Advance!

January 21, 2019

The closing of the house is just a few weeks away, and it’s looking really beautiful. I’m ready to have a normal routine in my own space again (it’s so close I can taste it!).  I have progressed to the next phase of interviews with the company I hope to work at… things are moving forward and I’m getting so excited!

While visiting Ramsey Solutions last week, I got to see Dave Ramsey doing his radio show and watch a young couple tell their debt-free success story and hear them do the “debt-free scream”.  It was so inspiring!  They are just 28 years old, and are now debt free, including THEIR HOUSE!  What a great opportunity for the rest of their lives!  I wish I had learned about Dave and read his book, Total Money Makeover when I was their age!

And yet, I believe there is no wrong timing.  The information came to us at the right time for us and our circumstances, and made a huge impact on me and on our lives.  It’s never too late to become debt free and live your life differently.  It’s never too late to grow and do anything differently in your life… there is always opportunity to change our circumstance, if we are willing to take the steps and make the sacrifices to do it.

I read a quote recently:

“God’s gift to us:  potential.  Our gift to God:  developing it.”

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I believe that this is true and that it is never too late to develop our potential.  You just have to begin. Take one step, and then another and another, and keep on moving forward. Time has not passed you by, and you have everything you need to begin… all you need is yourself and the determination to do it.

For me, this year is starting off with a lot of new things, new place, new home, hopefully new job, meeting new people and learning about the unique idiosyncrasies of another part of the country.  I have taken a lot of steps to develop my potential… and I’m going to keep on taking more! I recently started a new 16-day study of the book, Think and Grow Rich facilitated by Paul Martinelli and Roddy Galbraith of Empowerment Mentoring, and it’s intense!

Today, Paul Martinelli reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by Henry David Thoreau:

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he [she] has imagined, he [she] will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Henry David Thoreau

Isn’t that such a great thought? While we may not think it possible in our “common hours”, or from the circumstance we find ourselves in right at the moment, if we take steps and move towards our dream, something magical happens, and the resources and things we need to achieve our dream begin to “show up”. I experienced this to some extent on my journey with how supported I felt every step of the way. What I needed was there for me when I needed it. It was wonderful!

Sometimes the confidence we need to advance has to be “borrowed” through faith.  In Hebrews 11:1 faith is defined as:  “….the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

We have to envision our dreams, the things that we hope for. And then begin to move toward them with the confidence of our faith, all the while keeping our vision in front of us. What I’m learning is that we must be persistent in this “endeavor” as Thoreau puts it. Never-say-die persistent!

There is so much to learn and then so much to DO with that knowledge once we gain it! Many opportunities to develop the potential that God gifted to each one of us. What will you do this year, starting tomorrow, to advance in the direction of your dreams and develop your awesome potential?

If you’re not sure where to begin, one place I can recommend is to read John Maxwell’s 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. It can help you develop a growth plan, and give some direction for where and how to begin to grow yourself and take this year to another level. It’s been a great resource for me to get intentional about my growth and start identifying some things that I have let get in my way in the past.

And surround yourself with others who want to grow and develop as well. It’s really helpful to have people to share your experiences with, to encourage one another, and help each other stay accountable.

Whatever you choose, just do it. No excuses…. ADVANCE!!!

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And the winner is…

January 13, 2019

I am so excited!  We are under contract to purchase our new home.  It was a tough decision, but I feel like the one we chose is the best option and can’t wait to make it ours!  We chose the new build and even thought it is almost finished, I got to choose the counter tops and the ceiling fans… a couple details that will help make it more “ours”.

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I also joined a gym this past week and even went and worked out.  I am looking at ways to begin getting connected in the community… I went to a quilting guild meeting, scheduled a “paint with a twist” painting session, and started exploring health care providers and such.  I also am working on identifying volunteer opportunities I can participate in to get to know the community more, and to give back.

