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Mess Into A Message

Monday, October 9th, 2017

The other day after my workout session, I decided to take a few moments and relax in the sauna. Usually the sauna is empty with only one or two people lounging around. There is an unspoken rule to keep the chatter down or chit chat to minimum. This day, when I entered the room, an older woman by the name of Carolyn who usually attends the morning session was sitting in the sauna quietly chatting with another young woman about her first job. I have to admit, I was not in the mood for talking and I was trying to maintain somewhat of a distant demeanor. However, there was something about this woman, her sincerity and genuine kind spirit, that I could not help but to soften up and be receptive to the conversation. I am not exactly sure how she began to share her story with me but somehow the conversation turned to when she got married. She had gotten married young, had children but unlike many women of her generation, she was the breadwinner of the family. Her husband stayed home with the kids, and Carolyn ran the families’ three convenience stores in the area. In essence the roles were reversed and Carolyn and her husband believed this was best, for both the marriage and their family. Their desire for a house in the mountains and away from the hustle and bustle, led them to the outskirts of Virginia, purchasing a beautiful house on the hill, overlooking breathtaking views of the mountains. It was there Carolyn set up shop, prepared the house for when the children got of school for the summer at which time, her husband and the kids would join her. That was the plan. Like everything else in life, plans change. Carolyn’s husband at the time, began an affair with her best friend, filed for divorce, and wind up gaining custody of the kids. Sadly, Carolyn was left to pick up the pieces of a broken marriage, heart, and life. As I sat there listening to her share her story, I wondered how she got through it. Mind you, I have been through a divorce and it was not easy. A person can only take so many blows to the heart, but she seemed to be a silent force of strength, inner joy, and resolve. I asked her how she managed to get through it, she turned to me and said “The one thing I have learned in life is that nothing is guaranteed, except God and Jesus. You can hold onto something but it can be taken away just like that. I just focused on God and thanked him for all that was in my life”. We never know what life is going to throw at us, the only thing that we can do is move forward and do the very best that we can. All too often, we have heard of women being emotionally, financially, and physically bankrupt after a divorce, breakup, or loss of a loved one.  Often, women are often left with an invisible scarlet letter on our chest, that never seems to quite go away. We are left to pick up the pieces, all the while still carrying the torch. I do not know how we do it, but it gets done. Through all the twists, turns, ups, and downs, the road leads to God.

As I sat there, I began to thank God for her testimony and for her courage to share this intimate part of her life with me. We never know what another person has gone through, to get to where they are in life. We need to lift up our sisters, mothers, aunts, friends, AND strangers.  Their journey may not be exactly like ours, but it’s their journey, struggle, triumph, and victory that can teach us how to be better and do better as people.

“Only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, a victim into a victory” Unknown.

Embrace Being Out of Place

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Over the course of my life, I have often felt “out of place”.  It wasn’t that I was socially awkward, but I never really felt like I fit in even amongst my peers. Growing up as a child, I was somewhat quiet, except around those that I felt comfortable with and trusted. I could always discern and still can discern people who have good intentions and those who do not. As a child, I was too young to understand or even comprehend why I felt that way, or why a settle nudge would commence, as soon as someone walked in the room that caused the energy and good vibes to drain from the atmosphere. As I moved into my teen years, I wanted to fit in, so I ignored those feelings, which sometimes led to unfavorably consequences, lost friends, and bad decisions. As I got older and I started to become closer to God and the holy spirit, I began to understand what discernment was and how even as a child that was one of the gifts and ways the holy spirit speaks to us. It was by God’s love, self-love and acceptance, I began to not only embrace who I was and not feel so awkward.  Fast forward to today, I still feel out of place at times, however I am more comfortable in my skin and in knowing who I am. I recently met a woman, who shared her concern of not fitting in or feeling out of place at an event we both attended. My initial reaction was “Seriously, why? ”  Then, I realized, I’m not the only one who feels this way and I will not be the last. I have come to realize that everyone is in their own story, dealing with their own perspectives on life, and we are pretty much all out of place and misfits in some shape, form, or fashion, and that is okay. For me, being conscious and aware of these feelings, and embracing it is all good with me.  

