Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Day Challenge 2013!!

If you were part of my audience last year, you may remember the 31 Day Challenge for October. Mine was 31 Days to Being a Real Writer.

Facilitated by the wonderful folks at, this is an opportunity for bloggers/writers to step up, focus, publish material every day in October.

Each writer chooses his or her own topic.

For many reasons - some of which will be discussed in the next month - I feel led to write about a rather personal subject. My topic is: 31 Days of Examining My Heart.

Certainly, that covers a lot of territory. I shouldn't be lacking for inspiration!

How about you? Maybe you have felt some tugging as well. Maybe there things going on inside that require some examination. day.

I am looking forward to the journey.
I hope you will join me here every day.                          

We will talk again tomorrow..

Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sir Elton, Grandma, and searching myself...

I am thinking today about choices.

Grandma and I were in K-mart. I was about 9. If you are from my town, you might remember when K-Mart was in the Point Plaza shopping center. Big doors that moved sideways as you approached. Cash registers right inside the door.

As we neared the registers, Grandma remembered one more item. I waited with the cart while she went back. She returned to find me looking at a display of toys, and she asked if I wanted one.

I was a backward kid. A little bit shy. A little unsure of myself.
I shrugged and said, “I don’t care.”

Immediately Grandma said, “Let’s go then – I am not wasting money if you don’t care!”
Suddenly I cared. A lot.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I still have trouble saying what I want. And I still have trouble with some types of decisions.

Still. Decades later, I can feel the sting when we left the store without a toy. And I still do it.

How about you? Do you have an avoidance tactic when it comes to difficult decisions?
Maybe I am the only one.

I am also thinking about Elton John. The soundtrack of my early years was Frank, Barbra, Simon & Garfunkel…and I still enjoy all those folks. But Elton was the first musical influence I chose for myself.

Stop for a minute. Can you hear the opening of Your Song? Crocodile Rock?

Can you hear the music to these words:
Don’t let the sun go down on me, although I search myself it’s always someone else I see…

Do you ever feel like the “real” you is nowhere to be found? That the world rarely sees the person you know yourself to be?

I do.

Many times that feeling is preceded by an unwillingness to make a decision, or speak my mind…or worse yet, my heart.

I know that I know that I know what the result will be. Sadness. Maybe a bit of anger. Sometimes I call it losing my MoJo.
I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the one looking back.
My steps, my day, my life seems out of balance.

although I search myself it’s always someone else I see…

It isn’t that I completely unable to make decisions. Most of the time, I just don’t want anyone to be upset.
And you say, “Ummmm…get real please.” I know, I KNOW…it isn’t my job to make sure everyone is happy. I know.

Sometimes I delay until someone else comes along and makes the decision for me…and I almost NEVER like that.

Sometimes I make a commitment, then won’t do what is necessary to honor that. Not because I lied. My intentions were good.
But as my refusing-to-buy-a-toy Grandma would say, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” And she would be right.
although I search myself it’s always someone else I see…

How about you? Do you avoid hurting people, only to end up being hurt – which actually hurts everyone in your life? You know it does.
Or maybe you avoid making hard decisions and taking difficult action, then get upset when someone else does it for you?

Most of my blogs have a wrap-up. Some words of advice or wisdom. Not this one.

What I do know for sure is that indecision often costs me opportunity…with projects, with potential adventures, with people…

How about you? Have you missed out on something wonderful due to indecision?

Then maybe you can hear these words as well:
Losing everything is like the sun going down on me

Stay connected with me…let’s conquer this indecision hurdle together.

We will talk soon…

Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.

Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Scars, tears, steps...and Father Hopko's #54

Generally I am asleep, or at least in bed reading, by 11 PM. Tonight I am fighting off some pain.

If you have been tracking with me for any time, you know I had a lawn tractor accident last month. There have been many lessons as a result – the most resounding one recently is that perpetually swollen fingers (half fingers!) hurt.   

Today, I forced myself to be still, with my hand elevated, for three hours. It is a record. 
I finished a book. 
And I looked at my hand which now has 3 whole fingers, two very swollen, extremely sensitive half fingers, and a tender palm with a pink L-shaped wound carved by a mower blade. Scabs are coming off. Skin is peeling. Just not very pretty at all.

There will be scars. But that’s no big deal, is it?
We all have scars.

I am also thinking tonight about another of Fr. Thomas Hoko’s 55 Maxims for Christian Living:

54. When we fall, we get up immediately and start over

Father Hopko pulls no punches.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t want to get right back up.
Sometimes I am crying too hard to get up.
Sometimes the cuts are deep and I want to wait until they heal.
Sometimes I think they might never heal.

How about you? Do you ever feel that way?

