Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thoughts on Leadership

Recently, I found a beautiful book entitled. To Bless the Space Between Us by John O'Donohue.  It is a book of blessings filled with poems which encourage and bless.  In it, I found a wonderful reminder about the honor of leadership.  Oh how we need good leaders!  Perhaps you are a leader and need a reminder of how a leader is able to bring blessing to others!  Maybe you lead from a table in a board room which is honorable but,  I think many of us lead from our homes around our kitchen table. May God bless you and encourage as you seek to become all HE has ordained for you whether at home or in an office!  Be blessed my friend!


May you have the grace and wisdom
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is
Personal and what is not 

May you be hospitable to criticism.

May you never put yourself at the center of things.

May you act not from arrogance but out of service. 

May you work on yourself, 
Building up and refining the ways of your mind.

May those who work for you know 
You see and respect them.

May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.

When someone fails or disappoints you,
May the graciousness with with you engage 
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.

May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue as a servant of the frontier 
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old, 
And you never become a functionary. 

May you have a mind that loves frontiers 
So that you can evoke the bright fields 
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.

May leadership be for you 
A true adventure of growth.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thoughts on the Feminine Woman.......

I feel truly blessed that the good Lord saw fit to give me the gift of mothering four  daughters and one son.   These  sweet gifts are grown AND are now, 39, 37, 34, 31, and 28.  Each one continues to hold a special place in my heart and soul.  Daily, even though my time now with them is limited [because they are living their lives with their wonderful families].  I continue to pray for them and think of them.  What mother doesn't think of her child daily and it doesn't soften with the passing of time or distance.  It changes, but in a good way!  I am extremely proud of each one.  My husband and I together balanced rearing them throughout childhood and into adulthood.  Then we let go..........

As I think of our daughters, I think of their femininity and the lovely qualities that have emerged from their lives and the women they are and continue to become today.   How did and how does this happen?  Our investments in our children as their parents began with one decision. We desired TO BE with them as much as possible when they were growing up.  These daily acts of providing for their physical, emotional, spiritual and educational needs contributed to the whole and wonderful people they have become.  Other people invested in them as well to make them whole.  There is so much I could say about parenting, but I was thinking this morning about the beauty of a woman who is feminine.  Yes, I was a mother who taught my girls the beauty of being feminine. 

One of my most favorite books and one which was made years ago into a film is REBECCA!  There is a quote about REBECCA, the person,  who is mysterious and actually never seen in the book and film, only described as "The most beautiful creature ever seen".  Of course, this description was of her physical beauty.  As I think about beauty, I think of what it means in relation to being feminine.  There are all sorts of role, we have to be careful in where we look when we look for the woman we hope to become.  It is wise to think deeply about whose ideals you follow.  It is true, we must all choose our own paths.....this is good and this right and if you prayerfully ask for guidance for help in making wise choices, God will give it to you and me. 

By nature, I am a feminine woman.  I enjoy spending some time each day in quietness reading  and listening to God's words from the Bible. I talk with HIM in prayer and give HIM my burdens and my prayer request for my family and for others who have asked me to pray for them.  This helps me to empty myself of me......such a renewing action I am thankful to experience each day. I don't want to be the center of my life because GOD is the center of my life.  I have learned over many years that emptying ones self before God gives a JOY that radiates from the soul.   No amount of beauty cream, exercise, health food,  job, or education can provide what God wants us to have as a free gift! Trust me, I have learned this the hard way sometimes! :) We must choose wisely who we follow and how we lIve and love. Our faces will soften, our voices will soften, and our expectations will soften.  You can be a strong and feminine woman without being forceful and harsh.....qualities which are not feminine and just plainly not attractive in a woman.

In the Proverbs, in chapter thirty one, there is a beautiful passage about a virtuous wife.  I wish all young women could read this. It begins by asking a thoughtful question...."Who can find a virtuous wife?  For her worth is far above rubies."  It goes on and on about this industrious woman. She gives without expectation to the needy.  Her tongue is kind. Her children rise up and bless her.  Strength and honor are her clothing.   This beautiful woman has the feminine qualities as a mother,  I pray, continue to develop throughout the lives of my own daughters and.......even more importantly...... I pray they teach them to their own daughters so that the legacy of womanhood lives on as God intended.  It gives us something to think about......doesn't it?  Everyday, my friend, is a beautiful gift!  May you enjoy yours! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Restorative Friendship......

