Ad Astra Per Aspera… Through hardships to the stars

Before we start, let me just say that I realize not everyone reading this will agree with my thoughts and feelings.  That is OK!  I really feel that by sharing my life experiences, and inner most ramblings that I can help someone else make it through their hardship and see their worth.  If I can be an encouragement for even one person, then that is plenty for me.

Enough about that, let’s get to the real reason we are here tonight.  Per Aspera… through hardships.  When looking at your life, maybe you’ve not experienced hardship. If that’s the case then you are incredibly lucky. I personally don’t know many people who have lived their lives with the absence of hardship. Every day we encounter people, some strangers, some friends.  Of those people how many do we take time to listen to?  Sometimes the art of letting someone know we are there and we care is enough.  Earlier tonight, we were all doing our own things around the house.  The little guy was watching something crazy on YouTube, like foreigners going down waterslides.  I’m not even kidding y’all, he loves those videos.  The dad was watching a movie he rented, and I was at the computer working.  Enter kid number two…  as she came into the room the dog jumped up and down begging for her attention.  I swear she repeated it like 72 times, “I see you, I see you, I see you…”  The dog eventually just sat down in the floor at her feet, content in her acknowledgement. All he wanted, just like most of us humans is for someone to see him. It’s like finding that one friend who really just “gets” you. The bad part, or I guess the good thing, is that I “get” most people. I seem to sense their need and do what I can to meet them.

Last week I went with a friend to visit her church and see Priscilla Shirer and Anthony Evans.  After I got over how beautiful Anthony Evans is in person, I began to listen to the music.  I began to think about the people around me and the hardships each of them were facing.  Whether it was health issues, marriage problems, or just straight up loneliness each of them were facing something that was seemingly out of their control.  Their Aspera, or hardships, were all very personal but somehow I was privy to each of them.  As I sat there I could feel all of the fear, frustration, and heartache that each of them had unknowingly brought along to church with them that evening.

All I could think about was what I knew about each one of these people and the heart they had to share with the world.  I also know that sometimes the world can be harsh.  Circumstances can be heavy.  Loss can make us feel like we are drowning.  Sometimes we think that we know the way a situation is going to turn out and somehow the whole thing goes sideways.  Per Aspera.  Sideways situations can be devasting.  They can be hard and not at all easy to understand.  One of my biggest pet peeves as a Christian is when someone says to me things like, “Well, there’s a reason for everything”, or “It must not have been God’s will.”  I get it, you’re just trying to be a comfort to your person that is hurting.

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I have absolutely no doubt that someday we will understand all of the hard things and the whys of our lives.  I apologize BUT….  those words do not comfort me in times of sorrow.  I will never pretend to know what direction the hand of God is moving in, and I know it will always turn out for good, but someone looking at me in pity telling me these things makes me a little unfriendly. In my heart of hearts I realize that you mean well, but need to process the hard things in my own way.

In the middle of a disaster moment, I find strength in hoping that the things I went through in my life will be used to pull someone else up from their per aspera situation.  Perhaps the circumstances you are facing right now, will allow you to lead someone else to a better place one day.  The bible says in Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”  Ad Astra.  What if through hardship, you are molded into the person that God wants you to be? Thus bringing you ad astra, or closer to the stars.  Where are the stars?  In the heavens!  Where is God?  In heaven!  Did we just come full circle?  Ad astra per astera, or as I like to think of it through hardship closer to God.

 The absolute best advice I can give to someone going through something at this moment is this: It’s ok to feel exactly what you are feeling right now. Anger, frustration, fear… feel them for a time and then lay them at the feet of Jesus.

Ad astra. When a space shuttle lifts off there are certain components it needs to get it to where it’s going. When those parts have down their job they burn away, or fall back to Earth. In order for the shuttle to break through the atmosphere into the heavens this has to happen. I believe it’s the same with us. We walk through life and as we go we are molded and shaped. We were never meant to carry around all the bad stuff, but we never really learned how to lay it down. We hold onto things like pain, or anger and in turn they hold us down from and keep us from reaching the stars. They keep us from living in joy. They keep us from being able to see the people around us who are hurting and needing to hear our stories to make it through. Maybe just maybe hearing where you’ve come from will be the turning point for another….

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Lessons from the hallway of life

When I first started this blog, my intention was to share recipes and funny anecdotes about my life.  Throughout the years, not so much of that has happened. What has happened is that those of you who read my writing have seen my life fall apart, and through that process every single part of me was stripped away and reassembled.  Some of those parts were broken and lost forever.  Maybe those lost pieces were exactly what you liked about me….

Honestly some of those pieces are things that “I” loved about ME! 

