Blessings In Disguise CAN Be Hard To See

I have always had a fondness for inspiring legends or tales that have a nugget of wisdom attached.

As a young girl I would devour books about famous people in history.

I loved folk lore, autobiographies, and historical novels.

One of my best friends as a child was the man who ran the bookmobile that would come to my small town once a month.

 

He would always allow me to check out at least 10 books each month, then he would have me tell him about each one when I returned them.

He helped instill in me a thirst for knowledge that continues today.

One of my favorite stories was a Chinese tale from HuaiNanzi.

 

I read this particular book when I was in high school, I was studying to do an essay on the different influences that have helped shape the modern world.

The Huainanzi is a book about the successful rule using a balance of broad knowledge, diligent application, and the penetrating wisdom of a sage.

One of my favorite stories in the book was about an old man who lost a horse.

This fable seems very relevant in today’s world:

I will share it with you now.

“One night the horse broke out of its pen and ran away. The man’s son cried, “Father, our prized horse has run away! How could this happen? This must be the worst day of our lives!”

The father smiled and calmly replied, “Is that so? Are you so certain?”

Shortly after the horse came back and along with the single horse came many more and now the poor farmer had a herd of horses. The son happily exclaimed, “Father, our horse has brought us more horses than I ever thought we could have! This is the greatest day of our lives!”

The wise father smiled and said calmly, “Is that so? Are you so certain?”

The next morning the son got up early to try and ride one of the new horses. He was bucked off and broke his leg. The farmer’s son said, “Father, I have broken my leg and now I cannot work in the fields. We may lose our crops. This is the worst day of my life.”

The father smiled and calmly replied, “Is that so? Are you so certain?”

Then war broke out in the state and the government sent soldiers to all the villages to recruit the young men for their front lines. They came to the farmer’s home for his son. They took the horses from him but upon seeing the son’s broken leg they did not take him. After the soldiers had left the village with all the other young men the farmer’s wife said, “This is the happiest day of our lives.”

The father smiled and calmly replied, “Is that so? Are you so certain?”

This reminds me of another one of my favorite books as a child. “A tale of two cities by Charles Dickens.”

The road of life has all kinds of twists and turns that are unforeseen.

What may look like the worst of times may provide the opportunity for something else.

At the same time, it may be during those abundant times when things look like they are all going smoothly that you find your life has suddenly been derailed.

No one is immune to the highs and lows of life.

Those who do best are the ones who know how to handle both in moderation and do not over react when in deep valleys or high peaks.

My mom has a favorite saying, she was a wise woman and used it often, during both good and trying times throughout my childhood. She would stroke my cheek and say,

 

This taught me that life is what we decide to make it be.

Once you finally understand this whole idea of moderation, you will begin to experience freedom from the bonds that have lead to the emotional roller coaster ride you called your life.

The middle road does not mean to turn your emotions off.

It simply means that you learn how to recognize the power you possess inside your mind to separate yourself from the circumstances you are facing.

 

Stop reading for just a minute and really let that sink in. Re-read that last part if you need to because it is HUGE!

The reason I want to make sure you get what I just said is because once you understand this truth, all of the outside circumstances, good or bad, will suddenly not feel as climatic and dismal.

You will understand that…They are just circumstances.

You become empowered.

You become wise.

When you get that, you will have just uncovered the lost treasure that will allow you to live an abundant life.

A life filled to the brim with experiences, and the wisdom to enjoy them when they are good…

OR…

To learn from them when they may not be so good.

I have a very dear friend who has faithfully served our country for over 20 yrs in the United States Army. He is a loyal husband, a dedicated father and a faithful friend.

He has been struggling since retiring from the Army to find a civilian job because he has gained so many skills in the Army that many companies felt he was OVER-qualified, and would not hire him.

He has handled this difficult situation like the true Soldier he is, and I could not be more proud to call him my friend.

Last night he told Jeff and I that he has finally found a job.

So today, I want to dedicate this post to Him.

Congratulations Kip!

You are an example to us all!

You show by example how to take the good and the bad in stride.

 

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Top 5 Tips for Mothers.

 

What would you be doing right now if you truly believed in yourself?

