Monday, May 29, 2017

Things To Be Afraid Of

We live in a frightening world. There are things that everyone should be scared of, or at least feel a little uneasy around; snakes, spiders, creepy dolls, dark deserted streets at night, clowns, MRI machines, taxes, and sometimes even commitments. Everyone is different, which is a good thing. It would be boring if we were all alike, so it only stands to reason that everyone would have different fears as well.

What should we do? Should we avoid the things we are afraid of at all costs? Some things ... absolutely. A fear can take us deep down to our inner core and bring us to our knees. But if a fear is just a discomfort, perhaps it is something we need to overcome for our own sake in order to build stamina and our confidence level.

If you are afraid of heights for a certain reason, maybe it's not a good idea to jump out of a plane (with a parachute, of course). But if you're afraid because you've never tried it or because you've piggy backed on to someone else's fear, that isn't good either. That fear now holds you captive.

If you cannot swim, then you should never consider cliff diving. But riding in a canoe while wearing a life jacket on a lazy river with someone who is experienced on the water might be worth considering.

What things should we never be afraid of? To try something new. Failure. Falling off the horse and getting back on (metaphorically speaking). We will never be able to control certain aspects of our lives, but whoever said that we would? The world has lots of unknowns; some good, some not so much. We have to deal with whatever cards we are dealt and learn to not only find a way to cope, but hopefully bring something good out of it as well. 

I've known people who have dealt with sickness, with grief, and with overcoming unthinkable odds. But they didn't let their situations define who they were or who they wanted to be. Through the process they learned things about themselves they never knew. They discovered their inner strength, they discovered their courage, and they discovered their voice.

It's okay to be afraid, when needed, but don't let it stop you from reaching for the stars, from attaining your dreams, or from letting your voice be heard.

What are you afraid of? How do you handle it? Have you been able to get past it?

Friday, May 19, 2017

The BIG Question

Every day we face hardships, unwanted circumstances, and health scares. We often find ourselves asking the BIG question of 'Why?'. WHY did a friend have to die so young? WHY did your spouse lose the job they loved? WHY didn't you get the job you were more than qualified for? When we start asking this question it is usually because something has happened that we had no control over. We all like to know what our future holds and how we can be better prepared for the hurdles, but then 'things' happen that we simply don't understand. Then we feel a little lost. We feel insecure.
But what if we tried not to focus on the WHY? What if, instead, we focused on the bigger question of 'What should I do now?' There will always be things we have no control over; things that are out of our hands.
Any one that knows me well, knows that I love words. I love to write, but more importantly I love to hear what people have to say. Words can tell a story. Words have the power to lift us up and tear us down. When words are good I like to remind myself of them. I have a tattered piece of paper taped to the top left corner of my computer at work that says this ...
'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.' When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Remember that 'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'
We can't always stopped the unpleasant things in life from happening, but we can control our attitudes and how we handle the circumstances. We can let them define us and dictate what direction we will let them take us in OR we can take a deep breath, take it all in, and decide what we want to take with us from the situation. My pastor recently said on Mother's Day that some women are mothers who choose to stay home with their kids, there are mothers who try to balance work both inside and outside the home, and there are mothers who had a lousy example of what a mom was when they were growing up. He also said that those last mothers don't have to let their upbringing define them. They have the choice of breaking the cycle and changing what the next generation looks like.
We will always ask WHY? But we can also ask 'What should I do now?' The choice is still ours.
When was the last time you asked WHY? What happened next?

Monday, May 8, 2017

When Time Stands Still

When I was a kid, time could never move fast enough. It seemed to take forever for holidays, birthdays, and even Saturday mornings to come. It was like the sand in the hour glass was stuck. But, as a kid, I was never very patient. Ironically, not much has changed as I've grown up. I'm still impatient, but now it's because I'm busy with responsibilities, To Do lists, and busy schedules.

As a parent, time had different issues; there was never enough of it. By the time we worked, did the laundry, cleaned the house, helped the kids with their homework, got them to their functions, etc. we often didn't have any time leftover for ourselves, much less ... a full night's sleep.

But amidst this crazy journey called 'life' I have discovered something AMAZING. I've moved into my next phase; that of being a grandparent. It's proving to be one of my favorite phases, truth be told. Why? Not because I get to spoil my granddaughters and then give them back to their parents, but because when I get to spend time with them ... time seems to stand still. I can't explain how or why it happens, but just last week I played 'stickers' with one granddaughter and rocked the other and realized that over the course of an hour I NEVER looked at the clock. So, in my mind, time did stand still. It was fascinating, truly scientific (I'm sure), and completely beautiful.

If this is part of what happens as a grandparent, I am THRILLED. It may take some creative scheduling to carve out the time needed to make a trip to the west side of the mitten, but it is definitely worth it. Today I drove to my son and daughter-in-law's house to stay for a couple of days and I had time to read to the 'little ones', rock the baby for few hours, giggle with the toddler, and for a change; live in the moment. 

What am I learning? That obviously I shouldn't look at the clock quite as much as I do, but some habits are harder to break than others. Like everyone else I am a constant work in progress. I learn as I go. The good news, though, is that I keep learning.

Monday, May 1, 2017

It's Time For A Break

Time can be pretty complex. It's more than just a four letter word. Wikipedia defines time as the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future. That may sound pretty specific and scientific, but it's more than just a combination of seconds, minutes, and hours. Time is something that can linger for days and also something that once it slips by we cannot get back.

Time has been referred to in so many ways :
  • Time heals all wounds.
  • Take life one day at a time.
  • We all wish we had more time.
  • Time is precious.
  • Time is of the essence.
  • Don't waste your time.
  • Time flies by.
  • Memories can be frozen in time.
For me, lately, time seems to be going by faster than the blink of an eye. Seems like only yesterday my children were little; were seeing and experiencing things for the first time ... and now they're grown up. My youngest just graduated from college and my oldest came home to support his sister and brought his family (a wonderful wife and my two wonderful granddaughters). When did they grow up? When did my life move ahead on fast forward?

There's no way to slow it down or stop the inevitable. There's no way to make it last any longer. So what can we do? We can try to get off the fast track of life; the track that has us always looking at what is to come and what we need to finish and what we need to prepare for. Instead we need to appreciate the 'now', the part that creates the memories for later.

As a parent I've spent much of my energy focusing on supporting my children, their talents, and their goals, helping them get where they wanted to be. Now it's my turn, lol, to stand back and watch; to see who they've become and what they've accomplished. Yes, I am a proud mother. I try to tell my kids as often as I can and hope that they know how much I mean it. I am a proud grandmother. This past weekend I got to rock my youngest granddaughter and watch her look up at my face and listen to my voice. Then I would sit and watch the toddler play and giggle and talk and say 'bless you' when someone sneezed (including herself). For a moment I allowed myself to not look too far forward, but rather just enjoy the moment for what it was; both beautiful and amazing.

I am human. I will still have my moments of planning too far ahead and trying to squeeze 28 hours into a 24 hour day, but that's okay as long as I can find a balance. A balance of being in control when I can, being a responsible multi-tasker when I need to be, and being a happy grandma who can forget about literally everything else when one of my granddaughters is in the room ... at that point nothing else could possibly be a priority.