Tag Archives: Goals

My One Word: Heal

One word: Heal.

This is my word for 2016. (Read more about choosing a word HERE). My desire is to experience deep healing throughout this year. In order to live the extraordinary life, be all that God made me to be, and do all that God designed me to do I must experience real, authentic, and deep healing.

HealsHonestly, I did not like this word when I first thought of it. My typical words or goals involve something more (active, proactive, aggressive, get-it-done) dynamic. Healing sounds like dark, hard, emotional work. I feel like I have had enough tears and emotions for one lifetime, so going to a deeper level . . . ugh! I say “ugh” and yet I want the results, and so a piece of my heart (at least in this moment) says “yes!” I want to be better. I want to feel better. I want to heal.


When I initially chose the word “heal” it was all about emotions. My heart was broken and dreams were crushed last year. The hurt my family experienced affected me personally. I felt deep sadness, anger – at times vengeful – and an ache of soul I never knew until this past year. My emotional self definitely needs more healing and that is a part of my word’s meaning.


Stress, grief, change, and the unknown all impact our bodies physically. Weight loss is difficult, if not impossible. Inflammation increases and is hard to manage, which can result in all kinds of physical problems. And, in the midst of stress, moving, and emotional struggle it feels ridiculously overwhelming to make any lifestyle changes because survival is the highest goal (along with not going insane)!

Now that we are settled into our new community, schools, work, and home I want to re-focus on my health. I want to make healthy meals, release some pounds, and renew healthy habits for me and my family. I know more transitions are in the future, but I can take physical steps of healing now.


There is one specific relationship I am working on this year. My heart and attitude need healing because I want a #10, open, honest, fun, growing relationship with this person. It requires work on my part. This relationship needs the healing touch of Jesus, and so does my heart. I want great relationships. I want to be a giver rather than a taker. I want to heal and improve in my relationships, beginning with this specific one.

What does your one word mean? Are there ways your word could be expanded or enhanced to have greater meaning and value? The opportunity before us is huge. We have the chance to grow, change, and Be Extraordinary in 2016. Don’t miss it!

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)


one wordIt is common in recent years to choose a word for the year. It has probably been popular for ages, but I have seen it in books, blogs, and heard it spoken about more often recently. I have been doing something similar with my mastermind team for the past eight years. We make contract statements. For example, “I am a Joyful, Positive, Forgiving Woman.” We then sign our emails with these contracts: “Joyful, Positive, Forgiving Traci.” Sometimes the words change throughout the year because we change or different circumstances arise, but often we pick themes for an entire year.

One year I chose the word “positive.” Up to that point I considered myself a natural pessimist, but I wanted to change my perspective and my life. One year of focus, working through a powerful book (The 4:8 Principle), and accepting feedback and challenge from my mastermind team changed my outlook. I, the eternal pessimist/realist, became a positive, glass-half-full kind of girl.

Simply saying the word over and over will not make it true. Like Steve Carell’s morning ritual in Evan Almighty, “I am successful. I am powerful. I am handsome. I am happy.” Yes, there is power in our words – what we speak, listen to, and believe. However, I also believe we must take action in order to develop these qualities or experience these life-changing words in our life.


If you already have a word, skip to the ACTION section, but if you don’t have a word, would you consider choosing one for this year? If you want to take the journey and Be Extraordinary in this life, then internal change (which will turn into external change) must occur. No one has arrived. Here are a few suggestions for choosing your word:

  1. Think about who you want to become this year. What is one specific area you want to see more of in your life?
  2. Make sure your word is positive. Rather than “not being fearful,” choose courageous, confident, or brave.
  3. Know what your word means to you. It doesn’t really matter if others fully understand your word, but YOU must understand your word.
  4. Pray. If you have a relationship with God, ask Him. He wants you to grow, change, and Be Extraordinary too!


