Staying power: 9 signs of a good friend

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Surround yourself with those
who only lift you higher.
~ Oprah Winfrey

Over the past two decades, I’ve come to understand there are friendships for different seasons in our lives (see https://midlifemess.com/friends-for-a-season/). In the cited blog, the writer says that realizing a friendship season is over and letting go is one of the hardest things to do. Plus, a friendship season may not end at the same time for both people. I think it’s important to recognize that as we grow—and our lives change—so will our tribe. Some friendships may even come full circle after time and distance apart. In whatever season you’re planted, however, according to author Stormie O’Martian, a good friend, “tells you the truth in love, gives you sound advice, refines you, helps you grow in wisdom, stays close to you, loves you and stands by you, helps in times of trouble, is not rebellious and is not often angry.” And remember: it goes both ways.

What do your friendships reflect about you?

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Hurts so good: pushing through pain for gain

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Have you picked out a word for the year, yet (see “…20/20 vision”)—or has your word picked out you? How do you know it’s your word? Here’s a tip: if a particular word or phrase continues to pop up in your day-to-day life, there’s a pretty good chance you’re onto something. For me, the word “growth” resonated prior to yearend. And, only a couple weeks into the New Year, I’m convinced it’s a perfect match. Especially when it seems everything in my life is under construction. Because: ouch. The “pruning” I’m experiencing during this season has proven a bit painful, yet on point. Perhaps you’ve found that a word or phrase—one you’ve chosen as your mantra for the remainder of the year—forces you to address areas of your life that require a good pre-spring cleaning. In my own circumstances, to create the space required for new growth, I must let go and let Him.

In what one area must you push through pain for gain?

20/20 vision: ring in a new look, new direction

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Anyone else brimming with excitement over the ball dropping in T-minus 19 days? I love a blank slate—revisiting previous goals and dreaming new dreams—366 new beginnings to be exact (yes, it’s a Leap Year). And this year begins a new decade, so I hear—along with my new “word” for 2020: growth. For those of you who have experienced your own growing pains that often accompany progress, you know that growth can manifest itself from the inside out. This undoubtedly requires an exercise in patience when unable to immediately discern external change. Or, it may appear messy on the outside initially but, as you cultivate your goals, the fruit of your efforts begin to blossom. Stay tuned as I grow in tangible ways, including a new direction for Always The Write Time blog. I’m thrilled to share this fresh season with followers of my rhetoric and ramblings—the messy, the colorful and everything in between. Buckle up for an exciting ride ahead.

Happy New Year blessings!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A funny thing happened on the way to rehab

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A last-minute schedule shuffle recently brought me to Minneapolis, 1,700 miles from my Phoenix home. All-things travel rolled according to plan: until my first morning in town. While backing down a driveway in my rental car—a 2019 white Toyota Camry—on the way to visit a family member recovering in post-surgery transitional care, the sickening crunch of metal alerted me to the fire hydrant I’d overlooked with the tall red metal post near the curb. I examined the outcome (fire hydrant: 1; Camry: 0) and made a quick decision: pop the fender and grille back into place and go. After a heartwarming visit, I spent the remainder of the afternoon dealing with the aftermath of my fender bender. In spite of a change of plans, missed opportunities and extra expenses, I managed to handle the experience with grace under fire. And the favor that’s followed simply validates when the unexpected happens, our reactions open the door to receive blessings or cursings.

How do you handle the unexpected?

Kudos for making a change: how do you know when it’s right?

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Have you ever noticed that oftentimes when you make up your mind—to forge ahead on the road less traveled or release what no longer serves you—affirmations of your decision begin to appear in myriad ways? It could be the topic of that day’s devotion or an inspirational email that shows up in your inbox, or even this blog post. Or, you hear a song on the radio that resonates with a recent change you’ve made, or a friend makes a random comment validating your resolve. Some people believe these apparent coincidences—or signs— signify that life’s puzzle pieces are moving into proper alignment. Maybe it’s as simple as “confirmation bias:” the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories. Whatever you call it, it can spring hope eternal when you sense you’re on the right track. And offer the impetus to keep on keeping on even when you trip along the way.

What kind of confirmation bias have you experienced lately?

Image source: https://www.inspiredtoreality.com.

