Monthly Archives: December 2016

Measuring Success

Growing up as the granddaughter of a well known small town  farmer, I often heard the phrase, “Oh, your Rayford’s youngest grandbaby, so nice to meet you”- The introductions often followed with a story about how Grandpa helped Mr. Davis down the street fix his tractor or paying someone’s meal at Finn & Feather’s(the only restaurant in town) or giving a days work in exchange for a crate of cabbage and ‘maters to a family who fell on hard times. He was a kind, gentle yet hard working man of deep Faith.

As my brother and I grew older, we would hear him often say, “The Lord helps me breathe easier- Your Grandma helps me breathe easier-The men who fight for our country, help me breathe easier- The food we grow out there( as he peers out the window) helps me breathe easier.”

This is how he chose to  live his life… helping one person at a time breathe easier.

It wasn’t until he passed away at the age of 94, did I truly come to fully understand his measure of success.

My grandmother handed me a cutout of his obituary from the newspaper -which until that day &  unknown to any of us -included his favorite poem. She asked me to read it at his memorial service. Since that day, these are the tracks I have aspired to leave and man have I fallen flat on my face a time or two on this journey.

I thank him still for helping me breathe easier and understanding that real measures of success come when we truly come to show and value the relationship before any transaction.


Would love to hear  where  you  have met with success in 2016?

Wishing all of you, a Happy New Year!

Paying Tribute

Since the news and  social media have taken the time in honoring celebrities who’ve died this year, I think it certainly warrants paying tribute to those who leaned in, served our country honorably in the United States Armed Forces and also passed away in 2016. 

May God Bless them all. 
🇺🇸Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock

🇺🇸Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin

🇺🇸Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Cooper

🇺🇸Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen

🇺🇸Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe

🇺🇸Staff Sgt. James Moriarty

🇺🇸Capt. Andrew Byers

🇺🇸Sgt. 1st. Class Ryan Gloyer

🇺🇸Staff Sgt. Adam Thomas

🇺🇸1st Lt. Jeffrey Cooper

🇺🇸Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson

🇺🇸Staff Sgt. Christopher Wilbur

🇺🇸Lt. Col Flando Jackson

🇺🇸1st Lt. Anais Tobar

🇺🇸Gunneris Mate Seaman Connor McQuagge

🇺🇸1st Lt. David Bauders

🇺🇸1st Class Charles Keating

🇺🇸Lt. James Lions

*this is not a complete list

In the Arena Spotlight

Always great to read, learn and share among our blogging community. Here are a few that are definitely worth checking out.  Have a great day!


MakeItUltraHow to Let Go of the Past


Once Upon a Hot FlashOur Daily Grateful Post


Dream Big, Dream OftenA Different Spin on a Common Self Help Idea- Great takeaways from Danny’s vlogs.


Victo Dolore- Behind the White CoatThe Day I Stopped Singing


The Bag LadyTough Questions


Finding a quiet spot,  along the river, I take a deep breath in, holding it and slowly exhaling.  

With my pen and journal book in hand, my task is to reflect on my year. Did I do all I can to be present, loving and  supportive of my children? Did I meet the goals  set to help move me towards my dream?  Did I step In the Arena to serve others in the area that aligns with my purpose? Did I do all that I can to be healthy in mind, body and soul?

I put pen to paper acknowledging what I did well, and the areas where I dropped the ball.

Being that I am alone in my reflection, I smile gently and pen that I have made a more concerted effort in spending quality time with my beautiful children- yet  own up to where I can do better particularly with actively listening to them.


Life can be messy and the craziness of our days and nights can certainly wear us down. My kids and I have learned to manage our time more effectively this year and even more importantly, learned to laugh at ourselves in the midst of crazy schedules and mishaps.

At least we learned dogs don’t mind eating Cheerios for breakfast!


I have kept my eyes open and have remained on course with reaching my dreams. Are you sacrificing your dreams?  I encourage everyone to always keep this in the forefront of your mind-as it can be a driving force that keeps you going on the daily. Even if all that you can take right now is baby steps towards these dreams keep moving forward.

While I continue to serve my two torches- I took a slight slip not in the Why I do it (which is to build trusting relationships, create deep connections & empower children and veterans) but rather in the How.  I truly believe that everyone has a purpose to serve while on God’s good earth.


 I allowed myself to fall into thinking and believing I wasn’t serving on a big enough scale and with that mindset began to believe I wasn’t making a difference at all; that somehow I wasn’t ‘leading’ as I should be or could be. Tony Robbins has been widely successful in the self help industry and by all accounts, has helped countless people in changing their lives for the better.  The large stage and mic works for him. I also see every day amazing people who are changing the world one selfless act at a time, quietly without social media or any fanfare. Everyone is different  in How we choose to serve our purpose.  As a teacher and active in community outreach, it is so important for me to create trusting relationships with the people I serve so that they know I am in their corner always and that they are not alone in the fight.

Perhaps the greatest challenge and changes in my life this year were taking care of me.  I bet some of you can relate to this. We get so caught up in the daily grind and taking care of others that we often put our own physical, mental and emotional health on the back burner.  Yep, us Moms are really good at this(Insert sarcasm)!  When I reflect on what is the most important part of my life- my children, I know I can’t be all they need me to be unless I am strong and healthy. Chiari is a lifelong battle for the kids and I however it is one that has not and will not knock us down for long.

Getting our bodies up and moving each day increases our happy chemicals in our body which of course improves our moods, and reduces aches and pains.happy-chemicals

I wouldn’t recommend forking over a bunch of cash for a gym membership if you’re not the gym type. Find a regimen that you enjoy and you will commit to each and every day. And as Danny over at Dream Big, Dream Often always reminds us- “stay away from that pie.”

For me, it entails getting up at 5:00 each morn, spending a few minutes focusing on deep breathing, stretching, resistance training and daily reading with breakfast. After work, it involves yoga, resistance training, taking my Lab for walks or a light jog.

I love being among nature as much as possible and enjoy taking long walks or bike rides on our many nature trails.


With new writings in my journal, I now have clarity and direction for the coming year.  The last thing I pen is what matters most… to forgive;  myself and others. We are bound to falter even with the best of intentions- Always get up, keep a sense of humor and  be kind to others.

Wishing all of you a joyous New Year!

See you on the mountain.




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