When the Road Ahead Makes You Want to Turn Back

Insight, Inspiration, Perseverance: Steps Toward Change, Pressing Through Tough Times

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We’ve all had days when the road ahead looks daunting. We feel pressure to turn back because we don’t understand what lies ahead. We feel like we have been walking along without any end in sight and we want to stop. We are ready to give up and turn back to what we know. I recently had a real-life experience that inspired me to think about this.

My six-year old daughter and I drove down the East Coast of the United States heading for a town I had only been to once before. The road was smooth, well lit, and nice to travel for most of the ride. However, we hit this one point in Georgia, on Rt. 16, where it was just scary. It was late at night, we had been in the car for two days, and we were ready to stop for a hotel. Our destination was 4 hours away but I didn’t have that much driving time left in me without risking an accident. I became very scared when I was still seeing only complete darkness and no signs for chain hotels more than an hour after exiting 95 for Rt. 16.

I knew that Siri was saying it was 3 hours to my destination but I also knew that I didn’t see anywhere to stop between that moment and the destination. I called my father panicking, almost in tears. Surely he would see something from the internet at home that I couldn’t see while driving. He helped me to find a location up ahead, within a half hour, and I was able to stop for the night.

The next morning, I was still feeling uncomfortable about the lack of stops on the route and feeling like I was in the middle of nowhere so I decided not to continue toward my destination for that night and instead turned back toward 95. What I saw as we drove back spoke to me about the times we give up too soon in life.

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(I apologize for the blurriness, but I wanted to use real photos instead of stock for the images of what I saw.)

The road was clear, the imagery beautiful, and the land bountiful. There were crops, there were lakes, and the sun was shining. The land that was so scary the night before was breath-taking during the day. This experience got me to thinking: How many times in life do we turn around too soon? 

Are You Tempted to Give Up?

I get it… sometimes you just get tired. You want to be pampered, not pushed. You want to be held, not moved. You want to be blessed, not stretched. While we ended up at our ultimate destination, we also missed a wonderful opportunity to spend an evening with a friend who we have missed since she and her family also moved from CT. We stole from ourselves the opportunity to talk with friends that night, for Ali to run around the next day with a friend her age, and for me to enjoy a home-cooked meal and neighborhood cooking party (something I love to participate in). If you are on a path that you feel tempted to stop walking – a path on which you are purposed – please do not give up. Remember that the view when it is dark often looks much different than it does when the light is out.

Strategies for Continuing Your Journey

Here is the insight I gained from our experience.

1. When you feel lost – call your Father. 

When I looked back on the experience, I realized there wasn’t a doubt about who would be able to help me. I called my dad. He is well traveled and had access to the internet. I knew if I told him how I was feeling, he would help me through it. The same is true of God. When you are scared, call your Father. Yahweh (God) knows all about us – He created us. He knows when we feel like giving up. Call out to Him and share what is on your mind.

2. Continue despite feeling afraid.

When you walk in the midst of adversity or your own desire to give up, something happens. Though I called my dad and he helped give me confidence that something was ahead, he didn’t see a specific hotel for another 50 miles. By trusting what He told me despite being afraid, and continuing on the journey, I was able to find an exit only 20 miles up the road that had a chain hotel I was comfortable with and knew would have a clean room for us to stay in for the night. We were blessed to get the last ground-floor room and the lady gave it to us for $100 less than they were charging that night! When we walked in and saw it was a suite, we danced in celebration of how God provided for us. We pressed through the fear instead of turning back to 95 that night and we were blessed with a wonderful night’s sleep because of it.

3.  If you do give up, be sure to learn what you can.

Though I gave up the next morning and didn’t move forward to my original destination for the day, I learned a lot from the experience. In fact, I learned enough that I am going to try to make the journey again within the next month! I saw how beautiful the road was the next day as I traveled back toward 95 and I realized that it really didn’t need to be a scary experience. So I called my friend and asked for another opportunity to come visit her. She understood why I turned around and invited me up again. Sometimes we do get second chances.

    morningmist      EveningView

It is scary to venture toward the call, but as Anointed once sang to us: It is all about moving forward and not giving up. (Listen to “The Call” here.) Don’t give up – keep moving forward. Know that when you are moving toward the destination at which you are purposed to arrive, you will be challenged, stretched, and tested. You will face opposition and you will experience moments where you want to give up. But if you press forward, continuing standing your ground and knowing why you are doing what you do, you will get there and celebrate your strength and resilience. (But if you have already given up, or do end up giving up in the future, remember you may still get another chance if you reach out and ask for another opportunity to walk out your purpose.)

