Friday, 22 July 2016

More Than Enough

I am actually quite a positive person.  I am a firm believer that there is always a way, and if there isn't, then a way can be made.  For every problem there is a solution.  I always look for the happy in everything.  Yet every now and again I get days that I feel down, as if the sun is not quite yellow and the sky not totally crisp and clear.  To put it plainly, I feel blue.  Maybe not a deep midnight blue, but definitely a dusty pale blue, a bruised blue.  Usually there is not a specific reason, but rather an accumulation of a few nagging or unsettling things or circumstances.  I feel out of sorts.  I am sure many of you have felt similarly at some or other point in your life.

Today was one of those days.  There was not something specific I could put my finger on, but it was there.  Dull blue edges around my day which  threatened to colour the white spaces blue too.  This feeling was partly due to missing my children and partly due to the whole political and economical situation all around the world.  Maybe the cold weather influenced my mood too?  I did not really feel like doing anything.  My daily have-to-do tasks seemed like a mountain and running one mile felt impossible let alone the 6.2 miles I was supposed to.

Well, after feeling BLAH for most of the morning, I decided to turn my attention to art.  I got out my paints and stencils, my pastels and ink and my art journal.  I forgot about all the have-to-do's and focused on the smell of the paint and the feel of the pastels in my hand.  As I journaled, my mind went off on its own tangent, and peace settled on my shoulders.

I started thinking about how blessed we are.  We wake up everyday refreshed.  We have a chance at another day, we have a choice how to fill it.  We have a choice how we want to look at life, we can choose to see obstacles or opportunities, we can count our blessings or find things to gripe about.  We can choose to forgive or bear a grudge and we can choose to love or hate. We can decide to look at our lives and circumstances with gratitude or we can decide to moan about everything which we don't have.

It all comes down to our perspective.  With what eyes do we look at life in general and our own lives in particular?  When we search for the good and for the positive around us we are guaranteed to find it.  When we count our blessings and we look at life with optimism and heart full of gratitude we will suddenly find that what we have is more than enough.
When we live lives of gratitude a very interesting thing happens: 

Gratitude becomes Abundance!!!

Monday, 18 July 2016

God's Whisper

Last time I blogged about following our dreams and pursuing  our goals.  However, sometimes we have so many dreams and ideas that we get totally confused.  We find it hard to distinguish which ones are real and which ones are merely distractions keeping us from following our true dreams.  Many people feel lost, without any real direction.  They believe there must be some purpose to their existence, but they have no idea what their actual calling might be.  They try a host of different
 things, but nothing seems to truly speak to their hearts.  

I have often felt this same way.  I enjoy doing so many diverse things, but I end up being frustrated because I seldom get the time to do everything I want to do and in the end accomplish far less than I set out to do.  I often feel like a rudderless dinghy out at sea!  However, when I look around me I notice a fleet of dinghies around me, other people who feel equally lost.  What are we to do?  I wish the universe would put up a huge neon sign pointing "This Way!" , maybe while it's flashing add some sound effects, loud cymbals crashing and bells ringing to make sure we notice the huge signboard.  Would it not have been great if we were given a little fortune cookie at birth telling us about our Life's Purpose?

Alas, there is no neon sign or band, nor fortune cookies to show us the way.  However, there IS something out there trying to get our attention, but we are too busy, too loud and we surround ourselves with so much noise that we miss the very thing we search for: guidance.

Stop! Be quiet, and listen...
Do you hear that?
A gentle flutter of wings...whispers.

We are surrounded by it, but we seldom, very very seldom hear it.  Some people say that the universe speaks to us, I prefer to call it God.  We often expect God to come to us with thunder and lightning, we expect him in the storm winds, but right in the beginning of the Bible we read that "they heard the voice of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden during the breeze of the day".  Quietly, softly like a breeze. To hear him we have to be still.  His voice comes to us in many ways.  Sometimes through the loving voices of our parents or people who truly care about us.  Often he uses subtle signs to guide us, divergences along our path or detours that may not make sense to us at the time.  We insist to find better ways, different paths that will lead us to the destinations where we think we should go, only to find ourselves somewhere else entirely.  We get angry about this and resist it with all our power, lets be honest, we throw our toys out of the cot.  But the truth is, if we calm down, if we listen carefully, we realize that on the breeze comes God's whisper "Be still, and know that I am God."

