When you love something, you don’t quit

When you love something, you don’t quit

I’ve been spending some of my North Carolina evenings shooting hoops, taking advantage of the opportunity to get outside during the winter months. Shooting around was something that I did growing up, but gave up after 9th grade basketball season. Why? At the time, I spent a lot of the time on the bench, and even though I loved my team, I wasn’t in love with the sport enough to try to keep playing in high school. I was okay taking my talents elsewhere and focusing on running. I never really missed it, but it was a game that my Dad loved. He was a proud member of the 1972 Sectional Championship team of the Pine Village Pine Knots. When I was growing up, my Dad would play pick-up basketball at the Oxford gym on Wednesday nights. He loved it. And I don’t remember when he stopped playing (possibly when he was diagnosed with cancer), but he definitely continued watching every Purdue game and loved watching his daughters and grandkids play. There was even that game in 5th grade when I was the leading scorer against the Boswell Blackhawks. I was fouled, made 1 free throw, and was a highlight for the Oxford Blue Devils as we lost 50 something to 1. Shout out to you if if you were in that gym that night! I know that he would be so proud of his oldest granddaughters Emma and Claire who are part of the 2020 Benton Central Lady Bison Sectional Championship team. I know that he was cheering them on from heaven.

I’ve played a few games of HORSE or PIG throughout the years, but really no desire to get back into playing basketball. Watching basketball, definitely, but not really playing. When my Dad’s birthday rolled around this January, I thought, I could buy a basketball and shoot at the hoop at the top of the hill in my neighborhood. I did, and have spent a few times just shooting around. And guess what, it is so much fun! There’s no pressure to win. No one cares if my shot goes in or not. And, I have found that the more I practice, the better that I am getting. It’s a way to relieve stress, and I’ve really been enjoying it. I understand why my Dad enjoyed shooting for hours as he was growing up. At times, it feels like he’s there with me shooting baskets, and I guess that’s probably the part that I love the most. A fun way to honor his memory and feel his spirit.

So, maybe I forgot that I did love playing basketball. Because as I spend my evenings around the hoop, it’s hard to remember why I gave it up. Maybe I took a break, and maybe I never quit. Maybe Dad took a break when he could no longer physically play, and maybe he never quit either. Just taking a rest as an opportunity to encourage and cheer on (or yell at!) other players. I’m pretty sure he is drilling threes in heaven, playing with his teammates that were lost along the way, including my Uncle Steve. I bet they are celebrating a Lady Bison victory, and I know that he is happy watching me shoot around, and that Emma and Claire got to be on a championship winning team. I always wanted to make my Dad proud, and even though I wasn’t the best basketball player growing up, I know that he was always proud of me and is still. One lesson that I have learned is that when you love something, you don’t quit.

The seeds you sow today

The seeds you sow today

The seeds you sow today become the dreams of your future.  Are you tending to the ground?   Ensuring that it is fertile?  Seeds can only grow in the right environment.  There must be enough space to grow, and the right amount of rain and sunshine.  Are you allowing negative thoughts to take root in your mind instead of your dreams?  Focus on what you want to bring into your life, and let go of what no longer serves you.  Release the naysayers and surround yourself with positive, encouraging loved ones who want to see you win.   Those who you can call at any time, and will be there to help and cheer you on.

In this current time, it’s easy to get distracted with comparison and a need to escape.  What you focus on expands in your life.  Would you rather be moving towards what you desire, or taking stock in what everyone else is doing?  Spring is less than 2 months away, and planting season will begin then.  Farmers will soon be busy preparing the land, checking for the right conditions, and getting the crops in before the time passes.  But, you have the opportunity to plant your seeds and take action anytime.  Today, you can begin sowing the seeds of your future dreams. What will be in your harvest?

