Pursue and Persist!

 

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  If you’d like to join in, please check out this link for further details.

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 My Thinking Corner

(NB: Lady Cee aims to participate in this blog challenge on alternate Tuesdays)

 

Hello fellow-bloggers and visiting friends, thank you so much for dropping by.

Today I’d like to share some thoughts about endurance.

If you’ve been following me for any length of time you’ll be aware that this blog exists to encourage myself and my followers to walk as purpose-driven believers, to pursue our calling, purpose and God-inspired dreams.

You will be aware that I am an advocate for pursuing success on your terms (since there’s no one-size-fits-all template!).  And for those of you who are busy doing just that, I’m sure you’ve realised that endurance, persistence, stick-to-it-ness is required.

Do I hear you groan?

I know!  😦

Most people hate the word, the very idea of endurance. It raises within my mind the spectre of pain, or frustration, obstacles and trials.

But you know, it’s as you face battles (whether mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual), it is as you face these battles and determine in your heart not to allow them to stop you pursuing your dreams—but use them to develop spiritual stamina, use them to strengthen your resolve, use them to make you battle resilient, courageous and uncompromising—that you learn the secret of endurance and eventually reap the rewards of persistence.

During my appointment with God this morning (aka devotional time), I read the Bible text James 5:11. It spoke of those who endured being counted as blessed. Think about that a moment. It certainly set me thinking. We tend to think of those who have achieved, who have innovated, who are celebrated, who possess riches and the accompanying evidences of success, as blessed.

But we don’t consider where deprivation, hostility, injustice, homelessness, facing personal demons, overcoming opposition or personal weaknesses, may fit into that picture of success.

Dear readers, it comes before! It comes during pursuit of our dreams. And it is only those that persist, that endure until the bitter end, who will win the crown of success.

Before closing, let me share with you a few points from today’s devotional reading, which I hope will inspire and motivate you:

  • You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great
  • The first two letters in the word goal are ‘go’
  • You’ll never be what you ought to be, until you’re doing what you ought to be doing
  • If you’re having trouble thinking outside the box, it’s time to get out of the box.

(taken from UCB Word for Today (Aug-Oct 17)

Dear friends, there’s a tailor-made package of success out there with your name on it. Pursue, persist and go claim it!

 

Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

 

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Did you enjoy reading this post? Why not share your response in the comment box below? I look forward to hearing from you.

CREDIT: the above CC0 image comes courtesy of engin akyurt at Pixabay.com

 

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Expectations!

 

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  If you’d like to join in, please check out this link for further details.

 

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My Thinking Corner

(NB: Lady Cee aims to participate in this blog challenge on alternate Tuesdays)

 

 

 

 

Hello fellow-bloggers and visiting friends, thank you for dropping by.

I’d like to talk to you today about expectations.

My reason for doing so, is because I came across the following passage in a really useful e-book I like to dip into every now and again. It’s written by Jason Harvey—Achieve Anything In Just One Year—and I do recommend it for those looking for inspiration and self-help instruction regarding achieving your dreams.

However, whilst reading it today, I noticed the following statement:

“You can’t predict the future. What you can do is let go of the baggage of your past (so far so good) and move forward without expectations.”

What?!

Now if I don’t have any expectations for my future, where’s the excitement and motivation in pursuing my dreams? What would be the point of pursuing my goals?

I believe it’s the expectation of accomplishment which drives you, which enables you to keep putting your feet forward on that pathway of success, so why is it this experienced life coach is advising his readers to move forward without expectations?

Perhaps the author, sees expectations in a negative light. Certainly when you consult the dictionary it is possible to have good or bad expectations. And I know from my dealings with other people, from scenarios portrayed on TV and cinematic screens that it is possible to have unrealistic expectations.

So, if we are referring to bad, or unrealistic expectations then I totally agree with this author. But why doesn’t he say so? Why has he referred to expectations period?

If I was one of his clients, I would have asked him and I’m sure he would have been able to explain this odd remark.

But since he isn’t here to explain himself, here are my thoughts on why we should have expectations.

  • Expectations (of the positive kind of course) are another way of describing hope.
  • Hope gives you something to look forward to, something to aim at, or strive for.

My dictionary defines ‘expectation’ as a state, or attitude of expecting.

Everyone who sets out on a journey expects to arrive at their destination. You decide where you want to go, you decide how you want to get there and you take the journey.

Of course there may be set-backs. The road may be closed, an unfortunate incident on your route may lengthen the journey. You may have to stop off to eat refreshments, take comfort breaks or replenish fuel.

Whatever, your experiences along the way, you are still hopeful, still expecting to arrive at your destination. And, all being well, sooner or later you do.

As purpose-driven believers, and dream-achievers, my only caution is that our expectations should not be based solely on personal ability to make things happen. Our expectations, our hope should be placed in God.

Going back to Harvey’s statement, we of course do not know what our future holds. However, we know someone who does! Furthermore, he (God) is able to cause all things we may encounter (the good, the bad and the ugly), to work together for our benefit.

My soul, wait silently for God alone,

For my expectation is from Him.

(Psalm 62:5 NKJV)

Life happens!

On our journey towards success, towards fulfilling our destiny, we will undoubtedly face unexpected twists and turns, deviations, even derailment from the path we plan to pursue.

Only our omniscient Father-God, is capable of ensuring we arrive safe and triumphant at our journey’s end. So be expectant dear reader and trust him.

Purpose-driven believers and expectant dream-achievers, I wish you bon voyage!

 

Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

 

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Did you enjoy reading this post? Why not share your response in the comment box below? I look forward to hearing from you.

 

CREDIT: CC0 Image – Pixabay.com 

Subscribe to Your Successful Self

 

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  If you’d like to join in, please check out this link for further details.

 

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My Thinking Corner

(NB: Lady Cee aims to participate in this blog challenge on alternate Tuesdays)

 

In today’s session, I’d like to look at what Dorothy Rowe, a leading psychologist, refers to as the ‘Successful Self’.

The blurb on her book of the same title, begins as follows:

Is it possible to be truly successful as a person? Or must we, as most of us do, continue to live our lives feeling in some way trapped and oppressed, frustrated, irritable, haunted by worries and regrets, creating misery for ourselves and others?

Today, I will be sharing several statements made within Rowe’s book, which I hope will provide food for thought, encourage self-evaluation and inspire self-improvement.

  • Real success, that success which does not turn eventually into emptiness and lonely bitterness, is based upon the creation of the Successful Self. Such a creation is possible for all of us.

 

  • A Successful Self is not a state of being which once achieved is ours forever. It is always a mode of being and becoming, a journey of continual discovery.

 

  • The Successful Self feels valuable, self-accepting and self-confident.

 

  • Success makes our self-confidence expand. Failure makes our self-confidence shrivel.

 

  • The Successful Self has created a life story without the gaps and inconsistencies which inhibit and cripple, and which goes forward in courage and hope.

 

I have deliberately not elaborated on the above statements because my aim today is for you dear reader to do the thinking, to consider the above statements in relation to your own life, to decide whether you agree or disagree, to explore Rowe’s rationale further if need be and determine how you will use the above information.

Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

 

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Dorothy Rowe’s book may be purchased at Amazon (follow the link):

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dorothy+rowe+the+successful+self

CREDIT: CC0 Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Did you find this post useful? Why not share your response in the comment box below? I look forward to hearing from you.

Blog Event: Lady Cee’s 4Ws and 1H

 

LADY CEE’S 4Ws & 1H Blog Challenge

(Challenge open Monday 15 May 2017 to Tuesday 30 May 2017)

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Welcome to my debut blog event. I hope you will come and support me by joining in with this challenge.

