Easter Monday

It is only 7:15 am and I have had a rough day.  We had a lovely weekend with family but my kids are overtired and at each other this morning.  My patience is being tested beyond measure and I have lost it already on my little guy.  I want to send them back to bed but I guess I need to feed them before school.  

As I am walking around drowning in thoughts of negativity, self-pity and disgust I heard a thud.  

This frame fell off the wall in my kitchen.

I picked it up and then read the words.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances." 

I laughed.  How do you rejoice when your kids are driving you crazy.

Oh wait.  I have three kids who get to drive me crazy.

Pray continually? 

Yep, I was so deep in negative thoughts I never once invited God into the conversation in my mind.

Give thanks in all circumstances?!  Really?!?!

Well, I guess, I can give thanks for this rough morning and how it is drawing me back to prayer as a source of perspective and strength to tackle the rest of my morning.

I have always been a lyric and quote person.  In recent years I have also enjoyed the wisdom in scripture.  My husband laughs and says I can't put more words in our house, that people have to read through our home when they come over.

I don't put these things on the wall for people to see. I put them on my wall so I can be reminded of who I want to be.  And I am thankful this morning that this picture fell, stopped me from the downward spiral I was on and brought me back on to solid ground.

I am not sure how your Monday has started, I hope more peaceful than mine did.  However it started I just wanted to share, from my own experience, to remember to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

It will transform your day!  

It has mine, once again:-)

Be well,

Shawn 

How You Live Your Life Matters

Yesterday I attended a beautiful funeral mass for a friend's father who passed away.  I was reminded at how precious life is and that what we do with our life matters.  Every interaction, with a loved one or stranger, can create a ripple effect of love, or not.  

This video is a touching example of how a life lived with eyes open to the needs of others can create a more beautiful world.

Join me today in taking time to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

May we be filled with love ourselves so that love flows through us onto others through our words and actions.  

May we remember that how we live our life matters.

Be well,

Shawn

Gratitude is a Sure Path to Joy

Happy Monday!

Starting the day, and week, setting our eyes on what we are grateful for can transform our perspective and experience. Give it a try. Take a few moments to....

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

Say, or even better, write down 10 things you have to be grateful to God for.

Being grateful turns what we have into enough and shifts our hearts from being discontent to content.

Gratitude is the sure path to joy.

I hope you are filled with gratitude today, and in turn, are filled with joy and peace.

Be well,

Shawn

Whose Prayer Can I Answer Today?

Prayer is transformative.  It can renew our mind, purify our heart, and refuel our soul.  Prayer is a powerful tool to help us to grow into our best selves.  Part of growing into our best self is recognizing we aren't here to simply build ourselves up.  Contrary to what the world around us may encourage, our purpose is to become the person we were made to be and use who we are to help build others up into their best selves as well.  

We are a vessel that can be an answer to someone else's prayers.

I offer for you to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

And meditate on this question:

  • Does a family member need a phone call?
  • Does a friend need an encouraging note?
  • Does a child need your time?
  • Does the teacher need an extra hand in class, or a few dollars for classroom supplies?
  • Does the cashier need someone to say hello to them and acknowledge their presence?
  • Could you bless with your excess to those in need, i.e. food to local pantries, clothing and shoes to a local shelter, games to a children's hospital, children's school artwork to a local nursing home, etc?

Let's each do our best today to fill up during our prayer time so that we can use our eyes to look for a need around us, and then do what we can, when we can, to answer someone else's prayer today.

Be well,

Shawn

Why Bother Praying?

My husband was a rockstar the other day and volunteered to come home from work to care for our little guy who was sick so my daughter and I could have our date to Boston for the Carrie Underwood concert.

I was grateful but also somewhat disappointed.  Why?  Because I like my comfort zone.  The past few times I have gone away I realized it takes me about 24 hours to settle into my new space.  I think it is because at home there is a sense of control as to what happens next.  When I am not in my routine or in my core space, the unknown of what could be gets me unnerved.  

