but don’t quit,
you might miss the beautiful part.
life has a way taking us from one stage of the journey to the next
and producing beauty that you can’t even imagine.
do you remember the story about the woman who was teaching her daughter to cook a roast? she began by telling her to cut off both ends of the roast before preparing it for the seasoning. when her daughter asked the reason for the wasted portions, the woman did not have an answer other than her mother had taught her to cook a roast this way. the mother and daughter decide to ask the grandmother why the ends of the roast must be removed before cooking. her reply was the same, her mother had provided the instruction and she had always followed it. determined to find an answer, they presented the inquiry to the great grandmother. they were surprised to find that the pan she used to cook a roast in was too small for the cut of meat. she trimmed both ends off the roast to ensure it fit into her pan. the truth in this amusing story is we are products of traditions, values, and characteristics of our history. understanding the things we do in light of the impact of that history allows us t0 measure what we do and why to help us reach our goals for personal growth and wholeness.
women like, Susan B. Anthony, who fought for women’s rights, changed the world for me. those women of history impacted my life. i can only reflect on what their struggles were, the strength they had to muster or the victories they obtained. i remember discussing career paths with my high school guidance counsellor and hearing that architecture was a predominately male dominated career. she gently advised i look at other options. today, young girls study in most any field of interest because women before them forged the way to reform opportunities available to women. impact.
my mother was the first woman to impact my life. i formed my ideas concerning friendship, motherhood, and relationships as i watched her loyalty, commitment, and investment. i learned characteristics like resourcefulness, resilience, strength, selflessness, love, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and endurance. she offered me support while respecting my right to make my own choices (even if they would lead me through a bit of pain). i could depend on her acceptance and love. i have always had a safe place in her heart. my favourite lesson has sustained me through many circumstances in my life-“you may not always be happy about your circumstances but you can be content in the midst of them”. that lesson always draws me back to a pursuit of contentment when discouragement hits my heart because i am not happy about my life in the moment. impact.
my sister, sue. amazing woman: adventurous, bold, joyful and determined. when her son was 5 months old, their family was in a truck accident that left her a quadriplegic. watching her journey inspires me. it reminds me that i can dig deep when circumstances require. i know that strength comes when it is needed the most. i witness that hope and faith do not have to die because of tragedy. she challenged me to continue to pursue my dreams because she pursued hers. her biggest dream was to be a mother. she has two beautiful children; one born after recovery from the accident. now, there are grandchildren…and they delight her heart. impact.
my baby sister was the first to impact me toward responsibility to my circle of influence. i was a teenager when she was born. i have watched her reach for her dreams and pursue it with her whole heart. she is passionate. she also knows how to ask for help and trust in the support around her. these two women also have provided a place of belonging. when my pursuit of acceptance found disappointment elsewhere, my heart always knew i belonged. i had sisters. impact.
my aunts demonstrated a flair for life, independence, resourcefulness, to stand out in a crowd rather than blend. My grandmother stood strong throughout her lifetime on the foundation of her faith. she was diagnosed with brain tumors. she reached a place where she would become agitated or disoriented. when i would see her in this state, i could tell her that i wanted her to quote me Psalms 91 from the Bible and the words would flow from deep in her heart. it seemed to calm her. it amazed me how clearly she could speak. i witnessed what an anchor faith would be to my life. impact.
my friend, lori, opened my world. we explore the outdoors, fitness, commitment, enduring friendship, faith, hope and dreams. i saw something the other day that said, “talking to your best friend is sometimes all the therapy you need…”. she knows that a good run and work out are a great way to clear the mind and blow out the cobwebs. she is trustworthy, faithful and dependable. if i need a good dose of reality, she is not afraid to make the confrontation. she listens passed the words…she can see it in my eyes when i am struggling. she knows when to talk and when to be quiet. impact.
family, friends, teachers, mentors and sometimes even strangers have impacted my life in positive and thought provoking ways. impact.
the negative and positive impacts have helped me to develop who i am and desire to be. they serve as reminders that when i am missing the mark of where i want to be as a woman that adjustments can be made, improvements applied…the journey is not over.
this week i took a simple look at why i do the things i do. this reflection helps me to understand the woman i am and how i got here. it provides me the opportunity to define myself as capable and competent instead of being defined by the adverse circumstances of my life. i develop insight, skills and an appreciation for the journey i have been on. i am not satisfied to just survive…i love to thrive.
i have found common driving factors for behaviour are the cries of the human heart for love, acceptance and value. this drive pushes us to some bizarre behaviour and cycles on our journey. those cycles can feel like traps.
