Inspiration

You Get What You Ask For

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“Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your pegs.  For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.  And your descendants will possess nations, and they will resettle the desolate cities.”  Isaiah 54:2-3

I was told that 2014 is the year of expansion so I prayed, “Lord, enlarge my territory”.

The vision for my life was more than what I was experiencing.  I was depressed and disheartened. Each time I tried to make progress something or someone came along to distract or discourage me. Eventually, with back-to-back delays, I realized that if I did not do something soon discouragement would derail everything that I had worked so hard to accomplish.

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My dreams, goals, and plans were still there.  I was more than willing to step into new territory.

My expectations were high.  My heart wide open.  Yet, here I was at a dead-end.  Not sure what to do, where to turn, or how to move.

How had I come to this point?  When did I step off the road that was moving me towards success?  The peace I had once experienced was now replaced with chaos and turmoil.  I searched my memory and racked my brains to see what had caused me to make this detour. Even more importantly, how was I going to get though it?

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What or who had caused me to take one detour after another?  I wanted to move forward, but was not sure which direction to go or even how to start.  Each time I attempted to move the question arose, “What price are you willing to pay in order to move forward?”

One thing about expansion is that it requires you to move from a place of comfort and familiarity.  You have to leave behind what you know in order to step into what will at first be new and strange. Questions will fill your mind.  Doubt will rise up. Uncertainty will show itself.

Growth and expansion is often messy and chaotic.  Things do not always go according to your plan.  Deadlines are rarely met and delays often set us back.  But despite how it looks you must still continue with your plan.

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When you ask for something that involves change, you will get what you ask for.  What you have to remember is that despite great plans and good intentions obstacles will come your way. All you have to do is learn to pick yourself up after each setback.  Don’t give up because it hurts. Instead, keep your eyes on the prize.  Stay focused on your ultimate goal and take whatever steps you need to in order to get there.

I asked  for my territory to be enlarged.  The price that I was willing to pay — Proceed with Caution.  I got what I asked for.  How about you?

What have you asked for in this year of expansion? What cost are you willing to pay to achieve success?  If you have already begun the journey, what has been some of the challenges or setbacks you have faced?  How have you overcome those obstacles?  Please let us know.  It might help us to get moving towards our dreams a little bit quicker.

Only You Alone Can Do This

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“We can aid each other in the independent visions God has given us, but we each as individuals have our own mountain to climb, our own journeys, and our own accountability to God.”

Tonia Renee Lee, Live Inspired, Not Bound!

We Will Never Forget

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These past 4 weeks have taken me away from my weekly blog.  Mainly it has been a time of regrouping, refreshing, and revisioning of where my life is heading.

Over the past few months I have lost many beloved friends.  I am also dealing with an aged mother who has been extremely ill.  As you can imagine it has all taken its toll on me.  So when my daughter asked me to come down to visit her and watch my granddaughter for her spring break, I jumped at the opportunity.

My daughter lives in Wellington, Florida and in between taking care of my granddaughter I was able to do a little sightseeing of this beautiful community located in the West Palm Beach area.  It was during my wanderings that I came upon the Wellington Patriot Memorial.

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From the moment I looked upon the tall piece of steel beckoning me to come and see, I knew I was stepping into a special place.

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While here in New York City the work is diligently moving along on the World Trade Center project, the town of Wellington completed this memorial in 2011.

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The focus of my attention was a donated piece of steel from one of the World Trade Center Twin Towers. The steel, which is divided into three pieces, once stood between the 69th and 71st floor of the second Twin Tower. It was an exterior column panel seven floors below where United Airlines flight 175 impacted.  Its number is steel beam C-46.

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On December 4th, 2010 the beam, covered with the American flag, arrived in Wellington after being ceremoniously and loving brought from New York .

Vice Mayor Matt Willhite told Sun Sentinel Reporters, “In December 2010 we brought the beam to Florida from New York. The whole time treating the experience with great pride and dignity.” He continued, “It has cost us more than we thought. But, it is an investment into our community.”

