Every Little Thing

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Morning 1.11.14

In less than two weeks, I’ll be 50 years old. I don’t know what that is supposed to look like, but I don’t feel like I’ve been here for half a century! The picture you see of my pier resembles my life a year ago. Making the decision toward the very best outcome for my daughter and me, was the scariest thing I ever did. It’s been a ride, but I’m a country girl, so God knew I could handle it. Take chances.

I’ve made a lot of decisions this year, and most have taken me on a path of goodness. The wrong turns, God worked out for my good. I started this Blog back in June, and just want to encourage others and give them hope for a beautiful life. My first Blog was about a Keith Urban song entitled, “Little Bit of Everything“. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, or what my new life was going to look like, so I just thought a little bit of everything in all areas would be cool. Today, I have that and my disco ball still hangs from my ol’ oak tree. My life is more than I could ever hoped or dreamed for, and I want that for you! Make a decision.

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Morning awakens

The photo above is a morning view from my front porch.

I wake up around 5:30 am and take my coffee to the porch and wait for the day.  This is my first semi conscious moment with God, and I thank Him for waking me up! Yes, I’m just grateful to wake up, have a new day and be healthy. I took a 6 week Yoga class with my daughter, so this week, I’ve taken my Yoga moves to the porch. It’s a delightful thing to do while waiting for the sun to come up. Once the sun hits, it gets hot because this is Texas! Take care of your body. You only have one.

By starting my day like this, you may be wondering if I’m independently wealthy? The answer is NO. I have made choices to simplify my life to the point, I don’t need much. I’ve had a full life of expensive houses, the right car, clothes hanging in a closet with tags still on them, travel, and just about every material object you could want.

Today, I rent a small house, less than 1,000 square feet, on 40 acres of land. I can clean my entire house in the same amount of time it took me to sweep the pool. Freedom.

I’m a Virtual Assistant for two different companies, and get to work from home with very flexible hours. Having had my own successful businesses in the past, I chose to let go of the pressure of success and help others. That was a hard thing to let go of, but having found a blissful balance in my life, allows me to give that to others. I enjoy being behind the scenes now instead of the spotlight. Even though my daughter will tell you, I still go BOOM…into the room, and there’s nothing quiet about me.

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Bailey no braces

Oh, how I love my daughter! This selfie was taken the day she got her braces off. I think she’s breathtakingly beautiful! When I look at Bailey, I see everything good and pure that God made. She makes me laugh until I can’t breathe. We do and say the craziest things to one another, and it works. I have allowed her to be technologically savvy, which a lot of Homeschool Mom’s don’t. Google is our friend, which makes most Mom’s look at us in distaste. That’s okay because she knows a little bit about a lot, and that makes for great conversation. She probably knows more sexual innuendos than I do, but will hold fast to her virginity. Being involved with Twitter, Instagram, Vine, YouTube, to name a few, she sees and hears it all.

God has raised this girl, and I’m just the vessel that looks like Mom. She makes Godly choices and takes paths that are pleasing to Him. Because she has ‘street smarts’ she is able to guide and protect others that may be looking at a tempting path. I know she keeps me outta trouble. Not long after we moved, I saw a hot looking guy mowing his grass, and said, “He can mow my yard anytime’! She said, “NO Mom. You don’t ever want to say that to a guy”. That’s how we roll.

Walking out to get in our truck one morning, she grabbed me and yelled, “Selfie”! It was a cool morning which made our eyes water, and we were not wearing any makeup. I think that is one of my favorite pics with her because she wanted to do that. She wanted a pic with her Mom, and she does it quite often. How many teenagers include their parent in their life? Take time with your kids.

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Come along with me.

She is extremely gifted and creative, but has a sound mind. I think that’s important with creativity. One of her first Photoshop pics was this with a tiger. That is so Bailey. Nope…we’re not holding a cute little bunny, or watching an aquarium full of colorful fish. We’re strolling down the road with one of God’s fiercest creatures. She loves art, music, and photography, and God is opening doors for her that no man can close. Be willing to walk through every door God opens.

