Monday, June 29, 2009

You need to know that know that you know...

Bishop Jack Wallace used to say that statement every Sunday.."you need to know that you know that you know"....There are somethings that you may be unsure about..but somethings you need to know and be steadfast on.
Influence is a VERY powerful thing. Its power can change the mind of Kings. Its persuasion can alter courses and cause billion dollar mergers. Influence can also cause you to question what you know, even when you know that you know it. THAT alone makes it a very powerful to be handled with character and responsibility.

A few months back I asked my husband ahead of time to pick up my daughter from the camp dropoff point in a few days because I had to pick up our goddaughter from school at the same time that day and they were on opposite ends of the city. I proceeded to tell him where it was and he began to debate with me profusely that it wasn't there...he continued stating that it was on the corner of this street and he would be happy to get her. I told him no, its here and I need you to be there at 5:00. He again continued to debate with me as to where it was and he then went on to tell me how his brother use to go there so he knew exactly where it was. This went on until I was totally frustrated-so I just stopped the debate. It made me wanna holler, throw up both my

A day or two went by and all the while I begin to question inwardly what I KNEW that I KNEW. I had been dropping off and picking up my kids from this location for about 15 years. But maybe it is where he says it is? Maybe I didn't notice the street signs? Maybe the location changed? I had just dropped off my daughter a few days ago...why in Jesus name am I beginning to question myself and believe him? Influence. Because he is my husband, I'd like to think that he has wisdom in some areas that I may not (and vice versa). I'd also like to think that he is smart and knows things that I may not (and Vice Versa)..and since I TRUST him and value what he thinks and says...I begin to alter my thinking to line up with what he is thinking. That's the power of influence.

By Thursday I had to catch myself-.....sorta went like ...wait one dog gone minute...I am not stupid....absentminded, forgetful or trivial. I know this pick up point. I know where I left my child. I know like I know my name where she is supposed to be picked up from. Why am I allowing someone to tell me otherwise. I do not care what he thinks he may know-but on THIS-I know that I know that I know. I didn't remind him to pick her up. I left work early and jetted across town like a mad woman but I picked up my goddaughter on time and I picked up my daughter. She was right where she was supposed to be...and for whatever reason I breathed a sigh of relief-like maybe she wouldnt be there and I had lost my mind.

So my husband-God love em' -was wrong. I don't believe that he was intentionally trying to mislead me, he just didn't know and since my perspective on that matter is not an INFLUENCE for him he stood on what he believed to be true. Wrong or not. Since what he says was INFLUENTIAL to me..I begin to waver on what I knew to be true...just because it was from him. I never even mentioned this again to my husband. To him it probably really wasn't a big deal. But to me-wow- it taught me an extremely valuable lesson.

Influence is powerful in marriage, in parenting, at work, in church, in relationships...and in life. Be mindful that you have people that you influence just based on who you are to them. Sometimes we are right and our influence wields a great return for us and for others. But sometimes we are wrong and if we are not humble enough to see our error and go back and share with those we influence-they could be headed to the wrong pick up point and miss their blessing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Boot Camp..On Purpose

Well, one of John's major desires has been for us to work out at the gym together. We hadn't been able to manage that much since we have been married...His gym (powerhouse) was too "guysweatyish" for me..and my gym (Bally's) was kinda "fu-fu" to him. So, we did guest passes every now and then but never consistantly.

We enrolled in a Fitness Boot Camp at Better Life Fitness three times a week from 5:45 until 6:30 PM. It surprisingly has been fun working out with him there. He is a great encourager and he watches to be sure that I don't hurt myself and that I do things correctly. The boot camp is TOUGH. We do weights, circuit training, boxing, crunches and more. They teach us how to eat correctly and they really push you to do your personal best. (

I have to say I have already seen a major difference in my ability to do a little more each time. I also know that I do work harder /better in a group setting versus alone. Is is the competition? Is it not wanting to let your trainers down, Is it seeing the others in the group and being encouraged by their persistence? Everyone there is single focused and ON PURPOSE with getting fit, loosing weight and having fun.

