The Year of Me

I told myself when I turned 43 this past August that the upcoming year would be the year I started focusing more on myself and my well-being. Not that I will be neglecting my family or other obligations but at some point if you don’t take care of yourself you can no longer continue to take care of others, right? I had long ago stopped caring for myself in the best way possible, always putting myself on the back burner as most moms can relate to and allowing stress to take its toll.

But I made a promise myself to no longer do that as I dive into finding out what makes me happy and healthier. I am focusing on real change within my life, positive changes. And as I am doing this I am also modeling to my kids a good example of what it means to take care of yourself and hopefully I can be a motivation for others as well. I think new habits are hard to instill but the saying is true, if you do something for a few weeks it then becomes habit. I have done this with my eating habits and now it is like second nature to pick better, healthier choices.

I have also done this with exercise, I have come to enjoy my morning or evening walks. I now take the time to enjoy nature and soak in my environment. I am blessed to have some really nice walking trails where I live and along with those come some pretty amazing sunsets. Gosh if I think back to how many sunsets I missed out on before! I don’t think of exercise as punishment any longer, it is a gift I am giving myself because it will keep me healthy longer and it makes me feel stronger and more alive.

I am learning to enjoy reading and writing again as well. I had put those things of joy on the back burner for too long. I apologize to my followers for the long hiatus in between my posts. I let the craziness of life and busyness get in the way but you will be seeing much more from me in the future as I share my new journey with you to a better, happier and healthier me! I hope you come along for the ride!

My word for the year

I had been thinking a lot about happiness lately. Then I took one of those silly online quizzes that’s supposed to tell you what your “word” for the upcoming year is and guess what mine was, “happiness” so I think the universe is trying to tell me something so I started delving deeper into how to achieve happiness. This is definitely something I will be spending more time thinking about but this is what I have figured out so far for myself.

I don’t think it’s all that important to just only strive for happiness. I think a lot of people think that true happiness has to be this big, grand thing that happens to them and all of a sudden their life will be perfect. I think that is a dream and although it would be nice it is just a dream for most of us. What I have come to realize is that it is more important for me to figure out what is taking away my happiness in my life right now as a way to really become happier.

I have really started to look at happiness in a whole new light by simply asking myself some questions. What is it that bothers you? Who is it that bothers you? Or what is it that causes dread or anxiety for you? What are you putting off right now? I sat down last week and decided to start small and made a list of things that were keeping me from being happy in the moment and then set out to work on the list. Granted these things were not life changing in a big way but they were everyday things that needed to be dealt with such as dreaded chores and appointments that need to be made. Like I said not life changing things by any means but things that I had been dreading and made me feel unhappy every time that I even thought about having to do them. And I can tell you that I felt so much better and happier once the list was completed. These are the types of little every day things that can zap our happiness away from us.

Your list might be totally different. Maybe there is someone who is causing you unhappiness, a friendship that is no longer what it used to be or maybe there is a conversation you have been putting off having. Whatever it is, take some time and really think about what is causing you unhappiness right now and make a plan to take care of it so that you no longer have to feel uneasy every time you think about it and so that it no longer depletes your happiness.

Keep in mind that I never said this will be easy, even writing the list caused me anxiety. I am now working on my next list of things causing me unhappiness and I know this one will be much more difficult but there is more work to be done to become happier. There are things to get taken care of that I have been putting off for too long, things that will affect my long term happiness if I don’t handle them. I don’t want to live another moment with dread since I know that depletes happiness from my life.

I think when you look at happiness from this perspective it allows us to see we are all much more in control of whether or not we achieve true happiness on a daily basis than we ever thought we were before. Happiness is something we have to find for ourselves and within ourselves. It is not necessarily something external that just appears one day and then all of a sudden we are forever happy. We can learn to create our own happiness once we find out what is keeping us from being happy.

Do you need to start a list too? Don’t wait, I wish you much happiness!

 

 

Sometimes You Just Need a Minute..or two

Do you ever have one of those days when you just need to take a minute or two for yourself? Life has gotten to the point that you need your space, to be alone, to think, to cry, to pray, to just be. Amidst all the chaos of work, family, friends and obligations we all need that time every now & then. It does not mean that we are losing it or that we all of a sudden have lost all hope. It just means that we need to take a rest, a break, have some alone time even if it is just five minutes to regroup. Maybe we just need to go in a room alone and close the door and just be with our thoughts & feelings or maybe it means taking a long walk or drive by yourself.

