Finish Strong : A Seat for Nostalgia


“Would you like it?”

I was still recovering from a slight case of tree envy I acquired while helping Grandma set up her new, flocked tree when she offered to give me a nativity set Mom hand-glazed and fired years ago. I’ve been dreaming of ways to bring unique touches to our home this Christmas. In this moment, I realized that even more than having a perfectly trimmed tree, this scene would serve as a reminder of how faith is central to the celebration of Christmas in our family.

We’ve closed the chapter on another Thanksgiving and December is almost upon us. In the middle of this holiday season, there is evidence of history and culture shaping our traditions.

This year, I am inspired to uphold traditions that have been part of our family for as long as I can remember. Driving around to look at lights, reading Luke 2 aloud on Christmas morning and baking cinnamon rolls will all make the list.

I’m making room at the table for Nostalgia.

What about the childhood days of my grandparents? What traditions may have been lost along the way that I might be able to restore? This might require a little digging and a trip down Memory Lane, but I have a feeling the conversation will be a treasured moment.

With the opportunity to hold to traditions of the past, we create new experiences, making memories to last a lifetime. Need a few ideas to get the wheels turning?

  • Keep the artificial tree in the box and go on a hunt to harvest a live tree.
  • Start a batch of wassail on the stove and invite friends over to watch a Christmas movie.
  • Let the warmth of candles light your home in the evening.
  • Research how people around the world celebrate.
  • Go caroling.
  • Gather the family to see the Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol or a Christmas concert put on by the local symphony.
  • Skip the mass mailing of Christmas cards and send a few handwritten notes to the ones you hold dear.
  • Go on a winter excursion to see your favorite summer view covered in snow.
  • Attend a Christmas Eve service.
  • Take the kids shopping for toys and groceries to support a local drive.
  • Craft a handmade ornament or learn to knit a scarf.
  • Bundle up to watch a light parade.
  • Add a Christmas classic to your December reading list.
  • Hunt for unique decorations at the flea market or second-hand store.

In it all, let’s discover the joy of rediscovering tradition. 2016 may be the year when we begin (or begin, again) a tradition to be carried on for generations to come!


Finish Strong : Get Outside


  1. Inhale.
  2. Exhale.
  3. Repeat.

Now, pencil some time into this busy season to make that happen outside.

When the weather turns chilly, we retreat into the great indoors. The crackle from the warm fire, paired with a peppermint mocha and cozy slippers invites us to slow our tempo and enjoy the quiet moments. (Don’t worry, there will be more on the importance of rest in the coming weeks, but those words are saved for another day.)

There is a concerted effort to help our nation’s children spend more time playing outside and less time in front of their electronics. As adults, we could benefit from doing more of the same. We rely on the treadmill belt to help us improve our fitness and we receive information from a variety of sources, most of them louder than our own thoughts. Rarely do we invest time to increase our heart rate while breathing in oxygen recycled by the trees lining a hiking trail, recovering to the sound of a flowing stream. Taking our workouts outside might open our eyes to the wonder of the beauty around us, allowing even a few moments to listen to what’s happening in our minds and hearts. What an adventure it is to explore Creation, while talking to the Creator of the universe!

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Psalm 95:6

There are six weeks left in 2016. Join in the challenge to #finishstrongin2016 by incorporating at least one outdoor workout into each week. Shred the gnar on your favorite mountain or take a walk on your lunch break. Post pictures of your adventures and share what you learn along the way!

Finish Strong : Giving Thanks and Giving Back


Do you have friends who are “fired up” this week? You do. I do. There are voices of passion in the wake of the election. From every point on the spectrum, someone is making his or her enthusiasm or disappointment known. When our hearts are deeply rooted in a cause, we cannot help but to be moved to words. The words come easy.

“For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Our words can carry with them great force, but talk can be cheap. We can go on and on, a mile a minute, sharing thoughts. At the end of the day, where is the action?

In light of both the response to the election outcomes and my work with clients, I have been thinking about how it relates to the Thanksgiving holiday. We post to social media all we are grateful for, most commonly the people, places and things in our lives. What if we take time in this next week to come at this from a different angle? What if we consider giving thanks for the passion that stirs in us? From a place of gratitude, what would it look like to then give back, taking steps to move the needle?   We are all equipped with such unique purpose and our purpose becomes tangible when we put action to our passion.

During a walk with friends this weekend, we talked about how difficult it is to raise children to see beyond the “getting” of gifts for birthdays and holidays. Our conversation turned to ways we can show them what it means to have hearts of servants, authentically loving the world around them through both word and deed. The children of the next generation are watching us closely to see our response. If we can demonstrate this idea of putting action to our passions, they have the potential to be better equipped to heed our instruction and take it to the next level.