Fitting in allows you to blend in with everyone else, but being different allows you to be yourself, to be unique and to be more creative” Sonya Parker

Do You Believe In Miracles?

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

If a stranger stopped you on the street and asked you the question, “Do you believe in miracles?” What would you say? Webster’s dictionary defines the word “miracle” as “something wonderful”. I would have defined the word miracle as “a supernatural, unexplainable occurrence”. That is my definition.. However, the simple and subtle definition of “miracle” means something as unpretentious as “something wonderful”. If you stop and think about it “something wonderful” happens to each of us every single day. That “something wonderful” can be waking up to the morning sun shining on your face. “Something wonderful” can be as simple as getting a hug from your teenager and having them tell you “I love you!”.  A miracle can be as dramatic, as receiving a clean bill of health after battling cancer.  Something wonderful can be feeling the love and touch of someone you care about. These everyday miracles happen to each of us. A miracle occurs every moment of every minute. It is with a heart of love, gratitude, forgiveness, and openness that we open the door to that “something wonderful”.  So, if  someone stops me and asks – “Do you believe in miracles? I will respond with a resounding “Yes! I do”. How about you?

There are two ways to live. You can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein

Much love,

Angela

Unqualified Love

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Last weekend during the Sunday sermon, the Pastor mentioned how in some cases, people may perceive a situation as painful, because it forces us to be uncomfortable, but God sees it as a blessing. I sat there and wondered, how in the world can that be? What if a loved one dies, heartache, or any other type of loss, that is technically painful. I contemplated on that statement and it dawned on me, it’s during the process of enduring the pain, where a person grows the most. Why is that? Better yet, in areas where there can be tremendous pain, that is when we yearn for God the most. It’s during this time in our life, where we draw nearer to God, because it is where our strength comes from to keep going. The spirit of God calls on us to look deeper, because it’s through the journey of being uncomfortable, stretched, in pain, that we grow. Yin and yang. It’s overcoming the adversity, and realizing that you made it out just fine on the other side. Stronger, clearer, and better for it.  It has taken so much for me to publish this note.  In my moments of solitude, the only thing that has kept me going is writing, journaling and expressing my thoughts and feelings. So, why not take you on this journey of my ever-growing, transforming life.

Unqualified Love

Unqualified love. This is a term that believe it or not came from the animated movie “The Secret life of Pets”. My twins absolutely love this film, as do I! After the movie, the producer was discussing how this movie came about and how the team thought it would make an interesting and entertaining film on what Pets get into while their owners are not at home, and how animals play such a vital part of people’s lives. Unconditional love, is love without limits or conditions. We unconditionally love our children, etc. Unqualified love, there is no description for that and it is very similar to unconditional love. Love without terms. Is there such a thing as unqualified or unconditional love? Unconditional love for yourself, yes. Unqualified or unconditional love is ideal, but when it boils down to it, it is extremely challenging to do in the event a person, friend, lover is unwilling to meet needs or conditions, or continuously overstepping boundaries. God love or Agape love, is love of the highest form. Love of God for man and of man for God. How can God love abound so deep for man? I believe it’s grace, forgiveness, and love. If we as spiritual beings, having human experience are made in the image of God, we ought to be capable of Agape love through grace, love, and forgiveness.

Where there is love, there is life” Mahatma Gandhi

These Moments

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

It has been a little while since the last post and I figured that now rather than later would be a good time to write, rather than my journal. These last couple of months have been extremely busy with both family and work. It feels like the year is already going by fast with it already being February of 2017. Seriously, where does the time go? I have been waist deep, more like neck deep with family “stuff” and work “stuff” that I have neglected to really and truly take time for myself or even the things that I love and enjoy. I take that back, I make a conscious habit of exercising because it is my stress reliever, but next to that, I have been on the go with kids and career. My hubby and I try to make time for one another but even that has been too few and far between. Where is the balance in all of this? To realign and focus on balancing my life again, it starts here and now with taking time to do what I do best which reconnecting with my creativity and reconnecting with me.

