Respecting Ourselves and Others

Today I found this writing I wrote a year ago and still feel it appropriate so I am reposting it as a blog.

Today I’m working on a presentation I’m giving tomorrow. The subject is on respect: respecting ourselves and others. I was thinking today about how many of us put so much value in what others think. I’m guilty; I try to tell myself I don’t care what others think, but there are times I really do. I think it’s human nature to especially want those we care about to have high esteem for us. We all want some level of acceptance. However, we care to a fault sometimes and maybe in the act of caring we try too hard and have the opposite effect. We must remember to have esteem for ourselves first.

I think an important factor in respecting others is allowing them to be themselves. Everyone is trying to find their way through life and sometimes that is expressed in ways that may be odd to others. God accepts and loves us no matter what. We need to see past what someone looks like, what they are wearing, sexual preference, race, the mistakes they make and whatever else we and they do that define who we are. Sometimes it just takes getting to know someone to understand them. Remember, we can choose who to spend our time with, but we shouldn’t choose what others do or force them to be somebody they are not. 

With that being said, we are all attracted to different things. For me that is strength. I find people who are strong inside and out attractive. We’ve probably all have heard it’s the inside that counts….well let me say this. I agree. I have dated very attractive men who became ugly very quickly as I got to know them. I also recall a man I dated years ago who wasn’t so attractive on the outside, but boy the inside was beautiful and that made me pursue. I think sometimes the outside is what catches our attention and makes us stop, but isn’t what makes us stay.

Ask yourself- how do I dress, act, speak, treat my body and others? Then ask yourself why do you do those things? The number one answer should be – I do it for myself. Example: I dress the way I do because I like this outfit, it’s comfortable and I feel great wearing it. I act a bit nutty at times because it makes me feel free and happy, I eat healthily and exercise because I’m stuck with this body the rest of my life. I want my body to feel good and have less illness, I treat others kind because its how I want to be treated.  I smile at others because they smile back and that feels good…. etc. You fill in the blanks.

Take the time for self-evaluation, but in doing so be kind to yourself and others and by all means do not compare yourselves to others. Our strengths are not always someone else’s strengths and vice-a-versa. Remember all we can do is our best. Set goals and hang with friends that support your goals. Be with those that love you for who you are today.

An Authentic Life

One would think a person of my age would have life all figured out.  Surprise, I do not. Approximately Six months ago, I decided to start living an authentic life.  I guess I could probably say the process started long before that, but 6 months ago was when I really decided to jump in with both feet and trust where God was leading me. I guess I always thought I had been authentic and felt I was a person of integrity.  Integrity meaning someone who is honest in all situations, even when no one is watching.  However, what I realized is that I wasn’t being honest with myself and I was suppressing deeper parts of who I am.  I was becoming more miserable, confused and lonely as each day passed.  I found myself living to make everyone else happy except myself.  Approximately a year ago, I found myself with no voice, realized I had suppressed many key traits of my personality, was controlled by others and felt like I had no future.  I’ve been a private person too and have developed through a lifetime of difficult experiences a mechanism to shut off and out things and people who cause pain.  Picture a cave in which I could retreat and a large metal gate I could slam shut where I would not be accessible to anyone.  I cut and run and shut out and move on.  With this mechanism in place, not too many people, if any, knew the full extent of the pain I felt.  I became good at smiling and laughing despite the pain.  I finally got to a point where I experienced my first episode of depression ever in my life.  I found myself in a place where I found no reason to continue in life and felt no one would even notice I was missing.  I was unsure where to turn because shoot…I work in an office with mental health and loads of people with depression.  I should be above depression…I can’t ask for help!  I struggled with feeling like a misfit and scared of judgment.  I felt if I admitted I was struggling with depression I would look less than or be a failure and be found conquered by life.  For a warrior that I truly am, being defeated is not an option.  It took the lowest day in my life and being found by someone who I believed at the time to be a good friend (who later betrayed me), scoop me up and helped me to realize just how depressed I was.  Depression is real and seeking help doesn’t mean you are less than.  It means you love yourself and you want to be better because you are of worth.  If you are one who is struggling with depression, please seek help.  Please know you are worth the help and there are many ways to receive it.  I now am doing so much better and reaching goals of great magnitude, though there still are days I need a hug.

