It’s ok to want to be great.

Cristina Re

Someone asked me once.

“Do you want to be great?’

I had to pause a moment. I thought maybe it was a trick question. Perhaps I’ll sound arrogant if I admit that I want to be great. Maybe I should say that I don’t care about being great, but that I just want to be a good person. I mean, isn’t that the standard humble reply?

But then I thought, I do want to be great.

Don’t we all?

Greatness is something that can get mixed up with fame, tangled with recognition and associated with pride. But really, at the core of all of us, isn’t there a desire to be great at what we do? Who we are? What we share with those around us?

I want to be great because I care about the things that have been placed in my hands and my heart.

I want to be a great mom because I love my children.

I want to be a great wife because I care about my marriage.

I want to be a great daughter, sister, aunt because I value family.

I want to be a great friend because I’ve been given relationships that are important to me.

I want to be a great employee because I’m passionate about my work.

I want to be a great leader because I care about the things that have been entrusted to me.

I want to be a great writer because I want to grow in my purpose.

All of these things flowing from what has been given to me from my Maker.

Why wouldn’t I desire to be great, when I’m following the greatest?

Why would I want to waste away and settle for less than that potential?

The opposite of great, is terrible.

That’s definitely not part of my future plans.

Great can sometimes seem like a hollow word. We use it for shoes, movies, a good cup of coffee, paint on a wall, an exciting new restaurant or a book we read on vacation.

We use it as a descriptor, not as a goal.

At the core of greatness, is the effort it takes to get there.

Great is defined as having ability, quality, or eminence considerably above the normal or average. There’s nothing wrong with normal or average. But we don’t have to stop there. We can work hard to make the things we care about mean more.

I’m always aiming for great, and whatever comes after that. 

True greatness, that flows from the right places can be measured by the effects and the impact that it has on those around us. It has the potential to move from a word to an action.

Greatness can be cultivated from within but how it flows is what matters.

If we care about greatness for ourselves, we’ve missed the point.

Care about being great because what you do and what you care about matters.

It’s ok to want to be great.

 

Perfectly Imperfect

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Potatoes.

That’s what I recently found inspiring.

It’s summer and I have an unusual obsession right now with produce at my local grocery store. It’s all so bright and pretty. I mean, have you noticed the beautiful fruit and veggies out on display in the fresh aisle? Usually on the end, or right when you walk into the store.

All shiny and perfectly positioned in the right places.

You’re looking at the upper class.

The most popular. The best looking. The most talented.

They are the produce celebrities. If they had instagram, they’d have the most followers.

But that’s not where my produce obsession lies. 

No, I found this bag of potatoes. Not in the spotlight at all. More like in the back row, almost next to the bread.

You see, a brilliant brilliant person realized that there was a lot of waste in the fruit and vegetable world. Obviously, not all the produce makes the cut to the top of the pile. There’s only so much room on the display. What about the sub par fruit? The potatoes with extra dimples? The apples not quite in the right shape? The pears with the knobs and bruises?

There must be a purpose for things not good enough for the spotlight. 

So this brilliant person, (Let’s call him Mr. President’s Choice) came up with a great marketing idea. Lets take all that produce, not good enough for the top but good enough and throw it together in a bag. We can sell that! We can find a purpose for things that don’t make the cut!

Perfectly Imperfect. 

Naturally Imperfect.

That’s where my obsession lies. 

A sad bag of misshapen potatoes.

Is it weird that I understand and identity with this? (I actually KNOW that it’s really weird.) I seek out those naturally imperfect produce bags. I buy them up. I laugh in the face of supermarket hierarchy and I go for the underdog. I’ve told bags of naturally imperfect potatoes that I love them just the way they are.

They complete me.

Imperfection is actually where it’s at.

Perfectly Imperfect is my new goal.