And the worst pains are the ones I bring on myself. Pain of hurting someone I love. Pain of getting to a place I should have been able to see, I could see, but thought I would find a way to avoid.  
Can I get a witness?

Get up immediately and start over.
It is good advice.

Get up immediately and start over…through the tears.
Get up immediately and start over…while it still hurts.
Get up immediately and start over…before fear wins.
Get up immediately and start over…and maybe, just maybe, you can reverse some hurt, heal the wounds, have some restoration, recover something beloved.

I am thinking about scars…and tears…and different steps – that might be small but are moving forward and toward happy.

I am looking at my hand, thinking about how the symmetry in my body has been disrupted.
I am looking at the scars, the most severe my body has endured – on the outside.
I am thinking of the scars no one can see, and being grateful for healing.

How about you? Do you have scars? I know you do.

My words to you would be that people live with scars, relationships recover from scars and carry on.
I would tell you that deep wounds heal, that amputations require adjustment but aren’t an end.

That’s what I would tell you.
I hope I can believe it myself.

I need to sleep so tomorrow I can get up and start over.

We will talk again soon…


Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!

Friday, September 13, 2013


On Fridays a bunch of brave writers gather here to all spend 5 collective minutes writing on a single prompt. 
Here's how it all got started, back story, details and all. The short version is:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. (On your blog or in the comments).
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog footer}.
3. Go leave some comment props for the five minute artist who linked up before you.


It is Friday morning at 6 AM and I am struck by how appropriate today's word is for me. I am most assuredly thankful for mercy…and, always in need of more.

From God who is more compassionate than I can comprehend.
From people I love who endure my tremendous faults.
From myself when those faults bring pain and distance.

Mercy can be easy if it isn’t personal. Giving money to someone in need. Taking your coat off and giving it to the man wandering the streets. Giving away “stuff” is not hard.

The challenging type of mercy is personal.
Mercy that forgives through hurt.
Mercy that believes in what my heart says rather than the particular offense my head is SCREAMING ABOUT.
Mercy that trusts that love is bigger than anything, can overcome every painful barrier, can bind up any wound the heart has.

That kind of mercy is risky. What if I give mercy and am hurt again?

Then God gently reminds me of His mercy.
New every day.
Always motivated by love.

On this Friday the 13th, I pray to give it. And I pray others will grant me the same.

Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Father Hopko's #25, my golf swing...and lessons I can't seem to learn

I am thinking today about a problem I often have with my golf swing. If you have golfed with me, you might being thinking, “Which one???

It’s a fair question.

The answer is…the follow through. I can do everything right through impact, but if there is no follow through, the ball simply does not go where I intend.

Last summer I came across Father Thomas Hopko’s 55 Maxims for Christian Living. It is a list worthy of consideration, and chock full of blog material.

25. Be faithful in little things

In some ways, I am really good at this. I take care of my belongings, put things back in their place, take my grocery cart to the holder. I am polite, say “Please” and “Thank you,” hold doors for people, smile. I am careful to recycle, not litter, waste as little food as possible.

You probably do most of these things too. And they are good things, to be sure.

But there are some things I don’t do well…and most of them are a result of neglecting the follow through. It is a lesson I have been shown dozens of times. And still, I seem not to have learned?
I lose 30 pounds, then stop exercising and making wise food choices…start refinishing a piece of furniture, then get distracted…start cleaning the basement…

Lots of starting. No follow through.

How about you? Do you ever start something and not finish? I am guessing you do.

And while that is annoying, it isn’t always a huge deal. I can always go back and finish a household task. I can start exercising again. I can fix all of that.

What I can’t fix is when I don’t follow through with people. When I am not faithful in little things with people I love.

Have you been there?

We promise to help with a difficult chore, or help with an event at church or school. But we don’t put it on the calendar, or we overextend ourselves and have to cancel. Generally, people understand. We are all busy and often absent-minded.

It is far more damaging when we ignore follow through from a relationship stand point.
When we vow to think before speaking, but anger wins once again and the nasty words spill out.
When we promise to set time aside and don’t.
When we know we are doing something that annoys a partner or spouse, promise to make a change, but never do.

We have every intention, don’t we?

My grandmother used to say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions!” True that.

Intentions are like a check written on a closed bank account. Intentions - and the promise they imply - without follow through are more hurtful than refusal to change. Intentions are the carrot on a stick that is always just out of reach.

Do you get that?

If you are like me, you have to learn the lesson more than once…and it often fails to register until there is great pain all around.

After impact with the golf ball, the club continues through the swing plane, the shoulders open and the upper body should end up facing the target. That is a good follow through. Anything else will push the ball, pull the ball, take away from the distance.

I can learn that.

