Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Dare You To Change - Last Stop on the Blog Tour

I am so excited and honored to be the Last Stop on the Blog Tour for the book, I Dare You To Change by Bil Cornelius, Pastor of Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi, TX. I came across this blog tour through my friends, Alisa Wagner and Christina Ketchum (twin sisters), who are amazing women of God and who have been so inspirational to me. I have never met either of them in person - Christina redesigned my personal blog almost 2 years ago now, and then also designed my entire website for My Smart Hands - Phoenix, my baby sign language company. And then, I started reading her sister Alisa's work on Several months ago, the blog tour for I Dare You To Change was announced, and I was able to be one of the participating blogs!

Our local church that my family attends, Paradise Valley Community Church, has been stirring up change for the past couple of years. Last year, their main theme was "Metamorphosis", which means transformation. This year, it is "Catalyst", which is an agent of change. So, a life change has been brewing just below the surface for me, and "I Dare You to Change" made me take the practical steps to finding answers to the questions like "What areas of my life are causing me pain?", "What will happen if those areas don't change?", and "What will happen if those areas DO change?". And those were questions from just the FIRST chapter!

I kept a journal, just like Pastor Bil recommends, and it was a very eye-opening experience, to go back chapter after chapter and see the progress I was making at discovering what my dreams are, and what the practical steps are to being able to see those dreams become a reality.

As I began defining those dreams, and sharing them with my husband, he was surprisingly on board! I mean, all of these plans involve taking risks - and my husband's job has been shaky over the past couple of years. So, for him to be on board, even in those circumstances, really confirmed to me that God is the author of these plans, and not just something I'm trying to push through on my own.

I've been able to clearly define the things that I am passionate about, and in short, they are:

1. Being able to participate more in my children's everyday lives

2. Being a wife that demonstrates the qualities in Proverbs 31:10-31

3. Making a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children, as well as the lives of children with special needs

4. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family

5. Pursuing a business opportunity that benefits families and local communities

With those clearly defined goals, I will now be able to clear out a lot of the clutter that tries to take up the limited time that I have. When I was a Mary Kay consultant, I listened to the CD of National Sales Director, Pamela Shaw, and she made a simple statement, but it is so true, "Time spent in one area, is time away in another area." Pastor Bil encourages us in his book to filter out the things that do not align with our goals. It's much easier to say "No" to something good when you have a clear direction of where you are headed. There will be things in your life that seem like it would be good to do them, but if they aren't getting you closer to your goals, you may have to put them aside, even if just for a season.

I'll wrap this up by saying, Change is really have to want it, and be ready for it, and pursue it with all you have. You're going to stumble - anything worth doing is going to be challenging. If you have been doing something a certain way for a long time - such as having the tendency to argue with your husband just so you can be "right" (who me?) - reading Proverbs 31 one time, isn't going to all of a sudden cure you from doing that. It's the continous effort made day in and day out that will achieve the final result.

If you've been feeling that there are areas of your life that you want to change, but you just aren't sure where to start, or what steps you should take, I encourage you to walk through Pastor Bil's I Dare You to Change. Keep the journal, please don't skip that part. Go back and re-read the book a second time (that's what I'll be doing). And if you fall, get back up.

This book has been tremendously helpful for me, and you have a chance to win a FREE copy! Just post a comment here on my blog to be entered, the deadline is Midnight on Sunday, 02/06/2011. The winner will be randomly selected, and multiple comments by the same person will count as one entry.

Here are some links to more information about "I Dare You to Change" by Bil Cornelius.

I Dare You To Change Website
Sample Chapter
Book Trailer Link

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I learned to "Corner"

So, if you've ever been a beginner on a dirtbike, you're like "OK, going straight is cool...I can do do I turn around?" When I made my very first turn almost 2 years ago, I fell off the bike. I didn't know when to clutch, use the throttle, brake...anything. So, in making the turn, I gave it some gas...too much all squirrely and threw myself over the handlebars. Thud. Ouch.
What I started doing was making extremely WIDE turns, holding my clutch in the whole time, so as not to even consider applying power to the back wheel as I entered my turn - lest I be thrown off the bike again.
Well, this week I learned how to corner. I had been sick ALL weekend long, and stayed home from work on Monday. All 5 of the kids were also home, and so was hubby. At about 3pm, he was like "We can not keep these kids inside any longer" and loaded up the small dirtbike (mine) and the kids' quad. I popped some Dayquil and off we went.
At first I was just taking the kids around on the quad, and Aaron said "Get on your bike". So, reluctantly I did - but took it pretty slow riding in a really open area, where I could continue to make my previously described extra-wide turns. I started to feel a little more comfortable in the straights, so I picked up my speed, but then slowed it WAY down when it was time to turn around.
In the desert where we ride, a lot of people make their own 'mini' tracks - and in the area where we parked was one of those - a pretty simple loop, but with much narrower turns than I would ever want to attempt. Aaron said "Let's learn how to corner." Me: "I don't want to." Pout. "C'mon". "No, I'm going to fall." More pouting.
The corner closest to our car had a berm - meaning you are supposed to turn.on.a.hill. Ummm yeah. So, he started marking stuff on the berm with his foot - "You want to start slowing down here, stick your foot out here, then get on your gas here..." Riiiiiiight. But, I decided to give it a try. I looked like a little kid trying to ride a bike with no training wheels for the first time - with both of my legs sticking out all weird and my arms shaking on the handlebars. I didn't go anywhere near the top of the berm - I wanted to stay on flat ground. My first turn was bad.
But as I kept coming around, I started to feel more comfortable in the positioning of the bike. I was confident in the straights, picking up my speed - then slowing WAY down as the turn was approaching - but I found my "line" and each time made it a little bit further up the berm, and made it out of the corner a little bit faster each time. Dare I say...this
I kept going round and round that little loop track - and pretty soon I was going 'fast' (for me) through the corners. I got a little too confident at one point though, came out of the corner too fast, hit a bump and there I went again...over the handlebars. But I laughed! Aaron was proud, I was proud, it was a fun day. But boy am I sore.