The END RESULT looks EFFORTLESS…but it WASN’T

God created us to be happy and joyous.

 

It is all too easy to be bogged down by negative experiences or life challenges.

Like I said yesterday…

Every day, we can choose our responses to our circumstances.

On my own unique journey through  life, I’ve learned to choose happy, joyful and positive thoughts during challenging times
or
in situations that are trying to bring me down.
I have learned to embrace the mantra
“that it was only a mistake if I didn’t learn anything from it.
If I learned something from it, it was a LESSON.”

But today I want to talk about another conscious choice that I have made in life that I believe is just as powerful as choosing happiness is if your desire is to create a joyous life.

And that other choice is:

Good old-fashioned 

They really can bring you far in life.

I read a great quote the other day on the internet,

“Some people are lucky– but the harder I work the luckier I get!”

 

That quote really struck a chord within me because quite often people come up to me and tell me how lucky I am to be so talented.

I remind them that it doesn’t come from luck—

it comes from years and years of hard work and practice.

What they’re seeing is an end result that looks effortless and easy, but it came from more than 20 years of ups and downs– and endless attempts at learning to paint and write.

 Good work ethics bring great things:

knowledge,

satisfaction,

confidence,

and

good Karma!

My grandfather taught my father to always look ahead.

He used to say, “Have the next tool ready for me when I need it–that way we can finish this project sooner.”

I apply that approach in all areas of my life, whether I am working at the school,

painting a mural,

or helping a friend.

I envision how I must prepare for the next task at hand– and I gather the tools and knowledge that I need before moving ahead.

I find that when I work hard, there is always a positive return, even when the outcome is a negative experience to learn from.

 

By gathering the tools I need and applying a tough work ethic, I have been able to achieve my goals and dreams.

3badd-create2byour2bluck

 

 

 

 

But a good work ethic applies to much more than just our jobs.

For example:

When I was a young mother, I ate a lot of junk food and survived on soda.

I never knew how to eat properly and in my early twenties, I put on a lot of weight.

By the end of my thirties, I was not healthy at all. I had a check up where I was told that I needed to begin taking over 10 pills a day just to keep myself going.

I REFUSED to take the easy way out by swallowing a bunch of pills every day, and instead fought back.

I told the doctor that I was unhealthy because I had spent over ten years treating my body like it was a vending machine.

I vowed to learn how to eat healthier, lose weight, and begin a daily exercise routine.

Now at the age of 44, I weigh less than I did when I was 24.

My doctor no longer thinks I need medication, I am a very healthy woman.

BUT…

In order to regain my health, I needed a strong work ethic to carry me through the task.

 

At the end of each day, I take a few minutes to look at  myself in the mirror and ask myself this question:

” Did you do all that you could today?”

Then I ask myself a second question:

“Would God be pleased with the work you accomplished in His name today?”

I have found that the more I serve and help others, the more enriched my own life becomes.

I try to live my life by this personal quote of mine:
“If you do good, good will come upon you.”

I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.

Do something fun with your family. Make some memories together.

 

 

 

How Much of Life can we ACTUALLY Control?

Here’s what I know for sure, Happiness Is A Choice.

In the past, my life was overwhelming.
It was full of sadness,
financial struggles,
relationship betrayals,
and even, the death of a child.

While I was walking down that particular path in my life,

I literally could not see the forest for the trees.

I was unaware of the reality that there was so much more that I was capable of.

BUT… through mindset and beliefs, I slowly began to discover that inside of myself there lived a power that was capable of designing my life in any way I decided I wanted it to look.

I had a creative force that was lying dormant inside of me that could paint the picture of my life in much the same way that I paint murals.

IMG_0635

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first needed to decide on the style of picture.

Then narrow it down to a specific idea,

and then use my paintbrush to bring it to life.

 

The difficulty in accessing this creative power that lies within is that the hustle of life is filled with people, events, and stimuli, there’s no avoiding it.

The weather.

Traffic.

People we encounter in our day.

societies ideas about life and how we should react and feel in any given situation.

