Surrendering to God – 2017

What Happened when I chose to Surrender 2017 to God – An Intentional Spiritual Journey and Journal

IDEA

I just woke up after accidentally falling asleep, I must have been asleep for 1.5 hours, it is Sunday, January 15, 2017 and this idea came to me:  documenting the upcoming year in one blog but waiting until then end of the year to publish it.  I don’t know the story yet; this could also be an interesting study in faith.

(I start out pretty detailed and then realized no one will want to read all this!  So it becomes less detailed but still summarizes how I spent the entire year (it may be relevant in the future) There is a Summary/Conclusion at the end, so bear with me, or if you’re like me, skip the details and scroll to the very end!)

WHAT CAUSED THE IDEA

Earlier today, I attended service online via The Crossing STL, and the message was:  we need to be still at times to connect with God (Psalm 46:10): meaning don’t save our prayers for “on the go” multi-tasking moments, because we are not fully present to connect when we have other stuff going on.  I am a restless person, I’m always thinking, but this gave me a different choice:  Be Still.  So, after the 9 am service was over, about 10 am, I became still, cleared my mind, in my room, in my bed and focused on God asking him to guide me with His intended purpose for my life.  One of my prior stated goals for 2017 was to pray every day, and I’ve been doing that. I’ve also acted on whatever thoughts popped into my head in the morning when I wake and I’m not sure this is always the right thing to do (especially recently when I didn’t remember if I asked God for guidance), but it’s my intuition that I’m acting on.  This is Faith, the faith I’m putting in The Holy Spirit/Jesus/God to provide me with “the direction of the day” when I wake.  When I became “still” at 10 am, before I knew it, it was 11:30 am and I just woke up.  Wow, I’m getting good at this napping thing, which I NEVER did before, I could never fall asleep in the middle of the day unless I was sick, my mind would always come up with thoughts and those thoughts would keep me awake, but this was a different experience!  I woke up in a cheerful mood too, which is most common for me, but when I woke up from my night sleep this same day, I had a little bit of anxiety, from acting on a wake up thought from yesterday, Saturday:  sending a “facing fear” kind of message to a friend (who didn’t reply), so I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t have sent that?! But there is no way to take it back once it’s out there. It’s finished. So, for me to wake up without stress after my nap, that’s a positive already!

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SPECIFIC GOALS

My goal for each day in 2017 is: at night, before sleeping, say a pray of gratitude, then clear my head/meditate until I fall asleep and in the morning:  say a prayer asking for daily guidance.  I’m excited about this, hopefully it will be an interesting and exciting positive year!

THE FIRST WEEK – EXPERIENCES ALREADY?!  FEELING DRAINED

I had an incredible weekend with my kids: connecting with them individually, laughing and enjoying time spent with them, I am so grateful!

But, being honest, right after the good times, when I felt like all was going so well, I came to the realization that a few friendships I had were finished. It happened subtly over time, not an event at all; it was just one of those moments when I realized it was time for me to move on; but at the same time it hit me hard because I care about them and I am sad, but seemed like the right thing to do. There are times when it makes sense to put in the effort to keep a friendship going and there are also times when it’s best to just let it go.  And it was the “let it go” time for me.  This was not how I was anticipating the start of my “spiritual intercession journey” at all, because I care about my friends.  But I’m having faith that there is a reason for this, and maybe someday I will know.  (After all this, later in the year I realized the friendships didn’t actually end, it was simply a break! But we never realize these things until time passes and we look back!)  Heading into the weekend, at this moment, I am drained, I feel like doing nothing, but staying in bed or lounging on the couch.  I don’t want to be around anyone. My bubbly, happy, positive, cheerful self is crashing right now.

Donald Trump becomes the 45th President- this was the first inauguration I watched, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I thought his speech was touching and look forward to the future with hope.

donald-trump

I’m not sure if this is appropriate to enter here, because it’s really a culmination of recent events but it’s hitting me hard on this date.  There was so much fun, excitement, and new change that I was experiencing that kept me going, positive, looking forward, but tonight, I’ve gone to a depressing place I’ve not been in a long time, and I don’t like it.  It could be grief that I am dealing with from all that happened in 2016.  I was non-stop and didn’t have hardly any quiet time last year to deal with reality, or if I did have the time, I chose to do something active rather than experiencing the grief.

Seeing bright sunshine in the morning made my next day start better.  But I had two full days of crying, I guess getting it out of my system was what I needed, I’ve not been motivated either, only trying to stay focused on what absolutely needs to be done.

SUNDAY JANUARY 22ND 2017 – TRYING TO REFOCUS

I went to church, by myself, and the staff talked about upcoming programs, which they have mentioned in the past, about getting involved and one was starting on Monday, so I signed up online Sunday night:  “Body Life”  the focus is on the church community and relationships and is a basic class for members to take before getting involved.  So this week, again I was disorganized just trying to keep on top of the most important things, but still distracted.

