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Affirming Your Work – Step 7

DSC00733“From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:16

A home is always evolving. Gardens are never complete. They are an ongoing labor of love.

We began this series by using Butchart Gardens as an example of how a big hole in the ground, a gravel pit, could be turned into one of the worlds renowned gardens.

The last two steps used the example of building a home – taking a vision and turning it into a design and plan of action.

To end this series, let’s return to the Landscaping model.  Whether you are building a house or designing a landscape you will need to know the stability of the ground, type of soil you are working with, what needs to be removed and what can be retained. Both house and garden require ongoing care to enjoy them to the fullest.

So it is when you have put a design in place for your life. There will be on-going work projects.  But we get a sense of satisfaction in maintaining what we have achieved and it becomes a continuing work in progress.

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Create a Tool Box for your Life

Just as we need tools to maintain our home and gardens, so too do we need tools for our lives. The following are ten life tools needed in your tool box.

 

  • Your Master Plan – Keep your master design in front of you at all times and keep your focus on your goals. To remain motivated we need to remind ourselves where we are going and what we want to do. We often start with a burst of energy and then slow down just as our design is beginning to take shape. Those early preparation months, such as replacing wasteful and unproductive habits, are hard work and may not show visible results at first. But you are building a foundation to implement your vision and design.

 

  • Flexibility and resiliency.  You will be hit with unplanned obstacles and roadblocks. Be prepared to roll with the punches.  Identify the problems and look for solutions but do not let it sidetrack or deter you from your goals.

 

  • Develop your stride. Accept your vulnerabilities and utilize your strengths.  Each of us has a unique way of doing things that allows maximizing our efforts.  Re-adjust your time frame as needed to meet the needs of life in the moment while working on your plan of action.

 

  • Break down big goals into smaller ones.  With small goals or steps, you will be able to see accomplishments, no matter how small they might seem. In designing our home, there were many little steps that needed to be taken before actual construction could begin.

 

  • Evaluate progress on a regular basis.  We can easily get discouraged when there is no visible and immediate signs of accomplishment. Congratulate yourself for staying on task, for personal growth, persistence and becoming more disciplined.

 

  • Schedule rest periods to prevent burn out and overload. Don’t wait until you are exhausted and tempted to give up. Carve out a time every day that removes you from work and allows you to be relaxed and contented. This may seem frivolous at first, but it is incredibly important and will maximize your ability to achieve results. Go for a walk outdoors, focus on the beauty of nature or a fun project, spend time with your loved ones, share your talents by giving to others, etc. Remember, you are a unique part of God’s plan and of His garden and design. You are needed, wanted and loved.  Love and respect yourself and your gifts and talents.

 

  • Repeat affirmations every day.  Affirmations trains the brain to move toward a direction.  It keeps us motivated and encouraged. Create positive “I” word statements that represent where you want to be in the future. Then stand tall and act as if they were so. Here are some examples:
    • I am confident in my ability to complete my design
    • I bring all my special capabilities, skills and talents to everything I do
    • I am creative in finding solutions
    • I draw my strength, faith, hope and wisdom from God who loves me

 

  • Reframe difficult situations.  Reframing allows us to see possibilities even in the worst circumstances and turns negative situations into positive transformations. We can focus on what we can do, not what we can’t do.

 

  • Reduce stress. Stress can be environmental, external or internal. Allowing thoughts of defeat to remain dominant will increase stress. External or environmental stress comes when we don’t have a plan in place, haven’t identified and eliminated time wasters, or practice time management. Adjust your goals to match your abilities to meet those goals while remaining on task.

 

Life is an on-going process. Success is in the journey, not the end result. Our master life garden design is just the beginning. But the work continues as you improve, re-arrange, dig out, re-do or replace. Check your emotional pulse every day. Keep God at the head of your on-going project.

Marlene Anderson

 

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

Activating Your Plan – Step 6

MP900309617“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

 

 

Your Plan of Action  

In my last blog, I shared how my husband and I took a vision, created a design and plan of action to build our dream home. Using that same concept, let’s take the following example and create a vision and design and plan of action.

