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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It's a Win-Win!

Photo Credit:  pippalou from
Many of you have probably heard this quote before, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”  Well, I’ve fallen in love with this quote because I whole-heartedly believe it to be true.

At a time when I was feeling eager to conquer some of my fears, a book just so happened to come my way with the title, “Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers, PhD.  (By chance?  I think not.)  The title itself has become a mantra for me by providing strength, hope, and courage.  Fear will always be a part of our lives in one form or another, but Jeffers suggests that the fears we have don’t have to hold us back.  We can push through them with a sense of power, excitement, joy, and love.

Tucked inside the two-hundred pages of this encouraging gem of a book are words of inspiration and tools to help us turn our fears and indecision into power…power to create satisfaction in our lives.  The author shares an interesting truth about fear.  She says that the only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to just go out and do it.  Jeffers shares that “pushing through the fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.”

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but an incredibly crucial piece of advice that Jeffers shares is about our self-talk.  She encourages us to change our vocabulary within from negative to positive.  Soooo, that means…

I can’t becomes I won’t (because I can’t registers as weak in our subconscious)                
I should becomes I could (because I should brings guilt and upset and drains emotions)
It’s not my fault becomes I’m totally responsible (because It’s not my fault makes us think like a victim)
It’s a problem becomes It’s an opportunity (because It’s a problem is heavy and negative)
I hope becomes I know (because I hope sets us up for worry and sleepless nights while I know has a peace and calm about it)
It’s terrible becomes It’s a learning experience (because It’s terrible registers as disaster while the other statement allows us room for growth)

Throughout the book, Jeffers encourages us to take risks outside of our normal comfort zone.  Each time we move out of what feels comfortable, we become more powerful.  As our power builds, so does our confidence.  Our original comfort zone can expand with each and every step we take outside of the boundaries we’ve set for ourselves.  As John Shedd says, “Ships in harbor are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” (LOVE that!)

One of the main things that I took away from the book is the “No-Win” Model vs. the “No-Lose” Model.  One of the biggest fears that keeps some of us from moving forward is our indecision.  We may have been taught to, “Be careful!  You might make a wrong decision!”  Many of us are deathly afraid of making a wrong decision.  We panic over the idea of making a mistake.  We want to control the outcome of everything in our life, so that keeps us petrified when we think about making a change or attempting a new challenge.

Jeffers says that the “No-Win” model keeps us standing at a threshold of a decision, lamenting and obsessing – “Should I do this or should I do that?  What if I go this way and that happens?  What if it doesn’t work out the way I plan?  What if…”  The crazy thing about the “No-Win” model is that even after a decision is made, we constantly reassess the situation, hoping we didn’t make a mistake.  Ugh!  We just can't win.  What a vicious cycle…

Jeffers’ “No-Lose” method, on the other hand, is about two paths, A and B – both of which are right!  Path A and Path B both “offer opportunities to experience life in a new way, to learn and grow, to find out who you are and who you would really like to be and what you would like to do with this life.  Each path is strewn with opportunities, despite the outcome.”  Honestly, just thinking in those terms breathes new life within me.  It feels much more peaceful to think in this manner, doesn’t it?

Jeffers even admits that her students often remark that the “No-Lose” model seems a bit unrealistic.  Many people equate negative with “realistic” and positive with “unrealistic.”  Why?  Why would we want to continue resisting a “No-Lose” way of thinking?  Jeffers says that a critical factor in accepting the “No-Lose” model is our mind-set and how we think about outcomes and opportunities.  Once again…it’s up to us.  We choose.

To wrap-up, I thought this was a cute story from Mikey about retirement and growing older.  The author of this thought-provoking funny just might have a point…it’s all about our mind-set!

Now that I am getting older, I have done my research on retirement. I have found that the average cost for a nursing home is $300.00 per day. I decided that there must be a better way to deal with getting old and feeble, yet having my needs met. This is my recommendation:

I have found that I can get a nice room at the local Holiday Inn for $99.00 per day. That leaves $201.00 a day for food (brought directly to you by room service), laundry, gratuities, and special TV movies. This cost includes use of a swimming pool, a lounge, a washer and dryer, and a business center with computers and a copy machine plus a free continental breakfast. They provide free shampoo and soap along with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and razors as required. I will have daily maid service and a free USA Today Monday through Friday.

