The Day We Grew Apart

I walk into the house last night and two of our dogs were chasing each other in playful glee. They quickly ran from one side of the house to the other, while the faster of the two seemingly ran on air. Yipping, barking and growling....they seemed to be having the time of their lives. It reminded me our days living in an apartment, before we had a yard. We'd leash the dogs up and take them to the dog park. It was always interesting to watch because we'd arrive to find several dogs already at the park, having a great time. Suddenly, they'd see our dogs arrive and would all converge upon them, greeting by the usual sniffing and wagging of tails. Before we knew it, our dogs would also be involved in the play and it was as if all of the dogs had always been the best of friends.

Children can also often be the same. While serving as the Youth and Family Director at my previous church, I remember a new child, Sally walking into the classroom for the first time. She was early and the first child to arrive and seemed very nervous to be there. Tentatively, she asked me if I had some crayons so that she could color. As I gathered up the supplies, another child, Sandy entered the room. Sandy had been there multiple times so walked in, helped herself to crayons and began to color. I introduced them and before long, they began trading shy glances at each other. By the end of class that day, they seemed to be the best of friends and their parents had to pry them apart when it was time to go home. I noticed that the children didn't seem to notice different skin colors, hair styles, or clothing preference. They seemed to only notice another child, perhaps another friend, another person ready for play and laughter.

Adults on the other hand? We don't quite immediately mesh the same way that dogs and children do. Put several of us in a space where we don't know each other and we'll sometimes glance around, not even seeming to notice the people around us or, have our faces buried into our smartphones. Work brings about its own set of circumstances as we become stressed and work hard to out-perform the person next to us, always trying to get ahead of each other. 

We lose that sense of oneness and play somewhere along the way. Other people become our competition, someone that may be in our way of rising to the top, who may get the latest and greatest piece of technology that we feel we can't afford, the person we envy because they seem to "have it all" or any number of things. Some of those other people become those we fear will betray us or hurt us in some other way. 

It can be any number of scenarios but the main thing is, is that we lose the sense of who we really are and become completely isolated and separate from everyone else. We allow ourselves to become tainted by our experiences in life. We begin to lose trust in others. I sometimes watch people in places such as waiting rooms, heads buried in smart phones and I wonder....what would happen if one person walked up to the other and say, "I have this great new game on my phone. Would you like to check it out with me?" Or what might happen if one person in an airport walks up to another and says, "I'm about to take a short walk to stretch my legs. Would you like to join me?" There might initially be an untrusting look or complete surprise but what if we were to remember back to the days of our childhoods, the days where we looked beyond another person as our competitor? What if everyone were to begin doing this? Would it eventually catch on and become the norm? How would the world become? Could we begin to look beyond borders, country of origin, skin color, hair style, clothing types and costs? 

Would we, or could we begin to change the world?

- Translation Love

 

Releasing Control

I told her that there were days to where I was unsure as to whether or not I could prevent myself from literally grabbing my things and walking out. I used to experience those days only occasionally however now they were growing with an uninhibited frequency. What used to be far and few between was now at least every other day.

I knew I still had a blockage, and I knew that blockage was throwing a huge monkey wrench into the deal. I would sometimes picture myself 10 years down the road, stuck in the same story, thinking about how those in which I had shared my journey had moved on to bigger and better things. I begin to think that the true reason must somehow mean that I did not feel worthy enough to live a life of true fulfillment.

I told her about how I knew I couldn’t live a life stuck within the same story, and that I wasn’t certain as to what my options would be. I felt as if I had no one to really speak to about this, no one who would really understand. There had not yet been another to fulfill the shoes of that confidant, that mentor in my previous city. I felt as if the move while good in many ways, had stripped me of that gift. I knew another would come along in due time, but when? When would I be able to experience what I knew I was destined for?

In the back of my mind, I knew I was consumed with the details. In fact, I was often so consumed that I began to see how I was so often getting in my own way. It was almost as if I was on a road trip in the passenger seat of the car. For instance, I was aware that the driver knew the route. In fact, he knew the route better than anyone yet, I decided to keep butting in for some reason. I kept throwing him off by trying to take control. “Go here!” I’d yell one moment. “Wait, go there!” I’d decide the next minute.

