Put your feet up…you deserve it (revisited by request)

deeclarknz.com“a little hard work never hurt anybody!” those words echo in my ears and have now for as long as i remember. the voices i hear in my heart as those words do their echoing belong to my papa (granddad) and my daddy.

by the time i was old enough to take notice, my granddad was retired. he spent a lot of time in his favourite chair, as many men do, or at least in those days did. we played a game with him. we waited for him to get out of his chair so that we could jump into it. i’m not sure why exactly but as i think back today i remember feeling important and safe as i sat there. i loved to grab the few seconds to sit in the warmth his body left behind. i felt love there, too. when he returned to find his seat occupied there was always a bit of a kerfuffle, followed by giggles and exits.

my granddad served in the military and worked the pipelines across the USA. both took their toll. the result was that he raised three men with a strong work ethic and an appreciation for a job well done.

i know that you have probably said this as well, BUT, my daddy is one of the hardest working men i have ever known in my life. he is now in retirement and i see an inner fight that anguishes at the thought of sitting down in his favourite chair to rest. while his body protests, he still strives to do what he he can (and more if it won’t lay him out for too long). anyone who knows him knows i am right. we jest with him over it, (and we are tired from watching it!) but we also admire him for it.

i have had some strong inspiration in my life from both of these examples…even when i didn’t want it or appreciate it at the time (due to the foolishness of youth).

equally as hard working is my mother. over the years, i have wondered where she got her energy and stamina. she was awake earlier than anyone else in the family so that she could get a few household chores out of the way before she headed off to her full time job. after work, she prepared meals and squeezed in a few more household chores on her way out the door to deliver one or all three of my siblings to piano lessons, work or other various activities. she spent countless hours sitting or sleeping in the car waiting to pick one of us up from some of those activities as well. she was always in constant motion…and i dare say, much like my dad, even today when her body begins to protest…she’s keeps on going…and with an impeccable attitude. in fact, i don’t ever recall either of my parents complaining about the tasks that were at hand. “you just do what you have to”, they would say with a smile.

my appreciation for hard work was a gift that my parents and grandparents gave to me.

so, yesterday, i am standing in the wind and the rain. i have the most hideous get-up on to shield me from the elements. i was sorting through a gold mine (from the pitch my husband gave me to get me there), covered in gold dust (yeah, right), i was wet, cold and exhausted. yet, i had a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. later, my husband said to me, “you did good out there. i’m proud of you. i don’t know too many women who would have agreed to do that job.”  i thought, “not a lot of women were raised as a Hartness”.

let’s face it…life can be hard work.

at the end of each task, we want to know that what we have invested has value. after all, the cost is not small.

there have been times in my life when the requirement for hard work resulted in a deep sense of accomplishment.

i remember attempting to learn new things as a child like how to ride a po-go stick. i am not very co-ordinated at the best of times, even less athletic. i crashed and burned so many times. I bled a lot, too. finally, i did it…i learned how to stay on the thing and gleefully jump up and down. it felt great.

motherhood was one of the most terrifying and difficult jobs i ever attempted. i remember days of severe exhaustion but the 2am (wait…it felt like continuous 24 hour) feedings, diaper changes, comforting, entertaining and household chores demanded every ounce of strength i could muster. I dreamed of just a few quiet moments when i didn’t hear, “moo-oom-maaa!” Then more sleepless nights, potty training, a biting toddler…not to mention attempting to encourage good manners, right behaviours and a strong value system. i felt like a miserable failure many days throughout the years. i would cry, dry the tears, pray for strength and hit the floor running day after day. however, i have many days now that i am able to stand back and look at the two beautiful people, i call my children, with a proud heart. they are amazing.

when i turned 40, i decided that i needed a challenge. my friend suggested that we do a triathlon. i laughed in terror (even before i realised how many gruelling hours would be required to prepare). when i crossed the finish line, i wanted to collapse to the ground…wait, maybe i did collapse to the ground…and i just kept saying, “i did it. i did it.” i felt exhilarated.

there are many noteworthy pursuits that warrant every last bit of strength within us to accomplish: parenting; parenting children with disabilities; adoption or blending families; battling serious health issues; recovering from abuse, ill treatment or loss; surviving economic hardships or debt; learning to forgive the unforgivable; loving the unloveable; building strong relationships; building or rebuilding a business and countless other maddening hardships.

everyday we put in the hard work…

in great and small ways…

i know that you know exactly what this quote means when it says, “the harder you work for something the greater you feel when you finally achieve it.”

you feel great because you have invested the best part of yourself…

you didn’t quit even when it was tough…

through blood, sweat and countless tears…

you held to a standard you can be proud of…

you’ve earned it…stand back…feel the satisfaction…you have achieved your goal.

be proud of a job well done! you deserve it.


(this post is written in response to a request from one of my readers. thank you for your inquiries, comments and feedback.

put your feet up…you’ve earned it

20140223-000700.jpgi love that moment when i can stand back and look at a job well done.

deep satisfaction

a sense of accomplishment

and even relief

struggles and tears behind

i give myself an “atta-boy” and sigh…

confirming that it was well worth the effort!

a lesson in achievement: what one man does with what he has

what are you wanting to achieve? are there barriers that seem impossible to overcome? is it taking more time than you expected or want? are you thinking of giving up? do you wonder if you have what it takes?