 

As I reflect back over my life, one thing is very obvious to me…

The quality and destiny of our life is greatly determined by our level of self-esteem.

If we have a high level of self-esteem, we are more likely to use and develop our many talents.

In the same token, if we have low self-esteem, our talents often go undeveloped and we may underachieve.

So what does this have to do with parenting?

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As parents, we want our children to feel good about themselves and feel fulfilled as adults. It should be the top priority if you care at all about their future.

So having been a mom for nearly 20 yrs now, I have developed a list of the top 5 ways to raise self confident children.

I feel that I am qualified to speak on this subject due to the fact that my kids have endured many trials and struggles in their lives, and still have very high levels of self esteem.

And I feel very strong that the ways I have accomplished this need to be shared with my readers today.

So Here are my five tips that you can do now that can assure high self-esteem for your children.

#1 Celebrate, honor and nurture your child’s uniqueness. 

Sometimes this can be difficult especially when your child displays qualities that you are not fond of.

Our natural tendency is to encourage the things we agree with… AND discourage the things we don’t like.

I believe that most children want to please us.

So as parents, we need to be careful that we do not discourage the true spirit of our children.

I know a few people who are not happy in their work today because they are doing what they think their parents want them to do rather than what would make them truly happy. That is so sad to me, life is too short to waste it on a losing battle like, “people pleasing”.

All four of my children are so different from each other. This has taught me to stop and really listen to them, so that I don’t accidentally discourage their dreams.

Figuring out what makes them tick, can also be a bonus when it comes to discipline, you can use that knowledge to keep them on the straight and narrow path.

Once you have identified their “currency”, you can use that knowledge as leverage in those inevitable battles that will pop up. By taking away the thing they love for a short time, you will teach them to self-govern and thereby increase their confidence.

 

#2 Use parenting methods that encourage personal responsibility. 

Offering children choices and opportunities to make decisions, express their opinions and develop leadership, shows children HOW to think not WHAT to think.

I am a firm parent when it comes to letting my kids suffer the consequences of their own choices.

It is difficult to resist the urge to rescue them when they get in trouble.

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But by letting them suffer the consequences, (while I stand NEXT to them and assure them that my love is unconditional,)  I am teaching them that I can’t always fix the situations that they have created themselves which will naturally teach them personal responsibility. It also creates in them an understanding of cause and effect, thereby strengthening their decision making abilities.

Once a child understands that the life they are experiencing is a direct result of their choices and nobody else, they then have the knowledge to improve their lives through their choices, and will not likely ever fall prey to the “VICTIM MENTALITY”.

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#3 Model and teach your children the value of contributing.

Being helpful is often the thing that makes us feel truly valuable. The more your child finds their value by being helpful, the more support your child will receive from society.

One of my favorite sayings is:

I love to take my children to work with me and give them a special job to do around the school.

This summer My 12 yr old is in charge of preparing the greenhouse at the school for the upcoming school year. I have given him a list of supplies, and cleaning chores associated with this assignment. I have made arrangements with the Principal to have him recognized for his work.

Each time I am able to give my children jobs like this, I see them grow in confidence. They understand that they were important in a big project and can have pride in knowing that they are making life better for themselves and others.

#4 Instruct your child to be proactive.

 

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It can be extremely discouraging to feel powerless.

One of the best ways to empower your child is to explore together many solutions to a problem, go through possible consequences of each solution, and choose a solution that serves the interest of everyone involved.

Children who have this tutelage gain a lot of confidence in solving problems, whereas… those who never receive this kind of teaching often find themselves stuck in a pattern of being a victim, and will tend to carry on this pattern as an adult.

I speak to my children often about issues such as money, and my schedule.

I have them sit with me as I pay the monthly bills and tell them that when I stay on top of my financial obligations, I have more freedom with my money.

I have taught them since they were young to do all the things that each day gives them to do, otherwise the “TO DO” list will just keep growing and eventually they will reach a point of overwhelm.

This concept applies to every area of life, so make sure your children understand that they have the power to stay on top of their health, money, chores, grades, etc. This will give them a firm sense of control over their lives.

 

#5 Impart to your child the importance of valuing what he thinks and feels about himself over what others think of him. 