FRIDAY 1/27/17 – TEMPORARY RELIEF, AN “ESCAPE FROM REALITY” AGAIN

Then Friday night, I had a ticket to the Parmalee concert at Ballpark Village, of course, friends who were planning on going, couldn’t. So once again, I attended the concert solo, this is the second concert this year, that I attended solo, the first was the Red Hot Chili Peppers, concerts are easy going solo because I love music, so it doesn’t matter. But on this night, I didn’t follow through with my 30 Days to Healthy Living, I was close to the end of the 30 days, but with everything that was going on, I decided to have a Redbull and Vodka drink to stay awake, but also calm down, because I didn’t get much sleep the night before, and had a lot on my mind.  The night turned out great, a couple of people I ended up standing next to, invited me to join their group after they found out I was there alone, which was nice.  Then one of the waiters remembered me from last year’s winter concerts, kinda funny,…and said he would look out for me, so sweet!  He had been an awesome waiter with my friends and me last year.  Then the band played new songs…one was:

that haven’t been released, which was awesome because I have seen them 3 times in the past year; they are one of my favorites, so it was good to hear new music. I can’t wait for it to be released, good music!  So after the concert, Parmalee announced they would be hanging out at PBR.  Going there crossed my mind, but instead I decided to go home because I didn’t think it would be appropriate hanging out at a bar, by myself!  So I decided to post a picture on Instagram from the night and was leaning up against a column near the exit, just before I was about to leave and heard: “Excuse us please” …it was the security guards escorting the band to a room I was standing near.  I looked up and said “hello” There was a spot for a meet and greet with only 2 people there at the time, so I went there and texted my daughter to see if she wanted a Tshirt or anything while I was there, and ended up with this picture:

parmalee-01-2017

The night turned out good, I went home and talked with my daughter and her friend until midnight when her friend left and then my daughter and I ended up talking until 1 am.  Good time spent together!

SATURDAY 1/28/17 – FAMILY TIME

My phone has been blowing up with unexpected texts and messages from people that I least expected wanting to make plans.  So I made plans with them. The rest of this day is dedicated to my mom and kids, celebrating her Birthday (which was yesterday) doing what she said she wants: family time and home cooked meals.  Plus we are going to see the movie: “A Dog’s Purpose” tonight.  So my spirits are lifted!   For the weekend, I was uplifted.

family-time

“BAD LUCK” STRIKES – SLUGGISH, UNMOTIVATED, QUIET, SAD AND TRYING TO GET OVER THAT FEELING

Then Sunday afternoon I pulled into the garage and once inside after the door closed, the spring snapped and trapped my car there until late Monday afternoon.   I had to reschedule meetings for the day and get my son to school a different way.  And some awesome friends helped me out too:  Angie S., Lisa A. and Beth S. For the next week, I was unmotivated and struggling; I tried to get out of the mood, but would only for a temporary amount of time, when I was working out or listening to music.  My friends planned a weekend trip to see Florida Georgia Line, but I wasn’t up for it this time, very unlike me.  So I stayed in town and decided to take my car to get the tires rotated, which needed to be done. Well several hours later, after visiting the dealership too, I found out from two opinions that I needed some major work done to fix my car: $2,600.  That’s Murphy’s law isn’t it?  Things tend to snowball, good or bad for me!

I ended up going out Saturday night for sushi and a live comedy show with my good friend, Beth.  It was good to laugh hard. I worked out in the morning then spent Superbowl Sunday with another group of friends which was fun, but still not back to my usual self. Monday class at BodyLife, I was not very talkative and felt down, then Kelly B. texted me right after class making last minute plans to get together after work on Tuesday with a third good friend, Christi J, whom I haven’t seen in so long; so I was looking forward to it.

FRIENDS WHO LIFT US UP

My friend Beth helped me out, again, picking me up in the morning after I dropped my car off for a full day of repairs.  Tuesday evening was motivating, Kelly B., Christi J. and I met at Brick Tops Restaurant and just couldn’t stop talking, discussing plans, ideas, ventures, catching up, etc.  It definitely elevated my mood.

friends-at-bricktops

 

PURPOSE/FAITH

Part of the “BodyLife” class is discovering our personal gifts.  I took two tests to determine what my natural gifts might be and the top 3 from the first test were:

  1. Faith
  2. Mercy
  3. Leadership

The second test I did indicated:

  1. Faith
  2. Hospitality
  3. Tied: Mercy, Creative Communications, Wisdom

I guess my next step is figuring out how to serve based on those gifts.

MID FEBRUARY- STILL IN A RUTT

Despite daily prayer twice a day, I’m still struggling with this mood I’m in and I don’t like it, but can’t seem shake it.  A lot happened last year and I’m wondering if this indoor winter season gray skies is affecting me?  Or is it grief from my dad passing away this past Father’s Day?  Whatever it is, I want it to end ASAP!  Church keeps reminding me God’s timing is perfect but doesn’t align with our timing. Patience, yes that is my problem, I am not patient; I do things quickly.  I’ve been working on patience and maybe that is what I’m being taught?

This weekend is supposed to be unseasonably warm, close to 70 degrees and my friends and I are hitting the Soulard Mardis Gras – Taste of Soulard.  I’m excited about that most definitely!  Can’t wait!

taste-of-soulard-event

Several friends dropped out, or couldn’t make it due to good reasons, and the one remaining seems to be wanting to cut the event short, which is completely unlike her normally.  Kevin Hart nailed it in this YouTube clip…I’m feelin it!!  I understand this is part of life and it’s okay.  I can do whatever I want with, or without people,  but it is always more fun with people, than alone!  I decided to add some positivity to my chalkboard:

laissez-les-bon-temps-rouler

So Friday, I woke up thinking: “stop being a whiner; focus on helping other people!” and I’m in a good mood too! Turning point?

