How To Use Difficult Situations To Enrich Your Life Journey.

Dear Readers, Friends, and New Visitors,

First I want to apologize for being gone for several weeks. Since I live in Florida, I spent time before, during, and after hurricane Irma. Trees, limbs, wires, and debris were everywhere, but I rode out the storm and survived without damage to my house or car.

I’m grateful but so sad for others less fortunate. And I ask you to pray for all those who suffered and are still suffering. I appreciate all the well wishes and prayers from you all and was touched.   God bless all.

Now For This Week’s Post!

Imagine that when you wake up each morning a familiar feeling of dread reaches your mind, and your stomach immediately tightens with stress.You fold your hands over your chest and calm yourself enough to get up and go to a job where you have to face the monster who supervises you with criticism, insults, and anything his sick mind conjures up. You would have left long ago, but you love your work, and you keep thinking things will change. But they don’t. What would you do in such a situation?

On our journey through life, we each experience painful situations that hold us hostage with no visible way out. These situations can involve health, work, financial issues, damaging relationships, losses, various addictions, whatever causes us pain. We bring some on ourselves, and others invade our orderly world without explanation. And we usually view each one as our all-powerful enemy. We may fight back, or leave the situation. Then another one is sure to come. And we move through life never really free to be who we are. Maybe we need to take a closer look and see what’s really happening.

“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.”   ~Lee Iacocca

Obstacles in your life are not enemies. They’re opportunities to learn, overcome, and grow into more of the person you’re meant to be. Without these opportnities, you may never realize the depth of how wonderful you are. At times, the road is painful, but if you meet each encounter with faith and determination, life can be rewarding and meaningful.

Years ago I worked as a Mental Health Therapist in a Psychiatrist’s office, and I suffered the same experience as in my opening example. I awoke each morning with dread about going to work. I went to my Minister for help, and she carefully listened, then said, “This man is probably one of the most important teachers you will ever have. Pay attention, learn and grow, and you will be guided to the next plateau in your life.” She was right. I saw myself and my situation with new vision, and I finally left for a new rewarding position, as a wiser and happier me.

“If you can learn from the worst times of your life, you’ll be ready to go into the best times of your life.”  ~Author Unknown

Methods For Change:

Meet each difficult situation as an opportunity with a willingness to learn and grow from it.

Analyze the situation and your response to it. You can learn a lot about yourself in the way you respond to a negative, even hurtful, situation in your life. The more you learn, the more powerful you become. And your situation’s power over you weakens.

“Keep asking yourself: What am I supposed to learn from this?” ~ Unknown

Go within and examine your attitude and feelings, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Do you feel stressed with worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, forsaken, etc? How immersed are you in your feelings? How clear is your mind? Where is your focus…on the situation, your inner response, or both? Do you view the situation as more than you can handle? Can you call on your Higher Power for help? Question and learn.
You’re stronger than you think. Uncover your strengths, and let them shine. Use denials and affirmations ie; “I deny that this situation has any power over me. I am strong and unbeatable.” This process will reinforce your power.

Create a plan to deal with your situation. Then choose techniques that would work best for you…confronting, accepting, or getting away from it. As you go along, monitor your situation and your response, and know you have a right to the life you want. And make it so. Each time you pass a hurdle, you can look back with a grateful heart to where you were, compared to where you are now. And what you learn now will lift you to a higher place for future encounters.

I wish you happy discoveries on your journey.

Marilyn Fowler, Author, and Writer of   “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available Amazon online…

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Thanks To Irma…A Blog Post Re-share: “How To Survive Your Storms And Grow Stronger.”

Hello and Welcome Friends, Readers, and New Visitors,

I am a little early this week with a post here on my blog, and thanks to my friend Author, Cat Lyon who is placing this post up for me as I am preparing for a dangerous hurricane. Yes, I live in Florida and IRMA seems she wants to make a “Grand Entrance” into Florida!

This had me thinking of a post I did when I first came to WordPress about ‘Weathering Life Storms.”  Doesn’t matter if it is a storm of mother nature or a life event, we can grow stronger from the experience and pick up the pieces and move on. So please keep Florida in your prayers as THIS storm moves past us…

 

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“Don’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s storming now doesn’t mean that you aren’t headed for the sunshine.” ~ Unknown

The storm has passed. It’s quiet now. An eerie quiet. As if waiting for the next devastating gust of winds to come and carry away whatever is in its path. Waiting for more tree branches and debris thrown to the ground, for more flooding with homes and lives destroyed. I wait. But the storm is gone. And now everything bravely comes alive again. I know as I watch critters work with nature to recover and rebuild their lives.

