Thursday, October 6, 2016

Living a Life of Passion

We have all been entrusted with something.  Maybe for you it's great wealth.  Maybe it's your kids.  Maybe it's your job.  Maybe it's your marriage.  Maybe it's all of the above.  It's important to recognize even the seemingly insignificant responsibilities and remind ourselves it's our job to move those responsibilities further.  You have been entrusted with something, but what are you doing to be entrusted with more?

I remember a time when you would have asked me that very questions and I would have been like, "Uhhhhhh...(blank stare)...ummmm....(more blank staring)....I don't know."  I had not a clue.  I had settled for a day to day routine.  A way of life that benefited my family.  I created a life of selfishness. Me and my family?  We're good.  Everyone else?  Not my responsibility.  That's someone else's mess to clean up.  I've been called to serve my family.  To be a mom.  To be a wife.  To take care of a home.

And that my friends is a big pile of POOP!

All I can say is thank the Good Lord for Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK, great mentors in my life, and having a graceful God who didn't leave me in my fixed mindset.

Living a life of passion is truly the only way to live.  I want you to think of passion like a hunger and thirst.  Think about it.  Hunger and thirst is natural.  It is real.  It is intense.  Have you ever been hangry???  Hunger and thirst can be painful.  It can be a driving force.  And lastly, hunger and thirst is a sign of health.

Passion is the same way.  It is natural.  It is real.  Passion is intense.  It can be painful.  It is a driving force for our actions.  Most importantly, it is a sign of health.

When we forget to live on passion, part of us dies a little.  We stop living up to our full potential.  We stop growing.  We become stagnant.  We succumb to a daily grind.  A mundane life. Yuck!

Here are a few tips on growing in your passion I picked up from the 2016 Global Leadership Summit.

  • Enlarge Your Vision:  Are you focusing on maintaining your everyday life or multiplying it?  Begin to dream again. Write down those dreams and go for it.  Take the risk of failure.  Through failure brings growth.
  • Empower People:  Leadership is all around us.  If you have kids, you're a leader.  If you have friends, you're a leader.  If you're a co-worker, you're a leader.  If you're a spouse, you're a leader.  If you know people, you're a leader.  You simply have to rise up and fulfill your role.  Begin to build others up.  Call out the great aspects of their character or personality.  Love on people the way you want to be loved.
  • Focus On Character: People don't fail for lack of knowledge.  We have information at our fingertips unlike any other generation.  People fail for a lack of character.  Generally, that falls in the arena of self-discipline.  Build upon your ability to discipline yourself.  
  • Embrace Risk: If you are like me, this one make me uncomfortable.  Being an analytical thinker I want to know all outcomes before making a decision.  Instead of viewing risk as an enemy to avoid, I had to change my mindset to risk being a friend to love.  Comfort and safety are even worse.  I have noticed the more I step out in faith (or take a risk), magic happens.  I grow a little and a bit more passion begins to spark.
  • Increase Your Capacity For Pain: If you want to grow, you have to get uncomfortable and increase your capacity for pain. You get a little more vulnerable.  What are you doing to increase your capacity for pain so you can grow?
Honestly, none of these 'helpful' tips are fun.  I'm not sure I know one person who automatically loved risk and pain, but after they developed a passion they were on fire that cause a tidal wave of change in others.  

So my call to action from you is...

You can simply take this info and learn a little, or you can make a decision.  A decision to become a Passionary.  A person who lives the rest of their life with vision and passion.  The best way to live!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Living On Mission: Getting Out of Your Comfortable Life

I can remember the moment so clearly when I missed it.  I missed the calling.  I missed the opportunity.  I failed.

Walking down Magnificent Mile I saw him.  A man so clearly struggling.  In a hospital gown pushing a basic metal frame walker, a dried bloody bandaged foot and a complete hopelessness on his face.

I was called to help this man.  I knew it.  I knew in my spirit I was to do something.  The problem was I didn't know what.  I had no cash and no food establishments were nearby.  I had a moment of my heart beating so fast and nervousness all over, but talked myself out of it.

What am I really supposed to do?  How can I even begin to help him?  I don't have anything to offer.

I walked on by and said nothing about what I had experienced.  Not even to my husband.

Weeks went by and I went back to my comfortable world and thought nothing of the man.  It wasn't until Thanksgiving of 2013 I had another tug.  It was the Holidays and I was dead set on our kids knowing the value of helping others during a time where they receive plenty.