So late afternoon I get a text from my one friend, most likely canceling for tomorrow.  So question…do I really do this alone?  Uber?  The weather is just sooo nice, I love the festival atmosphere, but who to talk to?  How awkward will this be? I went solo to a St. Pat’s parade years ago and ended up meeting a group of people that I actually spent all summer with and we all went on a lake trip mid summer too, with one of my girl friends it was so much fun that summer.  I just might do it again?  I just know if I stay home, I will be regretting it all day…so I guess I’ll “face fear” again!  I’m going…there….decided.  Well my original friend did cancel, but then to my surprise, two friends who were not sure if they could go, texted, telling me they can go!  Yay!  It all worked out.

MARDI GRAS

We had a great time and ended up going both days…

BACK TO WORK THE NEXT WEEK

I had a productive work week in commercial real estate and started a new Instagram account for my Arbonne business (working on it until 2 am) on Saturday night.

https://www.instagram.com/franchise_4_u/

MY MOTIVATION: TRAVEL

So another passion of mine is traveling.   I’m always ready to go; I absolutely love it and will do it any chance I get, so this year, I made some travel plans for March and April and can’t wait for those trips. The trips give me something to look forward to!

March 2017: Spring Break with mom, visiting relatives in California and sightseeing

April 2017:  Arbonne Conference – Las Vegas (and I bought a ticket to see

The Chainsmokers!!! I’m going solo, but this is one concert I am really looking forward to seeing and it doesn’t matter!)

May 2017:  (Background) Last year, late one afternoon, after pulling into the garage I received a phone call from a Colorado area code.  I work with a real estate team located in Denver occasionally, so I answered the call thinking it might be them.  It happened to be a time share spokesperson calling with a discounted vacation package to Breckenridge, so I figured since I was going through the divorce at the time, I might need this getaway within the next couple years so I bought it. (This year) So this year I have my kids for Memorial Day and we don’t have plans so I thought maybe we should use that trip and bike ride, zipline, go rafting etc., so I booked it, but before I bought the airfare, I happened to think about this again; the weather isn’t going to be ideal temperatures…what was I thinking?!  Then I started looking for places in South Carolina, Florida, but I also have experienced rain in the gulf area of Florida in May. So after a few hours of searching, I ended up booking a trip to Arizona!  The desert!  We should get good sunshine and warm weather there!  So I postponed the Denver trip and we are headed to Arizona in May!

June 2017:  Following our Mardi Gras weekend, and me being on the lookout for events, I found the CMA Fest in Nashville in June….all it took was one text to them and I got an immediate “Book It”….so we are going!  I’m slowing down on the trips after this because I may have another business trip in October which may coincide with Denver or there may be two separate trips, but either way, I am ready! This is going to be my Travel Year!  I forgot to mention that I may also go to Utah in late June with a couple other friends!

LAST CLASS AT CHURCH

I finished the 6 weeks of the “BodyLife”classes at The Crossing on this night and decided I should serve in some manner, but wasn’t sure of what to do.  I thought maybe “Outreach” to start, but most of the dates I had conflicts already, so I spoke with one of the Pastors and told her my top gift was “Faith” asking what would be a good match for that and the answer was, really anything!  She suggested the IT/Video production group, which is a little interesting to me, but also asked more questions about what is important to me, I felt passionate about helping teens. So I then spoke with the Pastor who heads up the Teen Program and it turns out their events are on Wednesday nights 7-9, so that might really work out best with my availability. I need to submit an application and then have interviews before this happens though.  At the end of our class, we were invited to write a prayer message on a rock that would be added to the new church site under construction, if we were ready to become a part of the church. I chose to do so and my message was “I surrendered to Jesus 2017; help me follow thru”

MARCH 2017

One of my favorite winter things to do is attend the Friday night concerts at Ballpark Village, on 3/3/17 I saw Canaan Smith for the first time and really enjoyed the concert.

SATURDAY NIGHT-CHURCH

I went to church with some friends 3/4/17 and we planned to check out the acoustic concert in the cafe afterwards.  There were some unusual things that happened that night. First, briefly into the service I thought I better silence my phone and as soon as I reached for my phone, my friend’s phone went off! Then, numerous times I was”thinking ahead” when the Pastor was talking and he actually said the things I was thinking. It was happening frequently enough that I noticed how weird it was. Then the message was something that was highly relevant to a conversation I had earlier in the week. So much so, that I had to send a message to that person which I usually don’t do in church, but this time I did.  As soon as I sent the message, Pastor Greg mentions the name of the person the conversation was about. It actually brought tears to my eyes.  I let the person know the next day what happened;  too many coincidences at one time, very strange.  The rest of the night was normal fun, nothing strange just a good time out with friends.

The highlight of this month was the trip to California to visit relatives.  This getaway was perfect in every way:  I was able to spend time with family, explore and be so distracted by the beautiful surroundings and mini-adventures; it was such an enjoyable trip.  I felt re-energized coming back home but also felt like “home” is temporary for me.  I really want to move away, but need to wait for the kids to get to college.  I wrote about the places we visited in this blog link.  One day back from traveling and I went to another concert, I had tickets for both kids but Lauren had to work since she missed hours/pay from her trip to the Bahamas and Nick wanted to hang out with a friend instead, so I went on my own.  It was a fun night, great band, Judah and the Lion; and yes music is a happy place for me!

