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Isn't that GRAND!

Isn't that GRAND!
For years I’ve spoken to organizations about Going from Good to Great. While I love the term GREAT, it’s just not GREAT enough anymore. I thought, what is better than GREAT? What prized memories in my own life – both past and recent – could perhaps describe something better-than-GREAT?
As with most things we dedicate time and energy towards, it turns out it wasn’t hard at all to come up with an answer. In fact, it was quick and obvious. My mind kept landing on memories of my full-of-life, crazy-happy Grandmother.
Life was Grand when she was near. Her cooking was Grand. Her attitude was Grand. Her capacity to love was Grand. Her story-telling was Grand, so grand in fact we weren’t always sure it was 100% accurate. Today if someone in my family “embellishes” a story, we fondly respond with an “OKAY, Grandma!” Learning how to live Grand came from every single memory of my Grandmother.
Now I get to watch my own wonderful parents keep the Grand-parenting traditions alive with my children. Most importantly as Grandparents, my parents remind me through their actions, not to judge children by adult standards, but to show them grace and let them be children remembering that we can learn as much from them as they learn from us.
So there it was, bigger and better than great, it’s GRAND! I was blessed to have had the most incredible example of being GRAND. And with that as my measuring stick, I applied GRAND to key areas where we all can perhaps make a big impact and ultimately leave a GRAND legacy.
Did you know the bible says we all have angels assigned to us? Now that’s GRAND! The sad news is that most of our angels are so bored because we don’t give them the authority to act. We can either handcuff them or authorize their abilities to guide us and protect us, and that starts the minute we open our eyes. Don’t hit that snooze button. Pop right up and welcome the day – we’re alive another day – isn’t that enough to start the grand process? When our feet hit the floor each morning, we want our angels going right to work and the devil to scream, “Oh Crap, he or she is up!” That’s starting Grand!
What gets us frazzled and off to a not-so-grand start? Often with a little adjustment the night before we could completely transform a crazy start into a grand start. Waiting until the morning to pick out what we’re going to wear or decide what to pack for lunches, can create a snow-ball of stress first thing in the morning. To help start our day grand, it might be helpful to spend a few minutes the night before planning and even reading something positive before going to sleep. That puts a nice end to each day and ultimately leads to welcoming in the Grand new day.
We are what we think about! That’s scary!  Every action starts with a thought – good or bad. Sometimes completely out of nowhere, a negative thought pops into our mind. Just because it pops into our heads doesn’t mean we have to own it! If a spider landed on us, we would swap it off (or kill it) immediately! Think of a bad thought the same way. We all experience unsolicited and unwanted negative thoughts, sometimes more often than we want to admit. Just don’t let them stick around! As quickly as a bad thought pops into our head, we must think to ourselves, “That is NOT my thought!”. Don’t be a peculator of negative thoughts that brew and grow into negative speech and then negative actions! Make it a habit to find something good about everyone. When I’m struggling to find something good to think about someone, I ask God to help me see that person the way He sees them. It works every time!
“Everything” we say impacts our life in one way or another. Remember those angels? Here’s where it starts, by speaking GRAND. We don’t want to handcuff our angels by speaking negative. For example when the alarm goes off, don’t hit it and say, I hate getting up so early, or I’m exhausted, or I hate my job, because when we speak negative we create a negative impact. Instead, speak life, speak prosperity, whatever it is, speak positive. Speak things like, “Today is going to be a grand day!” or “I got another day to do something grand!”
I looked for every version in scripture that starts with “He said” or “the Lord Said.” Why? Because if God said it, you can always count on it!  I wrote down a few that I speak out loud daily. A few examples include:
  • You said You gave me the spirit of power, love, & self-discipline (And oh, how I need that self-discipline to step away from those girl scout cookies!)
  • You said You would fight for me (No fighting for me today, You’ll do it for me)
  • You said overwhelming victory is mine through Christ (Wow – Not just victory, but overwhelming victory – BRING IT ON!)
  • You said I am not normal, so don’t act it – rise above and set the example
  • You said Your plan for me is for good and not disaster, for a future and hope
  • You said You will rescue me (So I think I’ll take some risks today and write this blog)
  • You said You’re in control of all my situations (Even though I’m a control-freak)
  • You said You order Your angels to protect us where we go
  • You said I should be persistent whether the time is favorable or not
  • You said You made me as hard as a rock, so don’t be afraid or fear ugly looks (I will not fear anyone who rolls their eyes)
  • You said – Say this is what the Sovereign Lord says whether they listen or not.

