I Get Fever…Spring Fever

spring feverSpring has sprung in our little area of the world. My husband and I have been taking our daily walks, soaking in the changing scenery. We just step out into our neighborhood and head in a different direction each afternoon. The trees have shed their leaves of last year and are slowly budding into bright green. The old leaves, brown, dried and withered, are now gathered and placed into lawn bags, awaiting their imminent removal. The few still scattered here and there on our lawn will continue to deteriorate, completing their cycle by feeding nutrients into the soil and ushering in new life. Yes, thankfully, it is March here in Florida; and, although our Spring comes earlier than in other areas of the country, it does eventually come to all of us, and isn’t that a wonderful thought?

I can feel the excitement of the season bubbling up from the inside. We have all experienced this sensation over the years. Suddenly we feel the need to be outdoors. We are motivated to tackle cleaning that closet for the first time in a long time. Perhaps, as my  mom did, we decide to clean the house from top to bottom. Spring Cleaning she called it; and when it hit, she was like a cyclone… a woman on a mission. I would watch her as she cleaned  everything in the house, the yard, and the garage in a seasonal whirlwind . I can still see her standing on the front porch with the garden hose spraying down the walls and the porch swing all the while directing my daddy and siblings on what still needed to be done in the yard. Truthfully, when the fever hit my mama did an excellent job of ignoring the eyerolls and the hushed comments by the rest of  the family…”she’s at it again”.  I still recall later that evening, really late,  the smell of fresh cut grass wafting through the open windows, mixing with the smells of cleaning products and Mr. Bubbles bubble bath. Life was good. It felt…well… amazing. Everything seemed fresh and clean and new. A fresh start. A clean canvas. Honestly, it wouldn’t take long and my three siblings and I would have it back to… “ahem”…lived in; however, on that night, and for quite a few after, our life was cleaner, better, less cluttered, even more focused. I would while away the hours on that freshly washed porch swing, reading my latest book and enjoying being me. Witnessing her annual frenzy should have given me an indication that I, too, might suffer from this seasonal ailment. However, much to my family’s chagrin, all too often accompanied by their eyerolls, I have realized that I take Spring fever to new heights.

I realized as a young wife and mom, that the reason I so enjoyed this time of seasonal flare-up when I was little was not necessarily because of a clean porch swing, but because of what Spring fever really brings us. Spring ushers in hope. Hope for a fresh start. Hope for something new. Hope for a cleaner life. Hope for new purpose. Hope to finally take some time for ourselves. Hope for better choices. Hope for less clutter, less status quo. When I had this realization it changed my life. I realized that I did not need to wait for March in order to do some spring cleaning. I can, and do, (hence the eyerolls of my darling family) take every opportunity throughout the year to make fresh starts, to start something new, to clean up my life, mind and body, and to seek to fulfill my God-given purpose.

What area of your life needs hope right now? Perhaps it is a cluttered closet or a dirty porch swing. Maybe it is a fresh start in your career or a relationship. It could be that you are searching for new purpose. Whatever it is, allow me to sit down on that porch swing with you and offer a little encouragement. You can do this. You can make movement in any area you feel needs some spring cleaning. Start with something small. Even small movements done regularly will offer up great gains in a short period of time. If health is your area, can you just walk around the block today? I know, it doesn’t seem like much; but if you only walk around the block today, and again tomorrow, and the next, I promise you that, shortly, you can manage to walk two blocks…and that is a great gain. Perhaps the space that needs attention is in a relationship. Often times these are the hardest areas to address. Can you read one book on marriage or child rearing? One book each month? Can you commit to small movements? It’s time after all, isn’t it? Maybe you are thinking that you have so many areas that need some work that you don’t know where to begin. Can you pick up a notebook or journal and commit to recording each area that you would like to address and then write how you are feeling about these areas each day. Eventually one or two of those thoughts will produce the answer to where you need to focus your time. If you are not sure, can I encourage you to seek advice? Oftentimes the advice of a wise friend is all we really need. Look at your life and, like my mom would do when overtaken by the fever, address it from top to bottom. Then, with a plan in mind, start at the area of most clutter and begin whipping it into shape.

You really don’t need to wait until Spring to foster hope in your life. I want to invite you to join me in my Spring fever. I want to inspire you to take just  one tiny  step in a different direction. I want to encourage you to stop expecting and accepting status quo from yourself. You can do this. Then I want you to open the windows and let in the lush fragrance of the season,  pour some bubble bath in the tub, grab a good book, and take that time for yourself. You deserve it. Spring fever has arrived and you have embraced its frenzy and it’s hope.

 

HOW TO BETTER ENJOY COMMUNITY

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Part of My Community

 

To be a part of a community is to be a part of a group of people, living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

To feel like you are part of a community is to have a sense of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes interests and goals. Therein lies the rub.