I haven’t yet signed up to serve at church, but I need to do something soon.  I’ve just had a lot of changes that I’m adjusting to and trying to get settled: taxes coming up, new estimated tax payments as a 1099 instead of a W2 filing for 2017.  All new to me, and trying to get my personal finances, will, insurance, etc. in order too.  I’m a little unorganized right now but working towards getting settled.

I received an email from church looking for people to serve at Easter, so I signed up for Good Friday at 7 pm and filled out all the paper work.  I feel much better that I’ve finally taken action on this.

I enjoyed serving on Good Friday  4/15/17, I ended up with the Pre-K kids and they were so darling, fun, and interested in singing and playing.  They had so much fun while their parents attended church.

APRIL 2017

First part of the day, Beth and I went to the Battlegrounds Bootcamp at Kor Fitness and LOVED the experience!  Such great training and strategy on approaching the obstacles; I wish I had more weekends free to do more obstacle training but this was the only one I could fit into the schedule.  Excited thinking about the upcoming mud run even more now!

So once again, Saturday night, I had tentative plans to go to the April 1st Spring Opening Celebration at Cedar Lake Cellars Winery, but as time progressed more people were unable to go (and my friend Kelly suggested an alternative plan: the Cardinals Home Opener on Sunday, which sounded even better), so my choice was go to the winery solo on a Saturday night or volunteer at a fundraiser benefiting kids that my friend was chairing…well that was an easy decision: I volunteered.  Several friends were there volunteering too, so it was a fun, but late night, with the photos (our station) and surprisingly I met someone that evening.  I was not ready to meet anyone and actually tried to avoid it when I heard that someone asked about me; I  handled everything very awkwardly but this person was someone I had seen before, many times, although we never actually introduced ourselves, we were frequently in the same places, so much that my daughter and I had a running joke comment “there is that guy again!”  So I was curious, but nervous.  Then Sunday some friends and I went to the St. Louis Cardinals home opener and had so much fun once again, he was there with friends also and ended up meeting my friends. My friends liked him, so that made it easier.

It’s so nice having good friends to spend time with and the weather was beautiful too.  Springtime!

So, I decided I’d accept the offer to meet and we stayed in touch for awhile.  Being a mom, I was most concerned about my kids and this.  I didn’t want them to find out from anyone other than me, that I was going out with someone, but it was also way too soon for my kids to meet anyone, so I asked a generic question wondering if they would want to know whenever their Dad or I decided to go out with someone following the divorce.  And my daughter responded: “I don’t want to know anything!”  then immediately questioned: “Are you dating someone?”  Needless to say this didn’t go over well at all and I decided to not say anything to my son for now.  Fast forward, and this didn’t work out anyway! So I thought all those coincidences of repeatedly seeing this person were “a sign” that I should give it a try, but not in reality.  I also have always thought people come into our lives for a reason, but maybe it takes awhile to figure out why!   Relationships or getting to know someone is best left personal and not blasted out to the public, in my opinion.   It works out, or it doesn’t, and the world doesn’t need to be involved!

On April 29th I joined a long time mentor in my life, Vicki, who has been such an advocate in helping others and mentoring, ever since I first knew her.  She had a table for the annual fundraiser/auction for Safe Connections and invited me and a guest to join her. I was pretty moved by the stories as well as the 500 attendees who were there supporting the organization in their 10th year.  It made me think more about what I need to do for others and how important it is to give back in some way.

Concerts:

Zed’s Dead and Hippie Sabatoge

MAY 2017

This month was a busy and fun one with music, travel and fitness:  Eric Church Concert, The Battlegrounds Mud Run and the Phoenix Arizona Trip.

JUNE 2017

This month was more concerts and more travel:

Luke Bryan/Brett Eldredge concert

Nashville during the CMA fest

Muse & 30 Seconds to Mars Concert

Tour of UNC visiting Nashville and Banner Elk, NC.

Florida Georgia Line Concert with Nelly 

311 Concert

Visiting the newly opened Tin Roof STL.

JULY 2017

This month again I kept very busy with more concerts and events:  the way timing worked out, I didn’t have my kids for almost 3 weeks, so I had to occupy my time with something fun and it was packed with events!

Sports:

I went to the Cardinals Game with some friends.

Live Music:

Tin Roof STL again

Jake Owen and Dan + Shay Concert on the 4th of July

Sam Hunt concert (had to take down my post due to reported copyright infringement)

One Republic Concert (my first time seeing them, one of the top concerts I saw this             year –  an unexpected surprise)

Third Eye Blind Concert

St. Louis Magazine – A List Party with Broseph Lee performing

Kip Moore Concert

Jason Aldean and Kane Brown concert

Echo & The Bunnymen with the Violent Femmes concert

Nickelback concert with Chris Daughtry

Dierks Bentley Concert,Cole Swindell, John Pardi

Country Line Dancing:

Stovall’s Grove

AUGUST 2017

More music and travel this month:

Incubus, Jimmy Eats World and Judah and the Lion

Taste of St. Louis (Chesterfield)

A trip to Washington DC

Lady Antebellum, Kelsey Ballerini, and Brett Young

The Solar Eclipse

Zac Brown band

SEPTEMBER

Getting back to the subject of Surrendering to God, I’ve been attending church frequently throughout this year, more than ever before, and praying most every day and night since I made that decision in January 2017.  I guess I had expectations that my life would change for the better right away, but it didn’t, I actually had things I didn’t want happening, happen to me, but I also had good things happen at the same time.  At this point in the year, I have to say that I may have learned something from all of this and that is:  Patience!  Patience has been a struggle of mine forever but I’ve learned to be patient, and it definitely reduces stress in my life.  Patience and letting go, not forcing anything, these were two significant experiences that truly changed my outlook on life and how I respond to change, or lack of change!

