Hey You

Hey you, yes you, stop being so hard on yourself. You can either be your own worst enemy or your own best friend. Choose.

Your worst enemy will constantly be judging you. How you look, how you dress, and even who your friends are will become a constant irritation that haunts your every thought.

But, your best friend will accept all the different components that make you who you are: will love how you are not afraid to explore all aspects of your life to learn what attributes, features, and oddities go into making what’s your individual style.

Your worst enemy will be waiting, lurking, just inside your mirror as you hesitantly look at your reflection each morning. Your mind explodes with; “You look ridiculous.” “That doesn’t fit right.” “What did you do to your hair.” and “Go wash your face and start over.”

Uh huh, you know what I’m talking about. You can change that conversation you’re having with yourself. All you have to do is change your mindset. Turn off the negative and turn on the positive.

Your best friend will love that quirky outfit you pulled together this morning; the bold makeup statement you saw in a magazine; and the new hair cut that’s all the rage today.

Be you! You are incredibly unique! Love who you are today! Listen to that voice that is positive not negative. It’s a choice.

Don’t GO through life wishing you were something or someone you’re not.

GROW through life and become the best you that you can be!

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My Father

 

Some people wonder how you can love someone who you cannot see, cannot touch, and cannot be heared. They can’t understand how you can follow teachings from a book that has no up-to-date authorship that can show proof of its claims.

How can you believe, without question, in so-called miracles that took place so long ago?

There are magicians today who can explain away these as trickery.

Who do you imagine you are talking to in that quite place you go to in the mornings and again before bed?

You say you are “led,” but, no one ever hears these discussions. What is the need for “secrecy” if your claims are true?

How can you believe in a place called Heaven, which cannot be verified as to its existence? There is absolutely no rational proof that a Heaven exists, or a Hell for that matter.

With everything going on in this world, there is still a prejudice, a need to persecute, those who believe in something more than we can see, or those who believe differently.  At the least, they belittle those who gather on holy days to celebrate this “thing” they cannot understand.

As for me and my house, we will follow this

-unseen (how can you look at a newborn babe, a sunrise, a flower pushing up through a winters cold ground, and not see His wonder?)

-untouched (how can you not feel His touch when you stand humbly before Him?),

-non-vocal (how can you not hear His voice when He speaks so loudly through the quite?)

-imagined (how can you ignore the ache in your own heart for Him?) “presence” that we call God.

The complex, simple answer to all these questions is FAITH. Through Faith we see, through Faith we hear, through Faith we feel, through Faith we believe, through Faith we are saved.

Father, I thank you for touching my heart, for giving me sight, and for talking to my soul. I praise you! I love you! I thank you!

In Peace There Is Strength

Find peace with your past,

And, you will draw strength from those who made you.

Find peace with your present,

And, you will have strength of character.

Find peace with your family,

And, you will draw strength from each other.

Find peace with who you are,

And, you will have strength from within.

Find peace with the road you’re traveling,

And, you will have strength abundant.

Find peace with your faith,

And, you will have strength through knowledge.

But, never mistake pride for strength.

For if pride becomes your leader, your teacher, your friend,

You will quickly lose all- your present, your future,

Your family, and your friends.

~ Diana Mankin Phelps 2017

Yesterdays

With this incredible year coming to an end, as so many have, can we not take the time to look back on our yesterdays-our families yesterdays-our individual yesterdays-our nations yesterdays?

Family-

Many of us are watching our families grow and form their own families. Oh, we miss them when they are busy and we are not, or when they move away and we see them only several times a year. At the same time, we find joy and peace in their lives, their happiness, their successes, their adventures. We worry when they worry, and hurt when they hurt. Once a parent always a parent. The yesterdays passed so quickly when our homes were full of little ones, and school, work and church kept us busy. Life was and is good. Cherish your moments, they are fleating and quickly turn into memories.

Myself-

A young woman asked a question, “With this year almost over what is your greatest accomplishment?” Some said marrying the love of their lives. Others wrote graduating from high school or college. And some answered that the birth of their child was their greatest joy. All unique experiences to each of them and worthy of their proud answers.

I thought about this question all day before I answered. Her accomplishment had been graduating from the University of Arkansas. Education is one of the best ways to end any year. Finally, I found my words to sum up how I will remember this year of yesterdays. I have so many accomplishments, but they are little ones. I looked into the eyes of my children, and I saw the present. I looked into the eyes of my grandchildren, and saw the future. Then I looked into my husbands eyes, and found joy with our memories, and the time we have with each other and our family. So my greatest accomplishment this year, is the love of this life that God has given to me.

Our Nation –

Who knows where our new president will lead us as a nation? But, he is our President and we must embrace that fact. There are a lot of positives that Donald Trump brings into his new role. And yes, there are negatives. There would be negatives with whoever was elected-at least we see his…  Who would have given the man a second thought when he started his campaign? Who would have dreamed he could have walked away as the Republican party nominee? And then, Donald Trump pulled off an unbelievable upset, which stopped the “Clinton Machine” in its tracks, placing him in the White House. He has surprised us every step of the way. Now, we will all watch as he appoints those who are qualified as expert advisors in their fields to guide him-teach him. And we must pray for them all, as we have always done for our leaders.

I hope you will take the time to do this exercise and think about your greatest accomplishments.

Happy New Year!

 

Season of Thankfulness

Thanksgiving has begun this season of thankfulness. A time when we pause, when we think about our relationships with family and friends, when we evaluate our spiritual life, giving is a priority.

These things are all tied together. Without our spiritual life in order, our relationships with others is superficial and giving is minimal. We are “Scrooge.” We don’t mean to be, and hope that others don’t see that part of us. We probably don’t even see it in ourselves. But, it’s in our hearts because of the void that has taken hold where love once lived.