So what is living an authentic life?  It is letting go of others’ expectations and having the courage to live life without fear of rejection.  It is truly living a life of integrity.  So Jan 2017, I began a journey of learning more about myself, taking leaps into unfamiliar territory.  In these past 6 months, I have learned so much about myself and what makes me happy. I have learned that I have fears I never knew I had.  I have learned that I have lived with regret, disappointment, and experiences that have been disabling but now am learning how to conquer and defeat these.  I have been fearfully, but courageously conquering large barriers and sifting out things and people in my life whom do not support my authentic self.  As I have done this, I have noticed that I attract people who also are striving to live authentic lives too.  I often have people come up in stores or other places that see my happiness and my authentic self and are attracted to this and start talking to me about the sparkle and happiness they see.  I have gained more friends in the last 6 months than I have in a long time.  Not just friends, but friends who also are solid, authentic people.  I’m so grateful to be surrounded by great people – good friends.  I feel so blessed to be moving in the right direction and taking each day as it comes.  I am getting so much better at standing up for myself and being blessed by being surrounded by those who nurture me.    I did not look for this road, but God placed it in front of me and have placed the people on it.  I know this because I felt at one point as if I was thrown over the shoulder of someone running in the opposite direction of everything that was familiar.  I’m in very unfamiliar territory, but it’s good.  I continue to grow and learn and that feels good.  When I find myself going to the cave and shutting the metal door, I make myself reopen it and step out into the clear air; maybe a bit frightened but still opening the gate and stepping out.  I’ll admit sometimes it takes a good friend to coax me out (thanks, sweet friend).  The process of living an authentic life is not easy, but worth it.  You will find that the people that enter your life perfectly fit in your life.

Take the time to sit with yourself and evaluate – are you living your authentic life?  If not, why?  The payoff is worth the efforts.

The Painful Yardstick

Growing up in the United States in the time period I did, spankings were common.  Heck, even the school principal had a paddle.  In my childhood home the device of preference from mom, that I luckily don’t recall experiencing, was the yardstick  It was either because I hide it, ran fast with my sassy mouth or was such a sweet piggy-tailed little girl it wasn’t necessary.   I’ll let you decide.  Anyway, today I was thinking about the yardstick and judgment.  I often find myself judging myself with the imaginary yard stick.  Then if measuring myself to whatever the yard stick represents at the moment isn’t bad enough, I take that stick and strike myself with it.  I know I am not alone because shoot I hear people beat themselves up all the time. In fact, a few days ago I sat on the floor of our lobby stroking the arm of a patient who was experiencing seizures while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. When she regain partial consciousness, she started crying and when I asked her what was making her sad at the moment, she said something to the effect that she was sorry for being a bother for having seizures.  My heart ached as I saw her beat herself with “the yardstick”.  I told her sweetie, I don’t know you but this one thing I will say, never apologize for being yourself.  I told her I was happy to be by her side and help was on the way.  

Later that same week, I had another experience as someone entered my office and spilled his inner thoughts to me.  I  was puzzled why was this somewhat stranger beating himself with “the yardstick” in my office.  Why was he sharing with me? As I thought this, he explained that I come across as a caring, trustful person and felt I would listen with compassion. I smiled and said yes your story is safe with me but please do not beat yourself up. It hurts yourself too much. I know because I’m an expert.  Heck, I even have given the stick to others to use on me.  I have learned how important it is to be a listener and a trait in which I’m trying to be better.

So why do I share this?   Richard Paul Evans said, “the well from which grace is only filled by sharing it with others”.  This is exactly the reason I started this blog.  To share my experiences, my thoughts and to break the yardstick so it can’t be used; can’t be used on me or others to use it on themselves. 

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I have learned many things this past year.  I have learned that I can’t make everyone happy but I can make myself happy. I have learned the importance of living an authentic life and seeing positive in all things.  It is important to not judge but we need to remember to include not judging ourselves.  Don’t apologize for being your authentic self.  You see when you live authentically, you naturally will attract those that make you happy. 

