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Plant Your Seeds of Dreams

My daughter recently took on growing a tomato plant. You know the ones you can grow indoors. Yes, she opted to take this project on in the start of fall. She happily did tons of research, went to the store to buy all the required materials, came home and planted her seeds. She planted 3 seeds, hoping they all would grow, but praying at least one of them does.

After she planted her seeds, she placed the soil in the sunniest place in our house. She said to me excitedly; I don’t know if I am going to be able to wait for the seeds to sprout. I might dig them up to see if they are actually growing. I explained to her she needed to be patient.

A week later, she proudly told me the seeds were sprouting. I happily asked her, “you are seeing them sprout through the dirt?” She replied, “nope I dug them up.” A few days later, a beautiful little seedling started peaking through the dirt.

This experience and exchange with my daughter spoke to me about faith. And how we are told to have the faith of a mustard seed. I have said this analogy so many times, but honestly, I never really thought much about what this commandment calls for us to do.

When we have a dream, desire, or hope. We make a plan, begin the preparations, and many of us start the work. We work intending to see our dream manifested. But this process doesn’t come easily. Often, we plant our seed, start the watering process, and when we don’t see any sprouting, we get impatient. We doubt the process. We want to dig and verify the roots of our labor are growing and sprouting.

We ask the questions, is there enough sunlight, enough water, is it too cold, not hot enough, did I buy the right soil, ect. Days, weeks, months, and sometimes years can go buy before we see any reaps of our labor, before our seed sprouts.

Like my daughter, our impatience can force us to do things that slow the process. Lacking faith that our diligence is working, we may dig in the soil searching for proof. This unnecessary digging can slow the process or worst damage it. We can’t dig up our progress, because we are impatient about the process.

We can’t dig up our progress, because we are impatient about the process.

No matter what your religious or non-religious beliefs are, we are told to believe without doubt. To have faith that whatever our heart desires, it shall come to flourish. That with hard work and faith, the seed will sprout. It is important for us to believe underneath the surface, work is happening. Things are taking place that we can’t see with our eyes, but must believe with our hearts are happening. Our job is to do the work!

Take your seed of dreams and plant it in a nourishing soil. A soil that isn’t full of doubt, negativity or fears. Place your pot somewhere safe, where it can flourish. Away from people with negative thoughts and their own personal fears. Place it where it will get plenty of sunlight. Rays of positivity, hope, love, and encouragement. Then water it with tenacity, dedication, hard work, and consistency. Then kick your feet up and watch your seed sprout into something fruitful and beautiful.

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Hardships Are Like Knots In A Rope

I was at my ropes end. I held the rope in my hand contemplated tieing one last knot at the end and ending it all. I had been through so much over the last few years. All the struggles all the heartache, all the problems I didn’t know if I could take any more. I didn’t see a way out of the hole, I felt, I had dug myself into.

It was a scary and solemn feeling to realize I had dug myself into a hole with my choices, and now I had made my very own rope to hang myself.

I felt knots in my stomach as I held the rope in my hands. “throw the rope” I heard a small whisper say. “Throw the rope” I threw the end of the rope.

It’s amazing how we can look at our problems and see failures, struggles, weights while those problems may really be lessons, growth, stairs.

“hardships from the past help you succeed in the future” ~Phillip Emeagwali

Every single time I was thrown a monkey wrench or stumbled, I felt knots in the pit of my stomach saying my situation was never going to get better. I would take that knot and build a rope. You know that feeling you get when there is a failure, that tightness in your stomach? Yeah, that feeling doesn’t actually dissipate and go away, it transforms into a rope. By rope, I don’t mean a physical rope, but a thought process, a course of action. We all are building ropes every single day. Our thought process determines our course of actions and our course of actions determines our fate.

When you get that knot in your stomach and start the beginning of your rope, pay attention to the feelings that come. Are the feelings hope and strength or are they hopeless and defeat. The difference determines the type of rope you are starting.