Whatever the reason...many of us are like that in many areas of life. We need trainers, coaches, siblings, parents, friends and just people along side of you sweating, aching and striving just like you. Seeing others achieve a mutual goal pushes you to go after it harder. Where do you find "like" minded people in specific areas? Where do you seek out mentors that truly have your best interest at heart? How do you "edit" your circle so that everyone around you is on purpose? It starts with prayer and really looking at the lives of those around you. Are you mindlessly following someone you don't want to emulate in ANY way? Ms Brenda (the trainer) is a former bodybuilder and it SHOWS. She looks like a fitness mag model. Now, although I don't quite want to look that ripped, it would be foolish of me to train with a woman who was 450lbs and couldn't lift a weight. Brenda has shown outwardly and inwardly that her expertise in this area is to be respected. Now, would I go to Brenda about advice for my children...nope. Why? She doesn't have any lol (her dogs don't count)?

I supposed I said all of that to say that in the gym I believe that we pull from each others encouragement, strengths, weaknesses and triumphs. We are all there for a reason and we sweat, grunt and do whatever it takes to get through that goal. Just make sure that in your life you have some ON PURPOSE people, ready to sweat and do whatever it takes to reach their goals and encourage you to reach yours. Also, make sure your "trainer" has been where you trying to go...and if you are blessed to have a spouse there is nothing like sweatin' something through with them by your side.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Good To Great

There are many stepfamilies in our circle. We know them from school, work, church and even in our individual extended families. We are good families. We navigate through the land mines of step hood with the grace of a ballerina. Things blow up, but they don't destroy us. We are good. But how do you go from Good to Great? How do you go to the next level, where things aren't just maintaining, but thriving and moving and growing...

We are studying the book "Good to Great" in my professional circles and I have learned that some of the same principles that apply to moving businesses in this direction can apply to the complex "business" of stepfamilies.

One of the methodologies they cover is the Level 5 Leadership concept. Level 5 leaders (in our case John and I) have to be humble on a personal level but possess a great drive and desire to succeed. The success is not viewed as personal(he and I ), but corporate (family). Level 5 leaders are not "rock star" or celebrity leaders, whereas the boat will fall apart after they are off the scene. They empower others to lead and to grow. They are diligent and hardworking and lead by example by being in the trenches rather than barking from the balcony. I am seeing the importance of this now as my children are living on their own. They haven't fallen apart because they aren't with me. They are thriving. They are doing what I taught and trained them to do.

Another important concept is to "confront the brutal facts, yet remain in faith. " GREAT companies (families) have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of their current reality, whatever they might be, yet maintain unwavering faith that they can and will prevail in the end regardless of difficulties. So, if you have a child that is slothful or talks back to much, don't ignore it, act like it will change on its own or they'll "grow out of it". Instead, deal with it head on. Discipline, show, teach, and structure remaining positive that with work they will develop the character that you are trying to grow in them.

The last one that I'll mention is The hedgehog concept. You need to identify three things to make a transition from good to GREAT.

1. What are we deeply passionate about? God, Family, People and relationships

2. What can we be the best in the world at? Drama, Performing Arts, Writing, Art, Dance

3. What drives our economic engine (what can make money)? Diligence, administration, unique talents, unique makeup

I did this with the Superfamily, before really knowing what it was. I begin to "market" us if you will. We were not just the Jamersons, or just the Andersons or the Stephens'. We are a new entity alltogether- The Superfamily which is comprised of many parts. We are gifted in performing, cultural, musical and dramatic arts. So, I begin nuturing creativity by developing a newsletter, buying instruments, going to auditions, and seeking opportunities for us to shine as a SUPERFAMILY. As a result, we have been interviewed by people in NYC and as far as Austria. We have this blog. We take a yearly trip inviting extended family and friends to go with us. That's just collectively-individually we have people studying ministry, ballet, communications, engineering, equestrian, vocal music, instrumental and theater.

Please know John and I have to refocus often. What are we about? Who are we about? Then, we kindly delete the rest. Its easy to get sidetracked from each other, family, our vision and your goals if you lose sight of what they are. You will allow the silliest things to get in the way. Just this past week, I was talking to two ladies and I made a comment about my family that drew the most stanky look from one of them as she glanced knowlingly at the other one. I know where it comes from-they have a difference in view and that's ok. But I let it bother me for awhile, before I started to look at what I'm about, refocused and let it go. I finally determined that they have bigger problems if at their age they aren't ladylike enough to use more discretion and courtesy when in disagreement. So, I could effectively delete that whole issue and moved on.

So, anyway- everyday we are growing, deleting and developing and gaining momentum. But its a PROCESS, not a date on a calendar. I know people may think I am over the top and unorthodox. Good. Most people that are just Good are pretty status quo, normal and fall in line with whatever the comfortable thing is. That is not our goal-our goal is GREAT.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Should I have just stayed home?

