Category Archives: You’ve Gotta Love Life

It doesn’t matter what age you are, there will come a time where life will challenge you. I’ll share how to overcome and face some of those challenges and how to life life to its fullest.

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!

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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.

 

 

 

 

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.)

The Quality and Condition of Diversity

ford-coming-together

Our country is at a crossroads as a result of a win and a loss.

Opinions and anger are flying freely in our streets and across the internet. The media continues to fuel the varied opinions of people who have already been incited to anger. Headlines continue to spew words that cause resentment and turmoil to boil within the hearts of those who feel their voice may not have been heard.

I’m from Green Bay Packer country and anyone familiar with the Pack knows how loyal their fans are. They pretty much bleed green and gold. It’s the only community-owned major league professional sports team based in the United States. Maybe that’s why their fans are so committed. Maybe its the nature of the people in Wisconsin.

Whatever the reason, what I have observed, is when the Pack is playing well and winning games, the fans are hyper-exuberant, hyper-joyful and hyper-supportive. But that same exuberance, joy and support can easily be turned into booing and jeering when the team they love so dearly isn’t playing well.

If the deep loyalty of these fans can be so fickle as to change their attitude and stance toward their beloved team over the direction a pigskin is going on a football field, how do we understand the passion of people standing for something they feel in their hearts should or should not have happened in our recent election?

Perhaps its human nature to have so much passion about something that we don’t consider the effect that it has on the people around us. Perhaps we don’t realize how our choices paralyze us and affect the quality of not only our own lives but those around us.

To use another football analogy – maybe you’re seated behind someone who waves a banner during the game and you can’t see the field. Maybe someone behind you is jumping up and down so much that they spill their beer on you. Maybe someone next to you is so drunk and belligerent that you want to turn around and clock them.

In any of those circumstances the other person’s behavior has ruined the quality of your experience at that game. Even in what should be the most fun environments we can be cited to anger over other peoples’ actions. But in these situations we all have choices.

We can put up with the annoyance during the game and go home and live our lives just the way we did before – or we can turn around, get ugly with the belligerent drunk guy and ruin our whole football game experience and probably the next several days as well.

Differences should not produce violence. Diversity is a beautiful thing, but that means a coming together in spite of differences. That means looking at another person as though we were looking in a mirror. That means trying to imagine walking a mile in another persons’ shoes.

It means that even the belligerent, drunk guy has a responsibility to look at his actions and consider how his behavior affects other people.

The simple definition of diversity out of the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: the quality . . . of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.

Quality is how good or bad something is – a high level of value or excellence. To me that means that our differences enhance our lives and our experiences.

Perhaps the plural form ‘diversities‘ has a stronger meaning:  the condition of having or being composed of differing elements or the inclusion of different types of people . . . in a group or organization.
Whether we acknowledge the quality, condition or inclusion of diversity, the decision to accept our surrounding circumstances and the people within them is a choice we make every day.

I may not agree with your choices, but that doesn’t mean that I would treat you any different than someone that I am in total agreement with. That’s the beauty of diversity.

In Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ I read a quote from a Mr. Johnson: “God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his day.”

So I have to ask – – – – Why should you and I?

Carnegie also states: “Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness . . . ”

So, until the world turns itself right side up, try to remember this old saying,

“I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

From Chaos to Peace – In Five Minutes

river

You carve out nine hours a day to go to a job, pick up groceries on the way home from work, and then pick up the kids from their after school programs before heading home to throw a pizza in the oven for supper and pulling homework out of backpacks and setting it out on the kitchen counter.

Then its off to take Bella to dance and Micah to Martial Arts, but not before a meltdown from Bella because she has misplaced her dance bag with her dance shoes in it – again.

On your way to drop Micah off at Martial Arts your husband calls and asks you to pick up a card for his boss’s birthday.  While the kids are at their lessons you run to Walmart to grab the card and a box of brownie mix for a party in Bella’s classroom tomorrow – she promised to bring brownies and you just found out about it on the way to dance.

After picking up way more than the two items at Walmart, you rush back to pick up Bella and Micah and once home you throw in a load of laundry while making sure homework is started and the brownies are in the oven.

After your husband assists you with a few homework meltdowns and sending the kids off to bed, he gives you a kiss and heads off to bed himself. Then you fold a load of laundry, get your clothes set out for work, and prepare the kids lunches for tomorrow.

Then . . . with a deep sigh . . . you sit down on the sofa, knowing that it all starts over tomorrow. Sound familiar?

In my days of that kind of rush I found solace in those late night hours, when everyone had gone to bed and I was able to sit quietly in the stillness of my living room.

Often times with only the street light illuminating through the curtains, I would sit with my feet curled up on the sofa and look around the dimly lit room. I could hear the click, click, click of the kitchen wall clock and the soft whirring of the refrigerator.

Knowing that my kids were sleeping peacefully in their beds and there were no more demands on me, my body would tingle with the feeling of quiet and stillness.

In those moments I would ponder the day and reflect on what I had to be thankful for. No demands. No rush. No expectations. Just peace.

To get my mind completely at peace I would first reflect on my standing with God. If not for the relationship I have with God, I could not know the true inner peace that my mind so much desires.

Then I would think of a place that I created in my mind that gently nudged me into a quiet within my soul.

It’s a beautiful place in the woods. A lazy little river flows through it and the sun is softly shining through the tall, old willows that have grown and lived in harmony with the river for centuries.

I breathe in relaxation. I breathe out tension and anxiety.

In a small area, at the bank of the river, sand stretches out into a welcoming little beach. Created especially for me, I set down a small beach chair in the shallow water and with anticipation of relaxation, I sit down. The gentle flow of the water on my feet and the warm air with a slight breeze is just enough to bring calm to my body.

A butterfly softly floats through the air and lands on a flower. A dragonfly sits softly on the arm of my chair adding to the peace of the moment. The leaves rustle gently in the trees and an occasional bird sings a sweet little song.

Tilting my head back I allow the soft rays of sunshine to melt into my skin. The rays warm my body as my feet are bathed in the softness and gentle flow of the water around them.

Completely calm, as soft as the river is flowing, I’ve found peace.

The muscles in my face begin to soften. The muscles in my neck start to ease. The churning in my stomach settles and my mind begins to slow while the soft, warm breeze carries away the remainder of my tension.

The sun is whispering “Shhhh, quiet your mind.” The soft breeze is saying “Be still. Rest”.

In that moment my world is at peace.

 

Visit my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/soultalkgirl/

 

 

Reviving SoulTalkGirl

I can’t tell you how excited I am to bring SoulTalkGirl to life again! I started this blog about five years ago and had great intentions but life, excuses, and a lot of fear got in the way of my dream to share hope, encouragement, joy and laughter with those who need it.

But today I was inspired by a call from one of my beautiful mentors, Narshaee, who encouraged me to get over my fear and press ahead to do what I love.  This quote from another mentor, Gary Vaynerchuk states it perfectly: “Pursue the purist form of who you are and build your life around that”. That’s all the encouragement I needed to get my blog going again.

As I break free from my fears of starting over and sharing life with you, I hope it encourages you as well.

I also look forward to sharing with you how a business tool called Online Sales Pro (OSP) that I am using to grow my home based business can help you generate income as well.

Welcome back to SoulTalkGirl ~ lets journey this life together.