The trick in accessing this power is to acknowledge that the stimuli  we encounter throughout the day is neither

GOOD

OR

BAD;

They are NEUTRAL,

AND… often cannot be controlled.

Everyday, we are presented with hundreds of situations.

Yesterday, my teenage daughter presented me with a situation that was difficult for me to hear and accept.

I had a choice in that moment with her to either get angry and REJECT her ideas and cause her pain…

OR

Listen to her side of the story and use this moment as a teaching opportunity.

I chose to teach her about life.

I chose NOT to crush her fragile spirit with my hurt feelings,

but

Rather be her parent and guide her through adolescence gently and carefully so that she to will learn how to create HAPPINESS in her very own life.

That is what makes life beautiful, our ability to CHOOSE our reactions. 

Sure they are usually going to be based on our beliefs.

BUT that doesn’t change the fact that, we have total self-power to choose how to

view,

approach

and

respond

to the stimuli in our lives.

We control our responses.

We control our happiness.

We can choose happy,

peace

and

calm

just as easily as

we can choose

anger,

overwhelm

and

chaos.

 

 So here is a simple way to show you what I believe this creative power consists of.

Stimulus → ( the event)

Belief → (your thoughts about the event)

Response. (your feelings and actions)

 

 

Allow me to illustrate with an example:

Stimulus:

My father has had a few strokes that has completely changed his life. He can no longer walk or work like he has always done in the past. He is now dependent on us for his care.
(There actually is nothing is good or bad about the stimulus, it’s neutral)

Belief:

My belief surrounding my dads present condition is that he is doing the best he can at any given moment.

 I love him for the amazing man he has always been,

BUT…

I cannot control the past or future.

 I am what I think, and I choose to ooze love and acceptance to help my dad know that I am honored to care for him during this period in his life.

Response:

I love my dad in the present moment and choose to celebrate him right where he’s at.

I choose a respectful, peaceful, authentic attitude when he needs my help.

I choose to love first and take action second.

I choose happy.

Does my Belief and Response mean I stop advocating, researching and finding ways to make his life more comfortable?

Not a chance!

I do everything in my power daily to assist him to thrive in his new and often frustrating world so that he can be as happy and comfortable as he can be.

I have discovered that when I Follow the Stimulus→Belief→Response method

I am reminded almost constantly that:

I am in full control of my happiness and the design I choose for each and every single day of my life.

Nobody else controls my beliefs.

I choose my thoughts, actions and responses, and thus, choose happiness.

 

With a clear and precise mindset,
Combined with a conscious commitment to my core beliefs,
I have discovered that it is really as simple for me to shift my life from a life filled with clutterchaos and overwhelm

to a place of peace, calm and happy,

as it is for me to completely transform a room with paint.

This I know for sure,

Can Failure REALLY be a GOOD thing?

 

I believe everything we need to succeed is inside us as children,

it often gets slowly pushed out of us as we grow older.

By the time we’re teenagers we have either forgotten these lessons
or
been forced to bury them.

 

If you are like me,

DEEP inside you don’t feel any different than you did at age ten or twelve,

EXCEPT…

That you likely don’t play baseball anymore,

AND you probably haven’t done a somersault in years.

(I am not suggesting you start.)

What I am saying is that you get back a few of those great qualities you had as a kid that kept your mind open to possibility and made life fun, interesting, and full of hope.

Here’s a few ideas on how you can do just that:

 

#1: Learn to enjoy failure.

If you really stop and think about it long and hard…

Everything you did as a kid required  TRYING & FAILING.

Climbing a tree,

Riding a bike,

or tying your shoes

all forced you to fumble and fail.

But you did not care.

Mistakes were just part of the process.

You had no embarrassment or shame –

only a desire to go faster to learn and master all of the exciting things that were ahead of you.

One of the most powerful ways you can immediately Rid yourself from fear of failure is to start learning RIGHT NOW how you can let go of what other people think about you.

 

 

The obsession with perfection, fearing mistakes and failure ruins opportunities and destroys your potential.

Oh and another thing, failures teach you valuable lessons just like they did when you were young.

