Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Moving Along

Have you ever felt like something isn’t quite right, yet there is nothing in particular that is wrong?  Do you ever feel like you are in a hurry, yet you aren’t exactly sure where you are going?  Do you ever feel tempted to rush or force the process of life in your eagerness to move things along?  Have you ever found yourself distracted or worried about what lies ahead of you and forget about what lies within?  Do you ever feel like you should be lighting the world on fire, yet you are missing your usual spark? Have you ever felt a bit disconnected from your “normal” self, and you can’t quite put your finger on why?   Or maybe, you know exactly why you are feeling this way, but you are puzzled to know what you need to do to move forward and bounce back to the self you better identify with. 

In our eagerness to reach the destinations that we have in mind, it can be easy to forget that life is indeed a process.  Rather than being the final destination that we often think it is, life really is a series of stages, phases, and transitions.  It is a journey, just as I have said so many times before. Yet, so often, we lose sight of the path that we are on, and we forget to appreciate our current surroundings.  It is so easy to become distracted by stress or frustration, fear or uncertainty, eagerness or excitement.  We get bogged down by what may lie ahead of us, worry about what we cannot control, and fail to accept and appreciate the place that we currently are in.  We forget that simply moving forward is often enough. 

Now and then, it serves us well to be reminded that we really do have time to figure out where we are going, and that we will get there in due time.   That "even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".  And that taking one step, no matter how big or small, no matter the direction or where it leads, will always keep us moving.  And movement, no matter the pace, is progress. 

So today, I encourage you to enjoy your current position in life.  Engage in a bit of mindfulness and consider where you are, how you got there, and what purpose it serves for you at this time.  Let go of what is not working for you, accept and release what you cannot control, and have faith that as long as you continue to look inward and move onward, the pieces of life will continue to fall into place.


Friday, February 24, 2012

You tried to kill yourself??

You want to die? Many people right now are asking why.

Your mom and your sister are terrified and mad, crying or yelling or maybe both and they are asking why. Your friends are pacing with disbelief. They are searching their mind for ways to help and are asking why. Why did you do this? Why do you want to die?

How can you possible think this is the answer to your problems? Strike that… because it is an answer but how dare you to think you can just walk out on everyone. You have people in your life whether you want them there or not. You don’t have a choice in it. Telling them to go away, leave you be, and thinking they all would be better off without you is not going to lessen the pain that you will cause if you murder yourself!

Stop lying to the doctors, your family and yourself. Admit that you tried to end your life and let them help you.

I get it. You don’t want help. All you want is to end your pain. You want to die but you know what you don’t get to. You don’t have that choice.

I wish you could feel my heart for one day. Then you would have an idea what this decision would do to those around you. You would understand how even though you see me and think “she’s ok, she got over her brother suicide” you would learn that is how I’m seen on the outside. If you could get in and take a look you would see the gaping wound within me. The injury that will never heal… my brother did that.

Removing yourself from the lives of those that care about you doesn't relieve them from the problems that you think you’re the cause of now. Killing yourself will cause so much pain and guilt that any inconvenience you may be causing your family and friends now would be longed for. I so wish I could have my brother back at his worse…

I beg you, stop this. Turn and go the other way. There is a different way. There is help and it does work! If you don’t find worth in living for yourself then live for the lives that are attached to yours. Because you will hurt them and that hurt will remain forever! Life is not about how fast you can run or how high you can climb but how well you rebound. Your life means something!

Lord Jesus: we ask that you help everyone who is suicidal.
Guide them so they may receive the help that they need.
Protect them.
Prevent them from dying by suicide.
We need them. We love them.
Let them feel our love, and your love, Lord Jesus.
Provide them with everything that they need Lord.
Ease their pain.
Give them hope.
Give them comfort.
Give them guidance.
Help them heal.
And help them in every way possible.
Embrace them, Lord Jesus, with your love.
We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen.

Hugs to you friend, I'm here and I care ~Sara

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What is Your Tree Branch?