Start big. Start small. It doesn’t matter. Finish strong in 2016 by identifying a single act that will make an impact before this year comes to a close. Take it one step further by including friends and family to team up in giving back. It’s time we live out our passion instead of making noise.

Finish Strong : Stay in your lane.


Today is the start of an eight-week series, designed to challenge us to close out this year with a sense of the true spirit of the holidays, discovering and searching along the way, setting us on a course to catapult us into 2017. “Finish Strong in 2016” is not a one-way conversation. This is as much for me as it is for anyone else.

In a few hours, the next chapter of our nation’s history will begin.  Our ears have been filled with the voices of each candidate, pointing out the failures and flaws of the other.  By the end of it all, it was difficult to decipher the core values and true intent of each person running.  Many voters feel they are unable to cast their vote for someone they truly believe in.

If comparison has infiltrated your own thinking, it’s very likely that your response to life is tainted by a measurement of where you are, in relation to everyone around you. We look to our right to find someone who is living a very different story than our own. Look to the left? Another story. Scroll through social media feeds to find bits of stories. You hear echoes of a story as you listen to the woman in line at the checkout counter. Your colleague in the cubicle across the way? Another story is played out and you are a witness. Our stories often cross over like threads in a tapestry and yet, our contribution is unique. Each thread composed of the fiber of our being – the individual we are created to be.

32 trips around the sun and I am still learning what it means to honor and celebrate the stories of those around me without plotting my own story on a chart right next to theirs – Happiness on the Y-axis and Success on the X-axis.


“Sure, they just learned they are having another baby, but they look EXHAUSTED.”

“What a gorgeous wedding gown! To have found the love of your life AND have that body? I would give anything.”

“I’m surprised he landed the promotion. Whatever it takes to pay off those massive luxury car loans, right? Maybe someday my boss will recognize my talent.”

“Oh, don’t mind me. I’m over here sipping my coffee in the backroom of my retail-store-prison while they float around the coast of Santorini.”

There is a phrase that has been ringing in my ears for the better part of 2016: Stay in your lane. On August 9, Michael Phelps went up against Chad le Clos at the Olympic games in Rio. At one point, Le Clos looks over to see Phelps gain the lead. I bleed red, white and blue during the Olympics. Even so, I wanted to yell at the television screen, “STAY IN YOUR LANE!!!” I’ve been there. I’ve done that. Someone in my line of sight takes the next step on their journey and a wave of defeat takes me out.

It’s not a perfect science and it requires loads of grace, but I believe we can begin to change our attitude toward our own situation, even over the course of this next week. When we encounter the stories of others, we have the opportunity to both honor and to celebrate their present situation. The people in our lives will be encouraged by words that are spoken from a place of authenticity. From there, we get back in our lane. Their story might inspire us to run faster, swim harder, be bolder, but we cannot let it slow our pace. One glance in the wrong direction can take our thoughts into a vicious cycle that leads us to believe we have less than what it takes.

So take courage, my friends! Leave no room for comparison to take up space in your day. Today is the starting point to our strongest year-end finish yet.

Heart Stories : Cindy


Over a year ago, I realized that I had lost my sense of purpose and personal balance. For many months, I felt like the picture of the life I was leading was becoming more and more drab and distorted. Did I know I wanted to create a better life for myself? Definitely! Did I know how to get to that better life? Hardly! So, my search for a solution commenced. That’s when I crossed paths with DeAnza, an old friend I hadn’t had contact with for over 10 years. It was perfect timing.

Since DeAnza is as personable as she is professional, I knew my desire to discuss what was missing in my life was in capable and trustworthy hands. She guided me through exercises that revealed my talents, strengths, and interests. Instantly, I saw the disparity of where I was and where I wanted to be. It was no wonder that I was struggling! That’s where the LifePlan process came in. DeAnza and I worked as a team to set creative and manageable goals to help clarify the picture of who I wanted to be as a whole person, and how to get there.

At the end of our time together, my balance and purpose came to the forefront.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but the LifePlan was an impetus that set into motion a series of transformations in my life. Some hopes came to fruition only months after our meeting. Other goals that I formerly thought were unrealistic to consider came to pass later.


 I can’t think of anyone I would rather go through this process with than DeAnza. Focused, caring, and inventive, she offers encouragement while creating space for future growth. Nowadays, the picture of my life is so much more defined and colorful. I owe this relevant transformation to working with DeAnza. The LifePlan is a life changer!

