All posts by SoulTalkGirl

Serenity – Quiet Your Soul

Work, errands, bills, family, health, cooking, cleaning, and the list goes on. We live in an age where multi-tasking is the new norm. You know the scene well. Stomach in knots, easily irritated, always thinking two steps ahead, To-Do list a page long, and the list goes on and on.

Stop! Serenity is just a moment away from your present reality. You get to choose! So right in this moment . . . chose peace – chose serenity. No matter what is going on – conflict in your mind, exterior chaos in your living situation, tension in relationships, stress of finances, fear of the future – you have the power to quiet your soul.

Serenity is one of those things that, if you try too hard to grasp it, it eludes you. It enters when you merely allow it’s presence. When you feel that richness, fullness and peace – you know it has seeped into your soul.

butterfly sunny day.jpg

Simple steps to feel serenity:

  1. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Imagine allowing the warmth of a sunny day to flow deep into your lungs. A butterfly lands softly on a beautiful flower and a gentle breeze wisps across your face. Feel peace flowing into your lungs and seep into your soul.
  2. Breathe out worries, tensions and anxiety by picturing a box filled with heavy hammers and wrenches being dumped out along with all of your burdens.
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 over and over
  4. Feel your mind, your muscles, your lungs, your heart relaxing and feeling light, relaxed and fluid.

Become intentional about allowing yourself to have moments of serenity in your day. Visit this place as often as you’d like. Remember – – – you can create this kind of peace in your life. It’s a choice.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

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Feeling the Holiday Jitters?

It’s that beautiful time of year again! The neighbors have their homes and yards decorated, the stores are filled with displays of red and green lights and bling, and Christmas tunes fill the airwaves when you turn on the radio.christmas tree fireplace

 

Flip through any magazine while waiting in line at the grocery store and you’ll see pages filled with glamorous table settings and perfectly browned and glazed turkeys nested on a platter with beautiful roasted vegetables surrounding it. A woman is standing with perfectly styled hair and make-up with a holiday-themed apron wrapped around her beautifully adorned holiday dress.

WAIT A MINUTE! I’m not even close to that portrayal. Should I be in a panic?

I haven’t decorated my yard, let alone the inside of my house and it’s December 9th. My decorations are patiently waiting in the shed (placed close to the door as of a few days ago). That’s actually my project for today after I’m done writing this.  Smile.

I haven’t baked any goodies and put them in the freezer to pull out for holiday parties. I don’t even know If I’m going to attend a holiday party at all. I have thoughts in my head of gifts to give, however, I didn’t go out Black Friday shopping nor did I shop on Cyber Monday.  I don’t have a holiday outfit picked out to wear.

I won’t lie. I get the holiday jitters every year. It’s not a natural, exciting, calm feeling for me going into the Christmas season. I wish it were. The anticipation of everything that a holiday “should be” (the fear of not giving the perfect gift or having the right kind of food, or spreading the right kind of holiday cheer) is terrifying to me.

I don’t believe that gifts have to be large and expensive in order to be special, but that doesn’t keep me from feeling anxious that I’m not living up to the expectations of others. Some of my anxiety comes from feelings of not measuring up to everyone else’s abilities to create a magical Christmas for their families. Some anxiety is shear sadness that Christmas has become so much about buying gifts that people go into debt – with good intentions of making other people happy.  My heart gets sad to think of how many gifts are exchanged without one single thought of Jesus’ birth – the reason we celebrate this beautiful season in the first place.

I do love Christmas lights, the music, the food and knowing in my heart that Jesus really is the Reason for the Season. In order to enjoy holiday preparations this year I will keep things simple, take in deep breaths of holiday joy, and try to not get caught up in anyone else’s anticipations, expectations, or abilities.

We’ll have our holiday eggnog as a special evening treat and make plans to drive around neighborhoods to see all of the beautiful lights. I’ll sit on my sofa with a cup of hot tea in the evenings and stare at our lighted Christmas tree in our cozy little living room. And in those moments I’ll get that beautiful feeling of joy that my life is perfect just the way it is and Christmas will be perfect because Jesus made it so.

jesus made it so

 

 