I’m rooting for you.

~Shell

10 Things You Should Do This Week To Improve Your Life

Community Spirit, Healthy Living, Insight, Inspiration

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Earlier this week, I watched 10 Things I Hate About You again. I forget how much I enjoyed that movie. Kat’s sarcasm reminds me of me. And I have always enjoyed Heath Ledger’s movies. His character in this one made me laugh.

The movie got me thinking about other 10s. Today’s post is about 10 Things You Should Do This Week To Improve Your Life.

I am not really qualified to say these 10 things will change your life drastically, or that they will even make a significant difference. But I am experienced enough to tell you that doing these 10 things will make you feel better about your contribution to the world, will remind you of the impact you have in others’ lives, and will cause you to smile at least 10 times.

1. Write a letter to a friend. 

Sit down and write a hand-written letter to a friend. Remind them that you care. If you can’t write a handwritten letter for physical reasons, then go ahead and type it or pick up the phone and call a friend.

 

2. Get out and walk with your family or a friend. (Or go by yourself if it is more rewarding.)

Have a favorite local trail? Grab a friend and go hiking or walking. Take the family out to explore a local park. If you don’t like walking, try a playground or grab a tennis racket. Do something active and enjoy the great weather on a nice day.

 

3. Jump in a puddle. Really.

I don’t like to get dirty. I am not a high-maintenance person – I just dislike doing laundry. But there is something really fun about splashing in a puddle. Doing it in public will make others smile too. (With you…not at you…really)

 

4. Put down the gadgets and have lunch with a friend.

Make sandwiches, grab some drinks, and call a friend. Or pick up the phone and invite a friend to a restaurant. Have lunch somewhere you haven’t been in a while. Enjoy real status updates and like real comments.

 

5. Spend time with a family member you don’t know very well.

Recently my daughter was able to spend some time with a cousin we aren’t super close to. We only see her a few times a year. Our children really hit it off well. They played together so well that my daughter has asked several times when they will be able to do it again. It was nice to see the kids playing together and having fun with one another as they created memories.

 

6. Walk around your neighborhood and pray for others.

Even if you aren’t Christian, taking time to bless your neighbors is a big deal. Walk around your neighborhood and pray blessings over your neighbors. Better health, improved finances, family peace. Whatever comes to your mind. If you aren’t a praying person, just walk around and do what you do – maybe you can smile at whoever is outdoors or share a batch of cookies. The point it to get out and get to know your neighbors and wish / pray for good things to happen to them.

 

7. Write down 3 things you are thankful for each morning.

Every morning when I wake up, I thank God for my family, health, and career. I am thankful to know that I am able to provide for my family, that I am going to be around to see them grow up, and that I love what I do every day. This year, I have been writing down at least 3 things I am thankful for beyond those three things, so I can look back at the end of the year and “count my blessings.” It is never too late to start being thankful for what you have.

 

8. Start a new hobby. 

What have you always wanted to do? Go out and start doing it this week – just be sure it is legal and does not affect your health negatively!

 

9. Read a new blog. 

Seriously, reading a new blog can help you because it will open your mind. It can be a blog about something you enjoy or something you hate. It can be one you agree with or one that makes your blood pressure rise for a moment. The point it to give yourself a few moments in which you open yourself up to new ideas and insight.

 

10. Pay it forward.

Do something nice for someone. Buy them a coffee without them knowing about it. Pay for someone’s meal. Go down to the utility company and ask to pay someone’s bill who is behind by at least three months. Do something within your means – don’t go crazy but enjoy the moment. If you don’t have money to spend, declutter your house by finding those items you no longer use and bring them down to the local women’s or men’s shelter, homeless shelter, or ReStore location.

