Going with the flow

IMG_7441This morning I was out walking and ran into a neighbor (that I did not know was my neighbor) & she said, “Don’t I know you?” I have had this happen to me on more than one occasion & I just smile. I am a bit of an introvert, so going door to door to meet my neighbors is on very limited & brief occasions.

We began walking together & talking to get reacquainted. She began to open up about her journey of depression, anxiety, bipolar, mood disorders that she has had to learn to deal with over the years because every single one of her four children has varying mood/emotional disorders. I told her she needed a hug for just going through that journey. I can’t even imagine.

 

Canoeing in Kidney Pond, Baxter State Park, Maine, USA. Image shot 2001. Exact date unknown.Our conversation reminded me of the different journeys we are all on. We each have varying degrees of difficulty, but we find a way. We find a way to float down the river of life in the currents we are meant to learn from. Some of us have years of rapids in dealing with struggling children. Some of us have a slow moving flow when we can find gratitude for where we are. Some of us get stuck in a whirlpool of addiction & are unsure how to get out. Some of us have a combination of calm waters and then a big drop off into a giant rapid of emotions & struggle within different life situations.

I am in a hard current at the moment, but we are doing are best to paddle through. My husband had to take a job in another state & just moved away from us over the weekend. My daughter is in the middle of a school project that she cannot leave the state residence for, fear of being disqualified. In my twenty-three plus years of marriage I have never been away from my husband for over a week. That whole week I could not sleep & it was tough to have him gone.

Because of our housing situation we knew we could not afford two mortgages, so my husband is sacrificing & living in an RV trailer. We know he will be in Nevada for at least 7-8 months running a retail store. My daughter was in tears for days, but we knew we needed to be strong & handle things the best we could.

LoveYouPillowsMy daughter & I tried to figure out what we could do to make him feel like he had a little bit of home with him, so we bought two pillow cases that said, “I Love you” & “I Love you more.” We sat down and wrote a love letter on each pillow.  We also got him a travel companion stuffed animal hog named “Bula Bula” which means Welcome, Hello, Goodbye, Love in Fijian (my husband loves survivor–it was a tribe name). We had family send little love notes he could open each day & decked out his new home with big towels & comfy blankets. How do you make an RV feel like home? We tried. Smile. Smile.

He left Saturday morning & it was hard to see him drive away. We have called him over 40 times in the last couple of days. What else can you do?

As a family we know it will be hard, but we are trying to look at this as a life adventure. We are going to plan to see new places, challenge ourselves by stepping out of our comfort spaces and reaching for new ways to stay connected.

The night before he left we were packing the trailer, setting things up & my husband kept asking my daughter how to do things (like where to push the button to open the extension on the trailer). I smiled at my husband and said, “What are you going to do not having Kate there?” Later that night (around 11) I found my husband watching videos about “trailer sway” & he was worried. I honestly was worried how he would do.

I was so proud of my husband because he had never driven or operated an RV trailer (let alone a 27 ft one), so when he called me & told me how he had figured out all the water/dumping/electrical, had taken a shower, was watching a movie…I was so proud!! The best part–he was proud. He said, “I am now an RVer!! I can do anything on one of these things.”

Life is a journey. Life truly is what you make it. You can decide to struggle against the current or do your best to smile at the sun and float. It is a choice.

-Have a beautiful day!  -H

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Finding your EXTRAORDINARY

readinglist_findyourextraordinary_0I recently read a great book by Stella & Dot founder & CEO, Jessica Dilullo Herrin. I had seen her on a previously aired Undercover Boss & wanted to learn more about her. She is a remarkable woman with such talent and vision. It was a great read and I thought you may benefit from some of the ‘highlights’ I took away from this read.

Enjoy…

Even if you’ve tried and failed before, have faith! Here’s the paradox: as much as getting off track is human nature, so is getting creative and surviving.

Simply aim to be a bit better every single day. We are all a work in progress.

Okay, so you don’t have to be perfect, or gifted from birth. Anyone can do something extraordinary. Do you ever look around at the world, evaluate your life, and see the way you would like it to be instead of the way it is? That’s all you need to get started. In fact, that desire to wonder what’s possible is what defines your entrepreneurial spirit. You can nurture this side of you into believing you have the power to create change.

