Category Archives: Motivational

Things that motivate me…music, quotes, poems, ANYTHING!

Chinese Finger Trap


Chinese Finger TrapWe all know those crazy little wicker-y things that we would get in birthday party loot bags as youth.  Chinese finger traps.  You would stick a finger into each side of the contraption and BAM!  You were stuck.  If you tried to pull your fingers to free them, the trap would tighten itself like a boa constrictor.  The more you tried to break free, the more it would constrict and hold captive your fingers.

The only way out of the terror was to LET GO.  Let it go loose and stop pulling so hard.  Put your fingers at ease and you could then gently break free.

I am not sure how my thought process was directed to Chinese finger traps…truly there is no telling.  Then I got to thinking…

In my many struggles lately I have found that the more I try to do to pick up the pieces of life or to fix what is broken, the more broken things seem to become.  I have a best friend who keeps reminding me to let God do the work and for me to sit still…that is something I have never been good at doing.  But it makes sense…like the Chinese finger traps.

The more I am pulling the strings of my life trying to put things back together, the tighter life seems to be constricting around me.  It is frustrating…overwhelming…disappointing…maddening!  (Just like those stupid little wicker-y torture contraptions!)

Let GoIt is my time, once again, to LET GO and LET GOD.  To surrender my intents to the will of God.  It is His plan anyways…not sure why I keep trying to take control.  It is my human habit to try and take control, especially when I feel like I have no control over anything around me.

But God has a plan for me (AND for YOU).  In order for me to be free of my own finger trap, I have to relax, have faith, and let go of my own futile efforts.  I have to let God take control.

When I relax in His spirit, His Divine Presence will come into my life and fill me.  The binds of my own traps will fall free from me and I will not feel constricted…I will feel free.

Where will I lay my head tonight?


A year in review…I certainly haven’t been blogging this year.  In fact, when I go back and think about all of the “life” I was living this year, it blows my mind.  When I think about all of the events that tried to break me this year, it boggles my mind.  But even more boggling is the fact that 2014, which I have dubbed the worst year of my life, was also the most amazing year!  I have been humbled beyond belief; have learned SO MUCH about myself; have renewed my faith and hope in life.  I have found my inner love again.

I spent a bigger part of the year without a job and homeless.  My son even lived with his father for several months to finish out the school year.  In the meantime, I stayed with a treasure trove of family and friends.  At the hardest single point in my life, God sent me family and friends who opened their doors and hearts to me.  I was able to stay with family members that I had not spent time with in…decades?  I built stronger relationships with them than I could ever have done otherwise.  Friends too…Family is not always blood.  I tend to build my own family…some blood, and some divine.  This year, my family grew exponentially!

As for a job…I was without any form of income for a few months before unemployment kicked in.  I looked and looked for jobs…in a few states, even.  At the time, I just knew God was punishing me.  In hindsight, I realize He was setting the stage for an even bigger lesson.  When my household went from two incomes to one, I learned to do without.  I thought I was big and bad because I was sacrificing my manicures and restaurant meals for my son and I.  For our future.

Pish posh.  I realize how conceited and horrible that was. Because this year…this year I truly learned what sacrifice and going without really means.  I spent a good portion of the year wondering where I would get food for the next day, or where I would lay my head that night, or the next night, or the next.  I finally got on food stamps and Medicaid…very hard for me to do.  I am always the one trying to help people. It was very humbling to be the one asking for help.  I felt degraded and demoralized.  But humbled.   It was with the Medicaid that I was forced to see a new doctor…one who was able to properly diagnose me with Type II Diabetes.  I had spent the prior year so tired all of the time and without energy.  I finally received an answer why, and decided to try and get healthier.

So, in the midst of all of the drama, I began to exercise.  Realize…I had gained back all 80 of the pounds I had lost a few years ago.  I had to start all over again.  Chair exercises and lack of food saw me drop the first 20 pounds.  Throughout the year, I was able to lose a total of 68 pounds!

UsI had an angel, a friend from years past, call me about a job she had heard about.  I was living in Pennsylvania at the time, looking for work in Maryland, and my friend was in Florida (where I used to live).  The job was for a former boss, a dynamo woman whose passion for helping others is incendiary.  I got the job and we decided to move from Maryland (where we lived for the past 10 years) to Florida…”back home.”  The job itself is amazing, a great opportunity, and a chance to help the senior citizens of our local area.  It is an amazing blessing.