Connection is REALLY important to me.  Since I have identified it as a value of mine, I notice more and more when it shows up in my conversations, thoughts and even writing.  For me, being connected or having a connection with others I work with, am friends with, etc. is vital to a great relationship or interaction.  It’s the glue that holds everything together.

There are 18 definitions for connection on Dictionary.com.  The one that most applies to this current conversation is:  a circle of friends or associates or a member of such a circle. And also this one:  association; relationship.

While you could look at this simply as your “connections”, people you know and associate with and can go to as a resource, I believe there is more to it.

For me, being connected is about relationship.  When you are truly connected with someone, you care about what they care about.  You are there for each other.  You have things in common, and know each other.  A connection is a trusted resource.  And the feeling is mutual.

It is easy to lose connection with people, and easy to avoid connecting as well.  One way that has become more and more prevalent… your smart phone.  I know, I know, you’re going to argue that it helps you be more connected, right?  I mean after all, you can respond to an email at a moments notice.  And really, why email at all when you can text?

Oh, and my favorite… “I’m connected to LOTS of people on FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc.”  Really?  How can you truly have a relationship (friendship, business, romantic or otherwise), when you don’t spend any actual time together connecting?

The truth is, our phones, gaming consoles, and various other distractions keep us from connecting with the people right in front of us in our lives, either by default or by design (because you want to avoid connecting with anyone, EVER).

It is so easy to do, I catch myself frequently getting pulled into my phone for one reason or another.  It takes really paying attention to what has become an unconscious habit, and being disciplined to shut it down, and really BE with the people in your life.

Ask how they are doing.  Ask about their hobbies and interests, engage with them when you can.  Be sensitive to what may be going on with them and listen, encourage, and seek to understand.  That is how you create connection.

Being connected isn’t about YOU.  It’s not what you get out of it.  It’s about the other person.  If that is your focus, you will be rewarded with fulfilling, connected relationships.

And the winner is… both of you!

It’s a risk…

January 6, 2019

See the source imageI went house hunting yesterday. 17 houses walked through, in 3 counties, over 3 separate days.  I found a lot of diversity in the properties.  Some really beautiful, and some really scary.  It’s always amazing to me how you can get such differences in a similar price range and location.  It has been a challenge, but I think we’re down to 2 houses.

Like many places in the country, the Nashville area market is booming, and homes in my price range that fit my criteria require looking a little farther out from Nashville.  The countryside is beautiful, and there is such a sense of peace here for me, so being an hour away from Nashville isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but may mean a commute if I get a job near Nashville.  And I’m ok with that.  I would get to have a beautiful drive every day, with lots of opportunity to listen to books and podcasts… good stuff!

So I’ve got these two houses… one is 2 years old, and one is a new build.  One is a little small, and one is a little more than I want to spend.  Both are beautiful, and I could see myself living in either of them.  So now to decide.  But then there’s the thought… “what if something better/different comes on the market tomorrow or next week, and I’ve already made a commitment?”  But if I wait and see what else may come, I could miss out on something that I have already seen and like.”  It’s a conundrum for sure.

And what it comes down to, is making a decision and taking a risk.  Inventor Charles F. Kettering said, “You will never stub your toe standing still.  The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere.”  So, we weigh the options, the risks and the benefits, and make the best decision we can in this moment!

I love Anais Nin’s quote above.  It’s one I have held dear for many, many years.  It reminds me that we can’t blossom if we don’t take risks, experience some pain or discomfort, and then grow from it.  I have tried hard to live by that thought.  Sometimes more successfully than others.  And sometimes, when I have tried to avoid the pain and stay in a “bud”, I ended up getting more pain in order to “nudge” me into growing, than if I had just done it on my own when I had the instinct it was time.

I once heard strategist, futurist and communicator, Dr. Lance Wallnau speak about pain and opportunity.  He talked about there being pain at the threshold of a new opportunity, and how typically in life people tend to avoid pain at all costs… thus depriving themselves of all kinds of opportunity.  That is where learning and growth takes place. 

