One Minute to Contemplate

When I’m at home in my oh-so-familiar surroundings, the busyness of life so easily captures my attention and it’s easy to succumb to it. I find myself being pulled here and pushed there, sometimes swimming upstream against the current, at other times I’m carried by the strong undertow of today’s fast-paced world.  Occasionally I’m running down several paths at once, caught up in the doing this or that, and going hither and thither. 

Can you relate?   Continue reading →

If You’re Standing Still You Aren’t Moving!

Sometimes the simplest of things have the most profound impact on us!

For example, look carefully at the graphic above, and read the caption several times. It clearly states the obvious! The trees are standing still, so they’re not moving.  In fact they are rooted into the ground and there they will stay.

No kidding … we all know that, right?

It’s a known fact that trees don’t have legs or wheels so they can’t walk or roll away. Unless they are uprooted and physically moved by a violent act of nature or intentional human effort, they are not moving from their spot. They perpetually stand still.

Did you notice the longer you stared at the picture and the more times you read the caption, the greater it impacted you … and the deeper your level of understanding?

Weird isn’t it?  With a cursory glance, I suspect you concluded it’s rather silly to put two thoughts together that mean the same thing and are SO apparent. After all, if you’re not moving you’re clearly standing still … in the same way, if you’re standing still, you’re not moving!  

But that’s why stating the obvious is so powerful. It has impact. I want it to have an impact.  To make a lasting impression.  

Sometimes simplicity rules.

I’ve noticed that often we humans, like trees, stand still and don’t move.  I don’t mean we’re not walking around … I mean we aren’t moving forward in our job, our growth, our life … were stuck in one boring spot … rooted to our own comfort level, or frozen in fear, complacency or confusion. 

The other observation?  With a few exceptions {of course there always are some} the majority of people are not happy when they’re standing still.  Progress matters to human beings … even a tiny little bit.  We don’t take well to being stuck in a rut. 

So how do you break out of the rut?  How do you get moving again? The answer is in the picture. It’s embedded in the caption.  So often though, we can’t see the forest for the trees … or we over complicate the situation. We overthink it.  That’s when stating the obvious is helpful. It’s a bit like underlining capital letters.  Annoying but effective!

The answer is simple. Stop standing still and get moving!

Move and you’ll stop standing still! 

“If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree”  ~  Jim Rohn

Creating New is Easy!

Life is a beautiful thing! Do you agree? Just look at the magnificent tree I caught on camera in Cornwall 10 years ago.

I have no idea its age, but it has seen many years of life. Its height and breadth took my breath away … a 6 ft man {the white dot to the right of its trunk} is dwarfed under its massive, spreading canopy of leaves. Leaves that have provided shade and shelter to many a traveler through the ages. Its gnarled and twisted branches reveal struggles it endured to withstand a multitude of environmental and seasonal challenges. 

Yet here it is! Planted solid in all its glory. Stately, strong and majestic.  A testament to time. One of God’s magnificent creations. Standing beneath this tree, looking skyward in wonder, my senses were engulfed in the rustling motions of it’s millions of leaves.  I listened as they sung their enchanting song and danced in response to the gentle sea breeze that day … and I marveled at its beauty, power, perseverance … its long life!

This tree has a history!

Oh!  The stories it could tell. The wisdom it could impart. How did it thrive when others {more recently planted} have long since fallen by the way, succumbed to disease, the elements of nature, or withered and died in their struggle to survive?

How much joy has this tree bestowed over the years, to how many children {and adults} who accepted the challenge to climb it’s branches to new heights? How many lovers might have carved {or been tempted to carve} a heart with their initials and love notes, now concealed deep within and beneath its toughened ancient bark?   

This particular tree made a lasting impression upon me, so it was easy to recall its image when I happened on this quote.  I am uncertain to whom I give credit as there seem to be conflicting ideas on its origin. If you know, please enlighten me.