It doesn’t work that way. It never has and it never will. We will never be able to enjoy the journey until we finally realize that we must be able to sit back and enjoy the ride. No one said that the ride wouldn’t happen without the occasional pot hole in the road. No one said that the journey would be linear, an easy straight line from Point A to Point B. What we can do however is trust. We can “be still and know”. We can lay our seat back and drift off into an easy, restful sleep knowing that the driver knows perfectly well where he or she is going and that when we get there, we’ll realize that each and every pot hole made perfect sense.

- Translation Love

It's Monday

Walk into work this morning and ask someone, "How are you this morning?" I'm willing to bet that if you ask at least five people this question, you will get at least one who will answer with, "It's a Monday." I hate to say it but with that answer? Yep, it's going to be "a Monday".

I'm not trying to feign innocence here. I spent years of my life answering that very way or at least feeding into the conversation when someone responded to me that way (and when I say "feeding into", I mean jumping right into negativity).

Monday signifies that the weekend is truly over. Monday mornings signify the beginning of for most people, five days of work. This can lead in so many directions but let's think about only one or two in this post. Let's focus first on why it is that a person might not be feeling a Monday.

The first reason I can think of is that he/she is doing work that they aren't passionate about. The ol' "I need money to live and this provides that" type of work. The ol' "I need to pay bills and this is what does it so doesn't matter whether or not I like it" type of thing. Oh how I have been there! The notions that work isn't meant to be enjoyed or that you can enjoy your life once you hit retirement age are so often adhered to because we feel and are told by society or well-intentioned family members or friends that it is what we are supposed to do.

I could write an entire book on this topic but alas, it is a blog post. So let me ask the question of why in the world do so many of us do something merely because we feel it is what we are supposed to do? Now, I'm not talking about breaking the law here, or anything else of that nature. I am talking about the way we move about and navigate our lives. We so often fall into the pit of doing things a certain way because someone else says we should.

From the clothes we wear, to the cars we drive, to the religious or spiritual paths we follow.....

Let me ask you this question...when are you going to decide or really, to realize and acknowledge that you have power over your own life, that you are the author and as the author, have the power to add the words to the pages of your life?

As the saying goes, "if not now, when?"

 

- Translation Love

We Find What We Seek

I received a text yesterday. In this text, I found the link to an article. Knowing the person who sent it to me, I clicked on it and as I read it, I began to realize that this person had sent this to me because she was angry. She completely disagreed with the opinions of those in the article. I reminded her that the article was just that, the opinions of other people and asked her why she would allow such a thing to create such anger in her life. She proceeds to tell me that it's because people and society as a whole, "suck". 

I found myself saddened by this statement. While I reminded her that this is simply not true, it also forced me to think about the fact that receiving this type of article from this person was not an uncommon occurrence. I reminded her that when we look for this type of thing and when we truly begin to believe that people do indeed "suck", that is what we are going to find. 

We have the power each and everyday to control the things we put into our minds. We have the power each and everyday to control the people we associate with, the things we read, the things we do.

Those things do in fact shape our perception of the world around us. When we choose to surround ourselves with and even go in search of (even if only on a subconscious level) the not so pleasant things in life, those things are going to come back to us. The same holds true for the positive. We search for it, it will find us.

So I challenge you to think about this as you go through your day. Think about the feelings and emotions you experience with the people you choose to surround yourself with, the things that you read and so forth. We are not powerless. We can help to shape our lives, our perceptions, and our thoughts and feelings toward certain situations. 

Now get out there and have a wonderful Friday and an excellent weekend.

- Translation Love

DISCLAIMER: I do want to note that I am stating that we should ignore anything that seems to be negative. Certain levels of anger can help change to occur but that is for a different conversation at another time. This post refers to the ways in which we perceive the world around us.

Drowning Out the False Noise

We are never alone. You may be sitting in your car without another person next to you. You may be walking a trail, sitting in your home, working in your garden or doing anything else without another person in sight but, you are not alone.

You may feel entirely alone in the vast universe, feeling as if no one is there to offer assistance on what feels like the darkest of nights.

You may feel lost, feeling as if you do not know which decision could be the "right" decision. You may wonder if you will look back years from now feeling grateful for the decision you made or perhaps regretful.

You may wonder the steps to take right now to move your life in an entirely different direction, a direction that brings glee and joy to your life yet, you may wonder why the silence is deafening.

You are not alone and the silence is not deafening, for it is within that silence, within yourself where you will find the answers. Those answers are in fact, already there. God, Spirit, the Universe, whatever you call that energy is already there, inside. It contains all of the answers you need right this moment and all of the answers you will ever need but, you must listen. You must be willing to drown out the noise and listen.

The noise is not always the external sounds around you. It is sometimes the noise that is within you, the noise coming from the mind. It is sometimes that noise falsely telling you that neither decision is the right decision or that you could never achieve your most coveted dream.

We sometimes allow this false noise, this false noise that comes from the judgment of others or from the judgment of ourselves to dictate our lives and our decisions. We allow it through what we feel the world expects from us or whatever it is that makes others comfortable, even if at the expense of ourselves.

Have you ever noticed how the people that seem to be the happiest are those that are their "own person"? What I mean by this is that they don't seem to care what others think. I don't mean this in an immoral way. Think of the person who seemingly designs their own fashion and style, regardless as to whether or not someone else is wearing the same thing. Or, think of the person who dares to share her own opinion in a room full of others who completely disagree or, the marathon runner missing both legs below the knee who was told he'd never run again.

These people do not allow the false noise to take up residence. They go within and listen to the voice within themselves, the voice that tells them that they can and that anything is possible. They allow themselves to fully trust that inner voice, that voice that tells them that they can make a difference or that they can live the life they dream of living.

We hear this voice when we drown out the false noise and we drown out this false noise by going within. It is in that silence we begin to listen, to hear, and to know.

- Translation Love

The Rain Reminds Me

I look out the window and I see the rain. I see the fog as it moves across the sky, the swaying of the trees as the wind breathes her breath of life upon the life that thrives upon the planet. The river swells and churns with each strong gust.

I see these things and I begin to think about the natural unfoldment of life, specifically nature. The wind blows because she knows it's what she should do. She realizes that part of her purpose is to move the leaves and the water. She does so without ponder and without fear. The fog seamlessly moves across the sky and the rain falls, providing nourishment for the trees, along with animals and humans alike. 

None of them, the rain, fog, or wind question why. They do so because they are living their purpose. A bear doesn't question whether or not he should grab the fish. He does so because it is his nature. It is part of what he was made to do.

Why as humans, are we so fearful of living our purpose? Why do we ponder? Why do we fear?  

When you feel fear, remember the wind. When you feel fear, remember the fog and the rain. When you feel fear, remember the bear that catches the fish. When you feel fear, remember that you have a purpose and that everything, yes everything is okay. 

- Translation Love

 

A New Journey

It's often been said that the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

I knew something had to change. Exactly what that "something" was, was still beyond me at that point. I would wake each morning, feeling as if I had taken a wrong turn somewhere along the path. That turn seemed to grow perpetually smaller until eventually, it had come to a dead end.

I looked to my right and saw a similar path yet, it felt too similar and in fact, I realized that it appeared almost identical to the path I had taken before. It had its differences of course yet, it was comfortable, easy and not in the least bit challenging.

I looked to the left and saw something similar. Again, it offered comfort and familiarity.

I looked back, realizing that to go back would be completely fruitless. It would be as if I had completed this journey for naught. Yes, it offered comfort but comfort was something I could no longer seek. I looked ahead and stared at what seemed to be dead end, into the thick brush. I could not see beyond that which was directly in front of me. I saw areas covered by shadows but I knew that I could use my light to find my way. No, I did not know where that seemingly nonexistent path led. I knew not where it ended but I knew, somehow I simply knew that it was mine to take. I knew that it was mine to blaze. I knew it might be tough and uncertain at times, or that it might contain thorns but I knew that it was time. It was time to become comfortable within the uncomfortable. I turned forward and slowly, ever so slowly, I began to take that first step.....

It is now your turn. Which path are you going to take?

- Translation....Love

Love is in the air....

We're seeing Valentine's Day commercials and party announcements. We're seeing an increase in jewelry store commercials, instructing viewers that they have the perfect gift, just for her (or him)!

One common theme that you're likely to notice around Valentine's Day is of course the theme of love but, the theme of love for another person. We don't see commercials stating, "Treat yourself at our restaurant this Valentine's Day!" or, "This ring is the perfect gift to show you just how much you love yourself!" These commercials and ads just simply do not seem to exist or at least if they do, I haven't seen them.

So one thing I want to ask is, how do we begin to show ourselves more self-love? How do we bring more of this into our lives? I'm not talking about an inflated ego type of self-love. I'm talking about things such as respect and forgiveness, things we use to nurture ourselves.

Join me on Valentine's Day as I give a recorded talk on how the holiday doesn't have to center only around whether or not Cupid has hit his target. Join me as I discuss self-love and how you can experience more of it!

Here's to candy hearts, chocolates and our favorite, chocolate-covered strawberries!

 

- Translation....Love

That Thing Called Attitude

Your attitude really does affect the world around you. For instance, I wake up and as I step out of bed, walk into the living room, and immediately step barefoot on a Lego that was left out overnight. Howling out in pain, I go running angrily into the bedroom to retrieve my house shoes. I’m really not paying attention due to the anger I’m feeling and bam! I trip over my own two feet, falling into the wall. I begin to curse under my breath and start to blame little Jimmy for leaving the Lego out in the first place. You can probably guess how the rest of this story plays out. It snowballs from there. You can’t get the kids to wake up on time, spill coffee on your favorite pants, run out the door without your wallet or purse and on and on.

Let’s play out a bit differently however and see how it ends. Instead, I wake up and I step out of bed, walk into the living room, and immediately step barefoot on a Lego that was left out overnight. Acknowledging that it does indeed hurt, I move the Lego to the side, thinking about how I will talk to Jimmy about picking up his toys before he goes to bed. Realizing that I forgot my house shoes, I walk into the bedroom to retrieve them. As I move through my morning in a peaceful state, I am able to move my coffee out of the way when it spills, protecting my favorite pants. The kids are also in a peaceful state because they can feel my own. I have a clear head so remember to grab my wallet or purse as I head out the door and off I go.

Okay, so it may not play out exactly as written here but, can you see how perhaps our mood and attitude can help to shape the day? We’ve all had those days where we feel absolutely nothing goes right. What if however, we were to recognize that feeling and to simply stop for a moment, sit down and just breathe for about five minutes? What if we were to recognize within that moment that regardless of external circumstances, we have the power and ability to control how we perceive each moment, therefore shaping or changing our attitude of said moment?

The choice really is yours. So allow me to ask….how are YOU today?

- Translation….Love

The Translation Love Super Bowl Post Game

As most of you are aware, yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday. During the game, I decided to log into some of my social media accounts, just to read what people were saying. I found excitement, humor, anger, and just about every emotion one can think of for such an event. One thing however stood out to me the most. That one thing was the fact that for a moment, everyone seemed to come together. I mean sure, many people were rooting for different teams but, we all came together with that excited banter.

As most things do however, the game eventually came to an end. A team had won and had become our new Super Bowl champions. The crowd roared and went wild. Confetti and streamers were thrown into the air and a party atmosphere ensued. Yet, this also came to an end and despite the post-game parties, a new dawn eventually emerged.

The Super Bowl is over and people have resumed their lives but I am left with questions. Why is it that we come together in solidarity over events such as the Super Bowl? Why can’t we maintain that level of coming together? Why can’t we simply appreciate our own unique perspectives and have that uniqueness respected, even if it differs from that of our neighbor?

What would this look like? What would this look like to you?

- Translation….Love

The Choice is Yours

Wow. Has it really been a year since I actually posted in my blog? For some reason I have been posting on social media while completely ignoring my blog. I mean, I pay for it. Right? So may as well use it! Now that I have gotten that out of the way….

Ministerial school is quickly coming to a close for me. I cannot believe that it has been three years already. I sometimes look back and wonder where exactly the time has gone yet, I’m also able to look back and witness my journey of spiritual growth. I recently had a minister ask me about my path. The main thing I said to her is that I am absolutely not the same person who began the program.

One thing I do remember at the beginning was thinking about the fact that my schooling would take a total of four years (I must complete an internship after graduation this June). Four years! How in the world was I going to spend four years completing this program? I then remember thinking that it would take sooooo long! The thought then hit me however that those four years were going to pass regardless as to whether I was in the program or not. I only had to decide if I was still going to be sitting there four years later still wanting to complete the program, or actually having completed it. I probably don’t need to tell you which I chose.

One of the largest destroyers of our dreams can be our inaction. We think about something we wish to achieve during our lives and it stays just that…only a wish. We think about doing it, only to then turn around and think of all the excuses as to why we can’t. Excuses such as the following may enter your mind:

  • “I don’t have enough time.”
  • “I have bills to pay.”
  • “I’m not smart/skilled enough.”
  • “Me?? Do that?? I could never!”

That list can be endless and it can be debilitating. Those thoughts come straight from ego. Often we think of ego as being an overinflated version of ourselves. I picture the cartoon with the little angel sitting on one shoulder, the little devil sitting on the other. The angel is prodding you along, telling you how great you are, while the little devil is poking you with its little pitchfork, telling you all of the reasons why you can’t. The ego doesn’t always provide those feelings of grandiosity. You see, the ego realizes that you have the choice to push it back into the recesses of your mind. It knows that you have the choice to simply take it for what it is, and to ignore it. The ego however does not want to be ignored. It wants to remain right where it is; in the forefront of your mind. It wants/needs you to believe those excuses it provides because then it is allowed to thrive.

Like the cartoon, we have a choice. That choice is to take your hand and knock that little devil, the ego, off of your shoulder. Take a look around you and think about the people who have done just that. Think of great teachers, inventors, and others who have achieved greatness. They knocked the ego off of their shoulder and so can you.

Know that you are powerful. You have a choice and most importantly, you are loved.

Translation…love.

A New Year

Wow, can you believe that it's already 2017??? Remember the Y2K scare back when the calendar was about to roll over to the year 2000? Seems like it was just yesterday.

If you have followed any of my FB posts, you may have noticed when I mentioned that I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions. I mean, I've always felt that each day is the start of a new year. Really, every moment is new and fresh so why should we wait until a new year to begin making positive changes in our lives? The good news is that we don't.

That being said, I did decide that I was going to make a change this year. Last year was a bit tough at times. Mindy (my wife) and I watched my mother-in-law's health consistently decline. It goes without saying that it was difficult for both she and Mindy. For me, I found that keeping up with school, work and life's other demands left me feeling drained. I noticed that I started putting on some weight and my blood pressure was slowly starting to climb (something I must be diligent about since hypertension runs in my family). I was also suffering from headaches either due to something within the building or the artificial lighting (I'm still not sure which exactly).

I hadn't been happy with my full-time job and it seemed as if things were starting to snowball a bit. As my stress levels began to climb, so did my attitude and my irritability. I knew that I needed to make a much-needed change. 

Something happened in November that set my changes into motion. The building I work in caught fire. No, I am not saying that as a mere figure of speech. It literally caught fire the night of November 8th (and no, it had nothing to do with the U.S. Presidential Election!). It was a random occurrence in that someone left something plugged in that should have been unplugged (did you expect something out of an action flick??).

