The Blessing of Being Vulnerable

Don’t keep your heart safe... be vulnerable John Mayer

Be sure to keep yourself vulnerable…

Make sure you expose yourself emotionally…

Place yourself in situations in which you can make sure that you can be hurt…

Do people tell you these things often? Of course not! You’ve probably never had those conversations because we live in a world of minimizing hurt, damage, and exposure.

I believe that our ability to expose our hearts is an important component of being emotionally and spiritually healthy. Let me tell you why.

First, let’s do a test of opposites. I will list a word and you fill in the blank with the opposite:

  • Black     __________
  • Dark      __________
  • Day        __________
  • Love      __________

What did you fill in for the opposite of Love? Did you use the word hate? Hate is not the right answer…the right answer is apathy.

There was a time in my life when I would have said that hate was the opposite of love too. But that was before I personally witnessed my two adopted children protect themselves at the cost of everything I believe to be most important.

My youngest two children were adopted from Russia when they were 4 and 9 years old. They were not orphans – they had been removed from their birth family due to neglect and abandonment. As you might imagine, they have experienced some difficulties in their lives.

They, of course, are not the only ones who have ever been through difficult life circumstances. However, their choices and behaviors strongly reflect what they experienced in those years prior to our adoption of them.

Our adopted children spent more time in our home with our love and influence than they spent in their birth country of Russia. However, I can assure you that the influence of those initial years has heavily outweighed the influence we have been able to have. As family and friends have watched our family struggle to help our adoptive children the frequent suggestion has been that we just need to give them more love.

I was once blessed with the experience of re-visiting heaven. I saw there the preparations that were being made for each of us to come to earth. I also saw that even there where our perfect Father in Heaven reigns and where His perfect love infuses everything present there – that God and His perfect plan for this earth was rejected by a large number of his spirit children. So even where perfect love dwells – love was not enough.

My adopted children have found that guarding themselves against hurt, rejection and vulnerability is the easiest way to make sure they never are hurt, rejected or vulnerable again. What that means is that they shut out family, loving relationships, and even passions and interests they might have.

Imagine what your life would be life if you made sure, at all costs, that you were not vulnerable. There would be no truly loving relationships – only manipulative ones. You couldn’t have any goals because you might fail in reaching those goals. Excitement and passion would be taboo because those emotions would make you too open to failure or disappointment.

I am not suggesting that we deliberately set ourselves up to be hurt but I understand now how wonderful and amazing it is to be vulnerable!

By being vulnerable I can love (even when I might get hurt), I can get excited about goals and future events that I want to happen in my life and I can embrace the talents and passions that I have – even when it might mean I will experience failure and disappointment. I can imagine and what I imagine can become a reality – all because I am willing to expose myself to whatever outcome may result.

Everything that I hold dear is a result of my willingness to allow myself to be accessible, susceptible and vulnerable – my marriage, my family, my friends and everything that I am passionate about!

So while I would never suggest that we intentionally seek hurt and pain – I hope you will join me in recognizing what a gift having an open heart and being vulnerable is!

 

 

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Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 4

Gratitude and Attitude are not Challenges; they are Choices Robert BraatheI hope that you have been spending this week like me: concentrating on all that we have to be grateful for.

So many of us want sunshine in our lives and feel that if life is not without it’s storms, then we have been dealt an unfair blow. The truth of the matter is that how we view our world is our choice.

I am reminded of the story in which two new families moved into a small town. The father of the first family asked a long-time member of the community by the name of Bill what kind of town their community was. Bill asked, “What kind of town did you just move from?” The father replied, “It was horrible. No one was kind or courteous. Everyone gossiped and we never felt welcome.” To his dismay, Bill told the father, “Oh, I think you will find this town just about the same.” Then, the father of the second new family approached Bill. He asked Bill the same question. Once again, Bill asked the father, “What kind of town did you just move from?” The second father responded, “Oh, the town we just moved from was wonderful! We loved it there! We made many friends! Everyone was wonderful and friendly!” Bill responded, “Well that’s wonderful! I know you are going to love living here as well!”

The moral of the story was that each father was going to get what they expected. We often are no different. Our expectations (attitude) most often dictate the outcome.

If we want the most amazing outcome possible for our lives, we must practice gratitude – not just as an occasional meandering into the area but as a deliberate way of life.

I love the article I share with you today! I hope you will enjoy and keep practicing that Attitude of Gratitude!:

5 Simple Ways to Develop an “Attitude of Gratitude”

by David A. Christensen

Our attitude is defined by the way we think and feel about life. It all begins with the way we see the world—which triggers a reaction, response, or behavior. Developing an “attitude of gratitude,” or seeing the world in such a way that spawns a thankful heart, produces many positive results.

Studies in what has become known as the “science of gratitude,” show that being grateful helps us feel more alive, promotes better sleep, fortifies our immune system, and even influences our looks. In short, grateful people are friendlier, healthier, happier, and even more attractive.

If you’re having trouble developing this habit in your life, then here are five suggestions to help you master an attitude of gratitude:

Develop the habit of “looking up.”

