Pages

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Finding Your Thing: First Identify Your HUM

Are you a Natural Organizer?
A Writer?
A Decorator?
A Musician?



There are zillions of life coaching tools available for free online.  Most life coaches tend to use the same types of tools to help a woman define herself.  If you've not come across some of these tools yet, I'd like to offer you a bit of a grid.

I can tell you, however,  trying to find your ultimate life purpose can drive you nuts.  It all depends on who's definition you hear, what you try, and how successful your trials become. 

If you look at someone like Joseph or Moses in the Bible you will rest assured that a person's life can take a variety of twists and turns. Yours may too. Never put the Holy Spirit's leading into a box.

So let's start building your grid by looking at what you are naturally good at.  For the sake of shaking things up, I'll call this your HUM.  

WHAT DOES YOUR HUM SOUND LIKE?

You can hear bees hum when they fly by.  When things in the kitchen are progressing well you might say, "Things are humming".    My idea of a woman's hum is what resonates from her when she is in her "zone", doing what God created her to do.  It is who she is naturally.  


In this context your HUM is:  Your Humanly Unique Makeup.   

FIND YOUR HUM

When listing the things you're naturally good at think about what people count on you for, what you are complimented on, what others have said you're good at, and what you know you're good at or find easy to do.  

One person may find skiing easy, another finds writing easy, another is naturally good at empathy, one creates online tools simply, another is a natural with children.  

Where we fall into a trap is assuming everyone else HUMS the same as we do.  It is often those things that come easily to us that we can't see.

When finding your HUM, dig deep.  Find the HUM that sets you apart.  

Narrow your list to a few good selections.

As an example, here is my HUM -- things I do easily or that I've been complimented on:

Typing; reading situations and offering clarity or counsel; writing; inexpensive decorating; organizing; works of art, gardening, an appreciation for the outdoors.

RELEASE YOUR HUM


A HUM usually naturally releases itself.  A HUM looks for release. WHEN I RELEASE my HUM, my giftedness shows.  In the best situations, my HUM is affirmed by others.

Sometimes instead of chasing down opportunities to use your HUM, opportunities will chase you.  They'll migrate to you.  You'll find yourself the one asked to do something that uses your HUM, or God will plunk you into the perfect situation to release your HUM.

Rather than go on, I'll stop here.  Why not spend some time considering what your HUM is (or what makes you hum).

Later I will help you tie your HUM into your values and personal mission statement.  Your HUM can help you make good decisions and can become a filter for your ideas or dreams.

EXERCISE: 


  1. List 5 things you know you're passionate about.  They can be job related or personal.
  2. List skills you know you have that you use naturally.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Agility--You've Got to Work Harder in Midlife

On a personal level, I'd like to talk about muscle stiffness.  


I noticed I began getting stiff around age 40.  My husband and I participated in a weekly house group at that time.  There were often not enough comfy seats, and one or two of us would sit on the floor instead. When it was my turn to take a floor position, getting up was a difficult matter.  The stiffness was mostly in my legs and backside, and I was shocked by it.

As the years increased, I noticed I was often stiff all over upon waking.  I'd have to take a 20 minute shower to loosen up.  It was so disconcerting, I spoke to my physician about it.  

I was checked for a few things, but there was no official diagnosis for the issue.  It seemed every couple of days I needed to take Ibuprofen to relieve the pain and stiffness. 

GET THAT FOOT INTO THOSE PANTS!

I recall, a time, when it was becoming difficult to raise my leg to put my pants on.  Now, how embarrassing is that?   

It was also difficult to get off our comfy La-z-boy chaise lounge after sitting there to watch an hour of television.  

Last summer, I found it hard to do the front crawl in the pool because one shoulder was locking.  So I went for physio-therapy.  I appreciated my therapist telling me I was rusty in many spots.  What a good way to describe it!

He mentioned that when we get used to a routine, usually job-related, we fail to use all our muscles.  A lot of unused muscles, instead, get rusty.  It makes sense.  Most of us sleep in the same position regularly, slouch in our car while driving, slump over our computer keyboard, and so on.  Unless we are intentional, we may never give some muscle zones attention.

STRETCH IT!  

After making progress with the therapist, I decided to do a lot of stretching at home.  I have a yoga book of poses, so refreshed myself on them.  But, actually, I made up a lot of my own poses.  I merely stretched whatever felt tight and held it for 30 seconds.  I also did nice deep breathing for a change which has been amazing.  (You may never pay attention to your breathing otherwise, but imagine what type of breathing you're doing while all scrunched up!)  

This time, when I felt stiff while trying to get up off the sofa, I'd stop and get up slowly, stretching as I did.  I realized all those difficulties--like putting my foot into my pant leg--were merely warning signs of muscle under-use.  So instead, I started to work the muscles to make them more usable. 

