Patience

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I had always assumed waiting meant you were a patient person. Then I realised that often we have no choice but to wait; no matter how hard we push and fight it will not bring us any closer to what we are waiting for.

Patience is not merely waiting but waiting with a good attitude. Patience is knowing you do not yet have all you desire but have made a conscious choice to be joyful each day. Easier said than done – certainly for me as this is an area in which I have struggled in.

There were particular periods in my life when I have had to wait for years and in some cases am still waiting. You know when you truly desire a thing and you do everything within your power to receive it but this is not enough? A part of me just would not accept I had to wait. I did not want to wait and felt (for some absurd) reason I should not have to.

It began to affect my outlook on life and took the little joy I had. It was all too consuming. What I am about to share may come across as strange but I recall thinking “I cannot appear too joyful as God may assume I no longer require this as urgently and I may have to wait longer”. Absolutely bizarre thought pattern but I can assure you this ran through my mind.

We will always be working towards the next stage in life which will involve an element of waiting. We cannot escape it therefore why not wait with a good and upbeat attitude?

I have identified two tips that can assist you with working towards waiting patiently:

1. Look back at your goals/journal from the previous year and identify what you have achieved. No matter how big or small, it is all relevant. This will serve as a good reminder.

2. Be thankful for what you do have on a daily basis. Remember there are people less fortunate than you are.

How do you deal with waiting?
Have you put mechanisms in place?
What impact does it have on those closest to you?

Perhaps you can add some of your tips.

Commitment: are you in or out?

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What does commitment mean for you;

Honouring your word?

Seeing a task through to the end? 

Making the necessary sacrifices and dedicating your time?

I see making a commitment as binding, whether it was agreed verbally or documented. Agreeing to meet a friend on a particular date and time is making a commitment. You have agreed to give this person your time. Of course circumstances may occur where you are required to cancel the meet up, in which case you reschedule to an appropriate date.

Even arranging to telephone someone is a commitment, as basic as it may seem. The person will naturally be waiting for you to call as it was previously agreed.

At times we can become zealous and over commit ourselves. This may be due to not wanting to disappoint, feeling pressured or having major difficulty saying no. I have come to realise it is far better to be upfront and honest with ourselves before committing to anything. We must ask ourselves:

1. Is this realistic in terms of my time, finances, lifestyle?

2. Do I want to commit?

3. Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifice(s)?

4. Do I need to commit?

5. What are the obvious impacts of this commitment?

We should aim to avoid having the type of character who hastily commits because a project/idea sounds feasible without weighing up the pros and cons.

Naturally I do not jump into making big decisions. I consider the financial implications and possible effects on my family. I have taken on a project or two in the last few years and though they were not always plain sailing, I have learnt a great deal about running a small business and growing a network. We can learn from near enough any experience assuming we are willing and able to give of ourselves.

Can others be assured that when you have given your word, they know you will keep it?

Do you give careful consideration to an offer or proposal before signing up?

Perhaps you are commitment shy and rarely give your time to anything or anyone.

Attitude is everything


Maintaining a good attitude shows strength of character, that despite the challenges you are able to remain grounded and personable.

I have been giving a lot of thought towards attitude – mine in particular. I question my attitude when life is running smoothly in comparison to when challenges arise. There is a distinctive difference! 

At times I am under pressure, I begin to feel a little anxious and out of my depth. It is in these moments I am more likely to be irritable and moody. This automatically creates a bad attitude which has a negative impact on those around me. 

It may not appear this way but everyone faces challenges whether struggles in relationships, finances, emotionally or physically. There comes a point when you must take responsibility for the way you behave (this includes me too). You must endeavour to work on the attitudes which has become a part of your life; a bad habit. It is a behaviour that has been learnt over the months or years, which means it can also be unlearnt. 

For years I made excuses for having a not so great attitude in some areas, blaming everyone but me. I had excuses galore as to why I behaved in a particular way;
“She/he made me feel”               

 “This is the way I am”

“You do not know what I have faced”

I knew changing my attitude would take perseverence which is why it was easier to continue hiding behind my many excuses.  

Looking inwards and trying to fix particular areas in your life takes a realisation that though you can stay as you are – you no longer wish to. You want to be the best person you can be for yourself and others. It is difficult to positively influence others and have a true impact on their lives with a bad attitude.  

Are there particular areas in which you can develop a better attitude? 

Did you actively work on the attitude you now have? 

What kept you focused when it seemed an impossible task? 

Are you ready for change?

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Last year was both challenging and rewarding for me. I learnt more about myself as a Christian, wife, mother and leader in my place of employment and church. I learnt to accept myself and worked towards being a better person (as I discussed in my previous blog post).

I do not feel one must make changes in the month of January only and this blog is NOT about making New Year’s resolutions.  Change can come about at any point in the year.  The main point being is that you list the changes, how and when you are going to put them into place. Without a plan it is unlikely you will follow anything through.  Having the desire for change is not enough.

This year I would like to (not listed in order of importance);

1. Minimise the amount of complaining and nagging I do. It is not healthy for me or those around me and quite frankly it is unfair on my children and husband who is one of the most “happy go lucky” people I know.

2. Study the bible with a passion in order to gain a deeper understanding.

3. Spend more time in personal prayer. Even if it means locking myself in the bathroom to get a little peace and turning my eyes away from tasks that need doing in the home.

4. Spend more time praying as a family. Be more consistent with bible reading time and family devotion time.

5. Be more content with my life even when I desire change in particular areas.

6. Spend more time with our children and make this quality time where I develop a deeper relationship with them. Lose the guilt I feel from being a full-time working mother.

7. Develop my leadership skills for work and church ministry purposes.

8. Take my blog and writing to another level.

Do not allow 2017 to be another year where you do not go for what you desire. You can make enquiries at college/ university if it is a course you want to do, request training at work to further your career, read books to gain more knowledge in a subject area, sign up for driving lessons and take them as and when you can afford to.

I do not particularly like change especially when it requires more of me emotionally and physically but I understand the principles surrounding change. I am willing to sacrifice and do the work now in order to gain later.

As Albert Einstein quoted;

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

What change would you like to see in 2017?
Do you require assistance/training /additional finances?
How will you go about accessing these?

Accept yourself!

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Do you appreciate and accept yourself?

Accepting oneself brings about a peace of knowing oneself. You have no need to gain recognition from others. Your confidence is not based on what others say or in some cases, what others do not say. You are kind to yourself, you take care of your inner and outer body. You are aware of your weaknesses and your strengths and are happy to develop both without beating yourself up in the process. 

You can celebrate others knowing it takes nothing away from you. You can be inspired by others without secretly carrying envy and questioning why you do not have what they have or why you cannot do what they do.

Evangelist and author Joyce Meyer, often refers back to her major struggles with insecurities and constant need for recognition. I have read several of her books including Approval Addiction, Battlefield of the Mind, Help Me I am Married! Joyce always comes back to the same point; she neither loved or liked herself in her early life and was always aspiring to be something else, someone else.

For some accepting themselves has been rather easy, due to being optimistic, praised often as a child or adored by peers and family members. For others it is a struggle to accept themselves due to negative words being spoken over them, poor self-image or rejection.

I am going to be a little vulnerable in an area in which I struggled to accept myself.  I have passed this hurdle now so am no longer bound by it. One of the great benefits to “letting go” of an issue is the freedom it brings. You can comfortably disclose it in the hope to encourage others.

I wear size 8 (41) shoes (probably from the age of 11/12). My feet were long and slim when young and my mother often had trouble finding suitable shoes and sandals. She became frustrated at having to frequent a number of shoe shops. As a result I felt guilt and shame. When buying shoes as a late teen/young adult, I would ask shop assistants for my size in the lowest voice ever and find a hidden corner to try the shoes on. I felt embarrassed at having large feet and I did not want customers watching me squeeze my feet into the shoes.  A few “friends” from the past, male and female commented on the size of my feet. I wondered what on earth they expected me to do – cut my feet in half?

Now I love (okay like) my feet and I accept them slim and long as they are. They are quite model like!  My husband wears size 11 shoes and you can guess our children have “generous” size feet! In fact, soon after my son was born, the midwife commented on the length of his feet. I just smiled – how could I have expected anything different?

You need to make a decision to accept yourself. You do not need to be given the go ahead from anyone. Accepting yourself should not be equated to staying just as you are and developing a “this is who I am – like it or lump it” attitude. It means accepting where you are right now and being determined to work on those areas required.

The more tolerant you are with yourself, the more tolerant you will be with others. In the same way that those who love themselves can freely love others.

Do you easily accept yourself?
How easily do you accept others?

New Year, New Goals!

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Happy New Year!

What better time to write a blog than on the first day of a new year. I took a two week break from my blog over Christmas and although I missed writing, it really was a pleasure to take time out.

However challenging, frustrating or smooth running 2016 was for you, what are your plans for 2017? How are you going to make 2017 be a more fruitful year for you?

What have you been procrastinating on for months or years? Something you have a passion for, a cause of some sort or perhaps something more practical such as taking your driving test or saving for a deposit for a mortgage.

What has stopped you from pursuing this dream or goal? Lack of finances, lack of time, a lack of faith in your ability, lack of support from friends and family members?

Wholst these are all obvious hurdles which you will need to overcome, they do not need to prevent you from moving forward. One step forward, one small action is often all that is required to get you going.  Do not concern yourself with the “what if’s”. Do not be afraid of failing.  When moving into new territory, failure is often part and parcel.

I would suggest you note down three goals you have for 2017; one or two may even appear unachievable in your own eyes. Think about the very first step you will need to take. It may involve a telephone call, face to face meeting or researching the Internet.

Take action – only then will you believe you can achieve this goal. Only then will doors begin to open and ideas spring into your mind. 

Do not be that person who hopes but puts no plans in place.  Do not be that person who chooses not to pursue their goals and dreams believing they are too big. Big is good as it means you are aiming high!

What do you plan to achieve in 2017?

Are you willing to overcome the challenges?

Think and shop smart this Christmas!

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It is that time of year when (most) people spend like it is going out of fashion.  High street stores are bustling with people looking for gifts. Supermarket trolleys are absolutely brimming with food and drinks. There is only one or two days of store closure – at present only Boxing Day comes to mind. Why is it that people stock up as if they will have no access to any shops for two weeks? I really want to know!

Gift buying can work out expensive even if you decide to focus on immediate family only or those you will see on Christmas Day. If you would rather avoid buying 10 to 15 gifts whether for financial reasons or lack of time to shop, why not suggest doing a Secret Santa.  For the purpose of those of you who may not know, you pick out the name of one person, usually from a hat and you buy a gift for this person. It may be viewed as unfair for children to buy gifts therefore some adults will need to double up on buying gifts.  Do not forget to agree on a spending limit!

The Christmas day meal requires a lot of preparation so why not call on each guest to help? The host does not necessarily have to do everything. After writing a list which I am sure will be as long as your arm, ask adults to bring a savoury or sweet dish, drinks, snacks – whatever is required.  Be specific about how many heads you would like them to cater for – never assume they will know. After dinner you may feel tempted to slum it in front of the television. Games and quizzes always go down well. Charades is a popular game amongst my family members.  It is hilarious to see others acting out a film, drama or book and it has brought us much laughter over the years.

Last but certainly not least, giving goes a long way at this time of year. We can all do at least one thing to help another. It does not need to involve you parting with cash, perhaps a few hours of your time. Every year, members of my church meet to pack and distribute food hampers to people in the local area. Church members are required to donate towards the cost of the hampers. The contents include food items for a full Christmas meal and dessert for 4-6 people.

You could consider:

1. Volunteering to work at your local food bank
2. Buying a gift for a child who will not receive many presents this year
3. Making up a hamper for a family who are facing financial challenges – including nice foods
4. Visiting a neighbour/friend who lives alone or invite them to your home even if for mince pies and cake.

What are your plans this Christmas?
Does it involve people outside of your extended family?
Is there anything different you will do this year compared to previous years?
 

Light hearted tips and advice from an organised lady!

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