More music, events and travel this month:

Labor Day weekend at the lake– non stop laughs and relaxation!

Sublime, Offspring, The Urge

Ballpark Village entertaining clients

Brantley Gilbert, Luke Combs, Tyler Farr

This concert was such an unexplained mix of events and Tyler Farr’s song “Damn Good Friends” really summed up the night. Looking back on the night, it was one of those evenings that is best summed up numerous times: if this hadn’t happened, then that wouldn’t have happened.  Hindsight puts things in a different perspective and sometimes it seems that things happen for a reason in our lives.

Wildwood BBQ Bash/Drake White

Brad Paisley

Colorado Trip to see the Aspens

OCTOBER

Cedar Lake Cellars

Football: KC Chiefs Game vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Satchmo’s to see Johnny Henry perform

Montelle Winery in Augusta

NOVEMBER

Drinks and Movie night out with Friends

Birthday Celebration with Friends

I decided to become more involved with Music, since that is what I’m continuously            drawn towards so I took action and signed up as a volunteer with Sofar Sounds.

Lantern Festival

Smithfield at Tin Roof STL

Bebe Rexa and Marc E Bassy (this one was canceled unfortunately because I was really looking forward to it!)

Tom Petty Tribute

Football: Green Bay Packers vs Baltimore Ravens

Nashville

DECEMBER

Lee Brice, Easton Corbin, Midland Concert (John SpicerBand substituted since they were snowed in Atlanta) – a memorable evening with another hindsight: if this hadn’t happened, then that wouldn’t have happened.

Old Dominion, Lo Cash, Walker Hayes

X Ambassadors

New Years Eve – ended with a quiet night at home, publishing this blog post, but the first event of the day was attending the Crossing, a great start of the day, click here for the recorded service and message it’s much better to listen directly but in summary, Tim Bounds covered one of the 10 Commandments:  regarding keeping holy “the Sabbath” the importance of giving ourselves a day of : REST (literally) , DELIGHT (enjoy what makes us happy:  friends, family, nature, etc) , WORSHIP (give thanks to God)  AND PEACE (note: Peace is not the absence of something, but the presence of Someone (God)- it’s a time to connect with God…it’s important that we all set aside time to personally connect with God

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

I arrived at a point in my life when I questioned everything about my life: my purpose, my decisions, my career, my relationships- absolutely EVERYTHING!  Looking back on my life there were definitely plenty of great moments, but I still felt like I unintentionally made bad decisions along the way and wanted that to stop, or at least lessen them, become a better person, and the only way to do that, in my thoughts, was to surrender it all to God, build a better relationship with God through prayer, because I obviously wasn’t doing exceptional at this life thing that was happening! 

This year I learned the following, from my personal experiences:

  1. Pray frequently:  in good times (be thankful and grateful) and bad times (ask for wisdom and guidance)- prayers are answered, but timing is not always understood until hindsight happens
  2. Accept the low points and bad experiences in life; those points are teaching moments and make us better people…so it’s really a positive thing in hindsight.
  3. Get comfortable being alone: take the time to improve: physically, spiritually, reflect on relationships and interactions with others, improve our personal skills during this time.
  4. Follow what we are drawn towards, even if it doesn’t make sense, don’t rush for the answers, stay in the moment experiencing everything, it will become clear with time and there will be a sense of calmness and peace when we eventually see why were drawn to something; it’s only in retrospect that we understand…just let it be, let it happen, naturally, unforced.
  5. Change equals growth; don’t fear it, there is something better on the other side!  Embrace change!
  6. Let go of what causes pain; experiencing pain is telling us something is not right, let it go: don’t hold on to anger about anything (it holds us back and keeps us in a bad place), pain teaches us lessons…”Pain is Gain” if we let go, we grow, improve and life becomes better!  
  7. Patience:  we have to be patient in order to follow through, because it all takes time and if we don’t develop patience, we will feel frustrated.  Patience is developed, it doesn’t come naturally; it’s something to acquire over time by letting go (the opposite of trying to control).
  8. People and relationships: come and go in our lives. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense “why” but I believe that people enter our lives to teach us something that we need, we will learn something from everyone, if we allow ourselves to be open minded.  People in our lives are extremely important: they can lift us up or bring us down, so learn to add more people that lift us up and eliminate time with those who bring us down or don’t support the same values as we have and be friendly to everyone you meet: kindness spreads kindness, if we want better relationships, it starts with each of us 
  9. Honesty: this is the foundation of any type of relationship; it means more than simply telling the truth: it means speaking up when something is important to us, it means not hiding something relevant, it means delivering the truth in a way that doesn’t hurt others, it means introspection about who we are, what we feel and what we need to improve about us (being authentic)
  10. But the greatest thing I finally understood was to love God above all (have faith, hope and trust) because everything comes from God.  Our individual and personal relationship with Him is the most important; He provides what we need.  There is no better way to explain this then to experience it personally; that’s the only way to grasp this concept, which probably doesn’t make sense unless you have faith, pray and then experience “unexplainable” things in your life, in retrospect.  That’s how it happened for me.   I grew up in a faith based home, so the faith concept was probably easier for me than for anyone who didn’t grow up that way.  If you struggle with this, but are open minded to explore and question everything, and are looking for a resource to grow spiritually: I recommend getting to know The Crossing, which is available online.  