I know from the sound of birds calling to each other from their secret places where they found refuge. I hear their happy whistles and chirping, now free to do what birds do–gloriously spread their wings to join others in search of new horizons and rebuild their nests for new families to replace those lost in the storm.

I know from squirrels running up and down and hopping over wet branches planning their next adventure. Calling to each other, chattering and flipping their tails in happy pursuit of food perhaps thrown to the rain-soaked earth by heavy winds. Happy sounds of creatures.

I know from lizards scurrying about, or peeking out from underdrain pipes to find a dry spot to survey the territory. Their mouths snapping open and shut, and their heads bobbing back and forth frantically pursuing their next move. Lost in this new dry world, with maybe no memory of where they were or what they were doing when the storm ran them for shelter.

And I know from the way my own heart jumps as I feel the sun’s warmth on my bare arms, and breathe in the smell of crisp air washed clean by heavy rains; watch bright sparkling sunbeams dancing on grateful plants reaching up with outstretched arms. The clouds are gone, and the sky is as clear as DeLeon Springs where I swam growing up. I smile at nature coming alive, venturing out. Each to its own identity, being what they are when the storm has passed, and a new day arrives to begin again. What a world to behold.

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When I experience one of those storms, I think of the human storms that arise within each of us when our calm lives are turned upside down. Our feelings are much like the qualities found in the storms of nature. In one of your own life storms you may experience a rain of tears over a painful loss; or feel you’ve been caught up in a cruel tornado tossing your life in a hundred directions, or you’re out of breath treading water and going deeper all the time; or a belief you’ve held your whole life suddenly toppling to the ground.

“Be encouraged…Not every storm is a disaster. Some are simply cleansing moments.”  ~Gregory Prince

When you’re hit by a life storm, you can do whatever you can to change its course, or you can ride it out. And one way or another, your storm will pass. But until it does, a positive attitude is necessary. Storms may stall, as nature’s storms do, so watch for signs that it’s still moving out. There’s less turmoil, your stress level is dropping, each day becomes a little easier. And it has given you a lesson and made you stronger.

“Remember to play after every storm.”   ~Mattie Stepanek

After the storm passes, don’t be satisfied with just knowing the storm is gone. Walk in the sunshine and smile at the critters. And take time to nurture and care for yourself. Then focus on rebuilding, and use what you’ve learned to make your life better than before. Is there debris from the past you can release now? Did your storm reveal strengths you didn’t know you had? Explore and set your sights on a new tomorrow.

As each day passes, look for positive changes, and make new discoveries about yourself. You may be surprised at what you’ll find as a result of experiencing the storm.


I wish you a peaceful heart and new tomorrows… UPDATE 9/17/2017

Hi Everyone!,

I spoke with Marilyn on Friday and she is back home and has weathered Hurricane IRMA just fine. She had no damage to her home, as she lives North in Jacksonville, FL. She did say the yard was a MESS with debris, trees, and branches down, but that was about it. She had power on by Thursday. So we can all rest easy to know she made it OK. NOW? She said the clean-up begins. So we wanted to leave this post up for the coming week as a reminder that YOU can weather any STORM be it in LIFE or Mother Nature! God Bless Those Who Lost Everything and Our Prayers Are With Them… XOXO

Marilyn and Cat!

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Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available Amazon.

 

“Let Us Create Time For Wonderment In Life.”

Hello Friends and New Visitors,

Since it is a Labor Day Holiday and Day of Rest, I let my dear friend Marilyn have the day off and I am filling in with one of my favorite blog posts she did from years gone by…

I hope you and Marilyn enjoy some “Wonderment and Peace” in your life today.
~ Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Every day you have a gift. A new 24 hours to create your own experience. You have all the tools you need to color your day with wonderment. Your gift includes sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. What will you create? You run. You hurry to get there. Don’t be late. A job to do. Bills to pay. Food to prepare. Errands to run. Tend to this. Tend to that. Then night comes. Your day has ended. You’ve spent your gift. Did you create time for wonderment?

“The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”  ~Marcel Proust

Today is a holiday. I took my cup of coffee out on my back patio. I spied a bird in the oak tree. He whistled. Then I whistled. Then he whistled. And I whistled. He said it was a beautiful day with the sun coming up. I told him I was happy to share the morning with him. That’s wonderment.

looked up to the sky billowing with white clouds between the sun’s rays. An old man with a white beard sat atop the fluffy mass, and a sparkling flower bloomed. That’s wonderment.

