My mom just had brain surgery this week & it has been incredible to see how a person can go into surgery, have your head cut open, have a golf ball sized drill cut into your head & a doctor mess with nerves & then sew it up & staple it back together with 22 stitches and then send you home within two days. I was blown away!!
I was in awe that after all that my Mom could talk, use her facial nerves and even smile. It was amazing, scary, terrifying and a true miracle. How else do you explain it?
My Mom had been battling trigeminal neuralgia for over a year. For you out there that have never heard of this debilitating diagnosis, it is an illness that literally feels like your face is being electrocuted and your teeth on fire. Doctors have all stated it is the worse pain you could experience and most people that have the illness just want to die.
It has been hard to watch her in such pain over such a long period of time, so to even think brain surgery was the best alternative was extremely scary. I was incredibly anxious if there would be any type of slight complication or a slip of any kind, what could happen. This is your nerves, your brain, that the doctor was playing with.
It is a very humbling idea of such a procedure and how serious it was. I was afraid for her. The night before she went in I hugged her & quietly prayed to myself that I would hear her speak again or even smile.
We take so many things for granted, but when someone you loves faces such a scary situation, you reflect. You hope. You pray. You have to have faith that she will come out of it for the better.
My mom is a genuinely very happy personality, so seeing her come out of surgery in such pain was hard. Despite the hope, you begin to see the mind begin to question, to get discouraged, to dwindle in hope and optimism. It is hard to hear my mom wonder if she made the right decision. It is hard to see her still in so much pain, but now additional pain. It is hard to see her struggle emotionally & get down.
THE MIND AND BODY CONNECTION: The mind and body has such a huge connection. It fascinates me, so I thought I would expand on that, while trying to come up with some good solutions to help my Mom get through this experience.
NEGATIVITY WEAKENS: It is interesting how we continually hear how impactful negative beliefs truly affect our life.
Your body, and its trillions of cells, hears everything your brain says. This is both concerning and empowering. Science shows us that negative and worrisome beliefs predispose your body to illness; positive and hopeful beliefs are healing and curative. Medical research on beliefs shows us that your beliefs can be self-fulfilling prophecies. One study showed that 79 percent of medical students report developing symptoms suggestive of the illnesses they are studying because of the intense focus upon the illness. Findings published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry found that our beliefs and our thoughts are neurotransmitters. What this means is that our beliefs create chemical messengers in our brain that communicate information throughout our brain and our body, affecting every aspect of our functioning, including our blood pressure, our immune responses, our sleep, and our digestion. Yes. Take that in. Your body hears everything your brain says. -wanderlust
You wouldn’t take a pill from a bottle with a skull and crossbones on it, but every time you think negative thoughts about your health, you’re potentially poisoning your body with stress hormones that deactivate your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms. You are the gatekeeper of your mind, and it’s your responsibility to protect what you think. -mindbodygreen
BELIEF: Expect better results by BELIEVING in a better outcome.
Countless studies show the placebo effect influences the effectiveness of treatment. If someone tells you a pill will cure your headache, you’re likely to find the treatment helpful–even if the pill was a sugar pill.
Whether you’re trying physical therapy for a bad knee, or you’re seeing a chiropractor for pain in your back, your belief that those treatments will work may be more effective than the treatment themselves. So before you undergo any kind of treatment, think about all the reasons the treatment is likely to help. -Inc.
OPTIMISM BOOSTS IMMUNITY: recent studies have shown that a hopeful outlook is actually what influences immunity. Looking on the bright side makes you less likely to get a cold or infection because optimism keeps your immune system performing at its peak. -Inc
WHAT YOU FOCUS ON CAN COME TRUE: “You have the power to heal your life and you need to know that. We think so often that we are helpless, but we are not. We always have the power of our minds…Claim and consciously use your power.” -Louise Hay
Whether you’re a Chinese-American, a medical student, someone like Angelina Jolie, who may have been “medically hexed” with a poor prognosis or a high risk of disease or death, or even if you’re just someone whose subconscious mind is filled with limiting beliefs from your childhood like “I’m the sickly type” or “My family gets cancer,” focusing your attention on illness has been scientifically proven to predispose the body to illness. Excessive knowledge about what can go wrong with the body can actually harm you. The more you focus on the infinite ways in which the body can break down, the more likely you are to experience physical symptoms.
