Category Archives: Motivation

Seeing the Beauty

So. It’s a gloomy 8:13am in middle Georgia. The sky is spewing rain yet the air is warm. The trees are drenched and the puddles in the driveway expand. Grumbles of thunder loom in the distance. The rain stops and the birds start to sing. A couple of them zoom in on a puddle and start to bathe themselves. Spring flowers dot the landscape, just beginning to emerge with their bright and bold colors; an amazing fragrance fills the air. The green of the trees is enhanced as drips of water hit the moist ground. Then, the rain returns. Life is great. That’s pretty much it.

I guess that’s all I really want to share today: life is great, even though to some it may not appear to be. I am amazed at how great my life has turned out. I’ve had some pretty rough patches. I’ve been knocked down so many times in so many ways, but all that, all that has brought me here, to this amazing time in my life – and I am so incredibly thankful you cannot imagine. No. Things aren’t perfect, but, that’s the beauty of it. Nothing is horribly wrong, nothing is even remotely wrong. There is nothing in my life right now that I fear, and for that I am grateful.

You’ve all heard that life is what we make of it. True, but it goes much deeper than that. If you want something, you have to believe. If you want something, you have to work for it. Ok. Some people don’t work for it, which I think is a shame, because without working for it, you don’t gain the appreciation of having it. This world has become too ‘gimme’. We are a society who feels indebted, as if we somehow earned happiness as a birth right. Well, we haven’t. Some don’t have it as hard, some have it worse. While it may seem unfair, life has this natural balance. It’s hard to ascertain a person’s level of happiness just by looking at them or reviewing their bank statements. We all do it, but stereotyping someone is the biggest fail. Some emotions do not have a face. They are felt so deep inside that they are hard to judge. Just because someone has money doesn’t mean they are happy. Just because someone smiles, doesn’t mean they are happy. Just because someone has ‘things’ doesn’t mean they are enjoying life. Some of the wealthiest people are having the worst time of their lives. Wealth isn’t in ‘things’, it’s inside. That’s what makes us unique. Some people do not look deep inside, the expect happiness to follow them, to come to them in the form of another person. I’m learning that ‘happy’ is a state of mind that starts inside. Peace isn’t the absence of pain or trials, it’s knowing who you are in the midst of it. It’s working for what we want and appreciating who it makes us in the process. For all I have inside, and out, I extend my deepest appreciation.

Thank you, Lord, for watching over me. I ask that you watch over my children and help them to succeed in this life. Show them true happiness that does not fade. Shower them with your unfailing love like You do the flowers and the trees. Thank you for the nuturing you provide my soul. Thank you for helping me become the person I am today, for the realization of what greatness lies within me. Thank you Lord, for the beauty that surrounds me, even if at times I cannot see it as clearly as I do now. Help me to continue to grow and be this person I always knew was here. Thank you for forgiving me and loving me through my faults. And thank you Lord, for the rain, and the sunshine.

~Amen

Aside

I’ve had an urge to blog lately. Fortunately the urge has struck again and I’m at my computer with a little spare time. So, here goes! Hang on…gotta turn Kenny Rogers off… I think some thoughts are going to come … Continue reading

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Way Too Long

Well hello there! Remember me? Sorry for it being so long since I last posted. I’ll try to do better in 2013.

So, we got moved to Georgia in mid September of 2012 and the day after – yes, the day after we unloaded the last truck, we got the dreaded call – the contract had fell through. Yep. We loaded one more truck and headed home to Indiana. That was a scary and defeated feeling. I hated those days. Saying goodbye to something that I had no sooner said hello. The thoughts that rushed through me were common; ‘Why?’ Why did we literally pack everything we own and spend $1000’s of dollars just to move right back? My Mom taught me the most valueable lesson of my life in her last days. “There’s always a reason, we just aren’t meant to know why sometimes.”

By the end of October we were back in Indiana. His folks visited us a couple time for the holidays and I was very happy to host my family twice when my sons came to visit. My middle son came first the beginning of December with his wife and my first grandson, Riott. We had 21 family members over for Sunday dinner. It was amazing! Always wanted a place big enough to host my ever-growing family. If you think 21 is large – that was not even half of my immediate family. My nephew and niece-in-law announced their big news: due in July!! Yes, yet another grandchild to add to the family tree. What a joyous moment!

