Life Challenges


God is like
BAYER ASPIRIN

He works miracles.

  

God is like
COKE
He’s the  real thing

God is Like 
HALLMARK CARDS
He cares enough to send His  very best

God is like
TIDE
He gets the stains out others leave behind. ..

God is like
GENERAL ELECTRIC

He  brings good things to life

God is like
ALKA-SELTZER
Try Him, you’ll like Him

God is like
DIAL SOAP

Aren’t you  glad you have Him?  Don’t you wish everybody did?

God is like
Maxwell House. …. .
Good to the very last drop

God is like
A
FORD
He’s got a better idea…

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Earlier this week I read a post from PR Guru Shannon Cherry which read:   I need to stop beating myself up cuz I’m not like this person or that person. I need to embrace and respect me!  I don’t know what prompted the post but it generated tons of responses from people offering words of encouragement.

Shannon’s words struck a chord with me because during my moments of weakness I have also  compared my life to others and questioned the would’ve, should’ve, could’ve….

This week has been a serious challenge to my entrepreneurial spirit.  With hubby out of town all week I have been the single, primary caregiver of my three-year-old grandson.  I’ve been feeling like my life has been rearranged for me without my permission.  I’ve had to put clients on the back burner while committing myself full-time to my grandson’s needs and wants.  Challenging is putting it lightly! 

I couldn’t help thinking about some of my friends who seem to be moving along in their lives just fine without the added pressures of live-in grandchildren, weekend husbands, health issues and so on and so forth.  But here’s what I’ve learned:

Where you are in life right now is where you’re supposed to be.  God has a specific plan and purpose for your life.  It may not seem rosy in comparison to others but it’s your unique life.

Comparing yourself to others serves no purpose because you have no idea of the trials and tribulaitons of another.  Most people put up a front and disguise what’s really going on in their worlds. 

The challenges you’re faced with in life are designed to make you stronger and wiser.  If you learn nothing from your challenges, you are doomed.

Children and grandchildren are a blessing from God.  Some who have none wish they could fill your shoes.

Play the hand you’re dealt to the best of your ability and stay in the game to win.

One of the things I’ve come to realize as a mother is the relationship between a mother and her daughter is complex.  It’s the best of times—and the worst of times.  

After spending the last several years dealing with the WORST, I am starting to see what I’ve been hoping to see all along.  My daughter is finally growing up and becoming a responsible young lady.  She’s actually kind of fun to be around these days.

Yesterday she came home from college and treated me to an evening out.  First,  we went enjoyed a nice dinner together.  She shared her college experiences and I updated her on the her three-year-old-“kids-say-the-darndest-things”-son.  Then went to see a Tyler Perry play.  

Hanging out together made me realize some things about motherhood:

1)  If you train up a child in the way that they should go, when they are old they will not depart from it.  They may stray away from time to time but I truly believe they will come to their senses.  I’m living proof of that!

2)  You cannot be your child’s friend while trying to raise them.  Children need an authority figure and not someone they can “negotiate” with on important things like discipline.

3)  You have to be willing to forgive your children for their mistakes.  I definitely was not happy about my daughter becoming a teenage mother but harboring those negative feelings three years later serves no purpose.

4)  A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.  I see so much of myself in my daughter, and even though her struggles and challenges started out much differently than mine as a young woman, I am convinced she’s going to be alright in the end. 

I guess I have my own mother to thank for that.

Have you ever noticed how there’s always one person in your circle who will try to rain on your parade?  Sometimes it’s unintentional—they really mean no harm.

I think that was the case the other day when a friend of mine read my blog about graduating from the Cardiac Heart Failure Program at Duke University.  Not long after reading the post, she sent me an email suggesting that, perhaps, I should’ve thought more carefully about exposing my “medical issues” because it could hurt my “professional business.”

I never really thought of it like that. I was just happy about completing a program that was rigorous and restrictive.  But her email got me to thinking if, in fact, people are less likely do do business with someone they know has health issues.  Does your knowing I have a heart condition affect whether or not you will deal with me?  Do you think that affects my ability to give you 100 percent effort on whatever task you’ve hired me for? 

What if I had aids or terminal cancer or was just exceptionally obese? 