Heart Stories : Clara

When I first heard about the LifePlan process, I honestly wasn’t sure what to think. As a Human Resources professional, I’ve seen more than my share of professional assessment/ personal inventory tools and programs come and go. Most of them have a few great kernels of substance, but largely consist of fillers and sawdust. I was willing to give it a shot because sometimes, those few kernels of substance are worth it and because I know DeAnza to be a person of great personal integrity. I thought to myself that if it was something she was investing in, I might get a better than average substance to filler ratio. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This process takes the idea of assessment and inventory to a whole new level. When I started this process, I thought I was on the right path. I’d found a career that fit my skill-set, and felt like a match with my moral compass. On paper, everything made sense, looked great, and seemed like the job I was in was a step in the ‘right direction’. I remember thinking that just because the ‘right direction’ still hadn’t really revealed itself to me and lacked clarity, I was surely doing all of the right things to get myself ‘there’, where ever ‘there’ was. I’ve always relied on my moral compass to call the shots and I’ve always assumed that I just wasn’t one of those people who was lucky enough to be born with a calling. What I learned was that a compass is a great tool, but if you don’t have a map, you still end up wandering the desert looking for water.

The Paterson LifePlan process drew my map. It gave me the terrain, charted the geography, and gave me a sense of my destination. By walking me through the decisions I’d made, the ground I’ve already covered, and the general direction I’ve always  been heading, it gave me a road map to where I need to be. My job at that time looked great on paper, but it still wasn’t right. The LifePlan process showed me that by moving a little to the left and again to the right, I could easily get on the highway and on my way to a destination that became extremely clear.

Having a map to go with my compass gave me the confidence to take a leap and go for a job that I probably wouldn’t have gone for before, because I wouldn’t have seen how it fit with my direction. I am now in a position that is a great fit, going toward something that not only compliments my abilities, but also will allow me to be in a position to maximize the things I’m best at for the greater good. I can say that with confidence now, and that’s an amazing feeling. I couldn’t have done this without DeAnza’s patience and steady guiding hand. She’s a great companion to have on this journey and I’m so grateful to have had a chance to work with her. I can’t recommend the LifePlan enough. No filler, all substance.


Heart Stories : Jess

Before I participated in my LifePlan, I felt lost, alone and very discouraged with where I was in my life. I felt like I had little to offer the people around me, like I was “faking it” and hoping that no one could see the pain and confusion I was feeling in almost every area of my life. When I was able to participate in my LifePlan, I felt relief and a little apprehension – I didn’t know what to expect or what I was going to take away from the experience. Going through the pre-work was more painful than I had anticipated. It really forced me to be completely honest with myself and look at areas that I knew were suffering and needed my attention.

When I first met DeAnza over breakfast, I felt an immediate connection. It was like she and I were destined to meet at some point in our lives and the timing could not have been more perfect! She was nothing but caring and attentive, asking questions in a way that made me feel safe and comfortable.

Through the entire LifePlan process, I felt empowered. I was with someone and in a space that was safe and  where I could be completely honest and open about who I was. I didn’t have to pretend or fake with DeAnza during the process. It was so freeing!

The LifePlan process helped me to truly realize what my ultimate purpose was – a purpose I knew was always there but that I had turned away from in attempts to make others accept me. I no longer feel like I have to deny who I am, what I want and what my purpose is. I have clarity, passion and drive to meet my Action Initiatives, to achieve my goals and to be proud what makes me ME!

jess linkedin.jpg

It was incredible to see my life on paper – standing in a room with my life literally hanging on walls was a truly unique experience. My favorite part of the LifePlan process was defining my purpose – taking words that I have said about who I am and what I want and pulling it all together was a once in a lifetime feeling.

I have achieved more than I anticipated since my LifePlan, both professionally and personally, and am proud of progress I have made since my time with DeAnza. I know that without going through my LifePlan, I would be at my one of my lowest points with little idea of what my next step would be. But, because of my LifePlan, I have clarity with who I am, what I am made to do and have steps for accomplish my goals while leaving a worthwhile legacy.



Spring Refresh : Purpose and Authenticity

SO. MANY. DISTRACTIONS.  The lives we lead have us constantly like. . .


Checking the FB twenty times a day to be greeted by eight notifications that friends-of-a-friend left a comment on the same picture you did. . . parties to plan. . . sweat sessions to keep your booty in shape. . . the endless list of to-dos that helps you to feel like you accomplished something in the day. . . tummies to feed. . . episodes to watch. . . people to see. . . distances to span. . . Carpool Karaoke. . . dust in the ceiling fan. . . family drama. . . “Wait. What day is it? AH! I have to bake something to take to the meeting tonight! Maybe I can pick something up on the way.”

