The Power of Breath

Have you ever stopped to think how many parts of your body are involved when you take a breath? Have you ever thought about what must go on internally when you take a breath to speak? Have you ever thought about what happens when your body works as one, and you breath, speak, sing, or yell? I can tell I have never thought about any of the mechanisms involved in breathing until I am having a problem breathing. Where my breath comes from is never a thought in my mind, I expect, no I demand for it to be there when I need it.

I don’t always stop to think how I am using my words toward someone. Most of the time, I don’t even care if they understand what I am saying, I mean if they fail to understand, I usually say that is their fault (anyone else guilty)! I am breathing right now as I type this but I haven’t once thought what would happen if I wasn’t? That is the problem I face today.

Are we taking our every breath for granted? Are we using our breath to spread gossip, lies, doubt, mistrust, hatred, death? Are we using breath, breath that is a gift from God alone, to kill not just others but ourselves? I can’t spend my life using the gift of breath, to snatch the breath out of someone else…no one has that power. But that is exactly what we do when the only objective is to be selfishThe next moment you speak, the next moment you yell, the next conversation you begin, ask am I using the power of breath for good?

Now, take a breath.

 

Happy New Life!

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Teamwork

When my Daughter was growing up , there was a show on called the Wonder Pets, it was about three friends that were the class pets for a preschool. They had amazing adventures helping other animals in danger after the kids left for the day. The three friends were a turtle, a duck, and a hamster. I absolutely loved this show! It was totally adorable and believable, it was a great reminder of the importance of teamwork.

Teamwork. That word is not heard very often today. Everyone is trained to accomplish goals alone. We live in a world full of “I”.  I can do it, I don’t need help, I make the difference, I am important. Now, don’t get it twisted, there are somethings that I can do, but we were made for relationship. It’s no fun to work in an organization and lie, cheat, manipulate others so I can be number one. Why are we so afraid to work together with others? Why do we fear others knowing if we are weak in an area? Why do we spend our lives chasing possessions, money, empty relationships just to be hurt in the end? Because if I admit that I am weak, you might use that against me. If I admit that I spend all of my time working to show off my “keeping up with the Joneses” stuff, you might think I am shallow. If I avoid people and relationships at any cost you might think I am scared to be myself around others.

You want to know the truth? We need each other. Skin color doesn’t matter, economic standing doesn’t matter, education doesn’t matter, we need each other.  What I learn from the Wonder Pets is they are individuals that alone are not successful but together they are awesome. Each of them have insecurities but when they work together they have the right stuff. The world is longing for people to work together. Relationships, families, schools, need everyone to make our future successful.  Get around some people who may not look like you, think like you, or even act like you, but they are human just like you. As the Wonder Pets always say, “What’s gonna work…TEAMWORK!”

HAPPY NEW LIFE!!

Passwords

For the last two months I have been trying to remember my password to my school issued email account. The university sends out reminders that your password is going to expire and in that email they give you the option while reading the email to click the link and reset your password. Now, here’s the problem.  I was in the computer lab and did not have my journal to write down the new password, so I found a receipt in my purse and created a new one.  I should have used one of the generated ones and taken a picture of it with my cell phone, but no I wanted to be fancy and make up one that I could remember. Well I scribbled the first combination of letters, numbers and symbols that came to my head and created a new password. All was well until I received notification on my iPad I had a new email for the upcoming semester. Well, I touched the app and it launched and then the dreaded pop-up box appeared. “Please enter your new password.” I didn’t even sweat it, I went to my purse and looked for the receipt.

Oh no!!!!!!! I can’t find the receipt. I don’t know where it is. Did I throw it away? This can’t be happening, how am I going to fix this problem? Oh wait I know, I can hit lost password and reset it with no problem, except when it asks me to answer the security question, I don’t know the answer!!  AUGHHHHHH!!!! I panicked and attempted this daunting task. I hit the reset button and up pops the security question, and I knew the answer!! Success!  I reset the password, wrote it down in the proper place and thought no more about it.

