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The Power of Choice

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Perspective…. It can be everything to us can’t it be?   Past experiences often influence our response and trigger feelings within.     The only thing we have control of in this life is how we choose to respond to the moments.    Sometimes we may not feel like we have control, but that is not the case, there is always a choice.

I have had moments in my life that have taken my breath away, moments that have torn me inside out from the core, and moments that leave me numb.   We all have those moments.

It is in those moments where the something powerful emerges – the POWER TO CHOOSE.      As I look back in my life, the moments I have experienced, that have been allowed to happen in my life, have always turned out for good.

But it doesn’t always end up that way for us all because there are usually two paths.

One path is driven by fear, we are a victim, a slave to the moment.

Another path although bumpy offers the least resistance.  This path can offer learning, good to come out of the bad, and is embraced by moving forward one step at a time.

I am thankful for all of the choices I have been given, and the roads I have traveled.  While there has been difficulty along the way, there was always a light to help me navigate.

This journey of life involves difficulty, happiness, anger, hope, sadness, joy, death, life.   As we go through the valleys and up the hills, we have the power to choose and embrace what is.  As we take one step at a time there will always be a light to shine our way.     I believe this to my innermost core.

Today as I sit in this moment, I thank God so much for teaching me how to get up after I fall, how to let go of the fear and trust, how to move forward and to learn to love and trust myself inside out.    This is all a journey, a process, something that I struggle with – loving myself.  But bit by bit I am realizing how I love others is the same grace I need to show myself.

Thank-you Father for your grace you always show me in my day.   YOU are so powerful, and your love is never ending.

Luv Ness

 

Reflection on What Matters

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Over these past few years, time feels like it is on fast forward.    As the time flies by, I want to be still and to sit and take in the beauty around me.   My anxious heart wants time to stand still.  

We are only given so much time, it is how and with whom we choose to spend time that makes all the difference.    As I reflect on these past 40 years, there were so many good memories, but a lot of my energy has been put into people, places and things that have zapped my core energy.    Do not get me wrong, I am not a heartless person by any means, in fact I am highly empathetic.   But what I have noticed is that the relationships that took so much out of me, and seemed forced were not the ones I needed to concentrate my time on.    Also, the people pleasing nature that has been intrinsic to my soul, I need to let go of.      This past year has been a year of reflection.    I have made small changes in my life for the better, but it is time to keep moving forward and remove the items that get me stuck.

I will adjust my lens and my new focus will be on situations and people that align with my values (integrity, trust, honesty).    The things I am going to work on will be to:

  • Completely immerse myself and energy in my sons, moments that matter to them, to build self-awareness, self-assurance in them. Help them to see that the validation comes from within, and not externally through people, places or things.  I thank God every day for my two boys who are so different from one another, but teach me every day about myself and the woman I want to be.
  • Continue to focus on building strength, support, and deepened understanding of the one person I love most, my best friend, and husband. I am so very thankful for him every day, and I know that God gave me him to help me to grow.
  • Spend as much time as I can with family, this includes extended family such as friends who have been there unconditionally through thick and thin. Take the time to show them through actions how much they mean to me.
  • Continue to extend the hand for those that are less fortunate than I, and to show love and grace for the needy. Give back and expect nothing in return.
  • Lead by example and challenge situations that may not be align with my core values. Pray for the right words in these situations.
  • Focus on being still, realigning my center, with my faith and my Maker that has carried me through so much. Continue to work on loving myself from the inside out.
  • Start and end my day with gratitude and abundance. Take the time to take stock of how fortunate I am every day, even in the pain and difficult circumstances that will challenge that.
  • Let go of the needing to please in all areas.
  • Let go of the worry or what ifs that I create in my mind. They are merely creations that could become reality if I chose to focus on it too much.
  • Let go of the relationships and remove myself from situations that don’t feel good. If the relationship feels heavy, perhaps it is time to let go and adjust for what it is.

 

We only have so much time in this life, and through reflection, sometimes we need to make some tweaks for the good.     Perhaps this reflection for me is triggered by seeing the woman looking back at me in the mirror has only so much energy and time.    I love her, and want her soul and mind to be aligned and to be full of love.    Today as you pause, take stock of the people in your life that make it easy, the moments that warm your heart and allow you to feel full.