Then one day they just disappeared.  I can remember the days where I would wake up and bake all day long, or read a book and get lost in the magic of another person’s words.  I could sit and paint for hours.  I raised chickens, made cheese, and sewed quilts, all in a days time.  Well, then one day that door just slowly slid closed.  At the time I would have done nearly anything to keep it open.  It really wasn’t just the one door that I felt closing, it was almost like every single  door I had ever walked through was shutting.

For almost a year I stood in that hallway, I can just picture my pitiful little self down on my knees bawling my eyes out.  I didn’t realize that God wasn’t shutting me out, he was shutting me in for an overhaul.  Every part of who I was at that time was changed.  If I fought not to change, we just spent a little more time in the corridor.

I was scared of the closing doors.  I was afraid of what would become of me, and the free and easy life that I lived.  For what seemed like an eternity I was stuck in the hallway of life.  By the time a door opened, even I had to figure out just what was left of me.  Somedays I think I am still figuring out the pieces and where they fit.

 I’ve been thinking a LOT lately. I’ve had a blog that needs written, on my heart for weeks. In fact the first part of this was written a little over a month ago, but every time I start to pull out the laptop something holds me back. I have let some unkind words spoken by someone I love dearly stop me from doing one of the major things that brings me joy. It doesn’t matter who said what or why they said it. I don’t want anyone getting bashed for hurting my feelings as I’m sure there have been plenty of times that I’ve been the one to do the hurting. Never once on purpose though!I’ve Heard it said that “someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business!”

So many times I’ve let those opinions stop me. I read a blog today about a girl whose best friend walked away from the friendship. She saw it as a betrayal of sorts. She talked about how she wondered if said friend ever thought about her, or missed their friendship. I often find myself caught up in this web of wondering, and have to force myself to stop from going down that road. I don’t think her friend betrayed her, but maybe God was calling them to a different place in life. Does it hurt and make me sad to remember failed friendships… definitely! Every time something good happens and you want to call that person, then are forced to remember they don’t want to be there… they don’t want your phone call or to share in your joys and sorrows any longer.
I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s ok to miss someone terribly but still find the strength to move on. It’s ok to wish them well but not share the good things with them, if they don’t want to know you any longer. Its alright to just not understand the situation. It’s ok to think of them and wish them the best even though they may not do the same.

What is not ok is to let the hurt turn you bitter. It’s not ok to become mean because you are hurting. It’s not ok to give up on living the best life that you can because someone else thinks you’re not a good. Someone once said to me, “At the end of the day whoever is meant to be affected by your story will be.”
You can try to reach a person all day long, but if they aren’t a part of your journey they won’t stay. There are some that will be there for a time, and some that will walk beside you until the very end.
Sometimes we think we have it all figured out and we get thrown a curve ball. I really don’t think we are meant to see more than the step we are standing on. The whole point is to trust the journey and find joy in every day! It has been a horrible week for me, but I have refused to let that bring me down. Every single day I wake up and tell myself , “it’s a good day to have a good day!”
When the thought of those broken friendships, or the hard things in our life threaten to drag me into an anxiety filled pit, I stop and realign my focus! God has never let me down this far and every single instance that has ever caused me worry has worked out one way or another for good. A few months back money was tight and I found myself worried about how I was going to afford gas for the week. I had stopped by the college to pick up my books for the semester and the lady at the bookstore said, “you have extra money in your pell grant that you can use to purchase some gas cards if you like.”
I’m not even kidding y’all when I say it took everything I had not to burst into tears right there. Every. Single. Time. God has came through and I’ve had what I needed when I needed it. The funny part is that it always takes me by surprise. We walk around saying “God is good“, but when he shows us his goodness we are shocked. Thankfully my lack of anticipation hasn’t stopped Him yet.
Life is hard for all of us, but it is way too short for holding onto things that are meant to be let go. You’ll not be able to climb the mountain if you’re dragging all that stuff around behind you. If you’ve ever claimed a mountain you know that the most beautiful part of the journey is when everything around opens up and you can see the whole picture. So let it all roll off your back. Don’t fret over the whys of situations. When you get to the top, everything will become clear. As for me, if you want to be part of my life that means accepting that I am capable of making educated decisions about whom I let into my heart. If you want to be there, all I ask is that you show up. Meet me where I am, not where you think I should be. After all, even the hallway is a fine place to meet a friend.

One time life gave me lemons,

So I made you a pie.

You just ate the pie,

And never asked why?

It’s ok that you took it,

My pie made of pain.

The Lord lead me to use it,

For your positive gain.

He said don’t let this pain that you’ve gone through,

Return to you void.

Shape it,

mold it,

share it with others.

Show them,

their sadness,

Is not meant to smother.

When you see someone struggling,

with lemons everywhere,

Remember the recipe,

Your story,

and offer to share.