Inspiration begins in the heart

Inspiration begins in the heart

Have you ever had someone tell you that you should do something, and you know that they are probably right?  Haven’t we all?  Logically, you know that their suggestion would benefit you in the long run, but you can’t make yourself take one step towards it.  Why was it so hard to move in that direction?  My guess is, you weren’t inspired.  Maybe you had a million things you’d rather be doing (Hallmark movies, anyone?). These million things are usually some pretty good excuses.  But, when the time is right and you feel the creative spirit within you, all those excuses are thrown out the door.  Kinda like when you are leaving on a flight to Hawaii in the morning (really want to do that!) for a 3 week vacation.  You will do anything you need to make sure that you are on that flight.  You feel motivated to get in motion because you know that the reward is worth the work.

I believe that inspiration begins in the heart.  When you feel inspired, you feel light and happy.  Time goes by quickly as you are consumed with whatever has your full attention at the moment.  There is no worry about the past or fear of the future.  I realized that I used to wake up much earlier on the weekends.  Why?  I couldn’t wait to go to my favorite place, Duke Gardens, and take in the blooming flowers and morning dew.  I loved the stillness and felt so peaceful and happy surrounded by the beauty of nature.  Another reason that I had to get up early on the weekends was to go to my favorite yoga class because I left feeling energized and ready for the day.  Both of these places have been closed during COVID, so I’ve been sleeping in a lot more (trust me, I do enjoy that though!).  But, I also miss the feeling of being so excited to wake up in the morning and get the weekend started. I miss the inspiration.

As some activities that we used to do we can’t enjoy at this time, maybe it’s time to reflect on new things to ignite us.  Know that when your heart is open and ready, inspiration will find you.  It may be completely unknown at this time, but I invite you to ask the question.  What is a new activity that you could try that may inspire you?  After asking this question, be open to receive the signs and synchronicities that may lead you to this answer.  Maybe the question is just the first step. A simple step to new possibilities. Embrace the beauty of the unknown.  How will you allow inspiration to find you?

Division doesn’t go away overnight

Division doesn’t go away overnight

Division doesn’t go away overnight, but I wish that it did.  As the presidency changes hands, I see mixed emotions on social media.  Some people are celebrating, and some are fearful of the future and the unknown.  I believe that individual people make up the nation, and it cannot be saved by one person or one particular political party.  There is still so much for us to do as individuals.  Perhaps the last year or so has brought to light injustice that has always been there, hidden beneath the surface.  Maybe it was shown to us to give us an opportunity to clear the negativity from the nation’s soul, and rebuild with unity and love.  Without awareness, a change cannot be made.  Will we choose to fight with our fellow humans and emphasize the division, or will we choose to create a new world of peace and understanding?  What will you do to help America heal?

As Traditions Change

As Traditions Change

By Tracey Lemming

As we near the Thanksgiving Holiday, I invite you to take a moment to reflect on your memories spent with loved ones.  This year in particular, many of us are finding our traditions changing.  This could be the location as well as the guests. Maybe the holidays have always been a time filled with joy, but your heart is now missing those who can’t be around your table.  Possibly, like my friend, you are in quarantine and your loved ones will gather without you.  Maybe you have a loved one in the hospital as another friend does.  Whatever your holiday looks like this year, know that you are loved. Perhaps a new tradition will begin, or next year we will resume past traditions. 

Light a candle to remember and honor your loved ones who can’t make it this year.  In these uncertain times, focus on the good and what you are grateful for.  Turn off the news for a day and allow yourself to enjoy this different holiday.  Take notice of those who show up for you in the form of a card, phone call, or text message, even if we can’t physically be together.  Think of the new friends in your life who weren’t here a year ago.  As traditions change, so will you. And that’s a good thing as we all need time to think a little differently and bring new ideas into our reality.  Find something to be grateful for, even if it’s just the fact that you have the eyes and vision to read this post. Throughout this season, remember that you can still cultivate love and joy in this moment, despite your circumstances. How will you celebrate this year?  What are some new traditions that you could begin? 

Happy Thanksgiving.

You get to choose.

You get to choose.

By Tracey Lemming

Who do you get to be?   Who tells you who you are?   You get to choose.  I am a writer, because I say so.   My words are healing hearts, inspiring souls, and speaking truths.   No one gives me permission to write.  I get to be the stage, the actress, and the crew.  I set the scene, and my words flow easily and effortlessly.  I choose to be the audience, and I choose to play the part.  

