Friends for Life!


Are you a Ya-Ya?  God is so funny.  I was sitting here contemplating on my next blog…and it boiled down to two topics…focus and friends.  So I had a short discussion with Him and said, “show me a sign and that is what I will blog.”  Sure enough He did! Just a few minutes later a dear, highly respected friend and mentor to many, placed this photo on social media and here you have it…Friends.

I look at friends as our chosen family. They love us because of who we are, not because we are family and they feel obligated. They have our backs. They laugh with us, cry with us, shop with us, eat with us…all the ‘with us’ you can think of! You can go weeks and months without talking to them and when you do catch up, it is as if you were just together yesterday.


Can we say that? Would you lay down your life for your friends? Or just one friend?

One of my favorite stories in the Bible reflecting this love is the friendship between Naomi and Ruth. Wow! Not only were they family, but the love that Ruth shows Naomi is like none other. It is expressed in Ruth 1:16,17 when Ruth says, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; For where you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die; and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If ANYTHING but death parts you and me.”  Her love was not only given to Naomi because she was her mother-in-law, but as a friend who promises to never leave her.

Ruth was willing to leave everything to stay by the side of Naomi.  That is a friendship beyond measure. It says that Ruth ‘clung’ to Naomi. In a book I read called “Grown-Up Girlfriends” by Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver, it encourages us to pray for God’s purpose in each friendship we have.  You never know how God is using you to bring comfort, encouragement and companionship to someone who is lonely, hurt or confused. This was the case for Naomi and Ruth. Ruth allowed God to use her, to leave all she knew, to give that support to Naomi at her time of loss. Even though Ruth was suffering the loss of her husband, Naomi’s son, the comfort she gave Naomi as a true friend, was allowing healing in herself as well. Who can you pray for today that God may use you to intercede?

What kind of friends do you have? New, old, best, spiritual, at work, in sports, through email? Do they challenge you or hold you back? Cheer you up or drag you down? How do you know? Where do they all fit in?

“Grown-Up Girlfriends” suggests this: Baskets.  Place your friends in three baskets. Acquaintances (know by name, cashiers/waitress, share facts); Good friends (share common interests, share concerns); Know-it-Alls (share intimate conversations from your heart and soul, higher trust level, committed, closest) As you place them in a basket, realize that very few will end up in the Know-it-All basket. It’s usually limited to 1-4 individuals. (We are created to love everyone, but that does not mean that we share intimately with them all.) Also realize that they may not place you in the same basket as you would place them. Then ask yourself…am I a Know-it-All to anyone? If not, what can I do to become a better friend? I suggest you follow closely to what Jesus did…He is the best example of a true friend! (Hint: He is an excellent listener)

If you do question whether you are a good friend, ask yourself what can you do to be a better friend? Or make new friends? What has stopped you in the past from having good girlfriends? Are you hurting from a past relationship that caused you to just cut off every one of your friends? Was your trust compromised? Did gossip cause you to stop sharing intimately with anyone? (It is stated that 65% of social conversation is gossip!) There are so many reasons why you may not have many friends…only you can dig deep and find the answer.  Find someone you can share with, someone you can trust, and start your way on a path of great lifelong friendships!

Where do you find these friends? Join a bible study, a book club, sports activities, become involved in school activities with the kids, volunteer, join a gym…there are many ways to get out and meet people. In the book, “If You Ever Needed Friends, It’s Now” by Leslie Parrott, she quotes that the average person comes in contact with 500-2500 people in ONE YEAR!  There has got to be someone out there looking for a friend! Pray about it.  God is just waiting to hear from you so He can bring your paths to cross!

I am so thankful for the many friends I have had throughout my life. I am still ‘good’ friends with many of the gals from my school days. (Thanks to social media it makes it a lot easier to stay in touch) I have several family members I would consider good friends, and a handful I would say are my Know-it-All friends. I have friends that fall into the category of ‘haven’t seen in over a year, but act like we just had lunch yesterday” when we finally do make time to share. I belong to a Leadership group that I have made many new friends with and we all share many of the same interests. I have great mentors that have taught me trust and mercy.  I have friends through church. The list can go on and on. Being without friends is not healthy for our soul.  It is said that not having close friends is as detrimental to your health as smoking! Women need good women companionship.  Just ask God. He seen it from the start in the garden! He describes Adams role in terms of work, yet Eve is explained in terms of relationship! We were created to be friends!