Here’s one more example from my life.  Years ago, I discontinued a friendship with a dear friend.  Why you ask?  No, it wasn’t because of a disagreement or anything like that.  It was because I was hiding from my past.  I didn’t want those in my “new” life to know about my stupid teenage mishaps and bad decisions and she knows them all.  She was the connection to painful memories.  When I decided to embrace all I am and not care what anyone has to say, I looked her up.  It’s been a sweet reunion.  I have realized that the “secrets” I was hiding weren’t that bad but that I was judging those experiences with a sharp yard stick. I feel so happy to be connected with her and many new friends.  I have nothing to hide and I truly feel blessed.  

When you find yourself judging others, beating yourself up for faults or mistakes, please throw out the yardstick. You are unique; one of a kind with purpose! Stay smiling friends!  

Training Wheels

I think the majority of us will describe learning to ride a bike similar to my own.  There I was with my bright pink bike, flower decals, the banana seat, pom poms on the handle bars and let’s not forget the cards in the spokes in order to make that cool flapping noise.  Then, of course, the training wheels to give the bike stability as I learned coordination of getting on and off the bike, and the steering and pedaling of the bike. Then the day comes when I felt confident in those skills that I wanted to ride it without the “baby” training wheels but lacked the confidence to not ride the bike without them.  I was scared of the unfamiliar and the “what if I fall” scenario.  As I saw the training wheels off and an unstable bike, I found myself saying, “I’m not ready”.  However, the person assisting knew my ability better than myself and told me everything would be okay.  As I went down the street with them running behind me holding the bike up, I gained confidence.  However, without notice, the person either knew I would be just fine on my own or they got too tired of running and let go.  There I was assuming the only reason I was surviving the bike ride is that of the person holding my bike.  I look back to thank them and saw them in the distance waving and yelling, “You got this”!  Wow, look at me!  Does this sound familiar?  Then a few things happen, we either keep on going or we crash and fall because either we don’t know how to stop or we lose confidence or maybe just haven’t obtained the full skill yet.

The training wheels though necessary at first will eventually make us so comfortable in the aid that we lose confidence in the ability to ride without them.  Life is similar.  We often get so comfortable in the familiar that we do not venture out into the unknown.  Good stuff can happen when the training wheels come off.

I have often said, I don’t want to be on the road I am on but God said, “you got this” and took off the training wheels and though He stands beside me he isn’t holding my bike stable.  God has said to me, your wings are ready, step out of the cocoon and fly.  So in this process of taking the training wheels of life off, trusting more in God and looking for the positive in all situations, finding strength in myself and showing up in life as my authentic self, I have learned and discovered many things.  Here is an incomplete list.

  1. I have been a strong individual but somewhere in time, I have lost some of that strength and I am working on recommitting myself to who I am
  2. I have more wounds and scars that affect many areas of my life than I ever realized and as I recognize them, I am working on healing them
  3. I struggle standing up for myself and never knew I did. I’m working on having more self-respect for myself and putting what is best for me in front of the self-serving needs of others
  4. I have a large group of friends, co-workers, and family who love me, support me and want nothing but good in my life. I am fortunate and blessed to be surrounded by positive, funny, happy people that rejoice when good things happen in my life and not only allow me to be my true self but love the person I am.
  5. My truest happiness comes when I show up in life as my authentic self.
  6. I can have a healthy relationship with God without being perfect.
  7. I think too far in the future and allow myself to worry about things out of my control. I am trying to live one day at a time and enjoy what each day brings in positive ways to me.
  8. I have learned that present and future situations cannot be judged based upon what has occurred in the past. Each situation, though may look similar, does not always end up the same.
  9. When things are different they lead to different results. We can’t continue to function in ways that never worked.
  10. I realize life works out better when I live one day at a time asking God what He would like me to do today and to not look too far in the future as this just causes worry about things that may never even occur.
  11. God has a plan for me and is preparing me for a time when I will be called to be His hands and feet.
  12. I have learned how to free myself from guilt and the bizarre thinking that I in some way, have deserved the manipulation and controlling abuse others. I deserve better and will not settle for less!
  13. Confusion is an internal mechanism inside of me that tells me what I am taking in does not fit in with what I know to be true; It doesn’t speak to my true self. I need to listen and examine whatever situation that is causing confusion more closely to understand the reasons behind it.
  14. When I hear negative thoughts about myself and where I’m at in life, I need to exam the reasons behind those thoughts because I have learned that there is no basis for many of those thoughts.
  15. There are so many lessons in life and many of them come from mistakes and difficult moments. I need to make sure I take the time to recognize the positive lessons instead of beating myself up for the mistake.
  16. Relationships shouldn’t be about needing someone; they should be about wanting someone. Sometimes it feels like a fine line but desirable relationships are those that add positive things, make us feel good about ourselves, and leave us happy and secure.  Great relationships are based on Sharing.
  17. I have always been a communicator but because of a long, unhealthy relationship I have learned to not communicate if I feel what I am going to say will end up in an argument or become difficult. I run from difficult communication and I am learning difficult communication are usually the most important to have.

