Tag Archives: journey

Treasures in My Heart

What a day! At nine months pregnant she had traveled many miles on the back of a donkey on her first road trip with Joseph. Then, when she was about to give birth, there was no place found for them to stay – no place to deliver the baby. They found shelter and warmth in a stable where they were likely in the presence of barn animals.

Finally, Mary gave birth (a first-time experience) to Jesus, God’s own son!

Then, to their surprise (I would imagine) they were greeted by shepherds. Most nativity sets depict just one shepherd, but in Luke 2:15 we read, “The shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’” So there were many shepherds who arrived on the scene and left glorifying and praising God, telling everyone about what they had seen and heard.


“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart,” Luke 2:19.


CJ treasureI used to think Mary treasured and pondered this beautiful moment while holding God’s son in her arms. I still think she did, but I also believe that she treasured and pondered the whole experience from the time she found out she was pregnant until the shepherds left rejoicing.

Why did Mary hold all these things in her heart? Because no one else could understand or even begin to comprehend all she had seen, heard, believed, and felt. No one.

These thoughts about Mary came to me as I considered all I have experienced this past year. I have done much pondering, but many things keep popping out of my mouth and heart. I keep attempting to express them and draw understanding from others. I leave those conversations feeling empty and dissatisfied. Maybe it’s time to take all these “treasures” and share them solely with Jesus; to hold the beautiful and ugly in my heart and then let Jesus hold my healing heart.

treasure 2

Someday, when the time is right and my heart is healed enough, it will come out just right. I will be able to express the best things to help others. It will satisfy because it will fit my purpose of enriching others’ lives. It will Be Extraordinary!

Is there anything in your life that needs a little more treasuring and pondering within before it comes out? Jesus, the great Healer, wants to touch those areas of your life as only He can. He is the One who knows what you have been through and what you are going through. Take it all to Him – ponder and treasure those things in your heart – and let Jesus share the joys and sorrows of your unexplainable journey.

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.)

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.)

Something Greater at Work

I have a number of friends going through extremely difficult circumstances right now. All of the circumstances are different – some involve kids, marriage, jobs, loneliness, family heartache, health issues, injustice, etc. We live in a heart-breaking world and we only have to listen for a few minutes to realize that there are people in pain all around us.

Friends, I am truly sorry for your pain. My heart breaks and I often cry out to God on your behalf, but today I am thankful for all of it. I know that sounds terrible. In fact, I’m trying to find a better way to write it, but hear me out.

God is working2My ache for your pain would not be as real, honest, and deep as it is without the pain I have endured the past few years. I have not endured your same pain or your same circumstance, but the pain (my pain) that I have experienced has built within me compassion for those who are hurting in all areas. My eyes see your pain differently. My heart feels your pain more realistically.

My prayers to God on your behalf would be weaker and fewer, and the results I pray for would be different if I had not spent months weeping before God for myself and my family. I am experiencing and understanding God like never before. I love God like never before. I trust God like never before.

In the song, 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) it says,

“Bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, oh my soul
I worship Your holy name.”

I “sing like never before” because of all God has brought me through. Because of the pain, the joy, and everything in between that God has allowed on my path, I can sing and connect to God “like never before.”

So, my friends in difficult circumstances, hold on tight to Jesus. Lean into God. Know, love, and experience God fully. If knowing God better is the only reason for your pain – He’s worth it! Please know this . . . although you may not be able to see it now, God is working things in you and through you that are absolutely extraordinary. And He always completes His good work. I pray that you will see some of that completion when you are on the other side of your trial and using your experience of God to encourage and bless others.

Enduring the pain and choosing the high road of love, endurance, and forgiveness is not always easy, but it is always 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.)

Little Orange Leaf

It is a new season . . . fall. I love fall and the changes it brings. . .

Fall colors are amazing. I love the oranges, reds, browns, and splashes of yellow. I decorate my home with these warm, beautiful colors.