Becca Levy studied how our beliefs about longevity affect how long we live. What did she find? Spoiler alert: Those who lived longest were those who believed they would live the longest. -mindbodygreen
I think in my Mom’s case she would like immediate results and is struggling with not having the immediate satisfaction of having all the pain gone.
I tried to explain to her and reason with her that she just underwent a major trauma to her brain. The body is an amazing miracle made up of millions of tiny nerves, vessels, valves, parts that all work together to breathe, to speak, to smell, to run…she needs to be patient and allow the swelling to go down, to allow the body to rest, to allow and be patient for the body to heal at its own natural pace.
Nature flows and allows, so when you allow frustration you stop the healing flow, everything will begin to become stagnant, the negativity seeps in and weighs down the natural healing state. Nature knows. Nature grows in patience. If you look outside at nature, you cannot demand the sun to come up. You cannot demand a flower to bloom over night. Nature is patient, slow, and flows in the perfect timing.
Just like in healing, when you allow yourself to be patient that is when the healing begins.
I think getting a cold, working through an illness, having surgery, recovering from an addiction…opens a door that would otherwise not be there. It is a point in your life where there is a space for inner reflection, challenges that spring action, moments of struggle that can bring about breaking open a part of you that needed to be opened. Opportunity is found in challenge or change. It is when we take the moments to reflect, to learn, to grow, to lean on a higher awareness that we begin to truly live more meaning. It is opportunity that opens a door to an even better, higher self.
We are all healing in one way or another. It is what we do with the opportunities that will make the overall difference.
Our mind and body has a deep connection. “The body achieves what the mind believes.”
Peace to all. May any journey you take or endure lead you to a better place.
Prayers and blessings to my Mom. Love you. xoxo
“Snowflakes are like kisses from heaven.”
I sure felt that yesterday as the snow kept falling. I woke up dreading more snow because this winter seems to have been snow storm after snow storm, but as I walked out to try and catch a snowflake, I found something that changed my perspective.
You may not be able to see the detail that well, but I wandered through my yard and found millions of little snowflake kisses. I looked so close and saw such divine details. It made me ponder the greater scale of the infinite, the divine that is all around and makes up everything. I thought, “Wow. If God takes such care and puts such detail into the smallest snowflake, what a miracle and care He has put into my world.”
These snowflakes were part of thousands…millions of clusters of snowflakes, so they were literally not much bigger than a pinhead. It was unbelievable. I have tried to capture the snowflake details before as they drop from the sky, but the heat usually just melts them away. This was a beautiful gift that I stumbled across after looking a little deeper and seeing the tiny details of the freshly fallen snow. It was beautiful.
It was beauty everywhere! So, today take a minute and give thanks for your incredible body that is made up of a million tiny miracles. Look at a bud of a tree and see the possibility it is feeling awaiting Spring and next time it snows, take a closer look. There are miracles everywhere if we just look for them.
Peace, Love and Light to you today. -H
We had a light dusting of snow last night at my house, but the underlying layer of ice sent cars slipping and sliding out of control. Some people took it upon them self to speed up to avoid cars that slid off the road, only to slide faster. Some people tried to control their car with slow motion & even then there were other obstacles. The biggest obstacle–the giant, salt truck with the snow plow. I am sure everyone saw him coming & felt a little relief that the roads would be better after he did his work. But that relief quickly turned to terror as this huge truck began to slide sideways & barely missed a crossover that was parked on the side of the road after sliding off. Then it was a further chain reaction of no control. Each car that came around the corner began to swerve and slide without control & no where to go but into the large truck.
