PILLARS OF INFLUENCE
 
 
 
Faith-In watching families I admire, I often take mental notes on what brings them to where they are. What makes them so calm despite their struggles? How do they have so much patience? For example, I had two women in my life with the same exact rare disease. In one, the disease took over her life. She was in a hole of desperation and it spilled over to her relationships. In my other friend, she had a very calm sense that surrounded her. The same disease, two entirely different results. In fact, I wanted to help my struggling friend so I connected the two women. My distraught friend told me that my calm friend's disease was not as bad as hers. Was this true? Possibly, but I don't think so. I know that my friend was rooted in Christ's love and she had support from her family and church. She weathered the storm in a whole different way. Faith in Christ is a rock that we can stand on and when rooted in Christ's love, our emotional stability increases no matter what the storm. This has massive implications for our health and the relationships around us! Leaning on God is HEALTHY. Let's find a way to make a habit of leaning on Him and stabilize our emotional health for ourselves and our families.
 
 
 
Family-No matter who your "tribe" is, family should be your closest friends. We all grow up in different family dynamics. My best friend in high school had an awful family life. She often vacationed with our family and looking back I think she learned what a loving family could feel like. If your family is in a place to invite someone in, do it. If you need a family to mentor you, find one. I believe God want's everyone to know the love of family and we need to be able to open ourselves up to be sure everyone has a chance at knowing love in the context of "family".
 
 
 

Fitness-
We are made to move! The super dad in our family likes to say, "fitness has no finish line." This is so true. Don't be discouraged by where you are at because the only way to go is up and the best time to start is NOW. Take one day at a time and lean on your tribe. Write down goals and stick to them. Don't bite off more than you can chew (I speak from experience) and allow yourself the grace to rest if you overdo it. 
 
 

Food-
My favorite. Food...all kinds. We all have a different family story of food. Some of us grew up out of packaged food in the cupboard, some have never tried Brussel sprouts or peas, and some have enjoyed the many colors of food God made. No matter what your background, I would encourage you to be open to a whole new world here. If you are open and willing, your kids will follow. Food and water are tools that God uses to pour light into our bodies. Food is full of life and water itself is the most basic elements of life. Without both, we are not able to maintain the temple that God has given us. Let's consider re-inventing our emotional ties to food by creating fun and fuel for our families that makes us better people.
 
 

Fun-
Are we too busy and stressed to have fun? Laughter is amazing medicine. When I'm down and my kids do something goofy it breaks the emotional pattern I have set myself into. How can we have more fun? How can we encourage our kids to be silly. My daughter and I often do voices. The boys look at us like we are nuts but they are always laughing. My son Josh is quite serious and like all brothers, he "dislikes" his sister. However, I've noticed he longs for her entertainment when she is not around. I cherish will all my heart the fun and silly moments that our family has but I know that I have missed it in the past. Let's be sure to cherish fun and don't MISS it!