The weather is changing. Today, where I live, the temperature is 13 degrees lower than yesterday. The mornings are crisper and the afternoons often warm up dramatically from the sun, only to cool down again in the evenings.

The kids are in school and new routines are established. It takes a few days, but a new rhythm is found, the house gets cleaned (maybe next week), and new work schedules are set.

little orange leafWe are not yet fully in fall. Most of the leaves are still green. The ground hasn’t been frosty in the morning. But, it’s coming. I can see one little orange leaf amongst the green ones and know that fall is on the way.

I saw a little orange leaf in my life recently – a sign that change is happening. Change has happened.

Since January (9 months) I cry easily. This was not my norm prior to January, but the hurt, pain, and sadness I felt were so raw and fresh that I knew holding back my abundance of tears would probably make me physically sick. I decided to let the tears come – to let them flow during church, at the sound of worship music, and in conversation with friends and strangers.

After several months I began to think it was ridiculous. The tears would not stop. I made a deliberate choice to let myself grieve and hurt in my own way and for my own length of time. I was in the Traci process. There was no formula that my heart and emotions were following. I was in my own grieving process, one like no one else’s and I didn’t need to excuse it or be embarrassed by it. I needed to work through it.

Honestly, I thought it would never end. And then last week, 9 months later, I saw my little orange leaf. I had a conversation – real, honest – and there were teary eyes at one point, but I didn’t bawl my eyes out. Progress! Not just progress like “you’re getting so much better at not crying!” BUT, there was healing! I could feel it in my soul and the thought of it actually brings me to tears! 🙂

This journey of life is crazy. It’s amazing and it’s super hard. Whatever season you are in, don’t fight it. Be there. Be there fully. And know that another season is around the corner. Maybe today you will see a little orange leaf letting you know that change is on the way.

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.)

Knocked Down 7 Times, Get Up 8!

I have been contemplating, praying, and journaling quite a bit these past few months, and even more since the ladies retreat I attended in April. I continue to work through the forgiveness process. (Read more about that here.) Life is definitely a journey of constant awareness and growth. We never “arrive” while on this earth, but rather work, learn, and grow.

knocked down sevenI have an area in my life that often nags me for change and freedom. I even wrote about this area in a blog last year. I make commitments. I make changes. I make progress. Then I find myself back in the same struggle. I’ve called it a “thorn in the flesh.” I’ve thrown up the white flag in defeat time and time again. I’ve “beaten myself up” over and over. I have begged God for a different struggle.

I speak of progress, not perfection. I know in my head that perfection is unattainable, yet I demand perfection from myself in this area. I am unfair and unkind to myself because of my inability to achieve and maintain perfection. In an honest journal time recently I realized that the struggle is 20+ years old and taking steps to try and “fix” this began at least twelve years ago.

And yet, here I sit. . . once again choosing to pick myself up and make another step of progress.


“Knocked down seven times, get up eight.”


Today is about persistence and never giving up. It’s about hope because there is always hope. It’s about possibility, because there is always possibility if I am willing to pick myself up and go after it again.

Is there an area of your life where you feel like you will never experience victory and freedom? Do you still (deep down inside) have a desire to find victory? Are you willing to take action?

If yes, consider the cost. I am not talking about the cost of achieving freedom, but the price you are paying by not achieving freedom in this area. For me the costs are deep and wide – there are many to consider.

I want to live an extraordinary life. This kind of life is not about the things I do, but rather about walking in obedience to God through every thing He lays or allows in my path. The sacrifice is difficult and often painful, 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.)

Needs, Wants, and So Much More!

I am so thankful that all of my needs, and the needs of my family, are met. We have food on the table, gas in the tank, and a very nice roof over our heads. The kids are in school and Joe and I have work, yet during this season of transition I am not taking any of these met needs for granted. We are still in the midst of job/life/financial transition and it truly is God (through some of you!) supplying each of our needs.


