Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dealing with Disappointment

This is my youngest son Zach when he was only three years old, with his highly unimpressed  Mr. Grumpy Pants look, hahaha! As you can see he was quite disappointed with something at that present moment  and clearly showed it.

Everyone feels disappointment and I just want you to know that if you are facing a huge disappointment in your life right now, you're not alone!  I had quite a sucker-punch to the guts today myself. Not gonna lie, I was extremely disappointed about it, I had been planning and preparing for quite some time now and was really choked when things didn't pan out the way I thought they should have.

So like any other normal human being I felt discouraged and frustrated and plain ol" bummed out/. It's hard to know what to do next when all your carefully laid plans get derailed. Expecially when the circumstances are completely beyond your control. So, what next?

Take a deep breath, hold it while you give the hot tears stinging your eyelids a minute to subside, and let that breath out slowly . . . while I congratulate you on this new opportunity!  WHAT??? I can hear you thinking " What the shiitake mushrooms is she talking about?!?!" haha.  It's not easy to see a long-desired door slam in your face as an opportunity, but when doors close on us it's kinda like God's way of saying " Careful there kiddo, you were headed in the wrong direction!".
One door closing means you just have to keep walking till you find an open window.  It does NOT mean we give up our on our dreams. It does NOT mean we slump down in a defeated heap and wait for our goals to be handed to us on a silver platter. It DOES mean that the particular WAY we thought something was supposed to work out, wasn't the best way and so we need to look for the opportunities that an open window will give us instead.  That open window may have a beanstalk growing right outside reaching into the sky, that we might never have noticed if we had wasted our time and energy beating our fists against a closed door or slumped in a corner in defeat,  And if that window doesnt open? Then try another one,.  And another one. I love the quote  "Courage is not always as a loud roar, sometimes it is the quiet voice that says 'I will try again tomorrow". (don't know who it's by, but if you do, comment below so I can give due credit )

I want to encourage amyone who is feeling disappointed right now, whoever has had their hopes deflated and feels like their dreams for the future just won't work out,  to HANG IN THERE., Because as long as you keep trying, keep getting back up, keep hoping, you WILL make it happen!

It's hard to do that,. I"m not gonna lie to ya sometimes hanging in there means gritting your teeth, or tears of frustration streaming down your face. As a single mama of two young children I have had my share of struggles with juggling the demands of raising a family and working 2 (sometimes 3) jobs and trying to pay the bills, run my own business and just keep my sanity through it all.  I remember sitting on the floor in my kitchen at 2 a.m. crying because I couldnt rememher the last time I was able to pay the phone, the electricity and the gas bills in the same month, wondering how on earth I was going to make the rent and being so sick and tired of always feeling like no matter where I was, whether at work or at home with my kids, that I was always supposed to be somewhere else. (Like when I was working, I'd feel guilty about not being with my kids, yet when I was home with them I'd feel guilty that I wasnt working more to provide for them better)  In those times, it seemed that all I was ever doing was struggling to make it from one day to the next, like reaching for any of my own dreams was out of the question, and  and every time I'd get close to being able to actually make ends meet, someone would move the ends! Hahaha

Those times did eventually pass though.  It took alot of hard work and alot of patience and reconfiguring and reconstructing and sorting things out. I made some necessary adjustments (including moving my kids and I into a smaller house that was more affordable, and as it turned out, newer and nicer too!) and things eventurally worked out for the best, and I no longer have to deal with the stress that I once dealt with on a daily basis.. Even then things didnt go entirely smoothly, A week and a half before I moved I wound up getting robbed! Someone broke into my almost-entirely-packed-up house and trashed the place and my computer and camera equipement were all stolen.  And since at the time I didn't have tenants insurance it was a devastating blow to lose such important equipment to my business and personal well-being! Again, it was patience and working even harder to gain back what had been lost ( or in this case, stolen) and eventually I wound up with more than I started out with.  Now I am eagerly looking forward to the future and slowly moving forward with my plans to meet my goals and dreams. One more derailment isn't going to slow me down, it;s just going to challenge me to look for the opportunity I might have missed out on along the way!

 Sometimes it means starting over from scratch, sometimes for the millionth time. Sometimes it means finding a whole new approach, or developing a new strategy or inventing a radical new paradigm.  If eveyone gave up, we would never have things like lightbilbs or telephones! hahaha. This is an opportunity to find out what your're made of! To challenge yourself.  I want to encourage you that you can accomplish whatever goal you"ve set you heart on, DON'T GIVE UP =)  I want you to know in your heart that someone believes in you and that person is me and I"m telling you that you can do it and you can come back and re-read this as many times as you need to in a day to remind yourself of that!

Do things always work out the exact way we think they should ?  No, sometimes they turn out much, much better! And if they haven't yet then it means the journey isn't over yet and the best part is still yet to come!

Hope and encouragement for your heart,
-J

Friday, January 20, 2012

For Really Big Mistakes . . . .