If you find yourself feeling hopeless and defeated, allow yourself space and time to feel those feelings. Really listening and analyzing those feelings. Letting your emotions be free without judgment. If you feel you need to cry, cry. If you feel you need to scream, scream. Allow yourself to release. Once you have provided yourself with space and time to release the emotions that come along with hopelessness and defeat, process and analyze them. Processing and analyzing isn’t judgment.

Judging is comparing a situation to a standard based on biases developed socially. An example would be, I am so stupid I should have known better not to quit my job to become an artist. What was I thinking? An artist doesn’t make any money, they struggle and now all I will ever be is a struggling artist.

Processing and analyzing a situation is looking at the circumstances, observing, and finding explanations for those observations. An example would be, I am sad because I thought quitting my job and pursuing my passion would be fun and make me so happy. But, now I am broke and struggling to pay my bills. This is a new venture for and I knew it was going to take courage and strength. I think I am really scared right now. Judging is usually consumed with an opinion that usually encompasses the outside. Processing is usually consumed with an understanding that encompasses the inside.

By paying attention to the knots, you can determine what type of rope you are constructing. When you are able to process your hardships and challenges, they become knots that lead you higher and higher. You begin to put together knots that are used for climbing. Hardships and struggles can propel us to our destiny when they are used correctly.

In what seemed like my darkest hour of despair, became my moment of freedom. As I climbed each knot, I reflected on that moment in time and how it lead me to this exact moment and I felt a sense of gratefulness. I thanked it for the courage and lift it provided me. I climbed higher and higher using each knot. Finally, there was sunshine, warmth against my face. I was free! While I knew I was not free from ever experiencing another hardship, I knew I was free from bondage. I knew at that moment nothing and everything could stop me from living my best life, the difference between the two was my choice. The ending of my story was mine to write.

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Doggy Paddle Like You Mean it.

Last week I had a few business meetings I  needed to attend, however, I woke up one morning feeling inadequate and unprepared for them. I found myself feeling like I had no idea what I was doing. I recognized this wasn’t an uncommon feeling for me, there have been many times I have felt a sense of inadequacy. I was about to have meetings with people who were far more knowledgable about business than I was. They were going to eat me alive.

If you’ve heard my testimony, then you know I talk about being in the ocean during this time of my life. I often feel like there are moments I am floating, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery, then there are moments when I am swimming for my life trying not to drown. But what about those in-between moments?

I am doggy paddling.

What I have learned while being in the ocean is I am not a professional swimmer. I don’t know how to do any professional strokes, all I know how to do is doggy paddle.

If you were to swim by me in the ocean, on the top it would appear like I am perfectly fine, coasting along, but underneath the water you would see my legs kicking and kicking and my arms wailing, a complete struggle to stay afloat.

After attending my first meeting, I realized everyone in the ocean is doing the exact same, we are all simply doggy paddling trying to stay afloat.

The thing about living life beyond the walls and in the ocean is we don’t really know how to do it. None of us have been taught how to live a life free of conformity, free of boundaries, free of other people opinions. Most of us are trying to figure this thing called life out. We are all trying to learn how to become professional swimmers in the ocean. While it may appear that others around you have it all together, chances are they are doggy paddling too.

The difference between one persons doggy paddle and the next is the confidence they paddle with. Some people understand that doggy paddling is just as effective as swimming. It may take them a little bit longer, but they are making strides and movement through life just like the person doing butterfly strokes. Some people realize if they are going to doggy paddle, they have to paddle with a certain kind of effort. They have to paddle like they mean it, like they really want to get there. If you want something in life you feel totally unqualified for, you have to walk into like you want it and deserve it. You can’t go in feeling unqualified and unworthy. You see, most people feed off your vibes and energy. When they see you in the ocean, they aren’t looking at your strokes as much as they are looking at your energy and vibes. Someone can watch a person and not know anything about their lack of knowledge or skill level, but if what they are doing seems effortless, passionate, beautiful, and they bring a type of energy that makes them feel just as excited then what they are doing no longer matters, the person is  sucked into the energy force.