And sometimes we really just need a good cry, to curl into a ball and let it all out. The tears can be cathartic in a sense, all the pent up issues, hurts, frustrations and disappointments are allowed to come out, to be released. There are time when we may just need to sit alone with our thoughts and turn them around. Maybe we have noticed that lately we are being too hard on ourselves or maybe we are allowing the negative thoughts take over and we need to get back on track.

Regardless of the reason or how you choose to spend the time the point is that sometimes we all just need a minute or two to ourselves. Then we can get up again, shake off the old, put back on that smile and move along. It’s as if the minute never happened. But it did happen and you are all the better for it, it is like going to a spa for your soul when you allow yourself a minute or two just for you, replenish yourself, refuel and start fresh. Tomorrow will thank you if you just take a minute or two today.

 

What If there is Not Enough Time?

I have so many things I want to do in this lifetime, don’t you? Things that I don’t want to miss, things I want to see or do, places to go. I have started to ask myself what if there is not enough time. I am not a spring chicken anymore! And I have to deal with pain in my body due to low back issues and a few other things that come with aging. What if my body stops me from being able to do the things I want to do? We are only given so much time in this lifetime, how can I possibly fit it all in?

I want to be as successful as possible in my career, I want to travel to far-away places, I want to retire at a home by the beach, I want to fall in love again someday, I want to build my own business, I want to write a book, I want to reach out and spread God’s word to the lost souls of the world. I want to volunteer and help the needy. I want to make a difference, leave my mark. I want to teach my children everything I know and more. I want to have my funeral planned so they never have to be concerned with that. I want to have time to just relax yet I want to keep going. I want to do it all but what if there is not enough years, or enough time? What if I miss out on something? What if I don’t get to see something amazing? What if I never find the love of my life?

Nobody really knows how much time we each have so I will choose now to live each day to its fullest, cup running over and not waste an ounce of time. I will try my best to get it all in while there is still time! And if I miss anything I am sure my place in heaven will be better than anything I might have missed on earth!

Leaving a Legacy

My daughter and I were looking through old photo albums today. She really enjoys seeing pictures of herself, her brother and her cousins as babies and toddlers. She can tell me the story for each picture before I even have the chance to say it anymore. Seeing the pictures brings her great joy and makes me nostalgic. After looking at the last album I started thinking about what my children might remember about me some day. If they don’t have a picture what would my stories say to them? Would they remember how much I adored them and wanted to protect them? Would they remember how I have always taught them to be kind first and not to criticize or judge others without reason? I want them to remember the things I have taught them, like teaching my son to be a gentleman and always treating a lady with respect. Teaching him to be sure of himself and not to say harsh things about himself. I want my daughter to remember she is beautiful just the way she is and that she is good enough just like God created her. For them both to remember always to hold their head high and be full of confidence even if you have to fake it until it comes. Most of all I want them to remember how much they were loved.

I want them both to remember the sacrifices that I willingly made for them, the way in which I worked hard to make a house a home wherever we lived and that there were times that I struggled to make ends meet but they never did go without the necessities. I want them to remember my work ethic and teaching them that if you want something bad enough that hard work and perseverance really does pay off, just stay the course.

I want to leave a legacy for my children, but not just a monetary legacy. I want to leave a legacy of love, hope and faith for them. That they will remember me and still feel the love that I had for them. I hope one day they will go through photo albums with their own children and tell them the stories that go with the pictures and that they will get as much joy from it as I did and it will fill them with hope for their futures. I hope that they have learned that faith is most important and that without it life is just a dull replica. I hope they know that my faith has got me through all these years with them even when it was hard and I just wanted to sit in a corner and cry, which I did sometimes after they were asleep.

I hope they remember my strength to keep pressing forward even when I was doing it all alone and there was no sign of help coming. I hope they know that my help did eventually come…from the Lord, that he was at my side through all the ups & downs and that they can call on him as easily as I did in times of need or just to give thanks. I hope they remember more than the stories from the pictures but that I will leave a legacy on their hearts. One of love, hope and faith. I think that is worth so much more than just a monetary legacy and that legacy will carry on through the generations.

