Monday, March 28, 2011


Training doesn’t make the difference of who starts the race – but it makes all the difference of who finishes the race.

You have a clear choice: Focus on the pain OR focus on the end goal. 

Encouragement from others can never be underestimated. 

If you run your race, people will ask questions.

Others believing in you actually strengthens you.

Fact: Some days the 5-mile runs are harder than the 15-mile runs.

Endurance can be built.

It’s far more fun to run with others – especially on long runs.

Get rid of anything that hinders you – they distract you, they hurt you,  and they’ll drive you crazy.

Mile markers are wonderful – they remind you where you are in the race.

It’s great to run with fellow runners who are running at a similar pace.

You are more successful in direct proportion to the more disciplines you are following – consistent sleep, healthy diet, proper clothing, training program, etc.

You WILL hit a wall. You may hit many.

There is only one way to get through "the wall" - can't skip it or ignore it - you've got to push through it.

There is no greater feeling than finishing the race you started.

You can do more than you think you can.

Christie Lee Rayburn, Mirror Mirror


That is how much is needed if you want to donate your hair to Locks of Love so that another little girl may have a chance at a head of hair. During our homeschool about a week back, we were talking about ways we can share and help others. We spoke of sharing our toys, our fruit snacks, our time, our energy, etc until Mama, with her ever-present big mouth, says something along the lines of "We can also share our body parts!".

If there ever was a moment where there was a Life Pause Button, it would have been that moment. I knew that if I didn't quickly add the appropriate direction on to the end of that sentence, we would have to discuss death and organ donations and how they do that and why we have to die and the conversation would end in tears as Caelan begs me to never die. Trust me...I have been there!

So...I quickly added how we can donate our hair, our blood or organs that we don't maybe need as much as other people who do. Hair?  This peaked Caelan's interest as she would NEVER consider cutting her gorgeous locks. Over the course of the week, she asked me random questions like "Does hair grow back?", "Why don't other people have hair?", "How do they use donated hair?", etc. I answered each one as best as I could and showed her pictures of what cancer treatments do to people and their hair. She was deeply touched.
On one special night, she and I did our nightly cuddle time and she whispered to me "Mama...I think I want to donate all of my hairs to a little girl who needs it." My heart melted. Not wanting to wait too long and lose the opportunity, my fingers dialed that salon as fast as I could to make an appointment.

What an amazing organization Locks of Love is! How they coordinate and appropriate all this hair that had once been trash, and turn it in to such a gift for these beautiful women and girls is unbelievable to me. I was so moved by Caelan's moved by her.

Rubberbanding the hair together to prep it for the donation. They have organized rules to make sure that as much hair as possible can be kept for re-purposing.
She was SO happy to see it get cut off. I almost cried but ended up holding it together. Not that I didn't want her to cut her hair...just shocking to see her sweet baby tendrils go away.  This was her first haircut EVER you know.

As we drove home, the view in my rear view took my breath away.  My little girl who now looks like a big, grown-up girl has cut her hair off just to give to someone else.  She recognized her over abundance and considered how she could bless someone else.  Do I do that?  In all the blessings poured out on me, do I rubber band sections and give them away?  Do I put myself under the scissors to help someone I don't know?  Do I take my FIRST harvest and give away even a portion of the things that were so graciously given to me?      

She taught me such a huge lesson that morning.  We are the parents, true...but the things they teach us sometimes...amazing.    

Amy B 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Want A Better Sex Life?

Want a better Sex Life?  Then exercise! 

Jillian Michaels entered our lives on January 3, 2011. Prior to that, I had been going swimming every morning.  But I am self-aware enough to realize that when winter arrived, the thought of having to dig my car out of the snow before driving to the pool at 6am was going to be a big enough disincentive to make me roll over and go back to sleep. I needed something that I could do in the warmth of my own home.

So, it came down to Jillian Michaels or a treadmill. She was cheaper and tells me what an amazing job I am doing, so she won. So now, Eric and I begin our morning by working out together. Not only are we encouraging each other in our pursuit for health and fitness, but evidently we are also making our sex life better.
Did you know that swimmers in their 60’s have the sex lives of people decades younger than them? Did you know that men and women who exercise 2-3 times a week rate their sex life as “above average”? Or that women have an easier time coming to orgasm and men lower their chances of impotence if they are exercising on a regular basis?
In short, the more consistently you exercise, the better your sex life will be.

