Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Be The One Who Makes A Difference

When can we start to make a difference in the world?  Are we courageous enough to start with the tiniest of steps to make the difference?  How do we begin to make a difference when the world seems too big and against any type of difference that is offered to it?  These are all questions that every one of us has asked at least once in our lifetime.  The answers seem too complicated and the work too much for just one person to accomplish on their own.  I recently heard a story from a good friend of mine that reminded me we don't have to do hard or big things to make a difference in the world.  It starts one tiny step at a time, and can be quite simple.
Image result for daffodil fields 
(This story was printed in the Reader's Digest and originally appeared in the September 1997 issue.)

The Daffodil Lesson
By Jaroldeen Edwards

            It was a bleak, rainy day, and I had no desire to drive up the winding mountain road to my daughter Carolyn's house.  But she had insisted that I come see something at the top of the mountain.
            So here I was,  reluctantly making the two-hour journey through fog that hung like veils.  By the time I saw how thick it was near the summit, I'd gone too far to turn back.  Nothing could be worth this, I thought as I inched along the perilous highway.
            "I'll stay for lunch, but I'm heading back down as soon as the fog lifts," I announced when I arrived.
            "But I need you to drive me to the garage to pick up my car," Carolyn said.  "Could we at lease do that?"
            "How far is it?" I asked.
            "About three minutes," she said.  "I'll drive - I'm used to it."
            After ten minutes on the mountain road, I looked at her anxiously.  "I thought you said three minutes."
            She grinned.  "This is a detour."
            Turning down a narrow track, we parked the car and got out.  We walked along a path that was thick with old pine needles.  Huge black-green evergreens towered over us.  Gradually the peace and silence of the place began to fill my mind.
            Then we turned a corner and stopped - and I gasped in amazement.
            From the top of the mountain, sloping for several acres across folds and valleys, were rivers of daffodils in radiant bloom.  A profusion of color - from the palest ivory to the deepest lemon to the most vivid salmon - blazed like a carpet before us.  It looked as though the sun had tipped over and spilled gold down the mountainside.
            At the center cascaded a waterfall of purple hyacinths.  Here and there were coral-colored tulips.  And as if this bonanza were not enough, western bluebirds frolicked over the heads of the daffodils, their tawny breasts and sapphire wings like a flutter of jewels.
            A riot of questions filled my mind.  Who created such beauty?  Why?  How?
            As we approached the home that stood in the center of the property, we saw a sign that read:  "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking."
            The first answer was:  "One Woman - Two Hands, Two Feet and Very Little Brain."  The second was: "One at a Time."  The third: "Started in 1958."
            As we drove home, I was so moved by what we had seen, I could scarcely speak.  "She changed the world," I finally said, "one bulb at a time.  She started almost 40 years ago, probably just the  beginning of an idea, but she kept at it."
            The wonder of it would not let me go.  "Imagine,"  I said, "if I'd had a vision and worked at it, just a little bit every day, what might I have accomplished?"
            Carolyn looked at me sideways, smiling.  "Start tomorrow," she said.  "Better yet, start today."
 Image result for daffodil lesson

So the questions we need to ask ourselves are:
1 - Who?
2 - How?
3 - When?

And the answers to these questions are
1- YOU!!  You are the one to decide what difference you are going to make in this world.  Remember the difference doesn't have to be big or create a fanfare.  Focus on what your strengths are and decide to use those strengths to make the difference.

2 - One step at a time.  There is an amazing old saying, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  This is sooo true if you are going to make a difference in the world.  Take the smallest step towards change and KEEP AT IT.  Your smile or kind words of encouragement can completely change someone's day for the better.   Your example and courage to stand for what is right and good can be infectious to those around you.  The point is, YOU have to be the one to make a difference in the world.  If YOU don't choose to be the difference, the world will continue on as it always has and NOTHING will change for the better.  At times, when you are really trying to be the difference, it will seem that things are getting harder and you just can't go on.  That is the adversary fighting against you.  He doesn't like change for the better.  Fight him with every breath of your being and keep at it to be the difference!!!