May you be blessed.  Abundance is everywhere.

Ness

A Heart of Love

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“One of the hardest things in life is having works in your heart that you can’t utter.”  – James Earl Jones

 

Tonight I received a text relaying some news that was not easy to receive.     Life stopped short for someone I knew, someone who lived in the moment, and someone who loved her daughter with all her heart and always showed a smile despite difficulty.   

Looking back on the moments I shared with this beautiful lady, I was in shock, unable to utter the words to describe how I felt.   I suddenly began to realize that I am heading into a new phase of life.  A phase in which people will leave me, life is flying by.

I look back on all of the phases in my life, phases as a child, where I couldn’t wait for the school year to end.  The school year would turtle by but then the summer would flash by in a blink of an eye.  As I began university, I couldn’t wait to finish so I could begin my ideal life.  Then the next phases were marriage, kids, a working career, death of grandparents – and before I knew it, there was a women looking back at me that had aged so quickly.  As I look in the mirror, the woman looking back is entering her 40s and I gaze in complete disbelief of how quickly life has gone by.

Through this journey of life, we all have a story to share.  Each story cannot be compared.   There are moments of complete gratification and then moments that hurt so deeply, that the words cannot describe the feelings.  But a question I ponder as I look back in time, what gets us through it all??

I will tell you LOVE.

Love – A four letter word that can push us forward and bring strength to every situation.       It is that simple.

Love for self allows us to give grace for ourselves when we fall.

Love for others allows us to sympathize, identify with, gives us compassion and understanding of the human condition.

Love for our family pushes us through the times where we feel we can’t take that next step forward.

Love for our children drives us to be more and to show adversity in the face of pain.   This love runs through every inch of our souls.

Love for our significant other or spouse, helps us to feel strong when we are weak, and equally bares the burdens we may feel at times.

Love for the Source beyond us.   Knowing that there is something out there (God for me) that is guiding us, directing us on our path and reassuring us along the way.

Love pushes us forward, ushers us in the direction we need to go.     In all of the moments, LOVE is a source that we need to draw from and leverage.   If love can be our navigator, we can always take any step we need to in the right direction.

Today I pause for the love of a friend that smiled every time you saw her, and showed strength.  Moments and time are so precious.   I know she will be one of the most beautiful angels in heaven with her beautiful red hair.

May you pause today and concentrate on the love you have for someone else, and reflect on how fortunate we all are able to experience love in this life.

Dear Lord God, thank-you so much for giving me a heart that feels deeply.  Thank-you for allowing me to reflect on my blessings today.    I pray for those who are going through difficulty and loss, may you bring them sunshine through the rain.  In Jesus Name Amen

Be blessed

Vanessa

Remembering

image1She glances out the window and realizes all of the time that has passed.    The reflection looking back at her, aged, the lines deepened and reveal the roads she has traveled.    Her thoughts of him come rushing in.

Kindness, a heart of gold, his children were the apple of his eye.   The way he loved and lived, always full of abundance and joy.    A tear begins to form in her eye, and trickles down her cheek.  She wonders why?   Seems so unfair how he was taken so quickly.

She glances at the clock, as the hands move tick tock, she realizes that each second is a choice.     Remembering the past and the precious moments shared trigger so many memories.   The reflection also triggers thoughts around how she chooses to live.   She wants to be immersed every second of every moment in the love for family and friends.    She wants to choose to live now, and not get caught up in the stuff that doesn’t matter.   She chooses love and joy.  To live now and to never take for granted a single second.

She bows her head and pauses to pray for the ones left behind.      Lord give them strength, wrap your arms around them, give them strength and help them heal from the inside out.   Guide them in all things and replace the sadness with joy.

She has been left behind a few times, but remembers the good memories and smiles.   Her heart is thankful that she experienced moments with the ones who rose above.    The moments gave her perspective, great joy, and memories that will always warm her heart.