Study after study has concluded that exercise has a both a physical and psychological impact. Here are some of the sexual side-effects of working out:
  • Increased blood flow. The science of arousal is all about blood flow. When you feel that tingling sensation in your genitals, that is blood engorging your tissues and heightening their sense of arousal. Since exercise increases circulation, arousal will be easier to come by when you are engaging in sex.
  • Increased body satisfaction. A study in 2000 found that when you are exercising regularly, you have higher self-confidence and self-image. So, no matter where you are in your weight-loss goals for the New Year, if you are exercising consistently, you are going to feel better about your body. And that has a profound impact on how you respond when your spouse wants to take your clothes off.
  • Increased strength, cardio-fitness and flexibility. Not only will these side-effects of exercise make your current sex life more comfortable, but if you would like to try a new position or extend the length of your love-making, all of these factors come into play. The more fit you are, the more adventurous you can be.
  • Lower stress. Stress is one of the huge impediments to having a thriving sex life. Since the endorphins released during exercise drive down the stress hormone cortisol, you are more likely to say “yes” to sex. (Incidentally, the hormones released during orgasm drive down cortisol even further.)
So now you have even more reasons to get out of bed when that horribly annoying alarm clock goes off at the same time every morning abruptly waking you up from the most amazing dream while you lie cocooned in the world’s warmest comforter.  Notice I didn’t say it made the exercising any more pleasant, only that the benefits are worth the effort!!
How about you?  What kind of exercise do you do?  Has it made a difference in your sex life?

Eryn-Faye Frans, Canada's Passion Coach ®

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Monster in the Mirror

Have you ever witnessed a mom screaming uncontrollably at her children and in turn wanted to give her a piece of your mind for treating them that way?  As I was waiting at a stoplight while driving to drop my son off at school, I looked in my rear view mirror to see a mom screaming uncontrollably at her children.  Her hands were flying in the air and you could plainly see the intense anger in her facial expressions.  I sat there thinking to myself “What a way to start your kids’ day? If you could only see yourself right now and how horrified your kids are. What a monster!” How could someone be so angry at a child that they deserve to be screamed at?   I could not get the sick feeling out of my stomach for most of the day.

About a week later, I witnessed the same thing.  The only difference this time was when I looked in the rear view mirror, I saw MYSELF.  It was me this time screaming at my kids.  I was horrified.  Who is this woman?  My kids don’t deserve this.  I immediately broke into tears, pulled my car over and asked for God’s forgiveness.  Once I calmed down enough, I asked for my kids’ forgiveness and explained how wrong my actions were.  I could have handled the situation better.  I was the monster in the mirror this time. 

I have since witnessed the same kind of events, only now I am quick not to judge.  I say a prayer for all involved and hope that they have a wake-up call like I did.

Laura Kearns

I Want to Be Beautiful

When my little sister was three years old, she was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Without hesitation she responded, “Beautiful.” I love remembering her confidence in that moment.

Beauty is something I have worked for since I can remember. As a child I felt beautiful when my hair was long and I was wearing my mom’s high heeled shoes that clicked so nicely as I walked through the kitchen. When I became a teenager beauty was defined by how well I could apply my makeup and whether or not boys took a second look after I walked by. College came and the beautiful girls were all fiercely independent without a need for anyone else’s approval.

At this point, you would think that I could see how shallow and temporary all of these definitions are, but I find myself continuously returning to them when my confidence slips. If I’m honest with myself, I still find comfort in fancy clothes, hair that behaves, a lack of zits, and the ability to take care of myself. In the moments when these things are out of reach, I start to compare myself to other women and wish I was someone else. I forget where true beauty comes from.

My God is generous and gracious enough to remind me. He says, “Why do you worry about your clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin…If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28, 30 NIV). I am also reminded to “cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in” (1 Peter 3:4 MSG). My beauty comes from being loved by God; I’ve noticed when my focus shifts from worrying about myself to thanking God for what He has done for me and doing what He has asked of me I am able to have a much more lasting impact. It matters less that people notice my face or my clothes and more that they recognize Christ’s love. I want the beauty God has given me to be the kind that recognizes beauty in others and draws it out.

Today, may you recognize that God’s love makes you beautiful.

Lindsay Hale

Behavior Specialist

Some months the stress and challenges of raising a child with special needs is pressing, tiring, even close to unbearable.  (I say close, because God always comes to the rescue when we’re in our greatest need!)  Then again, there are weeks when life becomes status quo, as far as special needs families go.  We can laugh as a family like only a family who knows, can.  These days, we are in challenging/laughing mode.  

Our sweet, funny boy with Down Syndrome, has gone through his own tough times.  In his teen years, he has developed behavior that is difficult to manage. It stumps his social and intellectual growth.  It stumps our family’s ability to do things together in and out of the home.  And it stumps me—the Mom with the M.A. in Marriage and Family, the youth worker, the educator of family life.  After the trial and error of contacting “helpful” professionals, we requested the best, oldest (sorry if that offends you young ones), and most experienced behavior specialist. 

Six months later the old male version of “The Nanny” walked into our home.   I will call him Ned. Thankfully, he was not sporting a camera crew, but he interviewed, scrutinized, analyzed, and labeled our every move!  How unpleasant to have all of our parenting and child’s idiosyncrasies listed in a ten page document.  Ned touts his prescribed behavior plan as if it is his religion—the only way, the right way.  He talks down to us if we don’t entirely agree with him.  My husband and I sit open-postured, trying to remain humble as we consider a new view.   Silently, we are struggling with some of his philosophies.  We burst out laughing sometimes when he leaves, yet we are ever so willing and desperate to try his plan. 