I look at these actions as ways to enhance your growth in your word. To really become – or take big strides in becoming – your word, there must be more than a morning ritual of repetition. Some action ideas:

  1. Write your word and put it in places you will see regularly. (bathroom mirror, refrigerator, car)
  2. Tell others your word. Make sure you tell people who love you and encourage you as you grow into your new word.
  3. Find a book. One of the most powerful things for me in becoming more positive was reading a book related to that topic (The 4:8 Principle). I actually read the book twice that year.
  4. Memorize a Bible verse. There are so many verses that relate to life and personal growth. Choose one of these verses and commit it to memory.
  5. Embrace your word. Choose to be your word. You may not have fully arrived, but you can still choose to take actions that make your word true. For example, if my word is healthy, then I can embrace a healthy lifestyle and do things that a healthy person would do even if I am not yet healthy.

I would love to know what your word is for this year. My word is HEAL and you can read more about it HERE. Would you please share your word in the comments below or in the comments on Facebook? Let’s become more of who we were made to be, one word at a time!

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)


Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty; the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous*

Courage is a vital component in living the extraordinary life.

Without courage, opportunities would be missed, adventures would not be taken, friendships would not be forged, miracles would not be seen, blogs would not be written . . .

Without courage I would have settled for the ordinary.

Without courage I would have less hurt and less pain in my story, but I would also have less fulfillment, belief, and joy.

Without courage I would have settled for less risk, but more regret.

Without courage I might have faced less uncertainty, but also less adventure and growth.

Without courage I would have found myself in fewer embarrassing situations, but I would have missed so much laughter, love, and friendship.

Without courage I would still have two kidneys, but I would also be without everything I gained emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

CJ diveThis list is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more things I could write. This list is a reminder that I do act with courage (when I’m feeling like I have none) and that acting with courage is worth it.

What about you? Where would you be “without courage?” Would it serve you, your goals, your dreams, and the people around you if you stepped out with insane courage? Sometimes all you need are 20 seconds of insane courage to get the ball rolling and get you moving in the direction of your dreams! (Watch the Insane Courage movie clip.)

With courage, just 20 seconds of insane courage, possibilities are endless.

Be Extraordinary!

*From Webster’s Dictionary

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Someday is Not a Day of the Week!

Dream at restDo you have dreams? Are there things you have been wanting to do, or things you know without doubt you are called to do, but you haven’t gotten around to them yet? Dreams and desires without action are just wishes, hopes, and fantasies. Without action now, your dreams will still be sitting on the shelf unfulfilled when you leave this earth. Do you desire a different legacy than a shelf full of unfulfilled dreams?

What are you waiting for?

“One of our greatest illusions is that someday we will have more time [or energy, or support, or courage] to take action on our dreams and aspirations. But one thing leads to another, and someday never comes. While we are busy postponing things, life speeds by.” *

Stepping out of the rut of inaction, or even the rut of busyness, is challenging. Getting focused and taking meaningful, intentional action steps toward our dreams can be a daunting feat. Remember Newton’s law of physics?

“An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

A dream at rest stays at rest. If your dream is stagnant – it has no life and no movement – it requires some serious force to get moving. It is necessary to take action steps, even little tiny ones, consistently and persistently, to get the dream unstuck. Coaches are great for this process because it takes help, encouragement, and accountability to change an ingrained habit. I’m not strong enough to accomplish my dreams on my own and neither are you. We weren’t created to do life alone!

Busyness in the direction opposite of our dreams must be acted upon by another force. Overcommitment to things that will not move us closer to our dreams is another reason time flies by and our dreams remain stuck. We must learn how to say “no.” Have you ever said “yes” to something that you knew you really didn’t have time for, it wasn’t even close to your gift set, or took valuable time away from what you knew you were supposed to be doing? I have improved in this area greatly, but at times I still find myself saying “yes” with my lips while my heart is crying “NO!”

If overcommitting or busyness is getting in the way of your dreams, it may be a good time to nail down why you want your dreams. Discover the prices you are paying for not accomplishing your dreams. When the dream (or calling) is clear, we will know with more certainty when we ought to say “yes” and when we ought to say “no.”

