Category Archives: Moving Forward

Journal Idea – Week 3

Whether you start today, or have been following along from the beginning, keep writing.

Today we look at “Something I do that brings me JOY is…….”

What brings joy to your life? Take time to reflect.

Journal Idea – Week 2

What baggage, habits, lies will I leave behind as I enter the new year?

Journal Idea – Week 1

What is THE ONE PRIORITY I want to focus on this new year?

Note to Myself – Journaling through 2019

Do you journal? There are many articles and reports declaring the benefits of journaling. Some benefits include:

  • Clarify thoughts and feelings
  • Problem solving
  • Emotional release
  • Focus
  • Gratitude
  • Perspective

I have dozens of notebook laying around. I pull one out and start writing. I find it becomes my way of “letting it go” as Elsa would say.

Over time I have learned to set my perfectionism aside. I allow myself to write without paying attention to sentence structure and grammar. I allow myself to think freely and write in that manner. I am often surprised to find what I wrote when I finish.

Some people I have spoken to don’t want to journal because of fear someone else will read it. I harbor that fear as well.  My solution – if I have written something I want no one else to ever read, I shred it when I have read and processed my thoughts.  This is a note to myself, something between God and me. Shredding it assures me no one else will it.  It also has its own healing power as I destroy those thoughts that have haunted me.

Some journals I put away in a drawer, and forget they are there. I recently found one I had set aside. In reading what I wrote, I found I lamented about a situation that bothered me. A sudden realization came to me – the situation is the same, but I am not bothered by it anymore. I have changed my perspective and expectation. I smiled in a small celebration. I am growing and learning through this.

Others have cringed at the word “journal”.  The word itself is paralyzing. So don’t call it a journal. How about “My Thoughts” or “Note to Myself” or even “Just Because”.  It’s just a word. Find one that will propel you, not limit you.

There are no RULES for writing like this. Write to yourself, write to God…just write. That’s all.

To help you begin the process, and to keep me focused as I strive to ‘stay the course‘ I will post a prompt every Sunday or Monday as a possible topic. Even if you don’t choose the topic posted, let it be a reminder for you to write. Choose your own topic.

Make it fun, not a chore. Here are some suggestions.

  • Find one special notebook
  • Attach a special pen
  • Decorate it with pictures, stickers, drawings
  • Keep it in a safe place

Create yourself an inspiring place to write:

  • Plan on having a cup of hot tea
  • Sit in a comfortable chair
  • Turn off the TV or other devices for a few minutes
  • Begin with prayer or other meditation to clear your mind

Journaling doesn’t have to be perfect, organized, confusing, or frightening. Many things are like this when they are unknown, when they are new, when it is something you haven’t done before. Step slowly in to it. Try it once a week to start. Give yourself permission to do it.

Imagine it is December 31 a year from now. What will you find if you look back over your writing?

Will you take a step and join in this year? Watch for a post with WEEK 1’s writing suggestion.

 

 

 

If Everyone is Happy, Why Am I Crying

As we delve into the busy holiday season, I wonder, how are you coping?

For many years I worked toward having the perfect holidays filled with excitement and making everyone happy.

Except for me.  I went to bed every night crying I didn’t do enough, I wasn’t enough, I was a failure – as a mother, daughter, wife, friend.

Yes, it is easy to get busy with so much to do that things fall through the cracks.

  • As we put dinner leftovers away I find the Jello that never made it to the table.
  • One gift was not the color the person wanted.
  • Despite looking day and night, the most requested gift could not be found.
  • Too much of one food – not enough of another

And I cried.  Everyone else was happy, but I cried.

Why?!?  Why was I doing this?

I wanted to be perfect.

I wanted everyone to walk away with everything they wanted.

And perhaps

  • I wanted everyone to talk about the awesome gift I have them.
  • I wanted everyone to remember my dinners.
  • I wanted everyone to look at me.

Ouch!!  That hurt.

Was I doing this to please them? Or was I doing this so they would look at and be pleased with me?

I noticed I was so busy making sure everyone else was happy – but I forgot to include myself in that happiness.

