Tag Archives: self-improvement

Set the World on Fire… Not Literally, But Stop Making Excuses

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“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”  —Neale Donald Walsch

“Fire tests gold, adversity brave men.”  —Latin proverb

“The lazy person is full of excuses, saying,If I go outside, I might meet a lion in the street and be killed!'”  —Proverbs 22:13 NLT

What’s holding you back?  Be wise, but stop making excuses!


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Don't Fool Yourself

Don’t Fool Yourself

Christian Life Coach Ministry

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Meet Lyle Newell, founder and ministry leader of Christian Life Coach Ministry. I met Lyle a few weeks ago while volunteering with a local fire department’s biker’s breakfast fundraiser, a breakfast held before the annual toy run to benefit The Shriner’s Hospital. He was one of the bikers riding in the run.

He told me a cute anecdote related to biking. While gassing up his motorcycle one day, a van drove up and he heard a child say, “Mom, look! A biker!”

“Where?” thought Lyle as he looked around and realized the child was talking about him.

Since I also had the privilege of riding in the Toy Run, I was able to spend some time getting to know Lyle through the event as well as through Facebook. He is the husband of a lovely wife and father of two sons. He has a lot of energy and seems to have a genuine love for God and people.

CLC.logoChristian Life Coach Ministry provides services to individuals, couples and groups on a donation basis. It is based in northern Vermont, but provides online services as well. Services include: spiritual and personal growth, career planning and development, effective communication, motivation, stress management, time management, transition management, finances and budgeting, relationships, intimacy, family and parenting, household management, health and fitness, lifestyle, and self-care.

You can find out more info or contact Lyle through the Christian Life Coach Ministry Facebook page.

Serving others – One life, One moment, One step at a time.


If you liked this, you might also like Leave No One Behind, in which Lyle is pictured wearing the “Born2” t-shirt.

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Wisdom Wednesday: Balance Is Key

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“Moderation in all things.”

“Even in adultery?” a response was shot back.

The responder was being facetious in trying to defend his position in a discussion, but even though he used a logical fallacy, his retort does bring up a good point.  Moderation in all things obviously does not include immoral things.

“Immoderate desire is the mark of a child, not a man.” —Democritus

“Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…” —1 Corinthians 9:25a KJV

“If there is one single secret to long life, that secret is moderation.” —George Gallup

Moderation and temperance for one person may be different for another, because the idea of moderating something has to do with measuring it, and temperance has to do with self-control.  One person might be able to eat a pint of ice cream without gaining weight, while another person gains weight just by looking at it.  One person might be able to have a glass of wine with a meal, while another person cannot stop at just one.

“Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.” —Epicurus

“Hast thou found honey?  Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” —Proverbs 25:16 KJV

“Even nectar is poison if taken to excess.” —Hindu proverb

“Enough is as good as a feast.” —English proverb

Moderation and temperance are not just about food and drink, it’s about every area of life— work, recreation, relationships, hobbies, sleep…

Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?” —Ecclesiastes 7:16 NASV

“Nothing brings more pain than too much pleasure; nothing more bondage than too much liberty.” —Poor Richard aka Benjamin Franklin

“Better learn balance.  Balance is key.  Balance good, karate good.  Everything good.  Balance bad, better pack up, go home.” —Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid


If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Breaking & Making Habits

Wisdom Wednesday: Don’t Fool Yourself

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Photo credit: vassiliki koutsothanasi via freeimages.com with text added

I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say, “Just follow your heart,” as if our hearts never lead us astray. Oh, I understand what they’re trying to say, but I have witnessed so much drama and devastation by people who have taken that advice and followed their hearts with wild abandon. Yeah, go ahead and follow your heart, but don’t neglect wisdom.

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” —Proverbs 28:26

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you’re the easiest person to fool.” —Richard Feynman, American physicist

“I try not to kid myself. You know, I don’t mind romancing someone else, but to fool yourself is pretty devastating and dangerous.” —Bill Veeck, baseball team owner

How do we know when we’re fooling ourselves?

One indication that we are fooling ourselves is when two or more people risk losing our friendship by being brutally honest with us about something and we reject it, because it’s not what we want to hear or believe. Even if other people say the opposite about us, we would do well to consider if the assessment has at least some validity.

“To be human is to err, but it is truly the fool who perseveres in error.” —Latin proverb

Another indication is when we blame others for a lack of success instead of considering if we might possibly be to blame or at least share a part in it.