I’ve lived a pretty steady life of striving for perfection. I’m not a classic perfectionist by any means, just come over and check out the cupboards in our house. Yet, there’s a level that I had been striving for. Goals I had been trying to meet. The top of the pile that I was trying to climb. Then, some pretty big rejections came. In different forms, in various life circumstances. Rejection that cut deeper than anyone could understand.

All of a sudden my perfectly arranged pile starts to collapse. Something got pulled out from the bottom and everything started falling all around.

Rolling. Rolling. Rolling.

Alone from the pile, you slowly spin off into the corner.

Who wants things that are bruised and broken?

Is what you think in the dark corner.

Then, you remember.

He does.

Strong when I am weak. Picks me up when I fall down. Doesn’t call me to perfection, but loves me as I am. Heaping grace upon grace, breathing life into broken down places.

When the sting comes, rejection slaps and the tears fall there are arms that are wide open. A voice that whispers, I love you as you are.” A purpose that is greater than perfection and position.

The top of the pile doesn’t matter.

Broken, battered and bruised.

There’s still a place for you.

Keep going. 

Don’t give up. 

So I choose to be.

Awkwardly misshaped.

Extra lumps.

Weirdly formed.

Rolling away from the pile.

Stuck so far away in the back where it feels like no one will ever find me or see me, or believe in me or want me.

But I know.

There’s a purpose for me.

And maybe my imperfect life is all that I really need.

Where I’m called to be.

So, I’ll be happy where I am.

I’ll cheer on the perfect apples and pears.

And I’ll be content,

Perfectly Imperfect.

Is actually the perfect place for me.

 

Summer Parenting Hacks

#1 Summer Parenting Hack

I have this new summer parenting hack. It’s pretty much the opposite of everything I’ve tried before. Gone are the chore charts, bribery and allowance strategies. (which I’m way past at this stage anyway) It’s not that I have given up on my ideals, or that I’m living in denial. And I still care. I mean, if something major come up with my 17-year-old half child/teenager daughter & 20-year-old man/child son, you can be sure that I’ll speak up. I’ll intervene. I’ll insert my most unwelcome 2 cents when I feel I must. That’s pretty much a guarantee. 

But the rest of the summer?

My best parenting hack?

Lip biting. 

That’s right. This is the summer of “Shelly bites her lip.” I made this decision about a month ago when an apartment’s worth of smelly items came back for the summer and things got a little out of control on the home front.

HOW DO I PARENT THIS STAGE? A common question I ask myself all the time, in caps. Yelling internally as I try to figure out exactly what independent yet dependant kids needs from their parents. 

So, I decided I could have a great summer or I could become the world’s crabbiest human. 

I went for the great summer option. Because, summer is my favourite. 

So, this is the new me. 

Crusty chunky dishes in bedrooms…

I bite my lip.

Ice all over the kitchen floor left for me to walk in…

I bite my lip.

Listening to arguments about the food you hid that someone found and ate…

I bite my lip.

400 pairs of shoes gathered directly in front of the door for me to trip over…

I bite my lip.

Empty containers of food put back in the fridge and cupboards…

I bite my lip.

A whole meals worth of dishes magically appearing in the sink overnight…

I bite my lip.

My shampoo taken but not returned to the shower…

I bite my lip. 

So far it’s working great. My lips are chewed raw and I’ve developed a twitch, but I’m committed to my strategy. 

I realized that I could spend my days barking at everyone all the time for the things they do wrong, or I could just chill out and enjoy the moments of being together and living a messy life of imperfection.

Don’t judge my silence. 

There’s still chores.

I’m still annoying.

It’s not complete chaos. 

We all have responsibilities.

The house is not running wild. 

I grumble inside my head a lot.

I make deep, deep sighs. 

Mostly, I’m just trying to let go of my sometimes impossible expectations and love my imperfect almost-completely-grown-up family. 

Isn’t that the best we can all do?

Sometimes living imperfectly, is actually perfect. 