HSP, Anxiety and Irma

I didn’t chose to be a Highly Sensitive Person and I’m not sure I’d chose to be anything other, but the struggles are real and deep and painful. I also didn’t choose to have anxiety and depression. Truthfully, it’s difficult to say the words “mental illness” and look in the mirror and realize I’m speaking about myself. That I actually fall into that category.
Major celebrities have come out and spoken about their own mental illness. Why is it so difficult to come out and speak about mine? I’m nobody special or popular or sought after.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had an “episode” of depression and anxiety, but the struggle has been real lately. It started again with “Irma” when my hyper-sensitivities to everything around me intensified.
I was going about my business this summer staying busy renovating a vintage RV (a story in itself), learning how to grow vegetables in Florida (also another story) so that I could try my hand at it this winter, and working at my business. Then Irma started to make its way across the Atlantic Ocean.
We’re pretty used to Hurricane Season in Florida and the threat of it is a constant, every summer through November. But this one was a game changer for me.
Never have I felt the waves of fear, anxiety, threat, or danger that I felt while we were preparing for this hurricane. I wanted to board up and leave town, but as we prepared and time passed it got to the point where it was more detrimental to leave – with the droves of traffic going out of the state – than to stay.
I would have waves of fear and complete terror, and then would get calmed down by neighbors that we lived in a safe area as far as flooding and past hurricanes. I would feel okay with our plan of hunkering down in the interior hallway for what was predicted to be 9 hours; then within hours I would completely melt down and feel the panic again.
That repeated pattern occurred for days prior to Irma hitting the west coast of Florida and at the last moment, during a time when no one was encouraged to be out on the roads, my panic won over and we drove to the east coast of Florida.
The hurricane is gone, our yard is mostly cleaned up (still working on taking down the shed that was demolished by fallen trees), but my mental state has not returned to normal. I’m just waiting out this episode and praying it passes quickly.

America the Beautiful – God Shed His Grace On Thee

America the Beautiful – By Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Such a Time as This

Who could have imagined even 10 years ago that American citizens could show such blatant hatred, scorn and outward evil toward each other? I wonder if most people even know why they’re hating and fighting? Do they know what they’re fighting against rather than rallying for?

Have you ever experienced a tragedy where everyone around you has promised to pray for you and then you literally felt the power that came from those prayers? I have and it has felt like a cloud of strength surrounding me and helping me to endure.

What is happening in the United States right now, feels like just the opposite. There is a cloud of anger, resentment, and scorn in the air like I’ve never seen or felt before. Rather than strengthen it is tearing down. The negative power hanging about us is just the opposite of that wonderful strength that comes from everyone around you praying.

I once worked in an office with a woman who liked to stir up trouble. She seemed to think she was the voice of authority on any given subject so she would plant seeds of discontent in the minds of those around her about how things “should be”. After that she would sit back and watch the anger of those people propel them into taking action against the very idea she had planted in their heads. She continued to feed them with ideas on how the situation should be and she watched as the people she had ignited on fire with angst and disdain, fight the very thing that she was upset about. She never lifted a finger to make the change that she desired to see.

Did the battle get fought? Absolutely! But with no consequences to her even if it backfired on the people she had incited to take action. There are many people out there like the woman I worked with, who are waiting for people just angry enough at the world, to carry out the plans that are important to them without accepting any responsibility for the outcomes.

Choices are placed before us daily. What we do with them should be carefully thought out as to the consequences to ourselves and others. In the end, we’re the only ones who have to answer for our actions, because the inciters will be sitting on the sidelines shrugging their shoulders acting as if they had no part in it.

 

 

 

 

Reflecting on the Loss of My Dad

Last week I lost my biological father after a long stretch of poor health. He was the man who was the catalyst of my creation. The man I called dad. The man who left my mom when I was a baby. The man responsible for the addition of step and half siblings and step moms into my life.

In a menagerie of family extensions I learned to weave my way through all of the varied relationships that graced my life from a very young age. Christmas Eve with mom and Christmas Day with dad was natural. Family celebrations like graduations or weddings were pleasant with both mom and dad and their respective spouses and children present. There was no drama or anger or angst over both being present in the same room or the same house at the same time. We were all a family unit and that’s just the way it was.

As I sit here surprisingly peaceful, I reflect on those growing up years and am grateful for a mom who didn’t cause dissension between her children and their father. I think of what I could have missed out on had she done that. Those Sunday afternoon visits that were all too infrequent. Those summer visits at dad’s where I experienced and embraced my new siblings and step-mom. Those Christmas Days at Grandpa Floyd and Grandma Bert’s farm house where all 14 kids shared in a gift exchange and blended together like real siblings.

