Dare to be Dino!

One of the things I have done since I was very young  is people watching.  I ponder over how people act, what they think, why they think it, what motivates them to do what they do, and I wonder about what they feel deep down inside.

Are they truly happy? What makes some people have great big, amazing dreams while others are content being a couch potato? How is it that some people reach for the stars and get them while others reach for their next excuse as to why they did not nor cannot ever be successful.

Our world  has been transitioned by technology, filling the minds with instant access to more negative thoughts and input than we ever used to have.  This input, unfortunately is based upon the abuse and disrespect, hardships and drama people have (and create)  for themselves and others.  So, it is a treat to find individuals who truly are visionary and still grasp the ability to be  genuine through and through.  These individuals bring with them usually a keen sense of opportunity and simple joy. It’s joy that comes from within first- and it is that joy they share and spread to those much in need.

One such person, that I am fortunate to see daily, is my son, Quinn.  I share with you his heart, his attitude and his vision for the future.  Quinn truly lives in a color filled world.  It’s bright, it’s fun, everything he does is about creating an environment or space that allows the senses to be filled with time to play. Time to revel in the simplicity life has. Time to feel pure happiness.

There are days (moments and minutes) where his desire for fun is so intense that he forgets or does not recognize the need for order and discipline in thought. (We are working on that though! LO!)  I do not want to ever oppress or repress his wonderful imagination and sense of pure love for others and life.  It is so refreshing to see.  When days are long, trying and tiresome, his relentless desire to play and have fun is good to be around. .. and here’s why:

As adults, we forget that we are to have balance in our lives.  God made us to put HIM first, not our job, not our desire for things. We put God first, then all the rest should fall in line.  God made the perfect plan- but many people are unaware of this.  One of the things that God shares in His word is that we can recognize joy by being able to sing with a happy heart even in the darkest of hours.  For most people, that inner strength and ability to rebound from difficulty is unheard of.  God says it’s available.  Quinn reminds me daily that it’s possible.

God wants us to be happy, to be fulfilled, to feel love, pure love.. which leads to joy. When was the last time YOU felt joy?

Joy doesn’t always come from play. That is unique to Quinn and unique to others. For me, I feel joy when I see others grow.    When I see them become more fulfilled and achieve their dreams and goals, I feel joy.

Part of how we can achieve joy in our life is to have vision – clear vision of what we want.  Not what we have or are living now… but clarity in the vision of what can be, what is available to us, and then take the steps necessary to achieve that vision.

In Quinn’s world, he practices what God’s Word says. He takes no thought for tomorrow- he casts his cares upon God. Quinn does not get hung up on the physical things like most people in the world. (Sometimes we have to work on some of the attention to details.. like matching clothes when we go in public,  not playing or dancing with glee down the grocery store isle when other people are just a foot away.)   But for the most part, he walks the way God teaches us.

Quinn has told me that it doesn’t bother him if his clothes don’t match. He’s wearing what he knows is comfortable and he is thankful for his clothes.  Do clothes really make the man? Nope. Can I argue with this?  I can try.. but I’ll lose to him.  He’s happy, warm, safe and filled with joy.

Does it really matter that he always wants to express his joy in public? Nope. I only need to encourage him to be watchful so he does not accidentally trip or hurt some one.  We are so accustomed to NOT seeing joy or happiness that people are actually taken by surprise to see a person filled with that pure love and true emotion.

I have asked Quinn what he wants to be when he grows up. He knows. He’s rock solid on this one- and it does not matter what you tell him- his vision is set.  He wants to be a Quadrillionaire!!  (He’s 8 right now.. but already steadfast in that goal.)  He romanced the idea of being an archeologist, a chiropractor, an artist,  a scientist.  He will tell you matter -of -factly that he’s an artist and he’s very good at his Monet art. (He is.)  However, his mind is set.  His vision is in stone. He wants to be a Quadrillionaire.  (I expect that some day he will.)

Here’s the final thought on this- Quinn is a great example of what it takes for us, as adults- to Dare to Be Dino!  What does that mean?  Quinn LOVES dinosaurs.  It’s a passion of his. At a time when most kids usually outgrow their interest in dinos, his lives on. We have dino shirts, pillows, toys, discovery games, board games, blankets, books and many other things about dinos.  For his eigth birthday, I made him a 3-D Dinosaur cake.  It filled him to overfilling joy!!  He told me he wanted chocolate mint cake… and that is what he got. (Ok- so he got chocolate cake with mint M&M’s and mint chocolate ice cream.)

Quinn and his Dino Cake

The point here is this- no matter what your passion, your circumstances, your surroundings, no matter what your friends, family or coworkers think… where do YOU find joy? What is it that you can wrap your vision around and hold onto that would allow you to be DINO?  What is it that will motivate you to play? What is it that will fulfill you so in the darkest times, you can find it in your heart to sing with joy?

I wrap up today by sharing this:  find your passion, dare to be bold about it no matter what others around you say.  SEE it in your mind clearly as if you already have it- then take action on it. Do not worry about the how, just simply do.

During your journey, keep the vision.  God’s word says:

Proverbs 29:18
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

You need to have vision of happiness, joy, fulfillment and a way to see your path for the future.  Let your heart lead your passion with joy and let yourself dance in the isles of the supermarket along the way!

Debbra

http://www.DebbraSweet.com

Just a moment to give praise where praise is due!

God is AWESOME!  What an amazing day working by revelation.  Love it. HE does not make trials and tribulations easy to always weather the storm, but when you are patient, keep your eyes focused on HIM with complete TRUST- then you can see what is from HIM and take action on it.  It’s our choice to get out of our own way of being a victim. HE provides the path, it’s up to us to choose to take action on it!  🙂

It feels great to know I have been making choices and taking action on opportunities HE lined up- and the best part is I get to help others all along the way.

Have an awesome day,

Debbra

http://www.GodsWordFirst.org

Leadership lessons from Grandma

Earlier this year I lost my last grandma.  Her passing wasn’t a total surprise as she was getting up in years.  Even though her time was going to come someday- it still wasn’t easy. In fact, as we get closer to Christmas, I find I am missing her horribly.

The past couple days I’ve been reflecting on our family Christmas’s from times past.  Going to Grandma’s was always part of our family tradition.  We knew going to see her was a couple hour drive and you never knew how all the relatives were going to act that day- but one thing that’s been pinging at my heart this year as I reflect on her and how she influenced my life is that she was a great example of a leader.

Grandma was not overly school educated- in fact, if I recall correctly, she really only finished 8th grade or so.  One thing she was though, was a woman full of love, respect for the core value of family and community, she had grit, a Get-R-Done attitude and she always lead by serving.

When you came to her house (anytime of the year) you were always greeted with warm welcome.  It didn’t matter what she had been going through personally, she didn’t let drama keep her a victim. Instead, she greeted you with a genuine welcome- whether you were long time friend or a new acquatinence.  It was respect across the board.

I do remember though that it wasn’t always giggles and smiles at her house. In fact, she kept a good rule on the house and you always knew where you stood. ( I’ve been told I am like that too.  I expect some reading this who know me may NOT find that funny…LOL!  )  I have vivid memories of sitting on the ‘davenport’ with hands under the bum waiting for Grandpa to get home so we could go choose our belt. (Whew!  Glad those days are over.)  The point here being, there were rules and expectations in her home.  Not overly big for a growing child, but none the less, they were there.

She gave us direction of how to be a good person even if we were little. She was willing to teach us right from wrong.  She gave us many opportunities to have some freedoms we could not (or did not) get at mom and dads.  She also understood that at times, it was important for us to learn by allowing us to suffer the consequences of our actions and choices.

As we got older,  Grandma moved to the other side of town. Grandpa passed when I was young and Grandma, being the centered, strong woman she was, chose to never marry again.  Instead, she filled out the rest of her days by serving other families.  She had become a cook (Grandpa taught her that when they were dating) and she ended up cooking for one of the biggest universities in the state.  (Needless to say, when Grandma cooked- she COOKED!!)  We always had food to feed an army- literally sometimes!    (We’re still trying to figure out the math to reduce her recipie for her famous bread and rolls… I heard the recipie makes 172 loaves!!)

