Thursday, December 13, 2018

LifeScore ~ Where are you struggling, frustrated, having success, transforming?

I enjoy reading.  I mostly read nonfiction, but will read the occasional fiction book if I find the topic of interest or it's a good read recommended by a friend. 

As I am compiling my book list for next year, I still touch base with some of my favorite Authors throughout the year.  Usually, when it's an author I like, I will follow them on facebook to follow along with their blog, resources, etc. that go beyond the book.

Some of my favorite authors you might ask?  Jill Savage, Andy Andrews, Joanne Miller.  My hubby has read a lot from Dan Miller, as well as done a podcast episode with him.  So I have learned a little here and there about him, but personally have yet to read one of his books.  However, I do follow him on facebook because his wealth of knowledge can be a helpful resource.

Recently Dan Miller shared a link to Michael Hyatt's LifeScore Assessment.  It is a free assessment that looks at the domains of: circle of being, circle of relating, and circle of doing.  Within each domain there are focused area questions on: spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical, marital, parental, social, vocational, avocational, financial.  You can select one, a few of the areas that relate to you (i.e. if you aren't married, don't click on the marital one or if you don't have kids yet, don't click on that one)

Once you answer all the questions it gives you an overall life score, as well as a score in each focus area.  Then you can look at where are struggling, frustrated, success or transforming.

I selected all the areas and after going through it to be very interesting and worth taking.  While most areas fell in the success range, there were a few areas in the frustration range and one area of transformation.  The last two, the frustration and transformation are two areas where I am going to dig in deeper to learn more about.  To see why they fell there, where my thoughts are on it, and if there is anything I need to do and can change, also, where I need to adjust my perspectives and priorities.

Sure, most of us will not be 100%  in the success range for all the areas, especially not all the time, and that is okay.  Why?  Because our lives are about balance and priorities.  Where we focus our attention the most is where we have the most success typically.  Likewise, where we put our priorities makes a different as well to where it falls on the scale. 

We all have different strengths and gifts we can share, as well as weaknesses.  But our strength and gifts can be used to help fill in the void of another's weakness, likewise, the strengths and gifts of other's can be used to fill the void of our weaknesses or help us begin a transformation process.

If you are in a frustration or struggling phase, is it because it is the season you are in?  Or could it be because that focus area falls into a weakness for you?  Or even an area that is of little interest to you?

If you are in a transformation phase, can you see that focus area transforming?  How is it?  Why?  Is it transforming into a success, or a struggle, or frustration?  What can you do to turn it into a success?

If you are in a success phase, can you see how you got there?  What makes it a success?  How can you keep it there?

Are any of these focus areas ones where you can change your perspective?  Grow and change? Something that you might be able to let go of?  Something you need additional guidance on?

It's okay to keep dreaming, keep growing, to keep changing.  As the year comes to an end, take a moment to think on the past year (or further back if wanted or needed) to reflect.  Take a moment to think about the year to come and dream, looking for ways to use your strengths, your talents, your gifts, coming to terms with your weaknesses and seeing where you are needing to or ready to transform.

Start putting into place now those things that will help you grow, to change where needed, to let go where you can , to transform.  See where this will take you.

Below I will include a link to the LifeScore Assessment.  I encourage you take a moment and answer the questions.  See where it will lead you.  If you take it, share your findings below if you feel comfortable or what your thoughts are about it all or what your take away is going to be from it.

In the meantime, you do you.  Use your strengths, use your gifts, let yourself transform.

Michael Hyatt's LifeScore Assessment

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

An Acrostic Poem ~ On Hope

Have healing through the
Openness of the season
Providing a sense of peace, happiness, and gratitude
Exciting you through each day, finding energy and ease enter in

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Loving Kindness Message ~ On Hope

May you find healing
May you find openness
May you find peace and presence
May you find excitement and energy

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Holidays, Christmas Time, & Facing Battles While Finding True Meaning

 The other day I talked about facing battles and what is your armor.  Today, I am going to continue with the theme of battles.

The idea came to me recently while listening to a friend, who is a podcaster and blog writer.  She was talking about battles as well and how to face them during this holiday season.

Like she said, and so have I, we all face battles.  Every day, all day, throughout the year.  Seemingly, the time between Thanksgiving and the end of the year there seem to be more battles we face.

Add in holidays, season shifts, extra time with family, gift giving, traditions, the shoulds we pile on ourselves, expectations, and those battles seem to multiply.

Sometimes we push so hard to make this time of year "perfect" but the reality is sometimes less than what we were expecting.  We get caught up in the shoulds, the traditions, the things that have worked in the past, our own expectations, change, and so on.  And when we push and push, the battles increase.

What is this time of year truly meant to be?

I know, holiday times can bring grief, frustration, anger, anxiety, fear, worry, guilt.  They can be tough.

But they can also be and feel different.  It starts with you.  Your attitude, your perspective.  That will carry through to the others around you, your spouse if you are married, kids if you have them, your family, your friends.