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I cannot stress this point enough.

It took me forty years to understand this, and once I did, the quality of my life improved immediately.

When children start to think that another’s opinion is more valuable than theirs, they lose their sense of self.

A great toll is taken when children give up who they are in order to be liked by others.

I have suffered through years of abuse and pain because of this very issue.

If I had only understood that it was not only OK, but necessary for me to stand firm in my truth, and demand that I be treated fairly, I would have prevented so much unnecessary pain in my life.

This is a lesson I spend lots and lots of time teaching my children. I now do it by example as well as through role playing and conversations when they have issues that arise with friends.

This is one of the most valuable gifts you will bless your children with… The knowledge that they are perfect exactly as they are.

I tell my kids that if someone needs them to change in order to like them, then that person didn’t like them in the first place and they should “walk away” from those kind of friends.

Your child’s self-esteem is critical to his future success.

The investment of time in building your child’s self-esteem now will benefit not only your child but also your community!

Sorry I have been away for so long.

I have not deliberately been ignoring you.

 

 

I have been going through some very exciting life changes.

Jeff and I purchased a new home together so we could begin our new life in a home that was brand new for us both.

So as of June 12, I am now the proud Mrs. Jensen.

 

I married the man of my dreams last Friday in a very small ceremony that only included our parents, my children, a few of my siblings, and Jeff’s best friend from childhood and my best friend from childhood.

It was the small sweet ceremony that we both wanted.

I don’t believe in “The ONE true Love”, or a “single soulmate” that we are predestined to meet and fall in love with.

I have met and fallen in love with 2 men before Jeff.

I had children with both of those men.

I spent years of my life with both of them.

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But never before have I ever experienced a healthy mutually fulfilling relationship, like the one I enjoy with Jeff.

It has been quite a journey for me to get to the place I am today, because before I could ever hope to be part of a healthy relationship, I first needed to become healthy myself.

When my last marriage ended, I was a shattered, broken person, who was barely able to survive the day.

My life had no quality to it at all.

But because I had promised my son Victor at his funeral that I would somehow find a way to create a beautiful life for me and the kids, I knew that I had to learn how to survive.

In the process of learning how to survive, I accidentally discovered how to THRIVE!

My journey started with a paintbrush.

I painted some murals at the school so that I could quietly grieve and heal from the sudden loss I had experienced when Victor had committed suicide.

By choosing to do the one thing that I loved to do, I opened up doors of opportunity in my life that I could never have imagined myself.

By painting in a public building, I was stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing my talent with the world for the very first time.

(Up to that point, only my closest friends and family had any idea that I could draw and paint.)

That first small step of trust, taught me how to take bigger steps.

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Suddenly out of nowhere, I was painting for friends in their homes.

Then they had friends that I didn’t know wanting me to paint their homes too.

Then I started having requests for special order items to give as gifts.

In three years time I had a business that was growing steadily, and as my business grew, so was my confidence.

Then after three years of running my business, I took a chance and started this blog.

I had learned so much about faith, hope and healing that I was literally exploding with the need to share that knowledge with SOMEONE.

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I knew that the lessons the Lord had taught me were for a greater purpose and that purpose was to share my message of faith, hope and redemption with as many people as possible.

Within a year I had over 2,000 followers between the social media sites that I post on.

By the end of my second year that number had doubled.

Then this year I was invited to be a featured luminary on Inspire Me Now.com.

Then Mary Tupy asked me to write a chapter in her book about love, so I was published this year as well.

As I stood up at my wedding, looking my sweetheart in the eye, I was overcome with the reality, that I don’t hardly even recognize the shattered and broken woman that I once was.

I stood there with him, holding hands and knew that I was offering him a partner who was whole, healthy and complete all on my own. And with him at my side, I will be even more complete.

Jeff believes in me.

He is proud of me.

He encourages me.

But most of all, he unconditionally loves me.

When he wraps me in his arms, I am home!

It was quite the journey to find myself, but I am so very thankful that I made the trip.

It was worth every tear, and every lesson to get where I am today.

I want to end my post today with the song, “Here” by Rascal Flatts.

It is a perfect song for where my life has led me and the way I feel about my past.