 

The Challenge:

I have based my challenge on a journalism reporting technique known as the 5Ws and 1H. If you are not familiar with this and I have piqued your interest you can check out the following link: https://www.thoughtco.com/journalists-questions-5-ws-and-h-1691205

You will note that I’ve adapted this slightly for my challenge, hence the 4Ws (Who, What, Where, Why) and 1H (How).

 

How to take part:

Answer the following questions:

  1. Who would you like to be for a day?
  2. What flower or plant do you think represents your personality?
  3. Where would you go on holiday if money were no object?
  4. Why did you become a blogger?
  5. How do you measure personal success and have you, or are you on your way to achieving this?

You can write a post linking back to my challenge post here (remember to give the post link – not your blog’s URL), or you can enter by answering the questions directly into a comment box below. The challenge will remain open until Tuesday 30 May 2017.

Re-blogging of this post is not a requirement but would be appreciated.

Please use the tag: Lady Cee’s 4Ws-1H so we can find each other in the WordPress Reader. If you’d like to share this challenge with your social media contacts then please use the hashtag #4Ws-1H.

Please also show some love and support by visiting participants and leaving a comment (non-negotiable) as well as your ‘Like’. At the very least visit the neighbours on either side of your entry or pingback.

Have fun!

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And now for my answers:

 

Who would you like to be for a day?

A fine chocolate connoisseur and taster. Any longer and I’ll probably feel sick, or go off chocolate altogether!

 

What flower or plant do you think represents your personality?

One of those sensitive plants that closes if you touch it (No. Not the Venus fly trap!). I looked it up and found the plant is called Mimosa pudica. It has beautiful pink flowers which remind me of the Callistamen.

I chose this plant because I’m a very private individual. Because past experiences of betrayal and mistreatment have made me wary and self-protective.

Since checking it out on YouTube I understand the Mimosa pudica is also called the prayer plant, so I think this reflects me well!

In case you are unfamiliar with this fascinating plant and are interested in seeing what it looks like and how it responds to touch, I’ve inserted a short video below.

 

Where would you go on holiday if money were no object?

Any exotic island with fabulous weather, stunning scenery and colourful flora would do.

Perhaps Richard Branston’s Nekkar Island?

 

Why did you become a blogger?

For two (actually three) reasons.

  • I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a writer
  • I wanted to start doing something with regards to a motivational ministry for women
  • I wanted to build a loyal readership as a potential market for a self-published book.

 

How do you measure personal success and have you, or are you on your way to achieving this?

In a nutshell, success for me on a day-to-day level is making the most of the time and talents I’ve been given.

It means having an ongoing, meaningful relationship with God that brings him pleasure and gives me confidence. I’d like to be known as a woman of godly influence and I’m also aiming to become a writer and self-published author (par excellence).

It’s taking an awfully long time and there are still days when I play the procrastination game but, I believe I’m gradually getting there.

 

Thank you for visiting and reading and I hope you will support me by taking part.

Participants:  (please visit and support them with a comment/like)

 

Embeecee

http://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2017/05/16/new-b-c-in-town/

 

 

Julz

https://juliepowell2014.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/lady-cees-whats-your-story

 

 

MAIN FEATURED IMAGE: courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

 

 

The ‘S’ Word

 

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  If you’d like to join in, please check out this link for further details.

 

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My Thinking Corner

(NB: Lady Cee aims to participate in this blog challenge on alternate Tuesdays)

 

 

Today, I’d like to focus our thoughts on the concept of SURRENDER.

Whenever I think of this word two images spring to mind.

 

  • A wrestling match where one wrestler has the upper hand and is mean, standing (even jumping) without mercy upon an area of his opponent’s anatomy and causing pain until said opponent cries out or signals “I surrender!”

 

  • A war situation where the battle is one-sided and a member of the losing side runs out hands in the air, or waving a white flag signalling complete surrender.

 

In today’s culture no one wants to surrender to another person. It speaks of weakness, or categorises us as losers and in some situations, it can even make us the victim.

However, the SURRENDER I wish to focus on today relates to our relationship with God, as purpose-driven believers and achievers. It is a surrender made because of love, not through fear. It is a surrender that completes us as children of God, rather than diminishes us as human beings.

The following are some thoughts gleaned from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Everybody eventually surrenders to something or to someone. If not to God, you will surrender to the opinions or expectations of others, to money, to resentment, to fear, or to your own pride, lusts or ego.

Rick Warren

 

So let’s turn now and examine this concept – what does surrender to our Father-God look like?

Trust:

Trust is an essential ingredient to surrender. You won’t surrender to God unless you trust him, but you can’t trust him until you know him better.

Rick Warren

How well do you know God? Are you seeking to know him better?

 

Understanding

Do you understand what true surrender is?

It is not passive resignation, an attitude of fatalism, or an excuse for being lazy.

It is not becoming a doormat or exhibiting cowardly behaviour.

It is not forsaking rational thinking.

 

Godly surrender is:

Our heartfelt response to God’s unconditional love and mercy.

Our sacrificial dedication of our lives in wholehearted worship and spiritual service.

Our yielding complete control of our lives into his care.

 

Warren tells us in no uncertain terms that:

…surrendering is never just a one-time event… There is a moment of surrender, and there is the practice of surrender, which is moment by moment and lifelong.

 

For Further Thought:

…the greatest hindrance to God’s blessing in your life is not others, it is yourself—your self-will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfil God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.

(Rick Warren)

Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

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Did you enjoy reading this post? Why not share your response in the comment box below and consider sharing it with your social media network(s)?

My sincere thanks in anticipation!

 

Six Word Story Challenge: LEAVE

 

 

Attention Readers/Writers!

 

Nicola Auckland of Sometimes Stellar Storyteller hosts a weekly micro-fiction writing challenge.

If you’d like to join me and take part in her challenge, this is what you need to do:

Write a whole story in six words (or less) inspired by the prompt. It doesn’t have to include the prompt word unless you want it to. Post your entry in a comment box at Nicola’s blog site. Only one entry per person is allowed.

Note: Links to a blog post will not be counted as an entry.

For full challenge details go to: https://nicolaauckland.com/2017/04/22/six-word-story-challenge-leave/

Need inspiration, or want tips on how to write micro fiction? Visit: https://nicolaauckland.com/2016/09/12/how-to-write-the-best-six-word-stories/

The challenge winner will be the story with the most votes. Again, visit Nicola’s site for details of the separate poll and to cast your vote.

 

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SIX WORD STORY CHALLENGE (open Saturday 22nd April 2017 – Thursday 27th April 2017)

 

This week’s challenge prompt is:

LEAVE

 

And this is my attempt:

Betrayal. Shattered soul stood firm: “Leave!”

 

 

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Six Word Story Challenge: OUTCAST

Hello folks,

I’ve decided to take part in a micro-fiction writing challenge hosted by Nicola Auckland of Sometimes Stellar Storyteller

I know there are quite a few writers out there, so if you’d like to join me and take part in her challenge, this is what you need to do:

Write a whole story in six words inspired by the prompt. It doesn’t have to include the prompt word unless you want it to. Post your entry in a comment box of the challenge post at Nicola’s blog site. Only one entry per person is allowed.

Note: A link to a blog post will not be counted as an entry.

If you require further information or want to read the full challenge rules please visit Nicola’s site (see link above).

The challenge winner will be the story with the most votes. Again, visit Nicola’s site for details of the separate poll and to cast your vote.

 

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Challenge open Saturday 15th April 2017 – Thursday 20th April 2017

 

This week’s challenge prompt is:

OUTCAST

 

And this is my story:

One-eyed hunchback turned down my proposal!

 

 

 

From Slavery to Celebrity!

 

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  If you’d like to join in, please check out this link for further details.

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My Thinking Corner

(NB: Lady Cee aims to participate in this blog challenge on alternate Tuesdays)

CC0 Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Last year during one of my devotional readings, I came across the name of George Washington Carver. I vaguely recognised the name but didn’t really know who he was. In fact, to be honest, I had confused him with George Washington, first president of the USA!

