My Grown Up Christmas List

What is your Grown Up Christmas List?

My grown up Christmas List has shifted as I age.    Being in my 40s offers a different perspective, I have seen many firsts and lasts… Moments that had good and bad that taken my breath away.    What I have learned is that life is its not good or bad – it is being comfortable in both opposites at the same time.   

Often the moments that take your away your breath also offer the breath of life.   

September this year was one of those months that while my heart was broken, it was restored at the same time.    We lost someone very close to us.  That someone knew how to make me laugh, how to get me going and losing him broke me into pieces at the same time made me stronger.    That someone was my father in law.  Nothing prepares you when you lose someone so very close to you.    The moments before he left his physical form offered so much love.   I remember sitting beside him and massaging his feet, and telling him how much I love him and will miss him.   He asked me to come close to him so he could tell me something in my ear, and in that moment my heart was breaking because I knew the moments to follow would be me letting go of him.  He whispered to me the words of love and thankfulness.  Those words brought tears to my eyes, and at the same time I just wanted to hold on and not let go.   We never really know when the end may come.  That is why when we are here, we have to embrace all that is in the NOW. 

My grown up Christmas is really a wish for all of you reading this today to really embrace the NOW.   

  • Live in the moment and get comfortable with pain and joy.  Joy lifts us up in  the moments where we feel pain.  In the moment where I said good bye, I had the memories of joy that came from time with the ones I love.
  • Offer a hand to help or a smile when you feel like you can’t.   Remember that all that you give out comes right back to you.  How ever hard it may be to muster up the strength to do this , it will help to lift you up as well.
  • Recognize all we have is right now, try to immerse yourself in what is happening right now and remember that the past is over, and the future we have no control over.
  • Take time in your day to do something small or large for someone you don’t know.   In life these little things can mean big things to others, and the more we can show love to one another, contributes to growing love around us in this world where we are exposed to pain every day.  It brings HOPE.
  • We are human, it is often very hard to remove judgement, but remember, we never know what others are experiencing in their lives…. And for that reason try to give grace whenever you can.

Love is really what makes this world go around, don’t take for granted a single moment in showing love to one another.   We never know when the last time may come.

My grown up Christmas list is very simple, take every moment to love.  May you have many blessings over your Christmas.

Luv Ness

 

 

 

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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

The Power of Choice

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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

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,

Thanksgiving in Second Chances

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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

Are You Lost in Translation?

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Sometimes I get stuck,  I get lost in translation.   I interpret, I misinterpret and I analyze.     The original meaning is then lost, and then I create a meaning that makes sense to me.       Have you ever experienced this?   

  • You interpret a look or action
  • You interpret something that is said
  • You assume you know the meaning behind a text that is sent to you

Don’t we all get lost in translation?   How can one really know the true intent of a moment and action, or a statement unless they seek to completely understand the context?  

To seek to understand before understanding.

I have been there so many times, analytical people or internalizers have been there. 

I assume.  I think I “know”.

I am reminded so many times that my interpretation may be skewed based on my perception, of where I have been and where I am.   

God promises us a future that is free of pain.  He tells us so many times to not lean on our understanding.   To look to Him for guidance.  

I need to slow my thoughts down, and take every moment for what it is.   And if I am confused or concerned, then I have the power to probe and ask questions of intent instead of bottling up and creating a story that is fiction.

Perhaps this moment, if we truly decide to be present, is taking in everything it is?  Perhaps it is allowing us to experience  the feelings and explore?  Perhaps really, it is to let go and respond with an intent that seeks to understand?

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NLT)

In those times where I may experience concern, confusion, perhaps I need to look to Him to lead.    

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

 One of the most amazing prayers that I feel explains this so well is the prayer of St. Francis.

 

 Prayer of St Francis

May you be blessed today friend, and take time to slow down and seek to understand.

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…