Your dreams are worth pursuing and they are part of living out your extraordinary story.

Be Extraordinary!

*From the book 7: how many days of the week can be extraordinary

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Do You Want More Junk?

What do you want more of in your life?

create space sunriseDo you want more papers, piles, unpaid bills, overflowing closets, puzzles with missing pieces, broken games or toys, clothes that don’t fit, weight, stress, or chaos?

If you love everything on that list, you can stop reading now!!

Honestly, when I read that list, I want to immediately clean my closets, clean my pantry, and go run 3 miles. I don’t want more of any of those things!

Most people don’t dream of excessively adding junk (seemingly precious treasures) to their lives that will one day sit in the driveway on a Saturday morning to be sold for 50 cents. Most people don’t aspire to put 10, 20, or 30 pounds on each year until they can no longer run around with their kids, no longer fit in an airplane or movie theater seat, and end up hospitalized with disease and chronic illness.

That may sound kind of brutal, yet, how many more days will we avoid the small tasks (the 15 minutes) or the big overhauls that will help us avoid bringing more of that debilitating excess into our lives?

Life is hard. Stressful situations happen. Dealing with difficult people is not easy. Bills are often bigger than we expect and money less than we hope for. Difficulties are not going to end. We live in a broken world and we were never promised that it would be easy. So if difficulty is bound to come – and we know it – then the only thing left to do is choose our response.

Let’s break it down this way:

#1 Take Inventory

Get out a piece of paper and write down the top three areas of your life where you have excess ‘junk’. Some possible areas may include, but are definitely not limited to . . . weight, clothing, debt, stuff (anything that doesn’t have a place to go), trash (actual garbage), toys, busyness (things that make you feel like you have no time), water bottles (these multiply in my house), papers that need filing, etc. I think you get the idea and you probably knew at least the top two without any prompting.

#2 Get Specific

Now, under each of those three areas, specifically define the excess. For example, if you chose clothing as one of your top three areas, what specific clothing do you have in excess? Do you have clothes that don’t fit? Clothes you don’t like? Clothes that have sentimental value, but are never worn? Old kid’s clothes in boxes?

#3 Make a Plan

It is difficult to be specific here because, depending on the area you choose to tackle, the plan will look very different. So, rather than trying to pick and choose I would like to encourage you to do one of two things:

– Find an accountability partner. Do not choose someone that will make you feel good and tell you what you want to hear. You must choose someone who will hold your feet to the fire and not put up with your excuses. (Yes, you will make excuses!)

– Hire a coach. A coach digs deeper than an accountability partner. A coach will help you create a plan, hold you to that plan, and give you firm and loving encouragement along the way. Coaches do not put up with excuses – they are hired to help you WIN, not to make you feel good about your sorry excuses. Remember, a good coach will do this with love! I love coaching my clients to make changes in their lives. If you’d like a free 30 minute consultation, fill out this contact form and we’ll be in touch: 

Part of the extraordinary life is eliminating the junk that is keeping us from being and doing all we were created to be and do. Don’t wait another day to get started.

Be Extraordinary!


(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)


Mom’s: Do You Have Peace?

Do you like peace? Do you like your home to feel peaceful? Do you ever wish your home looked like it was taken straight out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine? You know the look . . . clean countertops, fluffed pillows neatly placed on the couches, beautiful lighting, great music, and sipping your favorite beverage while curled up reading a book in a cozy chair in the corner of the living room. This is the the look, feel, and experience of every mom in every home in America.


Mom moments take work, but they are worth it!

Mom moments take work, but they are worth it!

Being a mom is often a far cry from peaceful. It is gritty, messy, busy, and exhausting. A mom’s life is full of interruptions, last-minute doctor appointments, dropping lunches and cleats off at school, cheering from the stands, running home to put dinner in the crockpot, and being the queen of flexibility.