How about you?  Is there someone you’ve always wanted to be, but allowed fear to win?  Why not now?  You get to choose.  That’s the beautiful thing about life.  In each moment, we have the opportunity to create, the opportunity to pivot.  Choosing the next best step in the moment, allowing our heart to lead.  One “bad” day does not define us.   We have the opportunity to start a new day by the glow of the moon or the light of the sun.  

What if the only thing on our to-do list was to start the day with a grateful heart and surrender to the present moment?  I’ve found that my best days are the ones that I expect the best from myself, loved ones, and the world.  Those are the days that I receive great news, perfect timing, and fun surprises.  Those are the days that I know without a doubt that there is a higher power in the unseen, guiding me in the most amazing way to all the good in the universe.  So now, I am a writer.  Who do you choose to be?

Connection to the Truth

Connection to the Truth

By Tracey Lemming

I began to wonder about the gaps in my writing.  Had I stopped?  No, I started writing just for me.  Stories of beauty.  Stories of faith.  Stories of Love.  During the last month, my blog posts stopped, but my connection to the truth became strong.  I am loved beyond belief.  And so are you.   Each moment is a blessing, and noticing this only happens when you are present.  The landscape of our world has been filled with much anxiety, but I feel a shift towards more peace and love.  I feel the release of worries and fears.  I am connected to the truth, and so are you.  We don’t need anyone else to tell us what is true for us.  We don’t need to defend it or explain it.  Your truth may not be my truth, and that is okay.   We don’t have to see eye to eye, but we must be willing to lead with love.   Imagine if we always gave someone else the benefit of the doubt.  Imagine if we didn’t create a negative story, but instead showed love and compassion, knowing that all is working out in the best case scenario.  Letting go of the need to be right and to make someone else wrong.  What if we found that our truth was within us all along?

Intuition always tells the truth

Intuition always tells the truth

Intuition. It’s always there, guiding us, protecting us.   Everyone has it, and everyone has the ability to tune in.  It’s that nudge within us that defies logic, and tells you which way to go.  Sometimes it’s subtle, and sometimes it’s banging on the door.  Either way, it invites you to listen.  When we pay attention, we can be rewarded and amazed. But if we don’t, we can be kicking ourselves later, wishing we had listened to that small voice inside our head. Our intuition wants to be heard so that it can reveal its secrets to us. Intuition always tells the truth.

I love it when I can connect the dots back of why I made a decision that turned out in my favor.  I hate it when I know that I should have listened to my heart, but didn’t.  Those are the times that hurt the most.  One example of not listening to my inner guidance was during a visit to Indiana. I chose to hang out with a friend, when my soul wanted to spend an evening with my Grandma Fellure. Watching TV and catching up with her sounded like the perfect night.  However, I already had plans with my friend, and knew I would see my Grandma later that weekend, so I chose to go with my logical mind and the plans already in place. I now wish that I would have followed my intuition that told me to just rest and lay low. Be present with your Grandma, the time with her is so precious and coming to an end.  Had I spent time with my Grandma that evening, that would have been our last one on one time together. Crossroads like that confirm that I need to listen to my intuition, even if I don’t understand it at the time.

The best feeling is when you follow your intuition and you receive a nice surprise that you didn’t know that you needed. In February 2019, as I watched my Alma Mater’s Girls Basketball team go to the State Finals, I missed friends and family in Benton County. I missed the magic and excitement of Indiana Basketball in a small town. That week, I was going through some old papers, and came across a newspaper with my classmates from high school.  Around the same time, I had the desire for sushi. The kind that I wanted was available at the grocery store where I normally don’t shop. It was right after work, and I would usually avoid the after-work crowd.  I thought, “maybe I should go later, or do I really need sushi right now?   It’s going to be really busy, maybe I should just go another day?”  But, I decided to go anyway.  Sushi and bananas were on my short list.  I’d get my items quickly and then be on my way.  I walked in, and went straight for the bananas, focused on picking the best ones. In my peripheral vision, I saw a few moms with kids in their carts.  And then, as the 2 moms talked from across the aisle, I heard my friend’s voice. Could it really be my classmate who I had just seen in my newspaper clipping? Yes, it was!