Example: Let’s say you are in a marriage that is floundering. It’s not what you had envisioned when you got married.  You were deeply in love and happy and everything seemed so easy in those early years.  Now you can hardly communicate without attacking, blaming and defending.  Your words are laced with cynicism and contempt. There are few hugs or pleasant moments spent together.

You do not want to stay in that space and neither does your spouse. Your vision is to put together a design and plan of action to bring love and caring back into your marriage.

Step 1

Using the above example, the first thing you need is to gather information that reflects all aspects of the problem. What specifically is happening? What are you satisfied with and dissatisfied with?  What is working and what isn’t?  When does communication break down?

Resist blaming and stick to observable behavior of both of you. Be specific.

You might include things like living separate lives with separate careers and friends, or no scheduled time for rest and relaxation, special nights out, etc. What common goals do you have that is being overlooked because of the differences? What specific behaviors of interaction do you observe both in yourself as well as your spouse.  When things get tense, how do you respond? Remember we are responsible for our responses.

Step 2

If you could wake up in the morning and your marriage was like you would like it to be, what would be happening?  What would you be doing?  What would your spouse be doing? If you have a vision of what a renewed marriage would look like, make a list of all the things you would like to see happen.

Making changes involve small steps.

What things can you do right now that move you in the positive direction you want to go.

For example, do one kind thing every day for your spouse.  Spontaneously notice and compliment your spouse for what he/she is doing every day.

We become so focused on what we don’t like we forget to comment on what we do like.

When conversation heats up, make it a rule to stop and count to ten before you respond.  Let your spouse know that you are taking responsibility for your actions and reactions and that when you begin to get angry or agitated you will ask for a time out to calm down.

What other small shifts in behavior could you begin doing?

Step 3

Removing obstacles.  Sit down with your spouse and tell him/her that you are actively working on improving your relationship. Ask for their input in helping you and whether both of you could work together on a plan. Responsibility begins with us.

You can’t change another person, but our actions and behaviors can have an impact on another.

If the problems are deep and serious, perhaps you can both agree to go to couples counseling where divisions are more clearly identified and worked on.

We bring to any intimate relationship unresolved issues from our past that are often transferred to our spouse.

Individual personal counseling can help address an anger issue, unrealistic expectations, the healing of old wounds, etc.

What obstacles can you identify that may be keeping you from developing your design of reconciliation and new direction?  What needs to be removed?  What needs to be put in place?

Taking those steps towards a meaningful design requires looking at all the things in our life that are keeping us from what we really want.

Using the same example, could the obstacles of attack/defend, not listening or hearing the concerns of the other, unwilling to negotiate and sacrifice, spending free time together with buddies instead of each other, unwillingness to take your share of daily home chores, etc. be undermining your efforts?

Sometimes, stopping negative behaviors and replacing them with more positive ones can make all the difference in the world.

Step 4

Follow through with your plan of action.  Too often we begin the process of envisioning what we want and start the implementation process, only to get discouraged and quit.

A design takes the things you have reviewed and discussed and puts them into an ongoing plan of action. Break this into tiny steps that you commit to follow. Be willing to address obstacles as they arise.

Those first tiny steps can be as simple as finding ways to be nice, refusing to call names or be insulting, taking time outs when angry until we can cool down and communicating without defending and attacking.

 

Step 5

Make a commitment to continue what you started.  Evaluate your progress and reward yourself and your spouse on a regular basis with things that are pleasing to both.  Build on the positives and avoid the negatives.

When we take responsibility for what we do and how we act and react to others, we are often surprised at the results.

There are lots of self-help books that can help us communicate better, understand and work on relationships, etc.  Take those early first tiny steps and develop a serious plan of action that both of you are willing to follow.

The results of a happy and loving relationship is huge and worth all the effort in bringing that about.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

 

Develop a Design – Step 5

Leaves Floating on Water

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

How do we go from vision to design?

My husband and I had dreams of building a house in a community with a marina. We found our dream lot sitting on a hill overlooking the water.

But before we could design and build a house, we needed to clear the lot of overgrown shrubs and scrubby trees. Then we could focus on the house design itself.

