Archive for Mind & Body

Staying focused

I love mindmaps.  And I love learning how to be more efficient and effective.   So check out this colorful, visual help guide for avoiding distraction and staying focused.  Wonder what new technology they will need to add in a couple years?

Getting rid of distractions in our wealthy world lives allows us to do more GIVING to those who don’t care about anything on this list and simply need food and shelter.

At the park, I decided I would blog again.

It’s that simple.  I turn 39 next month.  Too much time is spent rolling ideas and what ifs around my over intellectualizing mind.  It’s time to just do it.

It won’t be perfect.

It won’t be anything I picture in my head.

But too often I hear “you should share that” when I come across something cool, helpful or awe inspiring.   Why not simply share?
So that is what this is about.  HowWeCanGIVEitAll.   (I will get back to my new blog name later but in a nutshell, life is about giving, not having.)

My plan to keep it simple?  I rarely go anywhere without a device in my hands.  A blog post can be scratched out anywhere.
One word.
Two pictures.
A 5 part novel.
That’s me and that’s what you can expect.
Randomly applying what fits the moment.   Parenting, Marriage, Technology, Working Moms, Artsy Crafty, Sporty Fitness, Religion and Politics (yes, I’ll go there), Organization, Deals, Steals and Recommendations.   Global topics.  Poverty. Starving children.  Social Injustice.  All in the name of giving more and more of ourselves to make this world a better place.

This is not a rash decision.  I have struggled heavily with a purpose for my blog.  Who wants to hear me?  Why ME?  I don’t want to be prideful or arrogant or appear like I am in the know because I am so not.
And I don’t want to just fill the web world with more worthless info.   DON’T LET ME!   Will it make money?  Should it make money?   I am SO not a writer, nor a people person.  I’m a problem solving, crazy creative analytical engineer.    This ought to be interesting.

I’m turning that all over to God (ok, so I reached it gently in his direction but I still have a tight grip) and trying to be obedient now so that this does not become a sin by what I have left undone.

So here I am.  Back to blog.  And it only took 5 glorious end of summer minutes on a park bench watching my kids play.   (Ironically I look like that out of touch mother with her head in her phone….see? NOT perfect!)

Welcome.

Life Stands Still

For the next 5 days, every single event, task or appointment that was scheduled in our busy family of 6 has been cancelled or postponed. No blog posts, emails, sales transactions, meetings, workshops, coaching sessions, dentist appointments, boyscouts, dance, school, work, Saturday morning chores and laundry, birthday parties, church, reading and sorting mail, homework, bible study or conference calls. Essentially our life as we know it is coming to a stand still to honor another life that has come to a stand still. My husbands grandfather has passed away. In his 80′s and battling some serious medical conditions for the past few years, we knew the day would arrive sooner than later.Death is cause for much reflection on the life of the deceased as well as your own life.

Is my life really coming to a stand still because we are heading out of town, unexpectedly for 5 days to a really remote area of upstate New York without reliable cell phone access and no internet coverage?

No way! It is so sad to me that those thoughts even cross my mind in this moment of our life when we take time to reflect and honor the life of a loved one. It is at these junctures that life really continues to grow and blossom and move forward and we find new meaning in the menial tasks that fill each of our days.

Life is about the people, the relationships, the emotions we share, the blessings we give and the blessings we receive. Yes, many times in today’s day and age these things happen over email and blogposts and conference calls and text messages. But even without those convenient tools at our disposal, life does not stand still. Love doesn’t stop. Grieving doesn’t stop. Anger doesn’t stop. And life certainly doesn’t stop because all the events we had planned for the next 5 days will happen without us.

It is during these next 5 days that we do the most important and purposeful job here on this earth. We strengthen our family bonds and instill core values into our children as we reflect on the life of Grandpa. He exhibited a strong work ethic. Providing for your family. Humor. The importance of lifelong friendships. Surviving long, dangerous snowbelt winters with 72 inches of snow. Leaving a legacy for his children’s children. We honor, commemorate, grieve and rejoice the blessing he was to his family, employees, co-workers, friends and anyone who crossed his path. And certainly we will all chuckle and reflect on some of those moments when the firey Scottish redhead, who’s name is known all over the small county in the middle of nowhere New York that he lived his life, was not always the ‘blessing’ we wanted to receive

Grandpa’s life has come to a stand still. And I trust that he is now at peace and rejoicing with Grandma and reflecting on 80+ years of a life that truly did leave an impact.

If you do not wake from your sleep tomorrow, what impact has your life left on this earth? Have you left the legacy you want to leave for your children’s children? Have you fully exhausted your God-given talents and glorified the Lord with your daily tasks? Are you doing what you want to do with your life?

I think it’s said best in the words of this Rascal Flatts song (http://www.metrolyrics.com/my-wish-lyrics-rascal-flatts.html):

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
and while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

Or maybe said in another way from the song “Legacy” by Nicole Nordemann:

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, “Well Done” good and faithful one…

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

Remember Grandpa “Red” McGregor and let his passing be an opportunity for you to reflect on your life.