The flag now stands at the entrance of the Wellington Patriot Memorial.

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Beside the oxidized piece of steel, in the center of the memorial, is the fountain. Its sparkling, clear water steadily flows down at points around the circumference.  If you look carefully, on top of the fountain you can see the eternal flame. On Sunday, September 11, 2011 the eternal flame was lit, has continued and will continue to burn 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Along the opposite side of the memorial stands 4 etched glass panes.  Beautiful and elegant, the names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the World Trade Center attacks can be seen.  Below the glass in bold black letters on a white background are the times of the attacks. In front of each of the glass panels is a seat where one can sit and reflect.

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Willhite told the Sun-Sentinel. “This will be a place where generations to come will be able to learn about this piece of history.”  He was absolutely correct.

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On the ground of the memorial are bricks with the names of the First Responders who courageously lost their lives while in the line of duty.  As I stooped over to take the pictures of the names the sun shone so bright that my shadow covered them over.  Perhaps, when you visit this place you will see them for yourselves.

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Just as the names are etched in the bricks and in the clear glass panels, so too the memory of that day on September 11, 2001.  Everyone of us can remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and what we were thinking.

As my daughter, granddaughter and I moved around the Patriot Memorial we spoke about that morning.  It was a strange day for the two of us because only 2 hours earlier, on that September morning, my daughter was sitting on an American Airline plane at John F. Kennedy Airport.  The plane she had traveled on from London to Jamaica had engine trouble and had to make an emergency landing in New York.  They moved the passengers onto an American Airlines plane because no other Air Jamaica plane was available.

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In the bright sunshine we also spoke about the loved ones that we have lost throughout the years and those most recently gone.  I also reflected on the health of my aging mother.

The serenity and peacefulness of the space allowed me to gather my thoughts and process the events in our circle of life.  I came away with a heightened sense of gratitude for life and each new day that I see.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~ Aristotle.

The quote on the plaque given by the Navarro Family is powerful.

This year 2014, as we work to Kick Fear Now, let us move on with hope for a bright tomorrow. For me, it is a time to re-vision my life and chart new and different journeys.  What about you?

Today is a good day to reflect on the life you still have to live. It’s good to embrace the good memories and the joys of the past, but you should never linger there for too long.  Life is filled with both joy and pain, love and hate, sadness and happiness.  It is interesting how we tend to focus on the negative more than the positive.

Can you find one reason to get up every morning and one thing that you can be grateful for in your life.  If so, then you are already on your way to living the courageous life.

To help you further along your journey take a look at the book that started it all, Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Actions Steps for a Courageous You, and don’t forget to send me an e-mail if you would like to read the first chapter for free.

Kick Fear Like An Olympian

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The 2014 Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia has certainly seen its fair share of winners and losers.  Athletes that were expected to be the golden stars have received no gold medals and those who were unlikely to be placed in the top 8 are the ones standing on the podium holding gold, silver, or bronze.  The Winter Olympics, just as the Summer Olympics, is exciting, colorful, and spectacular to watch.  It really doesn’t matter which country you favor, somehow you always end up rooting for the underdogs.

In the January/February edition of Women’s Health magazine there is a wonderful article by Jen Ator entitled, Find the Winner’s Edge.  Jen’s article looks at 4 Olympic athletes who are on the winning edge and reveals the “six mental traits that separate the average from the extraordinary.”  These six traits: perseverance, self-awareness, resilience, perspective, focus, and discipline, will definitely carry you to victory regardless of whether you are trying out for a spot on the winter Olympics or getting rid of unrealistic fear so that you can live a courageous, fearless life.

Olympic athletes really do put their bodies and minds through some grueling workouts.  No matter how hard it gets, how sore their bodies feel, or how daunting the goal may seem, they don’t give up.  They are going to get a place on the Olympic team.  They will represent their country.  They will be a winner.  This is the mindset it takes to accomplish their dreams.

