Only So Much Time…


reflectionsA few days ago, I was walking to the park, letting the breeze hit my face. (This is something I do a lot of the time. I do it as my second exercise of the day, but also to talk to God). When the wind brushes against my face, I have a habit of saying “Lord, I feel You in the wind.” Just a little thing between God and me.

Anyway, as I was walking, a thought occurred to me; “one minute you are 5 years old and before you know it, if you’re lucky, you are 55 or maybe 65.”  It is wonderful to be alive, isn’t it? My mom died at 28 years old, so I’d always feared that I would die before I made it to 28.  I am still alive and far pass the wonderful tender age of 28 and I am so grateful.

Still, I have been thinking about my mortality lately, especially since several people I’d worked with over the years recently passed.

The reality that there is more life behind me than what is in front of me, is daunting.  The reality of my humanness causes me to either push the thoughts out of my mlifeisshortind or I sit and contemplate what’s next. The latter can cause stress because, let’s face it, I want to live forever. Don’t you? Maybe I will feel differently at 90 or 100, but I don’t feel like leaving this world anytime soon.

In fact, I dread the thought of leaving this world. Not because I don’t know what is on the other side, I just don’t think in my humanness, I cannot accept that I will no longer be here in the thick of things.

Listen, I sure don’t want this blog to be a downer, so let’s talk about the time we do have on they earth.  What will I do with the time I have?

I want to make every day matter. I want to get up each day and get going. I want to do things that will make an impact on others and on me!  I just do. I can’t imagine not going after my dreams, whether that means trying to run my own business or trying my hand at a new job. It is traveling to places I have never been, experiencing people and things I have never experienced. I want to tell people about Jesus, but I also want to show people Jesus through acts of kindness. I want to offer hope to others and I want to share in the joy other people experience as they learn how to make their own dreams come true. I want to get up each day and run. I want to write books and articles and I want to speak to the masses. That’s a lot!

What about you? What is it that you have always wanted to do and just didn’t feel that you were qualified to do?  Or maybe you just felt scared. There is no better time than now. There is no better reason than you simply want to try.

life-is-so-short-1-728Occasionally, I remind myself that tomorrow isn’t promised and I then ask myself, what is it that you want to do? I then turn to the scriptures and try to hear what God has to say to me because it’s what He says that matters; not what other people “think” I should do.  How about you?

First and foremost, what should matter is your relationship with Jesus;  never forget that.  I make plans for tomorrow, but I also know full well that I may plan, but it is God who determines my steps (Proverbs 16:9). Knowing this also keeps me humble as I pursue my goals. Seek Him first in all things (Matthew 6:33).

James writes (4:13-14a), “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.”

Life is short. What will you do with the time you have been given? Make it matter.

Do You! Maybe the World Would be a Better Place…

Beckwith photoI am always put off when I see or hear of others trying to dictate how another person should live. You know what I mean, don’t you? They want to dictate how the other person should write, talk, and behave.  I have always wondered what’s the deal with those people who think that they have been put on this earth to tell everyone what they should do.  I am also baffled by those who constantly critique others as if they were given the keys to heaven alone and no one else has been nor will they ever reach their level of superiority.

Don’t you want to tell them to bug off? To mind their own business? You know, if we could find the strength to tell them to mind their own business, as we mind our own, maybe we can get a lot more done than we expect. Maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place.  If we would stop interfering with other’s lives and let them be who they are, maybe the world would be a better place. If we would just encourage others and not tear them down. If we would push them to write that book they dream of writing without requiring them to have the same publisher we have or the same style of writing or the same well known friends or publicists or whatever it is that we require of them before they can be good enough, maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place.  If a person wants to sing, dance, start  a company, invest in a relationship or do anything that they dream of doing, and we not judge, but simply support them, maybe the world would be a better place.

seuss-youIf we would just let people be who they are; let them live out their dreams with our encouragement; if we would just shut up and keep our negatives opinions to ourselves, do you think that maybe the world would be a better place?

The fact is, there really isn’t any real formula for success. Some may achieve success following a formula and others have stepped out of the box and accomplished great things not following any formula at all. Your way of doing something may be great, but there are other ways. Each of us may do things differently than another, but that’s okay.

Why not allow others to live their lives? Let them “do them” and you “do you”. If we would do that, maybe the world would be a better place.  Seriously….

Army & Air Force Exchange Service; What’s that?

1480503_10200865742397540_1900211115_nFor 26 years, I worked as a professional within the federal government. I began my career as a college trainee. I rose through the corporate ranks, attaining a different level management tag on my experience ring, year after year.  I held entry level manager jobs and I held senior level manager jobs.  I retired from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) in 2011 after 26 years of service as a Vice President. I loved that company and I loved the mission; it was the most commendable mission and I felt what we did mattered.  We supported the United States military. Who else would have such a wonderful calling?

I was introduced to AAFES several years before I actually came on board as a manager. I was traveling Europe, ran out of money and went to this American base with a friend to find a job.  I met my husband along the way (that may have been fate).  He was a military man.  We fell in love, got married, had a child and the life of travel and fun had come to an end.  A couple years into our marriage, we moved to Florida and into a little apartment. Life was good and my family was satisfied with our life.  I, on the other hand, was never designed to just settle.

When I got married, I didn’t even think that I would not be able to travel the world, see exciting things, experience new cultures or stop doing anything I had dreamed of doing.  Those things did stop for a while but I never stopped dreaming of my ideal life.  One day, as I was living my normal life, I thought to apply to this international company I knew back in England. I did apply without telling my husband, who was happy and satisfied and had just retired to Florida.  I applied and got the job and had to tell my husband that we were moving from Florida to Texas. I told him after I had accepted the job! Thank God he understood my immaturity back then.

AAFES was the best job one could ever imagine. Working with an organization that had a mission that I loved was great. Being able to travel the world, see exciting things, experience new cultures and not live in a tiny apartment was better.

I tell you about my time with AAFES because it helped shaped me. It also gave me an opportunity to learn and grow and to do the things I had always dreamed of. The only thing that was different is that I had a husband and son in tow.  Don’t allow excuses to keep you from living your ideal life. Live it in spite of detours in your life. Just because things are not as you had hoped does not mean that they can’t be.