Personal Prayer

I’ve been thinking a lot about my post yesterday because as I was teaching my kids about how prayer for me now is, I realized that I needed to expound upon some principles of personal prayer lest they think I no longer want to pray aloud. Currently, we pray as a family in the morning, at night, and over our food. And, of course, we keep a prayer in our hearts always. But how do we keep our family prayers from feeling like a perfunctory performance or some meaningless rote recitation?

Two instances particularly caused my serious prayer reflection. First, I noticed how much unnecessary niceties individuals employ in their public prayers. Seems that many have a tendency to wax eloquent and speak verbosely in front of their peers as they pray publicly. It doesn’t feel like a heartfelt expression to their God whom they revere, but more like a public exhibition of their piety. Not my fav.

Second, I noticed my children during our family prayers. I can see them glancing around as they pray, wiggling all about, and pretty much doing everything but communing.  What is the point of all this?

So last night I clarified my precepts surrounding prayer. I explained that I’m not a fan of the way we and others have been publicly praying. I told my children that I felt prayer should be a time where they commune with the divine and where they feel a connection with a higher power. Words don’t have to be spoken aloud as there is something stirring about simply sitting in silence with spirit. I explained that I am game to continue praying as a family, but perhaps we all should just get on the same page as to why we are praying. If we want to bless Lindsay, Tyler, and Sharee, then let’s discuss our desire to send loving, healing thoughts their way and then concentrate our thoughts toward that end as we pray. It’s not like God possesses that power and is withholding the healing effect. Love and healing is an energy that we can send from our spirit to theirs and that is divine.

I feel like a family chat about together about our intentions and desires is a cool way to pray. Then we can all sit there in silence as we meditate upon that which we discussed. We can visualize our intentions manifesting instead of rotely reciting perfunctory prayers. I’m confident that this approach will not only improve the quality of our family prayer but will have an ameliorating effect on our personal prayer as well.

Giving Up for Gain

I just came across this killer quote:

One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain.

I’m going to summarize this principle as Giving Up for Gain. It is something I have come to appreciate a lot lately as I’ve walked a more Zen and Buddha path. Detaching from outcomes, freeing yourself from the good opinion of others, accepting reality, allowing people to be as they are, all of these true principles perfectly illustrate Giving Up for Gain.

When you are able to give up your need to control others and simply allow them to be as they are, you are gaining peace of mind and improving your relationship with that person. When you are able to detach from outcomes you are giving up your need for control and gaining serenity and trust. The universe smiles kindly upon those who allow it to do its work. No one likes a meddler yah?

When you give up your need to be right, or your need to be liked, you are gaining personal freedom to be who and what you are. Following your own life path is one of the most rewarding, joyful, fulfilling journeys you can make. I cannot imagine traveling my life path any other way. And I love that I have discovered we all have our own unique life paths. There is no “one” right way to do anything. There are many ways and you should do whatever feels right for you.

I gave up my business, I literally just walked away and gave it to one of my epic employees. I have gained peace of mind, more time, and an incredible new career. I am feeling so grateful for all the personal growth I’ve experienced. I’m grateful for my life path that is teaching me everything I need to know as I need to know it. I love people. I love my life. I love my family. I love my husband. I love God, Universe, Spirit, and the eternal soul. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

I wonder where else I can apply the principle Giving Up for Gain?

God’s Goods are Great

God’s goods are great That’s right! God is SO good and the good’s he delivers are so great! I have been thinking a lot lately about how God is the great giver of all good gifts and how he answers prayers in mysterious ways. The answers, gifts, and goods always come in incredible ways. The scriptures talk about how God answers in his own time and in his own way. I have found this to be true. I have also found that we are not left bereft of music as he orchestrates his Divine Plans. In fact, he blesses our senses with soothing symphonies all along till that climactic crescendo–the moment He opens the windows of Heaven and pours out his blessings upon us in such abundance that we don’t have room enough to receive. The bounty takes our breath away and we sit in awe, spellbound by majesty, magnificence, and beauty of it all.

There was a time when I tried to be the maestro. I thought I knew just what needed to be done to Divinely direct the symphonies of my life. I’ve learned now that I don’t know nearly as much about music and Divine Orchestration as the Master. I’ve learned to let God do the conducting and to sit back and enjoy the unfolding.

