a requirement to succeed

I was in 5th grade when I first tried to play basketball & I was 100% horrible.  Neither of my parents are particularly athletic nor did they have alot of athletic background or experience.  Furthermore, we didn’t have lots of sports stuff when I was growing up so my recess basketball games at school were the extent of getting some initial experience.  For whatever reason, I wanted to be good at basketball so I decided to keep trying even though I was awful.  I didn’t have much success at the beginning of my efforts, but I kept trying.  I had horrible shooting form because I wasn’t strong enough to get the ball to the hoop.  I couldn’t dribble to save my life & I was more uncoordinated than  any 5th grade girl in my class, but I kept trying.  When I entered 6th grade, I joined a school that had a girls basketball team & I shockingly made the Varisty squad, but was soon demoted to JV, but I kept trying.  Throughout my middle school years, I continued to play basketball & because I kept trying, I began to improve.  When I was in 8th grade, we had a freethrow competition to see who could make the most free throws out of 50 attempts.  I tried really hard & came in 2nd on my team.  I went on to play basketball in high school and kept trying to get better.  I continued to improve and was privileged to be on a team that went on to win the state championship 🙂

Moral of the story:  long-term success requires that we keep trying

turkey update

Happy post Thanksgiving! I hope your day went well, with lots of peace, joy and enjoyable food 🙂  A few days ago, I posted about how I don’t really care for cooking turkey because of the litany of failed attempts my family has endured over many years.  Well, I’m happy to report that yesterday’s turkey was totally tasty!  It wasn’t burned, not too dry, not undercooked nor any of the other ways that I’ve ruined turkeys over many years – yahoo!!!

So here’s some encouragement.  Think of something that you’ve been trying to get good at for a long time, then consider a few things:

  • perhaps the lessons you’ve learned from the failures just helped you to understand better what doesn’t work
  • be thankful that you don’t have to make the same list of mistakes – you can make new ones
  • perhaps you next attempt will be the one that brings you success
  • if you next attempt doesn’t succeed consider that you’re one step further from failure & closer to success 🙂

 

cooking turkey

With Thanksgiving  popping up in less than 48 hours, I am facing my age-old nemesis, the turkey.  I think that I’ve figured out almost every way to ruin a turkey (undercooking, overcooking, offering a burnt sacrifice, along with many other accidents).  So I’m totally keen to throw in a lasagna & call it good 🙂

But alas, I will do the traditional turkey & there’s a good chance that I’ll get it right this year – hope springs eternal.  And this is exactly my point:  hope springs eternal.  Just because I’ve had a litany of turkey traumas doesn’t mean that this year is going to be another “challenge.”  After a 1,000 failed attempts with his light bulb invention, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Happy Turkey Day! 🙂

Getting Better!

There are lots of areas in my life that I’m trying to improve: fitness, cooking, relationships, ministry, leadership & more. If I’m not careful, all of this could be overwhelming. But this is something my dad would always say, “inch by inch, it’s a cinch but yard by yard it’s hard.”
So I’m making incremental changes & starting to see some improvements. I can tell that my health is getting better, my cooking has fewer burning torches, some relationships have been more stable & there are some other good things that are going on. So let’s keep our focus on God, remain thankful & keep growing inch by inch 🙂

a secret for making high quality decisions :)

When I was younger, I used to make decisions really fast and sometimes this worked out well for me.  Quick decisions are helpful when you’re low on fuel for your car or when you’re dehydrated and need to drink more water.  Quick decisions, however, are not as helpful when the stakes are higher – as I’ve recently learned.

Last month, I had a situation come up that was really important & I needed to make a very high quality decision on this issue.  Thankfully, I didn’t just do a quickie snap decision but rather took a few days to think, pray & evaluate.  After taking a little bit of time and getting some high quality input & advice from other people who were well qualified to give input on this type of situation, I made a really excellent decision and the outcome has been extremely wonderful.

I’ve come to the conclusion that when I need to make a high quality decision, it helps to give it some high quality time ,)

continually learning & growing

One of the things I totally enjoyed about teaching High School was not only watching my students learn, but also my own learning experience as I taught.  I learned lots about the content I was presenting, about the diverse learning styles of very different students & about myself.  Needless to say, I love to learn & being a mom has ramped up my learning curve WAY MORE than any High School or college teaching I’ve done.  Here are some things that I’m continuing to learn through my kids:

  • giviving & being generous is better than being a “getter” or being selfish
  • what’s evident on the surface doesn’t always reflect accurately what’s happening in a person’s heart
  • patience – ’nuff said
  • responsibility is a process & sometimes we take 3 steps forward and maybe 1 or 2 sideways :/
  • different is different, not better or worse, just different
  • little things can often be WAY MORE cool than big things ,)

correction

I’ve been on both sides of this correction topic – receiving correction (Sarah, your performance is sub-standard and you’ll need to make significant improvements if you plan to continue in this role) and giving correction.  Neither position is very pleasant, but correction is very important and here are a few pointers:

  • if you’re receiving correction, be mindful to listen and not argue, deflect, make excuses or blame others.  If you receive the correction well and in a constructive way (regardless of how the person presents it), you can grow, learn, get stronger and be a better person.  If you receive correction poorly, you’ll probably have to go through the cycle again & it might be a more painful experience the next time around :/
  • if you’re giving correction, be mindful to deal with the behavior that needs to change without attacking the person and use several concrete examples of the wrong behavior.  It’s also necessary to be clear and firm, explaining to the recipient the preferred outcome or method for their actions.  Finally, be constructive and affirming, believing that the person can change.

There are heaps and heaps of wisdom in the Bible that pertain to correction, so please consider reading about the life of Eli in 1 Samuel 1-4 and also Hebrews 12, as starting points.  Let’s allow correction to be constructive in our lives 🙂