How Are You Defined?

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

 

How do you define yourself? Do you allow others to define who you are, what you do, and the choices you make about your life? Are there outside influences that constantly demand your attention, resources, and valuable time? All of these questions play a factor in how you see yourself, and how you present yourself to the world. Over the last couple of months, I have been focused on both personal and professional challenges that have really made me reflect on key areas in my life. One day during a moment of reflection, it dawned on me all of the questions about who defines me or even what defines me are irrelevant, because the most important question is who does God say that I am? How does God see me? I had the pleasure of participating in a workshop a couple of weeks ago and the focus of the workshop was just that who does God say that you are? Too many times, we often allow what we do, or other people try and define of who they want us to be. Unfortunately, this can come from people close to us, family, friends, etc. or you may define yourself by your career or how much money you make. These things do not define who you are as a child of God. These are limitations. One of my mentors, calls this..noise to get you off course. Quiet the noise and listen to the voice of God and what is said of you and who you are. You are so much more than what you have, and what you do. You are God’s Beloved, a child of the most high! Be who you are and stand proud! I Am. Be blessed. 

 “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”

 

You Decide

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

There is no rhyme or reason as to why things happen in life. In a world that may appear to be chaotic, in the cosmos there is perfect order and a natural flow to any and everything. For example, a woman on one side of the world decides to defer college for a year to travel abroad, and at the exact same moment, a young man decides to remain home to help his parents and finish school. The two meet exactly 6 months later in Manarola, a small town in Italy, and they fall in-love. A woman in her late 30’s decides to have a mammogram early, only to discover that she has breast cancer. The doctor’s advise her that if she would have waited until she was 40, it would have been too late to save her. Each moment you decide, and make decisions about your life. You decide what time to get up in the morning, you decide what to eat, you decide which route to take home, you decide to do your best, you decide to give love, and you decide to trust God in the midst of all those decisions. At this moment, what are you deciding in your life? Are you deciding to remain small? Or have you decided to grow tall and be all that you can be? Do not allow the chaotic moments to thrust you into a shell, where you stop making decisions, living, and trusting God in the process. You hold the power. Decide and trust.

“It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.”Jim Rohn

Happy New Year!

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Happy New Year LIB Family! It is hard to believe that 2015 has come to a close and 2016 is here. As I reflect on the past year, I can say with complete honesty the year was bitter sweet. Bitter sweet in the sense that I experienced wonderful blessings in key areas of my life but encountered challenges in other areas, which caused some heartache and disappointment. It was in 2015, I graduated from the big girl panties and put on bloomers! Seriously, it was a year of tremendous gratitude and moments of tears. I made some decisions which caused me to grow both personally and professionally. As I leave 2015 behind, and move into 2016, I am conscious of the present moment, appreciating it, and owning who I am and living from a place of surrender, knowing that it all begins and ends with God. As the creator of what I believe to be an avenue to touch and inspire women around the world by sharing and expressing life’s trials, triumphs, and encouraging tidbits is what makes LIB so special. There are times when the rawness and realness of someone else’s journey can hit a core spot in someone’s heart, and resonate in another soul and move them. As we enter 2016, LIB will continue to inspire you with stories by women who value themselves and who are truly beautiful spiritual beings living life from a place of authenticity. We love you so much! Many, many, blessings to you in 2016!

 

To be nobody but myself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make me somebody else-means to fight the hardest battle any human can fight, and never stop fighting. – e.e. cummings

