Friday, February 22, 2013

I Want to be Like Her When I Grow Up

Okay, so it's a week after Valentine's Day, but love never goes out of style, right?

I just had to share with you this awesome story I ran across about a 108-year-old lady who really rocked. It ties in well to the chapter in my new book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, about not being afraid to try new things.

Sadie Galego was born in 1900 in a small town in Maine where horse-drawn carriages were the norm. As a teenager, Sadie packed sardines for 25 cents per hundred cans. She went on to teach for forty years in the same classroom, a stereotypical old maid schoolmarm with a heart of gold for the thousands of students who became the children she never had.

After retirement, she grew tired of the same ole same ole and became a world traveler, hopping on planes to see exotic places and experience new thrills. Then, at age 89, she got married for the first time - to a man 12 years younger!

Yep, Sadie robbed the cradle. Or at least the rocking chair. She had been friends with Frank for more than 30 years when they suddenly decided to get married, surprising their families with the good news only just before the wedding. They lived happily together in a retirement center until Sadie up and outlived her husband by 8 years before she passed away in 2009.

Now's the right time for a brief quote from my book:
"Becoming a risk-taker is, well ...risky. Probably because most of us prefer our safe little lives of relentless repetition. They're just so ding-dang comfortable. Why change something that's no muss, no fuss, to risk appearing ridiculous, or incomepetent, or just plain wrong?

I'll tell you why: because Papa God intended our lives to be abundant: "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10, NKJV).And living abundantly includes facing a series of opportunities that requires taking risks.

We mustn't be afraid to try something new. Helen Keller said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

Cinderella, who had never before been to a ball, was overheard marveling, "One shoe can make all the difference."

Noah had never built even a dinghy before he took on the ark.

If you never try new things, you'll turn into a tree stump. And sooner or later the termites of atrophy will gnaw away at you until you're nothing but sawdust. Limp, lifeless, useless sawdust.

Now really, is that the kind of life you want?"

Well, is it, dear reader? I'd love to hear from you how you avoid a tree stump existence.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Top 10 Fears Women Face (part 2)

Photograph by Marian Crawford
*Be sure to scroll down and read the first part of this post if you haven't already. The top ten fears listed in my book Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate are based on a survey I conducted of 500 women between the ages of 18 and 80.

Okay, got your guess of the top 5 fears penned and ready?

They are in descending order:

1. Loss of a loved one (spouse/child/parents)
2. Debilitating illness/terminal disease
3. Failure
4. Old age/senility
5. The unknown/the what-ifs

Other common fears that were repeated but didn't quite make the top 10 were:
- Trying new things
- Purposelessness
- Depression
- The dark
- Flying
- Public Speaking
- Disappointing others

So how do your personal fears compare with those of your peers?

You know, our fears spotlight what matters to us most ... those hidden corners of our life in which we trust Papa God the least.

Those are the hot spots we need to work on. Because fear first worms its way into our thinking processes, then it affects our actions. If we allow fear to continue to wreak havoc in our lives unimpeded, it can eventually erode our self esteem, relationships, and even our faith.

But remember, we can't embrace change until we let go of fear. And change is a product of the power, love, and self-discipline referred to in 2 Timothy 1:7: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

We need that change, don't we? A change from imprisoning phobias, destructive anxiety, and unproductive fretting. A change from worries that keep us stretched tighter than size 8 jeans over a size 12 tushie.

A change that will enable us to boldly step up to our fear monster, grab his beard, and as his mask falls away in our hands, realize that what's beneath there isn't really as frightening as we thought.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Top 10 Fears Women Face (part 1)

In honor of the recent release of my new book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, for the next few months I'll be interspersing posts based on excerpts from the book. I'd love to hear your feedback! Here goes ...

In my travels as a speaker, I've encountered countless women like me who have spent years running from their own personal fear monsters.

Some fears have names and specific countenances; others are faceless, frightening creatures that lurk in the shadows just out of sight. But we know they're there. We feel them. And we yearn to boldly step up to those fear monsters and yank off their masks.

In order to pinpoint real fears women struggles with on a daily basis, I conducted a survey of 500 random women between the ages of 18 and 80. I was surprised at the results - I fully expected fear of being alone to rank among the top two or at least three, but it was number six!

There are five other fears that dog us gals even more.

Okay, just for fun, before you read any further, take out a pad and pen and see if you can guess what the top ten fears of all the women polled were. Dollars to doughnuts your own personal fear monsters will show up somewhere on that list.

Ready to see how good a guesser you are? Here's the bottom half of the top 10 list in descending order:

6. Loneliness
7. Dependency on others
8. Rejection
9. Specific critters (e.g. snakes, roaches, rats)
10. Being judged unfairly

So what do you think the top 5 fears are? (Now don't cheat and look it up in F3!)

Yup, I'm gonna make you wait until my next post for the answer. But I'll give you a hint: The #1 fear was w-a-y out in front ahead of the others; in fact, double the percentage of women listed it as their worst fear above even the next highest fear (#2).

Holy moley! What do you think frightens women hands down more than anything else?