When I do decide to eat in the restaurant, I will see different people every day, not the same old folks that I would see in the dining room of a nursing home. If I join their frequent travelers “Priority Club,” I will soon accumulate enough points to get a DVD player or a free trip to Hawaii.

There may be a bit of a wait to get a first floor room, but that’s okay because most of the time it takes months to get into a decent nursing home. The Holiday Inn has a handicapped equipped bus (if you fake a good enough limp), access to a church bus, cabs, and even the regular bus. Occasionally, for a change for lunch or dinner, I can take the airport bus and eat in one of the restaurants there.

Holiday Inn has security at night and if someone sees you fall, they will call an ambulance that should arrive promptly in five to seven minutes.  They have 24/7 visiting hours. As a bonus, they offer senior discounts. What more can you ask for?

My conclusion: When I reach those golden retirement years, please help me keep my grin. Just pack my bags and drop me off at our local Holiday Inn.

After that little giggle, I’d like for you to join me this week in feeling the fear…and doing it anyway.  Let’s go for it, Sunshines!  We can do it!  Choose Path A or choose Path B…either way…it’s up to us on how we’ll view the outcomes and opportunities for growth along the way.  Honestly, it’s a win-win!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Think Small

Photo Credit:  Jason Gillman from
My 6-year-old daughter wrote a journal entry for school the other day that I want to share.  The prompt was “When I Grow Up.”  She wrote, “I would have a job and I would go every day.  My job would be a singer in Nashville.  I would live in a small house and have a dog with me.  My dog would be a famous back-up dancer.  I would have a cat that plays the piano.”

She was so excited about her little write-up that day.  She giggled and giggled until she rolled out of her chair at the kitchen table.  Then, she drew a picture to illustrate her creative write-up.   Even more laughs…from her…and from me.

When I was small, I often wondered what it would be like to be an adult.  It was fun to think about the limitless possibilities.  Would I be a spelling teacher (yes, that’s what I wanted to be), astronaut, scientist, business woman, Wonder Woman (remember her?), detective, lawyer, movie star, or Nashville singer?  The sky was the limit in my mind.  I enjoyed thinking BIG and loved letting my imagination wildly flow.

I also wondered what it would be like to hear the words “I love you, Mommy” come out of my own child’s mouth if I ever had a child.  I remember seeing moms in church running their fingers through their child’s hair while listening to the pastor.  Even when I was small, I longed to do that one day with my own kids.  I even had a journal in which I wrote down all the cool names that I might choose for my children one day.  For some reason, I often thought about having twins or triplets and how awesome that might be to name them with rhyming names.  At that time, however, I didn’t think much about the raising-them-part…only the naming-them-part.  Ha!

Anyway, I like thinking big.  I really do.  After reading over my daughter’s note about her BIG dream of becoming a Nashville singer with a famous dog dancer and piano-playing-kitty; I did notice an interesting word mixed in there.  Small.  She wants a SMALL house.  What?!  Why small?  All those big dreams and she wants a small house.  Hmmm…I remember wanting a mansion as a kid.  Did anyone out there play “MASH” with their friends, where the M was mansion, A was apartment, S was shack, and H was house?  Anyway, I played it very often with my friends and I was always ultra-bummed when the M was marked out as an option for my future living arrangement.

Of course, now, a mansion just means a whole lot to clean.  But, at the time, I loved the grandiose idea.  I asked my daughter why she wanted a small house.  She said that she wanted to have a small house because she would need a bunch of land around her in order to build her stage area for her singing. She didn’t want the house to take up too much of the space.  She needed more room for the dream part...the goal…her place to shine.

Lent is on many minds as we are one week into it at this point.  Did those seven days linger for you or did they fly by?  How about those Lenten resolutions?  I thought this might be a good time to focus on the word…small.  Why?  Well, sometimes we need to take baby steps.  We need to think small for a moment.  Did we pile too many things onto our “Things I Want to Give Up or Do More Of During Lent” list?  If so, then we might be tempted to throw in the towel about now if we haven’t accomplished what we intended.

Maybe we need to re-visit our list or take a few moments to re-focus and re-commit?  Maybe God is wanting us to make ourselves smaller so that He can be bigger in our lives during Lent?  Maybe He just needs us to leave Him some room for a place to shine His light?