Before you read any further, consider the following story: 

"A man is who is being chased by a tiger leaps off a cliff in an effort to escape.  Fortunately, a tree growing from the side of the cliff breaks his fall, and he is able to grab hold, hang on, and save his own life.  Dangling from the tree, he feels his grip loosen and becomes terrified that he will fall to his death.   He looks up, only to see the angry tiger pacing at the edge of the cliff, waiting to devour him.  As he looks down, he sees only jagged rocks, hundreds of feet below.  In desperation, he yells out, "Help! Someone, please help me!"  Out of nowhere, the man hears a voice responding, "Yes?  I can help."  The man replies, "God, is that you? Please help me! I'll do anything!"  The voice answers, "Okay, then simply let go."  The man pauses to think for a moment.  Unsure of what to do, he asks, "Is anyone else there?"

…Sometimes, especially in the face of fear, letting go of what feels like our saving grace is the last thing that we feel comfortable doing.  Instead, we desperately hang on to things that may or may not serve us well, clinging to the hope that they will provide us with what we need.  Quite often, these things are difficult to release from our lives because our identities are attached to them.  They help us cope, give us control, and are very intimate parts of who we are.  Indeed, some of these things may serve us well.  Yet, it seems that we tend to cling to things that are not as fulfilling as we may think, merely providing us with a false sense of security, numbing our discomfort, and perpetuating a foggy life.

As you read this, I encourage you to think about what it is that you are hanging on to.  Ask yourself, what is the tiger that is chasing you?  What is it that scares you?  What part of yourself seems too ingrained to let go of?  And what purpose does that serve you?  Can you imagine a life without that tree branch?  Can you visualize the liberation you might feel if you freed yourself from that burden?  Or perhaps, it is not something that you need to let go of, and it is instead something you need to embrace or seek out.  If that is the case, what is holding you back from your search?  What are you resisting?  What is frightening about embracing that certain something?  Can you imagine how you might feel, how your life might look, if you were let go of certain parts of your life and allow yourself to embrace others?

Of course, this act of letting go of what we know and embracing the unfamiliar is easier than said than done.  Quite often, it feels counterintuitive and frightening to let go of the tree that we are clinging to so tightly and fall into the wilderness of ourselves.  But to hang on to these empty promises and resist our experiences is to avoid and resist life. 

So today, I encourage you to take a step toward letting go so that you may embrace something better.  Muster up the courage that it takes to have faith in yourself, and trust that you will unearth beautiful things as you are falling free. Trust that you possess what it takes to land firmly on your feet or grow the wings that you need to explore new heights. 


Friday, February 17, 2012

"Out of this world!"

THE BIBLE: It tops the best seller lists every year. Nothing beats it. Even though the bible is illegal in parts of the world, sales are more than 100 million every year.

I came across this break down of the Holy Book, it’s so interesting and very amazing how the Bible came together.

The Bible is not just one book, but a whole collection! There are 66 books split into two sections. 39 in the first largest part, called the OLD TESTAMENT. And the second part, the NEW TESTAMENT has 27.
The OLD TESTAMENT covers a sweep of history, from the creation of the world, to about 400 BC. Its books include poetry and history, prophecy and law. But they all tell the story of God's relationship with his people.
The NEW TESTAMENT covers the amazing life of Jesus, and what followed on. There are four accounts
of Jesus' life, called the 'Gospels', written by those who knew Him. Then, in the book called 'Acts' there is the story of how His followers carried His message around the world. Letters to Christian groups follow, many of them written from prison. Finally, some amazing, often frightening, predictions about the end of the world. And the start of something better.
The Bible is unique. Why?
It was written over a period of 1600 years.
Written by more than 40 authors of every sort - kings, poor people, fishermen, poets, government officials, teachers, prophets.
Written in three languages.
Written on three continents - Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Is there any other book in daily use by millions of people, around the world, parts of which were written over 3000 years ago, yet which still speaks to us today? There are other writings as old as this, but they are all in museums, and have no relevance to the world today!There are about 6,800 distinct languages in the world, the Bible has been translated (at least in part) into around 3000 of those languages?

Reading the bible is challenging for me, I find it complicated to understand. I presume that is why it’s called bible study. Pastor Paul’s emails are a big help to me. Some of them are complicated as well but one thing I’ve learned is each time I read a passage it can speak to me differently from the time before. This depends on many things. What I’m going through at that moment, that day, that week and if I’m thinking of a certain person(s) or a certain situation and so on. This book was definitely not intended to be read once.