I giggle when I remember the sheer fear that gripped me when I couldn’t remember my password. I mean I didn’t want to see those dreaded words, Access Denied appear on my screen, because then it would seem that I am not authorized to open this account. My identity and authenticity of ownership would be questioned. Although I know I am the rightful owner, the system did not recognize me without the password.  Our life has a series of passwords.  See, these unique combinations represent change and as I’ve grown I have given access to those that I want in my life. If today you have anything or anyone in your life that doesn’t quite fit, and your access denied box keeps popping up it may be time to change some passwords!

Happy New Life!

 

It’s NEVER Too Late

Let’s be honest with ourselves, we all have hopes, dreams, goals, aspirations, plans and then reality hits. You lose your scholarship for college, you have to work two jobs just to pay off your tuition balance, maybe you become a parent, unplanned and unexpected, maybe there is a family emergency and you have to place your life on hold to be with the family. Maybe you fail your first semester and end up on probation, or maybe you just quit. Regardless of the circumstance, your performance, or your diligence, sometimes life is just hard and dreams sometimes fade. For the last five years, you have promised yourself to go back to school and finish that degree, to become more so your children have an example to follow, to pay off debt, and revive the dream that once burned within you, but you are stuck right now. You are doing your routine, work, family, home flawlessly but secretly wondering is this all my life is going to be? I am ever going to finish anything that I really want? Something has to give…

Right now, you have been blessed with an amazing opportunity, TODAY. Stop planning to do something and do it now. I know, it sounds good and it even may get you excited but life has a way of reminding you what your priorities are. Well, no life is worth living without a dream. Children are the best example of how adults (grown children) need to live. They want to be astronauts, presidents, scientist, rock stars, teachers and all of those dreams live because they do not worry about what tomorrow may bring. Children remind us that we always have time to live the dream that is inside our heart. Children remind us to have NO FEAR!! Take the limits off yourself and run until you finish.  No, I certainly don’t want to be five again, but I do want that faith of my five-year old self. I tell you the truth, It’s Never Too Late! See you at the finish line!

Happy New Life!

Untie and Unite

Did you just say those two words aloud? I know I have been saying them since about 5 this morning. I was attempting to sleep but I could not get away from these two words. Being a word junkie I looked them up and jumped out of my bed to write. (ok, I’m writing about 3 hours later, ha!)

So, this is what I found out: Untie- to loosen or unfasten to free from restraint, to resolve. Many times we only think of untie in relationship to our shoes. Unite- to join, combine, to form a single or whole unit, to act in concert or agreement.

What is so crazy about these words is they contain the same letters just placed differently. I thought about life, there are many things in our lives that use the same words but their place in our lives are drastically different. When you unite  in marriage you join your family to another family. You no longer function as a single unit you become whole and during that process you must untie  some knots in your life in order to live free from restraint and conflict in your new life.

Wow!!! As I thought about my life today, I was blown away. What things have I united with when I should have untied? Where have I untied relationships, family, change for my level of comfort?  This is a self check for me. I must pay close attention to how I am using words and knowing what I mean, but not aware of what I say. Today, UNTIE and then UNITE.

Happy New Life!!

 

Shut Up!!?!

When I was younger, ‘Shut Up” was a bad word. I mean you would have thought I said some serious profane, vulgar word when I let that phrase slip out of my mouth. I used to dream of the day that I could say it without fear of consequence. My mom would always say, those words are so ugly and there are better words that you can use to convey the same message. Man, I didn’t want to hear that. If I didn’t like something said, I would not prefer to use, please close your lips, cease from speaking, could you please employ silence, I wanted to say SHUT UP!!! Ha!

Anyway, even still as an adult, I always think twice and look to see where my mom is before I say those words. This really has me thinking, words indeed have power. Words can build, destroy, grow, change the course of action, mean everything or mean absolutely nothing. Take for instance how many words we read in a day, whether through our news feed, a blog, email, text, words are everywhere. Those words are just read silently, but we say them aloud, in an instant those words become alive, active, engaged, moving.