Life is determined not by your past or your circumstances but rather by what you choose to do next. The doing is the difference.

Many times in my life when I’ve come to see that whenever I stop focusing one what I don’t have in comparison to others, and just focus on working hard to deserve what I want, I can change my life in the most extraordinary ways.

Another key lesson: you have to push through self-doubt. You have to embrace fear and failure, it’s the only way that extraordinary is made real.

You will always encounter challenges and setbacks on your journey. But the bold remain steadfastly optimistic and always on the lookout for that hidden doorway–because if you think of any road less traveled as too daunting, you will never even begin the journey to an extraordinary destination.

There is a how-to video on YouTube for just about anything! It’s not the how to do it that’s missing in most people; it’s the confidence and motivation to actually do it.

Mark Twain said it best. “There are two very important days in your life. The day you were born, and the day you figure out why.”

Too many people worry about how qualified they have to be to begin on a path. Too many people worry that their circumstances and knowledge don’t qualify them for taking the next step. But, actually, it’s the steps that qualify you.

I can tell you, I see far more people succeeding because they have focused on believing in themselves rather than being too worried about their lack of expertise to begin.

I find that people often procrastinate or keep spinning their wheels on superfluous tasks out of fear–a fear of moving forward into the unknown. People get stymied by fear of failure or rejection and by stranger danger. Be honest with yourself about what’s really going on if you are thinking too long and embrace the idea that forward momentum is essential.

Great ideas are worthless without action.

Better to hop on the 80 percent right train and get somewhere than stand alone at the station waiting for the perfection train to come along. Its not coming. It must have gotten into a crash with the Polar Express.

Become the leader you want to follow. Regardless of your current role or position, you are always leading the people around you.

I know that I am my greatest source of strength, but I also know that I shine brighter when I turn the light on others.

When I have had the privilege of meeting highly successful people and learning about their lives, I can’t help but note just how many have had to overcome personal hardships that required them to be resilient. They are successful not because they never faced adversity, but because in that moment of hardship they dove into the well of their own strength.

The more you tap into your well of strength, the deeper it gets.

Well, There is SO much more to this book–goal setting, time management, GREAT STORIES, leadership, Self, and more. This was a little sample of her greatness! It is a great read and highly recommended. She has her own great story that she has made & continues to make even better. Take the time to learn from others. It is an incredible personal investment in finding your own extraordinary.

-Peace and Love to you today.  -H

LIFESTREAM

There is a term in blogging called “Lifestream”–everything from information to links to images flows from one to another.

Wikipedia says: The term “lifestream” was coined by Eric Freeman and David Gelernter at Yale University in the mid-1990s to describe “…a time-ordered stream of documents that functions as a diary of your electronic life; every document you create and every document other people send you is stored in your lifestream.

Everyone talks about information overload, but if we looked at it like a ‘lifestream”–the rich flow of endless gifts that surround us may give us a different perspective.

 

980xI envision myself floating in a leisurely tube down a slow, flowing stream. There is pretty music playing from a link a friend just sent me.

The water glistens like sparkling diamonds all around me. Up ahead there is a waterfall and a movie plays through a projection on the wall of the falls.

I continue to float. I close my eyes and feel the warmth of the sun. My mind is taken to a youtube video of images and music “Exactly”

“I am exactly where I need to be.”

I smile. This is my “lifestream”

I continue to flow.

 

I found the above in a lost journal from about 7 years ago & wanted to share. It is a beautiful reminder that we are ‘exactly’ where we need to be at this moment in our lives. I NEEDED this reminder right now in my life. My husband is being transferred away from my daughter and I for about seven months. It is going to be a tough struggle, but when I read the above entry, it reminded me that their is purpose & I am where I need to be at this point. I need to have faith in that.

I was also listening to some of my favorite songs from years ago & came across this JEM song that I thought fit perfectly with this post. This video has a couple pictures of JEM, but just listen to the words of the song…beautiful.

 

Peace. Love to you.  -H

 

Cherish each day

Over the July 4th holiday I took my daughter to the largest colonial celebration west of the Mississippi. I was not sure what to expect, but I wanted to give my daughter a new experience and see how blessed we are with all that we have today.