Following our prayer for this week is one of Pastor Paul’s emails. I found some clarity receiving it. I find it amazing how over six different authors at different points of time are all sharing the same meaning. I thank God for this because it takes all of them for me to find understanding in that one message.

Prayer for the week: Lord every one of us is looking for hope. Hope that there is reason for this life and reason to continue to do our best with what this life hands us. We pray that though our daily lives distract us and take up most of our attention that we are making our lives count for eternity. To know we can and should come to you for everything. To understand the deepest love of the entire world is not of this world but from He who created it. We fall to our knees in thanksgiving for your mercy on us and that grace is with us all. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen


A Few Minutes in the Word of God with Pastor Paul:
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV) 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
All of us look for what is real.
- We want real evidence for real truth in the real world.
- We want what is dependable and sure.
Real faith is not just something we feel.
- “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, `Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15‑16).
- The Apostle John speaks of this too... “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (I John 3:17).
- Emotions are not equal to faith.
... Real faith is practical and acts.
... Real faith is generous.
(*) Real faith is not just something we think.
Real faith is not just something we believe.
- “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder!” (James 2:19).
- To “shudder” is to bristle or have our hair stand on end.
- The old question holds true today: “Would there be enough evidence to arrest us for being a Christian?” – As a child, I used to sing “If you’re saved and you know it then your life will surely show it!”
Real faith is something we do.
- Real faith is not developed by what we do... Real faith is demonstrated by what we do.
- The Apostle Paul writes: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves!” (II Corinthians 13:5).
- The Bible says that God is in control of the seasons of our lives ‑ we’re not.
... If we will accept that, life will be better understood and easier to adapt.
... If we chose to reject that, life can and does get bitter with a history of questions and un-fulfillment.
- Many folk fall prey to the notion that life is just too much and struggle to find hope. – The writer of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon of old, and one of the wisest men anyone will meet observed: “What does the worker gain from his toil, I have seen the burden God has laid on men” (Ecclesiastes 3:9).
(*) Secondly, we should live trusting God with the outcome (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
- God can make every season of life beautiful and fulfilling, in its own time. – He handles everything with the end in mind.
... “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
... “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
... “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
... “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11b).
- Give serious thought to this statement: “Eternal desires can only be satisfied by Eternal God.”
- A spiritually minded person will conclude that life here on earth is not about getting ahead but getting prepared for eternity.
(*) So then, we choose to live abundantly within God’s boundaries.
- “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil ‑ this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13).
... “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
... “Let your light shine before Me, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
... “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).
- When Jesus is at the center of our lives, He changes the way we think and act.
- In taking this position in our earthly life, we don’t waste our time living outside the boundaries that God has set for us to live successfully here, even if it is finding success over a God-mandated trial.
- If we find ourselves living a mundane, boring and dull life, or a very frustrating, agitated and always on edge kind of life, then something or someone else is at the center of our life-style because, as God’s Word says, Jesus came that we may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
(*) Then fourthly, we are found living with the future in mind” (Ecclesiastes 3:15).
- “... God will call the past to account (Ecclesiastes 3:15).
- “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
- “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation…” (II Corinthians 6:2).
Our Final Thoughts:
(*) In all reality, we have 60, 70, 80, or perhaps 90 years here on earth and then we move into oblivion or eternity.
- The Bible indicates we are not given this eternal life by faith and our works, but we are given eternal life by a faith that works.
- May we make our lives count for eternity!
(*) The best use of our time is to deepen our devotion to Jesus the Christ, and to point others
to His free gift to all who desire to receive it. – The reward is “out of this world!”

For those interested in receiving Pastor Paul's messages, please e-mail Pastor Paul (pastorpaul@willmarag.org) and mention you would like to be included.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Positive Lent

As many of you probably know, this year’s Lent season begins on February 22, 2012.  Traditionally, many of us honor Lent by making a sacrifice of some sort, abstaining from something, fasting, or removing something that we will miss during the 46 days leading up to Easter.  Ideally, the commitments that we make as we honor Lent are made with self-improvement in mind, as we look within ourselves and discover what we may do to better ourselves and our lives as a whole. 