My dad’s choices created a new, beautiful world really. I wouldn’t give up one step brother or step sister. I wouldn’t be complete without my two half brothers or half sister. I wouldn’t have the joys of having three moms.

I think sometimes we look at unfortunate circumstances or changes beyond our control as dark and tragic. We put blinders on in the midst of our grief. We choose to only see it from one angle. If we look a little deeper, however, there’s always something within any situation to be thankful for. If not for any other reason than to retain peace in our souls, we need to look at change and grief with open minds. The opposite is torment and unending questions that keep us in chains.

When I totally forgave my dad for changing my entire world and redirecting the course of my life after leaving my mom, I was able to release those chains and a whole new world opened up to me. What I found in return, was a dad who made choices based on the foundation he grew up with and who he had chosen to be. God allowed him to be my father and who was I to judge him?

Today I’m 100% grateful for God’s grace in the relationship between my dad and I. Without that grace I wouldn’t have forgiven and allowed my dad, who I loved dearly, to be a part of my life. I’m grateful that God showed me my imperfections, which opened my eyes and my heart to forgiveness.

I will miss his love of country music and all things John Wayne. I will miss his joy of westerns and the Grand Ole Opry. I will miss his guitar playing and singing. I will miss his stories of his truck driving days. I will miss his acceptance of me and all of my faults. I will miss my dad.

Rest in Peace Don Williams – Jan 25, 1931 – May 2, 2017.

Millionaire in Seat 23C

About three months ago I was on a flight from Tampa to Atlanta and randomly was seated next to a millionaire.  It’s normal for me to strike up a conversation with whoever is sitting next to me. I love finding out about how other people live their lives.

The man was Myron Golden, someone I had never heard of before. That’s the cool thing about millionaires. There are so many of them today because of the opportunities presented to anyone open to new ways of earning money. The internet has changed the way people shop and do business, making it possible for anyone to make an income online.

I asked Myron a lot of questions and he divulged a lot of information. I felt blessed because his live seminars cost way more than my plane ticket, and I had his full attention for almost an hour. His energy and clarity and conviction were what struck me the most. His message was clear that anyone can get ahead financially with the right mindset and with ambition.

One of the things that struck me the most was his comment about how rich peoples’ mindsets are different. He said – “One of the differences between rich people and poor people is that poor people entertain themselves and rich people educate themselves. Poor people spend a large amount of their money on entertainment, but rich people spend a large amount of their money on education. Keep in mind this is self-education, not necessarily higher education like college and grad school.”

He suggested getting rid of television completely so the distraction wasn’t even present. I can see where I’ve wasted a lot of time on mindless televisions shows and movies. If I had been spending as much time learning new things as I have on entertainment that other people have created to make money, I may be farther ahead in life than I am.

Myron sent me two of the books he has written. “From The Trash Man To The Cash Man – how anyone can get rich starting from anywhere.”  AND “Click and Order For Brick and Mortar – online strategies for offline market domination”.

I like his thinking that you don’t have to be a millionaire to be rich. But that “poor people remain poor because they believe that the only real purpose of money is spending it. If you spend your money, that means your money doesn’t stay with you long enough to reproduce itself. You must understand that the main purpose of money is not spending. The main purpose of money is reproducing more money.”

I am facing a new year – like the rest of you – yeah for 2017!

What I do with this year is totally up to me.  My challenge to myself is to educate myself as much as possible and learn new things. I’m excited for what is to come!

Happy New Year!clickandorder

 

 

Moving on to 2017!

The start of a new year -2017!  Only hours away. . . . .

I can’t say that I’ll be unhappy to see 2016 go away.  It had its share of ups and downs, joys and heartaches, stagnancy and growth.  One thing I do know – I’m grateful every day for all of the blessings in my life.

I’m blessed that my husband, Todd, has put up with me for 23 years and we become closer and more in love as we grow older. We’re so happy that we stayed together through some of the toughest storms of our lives. Times where we could have called it quits, but chose to stick it out. There’s no one I’d rather live my years out with.

My son, Andrew, has been one of my biggest inspirations as he so patiently and with wisdom, helps me to become a better person. He’s encouraged me to stretch myself and lean toward things that will change my life for the better.  I am so grateful for the gift of being his mom.

We gained a son-in-law over the summer and we’re grateful that Josh and Emily found each other. They find such joy in seeking out new things to do. We’re excited for them as they start their new life in Nashville.

