What I have learned about grief

I am so thankful for this post by my friend, Bev. As I walk through my own grief and sadness this summer, Bev reminds me that grief does not need to control my life. I will experience it fully, but it won’t rule over me.

Please take to heart the wise words of a woman who knows grief and lives with perspective.

What I have learned about grief.

Be Extraordinary!

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For Mom’s Eyes Only: Patience

Be patientPatience. From one mom’s heart to another.

If I am honest, I do not always show patience to my children, even though they are so valuable to me and I love them so much. Patience shows that what my children have to say is important and worth hearing. When I am patient, I wait to hear the whole story before I begin to speak and before I formulate responses in my mind. Patience allows God’s wisdom and love to catch up with my initial emotional responses. Patience affords me the space to think clearly and respond to my children’s actions, attitudes, and words with love.

I want to love my children with patience. I want to value their opinions, ideas, and thoughts. I want to value what they, as young people, have to offer. I want to pause long enough to truly hear all of the great and wonderful things they have to say.

Child of Mine: You are funny. You are adorable. You are innocent. You are thoughtful. You are smart. You are creative. You are unique. You are bold. You are a dreamer. You are hopeful. You are beautiful.

If I don’t respond with patience I miss all of these beautiful thoughts, words, actions, and feelings.

Child of Mine: You are hurting. You are angry. You are sad. You are misunderstood. You are in conflict. You are searching. You are hoping. You are wanting. You are lonely. You are afraid.

If I don’t respond with patience I miss all of these emotions that are shaping their lives and future choices from the inside out. Without patience, I will also miss out on the opportunity to walk the path of their lives alongside them.

I have so much to offer my children, but I lose the platform for sharing and communicating my ideas with them when I don’t take time to hear what they are saying, with and without words. So often, I want to get my thoughts out. I want to have influence over their decisions. I do this out of love for them, but it doesn’t come across that way when it is not done with patience. I can’t control their future choices or change their past choices by talking at them every chance I get.

Ultimately, I don’t want their silent obedience. I want a relationship with them. I want them to relate beautifully with God. I want them to live a life full of impact, faith, love, and the realization of their greatest dreams. This relationship I desire is not solely dependent on them. It begins with me.

Moms, will you join me in the following commitments?

I choose to be quick to listen and slow to speak.
I choose to listen to the entire story before I formulate thoughts or words of response.
The answer may not always be yes, but I choose to listen with the intent to understand my child’s heart.
I choose to be patient.

Moms: Be Extraordinary!

Are You Listening?

The subconscious. Inner promptings. The Holy Spirit. Women’s intuition. Gut feelings. The little voice inside my head.

Whatever you believe it is or whatever you choose to call it, consider how well you listen and how well you act on what you hear.

do you listen“Do you listen?”

Everyone is busy, or at least they feel busy. There is very little quiet space in our lives and in our minds. I have seen in my own life the difficulty of being ok in the quiet spaces. Those spaces can be filled with many things like playing out scenarios in my mind, movies, TV shows, social media, or You Tube videos. All of this “noise” keeps me from truly listening to any instincts or prompts that might be happening. It is important to silence the chatter long enough to listen for that still, small voice.

Listening and hearing what we ought or ought not to do is just one part of the equation.

“Do you act upon what you hear?”

All of us, if we are honest, can think of a time when we did not follow the voice inside that said to do or not do something.

Have you ever felt like you should send a card to someone but didn’t do it?
Have you ever thought you ought to approach “that person” about business, but you were too afraid?
Have you ever thought the words “I love you” or considered a loving touch, but did not verbalize or take action?

What opportunities, feelings, or relationships have we missed out on because we were unwilling to respond when that little voice spoke?

There is so much good to be done and love to be spread in this world if we would only listen and then act on what we hear.

STOP! Silence the chatter. Ask yourself,

Is there an action that I should take right now?

Is there a word I ought to speak to the person next to me?

Is there something I could do right now to make a difference in someone’s day?

Listen. Act. And then share what difference that small deed or word made in your day.

Be Extraordinary!

Thanksgiving Blog-Venture Day 4

reflection-of-godI hope you are enjoying this focus on Thanksgiving and hearing from other great bloggers. Today’s post is by my favorite blogger – my husband, Joe!!

