Podcast: Episode 7

Have a WONDERFUL weekend and a Happy Father’s Day to the Dads out there!

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LISTEN TO Episode 7 HERE!!!! <——–

 

 

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Self Help Saturday: The Meanings of Life

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I know that most of us search for our purpose in life, hoping for it to be something worth bragging about.  A high paying job, maybe something that carries a title to remind you of your importance.  An incredible home or car, a hope that happiness can be held by obtaining material things. To fulfill a calling to a certain field of service, to preach or to sacrifice your life to a higher calling, like that of a nun or maybe even a priest.  I feel like these things yield insight to why we were really formed, and what all of us should seek to obtain in life.

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I had a moment this morning to be in the stillness of the day and realized that it wasn’t still at all.  I woke at 4:15 this morning and I made me a bowl of grape nuts, I enjoy the taste of this cereal now as an adult, but my decision to eat this cereal didn’t start with a craving for a healthy cereal.  My grandmother used to eat this cereal.  I would ask to have some of her cereal when I was a little girl and was perplexed as to why she would eat this hard, crunchy, nearly sugarless cereal.  I didn’t understand then that her reasons for eating this cereal was more for the nutritional value and less for the taste it produced.  I choose to eat the cereal now because it makes me think of my grandmother and it is a way to cherish her, savor her memory.  I then began to think of the other memories I had with my grandma.  She would keep us when we were little, and while the memories I have collected of time spent with her are not epic memories, they were and remain to be special.

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She had a little trailer house in a small town.  This small trailer was a special place for me, it consisted of 2 regular sized rooms and a small room that was more than likely meant to be a laundry room, but it was converted into a small spare bedroom.  There was one main bathroom and a half bath in the master bedroom, if you could call it that.  My grandmother’s house was always well kept and had a special ambiance produced by fluorescent lights under the cabinets that created warm swirls of light in the kitchen and it either always smelled of cleaner, or home cooked meals.  My grandma was a special lady.  She always made me feel safe and loved.

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I can remember waking up in that small bedroom or in rare instances waking up in her bed.  I wouldn’t always get to sleep with her, she said I would roll over her many times through the night or nearly kick her out of bed.  I am a very hard sleeper and apparently, as a child, a violent one.  🙂 I would wake to the smell of eggs and bacon being cooked to over-medium perfection, The aroma filling that small house to the brim, and reminding me of where I was at the first moment of waking.  I would clumsily jump from the bed and walk to the kitchen.

I would get a nice hug from her and a nice hot, plate of love sprinkled with the correct amount of salt and pepper that fell from the two white tall plastic salt and pepper shakers that I will always identify as the kind my grandma kept near her stove or on the kitchen table.  Before it would get hot, we would sit out on her front porch and watch life happen.  People driving in and out of town, and noticing the different colors and styles of the vehicles traveling down the town’s main street.  I didn’t care what we would do, I was enjoying my time with my grandma.  She was a very strong comfort to me as a child.  I don’t have a lot of strong memories of being a kid, and maybe part of the reason I hold onto these memories with her was my ability to relax in her presence, but these memories with her are vivid.  I know that they may not mean much to most reading this now, but one of the things I would do with my grandma was walk to the post office.  She would let me have the box key and find her box and grab her mail.  I don’t know why, but sometimes I can think of those events and miss the smell of that building.  I visit it from time to time just to inhale the fragrance of love letters and bills.  My grandma is still living in those memories, and it makes me feel calm, safe and loved.  I grew up and my grandma has been dead for several years.  I joined the military and while I had plans to come back from the military and start college near my hometown, I decided to buy her little trailer house that had been left to my uncle.  He had stayed with her, and was her caretaker for as long as I can remember.  I remember coming back to that place and feeling a little disappointed when it no longer held the charm that she gave it.  I am sure she didn’t really know how truly amazing I felt she was.