The year before, I had ran into another classmate from high school and he had mentioned that our classmate lived in the area.  I had intended to connect with her through social media, but hadn’t gotten a chance to as life brought my focus to other things.  I was so happy to see her and give her a big hug. In that moment, it all made sense why I wanted sushi and needed to go to that specific grocery store right then. To see a friend who I hadn’t seen in 18 years, from a town almost 700 miles away. To hear a voice that I hadn’t heard in 18 years, yet I instantly recognized. She had moved recently to a home 3 miles away from me, and that was her normal grocery store.  During this time, I needed to be reminded of how small this world is, and it became clear why I was there. She was a reminder of my friends and family in Indiana, and proved that you are always in the right place at the right time. I have enjoyed reconnecting with her and her family, and am thankful that I followed my stomach’s hunger for sushi!

Think back to a time that you were grateful that you followed your intuition.  Now think of a time when you wished you would have listened to your gut.  If you are like me, you can think of many examples. Maybe it is as simple as sitting in traffic when you knew you should have taken the country roads. Or as fun as calling a friend to hear them say that they were just thinking of you! When we can prove to ourselves the validity of this inner knowing, why would we not follow it?  Why do we let other’s opinions and our idea of what we think we should be doing get in the way of listening to our heart?  There can be many distractions in our lives, and a lot of them are things that we have the control to release. Taking a moment to check in with what we feel is right for us in our next step can pay us dividends.   It’s easy to ignore our intuition when our society favors logic and reason.  But, the next time you have a hunch or feeling, I invite you trust yourself. You already have the answers within you. The truth is in this moment. Practice letting go of what you feel like you should do, and choose what feels best for you. Allow the unseen world to surprise and delight you.  What if your intuition is just waiting for you to follow it?  Why not take a chance and listen to the whisper within?

Choosing Presence over Escape

Choosing Presence over Escape

Presence.  It’s a gift, and to me it means being fully invested in the moment.  It’s listening intently to the person who is speaking to you.  Not thinking about what you will be saying next, or any other distraction that comes up to take space in your mind.  Presence is being fully engaged with all of our senses.  Seeing the beauty in the moment, no matter how hard it is, and not looking for an escape.  Being okay with the unknown that is surrounding us and embracing what we are experiencing in our current reality.

We all have 24 hours in our days, and we get to decide how we spend our time. It’s so easy to zone out, and allow our minds to be racing on a loop of thoughts that do not serve us.  It’s easy to scroll on social media or reach for ice cream when you are bored or upset.   In the moment, it feels like a good option, but usually doesn’t leave us feeling uplifted or energized. How can we use the gift of presence for ourselves and the people in our life? 

The past month, I found myself spending more time on social media than I wanted to, and I realized that I was using it as an escape from my feelings and having to completely experience the now.  When I didn’t want to think about the grief that I was going through, I found that it was easier to distract myself with mindless scrolling.  I didn’t have to feel any sadness or heaviness if I gave my mind somewhere else to go.  Unfortunately, the grief never went away, and I would just end up feeling worse about myself in the comparison/negative news of social media. What if we absorb ourselves in our day to day life instead of finding a getaway? How would we feel?  Possibly more inspired and connected to this world and our loved ones? 

When we are distracted in the present moment, that’s time that we can’t get back.  Time is our most valuable possession, and we each get the choice to decide how we use ours. How does it feel when you are talking to someone, and they are clearly in another world?  It doesn’t feel good, and it makes you feel not so important.  Distracting yourself from your life is the same thing, and gives yourself the same sign that you aren’t important either.  Mary Kay Ash once said that you should imagine each person in your life with an invisible sign that says “Make me feel important.”  How simple is that?  Giving your full and undivided attention to the person in front of you.  Really listening and hearing what is spoken.  Not just listening to their words, but reading their body language as well.   So many people need someone to listen to them, especially in our current times.  Connection is needed now more than ever.  How can you connect with others?  Who has been on your mind who would love to hear from you?

