New Season, New Start. What Does It Look Like From Your View? Taking A Time Out

New season. New start. What does it look like from your view?

I am taking a time out here on Pages From Joan amidst changing landscapes, new hopes and dreams.

The phone conversation took place only a few days before my Mama’s passing in October of 2006. I hadn’t summoned the courage to cry with her about her imminent death following a few short months of an esophageal cancer diagnosis. So when I returned to my home from a visit, the emotional dam broke as the tears flowed. “It’s a new beginning, Joan,” my Mama said softly, knowing that her time here on earth was drawing to an end.

We're all just walking each other home. Ram Dass

Today, that thought returns to me as I have decided to start another new beginning for me. Starting now, for a season, I will focus more on my book project and less on my Pages From Joan.

With each passing day, I am making more self-discoveries. Is that how the aging process works? I believe so, if we are open to the breakthroughs that can come with constructive comments by those who love us the most.

A close friend reminded me recently that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot be of much benefit to anyone else. I have blogged about this very thing in the past, in posts like Fire The Bad Boss Inside, Your Beautifully, Messy, Complicated Life Matters, Solitude: Seven Ways To Find It, and Are You A People Pleaser? Five Tips To Help You Stop.

And yet, I am at a fork-in-the-road again, wondering how well I have been taking care of myself of late. I feel out of balance. How about you? Is it time for a new beginning in your life journey? Remember the story about the oxygen mask? Click here to read it. Do you consistently put your O2 mask on before helping others? The moral of the story being that you can’t pour a glass of water when you’re cup is empty. Ironically, this scenario is more a lesson in giving than it is in selfishness.

I so appreciate you, my readers, the ones who have followed my Pages. You who have encouraged me so along the way, sending me messages, comments and even notes in the mail. THANK YOU!

I plan to take a few months furlough with a projection to return later this year. Meanwhile, I would love to stay in touch. If you would like to communicate with me via email, through Facebook Messenger, or even by being pen pals, please reach out to me at joanwpage08@gmail.com.

In closing this post, I would like to share something a fellow blogger passed to me in the past week that resonates with my heart. This is a list of 40 Things from her blog post about developing more happiness and emotional healthiness for your personal journey. Click here to read Rebecca’s post on her site: Self Development Secrets.

Life Is Short, that is for sure. The moments are fleeting. Let’s all put on our O2 masks as we go forward into this day.

What does a new beginning look like for you?

Posts You May Have Missed:

Where Is He? He Is In Us

Setting Goals Vs. Meandering

Tough Circumstances: Hold Onto The Power

Vacation For The Soul

Authentic Prayer

We Are Called To Be Brave

Learn To Love Yourself Despite The Struggle: An Interview

Run To The Roar: Bold Like A Lion

The Long And Winding Road

No One Visits the Mother of a Drug Addict Except Jesus

My friend, Nancy R. Chalmers has recently published her book entitled, “No One Visits the Mother of a Drug Addict.” This autobiographical story recounts the author’s experiences as she endured her son’s addiction, the physical, emotional and spiritual turmoil the addiction was on her and the entire family. The center is filled with family pictures illustrating their journey. Readers are given a firsthand look at how drug addiction took over her son, Andrew’s life, straight from her heart. This personal story took a ton of courage, bravery, as well as a hefty dose of vulnerability. This story is not just for parents of addicts, but for families who find themselves in a hard season that seems impossible to change.

Andrew Chalmers

It is Nancy’s sincere hope and prayer that many families will begin to heal, not only from the tragedy of substance abuse, but from any number of difficult circumstances that happen around our globe on a regular basis. It is this author’s belief that the path to wholeness starts with brokenness, and that “healing” is our God’s specialty since we are His creation. I agree with her.

In this personal account, Nancy also reminds us how telling our story…to a trustworthy soul…can offer healing beyond measure. She is very thankful for the one friend who reached out on a regular basis to be “Jesus with skin on” for this hurting Mom.

It's amazing seeing the ripple effects of how when the hope of Jesus Christ invades the life of a person how that creates a domino effect to impact the rest of their family, their workplace, and their neighborhood. Andrew Chalmers, Director and Founder of Take The City, also son of Nancy and Louis Chalmers,

Thankfully, Andrew survived this devastating disease, and one day at a time, he is sharing his story through a ministry he started called Take The City. Andrew now has a heart for those who are lost and in the throes of this debilitating lifestyle of substance abuse. Andrew and his family are indebted to the program Teen Challenge which literally helped to save his life. A portion of the proceeds from Nancy’s book will provide scholarships to those needing to enter the recovery program of Teen Challenge.