I put out a call to Facebook and asked people to help me find organizations or activities where we could serve as a family.  We had a good list going.  Blessing the trash workers, postal workers, helping a neighbor with yard work, cards for kids in the hospital, making a meal for families at the Ronald McDonald House and a homeless outreach.  All of activities were in my comfort zone, but one.  The homeless outreach.  Yeah, we're just gonna move that one on down the list. Cooking for people.  I can do that.  Serving those who make me uncomfortable.  Nope.

That was my plan. To put off the homeless outreach until and maybe we wouldn't have time to get to it.  Funny thing about my plans.  I shared the list with the kids and they picked the homeless outreach.

I could go on and on about what that day of serving did for us.  It was a beautiful, messy moment that shook my beliefs on the homeless and poor.  What I knew of my community and the struggles I thought I knew was NOTHING.  Instead, people wanted (and needed) what we had as far as physical donations, but what they truly longed for was acknowledgement.

It was then I realized maybe my moment on Magnificent Mile was just to stop the man in the hospital gown and have a conversation.  To let him know 'I see you'.  You are of value.  You are not the scum of the streets.  You are not a sum of your mistakes.  You are a living, breathing, beautiful person who is loved by the one, true God.

As my church prepares for an complete city wide outreach, it reminds me where we began as a family.  Stepping out of complete comfort to love on people.  I invite you to join us for #Loveday16 in Tulsa, OK.

I want you to know that YOU have something to offer people.  No matter how small or insignificant you think your gifts and talents are, they will be used and for a good purpose.  This is a pretty good video of what one small step can do for you and others.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Joy Filled Life: A Lesson On Body Image

Summer is my favorite time of year because it offers freedom. Sweet freedom.  Lazy summer mornings of not rushing kids every which way. Slower, or non-existent, activity schedule and less clothing.

Wait, what?

Okay, so there's one thing I don't like about summer.  Less clothing.  At least on me.  Less clothing on kids...LOVE (means less laundry).  However, less clothing on me means it's that much harder to hide the flaws.  The spider veins, the cellulite, the whiteness, the loose skin, the non-existent 'I've nursed 4 babies' boobs and the baby leftovers.  I found myself feeling inadequate in lots of areas of my body image. Some things I can change by being more focused on my diet and working out.  Some things I could change surgically.  Some things I could simply hide.


Or, I could accept.

Dang it.  Acceptance is touchy subject.  I often feel when I accept something I am saying acceptance to justify,  or because I feel defeated.  But what if I flipped that to say acceptance as responsibility?

I am where I am.  I can do something about it, but I refuse to let my life center around my flaws any longer.

I thought about this quite a bit today after my bestie snapped a pic of me and I immediately said, "Don't you dare post that!"  I knew my baby leftovers were lapping over my swimsuit.  It was not going to be a pretty sight, and not something I wanted to blast on social media.

You know what's wrong with that?  I made the whole situation about me.  My thoughts. My insecurities.  My shortcomings.  It was selfish.

My kids were having a blast playing at the pool.  We were completely enjoying summer and the last thing I should have been worried about was what I looked like.  But, really my thoughts were more like, Oh, HECK NO!  I want to only show what looks good.  Selfish.

So what better way to correct my selfishness by sharing my 'ashamed pic'.  I wish I had a big flashing arrow right to the point that bothers me the most, but a nice zoom in will do ;)

I realize for others, this is probably not a big deal.  We women certainly like to compare, but for me, I measure myself up to my old self.  My pre-Stevie self.  I measure myself up to this...

Can we take a moment of silence for those ABS!?!?! Now, if I took hours each week focusing on my workouts (which I do need to do), then I can get that back, but guess what?  There will always be things I don't like about my body image.  The only way to combat destructive self images are to remind myself of who I am in Christ.

Sounds so cliche, but truth.  I am fully capable of serving others and living out a calling whether I have the Dunlap Disease or not.  You know, the disease where your stomach 'done lapped' over your belt thus resulting in Dunlap Disease.  My joy should not be wrapped up in my appearance or lack of appearance.  My joy should be present no matter what the circumstance.  Even in the darkest times. Even in the joyous times. Even in my own noticeable shortcomings. Even in my own successes.

Joy.  A joy filled life. That's what I want.