Ever burn your hand on a hot stove?

See, you never did that again, did you?

 

#2: Start asking.

Have you ever spent much time around a child?

If so, you know that they NEVER stop asking questions.

When you were young you were the very same way.

You asked questions all the time because you were curious.

As adults we have let go of that great skill.

We  start to just assume we can predict what people are thinking.

We THINK we already KNOW what they will do.

 

Exactly how they will answer our question.

We assume they won’t buy,

they won’t help,

or that they are not interested.

Now that may be true, but how do you know for sure?

Rejection is all around.
But avoiding rejection from others means you reject yourself first!

Give other people the opportunity to say no and don’t make assumptions.

 

#3: Don’t take no for an answer.

giphy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, I am not suggesting you become a spoiled brat.

I am NOT advocating that you throw yourself down on the ground and pound your fists and feet until you get your own way…

I am just trying to jog your memory a little bit so I can help you remember the tenacity you had as a child.

 Back then…One ‘no’ from someone was simply an invitation to open the conversation.

It was the starting place to getting to where we wanted to go.

 

We got creative and bargained,

We learned how to persuade and convince –

(even if it was just for a nickel to buy a gumball.)

It was a great skill!

So don’t take that ‘no’ so easily.

Remember that NO is quite often the beginning of a relationship, and often ends in a YES if we are patient and positively persistent.

I hope that by now you are starting to remember all the hope and possibility you had as a kid and that it can be found once again.

YOU need to tap back into these traits to do it.

They are still there just waiting for you to remember them.

My latest Mural… “Everyone Needs A Friend”

This weekend I painted a mural for a very special little girl. 

My very own daughter.

The BEST part about this mural was that she actually helped me paint it. She has displayed exceptional talent in the arts since she was two years old. So as you look at the pictures for this mural, keep in mind that she painted every bit from beginning to end on the mane and tail of the brown horse. She is only ten years old, so her talent is pretty incredible.

  IMG_0614                  

Here is what her room looked like when we started.

Plain, boring white walls…

But for me, white walls are just a blank canvas that I can create a whole new world on. 

So bring on the white walls!

  IMG_0616                   The first thing I always do when I am painting a mural is get the background blocked in. Once you have established the position of the background, putting the main image into the painting becomes a whole lot easier.

I used a gray sky  ACE hardware brand paint in semi gloss latex for the sky. For the ground I used the same brand in a Terra cotta color.

  IMG_0619                  

Once you have the background in place you are now ready to draw the main image on the wall.

I like to use a overhead projector to blow the picture up. I will draw out the mural on a plastic paper and then use the machine to project it and make it life size.  This saves me hours of painstaking drawing time. By doing it this way I am able to see exactly where I want the picture to sit on the wall, and know how the entire picture will look BEFORE I ever start drawing.

SO that is my time saving tip for the day

 

Once you have the image sketched on the wall you can begin to color in the picture.

The first layer of paint will be a lot like coloring a page in a coloring book. There won”t really be any detail yet and the image will look very flat and lifeless at first, but don’t get discouraged. As each new layer of paint goes on, the more dimension your picture will acquire.

IMG_0620                       See how flat the horses look right now. That is NORMAL, and shouldn’t discourage you at all. Just keep on painting. It really does get a lot better. IMG_0621                 Here is another angle of the picture. From this angle you can see how that shadow I blocked in under the horses chin is already starting to create some dimension.   IMG_0624                 In this picture you can see how I am starting to add the different shades of color to the horses skin and mane and tail. This simple act of using lighter and darker shades of the same base color will create the look of muscles on the horse, and give movement to the hair on the mane and tails.   IMG_0626                   In this picture, you can see all the little details that I painted in the eye to make it look round and realistic. I also added some white to her face to give her a little bit more personality.   IMG_0627                   We did the same thing with the black mare. We gave her eyes some detail and then extended her mane so it partially covered her eye. We wanted to give the illusion of a thick, bushy mane on the black horse. IMG_0630                   Here is the finished mural. To complete the background I painted the cactus using four different shades of green paint. By doing this I am able to give the illusion of a round object on a flat wall. Then we just added a few ground details and other desert plants to the wall and that completed the painting. This mural took us 10 hrs to complete.