This list, of course, is personal.  It is not complete as I learn new things about myself and life every day.  I encourage you today to take the time to think about your own life.  What have you learned so far on your journey?  What do you want to learn or be better at? Warm wishes as you march forward through you own journey.

A Charmed Life – Chose the Roses, Not the Thorns

Does anyone remember the show, “To Tell the Truth”?  If not, let me summarize it.  The show featured a panel of four celebrities whose object was to correctly identify which of the three contestants were telling the truth about who they were.  At the end of the panel questioning, they would vote on who was the real ________(fill in the name) and then asked, will the real ________ please stand up?

Well, I tell this because I have a friend named John.  He is such a positive person.  When I first met him, I found myself wondering if he was for real.  I asked myself if his actions were just some cover up and I felt like saying, will the real John please stand up!  Ok, I pretty much did ask that and found out he is the most genuine person I have ever met.  Today I want to share something powerful I have learned from life and recently retaught by John in more depth. (Thanks, John!).

If you are fortunate to be friends with John, you will hear him often say, “I live a charmed life”.  When John says he “lives a charmed life” is he expressing his life has and is perfect?  Does this mean he has had an easy life where everything has gone well?  Does this mean he has been void of heartache and sadness?  No, this just means he has chosen the charmed life.  Yes, chosen.  If you ask him the secret, he will tell you it is “having low expectations and NOT getting what you want but WANTING what you get”.  He will further describe the secret as looking for the positive in everything.

I grew up being told to count my blessings and would be sung a song about it too when I complained about things.  It made me so mad because I didn’t feel heard.  I just felt I was being told my concerns, disappointments, and sadness didn’t matter.  So as I have gone through life, I dislike that song and struggle when someone says you should count your blessings or here is a good one – be thankful for your challenges.  With that being said, I have to admit I have tried this counting blessing thing on my own terms and it actually works.  In fact, I also have to admit challenges and what seems like life disasters really lead to better and greener pastures if you use the lessons that are meant to be learned by going through them.  So despite my own struggles, lack of faith at times, life disasters, and disappointments, the truth is I live a charmed life.

There is a quote that explains what I am saying: “We always have a choice between two realities.  If you look for negative, you will find it.  If you look for positive, you will find it.  The reality in which we invest our energy in is the one that will exist”.  I love flowers especially white roses.  If I spent my time focusing on the thorns would I see the beauty of the rose?  No!

Here is an example of this in action.  Sunday I spent most of the day depressed.  Did I have reasons to be depressed? Yes!  However, here is the crucial moment.  Listen up!  I allowed myself to focus on the negative.  As I looked focused on the negative, I found more negative things to be depressed about.  It spiraled downward to a point of, what it seemed, a point of no return.  I allowed myself to be eaten up by the “Big White Shark” instead of swimming away as fast as I could.  I didn’t sleep most of the night and was refusing to take calls from anyone (for the most part).  As I drifted off, I heard in a dream the words from John about a charmed life.  I woke up and started the process of being thankful and giving thanks to God for the good in my life.  I started looking for the positive in all things and let me say today I feel awesome.  I have a great number of things to be happy about.  One is for the depression I had on Sunday because in that process I learned much of what I am writing about today.  I am surrounded by good people.  All my friends are genuine, honest, kind and supportive.  I had to drop my car at the mechanics which made me without a car all day, but guess what there is a thing called “LYFT” which took me where I needed to go today.  I am behind at work, but heck I have a job and enjoy those I work with.  I felt tired today but hey at least I have a bed to sleep in tonight.  It’s so hot out but hello I’m lucky enough to have air conditioning.  See how this works?