We live in a world where we look downward while we text on phones, check our email, view iPads, or even when we walk. Much of the news is centered on looking at the downside of life and what’s wrong on this planet. How much better would life be if we remember from time to time to look up, look outward, and look heavenward?

Years ago—before email, text, and Facebook connections—we moved our young family from Arizona to Michigan. My ninth-grader had to leave a lot of her friends, which created quite a bit of stress. When she came home each day from school, she would look down at the table or the desk for snail mail from her friends. I decided this might make a good teaching moment for her.

Since my wife and I were the ones who normally picked up the mail, we placed the letters and cards in high places in our home—a hanging light fixture, a high fireplace mantel, the top of a picture frame on the wall. This helped teach our daughter to “look up”—that’s where we find happy things. Looking heavenward can bring happiness. Heavenly Father wants us to notice His blessings by looking to Him. At our house, “looking up” stuck! It’s helped us be more thankful.

Start a gratitude journal or a tender mercy board in your home.

Anything that helps us to put our busy lives on pause—long and often enough to count and chronicle our blessings—will go a long way in developing an attitude of gratitude. On a daily basis, find a way to pause and take in these blessings.

Writing and remembering blessings every day will make you more aware of His hand in your life. Maybe even try switching up your individual or family prayers, at least for a while. The morning prayer could be focused on asking for blessings that you or the family needs and the evening prayer could be centered on giving thanks.

Have you ever tried to offer a prayer of 100% gratitude? Not asking for anything? It surely makes you think about your long list of blessings, which can often seem overwhelming.

Make a list of all the people you are grateful for.

Take some time and make a list of all the people in your life that have changed your life for the better. As you make the list, write a few notes by their name stating why they are special to you and what they did that qualifies them to be on your list.

Go back as far as you can remember—teachers, friends, advisors, grandparents, parents, siblings, and anyone who touched your life for good. Make it an open list that can grow as you remember more experiences or meet new people.

Make a list of all the enriching experiences in your life.

Let your mind wander from your earliest recollections to what happened in recent days. What experiences, both hard and joyful, have blessed your life? Make a list and add a description of what the experience taught you and how you’ve become a better person for having lived it.

Be sure to include the adversities that made you stronger. Remember those special experiences which magnified your testimony or lifted your self-esteem. These experiences enlighten our view and generate gratitude in our lives.

Make a list of people you need to forgive.

Every major religion teaches about the renewing power of forgiving and letting go. The wellspring of gratitude is sometimes dammed in our minds when we cling to unkind feelings for others.

Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive? It could even be something so simple as a sarcastic comment or unintentional slip of someone’s tongue. Let go of those unkind feelings and see what happens to your heart. We become more grateful for those around us when we do as the Savior does. He forgives us and expects us to do the same. Love for life and thankfulness expands in our hearts as we forgive and let go.


5 Simple Ways to Develop an

If you need more help developing a grateful heart, check out more ideas in David A. Christensen’s book, A Thankful Heart: 31 Teachings to Recognize Blessings in Your Life.

Today’s article is shared from the following website: http://www.ldsliving.com/5-Simple-Ways-to-Develop-an-Attitude-of-Gratitude/s/80062

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How Life is Best Measured…

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

I am all about stewardship – in my mind, that means responsibility to create a meaningful life for myself and to be a meaningful part of the lives of my family, friends, and fellowman.

While that includes being responsible, it does not mean that life has to dull and dreary!

I know that it is hard to comprehend, but heaven is truly amazing and enthralling and worth our very best mortal efforts. Life is not about what’s in it for me, me, me. If it is to be meaningful for the duration – both mortality and eternity – it needs to be about what’s in it for us.

None of us knows how much time the Lord will grant us to live on this earth, but I know that we all inherently sense that this gig (called life) is important and is not to be wasted.

The article I am sharing today takes a few minutes to read, but do it anyway. Your life deserves it! Take a few minutes and contemplate on how you can improve and make your life better! I promise you will be blessed for your efforts! Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

45 Ways To Live Life To The Fullest

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Adversity Can Grow Us into Better People

Strength doesn’t come from doing what you Can Do It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you Couldn’tToday’s story has reminded me of how very much I have to be thankful for. I live in a country where clean water is often taken for granted. I don’t have to wonder if I will have food to eat, all I have to wonder about is what will I eat. If I need to go somewhere, I get in my car and turn the key.

Life hands each of us a different story…but no matter what our circumstances, we all have the ability to choose. We choose our attitude. We choose how we will use our resources. We choose how we will treat others. We choose how or if we will use the gifts that God has blessed us with.

What kind of choices are you making? I hope that today’s story will inspire you to be the very best that you can be!

Meet the Wonder Women of Indonesia

Battling the darkness of poverty with lamps, filters and stoves one at a time.

I came to know Rovina Surat, one of our Wonder Women in late 2014.

Living in the driest part of Lembata Island, in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, is already tough to begin with, but the challenge for Ibu Rovina goes beyond the dry well and months of failed harvest.

