All posts by mary

For Anyone Who Asks the Question: Why Do Bad Things Happen?

I’ve been through a lot of hurts in my life.  I would wager you have too.  Over the years, God has shown me a common theme throughout His Word.  It is that He is God, He is good, loving, and just, and He is always working in our lives–through our circumstances, our losses, our trials, and yes, even and especially through our pain.  Put another way, He has a purpose in our suffering.  It is not just for the sake of seeing us squirm–as Jim Carey’s character stated in the movie Bruce Almighty.

Does the fact that we hurt mean God has abandoned us or that somehow He has failed us? Does it mean He is evil, bad, or mean? Although our human hearts often believe these scenarios to be true, they are not.  Does God allow bad things to happen to us? Yes. The Bible is full of heroic Christians and faithful God-followers who suffered great pain, loss, punishment, disaster, or catastrophe–sometimes even in the name of Christ.  As the late Elisabeth Elliot stated in one of her books, “All events serve God’s will.”

But we still want to know why, don’t we?  I know I do.  As I have processed and worked through my own trials and painful times, God has shown me a few of the answers to the question “why?”.  That’s what this brief E-book is about.

If you or someone you know has struggled with the question “why?,” this E-book, Why Do Bad Things Happen? (And Where is God When They Do?) is for you.

Order your copy now and tell a friend.  And be sure to leave a comment below after you’ve read it!

If you are struggling in your relationship with God, yourself, or others, I can help!  Contact me today!

Make today count!

7 Priceless Benefits of Hiring a Life Coach

Although life coaching has been around for a while, there is still a degree of mystery that surrounds it. While life coaching is different than sports coaching, it is nonetheless a valuable and transformational experience that can propel even the most confused, stuck, or stifled individual into the life they’ve always wanted.

Life coaching is not about one person (the coach) instructing the other person (the client) on what decisions she needs to make or goals she needs to set. Instead, the coach works with the client’s own priorities, character traits, values, and desires in order to help her discover the decisions that are best for her. The end result is brought about by a beautiful partnership in which the coach and client work together for the best interests of the client.

Following are a few of the most life-enhancing benefits of working with a life coach.

  1. Clarity: To Gain Clarity on Your Journey. Whenever life gets complicated, it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees. Circular thinking can become one of our greatest enemies. We weigh the pros, the cons, the options, the likely outcomes, and before we know it, we are right back where we started. Or worse, we can see no options at all. Coaching provides a lens through which we are more able to clearly see our current circumstances and our potential options without over-analyzing or getting stuck in circular thinking.
  1. Self-Discovery: To Achieve a Higher Level of Self-Awareness and Identify Obstacles. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Sometimes we lie to ourselves. The objectivity of a coach provides a sound backdrop by which you are able to safely and honestly step into the discovery process. Without that process, we are likely to take a wrong turn or miss the best that life has to offer us.
  1. Advocacy: To Have the Encouragement and Support of Someone Who Understands. Advocacy can take a number of forms. Your coach is someone who is there to support you on your journey, but s/he is also not afraid to confront you—gently but firmly—on issues that you may be allowing to get in your way. Likewise, your coach will also lift you up when you are discouraged and help you find and hold onto hope when you may be tempted to feel hopeless or overwhelmed.
  1. Expertise: To Benefit From the Objectivity, Wisdom, and Experience of Someone Whose Only Stake in Your Journey is Helping You Succeed. Unlike friends who may simply tell you what they think you want to hear, a good life coach is an objective partner, never a people-pleaser. Your coach is a professionally trained expert who knows how to help you discover the answers that are right for you. She begins by asking the right questions, powerful questions, and by giving you the safety, time, and space to discover the answers to those questions yourself. Again, she will not tell you what to do or what decisions to make. Her primary goal is to help you to discover what is right for you and then to formulate and carry out a plan to succeed.
  1. Accountability: To Have Accountability that Leads to Accomplishment. Your coach is someone to help you get where you want to go, asking the right questions, not accepting excuses, and empowering you with just the right amount of encouragement, inspiration, and validation. When you feel you need it, your coach will participate in your progress by providing accountability that helps keep you motivated to moving toward that next goal.
  1. Accomplishment: To Experience Accomplishment that Leads to Success: to help you reach the goals you set in the best way possible, and with the best possible outcomes. Your coach is someone who will stay by your side all the way through to your success. S/he will be your biggest fan, your strongest ally, your most faithful advocate, and your steadiest partner. With every small victory you will gain the sense of accomplishment that will help to keep you excited and energized on your journey. Your success is your coach’s goal, and s/he will contribute all her/his training, resources, and experience to helping you get there.
  1. Life-Changing Results: To Achieve Success that Leads to a Happier, More Peaceful, More Confident Life—and in a way that saves you stress, consequences of bad choices, time, and money. Your coach will work with you to bring about the results you desire, in the manner in which you desire them, and in the time frame of your choosing.

