then we record it in her little notebook set aside for that purpose. You see, she daily wears a clicker- a pedometer that measures her steps throughout the day. She records her daily total. The measurements that we do together let her know the benefit of her fitness choices! Would that all my clients were as conscientious as Mom!

So what do I get – what can you get – from this lady’s life?

First, don’t think that getting old has to be boring and dull. In sharing all the different activities that my mom chooses to do, I realize that the variety of people in mom’s life and her service to others are keeping her vibrant.

Second, realizing my mom’s love language is quality time, phone calls and visits from me have to be a priority. Remember, typically, it is not what we do that we regret, but rather what we didn’t do. My bottom line- don’t let irregular talks or visits be actions that I regret when Mom goes home to be with Jesus.

Lastly, my Mom is a great role model for how an older woman should spend her time. She is daily taking responsibility for all aspects of her health. Spiritually, she prays, she reads and studies the Bible. Physically, Mom eats the best she can, takes great supplements (she is actually one of my very best clients!)- and exercises daily. Financially, she spends wisely, pays her bills on time, and is very generous to her family and specific organizations. Mentally and emotionally, she interacts with others daily, serves other people’s needs on a very regular basis, and operates with a clear conscience in her relationships. Scripture tells older women that they are to  “be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

What about you? Do you have a godly mother as a role model? Have you expressed your appreciation to her? Are you a godly role model for someone in your life? Are you making choices daily that will allow you to be here with a sound body and a sound mind to influence future generations?

I’m so very thankful for my mom, Ruth.

I love you mom- and I’m posting this so that you and others will know how very much I appreciate who you are right now. You are 87—and quite a lady. When I’m 87, I want to be like you.

(Some comments I got from fellow Toastmasters: “Your mom is quite a lady!”

“I regret that my grandmother is not as active as your mother…”

“So obviously loving and sincere. What an inspirational lady, your mom…”

“I’d love to meet her and have her energy!”)

She’s 87 and Quite a Lady, Part 2

(Part 2 of my Toastmaster #10 Project, an inspirational talk. My setting is a mother-daughter event at church)

Back to mom’s day: after a short break from exercise class, Mom and her Service Team start to gather the residents from the third floor and bring them down to chapel for a service. Early afternoon, the Service Team gathers those residents who want to join the Root Beer Float Party: Mom loves root beer floats. Enjoying this special treat was something we did together when I would visit her: sometimes she had the root beer on hand, sometimes the ice cream. Of course, because one of us had gotten the taste for a root beer float, we made a quick trip to the Jewel grocery store to get the missing piece, but it was so much fun to know that you could “add a little bit more root beer, add a little bit more ice cream” to finish it just right- something you can’t do if you just buy a root beer float at the ice cream store!

Back to Plymouth Place: After root beer floats, the group  enjoys an old movie together. Last week after everyone had been delivered back in his or her room, Mom went home and applied fertilizer to all of her plants because ‘ everything was wet, and it was going to rain…so you have to do it.’ The last thing on her list was to pay bills “so I don’t pay late fees, you know.” In the evening, Mom may have had a visit with Jaimie, her almost-college-graduate granddaughter, who stops by regularly for special time with Nana.

Another side of Mom that is filled with activity is motivated by a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  We are so very thankful that she has the confidence that her next home will be in heaven with Jesus. Although Mom attends church and Sunday School on a weekly basis, she is also involved in a weekly Bible study that requires daily homework. Sometimes she calls up my husband who’s a pastor: “Ed, I’ve got this question. I was at the Bible study the other day- and I kept my mouth shut. I knew they were wrong. Now here’s my question…” Besides simply attending church, for years Mom assisted in the church nursery taking care of the babies so that parents could attend the worship service or moms could attend the weekly Bible study with one or two less distractions. Mom provides transportation- yes, she still drives- for several of her friends to their weekly senior fellowships at church. She calls them, tells them when she will be picking them up. After their lunchtime, she takes each of them back home.

Mom’s commitment to serving others- even those she doesn’t know- prompted her to  initiate two projects at two local churches: she decorated a box and made announcements for collecting Bibles, used Christian material and devotionals. Mom packs up the material in boxes, takes them to the Post Office, pays the postage, sending them to Love Packages, a ministry that ships the material overseas to pastors and churches who have little or nothing to share with those in their congregations and villages.

Her second project is collecting Christmas cards and stamps for the prisoners at Cook Country jail. She knows the chaplain there- and this is a way to help him minister to the needs of those he is called to serve.

(Conclusion tomorrow- what can we learn from this lady’s life?)