If we are willing to walk through that pain, across the threshold and through the door on the other side, I believe all kinds of things can open up for us for more and better in our lives and the lives of those we care about.  What threshold are you standing on today?  Take a risk and walk through!

 

 

 

And the ball drops…

December 30, 2018

The new year is almost upon us and naturally, it is a time of reflection and planning.

I have a lot of planning to do!  Home finding, job finding, moving my things across the country (once I find a home)… there’s a lot of logistics, etc.  But more than that, I also want to take the time to dig deeper.

In our Mastermind group, as we continue to digest John Maxwell’s “15 Invaluable Laws of Growth”, we have been learning about many aspects of personal growth, one being Reflection.  I think it’s a perfect time for that.

I plan to take some time to reflect on the past year, using my calendar as a guide, and look at what worked and what didn’t.  Where I spent my time that was valuable to me and others, and where it wasn’t.  And then I’m going to set some goals and intentions for the new year.

One of the things Maxwell says in the chapter about Reflection is that he believes Evaluated Experience, rather than just experience itself, is the best teacher.  We have to evaluate our experiences and learn from them to make the experience truly instructional.  Personally, that has been my focus for my own growth.  Through this book, I’m learning that there are some other things that are also important to growing, like being intentional about your growth and having a growth plan.

So this year, that is my plan.  To be intentional about my growth.  To take the time to pause and reflect more, and as I am about to learn in this week’s assignment: to design my future.

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  Like most people, I’ve made many and kept few.  I think New Year’s resolutions in a weird way, can keep us stuck, rather than move us forward.  If we don’t keep a resolution, there can be all kinds of self-judgement about why we didn’t, or what a failure we are.  It can also be an excuse:  “well, I didn’t keep that one for even three months, guess I’ll have to try again next year.”

Why do we do this to ourselves?

If you are the kind of person resolutions work for.  You love setting resolutions and achieving them, I applaud you.  If that drives you and motivates you, that’s awesome!

For me, that hasn’t always been the case.  And in the past I have viewed myself as somewhat less of a person because I wasn’t driven that way.

What I have come to realize is that there’s never just one right way to do something.  What works for me, may not work for others and vice versa.  We are complex beings!

I do believe that goals are important.  For example, I set a goal to become debt free and achieved it.  I have had goals in my life that I have achieved, it’s just not been a real driving force for me.  And certainly not in the form of New Year’s resolutions.

I LOVE to do lists though.  First of all, I am at an age where I want to make sure I don’t forget to do anything that is important to me to get done.  And I also like being able to see that I have accomplished those things.  It’s a way of tracking what I have done with my time, and being accountable to myself.  Helps me stay productive and moving in the right general direction.

What I haven’t been great at doing is setting an overarching intention or design for my life.  A “big picture” so to speak of the desires I have for my life and how I can use my gifts and talents to make a difference and serve others in a way that is rewarding to me and in alignment with my values.  I naturally serve others as a way of being, it’s in my heart, I just haven’t set a bigger vision of what that could be.

I am excited to move forward in my life with more intention and see where that carries me.  What have I left on the table?  What more could I be and do that is bigger than I imagined, but totally within my realm of capability, if I would just get out of my own way.  This poem by Marianne Williamson sums it up perfectly:

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I encourage you to take some time and reflect in the coming week.  Set some intentions for the new year and open yourself up to the idea that you can be more that you thought possible.  Dream, and then begin to make some plans to make those dreams a reality.

Be safe and have fun this New Year’s Eve…  and as the ball drops in New York and we ring in another year, let’s make the choice to let our light shine!

Here’s wishing you a joyful, prosperous, and meaningful new year!!cami signature

10,000 miles…

December 22, 2018

Christmas-tree-e1545495290925.jpgChristmas is upon us.  The end of the year is just a little over a week away…  it’s amazing how fast time goes!

I can’t believe it, but after travelling 10,000 miles over 124 days, I “ended” my journey in Tennessee.  And now I am working on getting established there.  Earlier this week I spent two days with a wonderful realtor looking at houses, and yesterday, I had a first interview with a company I respect, align with their values and believe I would enjoy working for. It would be a great opportunity to serve others as part of their organization and continue to learn and grow…  wish me luck!