  Here are a few more pictures of the finished mural.            

Sorry I haven’t Written for a while…

This time of year is extremely busy for me,

(I am sure I am not alone)

Anyone with kids knows that the last month of school is NON-STOP activity for the kids, and their parents.

BUT in addition to that CRAZINESS…

At work, when springtime hits, my work load literally triples.

I still have the same amount of work to do inside the school that has kept me HOPPING all winter long,

Once  Springtime arrives, I also have over 6 acres of lawns to maintain at the school.

It is important to me that the school looks well groomed and beautiful for my community and the students.

The part that is difficult these last few years has been the fact that the sprinkler system at the school is over 30 yrs old, and needs lot’s of tender loving care to keep it running properly.

Image result for old sprinkler pipes

So, by the time my day is finished at the school, I have no energy left to sit and write a quality blog.

I miss the release that I get when I put my thoughts down in writing.

Writing for me is such a powerful way to keep my head clear and my mind sharp.

 

But when the body is so physically exhausted, the mind does not seem to have much to say. 🙂

So I am crossing my fingers and hoping that by next week, I will have all the broken sprinklers replaced and working on their own.

Just know that I miss you all deeply and that you are in my prayers!

 

 

Cultivating Hope

As I was watching the news this morning,

I heard a story of a stand off that led to the death of a canine officer.

4d5de0e1-d6de-4251-8bec-27a4e132e4fe-updofficerwithdog

 

The robbery of a bank.

The battles over which bathroom to use

Boycott-Target-AFA

AND…

And the immature rantings of the presidential candidates.

I was DISGUSTED!

I felt overwhelmed with worry about the future of our nation.

Have you ever felt the same way.

INSTEAD of focusing our attention on all of this negativity, and allowing ourselves to become discouraged by all the discord we see in the world,

We changed our focus to the one change that changes everything:

CHANGING HOW WE LEAD.

We each hold in our very own hands the key to move beyond Hope and INTO transformational change by looking at life differently and making different choices.

We frequently use the
terms LEADERSHIP and MANAGEMENT 
interchangeably
as if they mean the same thing.

They don’t.

We lead people.

We manage things,

 

Leading is about our humanness,

Our relationships

And our interactions with each other.

Leaders are those who choose to make the shift from success – (acquiring and accumulating material things)

To significance,

And in doing so they naturally make a positive difference in everyone’s life.

 

Some people believe they have earned the right to be leaders.

Some are confident our experience or our education means we deserve to be leaders.

Some of us think we have inherited leadership from our ancestors.

Some people see themselves as having the personality or the ambition it takes to be a leader.

Some of us understand our leadership as coming from planning, or communication, or vision.

Some people want to lead by tapping into primal emotions, or by making a reasonable, logical case.

The leaders who inspire me,

whose examples I REMEMBER,

Cultivated in my heart a .

 

The leaders I am eager to follow are not merely angry at injustices,
or
experienced and qualified.
The leaders I want to follow appreciate where we want to go
and
how we can get there together.

 

The leaders who inspire me have manged to somehow persuade me there is reason to .

 

The leaders in my life who have made the biggest impact are those leaders who were convinced I had the potential to make a contribution, and they reminded me of that belief often.

They knew my dreams and aspirations, even when I wasn’t very clear about them myself.

They cared about what I was doing and how it would eventually make a real difference in significant ways.

The leaders who inspire me show me,

again and again,

where my hope meets the world’s needs.

The leaders I remember with the most fondness however, are my parents.

me and the folks

 

 

 

At a very young age they began to plant seeds in me that they KNEW I had the perfect soil for those seeds to grow in.
They were not worried that it may take a long time for those seeds to grow and produce, they planted and cultivated them anyway.
Like persistent farmers, my parents knew that the ability to cultivate hope would produce fruit for years to come in my life.