Hosting the family wasn’t near as much stress as I thought it would be and I was glad to do it again in January when my oldest son visited with his new wife. She’s due May 22 – yes, going to be grandma x2! YAY!! Another branch extends forth!! Found out it will be another boy, Noah. Can’t wait to meet him. Sucks that we live so far away. Doesn’t matter if I live in Indiana or Georgia or ‘Timbucktoo’; both my sons live in Missouri. That’s probably the part I don’t like about my life most right now; I can’t just stop over and see my kids/grandkids. Can’t just babysit and spoil my offspring’s offspring…but thank God for modern technology. I can text, call, Skype and keep up on their to-do-n’s on Facebook. I can see progressive baby belly pics and hear all about her craving and emotional boundings. I can still offer my motherly advise and be involved. It’s the little things 🙂

I found a new job – one I love so much. I work from home now. It’s great!! I actually turned down 2 other offers in town. That was scary. I’ve never worked on a contract like this before and after what happened to Dave’s contract last year, I feared the worse. Besides, I cannot recall ever turning down a job offer, but something told me to take this one. I knew it meant I had to disciplined. I knew the risks. It took almost a month before I actually started. I worried if it was real. But my worries were soon layed to rest. When I started working, it was just as I remembered. It was like dusting off a bike and hopping back on – I was a little wobbly the first couple days but before I knew it, I was doing flips and coasting with my hands up in the air! The people I work with are fun, dedicated, understanding and just down right great people. They have faith and that really sold me on them. They weren’t afraid to say it in both my interviews. Know how when you talk to someone, you just click? Well, that’s the way it was with this team. I’m glad I listened to my gut.

And it’s a good thing I took that remote job – we are back in Georgia!! Yep. Last truck is unloaded and no call yet. (And there better not be, God willing! Lol!) I have faith that this time is it. We are here for good. Today marks his first day at his new job. Kinda scary, but in a good way. Dave and I are as strong as ever. He even left me a little note in my office this morning. Love those little moments…don’t think he realizes how much…

So, what’s the moral of this blog? Don’t give up. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the best things happen out of the worst circumstances. It is our struggles – our victories and our defeats – that makes us who we are. We can chose to begrudge life and anticipate the next hurdle or we can face each day for what it is, knowing that we have the opportunity to rise above, grow and be grateful. I got to host my family not once, but twice. I got to have my sons over and create some new memories together. I got to spend some quality time with my daugther who is growing into the woman I knew she could be. I got to overcome one of life worst disappointments with the one I love. I am thankful for technology that allows me to stay connected no matter where I am. I am thankful for my faith that continues to see me through – and I am reminded that through God’s strength, we can do anything.

Until next time!

 

“The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.”  ~ Psalm 69:32

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”  ~ Romans 12:2

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 13:7

Alone Together

Didn’t expect to write today, but you know how it goes. I’m hit by something that won’t let go. I’m not sure where this is going but I am led to write about it, so, without further ado…

At work, I have to walk through the library in order to get to the bathroom. I’m so use to the smorgasbord of books stacked to the rafters, yet being an avid reading, I tend to scan the spines for titles as I whisk by. Today, on the new release shelf, one title jumped out at me “Alone Together”. Oddly, I wasn’t motivated at all to know what the book was about, rather, I was intrigued at the many ways that title could be digested.

I like it: “Alone Together”. How often do we go through hardships and bumps in life and feel so utterly alone? A lot. More than we care to remember and often more than we prefer to share those insecurities with others. It is in our silence that we suffer best. Yet there is nothing that you are going through alone, even if you chose to not share it with anyone. Someone out there understands. I could not have overcome a lot of tragedy in my life had I not reached out to someone. Even now as I wade through the scars of life, I am alone, but I have my friends, and more importantly, my significant other. The process of learning about ourselves never ends. And the decisions we face separately are ours alone, but we are in them together. This is the process in which we learn about each other and support one another as we grow as individuals.

‘Alone Together’ to me means: we are a team. We are in this together. Not to make decisions for the other but to talk it through and be there in the process. Being together as a team means you know me better than most: my flaws, my imperfections, my strengths. But if you want someone to know you like that, you have to share with them the good, the bad and the ugly. There’s a difference between knowing what someone is willing to share and truly knowing someone. Tell me the truth, even when it hurts and I will do the same. It reverts back to my philosophy on relationships, and I mean any type of relationship – communication is a key. Without it, any relationship will suffer. And communication isn’t one sided. It is not designed as a platform in which to complain or place blame. With healthy communication both parties may not always agree, but they do always listen. Without judgment. Supportive. Reciprocated. That’s why we should take care in choosing our relationships wisely because communication strengthens and supports a bond.

Don’t let yourself get stuck on the alone part. You don’t have to carry the burden by yourself. Confide in a friend, confide in a counselor, confide in a parent. Sometimes it’s incredibly hard for us to see any other angle of a situation because we have been so focused on the problem at hand, yet by opening up to others we can shed new light into a situation that we otherwise would not have imagined. A fresh set of eyes is always helpful. Yes, it is up as to us what paths we take but we need to keep in mind, those choices impact others at some point whether immediately realized or not. And while all the opinions in the world are nil compared our own, it is important to share our feelings with someone. Hiding how you feel only creates more problems. It harbors a mystery that can be easily mistranslated essentially strengthening the sense of ‘alone’. Maybe something you have been worried about, isn’t really a worry at all. Don’t keep it locked inside. Talk it through. In the process you will find that by doing so, you strengthen the together factor and alone isn’t quite as scary as it used to be.