The skill, patience, and energy required to be a mom is right up there with being the top CEO of any company. And yet, in the midst of all that moms juggle, we tend to beat ourselves up for not having the magazine-cover look and feel to our lives and homes. We want peace. Ok, I want peace.

I often feel that if I don’t feel peaceful then my life must be out of balance. At times this is very true. It is easy to take these out-of-balance and lack-of-peace feelings and equate them with being a failure as a mom. However, life is not about living in complete external peace. It is about living with internal peace amidst the external chaos.

How do we live with peace when our life is filled with chaos?

Remember what’s most important.

What is most important to you? Take a minute and write down your top five priorities in order.

One-on-one time is valuable at any age.

One-on-one time is valuable at any age.

Evaluate what’s really important.

Where do you spend your time? Take a minute and write down the top five ways you spend your time, in order, over an average week. Yes, include work, commute time, cleaning house, cooking . . .  Be honest. This is not about judgement, but simply a means of evaluation.

Be honest about your priorities.

Compare your two lists. I may say that spending quality time with my family is a top priority, but if I actually spend a majority of my time scrubbing floors and toilets or watching Netflix then I may need to re-evaluate what’s truly important.

Make a decision.

If you’ve done the little assignment along the way then you have some awareness about what’s important to you. Now, decide what you will do about this new knowledge.

So, how does this relate to peace?

Some of the most beautiful and memorable moments leave toys around the house, children with bloody knees or broken hearts, and mom covered in peanut butter kisses. If we don’t remember what’s important then it is easy to get caught thinking about and reacting to stained carpet, kids up past bedtime, dents in the family car, or many other experiences we face each day. These images don’t make the cover of any magazines, but they can fill our hearts with joy and peace if we know what’s important.

Being a mom doesn’t always look or feel peaceful, but it is worth it.

Be Extraordinary!


(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Are You Learning or Dying?

Were you a student in 2014?

EinsteinIf you answered “no” to the question then you must continue reading! Let me add some clarity to my trick question. There are many types of students. Typically we think of students as people who are in school – traditional, public, private, home, elementary, junior high, senior high, or university. Whatever the mode, students are in some type of formalized education. However, this is not the type of student I am talking about. I am referring to the person who is always learning, no matter their age or connection to a formalized learning environment.

Did you ever take a class in school that didn’t really interest you and therefore you only did the bare minimum (or only read the Cliff Notes) to get by? Did you do any real learning in that class? Perhaps you were a “student” but not a learner.

Some people love school and learning in that environment. I have met some life-time students who are always getting another degree . . . forever in the classroom. This is not the type of learning or student I am talking about today.

What about those of us who are out of school, working a job, raising a family, changing diapers or playing taxi-mom, serving at church, or involved the community? Are we learning? Are we students?

Albert Einstein said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

I am convinced that a key component to living an extraordinary life is learning. There is a piece of our brains – our creativity and energy – that is activated through learning new things. This learning can take many forms. The form is not the important factor, but the engagement in something new is very important.

Here are some examples from my life in the past year:

* I spent 2+ years learning more about my life and business by hiring a personal coach. This coaching in a specific area was invaluable. Coaching others in life, health, and business is also one of my passions.
If you are looking to be coached on your health journey click HERE.

* In the beginning of 2014 I learned how to crochet. I started on a loom and then learned a few stitches from my mother-in-law. I made snow hats and headbands for my girls, dishrags, scarves, and some other gifts.

* An amazing woman who volunteers at camp in the summer taught me how to make a pillowcase and a rag quilt. These were fun gifts for my kids and some of my nieces and nephews on Christmas.

* I am going on a mission trip to Thailand in June. I decided to learn a little Thai. I knew nothing of the language when I started, but I am picking up a few things after just a few weeks. (I am spending 30 minutes, 3-4 times each week.)
Want to partner with this trip financially? Click HERE, follow the giving links, and put “Traci Castaneda to Thailand” in the memo box.