Not everyone is going to exhibit the kind of faith The Chalmers have shown here in this story. But God can work with what faith you have. In fact, Matthew 17:20 tells us “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Church folks don't like to talk about unacceptable problems. Oh, we can go on and on about cancer, death, (as long as it's not suicide), divorce, loss of job, sudden illness, surgery, birth defects, all our 'small sins' and many more. But alcohol and substance abuse, family abuse, runaways, other addictions, mental illness, satanic activity, pornography and sexual perversions, rape, murder, and nervous breakdowns are taboo.' Nancy R. Chalmers, author of No One Visits the Mother of a Drug Addict

At the close of her story, Nancy offers a 15 page Reflections Study Guide for hurting families. She begins it by again, reminding us that healing begins when we share our stories in a safe, confidential space.

Nancy begins the Study Guide with some frank questions:

  • What is going on in your family?

  • Who are the players in your drama?

  • How is all this affecting you?

  • Describe your most recent challenge or storm and how you responded.

  • To whom do you share this problem, where do you go for good counsel?

  • How do you find comfort?

Please note below a schedule of Nancy Reardon Chalmers’ upcoming book signings:

Wildwood Baptist Church, Acworth, GA Sunday Morning, March 12, 2017, in the cafe area

Piedmont Church, Marietta, GA Sunday Morning, March 19, 2017 in the cafe area

Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, Fayetteville, NC Wednesday, March 22, 2017 during the Wednesday Night Dinner

Click here to listen to an old hymn which came up often and ministered greatly to Nancy during this dark season of her life journey.

Andrew Chalmers, drug-free

Related Posts You May Have Missed:

Your Beautifully, Messy, Complicated Life Story Matters: Share Your Struggles

Addiction is Real: Hope is Real, too

Learn To Love Yourself Despite The Struggles

We Are Called To Be Brave

A Resource List:

The Addiction Recovery Guide

Teen Challenge, USA

The Extension: life-worth-recovery

Addiction Recovery

National Institute on Drug Abuse

the fix: Addiction Recovery, Straight Up

Celebrate Recovery

AA

Davis Direction Foundation

Fill Your Love Tank Don't Run On Empty

I reread a favorite book recently:  THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES, How To Express Heartfelt Commitment To Your Mate, By, Gary Chapman. Our children received a copy of this book to go through when they went in for marital counseling. Chapman also published other books on this topic, such as The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts, The 5 Love Languages Single Edition, The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools For Making A Good Relationship Great, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Loving Children Effectively, The 5 Love Languages Of Children, The 5 Love Languages/Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Loving Teens Effectively, The 5 Love Languages/Military Edition, and The One Year Love Languages Minute Devotional. There are helpful reads here for any age, male or female, teen and up.

Check out this brief Steve Harvey TV interview with Rich Wilkerson to gain a better understanding. Click here.

I’ve especially been thinking about Chapter 2~”Keeping the Love Tank Full”.

Psychologists have concluded that the need to feel loved is a primary human emotional need. For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse deserts, and endure untold hardships. Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardships our plight in life. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages

I think it is a good idea, now and then, for us to take a look at self-love.IMG_1002
Yes, everyone needs love, that is clear, but we also need to extend love to ourselves, giving ourselves mercy and grace as we journey through this life. Again, we expend a lot of time and energy caring for and loving the people in our homes and we must not forget to love ourselves…treat ourselves with kindness. That means we cannot allow ourselves to be in the habit of repetitive self-criticism, self-loathing, working ourselves to exhaustion, living an unbalanced life with no time for rest, relaxation, restoration and recreation. Click here to read an earlier post to inspire you on ways to nurture yourself: Solitude: 7 Ways To Find It.
How is your love tank looking? Are you running on empty? Let’s not wait for others to fill it up, let’s fill it up ourselves! Give yourself an “atta girl!”  or an “atta boy” today. Be beautiful and unique YOU!

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. for beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

The above message came from British humanitarian and actress, Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) when asked to share her “beauty tips.”

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Audrey Hepburn

Related Posts You May Have Missed:

The Love Letter Challenge

Children Are Wet Cement

Are You A People Pleaser?

Five Ways To Love Well

5 More Ways To Love Well

Humble And Kind

Let’s Listen To Children

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Busy School Days Three Things We Did

School Days are busy days, that is for sure! The days will go by, no matter what.

