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Habits for Success

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12: 48

The world needs your gifts and talents, even if you feel you haven’t been given very much! Look at your “bucket list” and then start by being thankful for what you have already been given. This will open your mind to possibilities!

Choose a dream from your list that makes your heart beat a little faster.

Don’t worry about money or time or even your own abilities and don’t look back on your past “failures”. Look forward and imagine creating something amazing this year.

Ann Landers, an American newspaper columnist who wrote an advice column, once said: “Opportunities are usually disguised by hard work so most people don’t recognize them.”

Any project we put effort into, is likely to result in interesting opportunities.

When I was 26 years old, I had a dream of starting a school. I didn’t have a classroom, books, desks, or money.

Each morning, I asked God to show me what to do that day. I filled a notebook with names of people to call and rooms to check out. Sitting quietly with my Bible open talking to God taught me to be obedient to His leading. I was learning to create habits for my life.

The opportunities that showed up were incredible! Someone suggested I might rent a room at the Anglican Cathedral. Discovery School started there! I got free desks from the local school district and books from the BC government. I didn’t spend much money until I started collecting tuition fees from the ten families who were excited to share my dream for their kids.

What little tasks will lead you to your dream?

Plan to read your Bible and pray for others – every day. Start memorizing a few verses.

Get fit by doing an exercise that is fun and easy. Read a few pages to learn something new. Take out your guitar or canvas or clay and practice a skill. Sign up for a course or talk to a professional in your field of interest. Forget about perfection; aim for “good enough”!

Jeff Olson writes: “The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters.” The Slight Edge, Secret to a Successful Life

Take little steps every day toward what you want.

#flourishinaworldfullofpeople #marniespencelayh #flourish #goodhabits #inspiration #dreams #bucketlist #encouragement #motivation #everydayhabits #relationships

http://www.marniespencelayh.com

Leave Room For God

Most mornings, I start my day with coffee and a message from Oswald Chambers. His little daily devotional book My Utmost for His Highest,originally published in 1935, has inspired me with his wisdom for many years. Here’s a quote from January 25:

“Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy and leave room for God to come in as He decides.”

Have you experienced “His surprising power”?

Maybe it has become so ordinary that you don’t notice when He steps into your circumstances. Or maybe you feel that it is just coincidence. How can you know the difference?

I believe that when we start being thankful all day, every day, no matter what our surroundings seem to tell us, we will see (and hear) God more often.

Think back to a recent time when things seemed to work out unexpectedly. Money or a job came to you at just the right time. You were in a rush to get somewhere and suddenly there was a parking spot in front of your destination. A person you have been thinking about calls to encourage you – out of the blue.

I understand that life isn’t always that way. Family members do get sick, bills sometimes go unpaid and maybe you believe it’s selfish to pray for a parking spot.

Life can be difficult which is why leaving room for God to come in is so important.

If you haven’t noticed that good things happen to you all the time, maybe it’s time to sit down with God and ask Him why things seem so hard. Where is He when you need Him?

Hearing His voice is challenging at first but there are a few things you can do to open your ears. Start by reading the scriptures, even just a few verses at a time. Have you read the whole Bible? If not, maybe this year is your time!

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119: 105

My sister-in-law called a friend she hadn’t seen for awhile and as they talked, she asked the friend if she could send an encouraging email then forwarded my message about Shalom in 2021. The friend said she really needed that message when it arrived!

Watch for God “coincidences” and act when you get the nudge to reach out to someone else.

http://www.marniespencelayh.com

Create Memories

Memories attach themselves to strong emotions, and I’m sure that most of us will never forget 2020.​ There may be good memories mixed in with the bad but unless we choose to focus on the times that were wonderful, we might get stuck in the unpleasantness.

Coming out of a time of difficulty gives you courage to imagine something new if you open your mind to opportunities.

In 1972, I was laid off from my first teaching job and felt angry, hurt, hopeless and bored until I was finally ready to do something wild and crazy, so I travelled to Europe with a backpack. I spent seven months over there having what a friend referred to as “the Europe cure”. It was fun and also hard. I had to learn confidence and resourcefulness to survive. Maybe that was the year that I grew up the most!

This is the time of year for looking ahead to what memories you will create and carry into your old age! Did you know that you can begin now? What will be your legacy from this year?

I suggest that you start by building a list of your dreams, goals, intentions or whatever you want to call them. If you already have a list of the things you want to do, be and have, dig it out now. If not, start writing! Write them all down even if ​you think they aren’t possible. Be brave!

