Category Archives: Routines

Adding in an Evening Ritual

This year one of my successes has been my morning ritual.  I get up by 6:30 AM, walk, meditate/pray, write and jump into the day.  It has worked well to have my standard plan even if there are times I travel or a too late night keeps me from perfectly following my ritual.  It is simple: walk, pray, write, get ready for the day.

This last week I began an evening ritual.  I get home by 7PM, have time with my husband Jeff, take a bath and listen to music, meditate/pray and read before going to bed by 10 PM.  What I am loving is having a clear plan lets me focus on family, self-care and learning – three essentials for me.  Of course, I won’t do this 100% of the time, but knowing it is my “usual” is very freeing.

What gives your life form and rhythm?


100 Days of Summer – A Review of the Happiness Planner

I spent the 100 days of summer using the Happiness Planner.  The planner style I’m using is a 3-month version.

I picked it up by chance when I had a gift certificate from Anthropology and thought it looked the mid year pick-me-up I need. It was.

The planner starts by asking what makes you happy & unhappy, what are your strengths & weaknesses, what upsets you and what do you want to improve, etc.  There is a place for goals, so I set summer goals (mostly around getting outside more, playing my ukulele and enjoying myself). Then I jumped in.

Weekly you put in your schedule and each day you record “what I’m excited about,” “good things about today,” “what I hope for tomorrow.” There is a place to list daily goals, exercise and meals.  I loved the focus on the positive.

What worked:

  • It was doable – setting goals for 100 days was something I could do. I found I was more focused and I achieved 50% more of my goals.
  • It was different – I liked having to think each day about what I was looking forward to. That really starts the day off differently – I liked it!
  • I could use it with what I already use (I use The Way App where I track my daily personal rituals).
  • Each week there is a 2-page summary which included a place to describe the week in 3 words (which was fun to think about) & a place to “score” your happiness, health and engagement.
  • On the 2-page weekly summary  there was a place for me to record what I learned that week – those ideas got captured and I could refer back to them. I really loved that.

My plan was just to do this for the summer and then to go back to my regular planner but I bought a second one to use for the next 100 days!

The 6 Core Competencies of Pastors (Part 01)

What six core competencies does a pastor need? I would imagine you could ask ONE hundred pastors and laity and get FIVE hundred answers. 🙂

Here are my thoughts. I share them not because I KNOW what the six core competencies are (that would take a lot more work and insight than I have) but so that you might also do some work and wrestling with this too. My sense is that it matters.  It matters what we believe is core to our work as pastors and the make necessary changes to focus there.

Where does my list come from? My list comes from my experience.

First is my experience in the local church where I have been blessed to serve churches that have taught me what I have needed to pastor successfully. (And yes, this has certainly looked different in different churches!)

Second is my experience as a lifelong learner. I love to read, attend trainings, try things out, make adjustments, reflect and discuss to learn what works in today’s world.  Learning and teaching has always been (and will probably always be) my passion.

And third is my experience as Director of New Ministries in Cal-Pac where I have the privilege of working with a wide variety of pastors who show me what matters in ministry and what (may) not.

join us forSo let’s begin with my #1.

Professionalism – For me professionalism includes:

  • Continuous Learning:
    •  Ongoing systematic retooling of (especially) preaching and leading. (Because what worked in your last church doesn’t necessarily work in the next one.)
    •  Learning about new methods & new generations.
    •  Learning how to work with community partners.
    • Learning from those within the faith community (earlier generations included).
    • Sharing, experimenting and building on learning with others (so the learning circle widens).
  • A Strong Work Ethic:
    • Making and keeping commitments.
    • Returning calls and emails.
    • Being faithful in administrative work.
    • Putting in the hours to make it happen.
    • Organizing my schedule for high impact and not for comfort.
    • Being ethical, honest and having the courage to make the tough choices.
  • Personal Credibility:
    •  Living my faith daily through spiritual practices – which includes prayer, Bible study, service, worship, etc.
    • Living in relationship with others in a way that honors differences, keeps confidences and respects boundaries.
    •  Tithing my income & using our financial resources in such a way that if they were public I would not uncomfortable.
    • Ongoing accountability to a small trustworthy group of people who know my BS and will call me on it.
  •         Flexibility:
    • Having an appropriate sense of give and take with others.
    • Being able and willing to change and adapt to people who see the world differently than I do.
    • Having a sense of humor & not taking myself too seriously which includes knowing when to move on and doing so without anger or regret.
  • A Deep Love for Christ’s Bride (the Church):
    • A deep and abiding belief that the church is one of God’s key tools for the redemption of the world.
    • A love, compassion and care for the people in the church and a desire to serve them and to build community among and with them.
    • A commitment to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the world which includes meeting, building community and working with people outside the church.
  • Self-awareness:
    • Working to know myself through assessment and other tools.
    • Reflecting daily – look for patterns, noticing where I am frustrated and where I feel most alive.
    • Setting goals and working to complete them (using a coach when needed).
    • Excellent self-care with includes morning and evening rituals.
    • Asking for and receiving feedback from my accountability group and from others in my field.