I don’t like to admit this but, I grew up Catholic and when multiple friends first suggested this church to me, I pushed back and thought I’m not into that demonstrative religious service atmosphere (which is what I thought it was before I visited) :  my faith is between God and me,  I grew up conservative and that is very different to me!  However, I am also open minded enough, and know it’s not fair to draw a conclusion without exploring and experiencing it personally.  So that is what I did. I found The Crossing is led by well educated, knowledgeable, welcoming leadership who don’t force anything on anyone, but direct every question back to what is written in the Bible for answers.  This is a non-denomination Christian Church, a place where it’s okay to question whatever doesn’t make sense to us and grow in understanding through questioning.  Everyone is welcome.  I found that much of what I’ve learned through my religious education is supported by the Bible, and by this church, but I’m still learning, questioning and exploring the differences, and I’ve been participating in this church service since December of 2015, and now becoming more interested in exploring the differences and understanding why. This church also appealed to me personally because music is a passion of mine and is very present (as a form of worship) in this church.  I’ve never been to a church with greater musical talent than I’ve seen at The Crossing , truly incredible!  If you love music, you really should experience The Crossing.

 I realize 2017 was only the beginning: a year makes an impact, but there is more to come.  Surrendering all to God helped my perspective in life and someday in the future I will understand why I’m doing what I’m doing and see where it takes me; it’s a never ending commitment to improve, follow life with passion, purpose and ideally help, and be of value to others.  I’m excited and hopeful about the future!  Wishing you the best in 2018! It will be what you make it!

 

 

 

 

ARBONNE’S 30 DAYS TO HEALTHY LIVING AND BEYOND

MY PERSONAL REVIEW

First, I must disclose that I am an Independent Consultant with Arbonne International.  Secondly, as part of my personal initial commitment to try the products when I joined in October 2016, I am following through with my personal review of the program.

What I purchased as part of the Nutrition Starter Pack:

  • Vegan Based, Non-GMO, Gluten Free Protein Powder- Vanilla and/or Chocolate (30 Day Supply of two “meals” per day)
  • Digestion Plus (30 day supply)
  • 7 Day Cleanse (7 day supply)-the gentle elimination of toxins and support of internal antioxidant activity, and gastrointestinal and liver health
  • Fizz Sticks (2 boxes of 20)
  • Herbal Detox Tea (2 boxes of 20)
  • I added: Greens Balance (30 day supply)

Added benefits that are offered with the Program:

  • Private Facebook Group access
  • Nutritionist participation for insight and questions
  • Weekly shopping list for the third meal of each day (two meals are shakes)
  • Recipes for each week
  • Nutrition information

I honestly didn’t know much about all of this, but I did know there are so many choices and companies promoting these type of products, and asked myself:  How does a consumer really know if what they are getting is beneficial or is just hype?  So, I participated to see what I learn from my experience and this is what happened to me:

  • I lost weight,
  • had more energy,
  • slept better,
  • gave up coffee (from a pot a day habit) for the month
  • gave up drinks with friends for the month
  • reduced sugar (only strawberries, raspberries, green apple and blueberries consumed, no other sweets or juices)
  • learned healthy eating habits
  • added more vegetables than I ever had before

I also wondered what is the importance of all these products working together?  Can’t I simply use one or two of them? Especially after completing the program, I wanted to know what I would be interested in reordering.  So, I researched these topics below and provided a link to a third party (non – Arbonne) article so you will see what I found in my research and understand how it may benefit or apply to you:

This is a wonderful start to healthy eating and I’m so glad that I did it; I will probably periodically do this program in the future too, if I get off track, which is easy to do when we can’t cook at home.  I find the program extremely beneficial and honestly it makes meal planning effortless! It’s all pre-thought out, all we have to do is cut up veggies and protein and cook them!

This is the summary of the program education about 5 keys to Health from one of the nutritionists, with my comments in parenthesis:

1 – Eat Clean (no antibiotics, hormones, pesticides…)

2 – Eliminate Allergenic, Addictive and Acidic Foods

3- Balance Blood Sugar and pH

4- Increase Nutrient Intake

5- Support Elimination Organs

If you visit my Facebook page, you will see some of the meals during this process, very tasty too!

It’s been a worthwhile education and I’m so thankful for those Arbonne Independent Consultants who have dedicated research and studies to nutrition and are now sharing this knowledge with us and being a nutrition coach/mentor; you are making a difference in lives!  Thank you!

Follow me (annm2705) on:

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, refrigerator-contents

 

CHANGE, RELATIONSHIPS, MUSIC

It’s 4:30 am and this is what comes to mind?  Well, why not write about it?  Most people are probably still sleeping, so when this happens to me, seemingly out of nowhere, it’s time to write about it, because it doesn’t happen all the time.

Tomorrow will be one month before February 14, 2017…. Valentine’s Day, so maybe it’s a good time to do this?  If you’ve seen the acronym CRM in business: Customer Relationship Management, this is somewhat related, but in this, it’s personal and it relates to Change, Relationships and Music.

ABOUT MUSIC…

“Passion for Music” probably means a lot of different things to different people, but for me, it means music is a constant in my life, and will always be, I’m rarely in silence from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep, music surrounds me and I couldn’t imagine it any other way!  That is why I refer to it as a passion of mine.  Music has an incredible power and can literally change an emotional state for us, that fact still completely amazes me!  If I think about that fact, music truly is more powerful than drugs or medication; it really is!

