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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

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How does your garden grow? (by Vanessa & Erica)

This post was done a little differently, me and this amazing young lady I know did a combo post.   I wrote one paragraph and she wrote another.    I hope you enjoy this post, because it provides a great perspective on the garden we grow in our minds.  How does your garden grow

There is a little voice inside of me.   At first she is a quiet talker, planting seeds hoping the garden will grow.     I water the seeds and then the seeds become plants.    The voice then becomes louder, and the plants become vines inside of me.   The voice is intertwined in my inner most soul.    I believe the words, they begin to define me, and I allow the voice to control my thoughts.

 My thoughts become consumed with negativity and I feel trapped and taken in by the vines and pricked by the thrones.  I continue to surrender my power to the voice inside me because I have been caring for this garden from the start. There is safety and comfort in the familiarity of this everyday routine.  The vines overwhelm the garden, and begin to cause overpopulation. My mind has been invaded and continued to believe the lies that are intertwined I am resistant to change for the fear of the unknown. There seems to be no way out.  Can I choose what flourishes in my garden and can I make a change?

We all have been in situations where we are overwhelmed and our thoughts consume us.  These thoughts also control us.  They affect our sense of self, the love we have for ourselves, and the outward interaction that occurs with others.   How do we grow a beautiful garden inside of our minds?   How do we cut the vines, and produce abundance in fruit and flowers? 

 The answer to this question lies deep in our heart, waiting to be unearthed. We simply must step back and look at the garden. Do we want the vines to resemble how we go about our lives? Or do we want something different? Life is made up of over thousands of moments and the only one that is for sure is NOW. So we can live in fear or we can take the first step to creating a love for ourselves and our garden by challenging those old thoughts and being grateful for each moment. 

What do you choose today?   Do you choose a garden of vines and thrones to suck out the beauty?  Or do you choose a garden full of color and abundance?

Take a breath, and breathe in all that you were meant to.  You are beautifully made.   Water the good and pull the weeds, you are the gardener.  Before you know it, flowers will bloom.

As Season’s Change, We Change

Picture for Relationships

Change…

I am thankful for the changes that take my breath away, where I feel so happy I can burst at the seams or the times where the hurt is so bad that I cry out for help.   These have been the moments that have contributed to a greater focus in my life, and by the grace of God, He has provided me a looking glass of what He has planned for me.  

My focus has changed, and I have realized that I need to take care of my health first and foremost so that I can extend myself for others. In nurturing myself, I want to start and end my day with Him and maintain the close connection.   I can only do this if my life is not overextended.

I have also realized that my relationship with my husband is one of the greatest gifts. He was made just for me, and I should never take that for granted.   I should nurture this relationship as much as I can.  

Two other gifts that have been given to me are my precious sons, I am so thankful for the lessons as a parent. I choose to be plugged into their lives, and this means choosing the “right” balance for us as a family (with Gods guiding hand).    

My broader family, the ones that are close, are meant to be held close.   We are joined to support and love one another.  

And then my extended family, my friends that will be there through the sunshine and the rain.    

My priorities seem simple, but I live a messy life like most.   This messy life has its challenges and many times I feel torn between all of the priorities.     I have also found that as I have changed my priorities, some relationships have changed.   Makes sense doesn’t it?   If we change as people, we will bring into our life the people that are willing to change or adapt with us.

It has been hard at times, because I have had to let go of some relationships.   Relationships should not be forced, they should be welcomed and wanted.   Has there been a time in your life where you have felt like you had to force something?   How did you feel? For me, when I have to force something I don’t feel like myself.   Don’t get me wrong, all relationships require work in some way, but when you feel like the work is all on one side and doesn’t start from a place of love – it may be time to let go.

Change isn’t easy, but if you feel good about the changes, then keep riding the waves.   I truly believe the changes in our life are created for good.

Have you experienced some relationship challenges or changes in your life that revealed good? Consider leaving a comment and sharing your experience.

 

 

 

dear Vanessa ~ the Season’s in our lives

Life has it’s twists and turns, and sometimes, we feel great loss. Sometimes these moments are unexplainable… Pop by for read about the seasons in our lives.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

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What am I going to be when I grow-up?

When did you ask yourself this question in your life?

I remember the first time I asked myself this, in elementary school.  I wanted to be a teacher, then in grade 11 I was going to university for Music Education.

But it didn’t happen, life happened, relationships happened.  Road blocks shifted me another way.  Still nearly 20 years later I don’t have the answer.

For much of this life, I feel like I have tried to attain that bar of gold, so that I could feel better about myself.   Attainment of wealth, title, status.   Looking to others to satisfy the internal need of feeling worthy.

The one thing that happens with this is that the need is met, but then disappears.  It is instant gratification, and once it is fulfilled temporarily you then feel empty – wanting it again.  The bar of gold only lasts so long.

I am learning this, and thankful for the learning opportunity.

Did you know that you can be fulfilled right now?  Satisfied exactly where you are?  And it doesn’t matter what you have?

There are a few things that have to align:

1)      Use your abilities:  if you look back on your life you should see a theme of your interest areas.  These interest areas created that sparkle in you where you felt amazing after you completed the task.  These are your God given talents, maximize them, use them – even if it isn’t for financial gain.    Once you start using them you will feel that fire ignite again.  For me, this is helping others in need, and the ability to relate to others freely through communication.

2)      Enjoyment in what you are doing:  In order to align your abilities with what you are doing, you have to feel the inner enjoyment from what you are doing.  You cannot simply do something for the purpose of instant gratification, for the “now”.   The feeling inside when you do this special something with your abilities, feels lasting and good.   You feel like you have contributed, while feeling fulfilled inside out.