This year, we also lost all of our material possessions.  Everything we owned was in storage.  Without a job, and trying to find a way for us, I was not able to pay the storage bill and we lost everything we owned save what was in our van.  Like my mother when I was five, we moved to Florida to start over…with only what we had in our vehicle.  My mother, my lifelong hero, had left her shoes to me.

My son and I stayed with a dear friend from high school and her husband until we could get a place of our own.  We were super blessed to find the cute little townhouse that we live in.

Throughout the year, there were many other CRAZY events (you probably wouldn’t believe me) and each of those events and/or losses created a bond with someone that I will forever cherish.  Again, my family grew and I have found my love in the hearts of those around me.

That is where the new year finds us. We have a roof over our heads, a job, safety, food, health, and happiness.  We still don’t have a couch or TV in the living room and I am still sleeping on an air mattress, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Humbled…


humble-heartHumbled seems to be the word of the year.  In every way, humbled.

I must humble myself to write this now, after taking so long away.  And this entire year has been…well, horrifying and amazing.  No other way to describe it.

But I won’t make this a summary.  I am just humbled to God for his care, guidance and love.  I praise and thank him for his answered prayers; and for the pure love and joy lifting my soul…a sensation only God can provide.  In a year full of uncertainty, hardship, and mental chaos, God did provide.  He provided for me, and for Ashton.  He provided for us in so many ways…even when I had nothing to give back but my heart.

My soul is on fire for the Spirit.  I know I am not worthy, but I also know that God is working through me and for me and for those I love.  It is an amazing place to be…particularly when your world has been turned upside down over and over.  I am so grateful for all of the opportunities this year to come to God and surrender.  Surrender is humbling, but also can be mind blowing.  It is amazing the plans God has for us compared to our own attempts of imagining and dreaming.  Make no mistake: You must be open to the blessings and God’s guidance.  But when you are, it is powerful and life changing…no words to describe.

This is one of those moments of thankfulness.  A privileged moment of insight and clarity.

I have been having troubles with Ashton.  He has hit puberty and turned into a monster almost overnight.  He is making a hobby out of testing boundaries and joyfully expressing defiance.  I literally found myself on my knees two weeks ago.  On my knees to God, praying for some sort of help.  Some sort of guidance.  I am so ill equipped for dealing with a 12 year old son hitting puberty.  I don’t even know what is normal…I prayed fiercely for an answer.

Then in less than two weeks, my prayers are answered in multiple ways by multiple people from across the United States.  Now, I don’t mean that Ashton is fixed, and the problem is gone.  That is not what God is all about.  God is about helping us get through the difficult times in life.  He has sent some Angels to interfere and guide.  Some of the people have been part of my life forever.  Some are brand new popping into our lives like magic…out of thin air.  Some are helping and guiding me.  Some are helping and guiding Ashton.  It is like we are all of a sudden surrounded by God’s Angels.  I know there is no magic potion that will help Ashton, but I do know that God is helping.  If God is helping, I know Ashton is going to be okay, and so will I.  I know our Great Father will provide for us, both directly and indirectly through others.  God’s presence strengthens me in the present and helps me vision tomorrow with peace.

For this, I am completely humbled, amazed, and in awe.

Work in Progress


Work in progressYes, Lord, I am a work in progress…YOUR work in progress.

I don’t believe I have ever claimed to be perfect, but I work every day to be a better person to myself and those around me.

I try to let God’s love shine through me by expressing to others:

  • love
  • patience
  • kindness
  • compassion
  • understanding
  • grace
  • mercy

This is how I believe God works on me each day.  When I am able to focus graciously on the people around me, somehow, God ends up enriching my existence.  I am proud to be a work in progress, because I know that no matter how bad today might seem, I will always be a little better tomorrow.

Praise His name!

This is what I mean about helping others…Dalai Lama has it right!

To be contented human beings we need trust and friendship, which tends to develop much better once we realise that all beings have a right to happiness, just as we do. Taking others’ interests into account not only helps them, it also helps us. Warm-heartedness and concern for others are a part of human nature and are at the core of positive human values.

Raw Faith


This week I watched a really heartfelt documentary called Raw Faith.  Marilyn (read below) made some amazing statements that I think describe the kind of woman I am and want to be.  She is very insightful, and has learned to turn the struggles of her life into love and help for others.

raw faithRaw Faith is an intimate and revealing documentary that follows two years in the private life of Marilyn Sewell, an outspoken and socially progressive Unitarian minister who has re-energized her Portland community.
While serving a community that relies on her for wisdom and advice (on both personal and ethical issues), Marilyn struggles quietly with decisions about her own future. As she seeks to reconcile the commitments of her profession with a longing for intimacy and love, childhood memories of mental illness and alcoholism come back to the surface – and must be dealt with before she can move forward.