RESULTS!

I am amazed.  It's only been a few months, and not only do I feel less stiff, I feel more relaxed.  I'm more agile all over.  Recently, I had to step down off some bleachers.  Formerly, that would have been difficult.  This time I did it with confidence and without too much stiffness.  

So today, I want to urge you.  Don't give in to stiffness and pain.  Address it, work it regularly.  Get yourself back in shape for as much as your body allows you to.  You will be glad you did.   


Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Value of Routines, Sabbaticals and Yoga

I've scaled back some other work I do in order to take a sabbatical and work on my eBooks.  

Anyhow, I don't want to neglect this blog.  I do some of my best thinking a) when I do yoga, and b), when I go for walks, and I thought up something I'd like to post for my readers today; to do with the value of sabbaticals, yoga, routines and self-care. 

In a new life phase (empty nest) myself, I want tweaking and change.  So, as I mentioned, I've stopped some of my paid work.  I also have wanted a well-deserved rest from all the years of motherhood too, and this sabbatical makes sense. ( I just can't imagine having 4 to 8 children.  I would have been done in I'm sure.)

So the points: 

Sabbaticals are great.  They don't necessarily mean a person is burnt out, depressed, or ill. 

An individual may choose to take a sabbatical for self-care.  Some will even approach an employer in order to take an unpaid sabbatical to regroup.  Some employers welcome the idea.  Some enforce it.  Others might say "use your vacation time."

Because I'm a freelancer, I don't get paid on my sabbatical, (so go buy some articles! lol).  I know I'm meant to take it, so I'm not going to worry about money. 

Routines are valuable, especially when you are at a crossroads, unemployed, seeking direction, on a sabbatical, looking for stress relief, a work-from-home entrepreneur, and so on.

Here are a few routines I've put into my day:

  1. Drink a glass of water.
  2. Eat something healthy and with protein and fibre.
  3. Have a great cup of coffee and read emails, Facebook, Twitter, the news, etc.
  4. Shower to relieve stiff muscles.
  5. Turn on my TV to 929 - the music station that plays nature music.
  6. Do yoga or stretching. 
Let me pause there for a moment.  I studied yoga when I was a teen.  I know some legalistic Christians have a problem with the term "yoga"; I don't.  I'm careful of the music I play (some of it in classes in the past made me feel down) as music affects the mood. 

I have no middle-eastern mysticism going on, just me on my mat in the bedroom with my yoga instruction book, my music, and maybe my cat or dog nearby. 

I feel close to God when I do yoga.  I love it when I get so caught up in listening to my body that my mind wanders (usually in some type of inverted position), and ideas flood my mind. 

I had my niece here last week and  didn't know exactly what we'd do at first.  As I did yoga, a complete plan came to mind.  We followed the plan and had an eventful time.

When I was young I promised I'd never give yoga up.  Guess what?  I gave it up.  And I've become "rusty" as a result.  This is why I do it alone in my room instead of a class.  I need to go at a very low-level pace since some moves are totally impossible now!


After the yoga I

6.  Go to a favourite place to study, journal, write prayers and figure out my to-do list.

7.  Then I choose the most important thing I have to accomplish and choose a time to accomplish it. 

Having a start-up routine has helped me stay grounded, stay in tune with my body and mind, and I've been able to see and chart progress in many areas. 

I highly recommend you create a routine that works for you.    





Monday, September 30, 2013

Managing Competing Priorities





Three years ago we bought our "dream home".  It isn't a castle, but it has ingredients of country casual we love. The fact this home would need extra work since it's got a large property to maintain and is a larger sized home, did not appear to be an issue, but lately it's been getting to be an issue. 


I'm finding the constant cleaning, reorganizing, repairing, redoing, and so on, are keeping me from doing more of what I find deeply fulfilling.

At times, there are so many competing priorities, I fail to take action.  It's much easier to sit at my computer (if you know what I mean). 

At times, I'm called away from certain jobs and they remain incomplete. 

Other times, the weather interferes.  Who wants to garden in the rain?

Here are a few strategies I'm going to put into place to curb this constant problem:


  1. Keep main areas tidy and clean on an ongoing basis, but only because doing so meets a personal value I've set--to be ready to show hospitality to whoever visits.  Also, regular maintenance will help the work from building up.
  2. Identify what's working and what's not.  Develop a picture for each area that begs improvement.  Don't start on an area until the time can be scheduled to do it from start to finish.  
  3. Budget time and money to complete #2.
  4. List all the tasks weighing me down and schedule them into the week.  But only with a goal that once they are done I'll be free to pursue relationships and do more fun activities. 
REASONS FOR COMPETING PRIORITIES

One of the main reasons for competing priorities is we are multi-faceted.  We have a spiritual life to develop.  We have a social life to upgrade.  We have part of us that wants to, or has to, carry out meaningful work for pay.   We have relationships with family members to maintain.  We have our body to look after from exercise to medical appointments.  Many of us have pets to look after from dog walking to vet appointments.  We have our finances to maintain. We have our wardrobe to maintain.  We have our home to maintain. 