This next picture is awesome. To further her knowledge of photography, and combine her love for music, Bailey reached out to artist’s via email. She types an email to agent’s of artist’s she would love to photograph. She loves Tyler Ward. His talent and integrity as a person is who she admires. Tyler was probably the third artist she photographed, and even though none of the agents have used her photo’s, she still emails and doors open.

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Tyler

She does the next right thing every time. Taking at least 300 shots of the artist, coming home to sort them for hours and only edits a few. She emails them to the manager, and sometimes the artist, and that’s it. She doesn’t hear another word, or see them posted anywhere. By doing her part, and walking by faith, I know God is going to bless her. This is just practice for the big thing He has in store. Everyone needs practice, and this time has allowed her to learn about her camera, lighting, and how to work the crowd to get to just the right spot.

Having these opportunities at a young age is going to take her to magnificent places. There are always older, more seasoned, somewhat snobby photographers at the same concert as her. Some are paid to be there, which Bailey is not. I’m sure the agents use their photo’s, but I’m also sure, those guys wish they would have been standing there at 15 years old instead of now. She has her whole life ahead of her, and we stay grateful for every door God opens. Stay in gratitude.

It’s a little after 10:00 am, and it’s time to start cooking our brunch. This is another little thing I get to do for us. I love setting the table with colorful place mats, old china from an antique shop, and cloth napkins. Scratch that. Today we have haircuts at noon, so it will be homemade Pumpkin Bread from a local Farmer’s Market, with real butter and a pot of tea. That’s an example of how we make every little thing count. I want that for you too. If nothing else, start with cloth napkins. Today can be beautiful and it starts by waking up.

Be Here Now

The one phrase that will make my skin crawl is, “Deal with it”. I don’t enjoy hearing that from someone’s mouth and directed toward me.

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That usually means they have provided or pointed out something distasteful in my life that needs to be resolved. Good things add goodness to my life.  If it’s not good, then I have a choice whether or not to keep it. Life happens fast, and the key that I have found, is to ‘deal’ with everything it throws at me immediately.

Being a woman, this usually brings up an emotion or two that I need to get a handle on first. If something happens unexpectedly, I have to sit back and look at it for what it is. Acknowledging how it’s making me feel, and sit with that feeling. To feel the present moment.

One thing I have found is you have to reach out and touch it. Whatever it is that’s bringing up this flood of emotion, whether it be anger, loneliness, panic, frustration, desperation, overwhelm…whatever it is, just touch the root cause. Every cause has calmness on the other side.  Just feel it out.

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Something or someone is trying to get your attention! We need to pay attention to every moment. When I reach toward it, what’s waiting for me is exactly what I needed, whether I knew it or not. It’s not scary. We just talk through our sides and come to an agreement that works for both of us. Then comes my favorite part….LETTING GO! Once it’s discussed, I get to let it go, and have more room for what’s next.

This is present moment living for me. I feel it, reach toward it, talk it through and move on. This prevents worry, grudges, procrastination, disappointment and all the nastiness of life. If you don’t reach toward it, you will probably put it in a box up on a shelf to deal with later. This is not healthy. It never goes away like that, and it will sit and wait. This also kills growth and nothing good grows in darkness. Face whatever is coming after you, because somehow, it needs you right now, in this present moment.

A Perfect Day

My daughter has a sign hanging on the wall in front of my desk that I get to read everyday. It simply says, “Today is a perfect day, for a perfect day”. This inspires me with its simplicity, and the fact that a 15-year-old found it true enough to purchase it. There is so much pain in the world today, I believe we’re in a season of giving. One of my favorite sayings is, “What we take for granted, someone else is praying for”.

You may be having a hard time yourself, and it seems you have nothing to give. That’s when we give of ourselves.

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I enjoy watching people’s faces as they walk through the airport. Their facial expressions tell a lot about who they are, especially women. When I was little and I made a mean face to my brother behind his back, Mama would say, “You better be careful or your face might freeze like that”. Maybe if I had spent my life making faces at my brother,  it would be true. I saw so many women at the airport this week, with a face of sadness, or an embedded frown. That tells me, they spent a lot of time with that look on their face, so now their face automatically relaxes into that position.  It’s sad.

