Tag Archives: Strength

A Close Encounter with Compassion (and the New WOW)

Isn’t it true that compassion is best appreciated when you need it most?

Like when you screw up.

I’m a cross your t’s and dot your i’s kind of person, so discovering that my best laid travel plans  were utterly flawed this week left me flummoxed.

I was already operating on a deficit of sleep. A late dinner with my dear friends Roseann and Mike to celebrate our last night in Montreal resulted in just four hours of sleep before I had to hop in a taxi for the airport.

Just one agent manned the desk at 5:30 AM, and I observed him patiently handling the travelers in line ahead of me.

When  finally my turn, I observed his name tag and said, “Good morning, Joe!  I hope you can help. I need my connecting flight to now be my final destination.”

In my mind, it was a simple matter.  Already booked from Montreal to Charlotte; no new flight was required. I just needed my bag to deplane, too (and not travel to Sarasota.)

Joe looked at me and said, “You realize we need to completely re-ticket your flight?”

No, I didn’t realize.

And it would be costly.

I looked up at tall, handsome, kind, smiling Joe with my bleary red eyes from a scant four hours of sleep and said,  “Oh my.”

And my intended destination wasn’t even Charlotte; it was Chicago.

You’re thinking exactly as I was; perhaps we could get me on a flight from Montreal to Chicago!  Problem solved!

Absolutely…for $700+ dollars.

Thoughts of renting a car and driving the 13 hours to Chicago flashed through my mind.  I imagined getting to Chicago on my originally booked flight – without my bag and the need to shop for the essentials to help me survive the next two days.

My crestfallen face and deer in the headlights paralysis tripped a compassion switch in Joe.

Click, click, click click click.  More clicking.  A brief consultation with his manager.

What was Joe up to?

A boarding pass, non-stop to Chicago from Montreal spit through the printer.

No, it wasn’t free, but it surely wasn’t $700 dollars.  It was less than $200 – and that was a pill I could swallow without too much bitterness.

In an era when poor airline service goes viral and it seems that most carriers need a crash course in customer service, my encounter with Joe affirmed the goodness of people who stick their necks out to help a stranger in need.  Joe would have been perfectly within the confines of the employee manual to require strict adherence to a complete re-booking.

Ah, but Instead, he followed his heart and had compassion on me.

Here’s to you, Joe!  You not only gave me a great story about compassion, but your actions put a smile on my face as I wait these five hours for my new flight to Chicago.

Let’s move onward to new adventures and the new Word of the Week (but first some closing thoughts on Compassion)!:

It’s not over.  Nope.

Yes, you may fall, but you can keep getting back up.

They call it failing forward; every bump in the road teaches you something to prepare you for the next step.

You are STRONG.  You are RESILIENT.

Just look at how many times in your life you seemed down for the count, only to bounce back and rise higher as a result.

Be encouraged, my friends.

Let resilience win this week!

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Soft Yet Strong: A Powerful Duo (and the new WOW)

There’s something so soft about the word tenderness, isn’t there?

Nothing makes me melt like a kind word or a gentle touch does. They are far more magnetic than a flirtatious comment or an over-the-top gesture.

Tenderness stops me in my tracks.

How powerful is THAT?

One of my favorite quotes of all time is, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” (Eric Hoffer)

When we get afraid – particularly of being taken advantage of – we tend to get louder, more emphatic, less flexible and, well, anything BUT tenderhearted.

I scream when I am afraid of not being heard.

Yet it is the soft answer, according to the scriptures, that turns away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1) I don’t know about you, but I want to turn away wrath every chance I can get.

The word TENDERNESS, for me, was a call – a beckoning – to stay soft. To not let life harden me; to embrace the sweetness of a tender response and extend the gift of sublime softness in areas of my life where I have instead been strident and screeching.

More on that and the new WOW here:

When I went back to look at the recording I was taken aback by my use of the word “DELIGHTFUL” before I chose the word DELIGHT.

It also strikes me that the theme of softness was resonating with me, while the meaning of “DELIGHT” in the scripture I quoted actually means to “be pliable…”

Goosebumps!

This week I am not going to try and be braced for anything and everything.  I want to let life flow and I want to flow with it in a calm and peaceful repose.

This is NOT my normal MO.  I am a complete Type A personality with ten concurrent lists going at any given time. I want to do and be more all the time and I sometimes don’t stop working because I want so badly to do well.

But I wonder if a softer approach; a less frantic/performance driven way of pursuing life might not actually be more effective?

Since a life-changing trip with my best friends a few months ago, I have been conscious of how the need to “perform” has added so much pressure – unneeded pressure – to my life for the entirety of my life!

As I walk away from the old in this new year, I am getting the messages of tenderness and softness loud and clear.

The thought of living that kind of life DOES bring delight to my heart.

What about you?

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

 

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Strength in Weakness (and the New WOW)

My week could have been spelled WEAK – and how ironic when the WOW was STRENGTH!

Here’s the backstory:  Three weeks ago I started to have seriously bloodshot, irritated eyes that were increasingly painful to blink, impossible to place contacts in, and most upsetting to my propensity for vanity, painful to apply makeup to.

If you review LAST week’s WOW taping, you can see watery eyes (in part ’cause I was a wee bit emotional, bur primarily due to my eye affliction.)

