Thursday, October 27, 2011

Laying by the Pool

Once, there was a pool of water called Bethesda. It was a pool of healing where when the water was troubled, it was believed, the first to get into the water would be immediately healed of any disease. Apparently it worked, there were many people healed over the years. But there was one problem  with this pool, it was always and could only be the first person to get in, if you were the second person all you got was wet... That means it was always either the person with the most friends or the most healthy/strongest person there.

Don't we feel the same way today? Doesn't it always seem "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?" (Hello OCCUPY!) and not just monetarily... But sometimes as we look around it's the people who don't really NEED anything that seem to keep on GETTING everything... And I, to be completely honest, hate seeing that... I've even leaning toward jealousy at some points...

Pool of Bethesda (2009)

Back to Bethesda: There was a man who laid by the pool for over 30 years hoping and waiting for his miracle... Watching other people who needed a miracle less than he getting their blessings...  Getting jealous of those people who always beat him to the punch... He angered each time he got wet for no reason. And eventually, I'm sure like most of us, he resigned to the idea he didn't deserve to be blessed and stopped pursuing the dream. 

One thing I've heard a lot of these days... Both from friends and at times from my own mind... "how can God accept me? How can He bless me? With all the things I've done and do wrong He can't love me... I'm not deserving.. Not good enough... My dream can't possibly come true now..." And you know what (be prepared this next point is something most people won't tell you...) we are right when we think we don't deserve blessing. When we think we are not good enough we are correct... BUT (and pay attention to this... Remember it... Live it!) deserved-ness DOES NOT matter when it comes to Jesus accepting us, giving us a dream and blessing us through the fulfillment of that dream! All those things we've done and do wrong CANNOT STOP HIS LOVE FOR US!

When Jesus showed up at the pool of Bethesda He didn't run to the most deserving... He walked straight to that man who had waited those 30+ years. The thing about Jesus is, He thinks a little more like I do on those kind of situations... He wants the people who are in NEED to be the ones who receive not necessarily just the ones who deserve... Because there actually is no one on earth who deserves anything from God, not one! We must remember the one thing that makes it possible for ALL OF US to receive even what we don't deserve from God... His pure, loyal, beautiful, constant, unfailing, unconditional love for us! No, I can't explain it, I don't know why He loves us so much, I only know He does... So that thing you haven't received, that one thing you've longed for that you just can't seem to reach on your own... Yes, that one thing you haven't trusted anyone to help you with... God knows about it, He's been paying attention to your heart's desire so talk to Him about it, tell Him you want to be made whole in that area of life because He wants to help you! Open the door to your heart, allow Him to take a look at those dreams and watch what He does with them!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Middle of the Night

I've read a story many times... It's about two men who were thrown in jail for preaching... And I know you're probably thinking that would never happen in a world so free as our world today but contrary to popular opinion people are thrown in jail for just that in many countries today... And lest we forget in the USA a young student was shot at Columbine High School because she would not say she didn't believe in God.  The story I'm talking about if found in Acts 16:25 and this story ended a lot differently than the Columbine shooting.

It was at midnight... Paul and Silas sitting along side each other chained to the wall in a dark, cold, damp, dirt floor jail cell... Midnight is called "mid" night because it's the middle of the night, still with a long time of darkness ahead. But knowing they were only half way through the night Paul and Silas began to sing and what did God do? Well, He didn't make it morning immediately... The sun didn't break the night sky and warm the cell, no blue birds were singing and they definitely didn't smell coffee being brewed nor did they hear eggs and bacon crackling on the grill...  No, Paul and Silas still had to go through the rest of the night time but God broke the chains of bondage in the night! 

God may not take you OUT of the dark night in your life he just may take you THROUGH it! Jesus is THE CHAIN BREAKER and you do not have to remain emotionally chained up by your circumstance! You do not have to be depressed because of what time it is in your life or the darkness that surrounds you; just lift God higher in your own eyes. Hold onto the fact that morning is coming and nothing can stop the morning!! Do not remain in the prison of fear, depression or even inadequacy you've set up in your own mind!  