“Creating new is easy!
Creating something lasting is the challenge.”

This got me thinking about the way life is today. More often than not it’s easy come, easy go.  Of course, there are always exceptions, but this seems to be a trend.  The days of staking a claim and toughing it out to create something lasting is so yesterday! Instead, we tend to eagerly drop whatever or whoever and jump ship as frequently as we change underwear. Well, not really, but as fast as time flies and as often as things change, it seems that way.

Do you ever wonder about this trend?

Sometimes we just aren’t strong enough to weather the challenges of life.  The twists and turns thrown our way – the unexpected arrows aimed at us, so we seek asylum from the pain!  Maybe we’re tired of the monotony and ho-hum of a boring life … or we flee from uncomfortable situations in search of peace and quiet, or reduced stress. We simply can’t weather the storms of life.

Then there are times we’re happily trucking along, satisfied where we are and what we’re doing … doo-dee-doo-dee-doo … when BOOM … out of the blue appears an exciting new shiny distraction that catches our attention and we simply can’t resist its lure, so away we go in hot pursuit of a more stimulating adventure.

It comes down to this. 

It is in our society to hop from one thing to another, especially when the challenges appear … which they always do in anything and everything. Lol! Shiny objects grab our attention and we’re off to the next best thing, dazzled by the “new and exciting”, attracted by the “different”, seduced by the promise of “better”, convinced by an expectation of “more” and ever hopeful of “easier”.

It’s so easy to create something when it’s new because we’re living on an adrenaline rush! It’s like a drug! A new addiction!  It’s titillating,  it’s exciting and different … and {for a while} it gets our blood pumping and our heart racing so we’re filled with a wild kind of energy, a deepened resolve and heightened dreams that fuel us into frenetic action! 

Creating something lasting on the other hand is not always as exciting as when it’s brand new. There are times of triumph and elation of course, but mostly it’s more of the same year after year. It’s building a strong foundation, growing deep roots, dealing with the challenges of daily life and staying the course. This requires unshakable belief and commitment, the ability to gain strength from the challenges, knowing in your heart that weathering the storm and keeping on keeping on will build something of lasting value.

Through the ages, SURELY mankind must have
learned that while the grass often appears greener
on the other side, it’s just as hard to mow.

Alas, too often those who are constantly lured by shiny new objects are the same ones who flit from this to that always seeking the greener grass or the new thrill! Sadly most never build anything that lasts … whether it’s relationships, success or power … because the problem isn’t what they’re doing or who they’re with, it’s who THEY are.  It’s an internal issue … not a matter of circumstance.  Kind of like JOY.  It’s an inside job!

Apparently some haven’t learned that anything worth having doesn’t come easy.  And hopping the fence to the greener side expecting things to be different?  Guess what?  When the luster wears off  … and it will … it always does sooner or later,  will they make a stand and weather the storm … or will they decide to flit again? 

The beautiful old tree teaches us some real-life lessons if we’re willing to listen and heed its advice and wisdom.  Whatever your heart desires to create, whether it be a relationship or anything else, stake your claim, firmly plant your roots deep and wide, stay put and weather the storms of life.

Face those challenges head on and you will grow strong like our tree … you will endure and what you create will be lasting.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.  Psalms 1:3

Where Do Dreams Go to Die?

Call me a hopeful romantic, a dreamer, an eternal optimist or a confirmed positive thinker and you’d be right on all counts! I make no apologies for being this way … I might add I’m proud of it! It’s who I am.  

Was I born that way? Maybe. Did I learn such a mindset from my optimistic mother? Did I get it from seeing my father’s dogged determination and perseverance? Perhaps. Have I become that way over many years of intentionally and habitually choosing my thoughts, solidifying my beliefs and working on my attitude? Probably!

Personally I think it’s a little bit of all of the above. At any rate, I am who I am and however I’ve arrived at this point in my life’s journey, I accept the way I am … and I’m grateful for the personal growth along the way.  