She later went on to cook for a church/school for young kids. The church also owned the house across the street. That’s where Grandma lived many years after Grandpa passed. It was a cool house to go stay at.  One of the ways to describe it was that it was kind of like a cross between a bread and breakfast and the Ronald McDonald house.

People from all walks of life, who had a family member in the hospital, would come and rent one of the rooms at her house.  She would cook for them, always have the house spotless with clean sheets, linens, etc.  When these new visitors would come home at night from being at the hospital all day, she would lend an open, honest, caring ear to them.

When we went to stay with Grandma in the summer (or anytime through out the year)- it was expected of us to contribute to the caring, cooking and cleaning in preparation for the nightly return of her guests.   She expected us to be an example to these people and show our good attitudes and manners.  In her home, that seemed always easy to do. ( Ok- mostly easy to do!)

This was a woman who I always loved, respected and held dear in my heart. She was special to me growing up- but now that I’ve spent so much of this last week remembering Christmas with her, I realize that she really was a consumate leader. She was often soft spoken- but her essence was strong.  She was strength to many when they needed it. She served and led at the same time. She didn’t outwardly complain- and in the most trying of times, she was the epitome of what many so called leaders today lack.   She had genuine integrity and a desire to make your world a better place.

Her leadership was about giving first.  In fact- when I decided to move to California, it was Grandma that was the hardest one to say good-bye to.  I wasn’t sure if she would understand my decision to move so far away.  After I moved out here, for many a year, every Christmas I would receive this amazing ‘care package’ from her.

Buckeye Candy

Christmas time baking at her house included an assortment of amazing confections, treats and stick to the belly type of food.  She had the world’s best fudge – hands down. A little bit of that went a long way for the sweet tooth!  We would be tempted with peanut butter cookies (again- I have yet to find a recipe that can compare). She would make these treats called Buckeyes (peanut butter balls hand dipped in chocolate), lots and lots of Christmas cookies.

She would make pies; pecan and mincemeat for my dad,  apple, cherry or blueberry for the choosing, pumpkin pie, the cranberry bread, and on top of that, she had this dish that had Handmade noodles!  Not enough to do all the cooking but to actually make all the noodles before she made the dish!  (I could go on… but I think you get the point.)

My care package would be filled with an assortment of the breads and confections.  It always touched my heart that over the years she still continued to bake and send those packages with love.  It was part of her give. She lead with selfless giving for many, many years.

I hadn’t really realized until just recently, the real impact of her leadership.  Her heart of giving and her genuine leadership without care to who you were, what your background was, your state of being at the time she met you, or the circumstances that you were going through. If you were the kind of person who was willing to ‘get things done’ you were part of the family.  She was always ready to open her home and be that quiet, strong person to inspire you and give you that ‘You can do this’ kind of attitude.

She created the tradition in our family of giving.  She lead the tradition and represented the best core values and ethics that real leaders exude. She was not serving out of ego or a need for acknowlegement.  She lead through service simply because she had the heart and desire to do so. It was the right thing to do and it was simply who she was.

As I look at this Christmas week closing fast on us, I have been teaching and sharing with my children more of the bits and pieces of their heritage. They are coming of age where they should be able to really remember and ‘get it’.  It has been on my heart to continue in her legacy- her leadership legacy she started when she was alive.  It is a legacy, I believe through me,  still continues today.

We will be making some Buckeyes this Christmas to add to our family tradition. Maybe next year we’ll add some more of her goodies. Our door has always been open for those who need a place to go to be with family – especially if you leave the ‘I’m a victim of life attitude at the door’- and instead, strap on the ‘let’s Get-R-Done’ state of mind.   I know this part of our tradition is from my past, and I believe that it will inspire my children and those around me to take on the leadership attitude of servitude for many years to come.

May you and your family be safe and blessed this holiday season!

Debbra

http://www.DebbraSweet.com