Instead of focusing on whether or not baby leftovers are hanging out, I will capture those selfish, destructive thoughts and move towards focusing on Philippians 4:8.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-think about such things.

Aligning my thoughts correctly.  I am no where near perfect, but I will continue to work on getting better.

If you are interested in rewiring how you think The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry is a great start.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Balance and Presence and All That Stuff

I like to juggle.  Who am I kidding?  I suck at juggling.  I don't like to juggle.  The thought of it sounds cool, but the balls start flying and I get all anxious.  Anxious about the WHAT IF! 

What if I drop a ball?

What if I drop all the balls?

What if someone sees me drop the balls?

What if they laugh?

What if...what if...what if...

This, in theory sounds crazy.  Stressing out about juggling balls, but in real life  this is REAL.  I wear a lot of different hats, and if you are like 99.99999% of the American population, you wear a lot of hats too.  Case in point, it's 8:00am and I have already been a workout partner, a friend, a cook, a hair stylist, a tutor, a butt wiper, you get the point.  A lot of stuff has happened in the 3 short hours I have been awake. No doubt, there's a lot of other stuff that I still have to do, and will forget to do.  It's inevitable.

When the overwhelming feeling of all the jobs, all the chores, all the things I need to get done well up in my anxious self, I have to STOP.  Easier said than done.  Really.  I have to not only stop, but tell myself to stop, then follow my own directions and prioritize. 

Almost always I find myself in an anxious mode when I let life run it's course in my head.  I get distracted.  I forget what I'm doing.  I start something else. Get distracted. Forget what I'm doing again.  Pick up something else. Get distracted. Then BAM!!!  It's bedtime and I have all these half done jobs and nothing gets checked off my mental list.

There's my problem number one.  I keep a mental list instead of an actual tangible list where I can cross things off.  Problem #2?  I forget to be present in what I'm doing.

Presence is the very key for me living a balanced life.  I feel anxious when I let my thoughts and to-dos run wild in my head, instead of focusing and being present. Over the last two years, I remind myself often to be present in my activities.  In the time with my kids.  In the time I spend working.  In the time I spend being a friend.  In the time I spend with God.  In the time I spend at church.  In the time I spend being a wife.  Sounds super great, right? Uhhhh...notice I said I have spent TWO years working on this!  I am a multi-tasker by nature so the art of being present is something I work on DAILY.  Funny thing is, when I practice being present, I am not anxious.  I get WAY more done, and my family is happier. 

So today, I'm practicing presence...again. Something tells me I will be working on this tomorrow too.

And, because I work on a better me for these guys (and I like to show off my kids and nephews like trophies) you get a pic of the Torres Kids!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Attitude of Gratitude

Yesterday I had a leadership meeting with my business to map out our plan for the remaining 4 months of the year.  Before we began, we took a moment to focus on the art of being grateful.

When you really think about it, how often are we truly grateful?

Reality check!!!!  Not often enough for me.

Case in point...

We have 6 living humans in this household.  The laundry is unreal.  UNREAL I tell you!!!  Too many people in too many activities wearing too many clothes.  It adds up so fast.  And to be really honest, it drives me batty.  Laundry and dishes...don't even get me started on the dishes...

I digress.

We leave tomorrow for a little weekend trip.  Super fun, right?  YES!  Totally looking forward to it.  However, the laundry needs to be done.  So does grocery shopping.  So does house cleaning.  So does feeding kids. So does work. It goes on and on and on.  I walked into my bedroom and was instantly frustrated with the laundry staring back at me.

I kid you not, it said, " won't fold us.  There's too much of us and only one of you."

Okay, so that didn't really happen, but it felt like it.  Seriously.  I felt defeated by laundry, and chores, and groceries, and kids.  Hello, basket case!

Stop.  I had to stop.  Stop and think about what all these little things truly meant.

I have clean clothes.  Which means I have running water and electricity in my own home.  That we own.  I have money to buy soap to wash the clothes.  Our family has many options of clothes to wear.  For every season.  The stains on the clothes are the evidence of the very freedoms we have.  Freedom to eat out.  Freedom to play sports. Which means we have a means to pay for food and activities.  The list goes on and on and on.

When you start to put it that way, life doesn't seem to defeat me as much.  The attitude of gratitude immediately turns my frame of reference towards a place of victory.  So there, Pile 'O Laundry!  I will fold you and you will like it.