The Importance of a Vision for Your Life

Would you ever go on a trip with absolutely no idea of where you are going and how you are going to get there? Would you have a baby with no preparation or planning, not buying a thing? I doubt it. Then how can you go through life without a vision or a plan? Forging blindly into each day with no clue why you are doing what you are doing or where you are going. Not knowing what you want to accomplish out of the day or week or month or lifetime. To me that is blind living which might work if you are a retiree and living on a beautiful beach somewhere without any obligations or very little responsibility….oh the life!

But back to reality, most of us need to have a vision for our future and by that I mean goals. They could be short-term goals such as wanting to lose 10 lbs. or wanting to save for a new outfit. But maybe the goals are more long-term, maybe you desire to buy a house in the future and need to make a plan to accomplish that. Maybe you want to move somewhere new and need a plan to make that happen. Regardless of what you desire in the future the surest way of getting there is to have a plan, create a vision in your mind. Imagine how it will feel to accomplish your goal. And write down that plan, keep a journal or a vision board, whatever works best for you. Make sure you look at it each day intentionally. Don’t just write it down and set it aside. Consciously think about your goals each day and look at them. Some people call this manifestation, which is thinking it into being and that the universe can bring into your life anything that you can imagine. I think that can certainly be true in most cases. I also think it is important to pray about your goals and your vision.

Start today, take some time to really think about your goals and the vision that you want for your life. Then write them down or create a vision board or scrapbook to capture images of what those visions look like. If you want a new house, think about that and cut out a picture of a similar house. If you want to find true love, write that down. Take some time to really acknowledge what you want to achieve or what your heart desires for your future.

I believe if you expect manifestations and blessings to happen that they will. But if you never give a thought or any effort towards your future plans or goals how do you expect them to happen? Take some time to focus on your goals, plan them, seek them and visualize them as if they already are. Know what you want and work towards those goals daily and see them come into fruition!

Your First Love

Have you ever heard the song by Whitney Houston “The Greatest Love of All”? I have lots of times but never really took the time to think about what it was saying until now. Each of us hope to find some great love and go walking into the sunset hand in hand someday. But before we can have that kind of great romantic love we have to first love ourselves. We have to put our own well-being first, we have to completely love who we are and know how special and wonderful we are. Maybe there are things we want to work on within ourselves and that is ok but we still have to love ourselves first, wholly, completely and with great passion. Love who you are! You are one of a kind and there is no other quite like you so don’t ever stop loving yourself. Don’t ever stop advocating for yourself, that is not being selfish, it is being smart and be true to who you are. Teach your children to love themselves as well as others.

When you love yourself first then you can then allow love from someone else into your life because you will then be in a place not to accept anything less than you absolutely deserve. You won’t want to allow someone into your life that treats you less than you deserve because you will be confident in who you are. It makes me cringe when I see people settle for just anyone to have someone by their side. They just don’t want to be alone, I think that is because they truly don’t love themselves enough. If you did you would not want to settle for anything less than what you truly deserve and were created for.

You deserve great love, but the best love of all is right within yourself, know that and don’t criticize yourself or allow yourself to be mistreated. You have to be your own first love and then your can love others better!

Waiting

We spend so much of our lives waiting. Waiting to live, waiting to die, waiting to love, waiting to try, waiting to move, waiting to explore, and waiting to take the first step…..waiting….waiting…..waiting. What are we telling ourselves that keeps us waiting all the time? Are we using the excuse that is not the “right time” to keep us from even trying and not daring to attempt whatever it is that our heart desires? What if it is never the “right time”?

Waiting too long is not good for the soul, it is not good for our lives to be in a hold pattern all the time. Our days on earth are limited and we are never promised tomorrow. What if tomorrow was your last day on earth and you had to look back with regret that you did not step out and do all the things that you desired to do or that you did not make use of all the gifts that God has blessed you with?

God wants us to live joy filled lives that are full to the max with all the things that our hearts desire as long as they line up with His word. He wants us to press forward and not be held back by anything or anyone. He wants the very best for His children. Although there are some special circumstances in which we may need to wait for His timing for the most part he does not want us to be in a miserable holding pattern. That is not God’s best for us.

