Welcome to my latest blog piece for the Irish Academy of Public Relations…
What is your PB? (And no, I don’t mean peanut butter…) =) If you have been gripped by the exciting moments of triumph and devastation that the Olympics bring, then you will know that PB means ‘Personal Best’, and it is usually the absolute desire of every athlete to beat their previous PB record, and win an Olympic gold medal on the way.
Every time I have watched these amazingly well trained Olympians champion their course I am reminded of my own PB, in various areas of my life. When I wake up in the morning I am learning to remind myself that today is a new day to challenge my personal best. I can always try to improve on the choices I made yesterday and give my absolute best in all I endeavour to do.
Michael Phelps has astonished all who have been watching his journey. He has come back from great challenges and a retirement, to win more medals than he even believed he could himself.
Michael’s 200m butterfly gold medal made him the oldest swimmer to win an individual Olympic title at 31 years of age. He has earned the title, ‘GOAT’ – ‘the greatest of all time’, and quite frankly he is a medal machine! As I watched him shed a tear as he held his new three month old son, my eyes filled with tears with him. It felt exhilarating to watch him kick his doubts, fears and physical challenges to the curb and go for gold. My blood raced with motivation and excitement as I watched the faces of the crowds who applauded him; I thought to myself how many of them have overcome their own PB challenges too, and are living testimonies to the same courage we see in Michael Phelps?
Your PB may only matter to you…there may never be a gold medal placed around your neck, but that does not diminish the innate value in giving your best. You can award yourself every day; every time you overcome a challenge or advance towards something you dearly want.
“Be careful that you do not create what you fear.” – These are pretty powerful words aren’t they? They stopped me in my tracks today. They arrested my attention and commanded my analysis and response.
What are we afraid of? What keeps you awake at night, feeling afraid or overwhelmed? Write it down right now…clearly, boldly and honestly. Okay…now on the same piece of paper I want you to write down any behaviour that you are currently endorsing in your life that in anyway contributes to these fears coming to pass in your life. Is there something you are doing, or not doing, that will help these feared circumstances actually becoming your very real reality?
It is time to trade up…it is time to trade in your fears, change your behaviours and dramatically change the course your life is on. In order to have the life you dream of you must be all in, there is no halfway commitment to what is required.
You are amazing. You have capabilities beyond what you can even believe. You have strengths and competencies that make you the valuable and precious person you are. If there is a chance that this short little blog stirs you, then please act on it. Let August 1st, 2016, be the day the game changes. What is it you are losing to? What is taking you off track? What is more important to you right now than achieving the lifelong dreams you carry around in your heart every day? Begin to believe in the person you are, and in the potential you have.
I wrote these words for you today, as much as I need them myself too. Even the most successful people you know, need a gentle push in the right direction sometimes. So here it is, a gentle push from me. Make the changes, even if you are white-knuckle riding for a while. Decide on the destination you are dreaming of and make it happen. Your life will pass you by, so make it the kind of movie you want it to be.
I believe in you. It is time to trade-up. Trade in your fears and change the route you are on. You can do it. Let today be the game-changer, the day it all begins. Be careful that you do not create what you fear…don’t let self-sabotage ruin all the great possibility that you possess.
In-between… [noun] Also known as in-betweener – a person or thing that is between two extremes, two contrasting conditions, such as yeses, nos/or noes, and in-betweens.
Sound familiar? Today, Easter Saturday is certainly that day for the entire calendar, but none more than the very first Easter Saturday, when nobody knew yet, that Sunday would be the day that the game changed.
Today, it feels like the world celebrates the waiting factor of being in-between. I wish I could embrace it as enthusiastically in my own personal life, but that is not always an easy thing to do. Today, when it feels like we sit and wait to celebrate tomorrow, Jesus was in fact demolishing the powers of darkness, grabbing keys and unlocking doors, setting captives free, and changing our eternity, for eternity. Heaven rubbed its hands together, in expectation, just like my mum does when she is waiting for an apple pie to bake in the oven. All the angels in heaven were anticipating the day He would rise; they saw the in-between day as a day of great victory.