Most of you know that I am part of a community known as OCR or Obstacle Course Racing. This is an amazing sport wherein a competitor, traveling on foot, must overcome various challenges in the forms of obstacles. Mud and trail runs are combined and these races are designed to result in mental and physical collapse. I had been training for one such event since June of this year. SAVAGE! Fall Savage this year would have marked my one year anniversary in the OCR community and I was looking to really break through some of my mental and physical ceilings. However, in August I ran into some health challenges that meant there would be no more training in preparation. Just to be told that I had to stop training for my race was discouraging enough, but add aches and pains, nausea, headaches, medical testing and the nervousness of potential pending results and it all equals…well, NOT how I expected fall Savage to go. Still wanting to push myself to be the best I can be, my intention was to still participate and just do my best.  Two weeks out from the Savage deadline my husband was informed he would need to be out of town for business, and my daughters and their guys would also not be able to attend.  Now, let’s talk about community.

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More of My Community

I am 47, overweight, and as I have mentioned before, not in perfect health.  When I had to cease training for Savage, I was discouraged, but not dissuaded.  I was still going to compete.  You see, I am part of another community, the Close Clan. This community grew up with the family motto “Closes don’t quit”, and the motto ” whatever one does, we ALL do”.  Why is this important?  Because within this small group of people, I can rest confident in knowing that we will all finish together, or die trying.  There will be no judgement if an obstacle can’t be completed. Everyone will be pulling for everyone else in our clan and anyone they can help along the way. This is the foundation of who these people are, so healthy or not, I had no worries. Then a huge portion of my support system just couldn’t make the race. That is when I had to alter my decision.

You see, I am part of the OCR community. I love that I am part of a group of people that gets off of the couch and gets out and gets muddy.  A group of people that push to become better versions of themselves. But, for the most part, that is what we share.  It would not be fair of me to set a goal for myself that would require my community, the larger OCR community, to fulfill.  When we begin placing unfair expectations on the other members in a community, (whether that community is OCR, or family) we begin to lose sight of what this sport, and hence community, is all about.

I will say it again. We cannot set personal goals that require a community to accomplish unless that community has agreed to the goal beforehand. To do so is to diminish the personal goals of the others in our community. There are many times when my daughter or son will run the race first and then complete the course again to ensure that I have the support available when needed; we discuss this beforehand, so that we can ensure that everyone makes their goals.  If your goal is that big then it behooves you to ensure the support system. When we put our goals ahead of the others in a community we will begin to feel entitled to their support and, although we might maintain being part of the group, we will ultimately lose the feeling of fellowship and camaraderie that is suppose to arise from being part of just such a group.

#1. Whether the community is OCR, church, the workplace, or family, when we place our wants (goals) above everyone else’s we will foster a sense of entitlement in our own hearts. We will begin to feel like others have let us down.  We will begin to judge others based on what we feel they should do.  However, when we set a personal goal, and recognize that it is just that…personal, when we realize that no one is responsible for our own individual growth but us, we foster an appreciation for the helping hand or the encouraging word.  We continue to recognize those things as the gifts they are….It is nobody’s responsibility to get my butt over that wall, but mine!

That being said, and to keep us all humble, allow me to share with you the single most important ingredient to any community. AUTHENTICITY. Your community will know who you are by what you do, not by what you say. It is easy to say that you are all about the team…but what do your actions show?  Once again, it doesn’t matter which community we are discussing.  A parent can say they love their kids, but if they aren’t there, leave them behind, fail to show up, or quit when it gets tough…. then their actions say much more.

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Grandson Lucas’ First OCR!

To be a part of any community is an honor and a responsibility. Just like our personal goals, only the individual can decide for themselves how much they are willing to give back to those with whom they claim fellowship and brotherhood. However, that being said, history has shown that those who give little and risk little of themselves likewise receive very little.

#2.  Sometimes you will accomplish more as a member of the community and even a human being by “dying” on the field with a teammate and letting your goal die then you will by leaving your fellow traveler to pursue your goals.  You might accomplish your goal but at what price? 

If we all live not looking to others to meet our needs, but always looking to help meet the needs of others, how much better would every community be?

These are just some thoughts, as always I ask that you look inside yourself, take what can help leave the rest.

I’ll see you at the next OCR!

Namaste

 

 

Monday Blues

How many of you woke up this morning and thought “Yes! It’s Monday!”?  How many of you hit the floor running, excited to see what this brand new week might offer? Were you excited to roll out of bed? Enthused to head back to the office? This morning, when your clock alarm sounded, were you feeling ready to face the day? Did the sunrise on your way to work bring you amazing joy? Are you filled with anticipation just thinking about the stage of life in which you find yourself? Here’s the thing, you could be. It is completely up to you. As you are well aware, it’s Monday.  None of us “sugar coat” our words on a Monday, so I’m just gonna keep it real this a.m.