So this summer, step over the wet towels and ignore the piles and the clutter. Quietly pick up the empty freezie wrappers that have trickled a sticky mess over the floor, and willingly vacuum up all the grass tracked up and down the stairs.

Mostly, love the long summer days.

Address what’s important.

Let the rest go. 

And if you need to,

Bite your lip. 

 

 

All the hard things.

All the hard things

A little while ago my daughter had a week that was filled with challenging experiences for her. Since she and I are very similar when it comes to new things, I could understand the angst and fear she was facing.

She asked me a really profound question.

“Why do all the hard things happen at once?”

I had to think about that for a minute. It was a very true observation. I’ve wondered that myself at times, why do we have to be brave all at once? Why does courage require every little bit of strength that we have, often in our weakest moments?

I looked at her and said what I always say,

“You can do hard things.”

All the hard things.

I say this a lot lately. To my family when we feel challenges. To myself when I’m crying in a parking lot wondering how to process the days I know are ahead. To those around me that I see needing encouragement and hope. The scale of hard things in life vary from day to day. One day it could be facing your first driving lesson, another day you come face to face with something that could change the trajectory of your life.

But we keep going.

Amid the darkness and the fear that we often face, we can have hope.

Why?

We CAN do hard things.

I know this because I see people all around me living out their own brave every day.

The one facing a cancer diagnose. 

The parent believing in a healthy report for their child.

The couple trying to make their marriage work.

The parent fighting for their family. 

The individual seeking direction and purpose.

The one feeling the darkness of depression.

The family watching a loved one slip away.

The person feeling a grief so strong it hurts. 

You are the doing the hard things. If you find yourself trapped by fear, wondering how you are ever going to make it out of the this season and be free from what hinders, you can have hope.

You don’t have to be weary. He gives strength, this anchor to the soul.

You can stand secure. He is steadfast and true.

You can trust. He is unchanging, full of grace and life.

Keep moving forward, keep being brave. Look the situations that scare you right in the face and remind yourself that you can do all things. You have been given all strength. What is in the world is not stronger that what is inside you.

You are stronger than you know. 

He is stronger than you could ever comprehend

You can do hard things because you don’t have to do them alone.

Small ways to make Summer beautiful!

Ice Cream Treats

I feel a little bit of pressure when June starts. After all, who doesn’t want to have the most magnificent summer ever? When my kids were little we had a “Summer Bucket List” and while I loved it, I felt anxiety to get it all done. Every time the kids pulled out an activity I’d hold my breath and hope it was something attainable for that day. (I’d often ask them to re-pick, and always hid the Canada’s Wonderland slip) If I’m not careful I get caught up with needing everything to be big and grand, but over the last couple of years I’ve been learning that there can be so much joy in the small moments.

So, my summer goals have changed. Now it’s all about embracing the things around me that make me happy. Here are some little ideas that can make your summer full of great memories:

Sunset Watch – I’ve gotten a little obsessed with sunsets in the past couple years and they are just SO DARN PRETTY! Usually every night around 9:30, I do a sunset check. I go out to the back deck and I sit and watch. If it’s extra-spectacular I text everyone to come out and watch with me. (they don’t usually come) Sunsets are like a big beautiful art gallery in the sky. (Note: Sunsets are free)

Outdoor Kitchen – A few weeks ago we got our deck ready for summer. With very little cost, I got some pretty lights to hang up, some potted plants to put around and planted my small vegetable garden. (I love rescuing shrivelling discount plants from the garden centre! I also find extreme joy in growing vegtables) Then, I started the most annoying proclamation ever, “Outside is the new kitchen.” My family finds it incredibly tiresome because I say this every night but I’ve decided unless it’s raining, grab your dinner plate and come eat outside. I’m sorry there are flies, but you’ll be ok. (Note: Eating outside is free)

Neighbourhood Walks – Besides the fact that I need exercise and it’s good for the soul, I’ve been loving the neighbourhood summer walks. I’m not a winter outdoors person at all. I’ll shamefully admit that I pretty much stay inside from Jan-March so this is the time of year when its just so good to be outside. Walk time is also good talk time. Grab a spouse, child, sibling, friend – whoever you can find and walk those summer neighbourhood streets. (Note: Walks are free)

Patio Goals – Last year I set some patio goals for the summer as I noticed a lot of people were living the exciting patio life. My husband and I have a pretty regular date night and those date nights in the summer now involve patios. Depending on where we go the cost can vary, our last two dates nights were selected based on summer menu’s that I noticed with choices under $10. There are tons of other places that I consider to be in the patio category that are very affordable. McDonald’s has the best iced coffee (ONLY A DOLLAR ALL SUMMER!!!), Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Wendys – all have good choices and have patios. If you’re going to go out, you might as well sit on a patio! (Note: At the right place our family can all have an ice cream patio treat for under $10)

Community Exploring –  Our little town is surrounded by vineyards, fruit trees, farms and wineries. I can buy a bunch of flowers off the side of the road for $5, there are fruit stands on charming country roads and I recently found a secret street that leads up the escarpment with the most stunning views of the Lake I’ve ever seen. About 15 minutes from our house is a beautiful marina and beach that goes great with a coffee, a carousel you can ride for 5 cents and benches to sit on and watch boats go by. No matter where you live, there are places you can explore that can be part of your summer traditions. (Note: Exploring is free)

Maybe you don’t have a big exciting summer vacation planned – that’s ok! Your summer can still be full of memories. Enlarge your circles, embrace your family and friends, and celebrate small moments with big enthusiasm.

Leave joy prints wherever summer brings you.

Make summer beautiful.

All the days are the best days.

all the days are the best days

The boy who didn’t give a care in the world for trucks when he was little came home from his really grown-up job and told me that he was driving a cement truck that day on the highway. My heart skipped a little beat because when was a little boy allowed to go and do such big things? Who decides that a man-child who still can’t remember to bring up his dishes from the basement, can drive a scary truck full of liquid rock?

This mama just can’t wrap her brain around it all.

The shy little girl gets on a plane with her fancy suitcase and heads to another country, outside the safety of our cozy walls. To watch fireworks without my hand in hers and to make memories that won’t include her family of which most of her memories are made. But off she goes, with a wave from the bus window and I wipe away my tears because when did she get so brave? I hold my breath for a week and she comes home with smiles and stories, and I squeeze her extra-tight because I can see that she’s spread her wings.  I take a step back because I know a little grown-up girl needs space to keep finding out who she is and permission to dream about what she is going to be.

We do our family hug at night, and I pretend the world is suddenly frozen and we are captured in this moment forever.

This mama’s heart just wants to hold on.

This mama’s heart has to work hard to let go. 

They have something the world needs from them.

I know this.

I have to share.

I can’t hold them back.

Lately though, all I can think of are popsicle drips and long summer days that I thought might never end, where I likely raised my voice too much and complained loudly about the mud and the mess and didn’t want to go to the pool because I didn’t like how I looked. I know I muttered under my breath and wished for time by myself with no cares in the world.

But now?

I long for those days.

I’d smile at the popsicle stains on the white shirts.

I’d cuddle into the sweaty little heads.

I’d jump in that pool.

I wouldn’t rush them into bed.

I’d read one more story.

I’d hold on as long as I could.

Those were the days of heart growing. Those were the days when little lives looked up with wide-eyes, waiting for voices to speak into their soul and tell them who they could be, and that they were so loved, and that there was nothing they couldn’t do.

Those were the days. 

And I loved those days.

Now, we have these days.

These days are the sum total of all the days past. Instead of growing, the days feel like they are getting shorter and I never liked subtraction. 

These are the days of releasing. The pride of seeing who they are, alongside the small ache deep down in the heart knowing that they won’t always just be yours.

Understanding that the best thing for them, is not always to belong only to you. And my mama heart is a little lost as I try to figure where I belong in life now, since I’m not a main character on their centre stage anymore. I see if I can make friends, and I think I can maybe date my husband more and it’s like this whole new world that’s a little nice and a little sad all at once.  I don’t leap into it, I just take it slowly so I can still hold on.

I know that what will always keep us together is this love that we’ve grown with.

I know we will always hold on, even as we let go. 

Then I saw a picture my friend posted of a little kiddie pool, with everyone crammed in, freezies dripping and water splashing.

My heart jumped.

“THESE ARE YOUR BEST DAYS!” I exclaimed to her picture.

And they are.

And the days will keep getting better as you watch little boys grow up and drive trucks, and little girls play in their band and laugh with friends.

All the days are the best days.

All the days are the hard days.

All the days are about letting go.

The days with popsicles dripping down little chins.

The days with a quick good-bye where you’re left behind.

All the days are the best days. 

When you don’t understand why.

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There was a sweet girl. She reached out in her last days. Memories of roots that ran deep, times when her heart was full and she believed. When the end was near, she called out again.

She asked, “Why?”

I said I didn’t know.

I don’t understand these things.

She said, “I’m scared.”

I held her hand. In the face of pain and hard questions sometimes words seem hollow. In my shaky voice, I shared where my hope comes from. My faith that has seen me through many storms. The unconditional love that has rescued me. I sat beside her and looked at the childhood posters on her wall of kitty cats, puppies and sparkly stars and my eyes filled with tears as I thought about full circles, deep pain, planted seeds and love in broken up places.

That was all.

A few days later she was at peace.

Heart settled.

Her pain gone.

And I’m full of thanks that I got to sit beside her.

Grateful that I entered her life again, even just for a short time.

That was perfect grace. 

Since then, the question rings in my mind.

“Why?”

It’s the question asked in the middle of it all. When pain is right smack in the face, and things are closing in. It’s whispered it in the dark loneliness of night when it’s too much to bear, and fountains of tears have been shed and hearts faintly beat from dry parched places.

We see those we love slipping away. We feel helpless and full of pain. 

We feel like life is not what we planned or hoped. Our dreams seem lost.

We’ve been hurt and rejected and kicked to the curb. We feel unwanted and unloved.

We want to stand on a mountain and scream to the world

Why?

Somedays the heart is just so full of things that hurt. 

There is no perfect life.

But in the middle of it all there is perfect peace.

Peace that runs down. Peace that overflows and mixes with grace. Peace that is tied to a hope that is our anchor.

Strong and secure.

That anchor holds fast. The storms, the wind and the waves will come.

In the middle of why,

we hold on tight.

He is steadfast.

He is strong.

He is our peace.

He is our grace.

He is.

In that small room that represented a lifetime – there were hard questions. No real answers.

There was also peace in the middle of flowing grace. 

In the middle 

of why.

He is there. 

He is. 

Parenting your teens without making them cringe.

Let's dothings together!

Somewhere recently I read a post or tweet from someone wondering why there aren’t many blogs about parenting teenagers.

I’ll tell you why.

Teenagers can read.

We’re treading carefully.

One false move and we’re on the outs.

And let me tell you, it’s not easy to get back in. 

I’m one comment or tag away from being blocked on Facebook. (I’ve also been wall- wiped which I’m still recovering from. This blog actually could be the end of the deep virtual relationship I have with my kids.)

I’ve never claimed to be a parenting expert. I haven’t handled every situation perfectly, there are things I wish I had done differently. In this current stage of life with one teenager and a university man-child, I’m doing the best I can. Still trying to figure things out, often one day at a time. 

Somedays I get my feelings hurt. 

When they text each other behind my back and say I’m a little cringe-y.

When I’m forbidden to car dance. (which, by the way is one of my top talents.) 

When they use cool new sayings like “extra” and “snack” then act horrified when I make those sayings part of my vocabulary. (Side note: Look up new sayings because they might not mean what you think.)

When they make fun of the way I pronounce words like Peterborough, nursery, peanut butter and Keturah.

“You could do worse than me,” I say, defending my obvious cool factor. 

Insert super-obvious eye roll as the response. 

All that considered, I have great kids. There’s no picture perfect anything, but we love each other. We like to spend time together, we talk openly (a little too much TMI at times) and they still hug me and say they love me.

We are making it through. 

One day at a time. 

There’s no secret strategy. 

There’s just learning to be the parent that your kids need. 

Trying to – 

  • Love them where they are at. There will be hard seasons, frustrating seasons and at times they might be in a place or stage that’s hard to understand. Don’t give up. Stay right there with them, even if it’s not the place you’d choose for them.  Fight for your relationship with them. 
  • Listen when they need to talk. Put your phone down. (I fail at this one so often) Look them in the eye. Make time when they initiate it. However your teen chooses to reach out and connect with you, grab onto it. 
  • Back off when they need their space. One of the more important parts of your soon-to-be-adults learning how to make their own way and be independent is by giving them room to breathe. Often that means letting them figure things out on their own, and you stepping back and letting go. Even if it’s the opposite of what you want to do. 
  • Respect how they feel. If something you do bothers them, be sensitive to that. Sometimes you just think you’re a super-funny mom. Then, you realize you’re actually the most embarrassing person on the planet. Follow those cues. 
  • Encourage other voices in their life. The best thing your teen can have, is other people speaking into their lives. Seek out those places where they can connect with others and support those relationships. You can’t be the only voice, as much as you want to be. 

The best advice I think any parent can be given is to give love and require love and keep love as the standard.

An imperfect family full of love is really all anyone can ask for.

In the meantime,

I secretly love the cringe. 

I’ll be that cringe-y mom all week long.

I’ll take that cringe to the bank and cash it in. (see, I’m doing it right now.)

I’ll be extra, lit and look like a snack (whatever that actually means.)

Most of all, I’ll love my almost-partially-grown-up-adults with all my heart.

Because that’s just what you do.

That’s how you parent your teens. 

 

 

We have this hope.

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Watching and seeing memories fading, my heart breaking.

What was life now slipping away, changing while still holding on.

Walking through seasons of complication, footsteps that feel unsure.

Days of loneliness and fear of isolation, questioning purpose and the future ahead.

There’s those days, you know. Days that don’t make sense, days where you just want to hide away and you’re not sure that what is coming is something you can face. Days after you’ve remembered and you’ve celebrated all you believe. You rejoice in the empty tomb knowing that it’s what makes your own heart full, but you still feel like what you are holding in your hands is just too heavy. 

All these days. 

The sea tosses and turns, and the waves roll and crash and the ocean seems too big and so large. And you’re so small. What chance do you have? And just when it’s all coming down, when you’re overcome and about to let go,

Something steadies. 

Something pulls.

You’re just out of view, the shoreline feels far.

But you’re held.

There’s this anchor.

This anchor that hold secure. 

It’s hope.

And it holds onto the soul.

It pulls you out of the depths, it grasps tight when you’re in the waves. When the surge and the undertow try to pull you away, trying to make you let go of all you know to be true, this anchor holds you. You can’t see it. You wouldn’t know it’s there. But it’s got your life. It’s strength cannot be broken, it won’t let you go.

You cry out in the storm.

Lost and afraid.

But your steadied.

You are held.

Hope anchors the soul. 

This metal down deep a symbol of what I believe. The reason why I celebrated a tomb that was empty, a victory that was won. It won’t let me go. It’s a city on a hill, it’s light in the darkness. It gives me a future, it doesn’t put me to shame. It gives my soul rest.

I can’t live my life without this hope. 

In times of pain, I have hope. In times of joy, I have hope. In times of mourning, I have hope. In times of doubt, I have hope. In times of loneliness, I have hope. In times of confusion, I have hope. In times of celebration, I have hope.

I HAVE THIS HOPE. 

It’s holding onto me. 

The anchor

The cross.

We’re holding onto each other. 

We don’t always understand the storms we face. We don’t always know how we are going to get to the shore. 

But we know.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul. Firm and secure.

Whether the seas are calm and the suns shining bright, or the tempest is blowing and the skies are dark and grey – don’t lose hope.

Look for the glimmer, search for the promise. 

Hold onto your anchor. 

Hold onto your hope.

Hold onto Him. 

 

 

 

Real life #follows

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There are a couple of women that walk through my neighbourhood, I usually see them in the morning as I’m leaving for work. The first time I observed them, I thought they had been in a terrible fight. One of them was walking at least 5 steps ahead at a very fast pace with no signs of slowing down. The woman following looked like she was trying to catch up with everything that she had. I thought to myself, “Wow, what happened to these friends on their morning walk?”

Then I saw them again, and again.

Always the same.

The most awkward walking partners ever.

I realized that they couldn’t possible be fighting every morning and that this was intentional. Something was happening here. One woman walks faster, with more purpose and confidence. The friend following is trying to keep up. It’s hard work for her but she doesn’t stop. She’s being led by example. Maybe’s she trying to get in shape, maybe she is training for a race or perhaps she wants to be a speed walker.

Whatever her motives, she has clearly identified someone in her life that she wants to follow and she is giving it her all.

Every time I see these women in their yoga pants out early in the morning, I’m so inspired.

I think a lot about who is following me, and the example that I set but I don’t often think about who I am following. For many of us, following has become a term connected to social media. These days most following happens in front of a screen.

It’s even how we introduce ourselves to people.

“Oh, I follow you!”

It’s all good. Screen following does help us learn to a certain extent. But there’s a world outside flat-screen living. A 3D gathering around us of actual people. People that we can interact with in real-time that have the potential to change our lives and help us grow. 

True following is more than reading about someone else’s life on a timeline. Sometimes it’s about taking extra steps. It’s face-to-face connection, it’s hands-on mentoring, it’s hard conversations and purposeful relationship. It means putting yourself out there and it’s not always easy, it takes courage to be vulnerable and admit that you need someone to lead you. 

Like the women on my street, dramatic action is required to follow someone in a way that can help bring change to our lives. 

It’s so easy to think I can just walk on my own, but I need someone to try to catch up to.

I need to follow someone who can set a pace.

When we are following the right person we have to work to keep up. It’s challenging, it stretches us and sometimes it might even hurt a little as we grow in new ways, but it’s so important.

We all need to be followers.

Especially if we are leaders.

If you only have people behind you, soon you’ll run out of places to go. 

I’ve started to ask myself the following questions:

Who is ahead of me?
Who can I learn from?
Who will challenge me and get me out of my comfort zone?
Who is going in the direction that I want to go?

Those are the people that I need to follow. To help me set my pace, and to push me to new levels and help me learn. To walk on the journey with me, helping me navigate the course ahead. To hold me accountable as I stretch and grow. To remind of the purposes and plans for my life, encourage me in my faith and keep me on track. I might lag behind them awkwardly (I’m really good at awkward) but I’m going to catch up.

It doesn’t matter who you are.

How much experience you have.

How old you are.

If you’re at the top of your game.

There is always someone that you can follow.

Today, I saw the “walkers” out again. I didn’t see them much over the winter and I noticed something really interesting as I watched them. The gap between them has gotten smaller, the learner is catching up to the teacher. Soon they will be walking pace to pace. It’s a beautiful picture, and I imagine before long the one that worked so hard to catch up, will find someone that wants to follow her.

Look behind you and lead.

Look ahead of you and learn.

Find someone to follow.