* I listen to audio books in the car. I drive close to one hour taking the kids to and from school each day and have chosen to use this time learning. I have listened to personal growth, business, biography, and classic books. I am learning, and teaching my kids to use this time learning as well.
My favorite way to listen? Click HERE.

* Here is an example from my husband, Joe. Motivated by his friendship with Danny Ray, he is learning how to shuffle cards. This is not a regular shuffle, but a magician’s shuffle. He spends 15 minutes 3-4 times each week and is mastering this skill as well as adding some tricks to his repertoire too.

* Joe and I ran our first half marathon this year. The longest I had run prior to this training was a 5k. There were so many ways my attitude, mind, and body learned in order to complete a run of 13.1 miles.

All of these things engage my brain. I am learning to be a better problem-solver, how and when to ask for help, and finding inspiration from those who have gone before me and lived extraordinary lives. I am gaining skills, ideas, and motivation that move me forward in parenting, spiritual journey, business, relationships, and more.

What will you learn in 2015? What can you commit just 15 minutes a day to learning this year? One mark of an extraordinary life is continual learning.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)


Do You Inspire Others?

Extraordinary kidsOne night the kids and I were hanging out in the living room. I was on the couch with Celina snuggled on my lap. She is 8 years old, but I think she will always find a way to snuggle on my lap! BJ was in the chair working on a drawing and AJ was standing near us. I don’t remember exactly what he was doing, but probably tossing a ball in the air as he is often found with a ball in his hands.

The topic of conversation moved to BJ and her desire to be a fashion designer. She loves fashion, style, and music. AJ asked her a question or two and BJ’s response indicated that her belief about the fashion designing dreams were mere fantasies – she didn’t really believe they could become reality. AJ jumped on this disbelief quickly and reminded her of her passion, talent, and skills. He said in a number of words and number of ways, “You can do it!”

At this moment Celina piped in with a statement that added fuel to the energy building in the room. She said,

“AJ, you always say stuff that makes us feel like our dreams can come true.”

AJ quoteIn the hour that followed papers were pulled out, drafts of ideas were made, and brainstorm lists were created. BJ created outfit designs. Celina had a list of her dreams consisting of a big red barn, farmhouse, and all the animals that we would find there. AJ has plenty of dreams of his own. He plans to be a wise and godly business man – first with USANA and then owning his own store by the time he is 30.

The greatest thing about all of this was the belief that I saw well up in each child. There was great excitement, energy, and bonding between the kids. They were helping each other and even discussing how each one would help the other in the achievement of their dreams.

Without even realizing it, AJ showed leadership that night. He inspired greatness in his younger sisters. He uncovered and stoked their belief.

When you are in the room, what do you inspire in others? What conversations are created because of your questions? Is there energy, positivity, and belief in your presense? I think we all can learn a valuable lesson about the extraordinary life from AJ’s example – I know that I can!

Be Extraordinary!

An Extraordinary Craving

pursue GodDo you have specific times of reflection throughout the year? For most people birthdays (even the birthdays of our children), anniversaries, and New Year’s are times to look back at where we have been and what we have accomplished. They are also times to look forward to what is next, sometimes even setting goals for the future.

I have noticed that extraordinary events do the same thing. It was two years ago today (October 23, 2014) that I was rolled into an operating room in Portland, OR and left that operating room six hours later with only one kidney. Several hours later Rhonda would leave that same operating room with the other kidney.

That transaction changed my life. For the first year there were so many things that brought me back to the feelings of that time and experience. There were several songs that were particularly meaningful. I noticed when it was the 23rd of every month that first year. And the one year marker was very emotional.

Miss RhondaThis past May (2014) our whole family did a kidney walk in honor of Rhonda. The walk was put on by the National Kidney Foundation and held at the Detroit Zoo. It was a great day to remember all our family did and sacrificed to give this gift. I love my family so much and am so grateful that they were willing to partner with me in this extraordinary gift. They were directly involved and each person stepped up in their own way throughout the process.

kidney walkBut here is the interesting thing I am thinking about today.

