Month: June 2016

The Methodical Thinker

I have always been drawn to methodical thinking people. (You know, the people who think before they speak). And many of you know that I love smart people. I love being around them, studying them, admiring them, and maybe wanting to be just a little like them. I was honored to interview a person by the name of B.C. He is definitely one of the smart methodical-thinking specimens.

What does happiness mean to B.C.? After careful deliberation, he told me that it means feeling content. Feeling no stress or anxiety about the day. It’s feeling peace with your surroundings and being secure. He believes that God’s will is truly for us to be happy.

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What makes B.C. happy? Instead of replying with a quick one-word answer, he started to paint a picture (in words) for me. B.C. explained that when growing up, he spent time on his great grandfather’s farm. His parents and grandparents were part of the farm too, and whenever he had free time he was there. (Now for the country girl that lives down deep inside me, this story started to peak my interest). By the way that he described it, the family farm had a river that ran right through it. As he continued to talk, and from my knowledge of central, North-eastern Kentucky family farms, I was able to put myself right in the picture of what he was describing. He loved spending the summers on the farm and being part of family and God’s creation. The farm represented stability. It represented God’s artwork. It represented happiness. And now, B.C. and his family (a beautiful wife of 18 years and two boys), get the pleasure of living there every day.

What makes B.C. unique? Well, if I may answer part of this for him, I would say he is unique because of his methodical thinking. Not everyone takes the time to mentally process something before they speak. They cause the situation or problem to become much worse before better. If only others would just take a second to think before they open their mouth to reply.

B.C. says he is unique because he versatile. He can figure out things and he is adaptable. What great traits to have in your back pocket! He has a wide range of traits and interests for he can work on a farm and yet be a computer programmer. He is a cost savings expert in our business (called a “blackbelt”) and he truly has his “blackbelt.” He can relate and help with many topics and interests. This does make him one versatile individual!

What one lesson would B.C. teach us? He told me to trust God to direct your path. You are special to Him.

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He has seen God’s handiwork in his own life. (Even though it is hard for me to believe, B.C. says that God saved him from a life of destruction in his younger years). He explained that you must not think of anything too big or small for God. And don’t get a rut of not asking questions (or for help), for when you do that is when you truly get in trouble. You fall into a “routine” of destruction.

Isn’t that so true? When we get in the habit of not questioning our surroundings or our answers, we just keep going down the same path. We start to fail to realize the missteps that we have taken. We don’t see what we are doing to our own lives, for we are just blindly following the same pattern. B.C. says this is when we truly get lost in life. He is a witness of how God can find you in your self-destruction and truly put you on the right path (God’s path).

Daily Vitamin C: Question your steps in life. Question your path. And trust God.

Art – It’s A Gift Appreciated By Becky

Every time I’m around this person, I am instantly energized! Not that she is doing cartwheels in the room, but that she is excited to be alive, and wants you to feel the same. She has come to see you, and no one else (no matter how many people are in the room). You are her focus and she is ready to spread some love and energy your way! And you can’t wait! Her name is Becky.

I first met Becky by chance. Our boys were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes about the same time. We first got together to discuss how to parent this illness within our homes, but our friendship quickly developed into something well beyond a medical condition. I am simply in awe every time I see and talk with her.

What does happiness mean to Becky? She describes happiness as just feeling good feelings. That your heart is beating for right reason. You have no worries, or at least those you dwell in.

Becky truly enjoys the things that most of us take for granted. The seasons, being with the family, small vacations, and spending time with friends…..all the things that money can’t buy.

What makes this “energizer bunny” so happy? Her kids are the number one reason. Not only does Becky have one son (which is the reason we met), she has three other children. Each are brilliant and extremely talented in different ways. (Where are the reality shows about these types of families? I would finally watch one.)

Becky loves making breads, artwork, gifts, and most importantly, smiles. Her mom has always said she’s a “people pleaser,” but that is what truly makes her happy. She loves being able to remove the ugly and sad feelings from others.

Remember, I mentioned that her children are talented. I think they all directly received the gene from their mom. Some of the things that Becky does are simply amazing and she makes it seem so effortless. She oozes with talent. Crafting, creating, piano playing, cooking, carving, sewing, parenting, loving, are just a few of the talents that Becky truly excels with in daily life.

So beyond being so super talented, what makes Becky unique? She’s compassionate! Definitely, without a doubt, 100%! Her husband calls her a “good egg.” He definitely knows how to pick them.

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Becky loves to start a conversation! She not only makes you feel like you are the only one in the room, but she keeps the conversation flowing. She wants to know about you. She wants to learn. She’s inquisitive of other people’s stories. “How are you? How did you meet? How did you decide that?” Even though there are so many questions, you don’t feel like you’re on trial. You feel like she really wants to know and learn from you.

“Good Egg” also believes that communication is key. Talk all the time. When raising kids, talk. Don’t let time go by without talking. Speak words of wisdom and life into your kids. Daily.

Becky is a great mother! I mean GREAT! She so wants her kids to remember their childhood as awesome. Oh, and that mom always gave good advice. (Which I am sure could be sold in the form of an excellent guidebook for parents).

Most of all Becky is easy going. I have never seen her upset, or out of sorts. She laughs and goes on. Such a beautiful spirit!

What one thing would Becky teach us about life? (Other than how to parent, craft, sew, laugh, etc…..) She would teach us to appreciate the arts! Now I personally have a music degree and come from a long line of crafters, so this makes my heart sing!