You know the rhythm. It’s anything but routine. Almost every LifePlan I facilitate starts out with an overall objective: I would love to find balance.

Dig a little deeper and it doesn’t take long to see that Purpose is the root of Authenticity. If we know why we’re here, the driving force getting us out of bed each morning, then the break of day is refreshing and we can breathe deeply as the stars shine brightly in the night sky. The “balance” we seek is really about investing our time, energy and resources in the things that align with our Purpose and letting go of the rest.

After drawing up my Four Helpful Lists for this quarter, I shone a spotlight on my Purpose. This. This is why I want to bring all of me to the work I do. This is why I want to get involved. This is why I take time to refuel, renew, explore and grow. This is why I love on the people in my life.

Recently, I let my Purpose fade to gray. I was distancing myself, curling into a ball and preparing myself for any emotion that might accompany a cross-country move. Surely a heartfelt investment in this Colorado life would make the goodbyes more painful. Was it the right response? I can say with great confidence, “no,” but it’s how I responded. Now that we know we’re here to stay, it’s time to lace up the proverbial running shoes and get after it again. It’s time to shake off the things that hold me back.

When our Purpose is intact, when we have a deep-seated understanding of why we were created, it simplifies things. It boils everything down to what truly matters. In the end, the things that are no longer important don’t deserve a single line in our script. Paul makes it plain:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sad down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV

Why get caught up in the things that limit us, that paralyze us from living a life on purpose? Comparison is an ugly trap that leads down a dark, dark path. Procrastination doesn’t get the work done. Self-doubt drains every ounce of energy from our veins. Chasing after the mediocre and mundane is exhausting. Pride makes it all about us and leaves a disastrous wreckage of hearts in our wake. A lack of discipline hinders true growth. Fear accomplishes absolutely nothing. If we don’t understand the why, our being is calloused by everything that holds us back.

On the contrary, “going confidently in the direction of our dreams and living the life we imagined” (thanks, Thoreau) frees us to run hard after what matters most, to foster relationships that are rich in love, to come alive in our work, to see the beauty that surrounds us each day, to laugh deep belly laughs, to serve those in need, to be a voracious student of knowledge, to value physical health, emotional well-being and spiritual maturity.

Before another day of 2016 passes by, seek to understand your Purpose. As you live it out each day, you might be pleasantly surprised at how little effort is required to be authentically you!

LifePlan Toolbox

Now is the perfect time to update your Life Dashboard.

  1.  Starting with your Life Pathway, familiarize yourself once more with your Life Purpose, Vision and Strategies. This is where you’re headed! Don’t lose sight of what’s on your heart! If there is something that needs to be changed, this “GPS” is not written in stone. Recalculate your route.
  2. Move over to the Vital Signs. Do these still make sense? If not, change it up! Once you know what needs to be full for you to live out your Life Pathway, assess where you are today. Is each item a green (healthy, thriving, doing well), a yellow (caution, needs attention) or a red (bleeding, not healthy, shriveled and in need of immediate attention)? How “full” is that dot? Is it optimized or depleted. Move it to the correct spot on the spectrum.
  3. How about those things that can hold you back? Distractions. The things that will stop you in your tracks, leaving you paralyzed. Do the items on your Risk/ Obstacle Pyramid still make sense at this time? Make the appropriate updates and do a “gut check” on the red/ yellow/ green status of each.
  4. If you’re not checking in with your LifePlan Dashboard on a daily basis, get back into the routine! This simple panel is so rich and will help to keep you on track as you live out your beautiful purpose!

Spring Refresh : Taking Inventory

First, it only seems appropriate to share an update since my last post. . .


Match Day Letter_Edit

We are still pinching ourselves.  Staying in Colorado means that we will be able to put down roots and continue to invest in our family and friends.  What a gift!

Here in Colorado, we’re expecting temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s all week, the daffodils are in full bloom and the cyclists are out in droves.  There’s something about the return of sunshine (especially after that crazy spring snowstorm) that reassures us summertime is just around the bend.  Before we break out the swimwear and pitch tents under the stars, there is often a desire to “clean house” (be it literally or figuratively).