I have come a long way baby!  And my heart is full.

The holidays bring many things for people…  it can be a time of joy and happiness, filled with love and family; it can be a time of loneliness and sorrow for loved ones who have passed on, or relationships that are no more; it can be a time of deep reflection on oneself and the year that is ending; and hopefully also a time to be grateful and remember the ultimate reason we celebrate Christmas and the gift we were given.  Even in sadness or sorrow, I pray that there can also be peace and gratitude as there is remembrance of the good times and blessings of the past year.

As I reflect on this past year, and particularly the last 124 days, I am filled with so many things.  Gratitude for the journey, reverence and fondness for what is behind me, and hope and excitement for what lays ahead.

When I began this journey, I was feeling lost, alone, and unsure of what the future held.  I chose to take the time to “find” myself in a unique way.  Most people don’t sell their house, quit their job and go on a 4 month road trip… they go to counselling, on a retreat, hire a coach, read a book and journal (which I did lots of too)… there are a lot of ways to journey inward and reconnect with yourself.  For me, physically leaving felt like a necessary thing to do.  Along the way, I came to know myself more fully and grew stronger and more whole.  I realized that I am strong.  I am never alone. I deserve to be cherished and adored (by myself FIRST).  I am beautiful.  I am capable and wise.  And I have flaws.  Sometimes I am oversensitive and take people and things of the world too personally.  I weigh a little more than I would like.  I am still learning to be great with finances… I’ve got “issues”.  And I LOVE who I am.  I am perfectly imperfect!

And now, I am back in Las Vegas where it all began for two weeks, celebrating Christmas and New Years with the man I love.  There have been many times in the last year and a half when I wondered if this would be my reality.  I had many doubts, lots of fears and sadness, but I also had hope and faith.  We have travelled far, both of us, in our own ways…

There will be some people in my life who may question my sanity and wonder if I am making a mistake in coming back together with Shane.  We’ve had a tough road.  And while I had reason enough over the years to leave, I chose to stay.  I always believed that inside this imperfect man was a beautiful loving heart and I hoped and prayed that God would take his heart of stone and break it open to reveal the soft and loving man trapped inside.

I almost gave up.  We even got divorced this fall.  But God had other plans…

While I was travelling across the country, Shane has been on his own internal journey.  And while I can’t begin to comprehend from the outside, I know it has been a difficult one.  But he stuck it out and did the hard work and has emerged with an open, full heart. I respect him so much for not running away from facing the “demons” of his past.  And for the honesty and rawness he has shared along the way.  It takes courage to do what he did.  And the transformation is awesome and precious to me.

It’s hard for people to truly see and understand all that has transpired.  Especially when “seeing” from a distance through what others tell you, unable observe the transformation for yourself.

What those dear to me have personally seen or experienced has been my hurt and sadness as they have loved and supported me during all of this.  They saw my heartbreak over losing what was.  And they want to “protect” me from being hurt again.  I get it.  I do too.  But I’m willing to take a risk because I have hope.

It’s easy to make an assessment or judgement as an onlooker, but it’s also unfair because their perspective is incomplete. No one can truly know how we have grown or what we each have been through that has brought us to reconnect and try again

I liken it to what happens after a forest has been ravaged by a fire.  Through all the devastation, the scorched earth is made richer from the ashes.  New life begins to emerge.  Wildlife returns to make the forest their home once again, and a new cycle begins.

I am not the same lost, broken woman I was when I left.  And Shane is not the same closed off broken person he was.  We are both more whole and more open.  We have been through the “fire” and that has healed things in us that needed healing, making our “soil” richer.  And now we can come together and create a new life from the ashes of what was.

I’m not saying it will always be easy, or that this is some Cinderella ending.  I am more realistic than that.  Things worth having take intentional effort and we both know that now more than ever.

