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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

The Power of Choice

power of choice

As a young girl I didn’t realize that my thoughts created my reality.   Years later, as I look back in time, I was often a victim.   Yes, there were circumstances that contributed to this way of thinking, but I was in the dysfunctional emotional triangle.

It is so easy to fall into the triangle of dysfunction.   There are three roles:

  • The Victim: thoughts of poor me, why do they treat me this way, life is always hard, actions that demonstrate feeling unworthy, and the world is against you.
  • The Savior: thoughts of I can save them, they need my help, I need to rescue the situation, actions that demonstrate a sense of urgency at every corner, helping put out fires and acting like superwoman/man in every situation.
  • The Persecutor: thoughts of why did they do that, they caused the problem, it was all their fault, at every corner this person plays the blame game.

Do you see a theme here?   Emotionally driven reactions.     When we are in this triangle we cannot see the situation for what it is.     I was in this triangle for most of my life.   How exhausting hey?   But when you are use to a state of drama in your life, that’s what gravitates towards you on a continual basis.

This leads me to the power of choice.   We all have the power to choose a reaction, and a state that is different.  I have heard people say that I have always been this way, that’s just me, can’t change.   I will respectfully disagree, because we all have the power to choose a different response.   The power of choice is an amazing thing.

There was a moment in my life where everything shifted, and I realized that I had the power to move forward or the power to become a victim of my circumstances.  This occurred when I almost lost my life.    My injury was one that 10% of those people that have the injury survive and live a life where they are able to function normally.   Odds totally against me right?  WRONG.

My choice was to believe in something beyond all of our understanding, to trust in Him completely and move forward in His grace.    Looking back it was a scary time, so much unknown.   I am not free from physical pain, but I choose to believe in the best outcome.  My fracture in my neck never healed or fused completely, but I choose a life that is full.

Every moment of every day I choose to see the good.   There are times where the old habits catch me a bit, and I fall back in for a few moments, but I pull myself back out.    The power of choice is an amazing thing.

YOU my friend have the power to choose the good before the bad, to move forward in your life and create your own silver lining in every circumstance.    What you put out there in life comes full circle.  Do you choose to project the good?   Because I am telling you once you remove the drama, and the emotional dysfunction, life becomes sooooo good.

 

May you be blessed my friend, and know you have the power inside of you in every moment.

~Ness

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

 

Love Wins

love winsWe live in a hurting and broken world.   But amidst this hurting and broken world are moments of love, joy and peace.   Life is good, life is grand if you allow yourself to experience it in its entirety; and observe and be still.  

What drives your sense of being?  When do you feel full? What moments in your life were defining for you?  Could it be moments that you experience deep love and joy? 

I use to think that love could only be experienced when the moments were just perfect.   Happiness is present, joy is present, and everything seems like perfection. 

Over the past years, our family has had their share of pain, suffering and hurting.   There were moments where I stood back and pinched myself, and asked, “Is this for real??”   But I will tell you this much, in those moments I felt the deepest unconditional love that one could ever experience.  

  • A fractured C1, in an 8lb halo, observing my children laughing in the household, my husband holding it together, my parents unsure of what is next for their daughter, my brother calling and checking in, my in-laws travelling to see us and show that they care, feeling so thankful and much gratitude for my beautiful messy life.  I had a second chance and was fully alive.
  • My father in law and my mom both going through health issues that were unbelievable, moments where you wondered if they would live a normal life.   Two moments I recall in my mind, the day I shaved my mom’s hair for the first time, trying to be strong and at the same time feeling like a child.  My mother, so beautiful, so strong, always there for me. Smiling as I glanced at my mom, and told her how beautiful she was.  I was in complete and utter adoration.  Another moment, heading to see my mother in law  in another city.  She was trying to keep everything together, trying to be strong, and at the same time shed a smile for me as we heated up a nice Ukrainian meal for her and one to take to my father in law in the hospital.   I made her laugh in the pain.  She was so appreciative, and felt so loved, and so was my father in law.  He was overjoyed with us coming to see him, not so much the meal but coming and really being there.  I remember thinking, I love these people so much and was so thankful to be able to help in some small way. Unconditional love.

These were moments that made time stand still.   My discovery –  there is purpose in pain, and love shines through.    There can be moments where we feel complete loss, but at the same time, love shines through.   People come together to help, to contribute, and to show how much they care. Unconditional love, expecting nothing in return.