 

 

A Letter of Love to My Boys

a letter of lovePerspective is everything.    All we have is NOW.   It is the response we choose to this life that makes all of the difference.    I have been very blessed to be given two little beautiful gifts in this life, along with a best friend and husband.    We don’t know when it is time to meet our Maker, and I have been thinking lately, if I left tomorrow, what would I want to say to my boys.   I am not the perfect parent by any means, but over the course of this life thus far, these are a few of the lessons I would leave.

A letter to my Beautiful Boys

I don’t know how long I will be here, but I want you to both know how much I love you.   Being your mother has been the greatest gifts in my life (aside from having a wonderful husband and my best friend your dad).

I often wish I could tell you everything I have in my head, and transfer everything I have seen to protect you from hurt or sadness.  But this is one of the greatest things in our lives, is learning and living.  We will stumble yes, but it is how we choose to respond to the moments that make all of the difference.  Learning to love myself from the inside out was one of my most difficult journeys.  Love for self is one of the most important pieces in this life.   You have to realize your strengths and your unique giftings in this world – and realize there is only one of you. Do not envy what others have.  Be comfortable right where you are. You are perfectly made from the inside out and it is your journey to figure this out. You were beautifully made, from the beginning of time by God.    I am far from perfect, and what I have learnt the most in this life, is love yourself and show others the same love you give yourself.

Here are some thoughts that I wanted to bring together so that you can think of these things when you go up and down the hills in this life.  

  • Love yourself, realize you are beautifully made. And yes we will hear things from others  – they may not like who we are or what we are made to be.   This world is full of differences.   Make sure that what you allow to go through your ears is the truth, do not create a fiction based story. The truth always comes from a place of love – not jealousy or envy.    You can control what voices you allow in and what ones you push out.  Remember this.   You have control of your thoughts.
  • If a friend does something for you, or even sends you a nice note or text, thank them for it. Genuine gratefulness has the ability to create ripple effects.   It is like dropping a rock in the water and then all of the ripples go outward.   Remember a kind word, or thank-you makes all the difference.  Also think of something you can do for someone else – expecting nothing in return.    This is the pay it forward concept – whatever good you put out there will come back to you J    It may not be the same way – but by doing good – good will always come back to us.
  • If you see someone in need, or have something you could do without – extend the hand and help. There will be times in your life where you will require help and it is through our actions that these things come full circle (a bit repeating the previous but this is looking to help where you can). It is important to maintain balance with this, because you must care for your own health first.     Expect nothing in return.   If you live your life this way, great things will circle back.
  • Get rid of clutter in your head, house, and life. Clutter can be defined by items, clouding thoughts, or people that zap the life out of you.   Clean up, it will help you in all that you do.
  • Remember good friends like you unconditionally. These friends will not hurt you; they will not try to make you to do things you feel uncomfortable with.   They will not be spiteful, jealous or envious. Good friends will make you laugh so hard your belly hurts, you feel comfortable and not judged in any way.  A special friend is someone that really “gets you”.  They understand the person you are. Remember this.  Surround yourself with people that like you just the way you are.
  • Exercise, stretch, and keep your body healthy. Take care of your body and don’t overwork it too.    Make sure you rest when you need it.  This is the only body you have.
  • Eat foods that are good for your body and are not overly processed. What you put into your body is what you will get out. Rinse, floss, and brush your teeth gently and regularly. Take care of the body you have been given J
  • Enjoy life, don’t take for granted any of the moments. We are only here for a short time, so focus on the beauty not the darkness.
  • Every day, pause, reflect and look back on the good things. Be thankful for the little things.  Also, look at your life and focus on what is working.  If gratitude is the focus of your heart you will always be happy.
  • It is ok to say NO. Boundaries are healthy. Sometimes when we say No we feel guilty, but if the No is coming from a place where you are taking care of your own health and welfare, it is perfectly healthy.   Let go of the guilt and realize you are taking care of yourself.
  • What you see in others sometimes is what you may see in yourself. Make sure you evaluate and look inside and get rid of the bad.   Remove any envy, anger and resentment if it exists – as these items will bring us down in all we do.  Fill your heart with love, kindness, and beauty.
  • Do not let jobs, possessions or wealth be your focus in this life. These things will only bring temporary satisfaction.  It is love, and love for life that will bring long term happiness.
  • Priorities, establish them in your life so you can make healthy decisions. In my life, my priorities are taking care of my own health (this means spending alone time, exercise, and taking time to pray and be with God), then dad and I ensuring our relationship is strong, then spending time with you and dad, and then family and then friends.  If my own bucket is nurtured, everything else will fall into place.
  • Forgive and let go. Do not let anger, or resentment feed your life.  It is important to forgive others and let God hand the rest.   He wants you to rest, so He is there to help.    You can forgive, but that does not mean allow people to walk all over you.  There is a difference.  
  • Find someone to love that loves you for who you are. Choose someone that makes you feel full.   Someone that when you see them you get excited.   Someone that treats you with respect, love and kindness.     Find someone that would be your friend for life that you can learn and love with.
  • Pray, if you are struggling through the day or need to let go of something. Ask God to help you navigate through this life.  He has been so gracious to me.   He is a miracle worker.   All He asks is that we trust Him completely.      Lean not on your own understanding, reach for prayer and ask Him to intervene.
  • Lastly, always be truthful, honest, kind to others. Be yourself, you both have an amazing gift for love for people.  This is an awesome gift.  Life to love life and people.  Embrace the good.