Welcome to Reality - Road sign

The hour is 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, and I find myself walking through our quaint Marietta Square thinking about afternoons gone by, when our son and daughter were small and coming up. Now married, ages 27 and 24, on school days, the hours between 2:30-8:30, six hours in all, were so jammed pack, roller skates would have probably helped me to make it to their bedtime. Homework, sports, carpools, snack time, Mission Friends,  baths, music lessons, dinner, and more, filled those six hours each weekday and the memories come flooding in when I allow them to. My husband’s work schedule did not allow him to help me shuffle them here and there, so it was lots of other Moms, and me, who counted on each other to create plans that were workable.

Half an hour's meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed. Saint Francis de Sales

Now at a local Starbuck’s at the corner of Whitlock and North Marietta Parkway, the hour is closer to three p.m., and  as I gaze out the big windows, I see the traffic is increasing. The parents are heading to schools for pick-up, while the teachers are calling the day a wrap as they clean their boards and straighten the classrooms in preparation for Hump Day. The days go by, no matter what.

Back to school design over white background, vector illustration

I don’t feel sad as I recall these school days gone by, but I do recall easily three things that we intentionally tried to do every single day:

1) Eat dinner together as a family-not every night, but we tried hard to make it most nights. We would go around the table sharing “highs” and “lows” from the day gone by. The crockpot was my best friend then! Click here to read a pertinent article about this.IMG_5309

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2) We read together every night at bedtime. When they were nonreaders, we would read to them and once they learned to read, we would read with the popcorn method-you read a page and your child reads a page. Click here to read an important article about reading with your kids.

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3) Each and every night, we would rest our hand on our child and give them the following blessing from Numbers 6:24-26: “May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Parents today, more than ever before, still want the Lord to bless their children. Click here to read a thought-provoking article titled “I pray this for my children.”, By Gregory Harris

How about your family? What intentional traditions and memories are you building into the busy days of your children and grandchildren? The SKY is the limit!

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Related posts you may have missed:

The Family Circus

10 Ways To Value A Teen

The Best Birthday Cake

The Long And Winding Road

Thank God He Has A Forgetful Nature

IMG_7762IMG_7732Yesterday, Donny and I were so encouraged as we left Piedmont Church. For such a large sanctuary, it certainly is a warm and welcoming place to be and Sunday was no exception. The lights shone brightly, the trees and wreaths adorned the bannisters, the stage. But the thing that encouraged us the most was when our Pastor, Ike Reighard, who started a new series today entitled PRICELESS, reminded us that our great big God has a forgetful nature. YOU can view this series of messages on lifestream at our Piedmont Church website. God doesn’t just forgive, he forgets our wrong choices. “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12 NLT Three of the greatest gifts we as believers find in him are:

LOVE

PRAYER

FORGIVENESS

With the Christmas Season upon us, join me as I reflect on how fortunate we are that we serve a forgiving God. We ALL fall short. That’s the reason God sent his only son to the earth as a baby. Click here to gain greater understanding of the true story of Christmas. There are so many misunderstandings about this story. Many have doubted the truth of it for centuries, including C.S.Lewis and Lee Strobel, both of whom wrote books about their doubts regarding this intriguing story. “The son of God knew what it was to be a homeless person. What it was to start life without a roof over his head.” Pope Francis, Washington, D.C. October 2015

It’s Christmas and there are so many ways to identify with the Christ Child and his parents, too. As Pope Francis was here on his recent trip to D.C.,  he visited a homeless shelter and he reminded his audience that Jesus was “homeless” as a newborn. Jesus’ mother gives all mothers the greatest example of humility and trust in Luke 2:51b, “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” Joseph, a carpenter, was a faithful and honorable man.

Do you want to know more about the newborn Christ Child this Christmas? “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to an all-knowing God.” Corrie ten Boom If so, reach out to friends and family who have come to know him and allow space in your heart to learn more for yourself. Let every heart prepare him room. Read the Gospel of Luke, Chapter Two,  More Than A Carpenter, By, Josh McDowell or Mere Christianity, By, C.S. Lewis.  Read and consider the lyrics of some of the carols of old, like Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, Joy To The World. Yes, there are many doubts about the truth of this age-old story. The horrific events in Colorado Springs, Co this past weekend may only add to those doubts as the abortion debate gains more and more momentum. However, the Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  We also read in James 4:8, Come near to God and he will come near to you. (that’s just one of the over 7,000 promises in the Bible) [pullquote]Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.” C.S. Lewis[/pullquote] Faith is like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger our faith will become. No, we cannot see God, in his flesh and blood, but as we admit our need for him, believe in him with all of our heart, and acknowledge our faults to him, our lives are forever changed and then we see him EVERYWHERE we look.