So friends chose to smell and enjoy the roses instead of looking for the thorns because if you look for the thorns you will be pricked by them.

If you are not sure where to start, begin with spending a few moments at the end of each day writing down the things you are thankful for that day.  Challenge yourself to do this for at least 30 days.  You will find that as you do this, a transformation will take place; the transformation of habitually seeing the positive in all situations.  If you have a day and feel like there were no positives, well then you are not trying.  If that occurs, tell me about your day and I promise I will find something positive for you to focus on.  Best Wishes for positive thinking!

White Rose…Dear White Rose

white rose

Here is a poem that goes with the story – The Garden

White Rose..Dear White Rose

What do you represent?

Why do I love you so?

Why when I smell your fragrance I cry white rose?

When I feel your soft petals I recall a soft touch

I hear a faint cry of my heart begging for love

Wanting to no longer only be a giver dear white rose

I am not wanting much I do not think

I just want to be appreciated

I want to be no longer a giver, but a sharer white rose

I see you in my garden

I hear a melody that plays in my heart

What does this mean dear white rose

I see your thorns and I’m reminded of the pain love can bring

I see your green leaves that give to you life

Where is my green leaves white rose

Every time I plant myself in fertile ground and start to grow

To blossom like you

I am ignored and uprooted dear white rose

I look to simply be nurtured but instead, I’m given shit as my fertilizer

It stinks and too much burns my leaves. Am I not good enough?

Do I ask too much? – reason tells me no white rose. 

I love Your beautiful white color; it reminds me of purity and simplicity 

I just need simple things

Just a simple caress.  A simple smile.  A simple I love you.  Dear white rose

I decided to finally just give up

To walk away from the garden

To just stop watering, fill in the fountains with cement and shut the gate behind me white rose

As I walked out of the garden I saw beautiful shiny armor

Something whispered from the garden behind the gate to put it on

So I did dear white rose

Each morning I reluctantly arose and put that armor on

I walked out my door with my head held high not looking back

With dreams of a new garden where you could bloom even more my white rose

Each night I returned, my armor was heavy so after taking it off 

I would collapse in my bed

But the smell of your sweet strong fragrance was present dear white rose

I’ve gotten to a point I no longer need the armor because my knight arrived

He is allowing me to patiently rebuild my garden

And it will be beautiful and of course, the first thing I will be planting is you white rose 

You represent past lives and love that is possible

Your fragrance smells like hope of the present and  what I can become

Your green leaves remind me of the positive nurturing soul of my knight

Your soil is equally balanced with all that is needed; all I longed for

A soil for me to blossom into the white rose my dear white rose.

The Garden

monte palace

Finishing up a trip to Spain and Portugal, I found myself in the Monte Palace Gardens. What a magical place.  As I stood on the bridge connecting to this little island where a glass case was sitting that entombed a statue of what looked like sleeping beauty, my passionate, romantic side saw the story being told here.  Below is what I formulated which will be incorporated in a current writing collaboration project.  Stay tuned for that book, it will be a fun read.

The Garden:

Through the last few months, we have talked about past lives, we’ve talked about no beginning, we have talked about bridges and trials.  We have talked about fears, religion, dreams and disappointments.  We have laughed and cried and have communicated deep parts of ourselves. We have a deep connection that for some people they never find.  

God open up a path for us to rediscover each other because we have learned many things on our path here and it was time to share these lessons with one another.  I think this is why we talk for hours. We are excited to share.  It’s like coming home from seeing a great movie and we want to explain it to the one we love.  It is like being cold and just wanting to be wrapped up in a fuzzy pink robe, sipping hot chocolate while rocking gently in a rocking chair. Your voice soothes my troubled heart and quietly puts me to sleep each night and each morning as I arise thinking it was nothing but a dream or a fleeting moment, I hear that same dear voice saying good morning and words of love and affection.  