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Becky actively appreciates the art of this world. She told me that she tries to picture everything in black and white, whenever she has a few minutes (like when driving). She does this in order to truly appreciate color. God gave us color. Color is the energy of the world! (I told you – she is full of energy and is such a colorful lady! Energized by the gifts of God).

In the spirit of appreciating the arts, Becky left me with this great quote by Beethoven…

Don’t always practice your arts,

Find your way into its secrets,

For that and knowledge

Can raise men into the devine…..

 

Daily Vitamin C: Be energized by the art of this world!

Do You Have the GRIT to Change?

Not the degree of sandpaper grit (even though that’s an analogy that could be made). I’m talking about the grit of getting yourself down in the trenches to reach your goals. You have to have a certain amount of chutzpah to really make a change. Change is hard. Reaching goals is hard. Learning a little about “grit” may help us sand down some of this hardness (see I used the comparison).

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Dictionaries describe grit with several different adjectives:

Courage

Resolve

Strength of Character

Backbone

Spirit

Determination

Perseverance

(Oh, and I would like to add Passion).

In my opinion, all of these words need to be used together in order to make “grit”. Not one area stands alone.

Courage – Yes, courage is needed to even step out of our comfort zones. Anytime I have had to make a change in life, I’ve had to take a chance and have the courage to be ridiculed, to be vulnerable, to be stronger than the negative voices in my head, and just to breathe. I remember the first time I walked into a weight room to work out. I was so afraid what people would say about this old woman with no coordination (or muscles). I had to be open to be laughed at and I had to be vulnerable (to do something that I did not know how to do). I had to be strong.

Resolve – This is a good one. To have grit you have to have it in your mind that this is going to happen. No matter what or how long it takes, this will be accomplished. In today’s world, it’s so easy to give up. What’s the use? This probably won’t work, right? Nobody else is doing it, why should I? These questions have to be torched in order to move ahead.

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Strength of Character – Whenever I think of this I picture a warrior princess. You know, the one with the shield and the spear. Tough warrior. But truly this is having the strength to know who you are and love that image, no matter what. It’s being a thankful child of God.

Backbone – This is something that I have lacked most of my life (or that’s the impression I gave).   Even though I used to think that having a backbone was part of being arrogant or stubborn, it is necessary to have in order to accomplish anything. If there is no backbone, then you unable to stabilize the change that needs to happen. Knowing that you are physically and mentally strong is necessary.

Spirit – To me this means energy. Change is something in motion. Something in motion requires energy. Now yes, change can happen without you having put much energy behind it (gray hairs, wrinkly skin, curved back), but is it the change that you really want?

Determination – This is very close to “resolve” in my opinion. However, I think of determination as the “start” of the process. The decision has been made, and then the resolve sets in to take you all the way (from start to finish). Nothing happens until determination is set into place.

Perseverance – With this word, I always envision people who have challenges beyond my comprehension succeeding at the goals that they set in front of them. An example would be Nicholas James Vujicic (and Australian preacher and motivational speaker), who is someone that I am immediately inspired by, not only by what he has persevered, but how he sees life. (You should check out “No Arms, No Legs, No Worries!” on YouTube.)

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Passion – I believe that without passion, no grit can ever be discovered. Passion has to be the reason. It has to be what puts all the pieces of grit together and allows change to happen. I don’t know about you, but I need all the grit that I can get – and I have to have the passion to want a goal in the first place.

I hope you find your passion and your grit this week.

Daily Vitamin C: Find your grit!

Desire For More GRIT

Envy might describe what I have toward this person. She exudes happiness, hope, caring and grit all at the same time. I have admired her progress in the gym and have not only been amazed by this facet of her life, but as I get to learn more about her – I think the best word is envy. The type of envy that I hope motives us all to be more like Tabitha.

What does happiness mean to Tabitha? It simply means fulfillment. There is no happier place than being in the center of God’s will for your life. (That should be what you find in the dictionary under the word happiness).

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Happiness is also striving to be better. It can be trying and tiring, but you are working in God’s will. When she prays she feels peace. That’s what should come with prayer – the peace from God watching over you doing His work.

Tabitha loves the little “nudges” she gets and she sees this as part of happiness. (You know, when you have a hunch to do something).  An example of a little nudge she recently received was introducing two people for she felt they had something to share with each other. She later got an email from one of them thanking her from the bottom of their heart for introducing them.

What makes this insanely insightful person happy? Tabitha describes herself as an emotional mirror or sponge. She is happy when others are happy.   She immediately internalizes the feeling of others.  Simply put, she loves.

What makes Tabitha unique? She considers herself an open book and not unique. (I beg to differ). She says if there is anything that does makes her unique, it is her determination. (Now I can vouch for that from what I have seen in the gym).

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Tabitha was the first one in her family to go to college and she did this while working a 40 hour work week. She did not have the ideal childhood, but God put special people in her life to encourage her and help nurture her determination.  These people kept telling her she could do things (even when she wasn’t sure).  Tabitha says that she kept going and pressing on toward her goals for she did not want to let “her people” down.

I describe her determination is true GRIT.  Tabitha is not afraid to get dirty and work at hard things. As she says, God calls us to do hard work.

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What one more insightful thing would Tabitha teach us? Stuff doesn’t bring happiness. Many people when they are not happy look for joy in stuff. She gives the example of herself, some time ago, buying her little girl special expensive clothing.  But now those clothes are outgrown and not needed.  Now they are seen as a waste.  If only the rest of the world would start seeing “stuff” that way too. It is a fleeting way to obtain joy. God has true happiness waiting for us in some other form than “stuff.”

Daily vitamin C:  Stop chasing fleeting joy and start chasing (with GRIT) after God’s will.