Here are a few links and examples of this:  Music is a source and a gift for health and wellness and used for the following, to name a few:

Military, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Correctional Facilities, Trauma, Medicine, Pain Management, Young Children, Depression, Substance Abuse

http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-07-21/why-music-boosts-brain-activity-in-dementia-patients/

http://www.musictherapy.org/research/factsheets/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/music-and-alzheimers/faq-20058173

Getting back to music and relationships, for me, and others I know, a certain song will bring back memories of a person, an experience or a specific time in life, just like a photograph does! Music captures the emotional state of being in that moment of our memory.  What we remember in life is our experiences and how the experience made us feel and if music is a part of someone’s life, it gets tied to music, good or bad! The same holds true for people in our memories, what we remember in life may not be the exact words spoken, but how the person made us feel.

It’s interesting how we may relate a certain genre of music, a musician, or a song to a person in our life, just because of an experience.  I am one who connects first with the melody, the rhythm, the sound, including the voice.  The music can be amazing alone, but when the right voice is paired, it becomes incredible and irreplaceable. Eventually I learn the words, but I have friends who immediately seem to pick up all the lyrics.  I connect with the message in the lyrics, but I’m usually one of the last to memorize the exact words for some reason.

ABOUT CHANGE….

Change can be uncomfortable, even when change is chosen, it happens when a person finally faces the fear of the unknown and decides facing the fear is better than remaining the same.  Change makes us grow, improve and learn, but it’s not easy.   In my experience, music helps us get through change.  Sometimes change happens without our choice, but it always seems to result in growth, self- improvement and learning if we stay positive with our outlook and thoughts during the change.

Change can be good, sometimes it forces us to do things we never thought we would be able to do. We may not know our strength, until the only choice we have is to be strong.  Change is about improvement and improvement is good!

Change is also about becoming a better person, it doesn’t matter how long we’ve been a certain way, if we don’t like that way, we can change it at any time, but it’s a decision that only we can make, no one can make that decision for us.  Because change is uncomfortable, we need to want that change more than anything because the effort to change will require commitment and isn’t easy, it’s work.  But I believe we can be anything we desire, it just takes effort; nothing lasting comes without continual effort and commitment. If we want it, work for it!

ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS…

We learn the most about relationships from experiences and observations.  And those who’ve had a lot of life experiences know more, but the key to success is applying what we know, experienced and learned to improve our relationships.

This relates to the “Never Settle” topic: if we learn something once from a bad experience, then don’t settle into that familiar place again, because if we are not making a change, we are likely going to get the same results and that is how people get stuck and stay stuck, don’t do it.

Experience also relates to recognizing good experiences and applying them.  We often become so immersed and self-absorbed in what’s happening in our lives, that we forget to be grateful for what we have and forget to show appreciation for those important to us.  That forgetfulness lowers our quality of life in relationships.  Relationships need attention and when it’s not given, the relationship suffers.  It’s important to recognize what we value in life, what means the most to us. We don’t have unlimited time, so the time we do have should be spent on what is most important: our priorities.

Relationships will always experience change and they only last if there is a reciprocal involvement, they don’t if it’s one-sided.  Let that person, who is important in your life know they are important.  Relationships are constant work, but rewarding.  If we get lazy with relationships, we can lose them.  If those who are important to us are not treated as a priority, we lose them.

CRM- Change, Relationships, Music

Pulling all these topics together, there are some good examples of people doing things right, and I personally respect them for this.  My blog since inception has been tied into Instagram, which is an interesting media, and powerful, so be careful how it’s used because it can make a difference: both good and bad as I’ve experienced.  As you know, I love music and follow some of my favorite musicians on Instagram.  I look forward to posts about upcoming events or concert details because sometimes that is the way I find out about new festivals, events, etc.  I also like seeing the journey musicians go through:  the creation, behind the scenes joking, and rising in success; Instagram is a great tool for connecting with fans.  There is also something that some do well and that is appearing authentic and inspiring.  While we all know that no one is perfect (everyone is human and imperfect), and everything is not as it appears on social media, there are a few who do something a little different and step out of the norm.  I can’t even imagine what it is like for musicians and their partners to have a long-term relationship, talk about a massive amount of work to keep it real and keep it a priority especially with all the outside influences!  But there are a few who seem to do this well, they appear genuine, know their priorities, live by them and are very inspiring people because of this.  They have a special gift – musically talented and staying true to, and publicly acknowledging, their values, especially in a culture that often glamorizes the opposite.  These are a few that stand out to me:

@lukebryan, @sammyhagar, @thomasrhettakins, @michaelraymusic, @flagaline

There is also one more on this list, who isn’t really in the music arena…yet (haha)…but if you follow him and know his very early on comedy scripts, you will know the tremendous amount of change that he has been through, a master of change and very inspiring:  @kevinhart4real

There is no time like the present to Make It Count –  create an incredible relationship this year and get out, enjoy the music!

 

 

 

 

DEALING WITH JUDGEMENT OF YOUR ASPIRATIONS BY OTHERS

 

I wanted to share my article published last week by Prsuit, click on this link to read my article.  It’s about my own experiences and realizations with judgement.

Life doesn’t always follow the path we expect; the only thing constant is change. And when there is change, I’ve experienced judgement as a side effect: sometimes good, sometimes bad, but other people always have an opinion, only some voice it.