I watched in great fear of more people coming & a larger pile up. The snow plow literally slid into my neighbors yard & I wondered how this huge truck was going to get down our little hill without taking out more vehicles, trees or possibly sliding into a house.
The police came, but all they could do is park their car at the bottom & try to walk (mostly sliding) up the road to help the situation.
All control was gone. It was just a bunch of people trying to better a bad situation. People were getting out of their cars to talk to the police & began sliding down the hill. At the bottom of the hill was a car pile up & officers trying to fix various situations. Still the large salt truck blocked the road. With everything going on, a large truck came flying around the corner without warning & going fast. Luckily the salt truck had a big enough gap between him and the road that this truck carelessly plowed through. Everyone watched in shock, but knowing that could have been an even worse outcome.
Everyone handles control differently. Some people think they can just plow through a tough situation without warning. While someone else may take things extremely slow with caution. Some people just go with the flow & hope for the best.
Sometimes in some situations, whether it is an icy road, a relationship that doesn’t go the way you desire, a boss you don’t agree with or something where you have no control, sometimes you just have to let go. You have to give up the control of what you want to happen, you have to allow a change, you may need to seek to learn a hard lesson…you have to let life happen and be okay with the outcome.
“Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.” -Rainer Maria Rilke
This crazy situation this morning once again helped me see how we can only do so much and may have to let go of any control we may think we hold.
Every car this morning left with the confidence they were in control & were quickly humbled as they slid out of control. In so many life situations we can try to create an outcome or take control, but in reality, Life is and will always be in the right—because God steers the course, takes the wheel, helps guide us to our best destination. It may not be the destination we want–a struggle, something hard, a lesson learned, a humbling moment, etc, but He just desires us to trust His direction, His bigger plan.
We just need to let go and just allow—to trust what will happen.
“When you surrender and release the illusion of control, you begin to free-fall toward your destiny of a grand reunion with your original-self; a self uncorrupted by the world’s false lessons of fear and control.”
I recently heard Glennon Doyle Melton’s Canary metaphor & instantly understood how it can be used within our own lives.
I then watched the above video & found myself completely understanding my own awareness of boundaries, energy and creating that safe space in my own life. Seeing the ‘canary” in me & hearing her words…”Im too sensitive, I feel too much”…I have had to tell myself “I value” when others around me would tell me, “Your too sensitive, too thin skinned…”
I had to switch my viewpoint to feel my own worth, value and safety.
It reminded me of my own canary story: Years ago I had a beautiful, orange canary that loved to sing & it filled my home with light and beautiful music. It was so beautiful that I did not want it to be alone, so I went to my friend who bred canaries & asked her if she had another. While I was at her house I noticed a beautiful, yellow canary that was crooked and just seemed to sit at the bottom of a small cage. I asked my friend about it & she said, “You don’t want that one. It is crippled.”
She obviously did not know me very well because once I heard that, I instantly knew that was the one that needed me. It was a beautiful, bright yellow canary that had one leg that could not stand & was mangled and twisted into its body. Others would look at it & see an unwanted, crippled bird, but I saw beyond its outer shell. I knew that it just needed a chance to be seen and heard. It needed to find its own voice within its broken, little body. Oh how it could sing. I named it, “Little Angel Wings” because though it was broken physically, its song sang to the heavens and filled my home with heavenly music. It may have been broken, but that little bird knew its purpose & shared it with the world.
Oh, how I wished to see the little bird fly. I knew it would be able to fly & be soo free, but I knew if I let it fly, it would surely just die. It had grown up in a cage.