When you don’t have to show up to an office every day, the need to look good is diminished, but an impending Viola family wedding finally gave me the urgent push to go to the eye doctor.

Dr. Sinclair said, “How have you been functioning like this?”

He had no immediate answers but got me an ASAP appointment with a specialist and charged me with this assignment: “Between now and tomorrow, try and figure out what you’ve done differently that could have affected your eyes.”

I wracked my brain. No new makeup; no new creams or potions. No new food (except for my new ‘clean eating’ and geeez, what could THAT do that would be bad?)

I was getting really upset about this unknown malady, and feeling weaker by the moment.

Then, as I was getting ready for bed and took my evening low-dose aspirin, it hit me:  Three weeks ago my regular doctor switched one of my medications.

I was so busy thinking about a topical cause I never considered an internal one.

(Hmmmm.  That’s an interesting thought for another time!)

Thanks to Google, within minutes the rare side affects of said medication jumped out on my iPad: “Can cause severe eye distress in rare cases. If you experience blurriness, redness, and irritation – what the heck are you waiting for? Get to a doctor!” (OK, I added that last part.)

What relief to finally KNOW.  And suddenly, even though my pain and circumstance had not changed, the removal of the mystery gave me STRENGTH.

Now that I know what I’m dealing with, I can beat it.

Some of you are facing physical challenges and have been for much longer than three weeks.  My brief experience with a chronic, seemingly unsolvable pain was physically, mentally and spiritually distressing – so my heart truly goes out to you.

Don’t give up.

If you’ve been trying to slug it out by yourself, seek help.  And if that help doesn’t help, seek some more.  Seek wisdom and insight.  Pray for the answer and I am believing with you that it will come.

learning-is-a-gift

I would prefer that joy, delight, blessings and abundance are my teachers. But when pain  – whether physical or emotional – comes, for goodness sake, I want to get SOMETHING good out of it. And I expect to – because I don’t believe God, the Universe, the Source is playing cruel games with my life.

And believing that is also a source of strength.

So how do we follow this up?  Settle in for the new WOW:

There is a connection between STRENGTH and SURRENDER, isn’t there?

I know I get worn out and WEAK when I try too hard to make stuff happen or freak out about what is beyond my control.

The beauty of trust is that it allows you to let go…and let God.

And therein lies great strength.  “In quietness and confidence will be your strength” says Isaiah 30:15.

Love to you all!
xoxoxox

Brenda

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WOW (Word of the Week) – 11.29.15

I hope you got your hopes up this past week!  EXPECTANCY is full of fizzy bubbles and the pop of the champagne bottle; it’s a way of living that says “Something marvelous could happen today!”

It’s the exact opposite of a Murphy’s law approach to life.

But we don’t go from one thrilling moment to the next in this life, do we?

There are a good amount of bends in the road; valleys to survive and mountains to climb.  Which is why this week’s new WOW is right on the money.  Here’s my wrap-up of the past week and the big reveal for the one just begun:

Sometimes we don’t know our own STRENGTH.  But boy, are we intimately aware of our weaknesses!

As I whipped up what felt like a million loaves of raisin bread this past week, I was interrupted by a phone call.  When I returned to the mixing bowl, I couldn’t remember if I had added the baking powder or not.  Or the salt. The flour didn’t taste tainted, so I added in those ingredients, hoping I hadn’t doubled up and that the batch would turn out.

It was clear as I peered through the oven door that something was amiss.  It was evident when, after cooling, I turned the loaf pan over and instead of the normal, smooth and somewhat bouncy exit, this bread wouldn’t budge.  I chiseled around the edges.  Still nothing.  More chiseling, then pounding on its loaf back until finally it emerged.

In five warm, slightly soft pieces.

Certainly, this was no loaf appropriate to send to friends and family.

For a fleeting moment, I held the delusion that I could coexist with these nutmeg-y, dough-y bread parts and enjoy them over the course of the next week or so with Duane and my morning coffee.

Until I began shoving them in my mouth.

It started out innocently enough; breaking a teeny, pillow-y piece to see if tasted OK.

It did.

It really did.

The next time I looked at this broken, misfit loaf, it was half gone.  (Cue film title:  Gone in 60 Seconds.)

This would likely NEVER have happened if Duane was home.  Binging is a solitary act and this was a rare occasion of being home alone with freshly baked bread.

It was a perfect storm of temptation.

When I came to and saw the half-eaten loaf, I said to myself, “Self, you’re not strong enough for this.”

And I threw the scrumptious remainder in the trash.

Knowing that wouldn’t suffice, I covered it in more trash (and not just paper)  so that a forthcoming weak moment wouldn’t find me digging for one more bite.

Being honest about our weaknesses helps us to be strong. 

When I marvel at my almost 1 month of not smoking or over two years of not drinking, it’s not about my strength so much as it is a daily devotion to truth.

The good news is that at any moment you can choose the truth. When you let it smack you between the eyes, the strength to  change course is its companion.

It’s like the bonus bag at the Clinique counter – spend $25 and get this FREE gift of goodies (valued at $75). These are offers I can rarely resist.

Yes, I have discovered that strength is the bonus gift that accompanies honesty.

Don’t beat yourself up over the half-eaten bread.  Celebrate that the other half is in the trash!  And let your love affair with the truth strengthen you this week.

xoxoxo

Brenda

 

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