Then we have the impromptu events that creep up on us; a tap leaks, we need to bake for an event (which leaves the kitchen a mess), plants are knocked over, we're told a parcel needs picking up...

Each day as goals are set, each area of our multi-faceted being should be addressed.  Time for the impromptu and for pure fun will need to be allowed for. 

Once time for each of these nine areas mentioned is scheduled in it's easy to see why there is little time for big projects.

Here's a suggested list to run through when planning your days.  Ask, what will I need to do today in these areas:  


  1. Spiritual
  2. Social
  3. Paid Work
  4. Relationships with Family
  5. Physical Body
  6. Pets
  7. Finances
  8. Wardrobe
  9. Chores


Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Life Journey - A General Review


Thank you for logging in today. I pray God will show you something special through today's post!


We are all on a journey. The NIV of the Bible cites the term journey 58 times. God is interested in our journey and leads us.

A literal journey simply is passage or travel from one place to another. A figurative journey is moving from one place in life to another.

Our journey includes emotions and thoughts:

Life has its ups and downs, and plateaus. We face mountains, storms and find ourselves in valleys. It also involves action steps and geography.  We have places to go, people to see, things to do.  Our journey includes our occupations, accommodations, family life, finances, you name it.

We journey in and out of interests and hobbies:

Way back it might have been crafting, folk art, oil painting, or guitar. Maybe now we could care less about those. Maybe today it's writing, digital photography, landscaping.

Plateaus are needed: 

Plateaus let us rest and view the beauty of our accomplishments and of those around us.  Plateaus help us prepare for new assignments.  Plateaus help us rest and regroup. Never dismiss a plateau or call it wasted time.

YOUR EXERCISE

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I where I need to be to complete my personal assignments for today?
  2. What do I need to complete today so I can pursuit a new step?
  3. What is it time to walk away from so I will have physical, mental energy and more time to move forward?


If you're on a plateau, or need one, make sure you take it.  If you start slipping downhill from your plateau however, look for help in moving uphill again.  There are still new places to go.  New people to meet.  New things to do.  New mountains to climb.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Children Off to University or College?

I sense that for many women this time of year can be frightening.  Many will be sending a child or more off to college/university.  Some will commute from home others will move out and into residence.

This transition is a marker not only for the child, but for the parents.  If you fit into this category and you feel uneasy, you probably aren't alone.

There are always strategies to put in place to walk through this phase joyfully, though. 

I can't possibly write on this topic in one post, but I want to list a few things I've found helpful as I've navigated this journey with putting 2 of my own in residence:

  • Trust God, once more.  Release them into his care, but trust that he will unfold your next steps too.
     
  • Don't fear the future of being "without" them (empty nest).  Let things unfold and take a day and step at a time.  Many times it is merely the fabricated picture of this phase that is more painful than the phase itself.
  • Chances are this will be the beginning of a new phase where you will be introduced to new adventures yourself.  I never would have imagined I'd be lugging buckets of items up 4 flights of stairs in a hot residence building with my daughter, son and husband while getting my daughter settled.  This might not have been something on my "bucket" list, but what it signified was there would be many more "out of the box" adventures in the days ahead, not just for the children, but for us as parents.
  • The school year is short.  They will probably be back Thanksgiving, Christmas, reading week and possibly many weekends along the way.  Chances are you'll have them back under your roof every summer. i.e.  It's likely they aren't permanently gone.
  • Picture all the benefits of life without them at home.  Maybe you'll be freer to do more since you won't have to drive them around, share a car, make meals, buy a constant supply of groceries, etc.  Look forward to the changes.
  • Keep in touch by email, phone, texting or Facebook.  Visit their campus and take them out for a meal.  Don't over-do it though.
  • Let them know they are always welcome to come home.  If they shy away from returning home, specifically invite them.  Tell them to bring along new friends if they like.
  • Remember you raised them for this moment.  Be proud of the steps they will take.  Be excited for the fun world that awaits them.  Be a good listener when you do see them. They will probably have a lot to tell you.

I have many more points I could list and you may have a tip or two of your own.  If you are in this phase and feel the need to share your feelings with someone, please email me.  I would be happy to walk alongside you, free of charge, via email.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Do Yourself a Favour and Be Kind to Yourself

I'm presently deep at work on a midlife ebook.  Visit my blog at www.midlifechristianwoman.blogspot.com to read more.






One of the discoveries I've made over the years is that most women have issues of one sort or another. Issues may be short-lived, long and troubling or re-occurring. 

