Month: August 2015

Balance – Creates Happiness

d428613843b7a22bd1f9871921d27ee0According to Webster’s Dictionary, “balance is a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.”

The concept of balance reminds me of the movie Eat, Pray, Love staring Julia Roberts, that was released a few years ago. Julia’s character was seeking balance in her life, and it led to her ultimate happiness. So often I am like the character before finding balance, where I am swayed one way or another, and putting out one fire after another, even to the point where I lose direction. I end up being out of sync, not level, or what we may call out of balance.

Recently, there have been a couple of areas in my life way out of balance. You know, those areas where you think if you ignore them, they will magically fix themselves. Or just the opposite, you give them too much attention and they take over your world. These areas have secretly controlled me on a subconscious level and now I am seeking balance.

When all areas of your life have balance, there is a peace that comes with it. Not that each area cannot be exciting or invigorating, but it has to be reigned in to be in balance with the other areas. It’s like having a slice of cake is not a bad thing – eating the whole cake is.

God provides balance. When we turn our eyes and our focus on Him, the pieces of the puzzle come together. They work together to become the happy picture we desire. However, I often lose focus and think that I can create the picture myself.  It ends up appearing more like a finger painting than a Michael Angelo.

When there is balance, you are able to concentrate on the ones that you love or the activities that you enjoy. You start to control life, (with God leading), rather than trying to walk the balance beam blindfolded. Life becomes sweeter each day, rather than just once in a while or on special occasions.

I pray that God helps me get back in balance. So once the areas are back in sync, I can start living, rather than worrying. I can start to enjoy every balanced morsel this life has to offer.

Daily Vitamin C:  Find balance in all areas of your life.

Gratitude – The Creativity in Change

Being able to adapt is a form of creativity. To adapt requires one to think a different way in order to change with the environment or situation. I think adapting uses a form of our creativity to the highest level.

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Nothing stays the same. We often think it does and that “change is hard,” but we live on a planet that is always changing. The world doesn’t stay in one place, we don’t stay the same age, the cells in our body are always developing (and aging), and our experiences are molding the way we think. Some of us use the mantra “I don’t like change,” but this statement is not embracing the creative gifts that God has provided. He’s given us the ability to think outside the box and be creative in how we change. I am so very thankful for this ability. I am so grateful to be able to change (hopefully for the better).

IMG_2585This week I made two small boxes for my friend. They are intended to remind her of gratitude and the prayers that should be lifted up for all the blessings that we have received. (The blessings to change.)

Please check out the Etsy store if you are interested in a small box of gratitude or prayers.

Daily Vitamin C: Embrace change. Embrace creativity.

Gratitude – Giving Thanks

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While getting out of bed one morning, my mind (for some reason) immediately went to thanking God for the day. Even though I would love to say this is my normal habit, it is not. But this day I was filled with gratitude.

I started thinking about all the people who have a hard time getting out of the bed, or simply cannot. I am so blessed to be able to move in the mornings (once I finally wake up). I am grateful. I then walked to the bathroom to look at what the night had done to my aging skin. Then I thought about all the people who are not able to walk to the mirror, or even see themselves in the mirror. I am thankful.

I have been showered with so many blessings. Yet I so often just forget to say “thank you.”

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That day, I challenged myself to center my mind on being thankful. I determined that I would catch myself whenever my mind would wander (you know, when your mind “blacks out” on autopilot), and take that time to say thank you. I resolved that I would say thank you to God, someone else, or even myself. I would notice the people and blessings around me, and simply be grateful.

I kept track of my challenge. Even though the day was busy, by mid afternoon, I had said 20 thank you’s. I’m sure that if I had centered my mind more, I would have recognized the continual opportunities in front of me. The number that I achieved may seem high, but actually every second should be a thank you!

Even though this was my simple (and silly) challenge, it forced me to focus on my gratitude for the day. It allowed me to cherish the blessings I have been given.

Daily Vitamin C: Count how many times you can say thank you! It may change your day!

Gratitude – Thankful for the Successes and Failures

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. –  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

cheering woman open arms to sunrise at sea
cheering woman open arms to sunrise at sea

Now to rejoice during good times and successes I completely understand, but to give thanks for failure is a foreign concept. Isn’t failure what we are supposed to avoid at all cost? I don’t wake up every morning wondering how I can fail today and “yippee” for the potential mistakes coming. I’m thinking quite the opposite….how can I succeed today without any bumps in the road? How can I get through the day as perfect as possible?