We came to the fork in the road and there we were. Hi, there baby.  We thought there was something familiar but our past had us take the approach as hey don’t come too close because I’m not looking for any real close relationship; Just a friend to chat with sometimes and maybe do a few things with. Fortunately, our spirits spotted each other and they want more.  They are excited to be reunited.  Mine has been giving me descriptions of you for years.  I figured I made up a fictitious character; a man to only write about in stories and fantasy. However, here you are with so much familiarity that you can be miles away and explain to me exactly what I am doing. I can be in my home and you in yours but yet when I close my eyes I know you are beside me.  I have said at times that you read the script to my story because you knew the contents way too well.  However, how could you have when that writing has been tucked away in a private place where I keep all those things I long for.   Are you for real words I find myself asking. The answer pleasantly is yes.

I don’t know all of God’s intentions with you and I.  I fail when I look too far in advance.  I need to take each day, count my blessings and time will bring what is supposed to be next because no matter how much we plan , God takes us by the hand and opens up doors and leads us down paths. Some times I feel blindfolded by unfamiliarity but faith makes me hold on and peek through the blindfold and march forward hoping for the best. 

Last night I described our first meeting. No I’m not talking about our first meeting weeks ago, I’m talking about many centuries ago when I met you in the garden. A long time ago, in a place far from earth, I was in a magical garden. There was a fountain in the middle and it was surrounded by roses. I was young and innocent. I was humming a favorite tune. A tune my soul had taught me and I’ve been signing it since I could first do so. The sun was glistening on my ivory skin and my soft pink lips had a smile that reflected the peace I felt inside.  What I didn’t realize at the time is you being on the other side of the garden. You have been there many other days admiring me as I enjoyed my time in the gardens. These gardens were special to me as they were filled with peacocks, stunning statues and beautiful streams and water features.  

I felt so connected to this garden for reasons I was unaware. It was as if I had been to the gardens prior to my life. The peacocks were as if angelic messengers speaking to me through their beauty,  They looked for me each day and love for me to feed them. They were in the trees and in the water and by my side.  

One particular day, I turned around and found you holding a white rose for me.  I hesitated taking the rose as I was startled I was not alone. You spoke no words but smiled.  A smile that felt like a rainbow that arrives after stormy weather.  I took the rose and gave you a kiss on the cheek. We sat and talked for hours and found we had so many similar feelings. We agreed to meet each day in the garden and so we did. We built a friendship which turned in to love, respect and passion. One day without my advanced knowledge, I came back from the garden and found my things packed.  I was swept away in a carriage and was taken away from what was familiar and most of all taken away from the man I loved. There was no explanation, no chance to speak to you my love.  I wept.

You returned to the garden each day for some time until you were convinced I was not coming back.  You had thought possibly I had forgotten or maybe my love was not sincere.  Time went on and memories faded and our Lives evolved. We each married spouses and lived lives that felt incomplete. 

One day as I was reborn, I found myself picking out flowers for a garden I felt inclined to plant.  They were white roses. Odd I thought… white is so plain but I bought them anyway.  As I planted them I pricked my finger on a thorn and though it pricked my finger, it also pricked something within my heart. A flash of peacocks strutted in my head and it was as if I heard a cry in the distance.  As a tear warmly trickled down my cheek I thought, what was this I was feeling I did not know? As time went by I loved to gather white roses and bring them in the house where I arranged with a few peacock feathers I had purchased. There was something about this arrangement that made me smile.  A smile as if I just had been panning for gold and found a huge nugget.

Time went on and many lives had past but each brought the smell of spicy, sweet scent of flowers and calls of peacocks.  Each life brought a connection to water and  the familiar tune I would hum in which no one had taught me.  I never quite understood.  What did this all mean?  Why did I feel so misplaced; so empty? 

One day as I thought my life was over yet once again.  A life unhappy, incomplete I found myself in a writing garden where I started to see myself as I truly was. A woman born so many years ago. A woman who lived so many lives but yearned each life for something I could feel but yet could not describe.  Something I felt as if I was searching for but yet did not know for what the search was for.  I felt misunderstood, a weirdo and a misfit who wanted nothing more than to share.  Share all I was and all I could be with a man who wanted to do the same thing. 

One day in the writing garden I looked up and guess what?  There you were holding a white rose in front of me and then I knew. All the pieces fit together. I finally knew my attraction to water, peacocks and yes the white rose. Then as we were hugging and you caressed me, sweeping my long locks away from my face, you hummed a familiar tune. The tune I have hummed all my life.

