Review by Rayna: Choose to THRIVE

Choose to THRIVE is a challenging book written for high-achieving women.  Debbie’s style of direct and to the point communication style is refreshing.  She openly shares her challenges and life experience in order to encourage her reader to address her own issues.

In the book Debbie shares 9 character qualities most high-achieving women possess and how they can cause problems in our lives.  I found myself relating to many of the qualities as I am sure you will too.

I enjoyed the style of Debbie’s book.  She points out the qualities, how they can cause a problem when unbalanced and then shares how she found balance in her own life.  Each chapter ends with questions to help you examine yourself and begin the process of working on finding your balance.

The chapter that impacted me the most was the one one perfectionism.  I have known that I have this character quality all my life and I have worked hard to put people  before perfection but I often still find myself struggling it and not even realizing I’m doing it.  Here is an excerpt from Debbie’s chapter addressing perfectionism.

It takes a conscious effort to step back and look at what we are asking for. Does it leave room for people, including ourselves, to do what they do best? Or does it pigeonhole them into doing things the way we think is best? Do people believe they have the latitude to take calculated risks without harsh repercussions? Do you give yourself grace when you mess up? Do you give your child grace when they don’t do as well as you think they should have?  Are we leaving room for God to work?

Perfectionism is something I have been aware of in my life for a long time.  I was challenged and encouraged by the way Debbie addressed her struggle with perfectionism.  If you consider yourself a high-achiever I’m sure that you will benefit from reading Choose to THRIVE and examining some of the inner conflicts you face.

Review by Rayna: Necessary Endings

Necessary Endings:  The employees, businesses, and relationships that all of us have to give up in order to move forward


From the subtitle you can tell that this book addresses both business and personal relationships.  Though it has many business examples and much wisdom to offer those in leadership it has many valuable principles and truth for everyone concerning relationships.

This is one of those books I wish I had read many years ago.  I had so many favorite parts it is hard to share just a few.


The principle of pruning is covered in the beginning of the book is such a practical way that it helps us to understand that it is a teaching we all need to implement in life.  I’m not a gardener but I understood the truth of how caring for plants applies to our lives.  I can see God’s hand doing this in my life at times as well.

Dr. Cloud defines pruning for us as “A function of cutting away to reduce the extent or reach of something by taking away unwanted of superfluous parts. “   Pruning is the intentional step of bringing something to a necessary ending.  There are 3 reasons to bring necessary endings to our lives:

  1. The first reason is if something is stealing resources that could be spent somewhere else that is more valuable.  Even healthy stuff can stop us from growing if there is too much of it.  We can only give some many things our time and attention.  Be sure that all the things you are focusing on are the most important to you.
  2. Secondly, if something is sick and is not likely to heal. Some relationships both at work and in your life need constant attention and nurturing.  It is ok to give them what is needed to help them heal and become a contributing part but if sick is what they want to be then a necessary ending is called from.
  3. The reason is if it is clear that something is already dead, there is no life left.  It is amazing how desperately we can hold onto things that are clearly dead sometimes.  Dr. Could encourages us to take the time to evaluate the health of relationships, this will make it harder not to identify those that are dead.

Necessary endings are required in order for us to stay healthy and to keep growing.  Dr. Cloud gives great examples of each of these in the book.

Another section of the book which I found very helpful was when Dr. Cloud laid out the 3 Kinds of people as well as their styles of behavior in chapter 7.  The way he approached this section seemed a bit harsh at first but the more I thought about the 3 behaviors the more examples from my life I could think of that affirmed his descriptions.

The 3 people are the wise, the foolish and the evil.  Dr. Cloud goes on to tell us how to determine the kind of person is we are dealing with and what to do with them.  If you are trying to figure out if an ending is necessary for a relationship you will definitely find this chapter helpful.

Dr. Cloud goes on to layout how to accomplish a necessary ending and how to process in order to move forward.

I am confident this will be a book I come back to time and time again.  I hope you will take the time to read it and then share your thoughts me with me below.


    Katie is a midtwenty year old who found herself struggling with the transition into adulthood.  She has been in small town KS since graduating from college.  She   was excited to get a job as an elementary school teacher   but then she found herself struggling with feeling stuck   in a rut which made her feel unsuccessful in all areas, personal and professional.


What was the most difficult part about your transition?

At first I just thought this is what being a grown up is. Once I knew something had to it change it was identifying why I felt overwhelmed and like I was stuck in a box.

What did you do to get outside of the box?

I hired a coach, Rayna.  I explored what needed to change.  I began a plan of action to seek peace with God, developed a budget plan, sought new social opportunities and found a routine that lead to more sleep.  Finding one problem helped me to go deeper and deeper and deeper to really get to the root of what I needed to find peace.  I started reading the Bible more and even joined an online Bible study.

What do you think was most helpful for you to move into the hope and peace you were wanting?