We all put on pretty faces, but deep within there can be chaos brewing.

If you feel you're in the midst of chaos, reach out to someone.  Either a professional or a friend.  Talk it out. 

Then take time for self care.  Say no to those issues or individuals that are troubling you. 

Do small things for yourself.

Yesterday I revamped my bedroom closet and vacuumed out the dust bunnies.  It's part of self-care.  I feel more organized with an organized closet, and it gives me more peace.  I also do my nails regularly because, if I don't, they break or splinter.  I feel better with well-kept nails.  I take naps when I need to.  I pull back from technology intentionally.  I sit with my husband and visit with my young adult children.  I try to pace myself. 

I've made progress on living in contentment.  I've learned that if I don't make an article sale in a week, coach a client for pay, or get a transcription project, that it's merely God telling me to do something else.  I've come to terms with my current level of personal income.  In God's kingdom the commodity is more than money anyhow.

These tips are offered from my heart to yours.  Now, what would you add to this list?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Maybe You Don't Need to Change





Perhaps the best realization for a woman is to realize she's right where she's meant to be and she's "normal".  She's normal to have mixed feelings.  She's normal to have struggles....Get it?


Life coaching, of course, often focuses on change.  So if a woman is where she's meant to be or normal, why would she need change?

Perhaps the best revelation she can make through a session is that the change needed to take place is in her thinking.  She might have become unnecessarily self-condemning causing her to think she needs change desperately.  She might have lost joy due to wrong focus.

A few things that become problematic for women are:

  • their propensity to compare themselves to others
  • their propensity to always want more or new and feeling frustrated by confinements of money 
  • their propensity to be action oriented
  • their propensity to self-loath their looks
  • their propensity to moodiness
  • their propensity to blame others for their unhappiness  
  • their propensity to expect things from God that he doesn't intend for them
  • their propensity to resist the idea of suffering or sacrifice 

SO IS SEEKING CHANGE WRONG?

Seeking change isn't necessarily wrong.  Tweaks to a woman's life help her navigate her calling.  Change is necessary, often, to stay motivated.  Change is often suggested to her by God.

But, change can be wrong if the change she's seeking is from her own desires and not necessarily God's.  Usually this type of forced change will result in frustration.

Wanting change before she's finished an aspect of her calling can be frustrating.  Say, for a time, God puts her into a very self-sacrificing situation.  Constantly trying to change it before God gives the okay leads to a sense of striving doomed to fail.

SELF COACHING

I write these life coaching articles so that a reader can take a step forward without having a paid-for coaching session.

What I want you to realize is that you aren't alone.  Your struggles are common.

Call on God.  See your life through his perspective.  Ask for change, if you like.  Ask him to govern those changes.  Ask him to help you make the small changes in your life that will help you complete your calling better.  Ask him mostly to change your perspective.  Ask him to give you evidence that you are right where you are meant to be.  Ask him to give you the strength, patience and contentment you need right now to see your current assignment through.

and most of all...don't be so hard on yourself.





 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Waiting or Moving Ahead - How To Know the Best Plan

WAITING OR MOVING?  ACTION OR INACTION?

I recall a conversation with another woman leader who said a lot of Christian women just sit around waiting for God to do something.  She believed women needed to be more proactive in their lives.

Is that true?  If so, to what extent?

Careful wisdom is needed when trying to "make things happen."  Here's what Sarah of the Bible said to her husband when it appeared God's promise of a child was not to be:

The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her" (Gen 16:2). 

She didn't want to "sit around and wait for God" any longer.

But the plan turned sour.  There was jealousy, and today there is still conflict in the Middle East as a result. 

YOUR PLANS OR GODS?

Another important scripture to look at is this one:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways" (Isaiah 55:8-9). 

Women can think they know best, map out a plan and take bold steps.  But God might have a different plan.  And even if God has a different plan, things may not work out as expected.  God's work isn't always successful in the ways we imagine. The Apostle Paul is an example.  Who'd want to end up in jail like he did? 

Listening for God to speak before acting is important.  Perhaps this is why some wise Christian women appear to be "sitting around waiting for God."  If God says sit, sit.  

LISTEN FOR GOD

The goal of every woman should be to have a well-developed ability to hear from God so movement is at his mention is obvious.

Of course, you're not going to sit in bed doing nothing.  You're going to continue the assigned activities you know God has given you.  He has called each of us to be a steward of our family, our possessions, and our finances.  He has called us to love our neighbour and to minister to the poor and widowed.  There are many day-to-day functions we will just carry out as normal ongoing activities until or unless we're interrupted or inspired with another order.

WHAT ABOUT REASONING?