With the recent events in Paris we all are in tune to what is happening.  A beautiful friend of mine is currently in France.   The first person I thought of when all of the events happened was her.  She was recently married, and I wondered where they were.     After connecting, I was reassured she is healthy and good.   She gave me a picture of her experience in the pain.   She has exposed me to a wonderful perspective of purpose in pain:

My favorite part of the news coverage is the words of survivors, because it’s actual quite balanced, revealing all aspects of the situation, not hateful.   Many survivors are saying such wonderful things.  Yes it was a horror.  But they talk about the love, watching people protect their loved ones, the kindness of strangers in helping them escape or hide, and the kindness of strangers in consoling them.   But the most comforting statements of all are about watching people cradle their loved ones as they lay injured/dying, and noting these last conversations were all about love, and the people they loved most.   I love the thought that people’s last thoughts as they suffered were not in fact of the terrorists, were not hateful – but instead positive in that people were thinking of their loved ones.  No, it may not be happiness they were feeling, but it was love.  Such a beautiful thought that in some way, its proof that in those last moments, love won out over hate.  

Love Wins my friends, love shows through the pain, and the adoration we feel for one another is amplified.      No matter what happens, we can choose our response.      Love Wins. 

 

Dear Lord God,

Thank-you for this perspective today, I am rest assured that the happiness and pain bring love.   Love always shines through, and love wins God.   Today I am still, and observe Your great works in the pain.   No one can overcome this.   I pray for those family going through difficulty, illness, or loss right now, help bring them purpose in the pain.   I pray for your love to erode their lives in actions and the reactions of others.   Through this, we will reign.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

 

May you be blessed today my friend, Be Still and Know that He is God and that His Love will always overcome.  

Thanksgiving in Second Chances

image1
In Canada,  we celebrate Thanksgiving on October 12th.    Every year as I approach this wonderful fall weekend, I look back on the moments and am full of gratitude.      We all have been through precious moments that have taken our breath away or experienced bliss or joy.    

In all of the moments lately, I have been hearing God say, just BE.  

Be willing to follow wherever I lead. 

I am unsure of what the next step is, and being a planner like me, it is tough to give up control.  He wants me to give up control, and reassures me that some of the most wondrous blessings are around the bend and have yet to come.

Just BE my child, walk by faith not by sight.  Trust in ME.

This is a simple ask, and at times in my life has been hard to listen.   What I have discovered, when I try to control an outcome, and choose not to trust, uneasiness sets in all around.

It wasn’t long ago, that He asked me to walk by faith.     I remember it was just like yesterday, I was sitting in my front room, and my two beautiful gifts were sleeping.   Earlier that day I found out that after being in a halo for 80 days to stabilize my spine, my C1 fracture (hangman’s fracture) did not fuse together.    Worry and anxiousness set in, and I sat in disbelief and stared at my bible.  The voice of fear crept in.   Not knowing what the future held for me, tears fell down my face.    What kind of mother would I be?   What if I couldn’t participate in every day life the way I did before?  Why did I make such a stupid decision that would change my life for ever?   I hurt the people I loved, and this all was my payment.  

The thoughts were of fiction, a story I was creating in my head.    God wanted to restore me, refine me and bring forward the truth.     I turned the page and John 10:10 was revealed.    My thoughts were being stolen, and I did not trust the truth.    God saved me for a reason.  In that moment, I felt like I was being asked, “Do you Trust me?   Do you trust that my acts are beyond all comprehension?  Do you trust that I love you?”

Tears continued to flow, and I realized in that very moment –  I was not stepping out in faith.   I was given a second chance for a reason.   I chose in that moment to trust completely and let go of the fear.  

Four years later, I feel like I still have some work to do.   There are moments where I get lost, and I still let my mind wonder into the “what if” scenarios.   But He has reassured me, that He is miraculous and Promises me he is in control, and I am His miracle.    I need to walk by faith and not sight when I feel anxious, or unsure.     

Thank-you Father on this Thanksgiving for second chances, thank-you for allowing me to be here and present with the ones I love. I am thankful for the gifts you have given me in so many ways.   On this Thanksgiving, I am so very grateful for my babies, their father and the love of family and friends.   I am His miracle, in flesh, my fracture has never fused, but my life is better than it was before.