There are so many people around me hurting, physically and mentally. I feel like I have been called to share my life and use my story to uplift others. So I suppose that’s what I’ll do…

A Snow day with Rainbow eyes

Earlier today, just after I finished making lunch, I sat at the table with Camden and had a bit of a conversation.  He informed me that he had rainbow eyes.  I though he was kidding but he was as serious as a kid can be.  He got real close and made me look at them.  He said, “see… rainbows”.  Then, just because I can never leave well enough alone, I asked the question, “Well, what color are my eyes?”

Do you know what he said guys? Grey.  My eyes are grey.  No rainbows there, just boring old rainy day grey.  I initially sat down to write about my sweet friend Amanda, because today is her birthday.  I found myself wondering how I was going to put the words together so that you all would want to read them.  All I could think about was rainbow eyes.  If we’re being honest, if anyone I know has rainbow eyes it’s Amanda.

I know Camden was only thinking of pretty bright colors, but in my mind rainbow eyes have taken on a whole new concept.  To me, they are the eyes of someone who hasn’t let their light be dulled by the world.  A person who has trained themselves to look for the best in every situation, every person, every aspect of life.  I strive to be this way but lately, clearly my rainbow eyes have faded to grey.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that the light can return.  Sometimes the light shines naturally, but at other times you have to cultivate the brightness in your eyes.

lightlyEarlier today I posed some random questions to Amanda, and a few of the people closest to her.  I didn’t want to just post my words for all of you, as I might be a little partial to her as she and I have known each other for more than 15 years.  I started off by asking her about her business.  In case you didn’t know she is the maker of my favorite products, Harold’s Famous Bee Cream.  I asked what she was most afraid of and was told failure, and people not understanding her purpose for creating.

What I would say to that is, there will always be those who do not understand you.  They won’t see, or care about your purpose.  Does that mean you stop being you? Never!  When God sent Jesus, many of the people from that time didn’t understand His purpose.  Some people today still don’t.

 

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I continued on my random questioning with, “What is your most favorite thing in the whole world?”  This is when I knew we were truly alike.  At the top of her list were: Hot Blankets, Carbs and her family.  When I prodded her to elaborate I got, “If we’re not talking about people/relationships, My favorite things are Rodanthe in July, taking off on an airplane and seeing the entire city below me, and old couples holding hands.”

Amanda went on to tell me the greatest desire of her heart is to watch her kids grow up to be good people with big hearts, to continue to build a business that makes a difference in people’s lives.  She wants to carry on Harold’s love of beekeeping, and grow old with her best friend. (I thought it was me, but it was Jake)

Jake told me today that his favorite thing about her is her kindness and the way she loves their children unconditionally. 

“I love her sense of adventure. The way she will agree to travel almost anywhere at the drop of a hat. The way her voice gets high and she snorts when she laughs really hard. Her sense of compassion for people. How she insists on taking care of me and the boys when we are sick even though she may be sick too. I love the smell of her hair. I love how much effort she puts into anything she does. I love her intelligence. The obsession she has to learn about things she doesn’t know. The way she’s supported me in litterally everything I’ve wanted to do. I love the love she has for her family. Mostly, I just love everything about the person she is, and feel blessed to have been able to be a part of her life.”

Her parents said that it was love at first sight, and she still melts their hearts to this day.

One of her best friends said, ” The things I love about Amanda… She has this big amazing humble heart, with zero desire to be in the limelight of life.  She will jump at any opportunity to help someone that she cares about.  She loves naps… I love naps.  She loves wine… I love wine.  Oh, and she is hilarious! Not like stand up comedian hilarious, only her true friends know just how funny she is.  I love Amanda because she is as real as they come.  I’m lucky to call her my sista friend.”   -Sarah

You may think it’s weird for me to be writing about someone that many of you don’t know, but I like to write about what inspires me.  I can call this woman at 3 am and she would rise to any circumstance.  When I’ve had a bad day, she listens.  When I am happy she smiles for me.  If I’m wrong, she will tell me.  If I’m sad she will comfort me. Just a yesterday she reminded me that I have to stop letting everything that’s happening around me affect my happiness.  Just because negative things are happening around me, or someone treated me badly does not mean I have to let it rule my days.

cactus

 

When her brother and I were going through a divorce, she took me home with her and the whole family just simply spent their days trying to encourage me.  The little crazy one at her house even suggest I go to Farmer’s Only.  I asked her today, why she stayed in my life when I wasn’t her family any longer.  Her answer couldn’t have been more perfect, ” Because our friendship doesn’t hinge on other relationships, family or not.”