I went to the grocery store and ran my cart up and down the aisles. I picked up an apple. A bright red color. I rubbed its smooth skin. I put it to my nose and inhaled its sweet aroma. I saw a woman looking for a greeting card. She didn’t need the walker she had last week. The clerk smiled when I called her by name. That’s wonderment.

I went to a birthday party for my niece and me. I’d wrapped her gift in lavender paper. She wrapped mine the same. We laughed at our coincidence?savored the coconut cake that melted in my mouth and the almonds that crunched between my teeth. That’s wonderment.

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I heard some talk of politics and problems to be solved. But I heard joy in laughter and felt the love in all the hugs. A soft blanket covered the living room floor where my niece’s grandbaby explored her array of toys. My brother played the piano, and she waved her arms to the music. That’s wonderment.

As my eyes took in her world, a poem went through my mind. I watched her playing all alone. Such a little sweetheart, 8 months old.

A little beauty to behold.

Her eyes alive with new delight.

Pure wonderment on her happy face.

Outstretched arms in sweet embrace.

My heart longed to be where she was then.

Oh, if we could but keep those moments in life.

And return to that sweet paradise.

“Wonder is music heard in the heart, is voiceless.”  ~Rosemary Dobson

What do you find at the end of your day? Are you tired? Does your body ache? Is joy in your heart, or just glad it’s over? You have the power to create your music on your self-help road to freedom. The day is your gift, and you experience what you choose to create.

Do what you need to do, but open your eyes to the wonderment that’s there if you choose to see it. You are beautiful. Make each day as beautiful as you are. Look in the mirror and see the wonderment of you. What a blessing you are. That’s wonderment.

May your life be filled with Wonder!

Author, Marilyn Fowler

 

How And When Does A House Become A Home?

Home is a place where we live, where we keep our toothbrush and our dirty clothes hamper–or is it? We don’t usually take notice, but what if it’s a state of being that one feels in a certain place, or in every place. I’ve known people who feel at home wherever they go, and others who have never felt at home anywhere. The place where one lives could be a house, an apartment, a cave, the side of a mountain, a ship at sea, or under a bridge somewhere. Does the place matter? Or is home really inside of us, in our mind and heart waiting for expression?

“It takes hands to build a house, but the only heart can build a home.” ~ Anonymous

We each have our own ideas about what a home should be–or what it should not be. And our memories are sometimes involved in this perception. We may want to escape painful childhood memories or re-create happy ones in our surroundings. For some, it’s the physical environment, for others the people they’re with, or the state of their affairs. A person can live in a mansion and long to go home. But the place where we live is just a place until something there satisfies a need in us, and then we perceive the place as home. So it’s the meaning we assign to a place that brings us in touch with our inner sense of home.

I have a friend who was born and raised in Poland. She sometimes speaks of walking in the woods near her grandfather’s farm when she was a child, and of the safe, warm feelings she experienced there. Now when times get rough for her, she longs to go home to Poland. That place is where she found her inner sense of home, and that’s where she yearns to be when she feels a need to rest from life’s burdens.

Until I moved into my present home, I had never lived in one dwelling for more than four years. I used to wonder what it was like to have a home. When I was nine-years old I came close to knowing what that meant. I spent several months with an aunt and uncle in their lake house in Michigan. It was a beautiful time when I felt home inside of me. I felt joy in the scenic wonder of the place, validated and loved by my aunt and uncle, accepted by my school friends and was treated as a special part of the universe. That’s what home meant to me, and I found it there, if only for a little while.

“Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.” ~Hazrat Inayat Khan

Each of us is unique, and how homes are created differs with different people. Some may feel at home as soon as they walk into a place where they will live. Others may already know what they need and want, and they plan purposefully to fulfill their unique perception of home. Others may create gradually without purpose toward a home, and over time, without forethought, add little by little, until one day they look around and say with a smile, “Oh, my goodness. I’ve turned my place into a real home.” However a home is created, it’s a feeling made manifest from the heart.

“A house is made of bricks and beams. A home is made of hopes and dreams.”  ~Unknown

What thoughts, memories, visions, scents, and sounds come to mind when you think of home? Do you already have a place that’s home to you? Does where you live satisfy a need in you? Your home is an ongoing expansion in your life, and as the years’ pass, allow it to reflect more of you and what you hold dear.

I wish you love, peace, joy, safety, and abundance in your special home.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available Amazon.

(PS…My thoughts, prayers, and safety to all in Texas who are being affected by Hurricane Harvey.) 

Coping With Job Dissatisfaction And Finding Your Joy.