I know, I most likely don't personally know you and even if I do I'm probably not sure what every circumstance in your life is... I don't know the pain the chains and beatings of your past or even current life situations have caused... But I know for sure morning is coming.. You may only be in the middle of your night, those last hours of darkness may seem like days, weeks, months or years of cold, damp, dirt floor cell imprisonment but God is listening for your praise... Yes, your praise in spite of what time it is or where you are... He's waiting to hear your voice lift him up so he can break the chains holding you captive and shake the foundation of your prison! You're not praising because you're happy about your current position in life, not because you're comfortable or content within your circumstances but because you know morning is coming!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Flava Flave: Neva lose your Flava!

"If I can’t be what they want of me, then what am I to do?" –Tarzan, as tweeted via DisneyWords

Haven't we all been there? Not wanting to disappoint anyone... Trying to fit in or even just wanting to be better than what we are?  Living up to the expectations of who someone else thinks you should be or even just who they think you already are can be extremely difficult!  And if it is more than one person you are trying to please you can forget about it now, it just won't be possible to please more than one person at a time.

More than the difficulty in pleasing someone else it's wrong of you to even try because in trying you deny yourself... Denying who God made you to be and who He wants you to be.  I always picture myself saying "sorry God, you should have created me to have this personality trait or this sense of style, maybe with a little less of a guilty conscience... That's how Mr. Know-it-all over here would have created me and I think he's right... What you created just isn't good enough." There is NO WAY I would say that sort of thing to God if he were standing in front of me asking why I'm changing for those people around me... I wouldn't even say that sort of thing to my parents! It's like trying to hide a part of yourself because you're embarrassed but the part you're hiding is a trait your mum or dad has and they catch you in the act, I mean, really, what is there to say to that? "Yeh mum, that nose is good enough for you but I'm too pretty to have it, sorry." I know that's a dramatic comparison but is it? Really, isn't who you are more important than a nose or some other trait I've used in my analogy? YES...

When you are changing who you really are or acting how someone else wants you to act, even dressing in a style someone else wants you to dress there is the danger of losing who you are and who you are meant to be... If you even have the answer to the question of "who am I" and if not, but you are trying to be that "someone else" you think you are expected to be you will never find out who you are, how could you when you're pretending to be "someone else."  You are something to be explored and in order to figure out who you are you have to explore your own thoughts, ideals, personality traits, style and preferences... You have to think with your own mind in order to know yourself.... If YOU or GOD don't like something about yourself then go ahead and change away but if it's anyone else who's wanting you to change, BE CAREFUL! We all have lots of strange little quirks but a true friend will respect and even appreciate them because those little idiosyncrasies are what makes you, well, you! "You're imperfect. Get over it, love yourself anyway" - Joseph Ranseth. And in case you've forgotten, even with those imperfections, you're fabulous!
Lastly, the God who created you, created you to be yourself not Sally around the corner... "Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: [insert God's plan for you here]— that's what I had in mind for you." Jeremiah 1:5 He wants you to look unlike anyone else, to be comfortable in your own style... He wants you to be into that poetry and/or songwriting... He wants you to record yourself singing or draw for hours... He wants you to explore those things you like doing and give time to them because practice makes perfect and He has plans for those interests! He already knows there are countless ways He can use your ability and interests for His kingdom! If you hide any part of yourself and ignore your interests because that cute guy or your BFF don't enjoy or understand the same things then you cut off your own growth, that level of perfection will never be realized and God can't use an ability you've refused to develop because of the unwanted opinion from someone else. "You got the makings of greatness in you, but you got to take the helm and chart your own course!" -John Silver (Treasure Planet)
Neva lose your flava! "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people." -Matthew 5:13 God put those distinctive flavors in your being because He wants to be able to use them... If we all change our interests and lock away every ability that our friends don't share then we are all only going to know how to do the same things... If we don't have a variety of abilities, interests, personalities etc. we cease to be able to progress in any area of life... If we all just know how to sing but no one is writing a new song everyone will eventually stop singing all together out of boredom. 
So, basically God has made you with certain traits, interests and abilities so He can use them as part of his grand plan... If others around you tell you there should be different traits, what your interests should be or make you uncomfortable working on your abilities then maybe you should surround yourself with supportive people or at the very least tell those people "while you appreciate their opinion and willingness to share it so liberally you will only be actually hearing God's opinion..." If you've been spending too much time trying to be what is expected or trying to get interested in what you man or woman wants you to be interested in... If you've buried an ability away because your friends didn't understand why you gave time to it or if you've completely forgotten about those things you prefer whether it be your personal style, music or pottery, ANYTHING... Get back to you! Take some time out this evening, think about your life and give some time back to the areas you've given up completely or given pieces away to please others! Watch your interests develop into abilities and personality; next thing you know you will be your own person again... People will be flocking to you, not because you're going to do whatever they want but because you are interesting and they want to be part of what you've got going on! 
Find your own flavor and never lose it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Revised Repost: "The Ugly Truth"

