Leadership Lessons from Luke 1.39-45

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Mary is so filled with purpose that she immediately travels to Elizabeth’s home to tell her the news. What makes this so beautiful is that even before Mary can spit out the news, the baby in Elizabeth jumps for joy and Elizabeth is filled with the Spirit.

Pregnant leaders bring life to leaders who are pregnant with vision.

The vision God gives to us is not only meant to fill us with more vision but it is to ignite others who are also carriers of vision. Not only should our passion stir others but it is meant to confirm the vision in others.

All leaders need some sort of authentication that they too carry vision. As Mary encouraged Elizabeth we are to ‘breath courage’ (meaning of encouragement) into others.

I absolutely love how Elizabeth immediately focused on Mary’s pregnancy rather than speak about her own. She wasn’t jealous that someone else had a greater vision. She rejoiced!

Recall that Elizabeth has been in hiding for five months. How she must have longed to tell someone! Rather than make the meeting about her vision, however, she shifts the conversation to Mary’s. She loved Mary and her condition more than her own!

Leaders know how to celebrate others.

How are you celebrating others around you? How are you confirming and encouraging the vision of others?

How does this attitude strengthen your own sense of purpose?


Photo of my daughter, Bethany McGrath by Erica Torgeson Photography

The Christmas Story as You’ve Never Heard It

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Grab your favorite cup of holiday cocoa, sit in your favorite chair, and push play.

You are about to hear the Christmas story in a way  you’ll never forget…trust me.

A bit unique from the version you’re used to seeing. I thoroughly love how the story of a child is portrayed through the eyes of a child.

Perhaps this is what Christmas is all about. Taking the one story of Christ’s birth and presenting it is a unique way to others.

Who will you share the story of Christmas with this year?

How will this Christmas be unique from others?

Sharks in the Water!

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A few months ago my wife and I visited our son and daughter-in-love in North Carolina. In addition to all the other fun things we did we were able to spend the day along the coast for a day of sun, beach and ocean.

Of course the day would not have been complete without taking lots of pictures of the coast and…yep…you guessed it, selfies! The one included in this blog was one taken during the day and posted immediately for all our friends to see.

We wanted everyone to see how wonderful our lives are. We bombarded social media showing how we simply go from one vacation destination to the next. We’re living the dream! Our lives are filled with sun, surf, sand and sharks!

Wait a minute! Did someone say sharks?

No sooner had I posted the picture than my comments section lit up with people telling me North Carolina had more attacks from sharks than any other state!

A scroll down Social Media Lane would tell us that everyone’s life is absolutely perfect, shark free one might say. Actually no one would say that, I’m just carrying on the shark theme. I’ll fin…ish in a moment.

How do we know this? We see posts of perfect family outings, exquisite meals, elaborate celebrations, shots of bare legs, from the knees down to the toes, lounging by the pool (STOP IT!), and Five Ways to Increase the Number of Your Twitter Followers.

We even have bumper stickers that tell us, Life is a Beach. True. Life is beautiful and a gift to each of us, but there are sharks at the beach, actually in the water, but you know what I mean. People have to navigate rough waters while on their beach, called life.

So, while you’re basking in the sun, in your new Speedo (please don’t), take a moment to encourage someone who is neck deep in shark infested waters.


What’s the most creative way you’ve sent an encouraging word to someone?


15 Dazzling Date Designs #9 & #10

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Do The Rotten Tomatoes 

Don’t want to pay $10 or more to see a movie? Who does? Actually quite a few do but that’s another blog post. Instead, wait a few months for it to hit the dollar theater (of course, it’s a bit more than a dollar). Avoid the high priced concessions and grab an ice-cream cone on the way home. As your eating your ice cream, talk about your favorite character, your favorite scene, an alternate ending that would have made the movie that much better and of course your rotten tomato review.

Put on Your Game Face 

Make your favorite desserts or snacks, call a couple of friends, apply game face paint, and pull out a groovy board game, dominos or your favorite card game. As an added twist to the evening play all three at once. Set up all three games and rotate your way through each game. This way you’re always playing something. No waiting for someone to move their piece or choose a card. Grab a bite of dessert or snack following each move or game play at each table. No cheating while the others are focused on another game. Well…

Which one of the two sounds more fun?

15 Dazzling Date Ideas #7 & #8

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Roll Your Own Sushi

There are several easy to make sushi recipes found on the Internet. You just have to fish for them (#JustForPun). Dress in shorts, flip flops and a tank top to set the mood. Have the Beach Boys playing their greatest hits in the background as you prepare your whale of a meal. For a more relaxed evening have an ocean waves soundtrack set the tone as you roll out your sushi creation. Watch your favorite high seas adventure movie, such as Captain Phillips, Jaws, Pirates of the Caribbean, Life of Pi or Moby Dick as you eat your sushi.

Get Your Groove On 

Sign up for ballroom dance lessons. In addition to great physical and mental exercise and meeting new people, you might learn how to actually dance. *Husband points are a bonus.

15 Dazzling Date Ideas #5 & #6

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Eat Your Way Through Europe and Asia and South America  

Plan your trip around the world, enjoying a delicious delicacy from as many continents as you can.  Fill up with your favorite appetizers (many restaurants offer discounted early bird appetizers). Follow this with the exquisite main course, from a different continent of course, followed by sharing a dessert and coffee, from a third continent. I know…it’s cray, cray!

Bonus: Wear an article of clothing representing the continent you are eating from.

Mouthwatering Appetizer Ideas: French onion soup, nachos, quesadillas, crab cakes, spring rolls, calamari, etc.

Delectable Meal Ideas: General Chicken, lasagna, halibut, chicken cordon bleu, vegetable curry, etc.

Scrumptious Dessert Ideas: Pineapple cake, Baklava, Churros, Tres Leches Cake, cannoli, etc.

Of course, you could always stick with touring one continent at a time. I would avoid the continent of Antarctica unless you enjoy lot’s of ice!

Gawk During an Art Walk 

Many communities have regular downtown art walks. Bring a thermos of your favorite drink while enjoying the shops, museums and art galleries on your walk. Consider bringing a sketch pad and capture your favorite pieces of art with your own artistic flair.

Bonus: Wear a French artist wool beret on your walk. (OK, maybe not!)


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15 Dazzling Date Ideas, #3 & #4

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Wish to add a bit of creativity and fun to your dates? Last time I offered a couple of ideas to get you started. Here are a few more dating designs deemed dazzling, if you dare.

#3 – Viva Italia!

Go shopping for your favorite pizza ingredients in order to create your own pizza masterpiece. Download some Italian music, put flour on each other’s face, wear a chef’s hat and talk with an Italian accent as you prepare and eat your pizza. While your Italian creation is baking, take a walk around the block ending every sentence with the phrase, “Bada Bing, Bada Boom!” Following dinner indulge in a cappuccino and cannoli while watching the movie, “Life is Beautiful.”

#4 – Social Network the Night Away

Jump in your car and without any planned destination, start driving. Document your night through one or several different social networking sites. Grab those fun pictures and/or videos of the two of you out on a completely spontaneous date. Record the two of you at each site (taking your picture with a mannequin, sharing dessert, putting together and trying on the strangest outfit at a department store, visiting a pet store, strolling downtown, showing up for a party at the wrong address, pushing each other on a swing, antiquing, kidnapping friends, watching a movie on a TV at Best Buy, stopping to climb a tree, etc…).

Which one of the two is your favorite?

Most of all have fun and come back next week for two more dazzling date ideas!