L.E.G.I.T. Summer- EMPOWER

There is no other way to enter the 2nd week(end) of my summer journey, than with EMPOWERment!  Such an incredible word with so much meaning.  Something I must create.  I find myself talking endlessly about it with my students, colleagues, friends, and family, yet I have fallen short on walking the walk at times.  With many articles, books, and blogs on this one topic, along with living life, I feel I have narrowed down the top 4 ways that I can make this happen and in turn it may just be what others are looking for too.

The E in L.E.G.I.T. is what I need to move forward.  To create opportunities.  To feel confident.  To own my summer!

The E stands for: EMPOWER and move forward.  Try these top 4 ways that are guiding me on my journey:  

  1.  Take A Time Out!  BOOM! Tap out… take the phone off the hook.  Set your cell phone on vibrate.  Shut down the computer.  Take a day away from networking.  Do not put anything, I repeat ANYTHING, on your calendar!  Say no… to whatever it is that wants to schedule your day for you.  Then ask yourself… what creates joy for you?  Whatever that is… GO DO IT!
  2. Give Yourself Permission and Release The Guilt!  Do it WITHOUT saying sorry.  Do it without regrets.  Do it without thinking or overthinking.  There will always be someone or something that could take your attention, tis life.  But it is YOUR life… one chance.  A better you creates a better you to share with others.  Take care of yourself.  This doesn’t have to be at the cost of others or quite frankly the financial cost of your family.  I’m not suggesting jetting off to the islands (although if you want to call me we can talk), I am simply saying that empowering yourself to make decisions about your day without any obligations is okay.  No Regret!
  3. Forgive!  Most often this word is used when thinking of others.  When you have wronged someone or have fallen short and need to ask for forgiveness.  This time I am talking about YOU… YOURSELF.  I’m talking about ME… MYSELF!  I am so far from perfect it literally makes me chuckle and then sigh.  I mess up a lot.  I fall short as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, teacher, community member and the list goes on and on.  What I don’t do well is forgive myself.  I say it to myself… I lift it up to God, but then I hold on to it like I deserve to be punished or something.  I didn’t always do that, but as time moved on I found myself living the life I wanted in place of what others wanted for me, or from me, and in turn I have did this (and still do at times).  I must take the time to acknowledge my imperfections that I must walk this earth with… and forgive myself.  When I do that, my shoulders are lighter, my body is less tense, my heart doesn’t hurt, my smile is bigger, and I can share a better me with others!   However, if you find yourself needing to forgive someone… do it.  Life is simply to short.  Your heart will thank you… your soul will love you, and I am certain your mind will open up even bigger for joy to come in.
  4. Find Your Joy and Share It!  Once you have it, don’t keep it to yourself… GIVE IT AWAY!  This is when the magic happens and your joy begins to multiply!  The thing is, when you empower yourself… I mean truly take care of yourself without guilt, joy will find a way in.  That joy is a sparkle waiting to shine for others.  It is a feeling inside that nurtures the soul.  Joy is magnificent.  Find it, love on it, and then pass it along.

This past week I took a time out and shut off my phone… not for an entire day, but for a few hours.  It was a start.  I kept my computer on to blog… my passion.  I read a lot!  I had coffee on my patio.  I created a few ideas I had in my head.  I found my balance.

I gave myself permission and turned down a few invitations that came my way, not because I wanted to, but more so because I wasn’t sure how to fit them in to my already packed day.  Before, I would have tried to make it all happen… at the cost of myself or my family.  This week I didn’t.  I took an afternoon with my boys and let them lead the way… this brought me joy.  Listening to their ideas, stories, goals, and dreams was music to my ears.  My heart was light and full all at them same time.  I gave myself permission and did not allow guilt to settle in to my mind.