Are you living the life you dream of? Are you going after goals that will make this world a better place? There’s a reason those burdens were placed on YOUR heart, you know. Because you were designed with the ability to accomplish them.
Are you taking steps towards those goals? It can all be taken away tomorrow, at God’s discretion and will you be able to face Him and hear him say “Well done”?

3 things that will make a mom never want to work another day her entire life

#1 Holding your newborn baby in your arms.
It does not matter how career driven and focused you are. That precious newborn that just sprung forth from your womb needs Y-O-U. 100%. 24/7. She is priority #1. In your hormone induced opinion, there is not a single other qualified person on the planet who is capable of caring for that child. Daddy gets his chance to bond of course. And depending on how close you are to your mom or sisters or girlfriends, they can be briefly entrusted with the care of your newborn so you can escape for a shower or a meal. Sometimes this feeling lasts for 2 days, sometimes it lasts for 2 weeks or 6 weeks or even longer. By the time I was due with my 4th child, I knew it was coming. I thought about my career and how to manage my job while on maternity leave and I fully expected to have that window of time where all I wanted to do was hold that baby and gaze lovingly upon her and watch her breath as if she needed my moral support for every single inhale………..and swear I’d never go back to work for another day until I ushered this little creation through her high school graduation. But this time, I saved myself the emotional agony of wrestling with the guilty working mom decision again. I told myself it was coming, to enjoy that time period where I was allowed to sit and do nothing but love on her. It would quickly pass. And before long, this little bundle of feathers would be rosy cheeked and vibrant and ‘durable’ enough that I’d entrust her to a caregiver. And even sooner, she’d be a strong-willed, temper-tantruming 3 year old whom I’d gladly handle over to the authorities for fear of ringing her little neck! To all those expectant moms out there…..you too will feel this way. It’s our hormonal natural animal instinct. My advice: don’t make any rash decisions with raging post-partum hormones

The #2 reason you swear to never work another day in your life: Not having trustworthy, reliable childcare
As soon as you discover that your childcare provider is throwing lunchables in front of your kids everyday for lunch instead of a well balanced meal with apples, cheese sticks and chicken soup. Or doesn’t greet you at the door with a smile. Or talks on the phone incessantly (in front of you!) in a depressing tone to her friends. Or doesn’t stand up for your child when he’s being picked on at the daycare center. Or, or, or, or. The list goes on and on. To some of you, these may not sound like big things. But for that delicately balanced teeter totter of guilt, it only takes one small item to tip things the other way. You are already sacrificing time away from your children for a career you feel called to or that is required to make ends meet. But never, under any circumstance, would you do that if it meant your children were not happy and satisfied during the day. I always say we’d move to a trailer in the boondocks before we’d sacrifice the well-being of our children. You’ll cancel the most important meeting under the sun (or call in a very difficult favor!) if you felt that the childcare situation was compromising your child’s well-being.

Reason #3: Having a sick child
Even if you have the best Mary Poppins nanny who stays at your house to watch your kids, when babies are sick, they want their mommies. My brain completely turns off as I snuggle in my feverish, stuffy nose, red cheeked babies from 6 am to 3 pm. I’ll let work know not to expect me and put all my focus on them until I feel they are safely out of the woods and I see nourishment and a smile cross their lips. This works for the occasional virus or flu bug. But there are children who are really, really sick with a life threatening illness. I experienced this with my first child who was born 10 weeks early and weighed only 3 pounds. He spent the first 30 days in the hospital and the first 6 months on various medications and monitors that taught me more about the medical field than I care to know. During that time, my full focus was on him and his well being. He recovered and so did I and went back to my career. But that is the one scenario in which I can’t imagine trying to be a working mom. Thank the Lord I have been blessed with healthy children and have not had to make this a consideration. But should that be the case, then I know exactly what will be required of me. At that point, my purpose in life becomes nurturing my babies. And for those moms out there who have done this, you are amazing and strong. More than you even know and way more than you are probably told. For those individuals and those seasons of our lives, I leave this thought which was shared with me by the attending physician when my son was born 10 weeks early: God does not give you more than you can handle!

So on this journey of being a working mom, there are peaks and valleys, bumps and turns, and lots of crossroads where we must re-evaluate our decision. Keep in mind these 3 scenarios and realize it is only for a season and make your decision when standing on a firm foundation and not in the midst of turmoil and change.

What’s holding you back from your happiness?

Only 3 days are left in 2007. And only 4 days left on holiday break before most of us head back to the routine, normal, work / school schedule. I get so reflective this time of year. Maybe its because I declutter and the clean desk and clean email make space in my cluttered mind. Now I’m actually able to have clarity and focus and think to myself

Are you really doing the right things with your life?Am I serving God in the best way possible with the talents he’s given me? Have I found the “sweet spot” that Max Lucado talks about?