“And my God will supply every need of yours according to His
riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19


What baffles me the most during this season is the way God is providing for our wants. These wants are extras. Some of them are important to our emotional health, the health of our marriage, and the health of our family. Others are 100% extra! I know in my head that God cares about every part of our lives, but I am seriously blown away by how He is showing these extra doses of care to us.

Here are a few recent examples:

Mission to Thailand. I said, “yes” to the Thailand mission trip before life flipped upside down. When our job and financial situation changed I had no idea how I would pay the $3,000 for the trip. (The extra money from my job is needed for daily expenses more than ever before.) God used His people to supply this need, including a $1500 anonymous donation through my church which was God’s “audible” voice saying, “YES, I WANT YOU TO GO!”

Kidney Walk. This is an important event for our family. (Read more of the story here.) The walk is a total extra and it is also a way to remember our story and sacrifice as a family as well as honoring Rhonda, the kidney recipient whom we dearly love. We are excited to enjoy a family weekend away and also celebrate Mother’s Day. (We know it’s a week late!) We can pay a certain amount per person for the event or raise funds to meet the minimum fee. Our team goal was $200, of which $160 was remaining. With five days to go until the walk, an anonymous donor gave the full $160!

Marriage Builder. In our couples retreats and classes we talk about the importance of weekly date nights and, if you are up for the challenge, getting away for a full week each year. Yes, this is complicated with kids, but it is worth it for our marriage. I don’t know what the plans are because Joe is keeping the details top secret, but we are going away for five days. I know we are not couch surfing so I am sure it costs some cash. Joe was praying about this (along with the kidney weekend in Detroit) and that day we were given an envelope. Inside that envelope was enough cash to cover the get-aways!

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Woodburn, Oregon

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Woodburn, Oregon

Let me be clear about one thing: I am not bragging on the cash. I AM bragging on my God, His omniscient knowledge of my situation and what my heart needs, and His abundant resources. God is not lacking. God does not work in the confines of minimum wage or salary caps. God owns it all. God is constantly working behind the scenes, moving in the hearts of His people, and setting everything up to supply the needs and wants that you may not even be aware of yet. He is that good!

Are you asking God to meet your needs? Are you trusting Him to meet them?
Are you asking God to meet ALL of the desires of your heart? Are you trusting Him to do that?

These are not “name it claim it” prayers, but prayers of total faith, believing that God has your best interest in mind and is fully capable of giving you every single thing you need.

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.)

My View through the Windshield

I’ve heard life compared to driving a car. From the drivers seat I can either view the road through the rear-view mirror or the front windshield. Anyone who drives knows that intently focusing in the rear-view mirror while attempting to drive forward would cause an accident, or at best a slow and swervy drive. If I want to drive well and arrive at a specific destination then I better be looking out the BIG front windshield. Glances in the rear-view mirror are good when focus is out the windshield.

windshieldAfter two months of processing (no doubt there is more processing to come!) I am ready to put my focus on the windshield. I am ready to move forward, toward a goal, at a quicker and more focused pace. We have not yet arrived at our destination, but today I get to share more specifically what we see through the windshield. And, even better than just telling you about it, we get to ask for your continued and/or increased partnership on this journey.


First:

I am continuing my work with USANA Health Sciences (my 12th year). The products provide the foundation for our  family’s well-being and have been so helpful in maintaining health during this particularly stressful season. The business side of USANA provides me the opportunity to have a flexible schedule, be home with the kids, pay off bills, work closely with Joe and travel for ministry whenever necessary.

Second:

In December, after about five years, I reconnected with The Healthy Edge. This is a great system and program that provides information and tools to continue on my personal health journey. I am also able to receive training and experience to grow my coaching skills and coaching business in an area I care about. In the past I did group classes with weekly meetings. Now I am focusing on online, Skype, and phone connections so that my location does not hinder my ability to coach and have classes.