A unique and special human being.  My grandma didn’t have a special job, but her role as a mom and a grandma is one she fulfilled honorably.  She didn’t have a fancy house, or tons of money. Her wealth was in her gifts of cooking, cleaning and loving her family and friends.  She, in my opinion, had a rich life.  I have only given you a glimpse of this special women today, because that is where my prayers took me this morning, maybe it was a certain bird’s song this morning that triggered this memory or maybe it was the time of morning sitting out on my back porch, that was similar to sharing her front porch watching the buzz of the morning traffic. Whatever it was, her memory visited me heavy this morning and that is when it hit me.  She was a happy woman.  She didn’t have much, and she was able to still give to those in need.  She was a person that didn’t hold some special title, but still someone I admired very much.  She never told me when I was little that she had found the meaning of life, but she told me this morning.

Life is about love, forgiveness, and relationships.  All other things are trivial.  Love is something more than just a feeling.  It is in the food we make.  It is in the actions we choose.  It is in a sympathetic hug or a self-less sacrifice.  Love is in the way we adore something or someone.  It is our commitment and loyalty.  Love is a choice, a decision made to show the world compassion and understanding.  To truly love we forget our own needs, and begin a mission to meet the needs of others.  Be loving today!

Forgiveness, if we were not human, we would have no use for this word.  Do you think animals ask forgiveness?  Does the bird apologize to the worm for having it for breakfast.  Forgiveness, our need for acceptance, and appreciation set us apart from animals.  I realized that we must forgive ourselves first.  Before one can truly offer forgiveness we must first extend and accept it for ourselves.  No person is perfect, so all have felt some self-betrayal at some point in which forgiving yourself was necessary.  I thought I knew what forgiveness was, but I didn’t really understand it until this past year.  I received forgiveness from my husband.  He had no reason to forgive me, to give me yet another chance.  He made a choice to work on our relationship.  That decision grew from his first act of forgiveness. I wonder if he would have still made this choice knowing all that he knows now.  How difficult forgiveness can be and how incapable we are without God’s grace to provide complete forgiveness.   We are humans, still just a small step separates us from the animals.

When we decide to love and to forgive we open up our hearts to these amazing things called relationships.  If you want to truly be great, take time to build those important relationships with your loved ones.  When you depart from this life… What will be remembered?  I want people to think of me like I think of my grandma.  A special woman, that blessed other people’s life with love and forgiveness.  This may not be everyone’s equation of happiness, but for me, it all makes the reason we are here make a bit more sense.

Love your writer,

Michelle C

This entry is dedicated to my grandma, Maxine! I miss you so much, and so thankful for the wonderful memories you created with me as a child.  I hope that my life is half as fulfilling as yours.

Sunday A Day For The Soul: Part 7

A Fatal Cry

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Thousands of leaves hang from one tree.

Like the millions of people that make up society.

After one leave falls to our mother earth…

Does she notice it’s death, or only the rebirth.

A new awareness was born this week

As the storms shake off a few more leaves.

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They were in the worst parts of the storm, ripping their reasons to cling.

The roots of the tree offer more than just each leaf’s means to life.

It is what all the branches cling to as they attempt to touch the sky.

The stronger the roots, the easier the climb.

Establishing stronger roots takes more than just time.

It takes elements of the storms, and also the sunshine.

A leaf may start out sprouting from a seemingly weak tree,

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And the storms may prove to be too much for them to continue the journey.

But it is more than the storm, the sun, the roots that keep the leaves alive.

We must be open to catch those leaves that release a fatal cry

remind them of their beauty, their true reason for being.

that a world without them isn’t one worth seeing

without their specific placement in the tree, the shade is not at its best

You understand they are weary and in need of a rest.

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each leaf needs to realize that their season is not permanent

but to cling to their branch and boast that they can be resilient.

because seasons always change, and old leaves will pass away

Take time to be grateful for all the leaves today that provide you comfort

That all living things, even each small leaf , requires the support of others

This message was one derived at first from a dark place

a feeling of sadness, and how we should provide more than just whispers

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I looked to the sky requesting to see things clearer.

I was guided to set my sights on the leaves.

An overwhelming sense of peace overflows from me.

Too many leaves were shaken from a once golden branch during a severe storm.

We must discuss mental health, a subject that needs to move closer to the norm.

RIP those that have cried that fatal cry!