We may not know the future,

but perhaps Christmas 2015 will be a season for

drawing closer to the ONE who does. 

And speaking of not knowing the future, as a UGa 1980 Graduate, I would love for you to check out this great blog post entitled “Farewell Coach”.

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from Forgotten Forever, by Max Lucado, the passage that Pastor Ike read to us yesterday morning.”

I was thanking the Father today for his mercy. I began listing the sins he’d forgiven. One by one I thanked God for forgiving my stumbles and tumbles. My motives were pure and my heart was thankful, but my understanding of God was wrong. It was when I used the word remember that it hit me.
“remember the time I…” I was about to thank God for another act of mercy. But I stopped. Something was wrong. The word remember seemed displaced. It was an off-key note in a sonata, a misspelled word in a poem. It didn’t fit. “Does he remember?”

Then I remembered. I remembered his words. “And I will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12 Max Lucado

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Back To Books

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Ignore the “typo” in the first heading. I’m sure they know how to spell “children”.

When our children were small, I must attribute my sister, Laura Lea for reminding me to get ourselves to our public library! It was a field trip we took often. Leah and Walker were always excited to go. Our plans were to go during Story Time (so I could sit in the back and catch my breath) and then we always checked out books. Depending on their age, that is the number of books they were allowed to check out. We would read the books together again and again before returning them to check out more.  We kept them in a special place on a bench so we wouldn’t lose them within our home. (at least we didn’t lose them very often!) Click here to see what teachers are listing these days as the best books for our kids. I know the competition between technology and books is a hard nut to crack, but click here for some great ideas to get your middle schoolers and teens more motivated to read. I believe that reading to or with our children and grandchildren is one of the greatest gifts we can give to them.

Did you know? There are lots of great books available in LP (Large Print). [pullquote]When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before ; you see in you more than there was before.” Clifton Fadiman[/pullquote]IMG_6304

Did you know? Many libraries have what is known as Interlibrary Loan. This is especially useful for when you are looking for an older book and your library system no longer has a copy of it. The ILL will search other library systems and send it to your local library for you to check out. Isn’t that cool!?!

Did you know? After a book is no longer considered “new”, the price is often marked way down, sometimes only $0.01 plus shipping and handling. Check this out on Amazon and look for a book you’ve been wanting to add to your own personal library.[pullquote]A home without books is like a room without windows…A little library, growing every year, is an honorable part of a man’s history. It is a man’s duty to have books. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life.” Henry Ward Beecher[/pullquote] 
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Did you know? Many local libraries offer book chat groups, computer classes, ebooks, homework help, and more.  Don’t forget books on CD. This is how my friend, Debbie gets most of her reading in while she mows her lawn or travels to see her new granddaughter, Layton.

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Being in a library just feels good.

Let’s check out our nearby public library

soon and see what they are offering.

Invigorating Intriguing ITALY

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On the Ponte Vecchio Bridge over the Arno River, Florence, Italy, June 28, 2015

Before our travels began, I headed to the public library to check out the Fodor’s Guide for Italy, France, and Spain. Instead of taking those along with us, I made us each a travel packet specific to the places we were going. Then, I checked out a children’s book for each country. These came in very handy for maps, culture, foods, and more. They made for easy, light reading along the way and because of their size, they were easy to pack.

Our Celebrity cruise ship docked in Florence on Sunday, June 28, 2015, six hours ahead of our clocks back in Atlanta, Georgia. We agreed that with only 12 hours in the Livorno Port, the Tuscan Region of Italy, having a scheduled guide to direct our day was an excellent idea. Thanks to Donny for thinking ahead and setting this up for the six of us!

From Livorno to the city of Florence was about a 50 minute drive and the scenery was beautiful and filled with hills and fertile valleys. I especially enjoyed the huge fields of sunflowers that popped up unexpectedly now and then. Our driver soon delivered us to our spectacular guide, Agnes, who would show us the sights of Florence, explaining everything in great detail as we walked. Later, as I checked my pedometer clipped to my waist, it would register 9,720 steps!

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Here, our guide, Agnes, chats with Scott. She was so knowledgeable and fun to be around. Agnes was a super guide!