Secondly there will be a forthcoming related article about my experiences with my new venture mentioned in the article, near the end of January or early February.

CREDITS:

If you arrived at this article from Instagram  @annm2705, then you’ve already seen this, but if you found this article in another way, I should recognize a few who are making a meaningful contribution to entrepreneurship and creators, if you don’t know them already, you should check them out and get to know them on Instagram @prsuit @hdfmagazine, or their websites:  PRSUIT, HDFMAGAZINE, podcasts:  The Hustle Sold Separately

If you read my very first blog, you will see how I found them in the spring of 2016 on Instagram and since then have seen so much growth from their companies.  Matt Gottesman and Case Kenny have an incredible drive and are helping others:  great resources for entrepreneurs and creators!

$pending Time

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Isn’t that what we really do, “$pend” time?  We receive this gift of time and then we spend it.  There are so many ways to spend our time, and once we spend it, it’s gone.  Understanding that our time is our most important resource and asset, how are we spending it?   Will our contribution make a difference to others?  Will the way we spend our time today help someone, or many others, in the future?

Morning Thoughts

Improvement has been running through my mind frequently.  My most thoughtful moments of the day are when I first wake up.  I don’t remember dreams very often, so I’m not sure if that’s where these thoughts originate, but some days when I wake up, I have specific thoughts that pop into my head and here they are:

Brands and Loyalty – Experience

We all know that we are compelled to associate with certain brands, brands that align with our core values and beliefs in life.  Did you ever meet someone who appeared a certain way, but turned out to be not at all what you originally thought?  (this funny video I recently saw has a great message about appearances delivered in hilarious way) Are we a reflection of our core values and beliefs, or disjointed?  A brand can be a company as well as a person and I completely believe when our brand identity no longer reflects our true core, we lose loyalty of those with whom we connected, personally as well as professionally.  So for this reason, it is truly important: to reflect our brand, don’t waste time trying to be something we are not passionate about.  We accomplish so much more when we are passionate about something, we are driven, nothing stands in our way, we work tirelessly to achieve our goals, we motivate others, others leave happier from their experience with us, this is where customer service excels and the experience is incredible.  (Think of Disney, think of Anheuser Busch- the original company) What if the entire workforce or team we belong to did this?  How amazing would that company or product be?  We all have experiences in customer service and can tell immediately who’s connected and who’s disjointed.  The customer service provided by someone who’s connected is simply amazing and we want to come back!

Honesty- Being True, Real

Isn’t honesty something we all want?  I almost wrote “expect” instead of “want”, but realized I don’t often expect it, but I want it.  Why is it that so many of us get uncomfortable being honest?  I’m betting it has to do with acceptance?  I think we generally want to be accepted by others and being honest really puts us “out there” and vulnerable to acceptance by others, we may not be “liked” for what we say.   I’ve also noticed how dishonesty truly tears apart a person or a company.  How many great companies can you think of that have fallen due to lack of honesty?  Or a more relevant question now, think politics!  Ha ha; I won’t even go there!  Our connection to someone is disrupted when we don’t see honesty.  On the positive side, when someone is honest, we may not agree with them, but don’t you appreciate honesty?  For me, I respect someone more for being honest; that shows me their strength and courage!  It also shows being true to oneself, being real, and who doesn’t love that?

 

seuss_-be-who-you-are

Following a Passion- Happiness

Wouldn’t it be incredible if everyone we knew in our life was following their passion, the vibe would be so positive! Instead of forcing ourselves into a role that doesn’t quite fit, what if we became the best at our talents?  Followed our Passion? Create something amazing?

As an example of this is: I am Christian and have a strong faith, but over time, I’ve realized I don’t fit into a religion and that’s been a struggle for some to understand.  I also was forcing myself to conform, probably for acceptance, but not being honest about it.  I’m not being disrespectful, but I don’t believe “one size fits all” as it relates to a religion; I believe it’s more of a personal connection through prayer.  My life is truly different and better when I pray.  Part of my belief is that God gives us gifts and those who figure out what their gifts are and use them for good excel in life and are the happiest people.

Lifetime of Improvement

I also believe that once we find our passion, that’s not “the end” but rather the beginning, the starting point, because no matter where we find ourselves today, there is always room for improvement, no matter who you are or what you’ve accomplished so far.  Life is like the game of golf, you may get good at it, but you will never master it; there is always room for improvement!  Think of everything in our world that evolves over time:  transportation, technology, housing, businesses, cities, etc. If any of those stopped improving that would be the end.  There is so much that all of us can contribute in life; I hope you seek and realize your passion, explore it, cultivate it and continue to improve because you will be incredible if you do!

Life Events

Events in life can change us forever.  Some experiences are amazing and some we wish to forget. Life is a series of ups and downs, so it’s important to take what life hands you and be strong with it: Turn it into a positive!  This is a quote to keep in mind because it relates to everyone in our social circles: friends, family, and anyone who enters our lives:

Opened book and hand drawing building sketches
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A like-minded friend posted this video recently, great message with a humorous delivery to keep in mind:  Advice

Why do we do what we do?

The answer to this question is the important one; it is our driving force and it’s personal for each of us.  What is your Passion? Driving Force? How are you $pending Time?

It’s Friday, so “Cheers to You” on your journey in life!  I hope today is a great one for you and that you follow your passion and Making It Count- for you and for others in the future! …And have fun doing it!