Just this week I was ashamed to realize that the Lord has been trying to send me messages for so long, but I have been too busy with my own plans and ideas to hear his voice.  He has been trying to tell me since I was seven or eight years old.  I ignored him.  Most of my life. Instead I listened to other people telling me the contrary, I accepted their opinion as the gospel.  I listened to my own excuses, my own reasoning.  Yet, still the Lord carried on trying to reach me.  A desire started to well up in me stronger and stronger, but I denied it by getting so very busy with everything else.  Then finally he spoke to me loudly and clearly through the voice of my husband.  At first I laughed at him, but then I stopped and thought, but what if it is really God's plan for me?  What if this longing I have had all my life has been my soul crying out for me to get with God's plan?  What if this is it, the one thing I have been searching for, my purpose? Can I afford to carry on ignoring the Lord's whispers any longer?  Finally I heard him,  Finally, I saw my excuses and my constant procrastination for what it was: FEAR.

Fear is very cunning.  It clothes itself in a myriad of excuses and we believe each and every one of them.  As long as we believe our own excuses we can sit back in our dream chair rocking back and forth and we never have to do anything about it.  Eventually the only thing that remains of our dreams is the dust of thousands of "if only's" that's piled up on top of them.

Are you also wondering which path you should follow, are you searching for something, for a purpose?  Stop listening to the world's version of you, stop listening to fear hiding behind your excuses.  Be still and listen...
When you turn the world's volume down and you turn off your internal dialogue you'll start hearing the soft whispers of God...

Friday, 15 July 2016


A word that carries the blood of the many who fought for it.
Freedom is loosely defined as "the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints."  It is a good definition.  Yet, my question today is "Are we really free?"  The answer to this question lies in the definition of freedom.  EXTERNALLY we may be free from imposed restraints, after all most of us live in a free country, we have freedom of speech and we are allowed to act, think and do freely, but internally?  Internally most of us struggle to achieve freedom.   We are bound by self imposed restraints.  We are handcuffed to our own perceptions, expectations and preconceived ideas.

Most people have dreams and goals.  We harbour certain ideas and we hold onto our hopes, yet how many actually achieve their goals.  How many people do you know who fearlessly pursued their dreams?  No many.  The world is filled with people wistfully looking at the achievers, the inventors and self-made millionaires out there and wish they had that same "luck"!!!

The truth is that "Luck" has nothing to do with it.  We like to use Luck as an excuse not to pursue our dreams, not to go after our goals with tenacity.  As long as we hide behind the concept of luck we have a reason why it is okay never to try, never to take action or take a leap of faith.

Our very first need as human beings is that of survival,  Self-preservation.  We want security.  We want safety.  When we buy something we want guarantees and warranties.  We want to be in control of life, of circumstances and of other people.  We want to be able to predict what will happen and when it will happen.  But surprise, surprise, life does not work like that.  It may seem as if we are in control, but it is usually just an illusion.  It is when this illusion is shattered that we experience life at its most difficult.  Life is not conforming to our expectations and we rebel against it.  We rally against it and we start making the wrong choices and decisions in order to gain control.  We become frantic, like a fish caught on a hook, we struggle against the fishing line until we are exhausted to the point of death.

To really be free we have to escape the prisons we have created for ourselves.  We have to quit our ideas about not being good enough, we have to stop the negative self-talk and we have to stop creating obstacles for ourselves.
We have to start TRUSTING and LETTING GO!
We have to believe in our dreams. We have to trust that we are worthy of good things happening to us.  We have to believe in the good plans the Lord has promised He has in store for us.  TRUST him.  If we say that we trust Him then we also have to LET GO.  We have to let go of fear, of doubt and of our "realistic" negativity.  We have to relax and go with the flow.  If only the fish could learn to relax, to allaw the line to go slack it would stand a better chance to slip the hook.

If you have a dream or a goal it is important to follow the following four steps:

Imagine your dream.  Visualize what it would feel like when you achieve your goal.  What would it mean to you and your family.  Think about how you would go about reaching your goal and what steps you need to take to get there.  However, be open.  Be open to taking other paths to reach your destiny, be open to better ways to make it happen and do not be hemmed in by your own limited thinking.

2. Be Positive

Believe in your dream.  Do not listen to the naysayers.  However, be honest with yourself about what to you may need to change in order to reach your goal.  Examine it from all angles, but never give up, stay focused.