Is there something that’s weighing so heavy on our hearts that it’s crippling us?  Is the weight so big that it seems impossible to carry another step?  I say let’s hand the weight over and let the Lord help us carry it.  With His mighty strength, I’m sure our big weight will be small to Him.  We can hand the load over in small increments or all at once.  Either way…the Lord can handle it.  I’m certain of it.

Think small.  Small steps.  Small changes.  Big difference.

Technically, lots of small steps can add up to accomplishing a marathon.  Lots of small acts of kindness can add up to changing lives.  Lots of small prayers can add up to miracles.  Lots of small sacrifices can add up to powerful love.  Lots of small moments of thanking God can add up to a greater connectedness with Him.  Lots of small “whatever” can add up.  One “small” at a time.

I’ll leave you with these ten small words.  Small words with big meaning, that is.  I read this quote the other day and I love it.  “Don’t judge others just because they sin differently than you.”  It’s a wonderful reminder during this Lenten Season.

As far as my daughter’s dancing canine and her fancy feline that can tickle the ivories…I’ll keep you posted.  Surely you’ll want to visit her in her small house one day for an autograph of her famous furry friends!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Photo Credit:  dave from
Isn’t it strange how someone’s voice can provoke all kinds of feelings within us?  From the moment they start talking, their voice can give us strength, courage, hope, and the comfort of knowing that we are dearly loved.  Then, there are those voices that sometimes make us cringe, but let’s not discuss that now.

I’ve heard many stories about loved ones who have died.  The family members that they’ve left behind have never erased an answering machine message or a voice mail left by the departed loved one.  Voice.  It’s an amazingly powerful thing really.

I’m all about texting these days, believe me.  It’s been a great thing, but there is something magical about a real, live voice on the other end of that phone line.  It’s difficult to truly “hear” what someone is saying through a text, isn’t it?

A voice can be one of encouragement.  Here is a precious little story from Mikey:

“While walking in the park one day, I was taking in the beautiful lake, blooming flowers, and just enjoying the oversized path where people could walk, jog, run their dogs, or ride their bikes.”

“As I was coming down a hill, I saw an older woman coming toward me, pushing a stroller with two toddlers in it.  ‘We’re coming to a hill,’ the presumable grandmother said to the children, ‘so you’ll have to help me — are you ready?’”

“I wondered how those little toddlers would be of any assistance, but as I passed them, I heard them earnestly repeating: ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...’”

The voice of encouragement.  We all need it sometime.

The voices of my children bring me much joy on a daily basis.  The other day, their voices brought me a big chuckle as well.  My girls had been chasing each other all over the house.  They would run and hide and then scare each other with a loud, “Boo!”  This went on for what seemed like forever.  I was preparing supper and finally asked them to stop.  It was getting to be a bit much.  I hollered, “That’s it!  No more chasing and scaring each other!”

They stopped for all of five seconds and then continued.  The noise escalated.  Then, my 6-year-old ran into the kitchen with her 9-year-old sister chasing after her.  My youngest daughter exclaimed, “MOM!!!  MOM!!!  I thought you said no more boo’s!”  Of course, it sounded like “booze” and they just could not figure out why I was laughing so hard.  Good times in the Kallus household.

The voice of laughter.  We all need it sometime.

My cousin recently gave it her best shot at getting on the show, “The Voice.”  After hours and hours of waiting in a Houston line and 5,000 singers later, she unfortunately didn’t make the cut.  However, what impressed me the most was that she said the experience only made her want to try all the more to get better and better and give it another go next year.

The voice of determination.  We all need it sometime.

It’s hard to believe, but Lent is here already!   Many of us will give up something or do something extra during this season before Easter.  If we listen closely to the voice inside of us (aka the Holy Spirit), we will be able to hear what special thing that God is calling us to do this Lent.  Let’s take some time to reflect upon the many ways that we can make this a memorable and fruitful Lenten season for ourselves and others.

The voice of inspiration.  We all need it sometime.

I’m kinda giddy about this, so I wanted to share with you that I just celebrated the fact that I have written 200 blog posts.  Yes!  This one you are reading right now is Sips # 201 and I couldn’t be more excited!  It’s hard to believe that I’ve written about 200,000 words on my blog thus far.  I couldn’t imagine writing that many words at once, but week by week, by golly...I’ve done it!

The voice of endurance.  We all need it sometime.

I know I’ve talked about my upcoming children’s book on many occasions now, but I just received the illustrations and they are simply beautiful!  I am one step closer, peeps.  I don’t have a guesstimate on the date of publication yet, but I am practicing patience in the meantime.