Having a plan on paper to be able to see what I needed to do to move forward.  Journaling was also a big help to me and something I have continued to do today.

Was there a special verse that the Lord used to encourage you during this time?

Yes, definitely.  Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

How did your faith grow from this transition time in your life?

I found a deeper and more real relationship with God.  More of a reliance with Him in each moment of the day.

Do you think you would have found that without this period of time in your life?

No, with all the struggle there was growth.  The environment and challenges really pushed me to grow.  They helped me to realize that I can only rely on God for sure.

Katie has moved from being stuck in a box, feeling alone, and confused to hope, looking forward to change, with excitement about what is next.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire

Have you ever jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire?

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I loved my job.

It really was a job that had a lot of things I really loved.  I knew that I was making a difference and that was so important to me.

But I felt frustrated, unappreciated, confused, and stuck.  I had hit a glass ceiling where I was.  I was told that I would not be promoted, I was too young.  There was nothing I could do about that.

It was time to move on.

I started the job hunt.  It didn’t take long to find another job.  It seemed like a dream.

1 application, 1 job interview, 1 new job.

I jumped right out of that frying pan into my new job.

It started off great.  I really liked being in charge.  I was getting the hang of the new responsibilities and felt like I was making a difference.

Then the crazy started.

When I say crazy I mean crazy.  I was the director of a national chain child care facility.  After just 3 weeks on the job one of my employees hot lined another employee for child abuse.

It was a one day investigation in which I was told that they were not able to substantiate the charge.  I had to tell the parents of 100 children what had happened that day.  It went much better than I thought it would.

The next day the employee who made the call did not show up on time to work, I wrote her up.  She did come in just in time for the news crew to show up.

I did not want to be on the News.

I have never dreamed of being on the news that was for sure.  The parents withdrew their child and I was hoping it was going to settle down.

The next day I was contacted by a local detective.  I had to go to the police station to make an offical statement.

Another thing I that was not on my bucket list.  This is the point in which I began to think that I had jumped into the fire……

I also was accused for creating a hostile work environment.  The story of the fire goes on and on

Since school was a challenge for me never, never, never give up was deeply ingrained in my character.  I was determined to make it work.  I was the boss.  I could make it right, I just knew I could.

I was so stressed……I could not sleep, I could not eat.

I prayed constantly, asking the Lord for wisdom.  I wanted to do a good job.  I wanted to be able to be the leader the staff needed.  Both the stress and the Lord’s presence were intense during this time.

This intense period of time only lasted for 3 months.  I finally heard the Lord clearly, not that He had not been talking I was just struggling to believe I was hearing Him right.

It was His will to step out in faith and walk away.

I resigned and trusted for the next job to come along.  It did.

When I look back on this time I remember it as being a bitter sweet time with the Lord.  The refining fire was intense but the dependence on my Lord brought me to the place I needed to take another leap of faith and make an even bigger change in my life.

Have you experienced the refiner’s fire?  How did it grow your faith?


Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God.

Daniel 3: 28

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There is Always a Silver Lining. . . .

There is always a silver lining, right?

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To me the silver linings are the blessings which the Lord gives us in exchange for the sadness, heartaches and concerns we experience in this fallen world.

Sometimes we make bad choices and experience consequences for those sins, other times we experience pain because of someone we love and their choices, and sometimes the heartache is just the result of this fallen world.


Below is a list of heartaches I have exchanged for the beauty of Hope given from the Lord.

Hope after my mom’s terminal diagnosis………..a closer relationship with my Dad.

Hope after being fired and run out of town…………God helped the church stand up and heal from people who were controlling it and were not listening to Him.

Hope after being a coach of a basketball team who never won a game all session long………..leading in character rather than competitiveness.

Hope after more debt than I ever imagined…………..paying it off one payment at a time.

Hope after my husband had an affair……………I am valuable and important to God, something I had totally forgotten.

Hope after leaving one job for another that was worse………….allowing God to help me discover how He created me and how that relates to my work.

Hope after a saddle pulmonary embolism (blood clot)……………realization that God saved me, (He was the only one who could have) He has more for me to do here on earth.

Hope after divorce……………God blessed me with a husband who loves and cherishes me,  He also made me a (step) mom.

Hope after letting go of a business I loved…………finding coaching and a new way to minister to others.


There are many more complete statements I could share with you as I am sure you have a long list yourself.

BUT There are also others statements which I have not heard the Lord reveal the part after the ……s. yet.

Hope after infertility……………………..

Hope after miscarriage………………

Hope after watching my dad disappear with Alzheimer’s disease……….


I know God is faithful.  I will be able to complete these statements someday because He Loves Me.  As I walk with Him, I become more like Him, and I can see these things through His eyes.  The silver linings. . . .

What silver linings have you seen in your life’s pain?

 to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” “Then people will call them “Oaks of Righteousness”, “The Planting of the LORD”, in order to display his splendor.   Isaiah 61:3

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