 

 

 

Baseball & It’s Lessons – “Little League Version”

My boy had a baseball game the other day.  They lost to a really good team.  The boys as young boys do, made mistakes.  It isn’t uncommon for them to do this.  They are learning and mistakes are great teachers.  The pitcher, one of the boys that has been with the team since it started, was on the mound.  He was doing so well.  Then after one player gets on base, his head starts to lower.  His normally healthy confidence starts to diminish a bit. My thoughts… “So what, he walked a player.” The game continues. Yells from the crowd, “You got this!  Keep your head up!” can be heard.  He throws a strike.  The crowd rewards his immediate resiliency.  He continues to pitch.  The team played hard and still came up short.  My son cried, other team mates cried.  Not from losing the game, but because of mistakes and shortcomings.  This is not a time for tears boys.  Learning is happening.

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I always ask my son to rate his performance after a game.  I ask him, “did you feel you gave it a 100%.”  He is always so honest.  He will say “maybe 85% or 90%.”  I then ask, “What is stopping you from giving 100%.  He sometimes tells me the mistakes he made that he could have reacted quicker to avoid the mistake.  Umm, yeah… Maybe!  Or just realize that these type of things happen and that we aren’t perfect.  We aren’t always going to hit a homer or get amazing plays.  Sometimes the ball just bounces out of our gloves or we trip in an attempt to snatch the ball and make an out.

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If you showed a highlight reel of my life it might appear that I have everything going great.  Add in the real elements… The blooper reel, and now you see that I am just a person trying to figure out the game.  I may be going at it giving anywhere from 85-100%, but there are some things out of our control.  I have to remind myself of this when watching my little guy play ball.  He isn’t always going to perform the way that I know he can.  The important thing is that he realizes that even after a mistake, life goes on.  It is what we take from the mistake that forces change in our lives.

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Even though not everyday will be a grand slam, I know that I can do my part to contribute to my team (my family)  If all I can do that day is cheer.  I will do my best to cheer them on.  If I can make a play that helps us win, I make the play.  If I mess up and start thinking that the team would be better off without me… I will listen to the words from the crowd that day… “You got this! Keep your head up!”

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I love watching my son play baseball and I am excited and encouraged by his growth in this sport.  If he doesn’t play professional baseball someday, it will not hurt my feelings.  I know that this sport has already taught us both so much.

THUNDER UP BABY!  I love our team!

PHOTO CREDIT – All photos besides the selfie were taken by the coach’s wife! She did an amazing job and I love all the images she captured. Thank you Esther!

What causes your SOUL to catch FIRE?

Cold is uncomfortable it causes people to tremble and shake when it is felt at extreme low temperatures. There is a need for the body to find a source of heat, our bodies create heat to sustain a normal temperature of 98.6 degrees. It does this by shivering, this occurs when your body falls as little as one degree below its usual core temperature, which is normally around 98 degrees. When this happens, a part of your brain called the hypothalamus lets your muscles know that they need to start moving in order to generate heat. Have you taken your spiritual temperature. Are you freezing, are you warm or comfortable, or are you on fire and creating warmth for others to feel?

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FEED THE FIRE

Psalm 39:3

Inward Fire

My heart was hot within me, While I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue:

musing- in one definition it is called meditation, and in another it is described as complaint.

So I think this scripture could use a bit of interpretation and can mean one of two things. We begin to burn either through meditation and quiet time with ourselves and God, seeking a place of transcendence beyond the earthly realm in our spiritual environment. Then we should speak of the outcomes. Or it could be interpreted as burning inside by reason of injustice and feeling the need to complain. I feel that this is something most people are better at, and the other interpretation takes more time to learn and practice.

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I find myself complaining about a lot of things throughout the day. “Ugh, I have to do dishes, I have to do laundry, I have to get dressed to leave the house, I have to pick up my child’s toys. I know, I know… I shouldn’t complain so much. I should seek more time in meditation instead of complaint. It is easy to become complacent in our lives to get comfortable in the warmth of just surviving. How is it that most still feel as though they are lacking something more. What do we need to fuel the flame inside each of us? I think of that song from Sunday School, “This Little Light of Mine” How many times have you let Satan put it out? Does it still burn as a small flame? If you had to provide someone else warmth from your flame, could you?

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I feel that God is an enormous amount of energy. He created us, he made us for a purpose. We are all offspring of that energy.  Could our fire get as big as GOD?  That coal is placed inside of each of us. It is our portion of His Holy Spirit. I believe every person begins life with the same ration of Holy Spirit. He gives us the opportunity to listen to the world/ satan and have it snuffed out by negativity and evil actions/responses to the world or we can choose to let it grow.