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“THE ONLY WAY To Do GREAT WORK Is To LOVE What You DO.” ~Steve Jobs

Recently I saw research on TV regarding job dissatisfaction, and I was amazed at this revelation, although not surprised given the way our world has changed over the years. According to this report, a large number of people are greatly dissatisfied, many are somewhat dissatisfied, and many are no longer even mentally or emotionally involved while on the job. In too many situations people go to work, do what’s expected, get a pay check, and go home stressed and exhausted.

In my younger years I did waitress work, and while it was hard work and I sometimes dealt with rude customers, employees were not taken for granted like cattle to be prodded into submission. We were valued and appreciated, and this was reflected in the work environment. But not so in many places today. We live in a different world.

Having also worked in the mental health field for many years, I look at the psychological reasons for today’s dissatisfaction in the place where we spend most of our daily life. It’s not only our response to what goes on outside of ourselves but something that’s going on inside too. We humans have basic needs that must come from both our outer world and our own sense of well being on the inside.

In our outer world, we need validation and appreciation for the work we do. This means receiving fair pay and treatment in a safe work place where we can enjoy doing what we do. It means a sense of security with benefits and a solid future. It means respect from supervisors and congenial relationships with co-workers. It should be a place we look forward to each work day…a place that enhances our quality of life.

Utopia? Not really. I remember when most work places were like this.

“Burnout is what happens when we ignore the soul whispering against an unhealthy job or relationship.”  ~Unknown

On the inside, each of us is endowed with a ‘knowing’. But how often do we listen to our inner voice telling us what we need to know for our life to be fulfilling? Maybe we’re too busy to listen. Every day our mind is caught up in what we need to know on the job to keep the bills paid. And we push buttons to communicate and get things done. Our modern world is efficient in many ways. But there’s something inside that needs to be fulfilled. It’s that innate need to create and find satisfaction in our creation. Our God-given gift of creativity feeds our soul and maintains our identity. And you can’t get that from a stressful job or a hand held gadget.

If you’re employed in a happy work environment, enjoy the years you spend there, and express gratitude every day. You’re blessed. And I’m happy for you. On the other hand, in our society, many are not so fortunate. Some do turn to more gratifying pursuits, but as months turn into years, some feel so trapped, they don’t even try to change the status quo. These are people you see every day who live from one pay check to the next without hope for a way out.

“Use your smile to change this world, don’t let this world change your smile.”  ~Unknown

If you feel unhappy in your job, even miserable at work, know that you can change your own life in spite of your situation. First, change the way you perceive your work environment, and do the best you can with what you’ve got there. Start taking your love and your smile to work, and you may find it’s contagious.

Then create something in your life that reflects who you are, that says your life matters…You matter. Focusing on creative satisfaction can compensate for the negatives at work, and reduce stress, and give your life meaning. Hopefully, this could be at your job, but if not it could be found in something you just enjoy doing…maybe volunteering, gardening, cooking, writing, music, sports, sharing interesting knowledge, whatever. There’s much-undiscovered talent within you. So look within and find your joy.

I wish you peace and joy in all of your life.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country  on Amazon.

Freedom To Quiet Childhood Messages And Choose Your Own Way.

 

“What then is Freedom? The power to live as one wishes.” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

We’re all products of messages we hear and absorb growing up. “Do this…Don’t do that”…etc. Those messages influence who we think we are and the way we live our lives. But some people break loose and answer the call they hear way deep within…the call to be who they are and choose how they will live. Which one are you? How free are you to make your own choices and follow your own way? A few years ago, I wrote a very short whimsical story about a young woman wrestling with her messages and making a decision about her future. I hope you enjoy this story. It could be you.

 

SPRING CLEANING


I slushed through soapy puddles across the kitchen floor, doubled up my fists, and kicked the empty mop bucket as far as my bare foot could sling it. I heard my mother’s voice from my teenage years. “You should be more careful. Spring cleaning doesn’t need to be a chore.” My mother’s voice was grounded in my head–from all my ages. Sometimes I wondered if I even had one of my own. Her voice echoed from the past with phrases like, “Nice girls sit with their legs together,” “Take a quick shower, so you don’t waste water,” and “Too much sugar isn’t good for you.” I remember how she hovered over me at mealtime to make sure I cleaned my plate. I still feel guilty when I turned away from brussels sprouts.

 

Yes, my mother taught me some valuable lessons and gave me some good advice, but wouldn’t you think I could do something now without cringing to chatter from an old phonograph wound too tight? Where was my own self in my life? I’d wanted spring-cleaning to be painless, but I always wrestled with my inner drill sergeant spouting orders. I knelt down and sopped up water with the big towel I usually took to the beach where I heard my mother tell me not to go out too far in the ocean. “Even good swimmers drown, you know.” Calm down, I told myself. Keep it simple. I knelt down and squeezed the last bit of water into the pail, threw the towel across the room and sat back on the tile floor. It’s time for a break.