We spent hours poring over drawings and design lay outs. What would the foot print of the structure look like? What accommodations would be needed for lot constraints   Design consideration took into account not only placement but ease of entrance to the home, driveway, height restrictions, how many levels, etc. It was an exciting time.

With the basics in place, we made a list of all the things we wanted to have within our home: as many rooms as possible taking advantage of the view, placement of kitchen, living room, office, ease of movement, traffic patterns, windows, skylights, etc.  With the interior design in mind our focus went on to organizational issues, placement of cabinets, storage areas, etc.

Each of the wants and needs were considered based on the lot, finances, time and energy.  Because we could do a lot of the work ourselves while hiring experts for the rest, we could cut costs and make appropriate adjustments to our design without sacrificing the most important things.

Your design – Your Dreams

You may think, that’s way too much work for me!  But in reality, it wasn’t “work” at all. Yes there was the manual labor involved in clearing the lot, painting, wiring the house, overseeing the construction, but it was energized by the bigger picture.

Thinking about what we wanted, how we could make it happen and putting the pieces together was exhilarating and exciting.

Because we kept our overall vision in mind, we could go through the steps required, do the work and bring about the outcome we wanted.  And we ended up with a house we absolutely loved.

IMG_0751Your Life – Your Design

You can apply the same process of design creation to your life.

First you have to have a vision, then gather information, remove obstacles and then develop a plan of action. Perhaps even more important is a belief in yourself and your abilities to bring it about.

 

Your life design includes both short term and long term costs and benefits.

 

In building our home, short term costs was the hard work of clearing the land, actual construction, etc. The short term benefits were seeing our home come together bit by bit.

The long term costs was time spent in design and completion.  The long term benefits were overwhelming.  It gave us a home we loved and could not have had without the vision, design and plan of action.

 

To be part of creating something you had envisioned, developed and constructed is exciting and invigorating.

Where do you start?

You want some changes.  You have some dreams.  You can envision a different result to the outcome of your hard work.  But where do you begin.

  1. First, gather information.  What is working?  What isn’t?  What are you satisfied with? What are you dissatisfied with?
  2. Second, create a vision. if you woke up tomorrow morning and you were living a life you wanted, what would you be doing?  What would it look like? How would you feel?
  3. Third, what obstacles are keeping you from developing your vision?  What needs to be removed?  What needs to be put in place? Taking those steps towards a meaningful design requires looking at all the things in your life keeping you from that design that have to go.
  4. Fourth, how would you design a plan of action to begin putting the pieces together?  What would be the first step, the second, etc. How would you motivate and encourage yourself moving forward?
  5. Fifth, are you prepared to go to work constructing a life that has meaning and purpose and contentment built into it?  Before taking that next step, you need a commitment.

Anything of value requires work.  But it is joyful work energized by your vision. When we help to bring about what we want versus what we wish we could have, labor is not considered hard work. Instead, It is an exciting purpose.

 

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

Develop a Vision – Step 4

MP900341564

 

1 Timothy 4:4-5 – For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

 

Before we can put together any plan of action or design we need to have a vision of what that would look like.

 

What do you want from your life on a day to day basis that you don’t have right now?

 

A Vision for your Life

Remember as a kid laying on your back in the grass and dreaming of what you wanted to be when you grew up?  Everybody has dreams of what they think they might like to become or would like to do when they grow up, but few of us take the time to follow through. Far too often, they simply remain day dreams or wishes because we don’t believe we can actually turn them into actual reality.

Let’s revisit some of those early desires and see which ones are still important. Some are just kid’s dreams.  Others hold the potential for creating a more meaningful life. Anything is possible if we are willing to look for ways to bring it about.

It is never too late to start working on those things that are important to you.

What do you want?

Before creating your design, it is necessary to define more specifically what your vision for life would be. Explore the following questions as they might apply to you. Be honest. Then put down on a piece of paper what is really important to you. Be expansive. Allow yourself to dream big.  Later, you can go over the list and eliminate what isn’t so important.

Beginning the Process

What would I like to have happen?

What is important to me?  Why is it important?  Explore this a bit.

What is my passion?  What could I spend hours doing and still be energized?

What gives me pleasure, energy, joy, contentment and satisfaction?