As for forgiveness, this was a little tricky.  I had this intense feeling of guilt related to my mother in law‘s passing.  It wasn’t the kind of guilt that was meant to happen, but it did.  Mom wanted to die at home, a place that she found comfort and love.  With this wish came responsibility on us as a family.  It meant bringing in hospice, something that no one was ready for, but I knew it was the only way to honor her wish.  So I did.  This in itself brought on heavy feelings for every one of us and I was the one making it happen.  Then came the emergency comfort kit of medication.  The one that scared each of us for an abundance of reasons.  This was the kit that would bring her comfort, but also the one that would be helping her to end her life… comfortably.  I knew I had to understand it… to learn about each one and when they needed administered.  So I did.  Then the morning came that I talked dad into going to church because he needed to take time for himself.  This was the day that mom’s breathing took a horrible turn for the worse.  I went to the kit and found the right one.  I gave it to her.  She found comfort and fell asleep immediately.  My heart knew where we were at with this journey and my mind didn’t know how to prepare everyone else.  When mom awoke, I told her what happened.  I explained to her that this was going to happen more often and ultimately the mediation would help her from suffering these last days here on earth.  She held my hand.  We both knew what was unfolding.  We sat together.  Prayed together.  Learned as much about “life” as she could possibly teach me to be able to help dad once she was gone.  Once dad was home, she sent me to the store (the worst trip I ever made hoping that she would be there when I returned).  She had to buy her boys their Valentine’s.  She needed one for her precious grand-kids Trent and Jack, but also for dad.  Whatever she needed I promised to make it happen.  I returned and helped her prepare her cards.  She didn’t want me to leave that night, but dad needed his time (little did we know this would be her last night).  The next morning I arrived to another hard turn in her path.  I went into action and continued to administer all of her medication until her final breath that day.  My mind knows I did what she wanted and what she needed, but my heart has not been on the same page.  My own heart feels her absence and with each member of my family hurting I have placed guilt on myself for “being the one” to take her away from them.  I never blamed the cancer… not once.  I somehow took it all and placed it on myself.  I know that sounds so crazy, but I’m owning it.  The logical side of me says there is no reason to forgive myself, but somewhere in my heart I needed to act on it and I have.  I am not a nurse.  With all my resources around me, nothing in life could have possibly prepared me to take on such a huge responsibility, but I did.  My love saw no other option.  She was my rock and for once she needed me to be hers.  On this very day, I am letting it go… I am crying out my guilt so that I can lighten my heart and continue on my journey for joy.  It is time.

I am finding my joy… this blog is a start.

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What Brings You Joy?

With week one of my  L.E.G.I.T. Summer Journey unfolding I stopped to reflect on my happiness.  What truly brings me joy?  Have you asked yourself this question?  When you think of the feelings that come with the word joy,  you know why it starts right here.  If we can’t find our own joy, how will we possibly bring it to others?

IMG_6089I started thinking about this on our first camping trip of the season this past weekend.  We arrived and I walked out into the sunlight.  The sun hit my face.  It wasn’t a brilliantly hot day like the week before.  No, this was 74 degrees with sunshine that warmed your skin with just the right amount of heat.  The wind blew at a steady pace… just enough to cool the heat of the sun.  It was as if the wind was talking to me… whispering it was time to stop.  Stop, turn off the to do list, the need to have it all done, the desire to do it all, the need to find answers to everyone’s worries.  Just stop.  So I did.

I took a walk.  Without music.  I let nature do the talking and it was absolutely magical to listen to it’s story unfold.

I went for a bike ride.  There is nothing as carefree as a simple bike ride.  It takes you back to being a child.  Learning to balance that cumbersome piece of metal and then eventually taking the risk to ride it without touching the handlebars.  Wind flying through your hair.  So joyful!

I sipped piping hot coffee that I only get when camping… perked fresh with my husband’s grandfather’s peculator.  The bold flavor is like no other.  It starts your day with a little extra love.  A little extra joy.

I took time to blog.  Something that at times makes me feel guilty.  Why?  Because it is a passion of mine and when I embrace my passions I get lost in them.  Literally, I can tune out a freight train.  I can eliminate all other thoughts from rolling through my head.  I can go full steam ahead without hearing my name called.  This is my own rabbit hole of joy.  At times it can separate me from others.  I can get so lost in my own thoughts that I must get them out.  Writing is a passion… my joy!

IMG_6104I watched the sun set.  I honestly don’t remember the last time I chose to do that.  A gift right in front of me every day and I am too busy to embrace it.  It was such a spectacular sight.   Not just the sunset itself, but the people I was watching it with.  The silence.  The appreciation.  The lapping of the waves as we each took in the beauty before us.

I read a book.   I took along 3 books because I never quite know what it is I’m looking for until I sit down to actually read.  This is a book I had had since winter, but it seemed to get juggled around amongst the 30 new books I had acquired.  I flipped it over and read the backside… I needed a quick reminder of  it’s purpose.  There it was… the book for me.  Not just any book, but one that spoke to me.  I dug into “Unmapped Potential” by Julie Hasson and Missy Lennard.  I was convinced that these 2 women wrote this book just for me… they could relate to my feeling of “being overextended, discouraged, and stressed” at times.   They had me reflecting on my mental  map and how it shapes my thoughts and actions.  The quote that resonated with me does not need an intro.  It doesn’t need elaborated on.  And it may not even need discussion for that matter.  Simply reflect…

“The energy you give to others comes back to you.” -Purposeful Principals

What energy are you giving?

What energy are you creating?

What brings you joy?

Choose-Joy

I woke up yesterday, feeling rejuvenated.  Feeling like I could give my time to others in whatever way I was needed.  I don’t always feel that way.  Not that I am not a joyful person because that I am, but because I rejuvenated my joy.  I put on my own oxygen mask so that I could help others.  I breathed in deeply.  I made myself happy without strings attached.  No guilt.  No worry.  No regret.  What makes you happy?

Go out and do it… rejeventae your joy!

Find your joy!

Choose joy!

Share your joy!