College life has been good for daughter, Kaitlyn.  God has given her such a fun sense of wit and humor. We are always amazed at the doors of opportunity presented to her and that she chooses to take on the challenge of walking through them.

Knowing that I’ve raised caring and respectful adult children feels like such an accomplishment, but I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the guidance of God in my life. I give him all of the glory.

I’m grateful that I still have my mom, at 85 years old, to laugh with and to cry with. What an inspiration she has been. What a joy! What an example of a faithful woman of God. I can only imagine the things I have been spared from because of the hours she spends in prayer for me and my family.

I’m also blessed to still have my biological dad, at 85 years old, in my life. He has encouraged me and been there for me when I’ve needed an ear.  I felt complete when he came back into my life 20 years ago and am so grateful for the relationship we’ve been able to grow since then.

At 55 years old I’ve learned that it’s never too late to grow and stretch myself. I’ve searched out and learned helpful things, and weeded out things that I know are not so helpful in my growth.

During 2016 I met some of the most encouraging and hopeful people I now call my friends.  I’ve grown through the teachings of some of the most well-known inspirational speakers. And I’ve grown through the mentoring of one very special Aussie friend (thank you Naz!)

I’ve become more comfortable with who I am and have embraced my silver hair.  That would not have happened without gaining confidence from using a new skincare. I look better, therefore I feel better. That’s not a pitch for my skincare business, but a testament to taking a risk and making a change in my life, which resulted positively for me in so many ways.

Starting a blog – Soul Talk Girl – has also been a challenge for me. I’ve not been one to share a lot of my personal life in a public way, so this is stretching me. I’m praying that my life experiences will help others to overcome some of their problems.  My blog is http://www.soultalkgirl.com

The point is that I’m growing. Every day I’m reading or listening to someone who is smarter, healthier, or richer than I am. Every day I push myself to become a better person. I’ve been challenged to become better, healthier, smarter and richer at 60 than I was at 50. I’m looking forward to a year that will bring me one step at a time closer to that goal.

Happy 2017 to you and may your New Year be filled with challenging yourself to grow!

 

Challenge before Christmas

 I’ve had a bit of a challenging week, but I am so very grateful that life is as good as it is.
At the beginning of the week I was in melt down mode. A drunk driver had smashed into our car just before midnight Sunday evening while it was parked in front of our daughter’s friends’ house in a nice residential neighborhood. She and her college friends were all gathered there studying for end of semester finals. When we received the call, Todd and I were frantic. Even though we knew Kaitlyn and her friends were all okay, it sounded very serious.
A drunk driver passed out at the wheel and drove into the back end of our car with his truck. He remained passed out with his foot on the accelerator until the Sheriff’s department arrived. They had to break his window to get him out of the truck. He was hauled away in an ambulance before Todd and I got to the scene.
When we saw our Mazda, we were in a state of shock at the amount of damage it had taken. Our minds were crazy with “what will we do now?” We stared at the totally blown out back window, the truck still deeply embedded in our back bumper. We had already been dealing with a financial challenge and this was enough to put us over the edge. We drove the heavily damaged car home and parked it in our driveway.
On Monday morning I looked out the front window hoping that it had all been a bad dream.  Nope, the crashed car was sitting in our driveway. It looked even worse in the daylight.
Our son, Andrew, called to get the details. He talked me through all of my fears and tears and listened to my hysteria. I’m so grateful for a son with a level head. Hanging up the phone my head was still spinning, but I had been given the strength to deal with it by hearing Andrew’s calm and sensible advice.
As Andrew Carnegie so beautifully stated: “Encouragement makes a fault easy to correct, and a challenge easy to take on.”
In addition to the Mazda being out of commission, our second car was in the shop awaiting a part. Even my husbands’ scooter, which he can drive back and forth to work, was not working.
Then we found out that the man who hit our car didn’t have insurance. Damages would have been taken care of at 100% under his insurance had he not let it lapse, and we would have had a rental vehicle under his insurance. Neither would be possible now and our own insurance would have to be used. That left us being responsible for our $500 deductible and any rental car expenses (which we chose not to get).
On Monday I was amazed at how quickly and professionally our insurance adjuster handled our claim. He had a physical damage adjuster out that same afternoon. Sadly enough, the car had over $10,000 in visible damage, not to mention what they would find once inside all of the carnage. So it was deemed a total loss.
During the course of the day I began to shift my thinking. This was a horrible situation, however no one was seriously hurt. I was thankful that our car was unoccupied. I also began to thank God that it was “only” our car (and not any of my family or anyone else) that was hurt by a truck with a passed out driver. I started to feel that possibly someone else was spared a great deal of injury because my car stopped the guy who had no control over his vehicle. I believe that somehow the damage to our vehicle is so much less than what it could have been had it not been in the drunk guys’ path.
Today I consider the circumstances of so many people who are in worse positions than we are. I believe we all know someone who is going through a rough spot in their life. Cancer, drugs, alcohol, loss of a loved one, caring for a sick loved one, loss of job, poor health, etc.
I know that I won’t feel sorry for myself for the loss of my car and I must move forward and do everything I can in my power to get beyond these present circumstances. I’m not sure exactly what that looks like right now. We have some things to figure out, but I do know one thing . . . . it may look a little different than I had pictured it a couple of weeks ago, considering the financial impact it has had on us, but I am looking forward to a nice Christmas with my family around me and the celebration of a gift that was given to us over 2000 years ago in the form of a Savior. Simply put – Christmas will still be Christmas.