 

A few of the seeds that they planted in my heart were:

#1: Leading is about possibility and potential.

#2: Leadership is about creativity and innovation.

#3: A good leader knows that their role is about maintaining the well-being and fulfillment and generating common good in the people around them.

#4: A leader knows how to focuses on a purpose and meaning, by using others connection and contributions.

#5: A leader knows how to collaborate and cooperate to solve common problems.

#6: Leading is about diminishing our three universal fears of not having support, not being in control and not feeling adequate, so that everyone thrives and realizes their potential.

#7: A good leader understands that leading with love means that we respond with care, understanding and respect.

It is living your life with the belief that love makes a leader a leader.

Leading with love is how I choose to live my life.

Leading with love is a state of being.

It is a philosophy.

A unique approach to life that permeates all that we do.

Leading with love is an art that we should all practicing and attempt to master.

So, if you are in a leadership role, I ask you to consider just exactly what it is that you are standing for.

Be constantly aware of how you appear when you stand for your cause and how you show up.

If you are a “follower”, I ask you to consider if the leaders you follow are there to support the common good and help each and every one of us to be the best we can be and have the life we want.

In this way, if you make this choice, you too will be leading with love.

We can change the world by changing our personal beliefs about this one thing:

What makes a leader a leader?

EVERY SINGLE CHOICE –

who you work with,

how you vote,

what you buy

makes a difference.

Remember this criterion: Love makes a leader a leader.

A great leader will naturally care for and understand the people they serve.

They will show a genuine respect for everyone and everything in life.

So, let’s join hands during this tumultuous time and plant seeds that will begin to cultivate HOPE.

 

PURGING OUR INNER JUNK

This morning I shared a few tips to get you motivated to begin your Spring Cleaning.

I keep thinking I should have added some good information on PURGING our INNER Junk as well.

So here is PART 2 of the Spring Clean Motivation.

 

I have noticed that some people (unfortunately, myself included at times.) seem to believe that the proof that you have a healthy spiritual life is your ease and ability to acquire things.

We seem to have a tendency to pray to receive specific objects, as if God were like a celestial Amazon or Netflix.

We would love to have a new car or move into a different house, and we pray to obtain it.

We begin to see spiritual life as like Santa Claus, giving us good gifts.

Have you ever found yourself attempting to bargain with God to give you more and in return you promise to release the old things that no longer serve your current purposes?

We rationalize that if we had more, we would be committed to using it wisely.

We promise that we will work hard and be more careful so that we will use our new abundance to strengthen spiritual life and set the example of how to live a TRULY ABUNDANT LIFE.

We have created a culture based in the spiritual potency of things, objects, possessions.

We live in a society that believes, in very practical ways, that whoever dies with the most toys wins.

No wonder we are warned to not put the love of money over the love of God.

 

Many of us act as though it is impossible to be either too thin or too rich.
We believe people with more wealth are blessed, while people are cursed when they have less.
But is that really the case?

Aren’t we also told to be content in all things. And to put our trust in the Lord, not our stuff?

Where did we get the idea that the things we have strengthen spiritual life.

I don’t think God hates rich people by any means, after-all Abraham was probably a billionaire.

Job was probably a millionaire.

David was also extremely wealthy.

And Solomon was a Gazillionaire.

So Obviously, God doesn’t NEED us to be poor. 

 

What he NEEDS is for us to have our hearts in the right frame in regards to money.

I guess that I see spiritual life differently than some people do.

I can’t help but notice that there are people without a lot of possessions who experience deep, sacred, strong spiritual life.

There are people who possess everything they could possibly need or want who feel spiritually empty.

 

I enjoy my things as much as most people.

For the most part,

The things I have strengthen spiritual life in me by raising questions.

For example:

How can these things help me grow into more depth?

Do I really need that?

Why did we get this in the first place?

Spiritual life is not about acquiring more things, but transforming the ways we relate to what we have.

Do your things strengthen spiritual life, or do they get in the way?

If they are getting in the way, I urge you to re-examine your attachment to your stuff and ask God to help strengthen your relationship to Him.