So Hurricane Matthew came through and we found ourselves without power for several hours. I realized life without electronics is much SLOWER. But, I really had an opportunity to enjoy things and people that really matter.
After a few failed attempts at settling the children, we finally just let them be free. Banging on pots, making music, using the lint roller as a microphone. It was great.
I even spent some time reading; something I rarely find the time to do. I moved from room to room looking for the best light (coming from the window, of course!). Once I found it, I stayed in that moment for as long as I possibly could. It was the most peace I found in a long time. The kids even found their sweet spot under the dining room table with dad’s laptop and a movie.
I took advantage of the stillness and sat outside to receive as much light as possible. It was as if all afternoon, I was being attracted to the light. There was this pull to be near something like me. Something that was an extreme need. I realized I was attracted near light not just because I needed it, but because I am it! I am attracted to what’s like me! Realize you are too.
You light up someone’s office.
You light up someone’s hospital.
You light up someone’s classroom.
You light up someone’s church.
You light up someone’s kitchen.
You light up someone’s library.
You light up someone’s salon. Today’s encouragement: Wherever you are, you are exactly what someone needs. Continue to shine bright. Others are looking for you to be their guiding light.
As a teacher and now coach, I talk ALL THE TIME. But I am so grateful I do. Today, I had the opportunity to talk with a woman I’ve known for several years. We’ve chatted some here and there but not in length as it was today. Through this great conversation on family, church, children and relationships, I learned 3 things:
1. WE ARE MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT
Not just her and me but me and you! I said several times…” You deal with that too!” Don’t be tricked to believe you are in this alone. You’re not! But if you refuse to share your story, you will never find out who has been where you are or who is headed where you’ve been.
2. REACH OUT FOR HELP
It’s okay to not know everything. In fact, it’s unrealistic to believe you do, so reach out to those who know more than you. When they speak, just listen. Never feel ashamed if you don’t know. Feel ashamed if you refuse to find out!
3. YOU ARE WHO YOU TALK TO
It’s been said, “You are the company you keep.” Part of the reason this is true is because of the conversations you share with the company. You learn by listening. I found this woman had a wealth of knowledge in areas I may never. But because of the conversation, I am a better and more intelligent person.
I decided to take my three little (not so little) ones to the playground on what had to be one of the hottest summer days thus far. So much so that there were only four families at what usually is an over-crowded playground!
While there I was watching this one mother who appeared to have some super power. She managed to play with her toddler and her (maybe) 8 year old and exercise all at the same time in a way that had me rethinking my quality of parenting. After all, I sat on the bench and told my children… “go play.” She and her girls playfully made airplanes, took eggs from the chicken coop and found themselves in a tornado. I asked myself “How does she do it?”
So as she was about to leave, I asked her how did she manage to have so much energy. She said “Honestly, my cape is in the shop. It’s been torn and is in need of repair.” She proceeded to talk about how she has been studying for her real estate exam ( and passed!) which meant the kids had been on lock down from hanging out with mommy. As I sat there listening with my Superman shirt on, she said “That S now stands for Save Yourself!”
I loved it!! We shared a few more encouraging words and parted ways, but out of this encounter I learned two valuable lessons:
1. Perception is everything. You never know a person’s “why” until you ask!
2. Your “S” may not mean the same as mine!! We all have a different meaning for what makes us SUPER!
The next time you begin to compare yourself to someone else know that they may wear the “S” on their chest for a completely different reason than you. So don’t judge your ability based on theirs.
I know…You probably cringed at that title, but we’ll get through this together!!
Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on how well I am doing what I do. I’ve paid attention to several areas to include my business ventures, my salvation, and my family. One mantra I was continually reminded of is “Practice what you preach!”
This can be one of the most difficult things to do because for many of us, giving of our time and talent to others is so much easier and so much more fulfilling than taking the time out to pay attention to ourselves. How many of you know doctors who do not put their own health on the top of their “to-do” list or a educators who do not continue their own education?
I’m constantly encouraging others to Live ON Purpose, but I had to check myself. I asked myself if I practice what I preach. I don’t want to be considered a fake. So it is crucial that I constantly evaluate myself.
Fortunately, I do practice what I preach. Everyday (well, almost) I spend time working on ways to do what I do well. I am consistent in my efforts to live a purpose-filled life and not simply exist letting life write my story. I am perfecting my practices daily. I LIVE…I enjoy life regularly by purposely doing things that make me happy. I identified my purpose in life, and it includes encouraging the lost and reminding them there is a way to get to the big life they deserve.
I own the pen, and I write the story!
I am (like you!) a complex person who is susceptible to the winds of life, but through it all, I must remember to practice what I preach because I know it works!
Know that whatever are you doing in life, people are watching and listening!
It’s so amazing to be moving in the right direction in life! When things are going well, they are REALLY well, but when they’re not…well, they’re not! Most days, you wake up with the energy to get started and you maintain momentum for all who need pieces of you throughout the day. You exhaust yourself (many times) for the sake of others needs and wants. Your family needs…Your boss wants…etc!
