Our words live on

Our words live on

Isn’t it wonderful to know that you can leave someone feeling more uplifted and loved with your words?  Our words live on.  Good and bad.  All that we write to others is documented (especially now), a reminder of a different space and time. They may even become someone’s inner conversations.  What are you saying with your words?

I am lucky enough to have received an email in November 2018 from my Dad.  One that he sent to my sisters and me, recapping his memories with us.  Even though there were bad times that he acknowledged, he remembered the good in his life.  He thanked us for being a part of his life, and let us know that he had a wonderful life with us in it.  My mom and him didn’t receive a lot of “I love you’s” growing up, but in his email, he made sure that we knew that we were loved.

I just printed out the email, and know that this will be something that is so important to be passed along in our family, to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  My Dad didn’t have to take the time to reflect on this life and express it to us, but I am so glad that he did. Many people will leave this world with words left unsaid, but each of us has the opportunity now to connect with those in our life and express our feelings.  It’s easy to leave a few comments on social media, but really connecting with others takes more time and energy. 

 I was lucky enough to write my Dad a letter a few months before he passed away to express my love and gratitude. I had no clue what the next few months would bring when I wrote it. It was something that took a bit of effort, but I felt like it was important to write.  And now that he’s in heaven, I am so grateful that he read those words that he told me meant the world to him.  Had he or I have not written those words, we would have still known, but it’s nice to know for sure and have his email to reflect back on when I need a reminder.

Our words live on.  They are precious, and life is precious. Your words can have a positive or negative impact.  We can all use this reminder. Is there someone that you’d like to tell how much you love and appreciate them?  Why not take a moment to write that letter or send that email? It could make a world of difference in their life, and for generations to come.

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?

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?

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?

I’m like a bird

I’m like a bird

Written by Tracey Lemming

I ’m like a bird, and you probably are too.  Birds have this intuition to know where to find the best food, and when it’s time to fly south.  One of my favorite movies growing up was “The Mighty Ducks,” about the hockey team who beat the odds and worked together as a team.  They took their signature formation from the birds in the sky in order to be victorious over their stronger opponents. Whenever I see a flying V in the sky, I always stop to take notice.  Amazed about how they have a lead bird, and then when that bird gets tired, it will go to the back and another bird will step in and lead the flock.  They work together for the greater good and common goal. Sometimes I see “stragglers,” but I know that they will catch up with their friends at the next pond, and continue their journey together. 

It’s amazing when we face times of uncertainty, how if we trust our intuition, the right people and circumstances will show up at the perfect time.  Sometimes you just have to take the first step towards what you desire, and then let go and trust.  About 5 years ago, I began to practice yoga on and off.  After my jaw surgery, I couldn’t exercise as rigorously as I was used to, so yoga was a nice way to get a workout in.  I found that I enjoyed how calm and balanced that I felt after a yoga session.  Over the next 4 years, I would jokingly say that I should become a yoga teacher, but usually I would tell my friends that they should become a yoga teacher.  Much easier if someone else does it, and I didn’t really believe that I had the confidence to be in the teacher’s spot.  When I visited my friend’s parents in April 2019, and told them that their daughter should teach yoga and they should get goats for goat yoga, I started to see my pattern of always volunteering someone else to take the risk.  And, I started to think, why not me?  I talked to a friend about attending an upcoming meditation class, and she mentioned how she took a meditation class from her current yoga instructor.  There it was again. Then, I really began to wonder what would happen if I really took the steps towards this desire that I first saw as an impossibility? I checked online at local studios, and saw that there was an intensive summer training coming up at a studio just 3 miles away at the end of the month! What perfect timing! I attended my first class there, and when the instructor quoted my favorite author, I knew that I was in the right place.  Within a few days, I was enrolled for the 200 hour yoga teacher training.  It was great. Even though I missed 2 of the 5 weekends when my Grandma passed away in June of 2019, my teacher set up a time to teach me what I had missed when I returned.  Last September I taught my first yoga class, which was a really rewarding experience.

This last year has brought many ups and downs, and there’s still a lot that I would like to learn about yoga and teaching. I would love to teach yoga more, but I am glad that I took the opportunity when it came up. If I had waited a few months or longer, I may not have been able to go through the in-person training and get my teacher certification.  I had no idea what it would be like to attend the training, or if I would even teach when I went through the training, but I am thankful that I took the time to invest in myself and chose this experience.  I have met a lot of great people, and have been able to share yoga with family and friends.  I learned that “Crow” is my favorite pose, and I am going to start working on “Flying Bird.”

In March 2020, I had the courage to share my first blog post on social media, even though I didn’t know if anyone would read or enjoy my words.  I had the feeling to write, and I created the space and time to take the action.  I still don’t know where it will lead, but that is okay.  It’s all unknown, and I am choosing to keep going.  I am enjoying allowing my creativity to flow, and have received messages of how my words have helped others.  To me, that’s so rewarding and magical, knowing that I can help or inspire others in some way.  I am currently taking a writing course, and looking forward to learning more in this area. If I had not began my blog, I don’t think that I would have realized how much that I really love to write.

So, the next time that you a bird in the sky or hopping around on the ground, notice how unattached they are to the outcome of the moment.  They simply sing because they want to.  They don’t care who hears their tweets, they sing because that’s who they are.  They don’t fly in order to win a race. They simply want to hang out with their friends and family and enjoy the view.  And they always know the best time to flap their wings and soar. Is there something that you’ve been putting off, but have a feeling that it’s time to begin? What if your time to fly is now?

Imperfect Pieces

Imperfect Pieces

By Tracey Lemming

In our lives, there will be times when we lose pieces of our puzzle.  We know that our world won’t ever be the same again.  One by one, we put the pieces back together. But, it looks different. Maybe we add in pieces that we didn’t know we had and take more out along the way. Do we give up because it won’t look like the version that we expected when we started? Or do we keep going and create a new puzzle with missing and imperfect pieces?