As unnerved as I was taking my daughter to the city by myself, I wasn't going to let fear stop me from making this memory with her.  What did I do to conquer my fears?  I prayed and prayed and prayed.  I did my best to see clearly and gain perspective so I could be more at peace during this time with her.

I prayed through every irrational thought holding tight to the truth that this experience with my daughter was a gift and to treasure every moment of it.  I refused to let fear and anxiety take hold of my heart and mind…but it was hard.  The negative thoughts flooded in and I had to challenge each one with a positive thought to counteract it.  It was exhausting, but worth it.  Even when my daughter said nonchalantly, "Mom, we are so high up in these seats, if there was an earthquake we would die"  I responded calmly, "yep I thought that too" and laughed with her while my nerves were quaking within...so I  talked with God a little more:-)

The old me would have told my daughter I didn't feel well and would have made us go back to our hotel room so I could go to sleep so the next day could come sooner.  

The power of prayer has changed and empowered me to live fearlessly.  It doesn't mean I don't mingle with fear, but I won't allow it to dictate my experiences.  I will allow the strength I receive through prayer to provide me with what I need to live a full life, and experience things to their fullest.

Prayer changes me from a fearful person to a woman of faith who trusts that I was made strong enough to tackle any experience with grace and resiliency.

I share this with you because I am not unique, I am the same as you and the power of prayer can change our experiences.

I offer for you to think about something in your life that you are struggling with...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

Trust that prayer can refine and strengthen you to face any struggle life has.  Allow prayer to change you and then become a vessel for which change happens through.

On my date with Kate I could have allowed fear to overcome me.  Instead I hope someday she will read this post and see that prayer transformed our experience together to be the amazing time it was:-)

Be well,

Shawn





Clarity, Perspective and Peace

This morning my son woke up throwing up.  It also happens to be the day my daughter and I are supposed to go away for the night to see a concert, which was my birthday present from my husband.  As I write this I am still unsure of what will unfold for our family today.  What I do know is that my prayer time this morning gave me the answer on how to view the situation.  

This verse reflects to me that how I view my situation is significant.  I can get caught in the dark web of negativity or choose to step away from the situation and view it for what it is….not a big deal in the broad scheme of things - plus it's a day of snuggles with my little guy:-)  I am able to have more peace within and trust all will be well when I look at the whole picture rather than get caught up in the little moment.  I have greater empathy, compassion, understanding and am better able to communicate from a grounded heart than a cluttered one.

These are my circumstances today.  I am sure you have your own.

I offer for you when you start getting entangled in a web to...

Pause.  Breathe. Pray.

Give yourself the space to pray, open your eyes to truth, and even consider pondering the verse above.  Things in life are going to happen.  The way we view our circumstances will dictate our inner state of being.  

I am thankful for how my prayer time today prepared me for the unexpected day I am having.  I hope you too receive clarity, perspective and peace as you pray through your circumstances.

Be well,

Shawn

*One more quick thing, "the whole body being filled with light" isn't about always being healthy as the world would suggest.  To me, "the body being filled with light" is about being at peace in spite of your circumstance, i.e. a sick child, possibly broken plans, etc.  



"Be Well" Tip #2: Breathe

When I was in my undergrad I had a teacher who took an entire class to teach us how to breathe. Many students thought it was a crazy lesson but I thought it was awesome. Learning to pause and breathe deeply is an important tool for life. Today, as you create space to be still, layer on taking deep breaths. 

If you need more guidance, try this:

3-part breathing

  • Inhale expand the belly, ribs and then chest.
  • Exhale retract the chest, the ribs and then the belly.

More detailed description:
Take one hand to your belly and one to your chest. As you breathe in, pretend there is a balloon within. On the inhalation inflate the balloon, starting with your belly, then expand your ribs, then allow the chest to rise into your hand. On the exhalation, deflate the balloon, allowing the chest to fall back down, the ribs to draw back towards the center of the body and have the belly button deflate and draw it back towards the low back.