But, then there are those days you wake up…and nothing! You feel nothing. Your too tired to even feel bad. You simply wish today was more like yesterday. That’s just not possible because as optimistic you tend to be, today you are JUST. NOT. FEELING. IT!
It’s what you do that very moment that changes EVERYTHING.
Option 1: You accept your current state. You listen to your body and pity yourself. After all, you’ve been working hard all day every day. You deserve one day to wallow in your own mess, right? Every day can’t be great. That’s just life…
Option 2: You can recognize what’s going on and PUSH yourself to think and respond differently. Immediately in that moment, a fight began between you and your mind. Who’s going to win? Your will to do more should always win! Your body never wants to work. It just wants to be comfortable and be comforted CONSTANTLY!
No two days are going to be exactly alike, so it is imperative that you prepare yourself for whatever comes by making a decision to push yourself. I am not suggesting you push yourself to a point of frustration or enervation, but you must push past your comfort zone. in order to be a success!
This post is one of the more difficult I’ve written. I woke up Saturday morning with my normal routine which involves checking all my social media. I came up on a former co-worker’s page where she mentioned the loss of a former student. I honestly didn’t think too much of it. I sadly admit I’ve been a bit desensitized to the idea of people leaving this earth. But, when I scrolled to the picture it all became too present. I thought “Really?” This must be a mistake. She had just graduated in May 2015 from the school where I taught for over 10 years. I immediately began to scroll through comments and posts to find out what happened. My heart sunk even further when a woman posted “Let’s talk about teen suicide.” This can’t really be the case, I thought. It must have been something different. But the ugly truth was she took her own life.
I remember passing by her from time to time in the hallways. I taught her younger brother who was more than a handful in my 8th grade Science class, but those are the students who hug my heart the tightest. I have so much love for them. She was such a beautiful girl, but I hate that I never acted on what I thought I saw in her hazel eyes. I saw a bit of sadness. I saw discontent. I saw a bit of her heart. But, I didn’t say anything. I was sure to say “hello” when we crossed paths in the halls hoping to build a teacher/student relationship. It just didn’t happen. I really wish I would have made more of an effort to connect.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past 5 days; not just about her, but my relationship with my own children and children I minister to. Do I REALLY know what’s going on inside their heads? Could I be looking into their eyes every day and still missing something?
We need to begin to SHOW and TELL. One without the other won’t do. We must show the young people around us how much we love them. It’s not done by showering gifts only, but by taking out time for them. They know the difference between you hearing them and you LISTENING to them. After all, they are the masters of “hearing” everything and “listening” to nothing! We must make time for their needs not just their practices and games. We have to create uninterrupted time where they feel free to share what’s on their mind. And even though they don’t want to hear much from us, we have an obligation to tell them how much they matter; how much they are worth. We MUST tell them they are the best God has. They are no mistake, they have a divine purpose in life only THEY can fulfil. They need to hear from us OFTEN.
Use this and any other situation that plucks the strings of your heart to remember to SHOW and TELL more often.
Sometimes you can be working diligently and are still not be effective. The reason is when we get in a “zone”, we tend to have tunnel vision. Once we get out, those on the “outside” tell us their view of what we were doing. Sometimes our intentions don’t match up with what was happening in reality. After writing and self-publishing my first book, I was able to talk to people about their experiences in life and how the book has brought them to the realization that there is just more life to live! But, what I kept hearing from people is “What about you? What’s your story” I thought to myself, “My story is not that moving or involved. I don’t even have much to tell.” The truth about it is, I DO have a story to tell. I do have more to share, but I’ve been in tunnel vision for a while. I’ve been focused on being, having, and doing more instead of sharing. So, I’ve decided on these blog posts I will make a point to tell you more about me each time. I will share my story in order to help others starting today…
I’m a writer! I always have been. I remember having a notebook in elementary school where I wrote all my poetry. Unlike most, I loved it when it was time to write sentences, paragraphs, and essays. I just felt comfortable there. By the time I was in high school, I had one of the hardest English teachers alive, and I was so glad. She encouraged me to bring out more of my thoughts on paper, so I did. I went through some things as a teen that would have made no sense coming out of my mouth. Love, hurt, depression, hatred, questions about sexual orientation…It looked much better on paper! I wrote every day. I kept that notebook until I misplaced it in 2014. (I don’t think that was an accident!) Poetry, short stories, books, songs…whatever I could. After high school and into college, God continued to bless me with some of the best and most honest English teachers I could come across. It was amazing. He was definitely setting me up for something big.
What is it that you KNOW about yourself? If someone asked you, “Who are you?” Of course there would be many parts to that answer, but what’s one you can be SURE of? For me, I’m sure I am a writer. Take some time this week and just think about that. Have you had tunnel vision so much that you lost sight of who YOU are? I’d love to hear from you…