I am so thankful for the gift of you two bundles in my life.  I cannot imagine life without you.   God has blessed me with abundance.  In the moments where my breath was taken away, I focused on love, prayer and gratitude and it carried me through.  Thank-you two boys for teaching me to be patient, thank-you for loving me the way you do.    Thank-you for cuddles, for grandma kisses, butterfly kisses, eskimo kisses, mommy kisses and Marcus and Drew kisses.    You have been and always will be the best thing that has happened to both your dad and I.  We love you, we are so very proud of you, and we believe in you.   And know, if something ever happens to us, we will be with you.    

Love You so much you fly high in the sky, and love you more than you say.

Mama

The Day that Life Changed ~ 5 years ago

image1January 10, 2011, was a magical day, she watch the whales and glanced at her family.   Her eyes filled up with tears, and glanced across the row of her beautiful family.  She looked at her mom and dad and how happy they were, her brother and his beautiful family, and then her own.

Gratitude set in.   She then thanked Him for all that He had given her, and was so thankful for the state of peace, euphoria that set in.   The day at sea world was over, she was on cloud 9.    She wanted to pinch herself is this for real?  

They had just been through three years of heart ache, pain, loss, and recovery.   She discovered through that difficult time –  family is everything.  Family is what defines us, and at any given moment you can lose someone that you thought would be there forever.   Her heart still swelled at the thought of it all.   But they came through it stronger.

That evening they went grocery shopping for the family.  It was exciting, but exhaustion set in.    Although she was exhausted, her heart was full of joy and anticipation.   They got home, everyone was fed, and then the kids went off to bed.    

That night the six of them sat at the table, laughing, and feeling so happy.   The adults all were celebrating with bubbly.    A couple of glasses and spirits soared.   She watch the flicker of the light on the pool, started to dance and then it all changed.   She dove head first into a 2-4 foot deep end of the pool.    She thought it was 8 ft deep.  Everyone screamed, but they were merely echoes as she entered the water.  Early that day she would not go outside and even think of entering the pool – without a heater who would want to be in the freezing cold water.   But that evening she felt so alive, and just wanted to be free.

Minutes felt like hours, time stood still as her head nicked the bottom of the pool.  A voice came to her, and light surrounded her, You are going to be ok but this is going to be a long road.    She came up from the water, and felt like a child, she called for mommy.    She could hear her husband yelling at her, she felt so stupid.  How could she have been so careless?   How could she only think of herself?  Guilt set in.   Ruined, it’s all ruined.

She walked out of the pool holding her chin in her hand, sat down on the couch and her mom called 9-1-1.    No No don’t do it…. She felt ok, sort of except the pain at the back of her head.    Blood then trickled down her face.    The ambulance came, and they set her down to stabilize her spine on the spine board.   Now everything hurt, her body started to shake.    Inside worry started to overwhelm her, what would happen when her 3 and 6 year old boys woke up?   How could she have done all of this…..