Welcome back my love. I hope this time we get more time together to share our dreams, our longings, our love, our quest for adventure and time to just sit and bask in rays of sunshine that our love radiates and the beauty the rainbow you cast on my once stormy life.  You are my leading man; the man standing in my eternal garden holding the white rose. 

Grab Bag


Back in November, I wrote the following: I remember as a little girl going into the five and dime store and there was a basket of stapled closed paper bags which I didn’t know what was inside of them. They called them grab bags. Sometimes I think life has grab bags. Lately, I have been feeling like I am so close to grabbing that bag and opening it. It as if I see the bag but just can’t get close enough to reach it. Sometimes I’m really excited to see what’s inside and sometimes I am scared as I’m afraid that i picked the wrong one and will be disappointed. Well I’ll let you know what it is when I open it. Wish me luck.

I’m here to say I wrote that and then decided to walk away from that basket because I felt there was no use in taking one of those bags but God threw one that hit me in the back of the head. It has caused me to turn around, pick up the bag and peek inside. Guess what I found? So many things I wished for as a little girl were in the bag. I got to such a dark place last summer and during that time I sat down and wrote a dream list, cried and thought too bad these things are not mine to have. I figured maybe I was undeserving. Why do I tell myself these lies? Well it’s conditioning. The same conditioning I suspect many of you have had too. Now I find myself saying, is what I see for real? I find myself scared to fully look inside the bag and open it wide and pull out the gift. I find myself scared of accepting the unfamiliar and questionIng what is present in front of me. Isn’t this crazy?

I have spent a lifetime of mistakes and longing and now that it’s in front of me I say hey wait a minute this is my story and I haven’t written this chapter. Here is the lesson I am learning – it takes putting that story writing pen down that limits our story. Our story is written by so many things than just ourselves. For me, a Christian, I believe God lays out life’s stepping stones and says, if you trust and can step on to what looks like undeveloped ground, you may just be pleasantly surprised. We have to be willing to accept the uncomfortable that comes with the unfamiliar and try embracing something new until that becomes the new familiar. So in summary, we may be scared of trying new adventures but sometimes we just have to trust that inner voice that guides us. Open that bag, pull out and embrace the gift and just say thank you. This life I believe is to live, not to live in a cave hidden from wonderful blessings and gifts

Take the time today to write your dream list. Write it all down even those things you don’t think are possible because they are possible if you are willing to step out of that cave. Stand up for what you want, take a deep breath, and march forward….out of the cave into the beautiful life you deserve.

Metaphor for Life

The above photo I took coming home from a fantastic trip with friends. I love this photo and I’ll tell you why. I see more than a photo of a sunset, I see a metaphor for life. Here are a few thoughts:
I first saw the beautiful sunset and thought how cool…I’m riding into the sunset. I thought this is the way to live. I’m with friends I love, laughing and a full heart of happiness as I ride into the sunset. I then looked again at the photo and realized all the bugs smashed on the windshield. I started laughing and thought yep, that’s life. Just when you think life is great and you got it all figured out, life becomes unclear like the dirty windshield.
I thought of the country song, “The Bug”. The chorus says: “sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug”. Isn’t that the truth? Life is one long road trip. Sometimes we have that shiny clean windshield in which we see life clearly through and we feel unstoppable as we drive towards that beautiful sunset (our intended destination) then we drive around that blind curve and get blindsided (like the bug) by the unexpected and we feel smashed. So sometimes we are the windshield and sometimes we are the bug. It’s just life. Life isn’t easy. We all have our level of challenges. At least in my experience just when I think I have it all figured out…wham! I become the smashed bug.
I think of a quote that goes something like this: God doesn’t give us anything more than we can handle but I think he has more faith in me than I do in myself. This is how I feel at times. I think you got to be kidding me…I already mastered this struggle (or at least I thought so) but here I am again with the same mistake, disappointments, fears, pain and tears. Luckily, the windshield doesn’t stay dirty forever. We go through periods of darkness, defeat, and sadness but there will be an upside as long as we have faith and hang in there. So grab the windshield cleaning solution, clean off the windshield and keep on driving friends until the sun sets on our lives having experienced all we could here and leaving with a smile on our face.