We walked around and learned how hair was done with waxes and powders. We watched yarn being made on wood spinning wheels like the one in the story of Sleeping Beauty. We saw soldiers loading and shooting muskets. We watched wheel pottery made. We learned how wood was turned into bed posts, candlesticks, bowls, etc. There were so many things that took us back in time.

box2_origBUT. The little booth that will stay with me the longest was the coffin maker. It was a simple canvas tent that had three coffins in a U shape in the tent. That was it. His sweet wife sat outside the tent sewing. I was not sure what to say or ask, but it made me think of the sweet story of Abraham Lincoln as a boy. I said to the coffin maker, “Your simple pine boxes remind me of the story about Abraham Lincoln & that his father put him in charge of making the wooden pegs for his mother’s coffin.”  The sweet man genuinely took in the story and was touched. This coffin maker touches the wood, makes the pegs, puts love and craftsmanship into these boxes. He appreciated his work. He then lit up, “Do you want to see my work?” Not sure what else we would see besides wooden boxes, we said, “sure” and followed him into his tent.

He then opened a binder full of images & he began to tell us a couple sweet stories. He told us how a woman had come to the colonial festival a couple years ago and had passed by their tent numerous times, but did not talk to them or come in. Finally as the day was winding down she & her husband entered the tent. She looked at the pine boxes and expressed to her husband that this simple box was exactly what she wanted. The woman took the coffin makers information & a year later her family contacted him. He made them a simple pine box & delivered it to them when they knew she was close to dying. The woman’s daughter then hand painted the box with beautiful flowers that covered all the sides and part of the top. It was a beautiful piece of art. The coffin maker showed us the picture of the coffin & said, “she was able to see the beautiful work her daughter had done & then she died a week later.”

My heart broke, but then I looked at this sweet coffin maker who took such pride in his work and he turned the page of his album to another story.

Another beautiful pine box that was covered in hand prints, good bye notes, signatures, farewells, all hand written across the simple box. At this woman’s funeral the coffin maker waited in line to see his work complete and thank the family. He said there was a huge line of people waiting & in back of him was a very nicely dressed couple. They were looking at the coffin and the wife said to her husband, “I did not realize they were so destitute & unable to buy her a proper coffin.”  The coffin maker stood there in line & watched what happened. As the couple approached the husband of the woman who had passed they mentioned their concern about the coffin & felt badly that they were unable to help. The husband looked at the couple & said, “This is exactly what my wife picked out.”

The coffin maker beamed as he told us this story and was able to show us the images of all the love that covered his beautiful craftsmanship. He said, “it was neat to see that it gave some closure, others a final farewell message.”

It was a great lesson that we each have our own missions to help one another & this sweet man and his wife have touched people’s lives in a way I would have never imagined. It was wonderful to see the pride in his work, to see the love that he shares and that he knows he is on purpose with his life.

It was also a great lesson that we need to cherish each and every day. We never know how long we have to be with those we love. I would rather tell them I love them and appreciate them in my life than have to write it on a pine box.

Have a beautiful day. -H

Independence for others

With the upcoming celebration of Independence Day here in the U.S. I wanted to share some inspiring stories of people who have helped create “independence” for others. They are an inspiration to us all.

_83986802_1287491Sir Nicholas Winton saved 669 children–taken from cbsnews.com

Winton’s story begins in 1938 in London, where he was a 29-year-old stockbroker enjoying the good life. The son of German-Jewish immigrants, he had been following the rise of Hitler and the Nazis and knew they were on the march. He was convinced war was imminent. Hitler’s troops had just marched into Czechoslovakia and occupied the region known as the Sudetenland, creating the war’s first refugee crisis. At least 150,000 people had fled to makeshift refugee camps that sprang up around Prague. The conditions they faced were dire.

When a friend suggested that Winton cancel his annual ski trip and join him in Prague to see what was going on, Winton decided to use his vacation days and go. The situation he encountered was desperate. Efforts by organizations trying to help refugees were hampered by the fact that most countries in Europe weren’t willing to take them in. Winton also told us he wrote to President Roosevelt asking the U.S. to receive them, to no avail.

