We have choices to make~

 

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Can I be honest? There are a lot of sad and disruptive events taking place these days. There truly are concerns that have many people feeling unsettled and uncertain about their world, their leaders, and their futures. I have talked to many of them; they are feeling overwhelmed, feeling sad. There are days when I do as well.

Disheartening events impact us on every level: thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Violence inspires worry, fear, and anxiety. The anxiety created by current events is all-encompassing and can keep us from living fully. And that is my concern. Having such increased social media and television shows/Books that mirror the events in our world only make it more challenging to come up for air!

What steps can we take to help ourselves or those we care about to redirect their anxieties and use that energy in a fruitful, impacting way? Is there anything tangible that we can do? Well, what we know about fear and anxiety is that underneath it all is a lack of feeling a sense of control; being left at the effect of someone’s leadership choices, weather events, or other disruptive situations.

We cannot control all those factors but we can control a number of choices we make that would calm our concerns and build purpose in our lives. We can make some life changes that would give us peace in the midst of uncertain days.

First and foremost, find a place of worship.   Knowing that we have a God who is incredibly mindful of us, taking time to pray about the concerns in our hearts, and locking arms with others of strong faith will make an surprising and powerful difference in how you see the world.

Limit (I mean really limit) social media. By saying this I am not saying that we put our heads in the sand but seeing news stories over and over again is unhealthy. We know for sure that what the media reports is a steady diet of what is going wrong; we rarely hear a story of what’s going right. Do a daily “flyover” but try not to make social media a steady diet.

Keep a gratefulness journal each day. What went right? Where was kindness shown? Who did I help?  What made me laugh?  When we commit to looking for the good in each day it can literally change the way we see our circumstances.

Do something good for others. Give your time where you can impact your community in a positive way! No, we cannot change the whole world but we can make a difference in the community around us.

Always be sure to spend time with life-giving people; family and friends. Talk about things you can celebrate, appreciate, and enjoy. Try to stay out of a host of doomsday conversations; rather ignite hope and vision in one another.

Again, we cannot control all the elements in our world but we can take back control of how we choose to live and navigate our lives and behaviors!  Choose well, choose hope.

 

 I have told you these things so you may have peace in Me. In the world you will have much trouble. But take hope! I have power over the world!” John 16:33

 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

What will be said of Me?

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I have a wonderful privilege of gathering with some amazing women every other week to spend time talking about the things that we care deeply about.  We discuss the season of life we are presently in and look for quality ways to navigate the many challenges and opportunities we encounter everyday. We talk about learning to say our “best yes”, to make sure we find ways to re-fuel in order to be the best version of ourselves, and we look at focusing on those things we consider the highest priorities at this time, using them as a good filter when choosing how to best use our time.  These conversations are always rich and encouraging.

Last night we spent our time talking about Legacy.  We were all able to point to a person in our life who impacted us in a powerful way. Each one of us teared up simply talking about it! We could clearly see that without the gift of that person having touched our lives we would not be the women we are today.  Then we turned our attention to the fact that each one of us could be “that” person in someone’s life.  Down the road when a group of women gather, perhaps our name with be the one mentioned when expressing appreciation for key impact on their lives.  This is what leaving a Legacy looks like.  Lasting impact.

In a small study written by Dr. James Dobson, he expresses Legacy this way:

“Legacy is what future generations recall about you. You are a patriarch or a matriarch and your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will take what you have done with your life and build on their own lives.  It is the continuation of your ministry and influence (both positive and negative) beyond your lifetime, reflecting what you value and what you believe is important.”

Wow, does that mean that the choices, behaviours, values, and traditions we do ( or don’t) intentionally choose will be passed on to our future family? You bet!  Think about your family of origin; is there a legacy you feel compelled to carry forward?  Perhaps that legacy was unhealthy and you now have the chance to make choices that will turn it around in your generation.  Choosing to leave a good and lasting Legacy requires intentionality, long-term vision, strong values, and time spent building rich relationships.  We all have a choice as to the Legacy we leave behind.

Look at your life today and answer this question: “Who influenced you to be who you are today and how does their Legacy encourage you to leave behind a Legacy that continues to bear good fruit in the lives of those you dearly love? Take time to write out the type of Legacy you would like to leave behind and then make choices consistent with your hearts desire.  🙂

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ~ Shannon L. Alder

Things we might regret~

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This past week I had the privilege of traveling with my mother and her sister on a road trip to see one of their lifelong friends a few hours away.  This would be a 3 day trip full of laughter, meaningful conversations, shared memories from days gone by, and lots of reminiscing.   I enjoyed the time I had with them all; each of them are so precious to me.  One of the comments was that “time has just gone by so very quickly”, I even see this in my own life as I am celebrating 30 years of marriage this week.  Life does indeed move forward quickly.

Since I returned from the road trip I have been looking at my own life and asking the question, “am I doing all I can to live this life well, with purpose and meaning?”  As I think about that question my answer is “yes, some of the time.” I could do better.

I began to ponder the question, “What might we all regret when we get into our twilight years?”  and I came up with a list of things to consider.

1.  Not stopping to appreciate the “moment”.  Living life so busy-minded that we miss so many amazing moments all around us.

2.  Not traveling when we could have.  Seeing and experiencing other cultures makes a huge difference in our world view and can create memories to last forever.

3.  Holding grudges.  How sad to live life as a hostage to hurt feelings! Gotta let it go!

4.  Not having taken time to get to know God~ to invite Him into our lives. He gave us the very breath we breathe; how amazing to have a life knowing and trusting in Him.