Perspective makes a difference.  

Mark 7 talks about how evil comes from a person’s heart. I wasn’t evil. It isn’t evil to want to make others happy, is it?  But as I thought further I had to look at my motive. Was I being greedy, seeking their approval?  Was I envious for their admiration?  Was I being prideful in thinking I was perfect?

I was stopped in my tracks as I looked within.

Over time, I examined the perceived ‘perfection’ I desired.  I faced the reality that perfection could not be achieved and my happiness was hanging on this fact. No matter how many compliments I got, I focused on the one person who didn’t say good things. Perhaps someone had spoken with a tone that implied to me it wasn’t really that good. Getting a 99 on a test wasn’t good enough. It means I still did something wrong.

I was setting my value on how I perceived others valued me – and if I felt that even one person did not value me, I was worthless.

I read somewhere that seeking the approval of others made their opinion an idol in my life. I was putting their valuation of me above God’s valuation of me. Ooo, that one stung.

I started to examine each self-defeating thought or comment I made to myself from the perspective of God’s eyes. He sees a woman after His heart. A woman – not perfect – but loved and forgiven.  He loved me so much He offered His Son as my Savior!  I started slowly to accept I am worthy for who I am – not what I have done.

My perspective evolved. The tears faded away.

Sure, I left the jello in the fridge and there wasn’t enough chocolate cake.  No one left hungry.

Someone got the wrong color item.  They can exchange it if it means that much to them.

I have now created “My Holiday Rules for this Year”

  1. What gets done, gets done
  2. Don’t stress over what doesn’t
  3. Enjoy the moment
  4. Don’t try to ‘buy’ happiness
  5. Include laughter in the plans

Perfection is not possible. I will make mistakes. This does not determine happiness. I will start to enjoy the moment for what it is, when it is.

Happiness comes from accepting myself.  I do the best I can. I offer what I have at the time and strive to grow.  But the tears for not pleasing everyone else are over. My “Holiday Rules” will become ‘Daily Rules’.

The Mood Around Me

I have been working to allow myself to become a ‘recovering’ people pleaser.  It takes a lot of self-reflection and looking within, but I am now becoming more aware and able to address many people pleasing issues when they arise.

Feeling I had moved ahead, I was very surprised recently to notice a situation that reminded me I am very sensitive to the mood around me. And it came about in a most unusual circumstance…..

I was laying in bed, watching a re-run of Johnny Carson when this overwhelming sense of urgency for another washed over me.  During his monologue, Johnny and Doc have a discussion where Doc says the band has been working on a piece to play for the show. Johnny says they will work that in.

After the monologue, which wasn’t very funny, a series of jokes were presented, that were even less funny. As this is failing, a comment is made to Doc again about working the band in. I am thinking, ‘this bit you are doing is not funny, let’s hear the band.’  Despite my attempt at sending an ESP message to Johnny, he continues with the unfunny bit, comments to Doc, then the first guest is introduced. The interaction with the guest is not especially interesting. I think, let Doc  and the band play. Comments exchange between Doc and Johnny – I feel a tension between the two – I am amazed at the feeling washing over me.

Another guest comes on. Another tension filled comment about time is exchanged with Doc. I put myself in the position of the guest and think, guest, you need to defer to the band. Why are you going on like this? Can’t you feel the tension? I try to remind myself the guest is there and focused on his own agenda, as he should be. That is why he was booked and what he is being paid for.

Johnny makes a comment to Doc there is no time and ends the show.  My heart is racing. Why didn’t they make time adjustments? Why didn’t they let the band play? What was that all about?

I couldn’t go to sleep. I was upset because I sensed a tension. There was nothing I could do about it. This happened 30 some odd years ago! And I am filled with the tension because of what I perceived took place on the set.  Was there really a tension? I don’t know for certain either way. I just know what I saw from my vantage point. Something was happening – someone was upset – something needed to be fixed.

I have been looking for what triggers my desire to please others and bring peace. I was amazed to see this button get tripped.  I will certainly be facing this issue next.

Have you noticed any people pleasing or group mood tensions affect your life?  How do you face them?