 

You have the ideas – post how you acted on them. Join me on Facebook and comment with what you did and how it felt. Or just do it and enjoy the feeling of improving your life one action at a time!

Until next time,

~Shell

 

 

“See possibility. Hear hope. Speak love.” My Life Mission

Fulfilling Your Destiny, Insight, Inspiration

Do you have a mission? Do you have a “theme” that guides your life? When I was going through the process of developing the tagline for my business, I thought of many ideas that conveyed what I do for my clients. But this one – “See possibility. Hear hope. Speak love.” – goes far beyond my business and evolves from deep within my soul. I was born to help people see beyond their current circumstances. I was born to show people how to move beyond where they are, whether in business or life. And I love every moment of it.

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Lately, I have been working on my creative writing. I want to get these books out of my head and into print so you can read them. I know there are folks out there who need to hear these words. I want to connect with the folks who no longer believe in possibility, no longer feel hope, and no longer express love. These folks need to understand they are so much more than their circumstances. And the longer I sit on the words, the longer they may stay disconnected from their destiny.

 

Why do I feel such a burden?

When I watched “Noah”, I realized for the first time that Noah had the true weight of the world on his shoulders. Noah had a call from God that required him to move only a remnant of the population forward. What a burden! I should consider myself blessed that I don’t feel like I am supposed to tell creation they are damned but instead I am called to speak LIFE into others. By seeing their possibility, hearing the hope within their words, and speaking love into their lives, I am empowering them to go further, dive deeper, and step ALL IN to their destiny. No more baby steps. No more holding back. Just moving forward, with their eyes straight ahead, into the calling that was instilled within them long before their parents knew their name.

 

Do you have a burden?

What is your burden? What drives you to get out of bed each day and step into the world? You have something. Everyone does. For some it starts out negative. Perhaps your burden at this time is, “I need to put food on the table for my family.” Okay. Let’s start there. Your need to put food on the table fuels your desire to work – but you will tire yourself out quickly if you just take a position because it pays the bills. Instead, create your ideal career using these tips from Salesforce. Don’t just work to work – work to fulfill your purpose.

Once you are aware of your purpose, you can create your mission statement for your life. If you aren’t sure where to start, try this cool tool from Franklin Covey. When you have your statement written, this will drive your decisions, remind you of the reason you get out of bed, and help you as you interact with others.

 

Let’s work together

My goal in life is to see every person with whom I come into contact throughout my life to walk away smiling. Whether a friend, family member, client, or stranger at the grocery story, I want to be the person who smiles and helps them feel that much better because someone smiled at them or went out of her way to help them. I want to ensure that I am not the cause for someone having a bad day but instead a small flint that ignites the flame of a better and brighter day. Look around today and see what you can do to make life better for someone else. Then comment below to let me know you are walking this journey with me.

 

Until next time,

~Shell

 

 

 

 

Soaring Through the Storm

Fulfilling Your Destiny, Insight, Inspiration, Perseverance: Steps Toward Change, Pressing Through Tough Times

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How do you react to the storms in life?

Do you run for shelter, continue soaring, or do something in the middle?

I have been on this journey for several years – the one where I try to determine my purpose, strive for excellence and sometimes perfection, and run myself ragged trying to keep up with life. About a year ago, I slowed down a little, moved my focus toward only a couple of things, and started honing in on the areas in which I excel and am stretched. I have improved my copywriting skills, been more consistent in my journaling, and learned a lot about marketing and writing. Through the storms that have occurred this past year, I have kept soaring instead of allowing myself to run for cover. I kept pressing forward – ascending – and reached new heights. I have uncovered things about my personality that I didn’t like. I learned about my weaknesses. And I realized some of my strengths.

Through it all, I have learned how important it is to me that I live out my faith and truly bless those around me with love and kind words. I have found this sweet spot between working in social services and using my strengths to reach folks’ hearts through my writing and marketing. I have met beautiful women and men who shine from within when they speak. I have encountered clients and new friends who I never thought I would be in the same room with, let alone be hired by or befriended. I have learned through this soaring that I am worthy of love – including my own.