Reasoning is something else we often do before acting.  Reasoning makes sense.  I hit my head on a branch I was mowing beneath with the lawn tractor today.  I knew the branch was there and dangerous, but we'd put off chopping it down and, in the shadows, I missed paying attention to it.

As a result, my neck was wrenched backwards on impact.  Today, I bore the brunt of neglect.  My neck feels as though my head almost came off.  

Reasoning tells me to get out there and cut the branch down tomorrow!  I don't think God wants me to sit around and ponder this one.  But I could just as easily injure myself or come up with a new problem if I don't ask God to guide me in how to complete the mission.  

Including God in all details of life is important.

BE WARY OF ADVICE

There are many well-sounding experts around.  Many of our closest Christian friends appear to be experts.  Our social media contacts all tell us the latest thing we should be doing.  But we can still make poor decisions by listening to the wrong advice. We need to avoid being deceived by being alert.  Don't fall for every bit of advice you're offered (whether it's from a certified life coach or other person).

That doesn't mean you can't count on the educated advice of professionals. God speaks in many varied ways, and he brings professionals and counselors into our lives for our good.

WAITING

When waiting for God to move it may seem like forever.  Often we don't see how much we have moved until we look back.  Being surrendered to God and asking for his daily advice gives us the confidence that we are right where we need to be.  We can move forward in confidence when we've checked in with God first.

 "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Philippians 2:13). 

Os Hillman* says, "God has equipped us with everything we need to make good decisions. Hearing His voice is the first step toward making right choices in life.  Do you have a decision to make? Submit that decision to the Lord, ask God for clarity. Ask Him to make the desires of your heart the same desires that He has for you in this matter. Await His perfect timing on the matter. Then you can be assured of making the right decisions."

*Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It is NOT Wrong to Move, if Moving out of Obedience to God

I love having a public blog where I can express my ideas and frustrations.  Here's one I'm expressing today.

A popular pastor who has a radio television show I listened to one day made a comment in his program that went something like this:  "people move--almost every day I have someone come to me to say they're moving...Uprooting their relationships so they can make an extra $0.35 somewhere else.  It's just wrong."

Let me tell you his statement made me angry.  It shows how out-of-touch with the work-world this pastor must be! 

Personally Speaking

I've moved several times across the country as my husband took job transfers.  Each time the decision was made out of deep thought and prayer.  Each time there was a feeling of the move being a call from God--and each time it was in response to suggestions of my husband's management. 

I resent that this pastor assumes people move only because of money (greed) or without thought or prayer.

What Does Scripture Say?

I wonder if this pastor forgot this Biblical story:

One day, God told Abraham to leave his family and friends [yes uproot relationships!] to travel to a new place. 

God told Abraham that He would make his people a great nation. God told Abraham that He would bless him and he would have many children.
Abraham listened to God and obeyed Him. Abraham was 75 years old when God told him to move.


Abraham took his wife, Sarah, his nephew, Lot, and all his possessions and traveled as God led them.  Abraham was not even sure where God was leading him, but he followed and obeyed. Abraham knew that God would protect them and bless them. He knew that God would keep His promises.


A Few Questions I'd Ask this Pastor

  • I wonder if this pastor feels God doesn't call modern-day man to make moves?
  • I wonder if this pastor feels God never sends lay people (who have other day jobs) to a location he wants to use them in lay ministry in some way?
  • I wonder if this pastor understands sometimes businesses have layoffs, threats of cutbacks, and wise people find new income in any way they can to stay afloat?
  • I wonder if this pastor understands that there is a hierarchy in a business where an employee is to respect his "master" even when that master would like an employee to move?
I Wonder

Does this pastor perhaps it personally when a person leaves?  Does he feel they're leaving him?  Does he feel he should be the only pastor in their life?

Does this pastor not realize the magnitude of such a move and the deep thought and prayer a person usually puts into such a decision?

Can this pastor put his ego aside long enough to realize God speaks to and calls normal congregants too?  i.e. He isn't the only one that hears from God?

Would this pastor rather people say "no" to God so that relationships are not uprooted?
 
I wonder what this pastor thinks of this scripture:

 Luke 59 And he said to another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60Jesus said to him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go you and preach the kingdom of God. 61And another also said, Lord, I will follow you; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said to him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Or how about this one:

"Truly I tell you," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown.

John 4:44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.)

In Summary
 
As the wife of a husband who took job transfers, I am deplored anyone would suggested I've wasted my time.  Moving is hard. A woman takes a beating in the process.  But much of the work God asks us to do is difficult.  Please don't look in from the peanut gallery and tell me what we did was wrong!

Whew, glad to get all this off my chest.  Hope this speaks to those who need to hear it!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Plan for Productivity

Are you a planner?


Did you know you will be more efficient and effective with a plan?


I'm both spontaneous and a planner.  Usually, I have a general plan in place as to how to spend a day, but I also ask God what his plan is.  Then I remain open to changes.  