You have probably heard me say in some form that being part of extraordinary events, people, and journeys brings me huge satisfaction and energizes me greatly. The experience of donating a kidney has long passed. Yes, the story continues . . . Rhonda is doing amazing! I still live with one kidney and am doing great! The story still happened. The story has been used to inspire, encourage, challenge, and bless others and I pray that it will continue to do so. But,

I am left with a craving for more of the extraordinary.

My life story is not over and donating a kidney does not, by itself, equal an extraordinary life. I have passion and desire for more – more of the extraordinary journey. Just like there are adrenaline junkies, I am a bit of an “extraordinary” junkie.

Sometimes the extraordinary life is loving my kids – taking extra minutes to tuck them in at night, signing up for a field trip, waiting for them after school, hugging them extra tight when they’ve had a rough day, or being super silly with them. These “simple” things are extraordinary and occasionally more difficult than gifting a kidney.

Sometimes the extraordinary life is taking the family on a mission trip to South Africa, moving across the country, or inviting someone to join your family.

This is what I do know:

A life lived in pursuit of the extraordinary is extremely difficult and even more extremely rewarding. After all the scary, exciting, difficult, joy-filled, and uncertain extraordinary living I have been blessed to do – I still want more. I have an extraordinary craving to leave this life having experienced everything God has available for me. I don’t want to miss any of it.

Are you living your own extraordinary journey? May you pursue all God has for you today as you live out your unique opportunity . . . your extraordinary life.

Be Extraordinary!

Birthday Ice Cream . . Yummm

starbucksThe extraordinary journey doesn’t always seem all that . . extraordinary. Sometimes it lacks the intense feelings and emotions that are experienced in other moments. I had one of these experiences on my birthday.

No, my whole birthday was not one of those experiences. The day was filled with peace, fun, laughter, new friends, old friends, hugs, cards, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and free coffee from Starbucks. It was a wonderful day and I knew (as I know now) that I was loved, appreciated, and cared for by many.

But I did have one little moment.

birthday moomersI honestly thought my trip to Moomer’s (America’s best ice cream and only 15 minutes from my home) would be an emotional and inspiring experience. That sounds so silly even as I write it, but I really believed that would be the case. After all, I had gone more than eight months without eating ice cream even though I have been to Moomer’s well over ten times in those 8 months.

I love ice cream! I worked at Baskin Robbins for several years in college and did not grow tired of it, but only found more flavors to love and enjoy.

And yet, in spite of this love, I held to my commitment of no sweets, treats, or ice cream for more than eight months. Because of this “ice cream fast” I thought that eating the ice cream would be an amazing, thrilling, and emotional experience. I pictured a “What About Bob?” moment when he is eating dinner with Dr. Marvin’s family and truly enjoying his mashed potatoes and hand-shucked corn. There were so many moans, yums, and looks of pleasure on Bob’s face.

My chocolate peanut butter and peppermint stick in a cup was just ice cream – really great ice cream – but just ice cream. I enjoyed every bite, but it was still just yummy ice cream. In fact, the anticipation of the ice cream was so much greater and even more fun than the eating of the ice cream.

This may sound silly, but I have a feeling some of you understand.

This was a victory. Food, especially sweet food, has had a grip on my life for years. To simply enjoy something, without obsession, is amazing and I am so grateful I was able to experience ice cream in that way.

Darren Hardy talks about fasting from things (movies, wine, ice cream, spending money) that potentially have a grip in his life. The only way to really know if something is controlling you versus you have control over it, is to fast and take great notice to your response. Hardy does a 30 day fast of some sort every few months just to make sure he is still the master.

Is there a ‘master’ in your life that needs to be put in its proper place? What do you need to fast from in order to regain control?
Be specific. How long and from what specifically will you fast?
Be accountable. Now share what you are going to do so you can receive support and greatly increase your chances of success. The comment box is open.

Be Extraordinary!

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