Here are a few questions you can use to look inside your heart:
i plan to share how, once i was able to look at why i do the things i do…the simple and complex…i was able to develop a plan, set goals and appreciate the successes. feel free to join me…any time. i’d love to have you come by for another look inside my heart.
remember…nothing remains forever. what i am going through today will pass. i will be able to move forward. life moves in times and seasons.
wise Solomon said:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
there is still time…don’t give up!
the other day, the opportunity was present for me to share the impact a lovely woman from my college days left imprinted on my life. i spoke generically to begin. however, it occurred to me that i should provide a few details. it’s too easy to pass the moment too quickly and appear insincere. i was amazed at her reaction. it reminded me that we woman under estimate ourselves. it’s nice to be reminded that we matter to others. she expressed that often she was unaware of the impact she might be having. i began to think of the many women who have come in and out of my life. after the busy day i have had today, time does not allow me to complete the impacts 2 post I had planned to write (i’ve prioritized and moved it to tomorrow’s schedule). while i have been blogging this week about why i do the things i do, the women who have impacted my life in so many wonderful ways have been flooding my memories. today, busy and going about the life i am living in 2013, the evidence of those impacts speak loudly from the abundance of my heart. tonight, i’m encouraged and inspired by the echoes from my past. if you hear similar echoes from deep inside your heart…tell them. inspire those women to see their significance. both of you will smile. i promise.
let me know how it goes…it would love to hear.
do you remember the days of your youth.
when cares were far away. adventure was everywhere? plunging yourself, filled with hope, trust and expectancy was as natural as breathing. determination was strong. dreams were big. everything imagined must surely be possible. the journey was exciting and new, so much to learn, so much to experience. life was simple. when you were hungry, a request could be made and the need met. if you needed comfort, you would crawl up into the lap of a loved one and snuggle in…the world was better. life impacts are as easy to see as the impact of age.
in the movie, “the vow”, leo states, “Life’s all about moments of impact and how they change our lives forever.” we all have them. we are all changed. those impacts drive “why we do the things we do”.
impacts like the tornado in Oklahoma. my heart, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have been impacted by loss due to this tragedy.
our lives are impacted in so many wonderful ways (and i will discuss that in another blog). i can recall lovely memories of impacts that were joyous. those impacts encountered on my journey gave me reasons i do what i do in relation to traditions, values, influential characteristics, the peace in my life and how i relate better to the world. it’s the unsolicited negative impacts that shake me to my core and often filter through my life in subtle ways changing the way i do the things i do.
waking with the world as it should be and ending the day with incomprehensible devastation sends shock waves through the heart. for me, although i live in NZ now where tornados are not common (and i sit in the safety of my environment),hearing the Oklahoma news causes me to relive my childhood memories of nights in the basement, standing on the patio petrified of the swirl of the clouds above, or shaking in my bed in fear of the weather warning on the nightly news. i know this pain. my hometown was hit by a huge tornado when i was in college. my mother and sister were driving in the path of this great monster cloud. my brother helped with the rescue efforts. the shopping center where i worked was in the direct path of the tornado (although i was not at work that day). massive destruction. i still long for the safety of a storm cellar or basement during strong winds even though the odds of a tornado are pretty much nil here. i am planning to build a new home in the coming years. being the planner that i am…i am starting now gathering all the ideas i hope to incorporate into this new home. my plan includes a full basement which contains a second lounge (oh, BTW that is NZ for den) with 5 bedrooms and en suites(bathrooms). i want this for my children and grandchildren to have a lovely place to visit. however, the subtle truth that lingers deep within my heart is that i want a “safe” place of retreat should it ever be needed. that subtle truth directly relates to the impact that living in tornado alley had on my life. impact. i think it’s the uncontrollable impacts that drive us to find a ways to control and prevent facing that kind of impact EVER again. following the earthquake in Christchurch, NZ a couple of years ago, many families moved to regions less likely to experience earthquakes. intuitively, we reach for significance, value, love, hope, dreams, wholeness, justice, and relief from pain.