DSC00751

 

Using the landscaping design model, which of the following are important?

    • I want a home where I can sit and relax and find contentment with my family
    • I want a place where I can see beauty in design, color and texture
    • I want to spend time in this place
    • I want a garden or landscaping that reflects serenity and peace
    • I want a place with minimal maintenance or things I enjoy doing
    • I want friendships that are pleasant and encouraging
    • I want reflecting pools and easy pathways – friends that are loyal and reflective and honest in their relationship with me
    • I want a place where others will enjoy visiting
Blond woman lying in field

 

Expand your vision for a more significant life

    • I want to be free from pain, resentment and bitterness
    • I want to experience happiness, joy and hope
    • I want to enjoy my work
    • I want to feel good about myself
    • I want to know I am doing something useful for others
    • I want to feel proud of my accomplishments

 

Are you ready to go for it?

It is one thing to put ideas down on paper.  It is another to take that step and create a plan to accomplish it. If you are willing to use your time more effectively, budget both time and money, create both short term and long term goals, you can achieve more than you ever thought you could.

Marlene Anderson

 

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Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

Become an Architect – Step 3

j0432878“. . .if you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face.  But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”  Luke 14

An architect looks at the condition of the soil, what things need to be removed, and what underground restrictions need to be considered in creating a design.

In our personal life, we might need to work through an ongoing anger problem that keeps us from achieving what we want.  Just as an architect analyzes the conditions he is working with, so we too need to analyze what we are working with. What things need to be dealt with, acknowledged or addressed?

 

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Garden analysis to life project

Just as an architect wants to know everything that could potentially impact the design he is creating, so we too want to gather as much information as possible.

What things are your ignoring or are unconscious liabilities that could compromise a new plan of action? For example, if you don’t believe you can, you won’t be able to.

Continue to gather as much information as possible.

In a real gravel pit, before a design is worked out, you will want to know the kind of soil you are working with.  Is it clay, porous, sandy or loam. How stable are the edges. Is there an underground spring that could erode your work or alter your vision? Can it be used as a source for a small pond? Where would you like walkways or paths to be placed?

In using this same analysis for a life project, you might want to ask questions such as:

  • What is the condition of my life right now?
  • How stable am I emotionally and in my relationships?
  • What preliminary work on knowing myself is needed before I can go further?
  • What resources do I have to work with? This includes support as well as finances.
  • What difficulty can be turned into an asset? Example: You may have difficulties in your relationship: what can you learn about yourself that could turn things around? Maybe it is working with that child or teen who is struggling and together finding solutions. Maybe it is simply acceptance of where you are at this moment and moving up from there.

Gathering information

Continuing from Step Two, you now want to identify those things that are complicating your life currently, such as ongoing relationship or marriage problems, ongoing self esteem issues, being in constant defend/attack mode unable to articulate your wants and needs. Perhaps it is discontentment with your job, difficulty communicating, always thinking the worst without balancing it with the possible.

What we bring to our lives today from our past can be like underground springs or hidden deep rocks in the soil. We need to find a way to resolve them before creating that new design.

Laying in the leavesHere are some things that can sabotage your efforts to accomplishment.

  • What labels do you continue to use that were put in place growing up and are not true?

 

  • What do you say to yourself whenever anything isn’t working? Are these negative thoughts from your past? Can you challenge them?

 

  • What do you say to yourself when things are working? Do you sabotage your efforts by downplaying your abilities and accomplishments? An honest appraisal is not bragging. When we brag, it is because we are uncertain of ourselves and have the need to be better than someone else.

 

  • What does your internal critic say to you about you? Operating from the past, we look at problems today from what happened in the past. If our analysis of problems today is based on the facts in the present, we will be able to find solutions.

 

  • What resentments and grievances do we continue to revisit keeping us from thinking in more positive constructive ways?

 

Not addressing these things can result in a landscape design for your life that will be less than what you want.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Exploring the Pit – Step 2

MP900387715“Make insight your priority. . .  Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. . .  if you make insight your priority, and won’t take no for an answer. . . God gives out wisdom free.”  Proverbs 2

What is in your gravel pit?

