What Does Your Next Chapter Look Like? Change Ahead!

Have you ever had a plan that failed,
* a career that ended
* a school you weren’t accepted to
* a promotion that didn’t pan out
* a marriage that didn’t survive
* kids that got sidetracked
* and life looked pretty bleak?

Boy, that happened to me. I love to plan and dream about the future. In fact, on the ennegram personality test, I’m a 7, an Enthusiast – Spontaneous, Active, a Dreamer, who Loves Freedom and Versatility. A seven loves change, or at least the GOOD Kind.

So you can imagine how tough it was when, as an entrepreneur of a tech start up, my husband and I, who had the freedom to work from anywhere, lost one of our biggest clients, due to a downturn in the economy. We suddenly found ourselves in a perdicament. My husband had to take consulting gigs in other states and overseas. I was working part-time and raising 4 kids alone. Something had to change. We needed a Plan B, stat.

That Plan B turned into us homeschooling the kids for 3 years and traveling with John to 45 states and 9 countries. The transition wasn’t easy, but the change created a life with a bigger payoff. We became a tighter-knit family, seeing, touching and experiencing life on the front lines, together. And those life lessons are turning into a book.

If we allow it, Endings Can Create New Beginnings. Sometimes we have to let go of the story we thought our lives would look like, to clear a path for a new one.
Living Your Best Life: Letting Go of Self-Doubt, Fear & Other’s Expectations discusses the 12 lies we struggle with and steps needed to:
* Let go of self-doubt, to live freer
* Embrace the small wins 
* Create Breathing Room 
* Allow Endings to Become Beginnings
* Chase Your Dreams Write Your Story
* Find Your Tribe 
* Exchange guilt for grace, replace comparison for contentment         

Buy your book today: A great gift for a Mom, Daughter, Friend, or Yourself. 
         Here’s to Living Your Best Life. 
How our family traveled to 45 states and 9 countries via planes, trains and RVs.

Let go of all the things you have no control over: another person’s health, their reactions, other’s expectations, the loss of a job, a break up, a move across country, an illness, your past, whether your child is accepted to a certain school.

Let go of it! It’s like trying to wrestle an F5 hurricane and steering it in a different direction.

No matter how much you love, prepare, fix and plan, some areas of life are not in your hands, no matter how tight the grip.

But what if I let go?
Does it mean I don’t care? No. This is not your wheel to steer.

If I let go, something bad will happen. I assure you, if you don’t let go, it will.

That’s why I tell you, do not worry about every day life – whether you have enough food or drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Matthew 6 25-26.

Let go of all the things not in your control. Put away your fake magical powers and pray, and trust that God, the one who created the moon and the stars and YOU in such intricate detail, cares for you. It’s not the grip that makes us stronger, but the Letting Go! #powerofmoms #momstories #lettinggo

I don’t have time to hold your guinea pig. Are you ever in the middle of a text, a deadline, the end of a compelling movie or on the back deck eating the last chocolate cookie and here they come: Hey mom, what are you doing?

Check out my new skateboard trick outside.
Can you really dig to China from the back yard?
Can we buy a dog?
I didn’t want a brother, can we send baby Liam back?

On average, moms are asked approximately 300 questions a day by their young children. It’s madness.

Our brains are like rogue GPS systems that are constantly recalculating.

Instead of trucking down the highway to our destination, our GPS (kid’s questions) are recalculating us down bumpy dirt roads, weird side streets and behind an iffy 711. All these questions are enough to make a grown man cry, and yet here we are, standing in front of  humans under 3 ft 2 with endless energy and questions for days.

We can choose to swoosh them away, while reading a compelling news story, as they offer you the first guinea pig hug of the day. Instead, you never look up, just mumbling: uh huh, ok, see you later and then, just like that, they’re gone.

You just turned down the first guinea pig hug of the day. What’s wrong with you?
I get it. You need to work, cook dinner, do laundry, meet deadlines. Your list is long, as you try to out race the clock.

But what are your actions telling the kids? What or who is more important? The end of a movie, a funny meme to a friend?

That’s what the pause button on the remote is for. The social media story is not going anywhere and like death and taxes, dishes will be with you always. The kids will not. Let that sink in. The jelly print on the window will fade away, the need for Cheerios that seemed to fill every crevice in the mini van, gone. You won’t always be their go-to person, so embrace the moments.

3 Ways to Treasure the Now (WUG)

1. Write it Down
Document moments on the computer or in a journal. Record their little voices. Savor all the curious questions, the funny way they said certain words. Keep their hand written notes or at least scan them digitally for posterity’s sake. It’s said that we remember 20% of our stories. Memories create Legacy. Write it down, mama.

2. Unplug the Gadgets
Look into their little eyeballs and be attentive. Listen to their little voice. Embrace the inquisitiveness. Give Oreo, the Guinea Pig your attention. In doing so, you’re telling little Jack and Isabell they matter, they’re important, they’re priority.