“Those who see the faults of others, but not their own, are wise for others and fools for themselves.” —Latin proverb

“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” —Italian proverb

Yet another indication that we might be fooling ourselves is when we think more highly of ourselves than we ought. A common thing said by some Christians when facing adversity or resistance is to proclaim it’s because they are doing God’s will and are, therefore, under spiritual attack.  Sure, it could be a spiritual attack if the spiritual realm is really threatened by us, but it could also be our own self-importance and folly that is causing the adversity and resistance.

“God and man think him a fool who brags of his own great wisdom.” —French proverb

“Self-exaltation is the fool’s paradise.” —Italian proverb

“I believe in my mask—The man I made up is me. I believe in my dance—And my destiny.” —Sam Shepard, American playwright, actor and director

And lastly, another indication that we might be fooling ourselves is when we cause drama, because we feel the need to be heard and vindicated. It is one thing to vent to one or two close friends privately. It is another thing to broadcast our perceived wounds and injustices to the masses, unless, of course, broadcasting a true injustice would actually benefit the masses.

“A fool carves a piece of his heart to everyone that sits near him.” —Italian proverb

“Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.” —Plato, Greek philosopher

“A fool is like the big drum that beats fast but does not realize its hollowness.” —Malay proverb


If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Seek Counsel

The Key Is Not Perfection, But Direction

“Change is moving in the right direction.  It’s not about speed, distance, or perfection, but direction.”  —David Powlison,

“Change is moving in the right direction. It’s not about speed, distance, or perfection, but direction.” —David Powlison,

The quote by David Powlison, a CCEF Christian counselor, professor and speaker, reminded me of something my good friend, Scott, often says, “God looks at the heart. The key is not the perfection of our obedience, but the direction.”

Wisdom Wednesday: Breaking & Making Habits

Photo credit:  David Gunter

Photo credit: David Gunter

Have you ever tried to break a habit or tried to get your child to break a habit and failed? There are two main reasons failure occurs— taking something away without replacing it with something else and trying to change a behavior without a change of heart and mind.

“Nature abhors a vacuum.” —Latin proverb

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” —Socrates, a character in Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Ephesians 4:22-32 incorporates the secret of change. It says to put off the old man, be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and put on the new. Then it lists specifics: stop lying and speak the truth; stop stealing and work; stop using foul or abusive language and say things that build others up; put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice, and instead, be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. People who want to stop smoking or eating too much, sometimes chew gum instead. People who want to cut down on eating processed sugary sweets, eat naturally sweet things like raisins, dried figs, and dates instead. People who want to be less negative, try to think positive thoughts, post positive notes as reminders, and practice writing and saying positive things to others. Making new habits takes intentional practice.

When it comes to parenting, if you take something away from your child, and don’t replace it with something else, you will have created a vacuum that will rage until it is filled. We can’t take something away and simply say, “Find something else to do.” If you don’t help them fill it with something good and satisfying, your child might fill it with something else that is not profitable.

The other secret to change is not merely trying to change outward behavior but to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind”— to have a change of heart. The root of any problem starts in our hearts and minds. A Norwegian proverb says, “Old habits have deep roots.” Why do we do what we do? What need are we trying to fill? Will replacing a whole pint of ice cream with exercise fix the problem, or will excessive exercise and the need to be thin simply become another addiction?

…if you provide the “right intervention” or “fix” for his problem (such as ways to better communicate…), you offer only a temporary solution…yet the heart has not changed. The control center of life essentially gets better equipped to continue doing what it has always been doing — operating out of corrupted desires. —Kevin Carson, chairman for Biblical Counseling

“Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.”
—Tryon Edwards

Sometimes we continue doing something destructive because we think it’s what we deserve or we have no hope that we can ever become better. Don’t believe it. That’s a lie. You don’t deserve it, and there is hope.

Sometimes we do things either because we don’t know any better or simply because it’s what we’ve always done and we don’t really think about it. A Latin proverb says, “Men do more things from habit than from reason.”

“But if I do what I’ve always done, I’ll be who I have always been. God calls out more. He calls me to act out now who I am becoming.” —BJ, youth pastor and blogger in Becoming

“If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don’t want to be.” —Dale Carnegie

I’m not saying breaking old habits and making new ones is easy. I still have the bad habit of procrastinating at times and have to work at doing things in a timely manner so I’m not rushing at the last minute or constantly trying to catch up. Bad habits have a way of making our paths more difficult, while good habits have a way of making them smoother. And while making new habits may seem unnatural and difficult at first, if we keep practicing, they become second nature. It’s like muscle memory. But if we don’t first start by renewing our minds and understanding why we need to change, we will constantly have to keep jumping starting ourselves or eventually give up.