Now from my devotional reading, I learned that Carver had become famous for growing peanuts and discovering hundreds of ways to use them, that he’d been invited to Washington DC to appear before a congressional committee and share the secret of his success. Now this is what he told them:

“God created the peanut. So I just asked Him to tell me what could be done with it, and He showed me!”

Isn’t that amazing?

And so today, whilst wondering what I should share today, I decided to look up this man to see who he was. I was so surprised to learn that he’d been born a slave. If you are interested in learning more about this fascinating man then click here:

 

 

And so today’s theme is: POTENTIAL.

Carver developed both his potential as a human being with the lowest start in life imaginable, as well as the potential of the peanut.

He definitely enters my personal hall of fame for successful dream achievers and to me, he is an excellent and most eminent example of a purpose-driven believer. As such, I’m proud and honoured to share the following thoughts mined from this highly creative genius.

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It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.

 

Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.

 

No individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.

 

There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything.

 

When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.

 

Where there is no vision, there is no hope.

George Washington Carver

Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

 

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Did you enjoy reading this post? Why not share your response in the comment box below and consider sharing it with your blogging friends and social media network(s)?

Many thanks in anticipation!

 

God’s Unfathomable Mercy

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  If you’d like to join in, please check out this link for further details. (Unfortunately, Lady Cee only has capacity to participate in this blog challenge on alternate Tuesdays).

 

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My Thinking Corner

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Have you ever been so mistreated that you began to wonder whether somehow you did something to deserve it?

Perhaps the Enemy has pointed to past mistakes or sins in your life and sowed the thought in your mind that you are merely reaping your just deserts. Or perhaps you feel that past peccadilloes do not justify the kind of backlash, which seems to have been unleashed in your life.

Whatever the case may be, can I point out something to you dear reader? To do so, let me take you first to God’s Word, which is (or should be) the ultimate authority in your life.

I refer to that scripture which says:

He (God) has not dealt with us according to our sins,

Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,

So great is His mercy towards those who fear Him;

As far as the east is from the west,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

(Psalm 103:10-12 NKJV)

Next let me share a verse from a poem by Russell Kelfer. It goes like this:

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.

And God wept that it hurt you so;

But it was allowed to shape your heart

So that into His likeness you’d grow.

With the above in mind, I’d like to encourage those to whom the words of this post may apply.

  • Don’t accept the lies of the devil by embracing and dwelling upon them.
  • Don’t allow those who set themselves against you or the circumstances that conspire to defeat you, to rob you of your peace of mind, joie de vivre, or hope for your future.

Purpose-driven believers, revel in God’s grace and mercy. Bask in the sunshine of his unconditional love. And have a blessed and productive week!

 

3 Tips For Making Successful Life-changes

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  If you’d like to join in, please check out this link for further details. (Unfortunately, Lady Cee only has capacity to participate in this blog challenge on alternate Tuesdays).

 

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My Thinking Corner

 

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Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

 

It’s a new year and with it comes the promise of new opportunities. With it comes new hope for old dreams and even enthusiasm for new ones. At least that’s how I feel. How about you?

Now I’m aware from talking to others and from articles read on the subject of self-motivation and pursuing personal goals that some people, disheartened by past failures, have given up completely and do not even attempt to make new resolutions, or New Year goals.

If you belong to that category of “no-hopers’ and have laid aside your ambitions, or if like me, you are refusing to give up on your dreams and are choosing to set out on that path of optimism once again, I hope the following thoughts and suggestions will encourage, perhaps even inspire you.

 

1.  EAT MODERATELY

It’s easy when you are feeling excited and self-motivated to try and saturate yourself in as much knowledge as possible. So you buy a book, research appropriate resources online, perhaps seek out a mentor. But this can lead to information overload, to mental and emotional indigestion.

When it comes to making life changes, or pursuing dreams, you will most probably need to seek out information. But in your enthusiasm, or haste to get from A to B quickly, you can overdo it.

Have you ever been unwell, gone on a diet or a fast? Do you remember your stomach shrinking from not eating your customary amount of food? Think of your desire to cram in as much information, as quickly as possible, as being much like you gorging lots of rich food after a period of fasting. It makes you feel uncomfortable, perhaps even sick.

The trick is to consume the information you need in digestible portions. The trick is to make small demands upon yourself. Take small steps daily, rather than trying to make significant changes overnight. Think elephant – the way to eat one is by taking small bites at a time!

 

2.  EXERCISE GENTLY

Have you ever been unfit?

I can recall a time when I suffered from a chronic back problem. Even my normal walking pace was significantly affected. I’d set off down the road and people seemed to zoom past me, even though they weren’t walking particularly fast. School children reluctant to get where they were going and even elderly folk, managed to disappear in the distance, whilst I struggled to put one foot in front of the other. I had to be patient with myself and determined. Thankfully, over time, I regained my fitness.

Pursuing goals, achieving your dreams, requires you to exercise your life-changing muscles regularly. Just as you wouldn’t just pick up a set of heavy weights and try to lift them the first day or week you visit a gym, exercise those life-changing muscles slowly and gently. When it comes to pursuing your dreams, start out with small changes, then increase efforts, once your capacity to deal with more, enlarges.

 

3.  EXCISE RUTHLESSLY

Become your own personal development surgeon.

You know yourself better than anyone else. Which cankerous areas of your life do you need to remove? Cut out those excuses (no time, no money, no skills). Remove time-wasting activities and if need be, sacrifice the odd leisure pursuit in order to make more time for learning, or practising, or working on your project.

Above all, ruthlessly sever wrong thinking! Replace negative thoughts (I can’t do this, I’ll never master that, I’m not intelligent enough), with life-enhancing meditations. Renew your mind with the Word of God. Adopt a pertinent motivational quote as your mantra for a week, a month, even the entire year.

 

Before I close this thinking session, let me leave you with a quote from Carole Gaskell, life-coach and author of Your Pocket Life Coach:

We are all capable of making changes in our lives, the secret is to break things down into SMALL STEPS – tiny steps in fact – and spend a few minutes EVERY DAY taking action. Little and often is one of the fundamental secrets to successful transformation.

 

Purpose-driven believers and aspiring dream-achievers – we can do it! Have a blessed and victorious week.

 

CREDIT: The above CCO image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com 

Please share your response to this post in the comment box below.  If you enjoyed reading, don’t hesitate to like, comment on and share this post with your social media network. Many thanks in anticipation!

 

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Purpose-Driven Achiever’s Top 10 Posts

 

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Hello lovely readers, faithful followers and new visitors – I wish you God’s very best for 2017 – may your endeavours be fruitful, your goals accomplished, and your journey toward success, prosperous.

As many of you who have followed me for some time will know, this blog aims to encourage you to walk with God, as a dream-achiever and purpose-driven believer, rather than being driven by impure motives or a negative mindset.

I am aware that I have acquired some new followers during my absences last year. And so this post has been written especially with you in mind. Apologies, if I have not managed to get around to acknowledging your follows.

When I first began blogging, I used to receive notifications for every follow. For a little while now however, I’ve noticed that I’m not always advised when this is the case. I realise I’ve had a few blogging breaks, so perhaps the WordPress process changed whilst I was away, since on quite a few occasions, it is only when I’ve been looking at my stats that I notice the names of new members joining the community of purpose-driven achievers.

So, old and new followers and other visitors, thank you for honouring me with your time, for reading and responding to my posts. It is greatly appreciated and gratefully received. Bless you!

New followers, you may wish to read some of my popular posts of last year, whilst old followers, you may find it useful to re-acquaint yourself with these. I’m always amazed at how quickly we can forget what we’ve read, even when they’ve touched our hearts, or made an impact upon us in some way.

