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?

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?

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? 

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?

Death by a thousand cuts

Death by a thousand cuts

Written by Tracey Lemming

It’s slow.  We don’t even know that it is happening.  That feeling of going through each day without any passion.  The mundane routine, the efficiency, meal prepping, working a 9 to 5, watching a few shows on Netflix, and then it’s time to go to bed to wake up and do it all again.  Where is the creativity and excitement we once had?  How do we find the time and energy to live our best life when there’s so much around us draining us?

For many of us, the words of others have become our self-talk. I had a friend in Junior High once call me timid, and for more years than I’d like to admit, I believed her words.  It wasn’t until I stepped out of my comfort zone that I had a coworker call me bold.  Timid to Bold.  Wow, that’s a 180.  I hadn’t ever thought of myself as bold.  Bold is someone who takes risks, speaks her truth, and doesn’t follow the crowd.  The thought of being bold was something that I hadn’t ever contemplated as a reality for myself, but when I did, I realized that I liked that label better than the one of being timid.  The cool thing is, we don’t have to wait for someone else’s approval or confirmation to decide who we want to be.  We have the power to create in each moment the life that we want to lead, and the person that we want to be.  What’s a word that you’d like to be described as?  Write it down, repeat it, and know that you are.

We also don’t have to wait for circumstances to change to be happy or the version of yourself that you want to be.  It’s easy to be grateful when things are going your way, but it takes practice to show up each day willing to focus on the good when it feels as if everything is falling apart.  When my Dad passed away, my friend who had lost her Dad a few years prior sent me a message acknowledging that this time wouldn’t be easy, but asked me to take notice of those around me who shared in my grief and were there to support me and my family.  She was right on both accounts, and when I took a moment to be present, I noticed sweet memories, warm hugs, and acts of kindness being shared.  Being present at this time wasn’t easy, but these words from my friend were a reminder to stay in the moment, and trust that the right people and events would show up at my time at the perfect time.  They always do.

As we all navigate the waters of this new world, take a moment to see yourself as your best version.  What’s something you’d love to try?  Do you envision yourself doing what you are currently doing each day,  or do you see a world of new possibilities?  This landscape is ever changing, and you get to be the architect of your life.  You get to choose the affirmations that you speak to yourselves and others.  You get to decide if you want to die a death by a thousand cuts, or if you want to soar in infinite possibilities.  Which one will you choose?