i can’t remember a single day that i thought, “i need a little pain today”. right? my heart can be wounded without any effort of my own. natural disaster. accident. loss of a loved one. divorce. the list is actually overwhelming. i won’t pretend i understand why things happen. it’s a universal question. (i will say on behalf of humanity, hurting people hurt people. i know there have been times in my life during disparaging pain, i have been less than proud of some of my actions. a wounded heart sometimes lashes out as a cry for relief from the barrage of pain it is experiencing.) i will attempt to share a small part of my journey to recovery.
while my heart can be wounded without any effort on my part, recovery requires deliberate and purposeful action. it is a control that i can take in my own life. this is a process. everyone has a differing level of urgency in the pursuit of recovery. however, pain gets our attention and sets us on the journey toward recovery. causes a reach for higher, deeper, stronger meaning to our existence. i don’t like to feel pain. allowing myself to feel gives me understanding like a barometer or oil gauge guiding me to the need…the bottom line…where i need help.
following a negative impact in life, finding a safe place of encouragement and support in important. an instinctive response can be to isolate in hope of protecting the heart. loss of faith in God or the good of mankind tend to be the first and hardest hit. faith gets us through. in my life, i have chosen to have faith in God. i have needed faith in myself (i can be my own worst critic) that i had the strength i did not feel (give myself a break). i needed faith in the support from family, friends, my community and/or professionals. These components can be seen following natural disasters like the tornado in Oklahoma. Hearts prayed and cried out to God; a source greater than ourselves is so vital. Nieghbors and communities pulled together in support as they awaited the teams of rescue services and resources. support and encouragement surrounded the hurting. recovery, in small steps, could begin. these elements provide the courage to the heart to charge toward rebuilding life. Rebuilding is another process in recovery. tools are available to help a life to go on, survive, hope, live and thrive…restore.
i am reminded of the children’s movie, “the lion king”. following the oppression, the fire and devastation, there is a scene of the day when the sun rises, the grass begins to grow once more, and life is renewed and restored. no matter how completely despairing the day my seem, the sun shines again. growth returns, and life is evident once more. the heart will find wings and soar again.
i prefer celebrations. i prefer the joyful impacts rather than the painful impacts. however, when necessary there is a way through the pain. i know by experience this is truth. i have the scars to prove it. the scars are there to remind me how courageous i was. that i did heal. the pain and tears are past. joy has returned. i am stronger.
again, my prayers are with Oklahoma. my hope is for a speedy recovery to the wounded both in body and soul. i trust the rebuilding process is productive toward producing new dreams and accomplishments. i am sure the effected communities are grateful for the support from far and near as they work toward brighter days.
“Life’s all about moments of impact and how they change our lives forever.” as you face your moments, may you find courage and strength, hope and love, faith and assurance.
Thanks for stopping by,
today i am celebrating. it’s so great to stop…appreciate…celebrate. for those of you who read my blog yesterday, the trade delegate meeting/reception was sooooo fun! i had a great time. what in the world was I worried about? right? isn’t that how it goes? now, if you haven’t read yeaterday’s blog and you feel a little in the dark…guess what…you’ll have to read it. it’s not a blogging ploy. it will just catch you up.