As a dreamer infused with hope for the future, it’s easy to seek the illusive good in all circumstances, even if it requires digging deep to reveal a tiny glimmer of light that might otherwise be concealed in shadow, or enshrouded by darkness.  With that thought in mind, I have a question.

Where do dreams go to die? 

I believe that dreams … as in our hopes and aspirations … reside in each of us. As a child or young adult we know how to activate our imagination to create a vision or picture in our mind of what we aspire to be, or to have, or to do. The more vivid our imagination, the more alive and real it appears, and when accompanied by a strong desire to attain the object of that dream, we’re magnetized towards it. We can almost reach out and touch it. Desire burns and all the forces within ignite us into action, propelling us to pursue that dream.

Ah! Such are the dreams of bygone youth! 

But alas, for many of us, as the years go by, and the trials and tribulations of life dominate our thoughts and daily activities, we set aside our dreams. We might even hide them away … somewhere safe but out of sight.

And then our imagination falters, the once-so-vivid dream fades to nothingness, desire and passion wane to indifference and is ultimately replaced with justification.  It wasn’t meant to be … it was a childish idea … it was too hard to achieve anyway … it was too this or too that … the reasons are endless. And so another dream is lost. The beautiful living dream passes away … its breath snuffed out … its vibrant light extinguished by the very dreamer who created it. One more dead dream.

So where do dreams go to die?

What do you think? Do they evaporate into thin air? Do they burn themselves out in the imagination that conceived them, settling there like fine ashes to clog the mind of the dreamer? Do they float off into oblivion or do they transition to a hereafter for dead dreams? Are they suspended somewhere in limbo? Do they drown in a pool of their own tears? Is there life after death for dreams or is death permanent?  

So where do dreams go to die?

This is what I think. When dreams die they merely move from one place to another. They leave the imagination and transition into the heart of the dreamer, where they remain forever. They simply await new life. The dreamer of the dream has only to ignite his imagination, breathe life giving desire, love, hope and belief into the dead dream … and it will spring to life once more.

I believe every dreamer has the power to resurrect their dreams. Is your heart holding a precious dream that’s died?  Are you ready to resurrect it?

Your dream awaits. It’s all up to you.

“A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities”  ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

A New Beginning

March the 11th 1981! A NEW beginning!

The day that changed the course of our life forever! 36 years ago today Chuck and I burnt all our bridges behind us when we aligned ourselves with Shaklee.  Today marks a huge milestone for me. I’ve been in love with everything this company stands for, for half of my life and that’s very meaningful to me. I’m so proud of the alliance … and the allegiance we share.

Chuck and I aren’t whimsical people who make snap decisions. We think long and hard and we always research diligently before we commit to any decision, let alone a lifelong association. We knew we would be lifers from the start because we based our decision on the credibility, integrity and commitment the company has to improving the lives of everyone it touches. The culture and the philosophy of Shaklee stole our hearts and touched us to the depth of our souls … forever and a day.

Have we enjoyed rewards? Yes! Too many to count! But the message I want to convey today is that in any business one encounters highs, lows, elation and at times even frustration … it’s all part of building, growing and sustaining a successful business … ANY business. No matter what season we’ve faced in our journey, our love for this company, and those we serve faithfully in our business, has never wavered.  Love and respect has always prevailed. 

This I can say confidently. We’ve never regretted our decision all those years ago and we’ve never had reason or desire to look elsewhere to place our loyalty. We’re in it for life.

When you stand for something of significance, you hold your ground … like the little nut that grows into a mighty oak. That’s the dream we envisioned 36 years ago and it’s worth celebrating our experience and gratitude and with all of you.

I thank God every day for the opportunity I’ve had as a woman, a mother and an entrepreneur to not only challenge myself, but to grow personally, to pursue my calling with passion and purpose alongside the love of my life {Chuck} and in partnership with the most amazing esteemed company, we know as Shaklee.