The difference is that we are both coming together as partners to build a life together where we both cherish, love and respect one another and the gifts we bring to our relationship. I have hope for our future.

Though it may not always unfold as I would expect or desire, and the road may be longer and more difficult than I would like, the words of Jeremiah 29:11 ring true for me…

“For I know the plans I have for you.” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

To the future…

May you be blessed beyond measure this Christmas and in the coming year.  Sending you all my love!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Attitude changes everything…

December 15, 2018

Can you believe Christmas is just 10 days away?  The end of the year is coming fast!

I spent a couple lovely days in Knoxville wandering around town, checking out some yummy restaurants, shopping in Market Square, and finishing off with a short hike in the Ijams Nature Preserve.  The picture of the rock is an example of a “geologic fold”.  What is that you ask?  According to Wikipedia, “A fold occurs when one or a stack of originally flat and planar surfaces, such as sedimentary strata, are bent or curved as a result of permanent deformation.”  Permanent deformation can happen when there are major earth changes like those that happened millions of years ago.  I thought it was fascinating!

I’m now in Columbia, TN (about 45 min from Nashville), staying at the home of a couple I knew when working at the City of Henderson.  They are gracious hosts and I feel SO blessed to have the opportunity to stay with them for a time while I start searching for a home.  Their input is invaluable as they have lived here for almost 9 years now, and know the area better than I!  I’ve learned about all the bugs I need to watch out for, what I need to do to best protect my dog (when he comes here)…  lots of things to consider that weren’t an issue in Nevada.

As I begin the process of getting my bearings, finding new everything (hair and lash stylists, mechanic, good grocery stores, healthcare providers, etc.), and contemplate what I want to do for work, I find myself alternating between fear/overwhelm and optimism.  I’m excited for the change and am looking forward to creating a life here (with lots of trips back to Vegas to visit my sweet, amazing friends), and at the same time, it’s a lot to start from scratch — and it’s been 16 years since the last time I had to do that!  

I’m currently part of a mastermind group going through the book “15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John Maxwell and it is the perfect time!  Personal growth has always been something I value, and I have worked at it to some extent all throughout my life, but I wouldn’t say I have always been super intentional about it.  This book is helping me to do that.  AND it’s helping me ask myself questions about what I want to do, what I am passionate about, and what I am good at.  Questions that have been harder to answer than I anticipated. 

One quote Maxwell referenced in our reading assignment this week that really stood out to me is:  Faith is “trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” – Philip Yancey.

That about sums up where I’ve been for the last several months! I have been trusting my whole life in advance.  And it has been a really wonderful journey.  Still waiting for the “making sense in reverse” part on some things… the journey’s not over yet!

Another quote I have loved for years is by Chuck Swindoll:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, or say, or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a church… a home. 

 The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

Again we come back to choice.  We can choose our attitude.  We can choose how we approach life every day.

As it is with all of us, my attitude as I enter this next part of my journey will either help or hinder me.  I get to choose.  Some days, choosing an attitude that will help me is a little harder than others.  I have found that when I am having difficulty having a good attitude, there are a few things that really help me encourage myself to a better attitude and frame of mind:

  • Do something for someone else — anything, any small act of service, even if it is just an encouraging word to someone — serving or helping others makes a huge difference both for the person I serve and for me.
  • Reaching out to others who know and support me.  Sometimes an outside perspective or encouraging word from a friend or loved one can turn everything around.
  • Physical movement, especially outside, helps as well.  Getting out in the open, appreciating nature and moving my body will help put my attitude back on track.
  • Prayer and meditation on a regular basis also play a huge part in keeping me more on the positive side.

As Chuck Swindoll said, I believe that this one attribute (ATTITUDE) is one of the most important characteristics we can possess for every area of our lives.  In your own home/family, friendships, at work or school, in church, sports, literally EVERY aspect of our lives is improved when we approach it with a good attitude.  It also plays a HUGE part in being effective in positively influencing others, making it a vital aspect of being a great leader.