I watched the tv version of "The Ugly Truth" this weekend and then went back and looked through some of my beginning posts and thought this one is worth reading again... Today is exactly what Monday gets accused of being... Terrible! haha! So here's a little something that helped me and I hope helps you as well:

Is the truth always ugly? Seriously, I cannot count the times I've had someone tell me the truth about any given situation and, to be frank, I hated to hear it! So is it true, is truth always ugly? Although I wouldn't necessarily recommend the movie "The Ugly Truth," I may be inclined to believe a lot of the instruction it gives on relationships to be true... In the end (this will spoil the movie for you so don't finish reading this post if you are not willing to know the end before the... well, end :o)) the instructor, so to speak, fell in love with the woman he was helping with relationships and they ended up together.. It's always nice to see that but sometimes I feel like I have been feeding my mind with all the great love stories in Disney books and movies, romance novels (although I have only read about 2 myself, I am not unaware of the break down of most widely read novels), who can forget "Gone with the Wind" or "Pride and Prejudice" but maybe the truth is just ugly like it was in my parents divorce. "Becoming Jane" (Jane Austin's actual life story which ended nothing like her hopelessly perfect literary endings), "Romeo and Juliet" or "Wuthering Heights" and even the crucifixion is an ugly truth of a savior dying in agony and shame... And if truth is ugly then what is there to hold onto?

Hereafter I state the case of something to hold on to: True stories like one I heard on Oprah years ago... A German man and woman who fell in love just before the Nazi's invaded their little town... They would ride their bicycles together, or go for long walks talking about their future; never anything extravagant but apparently filled with love. While under Nazi control they, of course, were separated and sent to different concentration camps. When the invasion came to an end they franticly searched for each other but to no avail... Eventually they each accepted the death of the other, both married and moved on, had families and lived their separate lives holding only the memory in their heart. Somehow, years later, they found out each other were still living. Their respective spouses had passed away and they decided to meet, got married shortly after and lived the rest of their days making up for time lost. Stories of people like Jack and Kathy (the Assistant Pastors at my church), when they met Kathy was uninterested to say the least but now, after years of falling in love daily, are so in love you can actually see it in their eyes every time the other enters a room. Lastly, the "ugly" crucifixion is where the beauty of salvation, miracles and true love really comes from.
So maybe the truth is always ugly, at least in the beginning... Maybe we need the ugly moments to be able to recognize beauty at all... If everything was always great wouldn't it all just become average and dull? Maybe your day (like mine) is pretty much written off or sadness has crept into your mind when you weren't quite prepared... Maybe today is not a day you would like to remember, but when when you step outside, today or tonight look up at the sky... See the beautiful Sun and feel it's warmth on your face, take in the view of the stars so many people rarely take the time to notice and realize they were put there by a God who loves you, to sooth you and remind you you're not alone.

Maybe it's only emotion and not quite as positive as we should be about life in general but maybe that's exactly what is needed somedays...  When life has been coasting right along and it starts feeling average when we really should be feeling blessed for everything that has happened. Maybe us singles are not always confident with regards to our status; there are days when I (and most people I think have these days) don't even feel pretty let alone beautiful... But maybe that's all so we will appreciate our future spouse enough to be supportive, work on our marriages and make sure our respective spouses always know they are respected and loved... Maybe it's just an answer to prayer that we will be able to recognize true love when it comes our way...

"It's always darkest just before the dawn", there is nothing quite like the beauty of a new day and maybe that's because we compare it to the emptiness of the dark night before. So... I'm excited, even though it sometimes seems ugly; the truth is exactly what I want... True love, true relationship with God, true joy and true appreciation for all the wonderful things in life... The ugly truth is, some days are hard, a lot of relationships do not work out, and yes Jesus was crucified but that all means we can know when we have a great day, one relationship just around the corner will work out (and that will be the only one you or I will need to work out) and every one of my sins and your's can be forgiven when we repent, change our ways and ask forgiveness, we are healed in every way, we are made whole because Jesus was crucified and rose again! And that is "The Ugly Truth."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

That's What Friends Are For!

