What Kind of a Difference Maker Are You?

Maybe you weren’t your best yesterday, but today is a brand new day, and the opportunity to change who you are and how you behave is yours for the taking! While we cannot deny our past mistakes, we should not allow ourselves to be restrained by them. We are so blessed that God’s mercies are new every morning, and we get a brand new chance to change those things that God reveals are not “our best”!

While all change is not good, staying the same can’t be all good either; after all, the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth. Do you find yourself doing the same things at your place of work, day in and day out? We often run on “auto pilot” and don’t take the time to evaluate what we are doing and why. This retrospective look forces us to distinguish between activity vs. accomplishment. What big and small steps are you taking on a daily basis to grow personally so that you can add value to your current as well as future roles? It is more important than ever that you increase your mental, spiritual, and physical capabilities. As we grow, we make connections with different people, as well as gain new ideas that will add to our being a person of value.

I am not suggesting that any of us become driven, which means that we are acting out of obligation or unhealthy compulsion. Rather, we should be thinking about the compelling reasons or passion and purpose of what motivates us daily. Is it to help others by being a positive influence, or is it the pure satisfaction of performing our jobs at the highest level possible? Whatever your motivation, let it draw the very best out of you.

How many good ideas that you may have go by the wayside? Often, we just don’t follow through to implementation on a good idea. Mark Sanborn, a Christian speaker and author of The Fred Factor, states that this is our IQ – not how smart we are, but our “Implementation Quotient,” which is the difference between having a good idea and implementing it. Start a journal or list, and write down the characteristics or attributes that you admire and want to implement. Perhaps they are ideas that God will drop into your heart that will start a brand new venture for you! The key is not to copy others, but rather apply them to yourself and add your own uniqueness!

All of this happens one act at a time. Can each of us commit to doing one extraordinary act every day? Think about the positive impact we could have if we did this every day for a whole year, even on weekends and while on vacation! This can be in a simple act:

  1. One kind word to a loved one or co-worker
  2. Going the extra mile to gain the right kind of attention from your boss
  3. An unexpected act of kindness to another, even to a total stranger

These are the things that will change each of our lives from the ordinary to extraordinary.

Lastly, do not compete or compare yourself to others, but rather compete against yourself. It is much more productive and causes continual improvement.

This article was originally published in SHINE Magazine Summer Edition 2009.

Extraordinary Women

Fish Tale

I caught a fish THIS BIG…No really I did!

On a trip to Alaska, my husband, Sean, and I visited a quaint little town called Homer, on the Kenai Peninsula. We spent time walking on the beach and watching the bald eagles; then, we decided to book a halibut fishing charter.

We were told to let the hook down until it hit the bottom, and then reel it in just a bit…you see, halibut are bottom feeders. So, that’s what I did and within 20 minutes, I had a fish on my line; 60 minutes later, I had the halibut in the boat. While reeling it in several people on the boat offered to help me. I declined. Because the way I was raised, if you don’t reel in your own fish, then you don’t get to say you caught it.

It turns out I caught the biggest fish on the boat that day, and I happened to be the only girl on the boat, except for the deckhand. It was 67 pounds, which is actually small for a halibut. It was great fun fishing and reeling it in; and, it’s always good when the girl beats the boys!



Iron Woman

Do not despise the day of small beginnings; when I started endurance sports a few years ago, I could barely swim, had only run a max of 4 miles at one time, and didn’t own a road bike. I still remember my first time swimming 400m, I thought I was going to die.  But I’ve learned that it is a process to accomplish this goal and that through each level of triathlons, I’m getting stronger and closer to attaining my goal.

I was blessed to have found a triathlon group that trains newbie triathletes. I started with sprint distance triathlons which were: half mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 5K run. I learned during these races that although there is pain, stopping is not an option. Then, I moved up to Olympic distance triathlons: 1 mile swim, 24 mile bike and a 10K run. This boost in distance required a more intense regimen of training, nutrition, and mental toughness. I even had to overcome my fear of swimming in open water, because I had almost drowned a few times as a child. I learned to rely upon my relationship with the Lord, and He literally coached me through my swims.

