Snow fell again this week. The wind drove drifts across the driveway and formed sheets of ice across the patio. For weeks I have felt frozen in place, waiting for a gentle thawing to release me to move again. While I wait, I have considered how often feeling stuck takes over our experiences, and I have been exploring the strategies that help us escape the clutches of stuckness.

This video for a TED talk by Dr. Lani Nelson Zlupko describes a few ways we can get out of a stuck state of being and back on the road again.

Turn. Instead of focusing on the problem that keeps you in place, turn to look in the direction of your goal. Name what you want and focus on that instead of the circumstances that are holding you back.

Learn. View bumps in the road as opportunities to learn, and recognize that even large bumps can be overcome and lead to future growth.

Persist. Keep trying until you achieve your goal. With each step along the path, you will grow closer to being the person you were meant to be.

This winter I will be working to focus on the spring sun and leave the bitter cold behind. I pray your road leads you to a bright new season of growth.

How do you get out of a stuck situation? How do you turn to focus on the path that lies ahead?

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Every New Year celebration means I’ve grown another year older and wiser. Here are a few thoughts I wish I could share with my younger self.  

Everything is going to be okay. No situation lasts forever, and many problems resolve themselves in time. Life does get better.

You deserve good things. No one deserves bad treatment, and you don’t have to tolerate abuse. Believe you should receive better and expect more from your life.

Trust your gut. When you feel uncomfortable or uneasy about a person or a situation, God is telling you to be careful. Listen to your spirit and know God is speaking to your heart.

When it’s time to go, move on. Too often we waste time clinging to roles or relationships that no longer serve our spirits or contribute to our growth. When you feel you’ve outgrown a station or a season, God may be prompting you to make a change and begin a new path.  

Everyone has their own problems. In our current culture, we often see only the surface of others’ lives, and everyone seems to be having more fun than we are. The truth is that everyone has experienced pain, and everyone needs compassion and understanding for whatever they are going through.  

Never “go along to get along.” Too many of us were taught to compromise our hearts and sacrifice our values in order to make others happy. If you are grimly tolerating a situation you know is wrong, either work to change it or accept it is not the right place for you.

Good relationships are built. The best relationships, friendships, and marriages don’t just happen. They require investments of commitment, work, time, and effort to make them successful.

Each person is responsible for his or her choices. We can’t blame others for our mistakes or bad behavior. We choose our actions and the people we want to become.

Reconsider your spending. All the material possessions we buy can’t really bring happiness.  All the clothes, shoes, jewelry, and books we purchase eventually became outgrown or outdated and get thrown away. Think carefully about how you spend your resources.

Invest in experience. The real reward of life is meaningful time shared with people who care. Don’t waste your time and money on things or people that don’t bring joy and value to your life. Focus on the positive and share your experience with people who strengthen and encourage you.

This New Year, I’m looking forward to a time of phenomenal productivity and change. I’m continuing to learn every day, and I’m excited about the lessons that wait in the days ahead.

What advice would you give a younger you? What are you looking forward to learning in 2019?

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Every year brings lessons and experiences that contribute to my growth and understanding. As 2018 draws to a close, I’m considering the events that happened this year and the lessons I have learned.

God sends us the people we need when we need them. I started attending a new church this year and immediately made awesome new friends who have enriched and blessed my life. I’ve taken time to connect with some old friends to strengthen and renew those relationships too. I’ve found that when I remain open and welcoming to new encounters, the people I need to meet find their way into my path.

Prayer has to be consistent and persistent. This year I completed the Let Prayer Change Your Life study by Becky Tirabassi. I learned that God wants me to talk with Him, and when I do, my relationship with Him grows.

I’m not perfect. This year I got two speeding tickets while driving through a particular neighborhood. I learned that though I try to be a generally good and law-abiding citizen, I am not immune to sin. I sometimes break the rules and need a penalty to remind me that I still screw up.

I’m not as smart as I think I am. This year I had an embarrassing experience that involved sending an email to the wrong address and then having to admit my mistake. I felt stupid, and I learned that sometimes I need the experience of public humility to remind me I’m not as extraordinary as I pretend to be.

Mindfulness increases discipline. For a few years I have struggled with food and weight issues, so this year I took positive steps to reverse my bad eating habits. I am learning that behaving mindfully helps me make the decisions I need to reach my goals.

It’s a long walk to the top. “Slow and steady wins the race,” I told my nephew as I held his hand and struggled to hike up the side of Crazy Horse Monument. “Did you ever read The Tortoise and the Hare?” All journeys take time, and I am continuing to learn that when we look upward and keep moving, we will eventually reach our destination.

Appreciate all you have. I have been blessed with a soft bed, a warm fire, people who love me, and a food bowl that’s filled regularly. I am always learning that when I am content and grateful, I feel richly rewarded.

Try something new. In October a friend invited me to an event in a neighborhood where I don’t usually travel. I was a little apprehensive about journeying into an unknown area, but the show was great and we had a good time. I learned that sometimes when we venture into unfamiliar territory, we discover that new experience is its own reward.

I am looking forward to the new experiences and discoveries that lie ahead in 2019. I am expecting many changes and new developments in the next year, and I’m excited about learning all the lessons that 2019 holds. I pray you enjoy a happy new year and many blessings in the year ahead.

