Archive | November 2012

I hear the seductive whisper …


We live in a complex and full world these days. Over the last several months it has been nagging at me that this is not the way life was created to be. Life is complicated not because it is supposed to be, but because we choose it to be. We choose to surround ourselves with a ton of “stuff”. We choose to overload our calendars and fill every minute with places to go. We choose … too much. And we forget the simple pleasures of connecting with people instead of with things. I hear the seductive whisper and it is calling me.

During these last few months the nagging is getting bigger because other truths are beginning to emerge. I can no longer ignore the knowledge of the embarrassment of riches I live with. I am learning about the poverty of other nations – not just in the headlines but by personal account from those who are living it. I am starting to clear the star dust from my “middle class American” privileged eyes and I am beginning to truly learn. I am learning about the wastefulness and greed that surrounds me in my culture and in many ways, in my habits.

I am learning about the craving for simplicity. There are days when I think I should sell all my stuff and travel the world helping people. A noble dream but not one I’m ready to chase after … yet. It seems too much, too soon. But like all nagging voices, they grow. My discontent is growing. No, not discontent with my life but discontent with the waste of my potential to make a difference. I don’t want to end my days surrounded by stuff my children will sell in a garage sale. I want to end my days surrounded by people and memories of ways that I have improved someone’s day, life, heart because I was in it. My complex life is not the path to get me there.

And then there’s my cousin – Michelle. She hears the calling and is chasing after it. She’s in the process of leaving her job, selling her home and her abundance of worldly goods. She is embarking on a move to another community in another state to minister full-time. I look at her courage and her conviction with a tinge of guilt and ton of wonderment. She is living out her call to simplicity. She is opening her heart and her life to adventures of her faith and I am in awe. I see her detangling from the life she’s known and created and deliberately creating what she sees as possible by walking in faith. The answers are not all clear but the conviction is. The source of her action is her surrender to faith and that is the most powerfully simple way to live. She is letting God lead and she is already feeling the joy that simple choice creates.

I’m proud of you Michelle. I’m proud that you have chosen to “lay down your nets to be a fisher of men.” I will pray for you, and in my own time, and own way, I will simplify my life and follow my calling too. I hear the whisper growing.

Do you hear the call to simplify your life? Listen, act, and be blessed!

 

Pass it on!


Today I received a really lovely note from someone who had attended my speaking engagement on Gratitude. Of course I was pleased that she had enjoyed my speech. Her words were flattering. But that wasn’t the important thing about her message. What really caught my heart was how she had “passed it on”. My speaking had inspired her to in turn speak at her church and give her own testimony. She talked about Regrets and Resolutions and had the courage to share her own story. She passed along several of my insights that had touched her. What a gift she gave – not only to those she spoke to, but to me as well.

This is exactly in line with one of the chapters in my book, MIGHTY INSPIRATION, Love Letters from God. It talks about how one action, word, or inspiration spirals and twists and move across the face of the earth because it builds and grows as it gets passed along. We almost never see the far-reaching results of the positive things we create. But they live and move well beyond our initial creation.  This is one way in which we can change the world. Nothing happens if we receive it and hold what we have. It edifies us, yes. But it stops there. It lingers temporarily and then dies with the next thing that catches our attention and focus. Now, the real change comes when we receive and then give. When we pass it on – no matter what it is – it grows. It takes on more and more energy and spreads in multiple directions. It divides and multiplies – it does not diminish, when we pass it on.

I was thrilled to hear from her. I was delighted to see this principle in action. And I know, in the energy of spirit that more and more people are passing it on even now.

What are you passing on these days? Whatever it is, may it be a positive change in our world … and may you be blessed!

Grateful for YOU!


Today, like so many other people, is my favorite holiday. In the US the 3rd Thursday in November is “Thanksgiving Day.” Oh, it is the feast to end all feasts. It originated in the humble beginnings of our nation as the settlers and American Indians came together in peace to celebrate and share the bounties of the harvest. Those are honorable and neighborly roots – some of the best of our national history.

Today, every family has their traditional fare in which turkey, stuffing and all the fixings and side dishes are featured at the table. Cooking and planning takes days or weeks and not hours. There is nostalgia as traditions are repeated year after year. Favorite dishes might only show up on this special day. And in true US fashion, the fall event is punctuated with parades through the streets and on TV to usher in Santa to the season, lots of American football games to rally the men around the TV, and all the fun (and sometimes crazy) dynamics that family gatherings seem to produce. Oh yeah, and the insanity of the kick-off to the holiday shopping frenzy (not my favorite part I must say).