3 - Start today!  Even if you are over 90 years young you can make a wonderful difference in the world.  One of my best examples of making a difference came from my grandmother who was 86 years young when she passed away.  When she was alive, she wasn't very mobile and stayed home sitting in her recliner chair.  From her chair she kept her phone close, to call people she felt inspired to call.  She also kept her card/note making supplies handy.  She would write notes of encouragement or send birthday greetings to help brighten someone's day.  These weren't big things she did, they were what she did to help make the difference in the world.

I really loved in the daffodil story how the author said "She changed the world…one bulb at a time.  She started... just the beginning of an idea, but she kept at it.  Imagine…if I'd had a vision and worked at it, just a little bit every day, what might I have accomplished…".  Well, you have the rest of your life ahead of you.  Start TODAY to Be The One Who Makes A Difference!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Troubles...We All Got Them!!

The other day I was reading in my social media feed and there was an article that popped up that caught my attention.  It was from a person who was looking to move to my hometown from out-of-state and was wondering about the area and what it has to offer the world.  There was the normal "joking negativity" in which people were purposely trying to make the town look bad because they want to keep the community "quaint" and small.  Then there was those who were just downright negative and mean about the community.  And last of all there were those who told it like it is - it's a small town with small town values, we aren't without our faults, but it's a great place to live.

What caught my attention most of all was a post from my friend who said this (because I can't quote perfectly, I'll summarize)

"I'm sorry for all of you who hate our little community.  I, for one, feel this is a great place to live and raise kids.  I have had a great experience here and love this town.  It doesn't matter where you are, you are going to have problems wherever you decide to go…"

Another friend responded:

"You will find good and bad everywhere you go. Is there a lot to do Is there It is a small town, so yes. It can be boring, but it's also quiet and peaceful. Some people like getting away from noise and the hustle and bustle of big city life. Small towns aren't for everyone, but if you like having a close knit community then (this town) has that. I am sure it could be a culture shock coming from a bigger city. For those of you who don't like it here I am sorry. The good news is you can always move."

This is sooo true!!  No matter where you decide to "put down roots" you're going to run into troubles!  I guarantee it!  Unless you decide to live in a bubble at the top of the highest mountain peak, you WILL have troubles!  But then again, living in a bubble may have its troubles as well….

Image result for solla sollew clipartOne of my absolute, most favorite of all time Dr. Seuss books is "I had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew".  In this book a young man is confronted with many troubles.  They come at him from above, below, in front and from behind.  It didn't matter where he went, these troubles seemed to get worse the farther he went.  Then one day he ran into a person who told him he needed to go to the "city of Solla Sollew, on the banks of the beautiful river Wa-Hoo, where they never have troubles!  At least very few!…."  So off this young man went to get away from all the troubles he is facing.  He is so excited to be in a world without troubles!  However, along the way to this amazing city without troubles, he is faced with trouble after trouble.  When he finally reaches the beautiful city of Solla Sollew, he discovers there IS indeed troubles, well just one really.  There is only one door into the city and the keyhole is inhabited by a Key-Slapping Slippard making it impossible to unlock the gates to the troubleless city.
Image result for solla sollew key slapping slippard clipart 
At this point the young man has a decision to make.  He can go on ANOTHER journey to the "city of Boola Boo Ball, on the banks of the beautiful River Woo-Wall, where they never have troubles!  No troubles at all!" ----or he can return home.   He decides to return home holding a big bat and declares "now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"

I love this story for the simple fact it reminds us that no matter where we go in life troubles are going to happen.  Whether you are in school facing a bully, work outside the home with difficult co-workers or boss, go to church, shop at the grocery store, move to a new home, etc….it doesn't matter!  You WILL eventually have troubles!  What matters most is how you HANDLE those troubles!  Are you going to run away (which, by the way, NEVER works, cuz the troubles will still be there when you get back)?  Or are you going to face your troubles head on with a big stick?

How many times in your life have you faced a "trouble" and let it get to you?  I would say that my troubles have troubled me more times than I would like to admit!  Now that I'm older, I have started giving my troubles some trouble.  I have learned that to get through life I have to stand up for what I believe in and to stand against those things that aren't right.  It takes courage to do this, but if you don't want to have troubles, you need to grow a backbone, deal with the trouble and move on with your life.  I promise when you do this, you will be a better, stronger person for doing so.
Image result for solla sollew clipart 
Go ahead!  I DARE you to start giving your troubles some troubles!!