In the ambulance, time stood still again.   So many things went through her mind, guilt, anger, and fear.   She started to pray.   Help me Lord, I am so sorry for doing this.  Please let everything be ok.

At the hospital in the emergency room, they cut open her clothes, and her brother, dad and husband looked with worry as everything was happening so fast.    She had an x-ray and CT scan, it revealed she had a C1 fracture – burst fracture shattered on the right side.   She didn’t understand what that meant, and as the doctor started to explain the seriousness she wondered, am I going to live.    Oh my God what have I done?   Her hands, feet and head started to feel numb.  More fear as she called for a priest.   She then asked him to find the scripture where the disciples did the healing of the hands, and had the ability to heal.    The priest couldn’t find the scripture. She asked her dad, brother, and husband to join hands as they all prayed for her.  It was Matthew 10:10 she was thinking about “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”  

Her thoughts raced.   And she prayed inside God I know I told you I would never want to live in a capacity that made me disabled.   But I am just praying that you allow me to stay here and be there for my babies.   Please Lord , I am scared of being paralyzed or dying.   Help me please.  I am so sorry for my foolishness.

Her hands, feet and head stopped tingling moments later. He was there, reassuring her she was going to be ok.       

These were a few moments in my story.   My injury only a small percentage of people survive and of those that do survive often are quadriplegics.   I was and still am His miracle.    

The days that followed were very difficult.  One of the most difficult moments was the first time my boys saw their mama for the first time.  The look in their eyes are etched on my heart.     Eyes completely in fear and looking at their mama in an 8lb halo with bolts drilled into her head.  I remember my little Marcus, he looked at me and his eyes were so wide in fear, I then said to him a lie but prayed for strength in the right words “Marcus mommy is ok, she isn’t in pain and is going to be ok.  You know what is cool you can show me for show and tell and say your mommy is a transformer.”  He then smiled but still was scared.  IT was hard leaving my family in the most magical place in the world, but I really didn’t want their time to end with so much uncertainty and unhappiness.   I then flew back from Florida with my mom, and began the journey of trying to be normal again.  

Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t know if your life will be normal again?   I was in this situation, and felt like I caused it all.    I had to forgive myself, but every step I took it was because of God.    For those of you that are unbelievers, I wish you could hold my hand and see everything I saw.

  • Laying in the hospital in the dark, the nurse took the emergency button from me.  Alone, unable to breath or talk properly because of the compression on my vocal cord.   I could barely utter a sound as loud as a whisper.  In pain that was beyond all comprehension, whispering for help.   I prayed, and asked God to allow someone to hear me.
  • When the bolts were drilled into my head, and the halo was fastened, they want you to try to walk after it is put on.  8lbs of weight pushing down, I got up and my heart almost stopped.   I sat down and thought, how am I going to do this? Again I prayed.   He helped me and I was walking again.  First only a few feet, then down the hall.
  • Being at Disneyworld only for a day when I wanted to be there with them forever, walking around with my halo, I prayed.   Please God help me let this go. 
  • Leaving my children in a wheel chair on a plane, and my husband that I depended on for everything.   I prayed, and He helped me again.
  • Coming home and trying to be normal again, doing laundry, cleaning the house, being a mother of strength, and a wife, sister and daughter.  I prayed to keep it all together.  He was there
  • After 80 days of being in the halo, and the CT results revealing the break was worse off than before, my heart was shattered, I didn’t know what this meant for me and my life.   I headed home and prayed.   He asked me, Do you trust in me child, that I am the God beyond all comprehension. Up til that moment, I felt like after being in the halo – I would be normal again –  it was my plan – not His.   In that moment, I cried and said I am sorry – and said YES GOD I TRUST YOU PLEASE FORGIVE ME.

 

God is loving.  His doing is beyond all comprehension.   Today, my C1 did not heal based on conventional medicine.  When you look at me you would never know that I still have a broken neck stabilized by scar tissue and cartilage. 