Am I doing everything possible to insure I’m being the best mom to my kids and the best wife to my husband?

In 5, 10, 15 years, will I have any regrets about how I’m spending my precious minutes today?

First of all, everything in my life I owe to the grace of God. He has blessed me to be a blessing. We will never be sure we are absolutely doing the right thing. That’s where faith comes in. God gives and God takes away. However, you know if you are in ‘the sweet spot’ or if you have those nagging feelings in your heart and those nagging thoughts in your mind.

If you can’t answer the questions above with a positive, happy, heart and trust and faith that you are on the right path, then stop and think about it.

What’s holding you back?
A dead end job. An unstable, demanding boss. An unhealthy relationship. Letting other people’s emotional roller coasters take you for a ride. Financial worries.

Here is a file to stimulate some thinking for you. It’s from a website I like called successnet.org. This is a list of 101 questions to ask yourself as you reflect on 2007 and plan for 2008.

101 Best Year-End and 101 Best New Year Questions.The file is an MS Word document and you may download
your workbook with this link.
http://SNIfiles.com/docs/101Questions.doc

Take this. Take your bible. And talk this through with someone you trust. If you don’t have that person, email me and I’ll be glad to be a listening ear for you.

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.

We all deserve to be happy! Make it your year!

2 Traits You Will Find in every Happy Working Mom

People ask me all the time how I do it all. I have 4 kids (age 7 and under), I am a Heritage Maker and I also work a full time job aside from Heritage Makers. I have a career position in technology and business management with a wonderful company that I have been with for nearly 15 years. With this career, I get to travel the world and lead large teams of people. Despite all these roles, I was able to work the Heritage Makers business on the side and achieve my goal of director even faster than I had anticipated. This month is my 9th month as a Heritage Maker and I just achieved director (thanks to the equally amazing efforts of my team!)

I’m not sharing all of this to boast or brag. In fact, I’m trying to figure out how to share it in the most inspiring and empowering way possible. There is power in example. Power in seeing and knowing that your dreams are achievable. What I hope you see and understand from me is that I am your typical working mom from the Midwest. A girl who grew up in small town America, the daughter of a high school math teacher and quiet, obedient stay at home mother who was a product of the 1950′s catholic schools. A young woman who went off to the local state university and now lives an almost non-descript life in “anytown suburbia”. Yet I feel I am abundantly blessed and have found true happiness in being able to ‘have it all’. To be a mother and wife and have a career. To not have to sacrifice being a soccer mom, classroom volunteer or help with the boyscout pack in order to be in business and use these other talents that God has blessed me with. Yes, I feel I have discovered some of the many keys to leading a successful and happy life and I am compelled strongly to share this with others.

There are so many places to begin sharing on this topic so this week I will start with an overview of what have been a couple of the keys to my success: Passion and Productivity.

Do you know what you are passionate about? When is the last time you got up in the morning and said “I can’t wait to do what I’m going to do today”? What makes your heart race and gives you warm fuzzies inside? For what do you get so excited that you have to pick up the phone and call your mom, sister, brother, best friend? Sometimes as a parent, we get so focused on raising children that we forget there is also a ‘me’ and something that I love to do. And more importantly, something I need to do to recharge my batteries as an adult and ultimately be a better parent. Is it a sport? Running, walking, yoga, volleyball, mountain biking? Is it reading fictional stories or watching movies? Is it cooking? Is it scrapbooking – either traditional or digital? Is it photography or writing? If there was one thing you could do in your life and there was a way to make money doing it, what would it be?

For me, I have a passion to take new technologies and bring them easily and effectively to the people who need them. Whether its an easy way to preserve your stories and digital scrapbook as with Heritage Makers or finding the latest new software development technique that will allow my team to produce better quality software, I am passionate about doing this. It is uniquely me and part of my genetic make up. If I stray away from this in one area, I pick it up in another. From setting up and programming a new TV to designing my own family website. It always creeps into my life. It is a passion.

Productivity. No matter how passionate we are and how sure we are of our life purpose, we still must plan and be productive to make it happen. Sure you could just go with the flow and do it when there’s time but when is there ever time?? We have to be intentional about fulfilling our purposes in life. There needs to be discipline, processes and planning. I didn’t just make director without hard work and a plan. I knew I had limited time due to my job and my 4 children (well, 3 at the time I started. Yes, I even gave birth during these past 9 months as a Heritage Maker!). So I had to choose to focus on the most impactful activities that would help me achieve my goals. And I had to do them at times that would not take away from my family or my job. That meant late evenings on the computer after the kids went to bed nearly every single night. It also meant sacrificing some lunch hours to meet with clients and potential consultants. Much more to come on productivity. This is certainly a big reason I can do what I do. By spending my time in a focused and effective manner. And getting rid of those time wasters!