Dear Lord God, thank-you for loving me the way you do.  Help me to walk by faith and not sight.   When life gets messy, be the navigator; reassure me, and fill my mind with your voice.    I know you are here with me always, and Trust you have my best interests at heart.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

Be blessed, Ness

To learn more about my C1 fracture experience go to my personal blog on Being Fully Alive

The Gift of Friendship

gift of friendshipFriendships – we all have them.    Over the years, I have come to realize that these gems in my life really help me navigate through life’s hills and valleys.    As a young girl, I wanted so bad to be accepted.    I wanted that special friendship that many girls had, and many times I was envious.     We moved around a lot and it sometimes was hard to make lasting relationships.      But life has come full circle for me, and I am so fortunate to have a few friends that make me laugh until my stomach hurts, and help me navigate through the ups and downs in this life.       God has been so good to me; He gave me what I needed in His perfect time.

I have sorted through what makes a good friend many times, and there has been times in my life where I thought the relationship was something it wasn’t.     There are seasons in friendships too, people change, we evolve, we shift, and our focus changes.  Sometimes we have to let go, and see where the relationship goes.   Sometimes it will leave and come back.     Flexibility with the changes is key – if the relationship can be flexible, it likely will last.  

Some of the elements that I believe are essential in a great friendship are:

  • The friendship is built on trust. What you see is what you get, if there is ever a bump or problem you can deal with it open and honestly.
  • There is no envy or jealousy that exists in the relationship. You truly are happy when something good happens to the friend you love.   You don’t wish for what they may have, rather you are excited for them and want to throw a party for their new opportunities.
  • You want the best for them no matter what.   Sometimes this means being the only honest one in their lives to tell them when something may not be working.   You hurt for them when they receive the information, but you know that you have their best interests at heart.
  • The relationship is easy. It is not forced in any way.   It should be effortless in all interactions. 
  • You pick up where you left off every time you see each other. No time has passed.  It seems like it was just yesterday that you saw each other.   
  • There are no expectations; the relationship is based on love and is unconditional. As we overlay expectations, if someone does not fulfill the expectation there is disappointment.   The expectations of ourselves are different, we are not facing what the other person is facing in their day to day life, and therefore we should remove judgement from the circumstance, and always respond in love and understanding. Seek first to understand.
  • You can be completely honest always.

I am so very fortunate to have a few relationships like this.   I am thankful for my girls that keep me strong and give me a strong cup of coffee when I need it.   I am also thankful for the times where we laugh so hard that our stomachs hurt.   Thank-you for the wrinkles.  I am thankful for you, and wanted you to know it.    

Love Ness

The Power of Now ~ Living in the Present

image1There is so much Power of Living in the Present.

I have heard many people say that they want to live in the present – including me.   I have had many circumstances in this life that have taken my breath away and caused me to reflect and re-evaluate.

Time and time again, I am not demonstrating living in the now.   But as I catch myself getting caught up in the what ifs, the lists, but I am aware, and I make an adjustment.   They say that awareness is the first step.   But is it?

We can be keenly aware of what needs to change, but if we don’t work at it continually, and do not commit, we can slip back into old patterns.

I have said many times, I cannot control “what” happens (the what is up to God), but I can control the “how”. How I choose to respond makes all the difference.  

James 4:13 says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.”’

This is so true, we do not know what will happen tomorrow.   All we have is NOW. All we have is the present.   I choose to let God lead.  

I have also found that if I look ahead too far, that I get overwhelmed of what needs to be accomplished, or the busyness if this life.   Instead, I choose NOW. This is a bit of a leap for a Type A personality, perfectionist, planner… But He has refined me.

  • What can I do right now at this moment?
  • I choose to not look ahead, but let NOW happen.
  • I choose to immerse myself in the right now, and take a little pieces at a time. These little pieces are big pieces because they are moments that I will never get back.
  • I choose not to be overwhelmed with my “TO DO’s” and break it down into the NOW.
  • I choose to listen intently when people are speaking to me right NOW.
  • I choose to offer a hand or a smile right NOW because it has ripple effects.
  • I choose not to fear of what is to come.
  • I choose gratitude, and have been given abundance beyond my wildest dreams.
  • I choose love, I choose to let go and move on in a positive direction.
  • I choose to let God lead, He is the navigator of my ship.

Thank-you Lord, you have told me so many times, that tomorrow has enough worries. Thank-you for the moments that have taken my breath away, and the moments that have made me realize that all we have is NOW.   Guide me Lord, help me to choose what is important, help me to focus on the NOW.   I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

 

Thank-you for popping by, may you be blessed.

~Ness