Take your dreams to the next level: establishing a vision

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Earlier this month, I attended a vision board workshop with six other women and our host/facilitator. The session began with meditation and “smudging”—the burning of sage to clear negative energy that might keep us stuck or stagnant—to jump start our individual intentions for growth or change or whatever we desire to manifest during the year. Then the eight of us proceeded to converse and flip through magazines for pictures that resonated with the words and images we conjured up. Complemented by red wine and sparkling water and margherita pizza, visions were borne. Today, my vision board hangs on a wall in my hallway at home where I see it daily. Although I can joke and say that my new year begins Feb. 1, the truth is: each day is a new opportunity to do something our future selves will thank us for. I seized my dreams and created a vision (board). Now it’s time to crush each and every one.

How do you manifest your vision?

Take a cup of kindness yet: a resolve that’s timely

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A part of kindness consists in
loving people more than they deserve.
~ Joseph Joubert

You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never
know how soon it will be too late.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s that time when many of us take stock of the past 365 days, and we may even begin to sketch out New Year’s resolutions, goals or bucket lists. For me, the past year has encompassed myriad life events: change, challenges and loss. It’s also involved answered prayers, growth and new opportunities. And once again I await with expectation a blank slate in which to draft a new chapter. A word of advice, however, and a note to self: In order to set ourselves up for success from the start, we must allow for plot twists. You know: because life. Yet perhaps the first thing we must resolve is to extend kindness without delay. It’s a practice that’s always right on time.

How will your new year be different than the last?

Image courtesy of graphixchon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Defeating the demons: pressing in to get your head (and heart) unstuck

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In my recent post, “Make peace with the past…” I contemplate the choice to salvage the Someday mentality [“Someday my dreams will come true, I’ll accomplish X, Y and Z or fill-in-the-blank”]—or to let go of the one-sided dreams. You know the type—where the outcome centers on circumstances beyond your control. Today, I’m at a crossroads as I fight a few familiar demons: rehashing old habits, rethinking past choices, dwelling on the old. Yet the only way to reclaim my reality is to dig deeper, to press in to those areas which best define me: my passion and my purpose. To pursue, with greater intent, life’s simple pleasures and the transformative power of prayer, the mindful practice of gratitude and self-compassion. And to finally release those things which I cannot change in order to appreciate the life that’s smack dab in front of me. Not a million miles away. Not within the pages of a fairytale. But here, and now.

How do you defeat the demons?

Image source: askideas.com.

Information overload: the good, the bad and the ugly

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I’ve got a lot on my mind but, rather than write multiple posts, I condensed my innumerable thoughts into six key points so I can say my piece and move on. You’re welcome.

  1. Consistency and mindfulness: Hey, they really work! My recent blood workup illustrates the positive results of both. See “Consistency is key…” and “7 tips to incorporate mindfulness…” for helpful reminders.
  2. Authentic change requires forgiveness: Did you commit a wrongdoing that compels you to ask forgiveness? Or are you waiting for an apology? See “Forgiveness is a funny thing” and “Forgiveness leads to freedom.” Only through forgiveness can we experience authentic, life-altering change.
  3. Health stuff: Nothing major, but a new pesky concern to monitor.
  4. Enough with the negativity: Quit bellyaching (note to self) and see “What we speak is what we get.
  5. My heart hurts: For my friends and family who suffer with illness, disease, loss, heartache. For my own unrequited dreams.
  6. Humanity: God help us.

What’s on your mind?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Effecting change: love harder, forgive more

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During my lifetime, I’ve met basically two kinds of people: The ones who are grateful simply because they are alive and breathing, equipped with the ability to contribute to society in some way; and the ones who greet you with, “It’s going to be a bad day” and proceed to tick off a barrage of superficial complaints. In my own experience, each set of people exhibits certain stereotypical qualities. The former kind seeks to put others’ needs first, walks his/her talk, leads by example and always looks for the good in humanity. The latter kind tends to obsess over messages of hate and judgment, holds grudges and finds fault with (seemingly) every little thing. Oh, how my heart aches for storm-ravaged Texas, the condition of our world, for the division that separates. My deepest desire is to collectively become one kind of people who learn to dismiss the small stuff, love harder, forgive more and unite to make a radical difference.

What can you do to effect change?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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