Some days I goof off and forget the plan, which usually means procrastinating on something in order to do something more fun, or to rest instead.  That's okay as I'm not letting someone down or reneging on a commitment.

Usually I get things done best with a plan, though. Here's a sample:


1.      Start with planning the day before. At least having a rough idea how the day should unfold. 

 
2.      If you want to get at least three workouts in a week done at the gym, look through your schedule on Sunday and decide which days to fit them in. Have your gym bag packed, water ready, and stay on schedule to make it happen.


3.      If you want to watch your waistline have the right ingredients in the house for healthy meals.

4.      Schedule a time to organize a closet, vaccuum the seldom visited basement, stain the deck, and so on.

5.      Group errands together.  If you have to buy stamps, for instance, think of what's in the same geographical area that you can add to the trip. 

Whenever taking on something new, something old will suffer so plan for changes.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

A Few Tips for Living

Why is this blog called "Ministry to Women"?

Well, it's not because I'm a formal minister or because it is an attempt to give tips for how to hold church women's ministries programs.

I gave it this name because right from the start I'd hoped my topics would be of help to women in some way.

Ministry to me is helping, serving, caring for, and encouraging.

I read today, we can never learn everything by trial and error, so it is important to learn from others.  That is what I hope happens here--mutual learning and sharing.

a corner of my office

Here are a few tidbits I've learned over the last year that I thought might be helpful to share with you:


  1. Care less.  Yes, care about loving God and others, but care less about so many other things in life that are related to worry, possessions, what others think, have said, etc.  Don't care so much for someone that their pain puts you into pain.  How do you care less?  Give it to God to handle.
  2. Use the word "opportunity" instead of  "problem".  Every situation that comes up is an opportunity to make a choice, learn something, try something, take a risk, or even fail.  Even in failing there is growth.  My car had a broken heater, it became an opportunity to explore new car options. It was an opportunity to ask God what to do about it and watch him work things out.  Seeing problems as opportunities changes thinking.
  3. Trust God is working.  He speaks to others as much as he speaks to you.  You aren't so special that you're the only one he speaks to.  He can lead and speak to your husband, son, daughter.  Stand back, stop controlling  and watch God at work.
  4. Look for beauty.  I do transcription, freelance writing and life coaching from a home office.  I have windows all around me.  I often take time to snap pictures, especially of the views I see from the windows as nature changes.  I stop to smell the roses.  I put pretty things in my office to enjoy.  I play with colour by changing afghans, silk flowers and even the place-mat on my desk as the mood hits.  Beauty makes live enjoyable.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Choose Your Thoughts Carefully


Keeshond Cross
The enemy comes in disguise.  Yesterday as I was walking my dog, a young woman wanted to meet her.  The woman’s disposition was joyous as she loved dogs, but in the conversation she a) argued about the breed she thought my dog was b) insinuated we had taken home from the shelter a dog that was merely “lost” c)  suggested the dog had not been abandoned on the highway by the previous owners, but probably jumped out of a farm truck (thus the road burn I mentioned) d) implied we were guilty of taking a dog that already had a good home, because if she hadn’t been in a good home first, she wouldn’t be such a nice dog.  The woman had fabricated a version of my dog’s life story.

I walked away from the conversation thinking, “What was that all about?  That woman was very misguided.”  The woman knew nothing about the real details of our dog’s adoption.  Her motive seemed to be to cast doubt and induce false guilt. 

Later, I realized those were suitcases the enemy wanted me to pick up.  I told the enemy to get lost, I would not hear of such fallacies.  I would not be taking his suitcases home with me.  I did not take my dog from some kind nice family.  Wherever my dog came from she’d been at the shelter long enough for an owner to call and if her owners were so proper they would have had the 1.5 yr old mutt fixed, chipped and tattooed.  They had not.

My dog was the result of prayer.  My son and I prayed before going on the hunt to find the right dog for our family. 

The enemy is sly, so watch out.  If you feel troubled, conflicted or in pain with false guilt, get rid of it.  Put the suitcases down.  They do not belong to a child of God.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How to Find Life Purpose

Wow!  Now that's a loaded question.

I went through a life purpose search process myself while also being trained as a Life Purpose Coach.  At that time in my life, I wasn't so much looking for purpose as much as sensing it was time I began a new life phase beyond my role as an at-home mom.  I'd spotted a book on life purpose and read it and discovered the career of life coaching.

Working with my own life coach, I made many discoveries about myself and got some character flaws addressed.


Once I finished the course and was certified to coach the excitement soon wore thin.  I'd done the word-of-mouth marketing,  I'd spoken to women's ministry leaders and pastors, I'd done in-print marketing, I'd mailed flyers out to churches (they never recommend this but I tried anyhow).  I'd held groups, I'd put word out across all the internet channels and online directories I could think of.