Then my kids will put you away!

Monday, September 14, 2015

When Good is Good, But Great Is Better

TMI Alert...

I LOVE nursing!  I love the closeness, the cuddles, the baby breaths on my skin...I LOVE IT!!!

I HATE the breastpump.  The boob squeezing, tube sucking, devil machine.  It is awful.

Anytime I can avoid using the pump, I will.

Nursing is good.  Breastpump...ehhhhhhh.

All this glorious information is pertinent, I promise.

Yesterday my bestie and I scheduled a morning run, but the littliest Torres wasn't up just yet.  I would have rather nursed her, yet I decided to pump so I could run.  As I was getting ready to lace up my shoes, I heard her playing in the room.

Dang IT!!!  I could have saved myself a pumping session!!!

As I poured the milk into the bottle for Steven so he could feed her, Little Miss got all jumpy and said, "Mama, can I please feed her?!?!?"

She got her wish...

My plan of wanting to nurse the littlest Torres was good, but laying that down gave me the opportunity to see that good is good, but great was better.  I got to go run and Little Miss got to feed her sister for some bonding time.

This is true in almost every aspect of life.  Often times we buy into the lie that what we have is good, so looking for great is wrong.  NO!  Looking for great is what we are called to do.

Let me clarify one thing here.  If you're reading this and think, "My spouse is good, but I need great,"  STOP. RIGHT. THERE.  Your spouse is great.  Maybe you haven't helped uncover the greatness in them.  So, more than likely, the problem is you and YOU should lay down your good and become great for YOUR spouse.

But, since we aren't talking about that, I'm moving on.  I had to make that one little thing clear.

I can give you countless example after example of how this has proved true in our families' lives.  Jobs, children, church, school...all these things we have experienced good.  Then something was laid down before us.  We almost stepped over it because, after all, what we have is good.  Why would we trade it in for something else?  What if the new isn't as good as the old?  What if we weren't supposed to pick up the new in the first place?  What if...what if...what if...

We let fear take over.  Fear paralyzes us from living out our true calling or potential.  Pick up the dang thing!  Let yourself see that good is good, but great is better.  You can have great.  There is nothing wrong with saying, "What I have right now is good.  In fact, I love it.  BUT, what I'm picking up will take me to a place in life I could have never imagined."

Don't walk in fear today, or tomorrow for that matter.  Walk through whatever you need to, but let fear fall to wayside on the way.  Greater is He who is in you than who is in the world (1 John 4:4).  You have already won.  Just walk it out.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Willingness To Be Misunderstood

Have you ever put yourself out there only to find out you were misunderstood?  Yeah, me neither.

I kid.  I put myself out there a lot, and I'm okay with being misunderstood.  A few years ago?  Never.  I would have really cared about what people thought of my motives instead of focusing on the true nature of my motives.

That's the thing with living outside of your comfort zone.  People often misunderstand your heart and your intentions.  It happens to us all.  The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more opportunities you have to be misunderstood. 

I've found this to be true time and time again.  Running my own organization through Arbonne offers lots of moments where I am misunderstood. I'm okay with this. I'm okay with knowing, and outsiders not knowing, the beautiful stories of people who I have partnered with as they worked on better health, better skin, or better finances.  They know my heart.   As for others who see a skewed view of who I am or what I do, it's okay!  The truth will always be made light.  It is the same for you.

We can walk through life and try to prove who we are to the world.  That's not needed, and often times we are trying so hard to prove who we are, we unintentionally lose sight of ourselves and our passions.  The truth is we have already been proved through Christ.  We have a list of all the things God says we are...friends, heirs, wonderfully made, conquerors, and many more.  All the more reasons why we need to protect our hearts, live with good intentions, shine a light for Him, and have the willingness to be misunderstood.  And, might I add the willingness to be misunderstood without putting up a fight.

Now, if you really want to know about what I do and how I came to be apart of Arbonne, I really encourage you to listen to my story tonight at 8:30pm CST via a conference call.  The flyer below has the dial in number, and reference number you will be prompted to enter.  Then you just listen.  

Whether you are curious of how one builds an organization or what Arbonne is, this is a time to discover the answers.  It's also a time where you can be completely nosy and nobody knows!!!  Like a fly on the wall.

(screen shot the info for faster reference)