I am sure that you know that pressing through regardless of circumstances can really pay off in the long run. Sometimes it is simpler to give up, go home, stop or let something alone than it is to work through it and press on to (as the old folks say) "see what the end is gonna be".

This past weekend I had my 4 year old godgrandaughter over to spend the weekend with me while her mom was out of town. I had the weekend all planned, starting with a trip to Lansing to a women's workshop. We were up, dressed and packing the car when all of a sudden I was out of time..and it was already 15 minutes later than I wanted to leave. I thought as I ran around the house-skip it, I can just put her back to bed and plan something else, but I pushed that aside. So with the portable dvd playing doodlebops and the baby strapped in, coffee in the holder.. 15 minutes later we trudge out. Of course I have to stop at the gas station, because I told myself the night before to do it and I was too tired (equals=lazy) to do it then. So, now I am running late, but since I give myself a good travel cushion I can still make it in time for the workshop-I just may miss getting breakfast. This was the 2nd time I thought-oh forget it..I am just going back home". But I was organized enough to have something for the baby to eat and I had cut up fresh fruit and had a water for press on, we're good..and on the freeway.

An hour into the drive I start looking at my directions again because we should be close. I look at the exit sign and note that according to the numbers I am only two exits away. I look at the clock and I am impressed. We got up there in great time and I now am excited that we are almost there.
THUMP THUMP THUMP...the car begins to wobble and shake..I know that feeling. I have had it before. Its a flat tire. So, I am on 96 Freeway in a skirt with a four year old, a flat tire and 10 minutes to spare to get to ther workshop on time. My first frustrated instinct was to well....cry. I am sure most of you would have said pray and I ain't mad at cha..but I didn't start there. I didn't cry but I pulled the car over safely and just sat for a minute to collect myself. I thought (almost audibly) WHY didn't I stay home?

So then, I did pray, asking God what to do next. My husband is almost 80 miles away and at that very moment probably singing on the platform at church . My brothers, brother in law, sons and dad are even further. So I hear almost instinctly-Change the tire-now. Duh, talk about supernatural revelation. First, I text my husband so he would know what going on (he won't read it until way later), 2nd I change the movie for the baby and get her something to snack on and drink. Then, I go to the trunk to find the tire (ok that took a minute, I had to get the book and everything). So, in my light khaki colored skirt, I crawl under the car to get the tire and then lift it to the front of the car and start working with the jack when out of nowhere another car pulls up. This awesome couple jumps out and helps me put the donut tire on and then follows me to the gas station so I can get air. They said they thought I was ok until they saw the extra tire in the front of the van. The flat was on the side away from view of the freeway (so, if I hadn't got that tire out when I did-they may have kept driving-when God says move-move)
Although, I was excited and grateful to have the tire on I was so frustrated. My skirt was dirty, my makeup smeared and I was just exhausted by the adrenalin of it all. So, for the third time I thought-I am just going to put the air in this and go home. I can only drive so fast on this tire and its gonna take me forever. The workshop started an hour ago. By now I had talked to my husband who told me to call him back when I was on the road and then every so often to let him know where I was. I told him I was going to find a nearby restuarant, feed the baby, let her walk around a bit, and use the bathroom before I head back, since it would be a long slow trip.

But instead....I thought I came here to go to the workshop and I am going. If its over I will buy the CD, get the notes and THEN go home. But I came for a purpose and skip it I wasn't leaving until I got what I came for. Then I called the church..and that's another long awesome story...but anyway.
I get to the church. I am sure I looked a mess. I walked in the door and I cannot tell you how tangible the peace of God was there. The lady in reception was so pleasant and asked my name and as soon as I started into my story I heard the conference host take the podium. She had JUST started speaking. The assistants were like you didn't miss it..come on we'll get the baby in child care just in time for the puppet show and they will feed her breakfast in the room. Within 6 minutes of walking in the door, the baby was situated, I was in a seat bible open and pen out. AMAZING.
The workshop was incredible. I will my 7 pages of notes in a separate post. But its main theme was about attitude. My attitude this weekend was TESTED. I could have flown off the handle, mad at me, mad at my husband, mad at the world, but staying focused on the goal and keeping my emotions, attitude and demeanor in check paid off.

I got home in good time. The ride home was peaceful. The baby slept, I had the windows down enjoying the quiet....and thinking of all the things I learned at the conference and BEFORE the conference.