Last week we reflected on who we believe we are.  Now we will take a look at what is happening in your life right now.  Changes cannot be made until we are aware of what is working and what isn’t working and why.

Step 2 – Exploring your gravel pit

Within our gravel pits we will find many things of no value and things that hinder us and keep us from taking more purposeful steps.

Within the rocks and deep pits we can also find the potential for something of value and promise.

Be honest in your exploration. Take ownership. You can’t run away from mistakes or bad choices. Neither can we run away from the harm others may have inflicted on you. There are no quick fixes. Acceptance of where we are is the precursor of making new choices. If we get stuck in anger, hatred, retribution or refusing to let go of what had been, we will be unable to move forward.

 

00437341Each person’s gravel pit will be different.  What life has handed us will require different ways to create peace, hope, and contentment and the motivation to move forward.

 

In your journal titled, My Beautiful Garden, start a new page and Put at the top, Exploring my Gravel Pit.  Put in this section all the things that trip you up and keep you from achieving your potential.

 

Go over the following questions and put together a list of things you want to consider.

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  1.  What losses, hurts or tragedies have scarred your life’s landscape? Perhaps it was a tough childhood, ongoing unresolved family issues, or a deep wounding to your spirit and sense of self.

 

2.  What things from your past continue to create obstacles in your life today? Example: resentment, anger from your childhood, lack of nurturing and care growing up.

 

We are not our past, nor our pain.  Things may have happened to us, but they do not define us unless we allow them.

 

3.  What things from your past are you running away from, resisting, denying, or ignoring? We don’t like to deal with pain, but the only way out of pain is honest acceptance of what has happened and what is happening. What labels, negative self talk or childhood criticisms do you continue to use?

While we need to accept our past, we do not need to accept what was harmful or damaging to our self worth.

4.  What do you need in order to accept? For example: if you continue to hold resentment it will continue to cloud everything you see. It limits you from exploring new ways of doing things and feeling differently about yourself and your potential. Is forgiveness an option? Remember, forgiveness is for you.

 

5.  What current situations are you simply putting band-aids on the problem? Identify your current quick fixes: alcohol, drugs, pain pills, sex, porn, TV, food, etc. Quick fixes are like band aids. They may stop the bleeding for a short while and cover up a wound.  But it doesn’t resolve anything. Band aids only last for a short time and constantly need more and more replacements until we have addressed the problem.

When we look honestly at our problems, we can find ways to make things work for us instead of against us.

 

6.  How would you identify your personal stumbling blocks? For example, not following through, listening to your internal critic, difficulty communicating, not trusting your own judgment or believing in yourself, difficulty making decisions, etc.

 

7.  What is your personal belief about what you can and cannot do? Why do you believe this? What keeps you from believing that you can make a difference, you can turn your life into something more positive, pleasant and rewarding?

 

MP900444381This is just a quick preview of how you currently see your life. What we are looking for are those things that continue to cloud the future, keeps you stressed and feeling stuck. You want to identify whatever is happening that continues to keep you stuck and in an on-going struggle. Until you aware you will not be able to make corrections.

 

Before we can create a design, it is necessary to be honest in our evaluation of what we are working with, what is currently happening and how you are dealing with it.

 

This is not to discourage you. Instead, if we can accept both the positive and negatives of who we are and how we are currently engaging with life, these things can’t sneak up and sabotage our efforts to create a new design for life.

 

Marlene Anderson

 

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Step 1 – Start Where You Are

Woman on Beach Looking at Ocean“God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him; when I got my act together, He gave me a fresh start….”Psalm 18:20 – The Message

 

If I asked you to tell me about yourself and who you are, what would you say?

Typically, our first responses would be to talk about the roles we have in life such as teacher, Mom, CEO, factory worker, mechanic, librarian, physician, etc.

Who am I?

But that is only a small part of our life story. That is merely the outside surface layer. How do you describe yourself outside of those roles?

  • What do you value and believe?
  • What do you think about?
  • What do you like to do and why?
  • What do you hate and why?
  • How would you describe life in general?
  • What creates problems for you?
  • Do you consider them faults and failings that have more power over your life than the unrecognized assets and strong points that are waiting to be applied?