I read this quote this morning that really spoke to me:

God always gives his best to those who leave the choice to him.

To me, that means being content to allow God the time and space to answer in his way and in his time. It’s always better this way for I’ve discovered through personal experience that when God does finally deliver, he delivers big time! His gifts are so much greater than we can ever even imagine. I remember feeling this way when I met Matt. He was–and is–so much more than I ever could have even hoped for. I was praying to meet a righteous dude. Who knew that I’d not only find a righteous dude, but one I’m attracted to, who enjoys being active, working hard, playing hard, and praying hard. He is my #1 fan and inspires me to be and do better. I love him and am grateful for him. I still marvel that God brought such an incredibly perfect fit into my life in his time and his way. I’m grateful for his Divine Orchestration, his timing, his music, and his plan every single day.

Just recently, I had another instance where God answered my prayers in a remarkable, his own time, kind of way. I had been praying for the ability to simplify my life. I have been feeling for several years that my work-life balance was out of balance. I loved my work (KickFire), but it felt like it was taking over my life. I was just starting to create some sanity and sacred space when Tyler was diagnosed with brain cancer. Life, which was already crazy busy, became exceedingly worse. I honestly never thought I could get more slammed, until I did. I worked hard to get things back under wraps and I told myself that once I had things reigned back in, I was really going to be done with the insanity. The crisis was past and then, in the Lord’s perfect timing, an incredible job opportunity appeared. It was completely unexpected and totally out of nowhere. It was something that I never before would have entertained, but because of Tyler’s mishap, and work becoming even crazier, I was open to the idea.

The seed was planted and as I thought about the possibilities of leaving my own business to help build someone else’s the thought became delicious to me. I could see it all so clearly now as the perfect answer to my prayers. It wasn’t the way I would have solved my work-life balance problem, it was a solution far beyond my imagination at the time. The position, opportunity, and compensation are all incredible. God’s goods are great! And his Divine Orchestrations are music to my ears. I’m grateful for his conducting and that he didn’t leave me bereft of music while he led me toward the climactic crescendo. I’ll never tire of his soothing symphonies and the ways He leads me, guides me, and walks beside me. Thank you for your great goods God!

Mini Miracles

I actually think Mini Miracles is a misnomer because miracles, IMO, can’t be classified. There aren’t big miracles and small miracles. All miracles are equally spectacular. That’s what makes them quite miraculous!

Today, I want to write about a few–in the spirit of gratitude too, since it is Thanksgiving!

First, I count it a miracle that Lindsay Page is still with us celebrating another Thanksgiving feast. I count it miraculous that my sisters, Annette and Sharee, both beat breast cancer and are today in Haiti celebrating. I count it miraculous that me, my daughter, and my niece Eden (who is quite the miracle too–she was supposed to be born blue as she’s missing a piece of her heart) we all able to go and visit Joyce. Joyce is a 62-year-old woman who never leaves her house. In fact, she rarely leaves her Lazy Boy chair. She is a large woman with an equally large heart. We took her down some food because she wasn’t interested in joining us for Thanksgiving dinner. And, actually, I don’t think “interested” is the appropriate word for I do believe she would have loved it, but she chooses not to get out and about. I asked her if we could bring her some food and visit. She said yes.

We had so much fun getting to know her better. She was married to an alcoholic for 37 years. She always wanted children (6 to be exact), but after her ectopic pregnancy, she couldn’t get pregnant ever again. She settled for dogs instead. In fact, she misses her pups sorely. I asked her why she didn’t get another one and she said because she couldn’t properly take care of it. Dogs need walking you know and she rarely gets out of her chair. haha

I told her she should get a cat. She seemed really interested in that, and that is when another miracle occurred. As we were leaving, a cat came running up to us.  I picked it up and took the cat to Joyce so she could pet it. She was tickled pink. As were we.

Then, as we were driving home, we ran into Page’s crush. He was walking down the street. I have been dying to meet him and it was divine synchronicity. What are the chances that he would be walking that way at that precise time of day? No less miraculous than the appearance of that tabby cat!

Dr. Dyer said, “When we think and act like God, miracles occur.”