3. Affirm Your Dream

It is not enough to dream it, think it and visualize it.  You have to commit to it 100%.  You have to say it out loud,  you have to write it down and you have to own it.  You are not somebody who hopes to become a manager, you ARE a manager, athlete, executive or whatever.  Be what you dream!!!!

4. Expect It

Never give up on your dream.  Expect it, it IS coming your way because you are going towards it one day, one step at a time.  You are actively pursuing it.

I would like to sum it up with the three W's:

Willingness, Waiting and Waking Up

Willingness to Trust and Let Go
Waiting and being ready for the opportune moment while you plan.
Waking Up, stop dreaming and go over to action.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Touched by a Butterfly

Since my earliest memories I have been fascinated by butterflies,  They always represented something magical to me.  I love watching them flutter around in the garden, each one so unique in its own right, fragile and beautiful.  They are little ballerinas dancing to the music of the wind.  The sight of them always fills me with joy.  As a child I had a butterfly brooch.  It had ruby red wings which glittered in the sunlight.  I love holding it up and pretending I could fly away with it.  Some cultures view butterflies as being closely linked to our souls, and are associated with resurrection.  They are a symbol of change and transformation.

Butterflies dance in and out of our gardens, sit on our windowsills and bring smiles to our faces on a daily basis. They brush our shoulders and hearts with delicate wings. They fill our thoughts with wonder at their effortless flight.  I have had many butterflies moving through my world, colouring my days with their colour and gaiety.  I call these butterflies friends, family and loved ones.  Each one has added beauty and happiness to my life.  Some seemed to enter my world by chance and others by design, but none ever without purpose.  Some butterflies dance and twirl with me through life, always by my side, while some tarry for only a little while.  However, whatever their role is or has been in my life, their presence will always linger in the way the breeze touches my memory and I will recall the gentle flutter of their wings against my heart.

For every butterfly that has visited my garden and touched my soul, thank you.  You are special and I treasure you.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Slow Down

Blink your eyes.  Another second is gone.  We cannot hold it back and we cannot slow it down.  We cannot get it back either nor have a do over.  Time belongs to nobody and it is incredibly precious.  When we are small, we give it no thought apart from wishing it past in order to get to the next birthday, holiday or Christmas.  We cannot wait to grow up.  When we are older we start to realize that time is a scarce commodity.  We start to regret the lost hours, days and years.

However, it is only once we have children that we really start to realize how fleeting time is.  At first when a baby is born, and the initial wonder has start to make way for the realities of dirty nappies, deprived sleep and unexplained crying, we start wishing this difficult time would just pass.  We look forward to sleeping through again, nappy-free days and adult conversation.  Not really thinking about the precious moments we are wishing past.  Our days get consumed by rushing around, meeting deadlines and juggling every days' demands.  We are so busy with living our lives at the pace the world is setting, that we are quite oblivious to the fact that we have stopped to smell the roses along the way.

Then, one day it hits us.  We are shocked to realize that our children are on their way to college, getting married or having children of their own!  Suddenly we are faced with the mystery of where the time has gone?

This is exactly what happened to me a couple of months ago.  I have always treasure every moment of my children's lives.  I have not once wished a certain phase to pass quickly.  Yet, out on a boat in the middle of a river with the sun just setting, I was jolted by the realization that time has indeed been up to its old tricks.  It has passed by at the speed of light.  As I held my recently born grandchild in my arms and looked at my youngest smiling for photo's being taken for her twenty-first, my heart was aching for how fast the years came and went.  I wanted to gather all my loved ones together there on the boat that day into my arms and just hold them tightly.  I wanted to tell time to just hold on a minute, to wait, to let this precious perfect moment last just a while, an hour, a day or a year longer.  I wanted to drink in each minute, engrave every word, hug, smile and glance onto my brain.  I wanted to capture it in a glass jar to marvel at and relive again and again.

Alas, time waits for nobody.  Cliche?  Of course, but so true.  That is why it is so important to treasure this moment, this very here and now.  If you are reading this, I hope you get something from it, but more than that, I hope you stop reading and go find your husband, wife, parents, children, family or friends and hug them tightly, phone them and tell them that you love them, treasure them.

For my family and friends: I love you and value each one of you in my life.  My husband: YOU are the best,  For my children and granddaughter I have this message, a song by Nichole Nordeman: