Conquer Your Fears

You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.                             ~ Author Unknown

What are your dreams? Desires? Hopes? Wants? We all have them. How many of us do something about them? How many of us put ourselves out there and take a chance or a step forward toward those goals? I bet, not many. I sure don’t. It is safer that way. Sometimes doing nothing is comfortable and safe. It feels like slipping into a comfortable pair of sweat pants. Here, we are in our comfort zone. It is relaxing and there are no fears.

What would it feel like to jump out of your comfort zone? A little stressful maybe. Your heart would race. You might not know what to say, what to do, or even how to get started. All the fears and doubts you have would come to the surface. Those fears and doubts will try to hold you back and put you right back in your comfort zone. A person has to be stronger than their own comfort zone.

I can’t remember the last time I put myself out of my comfort zone. Well, I have very recently, but I am talking about before that! It is a concept many of us are not comfortable with. We are not doing ourselves a favor by sitting idle on our hands. We think we are, but we are not. I have two things that I want to do with my life before it is over. I have wanted it for some time, but being in my comfort zone is easier. I realized that not doing anything about it is not doing me any good.

One, I want to help the elderly and disabled by starting my own caregiver business. I have a huge need in me to help others. I think I can do a better job of it than if I work for another agency. I have done that and most agencies don’t know what they are doing.  It is a lot of work starting your own business. I do understand that. However, when I came across this idea, it felt like God was speaking to me personally. It felt like my calling. I sat on the idea for a while. Scared. Not really knowing what to do or how to get started. Leaving it alone was safer. Until now. I am taking the beginning steps of making this dream a reality.

Two, I want to have one piece of writing published before I die. It doesn’t matter if it is a small paragraph in Readers Digest, my Lions Club magazine, a short story, or a novel. It doesn’t matter if has a lot of publicity attached to it or not. It does not matter if I receive any kind of money in return for it or not. I just want something of mine published before I die. I have known this dream for a while and once again, it is safer to sit on the idea than to work towards it. I knew it was time to do something about it when I saw an add in my local newspaper about a writing class being offered. I actually was going to pass it up, but my husband encouraged me to sign up for it. Instead of the other way around, he is the one who actually gave me a talking to and told me to go for it!

So here I am, working towards the two things I want to accomplish before my time on this Earth is done. Instead of others passing me by on the way to their dreams, I am now walking right along with them. Conquer your fears. Take a chance. You never know what will happen if you don’t.

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The Years Are Slipping By

I see the hours go by faster and faster. The days and weeks fly by and there is nothing I can do about it. I turn the calendar months over so fast that it makes me wonder where the month has gone. Another year approaching the end. Didn’t I just buy a 2014 calendar? Didn’t I just celebrate the new year? Didn’t I just say 2014 is going to be the year? The year to do what? I don’t remember. Another year is almost gone and I don’t remember what I wanted to accomplish.

In a few months, I will be another year older. In a few years I will be 40. I see it up a head. It is there, waiting for me. I still feel like I am in my 20’s. I remember my hopes and wants when I was younger. What happened to them? Did I brush them aside? Did they disappear? Did I give up on them? I never truly knew what I wanted to do with my life career wise. Not in high school, not in college, and sadly, not now. I never was one of those lucky people who know right away what career path and life path to take.  In reality, how many of us do?

As another year goes by, calendar year and biological year, I see my motivation slipping by. I am slipping down a slippery slope that I can’t get myself out of. It is like drowning in quick sand, only mentally. I am being swept out to sea and not able to swim back. Some days I make a little progress towards shore, some days I tread water, and other days I am being swept back out to sea. I sometimes wish I could start over. Maybe go back to my niece or nephew’s age and start all over. Other times, I wonder what drugs I am on to be thinking that!

All in all, I am doing the best I can, at the moment, with the life I have been dealt. My son should be approaching 13 years old. I can’t even imagine a teenager in the house. My daughter would be approaching 11 years old. She’d be giving me the hard time I gave my parents. I can’t even imagine myself a parent to a 13 and 11 year old. Did my dreams die with them? They must have. That is where they went. They are gone. I see them out there in the distance, but they are unreachable. Maybe, just maybe, one year when I say, “This will be the year….”, it actually will be.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Each experience we go through changes us. Each situation, good & bad, shapes us. Little by little we learn something from life’s challenges. We don’t learn it all at once. It takes time. It can take months, years, or a lifetime. It takes many lessons through life to get to the point of patience, acceptance, tolerance, listening, and asking for help. We don’t even have to go through the experience ourselves; Just watching someone else go through it, we should recognize a light bulb go on in our minds. We should be able to learn from any situation whether we ourselves go through it or not. It really doesn’t have to be a hard lesson to learn; it can be minor. If we keep our eyes open, we will learn from any good or bad situation, or we will be presented with it again.