“When you give up…meh you didn’t want it that bad. You just kind of wanted it.” –Evan Sanders, author of The Better Man Project in “Day (380) – I Just Know

Reflections and Musings



Being transformed by the renewing of the mind.


As so many often do at this time of year, I have been reflecting on this past year, the events and people who have impacted me, and the things I have learned.  Purpose, being transformed by the renewing of the mind, and breathing have been more recent topics that have been at the forefront.  While I cannot list everything that has impacted me this past year, I thought I would list the top ones.

Motivation.  What really motivates me?  What motivates you?  Not what you or I think motivates us, but what really does?  How can we tell?  The top quote for me this year was by Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church.  In his sermon Fig Leaves, Lies and the Grace of God he said, “Whether you understand the motivations of your heart or not, really what’s driving your actions, and what’s driving your life and how you fill your day, actually comes back to what you believe is actually going to bring about the most fullness of life possible for you.”  So… how do you fill your days?

Attitude.  Attitude reflects leadership.  In a team, company, organization, or family, the attitudes of those being led will generally reflect the attitudes of those leading.  If there is mistrust at the top, there will tend to be mistrust all around.  If there is enthusiasm and a team spirit, it will be reflected with lots of positive attitudes, energy, and respect.  I want to reflect a good attitude for those who look to me for any type of leadership, and I never want to automatically blame others if their attitude is less than what I am hoping for.

Purpose.  Another blogger wrote she didn’t think we necessarily need to have a purpose, that maybe our purpose is just being here and enjoying what we have, and that life doesn’t need a goal; it is a goal itself.  I disagree.  The Bible says without vision (or guidance), the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).  Without vision or purpose, life is either chaotic or stationary.  My daughter once related an article she had read, which listed reasons Okinawans tend to be, not only the longest lived, but also with a better quality of life.  One of those reasons is they have a deep sense of purpose and responsibility, and it makes them feel like an important part of the larger community.  Having purpose is life-giving.

Being transformed by the renewing of the mind.  The outside won’t truly change until the inside is first renewed.  If you find yourself unable to change, you probably need to change what you believe is true.  Change what and how you think, and the rest will take care of itself.

Breathe.  Don’t forget to breathe.  It feels good, and it is good for you.

Balance.  Balance is something we all try to maintain.  This year I’ve been trying to balance between taking care of myself and not becoming selfish.  When I was a young woman, I remember seeing older women deserting their families.  They said, “I’ve taken care of everyone else for so many years, and now it’s time for me to take care of me!”  I don’t want to be that woman.  I know it’s important that we take care of ourselves and not neglect our own needs, but I never want to go so far that I would abandon my family just to please myself.

Blessing.  I can’t remember who said it, but the basic idea was when you bless someone, you add or reveal the value of another person.  When we bless someone by giving them a gift, spending time with them, or serving them in some way, or even if we look them in the eye and smile, it says, “You are valuable.  You are worth it.”

Stand fast.  Don’t let anyone talk you out of what you know is true or into what you know is false.  Don’t even waver.  Just stand your ground, or you will eventually find yourself on the ground and in the mud.

Become better, not bitter.  We can allow situations to make us become either better or bitter.  The Bible says that a root of bitterness can cause many to become defiled (Hebrews 12:15).  Misery loves company, and complaining can become contagious and promote negativity.  Not only that, but if our bitterness becomes too obnoxious, it can cause others to become bitter toward us.  Becoming better is so much more advantageous and attractive.

Perspective.  “We don’t see things the way they are.  We see things the way we are.”  —The Talmud.

Don’t give up!  I was able to volunteer this past summer at Union Rescue Mission, one of the largest homeless missions in the country, located on Skid Row.  When I talked to Jenny Kershner, who is in charge of their Learning Center, about people relapsing, a statement she made surprised me.  She said, “Sometimes relapsing is a good thing to help a person solidify the decision to change and fully rely on God.”  Steve Cobb, pastor of Temple Baptist Church in New Bern, NC told a crack addicted friend, “Never, ever give up!”  And he didn’t.

I am grateful for Evan Sanders, author of The Better Man Project, for his inspirational and motivational posts.  If it were not for his post entitled What I’ve Learned, I would be composing this tomorrow, or not at all, because I might have waited too long without writing anything down, allowing the inspirational juices to drain.  Thank you, Evan!

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