Word with the Wise Wednesday: My Hubster

1. What important life lessons have you learned so far?
Be content with what you have.
Let love be your motivating force.  
Base actions and decisions on the word (scripture) and what God is leading you to do.

2. How is the world today different or similar to what it was like when you were a child?
Today the world moves at a faster pace.  There is an overwhelming amount of communication in the form of calls, emails and texts.  It is also much easier to access information, which is a good thing.  If you need something (from a store), you can get it almost immediately.  Stores used to be closed on Sundays and late at night, but now you can shop anytime online or at stores that are open 24 hours.

3. What has been your hardest lesson to date?
Standing firm in my convictions and not taking on guilt or shame (from others).  

4. What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?
That I was a passionate believer and follower of Christ who operated in truth and love.

How to Be a Fab Friend

photog courtesy of Jadyn Noelle Photography

Today I am thankful for my fab friends.  My BFFs, my road dogs, my homies for life.  I have awesome friends who encourage, support and inspire me.  Even as I am writing this post, an amazing email/Facebook message pops into my inbox.  My friends are the best.  I am so glad that I get to do life with magnificent people.  They make me better and I hope I do the same for them.  As I think about the dynamics of my friendships, here are a few important tidbits (that I learn from my friends) on how to be a fab friend:

1. Listen.  Really.
2. Love unconditionally
3. Show compassion & understanding
4. Be honest 
5. Encourage Encourage Encourage
6. Laugh
7. Forgive
8. Don't take yourself too seriously
9. Offer support 
10. Respect boundaries

To my dear friends, I love ya more than words can say.  You're the sugar in my sweet tea.   The frosting on my cupcake.  The ribbon in my sky.  

Thank you for making life sweet.  

remember when we helped each other?

Today I am inspired to give and help others... more.  

When I was a little girl, I loved how neighbors gladly helped each other.  If you needed a cup of sugar, help with the kiddos, support or friendly advice, your neighbors were there to offer loving assistance.  Neighbors of long ago inspire me today.  Community spirit... it's time to bring it back, folks.  

I am very fortunate to have incredible neighbors.  One in particular (whom I affectionately call "Neighbor") has become a BFF.  We share, encourage, confide and belly laugh together. Often. Neighbor makes life sweet.  I call her right away if I need cornstarch, milk or a shovel.  We share books, shoes, ice, clothes, garden tools, a vacuum, spices, recipes... everything except the men in our lives!  Sometimes I call on her.  Sometimes she calls on me.  I adore the fact that we have this type of relationship.  I know that I can call on any of my neighbors and if they are able to help me, they will.  Absolutely.

Do you know your neighbors?  If you already do, that is fab!  Keep developing and building a friendly connection.  If you don't know your neighbors or you have labeled them (with or without reason), I challenge you to tear down those walls and be willing to try again.  Just recently I have been challenged in this very area (although it's not with my neighbors)... I choose to believe that with mutual effort, honesty and time, it is possible to rebuild and reconnect.  We are all citizens of this world and if we can't get along with the people closest to us, heaven help us all!  It takes time to get to know people, but it is so worth it.  Today I encourage you to find a way to connect with and help others.  Let's do it!  Together!  Love revolution on 3!

Word with the Wise Wednesday: My Dad

1. What important life lessons have you learned so far?
Take care of yourself mentally, spiritually and physically. 
Live life one moment at a time.  Resist the danger of living in the past.  
Keep moving forward and don't hold anything against anyone.  
No sense in worrying about something that you can't do anything about... worry is a waste of time.  

2. How is the world different/similar to what it was like when you were a child?
It's a big time difference regarding the economy.  When I was little, we had 5 and 10 cent stores.  Now we've got $1 stores.

3.  What has been your hardest lesson to date?  
It takes time to learn ...especially if you're into learning the hard way.

4.  What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?
That I helped others. 

a picture transcends a thousand words

This picture is very special to me.  

The photographer captured a very tender moment that (still) moves me no matter how many times I look at it.  You know... the photograph that perpetually touches your soul because the image is stirring and haunting in all the right ways.  Not every picture has it, but you know when it does...

I love this photo for several reasons; however, the heart of the photograph still knocks me right off of my feet.  Locking eyes with the one I love. Moments before we vow to do life together ...forever.  