I strongly encourage you to read the book, “Grown-Up Girlfriends”. It truly breaks down the importance of friendships and why God created us to be a friend and to have friends. His example of unconditional love is the key to true friendship.  You can find the book on the following website:  (Click on books/friends)  Enjoy the friendship journey! Grab some ladies and form a book club. Discover the art of friendship together!

Please take a minute and share in the comments below a friend you remember…and why did they impact your life the way they did.  I can’t wait to read your responses!

Go be the best friend you can be to as many people as God brings into your life. Be a Ya-Ya!!!

Because of Him…





I spent so much of life worrying. Where did it come from? Did I inherit it? Is it contagious? Is it hereditary?  BINGO…that’s it!  It is hereditary.  (Lets call it a ‘learned behavior’) My mom, as long as I can remember, worried all the time.  What if this, and what if that, you might catch cold, don’t miss the bus, etc…so much so, that I believe my first panic attack actually happened in second grade.

Feels like it was yesterday…we were in Ms. Good’s second grade class, and there he was…Tim P was a bad boy! Me? I was ‘the perfect student’ in every way!  I turned in all my assignments, was always the first one done in class, always on time, straight A’s…I was a teacher’s dream student. Tim was the nightmare student! I will never forget that day when she assigned me to go move my desk next to Tim to see if any of my good habits would ‘rub off’ on him.  They didn’t! And that is when my first panic attack arrived!

Sitting in class, the bell rang to leave school and board the bus for home…and there we sat, at our desks, not being able to move until all the papers were picked up off the floor around us. They weren’t my papers.  They were Tim’s papers and I was not allowed to pick them up…Tim had to.  And he seen panic in my face. That made him happy. (You ever hear the saying, ‘hurting people, hurt people’? Well I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was a hurting people.) My mother always said…”don’t miss the bus”…well i was about to “miss the bus”! What did that mean? How would I get home? My mom didn’t drive! My dad was at work! Would my neighbor come get me? would I have to stay here with Tim? Aghhhh….panic sets in and my heart starts racing like Secretariat! I guess crying was my next choice…so that I did. And I was very good at crying…I was the baby in a family of six siblings! The teacher gave in. I made the bus. And everyone in the school heard about how I cried that day. And Tim? Well he took full advantage of that situation…and the rest of that school year was a nightmare!

I make light of the story in a way…but is was so real. It was 46 years ago and I remember every detail! That tells you that anxiety is nothing to take lightly.

As my life continued I had a few panic attacks in high school when asked to speak in front of people. Somehow, I managed to get through them and managed to stay quiet and sit in the back of the class, hoping to never have to talk. (SIDENOTE: I now have spoken in front of thousands of people with no fear; and the fear of missing the bus plagued me all through school and never once did I ever miss the bus!)

I experienced panic attacks off and on throughout my life, mostly due to some traumatic experiences.  As I started to make different choices later in my life they started to decrease.  I was on my way to recovery…when out of nowhere they were back!

We were out of town visiting family, in the middle of Walmart, and out of nowhere…panic set in. My heart started racing, my pulse skyrocketed, my blood pressure was extremely elevated (we ran to the blood pressure machine in the pharmacy area…210/170) Certainly, I was experiencing a stroke or heart attack and to the emergency room I went! Only to find out after three hours of waiting, I suffered a panic attack and indigestion! I have no idea why. We were having a great time visiting family…no clue…it just hit!

After returning home we visited the doctor. He prescribed depression medication, along with anxiety meds and bp meds and acid reflux meds. I said to myself, “I was perfectly fine four days ago. Now, I have all these medications. What is wrong with me. Am I dying?” Again…panic sets in…I don’t want to die. I am too young to die. I want to see my family grow. I want to hang out with my grandchildren. Travel. GOD…why are you letting this happen? EEERRRRRRRKKKKKKK….God?