When I say shut up, I usually mean stop talking, and I want instant silence for a minute. But what is heard is; stop talking, I don’t want you to speak, what you say is worthless and invaluable, please don’t waste my time talking, just stop. Now, I think, what I am doing? I don’t mean anything other that be quiet when I use those words, but when someone hear’s it, they may just shut up. I cannot bare the responsibility of speaking words of death, gloom, hatred to anyone, and my only reply is, “sorry that’s not what I meant.” Although that is probably true, I am responsible for what I say.

Let’s clean up our words! Speak Life! Proverbs 18:21 Death and Life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it will eat the fruit thereof. 

Happy New Life!!

Bye Bye Anger

Have you ever been angry? Is that a silly question? I know there are some people who will say, “I’ve never been angry,” and if that is true I need to come talk to you immediately, but for the rest of us, we have at one time been angry. Let me tell you first hand the problem with anger, it controls you. I mean if you get upset because the kids made a mess in the house, or you forgot to turn off the oven, or you left your thumb drive at home for your meeting, there is a slight elevation in our stress.  But I’m talking about anger, I mean when someone jumps in your face and starts yelling, when you are lied on at work and as a result lose your job, when you are heartbroken for nothing, then you get angry.  The second problem with anger is it is an emotion driven by fear. Fear, is a killer. It paralyzes its victim and scoffs at the result. In the heat of the moment, when all the emotions are at the surface, the fight of flight reflex initiates, in like a millisecond your body (at that moment) on autopilot decides what to do. It is a scary thought, but a more painful reality. The final problem with anger is that it changes your natural body function, it changes YOU.  Your body responds  quickly to anger. It can change how you think, move, live. I mean you can blackout, fight, scream or just shutdown.

Anger, the word makes me cringe and cry at the same time. I have been at times a willing participant with anger. I have used words and actions to paralyze those who may have crossed me and because of fear I attacked first. Anger is a real problem, but only the surface problem. When in life do we find enough courage to deal with the root. I have a joyful disposition most of the time, it is not like me at all to be mean, but I find myself questioning who I am when I get angry. It is a dark place to be, but absolutely necessary if I want to change.  Last night, I laid in a hospital bed, IV hooked up, blood drawn, medicine coming through the IV, because I allowed anger to drive me. The doctor tested everything, heart, lungs, urine, thyroid, stress levels, and all results were normal. But although in that moment I was relived, I was more disappointed that I choose anger and that choice could have damaged my life permanently.

Today, is a new day, with new mercies, new choices and me. I will from this day forward dismiss anger from my life, it no longer lives here.

Happy New Life!

And now, The Rest of the Story

“And now,  the rest of the story”, with these words Paul Harvey completed some of the most intriguing stories ever told on public radio.

My life is not on the radio, and sometimes I think it’s not that interesting so who would want to know me or what I am about? I think the daily grind of my world is just that, mine. I do what most mothers do, what most wives do and I don’t think that deserves any type of recognition or does it? You know I have taken this journey in writing this blog and really reflected on the rest of my story. I have quite a bit of life yet to live,  so if I sabotage myself in thinking I will do nothing more that what I am doing now, my story is over.

How many of you have ended your story in your life? How may of you have taken one thing that happened to you and made it your entire story? Please understand what I am saying to you. Life is full of difficulty, change,  and triumphs, but the beauty of life is its ability to in one moment be unbearable and be fully relieved in the next. How many times have you looked over your life,  and said, “whew, I’m glad that’s over.” See that’s just it, things come in and they go out, but what matters; family, friends, love, and peace remain. Those are the tools we need to use to write our story.

This year, 2014  is only 19 days young, meaning we still have 346 days yet to be seen or lived. Don’t waste time planning and have NO ACTION to work the plan. Pick one thing you want to do and do it. You wanna know how I found the strength to do this? I can’t swim, so instead of talking about learning, I drove to our Family Recreation center and signed up. I was shaking, because I have a slight fear of water and being in it too long makes me uneasy. But I paid my money and in two weeks my lessons start. I have been practicing, where? In the shower of course, I mean I don’t want to look totally ridiculous! Now it’s your turn, what is one thing you want to do, make a plan and then ACT, and let this year be “your rest of the story.”