There were many times over the last year that I didn’t want to be present, but I was as in the moment as I could be.  When my Grandma was in the hospital and in home hospice, I didn’t want to be present.  I wanted to be anywhere else, but I also knew that there would be a time that I would miss being there in that moment with my Grandma and our family, even if it was so hard.  I would miss holding her hand, and being so exhausted from all of the sadness and unknown.  And I didn’t want to be present in November when I drove my Dad and I home, and he started playing songs on his phone that he wanted played at his funeral.  I fought back tears and didn’t want to hear the songs or see the meaning of what he was trying to prepare me for, but I also knew as we drove, I would someday miss that moment.  I would want to be in his truck, trying to pretend that I didn’t know what he was telling me that his time on Earth was coming to a close. I didn’t want to be in his truck hearing Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton sing “As I get where I’m going” with my Dad in the passenger seat, but now I would give anything to go back to that drive on the cold, windy day.  Writing these words takes me right back to those very hard moments, but my hope is that in sharing them, someone who may someday be in my shoes can do their best to show up for their loved ones and themselves in this moments.  Is there something in your life you’d rather not deal with and find an escape from?   How can you bring yourself back into the now?

There’s so many ways to become preoccupied, but there’s also ways to bring ourselves back into the moment.  Each moment is a new beginning. My phone is a big distraction for me, and I have added an app to track my screen time which has helped me to see how much time I am really spending on it.   I removed the notifications from a lot of my apps on my phone, and have put it outside of my bedroom when used as my alarm clock.  I started putting to-do items and papers in an inbox, then dealing with them at a certain time instead of always feeling like there was something that needed my attention.  This all is a work in process, but reminding myself to be conscious and aware has helped.  Maybe try making an effort to become more mindful when you drink a glass or water or eat a meal.  In nature, it’s easier for me to be present as I listen to the birds and watch the branches sway in the wind.  I believe that awareness is the first step.  Do you have any tips for being more present in your life?

I encourage you to take a moment to assess your ability to be present for yourself and others. Know that we all have time that we wish we could take back, but we get a blank sheet each day to write our new story.  Being present isn’t always easy, but I believe that it is always worth it. I am choosing to be present instead of looking for an escape in these unknown times. Is there anything in your life that you wish that you were spending less time doing?  What are some ways that you can become engaged while in a conversation?  How could you be more present and show up for yourself and others?

When your call is answered

When your call is answered

By Tracey Lemming

Think back to a moment in your life when a call was answered. When a prayer was answered.  Was it immediate, or did it take years to receive?  I believe that we all have times in our lives when we can look back and see the connection of a call and a response in our life.  Sometimes it feels as if we will never receive the answer, but if we keep our mind fixed on what we want, it will come to fruition.  Is there a question that you have been asking to a higher power?  Are you sowing seeds of expectancy, or seeds of doubt?

Growing up, I knew that I needed jaw surgery to correct my bite.  It was hard to chew and only my back teeth touched, putting a lot of pressure on them. This could lead to serious problems if it wasn’t corrected. When my older sister was in high school, she had the same jaw surgery that I needed.  At the time, my Dad’s insurance paid for her surgery, but when I was old enough for it, the insurance companies considered it a cosmetic/elective surgery and would not pay for it.  Knowing at a young age that this condition existed, the orthodontist gave me a dental appliance to wear to try to correct my bite. Unfortunately it didn’t work.  Surgery would be the answer, and surgery was very expensive.

After college, I again met with my orthodontist and he referred me to a specialist.  Again, I heard “well you really need to have this surgery, but it will not be covered by insurance.” The specialist and orthodontist wrote letters and sent x-rays to the insurance company showing why the surgery was medially necessary, but the claim was denied.  Of course I adapted and was able to chew, but the jawline affected my profile and how I appeared to the world.  I was always self-conscious of this.  I didn’t feel as confident or as beautiful as I wanted to on the outside.  I didn’t want to draw a lot of attention to myself, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I see that it affected my ability to speak my truth. It was easier to blend in and not be seen.