As Marilyn’s life unfolds in front of the camera (in real time), she shares her journey with remarkable candor, humor and increasing wisdom, ultimately leading her to an unexpected revelation of faith and love in all of its guises.

Some of the quotes from Marilyn Sewell, former Unitarian Minister:

I’m not there to fix him; I’m not there to help him in any way.  I’m not a doctor or social worker.  I’m there to be with – to provide an opening for him to be precisely who he is and to be accepted for precisely who he is.  That’s very powerful

The most powerful thing we can bring to anyone in any situation is our full presence.

Sometimes when people come in with very terrible, sad stories, and they do, I sometimes find myself smiling.  Sometimes people will be taken aback and they’ll say “Well I just said something that seems to me pretty sad, so why are you smiling?” And sometimes I’ve had to say, “Because I find you so beautiful right now.  Because I know we all suffer and that we all are going to go through hard times.  And right now you’re going through your very hard time but all of us do that and you’re doing that so honestly and so beautifully and so truthfully. So when I see truth and honesty the way I see in your face and in your tears, it really makes me happy.

Check her out for yourself

This is Our Time


this is our timeI  watched a really good movie last night. Actually, the movie was okay, but I picked up a message in it. Movie is called “This is Our Time” and it is a Spiritual movie on Netflix. The message was about God having purpose for each of us…

It was about 5 friends who graduate college. 4 go off and begin their lives in big ways, 2 of which become missionaries to lepars in India.
 
The 5th guy, who stays behind to work in his Dad’s restaurant because he was not accepted into Grad school, feels like God has forgotten him. When he consults with a former college professor, the professor explains to him that God’s plan is not about DOING…it is about BEING. 
 
Being?  Somehow, that really sat with me for awhile.  In my own life, I have been so worried about not “doing” enough lately.  In fact, our family is planning a new ministry project, because I felt like God was calling me to “do” more (I still feel he is, but in my mind it was because I am not doing enough).  Doing…it is a noble effort, but in the end, God has a plan for who we are to BE.  Think of all of the people who go to church each week, but never BEcome children of His word and receivers of His great love.  They spend their life doing, without ever being who God truly wants them to be.
 
We are to BE the beacon of God’s light for those in trouble to see.  We are to be loving, caring, and patient followers of His word and truth.  We are to be gentle and kind to those in need.  God simply wants us to be His child. 
 
Ultimately, this “throwaway guy” ends up being the one who holds everyone together when one of the 5 friends dies.  He was the friend who could always bring them all back together…because that is the person he was, not because it was something he felt he had to “do”.
 
He is reminded that God’s purpose is not for us to do. I mean, yes, we do things to help people, etc. But even when we do not feel active in His ministry, we are still living His purpose.  If you want to know what it is to BE God’s child, email me.
 
 
 

I needed some sunshine today


I needed some sunshine today!

It has been one of those mornings where nothing seems to have gone right.  I woke up late, so Ashton missed his bus, and then I had to chase Cupcake around the parking lots this morning. 

So, when I pulled in to work and saw the full parking lots, I realized I was going to have to walk in from the “back 40” and there was no chance of being on time.  It was like God was telling me, no forcing me, to be in His light for a morning meditation while absorbing the healing light of our earthly sun.  I needed to pump up my heart rate and create some natural energy.  I needed to find a moment of peace and calm before continuing my day.

He even provided what I needed.  I realized I had my big scarf on and could wrap it around my wet head for protection against the Winnie-the-Pooh-like blistery winds.  I glanced over to the passenger seat of the van and saw the bottle of water from last night that I had not finished.  It was nice and cold from being in the car overnight, and would help if I began choking halfway up the hill (This kind of weather likes to play with my bronchial asthma).

No excuses.  Just a morning walk in the sunshine.  I so needed that!

“Get good at failing”


Wise advice from a dear friend of mine.  And, no, it doesn’t mean “try” to fail.  It is much simpler and much deeper than that.

Getting good at failing – to me – means accepting that I am human and will make mistakes.  If there are consequences, we need to face them bravely and move on.

My definition of mistakes is VERY broad.  Any mistakes, people, we all make them.  From ignoring the truth of those around you to forgetting to get bread at the store.  Anything that “one” deems is a mistake, in their own perception of life, no matter how trivial it might be (as it probably leads to something much deeper).

Mistakes are an opportunity to see how things could have been done differently.  It is a chance to begin again.  How I deal with my own failures, no matter how big or small, must ultimately be acknowledged, accepted and left behind.  I guess in a poetic way, it would be fighting and defending for my own future.