What is your #1 Core Competency?  I’ll share my #2 shortly –


Life Hacks – Get A Coach

beatiful-scenarioLife Hacks – Get A Coach

I am almost finished with my course work to get my coaching certification. Coaching in all its forms (life, executive, health, etc.) is a growing field and folks from every background (medicine, mental health, ministry, business) are getting trained in coaching.

I became interested in coaching when I moved from full-time local church ministry to house church ministry in 2011. Friends began calling me, asking if I could help them deal with life balance, the local church and relationships. I love to help and so I jumped right in. Soon though I realized that I would benefit from training and started classes.

Even with my change of ministry roles (I now work as the Director of New Ministries in Southern California and Hawaii), coaching has continued to stay essential in my work. I use coaching skills as I work with churches that want to grow and new faith communities who are figuring out how to connect.

So what is coaching? In its purist sense, a coach facilitates (through questions and discovery) a client’s journey to realize what matters to them. Out of that, the coach helps the client set and meet their goals. Coaching helps the client move in the direction the client has set through accountability, encouragement and brainstorming.

This is the key: The client is not coming for therapy or advice but comes to the relationship as “creative, resourceful and whole.” I see those I work with as healthy people who want to move forward in their life and work and my role is to help them live into their goals.

Not all coaching happens in this purist sense. Many coaches are not certified; they may not have any training. Or, they may have more of an advice-giving style. There are also a large number of coaches who have been practitioners in a field (like ministry, business) who now do coaching. These all have benefits and as I explore coaching I find different situations require different skills.

But here is the most important thing I have learned: the coach’s role is not to tell the client what to do.

This is because of two truths. First, the client is the expert on his or her life and church. As a coach, I see only a piece of the client’s life. Second, people do not tend to carry out someone else’s insight, even if it is correct. What a client will carry out is his or her own insight. This is why giving advice is seldom fruitful. People need to come to their own realizations.

Knowing these two truths shapes what I do in coaching. My role is to listen, to ask questions and to work with those I coach so they might discover the direction to go. My role is not to say, “do this” but to help those being coached to put the pieces of life together and see the next steps.

What I love in coaching is that through listening and asking questions I can help others see connections, opportunities and themes in life. This is hard to do on our own as we often find ourselves too close to see clearly. Like the fish who doesn’t recognize the water in which it swims, we can be too close to see what is right in front of us. Coaching, at its best, helps people see where they are and imagine and live into who they might be.

Currently I am taking a class on executive coaching. Most everyone in the class is working with small business owners so I get to do some translation to the local church context. But what I am learning is that no matter what world we move in, coaching can help us become more aware, more focused and more faithful.

Do you need a coach?

Goals – Update 1

12733442_10153510671343865_7678946094946885773_nMy last post was around my goals for the New Year and how even though I had 100% failure rate with last year’s personal goals, I was trying again. I thought an update was in order mostly because if I get off track, it is usually pretty quickly.

Here is what I am finding –

Keeping My Goals Before Me Daily – This is really working. I created a “vision board” with pictures of walking feet (I have a goal around steps I want to get in each day) and a woman sitting on her zafu meditating (my goal is a daily 20 minutes) and all kinds of other stuff. I pasted the photos into my planner and spend 5 minutes looking at them while I drink my morning coffee. It is a good reminder and I enjoy the beauty of the images. I also added the words “I expect,” “I believe,” and “its a gift not a chore.” These are phrases that are connecting me with my goals.

Also, I have added in one action which I am testing out:  imagining myself doing my goals.

Here is how it works:  As I walk in the morning, I imagine myself getting up early and spending time throughout the day doing the things to which I have committed. It is corny (like the vision board) but it is helpful in moving me into believing I can make the choices I want to make.

Honestly, I added this in after recognizing that there were things I wanted to do that I could not imagine myself doing. For example, I usually crash in front of the sofa when I get home -it is a long-standing bad habit. To open myself up to change I imagining myself talking a walk/making a cup of tea and reading/etc. instead. I am trying this out after reading evidence that using our imagination in this way is helpful in achieving goals.

Accountability and Organization – I am using my Way of Life app daily tracking what I am doing (and not doing) is helpful. When I take my morning walk, I look at the items on the app and remind myself what I want to accomplish.

One of the items on my list is “take 100% responsibility for myself.” Seeing this first thing enables me to remember that even as crazy as the day gets, I can take responsibility for what I do and don’t do in the midst of it all. This helps to stay on track with food or exercise because after all, I am 100% responsible for myself.

Support in Achieving My Goals: I enrolled in the Jon Acuff 30 day course and liked it. It was pretty straightforward and has a Facebook page so you can see how others are living into their 30 Day Hustle. My first 30-Day Hustle is walking 8000 steps. I started on Jan 2 and walked at least 8000 steps every day but 4. Achieving this simple goal every day is giving me the confidence I need to live into some bigger goals. I have continued this goal and am working up to 10,000 steps.

So, how are your goals going?