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Happy Life Through Service

Happy Life Through Service

Now I have been delaying writing this interview – I think for a couple of reasons. The friend I interviewed was someone I met and adored in college, and I admit, I have not maintained the best of jobs keeping in touch. Even though I was beside myself in joy getting the opportunity to interview him, the first reason for delay was his now beautiful and talented wife is a published author. (She’s an author and I am an author wannabe – so talk about pressure!) The second reason is because the overall theme of the interview made me question my own drive in life.  It paralyzed me. I believe God does this to stop me in my tracks and force me take inventory of where I am.  I knew the subject that we talked about was so important and somehow, someway I needed to grow from it. Big enough, that now I ask you to please take the time to learn from my friend Ron.

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What does happiness mean? Per Ron, happiness is very abstract and can be viewed in various ways. Ron is a happy guy – always has been. (The opposite of me for I am the one who is often on an emotional rollercoaster). But Ron knows that scripture says that God has a plan of happiness for us. The plan is demonstrated through the blueprint of Jesus Christ coming to the earth to show us how to live. The instructions are right there – we just have to follow them (and not the type of instructions that came with your appliances written in a different language that you just ignore!)

Happiness for Ron is living a less stressful life. Ron has a couple of businesses and deals daily with various clientele. He would rather forgo sales than deal with people that shower stress on others. Ron knows that the stress is something that he does not want around him, to in turn, spread to others like a virus.

What makes Ron happy is his wife and kids. He has an absolutely beautiful family. They are his world.

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Now Ron’s “happy place” is time in music. (This is actually where we met in college in the School of Music). Just playing the piano and singing – he could lose himself in it for hours. For those of us that have that creative (and musical) spirit, we know what it feels like. We are transported somewhere else and the destination has no stress, no worry, and only peace and thankfulness. To some, it may be called heaven.

What makes my friend unique? Ron is self aware of what is truly important in life – he has found the secret. Life is about service.

And this is the one lesson that Ron would teach us. Not serving is not existing. (I think these are the actual words that stopped me in my tracks. Please read them again.) Not serving is not existing.

Am I?

Ron continually serves others. He serves his wife, his kids, his friends, his neighbors, and everyone he meets. He says you will find happiness if you live life as a servant. God calls us to love Him and to love our neighbors (which is anyone around us).

If you don’t like someone, learn to love him or her through service. Immediately jump into a service role for them. Learn how to serve. Learn what they need. Learn about them. Follow the example that Jesus gave us. Be in the world, but not of the world. Take a different path of service than today’s world follows.   Instead of hate, find love. Instead of dislike, serve. Instead of being disgruntled, find happiness.

Daily Vitamin C: Live a happy life through service.

Love the World In Balance

Love the World In Balance

I got the opportunity to do my first car-ride interview! You learn quite a bit about a person when you ask questions and she can’t escape! But seriously, there was nothing I would have rather been doing than learning about my friend. Cindy is her name and she’s truly a joy to be around.

So what does the word happiness mean to Cindy? It means what she is – “joy”. It is a state of mind. People and places can affect your joy and it can actually change over time and with circumstances. Cindy and her husband are “empty nesters” (too young to be, but so be it)! She finds happiness in reconnecting with her love (her husband). Even though she has immense happiness when she is with her whole family (I guess distance does make the heart grow fonder – just kidding), the reconnecting with her husband is a new type of happiness – a new discovery.

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What makes Cindy happy, other than her beautiful family?  She says “working on herself.” This may seem selfish, she says, but now she has time to concentrate on herself and be the best “Cindy” she can be. I personally don’t see this as selfish. I see it more like “putting on the oxygen mask first” in order to help others (like instructed on a plane). Cindy is discovering herself and new happiness. I know this will only help herself, her family, and those lucky enough to be around her.

Cindy loves fitness. She attended Gorgo camp with me (a fitness camp for women) and she even is the one who got me interested in Zumba. (Cindy taught the class and she had the patience to put up with the one person with two left feet and no coordination (me)). She brought me happiness. She showed me how to have fun and be able to laugh at myself instead of shying away from something new.

Cindy also loves setting goals for herself and going after them. Goals for self-improvement. Goals for growing. She recently even started a career with LuLuRoe and loves striving to succeed and learn. She’s always setting the bar high for an even better “Cindy.” She is truly a pursuer of happiness.

What makes Cindy unique? (Other than never staying the same and always improving). Cindy says her personality makes her unique. She’s kind, caring, and a people pleaser. (I can vouch for this). But, she also says she’s OCD on doing things a certain way – for she’s a “perfectionist.” Cindy is an overachiever and perfectionist, yet is the one who is always late. Unique combination – but it works! And Cindy has one of the most caring hearts that I know. She cries at the drop of a hat. Not for the attention, but because she is truly just that tender hearted. She loves to love!

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What one thing would Cindy teach the world? She would teach the lesson that she has learned from one of her personal downfalls. Cindy has a gullible side, but has learned over time to be wiser in the world. She always wants to see the good in others, but she has had to learn that not everyone has the same mindset. She’s learned to “thicken up” in order to avoid getting her feelings hurt.

Cindy still maintains hope and love for others. She wants to teach us to keep our qualities of compassion in this world, yet be wise (with our own convictions). Don’t fall into the temptations of this world. Avoid falling into the traps, peer pressure and circumstances of the world. Stick to your principles and be mindful of your environment – but never ever lose your compassion and your heart for others.

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Daily Vitamin C: Find balance in this world to love.

Summer Inspiration

Summer Inspiration

If you could name one quick image that reminds you of summer, what would it be? I’m sure that swimming pools, beaches, fruity drinks, barbecues, and suntan lotion would hit the list. However, one of the images that I see in my mind, are sunflowers!