As I was doing some reading regarding spiritually and Lent, I came across a very interesting article that suggested an alternative approach to this time of year.  The article, written by a certain Reverend James Martin, suggested that those who acknowledge the Lenten season should abstain from fasting this year and instead do something, which he refers to as celebrating a positive Lent. 

Specifically, followers are encouraged to practice a “positive” Lent  rather than a “negative” one that emphasizes sacrifice and abstinence, by taking the time to do something good, or as he writes, to “bother to love”. Instead of giving up behaviors or habits that you are trying to kick anyway, why not focus on doing something positive for yourself, or more importantly, for others? Call a friend in need. Visit someone who you know is lonely. Donate your time to something you feel passionate about. Engage in a random act of kindness. Just do something that is good. Bother to show your love.

Reverend James quotes Jesus in the Gospel, saying “It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice.” So whether you are Christian or not, why not take the words of Jesus literally? Bother to share the love that has filled your heart.  Show compassion and mercy to those you encounter.  Pay attention to your loved ones, and bestow the gifts of lovingkindness upon them. Be good to yourself, embrace your own goodness, and allow others to do the same for you.

Perhaps celebrating a positive Lent is something that you are not quite ready for.  Perhaps you prefer a more traditional approach to the season, and you look forward to honoring the holiday in a way that is more familiar to you. Perhaps, you do not celebrate the season at all.  And if that is the case, that is okay.  As for me, though, I feel that a positive Lent is well worth my consideration, because, just as Buddha said, "Kindness is my religion".

So, if you feel moved to do so, take the opportunity that is this Lenten season, and invest your energies in doing something positive.  Be kind.  Do good.  Bother to show your love. 


Saturday, February 11, 2012

"How Deep is the Sea?"

Questions, life is full of questions. Everyday questions, big questions, little questions, life changing questions, more than one answer questions, I could go on and on.

“I love coming here because I get to ask lots of questions” says Diamante my step-niece. She is (was) Adam’s step-daughter. After he passed away she and my two nephews have been spending one night every week with Chris and I. The questions start as soon as the visits and right up to bringing them to school the next morning.

This week she asked “how deep is the sea?” I said “I don’t know, Google what’s the deepest point of the ocean.” Of course she came back with “what’s the difference between the sea and the ocean?” I pulled sometime out of my butt (as Adam called it when I was guessing but not letting on that I was) and said “the sea is closer to land and the ocean is the larger water between continence.” We did Google it later and I was mostly right… see Adam.

Daunte who is 6 and Talon who is 3 were playing under my bed and found a box of Adam pictures. Daunte, with a disgusted look on his face asked “why do you have pictures of MY daddy?” I responded with a smile and “because he’s my brother and I love him.” He followed up with “can I have them?” Daunte doesn’t really care to share his daddy. He’s 6 and just lost his dad, of course he’s going to feel that way.

When bedtime comes around we read and pray. The book Diamante and I are now reading is Cross Purposes. It (not that she needs couching for a question) brings up questions about God, Jesus and faith vs. religion. She comes up with some doozies! Some I answer by saying “I believe or I feel”… there are always questions that I say “I don’t know, I’ve never thought to ask that one.” Last night she came back with “why not, don’t you want to know?”

After saying her prayers, I left her room with tears in my eyes for the reason that she had told me… “You know Sara, Adam dying brought me two good things. Coming here and wanting to know more about God.” (I couldn’t have said it better myself Mante.)

When I was her age or maybe younger, I remember asking my Grandma a question about God. I think it’s safe to say, at the time my grandma didn’t know the answer because she came back with “we don’t question God!” I believe, deep in my heart God wants us to ask questions about him. He wants us to know him and asking questions is how we do that.

Questioning things is how we seek for the truth. So many times in life we get stuck in knowing just what we know. We grow to fit in the small part of the world we live in and sometimes we just don’t have a desire to expand. It’s comfortable.