What did you learn in 2018? What are you looking forward to as we approach the new year?Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Fall is the time of change and transformation. In fall the days grow shorter, shadows darken, trees go bare. It is the time of preparing for the deep rest of winter and the regrowth of spring; the season of gathering in what we have grown, examining what we need to move forward, and establishing our priorities for pursuing what is to come.

This fall has been a particularly busy time for me. I am establishing new relationships and looking forward to new developments on my path. I am preparing for an expected season of growth in the spring ahead.

Throughout this fall and winter, I will be making significant changes to this website and blog. I hope to extend my reach further and speak to a wider audience.

Please be patient as I explore what all these changes mean to these pages. I pray you will continue to check in here often, and that we will soon be able to connect and communicate in more effective ways. Thank you for reading Howtobeasinglemom.com, and I pray you receive many blessings today.

What are you looking forward to changing this fall? What do you hope will develop in the months ahead?Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

The change in weather brings a change in perception. I’m eager to leave behind the activity of summer and settle in for the cozy nesting of fall. Here are a few reasons I love God’s most colorful season.

Returning to a regular schedule. After of summer of spontaneity and adventure, I am happy to return to my well-worn routine. I spent the summer months collecting fresh ideas for projects, and I’m eager to refocus my energy on the work I value most.

Beginning new classes, small groups, church programs. Every fall is an opportunity to meet new people and explore new ideas. I’m happy to reconnect with friends and family after a summer spent doing my own thing, and I’m grateful for the chance to make new connections and forge new relationships.

Cooler morning walks.

Rainy afternoons spent reading on the couch.

Unpacking my collection of warm fleece and cozy pajamas.

A renewed understanding that the seasons of our lives are always changing and that what may seem to be an ending is only the beginning of a new phase in time.

And my favorite reason for loving fall is the constant reminder to be grateful for all I have. Everywhere I look, decorations and banners declare: “Be Thankful” and “Give Thanks.” Fall is the time to contemplate what is most important in my life and appreciate the people who share it. Every day is an opportunity to celebrate each blessing and acknowledge each gift.

In the fall I take the time to thank God for my safe and comfortable home, my family and friends, my work and opportunities. I value the special people I know, and I’m grateful for the moments we share.

This fall I pray you encounter a blessed and fruitful new season. Know God is always with you to keep you in his care.

What do you enjoy about each change of season? What are you looking forward to sharing this fall?Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

September 1st approaches, the time I always think of as the real New Year. School terms are starting. Church programs begin. We buy fresh clothes, shoes, pencils, and backpacks. We adjust to changing schedules and expectations. Fall is a busy time, a final flurry of activity before the holidays and then settling in for a long winter’s rest.

Each season promises an exciting new beginning. Every new start gives an opportunity to learn and grow. A change in the weather brings a chance for building friendships and exploring ideas.

This September I pray you welcome the new season. I hope you receive the inspiration and experiences to propel you into a time of expansive growth and understanding. Know God is with you always, through every season of your year.

What are you looking forward to this fall? How do you greet the start of a different season?Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

One day last spring I discovered these two guests visiting my patio – young crows who rested from their flight lessons by perching on my air conditioner and outdoor loveseat. I studied the crows from my window and snapped a few photos while their parents squawked overhead, then I left the crows alone to complete their important work while I considered how we all learn to fly.

Leave the nest (or you will be pushed). To discover anything new, we have to move out of our comfort zones and explore dangerous, unknown areas. If we linger in one place too long, we outgrow our safe surroundings and find ourselves forced to change our perspective.

Let go. We can’t learn to fly while clinging to the past. We have to release those burdens that hold us back and make an effort to propel ourselves forward.

Expect to fall. Often we find ourselves moving downwards before we can rise. Sometimes we have to hit the ground before finding the way to lift ourselves up again.

Keep trying. Regular practice builds strength and power. We may have to make several attempts before we develop the stamina we need to succeed.

Encourage others. While baby birds struggle, their parents perch in the trees overhead, calling to their offspring on the ground. When we gain knowledge and understanding, it is important to offer encouragement to those who are still learning to pick themselves up.

These plaques hang on my office wall, reminders that to reach our dreams, we need courage to leave our safe spaces, commitment to do the hard work, and vision to reach heights we’ve only dreamed of before. This week I hope you take a leap and find yourself able to fly.

Where are your dreams leading you now? How can you step out and learn something new?Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

After a long and dreary winter, spring has finally arrived. With the start of a new season come many changes: days are longer, the sun is brighter, and I find that many new activities are demanding my time and attention.

 

I’ll be posting less frequently over this spring and summer to allow me to focus hours and energy on some other important areas now. I will be traveling and exploring our beautiful country, volunteering at a friend’s charity event, spending special days with friends and family, discovering new neighborhoods while walking the dog, and completing my book manuscript.

 

 

I’m looking forward to checking in here periodically to share what I learn on my adventures and hear how others are spending their time this summer.

Know that God is always with you through every season of the year. I hope you spend your summer doing everything you enjoy.

What is on your list of things to do this season? How will you spend your summer days?Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail