Whispering Wings

Something beautiful and sweet as you head into your Thanksgiving holiday!

My Window

nature-3317954__340Whispering Wings

They whisper as the breeze in the cottonwood trees,
as the grass drinking morning dew,
like a butterfly languidly moving its wings;
Just being its subliminal self,

Whisperings from small branches
moving gently in soft breeze,
Like Dragonfly hovering, such beauty
are their shimmering wings.

I lie down in the meadow with deep content,
hear the morning birds join in
singing sheer songs of life and joy,
partaking with delicacy and  skill.

Whispering like the hope in our hearts,
finding the tune we recognise from afar,
Songs sung for eternities
losing each other, but now

Recognising the whisperings anew.

© miriam ivarson

grasses

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Are You Really Grateful?

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Element5 Digital

When it comes to Thanksgiving Day, we love to post selfies with our families, pictures of our plates, and talk about how thankful we are. Then less than 12 hours later, we are pushing a woman and her 5-year-old son out of the way to get that new tablet for our brother. I hope you haven’t done that last part but you understand where I’m going with this.

Times have changed and spoiled us into thinking that we are to get whatever we want, whenever we want, and however we want it. If your food is cold, there’s a microwave to warm it up. If you don’t want to go grocery shopping, there’s an app to make an order and you can pick it up when it’s ready. Although these are great ways to save time and effort, we are now accustomed to thinking that EVERYTHING should be this way. Actually this is a life lesson I teach my kiddos at work. We are always having this discussion of how we must do things even if we don’t want to do them. As children of God, we are forced to understand this same concept as adults.

We are so busy passing the bread and striving to be like the people on the commercials that we forget something significant. We forget that acknowledging the Lord and all the blessings He has given us should be an every day occurrence.

We are flooded with blessings from the second we wake up to the moment we drift to sleep. Even while we’re sleeping, we are still blessed.

I want you to answer the following questions and don’t be a afraid to be honest as you answer them. (I’ll close my ears. I promise I won’t listen.)

Do you have a place to live in? Do you complain about it?

Do you have a car to drive? Do you complain about it?

Do you have a job? Do you complain about it?

Do you have a family and friends? Do you complain about them?

The point is that there are plenty of reasons to be grateful every day and throughout the day. There will be times that you won’t be happy and you will find yourself complaining because you’re human. But please remember that there are always more reasons as to why you should be happy. Don’t let your complaints outweigh your gratitude. When you speak from the heart, there should be more uplifting words instead of negative, degrading thoughts. These emotions can weigh and change the way you view your life, support system, and overall surroundings. You don’t want to be that coworker that others run from during their happy moments. You want to be the one that they trust to help them and guide them. Jesus stated in Matthew 5:16, “ Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Exemplify the light in you with your gratitude and the light God has given you.

Yes your bed may be older but remember there is someone sleeping without one.

You may have a job you don’t like but remember there’s someone who doesn’t have one.

You may have an old car to drive but there’s someone walking their child to school every morning.

Sometimes it takes moments like these to reflect on what you have to stay grounded.

One of my life mottos are, “Be humble.” I love this motto because it reminds me that even during moments of distress, I know those moments won’t last too long. It also reminds me that during my moments of success, there will be a time when it will come to an end.

Although the journey may be tough, every step is worth embracing. So, the question is… are you really grateful?

Motivational Moment: Surprise!

 

Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, friends, inspiration to many, and two of the most powerful women in the world. As Michelle Obama debuts her book, “Becoming Michelle Obama,” she has utilized this time to do interviews and discuss her childhood journey and life as a former First Lady.

30 girls were invited from three different schools to watch the interview and participate in a discussion forum with O Magazine’s directors and Gayle King, Oprah’s best friend and business partner. In the video above, Oprah Winfrey interviews Mrs. Obama as the girls watched in a viewing room of one of O’ Magazine’s offices in New York City.  The girls are seen taking notes during the progression of the interview. As the girls shared their thoughts, Michelle and Oprah quietly walk into the room.

From the moment the two women arrive, the girls are gleaming with joy as they walk around, talk, and answer their questions. Several girls are seen wiping their tears from beginning to end. After Michelle and Oprah left the room, you can see the amazement on their faces as a dream of theirs has just occurred. Gayle King begins to ask the girls questions to share their new experience. One girl mentions how she now feels  motivated to go home, do her homework, find Mrs. Obama’s Instagram page, and like every photo.

This video is such an inspiration for anyone who watches to understand the importance of being who you are. Michelle Obama expressed her values as an African American, woman, and mother over the past decade. So many girls have embraced and supported her initiatives as First Lady such as “Let’s Move” and “Let Girls Learn.” Girls and women have been inspired by Mrs. Obama from the largest countries to the smallest towns.

Michelle Obama recently released her book last Tuesday, November 13th. You can purchase the book in stores and online such as places like Amazon. We hope you enjoyed this motivational moment.

The Secret to Getting What You Want Out of Life

This is a much needed post. Thank you!

Big Sister Knows

Earlier this year, I traveled to The Book Expo in New York where I met the folks from Red Lightning Books, an imprint of Indiana University Press. When I saw how cool their books are, I had an idea. Actually, it was more like a vision, a complete download from God of the kind of book I could write for them.

Breathlessly, I pitched my idea to the publisher: The book would be all about cast iron cookware, from the history of it to the care and use of it. I could even include a bunch of recipes that are easy and relatively healthy—with professional photographs, of course. And to make it even more fun, I could visit the Lodge Manufacturing Co in Tennessee and explain how they’ve made cast iron cookware since 1896.

The publisher loved the idea! (Yippee!)

Once the contract came through, though, I had a moment…

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Rekindling Abandoned Passions

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Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

As she closes her eyes, the young girl politely smiles as she dreams of her adult self walking on stage. The woman walks onto the stage in a long red Selena Quintanilla style bodysuit. She grabs the mic as the band begins to play and takes a deep breath before hitting her first note. Her long, curly hair flows in the wind as she runs across the stage touching all the hands of her fans standing in the front row. The crowd goes wild as she ends the first song and strikes a pose with one hand on her hip and the other in the air. She takes a breath before her next song begins. The name “Chanelle” is in big bold letters on the big black screen. Her background dancers start swaying from side to side as the keyboard strikes the first three chords.

The smile on the little girl’s face fades away as she opens her eyes. She comes to discover that it was a dream, a daydream. She looks straight ahead at the cream walls and remembers she’s only a 12 year old girl with a dream. She plops on her bed, grabs her journal, and begins writing a list of all of her dreams. She writes…

1. Get a record deal and become a singer-write and perform my own songs

2. Act in movies and shows

3. Become a great dancer

She stops half-way through the fourth statement and says to herself, “Gosh, I wish this could be me tomorrow. I would be so happy.” She then reminds herself that she has to grow up, go to school, and get to Atlanta before her dreams come true.

I was that little girl years ago. I had a long list of dreams and goals for myself. I was always writing them down and taping them on the wall. Actually, I still have one of those lists on my wall now. I find myself looking at this near 10-year-old red paper. Although it’s always been taped right beside my bed, I’ve become so consumed with other things that I have ignored it.

It’s something about growing up that causes distractions. As you get older, so many things like school, bills, and working become the foreground of your life. What you once had the desire to do slowly fades into the background. Growing up, I always said I wanted to be a singer,a humanitarian, dancer, etc. I was on cloud nine daydreaming and creating my own songs. I knew with all my heart that I was going to do these amazing things. One day I would look back  on how far I’ve come. Those dreams followed me all through high school.

I achieved one of those dreams by going to college on a full music scholarship. During the first year, I was still focused earning my way to my first college level solo. The choir sung this song the entire year. I was for sure on cloud nine. I also found my new love of opera. Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle were my two favorite opera singers. I was always looking up rehearsal videos and oratorios on YouTube. I kept the concerts on repeat as I  worked on my homework.

A few years later, I finished college and found myself working with children. It wasn’t until I started drawing and making projects for the kids that I remembered how much I loved art growing up as well. I was an art fanatic in elementary school and was forced to choose between art and music in middle school. Of course, I chose music and forgot how much I loved pouring my energy into creating amazing sketches.

I was once an artist before a singer. I was a once a creator, a dreamer. After the realities of life settled in, I was shown how hard it actually is to make a living off of those life passions. I was determined and had the talent to keep going but I forgot about it.

I found myself happier every time I had the opportunity be as creative as I want. The kids loved it and I found myself amazed at how a childhood gift rekindled so much joy.

Have you forgotten about your childhood dreams?

I want you to think back to some of those talents/passions that you had back in the day. When was the last time, you created a masterpiece or ran that marathon? Give it a try and I can guarantee how happy you will be doing that hobby/ whatever that thing is again. So much joy will overwhelm your heart when you go back to it.

Sometimes we need to go back to help ourselves move forward in life. Go for it! #BeAGirlLikeMe

What are some abandoned life passions you would like to rekindle?

You’re Not Worthless!!

We as humans have days when we feel inferior, less than, and worthless especially when there are people or things that contribute to this negative pot of thoughts. This feeling is particularly high in adolescents and teens because of all of the peer pressure, social media sites, and trends that constantly arise. We naturally feel like the number of Instagram followers, likes, and comments are what makes us out to be better people. We feel that the more engagement we have, the more popular we are which means we are awesome people right!?! WRONG!!! This is completely wrong.

It doesn’t matter how many followers, friends, likes, or comments you get. It doesn’t matter how much time you spent putting on makeup this morning. It doesn’t matter how long, straight, or curly your hair is. All that matters is that you are worth WAY more than you think. This stuff is extra fluff. Don’t allow it to validate you as a person.

You are gold honey. You are worth way more than you think. Proverbs 3:15 says, “She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. This is after the virtuous woman is discussed in this passage. You may not be a married but this still applies to you. If you didn’t know rubies are one of the most expensive gemstones on the planet. They go for millions of dollars depending on the size, color, and origin. This means that you are worth more than that, yet they will never amount up to you!

art design gold flower curves

You are a child of God and that is all that matters. Just because it’s a major trend does not mean that it’s permanent. Those trends will go away. After those trends are gone you will feel worthless if you keep finding validation in them.

So, we want you to smile. You are worth way more than you could ever imagined. Your life is important on this earth. You are valuable. You were made valuable and the older you get the more precious your life is. We want you to understand that.

Yes, it’s hard going back to school and work and looking at the most popular girl in school get all of the attention for her new hairstyle or purse. We understand because we’ve been there before. Popularity means nothing. Actually, the popular kids in school go through way more than you think. They struggle with peer pressure, amounting up to everyone’s expectations, and feel vulnerable more than the average kids. They just don’t show it.

At the end of the day, we want you to value yourself. We value you, your parents value you, and God values you most. He is so proud of his little princess/prince. Most of all, He wants all the best for you!

To the Discouraged Dreamer….

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You wake up to the sun shining through the windows of your bedroom. You slowly rise thanking the Lord for another day, but the misery still takes over your heart as another day rises and you are still in the place that you are in.

You look at the vision board you’ve worked on over the years with scriptures, pictures, and a list of goals you planned for yourself. You sigh as you see that these items on your list are just that, items that have never come to reality.

Whether you thought your business would have taken off, you would have had that dream job, or a nicer car by now, we completely understand. It’s challenging to keep going when you know that you didn’t plan for your life to be like this. People keep telling you that it will get better but the more you move, the more things fall apart. You hold on to the things you have left but quickly realize that they are falling through the cracks of your fingers like sand. What do you do?

You don’t believe in yourself or your goals anymore. What’s the point?

Giving up is so very easy and it’s especially easy when it seems like everyone around you reached their gold winning Olympic moment. While you are scrolling through Facebook congratulating them on the new jobs, engagements, houses, and little ones, you’re stuck making the last attempt of picking up the broken pieces of your life.

The more time progresses, the more your heart sinks.

This blog is not like everyone’s advice when they say, “It will be okay.” Yeah that may seem strange to say but we are taking a different approach to this topic.

Hope can be such a simple yet complex thing. You have hope when you are feeling down and it’s so easy when you have no other choice. On the other hand, it changes as you wonder why you’re not seeing the manifestations of your work and prayers. This is how hope can turn out to be so…hard.

You slowly feel like hope becomes the enemy because every time you have hope, it slaps you in the face as time passes. What should you believe?

How should you feel?

(You can listen to this song as you finish this blog)

The one poem that comes to mind is “Harlem” by Langston Hughes. The first line always catches the reader when Hughes states, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?”

Don’t let your dream(s) die!!! Never let them fall by the wayside and you look back wondering what your life would have been like if you would have achieved them. Don’t sing the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” song for the rest your life.

It’s okay to modify your dream. It’s okay to put them on hold for a while. It’s okay to rearrange them but please don’t let them die. Dreams are meant to live and they are meant to come true. You can do this. It just takes work, sacrifices, money, time, and a whole lot of effort. Any Olympic gold medalist can tell you that there were a lot of things they had to put aside to ensure their place on the team. But if you want it bad enough you will fight hard for it. Dreams take days, months, and years to come to pass but no dream is impossible. Think of Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

At the end of the day, don’t forget that you are in charge of your life. It is up to you to make things happen. As long as you continue to put God first in everything you do, you can do anything and He will direct you. Take advantage of opportunities. Live your life. Most of all, DON’T give up. It’s so hard right now but the more you keep going the closer you are to your dream. Remember the dream is yours!

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Olympic Dreams Start with Small Habits

Kristen Hogrefe

I always get excited about the Olympics, but this year, I’m especially eager in light of my recent ski trip. With my new perspective on snow sports, I know I’ll have a greater respect for winter Olympians and their skills.

The games starting this week highlight the athletes’ best performances, but they don’t reveal the countless hours and early mornings that have led up to the moment. These athletes had to be intentional every day to take the steps and make the sacrifices necessary to reach this opportunity.

You and I may never participate in the Olympic games, but we do have dreams God’s planted in our hearts. What habits do we need to cultivate in order to reach them?

#1: Desire God more

Wait a minute, Kristen. I thought you were going to talk about how we can achieve our goals?

That’s right. Who better to teach us and train…

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