If you are stuck in indecision, experiencing difficulties in your relationships, feeling trapped or trounced by life, or if you are facing life transitions that leave you fearful, hopeless, or uncertain, a life coach can be just the person to help you move forward into your best life yet.

Email me today to obtain your free consultation and to get moving on your way to experiencing all the best that life has to offer.



Copyright Mary Comm 2015. All rights reserved.

2 Qualities of a Great Leader

A Great Leader… is Both Confident and Humble

Being a leader brings an entire litany of stresses, challenges, and responsibilities that those who have never been in leadership are unaware of. As a business owner, manager, or boss, the reality of your impact upon the lives of those around you is ever present. If the business fails, these people will be out of jobs, which will affect their families. That alone is a tremendous responsibility.

If the leader leads with a “let’s be buddies” mentality, the likelihood is that someone in the organization is going to take advantage of that, which will most likely hurt others in the process. These types of leaders are vulnerable to the manipulation and dishonesty of the unscrupulous employee. At a minimum, such a buddy attitude can diminish respect for that leader. On the other hand, leaders who rule with an iron fist communicate that the only thing they care about is the bottom line—which also causes a host of problems within the organization, not the least of which is decreased motivation, employee dissatisfaction, and yes, a lack of respect for that leader. Thus leading others, whether in business or ministry, for fun or for profit, requires a delicate balance of humanity (compassion, relationship, respect, genuine concern for the individual, etc.) and business mindedness (concern for the health and profitability of the business or organization), a balance that is difficult to find and challenging to maintain.

When it comes to this type of balanced leadership, a great leader knows herself well enough to be familiar with both her strengths and her weaknesses in these areas and beyond. She is confident in her ability to lead, while humble enough to realize that good leaders continue learning great leadership skills. As a Christian, she will be confident in the assignment she has been given at this place, at this time, and for such a time as this (Esther 4:14b). And she will know that when God calls us to a certain task, He equips us for it. As the saying goes, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”

At the same time, she also knows her shortcomings, and when she blows it, she owns up to her mistake. She does not deny her shortcomings, cover up her failures, make excuses, or blame others when she makes a mistake. She knows that every failure provides a valuable learning experience. And she follows that humility with the determination to get back up and try again, with the intention of doing it better next time.  Though she falls down seven times, she gets up eight! [Proverbs 24:16] And she is stronger, wiser, and better equipped as she does so. Having this perspective also makes her more gracious and understanding toward others when they make mistakes.

It is this combination of confident dependence on Christ and humility that makes her the kind of leader that others respect and even want to emulate. This leader will inspire those around her with her kindness, her confidence, and her willingness to take responsibility for her failures, as well as the honest mistakes of those under her leadership. This grace-full leader will be a great leader in the lives of those around her and she will be an asset to any organization.

Have you experienced any of these scenarios? Do you have questions about anything in this article? If so, comment below. We all grow when we ask and when we share.

Make today count!


[Copyright Mary Comm, 2015. All rights reserved.]

10 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

Relationships are a part of every area of life. When our relationships are stressful, life is stressful. Over the years, I’ve learned some things that, when I consistently apply them, not only do they improve my relationships, but they also help me to be a happier, more grounded and centered person.  If you want to improve your relationships, read on.

  1. Read emails, texts, letters, etc. very carefully.

Often we read communications from people with a preconceived notion of their intent. The written word is the most difficult form of communication to decipher sometimes, especially when there is already stress in the relationship. Slow down and read the email, text, etc. as it is written —simply black words on a white background—without emotion, without interpretation, and without any kind of inflection. Resist the temptation to read it with the tone you assume is there. Instead, focus on “hearing” what the sender is truly saying. Then read it again, and again, if you need to.