I was blessed with clients, but not enough to have a sustaining business. 

A SORE REALITY CHECK 

So there I was, on the ready, and no one to help.  How demoralizing!

I was let down with the program and with God, for I knew he had the power to make all things work out for his glory.  I was ready to be used.  But there I sat wasting time.

That experience led me to say, "If life coaching isn't my purpose than what is?  If my life purpose coaching sessions couldn't even identify my true purpose, what could?"

I was especially discouraged when the women I had been fortunate enough to work as their coach didn't find their one main life purpose either.  I know the process helped them in many ways, but identifying "it" was hard.

A NEW HUNT

So I went on a new hunt for answers.  I read and journalled and made this conclusion:

Just as so many gurus say they have the answer to weight loss, just as many gurus say they have the answer to life purpose.  But just as so many weight loss plans and products fail to deliver, so do many life purpose plans.  

Why?  Because we can't out-wit God.  There are many things in life we will never fully have the answers to.  God rarely gives us answers in three to ten easy steps.

The path God asks us to travel is complex and complicated. Usually we accomplish his designed purposes day by day without really knowing it.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION

So, perhaps those of us who went on a life purpose discovery journey began by asking the wrong question.

For one the right question might be, "Where does God want me next?"  for another it might be, "Who am I at this stage of life?"  for another it might be, "What are my most useful strengths that I should develop?" for another it might be, "What kind of job should I apply to and where?"

Going on life purpose journeys aren't pointless.  But if you go expecting to have one huge epiphany that will meet all your earthly needs and desires, you might be sorely disappointed.

SO WHY DO i STILL COACH?

I still coach, but with a more realistic view now.  I know women benefit from support.  I know women often feel more energized while working with a coach.  I know many women don't have someone they can call who will listen and not interrupt or try to fix their problem.

I know there are business women who cannot discuss work problems with any workmate or friend because it is so confidential, and that is where a life coach fits in.  Or there is the case when a couple job transfers and the non-working wife is left to deal with the stress of her part since the issue is confidential and she has not been included in the discussions!  (Been there!) 

There are many life coaching tools that can help a woman gain a sense of self so that she at least has a base map to work from.  Bit by bit she can build on it with the ultimate goal of always being on God's designed path for her life.




  


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Life Coaching by Email



How Does Coaching by Email Work?

Some people choose coaching by email.  There are many reasons and many formats available. 

A few reasons for using coaching by email are below:

  1. Can be done at any time of day.
  2. Gives a written record of discussions.
  3. Helps retain anonymity.
  4. Gives ample time to think through answers.
  5. Often a more affordable style of coaching.

A few formats Life Purpose Coach® Rosalie Garde offers are the following:

  1. A curriculum based email plan means a client reads a section of a recommended book or curriculum page and answers questions with her thoughts and discoveries.   The coach then sends a response email which acknowledges what the client has written, asks further questions if needed, and perhaps offers challenges or suggestions. 

  2. A general email program begins with a client-initiated email of inquiry.  The email is acknowledged by the coach who replies with answers to any questions asked.  A contract and questionnaire is attached to her reply. 

    If the client decides to go ahead, she’ll  return the signed contract preferably scanned in and sent by email, and make a payment preferably by PayPal. 

    The client will also send an initial email spelling out the area she wants to discuss.  The coach responds.  The client responds, and the coach sends a final email in summation. 

    The first email is usually limited to a maximum 1200 words.  The follow-up emails should each be shorter.

So, is email coaching effective? 

Rosalie Garde suggests it is.  “I don’t think it is quite as effective as talking in person or on the telephone.  Those methods allow a coach to hear a change in a client’s tone of voice and, in person, see body language.  The client also benefits from verbalizing her feelings.  When a coach is able to respond immediately over the telephone, the client knows she has been heard. 

With email coaching, time passes between one email and another so the client doesn’t necessarily feel heard right away.  However, there are still benefits to the client.  When a client forces herself to think through her feelings and articulates them in writing, it can be very therapeutic.  Coaching by email gives her a chance to really think through what she really wants to talk about.  When a client feels her coach is listening and understands, she feels supported.”

Coaching through email is one way a client can retain a fair sense of anonymity if that is desired.  It is one way of a client looking after herself by embarking on a coach/client exchange pathway.  It is better than not having anyone by her side or not dealing with life’s issues. 

Email coaching can provide good accountability.  For instance, a client on a diet and exercise program will benefit by recording what she’s eaten and posting her exercise record by email to her life coach if she chooses.

Email coaching may not be for everyone or the best method, but in a tough spot, it can fill a gap in a very positive way.

All email coaching is done with a contract and prior payment. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

What is Life Coaching?