Anyhow, that set changes in my life into motion. The building did not burn down and in fact, most of the damage was caused by soot and water from the activation of the sprinklers. As a result, the entire floor that I work on had to be rebuilt, which obviously takes time.

Enter work from home! Yes, I have been working at home now since November 9th. This amazing and glorious time of freedom from within the confines of cubicles and artificial lighting has given me a small taste of what it is like to have freedom and self-employment, both of which I have dreamed of for years. Okay, so maybe self-employment is a bit more involved considering it requires marketing, obeying different tax laws and so forth but you get the gist here. Such a glorious taste of freedom it has been!

I have to return to my office next week but I return with a sense of renewal. During my time at home, I have had the time to begin to market and to network. Being at home has given me the push that I needed to finally (did I say FINALLY) set my own writing business into motion.

I have landed two contracts and will be filing my LLC license next week. I now know that I've had it in me all along and that it is indeed possible. This is going to be an amazing journey and one I want to share as I move down the path.

I also want to share YOURS as well. Let me know if you have a story you'd like to share or if you, like me, are just about to start. We can do this together!

It's Indeed a Beautiful Day!

Good morning, everyone! It's a beautiful day. As I let my dogs out this morning, I stood in the yard, staring toward the sun as it began it's beautiful, artistic ascent into the morning sky. My first thought to myself was, "It is indeed a beautiful day!"

Yesterday was a day of grief for some, a day of celebration for others. News revealed a mix of protests, tears, joy, fear, anger and a wide range of emotion.

Regardless as to whether your chosen presidential candidate won the election or not, it is a time to ban together. It is a time to recognize our oneness with each other as spiritual beings, having a human experience.

It is time to visualize the world we wish to have for not only ourselves, but for our leaders as well. It is time to visualize strength, wisdom, knowledge, love, peace and kindness. It is time to visualize this for every person we meet.

Don't look down or barely glance at another person as you pass on the sidewalk. Catch and look into their eyes, if only briefly. It is there where you will witness "the window to the soul". It is there where you will glimpse, if only for a second, our oneness with each other.

Don't give up hope. Continue to pray, continue to meditate, continue to love, continue to visualize.

Don't let this change you. Always remember who you are at your core. Always remember that we are indeed, one.

It's Time to Dance With JOY!

I ponder the topic as I prepare the lesson this week's version of adult version "Sunday School" at church. That topic is "joy".....

So often we sit and think about such things as:

"When I retire, I can finally find peace!"

"I will be so happy if I get that new job!"

"I will be happy once I finish school!"

"If only I could find the perfect partner. I could finally live my life!"

It could be a derivative of any of those things or anything really. There's a major problem with statements such as these. That problem is that we are under the assumption that a source outside of ourselves is responsible for our joy. We sit in the expectation that once an outer event FINALLY occurs, we can experience true joy and true happiness.

It's not about that however. It's all about YOU and what is inside of you. You and you alone are responsible for your joy. I know many times it feels easier said than done. I know it's difficult to sit there after a job loss and loudly proclaim, "I FEEL JOY!! WHOOO-HOOO!"

Ideally, the paths we experience in life take us from Point A to Point B without any hindrance. We arrive at the destination completely unscathed. Yet, would we have learned anything? What if that path isn't so straight? What if we experience crossroads, flat tires and other challenges along the way? What if, just what if you actually learn to trust yourself and the process? What if that flat tire allows you to actually exit the comfortable confines of your vehicle, forcing you to pay attention to the sounds of nature that would otherwise be muted by the sounds of your car engine? What if that beautiful landscape provides the artist with the perfect blend of colors she will use to create a beautiful painting?

Our perspective can bring us joy or it can bring us something less but is that what you really want? Is it really worth living a life of "when" or "if only"?

That joy is within you right now. Choose to take it. Choose to grab it by force because it's yours and nothing or no one can take that joy from you. It's yours.

TODAY I Stand

I look at the media today and I ponder (yet again) the question of, are we truly all one? We don't have the same heart beat, we don't share the same skin and our perceptions differ yet, are we all truly one?