If The Tiara Fits

 

Today is one of those “I need my tiara” days.  What is an “I need a tiara” kind of day?
It’s one of those days when I’m overwhelmed by the multitude of things I have to do. I feel I’m being attacked from so many different sides, I cannot focus. I cannot think straight. Eventually I start thinking “I can’t do this” and then negative voices start speaking in my head (not real verbal voices, just those overwhelmingly negative feelings) The sounds of the negative voices gets louder and louder until it becomes all consuming and that’s all I can hear.
Not long ago my small group from church did a video study called “Crash the Chatterbox”.  In this video the author, Steven Furtick, describes different ways that he personalized those negative voices allowing him to face them down. Taking my cue from this, I chose a couple of ways to silence my own negative voices.  The one I’d like to share with you today is – a tiara.
You see, the negative voices make me feel that I am very unworthy; however when I wear the tiara I’m reminded I am someone special.
Did you watch the latest royal wedding?  I have some friends who recorded every moment of all the activities surrounding that event and they enjoy watching it over and over. The world appeared to be totally fascinated with this woman becoming royalty. Just by this act, she was suddenly someone very special.
I want to remind myself I am worthy of that as well.  I did a Google search and one of the interesting things I found about royalty is that when you dine with the Queen, once the Queen stops eating – everyone stops eating. It doesn’t matter if you still have two more bites of that delicious chocolate pie left, you don’t get to finish it. By laying down her fork, the Queen has declared the meal ended.  Using his analogy, I applied it to those negative thoughts and voices. I put on my tiara and declare “Negative voices, you will no longer dine on my doubts; you are no longer welcome to feast on my failures; you will not be permitted to snack on my lack of self-confidence. NO to you negative voices. I am royalty and I am taking charge. This meal is over!”
I know it sounds silly, and watching a woman nearly 60 years old with her little plastic tiara (by the way, It’s 5 or 6 dollars at the local party store) might even bring a smile to your face. I know it does to mine. Whenever I see the tiara or my reflection in a mirror, I smile. And that smile, that little laugh can actually turn down the volume of those negative voices until I can’t hear them anymore. As the negative voices go away the volume of the positive ones grow louder and louder.
When I am having a day where there is so much coming against me I cannot see the positive, I put on my cute little five dollar plastic tiara and totally turn my day around. Thinking in a positive way can allow positive things to happen.
What is something that you can do to bring a smile to your face and turn down the volume on the negative voices in your head.  I’d love to hear some of your thoughts.
Today, I am Princess TerryAnn

Stripping

This was created by Teresa Robertson. I am sharing it here with her permission.

Stripping  (used with the author’s permission)

I’ve been stripping.

Yes, stripping.

And sanding. (What did you THINK I meant?) I had five layers of paint to remove!

First, I tried a heat gun. It’s like a hair dryer on steroids. I heated the gun, held it the appropriate distance from the surface of the door, waved it back and forth, and when the paint bubbled up, I commenced scraping.

Inch.
By.
Inch.

Bubble by bubble.

Two hours work resulted in about a 18 x 6 inch strip of wood being revealed.

(My thoughts moved to a parallel universe at this point. Just wait, Reader.)

I decided to use chemical stripping. Generally, chemical stripper eats the paint. One or two break the bonds between paint and wood. I chose a low odor citrus stripper and applied a coat. I gave it the 30 minutes as directed and began scraping. Only the top layer of paint came off. Rats. This stuff is $20 a half-gallon. Another thicker coat, most rest of the bottle, and about six hours mostly did the trick. Lots of scraping followed. 

Today I decided to sand the door with my orbital sander. It’s a messy process, so I connected the sander to my shop vac with duct tape, donned my respirator mask, and commenced sanding. Suddenly, my small sander got away from me, skidding across the door leaving marks. It was as if the door was fighting the coarse sand paper and the sander had a mind of its own.

Oooh, I revisited the parallel universe. A metaphor was being birthed.

Spinning, the sander followed the grain of the wood nicely then SLIP- flop, flop, flop until I brought it back under control. On inspection, I found gouges. Wood filler to the rescue. I flipped the door over and repeated the process.