Well, we were definitely acting like God as we spent time serving his child. I know I was thinking like God too because my heart was full of love for this beautiful, homebound woman. I will never forget her infectious laughter, nor the condition of her feet and toes. I removed Joyce’s shoes to check out her swollen ankle. I’ve never before seen feet in such sad condition. They look leprous. I’m going back to scrub and clean them. I would love to take her for a professional pedicure, but first, I don’t know how I’d be able to move her or load her into my car. Second, I don’t think they would be willing to touch her feet. I can bring my accouterments to her house and service her there. God will give me the ability to clean them, he’s helped me do so before (although my grandfather’s feet were not nearly so sore).

Thank you God for all you do. For the many miracles in my life and for all my loving family and friends. I couldn’t keep back my tears of gratitude today as I thought about all my many blessings. God is so incredibly good. I’m grateful I feel His love for me and for others every single day. No mini miracles. Just many miracles! xoxo

Enough

Seth Godin had a great post this morning about Thanksgiving and the tendency to overeat. He wondered why we stuff ourselves full when eating enough is infinitely better. Enough feels good. Full doesn’t. Full, while uncomfortable, also has other deliterious consequences. Weight gain is one. The feeling of full doesn’t last so overeating just causes you to gain weight.

Why does the natural man seem to have an insatiable appetite? True freedom and happiness comes from being content. Learning to recognize that we have had enough and that we have sufficient for our needs really is the recipe for a happy life.

I’ve had occassion lately to contemplate enough versus stuffed. It’s tempting to overeat just because you can. But stepping back and realizing that eating more than you need really doesn’t have any benefit, and actually makes you feel worse off than before, helps remind me that I already have everything I need. I don’t like feeling full. I like feeling enough. I’ve always had sufficient for my needs. God and the universe have made sure of that. Why worry that this will ever change. God, and the universe, will continue to provide and supply.

How May I Serve

There are two ways we can go through life. We can constantly ask, “What’s in it for me?” or “How may I serve?”

I’ve been guilty of both and I’ll tell you that when I remember to approach life with the latter attitude, I’m enthused. And I literally cannot think of a better way to describe how I feel when I’m serving others or thinking about how I can best serve others than “enthusiastic.” Check out the origin and etymology of the word enthusiasm:

from en- + theos god

To me, en theos means to have God within. It comes from  the Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein to be inspired

And what is really cool is that when we are inspired, we are in-spirit. Approaching life from the posit of “How may I serve?” puts us in touch with the Divine. We acknowledge the god within and the god in others. We live by–and are directed by–spirit.

When we ask, “what’s in it for me?” we are operating from ego. We simply serve ourselves, and many times at the expense of others. This position creates division and separates us from the whole of humanity. We are meant to be one. When we are one, we are Gods.

When we put others first, the universe conspires to put us first. Essentially, when we serve others, the universe serves us. This is a universal truth.  I meditate daily to condition my natural response to always be “How may I serve?” instead of “What’s in it for me?” I am well on my way to rewiring my brain so that I always operate from a place of abundance. The world is abundant. There is enough to spare and to share. I have been blessed with talents. I’d be a terrible steward if I didn’t share my abundance most generously.

Everything You Need

What if you already have everything you need? And what if what you felt you lacked was already on its way or what if what you felt you lacked you didn’t really need?

I believe that we always have everything we need. If we needed more in that moment, we’d have it. The Universe and God are good like that. They withhold nothing from us. It is only our perceptions of need and lack that deceive and mislead. When we feel discontent it’s because there is a disconnect. The best cure for feeling discontent is to stop focusing on what it is you feel you lack and instead start focusing on everything you already have.

When you practice gratitude your vision expands. The very act of adding up your many blessings shifts your focus to an entirely different division wherein your blessings appear to multiply. This phenomenon isn’t magical or mysterious. It’s actually quite natural to see what you are looking for.  Focus on lack, you’ll see it. Shift your focus to your blessings and your eyes will be opened to the abundance you already possess. Your blessings aren’t magically multiplying. They were always there and you are finally focused on seeing them. This connection to God and abundance causes contentment. And what is happiness but contentment?

There is power in realizing that you always already have everything you need. This realization will free you from worry, stress, and discontent. The next time you are feeling as if you lack something or need something, stop and count your blessings. Start with the fact that you already have everything you need or else you wouldn’t be alive. You are breathing, your heart is beating, you probably have family or friends, you most likely aren’t starving and you probably have a roof over your head or a warm place to sleep. Sure you may need more money (everyone thinks they do), or you may be experiencing ill-health (everyone gets sick at some time or another) but right now, at this moment, you are fine because you are alive!