  1. Don’t jump to conclusions.

Most people won’t jump out of an airplane even with a parachute, but most of us jump to conclusions when it comes to relationships. Obviously, the parachute is intended to save your life. Likewise, refusing to jump to conclusions can save your relationship. Again, try to “hear” what the other person is saying—even if they are saying it poorly. Listen for their heart; seek to understand before you ask or expect them to understand you. This simple step will revolutionize your relationships!

  1. Don’t assume you know what’s going on until you have the facts.

Each of these first three points has to do with making assumptions. Why? Because we are all guilty of making assumptions, and doing so is incredibly destructive to relationships! Always look at the facts first, detaching from the emotions of the situation to the best of your ability. It may help to envision that you are an investigator seeking to uncover the truth of the situation by first assessing the facts. As you do so, it will enable you to set your emotions aside, which will automatically take heat out of the moment.

  1. Respond – don’t react.

Reactions are like a knee-jerk response. When we react, we fly off the handle, we jump to conclusions, and we injure the other person in the relationship. Reacting often makes us look bad as well. Responses, on the other hand, occur when we take time to process the facts and the impact those facts have upon us. Responding involves remaining calm, listening well, and taking a time-out if necessary to fully work through your emotions. Always respond. Never react.

  1. Self-control always pays off.

Responding instead of reacting requires a fair amount of self-control. But rest assured, the work it requires to respond versus reacting is well worth it! Just like you cannot put toothpaste back into the tube, words that have been spoken can never be unheard. Once they are out there, they are out there forever. Even if you really didn’t mean that hurtful thing you said, the other person will likely never forget it. As the proverb goes, Be careful of the words you speak for someday you may have to eat them. Make sure the words you speak are seasoned with grace, kindness, and understanding.

  1. Never feel bad for doing the right thing.

By design, the right thing is always the best thing. Conversely, the wrong thing is never right! However, the right thing can cause pain for the other person involved. And while we don’t want to be the reason someone we care about is hurting, sometimes positive change requires pain. On the flip side, the right thing will never cause harm—otherwise it wouldn’t be right! Doing the wrong thing will always cause harm; and it may harm the relationship to the point that reconciliation becomes impossible. Even God allows us to go through painful things, sometimes, in order to make us more like Jesus. But just as God allows things in life to hurt us, He promises never to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). I’d say His example is the best one to follow!

  1. Do what you say you will do.

In order to be a person of character, we must do what we say we will do.   When we do, we show others that we are reliable, that our word is good, and that they can count on us. Plus, it just feels great to follow through with what you’ve promised. Be trustworthy.

  1. Remember that God is your Defender.

At times we find ourselves being wrongly accused, misunderstood, or unjustly characterized. Our natural response is to defend ourselves, or to work tirelessly to change that person’s opinion of us. However, people will often believe things of us that are not true—even the people closest to us. When these situations arise, respond calmly, confidently, and consistently with your true character. The truth often comes out, eventually, but whether it does or not, remember that God is working on your behalf. He has not abandoned you in this situation. You can trust Him. Wait for Him to work, and trust that even if that person never accepts the truth of the situation, God knows who you are, and in the end, that is really all that matters. The people who choose to believe negative things about you may always make that choice, but the people who truly care about you will stand by you. God is definitely in that group!

  1. Keep in mind that people who do hurtful things are often (if not always) operating out of a wound themselves.

There’s a saying that Hurt people hurt people. Whenever we are hurting, the most natural thing is to act out of that pain. When someone hurts, wrongly accuses, or offends you, ask yourself if this behavior is really about you or if it could possibly be the result of some pain that person has in his own life. People who are bitter, for example, have often been deeply wounded by people close to them. Likewise, bitter people can be some of the most toxic, hurtful people to be in relationship with. Take time to examine yourself and look for grains of truth in what the other person has communicated to you. If there are grains of truth, own them, apologize for them, and seek to make things right with that person. However, if there are no grains of truth, consider the other person carefully—not to analyze them or to judge them, but to better understand or identify the reason for their attack upon you. If they are obviously wounded and are acting out of that pain, try to look past the offense and see the hurting person underneath. It doesn’t make what they did right, but it explains why they may be doing it. Often when others attack us, it is less about us than it is about their own wounding.