Not Just Any Day. Sabbath!

Yay! It’s Sunday tomorrow!

It’s not like I always leap out of bed early every Sunday with a spring in my step, a smile on my face and a song in my heart.  Hardly.  Many Sundays, I emerge from the depths of sleep, squint my eyes to see if it’s light, peer at the clock, quietly sigh … and ponder the luxurious idea of sleeping in.

I’m definitely tempted to skip church on many Sunday mornings. 

I could do it you know. It’d be so easy … and I’d feel no guilt about missing church .. well maybe a tiny twinge, but I’d be totally fine with my decision. I could stay in bed and pray to my Lord … and I could just as easily listen expectantly for any words of wisdom He might whisper back, or place in my mind or on my heart from that vantage point.

As a Christian, with direct access to my God … I can seek Him anywhere at any time and I certainly do … I partake of that gift He’s freely extended. Not a day goes by that I’m not calling out His name frequently. Wondering how He will answer.  Sometimes I’m frustrated or confused.  Other moments I’m seeking forgiveness for failings and disobedience, asking for guidance, praying for a friend in need, or praising Him for blessings received, requesting strength, comfort, or thanking Him for His faithfulness and grace.

And ever-mindful of His love … His infinite love.

So why then do I go to church … even when I don’t feel like it, when I have access to God anywhere at anytime?  Do I seek the fellowship of like-minded people? Do I go to connect with my church friends seated around us?  Is it for the pastor’s message … the motivation? To praise and worship God? The inspirational music that stirs my soul? To receive biblical information, learn more about the nature of God? Draw closer to Him?

It’s a little of all of that if I’m completely honest, but it’s so much more. It’s deeply personal and meaningful each week. No matter how I feel on the way to church, whether I’m bright and happy to go, or dragging myself there in reluctance, it’s always worth the effort. I leave better than I arrived.

 It’s the Sabbath … not just any day but the stop-what-you’re-doing-and-rest-day.

Life is challenging! Even when all is well, the run-for-your-life-all-the-time rat race and routine demands from people, the workplace and unexpected side swipes of life, pile on stress, fatigue and frustrations, which wear us down, drain us physically, and {worse still} leave us spiritually depleted. The emotional roller-coaster of today’s world empties us. Sucks our spiritual cups dry and relentlessly crushes our souls.

How, when and where do we replenish what’s been stolen … or what we’ve freely given of ourselves to others, as we strive to become broken bread and poured out wine, in service to others?

Of course we can immerse ourselves in nature and soak up a new supply of strength and soul food in the solitude of green pastures, by a babbling brook or breathing mountain air.  Nature refreshes us spiritually and deepens our intimacy with God.

There’s something powerful about the Sabbath.

For me, being in church and worshiping collectively is very powerful … and somehow more meaningful than being alone. It’s about giving and receiving. It’s about being encouraged and encouraging others. It’s gaining a greater understanding of “why”. Why I exist, who Christ calls me to be, how He asks me to serve and give to others … to love my neighbor.

Sunday morning church contributes significantly to my much-needed spiritual growth, and my motivation and preparation for the rest of the day …and the week ahead. When I allow God to challenge me, I’m stretched beyond borders. I am compelled to seek a deeper understanding of God’s ways and His plan for me.

So I will be on my way to church in the morning. Because I need it. Because I want to be there. Because it’s the Sabbath … God’s chosen day for rest and renewal. Sunday morning sets the tone for my week, helps me place my priorities in order, replenishes my soul and restores my trampled faith.  And so I go. It’s always worth the effort.

God always shows up. I worship His holy name.

“I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a mighty throng. Psalms 35:18

Urgency

Do you find it easy to start and finish those things that you enjoy doing? I do … and I’ll bet it’s the same for you. There’s no problem doing what we like to do because the desire to do it already exists, doesn’t it?