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The tall majestic sunflowers (in so many pictures on social media and newspapers this year), truly represent summer to me. They remind me of growing up on the farm, working in the garden, and just being around nature’s beauty in vivid color. When thinking about this subject, I quickly “googled” the flower to learn more about what actually attracts me (like the bees that surround them so often). I learned that the sunflower is actually a native North American plant. It was “born” in North American, and then taken overseas for cultivating and development. Eventually it was brought back as the plant you see today.

The massive size of sunflowers is mind-boggling for me. Some of the sunflowers (mainly in crops) have the gigantic heads for seed harvesting. The dark brown centers are “crammed” with the thousands of seeds. The bright yellow petals that line the perimeter of the seed center are designed to attract the bees for pollination.

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The seeds of the sunflower are chalked full of nutrients. Sunflower seeds contain 76% of the recommended daily requirements for vitamin E. And you know how I am about my vitamins!

Did you know that sunflowers move all day long? They tilt their head to follow the sun. Isn’t that an interesting concept? If I spent this summer tilting my head toward the “Son” (Jesus), how would my summer turn out? Would I be stretched out of my comfort zone toward the sky? Would I become bright and beautiful to attract others (for Him)? Would I just become a picture of a great summer?

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Walt Whitman wrote “Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and the shadows will fall behind you.“ Please take a moment to lean toward the sunshine (and Son) and have a beautiful summer (or what’s left of it)!

Daily Vitamin C: Become majestic!

Wise Beyond Her Years

Wise Beyond Her Years

I’ve always heard that with age comes wisdom. I received the blessing to interview a beautiful lady, “way wise” beyond her years. She is one of the most insightful people that I have interviewed, and she is only eighteen. She is and always will be my niece, Grace.IMG_4575

What does happiness mean? According to Grace it means being with friends (a typical teenager answer), but also being content with life. She made the comment that I had not heard before, but it is oh so true – Laughter holds together humanity in the purist form. It is how we connect. It is how we are happy.

IMG_4573What makes Grace happy, the world wants to know? She enjoys a good book (especially if you can find a good historical fiction one). She loves hanging with her friends. But here is where here wisdom starts to shine – she loves building relationships, for she believes that we will eventually have to depend on each other. She loves experiencing whatever comes along, no matter if she has to get out of her comfort zone for it. (One example she quickly gave me, was that one day she suddenly decided she wanted to learn to skateboard, while driving around with some friends. She went, got one, and started practicing and learning immediately).

Create an adventure every day. Discover, try, learn, do.

What makes Grace unique? Just sitting there and asking her this question, I was anticipating the answer and could already name a hundred things (based just on how she answered the other questions), but this is how Grace answered…..

IMG_4576She is unique because of her beliefs. It’s so important to stick up for your own beliefs, no matter whether people agree with you or not. Beliefs make you who you are.

Grace has a passion for empowering women and women’s education. She is passionate about using the legal world for social justice and making each one of us stronger and just better. Grace has a very bright future ahead of her, and personally, I cannot wait to see how her strength, insight, and determination empower others.

What one lesson would Grace teach her old aunt, or the world?  Her “old soul” answered this one.

Try to figure out what you believe and stick to it. You and your friends may disagree (or “agree to disagree”), but that is healthy. And learn to love yourself. Don’t worry about what people think. Learn to love you.

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Well Grace, you are certainly a beautiful wise soul that is truly loved by many, and will be loved by many more. You will inspire, because you are truly already an inspiration!

 

 

Daily Vitamin C: Discover you and love what you find.

 

Drinking Up Life!

I am one of those people that must review and reflect before commenting. And I have had much to review.

Based on my experience, we are happiest when we have a good cocktail of learning and gratitude, and I have been enjoying a three-week refreshing drink of it!  There are so many comments to make and people to thank, but I will describe just enough to start to ‘wet the whistle’ of this cocktail I have been enjoying.

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A couple of weeks ago, I got the opportunity to go to Dallas for Advocare’s Success School. Advocare is a health and wellness company based in Texas. This school was completely out of the element, but oh what an opportunity! It was days of learning and discovery about health and living a full life. Days of thankfulness and possibilities! Thank you so much for this opportunity Nick and Jessica Arlinghaus!

 

IMG_4549This last weekend I got the opportunity to attend my 2nd Gorgo Camp. Gorgo camp is a “women empowering women fitness camp.” (I know this is not the official way to describe it, but this I how I describe it.)  Thank you Valerie Solomon and Erica Willick (along with others) for starting this amazing camp.  Again, I was totally out of my element. There is something captivating and uplifting about being around strong, healthy, and caring women. Now I was probably one of the oldest women there, if not the oldest, but this year I was stronger. I hadn’t noticed my gains over the year, until I got to Gorgo camp.

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Thank you Amy Evert for continuing to believe in me and push me on a weekly basis. And thank you again Jessica for introducing me to Advocare, so my body can be pushed and recover quickly. I learned so much from camp (fitness and nutrition), made some new friends and became even more inspired by old ones. And I even got to see my hero (Emily Kund).

Finally this week I got the blessing to a have a conversation with Phillip Duncan. Phillip and his wife, Mary Alice, are diamond leaders in Advocare. They are people who you instantly admire, simply for their personalities and God-filled hearts. Phillip took the time to ask questions of me and “probe” my thinking and my heart. This was just simply one more outstanding teaching moment for which I am totally grateful.

So as you can see I have been drinking the last three weeks up! Life has been teaching me, stretching me, and allowing me the opportunity to grow and I am overwhelmingly grateful. Thank you to all that have been with me during this time of growth. I pray that we can continue to grow together and reach new “PR’s” (personal records) in our health, our thinking, and in our potential.

 

Daily Vitamin C: Find your cocktail of learning and gratitude.