Monthly Archives: July 2011

A Lesson from Soap and $20

I while back Dove (the soap) sponsored something called “Dove Self-Esteem Workshops.” I thought it was a great idea, because let’s face it – we are ALL influenced by the media whether we like it or not. These workshops were part of a larger campaign the company established as an agent of change to inspire and motivate girls and young women to embrace a “wider definition of beauty and self esteem.”

After my life-long battle with my weight, I am very aware of the hits a young psyche can take in regard to these issues. And the truth is, it doesn’t necessarily get easier as you get older.

The Dove Campaign stands out in my memory because it was designed to create new ways to view beauty, body image and self esteem. I loved the concept, especially in today’s society that preaches that thin and airbrushed is the true mark of beauty. Covers of magazines can make us feel like normal isn’t good enough. But the concept of inner value superseding that of outer appearance isn’t new.

The whole thing reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago but continue to remember because of the impact it made on me. (You may have heard it too —but it’s worth repeating.)

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”

Everyone started raising their hands. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” Then he proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. Then he asked, “Ok, who still wants it?”  Still the hands went up in the air.  Next he dropped it on the ground and smashed it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now it was all crumpled and dirty. He asked again, “Does anyone still want it?”  Still the hands went into the air.

He concluded the session with a valuable lesson. No matter what he did to the money, the people watching him still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. Our struggles—whether it be with our weight, or relationships, or finances—or whatever make us feel as though we are worthless.

But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes. To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to Him.

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Be Proud if You are a Pigeon

I love my kids.

I will be honest, sometimes their behavior can be frustrating, but they are also among the greatest joys of my life!  My husband and I often look at each other (as if to console ourselves) and say, “Life would be so boring without them.”

Today is a special day for our family because it is the culmination of my oldest son Noah’s Summer Drama and Music Camp.  And tonight will be the end-of-camp production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Noah has been cast as the wildly popular, and very prominently-known role of “Pigeon.”

Now, I don’t know about you but when I think of the story of Alice, the first characters that usually pop into my mind are Alice, the Mad Hatter, and of course…the Pigeon.

NOT.

Noah is very familiar with the story.  Mostly the Disney version.  And he didn’t recall this role either.  He even scoured the Internet to see if he could “verify” the legitimacy of the Pigeon in the story.

But none the less, he has tackled this part with all the gusto and enthusiasm that I know has to rival the enthusiasm of the child with the lead.  He has run his lines over and over…in the car, at the dinner table, in the shower, before bed.  He has just exhibited such commitment to this.  In a role some might think not as important as some of the others, not only has he not seen that or bought into it but he has taken this responsibility and RUN with it!

And I am so proud of him, and actually, inspired by my 10-year-old.

It reminds me that we all should take the same attitude with our lives.  Even the simple, ordinary things that we do – should still be done with EXCELLENCE.

And you know what?  I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he pulls it off tonight, if the next time he has a larger role.  You just never know what could happen through his hard work, determination and positive attitude.

“If you are faithful with the little things…you will be faithful with the large ones…” (Luke 16:10)


A Powerful Life Lesson…from a Couple of Dogs

You know it’s funny how simple things can really make an impact on you.  For example, I learned a valuable life lesson from a couple of dogs.

Marty, is a Miniature Schnauzer and Sam, is a yellow Labrador Retriever. They both belong to my pastor.  This story he shared in a sermon really made an impression on me.

When Sam was a puppy, Marty would exercise his dominance as the “alpha male” and eat his dog food and then go over and eat Sam’s too.

Now, many, many months have passed, and Sam outweighs Marty by almost four times his body weight. But guess what happens when Marty finishes his own food? He goes over to Sam’s bowl and Sam cowers down in fear as Marty proceeds to gobble up both bowls.

Sam reverts back to the mentality of a six-week-old puppy. Even though his size and strength far exceeds Marty’s now; he has a defeated mindset that he can’t overcome.

This illustrates to me the danger of living too much in the past. It can keep us focused on the wrong things. If we remember the bad things from our past—the mistakes and failures—it can freeze us in the present and hurt our prospects for the future. It causes us to say things like: “I’ll never…” or “I can’t…” or “I messed up too many times to…”

But there’s got to be a delicate balance in our thinking. The fact is the past isn’t all bad. I believe God wants to use the past. He wants to use the positive and negative to build us up and prepare us for the future.

I communicate with people almost every day that share stories about feeling defeated in their attempts to lose weight or make changes in their lives. They are scared of change, and they are defeated by their past. I try to encourage them to just take that first step to move beyond the past and into the future.

Whenever you begin to make changes in life, it may be scary but more than that it’s going to be exciting. Sometimes when you begin to make those changes things feel beyond your control. But when that happens, just remember that God is in control. And as the scripture tells us, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Rest in that reality and make a change today that will impact all your tomorrows!


The Ant

I love the New Living Translation of the verse from Proverbs 6:6.

“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.  Learn from their ways and become wise!”

Now, I’m not talking about the fact that they can absolutely ruin a good picnic.  But other attributes in these little creatures can actually be inspirational.  A quick Google search turned up these interesting observations:

  • Ants can carry up to 50% of their own body weight.
  • If an obstacle lies before an ant, it finds a way around the obstacle.  Traveling over, under, through or around it.
  • An ant will never up until the destination is reached.
  • Determination is embedded in an ant’s personality.

How many times do we get discouraged by an obstacle that lies in our way?  So what is it so easy to do?  To just give up.

But if we exercised the tenacity of a little ant and made determination an embedded part of our personality, how much could we accomplish?

Let the simple things (like an ant) be your inspiration today.  There is plenty in God’s creation to inspire and motivate us all!