What’s Your Priority Focused On?

Two days ago my youngest son and I were driving in my vehicle and the radio was on. We had been chatting aboutOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA things (sports, the weekend, etc.) There was a break in our conversation and suddenly over the airwaves was a voice on the radio that asked: “Are you putting God First or as a last resort?”

After the announcer finished the sentence, my son spoke up and said: “That’s a good question!”

So I asked him “ How about you? Do you put God first, or do you go to him as a last resort?”

He pondered this question and then answered, “ As a last resort. I like to try things on my own first.”

Then he asked me: “How about you Mom?”

My reply: “I do my best to keep God First, and not just for the big things. But the little, everyday, mundane things too. It’s about honoring the commitment I made to God years ago- to live and work for Him in all I do.”

I then went on to share that when I pray, I even pray for things like our laundry. He was really surprised to hear that. (My son, who is 13, has heard this before from me, but it was obvious he didn’t really get the significance of that as he was growing up.) I went on to explain that yes, I pray for God to bless our laundry, to keep the clothing from wearing out prematurely. (I have things I’ve worn for 20 years now that are classic, timeless styles and still are in great shape)

There are some days when I am praying 5 or 8 hours a day through out the day-and yes, sometimes my prayers are only 5-8 minutes day.

Putting God first is not just about prayer though. That is a part of it. The other part is about our actions, attitudes & beliefs. It involves how we steward things (the physicals, emotionally, spiritually, relationship wise, etc.)

There’s a flow to how spiritual alignment is supposed to be for us to have a full, abundant, blessed and protected life. This is very counterintuitive of how we as Westerners live. However, when you reprioritize your life to live in the following way, the blessings of God are clearly seen, felt, experienced- both big and small.

We should strive to live with stewardship in this manner:

1. God First
2. Self
3. Family
4. Business
5. Friends/Community/Country

Prayer isn’t just about asking for things either. A great spiritual relationship is based on a healthy conversation- one filled with acknowledgement, gratitude, thankfulness, and yes, communication for God to intercede for the lives and wellbeing of others.

Learning how to pray, what to pray for (not all things we pray for are available for God to fufill)- and then knowing what to do with the answers once prayers have been answered- are all keys to living a life with God first, so that He can help us prosper above all things, even as our soul prospers.

Where are you at today in your spiritual life? Just like all things; to be in spiritual health requires balance. Our God centered walk is the catalyst behind all other things. It’s the wind in our sails, the ‘gas’ that gives us the ‘go.

If you yearn to learn more, here are a couple other articles and teachings to help you understand why to put God First, How to do it –and the benefit to you when you do.

https://debbrasweet.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/why-god-first/

http://www.gods-word-first.org/video-bible-lessons/gauge-to-godliness-video.html

May you have a blessed and magnificent day!

Debbra Sweet

Business Breakfast Club- I get to Speak on Power of Leadership Tomorrow.

Leadership Training Skills Workshop Join Me Tomorrow as I take business owners and professionals in the Vista area as we start the upcoming 4 month series going through the Power of Leadership in Business Networking book.

This series of meetings is brought to you by the Vista Chamber of Commerce.

I am honored for the opportunity to do this. 🙂

Business Breakfast Club

Date: September 2, 2011 Time: 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM

 Event Description

Join us on Friday September 2nd for our Business Breakfast Club.  The Business Breakfast Club will be a Networking group that promotes, teaches, shares and practices “best practices” in Business.  Debbra Sweet, author of “Leadership in Networking” will be the guest facilitator/teacher.  The Business Breakfast Club will meet every other Friday at 7:30 a.m. at the Sunrise Cafe in Vista.

For more info about the Power of Leadership Books click here.

Caution: Tap Water Ahead! Part 1

tap-waterI heard last week on the local news that the city has decided (again) to ‘add more fluoride’ to our local  water supply.

Most people are unaware of how these little additions…(told to us by the government that they will “help”) are actually very harmful to our body.