Do we not bleed the same blood? Do we not breathe the same air? Do we not all shed tears when we are happy, sad, afraid or in pain? Do we not all yearn for peace, love and joy?

Jesus said in John 15:12, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

Is it really so difficult? Is it really so difficult to help our brothers and sisters in need?

If I don't stand up for others, who will stand up for me? If I don't love others, who will love me? If I don't help others, who will help me?

We can start right here, right now. All it takes is to show love and compassion. Is it really so difficult?

Today, I take the vow to stand. Let's all take the vow today not only stand, but stand together, in solidarity. If we won't, who will?

Share and spread the word! TODAY I STAND!

Enough Already - Moving Past the Fear

I sit here and I ask myself if the fear is really worth it. Let me add here that I'm not talking about fear that protects us say from crossing a busy street with a blindfold on. I'm talking about fear that holds us back, debilitates us, cements us like stone to where we currently stand, unable to move another step.

My spiritual growth and studies have led me to so many people who suffer this type of fear everyday. I am no exception. It sometimes places you almost into a catatonic state, one in which you feel as if moving is not at all possible. Whether it's fear of leaving an unhealthy relationship, a job that doesn't allow you to live your passion or anything really, it holds you to your spot like superglue. Day after day turns into month after month, then it's onto year after year of feeling stuck.

Most of the time the fear isn't even rational. I mean, how do we KNOW we should fear something we have never even tried? I remember how I used to freeze with fright over the mere thought of public speaking. I used to envision various scenarios from passing out, to losing control of myself and running off the stage uncontrollably. On the other hand, I felt that I was in a strange predicament because I was being called to ministry. Kind of difficult to be a minister or teacher of any kind if you can't speak in public! I knew the only way to move past it was to actually TRY it, to literally just jump and trust that my parachute would open. The opportunity presented itself when my minister asked if I would deliver the lesson to the congregation in her absence.

Knees quivering (thank goodness for pants with wide legs), armpits dripping and hands shaking, I approached the platform and something amazing happened. No, my nerves didn't calm down right away, but a voice began pouring out from my body. It almost felt as if someone else had started speaking. I looked out at the crowd (81 people that day) and eyes were on me. Some were nodding their heads, others staring at me, absorbing the words I was saying.

I could go on about my experience but the lesson was this...it was NOT as bad as I had imagined it. My fear was completely unsubstantiated and completely irrational. I found there was simply no reason to fear something that I had never yet tried. The lesson I learned that day is that I was on the right path and that I may have never found that out if I hadn't taken that leap. I felt on fire that day. I felt as if I was walking on air. I found that public speaking fired me up and I was assured that yes, I was on the right path.

Maybe it's now time for you. What are you afraid of? Maybe it's time for you to yell out, "Enough already!" and to just do it.

I will take the leap with you.

Today I Choose

Good Friday morning!

I wanted to create a post of a different kind today. Looking through Facebook and other forms of social media, I've noticed how many people mention how "awful" everything is right now.

We are certainly free to look at that way if we choose. For me, I walk outside and I hear the sounds of the birds singing. I notice the varying hues of pinks and oranges as the sun both rises and sets. I hear the sound of grass being mowed, a memory that takes me back to my... summer breaks as a child...the days of playing outside with my friends until the voice of my father carried over the summer breeze, telling my sister and I that it was time to come in for the night.

I see the butterfly moving gently with the breeze, its wings offering beauty to the eye of the beholder and mellow transport for the innocent creature.

I read stories of random acts of kindness to people perceived as complete strangers. I witness human beings offering the safety of something as simple as a hug to others, or perhaps a small touch to the shoulder of a friend when a caring gesture is needed.

I see stories of survival such as with the flooding in neighboring states, and how quickly people will rush to help those in need.

No, today I choose to not listen to media that wants me to see my surroundings as a terrible place. Today, I choose to see the best in humankind, even if it seems they have lost their way. Today, I choose beauty and kindness. Today, I choose peace and joy. Today, I choose a beautiful life.

Today, I choose.