  1. Set healthy boundaries.

Boundaries are like fences with gates; they allow good things to come in and they keep bad things out. Boundaries are about you—what you will tolerate or not, what you will accept in relationships or not. They are not about controlling the other person. Boundaries are limits with consequences. For example, one boundary may be that, during an argument, if the other person begins making cutting, critical, or derogatory remarks, you will remove yourself from the conversation. Boundaries need to be clear, specific, and enforceable. Boundaries create mutually respectful relationships that enable us to thrive and grow. Likewise, they can be safeguards to protect us from dangerous or harmful relationships.

As you begin to apply these ten things, look for your relationships to improve. Of course, relationships require that both people work to make them successful. If you discover that you are the only one working in the relationship to make it healthy and mutually beneficial, you may want to consider the amount of personal investment you are willing to contribute to it.

Keep in mind that there are different degrees of relationships. You will be happiest when you have one or two people in your innermost circle who love you, respect you, support you, and continually work to create a safe, and fulfilling reciprocal relationship; people you can trust with your deepest hurts, darkest secrets, and that will love you and believe in you no matter what. The next circle out may have a few more people who are not quite as intimately involved in your life, but they should also be trustworthy and caring. Then, in the outermost circle, that is where you will maintain the relationships that are most trying, but that may be a permanent part of your life. This group may include family members that are critical, bitter, or simply difficult to be around. You love them and are committed to them because they are family, but that does not mean you have to let them into your inner circles. Keep these people in your life, but keep them at a safe distance so as to minimize their influence upon your life.

Now get to work learning and applying these principles! You will be glad you did.

Make today count! 🙂


(Published at @ 5/18/15)  All rights reserved.

Photo:  Found on via Pinterest


What’s REALLY Important?

Every now and then something happens in life that gets your attention and sheds new light on what’s really important.  That happened for me this week.

My cousin’s beautiful 21-year-old-daughter was senselessly and tragically killed at the hands of someone she knew.  This bright and gorgeous young woman had her whole life ahead of her.  Now, suddenly, she is gone.

Then it happened.  I got irritated with my own daughter (age: 20) over something silly having to do with our house.  It wasn’t a big thing, but I was upset about it and I let her know.

My daughter told me that she too was upset about it, but I was too preoccupied by my own anger to hear her.

A little while later she posted on Facebook that she was having a really rough night; she was downcast and very sad.  It was when I saw her post that the proverbial light came on.

I went into my daughter’s bedroom and told her in no uncertain terms that I was going to hug her.  She asked why–as in why did I feel the need to hug her.  I told her it was because my cousin was about to bury his beautiful daughter, and because the issue we were upset about was carpet.  I assured her she was MUCH more important to me than carpet and that I was sorry for getting angry with her.

I hugged my girl and stroked her hair like I did when she was a child, and in that moment I made things right with her.

It is so easy to focus on minor things that seem major, when the truly major things are right there under our nose.  As for me, this is one mom who is truly and deeply grateful for the opportunity to see things more clearly and to set things right with my girl.  My cousin will never have the opportunity to hug his daughter again and tell her he loves her….

Whatever you go through today, take a moment to put things in proper perspective.  Be loving toward the people in your life because they matter, and let the meaningless things fall away.  Be kind to them.  Listen to them–not just to their words, but also to their heart.  Be slow to get angry, be quick to forgive, and don’t wait to make things right when you’ve been wrong.  You never know when it may be your last opportunity to do so.

Please share your own stories (in the comment section below) of when you’ve had similar experiences.

Then go and make today great!


How a Simple Question Can Change Your Life

For years, whenever I met new people, my aim was always to be open with them about my story so they could get to know me, which meant they were more likely to like me.  After all, I figured most people could relate to some of the things I’ve been through, and in my mind, that relating would build a bond or a bridge between us.  While this technique worked well sometimes, for the most part it didn’t produce the results I hoped for.  Sure, people got to know a little more about me, but there was something missing that I just couldn’t put my finger on.