Both of these canary stories can help be reminders that we have been given strengths, purpose, gifts to share & that we cannot be limited by outer influences. We need to be aware of the stories we tell ourselves of our past. We need to be aware of the “Poisons” or toxins around us & close them off to our lives. We need to be aware of the energy people carry into our homes, the entertainment we allow in, the voices we listen to, the smallest things that can hinder our growth and allow us to see a higher realization of who we are meant to be in this world. The world needs us to be our best. The world needs the light we carry and the gifts we can share with one another.
Listen to your canary within. Follow your internal guidance that will allow you to FLY.
Peace and love to you today. -H
I LOVE reading about inspiring people and for some reason the winter months my brain needs the boost. The beginning of a new year brought me to the book, “Imperfect Courage” by Noonday Collection Founder, Jessica Honegger.
It was a fun read that shared her life experiences, the faith needed to leap and the courage she learned along the way in creating the largest fair-trade jewelry company in the world. And that in only five years, Noonday Collections would be named by Inc. Magazine as the forty-fifth fastest growing business in the U.S.
I wanted to do a post on some of my personal highlights (literally) from her journey. enjoy.
“Its tempting to bubble wrap our lives. Layer upon layer of protection means we stay unbroken, right through to the end. We wrap ourselves in fear. We wrap ourselves in isolation. We wrap ourselves in nightly glasses of wine in our beloved Instagram feed. We avoid real issues involving real people who live int he real world because, What if I get hurt? And yet what does this approach yield for us? A life of boredom, a lack of impact, spiritual death.
“Amidst safety the world has never before known,” Andy wrote, “the greatest spiritual struggle many of us face is to be willing to take off our bubble wrap.”
“We know that outside our front door, something much more fulfilling lies in wait. But instead of pursuing the desires of our heart, we spend our energy in defense mode, trying to avoid disappointment, betrayal, and pain. Something in us clings to these places of safety and makes it difficult to stand—even as something deeper within us longs to stand up, to eventually rise.”
I LOVE that metaphor—bubble wrap lives. You can visualize how many of us live. I live in Utah and we have an even bigger sense of living in a bubble. I think many of us have a deeper desire to do more, be more, live more, but safety is so warm and inviting. I enjoy visualizing what it would be like to take each day and pop a piece of the bubble wrap and begin to step beyond. To take one little step each day to fulfilling a meaningful life.
“regardless of these internalized messages about staying safe and playing it small, there comes a time when each of us is called to use our one and only life to risk big and act boldly on behalf of something or someone we prize. To refuse to act just isn’t an option; we simply must move. Maybe inviting that quiet colleague to lunch will help her feel known. Maybe our simple presence will comfort a friend who is lying in a hospital bed. Maybe a quick but heartfelt “You got this” on Facebook will reassure a friend. Maybe showing up for the foster care info session will change our lives forever. Maybe our timely arrival will confirm for that lonely one that were there for them. Whatever the situation, we know that its our time to rise.”
I like how the simple, little things make a difference. It is a good reminder to just be present for who may need you TODAY, in this moment. I think it is easy to think we need to do great, big service to rise and do big work, but even the little notes, the genuine call, being with a need places you where you are needed most.
Jessica was sitting with one of her Ugandan artisan partners and asking her about dreams for the future, and she answered, “I simply want to live and not die. Most Ugandans die before the age of fifty-five. Jessica, I want to live.”
Wow, that statement really stuck with me. We live in a country where people live to be almost 100. This book had many moments that made me grateful for having hospitals, a 911 service for an emergency, clean water, safe environments, respect of women, that I have a voice and so many small things we take for granted. It was humbling to think how much we take for granted.
“There is a saying in Uganda: “You look so smart today.” It’s an expression used when speaking of appearance, but it speaks so much more to the whole person as well.”
I love the thought of making a statement that encompasses the whole person, not just the exterior.
“You know what Oprah said she learned from the thirty thousand interviews she did?” They all wanted validation…Every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?”
Think about how you feel in conversations with other people. How do you feel? I do believe this is a sincere need we all share. Remember this need in all you do.