Acceptance is a big lesson for me personally. I will never be a millionaire, live in Hawaii, have a huge house, or that perfect job. I compare myself to my family, friends, and to people I have never met. It’s hard not to. I feel I should be at a certain point in my life, or have accomplished this and that, and I am not and I don’t. I could have worked harder. I could have pushed myself more. I could have accomplished more. I also know there are others out there wishing they were in my shoes.

With the help of God, family, and friends, we fight our own battles. We have our responsibilities, problems, accomplishments, and failures. We should not compare ourselves to others. We are all different. We all learn at our own pace. We go through different challenges and sometimes the same challenges, which affect us all differently. We are all built and made different from each other. Accept it. Tolerate it. Have patience. Don’t compare yourself to others. It will get you nowhere.

Life & Death

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Life & Death

I have been through many loved ones passing away in my 35 years. I can’t really compare them all because each one rips my heart out. On one hand I am sad because they are gone. On the other hand, I am at peace because they are in Heaven. I have lost babies, pregnancies, 2 brothers, grandparents, in-laws, cousins, an uncle, an aunt, & high school classmates. I have been through the shock, the sadness, and the acceptance. So how come today feels a little different when I find out that my husband’s cousin passed away? It was a total shock. I didn’t think it was true and still don’t. We weren’t super close nor did we talk much. We were more “Facebook friends” than cousins through marriage. I saw him two to three times a year. So why I am I experiencing a heavy heart? Is it because he really was not that much older than my husband? Is it because he lived alone and died of a heart attack while at home? Is it because no one found him for a while? Is it because it happened around Thanksgiving time and we are just finding out? Is it because I know all too well that one day we are here and the next we are not? Or is it a combination of all of that? Whatever the reason, I am saddened by the news. He was the first one every year at Christmas time to send us a Christmas card. We’d always receive his Christmas card the first few days of December. I wondered a week ago why we didn’t receive his card. I thought it was strange that there was no Christmas card from him yet. I really don’t know why it takes so many deaths for me to realize that one day we are here and the next we are not. I don’t know why it takes so many deaths for me to realize that if I don’t go after my dreams today, I may not get the chance tomorrow. Let this be another lesson to me to enjoy the moment, go after my dreams, and tell loved ones that I love them.

What Is Stopping You From Living?

Money. The cause of so much stress in one person’s life and happiness in another person’s life. It makes some people go crazy to the point where they obsess over how to make more. Some good ideas and some bad ideas. We are all trying to obtain money. We need it to live, to pay bills, to buy groceries, etc…  There are certain individuals who have too much of it and don’t know what to do with it and lose it all. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had enough money to the point where there was no poverty and everyone was comfortable with their own income? If you could do anything in this world you wanted and money was not an issue, what would you do?

Would you travel the world?

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Would you live in a castle?

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Would you create the most beautiful garden?

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Would you buy an island?

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Or would you do none of those things? Maybe you would create your own business or charity. Maybe you would give to other people more. Maybe you would go after the career you really wanted. Maybe you would drop your career all together! Maybe you would write a book. Whatever you would do if money was not an option, why not go for it now? Sure I do understand that buying an island and living in a castle is a little out of reach for most people, but the point is to go for your dream. Don’t let any excuse stop you. I always use money as an excuse to not do something. I can’t travel much because I don’t have the money to do so. I can’t go after my dream career of being a writer because we need money coming in. A good friend of mine tells me to write my goals down (with money not being a reason to not do something) and your goals will eventually be accomplished. Well, guess what? My husband and I took not only one, but two vacations this past summer. Did we have the money to do so? Yes and no. We just did it. Life is too short to not do what you want. What am I doing now? Working towards my dream career of being a writer. I am just doing it. I am trying not to worry about the money issue. I am just working towards my goal and that is enough. So whatever you are putting off today because of money or any other excuse, stop putting it off and go for it! If you don’t go for it now, you never will.

Letting Go

ImageSearching the internet today I came across this quote that made me think about the opposite of “reaching for the stars”. I am not setting out to burst anyone’s bubble, to discourage anyone, or to even discourage myself, but in anyone’s life there comes a time when we have to walk that line of letting go or holding on.

There is always a lot of talk and advice about going for your dreams and not giving up. There are so many positive messages about doing what you love and completing your goals. I know people who write down their own goals and once they accomplish them, they check that off their list. That is great and if it works for them, good for them. The message is, if you work hard enough towards something you will accomplish what you set out to do. Dreams are worth going for. Hold on to those dreams. I do believe in all of that, but there comes a time when you need to decide to either let go or keep going.