I knew what I was thinking at the time, but what was he?   When I asked him about his expression in this photograph, his response made me swoon.  Literally.  He said that he never doubted his decision (to ask me for my hand in marriage) and at that moment when our eyes locked he (once again) knew that he had made the right decision.

Will somebody bring me my fainting couch and smelling salts please?  *fans herself* 
Is anybody else hot in here or is it just me?  

This pic makes my heart swell with glee... makes me feel like I'm the richest girl in the world.  I see the absolute, undeniable truth of his statement (in his eyes everyday and) whenever I look upon this picture.  As a child, I remember hearing people say that a picture is worth a thousand words and at the time I did not fully understanding what they meant.  Now that I totally understand the cliche, I have come to see that a picture actually transcends a thousand words because it encompasses thoughts, feelings, words, ideas, emotions and sometimes... the very essence of your heart is on display as a 5x7 or 8x10.  

Today find simple pleasure by revisiting a beautiful memory from your photograph that transcends a thousand words.  Let your heart fill and overflow as you feel the love of yesterday today.

Throwback Thursday: Remember when you were going to change the world?

Today I had the awesome pleasure of having lunch with a longtime friend who is truly a kindred spirit.  Although we hadn't seen each other face to face in several years, we share a deep connection that was forged and developed during a very special season in life.  This type of connection can never fade for it transcends all we know and converges at the very depths of who we are as individuals.  I was SO happy to see her again.  I was excited and I was expecting a time of truthful, inspiring and dynamic interaction...  cause that's how we roll.  She still looks EXACTLY the way I remember her...  lovely and radiant on the outside and within.  What I adore most about this meeting is our time of encouragement and fellowship.  We discover that our journeys are parallel in a variety of ways and really, this is no surprise.  We have been through the fire... gone to hell and back and here we are... still standing with a steady and deep resolve to live a life overflowing with joy, hope and authentic purpose. Deep calls unto deep as memories, declarations and reminders of sacred callings, hopes and dreams flood the surface.  Time feels suspended as I remember when... 
May you too be reminded of the hopes, callings and dreams of long ago for today is the due date of yesteryear.  

Word with the Wise Wednesday: My Granny

1.  What important life lessons have you learned so far?
Worrying is a waste of time.  Pray and trust God.  He will take care of you.  Worrying will just ruin your health.  If I can do something, I do it.  If I can't do anything, I pray and leave it in God's hands.  I have never been forsaken and He has always made a way.  Some people think they have to rob and kill, but there is no need for that.  God will take care of you if you let Him.

2.  How is the world different or similar to what it was like when you were a child?
When I was growing up, everything was segregated, but I didn't let that bother me. At that time, it was just the way things were and although I didn't particularly like it, I never thought about it much.  Today there are a lot more freedoms and so many opportunities for young people especially... yet I see so many young people getting into trouble and going astray.  Not all young people are getting into trouble; however, it seems like there are too many that are...  In my day, maybe one or two kids out of the whole community would get into trouble. Now this is happening with too many of our young people and it's really sad.  Many families will not admit that they are at fault, but character development, life training and discipline happens first and foremost in the home.  

3. What advice would you give parents today?
Teach your children about God's way.  You will never regret it.  Also, teach them to respect you.  Don't give them everything they want.  Only give them what matters (your time, love, character and discipline).  Don't let them have their way with everything.  When you discipline your children for doing wrong, it must come from a place of love.  If you do not discipline your children, you are indirectly saying that you do not love them...  Every child is different, but you must love them all equally...  No playing favorites and never praise one child above the other. Also teach them to eat healthy foods because their food choices now will matter later on in life.  

4. What has been one of the hardest lessons you have learned?
That some people are full of envy and jealousy... If they see you doing something positive and making progress, they try to make you stop.  When people like this gave me a hard time, I didn't fight with them.  I just spoke the truth and moved on... Some people are nice and some people are always trying to bring you down.  I never let the negative people bring me down.  I would smile and go right on about my business... I paid them no mind.  

5.  What are your earliest memories?
Let's see... my earliest memories involve cooking.  I can remember cooking my first skillet of cornbread when I was 8 years old.  At age 12, I baked my first cake.  I made it for my birthday and everyone in the community came to get a piece.  I was so happy that other people wanted some of the cake I made.  I was glad to share it and I barely got a piece!