today, i am celebrating simple pleasure. i love simple pleasure and in my heart i celebrate them in a big way. above is a picture of my grandson when he was younger with bubbles. kids celebrate the simplest of things. they clap, laugh, jump, scream. bring out a bottle of bubbles and there is no further reason necessary….the celebration begins. puts me to shame sometimes. when i get into my spoiled mode that wants the perfect celebration…i reflect on what will bring on celebration in the heart of a child and i’m reminded to keep it simple.
back to my celebration today. as challenged as i felt about this trade delegate meeting, i pushed through and attended. the group was much smaller and intimate than i anticipated. i met a new friend potential. i shared and they listened intently. i even tried to get a Chinese man, who spoke no English, to understand what i was saying (help)…and my husband did his thing…worked the room. i enjoyed watching him do what he loves to do…talk (completely new story…he’s quite the talker! lol). i was really adjusting my crown (photo a couple of blogs back…wink, wink) and walking out of that reception room like a boss. feeling on top of the world. i let that celebration spill over in to my day today.
in addition, i spent a lovely amount of time this morning having a coffee (that’s what we do in NZ to get together and visit) with a special friend. it was cold and rainy outside, yet my heart was warm and celebrating the special opportunity this girl-time produced. i love the smell of the coffee (yum…celebrate….breathe in that gorgeous aroma), a simple snack (avocado…OMG…one of my favs…on a new cracker…gotta get some), and a delightful, beautiful friend (loveliness personified…absolutely celebrate this lovely lady). joy. joy. joy. does the heart good. makes it sing.
do i need to spell out why we do what we do when we celebrate? the benefits of celebrating simple pleasures is so important. it lifts the soul. cheers the heart. makes the challenges of life (big and small) easier to bare. can you stop for a minute, look inside your heart and find a way to celebrate something simple like a child would. a shared cuppa (cup of…coffee, tea, anything), the company of a friend, your child/grandchild, a warm, soothing bath….to name a few. If not, grab a bottle of bubbles and see if it doesn’t just make your heart begin to sing!
here’s to overcoming challenges and celebrating simple pleasures…from the abundance of my heart today…i hope your heart will sing, dance and rejoice!
today is one of those days when my life seems to be swirling. I woke with a plan (because as I’ve said, I like to have a plan) and it didn’t take long before that plan was challenged. adaption. no, I didn’t say adoption. I had to adapt my plan. is change a much of a challenge for you as it is for me? i love a little well planned spontaneity (i told you i can be a bit OCD). changing the entire plan before my morning coffee cup is half empty presents me with a challenge. breathe. not enough. ok, again, breeeee-athe. yip (NZ slang for yes), i’m in…let’s flow with it. then comes the bomb. the change includes a trade delegate meeting with some of the city’s big players. now, the challenges bombard me. i know i am not alone in this one. what am i going to wear, can i keep intelligent conversation going, you know, the things i talked about yesterday. i am not the life of the party. i love to host the party. make sure everyone is having a good time. i might even be happy to do “housework-the dishes” or provide all my hospitality skills to provide an enjoyable experience for guests but the actual party side is a whole different story. do i sound neurotic? i’m not. i am a woman who feels the pressures of expectation.
give me a nice quiet spot with a beautiful view and my introvert nature is in comfort zone heaven.
comfort zone heaven is not my destiny today since Queenstown is 2 hours away. i grab my half cup of coffee and walk across the street to the beach. i love that i can do that. i live near the beach. as i walk, i begin to think how much my heart loves the beach. it feels like a gift to live near the beach today. i’m grateful. not as pretty as the site above…for this morning, it will do. as i sit down, i clear my mind. de-clutter. out with the old plan, let’s look at a new one. i sort out my thoughts. first, a little prayer, “God, help me draw on the talents i possess that are not natural to me. help me remember the training i have received…networking, presentation, marketing, communication.” i’m not hyper-ventilating now. i’m enjoying the beauty of the view and the richness of this half cold cup of coffee. life is good. creativity is starting to flow. confidence is rising. that didn’t take long. not as long as it would have a few years ago. i must be growing. i must be trusting. trusting that challenges push me to develop more of the skills i admire. this meeting will advance the next stage of our business. there’s the reason i will do this. the value of the challenge. business. however, a clear picture of how this will also advance the next stage in my personal journey is also apparent. new plan in hand, new blog topic conceived…i get up, walk back across the street…begin.