Resist the Path of Least Resistance

Oh, my dear invisible blog reading friends, it’s been awhile. My apologies. But, nevertheless, I am back. And again, I find myself pondering which topic to write about. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately so I figured it best to let the creative juices flow via my keyboard. I’m not sure where this is going so, pour a little more coffee, put the phone on vibrate and enjoy the ride.

Isn’t it amazing how life can be going along just as decent as you please, then all of the sudden you are side swiped by an event you never saw coming? It happens to all of us. Life is full of brick walls that must be torn down or climbed. Being a parent is not a requirement, but in times like these, you better buckle your seat belt because it will rock your world in unfathomable ways.

Not just my daughter, but one of son’s has given cause to buckle said belt lately. I don’t want to go into specifics, but let’s just say we don’t wish these things on anyone. It’s easy to shower a child with love and even easier to make excuses; it’s when the parenting becomes a job that many fail or fall short. You cannot love them out of their predicaments, and unfortunately, they cannot always learn by example: they have to experience it themselves. Sadly enough, sometimes in witnessing these choices we are reminded of our own poor decisions in youth and we discover a new appreciation for our own parents…something that for me has occurred quite frequently throughout my ‘adulthood’.

We can fall prey to becoming the enabler – which is the worse thing for them and everyone involved. No one wants to watch someone fall, especially a parent, but sometimes we must. If we continue to throw in the proverbial life preservers we are only preserving the action that got them there in the first place. If they never experience consequence for their actions, the lesson is never learned. Life is a series of tests that we will take over and over again until we learn them. And even then, we will have surprise pop quizes to ensure we have retained what we’ve learned. (Ain’t life grand?) We can repeatedly instill in them basic morals and concepts but it’s up to them to ‘get it’. Some will get it when they are children, others well into adulthood…some never. But that’s not up to us. We are responsible only for our own actions. In being role models in living out our philosophies.

We have now what we call a generation of entitlement: “I want it. I get it.” They don’t deserve or earn these privledges or materials but they get them anyway. And who is to blame? Parents? Society? The percentage of children with phones, games, and name brands is expotential compared to any generation before. I get it that we want to spoil our children, but come on! Some things need to be earned. If ‘Johnny’ is failing at school, the last thing he needs is a vehicle to puruse the streets as he wishes.

And what happen to discipline? The metal locker hallways amplifying the echo of a paddling was terrifying to me as a student. Sure. I had “Attention Deficit” but that paddle was much more effective than any form of medication. Not to mention the price I would pay when I got home if I had gotten into any trouble. That paddle was nothing compared to what my father was capable of. What do we have now? Oh. That’s right. Detention. Oooh. I’m scared. Whatever.

I’m not saying we have to be hard asses to our kids, but what I am saying is: we have to demand respect as parents FIRST. I could care less if my child considers me their friend if I don’t have their respect as their mother FIRST. No. I’m not perfect. Some of my choices flat sucked but I’ve done and am doing the best I can with the knowledge I have. So did my folks. They did things I didn’t agree with and I have resolved to never be like that. But that’s how it works. We are supposed to take that knowledge from our childhood and use it to improve ourselves when it is our time to be the parent. That’s the natural cycle.

I guess I’m just trying to encourage other parents like myself to resist the path of least resistance. Yeah. The easy road feels much less stressful at the time, but I’m telling you, if you travel down this path thinking it’s going to be all pavement and straightaways, you are only kidding yourself and as a result inevitably hurting those you love the most. That road ahead is full of potholes that take much more effort to repair and bridges that once burned, can be near impossible to rebuild. Anything worth having is worth working for and that includes parenthood. Buckle your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.

Every Second Another Smile

I really wanted to blog today. I settled in and tried to accumulate my thoughts struggling with that first sentence, but then this came out. Sometimes, you just have to let it flow…let the heart speak on your behalf. Here goes…

 
If I could let you inside my heart,
To see what I feel
Feel what I see
You would think it was just some crazy dream
Just like I did,
Until you showed up and brought that craziness into focus.
Making sense of the senseless.
 
A part of me always knew you were out there
Through all the hell
Through all the pain
I could not relinquish that dream…
Rather, it would not let me go.
All along echoing deep inside that I didn’t have to understand, only believe.
No one knows God’s plan.
 
I have come to realize there were things I needed to work on
Things I needed to learn
Things I needed to unlearn
And although I may have taken the long way at times
I had to go through those things.
All a part of His master plan ensuring I’d be ready for us.
And I am.
 