So what are you doing today? Are you celebrating the in-between day while you wait for Sunday? Are you stuck between two extremes, or contrasting conditions? If so, please know that you are certainly not alone in that place. Even if it seems like a dark place, remember Jesus conquered darkness, even your darkness. He sees in the dark, and darkness is as light to Him. You may not see Him there beside you, but trust me I know He is there with you.
Are you stranded between yours or someone else’s yeses and nos, maybes and delays? As Jesus moved through the depths of the earth dismantling everything that could ever come between you and Him, don’t you think that He too can handle the yeses and nos of our lives? I understand, it is easier said than done, but isn’t that what faith is? Believing without yet seeing! Remember the dearly loved followers of Jesus as they waited for Sunday, nobody had even risen from the dead before. It had never been done in the history of time. What faith they must have had. Even His enemies watched in fear, in case He would actually do it. The eyes of faith must look at something as if it has already happened. Believe me, I am learning to do this as much as you are my friend.
Today, as I remember what kept Jesus busy in the depths of the earth, I am grateful that He walks through the dark seasons of my life with me. I see Him as the greatest Superhero ever. He wielded His powerful sword of truth and demolished every lie, stronghold and fear that tries to ruin my life. He tore down every obstacle that stood in our way. He disarmed the kingdom of darkness and opened the gates of splendid salvation for us. Today, way back then, was a busy day where Jesus stood in-between two very contrasting days, two extremes, two very contrasting outcomes, and changed the world forever. Never before had the world calendar been divided into BC and AD.
AD is an abbreviation for “Anno Domini,” which is a Latin phrase meaning “in the year of our Lord,” referring to the Christ’s birth. BC means before Christ. It was not actually developed until 525 AD, when the entrance of the Christ into the world was recognized as being the turning point of history, and our calendars were made to reflect that. Today, can be a turning point for you too.
So this Easter, may our lives reflect what happened on the in-between day. The day where all of hell woke up to the power of heaven let loose on them. The world was in-between two very contrasting outcomes, and nothing would remain the same.
May you know, that just as you walk through yeses, nos, and difficult days, Jesus walks with you, right in the midst of where it hurts, and He promises to never abandon you. Today, may be a day of waiting for tomorrow, but it would also be a good day to get busy remembering exactly what He did in the darkness, and that He is busy walking us through the in-between times too, and all power is His.
You are much loved, from one in-betweener to another. We are held firmly by the greatest In-betweener the world has or will ever know!
Some of you will remember my original story about that wonderful little book called, The Language of Flowers…a small quaint book, detailed in the most simple yet decorated hand painting. I first discovered this book while staying with a dear family in Atlanta, and when I first picked it up I knew it was not like any other book I had ever seen. It looked like one of a kind, a once off created manuscript, printed for one reader, for one love, for the eyes of one beholder. I felt privileged to even hold it.
I flicked though the front pages, and soon discovered that I was not far from the truth in my observations. It was indeed a very special little book. Before my eyes, were lots of hand drawings of flowers, names inserted in a calligraphy pen, and then lists and lists of flowers, and the reason one may give them to another. It grabbed my heart. How happy I was that it had been so nicely arranged where it was, so that some guest or family member may be warmed by its presence. Looking back now, it couldn’t have found a more loving or deserving home, than the one in which I discovered it.
Well this is my exciting sequel to that beautiful romantic story. Since I originally wrote about this book on Valentine’s Day, I thought another Valentine’s Day would be the perfect time to reveal some beautiful details about the author and this book.
After my previous story about this book, I received an incredible letter from Laurie (who’s mother was the object of love, for whom this precious book was written) Laurie is now custodian of the book, and wished me to know some more details about it…so please read on to learn of the gorgeous gems I was sent to share with you.
Thanks for your prompt reply. I will try to give you as much information as I have regarding the book, The Language of Flowers, and its history. The author was F.W.L (Frederik Lucas) a Jew who was my mother’s (Margaret Florence Jean Pickston) grandfather. I know little about his life although he was an artist of some standing and my mother says his work was in the Royal Academy of Art, but I cannot confirm that yet as it needs more research.
