Saturday, December 31

Goodbye Lover!

'Tis bittersweet to see this year come to an end. I titled this post Goodbye Lover because during 2011, I truly fell in love with life all over again. Twenty-eleven was good to me and for this I am grateful. My year was filled with abundant blessings and clarity. When I reflect over the year, I am simply amazed at how God put the pieces of my life together. This year, things began to make sense. I began to understand how my past sufferings contribute to my current life. Everything truly does happen for a reason. So, as I see this year to its end, I thought I might share with my readers a few lessons that I learned this year. My hope is that the lessons I learned will help others reach their full potential.

2011 Lessons Learned:

1. Be your own competition. I believe this is one of the most valuable lessons that I've learned this year. Each day is about beating my own personal best, not someone else's perceived best. The truth of the matter is that we are created individually unique. Once we discover our purpose we become even more unique because we then understand the reason for our existence. Purpose is uniquely one can do what you have been created to do like you can do it. So there's no need to compete. There is a time when competition is appropriate, but I suggest one not institute this in the realm or true friendships or relationships. It will suck the life out of them every time. 

2. Travel one-way towards purpose/vision. Once your purpose has been revealed and you are clear on it. Lock in and go! ONE-WAY. Let nothing and no one stand in your way. Become unyielding and relentless about achieving your goals. Remove all distractions, people or situations that do not contribute to the direction of which you are traveling. 

3. Remove toxic people expeditiously. This is a tricky is tricky, mostly because it involves people. I believe that difficult people were placed on the Earth to build our patience. However, one needs to know when enough is enough. This year I learned that when you are clear about your life and moving in a positive direction, such can be intimidating to others. So much so that they try to do one of two things...duplicate it or destroy it. Unfortunately, neither is effective unless you allow them to be. So, cut your losses early, get rid of them and move on. 

4. Beware of small-thinkers and dream killers. Oh how important is the company we keep! When folks start sulking and giving the "woe is me" speech about everything in life that they are fully capable to achieve, but making no effort to do so,  I get annoyed. Nothing has began to bother me more than able-bodied folks, with all the potential to achieve greatness, yet they sit back and do nothing. AND, as a result, they seek to discourage your dream by trying to convince you that you should do the same. NOT SO, learn the art of ignoring's necessary at times.

5. Let love in. This year birthed many surprises concerning love. Love can reveal itself in the most peculiar places. In fact, sometimes love can look differently than what we expected. True love comes in a form that provides much of what you need, a little of what your want and sometimes even a couple of things you don't want. Sometimes, it's best to let love in and just go with it, even when your are afraid. It's okay to let people love really is. 

6. Check emotions appropriately. There is a difference between emotion and discernment. I find that people often confuse the two. Sometimes that feeling in your gut is emotion and not discernment or intuition. Making decisions based on emotion is dangerous. Emotions often derive from circumstances or mood, thus meaning that they can be fickle and unstable. However, discernment is the ability to judge well. In my opinion, discernment comes with wisdom and relationship (in particularly with God). When emotion is high in decision making, I've learned that silence is best until discernment takes precedence. 

7. I have my own permission to rest and relax. A life of purpose is power-packed and often crazy. It's organized chaos, especially in the early stages. Rest and downtime is essential to sanity and success. As such, I reserve the right to turn off my phone (or ignore calls), not answer my door, save emails until later and just relax whenever I feel it is necessary. It's okay if the timing of my rest is not convenient for others. 

8. Make time for those who are important. When reflecting back on numbers 3 and 4, I began to realize how some of those people were taking up precious time that is due to the ones who really care about me and my future. My support system is key. They consist of those who are not competing against me, nagging me, trying to make me feel guilty for achieving or jealous. They are those that are confidently secure in who they are; therefore, they are comfortable in supporting me. They deserve my time. 

9. Only believe. There is little room for doubt and would've-should've-maybes in success. Believe that great and wonderful things can happen. See yourself achieving the unthinkable. Make this your conscious reality, not the negative self-talk that often comes naturally. 

10. Trust God in all things. It's easy to travel to a place that you have not visited or even seen if the person escorting your knows exactly where you are going. 

I hope this New Year brings each of you a life filled to the rim with purpose and joy. 

'Til next time...être bien!

Friday, November 18

A Message of Truth

On Balance

I've come to understand that balance is a figment of all of our imaginations. I do believe that it exists; however, it does not exist in the manner that we often seek to achieve it. 

This weekend I was reminded that my life is not balanced. However, I do manage imbalance fairly well. These were the words that my pastor shared with me, and immediately I realized that he was describing my life. 

This thing called balance is funny. In our efforts to achieve and maintain balance, we often create more imbalance. For example, in most cases, I start my day with a plan. I have a ticking list of items that I seek to achieve within the day. Because, I am an overachiever (yes I can admit that),  there have been times in the past that have gotten a little anxious when people, occurrences or mishaps disrupt my plan. What then happens is that I begin to fight against the "thing" that is disrupting my "plan", thus creating more imbalance. Now, my time is being consumed by trying to make everything fit perfectly into my little life box, instead of allowing life to happen and plan around it. 

