Let the New Year Begin!


Since we’re all about taking life forward, we’re ready to embrace the New Year, right?DSC_0033

I’ve posted mostly about our emotional and spiritual well-being, but something I read recently grabbed my attention, and I wanted to share it.

The article was in AARP magazine.

I know, the magazine for old folks. Don’t freak out. The information is great and appropriate for most ages. (You wish you were over 50!)

What I loved was that the article, Younger Next Year, adapted from the book by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D., with the same title, gave us great insight on how to live well.

It’s taking life forward physically.

Even if you haven’t crossed the 50 year line, starting now will put you in an even better place then. Following this team’s guidelines has helped millions and can help you too. They have 7 rules to stop aging that include exercise-both cardio and strength, living within your means, eating fresh food, and being committed and caring with others.

Clearly their plan also includes ideas to nurture your emotional life too which benefits us physically. None of us know when our time is up, but we can live the time we have to the fullest. Jesus said he came to give us an abundant life!

Now’s the time to evaluate where you want your life to be headed next year. You have choices for every area of your life. Each step leads in a direction that can take you where you want to end up.

God’s best is waiting for you.

How Hope Slipped in at Christmas


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He was born in obscurity.

A couple about to start a family traveled to a small town on a cold night. With no place to stay, a baby on the way, they found themselves in a cave with only a bed of hay.

Angels sang.

But no one paid heed to the bright star in the sky. Except some shepherds watching their flocks. What else was there to do that night?

Kings from afar sought him.

But how many others remembered the prophets of old who foretold the coming of this babe, from the line of Jesse? The family slipped away when Herod set out to destroy the child king.

He lived as a carpenter’s son.

No fame. No glory. No great fanfare. He didn’t become someone people wanted to know. Nothing about him was memorable. If he had been born today, no one would have posted him on Facebook or Instagram or given him a hashtag.

He healed, taught of life and love and fed thousands.

But he had no home. His friends left everything they had to follow him. And for three years he wandered through remote towns and by the sea.

And then he died.

People screamed for his death. Crucified violently. This solitary man who had only ever blessed those he met. He chose to give his life. No one took it from him.

But, he rose again.

Despite a secret cover-up, he showed himself to those he loved. Officials didn’t want anyone to know. “Keep it quiet,” they said. But his quiet power wouldn’t be hidden.

He slipped in silently, but the news of him couldn’t remain silent.

Silent Night, “How silently…” but now, more than two thousand years later, we still celebrate his birth.

Christ-mas.

This year, this song spoke to my heart about how Jesus came to us. How he whispers his love and hope to us. How gently he takes us from our broken places and leads us forward into freedom. Thank you, Jesus. Happy Birthday.

Merry Christmas. To all.

 

Sweet Hymns of Joy


For many this time of year isn’t a cheerful time. But JOY can still be found.

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As the song says,

“…a weary world rejoices…”

And today’s world is certainly weary, isn’t it? But it is an emotional weariness. A deep question of where is the good in all the bad.

So for today’s post, I feature my author and musician friend, Lisa Hamil who has created some helpful material for taking your life forward into joy.

Don’t we need some joy?

Lisa coaches people in a practical way to create joy in their lives. She utilizes three steps: Faith, Appreciation and Relationship as the basis for gaining a settled life of more joy.

You can download her material here.

Not only that, but she’s just released her new book, It’s About Time.

Her book reviews various perspectives of time both conventionally and from a biblical perspective and shows us how to live NOW.

We don’t have to wait for heaven to experience a rich, fulfilling life. We can enjoy our “now” by living in the present with JOY.

Lisa has a passion for healthy vibrant living. As a pharmacist, she knows that medications may not be the best answer for creating what really promotes healthy life-style changes. Spiritual guidance has so much to offer in propelling our life’s mission.

Our thought life is what energizes our world.

Lisa has found that her moment by moment connection to the presence of God is what transformed her life. That life long pursuit grows more fully with each day. Her mission in life is to share that expanded joy with those seeking to live a life of purpose, passion and fulfillment by knowing the reality of God. Lisa herself is a joy and delight to be with. She exudes peace and confidence. Her book and music are available on Amazon or on her website.