What have you learned about yourself so far this year? What kinds of things do you need to change, improve, or highlight? I am currently reading through “How the World Sees You” by Sally Hogshead. It speaks of how the world perceives you based upon your mannerisms and personality, and then helps you brand yourself better by focusing on your strengths and your main “advantage” or, your sweet spot. In today’s webinar, something Ms. Hogshead stated stood out to me. She said to focus on the areas in which you operate BEST. Not rocket science, I know. In fact, it has been said often. But here is why it is different coming from her today. When she said it, she backed it up by showing me HOW I could discover the areas in which I operate best. I realized after listening that my biggest challenge in life is that I haven’t trusted myself enough to do what it is that I do best. When I did – in 2012 and early 2013 – I was ON FIRE. I was really happy, all the time. Disgustingly happy. I had struggles and life was far from a place where it was comfortable, but I was living in the place I work and function best, and it was amazing. Unfortunately, that area for me is one that doesn’t produce income, so I can’t stay there long. What I need to do is find ways to make what I do best come through in the work I do now, while I am waiting for my Boaz to arrive. (Please let him know I am almost ready for his entrance into my life!) I need to find a way to spend more of my time in that sweet spot and less feeling like I just function. So my storm currently is one in which I am learning the balance between trusting God and that He knows why He positioned me where I am currently; while continuing to look forward and improve my strengths and weaknesses so I am ready when He moves me to my next assignment. It could be tomorrow or it could be in five years – but I want to be ready.

So what about you? What storm are you wading through and how can you make it through? How can you continue to soar while feeling beaten and battered by what’s going on around you? How can you continue to ascend and believe that there is more to live than what you see in front of you? I believe it is about knowing who your creator is and believing that He has the best in mind. He didn’t create us to be robots but to have open communication and make decisions and live abundantly and boldly. There will be times of struggle. Times where we feel defeated. But He has a purpose and if we keep our eyes straight ahead, we will see ours. We will experience it and feel the gratitude of the sacrifices He made to ensure we one day could triumph. Keep pressing forward, keep soaring high, knowing that God is still God when it is raining and when it is sunny. He made both the sun and the moon; both happiness and sadness; both pain and triumph. Experience ALL that you can in this life, because we only get to go through it once.

Let me know how I can pray for you by leaving a comment below; or visit me on Facebook and join in the conversation.

Until next time,

 

 

~Shell

The Empty Setting

Dining With Jesus, Fulfilling Your Destiny, Healthy Living, Insight, Inspiration, The Table

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We sat at the table for several minutes, waiting for someone to sit with us. Folks walked by, looking for people they knew. And there we sat. And sat. Finally, we started eating, ignoring the empty setting across from us that begged to be filled.

There is nothing worse than being a stranger in a new place. You realize that you don’t know anyone. You realize that you have to be outgoing and be the first to speak. But what about when you aren’t new and this happens? How do you feel when you have been friends with folks for years, yet always find that you are on the outside of the crowd? I am not talking about popularity and thinking…I just mean plain old fellowship. Eating, joking around, talking.

I imagine this is how Jesus feels when we continually pass by the table He has set for us and don’t stop to chat. In our home, we used to keep an extra place setting where we imagined Jesus sitting with us. When we would pray, we would sit at the table, and say our prayer aloud. It only stopped because we moved our prayer location and a plate would just look odd. But the point is still there  - the point of this place setting sitting empty and us not stopping by. I think of that when I am “too busy” to start my morning with the Lord, or too involved in my work to stop for a moment and get up to thank Him for having a wonderful career that I love and enjoy. I think of it when we tuck ourselves in at the end of a long day and fall to sleep without saying our prayers. And I don’t mean in a legalistic, “You are going to hell if you don’t pray three times daily” kind of way. I just mean it in an “it grieves my heart to think of the Lord sitting there waiting for me and I never show up and sit down” kind of way.

Next time you are having a busy day, feeling like it is too much to stop for a few minutes and talk with the Lord, picture Him sitting at your table, meal ready to eat, waiting for you to just take a seat. 

Until next time,

~Shell