My nephew’s sweet Halloween smile! So full of joy!

If I just pick my head up and move on, without getting caught up emotionally in the concept of failure..just get up and try again.  Deep inside, I know I am not built of failure or I would not be where I am.  I have survived and will continue to do so.

So, why not just get up and try again when I fall on my butt.  Which reminds me of my sweet baby nephew.  He is such a beautiful boy.  He is now running, but he went through a trial of falling and getting back up.  He did not allow the pure awesomeness of opportunites that walking would lead to.  He just knew he didn’t want to keep crawling for the rest of his life.  It is an innate part of us as humans.

Sometimes it can be that simple.

The outcomes in my life are bound to my much different then they have been.  What do you think?

Train Yourself to Seek Opportunity


Sometimes an opportunity doesn’t seem like much…until you make something of it. ~Sunshine E. Monk

It is so easy to fall into a rut and claim that there are no opportunities.  When in fact, there are times in life when we need to think outside of the box and seek our own opportunities.  (After all, in life, nobody is holding us back but ourselves, right?)  You might think it is hard, but in reality, it just takes a little time and attention.In one of the sessions I attended during a Women’s Wellness Retreat a few years ago, the instructor likened finding pennies on the ground to seeking your own opportunities.  Her story (filtered through my memory) went something like this:

Most of the time when we are walking through public places, and even at home, we unconsciously step over and ignore pennies.  We do it without notice.  Most of the time, if a penny on the ground is actually noticed, we think to ourselves, “oh, its only a penny, not worth the time or effort to pick it up.”  But in reality, if you start to teach yourself to seek out spare change on the ground, you would be surprised how much more you notice.  And after a period of time, say a year, you will notice how many coins or pieces of money you have found on the ground, simply by being open to seeking it out.

Similarly, we pass over so many opportunities each day.  It might be an opportunity as simple as a conversation with someone to encourage them, or as complex as creating a way for your dreams to come true or creating career opportunities.

I have noticed, however, that we keep our eyes closed to the opportunities and keep focused on the task at hand.  Sometimes we might even brush off our instinct for an idea or opportunity because it sounds “over the top” or crazy.  Some of the most profound inventions came from ideas that were over the top.  Apple has reinvented itself with ideas that were over the top.  In our own lives, we need to be aware of our own ideas and opportunities, even if they sound like they are over the top.  Your dreams might not be as unaccessible as you think.

Be open to other people and be open to opportunities that may present themselves, no matter how big or small they might seem.  Live in the opportunities and learn from them.  When we seek them out, we will notice them more.

If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.  Start trying to pay attention to the ground for loose pennies or change.  The first month, you might not even find a cent.  But you will see, the more you try to be aware of the opportunities to seek lost change, the more times you will actually find and notice pennies…and opportunities.

How much can you find over a year?  I will await your responses next year!  🙂  I will report my own seized opportunities through the next year.  Challenge?

Unreachable


Wow.  I survived.  By the sweet grace of God, I survived Thursday night.  I cannot even begin to explain.

I know that I woke up on Friday morning still grumpy, bags under my eyes, hating life in general.  I felt as if I had survived an exorcism.  I had just faced my life’s issues…my demons, if you will.  All of the parts of me that hide away, as well as how my decisions do effect and have effected my family, everyone around me, and myself.  How I truly feel like I had let everyone down.  Then couple that with a family counseling class that has forced me to look at my family on paper and notice patterns and blah blah blah.

Point is…I came to direct terms with the very real fact: I am broken.  We all are.  We are all victims of the behaviors of others, and we all take turns victimizing one another, whether we know it or not.  It is human nature.  It is inevitable.

God had given me all of these miraculous blessings in my life and I had hurt them all and was not as grateful as I could have been.  I took a lot of true blessings for granted.  I felt such shame and unworthiness.

Then, this song played…

The words spoke everything I was thinking and feeling.  The overwhelming sense of peace began to bring reassurance and comfort, love and protection.  All of my human fears vanished and once again I felt the truest of truth, I felt God within my soul.  I knew we would be okay if I just stayed focused on His guidance.  When I am weak, He will give me strength.

Not only did the blessings continue to pour down on us, but the awareness of God’s great and abundant love became ever so clear again.  I had been missing that sense of fullness and faith.

Yes, Uncle T., I heard your message, Let go and Let God.  It is easier said than done, AND it is necessary.  When you turn your life over to God and allow Him to work through you, He will provide for you.

It is simply amazing.