“I refuse to be deterred by failure.  A little failure today is not a failure if it leads to success tomorrow.” ~ Lolo Jones, Bobsled

“You have to be smart enough to know when to push yourself and when not to.” Gretchen Bleiler, Snowboarding

“I had no idea how I’d do it, but I never doubted that I would.” Amy Purdy, Para-Snowboard Cross

“I don’t by any means wake up motivated every morning. I’m often relying on my commitment, not my motivation.” Emily cook, Freestyle Skiiing Aerials

A winning mindset does not happen overnight.  It takes those six traits mentioned above and a whole lot of courage to come out on top.  More often than not it feels like a very lonely journey.  The key to remember is that you are never alone. 

I hope you will take a little time to read Jen’s article.  You may not be training for the Olympics, but you are working at this thing called life.  Sometimes we need a dose of encouragement to help us Kick Fear Now.

Why not kick fear like an Olympian.  I dare you.

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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kk/4378452948/”>Kris Krug</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Words are Fearless

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I just love words.  The way they look when you string lots of them together.  It makes me feel good when they fill up a page and form lines of poetry or prose. Words sound so exciting.  I enjoy hearing them being read and seeing them acted out. I don’t even mind whether they are fiction or non-fiction. 

I’ve always had a way with words.  As a little girl I would stay up during the night writing in my diary.  There were short stories and poems, a young girl’s thoughts and dreams, and lots of goals and ambitions. Later, I moved from the dairy on to a journal.  I would write anything and everything.  It really did not matter.  You see, I just enjoy words.

I keep writing words, lots of them in fact.  Words to get into college, obtain scholarships, get good grades, get not so good grades, recommend myself, recommend others, start a business, get a job, get a higher degree, and even words to get out of college. 

So what does a person who loves words, has a way with words, writes lots of words, do?  All the words I wrote and the knowledge I accumulated were of no value unless they were shared.  I knew I had to take my words to the next level, but fear and doubt would quickly appear and make me think twice.

The funny thing is that words often take on a life of their own.  I could not stop them.  They wanted to be published.  They knew that they could be of help if only they were placed in someone’s hand.  So I continued to write words on a topic that I knew a lot about, Unrealistic Fear.  The words soon grew into a book.  The book of words did get published and is called Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Action Steps for a Courageous You. 

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What about you?  Where are your words?  Are they asking you to let them go so that they too can be placed in someone’s hand?  

Kick Fear Now and set those words free.

Kick Fear of Death Now

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Mom is restless. She knows that she has a lot of outstanding business.  She had a big scare and realizes that perhaps time is not on her side. She is tired.  Her body is giving up on her. She is in discomfort. Her sight is a little blurred, her kidneys are refusing to work right, and she has a constant pain in her stomach.

Even now, as I watch her lying there on the bed, trying to get some sleep, she tosses and turns every few minutes.  How can she rest?  Her mind is on overload of all the things she has not done yet.  Sleep will not come easy.  She groans.  Rest is not ready to give her that luxury.  But soon, soon she will have all the peaceful rest she desires and needs.

Every so often she calls me to come.  She wants to tell me something, a reflection, a memory, a past hurt, or just a story that she remembered that now needs to be told.

My heart is being tugged in all directions. I want her to be at peace, but I don’t want her to go just yet.  Nevertheless, the final chapter must be told and the end will inevitably come.

Death is knocking at the door, but life is telling it to go away, I’m not ready for you yet.  Death is not going to do that.  It will stop knocking, but remain at the door, lingering, waiting, and knowing.  It knows what it wants and will not leave until it gets what it has come for.SAM_1105

Lessons Learned From Machu Picchu – Part 2

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What started out as a bucket list item turned out to be another learning experience on this journey of self-discovery.  I thought I was going to hike up a mountain for 4 days and arrive at my goal tired with muscles hurting, but exhilarated at knowing that I had “done it!”  This was my plan. Alas, as many of you know, even the best laid plan has a way of changing course on you.