Let us not wait for the perfect job, the perfect man, the perfect wife or the right time of the year to move forward. Let’s not wait until all the so called circumstances line up perfectly before we move forward with what our heart is calling us to do. Don’t wait for someone else to be ready, don’t wait for the perfect moment because there may never be one. If you are alone don’t wait until the perfect partner shows up to buy the house you really want or to take the vacation you have always dreamed of, do it now. If you are not happy in your job don’t wait, start looking around and see if something better or more fulfilling is out there, it just might be. The point is don’t sit in the waiting room any longer with no idea of when your name will be called!

Make a choice to make a change if your heart is telling you to do so. Dare to boldly take the first step of faith and decide to stop putting things off for another day, another week, another year. And if it doesn’t work out at least you will know that you tried, you gave it your best attempt.

Start to really live life today, pressing forward, seeking Him in all you do and He will be right with you with each step you take. Stop waiting and watch what God does for you along the way, it’s going to be amazing!

Mark 9:23

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

The Gifts

Romans 12:6

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

I think it is truly amazing how gifted some people are. Some people have the gift of art and can create beautiful drawings or paintings so easily. I can barely draw a stick man. Some people have the gift of their voice and can sing beautiful songs that can sometimes leave us spellbound with the poetry of their music. I love to sing but won’t be signing any record deals anytime soon. Some people can teach and can do so in a way that really inspires and motivates the student. I don’t think I have the patience or abilities needed to do that for very long.

Some people have been given the gift to act and have done so in movies that are sometimes forever etched in our minds. Their gift can leave us wanting more and allow us to believe we are truly watching something real. I can’t imagine being so talented. There are those who are blessed with being able to help others; the volunteers, aid workers or missionaries. I have compassion and truly want to help others but can’t always find a way to facilitate that passion into actually doing it.

I have come to realize that maybe my gifts are different. I don’t think that our gifts have to be something extraordinary that is world-changing or something that will make us famous.  They could be simple yet just as important to those close to you.

I have been given the gift of being a mother. I have been blessed with the gifts of guidance, love and patience that is needed to care for my children. Those gifts have given them the blessing of growing up with a mothers love and knowing how special they are and they can carry that into the world someday.

I would also like to believe that I have been given the gift of words. When writing I strive to use that gift to be able to reach people with my words, to help lift up someone who is feeling discouraged, to inspire someone or to be someone who others can relate to. And in person I like to speak words of encouragement and motivation when needed. I use the gift of words to pray for others. I believe I give people the gift of hope sometimes through words.

And if God wants to use me as a parent and a messenger of hope through my words and through being a good mother then surely those gifts are plenty enough. Take a moment today to think about the gifts God has blessed you with.

Pressing On

Each of us have to endure hardships in some form. Mine may look different than yours but they are difficult for each of us. We don’t always get the life we dreamed of or hoped for or even if we are content with our life we still face difficult times. Those times I believe are what makes us or breaks us, those of us that are strong will endure and press on. We see the struggle but we don’t break because of the struggle. We lean in, buckle down and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I think that it is true that God  knows what each of us can or cannot endure, he knows what will make us stronger, teach us lessons that we may need to learn or prepare us for a future battle that we may have to endure for ourselves or maybe to  help someone else with their difficulties.

If anyone can teach us a lesson about pressing on and enduring it is Jesus. He bore the cross with the weight of all sin. Can you imagine that along the way he must have wanted to give up, just call it quits and be done? But that was not what he was made of, he had within him the strength to keep going and to endure whatever hardship he was predestined for. God knew he could handle it. He had to have looked ahead and known the benefits of the hardships, he had to have known this was all going to be worth it in the end. He drew strength from his own self, I can imagine what he must have been saying to himself. I might have been something like this “I can do this”, I will never be given more than I can handle”, I am well able and well equipped to be able to endure”, “I am a warrior” or “I am a victor and not a victim”.

In the mist of our dilemmas we have to believe we will make it through and that we will come out stronger, better and victorious. Or even if the difficulty is beyond something you can fathom getting through and can’t imagine how on earth it can be for your good, at least know that you have the strength to keep pressing on and to get through it. You just have to take a step each day, not a leap and just put one foot in front of the other and keep pressing forward. You are stronger than you think, you are well able and you got this!

Press on.my friend