6. What do you want people to remember about you?
That I had patience with my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren... that I helped take care of them, cooked for them and always helped in any way that I could.  

7.  What celebrities did you admire and emulate?
I never did want to be like anyone else.  I just wanted to be myself... I didn't want to cook or sew like anyone else. I wanted to cook and sew just like myself.  I always wanted to be me.  

Here is one of my fav pics of my Granny.  She is second from the left.

who you are at home is real... everything else is fake

Hate it or love it, ladies and gentlemen... the statement is true.  

I've been thinking about this post for a few days now...  Looking at myself and my expressions from day to day and place to place...  Am I consistently being my true self  or am I wearing a mask?  These are tough but very important questions to ask along this road of authentic living.  

For me, a disparity cannot exist between who I am at home and who I am out and about.  "Who you are at home is real..."  I treasure this simple statement because it is a reminder to be my best self always and regardless* of location.      

So who am I at home?  That's the place to start because how I behave within the confines of my home is my highest and truest expression.  First, I observe how I behave when I am all alone.  Secondly, how I behave with my family (can be roomies or whoever else lives with you).  Am I happy and chipper?  Melancholy and morose?  A nagging gossiper or uplifting cheerleader?  This simple home evaluation does me a world of good and I hope you will allow it to help you too.  

Evaluate yourself at home over the next few days... Don't ask anybody (to tell you) how you behave at home.  Pay attention to the way you express yourself in your abode.  Don't fake it and turn on the charm over the next few days either.  Keep it real so that you can get a firm grasp on who you are at home and whether or not you like what you see.  

*Shout out to all my people who use the non-word irregardless.  

Word with the Wise Wednesday: My Mom

1.  What important life lessons have you learned so far?
The importance of being true to who I am and what's really in my heart.  Making sure that my words and the intentions of my heart match. Life is not about saying the "right thing" to people while thinking a "different thing" in my heart.  It's about living an honest life with a heart that is pure, focused and sincere.

2. How is the world today different or similar to what it was like when you were a child?    
When I was a child, things were very simple.  We had fun and there was an innocence throughout society and every day life.  Respect for each other, family values and strong character were extremely important... almost revered.  There was not such an open display of disrespect and dishonesty like I see now.  Today wrongdoing seems glorified and nothing is taboo anymore.  The morals and values of our culture as a whole have gotten weaker.  People seem much more self centered now and we live in a feel good society where there is little to no accountability.  

3.  What has been your hardest lesson to date?  

The 4 Agreements

Jadyn Noelle Photography

Today I am reminded of a book that I read several years ago: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  I absolutely love the four agreements:

1. Be impeccable with your words.  Speak the truth in love.  Say exactly what you mean.  Speak positively about yourself and others (don't gossip).  Your words have power.  Direct them appropriately for you will live in the reality of the words you speak.  

2. Don't take anything personally.  The actions of others has nothing to do with you.     Every individual is personally responsible for that which they are projecting.  We experience unnecessary suffering when we believe the lie that so-and-so did such-and-such because of me.  Nope.  So-and-so did such-and-such because so-and-so decided to do such-and-such.    

3. Don't make assumptions.  Be courageous.  Ask questions.  Seek clarity.  Speak clearly.  Bypass the drama. This agreement alone can change the world.

4. Always do your best.  Knowing that your best will vary from day to day based upon the dynamics of life, simply agree to give your best effort.  No judgement.  No condemnation.  All inner peace.  Bring it (your best effort)*.  Everyday.  Do your best and forget the rest*!  

I purpose to live my life in a manner that reflects these ideals so it's nice to have a lil' refresher today.  While I don't always get it right, I do keep trying and this is part of the growth process.  Along the road to authentic living, I have found that in order to establish healthy agreements (like the ones above) I had to break a few several unhealthy agreements first.  I've also realized that some folks didn't appreciate it when I stopped reading from the script and started making another movie altogether.  
(Bless their hearts...)
Right about that time I (thankfully!) remembered agreement number two... nothing that others do has a thing to do with me.  Instant release.

What are your thoughts about these four agreements?
Do you by live them? Why or why not?

*(Shout out to Tony Horton in P90X)

What's "Above the Fray" Anyway?