What more could you accomplish if you simply changed your attitude about something in your life?

 

BRAVING… Trust

December 6, 2018

I arrived in Charlotte, NC last night, and took a much needed day today to rest, catch up on “stuff” and write in my Blog.

I really enjoyed my visit to Niceville and spending time with family.  My nieces and nephews are such amazing people and it was nice to get to spend a little extra time with them.  I got to see my niece, Addie-Kate at a cheer competition (she’s the second from the left); my nephew, Luke go to his first cotillion “ball” (cotillion teaches young people manners, how to escort/be escorted, how to dress and sit, how to go through a receiving line, how to eat at a fancy dinner, and how to dance, etc.  It’s a great program!).  I also got to watch nephews Nate and Marc (who both play football and are cousins) playing catch with each other in the sand at Gulf, a fun bar/restaurant.

I love the small town feel there.  The creativity of small businesses inspires me, and two places we went were no exception:   cReaTe is a new coffee shop/art studio where you and your kids can come and do art projects like working with glass, painting, or leather and pearls jewelry making, to name a few.  Great environment, artfully decorated and cozy.  Lily Pads is a consignment and retail store with lots of wonderful gems from design items for your home to clothing and jewelry.  I found more than a few things I’d love for my new home once I settle!

It was really fun to see my sisters in their home town and how connected they are within the community.  They both have a great circle of friends, and the community at large seems like it is well connected.  Overall, it feels like a nice place to live.

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On the way to Charlotte, I listened to Rising Strong, by Brene Brown.  What a great book!  So many great thoughts and tools to integrate, and confirmation for the journey I’ve been on… definitely need the hard copy!

As Shane and I begin working towards coming back together (something I had hoped and prayed for from the beginning of this journey), trust is a thing that has been on my mind a lot.  And not just trust between Shane and I, but also trust of myself.  Brene put a great acronym together for how to do that:

“In my research, seven elements of trust emerged as useful in both trusting others and trusting ourselves. I came up with an acronym – BRAVING – for the elements [Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Nonjudgment, Generosity].” (p. 199 Rising Strong, Brene Brown).

I love that acronym!  It really resonates with me, and gives me a framework I didn’t have for building and maintaining trust in all kinds of relationships; the most important being the one with myself.

Ch, ch, ch, CHANGES!

November 28, 2018

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FPCU8321I’m more than halfway through my time in Niceville, Florida and it’s been a really nice visit.  The weather has been good (I even got to enjoy a really good rainstorm, which I personally love), Thanksgiving dinner was fabulous, I’ve had time to bond with my nieces and nephews, helped put together several puzzles, updated my wardrobe with some excellent fashion advice from my sisters, Jamee and Kristi, and I even got a new ‘do and some lashes thanks to my amazing stylist sister, Kristi.

IMG_1198It’s always interesting when you’re around family… especially around holidays or other family gatherings.  The atmosphere usually seems a little frenzied, and you’ve got a lot of people, with different personalities and different ways of doing things all in one place.  It makes for an adventure!  I LOVE my family, and I love spending time with them.  And, sometimes I know we make each other a little crazy.  I think it’s part of most family dynamics, and is part of what makes us who we are.

As I’m nearing the end of my journey, with just two more states to go, my thoughts are beginning to turn to finding my new home, earning a steady income, following a budget and being a “grown up” again.  While part of me longs to have a place to call home and to stop living out of my car (and have an actual closet for my clothes), another part of me is going to miss the freedom and adventure of being on the road.

Another part of me – the organized, practical, planning, slightly OCD part – is getting a little stressed out.

In case I haven’t said it before, I have a fairly loose plan for what comes next, choosing to trust that the right things will present themselves at the right time.  And I still do trust that.  AND, part of me kinda needs to know how I’m going to pay my bills, once I have a roof over my head again.

I’ve been doing some work while on the road, writing resumes and bios; editing and research/analysis projects for a few clients, and that’s been awesome!  I’m leaning toward having my own business of some kind again, but may need to supplement the income with something else until I build enough clientele to have a steady income… so, what to do?  I’d love to work from home and at the same time, being in a new town, it would also be good to get out and meet people, get involved and make some friends, so I want to balance that too.