And so without further ado, let me give you my top ten posts from 2016. I’ve divided these into two sections – those which received the most views and those which received the most likes. Where there are two posts that have received equal top views or likes, I have listed both. And I’m pleased to say that a few of the posts have made it to both lists. Happy reading!

 

Posts Which Received Top Views

1.  Paradise Lost or Regained?

A personal invitation to agnostics and atheists, curious seekers, spiritual outsiders and lost sheep. Will you accept?

and

Quit Comparing

Aspiring writers, bloggers, success hounds – give yourself a break!

      2.  Satan’s Suicidal Mission

A WordPress Daily Prompt exercise – Mr Diablo comes a cropper! Read all about it!

3.  Charisma or Character?

Which leadership trait attracts you? Which do you believe to be more valuable on your journey to success?

4.  Secrets of Success

Success keys shared by someone who knows! In my eyes, Oprah Winfrey epitomises phenomenal achievement and success. Interested in learning her secrets? Read and listen to this post to unlock them.

5.  Lady Cee’s Thoughts on Integrity

Do you have a set of moral values? Do you keep them at all costs, or do they get in the way of your pursuits for success?

and

Effective Communication

Most of us are guilty of being distracted whilst talking to others, of not really listening. Here are 7 keys to improving your communication skills.

 

Posts Which Received Most Likes

1.  Quit Comparing

See Top Views above for blurb details

2.  Satan’s Suicidal Mission

Again, please see Top Views above for blurb details

and

Give God Your All

If you’ve committed your life into Christ’s keeping and control, has your commitment waned over time? True success requires an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to pursuing your God-given destiny.

3.  A Stark Contrast

Another WordPress Daily Prompt exercise – Lady Cee measures herself against the incomparable Christ. The result? Click the above link to find out!

4.  Paradise Lost or Regained?

Once again, please see Top Views above for blurb details

and

What is Your Life Metaphor?

Did you know that your life metaphor determines your outlook and dictates your actions? Click the above link to learn more.

5.  A Debt of Gratitude

I am sure many of you are familiar with the saying: “it takes a village to raise a child”. I’d like to use that same concept and say: it takes a team, or a partnership to achieve success, to fulfil your destiny. Do you appreciate your destiny-helpers? Have you thanked them? And do you thank God for those individuals who’ve made quality investments in your life?

and

Five Years Ago

This Blog Challenge post shares personal ramblings and reflections on my creative pursuits: writing, journaling and gardening.

 

As always, I invite you dear readers to connect with me by sharing your response in the comment box below. Do you have a favourite post from the above selection? If the post you liked most doesn’t feature above, then please let me and the PDA community know which one you preferred. Many thanks in anticipation.

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, have a blessed and productive week!

 

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Food! Comforting Food!

BLOG CHALLENGE

(for details on how to participate click on above link)

Yes, it is day 27 of Lifewithgraceandbeauty.com’s Blog Challenge. Since, I’ve not been able to post daily, I’m taking my pick from the prompts I’ve missed. Today’s post relates to Day 15 of the challenge. And so, without further ado…

 

Prompt Fifteen | Comfort Food of Choice

Feeling a little down?  The changing of the seasons has you a bit under the weather?  Don’t feel like being social today?  At some point in our life we need comfort.  And while there are plenty of different ways to be comforted, a common theme we can all agree on is comfort food!  What do you like to eat when you’re sick, feeling a little down, or just whenever you’re in need of some yummy goodness?

 

Comfort Food.

For me it conjures up a picture of warmth, homeliness and love.

What form will it take? A bowl of steaming soup? A plate of fattening carbohydrates? Or a dish of ice cream?

I believe many of us are familiar with the TV scenario where girl gets dumped by her boyfriend, or discovers her man and best friend have betrayed her. And so to what does she turn for comfort? A tub of ice cream!

Not me! Ice cream for me is a pleasure. A way of pampering myself—so no way do I want to associate it with unhappy times. And if  I’m seeking comfort from my food because of inhospitable weather, then frozen dessert is so not the way to go!

Now when the weather is cold and hostile outside, I need nutritional enrichment inside. I need an affectionate bear hug from my food. I therefore turn to shepherd’s pie with its comforting moreish layers of minced lamb, cheese sauce, creamy, rich and buttery mash with a generous topping of melting grated cheese, or alternatively, a good old-fashioned home-made soup with its hot, tasty, West-Indian style seasoned stock, jam-packed with generous portions of Irish or sweet potatoes, yam, green bananas, dumplings, meat and/or blended beans. Hmmm!

So scat winter blues! Your frosty face is certainly not welcome here!

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PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.mumsnet.com/uploads/recipes/201311/medium-3-1170-shepherdspie.jpg

 

What’s In A Name?

BLOG CHALLENGE

Do you want to participate? Please visit  our blog challenge host for further details:

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PROMPT 20:   How did you choose your blog’s name?

What’s in a name?

Before we all hit that “create blog” button, we had to come up with a name – something to identify us amongst the millions of other blogs out there.  How did you decide on your blog name?  What did it take for you to finally decide this was the one?

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Another great prompt question from lifewithgraceandbeauty.com on this 30-day blog challenge. I’ve not been able to participate for a few days, so am re-joining participants today.

Those of you who have been following me for a while will be aware that I own two blogs. In addition to this one (A Purpose-driven achiever), I also created Women of Warfare! 

 

Blog 1: Women of Warfare!

I knew what the name of this blog would be before I created it. For a long time, I’d felt a desire to reach out to marginalised, or wounded women and encourage them. As someone who’d endured a perpetual cycle of negative circumstances and despaired of things ever changing for the better, I could relate to those who saw themselves as helpless victims. Yet deep down within me there was a fighter who could not accept that this was to be my lot in life. As a born-again believer, I knew this should not be so. I knew Christ’s cruel death had purchased an abundant and victorious life for me, which I wasn’t experiencing and I didn’t like feeling short-changed!

Now since I’d been a Christian long enough to know that God uses your experiences to strengthen you, so that you in turn can strengthen others, I believed God wanted me to reach out to other women whom Satan had hoodwinked into thinking they could not escape the negative course in which their lives were entrenched.

I realised that deliverance from a victim mind-set requires warfare against the Enemy. I envisaged a group of women who could (and would) turn their lives around through prayer, through spiritual warfare, and whom I knew my Father God wanted to transform from victims into victors—hence the name Women of Warfare!

I particularly liked that the name evoked an image of strong warrior-like women, who would not allow themselves to be brow-beaten and deceived by the Enemy. I also liked that the abbreviated form of this name (WoW!) spoke of admiration, amazement and impressive wonder. I had a vision of an army of women, who not only learn to walk as victorious overcomers but use their prowess as spiritual warriors for the benefit of their family members and loved ones, or any situation that touches their hearts.

 

Blog 2: A Purpose-driven Achiever

This name is a compromise on the name I originally wanted because it (Purpose-driven Woman) and other permutations had already been taken. I went through a couple of name changes before finally settling on this one. I’m so glad now that my original name was not available. I think this one has a positive ring about it. I believe it speaks of both aspiration and accomplishment and I believe it is more in keeping with the type of woman I desire to be.

The name is part inspired by Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-driven Life, and part a reflection of my desire to glorify God as a purpose-driven believer, whose life is focused, fruitful and successful in terms of pursuing my pre-ordained destiny.

 

Netflix? I’ve No Need!

BLOG CHALLENGE

(for details on how to participate please visit lifewithgraceandbeauty.com)

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PROMPT 9:         Favorite Netflix-a-thon Show

One of America’s favorite pastime is watching T.V. There are plenty of tv shows to get hooked on. Some shows you can watch over and over and over again. With streaming like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, there’s always something on TV!

…So tell me, what are your favorite Netflix-a-thon shows? What shows are you currently obsessed with? What’s something you have watched so many times you can quote entire episodes?

