Being Extraordinary

I love movies! Anyone who knows me knows that I love watching movies, and I will watch and analyze the same movie over and over again. Besides the entertainment value, movies can be inspirational.

Sister Act from Buena Vista Pictures

One such movie is “Sister Act” from 1992 with Whoopi Goldberg. Wait. What? A Whoopi Goldberg movie being inspirational? Okay, maybe not the entire movie, but a portion of it, as it relates to the growth of the character of Sister Mary Robert, played by Wendy Makkena.

When Sister Mary Clarence (Goldberg) takes refuge in the convent and first meets the choir, she’s suddenly thrust into the position as leader of the choir. As Goldberg takes the reins of the group, she notices Sister Mary Robert (Makkena) blending into the background and only mouthing the words to the songs. Mary Clarence then brings Mary Robert front and center. Goldberg’s character explains that Mary Robert needs to sing loud enough to be heard over the noise of a diner, with clacking silverware and loud waitresses. Finally, Mary Robert’s voice is heard, and it’s a sweet one. Throughout the course of the movie, Mary Robert is more front and center with the choir, and doing more solos when they perform. She’s come out of her shell and is no longer hiding in the back, just mouthing the words.

How often do we find ourselves hiding and merely going through the motions? Do you have big dreams, but are plagued with self-doubt? As I may have mentioned before, I’m reading a book by Alli Worthington called “Standing Strong.” In it, Worthington talks about “playing small.” In the sense of not letting comparison, fear, or self-doubt hold you back from pursuing your dreams, or just living your life to the fullest.

Mary Robert was playing small – not letting her gifts come out because of fear, and not believing she had a true talent.

Recently, I’ve come to believe there’s no such thing as ordinary. Whether you’re a CEO, a writer, a waiter/waitress, or a housewife (or househusband), you are extraordinary. It doesn’t matter what job you have! Anything we choose to do in our lives has value. Any time we come around friends to laugh and enjoy, or comfort and console, we’re offering something special to them – something extraordinary.

Yes, there are times we feel like we’re living in a mundane world, with routine lives, feeling plain and not special. But that’s not true.

In a recent post on this blog, I asked what you wanted to be when you grew up. Is there a dream you haven’t achieved yet? For some, their lives may have taken a completely different direction, and they never had the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Goals can go by the wayside when we have the responsibility of a family and bills to pay.

That being said, remember Friends, you are not a failure. Maybe your time just hasn’t come. Or maybe you were destined for something else. I don’t know what God had in mind for you, but I know we have the ability to make our circumstances worse or better, by our own attitude. Even if we’re not where we want to be in our job or in our life, doesn’t mean we aren’t extraordinary. We can offer each other so much, just by giving of ourselves.

I’m blessed to be on a new path these days. I’m a college student again, finally completing my bachelor’s degree that I started over 40 (gasp!) years ago. Will school make me extraordinary? No, not necessarily. But school is proving to me that I’m not too old to keep pursuing my dreams. I’m not too old to influence those around me. I don’t have to keep playing it small.

My new mindset is going to be “There’s no such thing as ordinary.” Remember, you are special. You matter. You are extraordinary.

Do you believe this? Let me hear your thoughts. And let’s encourage one another.

Reminder Day

Like a lot of us, I’ve been in a cycle of worry, of feeling sad, and even being short-tempered with my husband, when he doesn’t deserve it. I HATE that!

I fret about my parents and their health.

There have been other family health issues as well. My mother-in-law just went through Hurricane Ida. Oh, yeah, we’re still dealing with Covid and decisions to get the shot or not get the shot, to mask or not mask, to stay open and go into lockdown again.  I am in this cycle of unease about so many things, yet part of me doesn’t want to face any of it.  

Where’s my faith?

I’m pre-worrying about a lot of things (emphasis on “pre”). Things that may or may not happen. I guess I’m trying to be prepared, but again, it’s “pre-worrying.” I don’t know if anything will change, if we’ll have to make tough decisions, or will things continue status quo? It makes me want to cower in a corner.

I didn’t know what to pray for anymore…how to pray. I hit a wall.

With all that said, today was what I’m calling “reminder” day. I’m reading the book “Standing Strong” by Alli Worthington. She inspired me previously with the chapter on self-doubt. Today, I’m in the middle of a chapter on praying  called Ask for it. On page 148, she quotes a text from her friend, who says “Ask for manna. For strength to live off manna. Because after manna comes abundance.”

Manna. Daily manna. The Lord provides just what we need when we need it. So, all of this “pre-worrying” is a waste of time. I know that. However, I certainly needed this kick in the pants reminder! Daily manna.

God heard my unspoken prayer with a reminder that he provides and he’s still with us — always, all days.

Fear can have you cowering in the corner instead of plunging ahead, facing your fears, and getting through them to grow stronger. Life’s worries can be easy to ignore, to back away from, and hide your head in the sand when everything is overwhelming.

Hide my head in the sand. Really? When God’s strength flows through us?