I love you Jeff!

 

 

 

Vulcan Mind Meld

 

What if I could download, directly to your brain,
the secret to engineering a total life turnaround?

There is a method in the Eastern traditions called “Sympathetic Joy”.

What is this you ask…

It is simply feeling in the joy and happiness of others.

For example, lets say that you have a child who is going off to college for the first time and you are anticipating feeling sad and lonely when they leave.

By utilizing the “sympathetic Joy method”, you can actually train yourself to feel what your child is feeling at the prospect of going to college.

You do this by making a daily practice of sitting quietly and connecting with the joy of your child.

Within 30 days, your mind will begin to feel the same feelings as your child.

When I first started this practice, I will admit, it felt very phony.

I was even a little embarrassed.

But I was determined to see it through, so I kept at it.

By the time my child graduated and was ready to leave, I was actually feeling very happy for him.

The feelings of sadness that I had anticipated earlier never did surface.

I was able to send him out into his adult life with joy and my blessing.

The painter Magritte, when asked about his mysterious surrealist images, commented, ” It is the best proof of my break with the absurd mental habits that take the place of an authentic feeling of existence.”

Is it possible to bring our “absurd mental habits” into awareness?

Can we actually learn how to attune our minds not just to our-self, but to others as well?

 My answer to those questions is a resounding YES!

For me, the moment of awareness came to me after the death of my son.

I was forced to accept the fragility of life.

I could no longer deny that life can end in a moment, with no notice or warning.

This has led me on a quest for happiness. The kind of happiness that can exist even in the saddest of times.

By determining that I was going to live my life to the fullest.

Love my family and friends completely,

and never waste on second of the time I was given,

I have discovered a rare and precious jewel…

A clear vision of how the choices I make, which are motivated from the place I’m in at any given moment- can literally turn me either toward a positive experience or a negative one..

I have rarely fallen into the cynical mood that dominated my life prior to Victor’s death, and for me that is a rare and precious jewel.

One of the reasons that Monet is one of my favorite painters is because of how he was able to invite the world to join him in seeing the world in a fresh new way.

Art historians tell us that Monet’s remarkable impressionist works were partly an expression of the distorted perceptions induced by his cataracts. As his vision became increasingly blurred, he went on painting through the years, depicting what he saw.

Monet took great care in his study of light, and the way that light altered what we see.

The point for him seems not to have been whether the landscape was foggy or clear, but rather how he captured light on the canvas.

He single- handedly changed the way artists use light on canvas. We no longer just assume that the quality of the painting is determined by the clarity of the image, but we also now judge it’s quality based upon the artists ability to capture the qualities of light on the images in the painting.

Can you allow yourself to perceive anew?

Is your vision blurred by past events that are making it difficult to focus on happiness?

Do you believe it is possible to find wisdom , or at the very least clarity , in the thick of confusion?

I guess the question really comes down to where we focus our attention.

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When you focus on negative things and feelings, then all you will see is NEGATIVE.

But if you can train your mind to identify the positives in every situation, and every person, then you will notice your life becoming a more positive and secure place to exist.

Dr Beck, a renowned Psychiatrist has found that people who typically view the glass as half empty are not just more pessimistic, they are also more susceptible to a depressed mode.

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So, I guess the Vulcan Mind Meld, is just a fictional theory from one of my all time favorite TV shows, and movies, and not something real…

But I honestly believe that life is filled to the brim with opportunities to practice compassion.

By attuning ourselves to these opportunities we will strengthen our mindfulness, which will increase our awareness, and therefore bring more clarity and focus into our lives…

So I guess in a way the Vulcan Mind Meld does exist in real life after all. 

By listening and empathizing with others we are learning to attune to the genuine essence of people.

Once we know that negative moods will happen to every one of us, we can develop compassion and acknowledge their moods, but not get sucked into them, or become distracted by them.

This applies to our own moods as well.

I hope that each and every one of you will attempt to learn the process of “Sympathetic Joy” and allow it to grow and strengthen your ties with the people in your life.

I would encourage you to Google the term and learn more about the process. It is after all, the closest us humans on planet Earth will ever get to the Vulcan Mind meld.