There are situations in everyone’s life where it is time to let go of the hurt, the anger, and the frustration. It could be a friend hurt you, your job interview didn’t go well, you were let go from your job, someone said something negative about you or your dreams, or your goals are not developing like you thought they would. Whatever is holding you down, whatever is discouraging you, whatever is hurting you, there comes a time to let go of that hurt. There needs to be more forgiveness in this world. Not just forgiveness towards others, but forgiveness of yourself. Know one is perfect. It may seem like everyone else around you is leading this perfect, happy life, but that is not the case. Be patient with yourself and begin to let go of any situation, any memory, any comment or wrong thing said about you, and let it go. It is bringing you down and stopping you from doing what you love and stopping you from reaching your goals. Stop comparing yourself to others and concentrate on your own journey. Know matter what anyone says, it doesn’t hurt you at all to do nothing in certain situations. Allow yourself to live and let life play out. Let whatever is going to happen, to happen. Then deal with it accordingly. Life is too short to wake up each morning with depression, anxiety, worries, hurt, and frustration. Just let yourself simply be! Take a deep breath and release all the disappointment and hurt whether it was brought on by yourself or someone else. It doesn’t matter. Just let it go, move on, and “reach for the stars!”

Slow Down and Notice Mother Nature

Putting one foot in front of the other at a moderate pace. Most of us walk every day. We walk all around our home. We walk at work. Up the stairs, down the stairs. We walk outside in our yards. We walk on a trail. We take walks on the beach or around town. We walk on a treadmill. Everyone knows the benefits of walking for your physical health. Walking will help you lose or maintain your weight. It can help you prevent a disease. It can strengthen your bones. This is common knowledge. However, did you know walking is also good for your soul and for your mental health? For me, walking improves my mood. It calms me down when I am stressed out. It clears my head and helps me think better.

Walking gives me a much needed break when I need one. Well, that much needed break arrived yesterday. I decided to walk on a local nature trail and for some reason I decided to bring my camera and I am so glad I did. I found some very pretty scenes of nature that turned into nice photographs. Take this one for example.

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Walking by it at first glance may not seem like anything special. However, after stopping and looking at this flower more closely, it really is very beautiful. It helps me realize that I need to give things a second chance and not dismiss things right away. Sometimes things are not what they first seem. However if you stop, look, listen, and watch, that something can give you a better way to look at things.

So I kept walking along the trail looking at the beautiful scenes in front of me. The pretty trees, flowers, woods, meadows, and wetlands. Not many people notice their surrounding. I mean really notice their surrounding. They go about their daily lives not paying attending to the beautiful things that surround them. I came across this bridge and I was just going to walk across the bridge and keep walking. Then something caught my eye. I am glad I stopped because this is what I found.

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It may seem like a average photo to you. To me, I see the sky reflecting on the water, which just adds something special to the picture. I see the turtles in their natural habitat. In fact, the turtles were all around on surrounding logs. If I kept walking by at my brisk pace and didn’t notice what was around me, I would have missed this. I stopped here and really looked at where I was while everyone else was walking past me. I was wondering why know one was stopping to look at these turtles. Didn’t they realize if they stopped for 30 seconds, they would witness nature at her best?

I kept walking and my thoughts consumed me. In fact, my worries crept up on me. I was worried about a job, money, my writing, etc. Will I ever make it to where I want to be? Will my writing ever improve? Will I ever be published and noticed? Then I came across this.

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Yes, this is a bench. What does this have to do with calming my soul down and letting go of my worries you ask? For one, the two plants make this bench look inviting. The bench is just waiting for someone to slow down, notice it, sit down, and breath. Secondly, the pillow adds decoration to the bench. It makes me want to take a nap on it! Last but not least I want you to look very closely at the bench. What else do you see? I see a picture of someone on that bench. In fact, it is what I noticed first. Someone had to pass away in order for that picture to be there. This bench is in memory of someone. It reminds me that someone unfortunately had to pass on so we could have this beautiful scene. Someone’s family decided to put this here for not only for them, but for us to enjoy it. The bench reminded me I need to calm down and relax and not only go for my dreams, but also let life happen. Life is too short to be stressed and worried all the time.

So my walk was coming to an end. I was less stressed, more energetic, and ready to continue my day without be consumed with worry. My walk did what I was hoping. I was in a better mood than before I started it. I stepped up my pace to finish my walk and went right on by one last picture. I missed it at first. Then I stopped and backed up. Looked up and took out my camera. This is what my camera took.

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To you, an ordinary picture of a corn field. Am I right? To me, it was a picture that I didn’t want to miss. This is very pretty to me. I don’t have the words to really explain it, but the sky is gorgeous to me. Not only do you see partially blue skies, but the clouds are very pretty. The trees add a nice frame to the picture while the corn field is like the base of the picture. All together it makes a beautiful nature scene.

So you see if I didn’t go for a walk yesterday and believe me, I almost did not. I had to talk myself into it. I would have missed nature. I would missed the pictures I ended up taking. I would have missed the opportunity to calm my soul. The next time you are under some stress, stop what you are doing. Breath slowly in and out. Relax. Do what calms you down. It does not have to be a walk, but do something to help you think about the brighter things in life. Next time you are out for a walk, notice your surroundings. Notice nature. Mother nature is beautiful. She is waiting for people to slow down and notice her!