"A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow" - William Shakespeare

"Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies." - Aristotle

"A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature. " - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To know someone here or there with whom you can feel there is understanding in spite of distances or thoughts expressed ~ That can make life a garden." - Goethe

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." - Unknown
What is it that creates a "connection"? If it's not your life stories aligning, how is it that you just "get" one another, always knowing how the other feels in any given situation, understanding the predicament someone is in without having a verbal run down regarding background and surrounding circumstance? How is it you can say anything and it's taken in the right way? You never have to "walk on egg shells" or really even think before you speak. How, when like me, you are not what people would call a "trusting individual" do you let go of all the apprehension and break through all your protective walls and be vulnerable enough to speak honestly about your own being and uncover your heart, thoughts and wounds for them to see and all this based on a feeling of "connection"!!?? How does this "connection" make it past all the junk in our minds and hearts to create a beautiful friendship?

We always hear about"soul mates"... And I, being a romantic at heart, lap all of these ideals up like a dehydrated kitten. I have yet to experience someone falling in love with me... Any claim to fame on that point has long ago been disproved, no "soul mate" that I can see to speak of on the horizon at this point.. Sometimes I'm lonely, I wonder if I'm ever going to find my "prince charming" or if I have already passed him by and been too stubborn to take notice (great I sound like a Disney Princess in the beginning of her movie ha!).. At times I think no one can possibly care enough about me to take the time to understand my situation or give me a shoulder, hand or listening ear when I hurt.. Most times I'm not so sure I would trust anyone enough to spill anyway. But, all of a sudden I think I've been missing it... I have experienced the "soul mate" it just didn't come in the packaging I thought I had ordered...

I have found a friend, not a new friend, not a friend who lives just down the street but a friend who has turned into more than even just a "friend." I can say anything and be myself or just be quiet and comfortable in silence. I feel the need to fix anything I perceive as being bothersome to my friend, I feel pain when it reflects in the eyes either by word or by memory, I want to "take care of it" when the, what I call, stupid people in the world don't know enough to hush and spare some one's feelings or try to take advantage of a "nice person" character who would rather make the people around feel happy than have happiness for their own sake. This friend has somehow crossed all the fences, been exempt from the testing and got the certificate for entrance into my heart.

I found another quote "friendship happens when one soul dwells in two bodies" although I'm not sure of the measure of truth in the statement I do agree with it's sentiment... It seems to explain the "connection" you can have with someone.

They say (whoever they are) people come into your life for a season to help you, grow you, polish you, teach you etc... Maybe that's why we have the immediate connections, whatever it is, I love it! When that feeling comes along, whether it's me or you being the helper, it makes my life a little brighter.. So I thank you! Thank you for making me realize that I do have a reason to smile instead of cry, for making me know I am not alone even when I feel lonely and even though my "love boat" seems to be fetched-up on a sand-bar somewhere in the middle of the ocean I have met a soul mate already.

The only thing I think needs to be changed about this writing is the word friend... Because you are that "friend" but you've become more than expected... You have become family. Love you much and when you're having a "tears on the pillow at night moment" think of me and know I BELIEVE IN YOU and I LOVE YOU! Our connection is not now and never will be faded in my eyes.

So this was a letter I wrote to a friend who moved away, but if you're feeling alone, sad or just melancholy today please accept it as a letter directly to you because someone feels this way about you being in their life even if they haven't told you! And one more thought: if, like me, you're yet to find your "soul mate" just think of something Candace Bunshell wrote for Carrie Bradshaw (Sex in the City) said "Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates and guys are just people to have fun with.” And if no one has told you today, you're loved and beautiful!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Autumn Breeze & Turkey Please!

"Thanksgiving day comes, by statute, once a year, to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow." - Edward Sanford Martin

I love this time of year... (and yes, I've already been into the hot chocolate with marshmallows, fuzzy blankets & flannel pjs!) Maybe it's the beauty of the changing colors or perhaps the crunch of the leaves beneath my feet, possibly the smell of a fireplace or the yummy turkey dinner...  All these are part of it but I think the honest reason I love this season we call autumn is this day we call Thanksgiving.

"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all other virtues." - Cicero

Thankfully my family is not the type to have a big argument during our Thanksgiving meal... Maybe before and/or after but not during, haha! (I know that will get you going if you're part of the family but relax, I love you all and I am mostly kidding, haha!) My family are the type of people to actually take this holiday for what it is supposed to remain and we give thanks both aloud and in action... I think it's because thankfulness is in our hearts! Most of my family, including myself, are from humble beginnings but we've all been so abundantly blessed, and not in spite of those humble beginnings but because of them! Those beginnings are the kind that create kindness, compassion, generosity, thankfulness and gratitude. "Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." - Aesop

"Not what we say about our blessings but how we use them is the true measure of our thanksgiving." - W. T. Purkiser

Still, we all have a habit of taking some things for granted and today is the day we get to reflect on those small blessings as well...  I've had those years too, you know, the ones when you think what have I to be grateful for this Thanksgiving!? But the truth is, if you have family (even if they are a little crazy at times) or if you have a home (even if it seems a shack to others or is the smallest on the street) or if you have a vehicle (even if it does backfire or squeal its way down the road - my mum and I used to have a K-Car that embarressed the life out of me because of this! ha!) or if you have life at all (even if you're not in the harvest season in that life but in the dead of winter) you have a lot to be thankful for. "For what I give not what I take; for the battle not for victory, my prayer of thanks I make." - O'Dell Shepard.   There are people I loved dearly who cannot celebrate thanksgiving with me this year and that saddens my heart. Although I've lost loved ones and the bitter cold of the autumn wind reminds me once more of the vacancy I feel, I will remain thankful I was able to know them at all and I will honor their memory with my own contentment and gratitude. "Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates vision for our future." - Unknown

This year I am also sharing in the sentiment I've heard of others so many years I can't recount... That Thanksgiving would last longer than the holiday.  Years ago I heard Oprah ask her audience to keep a "Gratitude Journal" and I listened to her tell of it's power... While the power may not be in changing your circumstance it will definitely change your perspective.  I'm not asking you to keep a journal but maybe to take five minutes a day with your children, spouse, mother, father, sister, brother or friend and just voice one thing that you are grateful for in that day.  As well, through our attitudes, actions and compassion for others, let's make this a year of thanks not only the day of thanks. "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy

"He that thanks with the lips thanks but in part; the full, the true thanksgiving comes from the heart." - J. A. Shedd

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Declaration - POST 100!!!

Hi friends!  This is my 100th POST! YAAAY! (feel free to congratulate! haha!)  I was going to write this yesterday so I could have it posted earlier for you all to read but alas time ran out... And today isn't the best day I've had in a while but I'm looking past my feelings and making a declaration with you all that this is going to be a good life for me.

I know we can all get down, hey, I just cried on my lunch! haha! (before you all get super concerned just let me say it's mainly stress and a bunch of stupid little things and I'm usually not emotional but today my mum forced me into conversation and now I'm being a girl haha!) I know that sometimes things don't turn out as we wanted and everything seems so out of control we can't even help ourselves... But then again maybe that's the point, we aren't supposed to be helpers of self but we are to help others while allowing God to help us. 

I do think a lot of power lies in declaration and confidence... Maybe not even complete confidence in what is to become of the current circumstance but confidence it's only a current circumstance and even if it doesn't turn out to be completely alright and the way you planned it will turn out for your best. I've literally written dreams and prayers on the platform I stand on every Sunday and haven't seen them come to pass but each one is part of my declaration today, and they will happen.  Declaration can help in the current though and that's why I want to talk about it... I figured my 100th post should help us both and if you take this to heart and really declare it over your own life I'm betting it will help... The only thing I would like to add is that you not only declare it alone that you share it with others and declare it with God. Pray it and (if not completely now, eventually) believe it.

My declaration is inspired by a song by One Republic I currently love and more than that by the dreams I refuse to give up on.  In all honesty, seriousness and sincerity I do so declare:

"Sometimes there's airplanes (circumstance) I can' t jump out
Sometimes there's bull that don't work now
We all got our stories, but please tell me
What there is to complain about?
When you're happy like a fool, let it take you over
When everything is out you gotta take it in

I feel like there might be something that I'll miss
I feel like the window closes oh so quick
I'm taking a mental picture of you now
'Cause hopelessly
The hope is we have so much to feel good about!