Say Hello to Yourself

Take a sheet of paper and draw a round circle in the center. Add a smiley face and put your name in the middle. Draw spokes leading outward like a sun. Each of these spokes radiating outward is a part of how you describe or define who you are.

As you consider the following questions, write on each of the spokes a descriptive word about you.  Be sure you have a balance.  We are an amalgam of positive traits and those we might see as not so positive.  We are not either/or.  We are a wonderful combination. We have strengths and we have weaknesses.  We benefit from all of them.

 

  1. What traits or strengths would you assign to yourself? For example: Do you see yourself as strong, determined, or hesitating and thoughtful, etc.
  2. Describe some of your social skills. For example: do you consider yourself friendly, shy and aloof or engaging, talkative, social, etc.
  3. What are your predominant attitudes or ways of thinking? (Dependable, trusting, independent, reliable, loyal, positive, etc.)
  4. How would you describe your typical emotional state? (happy, anxious, angry, contented, cheerful, compassionate, etc)
  5. What talents and abilities do you have? (Artistic, computer savvy, athletic, good planner, etc.)

We are a composite of DNA, personality, childhood experiences and the core beliefs we put in place while growing up. We are a combination of strengths and weaknesses. Be as honest as you can and add as many spokes as you need.  You are a wonderful child of God.  Take this image with you as you move forward to constructing a beautiful life.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

Where we Begin

img_0274“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” Jeremiah 1

 

Last week, we explored building a house and then designing a landscaping plan for your yard.

Landscaping can be more or less a challenge depending on the ground, the soil, what was left after construction and what you do with it. What can be left? What needs to be removed? What can be incorporated into the design itself?

 

Where do we begin?

 

Tatters of our life can often resemble a gravel pit. How do we get from there to a beautiful garden? Where do you begin such a daunting project?

The same place Mrs. Butchart did.

She didn’t just cover up the hole; she used it as her spring board.

If she had just filled the large expansive gravel pit that remained after quarrying ended, it would not be the beautiful gardens it is today.

 

img_0322In examining the steps involved in landscaping, we find some commonalities we need to design a landscaping plan for our lives.

First, what do you have to work with. This requires an honest appraisal of where you are at this moment in time. That means acceptance of the good, bad and ugly without denial, cover ups or excuses. If you do not take this first step, hidden obstacles will slow down you progress or alter your plans.

Second, a desire to make some changes. What aren’t you satisfied with right now and why? What would be different if you made some changes?

Third, with that desire a vision can be created of what you want to do and would you want to have happen.

Fourth, what things are needed to make your plan work.  This includes among other things a cost analysis of time, finances, and support. We may do most of the work, but we need others to assist and support our efforts if only to encourage.

And fifth, become the architect that will lay out the plan that is needed; recognize obstacles and ways to overcome or bypass them.  And then seal it with a signed commitment by you as to why this is important to you. This will stay help keep you motivated.

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In my program, I designed seven steps to complete this project.  Each gives you a brief inventory of what is needed and things for you to consider as you develop your own personal landscape design.

Your Special Journal

Get a beautiful journal and entitle it “My Beautiful Garden”.  As you work through the steps I outline in the upcoming blogs, capture your thoughts on paper.  This is your architectural workbook.  It is an evolving project.

I have been involved in the construction of several homes.  Each design and lot created its own challenges. At first it could be intimidating when looking at a pile of rubble and trying to figure out how you can turn it into something satisfying and inviting.  But it got more and more exciting as you began to see possibilities that your vision grew.  You knew that your landscaping design would not only enhance your newly built home,but serve as an ongoing sense of pleasure and contentment.

The same is true when we stop and look at the rubble in our lives.  But as you step out in creating a life that is both exciting and deeply satisfying, the work ahead of you becomes more and more exciting.

Next week, we will start the 7 step process.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

 

Landscaping Design for Your Life

DSC00360I have a Golden chain tree in my yard that has beautiful hanging yellow flowers every spring. A neighbor told me how much they enjoyed the tree and hoped I would never get rid of it. I assured them I wouldn’t. It was one of my first choices for trees in my landscaping design after building my home.