She Found Her Strengths During Adversity

robin

It’s true that you don’t know the strength and character of a person until you’ve watched them handle adversity. Such is the case with my friend, Robin.

Her husband suffered a massive stroke in April of this year. Still holding out hope for his recovery, without over thinking it, she began to share on Facebook what was happening with Dave. As things started looking more dire, she truthfully shared his condition and what she was going through. An avalanche of support was poured out in return as friends and family began to hear what had happened.

Then she was forced to make the decision that no wife is ever prepared to make, to take Dave off of life support. There was no hope for his recovery and after extensive discussion with his family, they made a collective decision.

Still sharing on Facebook what was taking place, her friends and family were in awe of the strength and clarity she possessed in sharing what she was going through in the midst of her own unthinkable grief. Not at all in an attempt for pity, but in a loving and respectful way for her friends and family who could not be by her side, to know the circumstances.

Robin has continued to share her journey on Facebook throughout the year. We’ve watcher her through ups and downs, joys and anger, sorrows and discoveries; but mostly have seen her strength and strong character. She is an example to anyone going through a tough situation.

The other day (12/2/2016) Robin gave a collective overview of her difficult year. I hope it can be a source of strength and encouragement for whatever you may be going through today.

Inventory, admissions and affirmations.
Without question 2016 has been the most beautifully challenging, emotionally torturing, soulfully growing year of my life.
Pushing through this December…. with all it’s family moments, expectations of happiness, memories, cancelled plans including a Christmas Eve wedding anniversary where we would have renewed our vows, is just another thing I have to do in this process.
Don’t feel sorry for me. I share these things because grief is so complex and simple at the same time and when it comes your way you need to be open to living through it all and knowing you are not isolated in your feelings. You will get through, you will not drown in loneliness, even though it feels as if you will

I am open to what life presents me like I have not been in many years,
super excited to possibly be a leader in a program to help others beginning this spring.
I am enjoying new things, learning new lessons, becoming a stronger person, made a few mistakes, taking time for me, learning to close doors on hurtful people and that it is a really good thing because another door leading to a better person is waiting for me.
I am still very much a face value person, don’t come to me claiming to be one thing only to prove you are not, it will be your loss and my lesson. I am immeasurably stronger now.
Liars and people who refuse to own their actions continue to be the most toxic and I have no room for them.
My love, kindness and attention is still given without hesitation, if you are genuine.
I continue to love with all I have, smile with joy from deep within and sometimes cry so hard it hurts my soul.
Loss bruises and shatters you makes you sad and lonely unlike anything you ever understood before but it doesn’t completely break you. All your tomorrows will still be there waiting for you even when you feel like you can’t make it through another moment of today. There are many things you still have left to do. Learn, live, love, enjoy, laugh, experience, share, help, feel, grow, listen, teach….. be amazing and surprise yourself with all you are capable of. Make yourself happy but never be selfish and hurtful in the process. Your grieving is not an excuse to harm another (this really is something everyone should practice but sadly don’t)
There will be new reasons to cry, because we as humans are not meant to be alone so we continue to love, connect and feel disappointments well beyond our loss.
Thank you to my tried and true, my disappointments and lessons. It all continues to prove I have so much more love, meaning and purpose ahead. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a soul-filling New Year.

I am so thankful for this beautiful friend who shares her heart.

(Published with Robin’s permission.)