Now this book was never meant to be published and was written for his wife as a token of love, for I believe an anniversary (in 1913) or birthday from, ” Father to Mother”. How long it took him is not known but would assume some time as he secretly undertook his work every evening after his wife retired to bed. For years it lay in pieces in my Grandfather’s clothes drawer, gathering dust, until 1967/1968. My parents were at a party, when polite conversation turned to the little book, and by chance a gentleman overheard who worked for Micheal Joseph, the book publishers.
He explained he was most interested in seeing the book as Michael Joseph had not published a book like this before. So the book was sent to London and rebound/restored to its former glory, including its original handmade leather dust jacket. Then the first copy went to print on 10/10/1968, which also happened to be when I was born.
You will see numerous mistakes in the book such as paint brush marks on pages and written mistakes. A little known fact is that this book was entirely illustrated by paint brush, including all the meanings of the plants, with the exception being the forwarding poem to mother. I am not sure if the book is still in print as Penguin books have taken over and produced a run a few years back to send to every library in the U.S.A. I hope this long letter builds a picture in your mind about what I call “the little book” AKA The Language of Flowers.
I am sure when this loving gentleman worked secretly on this labour of love for his wife, that he had no idea just how very loved it would be, by his wife and so many others. Today, may you find a labour of love to embrace, and make it your absolute passion to share it with the world. Someday I hope to make it to London and hold the original in my hands, so watch out for part three to The language of Flowers saga.
At the start of a new year many of us decide to make some big changes in how we do things…
This is my new ‘now’ reminder, to seize the day and make tomorrow better, by doing my best today, now.
On days when I want to change everything about the past or the future, it is refreshing to simply remind my heart of the tremendous power the choices I make today carry. The seeds I sow today will reap a harvest in the future, so the opportunities of today deserve my full attention, now.
These cool watches are made by @stealtimeback who donate to charities that help children in need! ~♡~ Having dealt with them personally, I must say they simply have a fabulous customer service manner and set the standard high in customer care. Kudos!
When I look at my ‘now’ watch, I find myself motivated to crush procrastination to the ground, and get things done that are essential and necessary. Maybe you find it easy to do the more challenging chores of today? Maybe you fumble through your day with low energy or fear of failure? Whichever circumstance you find yourself in, start to make some small, significant changes now. Each little successful step will soon recharge and motivate you to make bigger changes. I am doing it, and already I am finding that I spend less time in the procrastination valley, and I see ‘now’ as a place full of immense potential and endless possibilities.
The person you will be tomorrow, depends on the person you choose to be today… ⏰ Denise
Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing. – Wayne Dyer
“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;” (Psalm 16)
…Indeed this is a beautiful thought, a precious declaration of gratefulness and peace at one’s surroundings and lot in life. To be honest it is not always the way reality seems to be for us at all, and life can sometimes be the complete opposite. Trust me, I know! Maybe when you think of the ‘lines’ of your life you imagine the perimeter of your homestead or dwelling place, and you wish it were larger, or smaller, or cleaner, or quieter, or richer, or safer? Some of you may think about the place where your lines fall and wish it were in a different location, or a far more appealing place? There may even be people dwelling within your boundary lines that are absolutely driving you crazy, or letting you down daily? Per chance even some of you are thinking of someone right now who you wish was able to dwell within your boundary lines but instead they are either far away geographically or even distant emotionally? Whatever your situation, wherever you find your lines to be or not to be, there is still a place for you where beauty can touch your heart and somehow kiss your life with peace; hang in there with me!
First, let’s look at the word “pleasant” ~ Pleasing, agreeable, or enjoyable; giving pleasure: receiving pleasant news. (dictionary.com)
Some synonyms of ‘pleasant’ are ~ Blessed, agreeable, darling, delicious, delightful, delightsome, dreamy, dulcet, enjoyable, good, grateful, gratifying, jolly, fair, comfortable, nice, sweet, pretty, satisfying, welcome, tasty, palatable, overflowing, or abundant. A person is ascribed the compliment of being ‘pleasant’ when seen to have qualities that tend to give pleasure, or when they act agreeably. You may also be characterised as being ‘pleasant’ if you have pleasing manners, behaviour, and a pleasant appearance, being easy on the eye!