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Lesson Learned:  Preparation is the best tool when trying to accomplish any goal, but despite the amount of preparation and training you do sometimes your plan, or plans, will change.

It will be difficult, but there comes a time when you realize Plan A is not working, so it is better to move on to Plan B.    On my hike up the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru, altitude sickness got the better of me and my carefully made plans were slowly falling away.  Here, in a nutshell, is what happened.

The first day and a half of climbing was fine.  We moved at a steady pace up the first section past Piskakucho and when we reached camp at Wayllabamba some 2980 meters above sea level the altitude was almost bearable.  I say almost, because when I arrived at the camp I immediately proceeded to vomit up everything I had eaten that day.  When nothing else would come up I stood up straight only to find my head spinning like a whirlpool.  I did not realize it yet, but I was experiencing my first bout of altitude sickness.  I felt that after I had some hot tea and a good night’s sleep all that would be over.  

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Lesson Learned: Always be Prepared for Any Outcome

I woke up the next morning feeling less than 40%, but decided that I would be alright.  A cup of tea, some quinoa porridge, and I could press on.  My stomach was still queasy.  My eyes were bloodshot, but I was okay.  I was ready to take whatever day two had to give me.  Big mistake!

Things did go well, for a while that is.  I did move at a slower pace than most. The hike got steeper and my breathing became more labored, still on I went.  My lungs felt as if it was trying to break free of my chest.  My heart was racing fast and furious.  The thud, thudding grew louder in my ears with each agonizing step that I took.  All I kept asking myself was, “What is going on?”  “Why do I feel this way?”

Our wonderful guide, Vlad
Our wonderful guide, Vlad

Lesson Learned: Regardless of how many people are in the group or on the team, you are still responsible for your own actions.

Our guide, Vlad, hung back with me.  Patiently, he coaxed and cajoled, trying to make me feel good.  Nevertheless, I could see in his face that he knew I was struggling.  His years of taking groups up and down the Inca Trail allowed him to assess the situation very quickly.  The altitude was taking its toll on me and I would not be able to tackle the next leg of the journey.  It was far too steep and the air would get much thinner.

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Lesson Learned:  There is more than one way to accomplish any endeavor you aspire to attain. Your real challenge is to be flexible and open to what might happen along the way.

It was an agonizing time but I had to make a choice.  I could continue on, moving slower and in more pain, or I could turn around, somewhat defeated, and go back down.  The hike down would also be slow and painful, but the pain would be to my ego, not my heart and lungs.

I sat down on a big stone and suddenly the tears began to pour.  Tears for the pain I felt in my chest and the fact that I was finding it so hard to breathe.  Tears of grief because I knew I had to make a decision there and then whether to labor on or turn back.  Tears of relief because I knew that once the choice was made it would be the right choice.

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Lesson Learned:  You do not have any idea how small and insignificant you are in this great big world until you stand facing a mountain or are surrounded by a range of mountains.

As I walked down the mountain with just the guide and porter accompanying me, I had a deeper revelation of what my purpose in life is.  The journey was not about succeeding.  Instead it was a journey of inspiration, motivation and exchange.  I was able to spend time with people I had never met before who touched my life in such a special way.  I was allowed to hear some of the dreams, desires and aspirations of several of them, as well as get to know them on a more personal level.  All because half way up the mountain my plans changed.

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Lesson Learned:  Fear stems through everything that we do.

If we allow unrealistic fear to remain long after the perceived danger has passed, then we are allowing something that was only a short-term challenge stop us from moving forward in our lives.

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Lesson Learned: It’s not about me, it’s about you.

My purpose is to give practical help to people who want to overcome the unrealistic fear or fears that stop them from accomplishing the goals and dreams that will lead to a successful future.  If you are one of those people who want to Kick Fear Now, then you’ve arrived at the right place.

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