That’s the logistics of the day. And while I love and cherish the traditions of the day, the real reason it is my favorite holiday is that, at its heart is the spirit of gratitude. It is a day for THANKS giving and not gift giving. It’s a day where people come with hands full of offerings and not open for receiving. It is a precious day set aside to be thankful and for that reason, today, I count my blessings.

Here’s a few for this year:

> I am thankful for God and my faith. It is the sacrifice of Jesus that gives me eternal life, hope, and daily guidance. Without it, I am a shell of  a human and I am grateful.

> I am thankful for my job and that both of my children are once again gainfully employed as well. I am thankful that hope and perseverance will rule the day and others I love and care for will also find employment. It is my prayer and my belief for them.

> I am thankful for the love of my family, where I have 2 Grandmothers, my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my dear sisters, their husbands and my precious nieces. And a brand new dose of gratitude for the newest, my 2 day old niece Abby. What a lovely addition to a wonderful, loving family.

> I am thankful for the reunion with some precious members of my original family. The healing is complete. The appreciation has begun. I am grateful and blessed to have more family to love – Shirley & Lynette.

> I am thankful for my friends who have held my hand and my heart through thick, thin, joy, pain, fear and fun. They are precious in every way. I am especially grateful this year for Jeanie, my oldest and dearest friend who has fought the valiant fight against breast cancer and won. Praise God for that special blessing!

> I am thankful for new acquaintances who have come into my life in varied and surprising ways – from my summer intern Ellidia, to friends across the nation and across the globe that I have connected with over the year.

> I am thankful that in my country we can dissent with passion, speak out our minds and our hearts, and peacefully shift power and authority in our government. Agree or not on the choices, we democratically and peacefully shift.

> I am thankful for those that serve – military, police, and fire fighters. They honor us with their daily sacrifices and they serve to protect all that we hold dear – our ideals as well as our lives. I am deeply grateful.

> I am thankful that my education and experience have given me success in my career and my skills are sought after by those who offer opportunity for recognition and new growth.

> I am thankful for my spiritual sisters and brothers who come into my life daily, weekly, and monthly in loving and supportive ways. I especially treasure my Wise Women & Bill friends who speak only of love, acceptance, gratitude, and friendship. They feed my soul and my heart on a constant basis and bless me in countless ways.

> I am thankful for this platform and the virtual friends who I have met online. You have broadened my world, allowing me to see my life and talents differently. Not only do you listen but you also contribute to my world. Especially you Dan – you have opened my eyes to how blessed I am in big and small ways. Your humor and your loving, generous spirit bring a light into my world and I am grateful.

This is just the beginning of my grateful list. As I prepare the meal for my family today I will continue to joyously and gratefully say prayers of “Thank You.”

I wish you all an awakening to your heart of all that blesses you – the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual gifts that make you “you” and your life so precious. Happy Thanksgiving Day … be blessed!

 
 


 

I’m changing the world


One of the topics in my book MIGHTY INSPIRATION, Love Letters from God, is the concept of changing the world. Do you believe that you can change the world? I do. Every action and word we use creates a ripple effect. We don’t just put  ideas and energy out into the world – we move them along as well. We expand them when we focus on them or talk about them.

It is my firm desire to change this world. I believe that I have a purpose. It’s not to gather the most possessions or attain the highest of titles. It’s way, way more important than that. I believe my purpose is to help others see their own light and empower them to embrace it. No I’m not perfect at it but I do deliberately work on it. I have a spiritual practice that involves gratitude as well as intercession prayers. Science is even backing up the idea that prayer and faith can change things. This is not new news to the believer but it is important confirmation that is starting to build.

I also work to use my talent for words to inspire – not just on my blog or in my social networking platforms, but also in my work. Planting seeds of positivity seems to be producing many fruitful changes. I enjoy seeing the faces of people when my words seem to strike a cord in their hearts. I enjoy it more when they share the words or even suggest some more. I see a bit of encouragement growing in the work place and I hope that my small efforts are a part of the cause.

And next I want to move from words of inspiration to actions of change. I have long been a “sponsor” for children outside of my country. And yes, I can help them with my modest financial donations. That enables others to use my gift by putting it into action. Lately, that hasn’t seemed like enough.

Next year I’m turning 50. Yep, it’s just a number but in my head it’s a number that represents the middle of my life. I’ve graduated from the daily needs of my children – they are adults and creating their own lives now. And I’m not at the end of my life where I reflect on the journey complete. I’m in the middle. I’m in a position of flexibility that I want to put to use. So I’m exploring where to go and what to do to make my mark on lives I don’t ordinarily have the opportunity to affect. I can go into the world, not once, but over and over. I can combine my love of travel and appreciation for different cultures to spur me into action – I can see the world and change the world and we shall all be the better for it.