“If there is one formula that I can share with you, it is this: vulnerability, when met with empathy, leads to wholeness. It works this way every time.”
This is a genuine path to connection with others. When we are vulnerable, we almost open up and we are able to sit with the empathy we need to connect on deeper levels, which leads to whole relationships—with ourself and others.
“If you’re longing to leave a life of safety for a life of risk, meaning, and impact, then please read this carefully: you cannot get there on your own. You–even you–were made for community. To flourish, we must work with, not against, togetherness, and to prize togetherness, we must come out of isolation and be seen.”
This is one big struggle for me on a personal level. All around me are people in the same religious organization who do not seem to need me and I have struggled to need them. People in my neighborhood feel it is there duty to invite my family to specific meetings or activities, so they drop in for an invite. I will have deep conversations with them and then wont see them again for six months or a year. I see them walk by my house every day, but the depth of connection is never seemingly genuine, so it is hard to want or need to reach out. It is a struggle, but I do my best to invest in those who I feel do genuinely need me. I am a constant work in progress. Aren’t we all! smile. smile.
“Keep going scared.”
I like this motto she shares throughout the book. To me it says, no matter what, keep going even if you are scared, fearful. Walk through the scary thoughts or insecurities. To do something worthwhile, there will be obstacles that will terrify us. Keep going scared.
“When we own our worth and share our truth, not only are we more apt to taking ever-increasing risks but also we let others take big risks on us.”
When we begin to see our own value, others will see it within us. It is like the light you share–if you don’t feel the light within, then how can you light up another? When we feel of our inner worth and are able to find a deeper truth, there is a light, a purpose, a drive, a divine direction that guides us and others will see the excitement, the enthusiasm (God within) that shines from us.
“I want us to be people who cultivate compassion and create spaces of belonging for those around us.”
Who doesn’t want connection?? One of my greatest connections has come from finding a stray cat, which led me meeting a young 18-year-old girl who had just got out of foster care earlier this year. We have had an immediate connection & we have been a great gift to one another’s life. We cultivate love and compassion for one another. We can genuinely be gifts to one another when we open up the spaces—even with strangers.
“The Sisterhood Effect happens when women refuse to let perceived threats strangle our relationships, when we let empathy triumph over judgement and let collaboration win over comparison.”
Comparison is definitely a tool that can strangle relationships. If we are not aware of our own tendencies, then how do we avoid this trap? We are surrounded by social media that creates envy and judgement. Be careful. Things are NOT always as they seem.
“What it comes down to is this: there are two ways to approach people in this one precious life, and only one of them is worth doing. You can either judge, condemn, disregard, and indict people, deciding that they are shallow, an inconvenience, a mess; OR you can learn about, affirm, celebrate, and love them, offering them compassion at every turn. You can choose to assume positive intent–to assume that someone is doing the best she can, instead of jumping to the conclusion that she is acting out of malice or laziness or a sense of superiority.”
JUST LOVE. period.
“If we are going to live for something bigger than ourselves in this world, it’s essential that we widen our circles to include not just ourselves, not just our neighbors, but people around the world.”
Circles are round and are a good metaphor of coming full circle, wholeness, fulfilled, becoming our best, doing our best. Circle of friendship. A globe. It is a beautiful symbol that is a great reminder of something bigger.
This book was a great read. It is full of wonderful perspectives, great stories, real life and ways to become better individuals that can inspire a better world.
Have a beautiful day! Find hope and rise to your best. -Peace to you.
As the holidays are upon us there is a lot of talk of thanks and giving. After talking to my sister at length about frustrations she is having with her five kids and trying to figure out how to help them give without the constant gimme. I figured I would do a post on giving thanks. It is the season.
Here are some ideas for all of us to get us into the GIVING SEASON. It is a beautiful time of year and when we give even more of ourselves, the magic spreads throughout the season and even further throughout the whole year.
I have done numerous posts on this subject, so please check out some of my older posts during the holidays.