So, I made a practice this week of everyone I saw walking toward me without a smile, I gave them one of mine. Everyone I encountered at the Airport, I was ‘over the top’ kind to them. Everyone I smiled at… smiled back. They gave me a look of hesitancy at first, and then there was a sign of relief, and happiness, just for a moment. Maybe that was the first time they had smiled all day. For some, it was the first time in years!

Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

I encourage you today, if you think you don’t have anything to give, dust off your smile and kindness and give it away! It will come back to you.

Miss Her Mind

I grew up in a negative environment. My mother was a product of her Mother, but I chose to break that cycle as soon as possible. Mom took good care of us. She worked hard to provide what we needed, she loved us dearly, but she always had a little negative tilt. Sitting in Grandmother’s kitchen as a child, I watched her worry about things that hadn’t even happened yet.

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Once I was on my own, people were placed in my path that spoke differently. They believed in positive outcomes and didn’t seem to worry unless there was something of concern. Happy people, that were on the road to success. If something negative came out of my mouth, someone would turn it around with something positive. They introduced me to tapes by Jim Rohn, Anthony Robbins, and books by Zig Ziglar.

By my mid twenties, my life and words had changed for the better. No longer did negative comments come from me. It literally made me cringe if I heard someone say something negative, and I found myself giving back what I had received. To this day, if someone says something negative, I will smile, and turn it around with a positive, to complete strangers.

Visiting my home state of North Carolina this week, brought this Blog into fruition. My daughter just turned 15, and has not had anything negative said to her in her lifetime. She has watched me encourage others, and has learned to do the same. If I can’t say something good, I don’t say anything at all.

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We stayed at my Mother’s Condo last night. This framed cross stitch piece hangs in the hall bath. I took a picture to share with you, because my Mother doesn’t enjoy her Condo anymore. Three years ago she was diagnosed with Dementia. She lives in an assisted living home, and has no idea why, but I do.

I stood inside her closet this morning and looked through her clothes. Shoes were placed underneath to match every outfit. The white clothes were covered in plastic to keep them from dust. I miss my Mother…and I miss her mind.

That’s Even Better

I grew up watching my grandmother worry about things long before they happened, and promised myself I would not do that. Unfortunately, I did worry for many years.

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This morning I woke up feeling anxiety in my body. Grabbing a cup of coffee, I strolled out to the porch to wait for the darkness to turn to light. I’ve had some battles this week, so I marked it up to that. What I saw was, I needed to stand firm in my faith, beliefs, and what I know as right.

A couple of birds flew overhead, gracefully flying to their next destination. Were they arguing, or loosing feathers from stress? No. Matthew 6:26  (AMP) “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

Yes, we are! When we worry, we are thinking of the future. Our mind will think past, present, (briefly) and future. It doesn’t want to stand still in the present moment because it wants to be a problem solver, and drag us along for the ride. I use the image of cans ties to the bumper of a car after a wedding. I can either let go, or be dragged. I’m going to continue letting go.

Turning to leave the porch, and walk inside my home, I caught a glimpse of the pond. Elvis, our large grey stork was standing there looking at me as if to say, ‘Good Morning’. Every time I needed to know God was near, this stork has shown up. It’s not an everyday occurrence, only when needed, and it still surprises me.

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Sitting at my desk typing away, I gaze out the window to get a better look. Now, the large white Egret is there, on the opposite side of the pond from Elvis. After more than a year of living here, I have not seen them visit at the same time. This reminds me of God’s promise:

Zechariah 9:12 (AMP) 12 “Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you.” Have you heard the saying, ‘Double for your trouble’? Well, this is it darlin’s. God will give us double the blessing for any trouble this world throws at us.