I know my friend meant no harm in her comment but she raises a point.  I’m sure there are people who use excuses not to deal with others in business.  But as my good friend and fellow Boomer Diva Nation member, Leslie Flowers, told me:  

For those who may be less likely to do business with you as a result of health issues … it’s their loss and … there is an ABUNDANCE of clients who look deeper than that! Follow your heart, my friend, follow your heart!

Today I graduated.  There was no cap and gown—no pomp and circumstance–just sheer joy and renewed hope.  Today I became a graduate of the Cardiac Heart Failure Program at Duke University Medical Center.

When I signed up back in September, I saw this as my last hope.  I was taking medication but didn’t feel I was getting any better.  When my doctor suggested the program, I knew it was something I just had to do.

For the past three months, I went to the facility for cardiotherapy and nutrition assistance, faithfully, twice a week–24 sessions in all.  

I’ll never forget how hard it was to walk a few short feet from my car to the gym without being out of breath for the first couple of weeks and how often I cried because I was so embarrassed to be the youngest patient there.

But as time went on, here’s what I learned:

Stay out of the pity pool:  It’s too easy to jump into but hard to get out of.  And some well meaning folks will keep you there if you let them.

The mind is powerful:  In order to achieve it, you must first believe it.  Getting healthy required a strong, positive attitude and a determined spirit and will.

You reap what you sow:  Bad habits of any kind will eventually catch up to you.

Be a testimony:  Use your trials and tribulations to be a testimony for someone else   so that they may be encouraged. 

Never, ever give up!

As a final requirment for graduation, I had to take a test and I’m happy to report I did a little over two miles in 39 minutes and had NO shortness of breath! 

Yes, I will live the rest of my life with congestive heart failure but how I choose to live will be totally up to me.

My college daughter called me this week and asked me to pray for her because she felt like she was losing her focus.  She says college life and the work involved has become overwhelming.  As cruel as it may sound to you, the first thing I said to her was “Welcome to the next journey of your REAL world.”

No doubt my daughter has a lot on her plate.  In addition to trying to complete the second year of college, she also has a 3-year-old son to think about and a part-time job that has her commuting about 45 minutes each way on the weekends.  But what I wanted to make her understand is these are the issues that have been been created in her life.  She can either deal with them or roll over and play dead.

I told my daughter that God gives us all a vision—but it is up to us to clear our minds and FOCUS.  

Here are some tips for people who feel like they’re eyes are OFF the prize:

1. Check Your Emotions
If you are charged or upset about something then keep reminding yourself that these emotions will not allow you to get to the next level.

2. Let it Go
Do not dwell on the would’ve, should’ve, could’ve.  You have to let the “stuff” go and move forward.  If you find yourself stuck in a rut, find an anchor in a confidant or professional.  No use crying over spilled milk–just wipe it up and get a new glass.  

3. Take A Breather
If you feel you are losing focus -stop, switch off and come back refreshed.

4. Keep a Notepad handy
Maybe that distracting thinking that keeps coming into your head is a good idea and could be useful. Write it down so that you know it is there, re-focus and come back to it later

5. Reschedule
The mind will wander when you are tired so re-schedule. Its more productive to stay focused on the work you are doing. It takes a lot of practice but it’s worth it.

As a parent, I do appreciate the fact that my daughter came to me to ask for prayer.  At least I know she knows where her help and strength comes from.

What have you done to help your child lately?

I’m a Cleveland Browns fan and have been ever since I can remember.  My mom went to school with one of the original Browns (Marion Motley) and my dad used to take me to some of the games.

All of you baby boomers who are true die-hard football fans will remember a quarterback named Brian Sipe.  He led the Browns to many thrilling moments and caused many of us fans to go into near cardiac arrest while watching them come back from big deficits to win games.  They became known as the “Kardiac Kids.”

Flip the script 30 years later and there’s a new group of cardiac kids.  But instead of being in Cleveland, we’re here in North Carolina.  Our thrilling moments come when we can walk a mile rather effortlessly around the track and breathe without contantly grasping for air.

We are the cardiac patients undergoing cardiotherapy at Duke Center for Living.  It’s one of the best kept secrets with state of the art equipment and real professionals who genuinely care about our health and well being. 

Maybe the fact that it costs $107 a session has something to do with that genuine concern 🙂

Knowing I have congestive heart failure and heart disease is the #1 killer of women over 40 makes me thrilled to know Duke’s Center for Living is part of the best that healthcare has to offer for this new breed of cardiac kids.

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