Joe says . . .

This is day four of a seven-part series on Thanksgiving. I’m honored to participate in a blog-hop with 7 friends, over 7 days all about Thanksgiving. You can read the previous blogs by clicking on the links below:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Over the past month, I’ve been working on memorizing Colossians chapter three. In God’s funny way of putting things together, I was in the middle of verses 15-17 when I read these words…

Continue reading by clicking HERE.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

 

Thanksgiving Blog-Venture: Day 3

merciesDay 3 of the Thanksgiving Blog-Venture: 7 days. 7 blogs. 7 bloggers.

A couple years ago I chose “joyful” as my word for the year. By focusing on joy and reading books about joy my ability to choose joy improved radically. Today’s blog, by Bev, is a beautiful presentation of how choosing the word gratitude for a year literally changed every area of her life. I think you will enjoy and be challenged. Read Bev’s blog post and give her some blog love by leaving a comment. You will find her post HERE.

Read Day 1.
Read Day 2.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Thanksgiving Blog-Venture Day 2

FALL 2It’s Day 2 in our Thanksgiving blog-venture:  7 days. 7 blogs. 7 bloggers.

Today’s insights are from guest blogger, Pastor Terry. You will find some concepts that can have a great impact on the direction of your thoughts and your ability to be truly thankful this holiday season and throughout the year.

Thanks for reading!

You can read today’s post by clicking HERE.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Thanksgiving Blog-Venture Day 1

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Are you naturally producing joy and thankfulness?

Philippians 4:8, in the Bible, states:

Ph48Whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
Think About These Things!

Often I hear people (myself included) talk about “trying harder to be joyful or thankful.” Forcing a good attitude or smile on our faces isn’t fooling anybody, especially ourselves. The answer – the secret solution – to lasting joy is found in the final line of the above verse. “Think about these things” . . . think. It does not say to “feel” these things or to “do” these things or to “say” these things. We are supposed to think about these things.

In so many areas it is easy to put the focus on the external, the feeling, doing, or saying. With focus on the behavior we will see immediate results but we don’t always see lasting results. It takes work to change the patterns of our thoughts. Our thoughts are always on – we produce tens of thousands of them a day. We have thoughts while we do anything and everything, including sleep. These thoughts are products of thought patterns formed throughout our lifetime. The subconscious thoughts that go through our minds today are results of hours, days, and years of thought practice.

This is a good thing, right?

It is a good thing if the thoughts we think are true, honorable, just, pure, etc. But many of us have thought practices that build negative thought patterns.

Thoughts of fear and scarcity.
Thoughts of loneliness and abandonment.
Thoughts of sickness and death.
Thoughts of disappointment and failure.

If these are our thought patterns, what do you suppose the resulting feelings, words, and actions will be?
Will these negative thought patterns allow you to be genuinely joyful and thankful?

What would it look like to take gratitude, thanksgiving, and joy and make them year-long characteristics of our lives rather than seasonal ones?

If this was natural then everyone would be full of gratitude and joy. So, if you really want this for yourself, your family, your co-workers, and anyone else you influence, then you will need a proactive action plan.

What will you do this year to produce more gratitude, thanksgiving, and joy?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

50 things1. Give Thanks Jar.

Write things you are thankful for throughout the year on slips of paper and put them in the jar. On Thanksgiving, read through the papers. I love the detail and stories that could be recorded in this jar. I got this idea from Becca’s blog.

2. I’m Thankful for You.

This is something you would do for a specific person. Write out what you love about that person. In Darren Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect, he talks about filling up a notebook for his wife for a whole year and then gave it to her as a gift for Thanksgiving. I used a pack of spiral bound 3×5 cards and did a similar concept over a shorter timeframe for my husband, Joe.

gratitude tree3. Gratitude Tree.

I see many families post photos of their gratitude trees during November. What about leaving the tree trunk up all year and putting up different colored leaves during different seasons? Christmas – red and green; Valentines – red, pink, and white; March – green; May – spring colors; July – red, white, and blue (for my American friends). I found a fall tree as an example on this blog link.

Whatever idea you use, please do something to promote gratitude in your own heart and for those around you. Please share your ideas below so we can encourage each other as we grow in gratitude.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)