Sunday, March 29, 2009

Love.....Without Conditions

I woke up few days ago and felt an urgency to talk with my brother, Randy. He had just returned from Brazil where he does a great deal of business and shares immense love to the impoverished children and families there through his company and He had not been feeling well. Could he see me on such short notice? Certainly he has a busy schedule as a top executive of a billion dollar company, but that never seems to deter him from opening his heart to whomever needs it.

I called him on the phone first thing in the morning and requested a personal visit. Even though he had out of town guests and a busy schedule, he told me he would see me as soon as I could get to his office.

As I arrived and was escorted to the executive floor of Monavie, he had 3 people standing at his office door waiting to see him for an apparently important scheduled meeting. They looked at me and asked if I was also there to see Randy. Yes, I told them. Moments later when Randy arrived, I told him I could wait until after his meeting, and he said NO! He postponed his important scheduled meetings until we were done visiting, which was over an hour later.

He looked tired. He had been faced with some health and family challenges, but sat down with me on his beautiful leather couch and opened his heart and mind and allowed me to share mine.

First of all, I thanked him for his unconditional love and not judging me through my trials. I've personally faced an incredibly difficult past 3 years. His response struck so deeply in my soul, and I knew that he KNEW it with all of his heart. He said, "Stacy, I believe that is the only kind of love there is." Love.....without any conditions.

It has taken me a long time to learn some very important lessons through my own tests, trials, temptations and tribulations. When I hit rock bottom and had lost all hope, I realized that no one has a right to judge another person. My heart hurt for the times that I had judged others because they didn't fit into my mold or meet my expectations. When I failed to meet up to my own expectations, instead of forgiving myself and believing Christ would be merciful, I sunk into a deep dark hole. That was another time that Randy taught me about love.

At our family reunion last year, I wasn't doing well physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. My 9 siblings, mother (dad was asleep :), and husband gathered to listen and provide me with strength as I opened my heart to share my pain and burdens. After many tears and heartache, my brother Randy spoke up. Stacy, we can't know and understand all of the experiences you've gone through, but we can express our love to you. Then he asked everyone to go around in the circle and share their love. I sat there sobbing because at that time, I absolutely didn't love myself, but I felt a glimmer of hope and was strengthened.

I have an amazing family that I've learned much from. Thank you Randy for opening your heart, putting aside yourself and your own demands, for listening, and modeling for me how to love. For without love, we are nothing. I love you. (Randy is far left of photo).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dream the Impossible Dream!

I want to welcome you to my blog!! Thank you for tuning in as I share some of the lessons I've learned in life to be "Simply Joyful" and to truly live my heart's desire. This may sound overly optimistic or Pollyanna, but I've found through hard experience that we can be the creators of our lives - either good or bad.

At the end of the year, 1776, Robert Morris wrote a letter to George Washington. He stated that the year was over, and may there never be another like it! Well, that was how my husband and I felt about 2008. I'm not going to go into the details here and now except to say that it was physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausting to say the least. Yet, something remarkable happens when the storms of life occur. It waters and maybe even floods the ground, but eventually as time passes that ground is nourished to a much deeper level and the roots are fed and strengthened; the grass grows richer and greener, and flowers begin to bloom after the rain!

At the end of 2008, I decided to write out my obituary. Please don't think me morbid, but a wonderful mentor of mine told me to do this activity. What did I want to be said of me at the end of my life? What was I born to do? This was an interesting and eye opening exercise. I then wrote out my 20 year, 10, 5, 2 1/2 and 1 year goals. How big could I dream? I was not interested in merely surviving; I was interested in thriving! It wasn't about how much pain could I endure, but about how much joy could I hold?

Believe me, I had experienced my own personal hell so deeply and had felt surrounded by so much darkness that the thought of being the creator of my life was liberating. I had to take responsibility for attracting the trials that had come my way, own them and feel the pain that they caused. I had to look myself square in the face. This is not always easy, but it is empowering! My belief system is such that I believe we have the potential within ourselves to one day create worlds. If so, then why wouldn't God allow us to demonstrate this creative power in our own lives? How exciting!

After I had listed my heart's desire, I decided to create a dream board for 2009. I gathered magazines from all around the home and cut out pictures to detail my dream 2009. It was so fun. The sky was the limit. Now, that board hangs on my bedroom wall where I see it several times per day. It is already remarkable to me that many of the things that I had posted have already come to pass. So, I challenge you today to list what your heart's desire is. Know this with absolute clarity. Write it down and even create a board if you would like. Remember, it's not about how much pain you can endure but how much joy can you hold!