5.  Not having taken time to volunteer.  Life is so much richer when we take time to come alongside those wanting to make a difference!

6.  Not spending intentional time with loved ones.  It’s a sad truth to realize that we don’t know how long we get to have those we love in our lives.  It’s best not to put relationships off “till tomorrow”.

7.  Caring too much what others think.   We will never please everyone all the time.  As much as we may try, there will always be those who see us through a filter that we cannot control.  Care more about being the best YOU that you can be!

8.  Working too much.   Decide when then work day needs to be done.  Disengage and fill your life with life-giving activities and people.

9.  Never having taken risks to pursue a dream.   Do you have a dream in your heart? Are you playing it so safe that your dream will never be realized?

10. Worrying too much.   Life is complicated and uncertain.  All of us could focus on areas of concern and find ourselves consumed with fear and worry.  However, worry robs us of joy.  We will regret having spent our days burdened and concerned.

It was fun to hear of all the ways my mom and her sister intentionally built memories from childhood till now.  When life was hard for them; they created space for joy and laughter.  When life has been joy-filled they have intentionally celebrated those moments with gratefulness.  No matter what stage of life you may be in; ask yourself if there’s anything on my list that YOU may regret someday.  If there is there’s no time like the present to turn it around! 🙂

Commit to being KIND~~

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People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Mother Teresa

What is the meaning of Kindness? Well, according to the Websters it means to be “generous, warm~hearted, charitable, considerate, tolerant, forbearing, and agreeable.”    Is this how people would describe you?

We all rub shoulders with many different types of people all day long~ do you respond with kindness as often as you can? Or perhaps you allow the challenges of your life impact how you speak to those around you.  Are you reactive, sharp, defensive, or blunt?    Speaking for myself; when I am responded to in such a matter I can easily have my spirit broken! Because of this I simply cannot allow myself the freedom to harm someone else in the same way.

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Spring, a new season, is right around the corner. Perhaps it could be a fresh new season of Kindness for you!  Listen to how you talk, filter your reactions, and decide before you start your day that you WILL choose kindness!

IF you choose this YOU will benefit most of all with a fresh sense of goodness, positive responses from others, and less conflict. When your head hits the pillow at night you may feel a real sense of satisfaction. You will be a positive influence on your family & workplace.  Aren’t those GREAT reasons?

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Happy Spring~ Happy NEW Season! 🙂

Please remember me!!!

“Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.” ~ Steve Saint

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Have you ever thought about how you would like to be remembered?  We only get one chance to LIVE a life that will be remembered so considering HOW we want to be remembered is important!

I suppose it would be considered morbid to think about what you would like your obituary or gravestone to say. However, if we consider that now, I can only imagine our behavior could be shaped by it!

Do you want to be remembered ? for your kindness? Your creativity? Your leadership? How about your family?  When people think of you, how will they express who you were in their life?

A Legacy is built year upon year.  As you respond to the changes and challenges of your life; you are building your legacy! As you choose your priorities and expenditures; you are building your legacy!

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A great expression of how to build a legacy is this:

“To focus on leaving a legacy ultimately reminds us that life is short.  Whether you get 40 years or 95, it is your responsibility to do the most with what you have, and leave this world a better place than you found it.  To do this, you need to discover and cultivate your gifts, take care of yourself to ultimately take care of others, and seek to impact as many people positively as you can.  A great goal is to leave this world and the people in it with a little more than when you got here, and never to rest until you have fulfilled that task.”  Training for Warriors

What do I hope for?  I hope to be remembered as someone who loved her family and friends. A person who loved God and made every effort to seek peace.  I pray I will be remembered as a woman who was “real” and allowed others to be real also. I pray that I will be remembered as a woman who cared for the hearts of women, young and old, and  I also hope that I will be remembered as a girl with “blingy clothes” 🙂

( I just added that!!)

Fortunately I still have today to make choices to have a legacy that matters! What about you? How to you want to be remembered?  Think about it, pray about it–then make choices towards your desired legacy!

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Powerful Thinking~

Thoughts are intensely powerful!  Our thoughts have the power to lift us up or to drag us down; they can inspire us or crush our spirits.  Our minds are always running like a clock runs on the wall; always ticking.

I’ve heard it said that “no one can be harder on you than you“, I am going to have to agree.  As humans we can have the tendency to think through a filter of fear, uncertainty, self doubt, or negativity causing our passions to be squelched and our joy to be hindered.

But, do we have to live life thinking this way?  I would have to say an emphatic “NO!” It is simply time to intentionally re-adjust our thinking patterns.  Negative thinking can be habit forming but so can positive thinking.  Training your mind to focus on what is good, to dream of possibilities, to reaffirm your talents to yourself, to capture all the many joys that can arise in a day will completely take your thinking in a new direction.

Proverbs 3:21-22 says; “Guard clear thinking and common sense with your life; don’t lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive.”

Author and painter Joni Eareckson Tada puts it into these words; ” No more imperfect thoughts. No more sad memories. No more ignorance. I have a redeemed body AND a redeemed mind! God grant me a foretaste of that perfect mind as you mirror your thoughts in me today.”

Our minds are powerful; God made them that way. It is our challenge to choose to direct our thinking towards hope, passion, joy and peace or to continue thinking through a negative filter.  This is one of the tasks no one can do for us.

Philippians 4:8

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Let Powerful thinking infuse you with joy today! 🙂