Breathe. Count your blessings. Remember that God is good and is vested in you. He will provide for your every need when you need it most. He wants you to be happy as much as he wants you to learn, develop and grow. He will ensure you have everything you need to do all three. Happiness, however, is something he can’t give you for you must learn how to choose happiness. You must learn that happiness has nothing to do with circumstance but rather is a byproduct of content. When you learn to see that you always already have everything you need and that whatever you feel you may currently lack–if you really need it–is already on its way, then you will stop worrying and instead you’ll trust in and connect with that very Being who governs and supplies light and life to all His creations.

Don’t disconnect through discontent. Claim happiness now through contentment and connection. Gratitude is the fastest way to multiply your blessings.

Good God

Good God, I am speechless for God’s goodness never ceases to amaze me! He comes through for me every. single. time.

Minus our fellow crewmate T, Cory and I have borne a heavy burden. We’ve been praying for salvation and when we kept feeling drawn time and again to the resume submitted by Mr. Matt Seely, we decided it was divine guidance.

So we figured out a way we could make the numbers work. If we could consolidate our team of many part-time workers into a full-time position, we could offer him a measly start. A start, that if willing, could grow into something bigger. Just like I had to start with little and grow into bigger, as did T, then Cory, this new person would earn by sweat equity.

And so we called Matt on the phone, proposed our offering. It felt like little, but we were not ashamed for it was from whence we had come, plus we knew that if he were worth his weight in gold, his time earning meager would be but a small moment. He understood and we laid the reality of our situation before him. It didn’t dissuade him, but he did need time to consider our proposition for he had various opportunities before him, all much more lucrative than ours.

I got off the phone and told Cory I hoped he would choose us for I really liked him and felt he was just what we needed, but I also didn’t stress it for I knew that if he was the right fit he would choose us. It was this calm assurance that if he wasn’t the right one, God would supply another. I’ve never had this much confidence before. I’ve always believed God would provide and he has, but this time I KNEW it. Deep down in my bones.

With that little background between us, allow me to copy and paste our email exchange. There’s no reason for me to recount it any other way for it is the pinnacle of perfection:

Janelle and Cory,

Thanks so much for the awesome conversation on Tuesday. It was so fun to feel your passion and excitement for what you are doing.

I know I said I would email you tomorrow morning but I’m afraid we are going to be too busy getting out of town. I’ve had no sleep for 38+ hours, we’re getting down to the wire!

My old CEO called me on Wednesday and presented a very enticing offer. Great base salary, full benefits, generous stock options, and a bright future as their Director of Marketing. I’d be crazy not to take their offer; so, call me crazy.

You guys got me so excited about KickFire! I have been itching to dive into this side of Marketing for a long time. Going back to my previous employers would be a repetition of skills I’ve already acquired. With KickFire, I will use the skills I’ve acquired, but also enter the University of Janelle and Cory to learn and grow, and that sounds amazing. 

I would love to be a support to you guys to get your company back to where it was and then work together to keep taking it further. I’m not sure how your conversation went with your accountant, but it would be awesome to come home to my inbox full of training emails. J

Please let me know if you need anything from me and I’ll wait to hear from you. Thanks!

 All the best,

Matt

and here is my reply:

I wish you could have heard me and Cory squealing and laughing with joy last night when at 10:30 pm we read your message! I called him on the phone and we had a celebration!

I have to tell you that we have both been praying for miracles as we navigate this time of transition and the Good Lord has kept them coming. You are another case in point. I cannot thank you, nor God, enough. 

I really am just thrilled beyond measure! The scriptures often speak of the inadequacy of words. On more than one occasion they too have failed me. Today is one of those days.

So, I’ll do my best to say what’s in my heart which is: 

Welcome aboard! I can attest that you are among good company for all of us here are probably certifiably crazy!  But ’tis the crazy ones that have the most fun! Plus, a wise man once said, “You need a little insanity to do great things!” also, “Dreams, if they are any good, are always a little bit crazy!” and finally, my favorite crazy quote:

The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do!

So BRING ON THE CRAZY!

Matt, have the most wonderful day tomorrow! Marriage ROCKS! We love your wife as much as we love you for she consented to your becoming the newest member of the KickFire Crew. Please welcome her to the crazy train on our behalf. Please send pictures and please tell us her name!