Did you know? Michelangelo was first discovered as a gifted artist at the age of 14. He went on to create the masterful David starting in the year of 1449 at the age of 26 and presenting the completed magnum opus at age 29. He unveiled the statue of David in the year 1452 to a thrilled city of Florence. Here below is an example of the exact type of stone which Michelangelo worked with during that time.

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Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

David was always in there in the marble. I just took away everything that was not David.”

Michelangelo (6 March 1475-18 February 1564) an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art (Wikipedia)

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The San Lorenzo to the Accademia in Florence, Italy is where David is housed.

Michelangelo clearly created this remarkable work to represent the young man in the well-known Bible Story about David and Goliath. While I have not read Gladwell’s book, David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, my Tennessee friend, Susan, has read it and highly recommends it.

You see, Goliath, the Philistine giant, was equal to the heavyweight champion of the world and he had everything going for him. He had every advantage possible. He had great ability and he was trained, equipped, experienced, battle tested and battle hardened, and he was completely fearless. He was totally confident but it could also be said that he was overconfident.
David had no armor, no experience, no equipment, he was not battle tested, nor was he trained. But one thing he had that Goliath also had was confidence but the huge difference was his confidence was in His God and not in his own strength. David looked Goliath square in the eye because He knew that God was with Him in this battle and if God is for you, who can fight against you (see Romans 8:31)? The obvious answer is no one.

Observe his strong fingers wrapped around the stone in the statue of David’s hand. Notice his look of fierce determination. This is a man who was relying on his God, with all of his might. In our day and time, Michelangelo’s work continues to be  an extraordinary illustration of how humans today can choose to live out their lives, trusting in God, no matter how big the battle may seem.

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This angel on the side of the enormous Duomo is believed to watch over and protect the city of Florence.
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Arno River in Florence, Italy standing on the Ponte Vecchio bridge

The historic center of Florence, Italy, is flat and compact—you can walk from one end to the other in half an hour. In the middle of everything is the Duomo, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with its huge dome towering over the city’s terra-cotta rooftops. The first stone for the Duomo was placed on September 8, 1296, and took more than 140 years to complete. The main three colors of marble are: white symbolizing faith, green symbolizing hope, and reddish pink symbolizing charity/love.

Jessica and Leah take pictures of the Arno River from Ponte Vecchio.
Jessica and Leah take pictures of the Arno River from Ponte Vecchio.

During Spring Break 2001, our family of four toured Italy, Rome, Florence, and Venice and made it to the top of the Duomo.

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Walker and Leah in Florence again after fourteen years!

Though not for the faint of heart or the claustrophobic—all six of us were planning to climb the 463 steps in the Duomo on this trip. Our hopes to make the climb were dashed when Agnes, our guide shared with us that it is closed on Sundays due to all day worship services. Emanating out from the Duomo are Renaissance-era neighborhoods identified by their central churches and piazzas.

The Duomo to the Ponte Vecchio is the greatest landmark in the most impressive square-Piazza della Signoria. Lunch was pizza, of course, followed by gelato! Soon we were crossing the Arno River on the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge filled with shops, art galleries, and restaurants. What a festive and invigorating place to be!

Spinach pizza
Spinach  and sausage pizza
One of Walker's favorite parts of Italy: Gelato!
One of Walker’s favorite parts of Italy: Gelato!

Legend has it that if you and your loved one attach a padlock to any surface of the famous bridge and then throw away the key into the Arno River below, your love will last forever. Millions of couples have come to the Ponte Vecchio for expressly this reason, to lock in their love and throw away the key for eternity. Whether the couple actually believes that these legends work or not, they will find themselves believers for at least that moment at the Ponte Vecchio. Aside from the beauty of the architecture and the wealth of history that the bridge has seen for centuries, the Ponte Vecchio crosses over the Arno River, a site of one of the most romantic places in Florence. Lovers will definitely be caught up in the romance of the Ponte Vecchio, especially if they also get to experience the breathtaking sunset over the Arno River in the process. The practice of locking padlocks to the Ponte Vecchio was probably started by a locksmith who held shop at the foot of the bridge, in an effort to raise his revenue. The Ponte Vecchio has always been a bridge for merchants from the very beginning, with tables lining the bridge instead of the chic shops that many tourists enjoy today.