as women, expectations are thrown at us left and right. plans get interrupted. changed required. take a deep breath, ask for help, and adapt. live the journey and face the challenges…good things are ahead.
i was watching an episode of Australia’s Biggest Loser not long ago. one of the contestants was standing on the platform of a bungy jump. terrified, she would say, “i can’t. i don’t want to die.” the support team would walk her through the safety check again, her coach would remind her why she was doing what she was doing, and reassured her that as her coach she was not going to let her get hurt. she gathered her courage and stepped forward again. there were words of encouragement, “go on. you can do this. you are stronger than this. don’t let this beat you. you’ve been held back too long. show yourself you are stronger than you think.” i could almost see her mind explode into a whirlwind of “what ifs” and she would back away and say, “i can’t. i don’t want to die.” eventually, this contestant weighed the fear against the motivation for the challenge and she took the plunge. understanding her reason for doing what she was doing helped her face a fear that was paralyzing her. needless to say, at the end of this exercise, she felt like she could conquer the world…at the very least, the part of the world called her life.
when i say the word fear, my mind will run through a checklist. there’s an image of each item as a quick reminder, “this is what fear looks like to you”. my body will assist my mind. i might feel a cold chill and shiver, a gasp for breath or a myriad of responses. my mind and body work together to warn my heart (soul) that it’s job is to keep me far away from what i am afraid of. kind of makes me think that my mind and body don’t trust my heart. that they might not be confident in the courage they see there. we’ve all heard the encouragements; “you never know how strong you are until you have to be”, “God will never give you more than you can bear”, you could probably chime in with a few yourself. my mind isn’t always so confident about these truths.
fear is designed to paralyze. to stop me in my tracks and keep me from moving forward.
it can be a powerful force. i used to hate spiders. gross. they are ugly, creepy and the stories i have heard and read about what they can do just sent me into a panic. it didn’t matter what i was doing at the moment when i saw one, i froze. unable to move until i could frantically let someone know that i needed rescued and get that monster (always so many times smaller than i am) out of my space. the importance of what i was doing did not matter to me. everything stopped. i couldn’t concentrate on anything else but “get it away from me.” when i took the picture of this spider, my daughter asked me, “how could you get close enough to that ugly thing to take a picture of it?” i thought, “yeah, I’ve come a long way in my journey to address that fear.” i adjusted my crown, smiled and said, “i just did it because i wanted to capture that web”. the reason why i did what i did was greater than my former fear.
a research was done about worries and the following statistic was found:
only 8 % of your worries are worth concerning yourself about. doing a simple math equation shows that 92 % of what you worry about (or fear) is never going to happen. think about it…doesn’t that 92% take up a lot of your time and energy, if you let it? i don’t know about you but i have far too much i want to do to spend time paralyzed by fear of something that is probably not going to happen. yet, fear will present itself to me and the women i know.
what do you fear? yes, i am challenging you to “look inside your heart”. although, as you have been reading, i’m guessing your mind has already run your checklist for you by now. as women, we face lots of diverse fears that feel unique. what about the fear of acceptance? am i too fat? am i fashionable enough? am i knowledgeable enough to share my heart with out appearing stupid? can i prove my success and compete? will i fit in? what about love? am i loveable? will someone in the world find me desirable? what about value? do my talents have value? will what i have to give be enough? am i important? do i have a purpose? do i have enough _____ to validate that being me is worth while?
here are a few things i have applied to my own fears (especially emotional fears):
one of the most powerful ways i have found to start the action is to understand why i do what i do or want to do. if i can answer that question…i can make a plan, i can gather my resources and i can move, act, live and thrive. i can overcome the fears that aim to paralyze me into inactivity…i can look fear square in the face (even if i’m shaking in my boots) and move it out of my path so that i can be all my heart longs for me to be. one of those reasons i do what i do is this….i have a circle of influence that needs what i have to share. they are family, friends, co-workers and maybe…just maybe even readers.
