Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lock It In

This was the third time. We’ve had our car about 8 months. It doesn’t have automatic locks, so I can’t figure it out. Since I seldom lock my car, I was especially baffled the first time. I accidentally locked my keys in my car. When Friend-husband came to rescue me he broke down on the freeway. I ended up spending the night at my niece's home and calling a locksmith in the morning.

The second time was also at my niece's house. I had a funny feeling that I should be sure to keep my keys with me, even though I was going to be in and out. You guessed it. I accidentally locked my car. So glad I had listened to that feeling and held on to my keys.

This Sunday after Church I found my car locked with the keys inside. How did it happen? I opted for a ride home. Friend-husband and I would return later with his keys. He was in a meeting and it seemed the easiest way to work things out.

Strangely, when we returned with Hubby’s keys, my car was not locked, and it was parked in a different place. What? Oh, yeah. I remember now that I ran home during Church for something I had forgotten and lost my parking place. That other car,…the one that was locked earlier…it wasn’t mine. ( Sheepish grin.) Now please, don’t remind me that I’m getting old. (It was my birthday, by the way.)

Memories play tricks on us sometimes. I bet it’s happened to you, too. Cars are not the only things with locks. Accidentally locking my car is a little frustrating, but what else am I locking? Am I locking in feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, not good enough? Am I locking out feelings of confidence, talent, abundance? In other words am I limiting myself because of my belief that I am not enough?

When we close our doors against feelings of self-worth we create limiting beliefs and those beliefs can be big obstacles. If we accidentally lock those beliefs in, how will we find the success we desire and deserve? When we lock in limiting beliefs we lock out abundance, creativity, possibilities, and joy.

Unlock your heart. Let go of your limiting beliefs. Let go of fear and disappointment. Let them out. Make room for peace, faith, confidence, hope, and joy. Remember that you are amazing, talented, capable, and gorgeous. Remember who you are. Lock it in.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Take Care

I know you’ve done it. Run yourself into the ground taking care of others. It’s our feminine nature to nurture others and it’s a noble thing. However, there’s nothing noble about depleting your reserves and putting yourself on the wounded list.

It’s great to feel needed. As women, we are always needed, especially at certain seasons of our life. We are surrounded by needs and we know how to help. We know how to be good listeners, how to feed the hungry, how to run the errands, how to tend the children, and countless other care-taking chores. We serve in our homes, our extended families, our neighborhoods. We love being needed, we love making a difference, and we love serving. Serving helps us feel important and valuable. Service helps us develop Christlike qualities and helps us feel closer to him.

This constant service, though rewarding, can be draining, especially if we neglect to tend our own garden of needs. There is much to be done and we can make a difference, but it’s easy to overlook our own needs and let our lives be swallowed up in service. The key is balance. We need to balance our own needs with those of others.

You can’t take water from an empty bucket, no matter what your dipper looks like. Filling your bucket needs to be at the top of your to do list. It is not selfish to take care of yourself, it is essential. How will we serve if our buckets are empty? Taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your family, because it ensures that you will still be able to serve tomorrow.

What can you do to fill your bucket? For me, a good night’s sleep is essential. Lack of sleep is guaranteed to make me grouchy and unsociable. Service, not likely. I also need to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. Fitting exercise into my life is challenging, but oh the difference it makes.

This probably sounds really simple so far, but I’ll bet you’ve put off every one of these things when someone needed you. In addition to taking care of my physical needs, I have emotional needs. I need a little me time every day to do something I love, something that feeds me. Writing can do this for me, so can reading a good book, chatting with a friend, a date with Friend-husband. Sometimes a nap is called for.

I have spiritual needs too, and for me daily prayer and scripture reading are a must. I can’t stay on top of my game when I neglect these rituals on a consistent basis.

Cleaning toilets, washing dishes, and folding laundry do not qualify as me time, even though it is nice to get things done. The result is enjoyable, but it just doesn’t fill my bucket. Maybe it’s different for you.

Bucket filling works best when we do it daily. If we let our buckets get bone dry before we refresh them, it’s going to be hard, but if we continually refresh, then we have more to give.

What refreshes you? Maybe we could make a big list and share it with other amazing women.

Take care. You take care of others. Please take care of you.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Culture of Kindness

I was at the counter checking out. It was a small store and the owner was my cashier. His phone rang and he answered. To his dismay, it turned out to be a solicitor. His friendly, polite demeanor instantly changed. He rudely rebuffed the caller and noisily hung up on him. As if that wasn’t enough, he then grouched to me about having his time wasted by unwanted phone calls.

I was uncomfortable with his behavior and it caused me to to reflect on how I treat others. I am usually polite to people I know, and people I interact with in social situations. I am polite in the doctors office and in the checkout line at the grocery store, but I how do treat strangers that I meet only on the phone. And what if their call happens to be ill-timed or obnoxious? Do I then choose to treat them with kindness or hostility?

There is enough trash talk in the world. We do not lack for unkind words, put downs, or confrontations. We have more than enough bullies, more than enough fear and discouragement, more than enough comparison and competition, and more than enough isolation and sadness. What we need is kindness.

My friend Judy Wells, who is an anti-bullying speaker, tells me that our culture breeds bullies. She hopes that we can create a culture of kindness. What an amazing idea. Instead of a culture of competition, a culture of kindness. Instead of a culture of deception and fraud, a culture of kindness. Instead of a culture of selfishness and bullying, a culture of kindess.

I have seldom returned to that small store, and I have tried never to treat another person with unkindness. The salesman on the phone, or at my door are only trying to make a living. I don’t have to give them my business, but I can certainly give them some courtesy. It costs me nothing. It’s the least I can do.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to create a culture of kindness? If we worked on it together, maybe it could happen. Won’t you join us? That would make three of us. You, Judy, and I.

While we’re changing the world, let’s not forget to spread a little kindness around our homes, and please, pretty please,

...will you please dump some of that kindness on yourself. You deserve it.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Larger than Life

I like binoculars. They are great when Friend-husband and I go hiking. Our favorite hiking spot is Bryce Canyon and I have a small pair of binoculars that is easy to carry and gives us a better view of our surroundings. Friend-husband likes taking binoculars along when he goes to football games for a close up of the action. We like keeping binocs in the car, because we often like to stop and look around. It is fun to look for mountain sheep among the rocks in canyon places or to find birds in the trees and ducks on a pond.

Binoculars are okay for people watching if you know how to use them. I have often noticed that when we look at other people we use the business end of the binoculars, showing us a magnified view of all their goodness. We see larger than life images of their talents and skills. They appear to be spectacular. We see their lives in brilliant colors and in huge proportions. No wonder we feel small in comparison.

Sadly, when we look at ourselves we tend to invert the binoculars and see instead the smallness of our lives. Our talents seem miniscule, our abilities microscopic. We see a washed out miniaturized version of ourselves. Even our good deeds diminish in value as we look through the wrong end of the binoculars. We may feel unimportant, unappreciated, or even undesireable.

Comparing ourselves with others is never a good idea, as we always see a distorted image of ourselves. Instead of trying to change the way we look, we should change the way we see. Let’s see the good in ourselves as well as others. Let’s stop competing, stop comparing, and stop putting ourselves down.

Binoculars are great for some things. They’re not so good for seeing ourselves as we really are. It’s okay to be yourself. Celebrate your strengths, accept your weaknesses, and enjoy the journey. You are good enough. You are larger than life. You make a difference every day, just by being yourself.

Yes, you do.

Linda Garner