These days, however, it is not advisable for tourists to come flocking to the famous bridge and become part of the famous legend. At some point, the overabundance of padlocks gave the bridge a gaudy appearance and the government had to resort to removing these excessive padlocks, and for a time continued to keep on removing them, as they kept multiplying at will.Today, there is a hefty penalty to all who are caught locking or attaching anything to the Ponte Vecchio. These days, lovers simply come to the famous bridge and simply touch the remaining padlocks that have not been removed. Luck has kept them there, locked to the bridge, perhaps some luck will rub off on the hopeful couple as well, and keep their love alive for eternity. (Wikipedia)

Following our tour around Florence, Agnes sent us on our way back towards our ship, stopping in Pisa, Italy on the way.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italian: Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply the Tower of Pisa (Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt to one side. It is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) after the Cathedral and the Baptistry. The tower’s tilt began during construction, caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side to properly support the structure’s weight. The tilt increased in the decades before the structure was completed, and gradually increased until the structure was stabilized (and the tilt partially corrected) by efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. (Wikipedia)

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Back on the ship, after dinner, Scott helped me capture the moon over the Mediterranean Sea. : )

Thanks for joining me on our June 28, 2015 adventure through the  beautiful Tuscan region of Italy!

My next post will be all about Festive Fantastic France.

Are You a People Pleaser? Five Tips To Help You Stop

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In trying to please all, he had pleased none. Aesop, Aesop's Fables

Are you a People Pleaser? There is a reason I brought this question up! I am a recovering People Pleaser. No, really, I am, and  I am not entirely sure how this choice of action began in my life, but I do think it is an easy trap for people to fall into.

I recently ran across a poem in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book which speaks directly to this issue. It is a bit  long, but I believe it is worth the time to help us see clearly whether or not we have a problem in this area.

While most of this poem is obviously an extreme case of people pleasing, and does not describe my personal experience, it paints a good picture of different

characteristics one might observe in

oneself who leans towards people pleasing.

Angela’s World

By, Barbara K. Bassett

When Angela was very young, age two or three or so, her father and her mother taught her never to say “NO”. They taught her that she must agree with everything they said, and if she didn’t, she was spanked and sent upstairs to bed.

So Angela grew up to be a most agreeable child; she was never angry and she was never wild; she always shared, she always cared, she never picked a fight, and not matter what her parents said, she thought that they were right.

Angela the angel did very well in school. And, as you might imagine, she followed every rule; her teachers said she was well-bred, so quiet and so good, but how Angela felt inside they never understood.

Angela had lots of friends who liked her for her smile; they knew she was the kind of gal who’d go the extra mile; and even when she had a cold and really needed rest, when someone asked her if she’d help, she always answered “yes”.

When Angela was thirty-three, she was a lawyer’s wife. She had a home and family, a nice suburban life. She had a girl of four and a little boy of nine, and if someone asked her how she felt, she always answered, “Fine.”

But one cold night near Christmastime when her family was in bed, she lay awake as awful thoughts went spinning through her head; she didn’t know why, and she didn’t know how, but she wanted her life to end; so she begged Whoever put her here to take her back again.

And then she heard from deep inside, a voice that was soft and low; it only said a single word and the word it said was…”NO.”

From that moment on, Angela knew exactly what she had to do. Her life depended on that word, so this is what her loved ones heard:

“NO, I just don’t want to; NO, I don’t agree; NO, that’s yours to handle; NO, that’s wrong for me; NO, I wanted something else; NO, that hurt a lot! NO, I’m tired, and NO, I’m busy, and NO, I’d rather not!”

Well, her family found it shocking, her friends reacted with surprise; but Angela was different, you could see it in her eyes; for they’ve held no meek submission since that night three years ago when Angela the angel got permission to say NO.

Today Angela’s a person first, then a mother and a wife. She knows where she begins and ends, she has a separate life. She has talents and ambitions, she has feelings, needs, and goals. She has money in the bank and an opinion at the polls.

And to her boy and girl she says, ” It’s nice when we agree; but if you can’t say ‘NO’, you’ll never grow to be all you’re meant to be. Because I know I’m sometimes wrong and because I love you so, you’ll always be my angels even when you tell me ‘NO’.

Have you ever had a hard time saying “NO” even though your instinct told you to?  Were you worried about what the ‘asker’ might think of you? Did you say “yes” to avoid that negative response? I often had a terribly hard time saying that two letter word as my children were growing up. Being at home afforded me the time and the opportunity to say “yes” to many jobs that needed to be done by a volunteer. Being a teacher for nearly ten years before I became a mom, helped me to be comfortable as a volunteer, among a lot of kids, both in classrooms and in sports. So check, room mom, check, team mom, check, small group church teacher, check, teacher appreciation chair, check, PTF President for three years…you get the picture.

There are two books that have been especially helpful in helping me to break the habit of being a People Pleaser: Boundaries:When to say Yes and When to say No to Take Control of Your Life By, Henry Cloud and The Dance With Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships By, Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.

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A younger neighbor volunteers his riding lawn mower to help his older neighbor with his lawn.

Now, please don’t think I am suggesting that we should all say “no” to all requests for volunteerism! OUR world as we know it could not exist…it would be turned upside down,  without the tremendous number of reliable folks who step out into the world each day, working diligently without earning a paycheck. And I bet most would agree that the rewards they receive from their labor is well worth the effort and time.

If you have a People Pleasing Pattern, you may often find yourself trying to be who others want you to be, agreeing with them to fit in. You may not be consciously aware that you are doing this, but there is part of your psych that wants to please others in order to avoid reactions that you are afraid of.

If this post has struck a chord with you,

here are five tips to help you stop being a People Pleaser:

(1) Realize you have a choice. You can say “NO”. Let the person doing the asking know that you need some time to think about and pray over your decision.

(2) Don’t apologize-if it’s not your fault. Ask yourself if you are responsible for the situation. If you’re not, let it go.

(3) Set clear boundaries and follow through. Be clear in communicating your boundaries to others.

(4) Consider who you want to share your time with.

(5) Realize you cannot be “everything” to “everybody”. That’s impossible. Even Gumby couldn’t do that!

OUR friends and family are important in our lives, but if they’re not giving us the support and love we need to pursue our dreams and goals, then we may want to consider spending a little less time with them. You may be that person that gives and gives and gives unconditionally, loving and supporting, yet, you do not receive the same when your needs come up. If this is true, take some quiet time out to take a good look at this. Like me, you will be glad once you begin to learn a healthier way to journey through this life. We teach people how to treat us. My sister, Laura Lea and I talk a lot about how often people can either “fill us up” OR “drain us”. We have and we need both kinds of people in our lives, but we also need to remember to refuel after the draining has occurred.

How about you?

Are you a People Pleaser?

If so, take a few minutes to begin the change today.

Is someone you care about deeply leaning towards being a People Pleaser?

Consider sharing this post with them,

so they, too, can live a more healthy life.

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Volunteers make the world go ’round! Consider prayerfully where you can make a difference in your sphere of influence today. It’s a wonderful thing when we volunteer for a job that is ideal for our interests/skill set, and not just every need that comes along.
...love all and everything and spread a network of love everywhere. No matter who gets into this net, catch them all and fill them with love. Leo Tolstoy (1820-1910 Russian Novelist)

May Is Here Finish The Drill

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Spring is nature’s way of saying,

“Let’s party!” 

Robin Williams

No matter how chaotic it is wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.”

Sheryl Crow

My favorite bulletin board idea was one I used when I taught fifth grade.

I think it was the kids’ favorite, too.

The colorful board had a huge hamburger across the board and my students got to place pictures and words, “the “fixings”- on the big burger with all the things they wanted to do during the coming summer. The heading read:

HamburgerI’LL TAKE ONE SUMMER-HOLD THE HOMEWORK

Now that it is May first, everyone is really ready to close the books on this school year. In fact, most colleges have either had their commencements or they are scheduled for the very near future.The lower schools are counting the days, going by slow as molasses for the students and a little faster for the teachers as they work hard to accomplish all the skills on their lists. And the parents? They are making summer plans, camp, day-care and hopefully a trip to the beach if they’re lucky.

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Our rhododendron bud waits for its day to pop.

Spring sports are in full session, along with Spring plays and musical performances, while small groups of Moms meet over coffee to plan the end-of-year parties. Parents attend awards programs and scout groups wrap things up for the year. Coach Mark Richt was famous for telling his University of Georgia Bulldog players: “Let’s finish the drill!!!”

While all this is happening in the busy month of May, flowers and animals in our midst are quietly displaying the handiwork of Spring. Just following Easter, May is a time where all things really do seem new and our Creator, through NATURE, does an incredible job of showing us the newness of life which unfolds in May. It’s a time to finish things up and start the next new thing.

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Our rhododendron bud begins the process of spreading its wings.
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A little closer to blooming, , rhododendrons have long been mainstays of late spring because of their spectacular clusters of showy blooms and large green leaves that last through the winter.
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This one is nearly in full bloom now!
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Last week, I had to rescue this scared, little bunny from our dog, Mocha’s teeth. Thankfully, he was not injured beyond repair as he slowly rejoined his family in the bushes.