She is a single mother of two, and had been living in her brother’s living room since her then-husband left for Malaysia in 2012, and never returned. She said that this was rock bottom.

Left to care for her daughters alone, she made ends meet through various creative ways: from renting out her old motorcycle to neighbours, to gathering honey from the forest, to skilfully using a traditional harpoon to hunt squid and sea cucumbers.

Simple dream

In 2014, she joined Kopernik’s Wonder Women program in the hope of realizing one simple dream: to build a home for her children.

At every opportunity, she enthusiastically talked about the d.light S300 solar light, which she always carried with her when hunting for squid before dawn.

This demonstration of simple technology in action worked better than any big budget advertising campaign, and Rovina began to sell more and more technologies.

Within a year and a half, she had saved enough money to start building her house, and in June 2015, she finished.

It is a simple house made of bricks and bamboo, but up on a hill with a million dollar view overlooking the beautiful Flores Sea, mountains, and breath-taking sunset.

To see Rovina standing in front of her house during sunset made me smile – and still makes me smile each time I remember it.

She is such an inspiration.

One villager in her community said: “I’m so proud to see Rovina now. She has transformed from a weeping widow without a house to an inspiring woman in our village.”

“Thanks to her, the whole village doesn’t have to live in complete darkness anymore.”

When asked her what her next dream was, she said she wanted to open her own small kiosk selling everyday goods.

“I used to keep all of my money in a soap tin and bury it in the ground. Now I’m starting to open my own bank account, so I can save more and make this dream come true.”

To see her grow through the journey she’s gone through, and transform from a woman to a “wonder woman”, is one of the most inspiring things about Kopernik’s Ibu Inspirasi programme.

Micro-social-entrepreneurs

Rovina is one of hundreds of “wonder women” in the initiative that has empowered women to become clean energy micro-social-entrepreneurs, connecting life-changing solar lights, clean cookstoves, and water filters with last mile communities in some of Indonesia’s poorest provinces.

More than 80 million people live without any electricity in Indonesia, and many more live with unreliable access to electricity.

Almost 100 million people rely on smoky, fuel-hungry three-stone fires for cooking.

And clean drinking water is often a costly luxury.

There is great demand for affordable, clean energy technologies, especially in the poorest provinces of eastern Indonesia, but geography and demography make energy access a huge challenge.

This is where Kopernik’s Wonder Women Eastern Indonesia initiative comes in.

Equipping women with the skills and resources to become clean energy micro-social entrepreneurs is a viable, sustainable way of connecting these technologies with the people who need them the most.

It creates access to clean energy technologies for last mile communities, allowing people to save money and time spent collecting firewood, buying costly kerosene, boiling water, or buying costly drinking water. It allows them to enjoy improved health and safety.

Not only that, the wonder women like Rovina and Ibu Bekti, get training on financial management, sales and marketing, public speaking, technology use and maintenance, as well as mentoring to motivate them to expand their businesses.

They also get the clean energy technologies on consignment, so they can start their own business without going into debt, and they earn something from every sale.

These women’s determination to help their families and villages, along with their smiles and laughter often seen amid challenging situations, make them truly some of the most inspiring people you’ll ever meet.


Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: https://www.ourbetterworld.org/en/story/kopernik-indonesia-wonder-women

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God’s Under the Bed…Prayer is More Than We Know

Prayer is the World’s Greatest Wireless Connection from the Little Church MouseI am very grateful for prayer. I have seen its work in my life. I am blessed by prayer daily. What is your experience with prayer? Is it difficult for you to feel like you are praying to a real being with real and perfect love for you?

Since the time of my near-death experience, prayer has become especially meaningful for me. I no longer have to imagine what God is like or wonder if He is listening to me. I don’t have to wonder if He knows me or if He loves me.

I would have never asked for a near-death experience, and yet my life and understanding have been exponentially blessed by that experience. It is now my hope that I help and bless the lives of others by sharing what I have learned.

I love the story that I am sharing today. I can tell that Kevin really understands prayers, whether or not he has full comprehension of other areas of his life. I hope that as you read today’s story, your life and understanding will be blessed!

God’s Under the Bed

My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that’s what I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped outside his closed door to listen. “Are you there, God?” he said. “Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed.” I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room.

Kevin’s unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in. He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he’s 6’2″), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7 year old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas, and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, returning to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed. The only variation in the entire scheme are laundry days, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

He does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05 eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day’s laundry chores. And Saturdays — oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That’s the day my dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. “That one’s goin’ to Chi-car-go!” Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

I don’t think Kevin knows anything exists outside his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn’t know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. He recognizes no differences in people, treating each person as an equal and a friend. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others.

His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere.

And he trusts God. Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God — to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an “educated” person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions. It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap — I am. My obligations, my fears, my pride, my circumstances — they all become disabilities when I do not submit them to Christ.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of the Lord. And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I’ll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won’t be surprised at all.

Today’s inspiring story shared from the following website: http://godslittleacre.net/inspirationalstories/gods_under_the_bed.html

 

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