until next time,
if you are like me sometimes life swirls around in a way that can be overwhelming. this morning, i was reflecting on why i do the things i do. i have found this question very beneficial when i want to check my heart and it’s motivations.
i tend to be a bit OCD sometimes. i like things planned out, organized, structured. i often say that i have perfectionist tendencies. to me, that means that i like things a certain way…perfect and if i can’t achieve that, i have a strong desire to not even try. i had to relearn how i do things and aim for excellence. in striving for excellence i can give myself a break and do the best i can do and accept that perfection does not always have to be the end product. this isn’t always easy because i live in such an opinionated world.
let’s take housework for an example. i have been told that the state of a household speaks volumes about the woman in charge of it. i like my surroundings to be organized and ordered. a place for everything and everything in it’s place. i want to be a good steward of the things i have in my possession. i have had times that this drove me to doing crazy things like cleaning under my washer and dryer or refrigerator before guests arrived. my husband would tell me that no one was ever going to get down and look under them. i knew it was there and it drove me crazy! why? i didn’t want anyone to get the message that i couldn’t handle my life. truth is, sometimes, i can’t. getting my heart to accept that truth helped me to relax, make a workable plan (clean under them on a regular basis, timed with a schedule i could keep….that’s called an achievable goal) and understand that the motivation that drove me crazy was actually not healthy for my heart and soul. it was freeing to let myself be ok with the fact that some where, at sometime, someone would see that i was not perfect. i might be judged rightly or wrongly. i might even be misunderstood. it would not kill me. the truth is i don’t actually enjoy housework. i love the end product. i feel very satisfied when i can stand back, sigh, smile and think, “my world as it should be”. i like that feeling of accomplishment. so, why do i do it…this task i don’t even enjoy. i have several reasons. one, i just shared. sometimes i do it out of obligation. i can’t stand the mess one minute longer and since i seem to be the only one who sees the trash overflowing, the dishes stacked next to the sink or the empty toilet paper roll, i charge in. sometimes it’s because the perfectionist in me gets the upper hand and i’m driven again. i’ve even done it as a reward for meeting a challenged with myself to leave it for a time so that i could do something more important like play with my grandchildren. my goal motivation is my love for order and good stewardship.
i love the water. i could sit next to it for hours listening to it sing to me.
i love it’s color and i am fascinated by the creatures that call it home. one of my biggest desires is to see a whale in the waters near where i live. to have a visit from one of these massive and beautiful sea creatures in the environment i live in would excite my heart.
i love to sit in the sun, dig my toes in the sand and watch my two grandchildren bounce, run and play. however, as in love with the water as i am, i rarely go in. why do i do this when i love so much about the water? i am afraid. i had an experience once as an inexperienced swimmer where i feared that i was going to drown. i was twelve. it was terrifying. i took swimming lessons the next year. i’m not very good at it but i am sure that i could get myself to safety in most situations if necessary. i can trace most of my actions around the water back to that fear. it directs my reactions, my cautions and causes me to act differently than my heart desires for me. i have to challenge myself to face that fear because i am not always satisfied sitting on the shore. it’s not easy. there are times (when i’m as certain as i can be that i am safe) i get in with my heart afraid…and just try.
i’m not alone. we all carry in our hearts experiences, triumphs, failures, joys, pains…so many influences that cause us to do the things we do. i can love deeply. i can sympathize and empathize. sadly, i’ve judged wrongly or not forgiven. i can give unselfishly. at times, withdraw. no matter the situation i have found it important for me to understand why i do the things i do. i want to understand the motivations that direct me. for when i do, i have the opportunity to find deeper satisfaction in what i do or work to change the things that i wish i did differently.
this week, i plan to give you some insight from my heart on what motivates me. in the mean time, i invite you to “look inside your heart” and ask yourself, “why do I do the things that I do?”
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