If I was capable of walking into my meetings with a level of confidence and excitement then people wouldn’t focus on the fact I was doggy paddling, in fact many time they wouldn’t even know I was doggy paddling. They would be focused on how quickly and efficiently I was moving and how great my energy was while doing it.

It’s all about the energy and vibes. I am less likely to jump into the water with someone who seems panicked, scared, and unsure even if they are a professional swimmer. However, if someone seems completely at ease, happy, confident, and have a positive vibe and energy I am more likely to jump into the water without even asking if they know anything about swimming.

I realized just because I am doggy paddling now doesn’t mean I will still be doggy paddling in a year. Every single person has a starting point. There will come a time when I would be able to back stroke through some parts of the ocean and then have to doggy paddle through other parts. The same way I am able to float. The key is to do it like I mean it, whole heartedly.

After realizing this reality, I decided to doggy paddle like I meant it. If I was going to doggy paddle anyway, I might as well doggy paddle with pride. I decided I would add some simple strokes to my doggy paddle.  Practice would eventually make perfect. I no longer was going to feel embarrassed or less than because I was doggy paddling. For the remainder of the week I doggy paddled into every meeting like a professional swimmer!

I doggy paddled into my meetings with confidence and energy. I held my head high above the water while my legs kicked and paddled and with all their might. And if my head happen to dip for a second under water, I would keep my eyes open and look around noticing everyone else doggy paddling too! We were all equals. All trying to get to our island of happiness.

Now that you have broke down the walls and jumped into the ocean of the unknown, doggy paddle with a purpose, doggy paddle to your island, doggy paddle like you mean it! And when you run into others who seem like more competent swimmers, remember everyone is and/or has doggy paddled. So be kind, give them a boost, show them a stroke or two that you have learned along the way, and speak life into them so they are able to continue their journey along the ocean with the same type of confidence.

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Follow the Cart

Ikea is one of the best shopping places ever! If you’ve never been to one, may I suggest you make this happen. We love Ikea, but we don’t love their carts Ikea carts are designed to roll front, backwards, and side to side. This on first sight may seem awesome because you simply pull the cart along with you whichever way you go. What we quickly learned and based off our people watching, what others learned, is this is not the case.

The carts are actually cumbersome and easily become a nuisance. You find yourself trying to force the cart to go the way you want it to go, all while the wheels are turning and rolling in every direction. You’re going left and the cart is going backward and right. If you make this highly suggested visit to Ikea or on your next visit to Ikea, take a moment to watch those around you struggling, I mean strolling around with their carts. You will see many of them complaining and discussing their dislike for the carts, you will see them trying to forcefully correct the direction of the cart, but then you will see some people happily following along. Sounds familiar? Sounds like life?

Some people follow the cart rather than trying to force the cart to follow them. 

I never noticed this until one of our recent visits to Ikea. We were waiting for one of our purchases to arrive at the pickup station along with a couple of other people. Our items arrived at the same time as another person items. My husband got our cart of items and the guy got his cart of items. I watched as my husband struggled to get the buggy to go the way he wanted it to go while the guy strolled by us letting his buggy go whichever way it choose. He walked by with ease, confidence, and a type of control that isn’t quite control. It was almost as if he maintained control of the cart by releasing control. Allowing the cart to do what it was designed to do, but still staying in control. It was eye opening.

What this moment taught me was that Ikea carts are much like life. We walk into many moments of life with excitement knowing that the situation can go anyway. There is a feeling of freedom, believing we will have a stronger grasp on control in the situation. However, once in the moment we begin to feel frustrated, irritated, worried, concerned, upset, stressed, angry, and/or depressed when we realize the situation is trying to go one way when we want it to go another way.

What if, we followed the moment? What if we allowed the moment to swing right while we held on with a since of confidence knowing the situation wasn’t going to swing so far right that we would lose control. Allowing the moment to go right, with a faith in the design of the moment. A faith that the creator of this moment knew exactly how to design the situation to go exactly the way it needed to go.

Follow the moment and allow things to unfold the way they are designed to unfold all while holding on with faith and confidence in yourself and the maker.