Here are some additional ideas:
MAKE A MEAL that MEANS SOMETHING: Last week my daughter and I took a few girls & leaders from her school to a local children’s medical center. We were gifted the opportunity to make a meal for the families whose children are staying at the hospital. It was a humbling experience to see over 80 people shuffle in with various faces, from a variety of places. So many were just gracious, exhausted, some had a deep sadness and then there were some who seemed full of hope wearing shirts that said, “Happy” and “Love.” I actually commented to the people that I loved seeing so many shirts with happy thoughts. It was a sea of people doing the best they could with where they were at. We saw little kids in tubes, a little one so swollen her eyes were shut closed, another running down the hall with an oxygen tank. It was eye opening to see kids in a hospital, but still smiling because they were running or driving a plastic car backwards. The Dad driving the car backwards smiled at his son and me observing and said, “Sometimes you will go backwards in life.” I smiled and said, “At least he is still smiling.” The Dad smiled and agreed. Another sweet moment, a little boy in a hospital gown, about two-years-old entered the kitchen where we were making the food and beamed with a huge smile & looked down at his feet. His Dad commented that his son wanted to show us his new slippers. We all looked at the little boy and started quickly commenting on how cute his new slippers were & he just started smiling and growling at us. We all laughed in joy together. His father asked us if we would mind singing Happy Birthday to his little son. We were happy to. We totally surprised the little boy when we all chimed in and boomed a big version of Happy Birthday for all to hear. The little boy smiled so big. Joy was all around.
VISIT A FOOD BANK: A couple of years ago we were financially struggling. In our entire marriage we had never needed to ask for financial help, let alone for food. It was a humbling time that hit me again this year when my daughter and I visited a local food bank. As we sorted bins and bins of food for distribution, it took me back to the time when we received food from a pantry. I placed food in boxes and wondered where they would go, who would be in need…I know we were truly grateful for the giving resources that so freely gave to us in our time of need. I still have a couple of cans in my pantry that remind me of that time. You never know. It is so easy to take things for granted, but You can’t take things for granted. Give thanks in all you do.
USE A TALENT TO GIVE: My sweet daughter for years has found gently used cloth dolls & some did not have the clothes, so she would knit for hours to make a dress or a scarf to fit the dolls. We would then package them neatly & leave a special note from one child to another. What a sweet gift to give.
While talking to my sister today she mentioned one of her young sons she struggles with loves art. I told her maybe he could make some artistic Christmas cards or notes that could be given to foster kids or angel trees, etc. A card from a kid–another kid would love that. Use a talent you have to touch another.
GIVE 12 DAYS TO SOMEONE WHO IS ALONE: Put together 12 stories, or 12 cards to write, or 12 activities to do (word search, puzzle, movie to watch, something to color, etc), or 12 events to attend…now, when I say SOMEONE WHO IS ALONE, you could think old widow or you could also think someone who just got out of foster care or who doesn’t have any family nearby. In the past six months I have become very close to a young girl who has not even been out of foster care for a year. She is not close to her family, so I am giving her 12 days of various things (Important Questions to journal, Items to keep her cozy, Events going on around town, a gratitude guide, Coloring pages, Soup recipes and Stories, A book to stretch & grow, etc) FInd someone nearby that you can touch with a 12 days of something good.
WISHING ROCKS: As part of little gifts we are giving this year we decided to make some wishing rocks for those we love. We sat down the other night and painted rocks with words (Love, Peace, Joy, Hope, Courage, Faith, Belief, Light, etc) and we put a little note that said, “Take what you need. Day by Day. Made with Love” Some of those rocks we made for a sweet family friend whose Dad is dying of cancer. You never know what people truly need, but making something with love is a good start.
I HOPE these ideas have inspired you to get out and give of yourself. It makes the season even more magical for everyone. Fill the world with love and light.
xoxo May your holidays be beautiful. Peace and love to you. -H