I recently went to the Black Hills with my husband.  We had a great time and saw so many beautiful views.  We did a lot of driving around and stopping, making sure that we went on one long hike each day.  On the last day of the trip, we went to Spearfish.  We started off with a light lunch and a stop in Deadwood.   After a short period at the blackjack table on we went to see more sites.  The hills were beautiful.  The rock formations were amazing.  We would stop to take pictures and breathe in the nature.  At our last stop there was trail to go to see the falls. We could have driven up to the falls or walked.  I was at the point where I had had enough and really wanted to drive, but after some discussion we decided to walk.   We walked along a small stream.  At times it was quiet and calm, and at others it was fast moving and loud.  At one point there was a tree that had fallen into the stream.  It was a big old tree with its leaves still attached and a giant root ball.  I wondered what its story was and what had brought the tree down.  Was it a storm or just an act of time?  There was a forest to our left with trees that shined with the fall colors.  Toward our right were the rock formations.  There appeared to be shallow caves and I imagined what animals found shelter in the caves amongst the rock.  What wonderful views.  As we walked I kept thinking, “Aren’t we there yet?”  Just when I was ready to give up and turn back, there it was.  The water appeared to be gushing straight out of the hillside.  The water kept flowing.  The area around it was green and plush.  I could not help but be amazed by it and thought about all the wonders in my life.  I watched it and felt a peace come across my being.  Soon, my husband asked if I was ready to go back.  I said,”Not yet.”   I found myself wanting to just stay there.  Taking in the beauty of the moment, I paused in silence.  Not wanting to move from that spot.  I realized how much this moment was like life.  We set goals for ourselves – getting through school, having a child, buying our first home, getting married, or losing weight.  After traveling down the path we reach those goals and so often we just want to stay in that moment.  But if we stay in that moment too long we might miss what else is around the corner.  What else does life have in store?   What goals can you reach next?  Where is life calling you to be next?  Savor the moments that are important, but move on and enjoy the journey.


I don’t know about you, but I do not believe that everything happens for a reason.  I do believe that we can make a purpose out of everything that happens.  We as human beings, we have the gift of making decisions of what to do, knowing that there are consequences for our actions.  But you can’t tell me that a person driving drunk and killing someone was meant for a reason.  Or a child who gets cancer, that there is a reason that that child was given cancer.  I don’t think so.  But I do believe given any situation you can find purpose.  The child that has cancer…  the family may then start a foundation to help other children, or the community comes together to help the family.   It isn’t always something that is so big and life changing.  It is decisions of how you spend your time every day.  What do you spend your money on?  Where so you use your talents?  What you do with your time, treasure and talents says something about what you find meaningful and brings purpose in life.  Use your time, treasure and talents well.   

The other night my sister gave me one of the greatest compliments I could receive.  She was talking about some new TV show where they set people up to see what people would do in certain situation.  A situation maybe, having an old man in the parking lot and he can’t find his keys and when he does it is clear that he is in no shape to drive.  My sister said that she is waiting for them to catch me, because she knows that I would do the “right thing”.   What is the right thing and how often do we do it.  I want to think that most people would help this man out and do what they can to do so.  What would you do?  Would you look the other way?  Pass on the other side of the parking lot?  Now days they call helping the random act of kindness.  I just think it is the right thing to help others out that are in need.  I challenge you to purposely look for someone to help today.  It not only helps them, but it makes you feel good and brings meaning to your life. 

Do you know one of those people who go right to the gloom and doom places?  Or maybe you are one of them.  You know when something goes wrong the whole roof is going to fall in and everyone is going to die.  There are times that most of us have gone to that place.  This is the time to laugh at ourselves, but that is difficult to do when you are in the middle of the situation.  Try to look at the situation from a new perspective, a new way of looking at the issue.  Take yourself to your favorite spot in the world.  Maybe the beach?  How does the situation look like from there?  Or from the mountain top?  What do you see?  Is the situation as BIG as you thought it was?  How can you react to it in a positive way?   If you are so stuck you just can’t leave the situation then stay there and what if the worst happens?  What does it feel like?  What would happen next?  How would you get yourself out of it? 
June 1, 2010

As a Life Coach, I still get stuck at times.  You know those times in your life when your emotions run high and you just can’t move on.  It is like getting stuck in a snow drift.  You sit in the car and spin your tires and just don’t get anywhere.  As someone drives by you and stops, you tell them all about it and how you got stuck.  Finally, at some point you say enough is enough.  You take a deep breath and get out of the car and start to dig your way out.  It is when you get out and start doing the work that you can see the possibilities and then life gets exciting again. After digging for awhile, you get into the car and rock back and forth.  Then, that magical moment when you feel the wheels grab hold and you start moving forward, you feel the exhilaration and that moment is a celebration - you are “unstuck!”  You can move forward and see new possibilities and the road of life. What a wonderful feeling. What snow drift are you stuck in? What’s keeping you stuck?  What do you want to do about it?  Is it time to start digging your way out?
As I was driving down the road this morning, I saw a mother duck with eight little ducklings following her.  They crossed the road as quick as their little feet would carry them.  As they ran, they were all in a group trying to keep up with one another.  When they got to the curb, one by one they jumped up a distance that was twice as big as they were.  The last one took one jump, two jumps, and finally a third before getting on top of the curb.  Then, off they went again.  It made me stop and think,” Who am I following? “ It reminded me of the old song, “Got it get going, where am I going, what am I going to do.”  In today’s world we are all busy, rushing here and there.  Is what you are doing really important you?  Are you blindly following someone or something? Where are you going?  What are you going to do once you get there?  I would suggest that you develop a mission statement for your life. And, do activities that bring you closer to that statement.  If you need help, that is part of what we do in Life Coaching.  Give me a call. 