Happy New Life!!

Write a Note

If you are like me, there is something special about a handwritten note. First of all, the person used actual pen and paper and thought about the message they were going to leave you. When I grew up, in the 80’s there were no mobile phones. Ok, there were except they were as big as your face and you could not Facebook, Tweet, or even text. So instant communication was pen and paper. When we would come home from school, our Mom would leave notes for us explaining what chores she expected to be completed when she came home from work. The note would be extremely detailed, leaving no room for misinterpretation of her expectations. Sometimes she would write(draw) a smiley face on the note. Now if you could imagine your mom or dad drawing, it was kind of like this. A huge circle, ( that was my head), two smaller oval shapes for my eyes, two dark big dots for my eyeballs,and about 5-6 lines for my eyelashes. Now to complete this, she would draw a huge smile ( no teeth) two half-circles attached to the side of my face for my ears, and some BIG HAIR!!! That image, no Picasso but beautiful nonetheless made me smile.

Words and images are so powerful. We take the advantage we now have with social media and abuse the reader by writing words and posting (drawing) images that damage all those who see. It almost seems like that the art of communication has been lost, because we forgot why we write.

My Mom wrote to provide instruction, guidance, humor but most of all love. When I became a Mom I followed her example and began to write notes in the children’s lunch boxes. I would use that moment to say to each of them what they mean to me. Most times after a conversation with each of them separately, the theme for that week’s note is made. The note is designed to make them feel special, to help them remember who they are, to remind them of their dreams, but most importantly to never let them forget I love them.  Taking time to put a few thoughts to paper was overwhelming at first. I thought with the schedule of the morning, I am not adding one more thing. But the first time I forgot a note and all three of my kids said, “mom where’s our note?” I knew it was more than just a chore, it was a connection.

Take time to tell those you love, those you are working on loving, even those you don’t love right now, the truth through pin and paper. Use those words to reflect what you need to do, and how you want to change the relationship. It may be old-fashioned, but today I wrote you a note!

Happy New Life!

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I Got a New Attitude

Sing it with me….

I’m feelin’ good from my head to my shoes
Know where I’m goin’ and I know what to do
I tidied up my point of view
I got a new attitude                                                                                                                 Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
I got a new attitude!!  ~Ms. Patti LaBelle

We have all heard and probably said, I have a new attitude. What affected me last year, last month, heck even yesterday, will not today! Sadly by 8:30 in the morning the same ole’ attitude is back in full effect. I can not tell you how I used to always say, her attitude is ridiculous, that is exactly why no one likes her or him. If they ever intended to make it in the world they better do an attitude check quickly. During my rant and being the internal disposition police for society, I never could gauge my own attitude.

It is as easy as breathing to point out what’s wrong with someone and why their life is in the pits because of their attitude. We spend our entire educational journey learning how your attitude determines your altitude. If you grew up in a house like mine, the only person authorized to have an attitude was my mom, all others would be shut down. So I better save my neck popping and eye rolling for my homies at school, because at home I would definitely be a candidate to meet My Jesus sooner rather than later.

Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder now as an adult how my attitude has shaped my life. If I choose to allow what others say to me to become what I say about myself, I have now taken on their attitude about me. The problem? Those people and what they say is really about them. I cannot help how I look, that is genetic, I cannot help where I was born, my parents are responsible for that, but I CAN HELP MY RESPONSE TO LIFE! No, nothing is perfect, nothing is easy, but all things are worth the fight.

My attitude is one of my biggest enemies. It tells me how to look at others and judge, it tells me how to criticize no progress, it tells me how to blame others for my failures, it tells me, I’m always right. What my attitude fails to tell me is,  at the end of the day I will be alone, because I choose to keep my attitude instead of my life.

Dude, 2014 is WORK!! Work that I am willing to pay daily for the best life ever. I will not waste one more day, or roll my eyes at anyone else, today I got a New Attitude! 

Happy New Life!!