These days more relationships fall apart than I can keep track of.  Every time I turn around, someone is cheating on someone else, someone is getting divorced, friendships are broken up.  It’s quite nice to have someone who you know is going to be consistently good.  I remember calling her up one day, bawling, “I’m tired of helping people.”  She laughed, which caused me to laugh and suddenly everything wasn’t so bad.  All of the broken friendships, relationships, and straight up hurtful things that have happened in life can dull our sparkle.  Thank GOD for people like Amanda who remind us just who we are.  I tend to forget myself and my life purpose at times, but she always reminds me.  She signed me up with a publisher for my book a few months back.  She took me on a road trip to help me through a divorce.  I can’t say enough about little Miss Rainbow Eyes.  What I will say though, is I am better for knowing her.  I guess my eyes are the storm, and hers are the rainbow, thus making us the perfect pair!
rainbows

I wish that everyone had someone in their life that would be their encourager.  I used to be this for some, but life has changed that in me.  People like my dear friend, remind me to find the courage to be kind even when life hurts.

ama

 

Always strive to be the side of cheese in life….

I’ve been saying for weeks now, that I’m going to sit down and write.  Today I’ve done absolutely everything to avoid it.  Still here I find myself sitting, staring at a blank screen, wondering why.  Why do I feel drawn to write these words, and why would anyone ever want to read about my life?  I honestly don’t know the answer.  I don’t know why one of my greatest abilities is my capacity to transfer words and feelings onto paper or screen in a manner enticing to readers.  I see the story in everyone and everything.  How those words get translated into something that is even remotely legible, is beyond me.  There are so many thoughts swirling around in my head that deciding what to write has been quite a source of tension.

hurt

I’ve also been suffering from a bit of a heart problem.  Do you know how hard it is to admit that?  Some of the situations I’ve found myself in recently have caused a bitterness to rise up.  I have been struggling with this for a while now.  At the end of the work day I come home mentally exhausted from solving problems for people all day.  If I make time for friends or family, it’s because I love them.  In the last three years, I’ve grown so much as a person.  Some of the things that have changed about me, I love.  Some of them… not so much.  I’ve made new friendships and watched them fail.  I’ve had a few old friendships make their way to some real shaky ground.  I’ve been lied to and manipulated by people whom I didn’t think had it in them to do such things.  None the less, they are not the problem here.  I cannot fix anyone else or their problems.  I can fix me though.

heart problem

When contemplating what to write this afternoon, I just couldn’t decide where to start.  So of course I would lead with cheese!  You know why I love cheese?  Well first of all, it’s a delicious explosion of flavor that ignites the senses of anyone who dares indulge it. Cheese has never hurt my feelings.  Cheese has never disrespected a friendship, or overstepped my personal boundaries.  Almost everything is made better by having a side of cheese around.

cheese bff

Part of the problem is, I’m too soft.(just like my favorite kind of cheese)  Sometimes I feel like people mistake my kindness or softness as weakness.  They think that because I’m always willing to help, they can treat me however they see fit.  There are certain situations in my life that I am resigned as losing the battle.  Eventually I will find a way to recover and move forward, as I always do.  I feel as though I must backtrack and find the good parts of myself that I’ve let slip away.

cold

In the past few weeks I’ve found myself exhausted, not wanting to hear about anyone else’s problems.  Not wanting to care or be affected by them in any way.  I’ve had enough sadness.  Some days it feels like everywhere I look there are people hurting.  I tend to let life situations get the best of me.  Instead of praying first, I worry first.  Instead of standing on the faith, I stand there shaking with anxiety.  I expect people to treat me kindly.  I expect friends to be loyal.  I expect the love and respect that I give to be returned to me.  Maybe I expect too much…  or maybe I’ve been putting my expectations in the wrong place.

thinking

All I can say is, I’ve got some serious work to do in my life.  I plan to work on bringing back the things that make me, well… me!  Encouraging others and lifting up people who are down is my calling in life.  Next to writing, it is a great passion for me.  I believe in doing whatever you are doing with love and compassion.  Sometimes though, you have to learn to love from afar.  Finding peace in these situations is not always an easy feat.  I’ve been struggling for almost a week and a half, making myself sick over a situation in my life.  The other night I stood with the steam from the shower beating down on my face, tears streaming down my cheeks, and a song rising up from my heart.  My favorite lyrics from one of my favorite songs, which I’ve sang on a church stage more times than I can count.

“Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity.”

For the first time in a long time, I felt peace.  Peace in my mind.  Peace within situations I’ve been struggling with.  Peace about letting go of things and people that have hurt me.  Peace that I can trust God to lead my relationship, my career, my everything.  I already knew all of this, but sometimes as human beings we forget where we’ve came from.  We see everyone’s picture perfect lives on social media.  We strive so hard to make our own selves look perfect, that we start to believe it.  We believe it for so long, that when we make a mistake, it is unbelievable.  I’m here to tell you that it’s ok.  It’s ok to be imperfect!  It’s ok to make mistakes.  It’s to not be ok, as long as you are still trying.