WORRY IS TEMPORARY ATHEISM. I wasn’t believing that God could help me at all. I was letting the devil rob me of my life! I let him into my mind and feed me full of lies. He convinced me that the best part of my day was to stay asleep…because nothing can hurt me when I’m sleeping. He had me thinking that every time I felt a twitch I was going to start having chest pains, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, tingling…a sure sign I was having a heart attack! I needed GOD to help me…not medications! And that is when everything changed.

Not all wounds are visible and anxiety and panic attacks are definitely a wound. They cast a fight or flight sense in you and you have to be prepared to have a panic attack and let your mind run wild, or fight back! I chose to fight back.

sea anxiety

There are five steps to help you to get through a panic attack:
1) It is TEMPORARY! Remember this too shall pass
2) MOVE AROUND! Get up and move around, change seats, walk, go to the bathroom.
3) TALK! I chose to talk with GOD…yep right there in the bathroom stall…don’t laugh it works!  He can remove those demonic thoughts from you as if they were a booger!
4) BREATH! Especially at night. Count your breaths. Close your eyes and breathe deep until you have control over your body again.

Cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares about you ~ 1 Peter 5:7

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me ~ Phillipians 4:13

I never did take any of the anxiety/depression medications.*  I guess in my mind knowing I had them ‘just in case’ was enough. Praying and sharing with God about my anxieties worked for me. He helped me fight off those demons trying to tear up my insides. But my God is so much bigger than they are. I rise each morning now knowing that the devil is shaking in his shoes somewhere saying “Oh no, she’s up!”  *(If your doctor prescribes meds, take them.  I chose to use God for my true physician.  He and I together conquered this illness!)

Please remember, there is not enough room in your mind for worry and faith. You must decide which one will live there. Choose FAITH. God will never fail you! I know he saved me from a life of fear and anxiety.

From worry and anxiety to FAITH and PEACE! Praise God!

Because of HIM

PS ~ A Big thank you to my wonderful hubby Roy for helping me through many of these attacks as well. As we began to study Anxiety, he and I discovered the seriousness of this mental illness. (I strongly encourage you to study this illness with your family so they understand this illness and the effects it has on families) His strength in God pushed my strength in Him to a new level! Because of Roy, my faith has quadrupled…and because of that he is also my hero! If you want to see for yourself what a great guy he is, check out his blogs at! Love you honey!




I always thought that sounded like such a silly thing. Where did they come up with ‘bucket list’ anyway?

The most likely related is of course linking it to the movie, The Bucket List, in which two men escape from the cancer ward and set off to do some things on their ‘Bucket List’ before they die. (Great movie!) However, they say it started before that.

Wikipedia lists a number of other ‘bucket metaphors’ in computing. A bucket, also a bin, is sometimes a buffer, or place to discretely distribute data, and can be of fixed size. (That sounds boring so lets ‘kick’ that one out!)

But then I still wondered…where did bucket list come from? Well it’s mentioned on various sites that it is linked to the term ‘kick the bucket’, when one ‘dies’. So then my sanguine mind is thinking…where did ‘kick the bucket’ come from’? So here it is:

The term ‘kick the bucket’ is believed to have originated from the 16th century when people hanged themselves by standing on a bucket with a rope around their neck and then kicking the bucket away. The wooden frame that was used to hang animals up by their feet for slaughter was also called a bucket. So all that eventually led us to the BUCKET LIST…making a list of things to do before we ‘kick the bucket’! Not exactly a bright subject, but glad something constructive came from it!

So, with that being said, we talked about setting goals on my last (first) blog and now it brings us to the BUCKET LIST. Have you ever made one?

I have mentally made them in my mind. This year I started writing my first Bucket List. I feel so ‘on track’ with it. I have already crossed out two things! Starting a blog and having family pictures taken outside in the snow! (I know it sounds kind of dorky but this is my blog and my story)

So while combining the task of setting goals and making a bucket list this past week, I realized today that it was easier to make a bucket list first and then set the goals! So if you are having a difficult time setting your goals this year…make a bucket list first! It seems there is so much less stress listing all the fun and serious things attached to a bucket list.