What adventures are waiting for you in 2021?

I have signed up to take an online course in Biblical Hebrew starting in February. My “bucket list” has included getting a master’s degree for at least the last decade and this course is the first step. This is scary and exciting!

Now is the time for all of us…it’s the only time we’ve got. Start creating memories.

This is the year to write that novel, learn to paint, find a way to build your invention, pivot your business to a new and changing world…or start that degree program! God the Creator never intended us to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. He gave us a world that is broken and is asking us to fix it, one person at a time.

Create beauty. Find gratitude every day. Enjoy the life you have been given.

Shalom!

Welcome to the adventure of the new (and unusual) year of 2021.

If you took an Advent Journey with me before Christmas, I’m excited to announce that I plan to turn those daily posts into an eBook for sale sometime this year. Stay tuned for more info!

2020 gave us, globally, some particularly challenging things to face. Early in the year, the novel corona virus upset a world that in many ways was already broken. Political systems, elections, power struggles, and racial tensions dominate the news.

As with everything in life, we must choose how we will react to change. Some of us are angry and rebellious believing that this discomfort is a plot for someone to gain control. Others live in fear of what will happen next and many of us aren’t sure what to think. Or even what to do now.

I live alone in an apartment building and as I look outside today, the rain is coming down heavily and everything is grey. Some might say that I have the perfect life with no family responsibilities, a small pension, good health and lots of free time but as with all of life, there are downsides.

I have to motivate myself to do something productive when I only feel like lying on my couch with a murder mystery! There is loneliness lurking at the edges of my days and often I have to fight my feelings to pray for others, or reach out to find friends who might also need support.

This series of emails will be filled with hope and encouragement and maybe some suggestions for what choices you can make to find shalom this year.

In Hebrew, shalom means much more than peace. It is used every day in Israel by shopkeepers and friends on the street to say “Hello” or “Goodbye”.

“Shalom is a blessing, a manifestation of divine grace.” (www.myjewishlearning.com/article/shalom)

When our circumstances are blemished by lockdowns, quarantines, pandemic illnesses, and deaths, shalom can feel as if it is an impossibility. Notice the above quote says, “Shalom is… a manifestation of divine grace.” It is an undeserved blessing from God.

For the next few days, look for opportunities to say “Shalom” to the people you are with. “Shalom, friend! See you next week.” “Shalom…how are you?” “Shalom. Have a good evening.”

If you really mean it, you will begin to feel the peace coming back to you.

Shalom in 2021 is possible. Claim the blessing and choose peace every day!

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The Path to Shalom

Did you know that it is possible to live your life with peace and fulfillment – every day? 

I don’t mean peace that looks like a quiet beach or a calm shady forest. I also don’t mean peace all day, every day. However, I believe it is a process that anyone can learn.

In Hebrew, the word peace is translated “Shalom” which includes harmony and tranquility.

The two hardest places to find real tranquility are at home and in the workplace. That’s because people are typically the cause of our lack of peace.

The Shalom that we all want (and need), can occur in the middle of an argument with your spouse, in the chaos of a classroom full of children, or when deadlines are looming at work.

When you are living a life of fulfillment and taking steps toward how you want to live,
you can choose to let others do – or say – whatever they want,
without taking it personally.

Sound impossible? It’s not as hard as you might think. You can begin to flourish with an inspiring life now. It takes a lifetime to get good at it! Why not start right now…choose peace today, instead of waiting for tomorrow!

Take a long slow breath in and hold it for a second or two then slowly let it out. When you feel yourself spiraling out of control, remember to breathe. Now find something that makes you thankful in this moment. Maybe the weather, your home, the person who annoys you…

In my years as a principal and teacher, at board and staff meetings, in my marriage, raising children, and in many friendships, experience taught me that I can choose my reactions to others. Through both failures and successes, I am finding my own path to peace each day. 

“Are you actively making choices for the life you want, or are you drifting along hoping someday things will get better? Or somebody else will fix it?”

It is my life purpose to help others to:

  • live a life of gratitude
  • find ways to forgive, and,
  • learn to accept others, without trying to change who they are.

I wrote a book called: Flourish in a World Full of People that is full of wisdom and experiences shared from my own life-long journey. You can find it here to read on your Kindle or why not send one as a gift to a friend?

To Flourish or Human Flourishing is defined 
as an effort to achieve self-actualization and fulfillment within the context of a larger community of individuals, each with the right to pursue his or her own such efforts. (Aristotle)

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Shalom!