3. Get Your Hands Dirty
Do all the things. Kids want to go biking, hiking, swinging, swimming, eating, talking. Jump in there and do the ING’s. Be active! These are the moments, the ooey gooey goodness of life. They’ll remember the time you spent with them. So get in there and get those hands dirty and make those memories.

Seize the moments, make the memories and do all the things. Life is fleeting. What examples can you share with us, that made an impact on how you dealt with Treasuring the Now?

SWIM, BIKE, RUN! I hadn’t raced in a triathlon since I was in my mid-20’s. That was 20 years ago. My SWIM BIKE RUN had become, COOK, CLEAN and Wipe little butts. A few things have changed over the years: my weight, my fitness level and like most, I’ve had kids, lots of them.

My attention, for years, has been placed on them. This year, I decided to reverse the trend and focus on me, while maintaining all the “plate juggling” that comes with raising a family.

I didn’t want to sign up for this event. I gave all the excuses in the world. But ultimately, my husband “double dog dared me” and if you’re Southern, well . . . You don’t take that lightly.

The first step, join a gym. Check! My ultimate goal was to complete 14 laps, down and back. That didn’t seem difficult until I began swimming. 4 laps into it, I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.

My heart felt like it was about to burst and my body didn’t seem to be gliding through the water, as it once did. I saw a lifeguard in the corner of my eye, standing over me, waving her arms. Alarmed, I stopped to see what was going on. Was someone hurt? Was I in the wrong lane?

She said: Are you ok? You seem to have difficulty swimming. If you need assistance, there are floaties in the closet.

What? I said: Are You talking to me? What could I have possibility looked like to have had a lifeguard rush down from her Stand to offer me FLOATIES- how embarrassing. I never took my goggles off until I hit the locker room, to keep from being identified on my next trip, if there was EVER a NEXT trip.

The morning of the race, everyone had State of the Art equipment, fast, light-weight bikes: Cannondale, GIANTS. You’re judged by the type of bike you ride. It sort of separates the “Men from the Boys.” My husband had one of those bikes. You can pick it up with your pinky – Sleek, fast. Not me, I had a mountain bike: fat tires, takes 2 people to lift it. In an effort to ease the humiliation, my young sons were trying to find examples of other racers with mountain bikes. “Look Mom, see there’s another mountain bike.” Uh, yes son, he’s 13. Ok, just forget it.

Reflecting on my 20’s, it was a different experience back then. No kids, no schedules; freedom was at my fingertips. We could eat Nachos with a glass of wine, after a long work week and not gain an ounce. Nowadays, it’s baked chicken and steamed broccoli just to maintain. I remember my “Swim Cap” color; It was yellow, a megaphone to the world that I was STILL young.

This time, when the Race Official wrote my age with a permanent marker, on the back of my leg, it said: 41.

I wanted to explain, that I actually felt younger than this. Can you write that underneath 41?

I was no longer a yellow cap, but a purple one; I was now 2 swim cap colors behind, with a chasm of 50 pink-headed caps, separating me from my beloved Youth.

To makes matters worse, we were Almost the last group to enter the water. The only people behind us were the blue caps. These were the ones to FEAR!

They were the 12-18 YEAR OLDS! As if I had a ton of self-esteem, being placed virtually last in a line, behind 1000 racers, now we’ve got the “quick as lightning” group behind us; teens with endless energy, who will pass you on the swim, upping the probability that you may, in fact, be the last person to make it to the finish line. My goal: to see as few “blue caps” as possible. My Prayer: Please http://bible.comGod, let me finish before the banner was taken down!

As if training for the SWIM, BIKE, RUN wasn’t enough, there were the Transitions. They added 2-3 minutes, (ok 6, because I couldn’t find my bike), then another 3 to put on my shoes, switch from helmet to cap, put on lip gloss. Hey, you feel good, if you look good!

In the scheme of life, it’s important to note: you’re really only competing against yourself, not the yellow caps, screaming “YOUTH.” You’ll never be younger than you are today. Oprah said: Remind yourself – this VERY moment is the ONLY one you know you have FOR SURE.

Embrace the power, the wisdom, the knowledge and influence you’ve gained in the years you’ve lived.

Wave your Purple Swim Cap proudly. Like the markings on your leg, all things mature, and with development comes freedom and adventure! While the main event is SWIM, BIKE, RUN, learning to successfully navigate Life’s Transitions is a major part of the process. There are many ups and downs, changes we don’t expect. Just like coal to a Diamond, the adversities and pressures of life – allow us the experiences to grow and walk through the Door of Greatness.

Life is What You Make It! Cheers to Purple Power, Lip Gloss and 40-plus ladies signing up for their next Race.

Here’s to Living the Best Version of You!