Archive for the ‘ faith and values ’ Category


This month, I went flying- my first time in an airplane. Our church’s Royal Rangers group was going to the local airport to learn more about airplanes for one of their badges, and since our pastor was the pilot, I was invited on one of the flights.

I’ve always heard that for your first flight, you definitely do not want to go up in a small plane. Well…the plane we flew was a three-seater, so that let out THAT piece of advice.

But it helped that I trusted my pilot. He gave me all kinds of information before we ever left the ground, and before he made any kind of changes, he told me what to expect. Of course, I was still nervous. And when I get nervous, I quit breathing- just hold my breath in anticipation of the terrible thing that’s going to happen. So here I am, flying along with my pastor at 1300 feet, feeling like I’m going to pass out because I’m not breathing. Then I remembered: I trust my pastor and I know he loves me. So I reminded myself to breathe, and looked out the window.

When I first went up, I noticed that if I looked at the ground at a certain angle, it made me dizzy, so I just looked at my knees. Then as we leveled out, I could start looking out again.

It was AWESOME! It was amazing how different things looked at from a different perspective. We flew over our house – I never thought about how shady our lot was until I realized I couldn’t see our house, only the trees around it. We flew all around our community. I never knew so many folks had pools in our area. I never realized how the grass looked at this height. So much texture- so many colors – so many details to see that you would never think you would notice.

As we got ready to go into the landing procedures, I noticed one light that quickly flashed red a couple of times, and I got scared. But I noticed that my pastor didn’t seem concerned, and neither did the young man sitting beside him, who is also training to be a pilot. Once I knew that they weren’t worried, I didn’t worry either.

And the reason I’m telling you all this? I learned so many things from that 20 minute flight.

– pick trustworthy people to work with, and then TRUST their decisions or actions
– try things you’ve never done before, even if you’re afraid- after all, what’s the worst that can happen? (I know, in my case that’s probably not a good question, right? )
– look at things from a different perspective
– don’t forget to BREATHE!

Lessons from a Fig Tree

This last Sunday, my pastor’s sermon was on “reaping and sowing” gifts and blessings. This stayed on my mind most of the day, not only in the realm of my spiritual life, but my family and business life as well.

The main thrust of his sermon was that many times we reap blessings that others have sown (like when my neighbor brought me a huge bag of snap beans from her garden – I didn’t ask for them, I had nothing to do with raising them, but I sure was glad to get them, and they are going to taste great!). We get so used to the idea that we don’t have to sow our own “seed”, that we learn to depend on others providing for us. We never learn to sow for ourselves, so we can bless ourselves, our families and those around us. This reaches out into all areas of our lives.

Then later Sunday afternoon, I was walking in my yard, checking out the bird feeders and looking at the flowers, when I came up to one of our fig trees.

The tree was full of unripe fruit, just waiting for the sun and the rain to help it finish it’s job for the year. It just stood there, soaking up the water and the sun, turning those little green knobs into delicious fruit that can be made into all kinds of good things to eat.

The more I thought about the sermon and the tree, the more it made sense to me. That fig tree stands there, during rain storms, droughts, high winds and hot days. It keeps on being a fig tree, just doing it’s job, not letting the sun or the wind or the heavy rain change it’s mind.

We need to be that way. We need to get up every morning, and be who we’re supposed to be. We don’t need to wait for someone else to do things for us. We need to be pro-active, which means that we can no longer say, “it’s not my fault”. We need to own our own problems and challenges, and learn to do something about them. We need to take our problems, which is anything that will try to keep us from being what we’re supposed to be, and figure out a way to overcome those challenges and be a better person. If you can’t do it by yourself, learn to network! Ask your peers or colleagues how they would handle the challenge. Don’t do it in a complaining way, just ask for general advice and see what comes up – you might be surprised!

And one last thing. We can look at these things as problems, or we can look at them as challenges. I know this sounds like a pat answer, but think of it this way. Would you rather tell someone you’re working on a challenging last minute project, or you’re having a terrible problem at work trying to finish your boss’s new outline? I’d rather have a challenge than a problem…. Think about it.

Be What You Want To Be

What direction are you going? Do you have goals that you are actively working towards, or do you get up every morning and just sort of drift in what you hope is the right direction? As I said last month, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend some very good time management seminars, and they’ve made a huge difference in my life, both personal and professional.

One of the best things I learned in these meetings was how important a mission statement isfor everyone, no matter what your business. It doesn’t have to be long, involved or fancy, but you need something written down that you can refer to (and edit as necessary) so you can know if you’re on track with where you want to be.

So how do you write a mission statement? The most important thing you can do to begin is look at your own life and really see what’s important to you. Make a list of things you’d like to accomplish. Think about what folks will say at your funeral (I know, it sounds terrible) – what type person will they say you were? Will they say what you’d like for them to say? If not, what do you need to change about yourself? What legacy do you want to leave your family?

All these things, and more, tell you who you are. If you are concerned that your kids be well-adjusted, successful people, what can you do that will help them achieve that? And if you want to leave a large sum of money to your local homeless shelter, what type of arrangements do you need to make now? These are the type things you’d write in your mission statement.

After you’ve decided the type person you are (or want to be), then you need to set long-term goals. Don’t just think about them. Get some paper out and write them down. Then (and this is the hard part) figure out what you need to do to reach those goals. Brainstorm until you’ve come up with every single thing you can do to reach that goal. Is your goal to pick up ten new clients? OK – so what have you got to do to get them? Some things might include handing out business cards to everyone you meet, join a local civic group that would allow you to meet new people, learn how to position yourself as an expert in your field (for more information on that, contact me).

After you’ve got your list of goals done, with all the things to reach those goals, then what? Hold yourself accountable by putting dates to each item, and add them to your datekeeper on those dates. Then, most important of all, DO THEM!

I know this sounds tough, but remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.