So many things to think about and lots of changes coming.

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.                                                                                                                 Arnold Bennett

Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens.  The sleeper just awakened.                                                                                                                     Frank Herbert

If we don’t change, we don’t grow.  If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.       Gail Sheehy

Change can be scary — even if you choose the change and are looking forward to it.  There is an element of leaving the known for the unknown, stepping away from what is comfortable towards something new or different makes us… a little (or a lot) uncomfortable.  I believe even in the cycle of learning and growth as individuals, there’s always a point at which you find yourself feeling very uncomfortable.

You may have heard the saying:  “The only certainties in life are death and taxes.”  I would add to that:  “The only constant is change.”  Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we are constantly being pruned, molded, shaped.   There is change in our lives.  Growth.  It could be internal change such as our physical bodies, mental or emotional change or growth; or it could be external such as a job, marriage or divorce, new family members, etc.  Things are constantly changing in our lives.  And yet, when it comes to big changes – the not so subtle ones – we may get a little resistant, uncomfortable or even scared.

Talking about change and growth always brings to mind the story of the caterpillar struggling to emerge from its’ cocoon…  a young boy, seeing a butterfly struggle to emerge from its’ cocoon, seeks to help it in its’ transformation and cuts open the cocoon so the butterfly can get out more easily.  What he doesn’t realize is that the struggle to emerge from the cocoon forces the fluids from the butterfly’s large body, into its’ newly formed wings, giving them strength and life.  Unfortunately, the butterfly’s body was large and its wings small and frail because the boy had inadvertently thwarted the caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly by trying to “help” it.  It was never able to fly and be the beautiful creature it was created to be.

I think many times in life, either in our desire to “spare” ourselves or someone else what we perceive as pain or discomfort, or to find an easier way through a difficulty, we can unwittingly rob ourselves and others of the growing process.  This can cause the same “stunting” of development or growth in that moment, in a similar way as the butterfly was never able to realize its full potential.

Change and growth typically doesn’t happen when things are smooth sailing, or when we are in our comfort zone, it happens through trial and adversity – our own ‘wriggling from the cocoon’ – and if we try to avoid that, or protect others from it, we are actually doing a disservice to ourselves or others.

Instead, we need to embrace our challenges, and encourage others to do the same, and realize that difficulty is a time to celebrate our growth and learning… one more step in our development into who we are becoming.

One of my favorite quotes, that I share a lot by Napoleon Hill goes like this:

“Effort only fully realizes its reward after a person refuses to quit.”

As you learn and grow, trying to operate in your old “comfort zone” may not feel so good anymore.  This signifies that you’re coming to a transition.  You then have an opportunity to quit trying to fit yourself into the old pattern, and allow the new habits and patterns of who you are becoming to kick in.  Yet again, choosing how you respond.

That transition is just a period during which you begin to become consciously aware of the changes and growth you have achieved.  It’s an exciting time of realizing you are moving towards something greater than you could have thought or imagined for yourself… new doors will be opening, new experiences and opportunities will come about as you step into who you are becoming.

I’m excited!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

November 22, 2018

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Just a quick little note to say Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I am so grateful for the incredible opportunity I have had to travel the last 3+ months (and into the new year). Words really cannot express how very grateful I am to all of the people who welcomed me into their homes, spent time with me, fed me, and helped make this journey the wonderful, healing experience it has been!

This has been the journey of a lifetime.  I have learned so much about myself, about others and about what I do (and don’t) need.  Living out of your car for several weeks really brings home how much I can live without!  And I am getting recharged, refocused and ready for what’s next!

I know that no matter what happens in my future, I will not just be okay, I will thrive!

I have hope for the coming year, for a future with Shane, and for a home and livelihood that feels good and matters, not just to me, but to those I serve.