Reflect

  • Is there room for improvement for you in this area of your life?

Intention

  • When you are taking time to be still, layer in 3-part deep breathing.

Action

  • As you create space and take time to be still, take 10 deep breaths.
  • Do this 3 times during your quiet time.
  • Don’t worry about doing the breathing exercise perfectly.  Just allow the breath to flow in, and flow out.  
  • As with anything, the more you practice it, the better you will get at it.

Be well,
Shawn 

“Be still and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10

Be Well

This is my favorite mug.  I love the quote on it:

Peace.

It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.

It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. 

-Unknown

I drink from this mug every morning.  It reminds me that peace isn't something I can get, it is something that grows within.  

For me, being well means that I am at peace in my heart and mind.

This month as I encourage you to be well, know this is a journey.  It will not be over at the end of the month.  My hope is for you to start laying a foundation from which you can build on as you journey on your path to peace.

Reflection for today

  • How do you define wellness?

Be well,

Shawn

 

Day 28 = Day 1

When I used to have a bad day, it would tangle me up for a week, or longer.  I would allow my thoughts to replay my mistakes on repeat and beat myself up mentally for my wrong doing.  As I have grown in my faith I have come to learn that God doesn't want me to get wrapped up in my mistakes.  

Every day is new.  

I am learning to learn from my mistakes yesterday and use those experiences to further grow into the person I am meant to be.

If you are holding onto a mistake from yesterday, yesterweek (my 3 year old recently coined that term:-)) or yesteryear I encourage you to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

Let it go.  Give it to God.  His mercy is bigger than your mistakes.  Trust Him with it.  

"Your past as a rudder that guides you, not an anchor that drags you." - Warren W. Wiersbe 

Start today fresh and new growing into the person you were created to be; being guided by what you learned from yesterday.  It's Day 1 of the rest of your life...

Be well,

Shawn

Shawn

Day 26 - Do You React or Respond?

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/100486635409666872/

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/100486635409666872/

I read this quote a number of years ago and it opened my eyes to see that there is a space between stimulus and response.  I first became aware of that space on my yoga mat.  When holding a pose, or trying a difficult pose, I began to recognize that when I hit my edge (the stimulus) I often reacted.  Reacting to me is instantaneous reply without any thought put into it.  As I continued my practice I was able to recognize that when I met my edge, I could pause and create space.  Then I would deepen my breathe to help keep me calm.  In the space I created by pausing and breathing, just as Frankl says above, I could choose my response.  I could stay in the pose and breathe through the intensity or I could choose to come out of the pose.

I wondered what this looked like when practiced off the mat.

I started practicing pausing and breathing to create space and become calm off the mat when there was a stimulus.  For example, a child screaming, getting cut off in traffic, a person being rude, things not going the way I planned, etc.  For me, I noticed that creating space and breathing were only part of the equation for me to create a fruitful response.

Enter prayer.

When I came back to my faith, I realized that the space between stimulus and response is our opportuntity to pray; to align with the person we were created to be.  We can react from the ugliness of our discontent or we can choose to align with God, and live out love as our response.

I encourage you today when there is a stimulus to...

Pause. (Create space)

Breathe.  (This oxygenates the cells which helps brain function)

Pray. (Align with God and who you were made to be)

Then choose to respond from a heart full of love; growing deeper into the person God created you to be - a vessel for love to live through.

Reacting creates tension in our own hearts and in the hearts of others.  There also is a lot of clean up to do afterwards.  Responding with love is freeing and bridges hearts.  It also takes us another step closer to living authentically - with a lot less clean up, if any;-)

Putting this into practice has been transformational in my life and I have no doubt it would be transformational in your life as well.  Let me know how it goes:-)

Be well,

Shawn