We will have a nicely organized itinerary awaiting you upon your return. I CANNOT WAIT! You have already enthused us beyond measure. Hugs, kisses and God’s greatest blessings showering down upon your priceless head!

p.s. Your email was perfectly composed. Just the right amount of suspension. My heart did a little dip when I thought it was a declination email. .. then you turned the tables and it was quite the trip. Bless your email and copywriting genius! You were born for this Crew and no doubt you have “come to the kingdom for such a time as this!”

Thank you, God, for your goodness. I don’t deserve it, but I sure appreciate you Good God. Amen and Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!

T Time

Today was one of the happiest days of my life! I was able to finally see T! It has been over 3 months since I last saw him and it was a most joyous reunion. One I never want to forget. Here are some pics and videos that say it all:

I had so much fun with him today! I’ll never forget making him do his exercises and him telling me that I just made him pee himself. I was feeding him Oreos too and he started to choke and we were laughing so hard. We talked about business. I showed him the Obtineo video and he loved it! He loved our event landing page too. Rebecca was there for a good hour and then had to leave. She amazed me! She was handling everything with perfect equanimity and grace. She is a miracle for him right now too!

I was so glad I was there when the Neurologist showed up. She told Tyler about his diagnosis. I was able to hear her tell him that he had a good square inch of his frontal lobe removed. The area that controls his executive function. I knew he had a tumor the size of a racquet ball removed, but I had no idea they had removed some of his brain. I told Rebecca and she also did not know. The doctor said he would begin radiation next week and that his prognosis was not good. She said he would most likely not ever walk again and would be confined to a wheelchair and had a year if he was lucky. Tyler told her he had 4 kids. She said she knew that. I was rubbing his back and arm the entire time. I was SO grateful to be there holding him up as he received that news.

I told him who cares what the docs say.  I told him that if God wants him dead, he will die. If God wants him alive, he will survive, and even thrive! He looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m not afraid of death.” I said, “I know. And I’m not afraid either.” I told him to remember our pact. He asked what our pact was. I told him we promised each other we’d come visit each other after we die. He said yes and then we shook on it. 🙂

Tyler thanked the doctor for telling him the truth. He said no one had told him yet that he had stage 4 brain cancer and that he was going to die.

After the doctor left I told him we are all going to die. He laughed and we both made jokes about dying. It was fun. It changed nothing and yet it has already changed everything. But that change took place over a month ago when I first heard about his tumor. My heart knew then, as it does now, that Tyler is 100% in God’s hands. There’s not a better place to be. I’m going to support and love Tyler on this journey. It’s going to be a fun one for all of us. He’s so damn tough. And he’s just the best guy ever so when he does die, I’m not worried about him one bit. He’s already pure as gold. Thank you God for today. Thank you God for Tyler.

We told each other we love each other at least 5 times. I’ll never forget my T time today.

Oh and how fitting that once I got back to my car, FB posted this photo to my timeline:

Divine Serendipity!

Eyes Wide Open

I’m learning a lot lately about being fully present–eyes wide open–and allowing spirit to manifest itself however and whenever it’s ready. I’ve always loved the following scriptures:

Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will (D&C 88:68)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord (Isaiah 55:8).

Both these scriptures remind me that God manifests himself to us not in the way we ask nor expect. He has a pattern of showing up for me later in the game. In fact, I’ve come to expect no answer or witness in the moment, and to enjoy waiting for him to reveal himself later. He always does and it’s always delightful.

Today, my divine manifestation came through Frank, the gas pump service man at Sam’s Club. He was such a gift from God. I pulled up and he greeted me enthusiastically declaring his readiness to assist in any manner needed. I thanked him for his greeting and eagerness to help and a wonderful conversation ensued. Frank is a special spirit and has some unique challenges in his mind and body. I could tell he was here on earth to teach all of us how to accept fully and love unconditionally.

I thanked God for the reminder that most of his marvelous gifts are to be found in one another–our spirit sisters and brothers. I committed myself to recognize more readily the blessings God has given me in the form of my neighbors, colleagues, and friends. They are truly the most wonderful divine manifestations ever born. So here’s to living life eyes wide open and embracing the spiritual manifestations presented daily in physical form.