That is what I saw this morning. How about you? Is something staring you in the face that has you filled with anxiety, or is it in the future? If it’s in the future, it has a very good chance of not happening, because time changes circumstances. All we have is this present moment we’re sitting in right now.

I encourage you to be still in this moment, and know that God is near. He has it all worked out. It may not look like what we have planned, but in my experience, that’s even better.

This Life

I strolled down to the pier early this morning to fellowship with God. This is the one place I can go and feel His presence. A cool, gentle breeze was whipping around the pajama pants I still had on. The pond was alive with activity from fish and various creatures, but at the same time it was peaceful.

Scrolling through my playlist, I chose, This Life by The Afters.

“We can’t own it
We just get to hold it for a while.
This Life.
We can’t keep it
Or save it for another time.
This Life.”

This has been a somber week for me. One of those weeks my daughter would say, “You need to go back and read some of your Blogs.” Practice what I preach sorta thing. I feel like God is getting ready to move in my life. You know that, ‘Calm before the storm’ feeling? Everything He’s done up to this point is preparing me for what’s next. He has made me stronger than I need to be for some reason. This allows me to look back at the choices I made this week, and how they will impact my life.

I believe our actions speak louder than words. Sometimes no action, or dead silence screams at us louder than words. My actions this week has caused some to feel hurt, anger, disappointment, confusion, joy, happiness and love. Mama always said, “Be true to yourself”, and I cannot control how my actions are received.

I posted this quote on my Facebook page, and it caused quite a stir. “The one who makes you the happiest is usually the same person who is capable of causing you the most pain and stress.” I love how it uses the word, ‘capable’. Just because they are capable, doesn’t mean it’s ‘allowed’.

We all need encouragement! A friend gave me a bucket of refreshment this morning. She asked if that was my daughter she saw me with the other day. I told her, ‘Yes’, and she said, “She’s beautiful”! I responded, “Yes, she’s a sweetheart.” She then replied, “That’s because you’re her mother.” Those five words made me very grateful for this life.

Hey….Watch This!

I live in the country, so the title of this post is a rather popular saying by guys around here. It usually precedes a physical act that can lead to an emergency room visit shortly thereafter. As I sit at my desk this morning typing this, I gaze out the window and see my kind of, “Hey…Watch this!” The foliage has grown rather tall around the pond, and it’s earth tone colors made this easy to miss. Looking carefully…I see Stork!

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If you’re not familiar with Stork, go back and read, “Just Breathe” for an introduction. There are two that visit our pond, and this morning, it’s the Great Blue Heron. It’s rare to see him, and you have to look closely to spot him during his visit.

He stands majestically in the water, and moves with graceful intention. I go out onto the porch and sit on the stoop to take in a closer look. He takes three long strides, lowering his head toward the water. He plunges his beak below the water level, and pulls back with a fish. As I’m typing this, he has done this three times that I’ve seen.

He is in the present moment. He is aware of his surroundings, but focused on what’s in front of him. Breakfast.

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There are distractions. Birds are flying all around, and half a dozen or so are having a party on the pier. A truck rides by on the road above, but it doesn’t distract him. He walks away from the road, finds a quieter spot, and retrieves another fish.

Are you enjoying the present moments of your life? I am guilty of not paying attention to what’s important at that moment. Sometimes I’m too focused on what’s at hand, and I miss what just happened beside me. My daughter trying to tell me what just happened in her day. I’m practicing reverting my attention from work, to focusing on her and listening to what’s she’s trying to share. This is her present moment, and we won’t get it back. If I miss too many of these, she will be less likely to invite me in.

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I encourage you to pay attention to what’s around you, and what’s in front of you. A fabulous book to help guide is, “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Hanh. This book is beautifully written and pure joy to read. Look around and ‘see’ what’s important. What is happening that wasn’t happening a moment ago?

The vacuum is going to sit until plugged in and used. My world is still and quiet at the moment, but that will change as soon as my daughter wakes up and the cat and dog are set free from their sleeping quarters.

Stork has moved on for the day. I enjoyed catching glimpses of his present moment experience. The fish could learn a lot from Stork, and so could we.