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Climb...It's Worth It!!

I was listening to the radio the other day and a song came on that I haven't heard in a REALLY long time.  Ok, so I don't turn the radio on that often, but still….it made me really think about how I look at my life.  Do I see things as a constant struggle, or do I take the time to see the blessings that are coming each and every day during my "climb" through life.  I'm gonna share the song with you, although I don't agree with the life choices this particular vocalist has made in her life, it is a really thought provoking song I know will impact you as much as it has me.  Go ahead, …..listen, ……think,…..I'll wait.
Image result for mountain climbingI can almost see it
That dream I'm dreaming but
There's a voice inside my head saying
You'll never reach it,
Every step I'm taking,
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking but I
Gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down but
No I'm not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm going to remember most yeah
Just got to keep going
And I
I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on, 'cause

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb (yeah)

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes you gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb (yeah yeah ea ea)

Image result for mountain climbingKeep on moving
Keep climbing
Keep the faith baby
It's all about
It's all about
The climb
Keep the faith
Keep your faith
Whoa oh oh
How many times do we feel  the dreams we have envisioned for ourselves are just barely out of reach?  When the road gets rough on the way to "wherever", how many times do we think "I just can't take another step, it's too hard!".  But how amazing do we feel when we finally reach the "top" of our mountain! 

I don't really care what your mountain is.  We all have them.  Some of you are more willing to admit what exactly your mountain is.  Some of you just need to have the courage to admit there is a mountain standing in your way and you have no idea how to take the very first step to start your climb.  Don't worry about failing.  We're all gonna fail at times.  That's what makes life soo amazing!  We have the opportunity to learn and grow!  We can only do that through failing!!

My biggest mountain is my children - both older and younger.  Boy!  I love them!  But I tell you what, they are my biggest trial but my most absolute, greatest blessing!  Some days I don't think I'll ever reach the top of my mountain because it is nothing but trial after fighting after nagging after negotiating after, well, you get the idea…. then BOOM!! the next step I take they are totally amazing by bringing me "flowers" they found in the grass and saying "I love you mommy!"

I recently went through a rough week with my son.  He is seven years old now and starting to become more independent than ever before.  It seems that when I ask him to do anything, all he wants to do is the complete opposite and disregards anything I ask.  I know what you're thinking "wait til he hits the teenage years!  You're in for it then!!" (I'm here to inform y'all that I've lived through one head-strong teenager and I'll make it through another…and another!)  Needless to say my mountain was HUGE!  I couldn't make it up this particular mountain without the help of a very dear friend that asked me  a question that is probably the most important question that a mamma should always stop and ask herself.  She said, "In the times when it seems as if he's at his worst, have you ever stopped to give him a hug and just say 'I love you too much to see you act this way.'  Sometimes a hug is all he needs."  This advice stopped me in my tracks because I hadn't stopped to give my precious son the hug that he obviously needed at that time.  This was undoubtedly the most amazing advice that I have ever received.  Better yet - IT WORKS WITHOUT FAIL EVERY TIME!!!  I will always be grateful to my dear friend and her courage to reach down and be my helping hand to get me up my mountain.
Image result for mountain climbing
When we face our mountains, there are gonna be times when we need someone to reach behind them and say "I've been there, let me help you through this".  Mammas, you don’t have to climb your mountain by yourself!  There are other mammas that have been there, done that, got the scars to prove it.  Let them help you!  This life isn't a contest to see who can make it to the top on their own the quickest.  If you're in this climb to be the first to the top, you're gonna be awful lonely…not to mention you're gonna have one tough climb.  Take the time to make friends along the way.  They want to be your friend, let them in and let them help.  Besides, with the help of others you will be better equipped to reach behind you and be the helping hand to the next struggling mamma that is trying to climb that mountain.

That mamma may be clinging to the side of the mountain at it's steepest point, not knowing if her grip is strong enough to hold to the side any longer.  You may be the hand that saves her life.  I challenge you to be the hand that lifts.  You have the strength, you've made it this far, help the next mamma up that mountain!!!
Image result for mountain climbing team 
I want to take the time to thank all those who have climbed the mountain before me who have taken the time to reach back to me and help me see that my climb may be hard, but with help it is sure gonna be worth it!!