Don't you wish it was just as simple as that?  You make a mistake in life and reach for a giant eraser hahahaha  Anyone who's lived longer than a nanosecond knows its not that easy, but man it would sure be great sometimes!  Have you ever made a mistake, or a wrong choice that's left you feeling like you wish you could go back in time and make a different one?  For instance "man, I wish I hadn"t yelled at my son for slamming the door in my face, especially once he explained he was frustrated about a bad day at school " or "Ouch! I wish I hadn't eaten all that ice cream since I'm lactose intolerant!" or "Dude .. . . where's my car?"  hahaha!
My point being,  we all wish we could have a giant eraser sometimes to erase any trace of mistakes. But the reality is we can't.  Every action has a consequence, whether it be good or bad, and life demands that we live with those consequences of our actions.  There IS no giant eraser. 
That being said,  we don"t have to go through life in misery and regret either, that was never the way we were meant to live. So what's a body to do then?  It's so unbelievably simple that alot of us overlook it:
Forgiveness.
That's right, the giant "eraser" for life was right there in our hearts all along!  Whether it's asking someone to forgive us, or forgiving someone for wrong done to us, or (and here's a doozie) forgiving OURSELVES for hurting someone or making a bad decision that hurt our own self.  That's the key to "erasing"the mistakes. No' it doesnt UNDO the action or cirumstance ( you would need a time machine for that, haha) but it does CHANGE it - because forgiveness changes HEARTS.  If you are the one who has wronged someone,  and you sincerely ask for their forgiveness then your heart is changed in a way that allows you to let go of that guilt and move on,.  Whether that person chooses to fogive you is not for you to worry about, it's the sincerety in your heart that has changed you and having learned from that mistake you are free to make different, better decisions from that point on.
If you have been wronged by someone, even if they never ask you to forgive them for what they did, FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY.  Why?  Because forgiving someone else (or yourself) releases you to move on past the anger or hurt or betrayal, and enjoy your life rather than waste energy carrying a grudge in your heart - that burden gets heavier the longer you carry it!  This is also important if you are begrudging yourself for a mistake you have made. Forgiving yourself is a hard one, but it's not impossible, and you will find that it's only once you have forgiven yourself that you finally have the strength in your heart again to make things right where you can.  To let go where you need to, and to learn from an experience so that you won't keep repeating it over and over again.
 No,  we can't undo mistakes made in life easily like an eraser can erase pencil marks,  but we have an incredibly powerful tool at our disposal, and that tool of forgiveness can do so much more than changing a mistake - it changes hearts. Changed hearts can change the world.

Giant Pink Forgiveness Erasers for everyone,
-J




 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hugs, Hearts & Cupcakes

Ever have one of those days where you don't know whether to laugh or cry?  Yeah, me too. We all do from time to time. In those moments it's hard to keep a good perspective on life. I love the quote ( I don't know who it's by) that goes " I"m trying to take things one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once!"  hahaha.
I've had alot of things to deal with today - I had to deal with a work issue involving a screw up that hadn't been caught and snowballed pretty badly Sometimes I really hate how much we count on the accuracy of computers. - especially when we assume certain things are accurate and find out later that some automatic updates had caused minor alterations resulting in pretty serious complications!  Then I had some major scheduling conficts with my school that I had to deal with - and the only person there who can really help me is away until my start date. This was all added to the fact that this past weekend we had a serious emergency in our household. We called the gas company to report what we beleived to be a gas leak in our fireplace only to find out that it was in fact a CARBON MONOXIDE leak!  The technician said the levels were so high we wouldn't have made it even 6 hours in those conditions   It was sunday afternoon, and according to him it had started quite some time before then.  He just stared at his meter and shook his head in disbelief that my children and I had even woken up at all that morning!  I was shocked and we were pretty shaken after that - you hear awful stories on the news about things liek this were there is a CO leak in the middle of the night and entire families go to bed and never wake up again. How tragic and awful and scary to find out that we were so close to being one of those stories!  And since Co detectors are not mandatory ( they sure should be though!)  the house we are renting does not have one and so we had no idea we were even at risk.  Let me tell everyone who has natural gas in their house, whether it is for a fireplace, furnace, hotwater tank or stove range - PLEASE make sure you have a Co detector in your home! They dont have to be hardwired into your house, you can buy one that just plugs into any electrical outlet in your home. ( I didn't know this till my uncle told me - I will be buying one before I have the gas hooked up again, once we get our new fireplace  - the other one didnt work properly, hence the leak) Again.  I urge anyone who doesnt have a carbon monoxide detector to get one - I don't want any one of you precious readers to fall victim to a horrible tragedy.
Getting back to perspective . . . .    We all have days where everything goes wrong and we just want to crawl into bed and stay there and wait for tomorrow. But given how unbeleivably fragile life can be during times of near-miss disasters,  sometimes keeping those times of saving grace close in our hearts helps us keep our prespective. It allows us to focus instead on the little things in life that we can be thankful for because we almost missed out on the chance to enjoy those things.  I picked up my kids from their afterschool activities. It was Junior Chef cooking class day, and they showered me in hugs and shared their freshly baked CUPCAKES with me!     And you know what?  Their precious little hearts so full of love and their warm hugs ( not to mention the yummy cupcakes - they're good little chefs!)  were all it took to turn my day right around and make it a pretty awesome day.
The storms of life can rage all around us, kind of like the blinding snow blizzard roaring outside my window right now. But keeping a little perspective goes a long way to reminding us how the little things in life - the best things - can't been seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.