Do you really need to face every single battle in front of you?  Are there some things you can let go of and avoid the battle altogether?  Are there things you can change or stop this year to bring more calm to this time of year?  Are there things you can do or change to bring more peace and joy?  Are there things you can do to slow down instead of getting caught up in all the hustle of the season?

Where can you truly push?  And yet, where can you pull back?

If some aspect of this all is important to you, then by all means, push and battle for it.  But also, stop and think, do I really need to?

Because if you don't need to, then maybe let it go.

In a way, yes you do need to face each battle placed in front of you.  But you also need to pause for a moment and really think about whether or not this battle is one that you can let go of.

Take what is most important and make decisions.  Use those decisions to guide you through your battles.

Where can you ask for extra help?  Where can you just let it go?

What would truly make this time of year filled with calm? Joy?

Take this time to work your way through it all.  Then, as the holidays pass by and we begin a new year, you can take this concept along with you.

Pause, name it, look at it, decide.

Fight for what you can, when you can, where you can.  But let the rest go.

Remember, is this something that will truly matter in 5 minutes? At the end of the day? Next week?  Next month? Next year?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

We All Face Battles ~ What is Your Armor?

What battles are you facing?

Are they small or big?

What do you face daily?

What does your armor look like?

Sometimes our battles are small and sometimes they are big.  Sometimes they last a moment, sometimes longer.  Sometimes once, sometimes daily.  At some point, maybe more than once, we will all face a big battle.  All these little battles you are facing are God's way of preparing you for your big ones.

If you are familiar with the stories of the bible, the one of David and Goliath is one that I am guessing you can recall easily.  It's about David, a small young Shepard, taking on Goliath a giant 9 foot tall warrior of many battles, and David winning.

That is the short version of the story. 

I read awhile back from author Andy Andrews, we are either coming out of crisis or headed that way.

When we are in crisis, we are in a storm, doing battle.  When we are headed out, we have finished the battle, are beginning to step out and move forward.  Once we level out and hit even ground, while the ground is solid, things are starting to turn the other way.  But in time, we will be headed back to battle once again.

Like I said, we face small battles often.  Those small ones shape us, train us, prepare us for when the Goliath type battles come.

I face battles every day.  As a mom, or a parent, you know how quickly you can ruin something with a three year old when you give them the wrong cup color, food choice, tell them it's time to clean up, and so on.  As parents we face battles daily.  While it is just the season we are in as our kids begin to test the boundaries, we are facing something every day.

Sure, those are small ones.  But I have faced bigger battles.  And while my bigger battles may not be as big as yours or the same, I face them just as much as you do. 

Three of my biggest battles?  Facing miscarriage and the path that put me on, postpartum depression and anxiety.

Remember the story about David and Goliath?  How is it that David was able to succeed?  His battle plan and armor were way different than Goliath's.  Goliath's reputation superseded him.  Goliath was a warrior, a fighter, armed with spear and sword, champion of many battles.  David was a Shepard, warrior only in the sense he was brave to fight off bear and lion from his flock to keep them safe.

Where was each of their hearts on that day?  Where is your heart today?

One rock, one simple rock took Goliath down.  At least on the surface.  Deeper down, it was Goliath's lack of true armor, lack of battle plan, lack of preparedness, and attitude.  David went in with his heart filled with God.  God's armor, God's plan, God's guidance.  David fought Goliath and won because David had been faithful.

Being faithful in all times.  All times.  In battle, leading up to battle, just coming out of battle, on solid ground.  All times, being faithful.

Can you say that about yourself?  Are you always faithful, no matter the circumstance?  Do you take God with wherever you go?  Do you wear an armor of your own or do you put on God's armor?

We aren't promised that we won't face battles.  But we won't face a battle we can't handle.  And we can handle those battles, even the Goliath sized ones, if we keep God on our side, put on God's armor, faithfully fill our hearts daily.

It is not always going to be easy.  But we can surely lighten the load if we trust and lean on God.

God's armor gives you a belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness,  feet fitted with the gospel of peace, a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation, and a sword of the holy spirit of the word of God.

I am not sure where your faith lies.  But I do know, we all face battles.  We all will continue to face battles throughout our lives.  Where do you place your heart, your attitude, your armor in these times?

You are not alone in fighting your battles. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

May your day be filled with peace, blessings, and those that mean the most to you. 

If you are in a rough season right now, take a moment to pause and look for one blessing, one thing to be grateful for right now.

Take time to rest, be present, make memories, get some fresh air, and to be quiet.

After today, take this with you tomorrow, the next days, weeks, months, years.

*Photo credit: Google search images, AAA Newsroom*

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Gratitude ~ Acrostic Poem

Give the day a chance to 
Really open your eyes to the world
Around you, to the moments in front of you
Take it all in
Invite in the joy and peace
Trust in what is
Unveiling itself to you
Dare to find the blessing, 
Even if you are amidst a stormy season

A Loving Kindness Message ~ On Gratitude

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~May you find peace and blessing in the moment you are in~
~May you find grace and gratitude in the storms you are facing~
~May you be wild and free in love and growth~
~May you see and feel the blessing of a grateful heart~
~May you be filled with gratitude each day you face~

Homeschooling ~ Awesome App Idea

Part of our curriculum this year is a focus on reading, sight words, and phonics.  While I used to teach the reading part of the curriculum in my classroom to Pre-Kindergartners when I find a good app to assist along the way, I will turn to that for guidance.