Besides, perfect is kind of boring.  I am learning to enjoy the messy, crazy, chaotic life that God has placed me in.

chaos

Festina Lente

I want to explain a little more about how this company came to be, and what I feel the purpose is that God has given it. Also, I know most of you have never met Harold or know much, if anything, about his background or the person he is.  Harold is a Mechanical Engineer by trade and a long-timeentrepreneur.  He has had multiple patents and owned several successful businesses – which include a crematorium and large industrial factory that produced popcorn poppers and snow cone machines.

This company was started as a friend helping a friend. I have known Harold for roughly 20+ years. He is the father of a friend, and he became a person whom I wholeheartedly love and respect. Harold is truly one of the most caring, heartfelt, and intelligent people I have ever met. I call October 16th “Genesis 50:20 Day”.

Eight years ago today Harold and his wife Sandy were in a motorcycle crash. While in the hospital, it was found that he had a rare form of cancer. He was treated with chemotherapy, but the treatments made him terribly sick. Harold became a beekeeper also by helping a friend. Because of the back injury from his accident, he needed a vehicle that sat lower to the ground. A friend had such a vehicle and they decided to trade – but Harold’s vehicle was more expensive, and the friend would owe the difference. Harold knew the friend couldn’t afford the difference and offered to take some hives of bees in lieu of payment. Harold was stung one day, and he noticed it made him feel better. Harold continued to intentionally sting himself with his bees as a treatment. In order to try to make this process easier for him and less painful, we worked to create a cream that could take the place of the actual stings. After some trial and error, we eventually came up with a product that allowed him to stop intentionally stinging himself. Knowing how the cream changed his life, he shared it with friends who had various aches, pains, nausea, etc. to see if it would help them. Fast forward, and here we are.

My purpose for all of this is twofold. One, to help you all to become a little more familiar with who Harold actually is, and the kind of person he is. Another, is to explain what I feel this company is truly about. We have never set out to simply just make a product, sell a product, and make money off a product. Sure,making money is good, but that has never been the ultimate goal for us, as odd as that may sound. We have had several opportunities in the past to do just that but held to our beliefs and chose the harder path. Our real purpose is actually much simpler. Our main goal has always been to simply help others – that’s why this product was created. Every step of the way has always just been a friend helping a friend. This purpose actually extends much further than just customers, for us. We personally know how hard life can be sometimes. We all have struggles. Once we finished our contract with the last sales/marketing group, it gave us the opportunity to sit back and re-evaluate where we wanted this company to go, and how we would like it to grow. What we decided to do was actually what we had been doing all along – simply help others. What better way to grow our business and sell our products than allowing people we know, trust, and love be the representatives of our company out in the field; and at the same time allowing them the opportunity to see success as well. A friend helping a friend. We, as a company, not only have a chance to help the customers who buy our products, we also have the opportunity to help each other. This motivates me more than anything else!

I couldn’t have chosen better people to take this adventure with. You all understand what family is and what it truly means to help people. I consider and love you all like family. I want you all to approach your potential customers with this mindset. I want you to seek to help others.

Genesis 50:20:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position, so I could save the lives of many people.”

Everything happens for a reason, even something that is supposed to be used to harm us can be turned around for our benefit. If Harold had not been in an accident, they may not have found his cancer in time. If it wasn’t for the back injury, he wouldn’t have had a need for a lower sitting vehicle. If it wasn’t for a friend helping a friend, he never would have taken up beekeeping. If it wasn’t for beekeeping, he never would have known the life altering benefits of a bee sting. If it wasn’t for friend helping a friend, we wouldn’t have Harold’s Famous Bee Cream.

-Amanda

 

 

I wanted to start this blog with a portion of the email I received a few weeks back from Amanda, the creator of Harold’s Famous Bee cream.  Partly to ease the readers into why I’m writing today, and the other is to introduce myself as one of her crew of friends!  I’ll be writing for you from time to time, some of the others may also.  We will always tag at the end so that you know who your author is.  Today you have me…. Crystal, or as some refer to me Honey!  How fitting right?  I’m part of this bee-basedcompany and my nickname is Honey.  Sometimes when things come full circle all we can do is sit back and smile.  17 years or so ago when Amanda’s son gave me the nickname, we never imagined where we would be now.  Here’s our first of hopefully many blogs to come!  We hope you enjoy reading about our journey!

 

 

 

 

Make VERB: form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; construct;

haste NOUN: excessive speed or urgency of movement or action; hurry

slowly ADVERB: at a slow speed; not quickly.

 

These words have been moving through my mind for a few weeks now.  Jeff and I were sitting at lunch with Amanda, one of the Harold’s Famous Creators, excitedly discussing all the options for the future.  We were throwing out ideas, and she stopped us with a quote from Harold.  