I coach with a few people in our leadership group and tonight as I was guiding one of our members through setting her goals, it was amazing how much easier it was when you have a bucket list first! And she had a bucket list for her personal life and a bucket list for her business. I loved it! It was so much easier to just review the list and pick off the five most important from each list that we needed to start with! And it was actually fun! (Although choosing exercise as one of her top five personal goals was not so fun) We did successfully complete her goals and she is off to a fast start!

So one more thing about the bucket list…keep it fun and simple! Do a few bucket lists! Base them on the different seasons (winter, summer, etc) or hobbies (photography pics I want to take this year, foods I want to cook/bake/eat, etc) business or personal, individual or family…there are so many ways. So have fun with it and don’t forget to pick out the really important ones and attach a date to them…making them a goal!

Happy Bucket Listing!

Because of HIM…

2014 is Here….are You?

Well…this is it!  For the last two years one of my goals has been to start a blog…AND I FINALLY DID IT! So what better blog to start with than how to set goals for 2014!

I was never a goal setter. I was never a dreamer. I was a wisher…a wishy-washy wisher at that! One year I would want to move…the next year I wanted to buy a house…the next year I was content in my apartment…and then one year I met Roy, which will be the topic of a whole different blog someday!

Roy was a dreamer. I was ‘just a mom’ who raised three children in a good environment, but probably not a great environment…and we never dreamed.  I had no way of helping my children achieve their dreams, therefore I never encouraged them!  I never remember dreaming as a child, unless you count the many hours of cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing them to a piece of paper…only to throw it away weeks later after I was tired of seeing it hang on my bulletin board.  (Do they still make those-haha?)  So where am I going with all this? Well whats the difference between a dream and a goal?

Dream according to the dictionary says: (1) a series of thoughts, visions, or feelings that happen during sleep; (2) an idea or vision that is created in your imagination and that is not real; (3) something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time

Goals according to the dictionary says: (1) something that you are trying to do or achieve; (2) an area or object into which a ball or puck must be hit, kicked, etc., to score points in various games (such as soccer and hockey); (3) the act of hitting, kicking, etc., a ball or puck into a goal or the score that results from doing this  (We can scratch those last two since we aren’t talking about sports…..yet!)

a-goal-without-a-plan-is-just-a-wish - Copy


goal timeline tnt

They say if you do not set any goals, you will hit them with amazing ability! So lets look at a simple way to set some goals for 2014!

Set some short term and long term goals! (One-three-six month and one-three-five year and/or attach them to a special event coming up…wedding, vacation, business mtg, etc)

Set Spiritual, Physical, Personal (one for you and one for family if you have one*), Financial and Business Goals!  *Just a suggestion, if you have a family its crucial to always include them in goal setting and planning and APPLYING!

After you have made your list, instead of making a plan of action NOW (you will eventually) list the reasons you believe you have not hit these goals before! Maybe 3-5 reasons why you believe in your heart and mind why you have yet to achieve them! THEN…this is the important part…find a mentor, coach, friend you trust for their absolute honest opinion who HAS THE RESULTS you are looking for, etc…and sit down with them and go over your list! Get suggestions (books, audio, seminars, etc) on how to hit these goals by applying the materials and resources and APPLICATION necessary to achieve them! And tadaaaaa…..YOU DID IT!

OK…so grab your paper and pencil and start writing down those goals. Then find someone who is further down the road than you, with the results you are looking for, and sit down with them and figure out how YOU (and your family) can hit your goals for 2014!!!!

Thanks for reading through my first “real” blog. I hope to get a little more ‘blogger savvy’ and add other pics and all that fancy stuff, so bear with me as I learn through the process. As always, have a blessed day!

Because of HIM….


Brenda Hatcher on LIFE

To Live a Life of NO Regrets

How do you do that? Where do you start? How do you know?

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I think I found out last week.

The passing of the most amazing lady I have ever met brought the LIFE OF NO REGRETS….to life!

Jacqueline Lewis, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and my personal mentor passed away at the young age of 32 years old, leaving four beautiful children and a beautiful husband as well. But the legacy she left is a true sign of Living the Life of NO Regrets!