We must give ourselves away, completely, in order to be able to give to others with a heart that loves. Our hearts should be overflowing with the love of Christ. There should not be room for anything else in our lives to influence our thoughts or actions.

If we want to have love based relationships with others, our spouses, our children, our friends, then we must first have a love based relationship with our Lord and Savior. Not just during this season of thankfulness, but all year, every day, we must keep our hearts in order.

To be able to give with an open heart, to give joyously, we must feel the joy that comes with a heart that’s overflowing with His love. The more we give, of ourselves and of gifts to others, the fuller our hearts and souls become.

Everything is tied together, not just during this season of thankfulness, everyday. We are thankful, so our love of Christ and His love for us overflows into our relationship with others, and our giving is abundant.

Begin with yourself during this season of thankfulness. Give yourself the best gift of all. Allow Jesus Christ to be the focus of your love, your relationships, your giving, and you will be truly thankful.

Gods love is the greatest gift of all.

 

 

You Are What You Are, Until Your Not

We are all born with unique talents and specific desires. Some of us are outgoing while others are quite, shy and withdrawn. Those who are comfortable talking to strangers and enjoy being in the middle of whatever is going on, are envied by those who would never want to be in the position of having to engage in conversation with people they don’t know. They don’t “mingle.” 

You know who I am talking about. You remember them from childhood. They were the ones who tried to hide behind the student sitting in front of them in the classroom, for fear of being called upon by the teacher. Do others even notice these timid, low-self-esteemed individuals? I’ve often wondered if those raising their hands every chance they get, even notice those who hide.

I was one of these introverted individuals. I can hear some of you doubting this. But, if you knew me when I had someone to hide behind, then you know this to be true. I didn’t have to talk or explain anything because there was always someone else to do that for me. I was told once that I seemed to disappear when more outgoing people would enter a room. And I did. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to hear what I thought, or had to say about anything. I was not important. I was of no value as a person. So, I stayed in the shadows of life. I was who I was.

Three things happened to change who I believed myself to be. The first thing was that I felt valued as an employee. I was good at what I did. I began to like myself. Secondly, the people I would “hide” behind were removed from my life. Again, I liked the person I was without them. Then the most significant, and most tragic, event changed who I was in an instant.

I was no longer anyone except who I needed to be at that time. I was a mother of a wounded warrior. He hurt. I hurt. He struggled. I struggled. He cried, I cried. He needed support. I gave support. He needed help. I looked for help. He needed to talk. I listened or found someone he could talk with. If I didn’t have the answers, then I went looking for them. I wasn’t anything close to being all that my son needed. But, I tried. I wasn’t who I had been. I was more.

I believe that no matter how you see yourself, no matter how important or insignificant you saw yourself in the past, who you are begins today. I’m not saying it’s easy to jump out from behind those doors you’ve been hiding behind. I know it is not. I was good at hiding. And I did not want to turn that door knob.

All I’m trying to say is be brave enough to “shine.” Wherever you are, whatever is going on in your family, however you are perceived to be in the workplace, it all comes down to you. You must begin to like the person you are, where you are. Step out from behind the wall you find comfort behind and “shine.” Just one little sparkle at a time. I know you can.

If I could stand back up and fight every time I’ve been knocked down, then you can too. Oh, it’s not easy. You are allowed to shout, cry, be angry and feel so low that the grass will grow over you. But, then it’s time to get up. It is time to stand, to stand tall, to shake it off and take that first step, over and over again. No matter how many times you are knocked down, get back up and stand taller. You can do it, one step at a time and as time goes by you will feel stronger, better, taller. Just concentrate on your “one step at a time.” No more hiding. that part of who you were is gone.

It is a process that repeats itself. You stand up and you are knocked down again. But, each time you grow. You never lose, you grow, you learn. Your steps will change and your choices will be wiser.

You are who you are, until you’re not, until you choose to be more.

 

 

 

Here We Are

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Well, Veterans Day 2015 has come and gone. Actually, it was a weeklong celebration of gratitude for what our veterans have given for us all. With all we did, every place we went, the people we met, the thing that stood out beyond anything else were the veterans themselves.

I love to stand back and watch as one veteran approaches another–whether they have met before or not– and without hesitation they reach out with an automatic acceptance and a camaraderie of spirit, which those of us on the “outside” cannot comprehend.

We try to see inside the heart of our war fighters–our sons and daughters, our spouses, our family members, our friends–as we try to pry from their shielded memories, from those thoughts that haunt them, wanting desperately to understand that which we cannot.

What we can do is simple. We can listen. We can observe. On one occasion, I was attending an event where there were wounded warriors and caregivers mingling within a crowded room. A room that was buzzing with warriors coming together with a release of spirit that only happens within the ranks of those who have served. And the caregivers huddling together to share their own joys and burdens. Again a closed group that only exists because of circumstances that redefined their own lives.

At one point I was standing in a hallway, waiting on a friend, when a young woman in uniform entered and stood across from me. I looked at her and saw someone who was desperately trying to hold down a full-blown panic attack. All she said was, “There are so many people.” I asked her to breathe with me. In through the nose and out through the mouth. We continued this breathing in unison for a couple of minutes. She watched me, as I watched her, with each motion in this simple taking of each breath.

Everything outside of that hall disappeared for a few moments. That was what she needed. Time to reach inside and find that strength within herself, which she had lost sight of in that crowded room. We parted not knowing each other’s names, only a shared moment of awareness.

That is the way we can help. We don’t need to know the why or the what. All we need to do is listen and observe. The answer will become clear. Then we act. And a bond is made.