These added chemicals are supposed to keep the water source pure and clean. Make it ‘sanitary’ they say.  However, these chemicals, get loaded up in our body and can actually cause problems for us.  Our body works in part as a filter.  Like any filter, you need to clean it and maintain it for the ‘filtering’ to be effective.  Too much toxic build up in the body from chemicals in our water can lead to joint pain, achiness, arthritis type symptoms and more.

For each of us, clean, pure, non chemically loaded water is important.  Our bodies are 3/4 water.   Having as clean of a water source going into our body is very important.   As we grow in our own personal leadership skill sets and decisions for our self and others also should encompass our health and well being.   Leaders are role models.  If you are sick and unhealthy- it is hard to inspire others to greatness.

Below is an article that I wrote about two years ago which was originally published in the San Diego Family Magazine.  I share some of the info I learned about our tap water. It talks about another chemical, chlorine, in the water supply. The issue of more flouride in the water is similar to the chlorine. They are both useful in some applications in life- but harmful if ingested.

Hopefully the info in the article will help you too.  I share about how we made some adjustments to our whole house water supply after learning the details of what is in tap water. If you need an alternate solution for your water supply, here is another  resource for you:  Nature’s Spring RO Water Filter,

Debbra Sweet

Caution: Tap Water Ahead!

By:Debbra Sweet

(c) 2007

Have you ever wondered why so many people don’t drink tap water? The reasons for this vary, but most say it’s because ‘the water doesn’t taste good’. Not surprisingly, your body knows what’s good for you. A recent water quality and safety study revealed that treated drinking water in the US often has higher chlorine levels in it than pool water!

As a mom with two young children, I found that information disturbing. I have always been an avid water drinker, but with the way our tap water tasted and smelled, I found myself drinking less. I even felt more tired and achy when I did. After I heard about the levels of contaminants in the average water piped into a house, I sought a solution—and now I want to share it with you.

Drinking Water Backgrounder
The following info should explain why your drinking water tastes funny: In 1974, Congress turned drinking water standards over to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA then established a national standard for allowable pathogen-causing bacteria and viruses in our drinking water. The Safe Drinking Water Act in 1986 further reduced the allowable amount of microbial contaminants—and increased the levels of chemicals like chlorine, ammonia and chloramines in the water.

In 1996, the EPA reduced the 1986 levels by almost 80% more. These new requirements were mostly met by increasing the amount of chemicals in the water again.

This has left us with lots of chemicals in our water and researchers are saying has caused a significant health impact. In fact, the EPA has released a study which states ‘exposure to levels of disinfectants over long periods of time may cause health problems, including damage to blood and kidneys.’ (Source: United States Office of Water EPA 816-R-01-014, Environmental Protection (4606) June 2001 Agency, Page 4 Paragraph 6)

What’s A High Level and Why Should Moms Be Concerned?
Here in San Diego, most public pools maintain chlorine levels at 1.5 ppm (parts per million). Common free chlorine levels measured in drinking water throughout San Diego County are approximately 2.15 ppm (with chloramine averaging 4.5 ppm)—that’s a full 30% higher than swimming pool water (Source: City of San Diego Water Department: 2006 San Diego Annual Water Quality Report Pg. 9). Considering that the body is made up of over 70% of water, the very building-block for your health, these numbers are disturbing.

You might be saying, “Well, I only drink bottled water, so this doesn’t affect me.” Unfortunately, you’re not safe: The average person still ingests the equivalent of 8 glasses of unfiltered tap water/day. How can this be, you ask? The answer lies in a study done by Dr. Lance Wallace, a senior scientist at the EPA: he credits two thirds of our chlorine exposure to inhaling/absorbing it while showering.

Apparently, shower steam can contain up to 50 times the chemical levels of tap water because chlorine and most other contaminants vaporize at a lower temperature than water. Inhalation is more harmful since the inhaled chlorine gas (chloroform) goes into the blood stream. Inhaling chlorine has been shown to be a cause of asthma and bronchitis, especially in children. Also, many of the chemicals in drinking water are linked to everything from sinusitis, sore throat, lung, kidney, rectal & breast cancer.