When I moved to North Carolina, I asked my Human Resources contact for recommendations on finding a dentist, and I went to the one that she recommended within a few months of moving there.  Of course, on my initial exam, the dentist asked me if anyone ever told me that I need jaw surgery.  Well yes, I’ve been told this my whole life I explained, but the cost is so much, and wouldn’t be covered by insurance.  Of course, I would love to have this surgery, but it really did feel like a dead end road after years of hearing no.  My dentist mentioned an oral surgeon down the road who was great, and she encouraged me to meet with her.   She said that she had a really good track record of getting this surgery approved by insurance.  I agreed to meet with her and could feel some hope coming back.

When I met with the oral surgeon, I felt like I had finally gone to the right doctor.  I trusted her and her opinion, and I felt comfortable with her and her recommendations.  With this surgery being on my face, I really wanted to make sure that the doctor was someone who I could trust and cared for me as a person and patient.  After going over options, she recommended upper jaw surgery only, which would be less expensive and invasive.  After thinking of the expense as a really expensive car, I decided to go ahead with the process, whether insurance covered it or not. I knew that this would be the best for me in the long run and decided to invest in myself. I would have braces for a year, which would actually make things “worse” but give my teeth room for the the surgery to be performed.  The next year of braces, would be pulling everything back together to perfect my smile.  I was so thankful for this process, and I knew that it would not only help me to chew easier, but I thought that it would also help my confidence as well.  It did just that, and I really felt beautiful inside and out.  

Throughout the 2 year process, friends and family were there to help.  I was thankful to have the time to go to my appointments.  My parents and niece Claire came down for the surgery and stayed for a week.  I know that they wished they could have stayed longer to help, but when they left, my Mary Kay director was there to take me to appointments and make sure that I had enough food (mostly mashed potatoes, soups, ensure protein drinks), since I couldn’t chew for a few weeks.  At this time, I also learned the power of visualization and listening to healing tracks.  I now know the power that your mind and subconscious have on your body, and this definitely sped up my healing. 

About 6 months into the braces and process, the insurance company partially approved my surgery, and I was so thankful that I only had to pay the max out of pocket expenses.  I learned that when you take a step towards what you want, you will always be provided for in some way or another. I truly believe that one of the reasons that I was led to North Carolina was to have this surgery.  The doctors in the area (UNC and Duke) are some of the best in the world.  I even was able to have my surgery in a specialty hospital that had the lowest infection rate in the state of North Carolina.  And at this hospital, I was assured, even when my 24 hours were up, I would not be “kicked out” and would be given the time to be discharged when I was ready. It was truly a great experience from the start to the finish.

After another year of braces, I could finally see my vision realized.  I was so happy to finally feel as beautiful as I always wanted to. My prayer wasn’t answered when I wanted it to be, but there was a better and more aligned time for me to go through this process.  I truly believe that finally having the surgery that I had hoped I would someday have was a huge reason that my journey led me to North Carolina.  Within months of arriving, the 2 year process was set in motion.  The right people showed up at exactly the right time.  Had I had the surgery when I wanted, I may have had both upper and lower jaw surgery as recommended, which may not have been necessary. I may not have been as happy with my results  and the process as I am.   I may not have had such a great experience and the insurance approval of the surgery.  It was truly a great experience, and I know that this call was answered in perfect timing.

So, the next time that you have a prayer, know that it may not be answered on your time.  But, it may be answered in a more aligned and perfect time for you.  It’s easy to give up hope, and the surgery was something I wanted for many years. I knew that it would improve my quality of life, and it did.   It was truly a gift, and I believe if you hold a vision in your mind and let go of how and when it “should” happen, you may be surprised when your call is answered.  But when it is, you will know without a doubt that it was.  Plant seeds of faith, and know that your desire is on it’s way.  Allow yourself to relax and let go of the need to control.  Allow the higher power in your life to surprise and delight you in the unfolding of your journey.  There is so much unknown, but do your best to remain positive, and celebrate the signs that you are headed in the right direction.  When you are call is answered, you will know and the winding roads will all make sense. Is there something you have been praying for for years?  Are you keeping the faith?