IF we continue to speak GRAND, soon instead of saying “God You said”, we’ll be saying, “God You DID!”
Since I was blessed (some may think cursed) with an outspoken personality, my mouth is something I must work on daily. When I read Malachi 3:16 that says “God records our conversations” that got my attention! I put that on a post-it note above my computer monitor to remind me that His holy recorder is on me…a holy reminder to “ZIP IT SKIPPY!”
Even when no one is watching, act grand. Our actions speak so loudly that people won’t hear what we’re saying!  Whether we believe it or not, actions really DO speak louder than words. We have no idea how many times every day our actions (good or bad) impact others. Like the way we act when we’re asked to wait in line. The way we act over the telephone when we can’t be seen.
We should always act in such a way that people who witness our actions, our acts of kindness, consideration and respect, want to be better, do better, and act better because of what they’ve witnessed us doing. Frequently teachers say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Good or bad, how we act is how our children will act. Our actions gave them permission. Small ears and eyes are often close by!
Growing up my mom always said “You are who you hang with”. Spend time with people you want to act like. Hang out with people as long as you’re affecting them and they’re not infecting you.
Holding onto unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to get sick. Nothing in this world bears the imprint of the Son of God so surely as forgiveness. Release yourself by forgiving grandly.
Do you know of a person, who is so full of life, they light up a room? They’re the same people that when they leave the room, it feels like the oxygen just left as well. Who wouldn’t want to shine that grand?
We live in a free country and since most of us have never known anything else, it is very easy to forget the immeasurable value of our freedom by taking it for granite – about 1,000 times each day. We get to read what we want, watch what we want, and say what we want, buy what we want, vote for whom we want, eat what we want, and above all the freedom to worship whom we want. Shall I go on? Every single day we have something grand to celebrate!
Stand Grand which is the opposite of Grand-stand!  By this I mean, “Take a stand.” Silence is interpreted as approval. When we hear, or worse participate in gossip, we are fully in agreement, unless we lovingly speak out for what is right. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but worse is the regret of not standing GRAND for what is right!
I don’t know about you, but every time I serve in any capacity without expecting anything in return, I feel completely energized. There is nothing like serving others. This is an area I need to work on because I selfishly think as long as my plate is full, and I genuinely don’t have extra time, that it is okay not to reach out to serve others. That couldn’t be further from the truth. To serve is a grand act of selflessness.
If we are praying, something is happening in the lives of those for whom we pray, whether we see it or not.  We stand the strongest and tallest on our knees. On our knees we can get God’s vision.  Remember God said His plan for us is to prosper and not harm, to give hope and a future. There are more than 7,000 promises buried in the bible, most of which are targeted for me and you. When we pray we stop looking at our problems and instead look at our problem solver. There is no grander place than in prayer.
It’s not how we start the race; it’s how we finish it.  But, we must stay in the race!  If we quit we lose. The way to be encouraged is to encourage others. There have been so many stories in history about people who have quit because they just couldn’t see the finish line. Don’t be blinded by adversity or difficulties. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, when God calls us, He gives us all we need to accomplish it. Feeling inadequate is not uncommon, it shows we need God. When it feels the hardest is often when we’re the closest to the finish!   Pace yourself, stay the course, and finish GRAND.
For other inspirational and motivational topics, check out these great articles and videos:
Becoming a Person of Influence!
Make it Happen Intentionally (Video)
15 Fast Tips for Inspiration, Motivation and Fun
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Portrait of Tammy Tiller-Hewitt, FACHE

Tammy Tiller-Hewitt, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer

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