You have everything you need to be living the life you really want to live. If you are not experiencing that life, it is undoubtedly because of you and your thought processes.Let me be clear, it is NOT because of your job or your boss. It is NOT because of your parents, your spouse or your children. It is NOT because the universe has handed little ol’ you a raw deal and you are just stuck with the “hand you have been dealt”.

I am not discounting that all of us have had things happen to us over which we had no control. Ugly, unfair and unjust things happen to all of us all of the time. With this in mind, how can you navigate through the barrage of constant negative to a fulfilled existence? How can you even come close to the “happily ever after” that you fantasized about as a child?

I want to tell you about WAZE. Waze is this cool little app. that you can download on your smartphone. I highly recommend using this little application anytime you find yourself behind the wheel of your car. Why?  Just now, I opened up waze on my phone. “She” informed me that there are 4144 “wazers” in my area. Each of these 4144 people are currently reporting all sorts of traffic information back to their phones. Amazing information like, traffic patterns, accidents, police locations, red light cameras, and debris on the road.  Waze takes all of this feedback and routes me to my destination in the most expedient manner. I get to avoid traffic jams and police running radar. I know in advance that I shouldn’t blow through that traffic light on a yellow, (not that I would ever do that) because it is monitored by a camera. I avoid the 20 minute “slow down” due to a fender bender, and I know in plenty of time that a construction truck has had debris blow off on the interstate and I am prepared to react accordingly. I have all of this information simply because time and technology has made it available. Oh, and one more thing, I have all of this information because I am smart enough to use what is available.

Now, back to your “happily ever after”. There is no situation that you find yourself in that another has not already been in and written a book, article or even blog about. There is no information that you might need to reach a fulfilled existence that cannot be accessed with the push of a button. There are literally millions of books, magazines and web-sites covering every topic imaginable. Marriage issues, parenting skills, money management, dealing with loss, …..Oh my gosh! The list is endless!  Time and technology has made every thing you need to grow and succeed available.  If you are stuck and need a little extra help there are always parents, counselors, life coaches and mentors who can help you to navigate through your specific circumstances more effectively. But, when it is all said and done, it is all dependent on you being smart enough to use what is available.

If I go on a road trip and I fail to take the time to use my little app., then when I get that speeding ticket, find myself stuck in a traffic jam or even get lost, I have no one to blame but myself. The information and technology was there.  I just refused to utilize the tools available.maxresdefault

Do you feel like your life is stuck in a traffic jam?  Do you find yourself unable to avoid all of the “bumps in the road”? Let me encourage you this Monday morning, it is NEVER too late to start. Write down some of the areas that you feel are really holding you back, and then dig into any and all information you can find on the subject. Read, study and learn.  Do not let yourself believe that you should settle for less than your “happily ever after”.  Be smart enough to use all of the information that is available and if intuitively you feel as if you might need a little extra guidance be smart enough to reach out to a counselor, coach or mentor and allow them to help you to navigate life’s “road hazards”.

Monday Mantra: It is never too late to start.

Namaste

 

 

Goals

Many of us, deep down inside, really don’t believe that we are worthy. We feel that we are just not good enough to actually receive the bounty that we originally envisioned for our lives. The day to day struggles and frustrations of this life wear us down into a submissive acceptance of mediocrity.

It has been said that if we believe it, we can achieve it!  I have found this statement to be accurate for my life as well as countless other students who have come to me seeking answers. Unfortunately, it has proven just as true when the same quote is stated What we believe, we will achieve.  Because we embrace the belief that we are undeserving and that the best we can do is to just play the hand we have been dealt, we actually sentence ourselves to the mediocre existence that chaffs us to our very core.  We sit in the muck of our circumstances and choices, and we watch as others soar to heights that we once believed that we too could attain. Subconsciously we tell ourselves:

That person must know the right people.

They have money or talents that I don’t have.

They haven’t had to face the challenges in life that I have had to face.

IF I were thin, rich, a different race, had different parents, didn’t have a certain health issue…well then, things would be different.

Sadly, the truth is, we will all achieve EXACTLY what we believe.  I spend my life helping others to change their belief patterns and begin the journey to a more complete and contented life.

There is still so much for us to believe in…Today, however, let’s just start with one tiny step.  Today, could you for one moment lay aside all of your self doubts and fears, all of your perceived limitations, and for just one second ask yourself What if?

What if the next 5, 10 or 20 years could be your best ever? What would that look like? Picture that future. Visualize that future, meditate on exactly what you would paint that picture to be if you were the artist.

Now, with whatever faith you can muster in yourself and this new vision clearly seen in your mind’s eye, I encourage you to take this one small step.

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Click on this little icon and download my free Goals and Commitments worksheets.

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Print those babies out and then break your new vision into tiny actionable and achievable increments. I use this same concept to continually push myself and my students forward.

You have also heard That the journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step.  Your future awaits., are you courageous enough to step forward?