Parents were frantically trying to get their children out, so Winton decided to focus his efforts on helping those children. He had no background or experience in dealing with refugees, but was about to take on the Nazis and the British bureaucracy in a remarkable feat of skill, determination and cunning. During the few days he was in Prague, Winton laid the groundwork for an organization to transport children to Britain on trains. He identified people willing to help, met with parents determined to get their children out, and started making lists of children whose parents wanted them to go.

When he returned to London, he set up a fake organization, appointed himself chairman, put his mother to work running a small office, and began negotiations with the British government for permission to bring unaccompanied minors into England. Meanwhile, he looked for families to take them in. He raised money, paid bribes, procured transit papers and, when necessary, forged documents. When Bob Simon asked him about all of that he was unapologetic — saying simply, “It worked.”

Everything finally came together on March 14, 1939, when the first train carrying 20 children left Prague. Neither the children nor their parents knew this was likely the last time they would ever see each other. Six more trains left between March and August 1939.

An eighth train, carrying 250 children, was scheduled to leave on September 1, 1939, but that was the day Germany bombed Warsaw, beginning the Second World War. Borders were closed and transportation halted. The eighth train never left. No one knows for sure what happened to the 250 children who were already in their seats that day. They and their families are presumed to have died in the Holocaust.

The war ended Winton’s efforts to save children. His organization shut down operations and he moved on with his life. He made no attempt to contact the children he had saved. They had been dispersed all over Britain, so he got on with his life. During the war, he served in the Red Cross and the Royal Air Force. Following the war, he worked repatriating assets seized by the Nazis, went back to his career in finance, got married and raised a family.

Rarely did he ever talk about his efforts to save children. When Bob asked him why, Winton said he wasn’t trying to keep it a secret – he just never talked about it. Maybe it’s because the Holocaust had claimed all the children he hadn’t gotten out or maybe it’s because Winton really didn’t believe he had done anything out of the ordinary.

At the beginning of our interview he told us that he’s always felt that, “If something’s not impossible, there must be a way of doing it.” Nicholas Winton found a way to do it in Prague and made it work. Because of him, 669 children were spared and able to have families of their own. Today, some 6,000 people are alive who wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Nicholas Winton.

Fifty years after the war, Winton’s remarkable story finally came out in a London newspaper and on the BBC. The “children” from 1939 found out who had saved them and have been celebrating Winton ever since. So has the Czech Republic and England, where Nicholas Winton became Sir Nicholas Winton after being knighted by the Queen. The original children from 1939 and their descendants all call themselves “Nick’s family.”

 

 

1917-82FSHerbert Hoover–taken from archives.gov

One American will be forever linked in history with Belgium’s travail in that awful war. His name, of course, is Herbert Hoover. After the battle of the Marne, giant European armies bogged down in the trenches, and famine threatened beleaguered Belgium, a highly industrialized nation of 7 million dependent upon imports for three-quarters of her food. On one side the German army of occupation refused to take responsibility for victualing the civilian population. Let Belgium import food from abroad as she had done before the war, said the Germans. On the other side stood the tightening British naval blockade of Belgian ports. Let the Germans, as occupiers of Belgium, feed its people, said the British. Besides, they argued, how could one be sure that the Germans would not seize imported food for themselves?

As the tense days passed in the early autumn of 1914, food supplies dwindled ominously in Belgium. To the outside world went emissaries pleading for the Allies to permit food to filter through the naval noose. Finally, on October 22, after weeks of negotiations, Herbert Hoover established under diplomatic protection a neutral organization to procure and distribute food to the Belgian populace. Great Britain agreed to let the food pass unmolested through its blockade. Germany in turn promised not to requisition this food destined for helpless noncombatants.

Why Hoover? In the summer of 1914 Herbert Clark Hoover was a prosperous forty-year-old international mining engineer living in London—and dreaming of a career of public service in the United States. This orphaned son of an Iowa blacksmith had come far indeed from his humble beginnings in the American Middle West. Rising rapidly in his chosen profession, by 1914 he directed or in part controlled a worldwide array of mining enterprises that employed a hundred thousand men.  By August 1914 he had achieved his goal yet was not content. “Just making money isn’t enough,” he confessed to a friend. Instead, he wanted (as he put it) to “get into the big game somewhere.” Fascinated by the power of the press to mold and direct public opinion, Hoover that summer was negotiating to purchase a newspaper in California. Events in Europe compelled him to abandon his quest. Had it not been for “the guns of August,” he would have entered American public life—and might even be remembered today—as a newspaper magnate.