Paul Smith was born with spastic paralysis, a nervous disorder. the video sites that it took him 32 years to learn to walk and half that to learn to talk. somewhere in the middle of his journey, he learned to paint with a typewriter. although he could not master the muscles in his body, he learned to master a machine and create master pieces of art.

this video crossed the pathway of my journey yesterday. you know the movie The Vow? The husband in that movie talks about moments of impact. yesterday,  i had a moment of impact in my heart with this video. i have not been able to rid my thoughts of the adversity this man had to overcome in order to use his unique gifting.

consider it for a minute:

  • the disability that paralyzed his muscles could have easily paralyzed his heart, desires, thoughts and ability to achieve. personally, i would have offered sympathy and felt he had every right. in fact, i might even have enabled his helplessness.
  • lying deep within a broken exterior was a gift so detailed, magnificent, and admirable that had he not worked with what he did have instead of concentrating on what he did not have…i would have missed the moment of impact  i experienced yesterday and the ability to appreciate his journey. his life would have taken a far different path had he just accepted his circumstances.

here is the lesson in achievement for my heart:

  • everyone has a supply and a purpose…we should not waste it with excuses
  • nothing is impossible
  • what i need to achieve is already in my design, i need to discover (uncover) it.
  • circumstances are not meant to stop me
  • time is available…what i need is patience, endurance, and commitment
  • the most important support i can receive is from within myself. i must trust the truest me, support her, and encourage her
  • do what i can with what i have…amazing things are possible with the simplest of resources

dear reader, i want to encourage you today to set aside your insecurities, your fears, your excuses and doubts…a go for it!

who you are is a gift to the world.

what you have to offer is as important as the offering of the Mona Lisa.

your gift may be different but you can achieve what is in your heart.

all you have to do is use what you have!

i often say…and will again today…DO NOT GIVE UP!





2 approaches to achievement

20130819-125429.jpgrafting is an event that i believe everyone should experience; the achievement, tension, laughter and heart pounding adventure. i prefer a quieter, more leisurely experience. one of my favorite places to do a quiet raft trip is in North Carolina on the Natahala. it is beautiful. my favorite part of the trip was always when my BFF dumped me in the water on the final rapid. there was always heaps of screaming on my part and laughter on hers!

living in NZ, i enjoy hearing about the experiences others have when they travel here. i especially enjoyed the life lesson shared at the end of this story. enjoy!
(the author is unknown to me. if you have information concerning the author, i will be happy to give due credit.)
By good fortune, I was able to raft down the Motu River in New Zealand twice during the last year. The magnificent four-day journey traverses one of the last wilderness areas in the North Island.

The first expedition was led by “Buzz”, an American guide with a great deal of rafting experience and many stories to tell of mighty rivers such as the Colorado. With a leader like Buzz, there was no reason to fear any of the great rapids on the Motu.

The first half day, in the gentle upper reaches, was spent developing teamwork and co-ordination. Strokes had to be mastered, and the discipline of following commands without question was essential. In the boiling fury of a rapid, there would be no room for any mistake. When Buzz bellowed above the roar of the water, an instant reaction was essential.

We mastered the Motu. In every rapid we fought against the river and we overcame it. The screamed commands of Buzz were matched only by the fury of our paddles, as we took the raft exactly where Buzz wanted it to go.

At the end of the journey, there was a great feeling of triumph. We had won. We proved that we were superior. We knew that we could do it. We felt powerful and good. The mystery and majesty of the Motu had been overcome.

The second time I went down the Motu, the experience I had gained should have been invaluable, but the guide on this journey was a very softly spoken Kiwi. It seemed that it would not even be possible to hear his voice above the noise of the rapids.

As we approached the first rapid, he never even raised his voice. He did not attempt to take command of us or the river. Gently and quietly he felt the mood of the river and watched every little whirlpool. There was no drama and no shouting. There was no contest to be won. He loved the river.

We sped through each rapid with grace and beauty and, after a day, the river had become our friend, not our enemy. The quiet Kiwi was not our leader, but only the person whose sensitivity was more developed than our own. Laughter replaced the tension of achievement.

Soon the quiet Kiwi was able to lean back and let all of us take turns as leader. A quiet nod was enough to draw attention to the things our lack of experience prevented us from seeing. If we made a mistake, then we laughed and it was the next person’s turn.

We began to penetrate the mystery of the Motu. Now, like the quiet Kiwi, we listened to the river and we looked carefully for all those things we had not even noticed the first time.

At the end of the journey, we had overcome nothing except ourselves. We did not want to leave behind our friend, the river. There was no contest, and so nothing had been won. Rather we had become one with the river.

It remains difficult to believe that the external circumstances of the two journeys were similar. The difference was in an attitude and a frame of mind. At the end of the journey, it seemed that there could be no other way. Given the opportunity to choose a leader, everyone would have chosen someone like Buzz. At the end of the second journey, we had glimpsed a very different vision and we felt humble – and intensely happy.

20130819-125459.jpglife can feel like a raging river at times. “in the boiling fury”, we can leave no room for mistakes, charge ahead and live the tension…at the end feel the victory of having conquered life’s challenges. or we can become one with the journey, sensitively observing the environment and obstacles, gently going with the flow, gaining wisdom with each and every turn, overcoming ourselves and enjoying the journey for the blessing it is. it depends on our approach, our attitude and mindset.

what is your approach? stop by the comments section before you go. i’d really enjoy hearing from you.

thanks for reading,