The voice of “oh-my-gosh-I-cannot-believe-that-I’ll-be-a-published-author-soon.”  Woo-hoo!  I LOVE the sound of that voice!

This week, let’s listen to each other’s voice.  Let’s listen to our own…the gentle voice nudging us within.  God can certainly speak loudly, but sometimes He’s found in a whisper, so we have to listen closely.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How Many Stars?

Photo Credit:  kandi from
Over the weekend, I was looking online to book a hotel for a trip we’re planning in March.  I entered the city, dates, number of people and ages, and then it asked for some additional search criteria…star rating preference.  Hmmm…how many stars?  I decided not to enter a star preference just to see what came up.  Here’s where the fun began.

To top off the excitement, I decided to sort by price…lowest to highest.  So, a little 1-star jewel popped up for only 27 bucks a night.  Wow!  Out of curiosity, I decided to read the reviews on this charm.  What does a $27/night hotel have to offer?  Well, at the very least, the following reviews provided my husband and me with an incredible amount of laughter…so much so that I almost fell out of my chair with tears rolling down my cheeks.  Let me share a few of the highlights so that you can giggle in disbelief too:

“They need to tear this place down because it’s unfit to stay.  Take it from me and I’m not picky at all.  There are many guests - cockroaches, rats, and cats to name a few.  The shower didn't work and the floors and walls were filthy.  I would never recommend this place to anyone.  It doesn't even deserve a star.  Whatever you do, do not stay here…RUN, RUN, RUN!  Did I mention cockroaches?   There were no bath towels and we even found bed bugs on our night clothing.  We felt unsafe.  We chose to sleep in our car in a supermarket parking lot until we found another hotel.  It was that bad!  There was dog poop at the entrance of the lobby.  This was the most disgusting place I have ever walked into in my life. It looked like someone had been murdered in the bathtub.  The room reeked of old smoke, so thick that you couldn't breathe. The kitchen was dirty and the walls were yellow and sticky from the smoke. I was afraid to sit down in the place.  I walked in and left 5 minutes later.  Did someone die in here?  You better lock your car and sleep with a weapon. There was one towel in the bathroom and it was paper thin.  The TV didn't work at all.  The door wouldn't close unless you channeled your inner Hulk and slammed it as hard as you could.  It’s so noisy everywhere.  If sleeping at night really isn't your thing, then this is the place for you.  There’s tons of mold and the mattress had wires sticking out of it.  Our ceiling fan almost caught on fire and the elevator looked like a death trap.  The balconies are tilted down as if they're sinking and going to collapse.  Don’t even ask about the bedding.”

Seriously?!  Needless to say, we didn’t book there and I went ahead and revised my search with a star preference.

However, this experience did get me to thinking about star-ratings.  All of us have 1-star days and 5-star days.  Most of the time, our days fall somewhere in between there, don’t they?  There are days when everything seems to be going right and then there are those days when nothing seems to be going our way.  Many things can influence our day’s star-rating like our health, jobs, friends, family, relationships, finances, weather, successes or failures, missing someone, sleep, exercise, etc.  The list goes on and on.

How can we boost our 1-star days into another category?  Not always, but many times, it is mind over matter.  Our thoughts can determine our day’s star rating.  What are we thinking about and how are we thinking?  Is our focus on the good or the bad?  Are we counting blessings or burdens?  Are we turning to prayer?

I recently received this great set of questions from Jesus that Mikey sent in an e-mail.  They helped me to put a few things into perspective when I’m having a 1-star day:

If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a healer?
If you never had to pray, how would you know that I am a deliverer?
If you never had a trial, how could you call yourself an overcomer?
If you never felt sadness, how would you know that I am a comforter?
If you never made a mistake, how would you know that I am a forgiver?

If you never were broken, then how would you know that I can make you whole?
If you never had any suffering, then how would you know what I went through?
If you never went through the fire, then how would you become pure?
If I never corrected you, how would you know that I love you?
If you had all power, then how would you learn to depend on me?
If your life was perfect, then what would you need me for?


I absolutely loved these reflective questions…even more than the hilarious roach-motel-reviews.  I hope you’ll join me in attempting to improve our 1-star days by trying our best at a 5-star attitude.

So….how many stars for today? 

Want some great news?  You get to choose.

Have a wonderful day, Sunshines!