This was the beginning of what God was going to show me.    These past 5 years, many things have happened to me and the ones I love and cherish.   But HIS GRACE REIGNS.  In each of every story we have come out stronger, with love that is so deep.    I have learnt

  • My material goods, job, or wealth does not define who I am.
  • Love is created through actions, and it is through each one of us that we can create a difference in the life of one or many.   The more good we put out there the more that comes back.
  • Yes there will be hard times in this life, but it is through the love, support, and faith that we will come through stronger.  Good always comes out of the bad.
  • God loves us unconditionally and does not want any harm to come to a hair on our heads.  However, he will allow things to happen for the good of all.
  • One can help many, by opening up our experiences to one another we create healing.
  • I do not need external validation to realize I am a good person.
  • What you put out there in life comes back full circle.
  • Miracles really do happen.
  • I cannot control what happens to me, but I can control how I choose to respond.
  • Love really love the people in your life.  Extend the hand when you can to others.
  • Family and the ones we love may not always be there so enjoy every single moment together.
  • Forgive, let go, let God handle it.     If you cannot do this, it will eat you up inside.
  • Live today, do not be anxious or worry about things that are beyond your control.
  • Take care of yourself inside out – learn to love You the way you are.

 

There are many more learnings, but I am so very thankful for every single one of them.   Tomorrow is my 5 year anniversary since I broke my neck.  I am reminded of the gift of life.   I choose to celebrate this by making someone else’s life a bit better.   We welcomed Esther from Uganda, our third sponsor child into our lives today.    Finally a girl!!   

Life is about the moments that take your breath away, the good the bad and the ugly.    So much of this life is not in our control.  We have the power of choice in every moment.   I choose God to guide me.   Thank-you God for saving me and allowing me to be on this wonderful earth with my children and to be able to laugh, live and love.  I choose to trust you always have my best interests at heart.

These moments take me back 5 years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/user/nessachesters

 

SO thankful for this life….All of it.

~Ness

 

The Spirit of Christmas

manger

I remember a time when my husband and I struggled, we barely had enough money to pay the bills. Managing finances was a huge component of our day to day living. As time went on, we both progressed in life and career through hard work and determination. Looking back in time, I appreciate the learning that came out of struggling, but now am in a position to give beyond myself.

I have a huge heart and love for people. My hope is for all people to thrive. We are very fortunate in our lives, and I believe that God has given us our blessings so that we can extend a hand on another. Our treasures are not meant for us alone.

Have you ever asked yourself – “How did I get so lucky?” If you have, then you certainly have considered the flip side of what it would look like to go without.

During the Christmas season I have embraced a couple of new traditions. These two traditions are centred on the thought that it is better to give than receive.

The first tradition is to give to our sponsor children. We have two sponsor children, one with world vision Japhet who lives in Rwanda, and another Jenno with Compassion Canada who lives in the Philippines. I have grown to have a special place in my heart for these two boys. Every Christmas season, I decide on providing a gift to their families. The reason being is that although as a sponsor I am helping each of them; it is really through helping their families that will make all the difference. This action also occurs throughout the year at various times. I ask myself over Christmas, if I have been give abundance and security, then how can I extend the hand to them?

The second tradition that we began as a family last year was taking little Christmas packages to Elderly Care Homes in our city. I often find that the elderly get forgotten and Christmas is one of those times that hits home. Last year as a family we made little packages of ornaments, Christmas crackers and candy for the elderly. It was such an amazing feeling but also overwhelmed my heart. The looks in their eyes, the appreciation, and then came tears that flowed at various times. One day, I will be in their situation whether it be for myself or with my own parents, and if I teach my children now about the importance of not forgetting about our loved ones – maybe they will carry the tradition on.

These two items have filled my heart so much over the past year. They have made me realize that one small action creates a reaction. I believe in our culture we surround ourselves so much with our wants and needs, which lead us to sometimes forgetting about what we can do beyond ourselves. My hope is through these small actions, my children are inspired in their lives to continue to do small acts beyond themselves.

So this Christmas, although it is busy at times and can be tiresome at times, what actions can you do that will make a small difference in someone’s day?

May you be blessed my friends.

Vanessa

www.nesschesters.wordpress.com