I have to believe that his strength will flow through me, and believe that the manna he provides is enough. And he provides manna every day. No stockpiles for a rainy day. He provides just what we need at the time we need it.

I’ve written about daily manna before. But apparently, God knew I needed the reminder. He answered my prayer when I didn’t know how to pray.

Are all my problems solved? No. Am I still concerned for my parents and everything else going on in the world? Yes. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed. But my perspective has. God answered my prayers with the reminder that he is with us every day, and he provides. I need only to look to him.

Trust — all days, always.

Thank you, Lord for reminder days.

What about you? How does knowing that God provides help you with your worries?

Let’s encourage one another!

Advice to my Younger and Older Self

17-year-old younger me

You know the question: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Well, I always want to say “Have more confidence in yourself. Don’t be afraid. And don’t say yes to the first guy who asks you to marry him!” (😉)

Recently, I think I’d also want to say “Don’t waste time.” Frankly, I’m saying that to my current self, not just my younger self.

As we get older, it’s easy to look back and see where we wasted time and notice the missed opportunities. I don’t like living a life of regret. Truthfully, there’s very little I regret, because everything in my past has led me to where I am today, and where I am is a pretty good place to be.

However, there are moments when I feel like I’ve let opportunities pass me by. I got lazy and didn’t work hard for what I really wanted. Other times, when I was ready to embrace an opportunity, other life events got in the way.

Then frustration builds. I’ll say to myself “I want to quit this writing gig, because I’m never going to finish my novels or get published.” Or “I really blew it this week with overeating and too little exercise, so what’s the point?”

Do you see how easy it is to let frustration, doubt, and disappointment begin to color your future choices?

Nothing changes if nothing changes. I can’t change decisions and missed opportunities from the past. But I can start again from today, right now. I can get off my butt and exercise. I can keep writing. And I can pray that God will give me another chance. If he’s closing the door permanently, then I pray he shows me the new path he wants me on.

Some days we really have to battle and pray through all of the negative thoughts. Why are they so much stronger than the positive ones. Ten people can love a story I’ve written, but the one negative comment will leap over all the positive ones.

It’s time we quit being so fragile. Yeah, easier said than done. But when we know what we’re supposed to do, then it’s time to do it. If we mess up for a day, then get right back on the path the next day.

It’s simple, yet so very hard. I admire the folks who seem to have such confidence that nothing throws them off their game. However, I bet they even have bad days. They just know how to get right back on the horse.

In days of doubt and discouragement, I’m learning to make a concerted effort to fight off those negative thoughts and keep pushing ahead. It can be a daily battle.

But I believe it’s one worth fighting.

Seek and You Shall Find – The Negative Trap

You know, for a writer and a blogger, I’m not doing a very good job posting on my blog these days. I know that happens from time to time, but I truly enjoy blogging, so I’m a little bummed out about my lack of consistency.

Okay, the world is full of distractions, but as the saying goes “Writers write.” We have to learn to fight through the distractions and keep on doing our job.

For me, I’m trying to figure out why it’s been so difficult recently. And yes, the world is crazy right now, and there’s a feeling of isolation due to Covid. Last year, however, was more than just Covid and the pandemic that none of us saw coming. It was the anger of this nation, with the presidential election dividing America nearly in half. It was the protests and riots, and general unrest that had many of us shaking our heads wondering what was happening to the United States. Then, if you throw in any type of personal crisis, health issue, job loss, and more, well, how much more can we take?

The new year was going to bring new hope, and there are sparks of hope, but overall, things remain the same.

So, for me, trying to have any glimmer of creativity has been tough. I’ve determined that a lot of my block has been negativity. The world is angry. I feel like we’ve lost our kindness and compassion for one another. There’s so much negativity going around that it’s blocking out the positive. Comments on social media posts are vindictive and nasty. You can’t even agree to disagree. If you don’t believe like someone else does, they can call you all kinds of names, and are so filled with hate, it’s almost frightening. What happened to politeness and plain old common courtesy?

Personally, I don’t mind disagreeing with others. I like hearing their viewpoint on issues. By listening to all sides, I learn new things. I can think about things from a different perspective. Even if I still disagree with them, I like knowing their point of view. This goes back to agreeing to disagree. I try to be an open, positive person in my day-to-day life, but right now, the negativity is sucking the energy and creativity right out of me. I’m weighed down with hopelessness. How do you combat that?

There’s only one way: Look for the good. If you’re in such a mindset of anger, then you’ll only see offense everywhere you turn. If you look for kindness, you’ll see positivity more and more. It’s too easy to fall into the negative trap.

My faith helps me a lot. And lately the Bible verse in 1 Thessalonians that says “Pray without ceasing” has been put into action like never before. Jeremiah 29:12-13 (NIV) says, “Then you call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

That’s what I need to keep in mind: What am I seeking? Am I so consumed with negativity that it’s the only thing I see? Or am I looking for good things? Anger breeds anger, but on the flipside, kindness breeds kindness.

We need to ask ourselves what are we looking for? I know what I’m seeking – how about you?