Third:

As was shared in my previous post, Joe and I are launching Overboard Ministries full-time. This part-time dream is becoming a full-time reality. The small publishing company that began 4 years ago was never the big or final dream of Overboard. Joe articulates some of those dreams in this 10-minute video.

This video shares only the beginning. There are also dreams for ministry centers in multiple locations, and the viral spread and multiplication of Overboard living. This is why we are launching a 6-week initiative (through April 30, 2015) to raise financial and prayer support. This support will allow us to transition quickly into working Overboard full-time, rather than part-time as we have for the past 4 years.


Sometimes it takes a while to have real clarity about goals, dreams, and the future. For us, I think the clarity has been there, but there was uncertainty and fear about how to take that leap out of the boat (how to truly go Overboard)! Well, here we are. We took the leap and we are trusting with full-faith that everything we need physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and financially WILL be provided! It is already happening!

Be Extraordinary! . . . It’s worth it!

 

(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.)

Traci to Thailand

When I was 12, I had visited three states and had never traveled outside the USA. I lived in Wenatchee, WA and my big travels had taken me to Oregon (the northeastern tip, LaGrande) and Idaho, mostly by car, but at least one time by plane. I would venture to say that at that point my world was pretty small. Then, around the time I turned 13, my world quickly expanded. First, it was a trip to Canada for Expo ’86, then Christmas in Florida and a trip to DisneyWorld. (I still find it funny that I lived on the west coast, but visited Florida before California!)

Shortly after my first international and cross-country trips, I went to California (and Disneyland), Ohio, Connecticut, Mexico, and even spent the night in the Chicago O’Hare airport. I have had the privilege of participating in ministry trips to Canada, Spain, Philippines, Mexico, and South Africa. I have been truly blessed by all of the travel opportunities, and have met people and experienced cultures around the world. These experiences have been fun, exciting, adventurous, and at times, very challenging. All of these journeys play a part in who I am today.


 

thailand


Last fall I was invited to consider a ministry trip to Thailand. To be honest, Thailand has not been in my top places to visit. I know missionaries in Thailand, my niece went on a mission there, and I have a friend who lived there for a year, but it is not on my list of glamorous dream locations.

Another piece of this mission to Thailand is that our work will be done with girls caught in human trafficking. As you probably know, this is a huge issue around the world (even in the USA) and many people are passionate about this topic. I am aware (even more as I prepare for work in Thailand), but it has not been my area of burning passion.


At this point, you may wonder why I am going on this 9-day intensive ministry awareness mission trip to Thailand to work with girls in the sex trade. Let me tell you. . .


One morning in October I was working in the book, 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life. The topic of the day was, “Does God have great plans for my future?” The homework had two parts. First, list what plans God might have for me. Here is what I wrote: “influence, speaking, teaching, sharing my story, extraordinary adventures, financial abundance, watching your kids follow God and live their own extraordinary lives, generosity – bigger and more genuine than ever.” The second part was to write out a prayer. One part of that prayer says, “I don’t know exactly what you have for me next, but I do know that I want all you have for me. I don’t want to miss anything because I am too afraid.” The phone call about Thailand came two hours later and I knew this is what God had next.

Details about the Mission to Thailand:

In the northern province our ministry is about prevention. We will teach English in the public school with emphasis on loving the girls and teaching them about their great value. We are told that girls, from every school, head into the city with the sex trade each year.

bangkok redThe next place we will minister is in the red-light district of Bangkok. We will see first-hand what life is like in this area and hopefully have opportunity to be part of a weekly bible study that began recently. Again, this will be an opportunity to love on these young girls. We are told that many of them are kids, just 12-14 years old.

Finally we will spend time in the “rescue house” where girls are coming out of the sex trade. Many are recovering from drug addictions on top of deep trauma. We have several biblical counselors on our team that will be training the leaders in this facility.

It’s a quick trip (June 19-28) and although we have some specific tasks while we are there, the missionaries want us to become aware, first-hand, of the tragedy of human trafficking. They know that we will be changed and that God will use that change in each of our lives.