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Shock! Horror! I don’t subscribe to Netflix. So, am I missing out?

I did subscribe to Lovefilm and received 2 films of my choice each month. My last discs were from the Mad Men series, which I enjoyed. I originally subscribed to Lovefilm because my husband likes to watch wrestling and boxing (which I hate), so when he’s thus engaged, I use the time to have a Lady Cee’s self-indulgence evening.

Whilst hubby happily watches his sport on our TV downstairs, I used to go up to my study, or “ivory tower” (as dear hubbie likes to call it!), loaded with fancy popcorn, or savoury snacks and drinks and watch a rental on my apple mac computer with its 20inch screen. But not anymore! Oh No! Since acquiring a large screen TV, I refuse to slum it! So I wait until our TV becomes available, in order to enjoy my home cinematic experience.

Come to think of it, I’m due another session. You see, whenever I’ve achieved a goal (which I have recently), I like to reward myself and I’ve been saving my DVD War Room, for just such an occasion.

 

Favourite Movie Stars

filmgerdaltmann-pixabay-1328403_960_720My favourite movie stars are Denzel Washington, Penelope de Cruz and Kirsten Scott Thomas.

I love the Bond films (particularly those starring Daniel Craig) and enjoy Mission Impossible movies with Tom Cruise. I also have a liking for romantic dramas and am developing a taste for Tyler Perry films.

Moving now to my TV diet, I can reveal that this consists of the following:

 

Aspirational Programmes

I just can’t get enough of A Place in the Sun, Escape to the Country and Location, Location, Location (in that order). Perhaps one day fortune will smile upon us (hubbie and I) and we’ll be able to afford a holiday home abroad, or retire somewhere hot and exotic. If not, then a move to the country will be the next best thing—God willing of course!

 

Comedy Flicks

Next to Friends (which no longer airs – however, I do have my DVD box set of all 10 seasons), I’m addicted to Everybody Loves Raymond and Frasier.

Kelsey Grammar stars in another series BOSS, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The character he plays here could not be more different from dear old Frasier. Talk about chalk and cheese! I think it’s an absolute shame that the series didn’t continue beyond Season 2 and that viewers have been unceremoniously left hanging, wondering how the ruthless mayor, Tom Kane, will fare. Most unsatisfactory and most inconsiderate! And if you know who the hell’s responsible dear reader, please tell him/her/them that I said so!

And because I’ve mentioned BOSS, I can’t leave out Scandinavian crime drama The Killing. Absolutely ace!

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Cookery Shows

Don’t get me started on these. I just love, love, love ’em. My favourites are MasterChef (both professionals and celebrities) and anything with Nigella Lawson, Barefoot Contessa, or Jamie Oliver. I usually intend to try out some of the mouth-watering recipes I see demonstrated, however, I very rarely do.

I also enjoy Come Dine With Me, which nicely combines cookery (albeit by amateurs), with an opportunity to have a look into other people’s homes and lifestyles. What’s not to like?!

 

Spiritual Line-ups:

And for dynamic, motivational messages to stir my faith and add zest to my spiritual walk, I like to watch the inimitable T D Jakes (on YouTube) and the fabulous Pastor Michael White (at TBN UK).

Netflix for my film and TV fix? Not necessary dear friends – I think I’m managing quite nicely without it!

 

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PHOTO CREDITS: All the above photographs are CC0 Images – courtesy of Gerd Altmann at Pixabay.com

Did you enjoy reading this post? Your comments, likes, ratings and shares are most welcome, for which I thank you in anticipation. 

My Leisure Time Pursuits

BLOG CHALLENGE

(for details on how to participate please visit: Life with Grace and Beauty)

 

 

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Prompt 8: 5 THINGS TO PASS THE TIME

We all need a break every now and again.  Whether it’s from studying, working, to escape from reality or to cure boredom.  What do you do to break up the mundane tasks in your life? Do you play a game, check your Facebook or Twitter account, or check the news? What are five things you do to pass the time?

 

Spare time!

For the past two-and-a-half months, I am beginning once again to enjoy the luxury of this thing they call spare time. Oh the joy of being able to get out of bed when I feel like it on a Saturday morning, to know that the entire day stretches ahead of me and it is mine, completely mine. All those glorious hours from 7am to 11pm are mine!

Don’t get me wrong – I am not a lazy bones. I don’t spend hours in bed just for the sake of it. In fact I don’t spend hours in bed period (unless I’m not well). That’s just not me.

The thing is, because I am now in the unique position of being able to spend all that time to myself and on myself, I feel I have to use it wisely. I feel I should not squander it. So when scriptures come to mind, such as Ephesians 5:16 about “redeeming the time” and because I know I’ve been guilty of wasting precious time in the past (periods spent in pity-party mode), I feel I need to make up for the time I’ve lost, by using my spare time working on quality activities.

Unfortunately, there is quite often a BIG gap between what I feel I ought to be doing with my spare time and what I actually do.

The following are my spare-time activities:

Reading

This is most definitely my number one activity and takes up a significant portion of my spare time. I love to read. However, I don’t read as much as I used to when I was a child and teenager. I recall one of my secondary teachers (Ms Harding) encouraging our class to read more. In order to motivate us (or check that we were actually doing what she asked), we had to record the title of the book we’d finished reading against our names in a special book she’d set aside for the purpose. Each pupil was given a page to themselves and I remember needing more than 1 page for my name, because I’d read so many books. I remember feeling exceedingly proud that by the end of that year, I’d read over 100 books.

biblereadingpixabay-896220_960_720So, as I was saying, I like to read. I’m currently on a sabbatical but when I am working, I read during my commute. In the mornings (unless I’m in the middle of a gripping fiction book), I normally read the Word of God. I try to read the Bible from cover to cover within the year. So far, I’ve only managed to do so maybe twice. Every time I start with the best of intentions but somewhere around Deuteronomy or Numbers, I lose momentum.

This year, I’m pretty pleased with myself. I set myself a target of at least 5 chapters per day. And although I’ve not always managed to keep to that target, I have progressed beyond the usual drop-out position. Today, I read 4 of the minor prophet books (Nahum to Haggai) comprising 11 chapters. As each of the books were fairly short, I thought I’d capitalise and try to catch-up. Granted, it’s now unlikely that I’ll complete the entire Bible by the end of this year but at least I’ve already achieved the satisfaction of moving way beyond those early books at which I normally get stuck. Hooray! Hoorah!

My evening commute is usually spent reading either a fiction or motivational book. I’ve now started to read for an hour or so in the evenings, rather than watch TV.

This year I set myself a target of reading at least 15 books (in addition to the 66 books of the Bible). To date I’ve read:

Fiction:

Waiting For An Angel – Helon Habila

Beach Café – Lucy Diamond

Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

Liar – Nora Roberts

Every Day, Every Hour – Nataša Dragnić

Rogue Lawyer­ – John Grisham

Non-Fiction:

23 Steps to Success And Achievement – R. J. Lumsden (a re-read)

Success Motivation – Charles Capps

Outliers – The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell

Short Story Writing – Dilys Gater

The Positive Woman – Gael Lindenfield

Positioning Your Family For Greatness ­– Bola Ogundeji

Appointment With God – The Navigators (a re-read)

And I’m currently reading: Destined For The Throne – Paul E. Billheimer and Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee.

Writing

I believe my best time for writing is first thing in the morning, so before I go into work, I like to get in 15-20mins of practice (either an exercise or journaling). At the weekends, I’m more likely to stretch the time from between 20mins to an hour or so.

And of course I write posts for my two blogs Purpose-driven Achiever and Women of Warfare!

