Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Into the Unknown

Today I was walking my children to school – YAY ME!!  I’m actually on track to walk them to school instead of driving them.  I decided I needed to get some exercise and this was my “thunk” on how to get it.  Anyway, we started walking and there was this amazing fog layer hanging over the park near where we live. It was so cool!!  My children said “let’s go through the park!!”  I promptly responded, “let’s NOT go through the park”.  All I could think about was how hard it would be to trudge through the snow that was at least 6 – 8 inches deep, me wearing snow boots and severely out of shape.  (Remember I decided to start walking just yesterday!!)  Well, we went through the park.

How many times do we come to a crossroad in our life and think “let’s NOT do that,  it looks too hard (complicated, scary, daunting, frustrating, add your own adjective/excuse here…)”?  I know I have.  The thing is, every time I reach this crossroad in my life someone is always there encouraging me to go, as Elsa from “Frozen” would say, “into the unknown”.  Is it scary?  You bet!  Does it look extremely difficult?  Absolutely!  Do I think that I will make it out alive?  Not a chance!  But do I go?  Ahh!  That’s the true question!  Do I go into the unknown?  YES!!!  A million times YES!!  But why?

I go into the unknown because I know it’ll be extremely worth it.  I also know that “someone” is ALWAYS there to encourage my efforts – even when I am declaring that I am “dying” and can’t make it.  That someone is there to say “you got this!  You’re almost there”.  So, I keep going, - trudging, huffing and puffing, legs burning – but I keep going.  And after awhile I come out on the other side alive.  I may move a bit slower and have to take a short rest before I keep going, but I am alive AND I have accomplished something amazing! 

Today it was my children who encouraged me to keep going.  They were ahead of me at first, then they were right by my side when it got really hard for me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  The only way they could have learned to do this is from the example I have given them.  I’ve encouraged them from the time they were born that they can do hard things and that I will be by their side while they accomplish their “hard thing”.  I’m so glad they have learned this particular lesson, because now they are the ones to help and encourage others in their “hard things”.

Life is so hard!!  Especially now with everything that has been going on in the world.  I challenge you to have courage to take your steps “into the unknown”.  Look for those who are encouraging you (I will definitely be someone who will encourage you to keep going – you’re almost there!).  The biggest “someone” that is encouraging you to keep going is Jesus Christ.  He had to go through the biggest trial of all and He made it out on the other side alive then turned back to help us through our trials.  Always remember that!!

As we go into the unknown of a new year, may we all take the first scary step then KEEP GOING!!  You will make it!  I promise!  Then turn around and help the next person through their “unknown”!


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Are You Building a Monument or Cathedral?

For the past several weeks I have been feeling as if the things I do just don't matter.  I have questioned if the efforts I put into being a mamma are really making a difference in the lives of my children.  I have cried and worried that because of my child's lack of obedience I have failed in some small way.  I have felt lost among the daily routine of everything.  I have felt that I just can't hold my ground through the next fight. 

My biggest question?  Does what I am doing really matter in the grand scheme of things?  When should I throw my hands in the air and just give up?  Is the struggle really worth the fight?  Ok, so that was like three really big questions, BUT, if you're a mamma reading this, you too have the same questions.

Well, I have your, and my, answers.  YES!! What we do makes an enormous and important impact on the world!  Even if you never get recognized for your efforts, you DO make a difference.  How do I know this?  I read a very timely post from a friend that spoke to my tender, bruised heart, and reminded me it isn't the grand accolades in your cap to be seen of the world that are important, it's the small every day things that are seen by God that are the most important things you will ever accomplish.  I'd like to share that same story with you at this time.  I know it's a long story, but its well worth the read.

Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

4) The passion of their building was fuelled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof. No one will ever see it'

And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.  No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

➖Original author: Nicole Johnson

So, as Mother's Day quickly approaches, I encourage you to look at the cathedrals you are building.  They are going to be AMAZING!  Build with your whole heart!  Keep going even if you are discouraged, don't ever quit.  You are a mamma, you are strong, you are working with God to create great things.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Be A Risk Taker

I came across this little "gem" the other day and just knew I needed to share it with my readers.  (I know it's been awhile, but I'm going to try to do better).  I hope you enjoy this little "insight" as much as I did.

            "From time to time, it can seem like we're guarded about our work.  We keep our cards close to our vest.  Our factory is a safe place where our team can take risks and innovate and make discoveries that lead us down the path to a creation that's truly worthy of our passion and enthusiasm.  Risk-taking is the essence of innovation.  The greatest risk is to risk nothing at all.  We don't wait for opportunity.  We create it.  It's not about being perfect.  It's about effort.  And when we bring that effort every single day, that's where transformation happens.  That's how change occurs.  Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not a threat.  If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door -because every day is just another chance to get better.  Innovation leads to progress.  Pleasure in our job puts perfection in the work; and we let our work do the talking.  We don't work for recognition - we do work worthy of recognition.  We didn’t end up where we thought we were going - we ended up where we were meant to be.  We always say: "Start strong, finish stronger.  We started this together, and we're going to finish this together.  Good, better, best.  Never let it rest.  Until our good is better and our better is best.""

            I really liked this for a few reasons.  First, it made me stop and really think about what I'm doing in my life right now.  I know I don’t work outside the home - however - if you are a stay-at-home mamma, like me, you KNOW you're the CEO of a major corporation, and sometimes you get stuck in a rut and lose sight of who you really are.  Your life is tied up in getting kids off to school on time, getting your adult children ready to start life on their own and figure out what the heck you're going to make for dinner!  And most of the time you are doing all those things at once as well as laundry, dishes, paying bills and making sure the house doesn't burn down!  That is a lot to put on the shoulders of us mammas!! 
            Which brings me back to the thoughts in the quote above - why am I keeping my "cards close to my vest"?  I have sooo much to offer the world!!!  God put me here for a reason and it is up to me to figure that reason out!  True I am a mamma and a wife, but I am more than that!  I am a person with feelings and an extremely creative ability to make people happy - truly happy.  I need to find a way to share those creative talents with others while fulfilling my CEO obligations to my family. Well, I did it!
            I took a chance and a major risk to start my very own business.  I love to make "edible art" with the many sugar cookies that I create each month.  I can't tell you how many times I have had someone say, "I don't really like sugar cookies, but these are AMAZING!" or "I can't decide if I should eat it or just look at it".  I do both, and I have the tookus to prove it too!  When I am free to let my mind create something that looks amazing and tastes just as good, I feel that I am doing what the Lord has asked of me to do - increase my talents.  I am also super excited to be able to share this talent with everyone instead of just family and friends.
            This risk was super scary for me because I have always been afraid of being rejected.  Everyone has a fear of rejection, its part of who we are.  But, if we take the risk and decide to try, amazing things can and will happen.  Because I decided to face my fears, I am now going to open my very own home based bakery.  This is something that I have wanted to do FOREVER, but because of my family situation I haven't been able to.  Now that I will be approved to sell my edible art from home, I can fulfill my dreams of being a mamma AND having my bakery!
            I am so grateful for the many people in my life that have given me the courage to take risks and build my own door of opportunity.  I'm gonna see innovation as the ability to change and create opportunities for the better.  If you are struggling to remember who you truly are, don't be afraid of the unknown.  If you feel you don't have anyone in your corner shouting words of encouragement.  If you feel beaten down by the everyday things of life.  Remember there is One greater than us all that will be our biggest support system and when you lean on His loving arm He will carry you to higher heights and let you soar!  Go ahead, be a risk-taker.  He's got your back and will help you build your door of opportunity!