Thursday, September 10, 2009

Life Doesn't Have to be Perfect to be Wonderful!

New Book and a New Blog

NEW BOOK: A devo a day keeps the overwhelm at bay! To help you experience the relief of imperfection on a daily basis, I've written a devotional book to follow-up my previous book, The Relief of Imperfection.

This freedom-producing book of daily encouragement for women who strive too hard to make it just right is titled It's a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life. Check it out on Amazon at

Three minutes a day will free you from the joy-stealing temptation to try to make yourself, your family, your spirituality and your dreams perfect. After each devo, I've written a "Making It Personal" life coaching tip, question or exercise.

NEW BLOG: The "Relief of Imperfection" blog has been transferred to my new blog, so click on over to

Remember, life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful! Enjoy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A View From Up Here-Guest Blog

I (Joan) love stories from women who find relief from trying-too-hard-to-make-it-all-just-right. I met today's guest blogger, Sara Nelson, at the AZ American Christian Writers Conference where I recently spoke. We became friends on Facebook and yesterday I read this "note' on her FB page. Sara agreed to share her story on my "relief of imperfection" blog. Read, enjoy, and smile!

Guest Blog: The View from Up Here

by Sara Nelson

They say hindsight is 20-20, but for me, hindsight is microscopic, capable of turning the most miniscule mole hill into a massive mountain! This microscopic view is perfectionism. I used to think of perfectionism as a strength. I might have argued that its the driving force to success. It pushes me to excel, doesn’t it? No! Wrong! Instead, I’ve discovered perfectionism pushes me down, not up!

This morning I dropped in on my student teaching classroom for a little while, just in time to work with students in Math, and I started to feel all choked up and sentimental about the time I’ve spent with them. Just think! A few weeks ago I was in tears over Math and tearing my hair out over Science! And in February I really didn’t know if I was going to make it through to the end? How far away and long ago that seems!

While it may be easy to look back on student teaching NOW and think, maybe it wasn’t really so bad, yet, AT THE TIME, it really was an uphill struggle. It really was one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever faced! So, from the perspective of today, having climbed the mountain, what have I learned? What is my view from up here?

Years ago, we stayed at an armed forces recreation resort in Germany. It was off-season, and the buses that normally took tourists to the top of the mountain weren’t running, so a group of us decided to hike to the top. For most of the way up the mountain, it was foggy, drizzly, and cold. But, eventually we walked out of the fog. The top of the mountain was bathed in full sun with a magnificent blue sky overhead. Yet it wasn’t the sunshine at the top that inspired me nearly as much as the view looking back. A snowy-white blanket of clouds covered the valley. Not a trace of anything else could be seen.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned from student teaching is about maintaining perspective. Everyone—EVERYONE—tells me I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but I shake my head at them in disbelief. I point to my flaws and faults and failures. It’s as plain as day, people! Look at how far I’ve missed the mark! Seeing things any other way has always been next to impossible for me. But, now I understand. I get it!

Let’s face it. No matter what, there will ALWAYS be something I should have done that I didn’t do. There will ALWAYS be something I should have done better. There will ALWAYS be something I should not have said or done, or something I should have said or done in a different way.

Perfectionism is like hiking up that mountain all those years ago in the fog and drizzling rain. Perfectionism sees the worst. It focuses on the gray and dismal. It is cold and unforgiving. But, what a difference is the view from the top of the mountain! Like the fog that covered the valley, I’ve discovered my mistakes and blunders fade. They do! Whether it’s by grace or simply time moving on, after awhile, the mistake that seemed so hideous last week is a less than a speck today. What peace I’ve found in leaving perfectionism behind! This is by far the greatest lesson I’ve learned from student teaching. I didn’t know I’d be saying this, but the thing that seemed most difficult to me has become one of my greatest victories and greatest joys.

Good enough bloggin'

What keeps you from doing blog entries, Joan? I wrote out-of-seemingly-nowhere this morning while journaling.

Logical question really, since it's been 5 weeks and 3 days since I've blogged--on either blog: or Yikes! What is that about??

Well, probably it has to do with several things. But. . . in my journal earlier today, I spontaneously wrote: Hmmm. I'm afraid it will be 'lame'--not good enough. Well, that's a kick, huh? Good enough is okay, JC.

That is a hoot, since I'm the one who writes, speaks, coaches and lives to encourage others--and myself--to embrace the "relief of imperfection", thus reducing procrastination. . . and so on and so on. You know how it is. Well, do you?

Anyway here goes. Even before I get all this social networking, blogging, internet marketing, online communication figured out (which I am working on and one of the other reasons I've not blogged!) I'll go ahead and blog--imperfectly.

First, I'll start with a little follow-up on my last blog (on March 10, 2009!). I had a great time at the Christian Book Expo in Dallas on March 20-22, even though the attendance was lower than expected. It was incredibly well-done. Professional. Great workshops. Absolutely superb nightly worship services. Good interaction with all that were there. Wonderful Christian Book Awards dinner. Here's a few pix that help me remember the good times:
I autographed copies of my book, The Relief of Imperfection: For Women Who Try Too Hard to Make It Just Right, and 99% of the women who stopped by said, "Oh, that's me. Honestly." And then they shared some of their stories with me. I loved it! One woman I met wore a sweater that "perfectly" matched the book cover. We had our photo taken together. As she walked away, I said, "Watch my blog. Your picture will probably show up on it." And then it took me weeks to upload her lovely photo. :-( I wished I remembered her name.

Chris Simms from Regal Books managed the booth and it was great to get to know him a little. Saw pix of his lovely family, heard stories about life on the road introducing and selling "books" and learned from his wise suggestions.

Loved spending time with author Vicki Kuyper. She's a friend and colleague who is full of fun and authenticity--and a really good writer! And she happens to be from Arizona, too. I attended her workshop where she shared about her philosophy that "God is a Slippery Fish." Vicki has written over 40 books. Her latest two are from New Hope Publishers: Breaking the Surface and Wonderlust.

I also attended a workshop by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn, authors of the incredibly popular books, For Men Only and For Women Only. Fun to listen to their stories and fascinating research about the differences between males and females.

Well, that wasn't so bad for my first "good enough" blog in 5 1/2 weeks! If I were chatting with a life coaching client I'd say, "Congrats! Now keep going. You can do it!"

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Today's "Relief" Blessing and Today's "Relief" Quote

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Today’s “Relief” Blessing:
I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic. Psalm 27: 4-5 The Message
Today's Relief Quote:
“What do you have in common with Billy Graham, Osama bin Laden, Stevie Wonder, and Sandra Day O-Conner? I can think of only one thing—each of you will someday bow your head and bend your knee with billions of others in the presence of the Lord.”Anne Spangler, Immanuel: Praying the Names of God through the Christmas Season (based on Romans 14:11)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life

Exciting News! Today Regal Books emailed me this flyer for my new devotional book, It's a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life. The books hits bookstore shelves April 1. Just in time for you to give it as a gift on Mother's Day. Share the news: Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful! Make my shoulders relax! Scan the flyer and see what you think.
Click on the images to make larger

Friday, February 6, 2009

God Breathes Life, Beauty and Grace into His Creation

Photo of Rim Country above Payson, Arizona. Taken by Joan C. Webb 2007