Monthly Archives: April 2011

Quiet, please.

The Power of Positive Thinking, by Guideposts founder Dr. Norman Vincent
Peale
, was published originally in 1953 and I recently read that it has sold
somewhere around 26 million copies worldwide.

It’s not surprising that it is filled with meaningful insight that is still relevant today.
I wanted to highlight one aspect of the book in particular this week because it has taken on
great meaning for me, especially in recent days. That concept is the daily
practice of having a time of nothing but quiet. The prescription Dr. Peale
recommends is for 15 minutes of absolutely no noise. Don’t try to organize your
thoughts. Don’t read. Don’t write. Just listen.

Silence is a precious commodity for me. The balancing act of wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend,
author and speaker—although all of those roles are precious to me—can leave me
tired and needing renewal. I am sure each of you can relate to the various
demands that fall on all of us. And I have begun to understand with a growing
appreciation the value of something as simple as quietness.

I have recently tried to implement this 15-minute rule in my own life. Some days I make
it, some days the quiet doesn’t come until I collapse into bed at the end of a
busy day. But on the days that I can snag a little piece of solitude early on, I
realize so many benefits. I can listen to God. And sometimes the silence reveals
the very greatest truths to our hearts and lives from Him.

I firmly believe this practice is making a difference in my energy levels, productivity
and patience throughout my day. Isaiah 30:15 says it best: “In quietness and
rest is my strength.” Make yourself a priority by treating yourself to 15
minutes of unscripted solitude. You’ll be amazed at the blessing you receive.

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It’s Time to Say, “YES I CAN!”

I just returned from speaking at an event for an organization called Yes, I Can, Inc. At 39, I was on a slate of speakers with a bunch of 20’ish Hollywood actors, and it really made me nervous. The audience, too, was younger than those I normally address.

Without even realizing it, I began the old, negative self-talk. I asked myself, “What do I have to offer this group? I’m an old lady compared to the rest of them. They couldn’t possibly want to listen to what I have to say.”

It was like I was transported back in time to when I was their age. And that wasn’t a very empowered, confident time in my life.

But fortunately I have learned a thing or two on this journey I have been on for the past few years. And I know better than to give into that kind of negativity. I believed I was there for a purpose. All I could do was share my heart and my story.

In the end, I got great feedback from the very same kids I was so nervous about. I got a chance to talk one-on-one with several of them; they said they got inspiration and motivation from my story of transformation, a fact that still humbles and amazes me to this day.

The experience reinforced some things for me, things that closely mirror the mission of the organization I was working for:

What if I don’t listen to the voices of fear, uncertainty or doubt?

I can choose. I can change. I can persevere. I can do it.

In a world that is telling me I cannot, it’s time to stand and say, “Yes, I can!”

So I leave you with those same encouraging words today. Whatever the obstacle you are facing, remember: Only you can choose your path—whether it be a path to success or failure. If you want to lose weight, or get an education, or change careers, or build better relationships, you can do whatever you want to do. And no matter what the world says, it’s time for you to say, “Yes, I can!”


Keep On Movin

I hate the process of moving. It’s really no fun. But sometimes it’s a necessary
evil to get where we need to go. Sound familiar?

There are so many things in life that are really no fun, but after all the hard work is done we can truly
appreciate where we’ve been and where we are now. The past two weeks have been a
confirmation of that for me, as my family moved…again! (But for what I hope
will be the last time for a long, long while.)

It seems I’ve been swimming in an endless stream of boxes and Bubble Wrap; forced to clean out
drawers and make “keep-it-or-ditch-it” decisions on items that I swore the last
time we moved I’d never take to another house.

Sometimes I don’t think we even realize how much unnecessary “stuff” we accumulate until we are actually
forced to face it. As I sorted through still-unpacked boxes from our last move,
I realized, If I haven’t used it—or missed it—in a year, I probably don’t need
it. There were old clothes I’ll never wear again. I came across toys that my
kids just had to have that have gone un-played with since before I can remember.
There were lots of things that at one time really seemed important that I
realized I don’t need to keep after all.

It actually made me think about many things we don’t need to keep but that, in our human nature, we tend to hold
on to.

Maybe you have been holding on to a grudge over something that you
can’t even really remember the origin of now, but it seemed important at one
time. Or maybe there is bitterness that you’ve packed away that you didn’t have
any intention of getting rid of. Is it jealousy? Unforgivenness?
Hurt?

I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes it’s good to unpack your
life—both literally and figuratively. Moving forces us to do that. And moving on
forces us to do that too. Both are hard, but both are good for us. Both really
help us to live a cleaner, less complicated, more peaceful existence.

I think at this time of year, we can all benefit from a good spring cleaning…not
just in our homes, but in our hearts and lives as well.