 

To build a home we need a set of plans. After the house is finished, the next step is taking the pile of rubble and dirt remaining and create a landscaping plan for trees, shrubs, flower beds and pathways.

 

Years ago I put together a program entitled, “Turn your gravel Pit into a Beautiful Garden”, the inspiration coming from Butchart Gardens, in British Columbia, Canada, an internationally renowned garden.

 

Just as you and I can design and build our homes, we can do the same with our lives.  I was inspired by this concept when I researched the beginning of this beautiful place.

 

It began as a quarry owned by Mr. Butchart to extract limestone. When all the elements had been removed, what remained was a huge, expansive hole in the ground – a huge gravel pit. Since the quarry had been on the outskirts of the owner’s property, it was an eyesore to the owner’s wife. Surveying this ugly extensive hole in her back yard, she decided to do something about it.

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With the help of architects and landscapers, she brought in top soil, designed and created what is known today as Butchart Gardens where people from around the world come to see its breathtaking display.

DSC00753What was once a repulsive and desolate pit in the ground had now been turned into a beautiful sunken garden whose paths wind around beautiful ponds of water with ducks and swans floating between lily pads.

Tree branches gently caress the water’s edge and flowers, shrubs and trees artfully placed throughout the gardens draw you into a world of beauty.

When viewed at night the gardens become a fairyland with the trees, paths and flowers lit by thousands of strategically placed lights.

 

Mrs. Butchart took an uninviting and inhospitable place and turned it into a showcase, a place of beauty that fed her soul and continues to touch the lives of everyone who comes to see this marvelous place of spellbinding serenity and beauty.

 

We all have gravel pits in our lives

img_3391– huge, ugly holes created by death or divorce, acts of violence, tragic and lonely childhoods, or simply careless living; and we are left with scared landscapes of indifference, bad choices, losses, isolation, and rejection leaving us feeling desolate, forlorn, abandoned, lost and lonely.

And in our attempts to reconstruct the pieces of our lives, we often get overwhelmed, give up or accept that life will forever be an ugly gravel pit.

 

DSC00758But just as Mrs. Butchart created a world-renown garden from a gravel pit, we can take our lives full of pain and broken dreams and turn them into places of beauty where we are comfortable residing and others want to visit.

We can turn un-attractive and hopeless situations into satisfying, productive and pleasing futures. We don’t scrap it – we use it.

It becomes the backbone for our beautiful garden – positive gardens of hope, light, joy, energy and strength.

 

Next week I will give you some steps to take in creating your personal landscaping plan for your life.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

A New Dialogue

portrait of a young woman standing with arms akimbo in a parkWhat you say to yourself and others has long term consequences.  Words said in anger cut deep.  Words that devalue who you are, your worth and esteem put you in a self-imposed prison.

Communication begins with you to you.  When we esteem ourselves we can esteem others.

As you learn to appreciate who you are, you can assist your next steps forward with positive statements made in the first person “I” that affirm your significance and usefulness.  These confirm your positive intentions for life.

 

I affirm that I have choices and abilities

I  affirm I have worth and value

I affirm that I can accomplish any goals I choose when

I put my heart, mind and hard work to the task

Creating positive affirmations

Discouraging, hopeless and dispiriting messages tear us down. Affirmations reflect our values and principles.  They motivate and encourage us to be the best we can be.

Repeated daily they draw us towards the goals we have established.  They become a new self-fulfilling prophecy.

They also become a new automatic response to adversity and life in general.  They re-train our brain and our thought processes from a negative point of view to one that is positive and affirming.

Here are some possibilities for your consideration:

  • I am intelligent, capable and responsible for all my actions
  • I choose to expand my point of view and focus on what is positive in my life
  • I can become more than any hurtful events in my past
  • I forgive because hanging onto grievances will hurt me
  • I work for excellence instead of perfection
  • I am methodical and careful in everything I do
  • I focus on what I can do and not on what I can’t do
  • I let go of the hurts of the past so I can work on my future
  • I can say “no” and respect my decisions

Take some time and create your own affirmations.  Or use the ones above and modify them to address your special concerns, needs and wants.

Then act them and live them.  Let them guide you to positive new goals.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.