Today I’m looking at it like this. A few years ago, Chris the wonderful husband he is, built me a large standing cage for my pet snakes. This is a big deal because he doesn’t care much for snakes. Before he built it I had two corn snakes living in a small fish aquarium. They weren’t cramped but they wouldn’t grow much more in the space they were living. Now that they have been moved to the larger cage they have grown about three feet longer. The point I’m trying to make is we get to decide how big our cage is. Our cage is our mind. Our cage is our thoughts. Our cage is the amount of knowledge we hold. Asking questions about any subject is how we grow, how we develop. Uncovering truths is how we expand in life, in the love for ourselves and in the love for what Jesus Christ did for each and every one of us.

“My friends, may you grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ...” 2 Peter 3:18

Prayer for the week: God of Light and Truth, thank you for giving us a mind that can know and a heart that can love. Help us to keep learning everyday of our lives, for all knowledge leads to you. Let us be aware of your presence in all things and at all times. Grant us the grace to put our mind to use exploring the world you have created, confident that in you there’s a wisdom that is real. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Journey of a Thousand Miles...

I recently had the good fortune to meet with a group of young women and talk with them about teen pregnancy and single motherhood.  This topic is one that is near and dear to my heart because of my own experiences as a single teen mom. 

As I spoke with the girls, I could not help but reflect on that period of my life.  As I look back on those years, I cannot help but to acknowledge the pain and hardship that I felt as I made my way through life as an eighteen year-old mother.  Yet, as I reflect, I also feel gratitude for the beauty that my children have brought in to my life, and appreciation of the transformation that I began when I first became a mother nearly ten years ago. 

Becoming a mother at such a young age was incredibly difficult. I was lonely much of the time, as I often felt stuck between the two worlds of motherhood and adolescence.  There were many times that I felt lost and scared, unsure of how my life was going to unfold.  And I was often overwhelmed by the adult-like responsibilities I had taken on myself when I decided to become a parent. Yet, becoming a mother at such a young age was by far one of the most incredible things to ever happen to me. I experienced for the first time a love that I was sure would make my heart burst. A pleasure never known to me until I took delight in the tiny person that is my son. A sense of pride, confidence, and self-efficacy that stemmed from turning worldly obstacles into personal triumphs.  And a rewarding fulfillment that could have only come from journey that I had embarked on with my son.

Do you have any journeys like that in your own life? The kind that feels nearly unbearable in its pain? The kind that you aren’t exactly sure how you accomplished what you did? The kind that taught you some of the most valuable life lessons you have ever learned? The kind that, despite the hardship, you would never ever trade for the world? I am willing to bet that in one way or another, you do.  In fact, you might even have more than one.  

However painful those journeys may be been, or still are, for that matter, I am willing to bet that they are also some of the most meaningful experiences you have ever had. They are so meaningful because, in the face of hardship, you have flourished. Your light shone through the darkness because, at some point, you decided that it would. You decided that you will not be overcome by your hardship, and instead you persevered through the best and the worst of your journey. 

These journeys are so meaningful, not only because they have shown us what we are made of, but because they have helped us transform into the beautiful people that they are today.  As you reflect on these journeys today, I encourage you take time to appreciate the hardship that you overcame.  But more importantly, embrace who you are because of them, and cherish the unexpected blessings and beauty that they brought you as well.   

Friday, February 3, 2012

The (Beautiful) Sound of Silence

I have been wanting to get more involved with Wings of hope for a long time.  I think that the organization promotes a lot of inspiration.  Anyways, our one and only, Sara said I could start by blogging if I was interested.  I will give it a shot, but promise it will be my last if there is no need to go further.  Here goes nothing ;)

            Most days driving in my car, I get a chance to sing out my emotions.  This morning I tried but was unsatisfied with the songs played by the radio stations and my CD player.  I didn’t get the chance, but was craving the song, “Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel. I find reason for every type of music that helps me display my deepest thoughts and feelings, but have an even deeper connection with Simon & Garfunkel. I was informally introduced to them by my now deceased twin brother Mitchell Callenius Tokach. Mitch loved the band so when I hear their music it makes me think of him.

 A little disappointed I didn’t physically hear the song I was craving; I got to the school parking lot, turned the key to turn off my engine, and sat.


The lyrics came inside my head as I sang them within myself, “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again; because a vision softly creeping, left it’s seeds while I was sleeping, and the vision that was planted in my brain still remains within the sound of silence.”