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Awhile back I took a children’s book writing course and the following is one of the stories I wrote, which is based on a true story.


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“I am going to give each of you a five dollar bill and a 2 dollar bill,” said the minister at the end of his children’s moment. 


The children grinned as they took the envelopes. The minister gave a young boy a disapproving look when he yelled, “I’m going to buy me a new truck”.


 “What I want you to do,” the minister continued, “is to use the money for someone else that needs something, or just to do something nice for somebody.  Then report back to me in a couple weeks, and tell me what you did with the money.”



Rachel and Nicole went back to sit with their parents, clasping the envelopes in their hands.  Rachel thought, Wow seven dollars.  That would buy a lot of candy, or a new doll.


Later that day Nicole turned to Rachel, “You know Rachel, we could use the money for Mom’s birthday.  It’s coming up soon.  That might be good.”


“No,” said Rachel, “I think Mom wants us to use our own money or make something for her.  I know, I can give you my 7 dollars and you give me yours.  We need the money, don’t we?”


“I don’t think that’s the point of this giving thing, but it does sound like a good idea.  Let’s think about it for a day or so,” replied Nicole.


What to do with the money was all the two girls could think about.  They talked with their friends.  Julie suggested, “Why not give it to the poor?”


Ben suggested, “I think that they should buy treats for their friends.   I like chocolate.”


That night, Rachel came up with a great suggestion.  “This weekend is Nickel Dickel Day, the towns celebration.  If we put our money together, we can buy pop and cookies to sell at the celebration, and then we can make more money.”


“That’s a great idea!” screamed Nicole. 


They ran to tell their mom and asked for help.  They gathered a table and all the supplies and made a sign.  They got all ready and set up their booth that Saturday.  They still hadn’t decided what to do with the money they would earned, but gifts for each other were sounding pretty good.


Halfway through the day a man came up to the stand.  He was unshaven, and wore old clothes.  He asked, “Girls, can I get a cookie for 10 cents?  That’s all the money that I have.”


“Sure,” said Rachel.  “For ten cents, I think we can give you two.”


After the man was gone, Nichole asked, “Mom, why was the man wearing dirty clothes?  Doesn’t he have a washing machine?”


“Well, girls,” Mom explained, “There are people living all around us who don’t have enough money for basic things, like food, a home, or medical care.”


Rachel asked, “Where do they go to get food for supper, if they don’t have enough money?”


“There’s a place in town where people donate food and then people who need help can go there and get food for free,” said Mom.


Nichole turned to Rachel saying, “Boy I sure wouldn’t want to go with out supper tonight.  You know what?  I think that we should us this money to buy food for someone else.”


“I think that is a great idea,” Rachel agreed. 


They took their $112 dollars they made that day and went to the store.  They bought five bags of groceries and took them to the food shelf. 


That night Rachel turned to Nichole and said, “I don’t know about you, but it feels really good knowing that we helped someone else today.”


What are the gifts that you have and what are doing with them.

Recently, I was walking on the beach with my husband.  We saw these little white birds.  I watched them run back and forth.  As the waves washed out they would run to sand uncovered by the receding wave, and peck looking for food.  Then the waves would start to come back in and they would run back up the beach away from the water.  Then, they wait and as the wave went back out they would look for more food.  Back and forth and back and forth they continued.

It seemed to me that they were exerting more effort than they were getting back in the form of food.  As I watched them, I thought there has to be a “moral to this story.”  To me it seemed that what they were doing wasn’t getting them anywhere, but maybe I was wrong.  They continued to go after what they needed and continued to work at it.  Maybe we feel that we work too hard to get want we want.  Do we give up because it is too hard or because we feel overwhelmed?  How bad to you want to reach that goal? What are you willing to do to get there?  What is in your way? We can learn from these birds and keep pecking away at our dreams! 
A friend of mine recently called me and told me of a great opportunity that he had to buy a business.  My first thought, as his friend, was to give him advice and tell him what to do.  Instead, I thought this would be a good time to use my listening skills as a life coach.  I listened to him describe the pros and cons and asked him to talk through what he really wanted and what was important.  I asked a lot of “what” questions to try and understand “what” he was really thinking.  After about 10 minutes, it was clear to me what he wanted and said, “It sounds to me like you have already made up your mind.”  We as friends, family and peers really don’t want people to give us advice. We really want people to listen so we can hear ourselves, so we can make our own decisions.  I have found that listening to people brings us closer.  The other person feels that they were truly heard and I have a new appreciation of the wonderfulness of the other person.  I challenge you that the next time a friend calls you with an issue - ask questions and listen to clarify the issue and sees what happens.


The other morning I woke up to a beautiful scene outside my living room window.  It was foggy and the fog left a thick coat of ice on the trees.  As the sun came out, the trees shone and sparkled like crystals. Although I have seen this sight before, it still astounds me.  I went out to do errors and ran into a friend.  The first word out of his mouth was "what do you think about all this ice?”  My reply was, “Aren’t the trees beautiful?” His answer surprised me.  “I guess you can always find something good in every situation, but sometimes you have to look pretty hard.”   

Too often in our life’s we think we need to look hard to find what is going right.  No matter what is going on in your life there is good.  If you think life is good, there are great parts of it.  And, great can become greater!  How do you start this process?  It is what I call the 30-day gratitude plan.  Each day you write down five things for which you are grateful.  It is important that you write them down so you can go back and look at what you have wrote.  Try this for 30 days.  You will be happier and feel better physically and emotional.