I love to translate my thoughts and emotions into words that I transcribe on paper, so for me writing is a fun, easy activity … and I never tire of it. I enjoy the process of creating an idea, using words to paint a picture, tell a story, or share an emotion.  I write for many reasons, but mostly for the sheer joy of it.

What is your one thing?

On the flip side, how are you with things that you don’t like to do? Are you like me and given half a chance, you’d procrastinate, avoid or fob the chore off on someone else?

There are a few things that I really dislike doing. One of them is accounting and taxes. Don’t get me wrong, I DO it because I have to. I must compute the numbers … lots of numbers in the business … and turn them over to our tax preparer.

I’m acceptable and accurate at it, but faced with a stack of papers and hordes of boring numbers is neither exciting nor desirable!  

In order to get the job done I must play with my mind.

That’s what I did this morning! Spent some time fooling my mind by creating a false sense of urgency, so the desire to complete the job will motivate me to take the action before the urgency is for real. Am I making sense?

Here’s the bottom line. I don’t like to feel stressed and hurried when accuracy is critical. Our tax appointment isn’t until the end of February so I’ve plenty of time. But what if I procrastinate?  The likelihood of facing REAL urgency {like starting the day before} will surely place undue stress on me. Stress and pressure I don’t want, don’t need and choose not to have!

So here I go … today I start the prepping of numbers.  Pretending that it’s urgent, has created strong desire to get it done, but all the while I am fully aware that I have time and patience to do it right … so the stress that would accompany a real urgent situation isn’t there.

Am I making sense or do you think I’m crazy? Do you ever create a sense of false urgency to instill the desire to do something?

Lol! Here’s what I believe. The mind is a powerful tool. A God-given resource, the most amazing computer with a power we don’t fully comprehend.

I tapped into its power this morning to energize me into an activity I don’t particularly want to do! What a blessing a mind is!

The energy of the mind is the essence of life.  Aristotle

Comfort Zone Discomfort

The Comfort Zone!

It’s such an easy place to slip into and so much harder to climb out. Have you ever eased into a comfort zone? Were you really happy there, or did it per chance haunt you a little as well?

I have totally been there! I liked it and I despised it!

Inside the fortress of the comfort zone it’s warm and cozy isn’t it? It feels safe, easy and pleasant, kind of like being in a cocoon – or what one might imagine a cocoon to be. No agitation, no stress and no demands of one’s self … so what’s not to like? Hmmm!  What’s not to like? Continue reading →

I Just Want to Understand!

How many times in your life have you heard someone passionately exclaim “I just want to understand!” I’ve heard it a lot more in recent months and it’s been prevalent on FB before, during and in the aftermath of the election. In reality the deep-seated desire for people to understand one another {what a person says or does} isn’t new … it’s ever been thus … since the inception of humanity. Listen!  I never cease to be amazed myself! And proverbially scratch my head often at what people express … especially on social media.

Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist {British idiom} please understand that I’m not calling out anyone in particular or referencing any specific circumstances!  Rather I’m directing the contents of this blog more as a “note to self!” for the future and with the hope it may even help someone struggling to understand a friend with a different opinion … on any subject. Continue reading →

Not Just Another Birthday

First thought into my head when I awoke this morning, even before I opened my eyes, was “It’s my birthday today”! I immediately felt thankful … to know where I was, to remember it is Wednesday {also family day, pick-up-grandson-Nicholas-day, mid-week and hump day!} and to recall the date is January 11th … the day I was born.

Of course, my day of birth has dawned faithfully every year so far … I’m living proof of that! I’m also thankful to see it arrive. I suppose I could view it as any other day … or any other birthday since this one doesn’t signify any particular milestone number reached or anything like that. Let’s just say that the number representing the years I’ve lived on earth, ends in a 2 … oh yes and it’s a double-digit number starting between 6 and 8. Just saying!! I wonder if one day I’ll hit a triple-digit-birthday? Continue reading →