As the lyrics crept inside my head my attention splattered priceless movements of Mitchell memories through my brain.  First I saw his ravishing smile, then his hairy chest, his broken crooked pinky finger, his crazy horse hair with a tilted hat, his smoky colored white sox with blue jean shorts.  I envisioned him reaching his arms out to me for a big “Mitchell bear hug.”  He had the biggest smile of happiness without any worry glued to his face.  I began to have a reminiscing memory party with myself.  I saw him side by side with my high school sweetheart at one of my dance line competitions.  I saw him with a miller light can in his hand ready to take on a Saturday night.  I saw him dancing with his new angel friend Adam.  I remembered Last December I asked those boys for some help and my soul busted with appreciation of direction from angels above.          

I was distracted by a cold, damp tear that ever so slightly fell below my lower eyelid.  After a deep breath in, I released my air and took a peek at the clock and figured I should get into the library so I could study for my test.  Ten minutes.  All I took was ten minutes of silence out of my morning and got to see my unforgettable Twin brother and then some.  A sign of recognition that I have angels on my side, and I feel blessed God gave me the gift of Mitchell.

Deep breath and on with my day I entered the library. As I was studying for my test, I came across a nonverbal therapeutic communication technique that can be very effective.  It offers some time after the sender provides information for the receiver to interpret and organize the message before reply.  The technique used was silence.  It is hard in our world sometimes because the sender has a chance of slight anxiety from the receiver not replying right away, but I think silence could be a better way to relay a message when: we are unsure of what someone is talking about, a topic is hard to talk about, or we feel a need to reply back in rage.  In return silence can help us reply back the correct words to help us get our point across, silence can help us have empathy towards a hurting friend, and silence can help us avoid hurtful words towards one another.

Weather your faced with daily life that seems to go by so fast you can’t even remember what day it is ~or~ your faced with a difficult conversation, maybe you want to try soaking in some Silence.  You might not like what comes to your mind, and if you don’t, you have a choice to cover and hide those thoughts again or deal with them so they don’t someday hit you like a ton of bricks.  You might enjoy every second the silence brings you.  If all your ducks are in a row, simply take time in silence to be thankful for the great blessings you have been delivered.  You don’t have to be grieving for silence to help you.  That was just my example, but I have also used silence to have a sense of being.  Sometimes life can feel like it’s the “same stuff different day” and I as a human crave the satisfaction of acceptance, life worth, and a string of “everything will be o.k.”  Taking even ten minutes out of your day to have silence to help you actually take a breath and reflect may help you realize you are good.  You are beautiful.  Life is messy, but it yours.  Own it.  Be not afraid of the fears your silence may make you encounter.  Embrace whatever message the silence delivers.

Take time for yourself: Take time for your silence.

“Silence like a cancer grows, hear the words that I might teach you, and take my arms that I might reach you, but my words, like silent raindrops fall, and echo in the wells of silence”


Thursday, February 2, 2012

What do you want to be?

As kids we're asked “so what do YOU want to be when you grow up?” When I ask kids this I see a sparkle in their eye as they announce “I want to be a doctor or I want to be a football player.” Their answer may have come from a suggestion, “if you like animals you should be a veterinarian” or maybe mom or dad is a doctor or maybe their answer is all because of a movie they watched about astronauts. As a kid our answer is about the excitement and the adventure to pretend. Our imaginations have no limits.

As teens we're asked the question like this, “So what do you want to do WITH your life.” That sparkle as a kid turns into feelings of pressure and stress. “How am I going to make a living?” “What kind of life am I going to build?” Pressure to figure life out. What collage to go to, what to major in and how to pay for it. As a teen our answer to this question is over shadowed by the many things that need to be planned, that need to happen, and that need to be done to move forward in life. When I was a teen I was so busy my imagination was left without much attention.

When the stage of our lives turn to getting up for work every day, paying our bills and tending to our daily chores our excitement to turn personal dreams into goals feels like...well work. It seems that as we grow for many of us our imaginations fade. Some will go through life holding a variety of jobs. Some will pick and stick with a career. But is there really a point in one’s life when you stop asking yourself “what do I want to be?” For most of us that “question” never really seems to be satisfied. What answer would satisfy it? What need are we deep down wanting to fulfill? Can anyone ever truly say they are content at any stage of live?