Oh, this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life!
I say, "Oh, got this feeling that you can't fight
Like this city is on fire tonight (My aside here is that you would think in the spiritual, your city on fire for God!)
Oh, this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life!"

And the truth is, while I may not have a clue what's going on in life I'm still left with no complaint because I get to know God. I know His heart toward me. I know He loves me enough to die for me. And I know he has great plans for my life! Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  And I know He feels the same for you! John 3:16 "For God so loved the world" (the whole World) "that he gave his one and only Son..." John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life..." So just declare it! Declare God's plan for you to be fulfilled, don't be mousey about it, He's in control so it's good, declare with Him and I this has gotta be a good life!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hello Fear

Oh my goodness, to be honest I had no idea what to write today, just that I wanted to try and keep my "Monday & Thursday" promise... If this turns out to be a mess of a blog please forgive me, it's just what's been on my mind a bit lately but I only decided to write this last night and I usually give it more time.  Of course the title is inspired by one of my favorites Kirk Franklin and is the title of his newest CD which you should get if you don't have! Here goes:

I know a lot of my readers (and I love you all!) don't know me personally so allow me to explain something about myself and this blog :o)  I've gone through some junk in life (not as much as some and more than others) but I recognize that I have "gone through" and am not living in my past... I know some people get their thoughts stuck in a bad experience and can't move forward but I am not that girl and I hope if you're stuck you will sort through the pain and move on because you deserve to give yourself that permission and confidence.

The thing about the past is, even though it's the past it changes who you are... And in many ways I love the way I've changed.  I think hard times make you more compassionate and understanding toward others. Hurt feelings make you more aware of how you treat others.  Unmet expectations allow you to release the people around you from any of your expectations they couldn't possibly meet and make you realize life can be great without all of your expectations being met... But also, the past can make you overly cautious.

And there it is, my dilemma...  There are things I've wanted out of life that I have stopped progress with... Things I felt I should do but I let fear of reoccurring results stop me... People I wanted to help, befriend and love that I held back from... All those things are the negative points, these are the things that make me sad.  Basically, I know a lot of you feel this way or have at some point and I wanted to share something with you that has helped me get away from the halted progression, stops and hold backs... And surprisingly, it's not getting rid of fear completely, it's learning you don't have to listen to it... I think we assume fear means something is wrong or we aren't supposed to pursue a particular avenue when in fact it could and often does mean the exact opposite.

I met someone recently who reinforced my thoughts on this issue; partially because of the kind of life he lives... You know, cliff jumping moving and living all over Europe, para-gliding (at least I think that's what it was), scuba diving, snow boarding (and I know half of you are thinking "that's no big" but once you've seen me ski you would understand haha!) and much more I'm sure! But more than his free-spirited/uninhibited lifestyle, last night he was teaching me a lesson without either of us realizing what was happening (does it make me a nerd that I can turn pretty much anything into a life lesson? ha!) Nothing "big" happened but this person was telling a story about playing sports, getting hit in the adams-apple and not being able to really sing since... One comment lead to another and someone else in the room said "sing something right now!" I sing, not professional quality or anything but I would still label myself as a singer and even with that label I would have a hard time singing in a group of people without music but he didn't think twice and just belted (rather quietly) a line of a song (it wasn't horrible by the way.) I was shocked and proud all at the same time! haha!  In those few seconds my lesson was reinforced: you don't have to feel overly confident with yourself in a certain area to try, you can be scared or embarrassed but you can still move forward, just because something didn't turn out so well once before in your life or in the life of someone you looked up to doesn't mean in a different time the result will be the same disappointment.

I know it's hard, trust me, and I am not sure that lesson will ever be completely learned or if we all have to remember it over and over... But I am sure we shouldn't hold back or let fear of disappointment or opinion stop us from moving forward on any count.  Here are quotes that also help me:
"You were brought THROUGH that moment & brought TO this moment for a reason. THIS IS YOUR SEASON!" - TheSingleWoman via twitter.
"Just cause the past rattles its chains doesn't mean u have to let it rattle YOU! That was then - this is NOW" -TheSingleWoman.
And my personal favorite "Courage is not the absence of fear, it s inspiring others to move beyond it." -Nelson Mandela