3)      You are wiling to take a risk:  Sometimes utilizing our abilities may take risk, or time and effort where we may feel like we don’t have the time.  But I can tell you this much, there is no reward without the risk.  Fulfillment in what we do may require us to go outside of our comfort zone.

4)      An opportunity presents itself: this may not be as evident as we would like it, but if we are aware of our talents we will be more aware of potential opportunities.

You may be asking yourself what if I don’t know my gifts or talents?   There are simple ways of discovering this.  Ask a friend or family  member – what do they see in you?  There are assessments online that can assist in the excavation process (spiritual and non spiritual), pull out at magazine or a few and cut out words or pictures that appeal to you (maybe you will see a theme).

Remember, be patient with yourself and open.

May you be blessed and thank-you for popping by!

~Ness

Time does not wait

As I celebrate the two-year anniversary of nearly losing my life, I look at all of the amazing experiences that have happened these past two years.  Although these two years have been up and down for our family, and the events have been trying, there were so many moments that allowed me to see abundance.    The sands of time trickle so fast… The question is, do you allow the sand to slip through your hands, or do you hold those sands in your hands while you can to see the sparkle and wonder?

First family picture with the halo (was in a wheel chair for the day)Time does not Wait…

by Vanessa Chesters

Her wish for them is they will live out their dreams, And that they dream big.

That their lives are not filled with “Things”…

That they embrace what life brings.

That they soar through life and learn to spread their wings.

Time does not wait…

She sits in her chair and reminisces of time that has since passed,

She can’t go back and wishes that those moments would last…

Life is so very short and oh so sweet. There are so many great memories.

Time does not wait…

She has to hold back, she wants them to reach for the sky…

She prays that they will have faith and the courage to soar and fly.

It is never to late.

Remember…Time does not wait…

The sun shines on her face.

Love and laughter surround her.

She needs to remove herself from the race,

And quickly change the moments that are within her embrace.

Time does not wait…

Tempted once again by riches or “things”,

She turns her focus inward anticipating what life brings.

She wakes up and believes,

Life is happening as it was meant to be.

She has everything she needs.

Time does not wait…

Through the years she has watched them grow,

She has loved them more than they will ever know.

She hopes in some small way,

She has passed on the lessons she learned throughout her days.

She knows oh too well that time does not wait…

Advent Week 2 & 3 – Reflection

reflectionThe first week of advent I spoke of rest, now for the next two weeks, I believe reflection should be the focus. In order to reflect, one must have their mind rested to have a true perspective. The mind must be calmed and not full of the lists or things to do during this Christmas season. As we read the words coming from John the Baptist we see such a great perspective:

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering their hearts if John might be possibly the Christ. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” Luke 3:7-16 NIV

The first concept in this verse refers to not taking more than you need and giving to others. Needs vs. wants is an interesting concept in North American culture, and especially interesting this time of year. I have found myself overwhelmed with what we actually have compared to individuals that may come from nothing.

Have you noticed how many bags people are carrying in the malls during this season? I often watch and wonder if it is necessary.

Are we getting caught up in the “right” things?

This season, as a family we went through our house and started to get rid of the things that were unnecessary. Toys that are hardly ever played, clothing that is not being worn, and items such as old baby car seats that my children have outgrown. I sat back and thought, we have way too much, how did it get to this? My heart sank, as I know right out of my back door are people that would give anything to have these things.  I then thought, what can I do? Where can I give these things?

It is amazing when you ask these questions, someone will appear in need. I believe this is not a coincidence, these situations are meant to happen.

The need came from a wonderful man, who I only met for about 15 minutes who had children that were just the right age for all of these things. He was so very gracious, accepting, and felt like he should give me something for what I was giving to him. But I wanted nothing in return, in fact – I told him he was helping me out! His humble heart had relief in the action I know, and I could see from the look on his face, he couldn’t wait to get home to give these small things to his family…. I wondered that night what the reaction would be of his small children to the new bouncy horse in the house.

I sat back and reflected on what else can I do?

When you reflect on your needs vs. wants do you see abundance?

If you do, then why not take action and give?

The action of giving does not need to be in monetary terms, it could be helping out at a soup kitchen, it could be buying a coffee for the individual that is behind you in line, or saying a prayer for those you see in pain, or even smiling at someone that seems down. To you, this action may be small but to the other it could have made their day, and made the difference.
I believe the state of contentment comes when one realizes that their needs are fully met and in turn realize we are not in control what may happen to us tomorrow. The only thing we can control is our actions. Once we reach this state, we have so much capacity to give. It is overflowing. It is through our giving that a ripple effect occurs. We may not see this effect instantly but it is there.

Sit back and reflect, what can you do? Do you have more than you need?
mangerThe second part of this verse in the bible refers to the coming of Jesus Christ; our Savior. As we reflect on this season much of our reflection should be centered on Jesus. This is what Christmas is about. He came to bring us salvation, what an amazing gift in Him.

Over the course of the past couple of years, many times I have felt overwhelmed with what has happened in our lives. Any one event could have sent someone into a tailspin. However, in every one of these situations, I came to Jesus and my Lord God. I presented my requests, fears and anxiousness to Him. I did this because I knew I could not control what was happening, all I could control is the response. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where I stuffed feelings, or where I would sit and just let the tears flow. But I knew that God would reign, and He had my best interests at heart. God does not want to see His children hurting.

The enemy wants us to get caught up in the “things” of this life. He wants us to live in the “fears”. When we give into the fears our minds cannot rest, be content, or really present in the moment. We also are not trusting in God, that He will meet our needs because our minds are filled with lies and fear.
During this Christmas season, rest, reflect, and take in what Christmas is really about. Our Saviour came to set an example for us, and to save us from the hurts or the pain. Be content in this season, and fill your mind with joy, thanksgiving, love and happiness. Be “present”, because that action in itself makes all the difference.