I can finish painting the furniture, and clear the unnecessary items the basement. No harm done.

But tonight, I will stare at the ceiling, wondering if the hurts caused, the time lost, the trust betrayed by lack of follow through can ever be repaired.

Be faithful in little things.

Do what you say. Choose time with the ones who are most important. Follow through on intentions.
Little things that make up a day, then a month, then a lifetime.

I will say a prayer that you will find resolve to follow through, and renewal with folks you have hurt.

Maybe you will say a similar prayer for me.

We will talk again soon…

Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Aerosmith, Robin, Linda...and endurance for the long haul

I found a fortune cookie on the counter today.  Why are there always 7 cookies in the bag when you only get one meal?

Are you like me…I don’t really even like the taste of fortune cookies, but if I walk past it enough times, I feel the need to read the fortune…and of course, take at least one bite.

So here is today’s fortune: You have the endurance for the long haul.
Usually I laugh at this tiny piece of paper, because it is either far-fetched or so generic it could apply to anyone.

Today, those words struck me. Not feeling it right now.

If you have been tracking with me for any time, you know a couple things…I have been waiting for resolution to some financial litigation for over three years, and 3 weeks ago I rolled a lawn tractor and amputated two fingers on my dominant hand.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. 

How about you? Yeah, you have some things that haven’t gone as planned, don’t you?

Every time when I look in the mirror, All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone…It went by, like dusk to dawn

Isn't that the way…Everybody's got their dues in life to pay
I know nobody knows where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody sin…You got to lose to know how to win 

My friend Robin Roberts (@RobinRoberts) has dealt with things not going her way. In 2007, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2012, she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), likely brought on by the 2007 chemotherapy. Later this month, Robin will celebrate one year since her successful bone marrow transplant.

It is a triumph, for sure. For her, and for all MDS patients who need bone marrow transplants. The day Robin shared her diagnosis with the public, the National Marrow Donor Program experienced and 1800% spike in donors.
1800%! In one day! Imagine the lives that have been saved.

Still, Robin had to have endurance for the long haul. She admits to dark, dark days. Moments when no longer fighting seemed to be an attractive alternative. But she never let go of her dreams.

Robin was off the air for 5 months. She has eased back into a full work schedule, but now seems healthy and ready to tackle new challenges.  
I don’t know Robin’s mind, and I certainly don’t know God’s mind, but it seems likely that He has big plans for this wonderful, faith-filled woman…bigger than being the lead anchor on the top morning news program.
There is simply no telling what good can come from this experience for Robin and for the people she can touch.
Robin’s endurance for the long haul will surely be rewarded.

Half my life is in books’ written pages
Live and learn from fools and from sages

You know it's true…All things come back to you

My friend Linda Kalafatis did not go into the 2012 season expecting it would be her last as the Ohio State softball coach. It was her 16th year. She is the winningest coach in school history, led the team to post season play six times, had 10 seasons with 30 or more wins. She is one of a handful of coaches in NCAA history to have more than 800 wins
Apparently, these credentials were not good enough.

I can’t speak to the emotions Linda experienced. There must have been dark days.
What I do know is that she held onto her dream. There were surely offers for other jobs…consulting, administrative, private training businesses. But she knew her calling was to be a college softball coach and she stayed the course.

On Aug 6, 2013 Linda was named Head Softball Coach at the College of Charleston (@CoCSoftball).
Softball games in March in Ohio or South Carolina…hmmmm?
An administration that celebrates you rather than tolerates you…hmmmmm?
Dark days become light again.

Earlier this week, the College of Charleston introduced Samantha Marder (@Sam_Marder) as the assistant coach. Sam was a two time All-American at Ohio State and a first round pick by the Akron Racers of the National Pro FastPitch League. Her talent and enthusiasm will complement Linda’s coaching gifts nicely.

Fifteen months ago, Linda might not have been able to envision this picture. Now, she has a terrific opportunity to reunite with a former player and take the College of Charleston softball program to new heights.
Only because she had endurance for the long haul.

Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears…
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true

So here I am… two of my fingers are mostly gone…it’s hard to type, impossible, at this point, to write with a pen…already this is the longest I have endured pain from the same injury, and the journey is nowhere near over…the stress from litigation is affecting every relationship I have, not to mention creating tremendous financial pressure. The days seem dark.

Is the fortune cookie right? Do I have endurance for the long haul?
I am holding on to hope.

How about you? Are you facing down a difficult situation, but holding on to hope? Are you looking around for a sign that other people have made it through?

Sometimes that is the most we can do, isn’t it? Hold on fiercely, try to breath, keep hope alive. 

And maybe we our transparency helps others…

Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true

We will talk again soon…

Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!