One product at a time guys, Harold always says to make haste slowly,” she rattled off.  Immediately I disagreed with this statement, although I’m not quite sure why.  Perhaps I’m a rebel.  I would say mainly because I have a bit of a patience problem.  As in, I have none. As we finished our lunch, the conversation continued on like usual, but for weeks I kept coming back to those words.  Running them through my head, thinking how it was a phrase that just didn’t make sense to me.  It’s like saying, hurry up and slow down, what does that even mean?  

Make Haste Slowly

Make Haste

But do it slowly

 

 

What a moron!  Well, actually an oxymoron.  This phrase comes from the Latin translation Festina Lente.  My favorite translation of the words is make haste with toughness, with suppleness.  As I sit here typing tonight, I find myself thinking about my career, my life, the things I am passionate about.  I’ve come to realize that the things I’ve been spending much of my time on, aren’t feeding my soul.  Some of them put food on the table and help pay the bills but take more of my time and energy than they deserve.  We spend our days working to support someone else’s dream and our evenings running to soccer, softball, dinner and chasing whatever the day requires of us….   but personally, my soul is starving for more.  

As young adults, often we get so caught up in stress and just trying to get by, that we take a step away from our dreams.  The dream is still there we are just standing beside it now.  More time passes, we find ourselves weighted down by the pressures of everyday life.  We look up one day, and “oh hey” there’s our dream on the other side of the street.  Wait a minute how did it get over there?  Before you know it the dream has long been forgotten.

 

 

 

If I were to ask you today, what is your dream, or purpose so to speak, in life?  What would that answer look like?  I can very specifically tell you the purpose for my life, and what my dreams are.  I’ve known for quite some time that I am meant to spend my time lifting up those around me.  Throughout the course of my life thus far, many people whom I thought would stay forever have left, and vice versa.  I’ve learned to take each day and accept with a grain of salt the people that are placed within my life just as they are.  My job here isn’t to “fix” them, it’s to love them through whatever they are facing.  My dream?  Well now… that’s a completely different story!  My passion for writing has never wavered.  Being a published author, is top on my goals list.  I have absolutely no idea how to get from here to there!  One thing I can do is “Make haste slowly.”    

 

 

Honestly, my dreams were so far off in the distance I’d almost lost sight of them.  Then those three little words showed up in the middle of my day.  At first, they didn’t make sense, but the more I thought about it the more clearly, I could see the vision.  I had to make a plan, get it moving even if it were at a snail’space.  Work hard and keep chipping away at that dream.  Make Haste! Just do it slowly.  Work hard, and trust God’s timing.  I’ve never been one to force my spiritual beliefs on anyone else, but I also can’t hide the reason that I smile in the midst of heartache.  I can’t bathe the reason I’m led by kindness in shadows.  It’s ok if you have different beliefs from my own.  It doesn’t mean we can’t encourage and lift each other up despite our differences.  For years now, I have looked at life a little differently.  I believe that every single person placed in our lives are there for a reason.  Either there’s something they need to learn from us or the other way around.  The lessons aren’t always fun or happy, but they are for our benefit just the same.  

 

In the midst of the hardest parts of life is usually where we find out just what we are made of.  Imagine waking up one morning and losing everything that you hold dear.  If this ever happens, I hope that there is someone there to show you how to fight for yourself.  Someone to remind you of your dreams, to make you want to keep moving forward, to tell you that sometimes you have to do what’s best for yourself even if everyone thinks you are wrong.  You may hear a 1000 NO’s before you hear a single yes.  Keep moving!  Festina Lente! Keep making haste with toughness!  

Harold’s three little words repeated by his protégé have inspired me to race slowly towards my dream.  Honestly, I believe the statement is encouraging us to work as long and hard as it takes to reach the thing that makes our soul burn brighter!  It may take years but then all of a sudden you may see your dream explode.  Throughout the past few weeks, anytime I’ve sat down to write I’ve heard Festina Lente.  As I’ve typed away on a book that has been 3 years in the making, I’ve worried about the what ifs.  What if I never finish?  What if it’s horrible?  What if it takes longer than I am prepared to wait? Every single time I hear a scripture running through my mind.

Isaiah 60:22

“When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen.”

 

Wondering and worrying about the current place I am in life, has been getting me no closer to where I am heading.  I didn’t know 20 years or so ago, that Amanda was going to be an amazing, inspiring entrepreneur. Watching her reach out and grab her dreams is one of the most inspiring things I have ever been a part of.   It was never suspected that I would be going along on this adventure with her, but here I am.  I hope you’ll stick around and get to know us through this new Blogventure!  When I told her my vision for my part in her company, she wasn’t even surprised.  She just said, “I LOVE it!”  