The guy following the cart in front of us wasn’t pushing the cart, but more so guiding it. He held on with ease as the cart turned in circles. For him, he knew without a doubt the cart wouldn’t get out of hand, he trusted the design and he trusted himself.

To push something in life that wasn’t designed to be pushed can cause friction and frustration. 

When you are presented with free flowing moments in life, the idea is to allow that moment to, well, flow free. If we take a moment that was meant to be free flowing, and  try to push it in the direction we want it to go, the moment is no longer free flowing. You are literally going against the grain. These moments become so frustrating and put a strain on our peace and happiness. So, how do you know when you are forcing a free flowing moment? Do things seem difficult, virtually impossible, does it seem like no matter how hard you push or pull you’re getting nowhere and in fact it gets harder. Does it seem like you are making zero progress? All these feelings are tall tell signs that you are trying to control a free a flowing situation.

When you let go of control and follow the situation, you will quickly see a drastic change in the feeling. The important thing in this is faith and trust. Because the situation will feel like it is going to go out of control if you don’t steer it, you have to have trust and faith. In the beginning it will feel uncomfortable almost unnatural. You will feel like you need to do something or should be doing more. It will feel like things are getting out of control.

HOLD ON

Soon you will start to feel a sense of ease, things will flow more naturally. You will be guiding the situation, but not controlling it which will allow things to flow more freely. This allows more opportunities to present itself.

The guy who followed his cart, got to his destination a lot faster and a lot happier.

When you follow and guide you arrive at your destination a lot faster and with fewer bumps and bruises. You are happier and less frustrated. You are able to see all the beauty in each moment presented because you aren’t tied up with pushing and pulling.

The goal with each moment is to let it be, let it flow, gently guiding the wheel and trusting you will end up exactly where you are suppose to!

 

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Mayonnaise Jar and Two Beers

Always remember what’s important to you in life, for every person that may be different. Keep your eye on the ball.

Jamie Lee's Crystal Connection

Mayonnaise Jar and Two Beers…

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, When 24 hours
in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in
front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty
mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the
jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the…

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Marriage, Uncategorized

Keeping the Spice Alive, Marriage Challenge Week 3!

Trying to maintain a family, yourself, and a marriage can sometimes be overwhelming, and you may find yourself allowing one of these things to be neglected. What I have found, is the thing that typically gets neglected is the marriage. It is so important that we take the time to keep our marriage exciting, youthful, and spicy!

Good Luck this week, and share your experiences!

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Jamaica me crazy

Our family trip this year consisted of us traveling internationally and going to Jamaica!! It was an awesome trip. We spent 5 days there and had an absolute blast. Although 3 of my kids have been on airplanes before they were babies and had no memory of it, so it was practically like there first time flying which made the experience even better! They were all waiting patiently for our airplane to arrive a the terminal! 
We had shirts made by creations by carla to celebrate our arrival to Jamaica each person had their nickname on the back of the shirt! It was a great gift for the kids the morning we were leaving for Jamaica. 
When we arrived the pure joy and excitement on their face to see the Caribbean Sea was truly amazing! They were amazed at how clear the water was! 

By babies enjoying the beach
what would any trip be like without “schooling” Bossy always has to express her artistic side! 
More of her artistic expression
The boys
Line Sisters

Sharing this trip with my line sisters and their families made it even better!

It’s these little things that I love about being a mom! These are the things that really matter most, and the things that our children will cherish most! 

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Guess Who is 2……

His Homemade birthday Cake! Made from Love

Happy 2nd Birthday to my baby boy!! From the day he was born he has been something special! His birth was by no means ordinary. He was born at home after one hour of labor! I gave birth to him while standing, because he was coming sooo fast! He has kept me on my toes these past two years as he is ALWAYS into something. I like to say he is a Major boy and at times a Major Pain! I love him more than words could ever express, I can’t believe he is already 2!

When I say he is ALWAYS into something he is always into something….These are just a few of his chronicles over the years

 I am looking forward to many more years of fun and craziness with this little Guy!!