Do It Scared!


This could be your best year ever.

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Brendan zip-lining through the Santa Cruz Mountains at Mount Hermon

According to Michael Hyatt, leadership mentor and best-selling author of Living Forward, if you wait until you aren’t scared, it won’t happen.

What is “it”?

The possibilities for your life. And 2017 could be the year that turns it around.

We’ve been working on taking our lives forward with intentional purpose (if you have missed my Take Your Life Forward guide, sign up my email list and I’ll gladly send you a FREE copy), and I’m thrilled to offer you some tips and resources that can make that happen.

One of the things I love about Michael Hyatt is how helpful he’s been at teaching people to be purposeful with their lives.

That’s why when he offers a webinar, I jump at the chance to participate.

As always, Michael shares valuable information.Whether you buy his books or products or not, you can be certain he will teach you important truths and lead you well. (Can you imagine how much MORE valuable his books and products are than his free advice? Yep. They are that valuable!)

Today I offer some tips from his recent webinar titled 7 Steps for Taking Control of 2017: How to Leverage Goal Setting to Design the Life You Want. And while I can recap here, I highly recommend buying his book, Living Forward,and signing up for the actual course here.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”      Wayne Gretzky

The above quote has already been a reminder to me this week to press into things that I am afraid to do or think I can’t manage. That alone has been valuable insight passed on by Michael. Here are a few others:

  • Clarify your priorities.
  • Make sure your goals are written, specific, measurable, and with deadlines.
  • Goals should push us a little outside our comfort zone so we continue to grow.
  • Everyone feels fear, uncertainty and doubt-those feelings show we are on the right track.
  • We must have a compelling reason to accomplish the goal.
  • Don’t focus on too many goals at once – start with a few and work toward more.
  • Chunk our goals into small, bite size pieces that start easy.
  • Track your progress so you are motivated to keep going or readjust.

These are just the basics.

For the full benefit of Michael’s instruction check out his website and sign up for his course at Best Year EverBest Year Ever, and/or get his book, Living Forward to make 2017 the year that living forward began with turning fear to opportunity.

What would you like to accomplish this year that has made you afraid in the past?

How Transparent Are You?


“Being transparent is not always easy, but it’s healing and can be a blessing to others.”           Jerry Rose

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Jelly fish at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Monterey, CA

The November 2016 issue of Today’s Christian Living offered a great article by Jerry and Shirley Rose titled The Power of Authenticity. The couple talked about being real with others when we face difficult situations in our lives, and how it can open up lines of communication as well as create a place for others to feel safe in being vulnerable.

I experienced this when speaking at a women’s retreat a number of years ago.

Our team sensed we needed to be vulnerable in sharing the broken places of our pasts and how God was redeeming those places. Our stories offered hope to hurting women, most of whom had never opened up and shared any specific suffering of their lives before this event.

After our team bared our souls to these women, one by one they approached us to pour out their hearts to us and request prayer.

Lives were touched.

Aching hearts were healed.

New relationships began.

It was an experience I will never forget. The impact on my life equaled if not exceeded the change in those I spoke to and prayed for. I still carry those women collectively in my heart and pray for them.

Our progress forward can stall when we hide our failings, hurts and secrets.

In the above mentioned article, Jerry Rose shared his own story about having hearing loss that he refused to deal with until it began to cause problems in his work and relationships. When he finally made the decision to be honest about his situation and get help, he says it was “incredibly freeing.”

Being up front about his challenges meant he no longer had to work so hard at hiding.

Jerry states that once we embrace and name our problems, we can “move forward toward healing.”

He says,

“Whatever it is you are hiding, ask God to help you to be honest with yourself and have the courage to bring those secrets into the light of day. That is where true healing and ministry can happen.”

Taking our life forward means being honest with ourselves and others about our stuff.

Not only do we move ahead in our lives, but our transparency helps others grow too.

I call that a win, win!

Your turn. What area of your life do you need to open up about? Is there a time when you shared something that made someone else feel safe about telling their stuff too?

Post a comment or contact me @ laurabennet14@gmail.com if you’d like to share in private.