I know from here on out we will see the world differently
Every second will be another smile
Every day another memory
And we will appreciate all we’ve been through before
Knowing that it was all purposeful in bringing us to now
Together. Side by side.
And forever I will thank God for you…
for breathing life into my crazy dream.
                                                                                   ~ Angela Nichols

And Then, Everything Falls Into Place

This morning I slept in as much as I could and man did it feel good. I did get up for a little while but was fortunate to have the ability to drift back off to sleep, not having to leave the warm confines of my bed except for a quick excursion to the bathroom. I figured I’d get accustom to sleeping late by the time my vacation was over. Mission accomplished.

I finally decided to rejoin the real world around 2:00p. (Nice, right? Don’t be jealous.) I submerged myself in the hottest bath my skin could endure and allowed my mind to wander. I kept going back to my Mom. Not sure why…I don’t really give it much thought anymore. It’s commonplace for me to have fleeting thoughts about her. I know I’ll always have a part of me that misses her, yet the adult part of me always knew she would go first. That’s the natural cycle of life. We are supposed to outlive our parents. I would much rather mourn her passing then for her mourn mine. And I don’t really mourn losing her anymore…she’s in a better place and she no longer hurts; no longer has the burdens of this world. She left behind a legacy of lessons and displays of love that no one can erase. In my heart, I know she continues to have a great soul and surrounds me on occasion just to see how I’m doing and watch over me…thank God she can’t barge in my room and make me wake up anymore.

Anywho, I want to write and amiss the myriad of thoughts and steam, it hits me. All my thoughts finally come together. I see that avocado plant I wrote about before on my window sill. Funny how all the activity is occurring under the water. (I know there’s a word for that but Google failed to pull through; alas, it’ll just have to eat at me all day.) Above the water it still appears as just an ugly, dead brown ball. But it’s not. It’s fully alive, waiting for its time to sprout forth vibrate green shoots. It’ll happen. I know it. Just like my Mom knew it would happen for me. She had this uncanny sixth sense for me. On several occasions she would call me in the morning and ask me if I was okay. Of course, that would be the exact day that something had happened. I would cry and spill my guts as she explained she had a dream and knew it was about me. She never really had any solid answers. Or so I thought. Honestly, sometimes it really ticked me off. How could she know so much but not have the answers?? She would just tell me to love my kids and hang on, that it would all make sense in time. At that time though, those words just cut a little deeper. I didn’t even know myself yet. I was more concerned about the now – what was above the waterline. But, I finally caught on, Mom. I realize you were looking at the inside of what was forming in me…what I was capable of, while I was too busy looking all around me at what was going on – or not going on – oblivious to what was forming underneath it all.

Looking back, I realize life was molding me: growing my roots, so that one day, when it was my time, those green shoots would be healthy, sturdy and strong. I have learned more about myself in the past three years than I ever have. Over my lifetime, I have been to places I never want to return, I have learned valuable lessons…most the hard way. Yet, these last few years, I’ve walked the road less traveled. I’ve carved my own path, learning about myself along the way. I have discovered my hobbies, the things I love to do, the things that make me – me. And I’ve learned that we should not allow anyone to rob us of those qualities. When you meet someone, you don’t stop being you. If you do, you better pack up and start running. Love brings out the best in us, it never subtracts the good.

You’ve heard me say this numerous times, but love isn’t meant to complete us, it’s meant to compliment us. Yet, if you do not know yourself, how can you expect to find that kind of love? We cannot expect someone else to complete our puzzle. That is our job. Love is never selfish, yet it does start with ‘self’. Genuinely knowing how to love ourselves is the key to being ready for love. When you know yourself, you are already complete. That missing puzzle piece is your Self, and once you find that…it just  a matter of time until everything else falls into place. It’s just a matter of time until you find that special ‘one’ that enjoys the whole puzzle with you. Then, together you enjoy finding all the ways of how your puzzles fit together. You know what compliments you and what doesn’t. You know what works and what doesn’t. What you want and what you don’t. You are open to a whole new experience of love and realization. I once only dreamt of what real love was like…and let me tell you, I’m beginning to recognize that true love may be even grander than that. True love is not something that can be contained in a dream.

I think that’s what my Mom was trying to tell me. Let the roots grow. Invest in my Self and my kids. As I learn about myself, the dream will naturally transform and materialize on their own, without my help, without my intercessions. Like any rebellious child, it only took me 40 years to listen but I’m so glad it finally sunk in. I finally get it, Mom. Thanks for continuing to be a vital part of my life. Thanks for all those subtle lessons. And thanks for all those extra ‘five more minutes’…and I know…it’s time to turn those weekday alarms back on…then I can go play pool. 😉