Above the Fray is a lifestyle, an attitude, a state of mind.  It is the decision to live life on a higher plain where I am learning how to honor the truths within my heart and live every day with intention and joy. To live Above the Fray is not a one time decision.  It is a lifelong commitment...  a journey of sorts where the state of my heart, thoughts and feelings (the aspects of me that no one can see) are growing and evolving in dynamic ways.  While the individual lessons are always different, the core element of the lessons remains the same: rise above it all and soar towards the horizon of your destiny.  For me, right now, it's all about moving forward despite failures and setbacks, loving others, letting go when necessary, holding onto hope, having a grateful heart and counting my blessings, not judging (myself or others), trusting the process and living one moment at a time.  In a nutshell, it's about celebrating life each day because every lesson, failure, opportunity or setback is just another stroke of the brush that is crafting this life into a beautiful and brilliant masterpiece.  Am I a finished work of art today?  No, not yet, but one day...

the not so much list...

Let me just begin by saying I truly appreciate the LOVE and ENCOURAGEMENT that was showered upon me yesterday.  All the support (texts! and emails! and comments! oh my!) makes me feel like the luckiest girl ever.  

Welcome to Day Deux @ Above the Fray... It's so fun getting to know each other and all...  This sorta feels like the beginning of the school year...  Getting to know the teacher... the teacher getting to know you... learning the rules of each classroom...   'Member that???

Well, it has always been odd to me that we introduce ourselves with all the things we adore and rarely ever know (let alone tell) people the things that drive us up the wall.  Why do we keep annoyances on the downlow?  Do we expect people to figure these things out by osmosis?  It can take years (synonymous here with forever) to discover that which annoys the heck out of somebody and by then the bridge is usually going up in flames. 

My new philosophy is this: 
Know thyself... this includes the LOVES and the NOT SO MUCHSIES.  
This link will take you to my LOVES: 

BUT since this post is not about my LOVES...  Ladies & Gentlemen...

My Not So Much List:
junk mail
stank breath
lazy peeps
charging my cell phone (can someone create a solution for this already?)
deviled eggs
anything cookie cutter
one way relationships 
potato salad
ppl who talk while the movie is playing 
heavy winter coats
talking when I'm sleepy/hungry or first thing in the AM
mayo, ketchup, pickles, mustard
energy vampires
idle chitchat
whipped cake frosting (gag!!!)
mean people
drama kings or queens
moles having a hayday in my backyard
living a mediocre existence (not honoring my dreams and passions)
personal space invaders
stinky burps to the face or burps in close quarters

I initially came across the idea of a NO List in an awesome book by Cheryl Richardson called The Art of Extreme Self Care.  The idea seemed selfish and pessimistic to me at first glance; however, I am starting to realize:

The power of knowing how and when to say NO will allow me to say YES appropriately and without reservation.  

What about you... 
Are you any good at saying NO?  
What are some of the things on your Not So Much List?  

Hey Yall!!!

Welcome to my corner of the web!  I am so excited to be posting my FIRST blog!  I wanted to start a blog years ago, but I kept making excuses.  Finally, I'm over it!  I've put it off long enough... so today is the day!!!!!  Here at Above the Fray, I hope to provide encouragement and inspiration for folks to live out their dreams, discuss life challenges and find solutions, fully embrace the adventure of life, share the laughter & love, navigate the ups and downs, and never ever ever give up!
By nature, I am an encourager and a dreamer ... eternally optimistic and genuinely enthusiastic (unless I'm sleepy or hungry and then... not so much).  I appreciate good music, hot tea, connecting with others, true friends, supportive family, just about anything vintage, hugs and laughter that makes my side hurt.  I am a deeply creative, highly sensitive person who is often thinking outside of the typical parameters.  Without a doubt, I believe that everyone has the gifting and ability to contribute something that is special and unique to the world.  Everyday everyone gets another chance to live their best life.  If life sucks today, be encouraged...things will get better!  If your life is already good, well things can just keep getting better.  YOU, your attitude and your circle of influence are major determining factors.  
Let's support and motivate each another along the road of authentic living!  
I'm gonna make a difference in this world and I know that you can too!  I do hope you'll join me.  It'll be a fun ride!!! There's a little piece of the dream in my heart...  Writing this blog to you today is a part of my dream.  What's your dream? 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...