I’m a slow writer and I’m obsessive about making sure my posts are as perfect as they can be in terms of readability, comprehension, grammar, presentation and clearly getting across what I have to say. Often when I’ve uploaded my prepared text into WordPress Admin, I’m presented with all sorts of problems from the themes I use. They often re-arrange my layout and refuse to toe the line regarding how I want the text to be laid out. Numbered paragraphs, bullet points and line spacing are a particular nightmare.

Why can’t they be as amenable and co-operative as the Word documents my posts were originally created in? Why do they (the themes) keep exercising their own minds and doing their own thing? Why don’t they recognise that I’m supposed to be the boss? I can end up spending a frustrating amount of time trying to format each post  in the way I want it to look. I don’t always manage it, perhaps because I am not IT literate. I try my best nevertheless but feel mega-guilty about all the time spent on just 1 post. Oh someone please deliver me from my perfectionist bent!

Other Leisure Activities:

Cinema/Theatre/TV

remotecontrolpixabay-825597__340To completely unwind, I like to watch my DVD box set Friends. I’ve probably watched the entire set of 10 seasons (20 discs in total) around half-a-dozen times already, if not more. I love them. They are so funny and I find this is just what I need after a long tiring day, or to get me out of “pity-party” mode.

My husband loves watching action films, so provided they’re not too violent, I’ll watch a movie with him at home, or we’ll go to the cinema. He in turn panders to my tastes and will treat me now and again to a theatre trip.

Hospitality

I do love to cook and entertain but these days my hospitality is confined to having family members over about 2-3 times per year.

Shopping

When I’m in the mood I’ll go shopping, sometimes for necessities like clothes or new shoes but mostly for home accessories and furnishings. I’m into home make-over shows and these often inspire me.

And so here endeth my epistle on how I spendeth my spare time. Wow! When I began writing this, I didn’t even think I had that much to say!

 

QUESTION:

Did anything in this post resonate with you? How do you like to spend your spare time? Please share your response in the Comment box below and your likes, ratings and shares will also be most appreciated. Thank you for reading.

PHOTO CREDITS: the CC0 images used in this post are from Pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Path Of “Adulting”

BLOG CHALLENGE

(for details visit: Life with Grace and Beauty)

 

Prompt Seven | When You Finally Started “Adulting”

Oh to be a kid again!  Except now we’re adults with careers, responsibilities, and other grown-up business.  When did you finally start “adulting”?  What moment marked your transition to adulthood?  What makes you feel like an adult?

 

Child or Adult Mode?
Child or Adult Mode?

 

I remember when I turned 18 years old. I thought “Yes! I have the key to the door”. And then when I turned 21 years old, I thought “Oh Yes. I’m a true adult now”. At 18yrs and 21yrs, I may have been viewed as an adult legally but in reality I was still quite innocent and naïve. Decades later, am I any more adult than I was then? Not absolutely sure!

Of course since receiving that golden key to the door of adulthood, I’ve clocked up significantly more years of life experience—but does that make me an adult in the true sense of the word?

Maya Angelou made the following interesting observation:

I am convinced that most people do not grow up…We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias. ― Maya Angelou

I think she makes a valid point.

Psychologist and author, Robert Firestone Ph.D also seems to support Angelou’s statement. He says:

Most people are unaware that they are conducting their lives more from a child’s frame of reference than in an adult mode. Although men and women mature physically and become more capable in their practical lives, rarely do they achieve emotional maturity.

Oh dear! Perhaps “adulting” and adulthood are two different things. I will however, treat the two terms as interchangeable throughout this post.

To be honest, I’ve never heard the word “adulting” before. Perhaps it is an Americanism. Or perhaps it is an original term coined by our blog challenger. Anyway, I’ll respond to her question according to what I think it means—i.e. those activities and behaviours, which mark ones transition from childhood dependency to adult independence.

I suppose securing my first full-time job was my first step upon the ladder of adulthood. Working 9-5 and earning a wage, made me feel as grown up as my parents. Most of my school friends decided to stay on at school but I was in a hurry to work and earn. I saw it as a definitive move through the door of independence. However, I was still living at home and I was expected to hand over my pay cheque, so the feeling of independence was incomplete.

Moving out of the family home, having to pay rent, buy food and plan meals allowed me to put my foot on the second rung of adulthood. Unfortunately, irresponsibility with money matters meant I found myself in debt and had to square up to the responsibility of dealing with debt collectors, pay back monies owed plus the exorbitant interest, plus still afford the daily costs of living, whilst trying to maintain an independent lifestyle.

That experience introduced me to another rung in the step ladder of adulthood—the discipline of delayed gratification. I promised never to get myself into that situation again. For years I kept that promise. However, when my husband and I moved into our new house, I couldn’t wait to see it furnished and styled the way I envisaged. So out came the credit cards! If my life could be likened to a game of snakes and ladders, I suppose at that point, any adulting ground I’d made was almost completely lost.

moroccodanielwanke-pixabay-1623127_960_720My most memorable step into adulthood occurred the first time I went abroad on holiday. I went with my best friend to Morocco and we had a whale of a time. We decided that we didn’t want to go to the usual places like France or Spain, and so chose an 18-30s holiday where the accommodation was in mud huts with thatched roofs, arranged in villages. It was called Camp Africa!

When we first planned this we were both so excited. But I recall my mum and an insurance man (who perhaps wasn’t very happy about me cashing in a policy to pay for the holiday), putting severe doubts in our minds about the safety and salubriousness of our country choice. As it turned out we need not have worried. We had a fantastic time and I can honestly say, it was one of the best holidays of my life.

keysilviafrankpixabay-1809636_960_720My next significant move up the ladder of adulting, came when I got married. Setting up a home with a husband and learning to live together, learning to say “we” instead of “I”, learning to consult instead of independently making my own decisions, learning to become a united two rather than a solitary one, were part and parcel of that ascent. I’d like to think that I’ve moved up several stages in the curriculum of covenant relationship and marital harmony but since marriage is a life-time education, I’m probably still some way off from achieving my certificate of distinction!

My latest rise up the ladder of adulthood came when my dear mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. For several years I had to effectively put my personal life on hold, in order to be there for her as a part-time carer, whilst still holding down a full-time job. And then this year my wonderful, supportive husband gave me leave to take a sabbatical from work in order to look after mum full-time, since I did not want her to go into a home. Sadly, my mother became quite ill and died in hospital in September this year. I wrote a post at my other blog called The Politics of Hope, sharing my thoughts and emotional struggles during this time, which you may be interested to read.

And so, it’s here that I now pause on the ladder of adulting, whilst I determine my next move, or wait for another chapter of life’s vicissitude to unfold . In terms of emotional maturity, I know I have a long way to go. But I do believe that even in this area of weakness there has been some discernible growth.

Thank you dear readers for listening. I appreciate you taking the time to hear me out and trust I did not bore you!

And should you want to know what Robert Firestone deems to be the hallmarks of true adulthood, you can read his article at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-experience/201306/six-aspects-being-adult

PHOTO CREDITS: All images used are courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Enjoying My Dream Vacation

BLOG CHALLENGE

 

Are you up for the challenge?
Are you up for the challenge?

 

This post relates to day 6 of this 30-day blog challenge (I know – I’m getting behind!). Anyway, do you want to join in?  If so, for details on how to participate please check out: https://lifewithgraceandbeauty.com/2016/11/17/blogging-goals-whos-up-for-the-challenge/

 

Blog challenge prompt:  DAY 6

All work and no play?  We all need time to relax and unwind.  What’s your favorite vacation spot?  Why is this your favorite place to unwind?  What is the best thing to do here?  Where’s the best place to eat here?

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CC0 Image – courtesy of Michelle Maria at Pixabay.com

 

There are some exquisite places within this world and I have been fortunate and extremely blessed, to have holidayed in just a few of these places.