Now, come with me to my parallel universe. We won’t be long.

Stripping is like recovery.

First, the heat is turned up. We get ourselves into messes that don’t clean up easily or work well (like the heat gun). It’s hot. It’s stressful. We realize the situation and decide to work harder; we try self help or self-medicating. This may work a bit. Inch. By. Inch. After all, Rosie the Riveter attitudes have worked in the past. But when our will power drains, we are back to square one. But, maybe I didn’t read the RIGHT self-help book. Let me see who is on the best- seller list. Let me try THIS other therapist. Let me try THIS other method. Let me just deny a problem even exists, hang the door back up and forget about it. After all, it wasn’t SO bad…

Life is out of control, Spinning like the wheel on my sander, dust flying everywhere. You think, Jesus was a carpenter. And pray to be repaired.

Then you sense the stripping really beginning. Layer by layer. Peeling away life hurts from the bone. Jesus never promised you wouldn’t feel pain, in fact He promised that just like Him, you’d suffer. But He would always be there, beside you…

Gouge. Chip. Crack. Splinter. Cost. Loss.

When I have control of the sander, a firm grip, I do okay. Relatively frequently it slips, spinning across the door. Slip… flop…flop…flop…another ding to repair. Another gouge to fill. Another mess to clean up.

How many times do I have to do this before I learn?

When Jesus is invited to the workshop, to take hold of the sander, He’s smooth. He’s skilled. No gouges. He peels layer by layer of hurt away. Layers Of colors that are painful to remember, hard to look at, awkward to recall. Gently He fills the gouges you made. Soothes the wounded raw wood of your life and gently smooths the surface.

Sanding hurts. Stripping hurts. It’s also a relief. He’s got this.

Chemical stripping hurts. Bonds must be broken; amends made. Confessions confessed. He’s got this.

He was a carpenter. He has the skills. The experience. The power to help us restore. Restore. Renew. Rebuild. (Isaiah) Rosie the Riveter is merely a poster child for failure. I can buy a new door. I can’t buy a new life.

– by Teresa Robertson

Lather Rinse Repeat

I glanced at my shampoo bottle while washing my hair this morning.  The directions read “lather, rinse, repeat”.  As I thought on this my literal mind said, ‘there is no escape clause’.  How many times do I lather, rinse, repeat?

Thinking on the escape clause I was reminded of posts and stories from friends who participated in local Escape Rooms.  I don’t know if you have these around you, but here they are everywhere.

As I understand it, you and your friends are locked in a room and must work together to find a way out. A way to escape.

Lather, rinse, repeat gets us into a rut. Apply that scenario to a rut you are in. You continue to do the same thing over and over again. You are going nowhere. The doors are all locked. You have to get unstuck.

From the Escape Room description, I find 2 points that are important in getting out of a rut.

  1. Take your friends with you. Don’t go it alone.  It is easy when you get overwhelmed or frustrated to withdraw. That may add to the weight of the load you are carrying. Talk to someone. Call a friend. They can often present to you a perspective you had not considered. Which leads me to point #2.
  2. Find the clues. With multiple sets of eyes on the situation, there are many small clues that may be found. Clear your mind and expand your horizon.

To break the cycle of the rut you have to make a change. It may require a small change, perhaps looking in a different direction. It may require a big change. Even so, that big change will probably require a number of small changes. Break it down. Take one step at a time and move away from the rut.

It’s time to lather, rinse, and put the bottle down.

As a life coach, I help you break down that big change into smaller, manageable steps.

Make Your Dreams Come True

I dared you to D*R*E*A*M and asked you to join on the journey.

Today we conclude our discussion of the word DREAM with the letter M – MAKE IT SO.

As a Star Trek fan, I am intrigued at the crew discussions. The Captain asks for suggestions, all give their input, a plan is made. Captain Picard responds, ‘make it so’.

You have sought input, created a plan. It is time to ‘make it so’.

As a life coach I can walk along the path of this dream with you, reminding you of your dream.