Sending you all hugs and yummy virtual cupcakes to turn your day around!
-J 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

PLEASE TAKE THIS QUICK SURVEY!

Ok everyone,  I spent this afternoon working on this survey, so I'm hoping praying, pleading and asking that you will all take this SUPER SHORT SURVEY to help us out with our market research for our new business!
 Just click on the link here http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SCXRWBQ
and fill it out, then pass it along to your friends.  I would appreciate it so very much!  If you see me around this week, make sure tell me that you've taken my survey and I'll give you a bear hug, hahaha!
  We are in the beginning stages of our market research , and anything you guys have to say is important to us,  we want to offer the very best Taekwondo instruction available for our students , and make ours the best martial arts school ever! Thanks so much everyone for all your continued support, we couldnt do it without you!

Anxiously anticipating results,
J

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

PROJECT 52!!! "Now here's the Kicker . . . "


There was alot of self-imposed pressure to end Project 52 with a bang - so much so that I began to get nervous and the expectations built up in my head and there was almost no way to reach them! So to counter that,  I needed something with quite a kick to it, and consequently, that's exactly what inspired me for this final project -  that's the kicker, hahaha!

Allow me to introduce to you my good friend Kendall, my soon-to-be-business-partner and a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo.  Kendall has a dream. Her dream is to open a Taekwondo martial arts school in our town, and teach students of all ages this wonderful combination of self-defense, a respect fo self and others, and just boost others' self confidence in general. Children and adults of all ages are welcome - specialized self-defense classes for women, and also for seniors, are also in the works. This girl is one of the most motivated, hard-working, inspirational people I know! My heart is just so proud of this girl for going after her dream, I am so incredibly happy to be able to see that dream come into existence! To watch as she teaches her students not just practical life-skills like self-discipline, but of all the lives that will be nurtured and challenged and forever changed under her instruction and guidance.  You only have to meet this lady once for her passionate excitement for this sport to rub off on you, her enthusiasm is contagious and her bright smile makes you feel right at home!


So Project 52 is wrapped up, and new projects for this new year are unfolding in the form of a new business venture  - yes I am Kendall's business partner in the opening of this Taekwondo school. I am just so excited for this new project, so very happy for my friend and what she will accomplish this next year and so very honored to be a part of it in any way I can be of help to her in this.!

There will be new photo posts in the new year in a differemt style than this year's "Project 52" format.  For one thing, I am going to be starting school in February ( via distance education online) to get my diploma in Psychology and Counselling, so that will take up alot of my time, therefore I wont be able to put a time frame on projects like I did this past year. Alot of good that did me anyway, hahaha!  No, this year I will be doing random photo challenges with my dear friend and beloved mentor Barb ( the sweet soul I introduced not long ago who makes those lovely cards). She and I talked about agreeing on a specific subject to photograph, and then the two of us would post our finished image on our two blogs, with a link to the each others blogs, so that people can compare images. I'm calling these new occasional posts " Challenge Accepted" photo posts,  and I'm excited to see the different ways the same subject can be captured, its one of the things I love about photograph the most. I love how millions of people can take a picture of the same subject  -say, for instance, the Eiffel Tower - and every single photo will look different, because every photographer has a unique way in which we express the world as we see it.  I hope through these Challenge Accepted posts you all see how many different ways there are to see the beauty and uniqueness in everything around us, and I really hope it will encourage your to grab your camera ( even if it;s your cell phone camera! haha) and take your own photos of the challenge subjects!

I want to thank everyone who has read my blog posts over the past year ( yes all 3 or 4 of you, hahaha!) and  for being so faithful to comment on my project posts and for your kind words and encouragement. This past year has been at times challenging and honestly quite difficult, personally speaking, and I  know I didn't have alot of my projects done for you all in the time frames I would have liked to. You've all seen alot of the time stamps on my posts reading 2 and 3 a.m., hahaha!  But hey, another year is behind me with alot of lessons learned along the way, so I have alot to be thankful for even just in that itself. Im also thankful to my family and friends for all of their love and patience and understanding this past year, and for their continued love and support heading into this new year. This new year has already started out radically different from any other year already ( more on that later) and I already know this next year is going to be a really great one - full of all sorts of challenges, opportunities, and awesome surprises!  BRING IT ON!

Fancy flying kicks in the air,
-J