Tag Archive | Alive

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

Gratitude

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What if you could choose to be thankful every single day of your life? Sounds like a feat doesn’t it?  But YOU can make it your reality.    

This may be hard to believe amidst the chaos in our lives today.    We race, we run, we are burning the candle at both ends.   What I have realized is it all comes down to balance, and a choosing to focus on what’s working. 

Age is a wonderful thing isn’t it?     The wrinkles are not fun, but our perspective changes and shifts.   If only I could go back in time and tell my younger self to care less about what everyone else thinks.     If you could go back in time what would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self:

1)      You matter – and in order to make yourself a priority you need to love yourself fully from the inside out.

2)      You can – you can do anything you set your mind to – yes it all takes work but if you can see it – you can make it happen.

3)      Love makes the world go round – focus on the ones that need love, and the ones that love you back.    As you show love in your actions, it will come back two fold.

4)      Lead by example – don’t engage in negative talk, remove yourself from all drama.  This will remove most of the stress from your life.

5)      Concentrate on the ones that matter – those people that reciprocate in relationships and where it feels easy.  Don’t force relationships.

6)      Always forgive and let go – this will help you to move forward instead of backward.

7)      Don’t be hard on yourself – there are going to be a million people hard on you in your life so don’t you be one of them.  You need to feed yourself LOVE.

8)      Be thankful every day – start and end your day with gratitude.  Find a couple of things in the day that really made you feel good (small and big).

9)      It is impossible to be 100% to everyone – that bar of being 100% is inside your head.   Let go of being your worst critic.

10)   Live – really live!  Concentrate on the good, and what is working in this life.

Today, when I glance around my life, I am filled with gratitude.   I have so much love, and this life is grand.   Yes there are going to be times where we feel depleted, but YOU have the power to choose a positive perspective.     Life is messy – and that is ok.   It is HOW we choose to spend our time, energy and love that makes all the difference.

As you look at your life and your day today, take some time to take stock of the good.

May you be blessed my friend,

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

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.

Living for the Moment

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33, NIV).

As I read this today, I paused and realized how very fortunate I have been in my life.   God has granted me a life that is full.   There have been moments that took my breath away, but I believe these moments we are meant to experience fully.  Some moments may not be ideal, but they bring us where we need to be.   The light always overcomes the darkness.

As I drive to work every day, on my ride I am overcome by God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His never-ending love, His forgiveness.  I start my morning ride with a prayer, “be my eyes to see what you want me to see, be my ears to hear the words you want me to hear, be my mouth to speak what you want me to speak….”  I pray this with conviction and ask for God to direct my children and husband in the same way.   I then pause, and cry, my eyes water and I feel full of thankfulness.  “Thank-you God for saving me, and giving me a second chance.”

You see not long ago, 4 years ago (January 2011), life changed in a moment.   The moment felt like forever, seconds seemed like minutes, diving into the pool a whisper said, “You are going to be ok, but brace yourself, this is going to be tough, brace your neck.”  The reassurance I felt to my core, and I knew it was Him.     A few days later I had my halo, a halo brace that weighed 8lbs.  A c1 fracture that not many survive displaced and never healed on paper.   But by the grace of God, I chose to TRUST in him.     He has shown me so much, and His grace has extended beyond my greatest expectations.   

By His grace this is what I am learning:

  • Life is about the moments that take your breath away good and bad.
  • Trusting in Him is the only way.
  • Don’t give up when you feel like you can’t take it any-more, He has overcome the world!
  • Start and end the day with Him, He will help me navigate through the days struggles.
  • Family is what matters, live every moment in Love for family, friends and those close to you.
  • Extend a hand when you feel like you can’t. Whether it is sharing a smile or giving love, support to those in need.  We all are hurting, reach out and touch someone, it will make a difference.
  • Live for today, don’t look back.
  • Don’t judge, everyone has a story and we are all children of His.
  • Forgiveness goes a long way, let it go and give it to Him.
  • Love, love, love, spread the love, it has ripple effects.
  • Be grateful, live a life of gratitude. It’s all in the attitude!
  • God is in control, all we have control of is our response.

Thank-you God for all of your love.  Thank-you for leading me to a place I would never change.   Father, I pray that  my days will be filled with your grace.  I thank-you Father for saving me in so many ways and for the blood of Jesus, that promises us a life where the sun is always shining.  You promises are everlasting and I love you with my whole heart.

As you pause this season, may you take all of the moments in fully.  May you be blessed my friends over this season where we have so much to be thankful for.

~Vanessa

What are you grateful for today?  Live for today and spread the love!

If you have a question or a musing for me would love to hear from you, send me an email at nesschesters@gmail.com

A Leap of Faith and a Wee Bit of Courage

 Text2Pic (1)Have there been moments in your life where fear grips you.   The stream of questions that flow through your mind, “What if” “I can’t”.   But what if you can?  

Fear can disable us from living fully. We accumulate, we plan, we hoard and stay stuck based on our fears.   We keep our feelings to ourselves for fear on how we will be judged.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples save him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out with fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord if it is you,” Peter replied, “Tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me.” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why do you doubt?” (Matthew 14:25-31)

 

What is stopping you from moving forward today?   It is your beliefs, is it the pursuit of happiness through materialistic means, is it wanting external validation to feel good about YOU, or is it pain that is deep inside that just won’t let you go?

Grab the courage to move forward, let it go and give it to God.   There is so much good that can come from sharing, loving and climbing that mountain.   Get on those hiking boots, and start the climb, once you reach the top there will be no looking back.  

Take a leap of faith, and a wee bit of courage my friend.