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How does a fire grow? You feed it. The science behind fire is simple. What does a fire need? Typically, fire comes from a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and some sort of fuel (wood or gasoline, or coal for our analogy). Of course, wood and gasoline don’t spontaneously catch on fire just because they’re surrounded by oxygen. For the combustion reaction to happen, you have to heat the fuel to its ignition temperature. This simple understanding of fire and how it works can be used to help us understand ourselves better and also our role in walking in the spirit.

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Giving off warmth and light to those around us. My ignition temperature may be different than even that of my brother. He is genetically similar to me because we are the offspring of the same two individuals, but he has sought after God for the majority of his life. A faithful servant. I have been wayward and in my attempts to find God, I complained that my life was too difficult to bear. My ignition temperature must be a higher temperature. The problem wasn’t the coal we were created with, it was the temperature variance we were also created with, in order for our fuel to ignite. If you are a person with a similar ignition temperature these words may be hitting you with complete clarity and understanding at this point.

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So I just looked it up and all types of wood have varying ignition temperatures. We are even similar to the trees aren’t we? How can we all expect to be designed the same way, we are all here fulfilling a different purpose and walking a different path. Obviously there are people in our lives that seem to burn daily with maybe just a tiny spark happening some place close by and it sets their coal to burn an amazing flame. Then there are people like myself, that almost need the whole area around them to be scorched to ashes before recognizing that ignition temperatures have been reached and it is time to burn.

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This came from praying this morning and looking at our fire pit this morning. Let your coal find oxygen and let it set a blaze to not only keep  you warm but others warm as well.  Your spirit can burn just find your ignition temperature and surround yourself with things that cause a spark.

May God bless you today!

**Disclaimer**  I am not a religious expert or claim to be.  This is just some insight I am sharing today.  I have received some feedback on this particular entry -“that we aren’t born with the Holy Spirit.  That it is a gift.”  Whenever it does actually reside inside of us whether at birth or later, after accepting Christ is not poignant to the fact that we need to find the things that cause it to set ablaze.  It is there if you believe it to be there.  God’s love is there.  Show it to others!***

 

Mindful Moment

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I had a doctor’s appointment today, so I decided to put into practice a few things that I have been reading in the book I just started.  I will be writing my review on the book soon.  The book was suggested to me by my kid’s counselor, “One Minute Mindfulness.”  Did you know you could change your life in 60 seconds? Yeah… Me either. I have been trying to get a lot of things accomplished at home and Summer baseball is in full swing (pun intended.)  Organizing and such before school starts back for the kids & I in August.  That is correct, you heard me right.  I will still be working as a teacher.  Assignment pending, but most likely not with elementary students.  Praise the good and gracious LORD! He has been with me through some of the darkest times.

MINDFUL MOMENT

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The wind & small leaves work together, creating a small symphony.

Starting at the tip top of the surrounding trees, feel that breeze.

They create a sound similar to that of great applause.

They show their joy for this moment I took to pause.

I am present in this moment, I am aware

I hear the birds all around me, their beautiful song

And a greater presence joins, or maybe it’s been here all along.

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I feel the birds know that I envy their existence.

boasting their worry-free life, allowing me but a glimpse.

They swoop down for a quick breakfast on my lawn

As the glistening dew reflects the dawn.

The way they can see into each tiny hiding place

Makes me give a moment to this creature’s natural grace

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To fly above the world, a glorious view

warm rays of sunshine, brilliant skies of blue

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The working bird, yields a nest

picking up remnants of a forgotten mess

A small bundle of twigs, a few pieces of string

patiently waiting for the new life it will bring

The moment of listening to the leaves today

takes me to a place of gratitude, and I pray

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I pray for my family and for my friends

I hope they know the love I have for each of them.

Life is full of beautiful moments such as this,

Don’t let them pass you by, an always fleeting bliss.

Hold dear to those you love and tell them everyday

Sweet friends, in this moment I learned to never forget the importance of play.1040564_10200707385820949_648089819_o

Play relieves the pain and sadness of this world

maybe tomorrow I will take a moment to pretend I’m a bird.

Written by: Michelle C

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