Thursday, December 31, 2020


It's finally over. 2020 is coming to a close. We knew it would but it seemed like it took forever to get here. 2020 is a year we will always remember.

While we know we will remember it as the "Year of the Rona" -- the year that things got so complex when our daily lives completely changed overnight. We will probably remember it as being one of the most polarizing, dichotomizing, hate filled election seasons ever. We may remember the binary thinking of individuals and the way that mean spirited comments flooded our Facebook feeds.

It's my hope, though, that we will also remember what we learned ... about ourselves, about what is really important, about each other as we have spent more time with our families than ever before. I hope we remember the resiliency of the human spirit and the ways that people worked together to help others. CarePortal has shown this so clearly! I sincerely hope that we can see that God has made beauty from ashes.

Personally, I will remember this year as the year that three very important people in my life left this earth. I'm still grieving the loss of some people who were significant colors in the tapestry of my life.

On this day each year, I remember this song from the play and movie "rent". (I know, I know, it isn't exactly going to make the PureFlix playlist, but it has some great music. It applies to 2020 more than ever.

The lyrics say:

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.
Seasons of love.

I hope that we can measure 2020 in love.

And It Seems I always end up right back here....

 My first Blog post was in March of 2005.  Nearly 16 years have gone by since I started sharing my life with the world.   

Five years ago when I moved here I started a new blog.   After a few months I ended up copying and pasting everything back in here.  

Then last week I created a new website called Passion Rekindled that included a blog.  I'm struggling trying to redefine myself when my role as a primary caregiver has shifted to the director of an unstaffed unfunded adult group home for adults (ok, maybe that's a little bit crass, but you get what I mean).

But I'm realizing that if I ever decide to leave that platform I may lose everything -- and that this is a place where people go to find my stuff.  So I am going to copy and paste everything that I've written here and then decide if I want to post on both -- or just get rid of the blog on the other one.  

It feels like coming home again.  I don't know for sure what my posts will be like -- or if I'll really get back into this, but it seems I need blogging to be what it used to be -- a place where I can dump my brain and maybe help a few people along the way.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2021 -- The Year I Stop Being a Go-Getter

Call it a personality issue. After all, I am an EFTJ.... a Pioneer in the 5 voices Model -- a D on the DISC, and an 8 on the Enneagram. I build. I conquer.. I get things done. I make things happen. I am passionate about stuff and I am willing to do whatever it takes.
I guess you could call me a Go-Getter. I have this awfully strange personality where I cannot stop myself. But lately I'm wondering if maybe I should make a few changes.
I'm pushing 60 (ok, so I'm only 57 but if you are 57 you may know that being 57 seems an awful lot closer to 60 than being 56). You'd think that I could give myself a break and stop trying to improve myself and be better now that I have reached this age. But if my mom, at 91, continues to talk about asking God to make her a better person, I should probably recognize that growth is a lifetime journey.
We worked through a book together at work last month called the "Go-Giver." It's a business fable -- written in Lencioni style -- and it has one premise summed up in it's title. If you really want to be successful, focus on what you can give them rather than on what you can get. While I'm a little disturbed that the reward in the book is financial success, because that seems a little manipulative, don't you think? (Give to others so you can get back way more. Odd.
Here are the principles in the book:
The Go-Giver Success Principles
The Law of Value Your true worth and impact is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment. 
The Law of Reward Your impact and income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them. 
The Law of Influence Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first. 
The Law of Authenticity The most valuable gift you have to offer is your authentic self. 
The Law of Receptivity  The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
After reading the book, I feel like I need to make some subtle changes to how I do things. I have to confess that I have watched a LOT of Netflix since we were quarantined in March. I never have been one to watch TV .... like never did until we moved to Virginia (always worked way more than 50 hours a week before coming here). Now that we have less children to worry about and I work reasonable hours, I have free time.
I have spent a great deal of time with CarePortal requests as a volunteer -- and that has been rewarding, but now I am maintaining several complex relationships and feel like I shouldn't add to that.And yet I want to focus on giving more than I take. I often head into a conversation with an idea of what I think someone else needs when really I need to listen and discover what I need to give to them.
All of that to say this.... I created this website so that there would be a place where people could schedule time with me. The gift of time is huge and I would love to spend some of my free time connecting with others. The agenda is there's. I did this for the first time yesterday and the conversation wasn't quite like I expected -- but I enjoyed it and hope that the other person did as well.
So -- why not schedule a call with me? The agenda is yours! Just click here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

It's All About the Baby

Eleven years ago today our first Grandchild was born. Christmas that year was all about that baby. In fact it led me to write
 this post....

We weren't ready to be grandparents. Our daughter wasn't ready to be a mom. And yet the baby was coming and it was time to celebrate. I tried to wrap my head around all of that by writing this blog post a few days after she was born.

In re-reading that I would like to revisit this eleven years later and say that things are OK. I would not trade Gabby for anything in the world. She is smart, resilient, eager to please and almost always a joy to be around. Salinda is a good mom -- to her now three kids. She doesn't parent like I did ... and sometimes that's a good thing I'm sure. But she is also strong and knows how to advocate for her husband and children. 

While we wouldn't have chosen this path we wouldn't undo Gabby for all the money in the world. And just like I predicted in 2009 .... it's all ok. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Got goals for 2021?

We are just a few days away from the beginning of 2021. Everyone has looked forward to 2020 ending for quite some time. And just as we do at the beginning of a new year, we look ahead to see what might do differently.

I managed to lose about 50 pounds in 2020 (I have a few to take off in the next week to be able to say 50 with integrity). I did that in the midst of COVID and a stress fracture that forced me to stay off my feet for about 8 weeks. I am proud of that accomplishment. I put a lot of effort into exercise and eating very low carb and it paid off.

In looking to 2021 I want to continue those habits. And I'd like to add a few more. One of the things that really has helped me in the past is challenges -- getting a group of people to work on goals with me. I've been doing this for about 3 years -- there are no fees (did you know people are making money creating these groups and selling some kind of product. They set up the group, provide coaching, etc. and then they get paid for it. I just do it cuz it's fun and it holds me accountable to lead the group and they keep me going).

This next challenge will not just be about food and exercise. I'm still trying to name it but it will involve turning goals into habits over the course of a few months. You can choose your own goals... we will be doing that over the next week or so.

Any takers? If so, comment here or on FB. I will be getting the group set up over the next week.

As a preview -- you will be able to set goals in 4 of the following eight categories (based on the level 10 life) and we will focus on two goals each month for the next four months and then evaluate.

  • Health and Fitness.

  • Physical Environment.

  • Giving and/or Contributions.

  • Fun and Recreation.

  • Marriage or Relationship.

  • Career.

  • Finances.

  • Spiritual.

So who is in? (and in case you missed it, I started a new blog. We will see if I do any better than I have with this one int he last six months). :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Remember When Blogging Wasn't about Networking, Sales, or Facebook Likes?

There are so many things that have gotten better over the years. I don't think blogging has.

Do you?

Maybe you haven't been in the blogosphere long enough to remember back in the day when it was all about authenticity and journaling. Perfect punctuation and vivid images weren't necessary. It was about community, connection and support. Nobody was trying to market anything -- we were just all trying to make it through the day.

This blog was always just that. My husband called it "puke on a page" and a friend once told me that my blog was "like a bad car accident. You knew you should look away, but you just couldn't." That was my life back then and I laid it all out there.

But now there is pressure. Blogs are supposed to be perfect representations of people who are trying to market something -- They are trying to market a book or launch a speaking career. They want to "create content" so that they will get lots of shares of a Facebook link and "drive traffic" to their product. It has become another marketing tool.

In addition, we have gotten much lazier as a society. Even clicking on a a link on Facebook has become too much work. So how do we find our way in a world that is bombarded with content?

I have stumbled to find my way. My kids, all adults now, don't want their stuff out there for everyone to see. I can write devotionals -- but typically they get read more if they are just on Facebook without a link. Others have found a voice in Facebook groups or through other means. So I'm going to go back to the way it was...

It's my plan to not think too much about it all. I'll blog about whatever is in my head and if it resonates it resonates. If people read it that's awesome.... and if not, then it's ok, it will reach who it is supposed to reach.

And along the way I hope I can help others but if not, maybe it will help me to rekindle the passion that I had when my physical energy more closely matched my mental energy. Anybody else there?

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

So Many Things Have Changed

Then I was a some what energetic author, speaker, and parent of active kids and teenagers vs 
Now:  A mentally energetic but physically exhausted grandma and parent of adults determined their parents will never have an empty nest.

If you've been following my life for a while you know what it was like 15 years ago. We had a slew of teenagers and kids and life was chaotic. I was passionate and living it out on a daily basis by caring for 12 adopted children. I blogged all the time and a group of folks formed a tight community who shared our lives through this medium. 