Today’s Solution.
The best solution at this time is a whole house carbon water filtration system that automatically cleans itself via ‘backflushing’ water. These amazing filters process every drop of water that comes into your home.

With one of these filters, your water will now be free of carcinogenic disinfectants—so it will taste like ‘bottled-water’, you and your children won’t inhale/absorb chemicals in your shower, your hair and skin will feel softer and you’ll extend the life of your appliances and copper pipes.

Call the Experts
I found my solution after talking with ‘CleanWaterMike’ Felsburg, a representative for San Diego-based Aquasource. Aquasource is a pioneer in whole house water filtration systems and ‘CleanWaterMike’ is passionate and knowledgeable about finding solutions to attaining safe tap water.

He explained the differences in systems and the level of water quality I’d receive from them. There are a few different blends and grades of activated carbon: the lowest – bitmous, mid level – pharmaceutical grade and the best – catalytic grade carbon.

At the very least, you want a filter of 100% pharmaceutical grade carbon to remove most of the carcinogens. Pharmaceutical grade carbon will improve water quality but will only slightly reduce the amount of chloramine gases in the water. Catalytic grade carbon has a quicker reaction rate that significantly reduces the amount of chloramine gas in your water…which is the main disinfectant that municipalities use in the water.

With my house water filtered by an Aquasource catalytic grade carbon filter, we’ve noticing a huge difference in how our water tastes, smells, and feels. I’m using less soap and shampoos, cleaning is easier and we’re already feeling better. I’ve become spoiled!

When you learn about the chemical levels in today’s drinking water, there is a moment of shock. But then, if you’ve stopped drinking tap water long ago because of the taste, this information helps it all make sense. Although this information is unsettling, the situation and solution is easy—you have a choice. The first step is to decide how important it is to your family’s health and then whether to install an in-home water filtration system like they one my family chose from Aquasource. You’ll have peace of mind and the tap water will again taste like water should.

Debbra Sweet

Action Leadership Specialist

Health & Wellness Coach

Leadership lessons from Grandma

Earlier this year I lost my last grandma.  Her passing wasn’t a total surprise as she was getting up in years.  Even though her time was going to come someday- it still wasn’t easy. In fact, as we get closer to Christmas, I find I am missing her horribly.

The past couple days I’ve been reflecting on our family Christmas’s from times past.  Going to Grandma’s was always part of our family tradition.  We knew going to see her was a couple hour drive and you never knew how all the relatives were going to act that day- but one thing that’s been pinging at my heart this year as I reflect on her and how she influenced my life is that she was a great example of a leader.

Grandma was not overly school educated- in fact, if I recall correctly, she really only finished 8th grade or so.  One thing she was though, was a woman full of love, respect for the core value of family and community, she had grit, a Get-R-Done attitude and she always lead by serving.

When you came to her house (anytime of the year) you were always greeted with warm welcome.  It didn’t matter what she had been going through personally, she didn’t let drama keep her a victim. Instead, she greeted you with a genuine welcome- whether you were long time friend or a new acquatinence.  It was respect across the board.

I do remember though that it wasn’t always giggles and smiles at her house. In fact, she kept a good rule on the house and you always knew where you stood. ( I’ve been told I am like that too.  I expect some reading this who know me may NOT find that funny…LOL!  )  I have vivid memories of sitting on the ‘davenport’ with hands under the bum waiting for Grandpa to get home so we could go choose our belt. (Whew!  Glad those days are over.)  The point here being, there were rules and expectations in her home.  Not overly big for a growing child, but none the less, they were there.

She gave us direction of how to be a good person even if we were little. She was willing to teach us right from wrong.  She gave us many opportunities to have some freedoms we could not (or did not) get at mom and dads.  She also understood that at times, it was important for us to learn by allowing us to suffer the consequences of our actions and choices.

As we got older,  Grandma moved to the other side of town. Grandpa passed when I was young and Grandma, being the centered, strong woman she was, chose to never marry again.  Instead, she filled out the rest of her days by serving other families.  She had become a cook (Grandpa taught her that when they were dating) and she ended up cooking for one of the biggest universities in the state.  (Needless to say, when Grandma cooked- she COOKED!!)  We always had food to feed an army- literally sometimes!    (We’re still trying to figure out the math to reduce her recipie for her famous bread and rolls… I heard the recipie makes 172 loaves!!)