In the first tumultuous weeks of the war, tens of thousands of American travelers in Europe fled the war-shocked continent for the comparative safety of London—and, they hoped, passage home. It was not as easy as that. Arriving in the British capital, many Yankee tourists found themselves unable to cash their instruments of credit or obtain temporary accommodation, let alone tickets for ships no longer crossing the Atlantic. Responding to the travelers’ panic and necessities, Hoover and other American residents of London organized an emergency relief effort that provided food, temporary shelter, and financial assistance to their stranded fellow countrymen. Eventually the passenger ships resumed their sailings, and more than 100,000 weary and frightened travelers headed back to the United States. Hoover’s untiring and efficient leadership during the crisis earned him the gratitude of the American ambassador to Great Britain, Walter Hines Page. And when a few weeks later the plight of Belgium became perilous, Ambassador Page and others agreed upon Hoover, a man of demonstrated competence, to administer this new mission of mercy. The globe-trotting mining engineer who had done well, and who now wanted to do good, had found an unexpected entrée into the “big game.”

And so began an undertaking unprecedented in world history: an organized rescue of an entire nation from starvation. Initially no one expected this humanitarian task to last more than a few months. Few foresaw the gruesome stalemate that developed on the western front. As Hoover himself later wrote, “The knowledge that we would have to go on for four years, to find a billion dollars, to transport five million tons of concentrated food, to administer rationing, novel relief organization, which went by the name of the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB), possessed some of the attributes of a government.

 

1-ken-behring-delivering-wheelchairs-in-chinaKen Behring–taken from Pam Grout’s book, Thank and Grow Rich

The only thing the one-percenters have over the average Joes is this: They already know that accumulating money doesn’t bring lasting happiness. They’ve already figured out that having a gazillion dollars in the bank doesn’t produce the profound contentment after which the rest of us lust.

Take Ken Behring, for example. Growing up in Depression-era Wisconsin in a house without central heat or hot water, Behring fell for the lie that he’d be happy if only he were rich. As a young boy, he mowed lawns, caddied at golf courses, delivered newspapers.

He had spunk and drive and eventually became an uber-successful real estate developer. By the time he was 27, he was a millionaire. And he got all the stuff he thought he wanted: a big house, a boat, fancy cars.

When that didn’t bring any real happiness, he tried “better stuff”: bigger houses, a bigger yacht, fancier cars.

Eventually, that began to reek like the other stuff. Maybe he was going for the “wrong stuff”; maybe he should try “different stuff.” Maybe buying the Seattle Seahawks would make him happy.

Nope, foiled again. He eventually sold his professional football team and started hunting in Africa, flying over in his private jet. When he could, he’d take supplies, books and medicine for the local guides and their families.

LDS philanthropies (the charitable branch of the Church of Latter-day Saints) heard about his trips and asked if he’d be willing to make a detour, to drop off supplies to Kosovo war refugees. After loading up 15 tons of canned meat, they noticed extra room and added six wheelchairs.

While in Romania, Behring, who passed out the wheelchairs himself, was grabbed by one of the young refugees, who had stepped on a land mine and lost his legs. “Don’t leave just yet,” said the grateful young boy, who refused to let go of Behring’s leg. “I want to memorize your face so when we meet again in heaven, I can thank you one more time.”

“It was the first time I ever felt real joy,” says Behring, who has since given away nearly a million bright red wheelchairs. “It changed my life. This [charitable work] is the greatest thing I have ever achieved in my life.”

The good news is that because our financial system us an antiquated cultural story, it can be changed.

It starts with a new definition of wealth: the ease and freedom to be generous. The ease and freedom to pursue your dreams. The ease and freedom to live for the upliftment of all creation.

Choosing the joy and gratitude frequency generates a different kind of capital, one that feeds the soul, one that serves your real desires–to be of service, to be a channel for love, to create insanely beautiful things.

 

 

More Stories–Here are a number of additional examples of inspired people making a difference http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/the-power-of-1-inspiring-people-making-a-difference/

 

Proof that one person can make a difference. Think about it!! Think about all of the people you have touched or influenced in your life. You truly are part of a ripple affect.

Have a beautiful day. -H