 

 

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I wiggled my body into a comfortable position in the recliner chair on the patio. The morning air smelled clean and fresh. A big gulp of iced tea cooled my throat, and I grinned like a defiant child escaping out the back door when it’s time to help with the supper dishes. Escape sounded good. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and coaxed my mind to quiet. There’s power in quiet.There must be ways to stifle old messages, free to express my own voice and reflect my own personal style.

 

I turned off the alert button in my head and allowed new plans to flood my mind. First I’d go to the beach, feel the cool breeze between my bare legs, and swim far out into the ocean, looking back at the shore from very deep water. I’d run along the beach as fast as the wind would carry me and feel the warm sand ooze between my toes. Then I’d come home, take a shower and bask under the welcome spray for as long as I wanted. And that strawberry cheesecake that’s been in the freezer too long. It’s time to smack with each bite.

 

My grin widened to a full smile, and I felt a strange sense of power begin to stir, a feeling I’d only glimpsed in the past. A sense of resolving gnawed in my head. I’d get back to spring-cleaning, I mused, but wait ’till I’d done some inside cleaning and practiced being a new me. I could hear my mother saying, “Everything begins with a first step.” That one I’d choose to keep.

 

 

I wish you successful intention, follow through, and freedom

 

Marilyn Fowler,  Author of  “Silent Echoes” on Amazon.

 

Product Details My New book…

 

 

How Well Are You Living On Your LIFE Journey?


We seldom think of life as a journey, but that’s what it is. For most, it goes from infancy to old age, and we travel through many situations with different people, places, and experiences. And most of the time we don’t really notice where we’re going. We just move along and deal with whatever comes up. But every single moment is a precious part of what makes your journey unique.

“Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.”  ~ Unknown

Our journey is like a tapestry where our life weaves many designs reflecting our happiness, our pain, our challenges, opportunities, lessons, and yes, our blessings. We face many changes, some welcome, some bitter memories, but all a part of our own individual journey that no one else can live for us. As you move through the years, every thread is woven by you and becomes a part of who you are.

Sometimes your journey provides pit falls with people and situations that pull you down. And you feel lost. Did you make a wrong turn? Where is your road? How can you go on? But then you dig deep inside where guidance is always there to lift you back to your familiar path, the one you know in your heart is where you belong…your rightful place on your journey. And you begin again, stronger and wiser than before.

“Somewhere on your journey, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view.” ~Unknown

Our journey consists of a series of stages where life takes on new flavors with new ways to live each day. Although we may fight the passage of time, each stage is equally important with opportunities to learn and grow. We all know nostalgia, and sometimes we want to go back. But on this journey when the road gets rough, we can’t make a U turn and go back to happier, easier times. Those memories you want to recapture now live in your mind and heart.

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Oh, how I remember when my children were small. I rocked my babies, rode on the sled with them when they got older and when my son fell off his bike, I got the gash in his head sutured, I ordered art lessons for my other son and made my daughter’s prom dress. Treasured memories, some wonderful, some not so wonderful. You know what I mean. You have yours too. Did you realize time was passing when you lived those years? I didn’t. I just took it all for granted.

Then one day I looked around and realized I had aged, and I wondered where it all went–those precious memories, my clear skin, my flat tummy and my firm rear end. Wow. It must have happened when I wasn’t looking. Time has a way of creeping up on us, and we don’t notice the changes until they’re demanding our attention to make necessary adjustments.

“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.”  ~ Alan Alda 

So much is said about living in the present, but I think we don’t realize the full meaning of the word ‘living’. To live is to learn, to savor, to share, to be aware of self and others, and to know where we are on our journey and what we want to do with it. We have the power to create the quality of our lives in spite of challenges. Did you know that? And you’re probably a lot smarter than you used to be, so you’re more able to create the quality you want.

Think about where you are now, and where you want to go. Keep the precious moments from the past, and forgive your mistakes. You did the best you could according to your growing ability at the time. Don’t carry them now. You’re a beautiful being on a glorious journey of self-realization. There is a Divine purpose in your journey, and you’re part of that Divine plan for yourself and humanity. Hang on and enjoy the ride.

I wish you much sunshine on your journey…

Marilyn Fowler Author, and writer for “Keys To Recovery,”  “Silent Echoes”  and  “Me and Granmama in the Hill Country”