Homes become safe havens for baby birds and other babies who are new in the Spring. Nests are built in wreaths, flowerpots, nearby trees and bushes. May is a time for yard and garage sales and For Sale signs going up in front of some homes where families are ready for something different or a job change has prompted a move to a new location.

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Annaclaire hangs out with her cousin, Titus, both now age one.
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Picnic Time!
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Titus is asking: “What flavor are those fingers, Annaclaire?”

May is a good time to take notice on how quick your little ones are growing right out of the clothes you have for them and how their little toes are cramming into their shoes. To read about the six babies born into our family in 2014, including these two cuties, click here: Carve Your Name On Hearts.

What is on your list for MAY that will help you successfully “finish the drill?”

Do something that makes you smile.

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Red geraniums make me happy! I will be planting these soon along with some of my favorite herbs and some bright yellow lantana.

Blaze Your Own Trail Dolly Parton: Dream More

I first posted these thoughts on January 26, 2015, and I am updating them here, because there has been some big news in the region where Dolly Parton was raised. Did you happen to catch NBC’s special about her life this past week? The title is Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. DID YOU KNOW? Dolly Parton, who turned 70 on her last birthday, January 19, 1946, was raised in an unimaginably poor household. One of 12 children, yes, the home was filled with love abounding, but many times her big family found themselves both cold and hungry as they grew up in the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee area in the stunning Great Smoky Mountains. As Donny and I watched the show I mentioned above, I was once again reminded of how Dolly (along with the help of her Uncle Billy) never, ever gave up on her dreams to one day be a star. Dolly Parton, as we now all know, reached her dreams even more than could be imagined! As we also know, thousands in and around the cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge had to be evacuated on Monday night, November 28, 2016, due to horrific and rapid spreading fires throughout the Great Smoky Mountains. Parton agreed to directly aid each family who has been impacted by these wild fires and she is calling her response: “My People Fund.” What dreams do you and I want to carry out in the new year that is ahead of us? Let’s never give up on our dreams to leave the kind of legacy we would like to leave behind.

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
Christopher Reeve

As a fifty-something woman, I am always looking for fresh ideas and new energy. That is why I checked out a book on CD from Cracker Barrel for my recent five-hour drive to Abingdon, Virginia. I decided on Dolly Parton’s DREAM MORE: Celebrate the Dreamer in You, and I am glad I did.

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Did you know that Dolly Parton’s Daddy, a tobacco farmer, could not read or write? He paid the doctor who delivered Dolly with a sack of oatmeal.  Did you know that Dolly, the fourth of twelve children, announced “I’m  goin’ to Nashville and I’m gonna be a star!” to all who would listen when she graduated from Sevierville High School in 1964?  Not only did Dolly go and accomplish this huge dream of hers, but in 1995, she also developed The Imagination Library. Dolly wanted every preschool child in her native Sevier County, Tennessee to have his/her own collection of books. Imagination Library currently serves children in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., providing more that 560,000 children with a book each month!  It was really fun listening to Dolly read and sing her way through this book on CD, as the miles from GA to VA clicked by. Dolly Parton highlighted four areas that I want to emphasize as I celebrate the dreamer inside myself and hope you will do the same:

Dream More

Don’t let the weeds grow around your dreams! Keep dreamin’ ’til you take your last breath.

Learn More

Keep reading, researching and learning as much as you possibly can.

Care More

There is always going to be someone less fortunate who shows up in your path. Care for them!

Be More

Follow the Golden Rule! BE the best YOU you can be.

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While in Abingdon, VA, we visited the local Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning and got to meet a creative,  young woman who is going after her dreams: Artist, Jenny Nichols, owner of Mountain Primadonna. Jenny designs unique jewelry and she had many things on display at the market. I purchased this “Blaze Your Own Trail” necklace from Jenny as I reflected on the message Dolly Parton had shared with “me” on my drive north. You can also meet Jenny on her blog Freedom to be.

As I go forward I want to keep my dreams alive and blaze my trail that is uniquely prepared for me.

A tiny spark can start the flame glowing for that dream you may have left in the dust long ago.

What is that aspiration that has nearly been forgotten that you want to resurrect in your life today?

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A necklace designed by Jenny, artist and owner of Mountain Primadonna
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…let’s follow the Light that is shining on our path…
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We will encounter rocks and roots in our path, even so, let’s keep moving forward towards our dreams.