But what does a person do when their "prime is past", the kids are grown, and the issue still remains?
Now the kids are grown but the issue remains. Children are aging out of foster care without a family. Our house is full of grown adults and we can't do foster care any more. So am I off the hook? I don't think so.

I also used to speak somewhere at least once a month. I travelled all over the US and shared my passion (You can see all the places I went here). I wrote books. Five of them to be exact. One is out of print and the others are under my bed and in my closet in boxes and lately I can't even give them away some days, much less sell them though they are still available at our online store.

And what does a person do if nobody reads any more .... and we can't gather together in large groups or have conference so there are no speaking gigs?

Redefining my Place
I have had to redefine myself. I am now a Chief Officer at a great organization that is working hard to join together churches and government and non-profits to specifically address the issue I'm most passionate about.

And in my free time I am meeting CarePortal requests and trying to meet up with folks and share what I have learned and help them find their place in this world-changing endeavor. I figure this beats Netflix and Candy Crush which is what I'd be doing otherwise.

Want to Join Me?

Let's talk about how you fit in.  Schedule something with me if you want!

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Binary Thinking

What is binary you may ask?  

Binary means "relating to, composed of, or involving two things".   In other words, there is no middle ground.  It either is or it isn’t.  The problem however, with binary thinking is that it leads to polarization and a lot of arguing in FB comments :-)

The reason that binary is easy is because there it allows us to be intellectually and emotionally lazy.  If we think in binary ways we don’t explore other options.  Once we pick a side we are sure and we stand there  we become unmovable.   We don’t even ask ourselves why we feel the way we do about it.  It also damages relationships  — which is the absolute opposite of what Jesus called us to do.

I lost a couple of very dear friends because my approach to life as a teen and a young adult was “God said it, I believe it and that settles it.”    What this really meant was “what I have been taught about the interpretation of God’s word is the absolute truth and there’s no need to think anything through.”   I realized in these situations that when you draw a line in the sand it turns into a circle and people are on the outside of that circle only for so long before they walk away … often very hurt.   

Jesus was all about truth — AND he was all about compassion.   This would be a very long post if we were to recall all of the times where Jesus acted with mercy, compassion and grace even during times when the person in question was not living up to the standards and guidelines he set.  He didn’t live a binary life — he lived a life where he could vacillate from one thing to another or sometime even land him in the middle.   

One more thing and then I will stop pontificating.   Jesus didn’t get mad at people very often.   He extended compassion to everyone he came in contact with who was a self-proclaimed sinner.  He gravitated toward them and treated them with extra care.   When he got mad he got mad at the religious leaders — those who practiced binary thinking every day.   He turned tables in the temple and used words like “vipers” and “whitewashed tombs” to describe them.

There are no two words that could be more opposite than justice and mercy.   And yet we are told in Micah 6:8 what it good and what it is that God requires of us.  We are to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.   

To me that verse alone demonstrates that we can’t take the easy way out and polarize as Christians — because that doesn’t lead to humility.  And we can’t be binary and act justly and love mercy — because in a binary world those don’t co-exist.

I hope we arrive at a world that is like the song for today.   I know that there are those of you who are reading this who could argue this point and completely disagree.  But the joy of Christian living is that I can love you just as much if you shoot back a resounding AMEN to what I have written as I will if you murmur to yourself, “Claudia, you’re full of crap!” or even post a negative comment.  

Maybe you're not like me
Maybe we don't agree
Maybe that doesn't mean
We gotta be enemies

Maybe we just get brave
Take a big leap of faith
Call a truce so me and you
Can find a better way

Let's take some time, open our eyes, look and listen (yeah)
We're gonna find we're more alike than we are different (yeah)

Why does kindness seem revolutionary
When did we let hate get so ordinary
Let's turn it around, flip the script
Judge slow, love quick
God help us get revolutionary

I'm turning the TV down
Drowning their voices out
Cause I believe that you and me
Can find some common ground

See maybe I'm not like you
But I'll walk a mile in your shoes
If it means I might see
The world the way you do

Let's take some time, open our eyes, look and listen
We're gonna find we're more alike than we are different

Why does kindness seem revolutionary
When did we let hate get so ordinary
Let's turn it around, flip the script
Judge slow, love quick
God help us get revolutionary

What would Jesus do
He would love first
He would love first
What would Jesus do
He would love first
He would love first
So we should love first

Why does kindness seem revolutionary
When did we let hate get so ordinary
Let's turn it around, flip the script
Judge slow, love quick
God help us get revolutionary