Thank you for being a part of my journey thus far, and for reading my little blog.  It’s been an honor to share with you!

Here’s to a great holiday season and a fantastic 2019!

Blessings and gratitude,

Cami

Watching your words…

November 17, 2018

I’m sitting in a Starbucks coffee shop, having just arrived in Niceville, FL.  I need to catch up on my blog… New Orleans was pretty busy and pretty fun!

Since I’ve been living in Las Vegas the last 16 1/2 years, some of the things that I think draw some people to NOLA don’t really do anything for me.  I’m used to being able to walk down the street with a drink, and I’m not really into drinking until I puke anymore, so Bourbon Street wasn’t really my scene!  However, the food is AMAZING, the architecture is beautiful and the people are very warm and friendly.

Only one girlfriend was able to join me for the girls weekend I had planned, and we made the most of our time!  We did a cemetery tour, and went to the tattoo convention and got tattoos, along with a lot of walking and shopping in the French Quarter.  After she left, I stayed on for the rest of the week and took some time to visit the WWII museum and do a Haunted/Vampire tour of the French Quarter.  Because it is such an old city, the sense of history is amazing.  That’s one thing I love about the eastern part of the United States, there is a feeling of deep wisdom as if the buildings have witnessed and retained so much… and the stories that are shared remind us where we came from.  There is much to be learned!

Now, I get to spend some time with my two sisters, Jamee and Kristi and their families, who live here in Niceville.  It will be fun to spend Thanksgiving with them… it’s been a long time!

I had written in a blog or two ago about the word “should” or maybe it was “but”… either way, they are two words I work hard not to use and I’d like to tell you why.

Years ago, I read something about these two words that made me think very differently about them.  We’ll start with “should”.  When you use the word “should”, in a sense it automatically takes one’s choice away in a sense.  It implies that if you don’t do whatever you “should” do, you are wrong for not doing it.  For example:  “You should wear a jacket, you’ll catch your death of cold!”  So then if you don’t, you feel like a jackass… Well maybe not a jackass, but you get the drift.  Sometimes we can be stubborn and willful and we don’t care if someone tells us we “should” do something, we are going to do what we want anyway, dammit!  I say, Right On!  And yet, there is still that feeling in the back of our brain that we didn’t do something we “should” have.

I prefer the word “could”.  This gives you a choice.  “You could wear a jacket… because it’s chilly outside.”  And the choice is up to you.  You know the consequences of your choices.  In this example, if you wear a jacket, you’ll be warm and it might help you keep from getting sick.  If you don’t wear a jacket, you might wish you had one, and if you get sick, well then that would suck.  YOU get to choose your action and the consequence you experience.  Way more empowering right?

And empowering to others when you are giving advice or suggestions.  Start paying attention when you hear or say the word and see how it makes you feel.

And now to the word “but”.  This lovely little word has the effect of negating everything that was said before it.  “That was a great paint job, but you missed a couple spots.” or “I really like you, but you drive me crazy.”  The “but” takes away the sentiment in the first part of the statement.  Now sometimes this is appropriate, and takes on a slightly different feel:  “We wanted to go to the store, but it was raining cats and dogs!”

Most of the time, I have replaced the word “but” with the word “and”.  “That was a great paint job, and I see a couple spots you missed, can I help?”  or “I really like you, and sometimes you drive me crazy”.  To me, wording statements this way opens the door for more conversation.  For a dialogue where both parties can talk about the statement without that negative hanging in the air between them.

In the beginning, I had to really pay attention and think about replacing these two words with “could” and “and”, and then over time it just became a habit.  I actually don’t even really think about it anymore.  Every now and then, someone will catch on and ask me about it, like my friend Victor back in Vegas several months ago.  It’s fun when I get to share my thoughts about these two little words.

I think it is so important to treat each other with respect and love, and sometimes the use of one simple word can make another feel wrong or “less than”, or like what they do or choose is not of value.  It is my heart’s desire to have people feel like they have been valued and respected when we have had a conversation.  Try it and see what you think!