A while back, I learned a tiny little secret that completely revolutionized my relationships–especially those with new friends or acquaintances.  What was that all-so-powerful secret? It was quite simply turning the tables and asking the other person to tell their story!

I will never forget the first time I put this secret power into action.  I was having lunch with a potential new friend that I had only met in passing a few days earlier.  As we sat down to eat, I began to ask her questions about herself.  One question led to another, and before I realized it, our entire lunch time had been taken up by me expressing interest in her–in her life, and in her story.

A few weeks later, this woman’s closest friend came up to me and introduced herself saying this mutual friend had told her what an amazing person I am and she stated that she too wanted to get to know me!

As I thought about that second interaction, I realized that what the first woman saw as me being “an amazing person” was very simply me expressing interest in her.

One of Zig Ziglar’s most famous quotes is, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”  So what do people want?  They want the same thing I always wanted:  people want to be known and liked and cared for.  The interesting thing is, as I showed genuine interest in them, the door was open for them to also get to know me.  The result has been a mutual sharing and caring relationship.

This simple encounter taught me the immense power of simply asking questions and listening closely to the answers.  In doing so, the bond and the bridge was built, and a new friendship was able to grow.

To recap:

     1.  Show genuine interest.

     2.  Ask thoughtful questions.

     3.  Listen closely to the answers.

Give it try and share your experience with us using the comments section below.

Here’s to living the life you’ve always wanted!



[Photo source: Pinterest]

Faith That Trusts God — No Matter What!

Permanent, unwavering faith is that which has survived the darkest times imaginable in our personal lives. It is faith that is no longer me-centered or based on God’s blessings to me. It is faith that is based on GOD HIMSELF, not what He can do for me. It is faith that can withstand losing everything and still raise its voice in praise and worship of the Living Savior, Jesus Christ.

For the disciples, their faith was not “there” until Jesus hung on the cross and died. In that moment, most of them abandoned Him. It was not there until they saw the reality of the resurrected Jesus–walking and talking and breathing again. Only then were they willing to lay down everything–even their own lives–for Him.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I still measure God by His blessings to me, or by the degree of hardships I face. I’m farther along toward that unwavering faith than I’ve ever been before, but I still have a way to go…. Thankfully, our God is patient with us!

When you are tempted to measure God by His blessings or by your hardships, take a moment to remember the crucified and resurrected Jesus. He was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for YOU, and He proved that He is the God of the resurrection. No price was too high for Him to pay for you. He has already proven His faithfulness, love, and devotion to you. Dig down deep and commit to trusting Him even when you don’t feel like it. Commit based on what He has already done for you, believing that He’s got you, and He’s got this–No Matter What!  Determine to trust Him no matter what, and He will meet you where you are in the most amazing ways.  Through it all, He will grow unwavering faith in you.

Happy Resurrection Weekend!


(For further reading: My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers; April 4)

Simply Stated…Reflections on Handling a Hardship

I spent part of last week standing by, watching as my 85-year-old mother went through 48 hours or so of being hospitalized, tested, poked, prodded, and basically scared out of her wits. Of course, she never showed her fear. She was gracious and thoughtful toward those of us around her, showing more concern for our inconvenience and that of the nurses than her potential health risks.

That is simply who my mom is.

Though my siblings and I were deeply concerned for our mother, battling our own fears, we were determined to keep the mood light. We anticipated her needs, offered our assistance, and stayed by her side, never leaving her alone.

That is simply who she and our dad raised us to be. Family is important; you show up when a family member is in need.

In the end, the news couldn’t have been better—her heart is astonishingly healthy—and she is home, returning to her normal routine.

Crisis averted. Sighs of relief all around. Gratitude abounds!

One of the things that stood out most to me during this difficult time last week was the outpouring of love and concern of my Facebook friends (among other friends and family). So many people offered their prayers and support, asking for updates as we went along, and celebrating with us when we received good news. Some are longstanding friends I have known for years; others are simply social media friends whom I have never met face to face, never spoken to, and know little about. The connection to almost all these friends is that of being part of a bigger family, the family of God. We are brothers and sisters in Christ.

That is simply what it means to be part of His family. We pray for each other. We stand in the gap for one another. Regardless of our depth of knowledge of and experience with one another, we are bound in love, devotion, and faithfulness through the love, sacrifice, and hope of our Savior and God.

One of the questions my mom asked that first night in the hospital was, “How do people handle things like this when they don’t have Jesus?” To which I didn’t have much of an answer. Even then my mother was thinking of others, yet she was also expressing that her hope and trust is in Someone greater than herself; Someone faithful and trustworthy.

How do YOU get through a crisis? Do you know the Creator of the Universe? Do you know the One who gave His life that you might live? Do you belong to this kind of family? Do you know the One who holds you no matter what? If you don’t, message me; I would love to introduce you!

That is simply who He made me to be…. 🙂

Simply grateful,


Happy Monday, everybody!

Running Ahead vs. Standing Still: 5 Tips for Waiting on God

One of the most troubling aspects of following God’s leading in my life comes when I’m waiting for clear direction.  Do I “be still” while I wait (“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10b) or should I go with what I feel in my gut?

Too many times in the past I have found that when I have gone with my gut I have ended up running ahead of God–and going off course.  But when I am still, I feel that I’m wasting time, being lazy, or not being a good steward of what God has given me.

So what does it mean to be still and wait for God?

This is what I’m learning….

  1. Be Present with God:  Being still doesn’t mean doing nothing.  Waiting for God means I am soaking in His Word every day, spending time in prayer, and listening throughout my day for what He may be saying to me through my circumstances.
  2. Be Productive:  Being still means doing what I know I can do–meaning, for example, that since I know I am called to write, I should be working on projects that resonate with where God has me now and how that might be helpful to others.
  3. Be Prepared (and Available):  Being still and waiting on God means I keep myself prepared and available for whatever opportunities He may open up to me.
  4. Be Patient:  Being still means putting the big decisions on hold until I have a sense of God’s leading in them, and remaining faithful in the small things–like managing my time well.  When I’m tempted to turn on the television or call a friend in the middle of the afternoon, I need to resist that temptation and focus on being productive with what I know I can do.  As I am faithful in the small things, He will entrust larger things to me in their time.
  5. Be Persistent:  Being still means persistently exercising my faith and trust in God.  I remind myself regularly that He’s got me, and He’s got this (whatever this is).


If you are waiting on God for direction, clarity, or even for Him to rescue you, spend your time wisely.  Realize that God’s timing is perfect and He is waiting for a reason.  You may never know what that reason is, but make the most of this waiting time.  Do all you can to foster a close relationship with Him, to do what you can with what you have, and to be prepared for whatever He brings your way today.  Put big decisions on hold, and persistently hold onto your faith and trust in Him.  Use this time to its fullest, and trust that He is working even when you can’t see the results.

Oh, and don’t forget to Praise Him–no matter what.  Because no matter what, He is worthy of praise!

Make today great,


When God Surprises Us….

I have had an issue with my website for weeks now.  I have exhausted every tab on the menu that I could find, every resource I could ask for help about it.  Trust me when I say I was getting frustrated! (Okay; I was way beyond frustrated!) Then, out of the blue today, I clicked on a tab I hadn’t previously seen.  There appeared the solution to my dilemma.

How often do we exhaust all our resources and then, out of the blue, God answers our prayer or shows us what we had been missing all along–that tiny thing that was under our nose all the time?

I remember years ago, when my daughter was still a little girl, she had lost her watch.  We had looked everywhere for it.  This was an important watch because it had an alarm that went off every two hours to alert her (us) to a medical need.  So finding this watch was priority one.  Finally we decided to pray and ask God to help us find it. We began by telling God we knew He knew where it was and asked Him to please show us.  Within five minutes my daughter came running in with the watch!  It had a Velcro strap on it and had gotten stuck to her clothes and was in the dirty clothes hamper.

Some people say God doesn’t care about the little details of our lives.  I beg to differ.  He has proven over and over in my life that He does care about the little things–just as much as the big ones–because He cares about me.  And I’ve always said, if He cares about me, He cares about you too.  (Try Him and see!)

Is there something troubling you today; is something frustrating you that you simply can’t figure out?  Trust God with your cares–large and small and in between–because He cares for you. 🙂

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Psalm 55:22 NIV


Thanks, Abba, for showing me today that You care!

I love You all the more for it.

In Jesus, my Beloved,