Support

There are nine women, including myself, going on this trip. We ask prayer for the preparation of our hearts as well as our lesson plans. And then prayer for safety in our travels and on the ground in Thailand. And finally, prayer for our families at home while we are gone.

If you would like to commit to pray for myself or our team, please email me at tracicast@mac.com.

There are a number of ways you can support the trip financially:

For a tax-deductible donation, give through our church and include “Traci Castaneda Thailand” in the memo box. Donate here.

You may give on-line directly to me through the GoFundMe website. Donate here.

You can give by purchasing coffee, then each time you make a cup of coffee you can remember to pray for me. Purchase here.

You can give by purchasing Jamberry nails through a friend who is currently doing a fundraiser party for me. Join the party here.

Thank you for all of your love and support for me and my family. I am blessed beyond words by all of the people who love us and care about our story. I love my partnership with you.

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 Need an Achilles’ Tendon Rupture?

achillesAchilles’ heel: a fault or weakness that causes or could cause someone or something to fail
i.e. I am trying to lose weight, but ice cream is my Achilles’ heel.

It took the rupture of my Achilles’ tendon to make me aware of an Achilles’ heel in my life.

In August of 2002, Joe and I had been married for nearly 6 years. AJ was 14 months old. I was 10 days shy of being 6 months pregnant with BJ. I was coaching middle school volleyball. I was the janitor for our church. Joe was a full-time youth pastor. Life was full and challenging, or so I thought.

On August 27, towards the end of volleyball practice, the other middle school coach and myself were playing a little 2-on-2 with our girls (yes, I was 5 1/2 months pregnant and felt great!) I bent to pass a ball and felt the fateful snap as though someone had hit me in the back of the leg. I waddled (yes, waddled) to the ball cart and wrapped up practice immediately. I then went and sat on the sideline and wondered if it was my Achilles. (I considered this because my brother-in-law, Dan, had ruptured his Achilles just 6 months earlier with a similar story.)

Our only car was a stick-shift and so I had one of the moms drive me home, and then Joe took me to Urgent Care. It was on that table in Urgent Care that I heard those awful words: You’re Achilles’ tendon is ruptured. Knowing what Dan had gone through (4 months of on-the-couch recovery) made the news so real. A thousand questions rattled in my mind, like “How in the world are Joe and I going to manage our busy little life now?” I was benched!

Ten days later (the doctors wanted to wait until I was a full 6 months pregnant), I had surgery. I spent a good part of two months with my leg elevated above my heart. Pain was intense and there was little I could do without help.

The rupture of my Achilles’ heel revealed my personal Achilles’ heel: I preferred to tackle life without help. I was a Lone Ranger. I thought I was stronger if I did things by myself.

The list of things I needed help with and the numbers of people who stepped in are countless, but I am going to recount a few because it was through this humbling process that I realized how much I need other people in my life.

* Joe coached girls volleyball (girls anything) for the first and last time. Those girls still call out, “Coach Joe!” when they see him around town.
* Joe did my janitorial job at the church.
* Debbie offered to watch AJ and her son, Josh, would come pick him up. This began a great relationship and all of our kids ended up spending time at Debbie’s Daycare over the years.
* Janice cleaned my bathroom. It was disgusting and she did it without complaint, without question, and with tons of joy.
* Meal after meal after meal came to our door by loving people from our church.
* Taking a bath and washing my hair. Yes, I needed help with these tasks too. Getting around on crutches at 6, 7, and 8 months pregnant was no easy feat, let alone getting into a bathtub while trying to keep my casted leg out of the water.

Life is best lived in the companionship and company of others. In fact, this is how we were created. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 sums it up well.
Two better than one“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!”

What is your Achilles’ heel in life? Are you willing to acknowledge it and take action to make changes? Hopefully it won’t take the rupture of an Achilles’ heel to get your Achilles’ heel in check.

Be Extraordinary!

%d bloggers like this: