Browsing Tag

Susan Tolles

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It’s here. The week of “chasing my lion” has arrived, and I am about to embark on a journey with so many unknowns. I’m headed to Uganda to lead women’s conferences in Pader and Soroti, remote communities where the majority of the women can’t even read or write. Their towns and their people were ravaged by Joseph Kony and Lord’s Resistance Army for 20 years, and many of their friends and family were killed. Those who remained were traumatized. Many were infected with HIV/AIDS. The war ended around 2008, but the effects remain. Poverty, AIDS, malaria, malnutrition and starvation are constant problems.  Continue Reading

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There’s always something to celebrate.

As I write this, it’s National Blueberry Cheesecake Day. If you don’t like cheesecake, then you can celebrate National Don’t Fry Day. There’s a reason to party every day.

Too often, we get caught up in the busyness of life, failing to notice our blessings and express gratitude. We let little annoyances get under our skin as they take over our thoughts, and we allow them to ruin a perfectly good day. We trade an attitude of joy and abundance for stress and anxiety. Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the wonder of childhood as we strive to accomplish  rather than experience. Continue Reading

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May brings a time when we think about Mother’s Day. Some of us have warm memories of a mother who nurtured us from newborn to adulthood. She loved unconditionally, disciplined firmly and taught valuable life lessons from how to do laundry to how to love. The older we get, the wiser she’s become, and we are so grateful for the role model she was.

For others, Mother’s Day is tough. There are “unmothered daughters,” raised by mothers who were absent, abusive, or narcissistic. There are women who’ve battled infertility or miscarriage, and some have longed to be a mother but have yet to find the right husband. There are women who’ve become content as doting aunts and others who’ve poured out their motherly love through volunteering.

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A few years ago my husband built a butterfly garden in my backyard. It’s a beautiful space that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and it’s a place of renewal for me. Every spring I pull out what the harsh winter has killed, and prune the perennials that need a boost. I plant new annuals for added color and fill pots with fresh herbs for summer meals. After the first major “haircut” the garden looks dreadful. But within a few weeks there’s new green growth and flowers that I consider are God’s special bouquet just for me.

The flowers in my butterfly garden are like the woman I want to be.

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I  just finished reading In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by one of my favorite authors, Mark Batterson. It is based on a not-so-familiar Bible story about a young man named Benaiah who was confronted by a lion that threatened his life. However, unlike most of us who would have run the other way as fast as we could, Benaiah chased the lion into a pit and came out the victor. Instead of letting his fears get the best of him, Benaiah took a giant risk, not looking at how big his foe was, but claiming just how big his God was. He chased the lion into that trap with a simple spear, and provided a lesson in faith and courage that speaks volumes about how we should approach opportunities today. Continue Reading

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My, how times have changed.

There are two budding entrepreneurs in my neighborhood who occasionally have a lemonade stand close to my house. I always try to stop by, encouraging them with my words and my money. I’m not sure how much they actually sell, as we live in a pretty rural area, but these elementary-age ladies are showing early signs of the creativity, risk-taking and drive that makes self-starters successful.

However, when I stopped by over the weekend, there was something new on their table. When I asked what they were selling, the “boss lady,” who is probably 10-years-old said, “stress balls.” Stress balls? There on the table was a lineup of brightly colored balloons filled with cornstarch. Continue Reading

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Everywhere I go these days, I’m surrounded by Nomophobes. Whether it’s at a luncheon, a business presentation, or a casual dinner, these addicts are showing their disrespect and lack of social grace in record numbers. This addiction has swept the nation! It’s the fear of being without your cell phone.

Nomophobia is the abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia,” and it’s used to describe the anxiety we experience when we run out of the house without our phone, or we’re out of cell phone range, or the flight attendant says, “Turn off your mobile devices.” If you can relate, then you are a Nomophobe.

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It happened in the blink of an eye. There it was… Confirmation I’m officially “old.” Without even having to whip out my photo ID or my AARP card (which was shredded upon receipt), I was given a “senior discount” at the hospital cafe.

I’ve been visiting my tiny grandson in the NICU for the last four weeks. He was born nine weeks early, and since then, trips to the hospital have been part of my regular routine. I frequent the coffee bar in the cafe, and never pay much attention to the cash register when paying for my decaf nonfat latte, aka “what’s the point.” Today I just happened to notice a senior discount was applied to my purchase. Immediately I went into a tailspin. Continue Reading

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Last week my husband and I went to a Blood, Sweat and Tears concert with friends we’ve known for over 35 years.  Yes, Blood, Sweat and Tears’s 50th Anniversary tour. Does that make you feel old? It did me. It was held at a small concert venue that seated 300 people. When we walked in, my hubby said “Good grief. This is a Geezer Fest.” The average age of the audience was at least 60. Yep, I’m a geezer now. But it was one of the most fun evenings I’ve had in a long time.

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It’s a new year, time to focus on your plan for a successful 2017—a time to dream big, set new priorities and go forward with confidence, new ideas and energy. The problem with goal-setting is we lose steam by spring (if not sooner), and our good intentions are replaced by busyness and self-sabotage. For many of us, like Sara Cornell, it’s easier to start the year with no resolutions at all.

What sets successful people apart from those who stall out early in the game is living with a “success mindset.” Here are seven essentials for setting yourself up for victory instead of defeat.

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