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.

If you were heading into the wilderness for a camping trip, you would certainly pack a survival kit.   Life, in general, can sometimes be thought of as a wilderness adventure.  You know you’re headed somewhere–but trying to get through while going through can be challenging.

Here are some items I recommend for a Daily Survival Kit:

*TOOTHPICK – to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others – Matthew 7:1

*RUBBER BAND – to remind you to be flexible. Things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out – Romans 8:28

*BAND AID – to remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else’s – Colossians 3:12-14

*PENCIL – to remind you to list your blessings everyday – Ephesians 1:3

*ERASER – To remind you that everyone makes mistakes, & it’s okay – Genesis 50:15-21

*CHEWING GUM – to remind  you to stick with it, & you can accomplish anything – Philippians 4:13

*MINT – to remind you that you are worth a mint – John 3:16-17

*CANDY KISS – to remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug everyday – John 4:7

*TEA BAG – to remind you to relax daily and go over your list of blessings – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

© Barbara Cagle Ray

 

I want to share a recent experience I had here with a fellow business owner on one of my online social networking sites because it raises a point about making connections and our reputations as business people.

I was interested in someone’s services so I contacted them. The first time I got a voice mail. I tried to briefly explain what I needed and asked that they call me back at their earliest convenience so I could get the ball rolling. I never heard from them so I called back–at which time I did get the person–who said they were in a meeting but as soon as they wrapped up they would call me and discuss my project. NEVER HEARD FROM THEM.

Because of the importance of the project, I had to move forward—so with the assistance of another member of the same site, I contacted someone else. The first time I got voice mail, but unlike the previous person, they responded almost immediately and, of course, I was immediately impressed. I gave them the project and am happy to say that, as of this writing, the first phase is completed.

I really wanted to give my business to the first person I contacted but their lack of follow-up gave me the impression they weren’t really interested in my business. Now, that may not have been the case–but they could’ve at least given me the courtesy of a phone call or even an email to say “I’d love to help you but I’m really busy…” or whatever. To date, they still haven’t called.

In the end, it worked out–which makes me believe this is the way it was intended to be. But I think it’s important for everyone here to realize that your word is your reputation. How you conduct yourself with others will have a lasting effect.

Ask yourself: Are you a person of your word or just FULL OF WORDS?

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?

For the past several weeks, my brain has been on overload and my body is drained.  I have been dealing with a number of personal and professional issues that are catching up to my well-being.

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I am feeling OVERWHELMED!  Twitter and Facebook don’t excite me like they used to.  If I don’t make another connection, I won’t lose any sleep over it.  But the problem is I AM LOSING SLEEP.  My mind is restless—filled with issues that demand my attention—that no one else can do or is willing to do.

I went searching for some answers and read a number of articles that told me to take  a deep breath and exhale —or to walk it out to relieve my anxiety.  While that may sound like sound advice to some, it provides no consolation when its late at night and the idea of walking in darkness is cause for even more anxiety.

Have you ever been to a point like this in your own life?  How do you handle it?  How do you turn this type of mess into a message?

Once upon a time there was a young woman who had four boyfriends.

She loved the fourth boyfriend the most and adorned him with rich robes and treated him to the finest of delicacies. She gave him nothing but the best.

She also loved the third boyfriend very much and was always showing him off to neighboring kingdoms. However, she feared that one day he would leave her for another.

She also loved her second boyfriend. He was her confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with her. Whenever this girl faced a problem, she could confide in him, and he would help her get through the difficult times.

The girl’s first boyfriend was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining her wealth and kingdom. However, she did not love the first boyfriend Al though he loved her deeply, she hardly took notice of him!

One day, the girl fell ill and she knew her time was short. She thought of her luxurious life and wondered, ‘I now have four boyfriends with me, but when I die, will I be a alone.’

Thus, she asked the fourth boyfriend, ‘I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?
‘No way!’, replied the fourth boyfriend, and he walked away without another word.

His answer cut like a sharp knife right into her heart.

The sad girl then asked the third boyfriend, ‘I loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?’ ‘No!’, replied the third boyfriend. ‘Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to marry someone else!’ Her heart sank and turned cold.

She then asked the second boyfriend, ‘I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?’

‘I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!’, replied the second boyfriend.. ‘At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave.’   His answer struck her like a bolt of lightning, and the girl was devastated.

Then a voice called out: ‘I’ll go with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go. ‘ The girl looked up, and there was her first boyfriend. He was very skinny as he suffered from malnutrition and neglect.

Greatly grieved, the girl said, ‘I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!’

In truth, you have four boyfriends in your lives:

Your fourth boyfriend is your body. No matter how much time and effort you lavish in making it look good, it will leave you when you die.

Your third boyfriend is your possessions, status and wealth. When you die, it will all go to others.

Your second boyfriend is your family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for you, the furthest they can stay by you is up to the grave.

And your first boyfriend is your spirit. It’s often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world.

However, your spirit is the only thing that will follow you where ever you go. Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of you that will follow you to the throne of God and continue with you throughout Eternity.

Thought for the day: Remember, when the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.

A few weeks ago I received a note from someone on Facebook.  He apparently remembered me from high school but I did not remember him.  (We were in the same Speech Class).

The follow-up note he sent me moved me to tears.  I share this with you because it just goes to show you how you can change a life for the better and not even know it.  Certainly, I had no idea how the impact of my words back then would play out more than 30 years later.  But I am so thankful that I said something to inspire.

Here’s his note to me:

This is a selfish message more for me than for you…Of course you wouldn’t remember me. First my name was (name deleted) back then (i used my step dad’s name at that time), I weighed about 98 lbs then, my fro was unkempt, my attire was second hand, dirty and ill fitting, there were 10 of us in our household with 1 bath tub (that I hardly ever used), and I got a “C” in that (speech) class, all my other grades that year were “F’s” I was very proud of my “C”.  That was my best effort. 

After one speech that I muttered and stumbled through, you said “good job Mike”…You, The great McKinley speaking sensation, told me…little dirty me good job.  I don’t even think I said thank you or looked you in the eye, but I felt like a winner that day. 

I dropped out of school that next year and joined the U.S. Marines, where I stayed for the next 12 years.  I started a sales career, and discovered I could excel there. I soon started teaching and training sales people, and for the past 12 years I have prospered running my own consulting company with several junior consultants that I employ. I have traveled the world (48 countries) teaching the art of selling to groups that number from 25 to 2500. 

There have been many Bev’s in my life since that “good job Mike” more than 30 years ago, people that have taken the time to give a word of encouragment to the less able, and now I like to think I am a Bev myself . So this heart felt message is not just for you. It’s for all of those Bev’s that I never said thank you to. I enjoy a life I never dreamed of as a child.

Thank you Bev’s of the world . I send you love, joy, and light … Namaste

Now you see why I am still crying……..