Last year I decided to sign up for my first Half Ironman, 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.2 mile run. The workouts were a lot longer, I needed to get stronger on all levels, and my focus and patience had to increase dramatically. The day of the race was cold and rainy and because of the weather the officials cut the bike race to 15 miles. This was disappointing, but nevertheless, it was an accomplishment and a great race.

What may seem physically impossible to you now, may become one of your greatest accomplishments with God’s help. Train hard, stay focused, remain patient, and when you do…you can accomplish any goal!                                                                                                           -Laura


Balling with Class

At the end of my collegiate basketball career at the University of Colorado, a scout from the Harlem Globetrotters offered me the opportunity to participate in a try-out with this elite exhibition basketball team that combines athleticism, theater, and comedy. My competition at the try-out included all Division I men basketball players.

In 1989, I became only the seventh (out of nine) female to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. My theatrical name was “Bardo” – a lady and a ball player. I had the opportunity to play for the international team and I traveled to places like Greece, Italy, Spain, Luxemburg, Russia, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Australia, and the United States. I performed in arenas where legends such as: Larry Bird, “Doctor J”, and “Magic” Johnson played. I sat in their lockers in amazement. Highlights from my career with the Globetrotters, were throwing an alleyoop pass for a dunk to one of my teammates, and my personal “trick” shot which was a half-court granny shot. When I wasn’t on the court, I went into middle and high schools across the United States speaking to the youth.

I was blessed to see and bring smiles to kids’ faces all around the world.  I’m grateful to God for this unique, professional opportunity and for allowing me to witness and demonstrate the fruit of the spirit to my teammates.




An Extraordinary Light: Corrie ten Boom

As believers we are challenged to be the light of God in a dark world. The Word specifically says in Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (KJV). Recently, I studied the life of one of our more […]

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“Just Say Yes”

  Oftentimes, when most of us read the Christmas story, we focus wholly on the miraculous event that took place in the stable that night long ago. We truly celebrate the birth of our Savior, and the amazing account of God’s love for the world becomes the center of all attention. Rightfully so! Have you […]

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5 Steps to a Unified Marriage

  The word “beautiful” is defined in Merriam Webster’s dictionary as “generally pleasing: excellent.” When something is pleasing it brings pleasure, is agreeable, gratifying and also described in Webster’s dictionary as blessed. We all want a blessed marriage, one that is agreeable, gratifying, pleasing, excellent, and yes, beautiful. But how does one attain all this […]

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Holding Forth the Word of Life

In the spring of the year 58 A.D., a middle-aged woman prepares to board a ship sailing from the Gulf of Corinth to Italy. She speaks with her friends upon shore who have come to see her off and wish her well. One of those friends is a man, short in stature. He bears the […]

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The Love of a Father: What Strong Mothers Know About the Importance of a Daddy

  In today’s society, single mothers are strong, tenacious, able women who can juggle the pressures of family and work without skipping a beat. I should know….I was raised by one! It’s amazing that these moms are able to keep pressing on – giving their children the best family life they can under unfortunate circumstances. […]

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Discover Your God-Given Purpose

  “You are who God says you are!” Anyone who attends Word of Life Christian Center in Lone Tree, Colorado, has heard our anointed pastor Dr. Mark T. Bagwell shout these words from the rooftops! One of the things I love most about our church is the steadfast encouragement to be all that God has […]

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Purposeful Moments

Countless idioms are used as analogies for life—a box of chocolates, a bowl of cherries, a mountain, an ocean! Personally, I love the anonymous quotes that compare life to a book: Life is like a thousand-page book. You want to quit halfway through, but then you realize you have a lot left to look forward […]

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“Three-Fold Foundation for Winter Wellness”

The last picking of fall’s garden filled the bushel baskets in Grandma’s cellar with bold colors of gold, orange, and green. That “fresh-picked” fragrance from the bushel baskets would just briefly cover the musty smell of the cellar. Our barn boasted hefty hay bales that were ready for the cattle’s winter feedings. My new school […]

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