When I spent 4 months in Indiana during COVID-19, my Mom and I put together a few puzzles.  It was an activity that I enjoyed, but hadn’t done in quite awhile (beside a rainy beach day in vacation mode).  Seldom did I allow myself the time and space just to enjoy simply putting together a puzzle. The first one was 1,000 pieces and a Fall leaves scene.  At first, it was overwhelming.  So many pieces, and they all looked alike!  But, as we kept going, it got easier, and it was easier to differentiate between the leaves on the trees from the leaves on the ground.  It took patience, presence, and perseverance. Throughout the process, it was fun to find the pieces that fit together. The second puzzle that we decided to tackle was already together when we saw it, but it was missing a piece.  We chose to tear it apart and put it back together anyway.  Knowing that it was missing a piece didn’t make the activity any less enjoyable.  We could have decided that it wasn’t worth our time and energy knowing that it wouldn’t be perfect when it was finished, but had we chosen to not try, we would have missed out on the joy that was still there in the puzzle.

The last few months have left many of us unsure of what path to take, what piece to hold and put down. We can’t quite see over the horizon.  Mountains are in the way that weren’t there before.  It’s all unknown.  Plans that we had were suddenly changed, and we have the choice to surrender to what is, or to fight for what we knew before.  Unfortunately, we can’t go back.  This life as we knew it is completely changed.  Whether you have suffered the loss of a loved one, a job, or an every day activity, it’s okay to take the time to mourn your loss.  Giving yourself the time and space to grieve your loss is one of those “self-care” activities that is easy to bypass, but I believe that it’s important to fully heal.  Your loss is yours, and mine is mine, but collectively we can show compassion for one another.  No one knows the magnitude of your grief but you. No one knows how many pieces are missing from your puzzle, and no one knows what you may find when you begin looking for new pieces.

I would love to go back to a time when all my loved ones were still here to see the sun rise each morning.  I would love to be able to hug my Uncle Steve, my Grandma Fellure, and my Dad.  I will see many sunrises and sunsets without them, which feels so unbearable at times.  If I could only go back 2 years, or 14 months, or just 8 months, maybe things could be different.  But, I choose to keep going.  I choose to put the pieces of the puzzle back together.  Doing my best to honor my loved ones by sharing their stories and sharing mine. Knowing that the puzzle will look different than expected when it’s complete, and that’s okay.  There will be pieces added and removed along the way.  But, there will also be a lot of love and joy in the journey. We all get the choice to decide where we go from here. Will you give up on it all, or will you continue to put together your imperfect pieces?

Brighter than the Sun

Brighter than the Sun

Written by Tracey Lemming

Moths are drawn to the light, and so are we.  Many want to be in the spotlight, brighter than the sun. Our society values likes, selfies and memes over Ideas, Authenticity, and Emotions.  Comparison is a trap, and if we are not careful, we will fall in it.  Keeping up with the Kardashians, filtered photos, and unreal expectations are the name of the game.

But, what if you let go of all the expectations? Yours, others, and society’s.  The striving for perfection, always buying the next best thing, and feeling validated with the number of friends on your social account.  How would it feel to accept where you are in this moment exactly as is?  Take a moment to release the energy of always being “on” and tune into your inner wisdom.  Who do you want to be at this moment?  How will you align with your authentic self?  Your life is a canvas, and you get to paint your own masterpiece.

I found out how little I really needed when I spent 4 months in Indiana when only expecting to stay a week.  Somehow I made it from snow in March to a hot and humid July with a small suitcase.  How did I manage to make my wardrobe last through the seasons?  Friends and family.  When it grew warmer, friends cleaned out their closets and gave me their extra clothes.  I only bought 1 pair of sandals in the 4 months, and that wasn’t even necessary as my friend had let me borrow hers.  I have some really great friends and family, and I bet you do too.

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  We use 20% of the items in our life 80% of the time.  And we use the other 80% of our items, only 20% of the time.  This applies to all aspects of our lives.  Do we really need 80% of our items, or have we fallen in the trap of measuring our worthiness by the number of possessions that we have?  When I got back to North Carolina, I was overwhelmed by the number of items surrounding me, and how little I missed or needed them.  Some have meaning and usefulness, but most of them are just unnecessary stuff.  As I am preparing for new flooring, it has been a good time for me to look at what I love and use, and see what I can let go of for others to enjoy.  I have found that the less that I have wanting my energy, the more freedom and clarity that I feel.  What are some things that you could let go of that are weighing you down?

The 80/20 rule also applies to our time.  If you think about it, a lot of us are spending 80% of our time doing the same thing, while there is a vast array of other things we could be focusing on and using our energy towards.  For me, social media can be a good distraction from all the other things in my life that could be more meaningful.  However, I am aware that about 80% of the items on my newsfeed are negative and draining my energy.  I could let go of this habit and use that time connecting with others, spending more time in nature, and practicing healthier habits. If we could let go of what weighs us down, and focus on those things that bring us joy and happiness, I believe that we may find more peace.  When our focus is on the negativity that surrounds us, we see more bad stories and separation.  But if we switch our focus to unity and love, we find people and stories that uplift us.

As we continue on this roller coaster ride that 2020 has become, I invite you to let go of the distractions, the unnecessary, and the negative focus.  Instead, take inventory of those habits, activities, and loved ones who empower and elevate you.  Focus your time and energy on what brings you joy.  Turn off the news, step outside, and call a loved one.  Shifting our focus to what matters most can allow us to live a life brighter than the sun.  We get this choice every day.  Why not begin now?