David, the writer of Psalm 16, where the first line of my story is taken from, lived much of his life as a fugitive. At times he was on the run like a wild animal trying to save himself from an enemy who was viciously trying to kill him. He often found himself in some very difficult places during those years. Sometimes life was so hard that he quite literally sank into a horrible pit, unable to be rescued or even try to rescue himself. Many of us have been there or are living there now. Other times he lived enclosed in complete darkness in lonely caves. But believe it or not, it was out of these experiences that David wrote some of the most meaningful words of his writing career; with God as his motivator, editor and publisher!
So…as we read this line where David declares ~
“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
I will bless the Lord who has counselled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night…” (You would be forgiven for thinking that suddenly life must have taken a magnificent turn for our friend David, but guess what, it hadn’t!)
From all I have gleaned about his life at this point David is still not yet in a place of safety and life is not nearly as comfortable as his heart would have desired. He is walking through difficult days with no real sign of easier nights ahead. Yet in the midst of what seems to be hardship, back ache and disappointment, David is able to declare that the boundary lines of his life are secure and safe, sweet and pleasant…how can he do this you ask? Stay with me…
Right now where are your boundary lines? Do you know what it represents in the days of old? When Joshua was led by God to take the children of Israel into their promised land, God told him to divide up the newly entered land according to the tribes and give each one a section to call their home. So it was that each individual family was given a special place. The lines were drawn and the boundaries were made. Boundary stones were used as markers to show where the lines had fallen for each family, and every person knew the exact piece of land God had given them. So they lived in security and safety, provided for by God.
So how can David declare this, when we can see his life is a mess by comparison? Could it be true that David wrote these words against the backdrop of the knowledge of those great promises that had been given to him by God? Many have studied this passage and believe it to be so. He said it by faith. David knew the God he trusted, he reminded himself of all the promises that had been spoken to him over the years, and one day he would see all that God had whispered to his heart in the darkness of night. Although David lived on the run and in fear for his life, in his heart he had moved his residence to a land called “Pleasant Places”. He moved in and unpacked his troubles and cares there, in the place of protection. He came to find out that his new abode “Pleasant Places” was the place of provision. All that had changed about his circumstances happened in his heart, in his mind and in his relationship with God. He began to believe in what God said and he declared it over his life. Soon even his difficult circumstances could no longer rob him of the peace that he found in “Pleasant Places”.
I too am learning this…I have many desires and dreams waiting for the touch of God upon them, but one thing I have found is that there is a land in my heart that is mine, where God and I talk. And although I do not understand His timing or his workings in my life, I do know that I must trust Him in this place. By making a decision to declare that the boundaries of my life have fallen in “Pleasant Places”, I will lie down in peace, I will rise up in protection, and I will come and go in His provision and providence. There is a land I can live in where faith rules over my fears, where joy overcomes my sorrows, where tears are wiped away with the gentle touch of His hand. My dear friend, whatever season we may be walking through, it is an opportunity for us to learn something about God and to have an experience with Him that can literally bring a song out of our tired hearts. Even in the waiting time we can cultivate the hope that as we surrender and trust Him, we will come to realise that the “Pleasant Places” He has promised us resides within us!
I have decided that wherever I find myself, wherever I lay my head, (or my hat), whether rich or poor, whether happy or sad, I will declare it a “Pleasant Place” because He is with me and He makes it PLEASANT!
Speak these words softly to your heart . . .every day if you need to . . .
“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely.” (Psalm 16)
Look, there’s a sign above your head, written on it are the words….”Pleasant Places!”