Divine Encounters

Friday, November 6th, 2015

A couple of weeks ago after a very long day, I decided to head over to the gym to work out. It was one of the rare occasions, I was by myself without the little kiddies. With the cares of the day still on my mind, I was eager to shake it off and get the energy moving in my body to relax and de-stress a bit. I checked in at the front desk, strolled into the locker room, put my bag on the bench, walked over to the sauna, and turned it on (nothing feels better than ending a workout relaxing in the sauna). I opened up my gym bag to change into my work out gear, and low and behold I had forgotten to pack my sneakers and workout pants! Noooo! Did I mention I really wanted a few minutes to myself? Going back home was not an option. If I was not going to exercise, I was going to enjoy some quiet time in the sauna. I removed my clothes, grabbed a towel, my kindle, and I headed to the sauna. The quiet space, heat, and silence felt so good that I immediately began to unwind. Five minutes had gone by and a young woman enters the sauna and we greet each other with a sincere “Hi” and I resume enjoying the peaceful solitude of the sauna. The young lady turns to me and asks me a question about the Holy Spirit and God and proceeds to pray with me, over me, and through me. Until this day, I still do not know who she was and I have not seen her again. That evening I walked into the gym fully expecting to work out, instead what I received was a divine encounter with one of Gods messengers encouraging me to keep going and to believe in the gifts and miracles of God in me. During a time in my life, when I feel a bit overwhelmed with family, relationships, and career and wondering about God’s plan, and this particular phase in life, I was encouraged by a complete stranger to press forward. With that being said, it is very easy to get caught up with life and the cares of the day and miss the everyday miracles and blessings. From one woman to another, be encouraged. I thank God for you, and the divine moments in life that remind us that God is and God lives and breathes in each of us. Be a blessing!

Stop Asking Permission

Monday, September 7th, 2015

You’re smart. You’re driven. You’re a “good girl.” You found out a long time ago that life goes more smoothly for people who follow the rules, so you learned the rulebook inside out. People expected things from you and you made it your job to live up to those expectations and probably beat yourself up on the inside when you fell short.

But now you’re stuck, the way anyone who has spent majority of their life making other people happier than they make themselves gets stuck.You wish you could go back to school to study what you really love doing, or maybe you want to start your own business, or move to a big city, or quit your high-stress, high-paying job and instead do simpler work for less money that makes you look forward to getting out of bed every day.

Every once in a while, when you’re not busy getting your to-do list checked off or giving your time to the people in your life who always seem to need you—when things get real quiet—you feel absolutely desperate or in robotic shock to do something out of the ordinary. Do something for yourself that is unexpected, unpredictable and just for you. You hear the clock ticking, and it’s the ticking off of the moments of a life that’s passing you by. You see a whole string of days ahead of you. Out of bed. Off to work. Watch the clock. Count the hours ‘til the weekend. Rejoice on Friday evening. Lament on Sunday night. Repeat.
Nothing new. Nothing real. Nothing joyful.

You know, somewhere inside you, that there has to be more than this.

I know you. I am you.

I realized not long ago that I’ve spent my entire life waiting for permission. Because I’m a good girl, you see. In my twenties I felt the burning desire in my heart for something more than a go-nowhere nine-to-five office job and playing “house”. I wanted a career as a singer. Travel. Excitement. Adventure. Heart-stopping moments of bliss.

And I wanted somebody—anybody—to tell me that it was okay, that I should go ahead with it. I don’t mean Oprah or some random person speaking to the masses. I wanted somebody who knew me to give me the green light.
Guess what? It never happened, and it never will. Why? Because nobody can give us permission but ourselves.
Nobody outside ourselves knows what’s going on in our hearts, no matter how we try to explain.

Have you ever found this to be true? You can try and try, but there’s a nuance, a depth of desire, that’s impossible to describe. It has to be felt, and nobody else can feel it but the person whose heart is burning. So we wait. We wait for permission. Many of us die waiting for it.

I don’t want to die waiting for it. Do you?

It’s time for us to come out of our shells and admit that we want more and remove the mask of simply being who you are. Let’s be honest with each other and ourselves about what we want out of life and who we are in life. Let’s truly support each other and push each other and not take any excuses.

And let’s stop taking guff from the rest of the world—the ones who are still too afraid to leave the status quo behind. If that’s really what they want, let’s bless them and then move the heck on, because life is too short to be wasted on wondering what somebody else thinks of us.

We simply have to be the heroes of our own lives. I’m willing to dust off my cape and step into that role.

Are you?

Jenifer Bardall,  Amazing Coach & Founder of  www.honoryourself.net


 
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