She later went on to cook for a church/school for young kids. The church also owned the house across the street. That’s where Grandma lived many years after Grandpa passed. It was a cool house to go stay at.  One of the ways to describe it was that it was kind of like a cross between a bread and breakfast and the Ronald McDonald house.

People from all walks of life, who had a family member in the hospital, would come and rent one of the rooms at her house.  She would cook for them, always have the house spotless with clean sheets, linens, etc.  When these new visitors would come home at night from being at the hospital all day, she would lend an open, honest, caring ear to them.

When we went to stay with Grandma in the summer (or anytime through out the year)- it was expected of us to contribute to the caring, cooking and cleaning in preparation for the nightly return of her guests.   She expected us to be an example to these people and show our good attitudes and manners.  In her home, that seemed always easy to do. ( Ok- mostly easy to do!)

This was a woman who I always loved, respected and held dear in my heart. She was special to me growing up- but now that I’ve spent so much of this last week remembering Christmas with her, I realize that she really was a consumate leader. She was often soft spoken- but her essence was strong.  She was strength to many when they needed it. She served and led at the same time. She didn’t outwardly complain- and in the most trying of times, she was the epitome of what many so called leaders today lack.   She had genuine integrity and a desire to make your world a better place.

Her leadership was about giving first.  In fact- when I decided to move to California, it was Grandma that was the hardest one to say good-bye to.  I wasn’t sure if she would understand my decision to move so far away.  After I moved out here, for many a year, every Christmas I would receive this amazing ‘care package’ from her.

Buckeye Candy

Christmas time baking at her house included an assortment of amazing confections, treats and stick to the belly type of food.  She had the world’s best fudge – hands down. A little bit of that went a long way for the sweet tooth!  We would be tempted with peanut butter cookies (again- I have yet to find a recipe that can compare). She would make these treats called Buckeyes (peanut butter balls hand dipped in chocolate), lots and lots of Christmas cookies.

She would make pies; pecan and mincemeat for my dad,  apple, cherry or blueberry for the choosing, pumpkin pie, the cranberry bread, and on top of that, she had this dish that had Handmade noodles!  Not enough to do all the cooking but to actually make all the noodles before she made the dish!  (I could go on… but I think you get the point.)

My care package would be filled with an assortment of the breads and confections.  It always touched my heart that over the years she still continued to bake and send those packages with love.  It was part of her give. She lead with selfless giving for many, many years.

I hadn’t really realized until just recently, the real impact of her leadership.  Her heart of giving and her genuine leadership without care to who you were, what your background was, your state of being at the time she met you, or the circumstances that you were going through. If you were the kind of person who was willing to ‘get things done’ you were part of the family.  She was always ready to open her home and be that quiet, strong person to inspire you and give you that ‘You can do this’ kind of attitude.

She created the tradition in our family of giving.  She lead the tradition and represented the best core values and ethics that real leaders exude. She was not serving out of ego or a need for acknowlegement.  She lead through service simply because she had the heart and desire to do so. It was the right thing to do and it was simply who she was.

As I look at this Christmas week closing fast on us, I have been teaching and sharing with my children more of the bits and pieces of their heritage. They are coming of age where they should be able to really remember and ‘get it’.  It has been on my heart to continue in her legacy- her leadership legacy she started when she was alive.  It is a legacy, I believe through me,  still continues today.

We will be making some Buckeyes this Christmas to add to our family tradition. Maybe next year we’ll add some more of her goodies. Our door has always been open for those who need a place to go to be with family – especially if you leave the ‘I’m a victim of life attitude at the door’- and instead, strap on the ‘let’s Get-R-Done’ state of mind.   I know this part of our tradition is from my past, and I believe that it will inspire my children and those around me to take on the leadership attitude of servitude for many years to come.

May you and your family be safe and blessed this holiday season!

Debbra

http://www.DebbraSweet.com