There is one particular space in our home that desperately needs my attention:


What you can’t see are the items that are stashed away to the very back of these shelves.  Preparing a cup of tea starts with pulling out a layer of cups and lids, skewers and vitamins before I can even access the tea boxes.  Each time I open the door, there is a fair chance that a lighter or roll of tape will fall out with a loud crash to the floor (if I am able to move my toes out of the way fast enough!).  Conquering this space needs to happen sooner than later.  As with any organization project, it will start with an assessment of my inventory:

  • Is this helpful, valuable, often utilized? (Right)
  • Is this item rarely used, empty, easily replaced? (Wrong)
  • Where in the world did this come from?  What does it do? (Confused)
  • What items are running low that I need to add to my shopping list? (Missing)

With the trees in full bloom, I’ve had conversations with a number of women who are sensing that it’s time to align with their goals and make progress toward their Life Vision.

Similar to the way we might begin organizing the rooms of our home, the LifePlan process employs the question, “Where Am I Today?” to take inventory on our lives.  Looking at the Life Domains (Personal, Family, Career, Church and Community), we create a detailed list:

  • What’s right?
  • What’s wrong?
  • What’s confused?
  • What’s missing?

These four helpful lists are the starting point for a journey that ultimately leads to the action items for What’s Important Now.

Maybe you started out the year with good intentions of maintaining New Year’s resolutions.  Maybe your resolve is waning, maybe you’re still running strong.  Either way, the first quarter of 2016 is behind us and it’s time to get moving in Q2!

Carve out some time this week to create your own “Four Helpful Lists” and see what themes rise to the surface.  Does the direction you are running make sense?  Maybe it’s time to realign your goals to invest your time, energy and resources into what matters most.  If so, don’t delay!  Let’s rediscover our purpose and start living this day with fresh focus and strategy!

LifePlan Toolbox

*For those of you who have already completed your LifePlan, it’s time for a scrub!  Your LifePlan comes alive when you take the time to check in on a daily basis.  To keep it relevant, conduct a full review (scrub) each quarter.  Throughout this series, I will share some additional thoughts in the LifePlan Toolbox to guide you through your quarterly scrub!

  1.  Start with your Objectives.  What do you hope to accomplish in each of your Life Domains over the next three months?  If you struggle to find the words, go ahead and leave the objective blank for that Domain and then move on.  You can always come back to it!
  2. Four Helpful Lists – don’t sell yourself short here.  Don’t let distractions in.  Find a time when you can think clearly without interruption.  Have fun with it!  If you are getting serious about your Career, get dressed as though you are going to an important interview or giving a presentation.  Find a place that feels professional to you.  Maybe it’s in the lobby of a downtown hotel.  Maybe it’s at a table in your favorite coffee shop.  If your focus leans toward Personal, find a space that is part of your Replenishment Cycle.  Would you feel most inspired as you sit near a river in the mountains?  Do you need to think over this list as you paint or crochet?  Has it been a crazy start to the year?  Maybe you need to brew a cup of tea, slather on a layer of lavender lotion and snuggle up with your favorite pet in a comfy chair.

Next week, we’ll explore the “middle” of your LifePlan!  If you are struggling with how you should scrub a specific portion, I would love to hear from you.  You are likely not alone, so I can be sure to share insights on a particular point with the rest of the crew!  You know where to find me:



Four Short Weeks


I’m quite confident that the clock is mocking me.  With every tick. . . tock. . . tick. . . we’re seconds closer to learning where we will spend the next five to seven years of our lives.  Mike traveled from city to city this winter, attending interviews at various residency training programs.  Now that interview season has come to an end, we determined how we want to rank each program and the residency programs are in the process of ranking the candidates they interviewed.  Once the lists are received into the system, a computer matches the rank lists, resulting in The Match.  The city where we hope to start raising little ones, lay a foundation for ministry, become established in our community and refine our craft as professionals will be revealed to us in four short weeks.  On March 18, 2016, the students who match into residency programs will find out where they will complete the next phase of their training.  Crazy.  It’s just crazy.  It’s also both daring and required, faith-testing and part of the process, unique and standardized.  The trajectory of our lives is totally out of our hands at this point.


Once again, we are reminded that we never really had control in the first place.  Our lives are committed to following where the Lord would lead and the best we can do is to be faithful with what has been placed in our hands.  Looking back to the days when we started dating to how things have unfolded in my personal career path over the last couple months is proof that it is only by the grace of God that we are in this place today.

If you are in a place of the “unknown,” I encourage you to consider this verse.  Write it down.  Memorize it.  Share it with someone in your life who is also facing a season where they don’t yet know what’s around the corner.  It’s so simple, yet it is a solid reminder:

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” Psalm 31:24

I’m right there with you.  While we wait, let’s choose courage and joy!

Mark your calendars and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on where you can find Team Jarrett this Summer!