But wherever I go, whether it be on a tropical island, or a country retreat in the British Isles, or even just in my own back garden (during such times when I couldn’t afford to take a holiday, or my sense of obligation prevented me from doing so), the favourite spot for me has to be the wonderful world of an author’s creative imagination. It has to be the world within a new fiction book.

You see, for me the ultimate in relaxation, in glorious, unashamed revelling at the complete and utter freedom to please myself, to relax and unwind, to not be dictated to by a clock, or monotonous routine, or other people’s demands—but to be able to lie back, or sit in a space where I can absorb the delicious, obliging rays of warm sunshine and enjoy the ambience of my surroundings—has just got to be the joy of reading a new story, of making the acquaintance of new characters, of engaging with the various twists and turns of my vacation buddies’ convoluted lives.

holidaybooks-unsplash-918521_960_720And so, as a measure of my appreciation to the author, and also as a measure of loyalty to these fictional friends, I ride the highs and lows of their joys and disappointments. I empathise with their pains, sorrows and failures. I exult in their achievements and success. Yes, as the plot unfolds, I’m absolutely angst-ing (ok, I admit it – I’ve just made up this word) alongside them. I’m rooting for, and celebrating with them.

In other words, dear reader, the joy of luxuriating in a magical world of creative words and literary phrases is my favourite vacation spot. And if you add to the mix, balmy weather, tasty food, thirst-quenching drinks and melt-in-the-mouth, more-ish ice-cream, then, believe me, I’m in seventh heaven!

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Dream-achievers, where and how do you like to unwind? Please share your response in the comment box below and, if you enjoyed reading this post, don’t hesitate to like, rate, or share it with your social network contacts. My sincere thanks in anticipation.

 

Early Memories

BLOG CHALLENGE

(to participate see link below)

 

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Are you up for the challenge?

 

 

Blog challenge – Day 4: Earliest memory

Tapping into your senses can help draw out memories.  What is your earliest memory? How old were you?  What happened?  Why do you think this is the earliest event in your life that you can remember?

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When I first read the thought expressed in the above illustration I did not agree. On reflection however, I believe it is true. Whilst we may not be able to remember some of our memories, I do not think they’ve been permanently erased from our memory banks. I believe they are filed somewhere within the vast reaches of our minds but we either do not know how to access them, or on some subconscious level, we do not choose to.

My early memories are incomplete. They are just fragments of different scenarios. I believe these early memories are from around 6-8 years, then there are a few later ones from when I was around 10-12ish, which is not really early I suppose.

My husband says he has clear recollections of when he was two years old. When he first told me this, I remember being utterly amazed because I can neither recall memories this early, nor so clearly. I had not realised it was even possible.

I understand some people can recall details from just a few months old and some even remember being born. And I hear some people even remember when they were swimming around in their mother’s womb! A-maz-ing!

So my memories are:

  • Walking up a very long path to the front door of my home. As I walked up the path, high flower borders or hedges flanked me on either side. I believe I was coming home from school but I seem to be on my own. Not sure that would have been correct, knowing my parents, who didn’t give me/us such independence and, considering my age (between 6 or 7?), coming home unaccompanied is most unlikely.

 

  • I have a recollection of me sitting in a class towards the end of the school day listening to the teacher at story time. I can recall the class sitting on chairs in a higgledy-piggledy fashion (we were not at desks) and the children in front of and around me listening intently to what the teacher was saying. I was distracted by a beautiful set of coloured pencils that were sticking out of a bag in front of me. 

 

  • Another vague recollection I have, is of me standing by or outside the gates of St. Mark’s School, looking into an empty playground. I may have been waiting to be collected. I don’t recall anyone else being with me. I believe it was the same school from the above scenario.

 

  • At a much later age (maybe around 8-11yrs), I recall having a disturbing nightmare repeatedly. It may not have occurred night after night but I believe I had this same nightmare approx. 4-6 times, if not more. I don’t recall specific details – just what the nightmare had been about.

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And that’s basically it. No real detail. In each of the above scenarios, I can’t recall what the weather was like, or what I was wearing. And apart from the story-time scenario, I don’t even remember whom I was with, or why I was there.  Have I repressed these and other early memories? Or are they sitting in a certain section of my brain which jealously guards and refuses to release my elusive early memories?

I did a little research and experts seem to differ in their theory about early memories. Some say that after a certain age children suffer from ‘childhood amnesia’. University psychologist Dr Patricia Bauer says: “…research is showing that infants do not have the sophisticated neural architecture needed to form and hold onto more complex forms of memory.” Others feel that some early memories may have been fabricated after children were shown pictures, slides or video and the material discussed.

 On reading various accounts of people’s early memories, I found it truly amazing that one person recalled being in the hospital and talking in baby language to a baby that was lying in the crib next to hers. She said they understood each other. That they had this language from inside their head.

I don’t doubt it. After all, God says that he knew us before we were even born (see Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-16). According to Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, we were in God’s heart, mind and pre-ordained plans before we arrived in this world. He  says:

Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you!

 I still find it absolutely amazing that some children can remember such early memories and in detail. When I do read or hear about such accounts, I wish that I were one of those children.

Purpose-driven believers, before I close, if there are any negative childhood memories, which you know are still impacting your life today, why not bring them before the Lord in prayer and ask him to heal you and set you free? Our Heavenly Father, is a God who both hears and answers prayer!

 

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 If you would like to explore the subject of early childhood memories a little further, you can check out the following links:

 To read interesting accounts of people’s early memories visit: http://myearliestmemory.tumblr.com/

To see graphic survey results of 135 children’s early memories go to: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-s-your-first-memory/

For more information regarding childhood amnesia, or childhood memory visit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_amnesia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_memory

 

Did you enjoy this post? Please let me know your response in the comment box below. Thank you.

I Blog Because…

Blog Challenge – Day 2

 

Hello Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers. I do hope you are joining me for the second day of this 30-day blog challenge. If you have no idea what I am talking about then let me invite you to visit this young lady’s site  for further details. You will learn everything you need to know, to participate.

 

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Are you up for the challenge?

 

Day 2 Question: Why did you decide to blog?

 

Can I let you into a secret?

It will take a little time, so grab yourself a coffee, settle down into your comfy chair and I’ll begin. All ears? Okay!

Once upon a time I had a dream. This dream was a long, long, long-held desire to be a writer. I couldn’t shake this urge, I couldn’t squash this hunger that demanded fulfilment.

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At the same time as cherishing this dream, I had distinct immobilising fears and uncertainties that kept getting in the way of my aspirations. I believe it all stemmed from an incident that occurred at secondary school. You see my English teacher had set the class some homework that I was mega-excited about. We were to write a short story! Furthermore, the best one would be read out to the class.

Well, as a proverbial book worm, I’d read hundreds of books and I just knew in my heart that I was going to deliver the best story. My competitive streak and my ego duly assured me that this was indeed going to be so!

I crafted my short story along similar lines to an Enid Blyton adventure. I hugged and hugged myself with a sense of deep satisfaction and excitement, waiting for the homework deadline, waiting for my story to be selected, my story to be read out and held up as an exemplary model. I know it’s a cliché but I waited until then with bated breath.

schoolgerdaltmann-pixabay-1063557_960_720So when my teacher read out another class-mate’s name and the title of his story, I literally could not believe my ears. Numb with shock and disbelief, as the story was read out, I became even more confused. The story was definitely inferior! Now, whilst I may not make such a claim out of sheer modesty, I certainly don’t say this from sour grapes, or out of malice.

When growing up, in order to teach us humility, my mother often used to say: “Self-praise is no recommendation!” However, dear reader, please believe me when I say that this so-called “best in the class story” was not in the same category as my own. Far from it!

Confusion and dismay roiled in my stomach. Our exercise books were handed back at the end of class and I hastened to see what mark I’d been given. There was no mark! Disappointment deflated me completely and the quiet confidence with which I’d arrived at class was now displaced by a queasy feeling. Why has Mr Williams not marked my story?