A funeral attended by over 1,000 people (in the middle of a Michigan blizzard with white out conditions and icy roads) and viewed by webcast by over 13,000 people begins to tell the story that Jackie lived.  I can say I have never been to a funeral that ended in a standing ovation! I have never been to a funeral where we had ‘leopard loops’ on our lapels to honor the ‘wild side’ of Jackie (she loved animal prints), I have never been to a funeral that ended with a testimony by the deceased that has brought many to Christ and will continue to long after she’s gone (which has been viewed by over 10,000 people all over the world) and I have never been to a funeral where a beautiful child stands at the side of her momma’s ‘hope chest’, laying peacefully at rest, praying and looking through a muted cloth at the mother she loved so dearly.


This family had the pleasure of having their Momma next to their side 100% of the time. She didn’t have to leave every day to punch a clock. She home-schooled her children (rumor has it she had a thing for the principal too-wink, wink) took them to their extra activities, attended their events and was always there at their side. The only time Jackie truly left them was when she was out helping families achieve this same lifestyle. To help them take the steps to be a stay at home mom or dad. To experience waking up to your child, not an alarm clock. And what is truly amazing is that her husband was there all day too! They had a life many dream of and think is never achievable.  But it is, and for Bill and Jackie Lewis it was!

Jackie was more than just a great friend…she was my mentor.  Even though her age was that of my own children, she had the life I was striving for.  The solution is to learn from those who have what you desire. LIFE Leadership focuses on what we call, “Define, Learn, Do”… define what you want, learn from someone who has those results and go out and do what they did.  It is very unique and very seldom popular amongst business owners.  It would create competition and they don’t want that! But with LIFE Leadership we create leaders and help families go from good to great.  It doesn’t matter how many of those you have, great leaders or great families…you never have enough!

Jackie was my ‘go to’ person. Any questions I had she was just a text or phone call away.  Her absence has already been felt in so many ways. I am thankful for this leadership group that in the absence of Jackie there are still many other women I can ‘go to’ and get the same advice. But Jackie….well, we had a great connectiveness (is that a word?) that will be forever missed.  I will miss her texts…her “baaahhhaaaas”, her “suck it up cupcakes”, her “put on your big girl panties”, her “what’s up chica” and her “amen sista” and mostly her funny videos of people falling and tripping (thank God nobody got videos of her and I falling!) I know any one of us women who were privileged to know Jackie and to have her in our life will feel the same.

Jackie was not my idol…she was my mentor. She was an example of a great wife, a great mom, a great leader and a great friend. I recently read in this fantastic book, PAiLS-20 Years From Now What Will You Wish You Had Done Today?, by best-selling author Chris Brady, that art is a perfect metaphor of how we should build our lives.  Art is to beheld by gazing upon it. I gazed upon Jackie…I watched her move, I watched her speak, I watched her be a mom and a wife, I watched her converse with people from every walk of life….I observed her.  (No I didn’t stalk her-teehee)  I watched her because I wanted to have the results she had and her actions spoke louder than words.  As Chris Brady put it in his book, “People may listen to what we say, but they put much more stock in what they observe that we actually do.”  Jackie was a doer.

To my friend Jackie…I will ache for the emptiness in my heart, for the piece of “living art” that you displayed daily, for the silliness of your contagious laughter. I will thank God daily for the memories, the many lessons I learned from you and from watching you, the pictures, the videos, the special day when we achieved our goal of Round Table and was brought to stage by you and Bill, the trip to Vegas, Florida and many other destinations. I will thank God for answering our prayers to go to a million people, because I know in my heart YOU were his BEST SHOT to get there with the most impact on thousands of lives. And I will especially thank God that He chose me to be your friend.

Please keep Jackie’s husband Bill, and four children, Jacob, Eli, Bella and Nemo(Nihimiah), along with her family and many business partners and friends, in prayer for this huge loss in their lives.

You were my example of the Fruits of the Spirit…

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

So the question for you today is ‘are you truly living a life of NO REGRETS?’ because I know someone who was and I will strive to live that way until my final day of rest shall come. We never know when that day may come.  There is a TOO LATE….it’s just not TOO LATE….yet! (Thanks again Chris!)

God Bless you all….