♡♫♡ I heard these words today. They came like a thundering whisper to a heart that’s swirling in decisions and questions. I heard these words today as I contemplated big changes and new ideas. They came like a balm of healing ointment touching a tired mind. I heard these words today in a moment of waiting, in a place of transformation, when all my ways seemed unsure. They came suddenly and softy with power, courage and strength. I wasn’t looking for them; I simply needed a rescuer to steal me away from my anxious thoughts. I wasn’t even expecting these words of subtle yet invigorating power; yet they came and spoke calm to my heart and like safe strong arms they wrapped themselves around me. They brought me comfort like that of a warm soft blanket on a chilly evening. They came leaping towards me, with determination and love; chasing away my worrisome thoughts of tomorrow.
God spoke the words; “I’ve Got You!”
I can’t tell you what kind of voice God has or where His accent is from (although I can say it is heavenly!) I do know that His voice is like the sound of many waters, rushing together to lavish mercy and wisdom on the heart that thirsts for Him. His voice comes like a valiant hero to rescue the one who is calling Him. His voice is safe yet full of authority and command. He knows who He is and what to say. His voice comes at the perfect time; never too early or too late! His voice comes rich in colour, overflowing in acceptance, not estranged to correction or conviction, yet garnished with love and compassion.
The words “I’ve Got You!” overcame the noise in my heart with calmness, instant relief, and silence. To suddenly be reminded by God that no matter what you’re walking through He will catch you, is a wondrous thing. I sat there surrounded by all of my scented candles, His Book and His presence. My heart lay before him like an unwritten journal, waiting for the pen of His hand to write truth and wisdom upon it.
I have often prayed the words, “Lord whatever it is that I cannot see, please show me.” So I rested my head back on my pillow, and upon the chest of God. I heard His heartbeat for His child; beating wild, constant, and resilient. The compassion of God is so faithful that we barely can comprehend its magnitude. He is armed with a strength so valiant it makes every noble prince in every fairytale fade in comparison. He came to me; in a moment of surrender and need, He came…and caught me. How He will work things out was not revealed, nor did He answer every question or why of my hopeful yet tired heart, but He said; “Child, I’ve got this. I’ve got you covered. I am here and I will never forsake you. I am more dependable than your next breath. RELAX!”
When did you last feel the safety of a word fitly spoken? When were you last caught up in a wonder so vast and grand that your heart couldn’t even contain or communicate it? You know. You remember it right now; that moment when His voice came like a faithful friend alongside you, and wrapped His warm arm around your shoulders and your heart, as a reminder that you are never alone. To know that God’s got you, sees you, holds you, walks with you, protects you, heals you, sings over you, lavishes His gifts on you, goes ahead of you, provides for you, carries you, watches over you and restores you, is too wonderful for my little mind to try to conceive. The list goes on….and on. The ways of God. The timing of God. The absolute awesomeness of God. His voice interrupted my worrying, and it has had to do so numerous times since, but it does. I love His interruptions. I love it when He captures my heart and steals me away from my anxious thoughts and sets me beside those still, quiet waters. I am trying to live there, in that place of trust and confidence in all that He is.
May 23rd is the day on which I was born. It has always marked more of a new year for me than the grandeur of January 1st. You may ask why? Well, on January 1st the whole world starts a new year, but a birthday signifies your own fresh start, your own unique chance to recollect your thoughts and desires, your own opportunity to prioritise plans and run your race. The night before my birthday is a night where I am still, calm, quiet and full of ponderings. It is a special night to me for many other reasons too. I think back over the past year and somehow try to imagine the new things that will unfold in this brand new year. I allow hope to hunt for my heart and fill me again before a new season begins.
So tonight is that night; the night before a new year starts for me. I can almost hear the page getting ready to turn, as one year ends and a new one stretches out before me. But tonight I will plan, be still, pray and know, that “He’s Got Me!” He’s got you too ~ I hope you know that! Maybe it’s time to settle yourself somewhere quiet and allow your heart and mind to sink into the truth that no matter what life throws at you, that He’s got you. He’s got us, right in the very palm of His hand. It sure is a good place to be!
This cute cat poster you see here, hangs above my kitchen cooking area, where I spend time creating my food ideas; now it hangs in my heart reminding me again that He indeed does hear! ♡♫♡