I approached him. I asked him.

His response stunned me: “I did not mark your exercise because I did not ask you to copy something from a book!”

Now at the time, I wasn’t familiar with the phrase but he was effectively denouncing me as a plagiarist! I protested. I denied his accusation. I assured him with utter conviction that I had not copied my story from any book. I had used my imagination and I’d made it up. However, I was waved away with contempt.

education-614155_960_720I walked away from that teacher dumbfounded. All sorts of silent accusations hurled themselves at and deafened me. Cheat! Liar! Shame shrouded me. Low self-esteem whimpered within me and abject misery consumed me.

By way of explanation for this nightmarish occurrence, I subsequently surmised why that teacher had so unjustly accused me. I began to have a suspicion, as to why he was not even prepared to give me the benefit of his doubts.

You see, black children are not meant to be proficient at reading, let alone have such a good command of the English language, as to be able to write a cracking good story. So how could I have written it? Thus goes my theory!

Now I didn’t come to this conclusion until years and years later—having suffered repeated episodes of racial prejudice, having had the benefit of hindsight. I surmised that this broad-framed, dark-haired and knock-kneed English teacher had most probably indulged in racial discrimination against me. To my mind, only an explanation along these lines, could account for his bizarre behaviour, since I knew in my heart and God (who knows all hearts), also knew I had written the offending story.

The rot however, had set in. I’d heard about “automatic-writing”. Had I been taken over by some being? (laugh). But no, I’m positive I’d written it. It was my thoughts, my ideas – wasn’t it?

It’s no wonder that over the many years since that fiasco, although I secretly entertained a dream to be a writer, my crippled ego, my crucified confidence just couldn’t rise to the occasion.

So now you know my secret dear reader. And that’s partly why I started blogging.

I believe God has given me a writing gift. I don’t want to be like the ungrateful servant, who hid his one talent in the ground. It’s perhaps conceivable that fear of once again being falsely accused, contributed to my years and decades of suppressing this ability. Who knows?

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I do know that I’m responsible for what God has entrusted to me. I do know that through the sands of time this gift within me may have withered from lack of use but somehow it has also absolutely refused to lay down and die. I do know that blogging provides me with wonderful opportunities to hone this talent, to use and share this treasured gift, speaking into the hearts and lives of others.

Blogging, has given me a new lease of life. Last year, when I started my blog, I committed it into my Father God’s hands along with my writing ability. And do you know, when I started using this gift, just as the protagonist had declared in Chariots of Fire, I sensed the pleasure of God?

I blog because I believe it will become a gateway to the fulfilment of other dreams. I blog because it allows me to write. Writing is my re-claimed passion and writing is an important expression of who I am. I blog because I can!

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 PS: since writing this piece, my husband happened to mention he’d been watching a programme where Diane Abbott (MP),  a black woman in the same age bracket as myself, revealed she had written an essay and her teacher asked her: “where did you copy this essay from?” Ms Abbott explained: “she could not believe that a chubby little black girl had written it!”

Given my own experience, it seems this may have been the prevailing attitude of teachers in the UK at that time, towards black pupils. Interesting!

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Purpose-driven achievers, precious visitors, have you experienced set-backs whilst pursuing your dreams? How did you recover?

Please share your response in the comment box below. I look forward to hearing from you. Meanwhile, have a blessed weekend.

 

 

I Am Me!

I met a delightful young lady today whilst on my cyber travels and spent a great time reading and engaging with her 7-day gratitude posts. I want to support her as she is a newbie blogger, and so I’ve decided to participate in her 30-day blogging challenge, which begins today.

Please note, I will not be posting my usual style posts this month. I hope you will nevertheless enjoy the posts that I do share and that you will even feel motivated to take part. I believe this blogging challenge will not only add a new dimension to our blogs and help people like me to post more regularly, but will also enable us bloggers to get to know one another better and maybe even attract new readers.

Please do join in. Go along to her website for full details. Obviously the more bloggers that take part, the more fun it will be and whether you are a seasoned blogger, or a newbie, I’m sure taking part will be beneficial. So come on, let’s give this young lady a boost and help make her blogging challenge a success. Don’t worry if you can’t commit to the full 30-days – just take part as and when you are able.

Blogging Challenge: Day 1

 

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Are you up for the challenge?

 

Day 1 – What makes You, You?

What makes you, YOU?  What identifies you as you?  This isn’t about your gender, although if that’s what makes you, you then so be it.  Who are you?  What defines you as a person?  What sets you apart from everyone else?  When you die, what will people remember about you?

What makes me, me?

I asked my husband the question and he told me three things (of many he says), which I’ll share. Firstly, when he thinks of me he thinks of someone with a sense of style. I like that. I do feel that I’m stylish. I love nice clothes and love putting them together to make a stylish ensemble. I pride myself on having excellent taste. I perhaps do not dress as stylishly now, as I did in my youth. For a start, I do not go out as much as I used to. Lately, I seem to attend more funerals than weddings or special occasions.

Secondly, he (my husband) says I have a beautiful voice. This really surprised and pleased me. I’m aware some people find my voice attractive but I do recall way back in my past that a few employers and service-users had complained I sounded dull and depressing! Anyway, my dear hubbie mentioned that if I happen to call him at work when he’s not having a good day, my voice soothes him. Isn’t that nice?

Thirdly, he says he loves my big, broad smile. I am not a naturally smiley person. In fact people will normally see me as serious, or stern-faced. Years ago, I’d often feel surprised if someone came up and asked “why so serious?”, or “what’s wrong?” As far as I was concerned, I felt fine but somehow my face didn’t seem to register that. Maybe that’s why God has blessed me with a beautiful smile! I just need to remember to showcase it more often. 🙂

Now, let me move on to what I think makes me, me.

I have a strong sense of family responsibility. I will do my utmost to fulfil whatever responsibility I feel I’ve been given. Perhaps that comes from being the oldest of 7 children, or perhaps that is just part of my make-up, I do not know. I do wish that this same mindset would transfer over into my role as an ambassador for Christ. It pains me that I am not as diligent with spiritual responsibilities (e.g. soul-winning), as I am with secular matters.

I am super-sensitive. I will say no more on that front.

I have a deep compassion for the poor and for disadvantaged children, especially in the developing world. I hate to think of them not having enough to eat, or having to take on adult responsibilities and not having the freedom to enjoy being a child. And I absolutely hate it when people misuse their power and authority in order to  abuse or humiliate others, be it children or adults.

I love literature. I love words. My husband calls me a word-junkie! I love reading fiction both for the pleasure of the story being told and for the delight of observing the literary strategies deployed by the author in order to tell their story. I normally tell myself I will read a book twice, once as a reader and once as an apprentice seeking to learn and improve my own writing. I rarely do. So now when I read, I’ll try to do both simultaneously.

I love writing and teaching and sharing and helping others and have a particular desire to see women become the best they can be.

I am a recovering perfectionist. Sadly, that means I can be highly critical and judgmental of myself. It also means I have a desire to excel, excel, excel!

There are many people who would perhaps describe themselves, as avid readers, aspiring authors, compassionate Christians, stylish dressers and responsible adults, with a desire to make a difference to the world around them, so what sets me apart?

Well, I believe the fact that I was born and raised in Britain, yet am of Afro-Caribbean heritage; the fact that I’m a committed follower of Christ, the fact that I have an introverted personality, the fact that I do enjoy social events but prefer my own company, added to my experiences throughout life, my responses to them, my skills, gifts and abilities, my opinions and perceptions, my principles and values, my pre-ordained, God-given purpose, all combine to make me the unique person I am today.

When I die, I hope people will remember me as someone who cared about others, who was a positive influence on others and who glorified God—not just with my lips but also with my lifestyle.