Beautiful words inspire me!  I love words! I find reading the words that others have written soothing and often beautiful.  Actions though always speak much louder than words.  I hope over the next three years to build a lovely new home with my husband for the next decade of our lives and beyond. Below is a small rendering of what I am hoping we can do!  I want our home to be a place where others know they are loved and welcomed.  I want our home to be a place where others are restored and loved fully.....sort of a place for restorative friendships!  Waiting is the hard part.....but it will be worth it!  There is a time and season for everything in life!

Restorative Friendship:  this kind of loving restorative friendship is rare but it is the kind of friend we all should strive to be.  In the film, Chocolat, an outsider enters a beautiful French village and opens a shop with her meager funds. She wasn't a religious person so she was gossiped about in the little village where church was more of a ritual and a social event. I find her situation so sad mainly because my faith is so important in my own life. We must be about the business in our faith of loving others....truly! In life, talk does little to refresh one's spirit. Unconditional love seems to be the answer. Her little shop became a haven for the unloved and wounded in spirit.  She used the resources that she had, though meager, to accept, love, and repair what had been broken in others.  It worked!  The entire little village was changed because of her choice to act instead of just talk.  Oh, how I pray we can leave our own selves for a short while and act on behalf of those who are hurting.  If we could.........the world would be a more wonderful place! Love someone today without any expectations and trust God's power to change the situation!  Everyday is a gift!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Becoming a LADY

When I was growing up, we spent a great deal of time at both of our grandmother's homes  I understand now that I am older exactly why!  My mother was quiet young when we were born and  sadly I know now, we were not all that treasured.  It's okay and there were blessings everyday because I learned so much from  the time I spent with my grandmothers.  I learned from my paternal grandmother how loving a mother could be to her child.  From my maternal grandmother I learned the values of an education and a university degree.  I also was taught by this same grandmother how to be a lady. She had high expectations for us and daily instilled them in us.

Thinking about this now, I understand that becoming a lady is a learning process just like being a gentleman.  These qualities are taught, over and over again by parents who desire this for their child or children.  You could say, a mom and a dad just have to STICK with the hard lessons of  teaching manners, respect for others, respect for nature, love of our nation, and respect for God.  These qualities are fading today  and sadly fading even among adults.  Elegance defines a true lady and this usually appears quiet fast when you meet a lady because she rarely speaks negatively of others.  Her integrity is apparent.  Her relationships are personal and private and she speaks of her interest, rather than people.  A lady always shines! Always!

Manners are so closely connected to our actions.  My advice for the day.......... Be genuine, be real, be loving, be kind and........always be a little mysterious! Yes, mysterious....that for sure is the mark of an elegant and beautiful lady!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Living Room

Living Rooms are the home's most public room and the place where you and your family are most comfortable.  In the past, many homes had a formal living room and a more informal family room.  Today, this trend has changed and instead of two rooms the one living room is larger.  I still have a small living room, which is peaceful and enjoyable to use with a wide opening so it's feel is not so formal.  It's decor is very French....of course! 

In our main living room, the furnishings are larger and the room is used for many different activities. Separate spaces are used for reading, writing, watching television, and just relaxing.  It is linked in style to the more Formal sitting room but more spacious and not as many antiques. Homes are more inviting when they are uncluttered. When someone visits me, I want the focus to be on our time together not on all the collections or decor  found in my home. 

One of my favorite designers, Josephine Ryan, has a lovely book I have mentioned before called simply, FRENCH  HOME.  In the book, she shares many photographs of  her simple style and gives wonderful advice on how to pull a room together.   I have always said and she says this as well, invest in one good piece and build your room around it.  In the photo above, the French chair and ottoman were purchased eighteen years ago and still looks good.  I have never changed the fabric. A quality piece of furniture always is a good idea! 

In my home, I want people to sense that The Lord is welcome in my home.  JEHOVAH NISSI, which means The Lord our Banner.  His is the standard I hope to live by and be filled with.  It is His cause and His Victory for which I live!  

Psalm 20:5. "We will sing for joy over your victory,  and in the name of our God we will set up our banners, may The Lord fulfill all your petitions."  Yes, May JEHOVAH NISSI be welcome and may our home be a beautiful place for prayer and for TRUTH!  Have a beautiful Sunday!