It wasn't until I surrendered to the fact that I only have limited control over my life that I began to have peace. Here's the facts:
  1. I can control what I do, and what I do only. I do not control other people. 
  2. I can not control the elements or the cosmos. However, those factors can have an effect on my daily plans. 
  3. I have no control over the ignorance, or foolishness for that matter, of other people. However, I do control how much of it I will tolerate and how I respond to it. 
  4. Even the best laid plans fall through sometimes and those mishaps are a part of the overall life plan, which only God controls.
So, here's the conclusion that I have come to. There is no harm in trying to be superwoman. Such aspirations are my prerogative and the prerogative of all other superwomen. However, there comes a point in time that one such superwoman has to realize that balance might not take on the persona that she thinks. It might look something like this:

  • 6:30 am: Workout (As much as you would like to, you need to skip it because you didn't get into bed until 2:00am working on a research paper)

  • 9:00 am: Arrive at work (Take an hour of leave because that one extra hour of sleep makes a difference in your level of coherence [and tolerance for others] throughout the day.)

  • 9:00 am - 5:30: Eat lunch in your office and try to knock off at least 10 of the 100 major things on your workday to-do list. Once you accomplish those 10 things, actually congratulate yourself. Tomorrow brings another 90 things to do. And, don't forget to find time to take your car for service (no time to do that after work), schedule your dental appointment, and create a grocery list to fulfill at some point.

  • 5:30pm - 6:00pm: Travel to school listening to NPR so that you can distract yourself away from traffic and the other 50 people who are talking on their phones, feeding their babies and digging in their backseat while driving in the middle of rush our traffic.
  •  6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Pick up items from the library, meet with your advisor, and attend another meeting.
  • 7:30 pm - 7:45 Travel home and enjoy the peace that will end as soon as you get home.

  • 7:45 pm - 8:10 pm: Feed the dog, fix your dinner, clean the kitchen and drop a load of laundry. 

  • 8:10 pm - 1:00: Read three chapters, respond to school and business emails, start the next writing assignment and search for textbooks to purchase online to get a jump start on next semester.
Apparently, even the best laid plans fall through happens. And what's even more peculiar is after a period of time...such craziness begins to feel normal and the lack thereof feels abnormal. Or, maybe it's just that I'm so invested in my life calling that craziness is a small sacrifice for the ability (and privilege) to live a life of so full of purpose. Who knows?

'Til next time...être bien!

Tuesday, July 5

The Return of the Relentless Cantaloupe Plant

As mentioned in previous blog posts, I am an avid pescetarian. As such, I am all about local, fresh, organic, sustainable...all those aspects raise my antennas. So, in an attempt to enhance my pescetarian lifestyle, I have taken on the task of organic gardening with an intention to grow much of the food that I eat often. 

Garden Plus Greenhouse with PVC Cover and Casters
Home Greenhouse,
My initial intention was to grow a few veggies that frequent my kitchen via take out of that I cook such as zucchini, onion, carrots and tomato. My thought was that I could reduce my grocery bill by growing my own food in addition to the added health benefits. So, I started most items from seed in a little greenhouse similar to the image on the right. I later learned that growing tomato from seed, as a beginner gardener, is a bit ambitious. Also, I decided that I would grow all items in containers to reduce the chance of visits from my slithering friends. I DO NOT like snakes!

But, here's the question that I have been asking myself, "Kristin, if your intention was to simply grow a few items that you eat, why do you now have a three-tier garden stand and a host of seven different items?!" I confess, I have become a bit over zealous (sigh), I tend to do that. So, here's the run down of what I currently have in my container garden: black beauty zucchini; cherry, Better Boy and Heirloom tomatoes; black jalapenos; okra; onion; cilantro; carrots; basil; salad greens and cantaloupe. Cantaloupe?

It's a long story. Let's just say that I went to the farmer's market to get peaches and I left with a cantaloupe plant. What can I say? Farmers are friendly. However, this is not just any cantaloupe plant! She is RELENTLESS. When she came home with me she was healthy. I replanted her in a happy container. To my surprise, my curious dog, Dynasty, found the smell of the plant appealing and decided to pull it, root and all, out the the container a few days later. I returned home to find the plant on the ground, wilting and begging to be saved. I then, replanted it and began to water it and nurse it back to health. THEN, for about one week something began to chew on the leaves! I thought to myself, "seriously?!" 

Like the relentless gardener that I am, I began to research ways to revive my plant online. I began to spray the plant with soapy water each day to keep pest at bay. I also added organic plant food  and watered ferociously. Then one day, on a beautiful Monday morning this is what I found...

Meet Mrs. Cantaloupe...she's relentless!
Look at those beautiful little flowers reaching towards the sun, just waiting to produce fruit. Ooohhh, I was just delighted! The moral of the story...A little love, attention, focus and relentless nature always has a way of surprising you with success!

'Til next time...être bien!