“Wisdom is as a flower from which the bee its honey makes and the spider poison, each according to its own nature.”

This is just the first of hopefully many probably random ramblings from myself, and maybe some of the others at Harold’s Famous.  These are written for nothing other than to encourage and inspire anyone reading.  Personally, I try to take every chance that I’m given to share a little piece of my encouraging heart through written words.  Opportunity presents itself and we are given a choice of which direction to take.  We are constantly presented with choices.  I guess the question is do you want to be like honey to the people around you today, or like the spider who spews poison?  This day is yours!  Choose wisely.

If it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive!

Do you ever have one of those days, or weeks, where you feel like it’s possible that everyone around you has lost their ever loving minds?

This was exactly me in the middle of Monday last week! I found myself baffled and not knowing what to say, so… anxiety took hold. Without going into too much detail, I found myself in the middle of a “he said she said” situation. Guess who hadn’t said anything, you guessed it… me! Somehow my feelings were the ones hurt. Mainly because, people who I really thought knew and understood me, possibly thought I would purposely play with another persons feelings. Honestly, it still hurts my heart a little to think about the situation.

I tried to explain that my feelings were hurt, which didn’t work. I spent a day at work fighting through tears, I’m sure looking like I’d lost one of my best friends. At some point I realized(thanks to my sister Heather) that I don’t have to defend myself in situations that are completely out of my control! She reminded me that anyone who knows me, like really knows me, would not question who I am. If they don’t, then maybe they aren’t my tribe. Actually we had a whole conversation about inspirational memes. They’re kind of her “thing”.

She pointed out that as women a lot of us are quick to tear each other down. Her exact words were, “I hate that!”

I’ve spent the past week observing the people around me a little more closely. I heard one of my best friends saying how she “used” to be skinny and beautiful. I was told some things that people thought about my personality that had the potential to break me. I watched someone I love struggle with feeling not good enough. I watched a friend cry over a man that didn’t treat her the way she deserved.

At some point during this past week I’ve seen or heard each person I’ve come into contact with, focusing on their flaws. I’m guilty of this too! I can make a list if you like….

The truth of the matter is this, almost everyone has problem areas in their lives. If I saw you bleeding, I wouldn’t stick my fingers in your wound and make it larger. I’d find something to stitch you up with. If you said to me(or tried) that something was hurting you, I’d try to help. So please understand when I feel like you are not “seeing me” and instead looking at everything you think is wrong with me, I have to find the way to stitch my own self up.

Question: If you knew something was going to cut you, would you continue to touch it after the initial slice?

I really understand that everyone has bad days from time to time. I’ve yet to meet a perfect person. I fully believe in second and sometimes third chances. I believe when you do something wrong, you swallow your pride and apologize! Sometimes though, I catch myself apologizing for things that aren’t my place to apologize for. One of the worst feelings in the world is when someone who is supposed to love you completely doubts your character. The good news here is that I have a firm knowledge of… me!

I’ve spent most of my life trying to make everyone around me happy. Lately I’ve come to realize that is an unattainable goal. Do you know what is completely within my control though? Are you sure you’re ready for this?

Making myself happy! Making sure my soul is getting what it needs from day to day… that is one thing I can control! So I won’t change the good things about me that I love, just because another person doesn’t understand them. I don’t think you should either. I will do as I’ve always felt led to do. Which is, to spend my days lifting others up. On the days where it feels like I’m all alone in this, I hope to find a soul like mine that will take a moment to remind me of my reason why! I had someone say this to me when I called her all worked up over another’s opinion of me:

“First of all, why do these people have so much say over your life. Don’t let them have that power! You know what is right for you, do that and don’t let anyone steer you away!”

For those of you that I’ve observed this past week, let me speak some life into your situations.

My friend, you are beautiful just the way you are. If you aren’t happy and want to change your body, get moving. It’s never too late to make positive changes!

My sister, you have an amazing heart, I love that we have common ground in the fact that our hearts kind reach for the same things in life. Stop letting negative, gossipy people get you down. If you can remind me of this, then remember this truth for yourself in those times of anxiety!

My young friend who’s man doesn’t see your worth… I know it’s hard to finally choose what’s best for you. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will? Only you truly know what your hearts desire is, chase that!

To the one in my life who struggles with being good enough…

I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. You are amazing, you are perfectly imperfect, you are enough! Please stop beating yourself up over situations that you can’t control.

Sometimes life brings around heartache and disappointment, but sometimes we bring it upon ourselves. Everywhere I look here lately I see pain. I’m over it… so if you’re a person in my life that considers me to be important in yours, please don’t tear me down. Talk to me openly and honestly, as I pride myself on being both of those things. I’m as real as they come. Take a look around yourself, maybe make a list of today’s blessings to help get you through tomorrow. Make steps to be ok right where you are.