I work in a field where failure is not an option (at least one rewarded). If a mistake is made, every method of preventing it from happening again is put into place, to the point where risks are actually seen as “too costly.” This has carried over into my home life. Why take a risk? A waste of time, money, and “pride.” Who wants that? And to give thanks for failing – who came up with this stuff?

I often don’t talk about my failures (even though there are too many to list). I even tried to talk myself out of writing about this subject, for it would expose me as having way too many flaws. The embarrassment!

However, the major failures in my life have actually led to opportunities and paths that I would never have taken. One failure (at least in my mind) is the ending of my marriage. Even though this experience I marked as my failure, it actually led to opportunities and people that I would have never experienced, if it had not happened. Even though it was painful, I can now relate to other people going through the same ordeal. Even though I thought my life was ending, now I can look back and see how grateful I am for that time (both good and bad in marriage and divorce). It took me out of my comfort zone and made me stretch into a new person. Now I am not saying everyone should go through a divorce (I pray for the opposite), but I am saying that I can be grateful for the experience and what it taught me.

I have to remember that without failure, there really is no success. Thomas Edison failed hundreds of times before creating the light bulb. Albert Eistein failed thousands of times with all of his creations, but now is referred to as a genius.lighbulbs-bright

According to Andy Shaw, in his book Using A Bug Free Mind, “The more successful you are, the more mistakes you will make – period. If you desire to be successful then go and make some mistakes.” This is so backwards to how I have been trained and how my mind works, but it so true. Each failure starts me on the journey to where I want to be. Each mistake leads to the answer. I should be grateful for each step of the process (both good and bad).

I have such gratitude for this life of learning. Even though some steps are hard and may cause me to want to give up, I need to remember that each step gets me closer to the desired outcome. I just need to be thankful for all the lessons along the way.

Daily Vitamin C:  Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks.

 

 

 

 

Gratitude – Feeling Grateful for Trish

My friend, Trish, is a person whom I describe as living life with Jesus’ heartbeat. Due to her faith, she is filled with joy and overflowing with love. Every time I am with her, I sense the love filling the room. (Something always felt around her.)

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I want you to meet my friend, whom I am so very grateful for….

What is Trish’s definition of happiness? Trish describes happiness as being filled with joy. (She explains that joy is constant and the happiness is temporary, but I have a feeling that Trish’s life is a more of a constant of both.) She says that happiness is living a life “in everything, grateful.”

Per Wikipedia, “gratitude is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.” Trish thoroughly demonstrates this in her appreciation of life, and in how she talks about her faith.

Trish also says being content with who you are allows you the opportunity to experience the fullness of life. Wow. That should be on a billboard somewhere, shouldn’t it? Wouldn’t we all live much fuller lives, if we took this to heart?

What makes Trish truly happy? Simple – to be with family. Trish simply loves and adores her family. She loves her children and now cherishes her grandchildren. I think she would stop time just to hold her grandchildren more. She understands that time if precious and that each moment you are with your family needs to be cherished.

Now what makes Trish the person she is? What makes her unique? I could answer this one, but she did it for me. She loves to help people and she certainly has a servant’s heart. I have never heard of anyone preparing as many meals, visiting people in need, or praying for people, as that of Trish. She lives her life in constant servant-hood for others. I believe she knows this is her God-given role in life. She is just doing what God has blessed her to do.

She loves people.e
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I asked the last question of Trish and she immediately lit up with her “joy.” I asked what one lesson would she teach me or someone else in this life? She immediately came back, with no hesitation, “Know the love of the Lord. It is the sustaining life, the bread of life, the one thing that you can count on, and it is free. Be open to the present and receive it. Grasp it.“

She continues that Jesus’ love allows us to be the best we can be. It does not hold us back and does not require us to seek approval from others. It allows us to live.

Trish demonstrates that life’s importance is how we live this life, in order to enjoy the next. I believe that she gives us just a little glimpse of the joy that we might experience when we get there.

Daily Vitamin C: Be filled with joy and full of gratitude for the Lord.