NEW WEBSITE!

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to let you all know that I have found a permanent domain at naturallyunique.org!  You can find current posts and information over there.  I’ll be updating and adding to that website over the next few weeks.  I hope you’ll join me as I continue my adventure!

Thanks!

Jill

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Set the Tone

I recently went on a family trip to Texas with my entire side of the family.  After months of feeling like my family had been working REALLY hard at life, I was SO ready for a relaxing vacation.  Even before we left for vacation I felt God telling me that I would need to set the tone for the week.

I knew that there would a meeting that, if we weren’t careful, could cause hurt feelings or frustrations.  Add to that the 4 different families represented all living in a room who lived life and liked to vacation a bit different than one another…well, there was just a lot of potential for emotions to run a little hot.  So I found some GREAT quotes to print off and then placed them in each room.

Now, I could have gone into the vacation all defensive and ready to fight when someone got upset.  But really, is that any way to live?  Not at all!  Many of us have lived our lives this way for years.  I wonderful how much frustration and anger we have let come in our hearts that really didn’t need to be there at all.

All of us have the opportunity to set a positive tone in our lives.  Perhaps it’s just one area that needs help or the whole thing!  Each of us can lead the way somehow…a look, a smile, a great word, or a kind response.  Really the options are limitless!  Even in the hardest times, we can find a way to set the tone.

As we prepare for a new day tomorrow, what is something you can do to set the tone for those around you?  Even if you start with just one thing, what would it be?

 

Don’t Push Me!

Do you ever feel like you are running, running, running and can’t catch up for anything?  You can’t get on top of that pile of things that need to get done?  Your pushing so hard just to keep up or better yet, get ahead?  That’s how I have been feeling lately.

A few weeks ago I had an appointment with our tax lady.  I was in the car racing up to Bloomington to get the taxes done after spending the night before gathering the last few pieces of information together for our meeting.  I felt really, really scattered and pushed.

Now, I had planned ahead on my taxes and put the documents in a folder as they arrived at the house, but I had not fully gotten prepared.  We left on vacation with a few pieces (one large!) needing to be put together and then we lost a day between getting home and getting our taxes done when our flight was cancelled due to bad weather.  So we pushed again to get all the final documents pulled together.

The morning of my appointment, I was pushing to get to the appointment on time.  The GPS said I was going to be 1 minute early if I kept going but I hadn’t eaten breakfast.  Could I really handle pushing myself and not eating?  No.  Why hadn’t I planned ahead and gotten groceries so I could eat at home?  So, I decided to pull off and pick up a breakfast sandwich on the way which would guarantee my late arrival.  But that decision was also going to push my budget.

I hate it when I don’t plan ahead and get things in order.  Now, can you plan for everything?  No, not really.  But you can plan, prepare, and be ready for most things.  You can make sure to plan the menu, buy the food you need, and make time for even a quick breakfast.  You can get your groceries BEFORE leaving for vacation so that you don’t have to push when you get home.

Plan ahead…so that you don’t have to feel behind and frazzled like I was that day.  Break the cycle.  There are little decisions you can make to help them work for you or work against you.

My Sweet Valentine

There are some moments in life that stick out…they are so pivotal.  Today, mine happened as I was pulling my socks out of the clean laundry.  Yep…profound moment.

I had the very clear thought of how much I love living life with him.  I love our deep conversations.  I love that our hearts are intertwined.  I love that God has given me a PARTNER in life.

We work, we raise our kids, and we’ve created a life together.  But most of all, I’m thankful for a man who loves God.  We are able to work through situations that come our way.  We listen to God for direction and humbly respect His authority in our life.

I love that God speaks to my dear husband in dreams and pictures.  I love that when God speaks to me, my partner will listen.  What a blessing it is to be so loved.

We have learned after many years of marriage what it means to be a partner in life.  There were tough times that could have torn us apart.  Each of us have walked through hard times in life.  It’s what we do in those hards times that determines who and what we become.

So this is just a love note to my dear husband.  I love you.  Being yours is wonderful.

Who I am

With all this talk of personality tests, I thought it best to share my results with you.  So here you go…all the goods on Jill.

My top 5 strengths in StrengthsFinder are:

Analytical (always analyzing details and data)

Learner (love the process of learning something new)

Harmony (with people and in the environment around me)

Responsibility (take psychological control of whatever their responsibility they are given)

Individualization (sees each person as an individual with skills and talents)

My Myers Briggs Personality Type (MBTI) is:

INTJ (I lean hard towards P as well…it’s very possible I’m a J due to my J parents)

Here’s what myersbriggs.com says about my personality.  “Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.”

If I were to come out as a INTP here’s that description: “Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.”

I would tend to believe INTP would be more fitting for me.  You can see how my analytical and learner strengths flow right into the description of my Myers Briggs personality type.  I’ve gone through numerous trainings on these different tests, but so far I’ve found that Myers Briggs has been the easiest implement into a team environment.

What’s your personality type?  Your strengths?  Your MBTI type?

What’s Your Type?

I LOVE personality tests!  Love, love, love them!  I love them so much that I love studying the thinking behind the test itself just to understand the outcome even better.

I’m not gonna lie, I still have my results from a personality/career test I took at the end of my high school career.  It’s really fun to see how I haven’t changed…yet life has changed so much!  It’s interesting to me that even in my younger years when I was confused and insecure, the core of who I am was is still the same.

There are so many different personality tests out there.  Myers Briggs, DISC, and StrengthsFinder are the most common with each giving you a different style of result.  I believe the results from each test can be used to help bring clarity to who you are and how you work best.

So which test is your favorite?  Have you used one in your workplace, church, or with your family?  If you were using one of these in a team or business situation, which one would you recommend?

What’s REALLY Going On?

It never ceases to amaze me how understanding people is so essential to everyday life.  You can see it anywhere.  Understanding your family members, coworkers, boss, the people driving next to you (or in front of you!), or even the lady in line waiting for coffee is essential.  Sometimes we react to their behaviors without giving a thought to WHY they are behaving this way.

At Target today there was a mom is yelling at her kid.  Like yelling many rows away from me and I could still plainly hear her.  What is your first thought about that situation?  Perhaps if you’re not a parent yet you are wondering why this mom can’t keep her kid under control.  Maybe you see it from the kids point of view and think that mom needs to watch how she talks (or yells) at her kid.  Or maybe you even see if from the Mom’s point of view thinking she probably is really struggling right now.  The truth is we tend to jump to one of these (or many other) conclusions.  One sticks out it our brain and is the first thing we go to when our ears are bombarded by the sound of the crying child and yelling mother. 

But what’s the truth?  You don’t know what’s been going on at home for the last 24 hours.  Or how many times that child has disobeyed.  Or if there is a sick husband at home, or in the hospital, if the child has a learning disability, or if mom is 1st trimester pregnant (which we all know can be horrendous!).  Seriously, the options are endless!

How do we react?  Do we pass judgement or do we question WHY this is happening?  Do we give the mom some grace?  

A few weeks ago at Walmart, there was a young man in a wheelchair grunting and groaning.  Of course my kids wanted to stare and see what was going on.  I instructed them not to stare and instead looked them full in the face and took the opportunity to talk with them about the young man.  It just so happens that I ran into his mom at the register.  No, I didn’t know the family.  But she was talkative and I still have my small town charm, so we were chatting it up.  She told me her son used to be in a home, but that they were now taking care of him.  They are upside down on the their house, so they will be staying in their current house for some time even though they thought of a smaller home.  She said her son had gotten too excited while in the store so her husband took him out to the car.  Her attitude about life was so refreshing!  It was great for my boys to see this.  Honestly, how many times do you get to see things full circle like that?

As a Christian, I see many times in the Bible that we are supposed to LOVE one another.  Many times people think this love comes through an act of service, but we can love one another by simply NOT passing judgement on them.  

So next time you’re out and about and see a situation unfolding, I encourage you to think of at least 3-4 possibilities of what could be going on right now with that person.  It will change the way you see people!  

Reverend Jill

Last week was a big week for our family.  Mr. L was in his first “stage play” as he calls it. He did a wonderful job!  My dear husband taught a breakout session at a conference which I thought was an honor and super wonderful.  And I finished a 15 year journey.

On Thursday night I received my credentials as a licensed minister.

Although I had finished the required schooling to get my license 11 years ago I had not pursued them.  As a woman, I thought that since my husband was licensed and we were doing ministry that I did not need to follow through with this step.  Over the past two years I have been challenged that not only does my husband have a calling on his life, but I do as well.

Last July my grandpa passed away.  He had battled cancer for 7 years so it was not a surprise when he passed.  Weeks before his passing I was at work when I was inspired to write the words coming to my mind.  I began writing what would become his eulogy.  That moment has defined me.  The inspired writing of the eulogy, stepping up when asked who was going to do it, and delivering it.  I changed that day.  July 25, 2012.

I remember distinctly my dad coming up to me afterwards and saying how proud he was of me.  He believed God had a plan for me.  I was inspired by my grandpa’s life and my dad’s words of encouragement.

We had just moved to a new town to be apart of a church plant (actually on the day my grandpa passed away).  God has changed me over the last year.  I work with great leaders who love me, challenge me, and help me grow.

My steps of obedience are just that.  God told me last year that he had something for me to do but that I had to follow through in doing what he had told me to do…to get my license.  So here I am.  Ready for the new journey God has for me.

S.A.D. in Minnesota

I’m not gonna lie, this spring has been a bit of a killer.  In fact, I think it is my #2 worst spring ever only second to my senior year of high school and the tornado that changed my life forever.

We happen to really enjoy sun and warm weather in our house so enduring April Winter Weather Watches has been more than upsetting, it has been depressing.  I believe 3 of the 4 of us have Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Long, cold winters (and springs!) in Minnesota are not helping us at all!  The last 4 weeks have been rough.

So, how can we deal with S.A.D or even just really frustrated with this Minnesota Spring?

#1 Spend time reading and learning more about God and then praying for His help.

#2 Eat Health(ier)

#3 Exercise!

#4 Do something different than your current norm!  Even if your Dave Ramsey budget doesn’t allow you to spend money for a grand event you can find ways to get out.  Combine two envelopes to drive somewhere new and eat out someplace different.  Be creative!

#5 Go tanning…ok, I haven’t used this one lately, but I know it has worked in the past.

These are not profound ideas, but when a person is depressed it takes a lot out of them to even do one of these things.  If you know someone dealing with depression, give them grace.  If you yourself are having problems, please know there are small things you can do to start working through this icky spring.  Try today to just do one thing to help yourself.

Fighting this battle with you.

A Reason For Life

Last week Mr. L and I were washing dishes and listening to the soundtrack to the movie Rio.  There is a song on the soundtrack by Taio Cruz called Telling the World.  The lyrics are:

I’m telling the world that I’ve found a girl

The one I can live for, the one who deserves

To give all the light, a reason to fly

The one I can live for, a reason for life

I kid you not, we were just dancing around and singing when Mr. L pops off and says, “That’s not right.  We don’t live for a girl.  We live for God.  He’s the reason we live.”  A big smirk spread across my face.  I love this kid!  Seriously…he’s 8 and, at least for the moment, he realizes that we don’t live for a girl.  We have a much grander purpose.

Being a mother to 2 boys, I’ve very aware of the world they live in and the lessons being taught to them.

I was working at my father’s hardware store on Saturday and went to help a guy in his 50’s find what he was looking for.  As I point to the area up high on the peg board, he looked at my face, looked at my chest, and then looked a bit lower.  I can’t tell you how used and dirty I felt.  All that aside, I thought how this man didn’t come to looking at women in “that way” over night.  He had outside influences of some sort.

In that moment, I couldn’t have been more determined to make sure I protect my boys from idolizing women and their bodies.  I also had great sympathy for you men.  The world (women, music, movies, social expectations) don’t make it easy on you!

I’m thankful for Mr. L’s first steps towards a healthy respect for his relationship with women and with God.  It’s a life long journey but we are off to a great start.