I’m wrestling with new questions – Where do I go? What gifts do I give? What talents do I share? Who do I take by my side? The answers to these questions may not stir the world, but they will change the lives of some human beings I don’t yet know. I want to dream big. I want to reach as far as my hands can go. I want to change the world and leave it better for my journey. I want to let strangers know the love of God because they met a woman – this woman.

I’m open to suggestions and inspirations – help me answer my questions … and be blessed!

New-found Blessing – original poem


“NEW-FOUND BLESSING”

There was a day that changed my soul and it happened with a word.

From fantasy to truth at last, and I felt my spirit turn.

I hadn’t seen you in this light and you caught me by surprise.

With both confession and revelation I was opening my eyes.

It wasn’t fear I felt this time but a subtle recognition.

I saw you for the first time and not the apparition.

I mourned the one I knew before although they were not you.

Suddenly the world felt raw and I wasn’t sure what to do.

Then I felt emotion surge inside my heart again.

It was the truth that stirred my soul and I pray a quiet amen.

This was all I wanted, the story that was real.

And having it made an instant path for my head and heart to heal.

Now day by day and inch by inch I love the truth I see.

Your heart and hurt and hope are growing closer to meet me.

The connection is strong and surprisingly flows with gentle ease.

And I find you on my heart and mind as I pray upon my knees.

The future path is open wide and I see such possibilities.

Let’s sow the seeds we wish to grow with love and gentle peace.

For who you are is a gift from God which I cannot deny.

And I shall quiet my mind for now and cease to question why.

Now it’s time for me to live and stop the constant guessing.

Because this seems to be the time to count my new-found blessing.

~ Barbara Bernard Miller

I’m soooo ready …


I realized something today that I haven’t thought about in a while… I FEEL READY.

Ready for what you say? So very many things. Here’s just a few:

> I’m so ready to enjoy no more campaign ads on my TV, radio, or voice mail. SERIOUSLY ready for this one!

> I’m ready for the giving seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas to reveal the kind and generous nature of my fellow man.

> I’m ready for my children to begin experiencing the success that comes from hard work.

> I’m ready for new friendships to blossom more and more each day.

> I’m ready to learn new things at work and feel like I’m growing my capability again.

> I’m ready for closure on some very big, and very old bills that are about to be paid off (yay!)

> I’m ready for Republicans, Democrats, Independents, patriots, and cynics to step across the divide and start working together as Americans and not any other label we have chosen to use.

> I’m ready to start reading another good book – make it a mystery please.

> I’m ready for our sons and daughters to come home and end the wars.

> I’m ready for people to embrace the diversity that comes from loving each other and not judging each other.

> I’m ready to shine my light a little brighter and further in the world.

> I’m ready for the distance between friends and love ones to shrink – whether it’s physical distance or emotional.

> I’m just feeling ready for change.

Are you ready? On your marks … get set … let’s go! And be blessed!

Soul Tending


I had some real insights today when I was participating in a SoulCollage ® workshop with my friend Mar. Our theme today was gratitude, and as I wrote earlier this week, it’s a topic I’m working on in my life in general. During my one-to-one sharing I dug a little deeper into one of the images that I had created (see right). The experience left me a bit in awe. I’m not surprised really – that’s what “tending the soul” does when we actually take time to do it.

Have you ever taken the time to look back at the hopes and dreams that you had as a young adult? It is a time when the innocence of spirit is fresh and all things are possible. In that time we have an image of ourselves – how we want to live our lives, the impact we wish to have in the world. And the ideals of who we are and what our life’s purpose is. I remember those days and I always thought that I’d do small things that would make me and my family comfortable. Sure, I wanted to learn and progress in my career. I wanted to marry and have a family. But it seems I wasn’t dreaming big then – well, not as big as I am today.

In my reflection time, I also tarried a bit to notice the struggles and the barriers that my younger self was faced with. Those changed my course time after time. Some of them eroded the edges of my dreams. Others created opportunities for me to choose my convictions, solidify my beliefs, and create my current path. The result of this reflection is the realization that my current self, my current wisdom and strengths, are actually greater than “what could have been.”

I live larger now than I thought I would. I spread my passion broadly. I love with greater compassion than I ever thought was possible. I listen, discern, and rely on my intuition because I have come to know that it is my greatest link to my truth. The current, older version of myself is exactly who I am meant to be. That’s a wonderful insight. It’s liberating actually. It’s also a challenge for me to fulfill my true purpose, and not just the dreams of a younger version of myself. I am where I am supposed to be. All is well.

Be blessed!