As I ask myself, I discover it’s all in how I look at the question. What I “do” to earn a living is not the answer at all to “What do I want to be?” What kind of job I hold may have some say on my bank statement but its how I see myself and feel about myself that has a real chance to satisfy my hearts desires. I’m realizing an inner need to inspire myself and this inner need wants tending to. It is the type of person I am that truly gives me drive and purpose to get out of bed every morning. The more I aim to spread kindness and compassion the more that old sparkle shines though. Do good, feel good...right?! Right now. It’s this moment that I must live in.

“Many of the things we desire are expensive. But the truth is the things that really satisfy us are totally free: love, laughter, and good relationships.”

I found this list of questions awhile back when researching for Wings of Hope. I find them also helpful for finding personal purpose.

Here are some potent questions to get you started:
· What do you teach others simply by being you?
· What would you spend your time on, even if you didn’t get paid to do it?
· What do you find yourself researching and can’t stop yourself from learning more about?
· Is there anything you would consider yourself an expert in? If not, is there anything you’d like to be an expert in?
· What gifts do you have that you’d like to make available to the world?
· What do you want to change?
· What lessons do you often find yourself repeating in life?
· How does your purpose impact your local community? How does it impact your family? Your friends? The world?

What does your tribe (the people you most connect with) look like? What do you identify with on a collective level?
· What legacy do you want to leave behind when you’re gone?

Have you asked yourself... “Do I have purpose?” Because when you stop and think about it, purpose does make life pretty amazing. Remember that even if you’re thinking big, it’s the small things you do every day that make a difference.

Fearlessly walk your path.

Prayer for the week: God You have a divine purpose and design for everything. Rain and snow give water to the earth, bringing forth new Life. Because of this we can eat and drink; in turn, we give You thanksgiving. God, we know You made us on Purpose. This we are certain. We are here on Purpose for You, to do Your Will. Our desire is to please You, to follow You. Our minds are open, our hearts are willing and our bodies are able. Ever Loving Father, we ask you to fill our spirit with Your Holy Spirit so that we may hear and see; do and speak what is pleasing to You. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Three C's

As a life and wellness coach, one of the many things that I do on a regular basis is help my clients as they implement positive changes in their lives.  The changes that are made look different for each and every client, of course, but there is always one common denominator in the work that they do:  They must take it upon themselves to change something that they are thinking, feeling, or doing in order to feel more satisfied with themselves and the lives that they lead.  Most simply stated, they must have the courage to make a choice, or their life will never change.

And these choices, this change does indeed take courage.  As I have said many times in previous columns, change is rarely easy.   Change can be scary.  Change can be confusing.  And sometimes, change is none of these things and it is just different.  When we have been doing things “our way” for so long, it is not easy to relinquish our perception of control, to ask for help, and to simply imagine doing things differently than we have done before, much less knowing what to do and actually following through with it. 

And because of the difficulty that often accompanies change, I am continuously moved by the courage that people display as they make new choices in hopes of bettering themselves.  To take their lives into their own hands and create their own destiny. To show vulnerability as they share their stories.  And to ask for help, guidance, and gentle direction as they move forward.  I admire their willingness to face uncertainty and try to do something differently.  I am proud of them when they display new insight and awareness as they learn things about themselves, change their perspective, and turn obstacles into triumphs.  I am excited for them when I see that they have made a conscious decision to create happier, healthier lifestyle, and begin making positive changes that support their choice to do so.

I have the utmost appreciation for people that live with such intention because of the courage that is required to do so.  Because of the leap of faith they are taking.  The acceptance that has been displayed.  The willingness to falter, be imperfect, and rise above their struggles.  And the bravery it takes to do all these things while also being just who they are and aspiring to evolve.

Just as I said last week, the journey of life does not happen in our comfort zone.  There are times in our lives that we will have the courage to make the choice to venture out to unknown territory and test our limits.  Times that we bravely learn what we are made of and discover who we are and what incredible feats we are capable of.  Times that we boldly move forward, making the decision to change our lives for the better.