I’m not really sure how to end this rambling, or whether it was worth sharing. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life crying of the actions of other people. I’m here to tell you it is no longer worth the tears. I spent a lot of time this past week with people that I consider to be “mine”. They make me laugh harder than I’ve ever laughed. I smiled until my face hurt! I know that I can call them at midnight if need be, and they will be there! I’m lucky to have quite a few of you like that. So if you’re for me, thank you! If you’re not a fan, I’ll no longer be apologetic for being me.

If my random, goofy, weirdness offends you… look the other way. If you need some sunshine in your life then I’ll be right here, being me!

Just take a deep breath, dust off your courage and find your fire!

I’ve had a couple of people ask me lately if I’m ok. Exactly how am I supposed to answer that question. Like, am I ok with what? The economy? The weather? The team roster for the 1964 Dodgers?

I guess the answer is yes and no… I can tell you that I’ve learned to be 100% ok with who I am. I’m happy with me! I’m talented, smart, funny, and I have a kind heart. I may not have supermodel looks, but honestly most people don’t. As the years have progressed, I’ve grown to kind of like the line of freckles that pop up across the bridge of my nose when I get a little sun. I can laugh at the way, that when I move my face just right, my chins make me look like Chris Farley. When I cry my eyes turn the brightest shade of blue. I’m loyal to a fault. I’m really great at sensing the needs of those around me, and then meeting said needs. Don’t laugh, but one of my most favorite things about myself is that I’m super weird y’all. I tend to make every situation awkward… ALL. DAY. LONG.

This little montage of items is not to “toot my own horn”, it’s simply to show that I’m comfortable in my own skin. I know myself better than anyone else, and you know what? I think I’m kinda cool!

Let me be completely honest here for a minute, I’m the past few years I’ve learned some very hard lessons about life. One of the worst situations I’ve dealt with in recent years, is when someone who I let get really close, turned out to be nothing like I expected. For that reason, I feel sometimes like I hold people at arms distance. The truth of the matter is, at some point almost every person in your life will fall short of what you expect of them. You can’t control someone else’s bad attitude. You can’t stop people from gossiping. Most of all you can’t make people who don’t love or appreciate you, well, love and appreciate you.

I say this with great trepidation, but occasionally you may need to give yourself some space. Take a step(or three) back from toxic people. Do some soul searching, and figure out what makes you happy. Stop fighting to transform someone else into being what you need, and be there for yourself. If they think you are worth it you will see them fighting alongside you, lifting you towards your goals, building a life with you in the center.

A good friend once told me, “Do what you feel you need to do, to sleep well at night.” So every day, I wake up and I spend the day emptying myself for those I love. There are days where I feel like I’m done, like I will never have anything more to give. Amazingly, morning comes and my soul is replenished. Just like the Dodgers recovered and won the World Series in 1965, I know my season of winning will come. They have played in 19 World Series, and only won 6. I believe there is wisdom to be found in this.

Life can get really hard. Sometimes there’s a shortage everywhere you turn, well except for bills. It may seem at times like you give so much of yourself, and get nothing in return. Fact is, no matter how hard you try, sometimes you are going to lose. The Dodgers lost about 70% of the time that they spent playing in World Series games. I can just imagine the excitement they felt when they were the winners. The good outweighed the bad enough that it kept them in the game.

I think we should all take a moment to ask ourselves, what is keeping us in the game? Make a list if you need to… I can wait.

I personally am setting some goals for myself as we speak. I have no intentions of sharing them with anyone around me. I’m setting them for me. I encourage all of you to be the same. Create some victories for yourself. Celebrate YOU for once. Find a way to get more peace in your soul. Separate yourself from people or things that dim your light.

Hailey and I read a book together last week called Lemonade Wars. This particular quote from the book stood out from the rest.

“People tell you things, Evan had told her once, with their hands and their faces and the way they stand. You gotta pay attention. You gotta watch for the things their saying, not with their words.”

I’m begging all of you reading this to start paying attention to the way you treat the people that love you. Do you take forget to be kind because you think they’ll always be there? What if you woke up tomorrow and they were gone from your life forever? We could all benefit from learning how to pay attention to our friends, family, and partners in life. If we tune ourselves to their needs, instead of our problems, maybe some of our problems would vanish.

I’ve seen so many people struggling here lately. It was hard to realize that I cannot fix every situation, most days I can’t even fix the situations in my own life. Stop being so hard on yourself, and instead remember all the things you have going for you. Set goals, let go of harmful situations and people who aren’t meant for you. Grow where you are and if you aren’t happy… figure out how to cultivate happiness right where you are. Stop trying to change everyone else, and change yourself. Work on YOU! After all, you are so worth it!