Life Coaching is a tool many women 
use today to gain 
direction, support, and accountability, 
so  they can move forward. 


          Life Coaching isn't therapy, mentoring, Bible study, or consulting.  A good coach doesn't tell her client what to do.  Life coaching sessions should be conversations all about you. 

          True coaching is more than cozy conversations.  Your coach will ask good "probing" questions to challenge you to re-frame situations and think of new possibilities.  In your session you should feel supported, not judged.


WHAT TO EXPECT IN A LIFE COACHING SESSION

You and your life coach will agree upon a time for each call.
Prior to a call you will send an email outlining what you'd like to discuss.
Many women find it helpful to find a quiet undisturbed location
to make their call, and often attach a headset to their
telephone so they can be hands-free.

It is helpful to have a notebook, pen and glass of water nearby.
Lighting a candle and being comfortable is also helpful to some.



A Life Coach is a conversation catalyst for helping you to find the answers that are right for you.

Your life coach will hear you, ask challenging questions and offer exercises.
Life coaching will help you consider alternatives and decide on action steps that result in momentum. 

POSSIBLE TOPICS:
  • Finding Purpose
  • Thriving as a Stay-at-Home Mom
  • Seasons of a Woman's Life
  • From Motherhood to Menopause
  • Managing Wellness
  • Mid-Life
  • Moving Forward on Dreams and Goals with Accountability
  • Removing the Clutter from your Mind or Even Your Home
  • Focusing and Planning
All paid coaching is done under signed contract that spells out
the terms and protects both the client and the coach.

For more information visit this page 

Monday, April 01, 2013

Let Go of Your Past in Order to Move Forward

When I started training for life coaching six years ago, my trainer started by pointing out that life coaching is for healthy women.  It isn't therapy, counselling, etc.  It's for the woman looking for direction on how to move forward.

But our course material did start with a section on "leave your past behind", and I did find some women I coached had a few areas of their past they were stuck in.  So I briefly want to describe an exercise for letting go, but before that let me say this...
 
When There's No Need to Examine the Past 

Before I go on, I want to emphasize there is no "one coaching fits all method."  I don't believe all women want or need to go back into their past to dredge things up.  I know some women have already done that hard work and need to move on. 

I think it is incorrect for a life coach to assume there are hidden unresolved issues.  It is wrong for a life coach to lecture or belittle a client or imply there are things. 

Maybe life is good right now.

When Letting Go is Needed 

Through the training and my own life coaching process, I discovered techniques for helping a person leave the past behind.  First, the Apostle Paul is the one that suggesting we should leave it all behind so that we can move forward and do the work God has assigned.

The First Step

One exercise to leave it behind is to write troubling areas on paper--areas that you might have moved on from, but that still irk you, or questions you needed answers for.

Tuck your papers away in a jewel box, stick them in your daily journal, or hang them on the back of a closet door.  Don't publicly display them, but put them somewhere you won't forget about them. 

The Second Step

As you tuck them away or hang them up, give them to God.  Picture yourself releasing them to God.  Ask him to heal you, show you what you need to know, speak to the issue, provide you with Scripture, and so on.

Resist the urge to take them back and worry about them.

The Third Step

Go about life as normal, expecting to hear from God.  When you get a phone call, read a verse, or in some other way come across something that speaks to one of your issues, jot it on the paper.

Lastly

In a month or so, review your papers again.  Remove any you feel have been dealt with.  Re-submit any you are tempted to take back. 

Thank God for the clarity.  Celebrate.  Then prepare to move forward.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How Do You Trust Your Life Path?




A leader on a conference call I was also on told another member, “You need to trust yourself.”  This was in the context of trusting your life path.

The other asked, “How do I do that?”


My mind immediately started to scan for an answer.    I didn't have the floor to speak, but after pondering it, this is my answer:


1.  First, you need to trust that God is working in you.  In order to trust God you need to know more about him—his character traits, how he operates, how he speaks, his names, etc. 


A few years ago a young lady in one of my groups wanted to know where to start and I led her to read “Experiencing God”.  I didn’t know if she would do it so I directed her to at least read the section that lists the character attributes of God.

2.  Once you know God enough to trust him, you will need to make sure you have a clear path to hearing from him.  He has rules on what your part is on opening the path to him.  That means clearing out sin, taking time to pray, taking time to listen.

3.  When you hear from God, you need to take it seriously.  He will give you a verse, a story that speaks to you, a sign of some sort…etc.  When you hear these confirmations, you have guidance and it is in that guidance you put your trust.  You proceed on the path that's been outlined with confidence.   

The Bible says not to be double-minded.  That means not second-guessing what you’ve heard.  That is about trusting the message received…trusting yourself.

Stay on the path and do what it is you do until God closes down the path and opens a new one.