Ned trained us, followed behind us and coached us.  He came over for hours of observation. Sometimes Ned gave us a thumb up for his approval or a talk if we needed to respond differently to our child.  At his direction we have role played, high-fived each other, yelled “yea, great job!” louder and more enthusiastically than ever before.  And it has worked wonders!!  In a short amount of time our boy is productive, happier, using more effective communication, and negative behaviors are dwindling away.  But it is not the end.  Our family is in the midst of a grand process.  Together we are struggling and giggling as we work it out.   We can’t afford not to, as long as we desire our children to thrive, and for our boy to live his best life possible.

Have you thought about seeking outside support for your personal or family struggles?  What keeps you from pursuing it?

I’d love to hear how you have benefited from the help of pastors or other professionals in your life.

Bonnie J. Christensen

RX: People Pleasing - A Disease Worth Getting Over

Can you say no without feeling guilty or "bad"? Do you cringe at the first sign of friction? Do you find it extremely hard to stick up for yourself? Are you willing to fail or forfeit in the name of pleasing another? If these answers hit too close to home, then you need to know that the “disease to please” isn’t really about pleasing others, but fending off the fear of rejection. As a people pleaser, you pay too high of a price – a price that isn’t worth it.

Diagnosis of a People-Pleaser
People-pleasing is an extremely unhealthy dependency on approval from others. Anyone suffering from this believes that their worth is based on how others view them to the detriment of ignoring their own needs. People-pleasing can occur at any age but is found more commonly in women.

Causes of People-Pleasing
Child of Alcoholism/Addiction
Child of Abuse
Middle Child
Overly rigid upbringing
Inconsistent/unpredictable family life

Symptoms of a People-Pleaser
Hurt by other’s criticism
Fear of rejection
Compare myself with others
Work hard at being “good”
Make decisions based on appeasing another person
Overly apologize
Try to impress people I see as important
Assume you know what others are thinking about you
Easy to lie, exaggerate, or leave information out if it makes you look better
Rehearse what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it before going into situations
Find yourself stuck when you fear failing at something
Envy others’ success
Afraid others might know how much I need their approval
Your best isn’t good enough
You downplay or ignore your talents

Outcome of People-Pleasing
People-pleasing will lead to a life void of success, love, and purpose.

Treatment for People-Pleasing
1.    Discover what you are really afraid of and ask yourself if pleasing people is going to protect you from that.
2.    Determine to make the right decisions – decisions that are not based on the fear of other people’s reaction.
3.    Don’t set aside your own needs. Learn who you are and how to express what you need from your relationships.
4.    Practice saying “no” and when someone persists, simply ask “Why can’t you respect my ‘no’?” Don’t cave in.
5.    Cultivate your drive & passion to express yourself. Take a chance, explore,& allow yourself to make mistakes.
6.    Give your life direction by establishing priorities. Focus on efforts and activities that have meaning to you.
7.    Choose to love more rather than win love. Find ways to share your love for people and for this world.

“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can 
give you the formula for failure, which is try to please everybody.” 
Herbert Bayard Swope

Christie Lee Rayburn, Mirror Mirror

Who Listens to You? Who do you listen to?

I recently heard a pastor speak on the importance of older Christians’ influence on younger Christians’ lives. Referencing Titus 2: 3-5, he points out that this type of relationship should be a characteristic of Christian community.

So what about you?

If you are older than another woman in your church or community, do you actively look for ways to speak
into a younger woman’s life?

If you are younger than another woman in your church or community, do you willingly listen to the advice of an older woman?

As an individual who fulfills both of these definitions, I feel qualified to say, “Younger women need your help!” and “Older women have so much wisdom to offer!” I am newly married and graduated from college (yes, in that order), so I am in completely uncharted territory. I have also had my fair share of typical life experiences (making new friends, graduating high school, dating, graduating college, navigating relationships with husband, parents, in-laws). It makes so much sense for me to walk through life with women who will experience what I’ve already been through and women who have experienced what I will go through. Yet I think this is a resource we consistently miss out on in a world of Facebook and text-message friendships.

The following are a few handy-dandy tips on becoming and finding a godly influence:

1.    If you want advice, ask. I heard of someone finding a mentor by walking up to her and saying something like “I like your life, and I want to be like you when I grow up. Can we meet so you can tell me how you are the way you are?” At worst, you’ve encouraged someone else even if they said no. At best, you found someone to walk with you through new experiences.

2.    If you want to give advice, ask permission. The teenager in you knows how much you’d cringe at someone who storms into your life and starts telling you what to do. When you ask for permission to speak into someone else’s life, it’s like a mini contract is signed saying she’ll actually use the advice you give. Saves you both a lot of frustration.

3.    Be picky. I think it’s safe to say we’re all pretty busy. That doesn’t give you an excuse to never reach out to another woman. It does give you a reason to intentionally choose who you will spend time with.

Lindsay Hale