Well, I have found two great apps.  One is called Alphabet Aquarium, the other is Reading Eggs/Mathseeds.

I found Alphabet Aquarium when my oldest was about 2 1/2.  He has a love of learning and questioning, so this app was a great introduction to letters.  I didn't use it a lot, but when I did he loved it.  He was a bit jealous of baby brother and me nursing, so it provided for a distraction free time while I nursed and he would still be doing something educational.

Now, brother is 3 and wants to be like his older brother who is doing reading and math lessons.  So, he has gotten into Alphabet Aquarium.  He too loves it.  I wish I could find a similar concept for number learning as well.

Alphabet Aquarium has 5 activities to do with each letter.  First you match the letter, then you build the letter, next you make an animal that starts with the letter, and the last two are matching activities where you match a picture of an object that starts with the letter to the outline.  It is a great blend of activities to use when you are just getting into letter recognition.  Oh, and the letters are all upper case letters.

My oldest uses Reading Eggs and Mathseeds.  Both go together usually when you buy the subscription.  But they both go through all the necessary components to reading and math through fun, interactive, repetition, and practice activities.  Each map reveals the next level to build upon the foundation that begun in map 1. 

I know, I know, but it's technology and don't you understand the issues that go with using it?

Yes, yes I do.  And I will say, we limit the amount of time they get used and how long each time.  My youngest will do a few letters a couple times a week.  My oldest gets to do one Reading Egg lesson and one Mathseeds lesson each week.  Occasionally he will do two lessons.  But if he is doing stuff on the ipad, he doesn't get any T.V. that day.  When it comes down to it, they are each maybe on it for an hour a week max.

If they are going to be using technology, they are going to be learning from it.

At this point, my oldest has been using Reading Eggs and Mathseeds on Mondays and Fridays since the start of the school year in September.  Before that he would use it on and off, but not consistently.  He is currently reading at Kindergarten age (which is a Kindergartner), has 17 of 200 sight words, and has 94 of 237 phonic skills.  Not bad for 8 weeks in and once a week for Reading Eggs.

What apps have you found to be helpful for your home school?

Anyone know a good number app for a 3 year old to work on number recognition, counting, and creating the number?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Time Change ~ Switching into Savoring the Slow

As we enter into the fifth day of daylight savings time ending, I am left wondering.  Why is it such a tough thing to work through?  And why do we still even have it?

Throughout the year we are faced with moments where we can slow down, busy moments, moments where we wish we could slow down, and moments where we wouldn't mind having a fuller schedule.

Is it one of those, the grass is greener on the other side?  Or, at least greener until you are standing in it, surrounded?

We have usually kept our schedule of activities, adventures, things to do pretty flexible and open.  Sure, some weeks are packed from Sunday to Saturday with outings, but than we dial it back and hang closer to home for a bit.

What is keeping you from savoring slow and slowing down, more often?

As I sat there, just a few days into the daylight savings time ending (despite the extra hour, I dislike the idea of daylight savings) I am looking at the week ahead, knowing that last week we were home a lot and this week we have a full week.

And yet, I feel a sense of loss of motivation, energy, and just wanting to hunker down at home more.  The lack of sun, the colder weather, the snow already flying makes me feel it even more.

I go through moments where I try to intentionally slow down, but it is usually some outside aspect or when I truly listen to my body that I make the shift.  However, it is usually only a short period of time.

Here we are, closing in on the end of another year.  I look back and often wonder, where did it all go and wonder why we didn't get certain things done or why did it go so fast or how are we already to November.

It seems as if time speeds up from the day after Halloween until like the middle of January.  We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of holidays and season change.

But what would it look like if we instead, slowed it down and kept it slow?  Refocus, reset, rest, revive

What if we changed our perspective, from how much can we get done, load the calendar, that we have to be a part of the hustle and bustle to more of a let's be in the moment, listen to ourselves to the others around us, and be okay with having some empty time slots?

What if we let this switch carry us through beyond the new year?

It has become common place to respond to the question, how are things going? with a busy, crazy, good or great.  But why?  Why don't we respond with an okay, alright?  And why do we feel guilt for not packing the schedule tight?  It is almost like a badge of honor, the more stuff we have going on the better things are, the better we look, etc.

So with this time change, as we head into the holiday season, let's change our perspective.  Let's slow things down, be present, set up space for things to not be filled to the brim.  Let's instead fill ourselves, loved ones around us with presence and moments.

But beyond that, let's keep it going.  Let's keep this slower pace going in the year to come.  Allowing for the ebb and flow of those sometimes extra busy weeks or moments, but still coming back to a slower point.

What would you do if you slowed down?  How would you fill yourself, your family, your friends?  How would you let go of the to do lists and just be present?

Let's make space and time for the things we truly want to fill our time slots.

*Photo credit: Encouragement at a Glance from KTIS*