Wednesday, November 19, 2014

SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS...



 
Ah...success.  Not always what you see...but does it smell?  What ever do you suppose success smells like?  I thought I hadn't a clue but after some thinking I decided that I might. 
 
Success can be defined as:
The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.
The gaining of fame or prosperity.
 
Recently we watched a clip of a couple who had been married 80 years...they married in 1932, long before most of you were born.  M and I were babies!  They were told it wouldn't last...but here they are at 101 and 97...that smells like success to me!
 
They were much like the two of us; they didn't have much money but what they had was much more valuable...their apparent lasting love for each other.  I imagine they smell pretty sweet.
 
Success in overcoming all the pitfalls that you encounter...and there are always more than enough...meeting them head on and surviving in one piece.  Possibly a few scars to show for it...but scars can fade.
 
Success in seeing children grow into mature, wonderful people...making a positive difference in their surroundings, physical and spiritual.  Emulating their parents...honoring them.  Smells good, right?
 
Recently our oldest son was flying to California and he texted me:
"The Book says, 'honor your father and mother'...consider yourself honored."  I don't cry much but things like that really move me...I shed a few in love.
 
"Every success is an opportunity to stay humble."  Terry Mark
 
Part of success could be that our four sons respect us and always have.  They are in their late fifties and very early sixties...from the get-go, they have never once given either of us any lip/back talk/guff/disrespect.  That smells like some success to me...oh yes! 
 
I suppose flying around the world...alone...shaking in fear...and making it would mean some success to me, personally.  I never liked doing anything alone and yet, I've done it...because?  Because, my love asked me to come see him in Ethiopia because he was so lonesome and he thought I needed some R&R after two emergency surgeries.  M smelled wonderfully sweet...mmm! 
 
Success was not getting lost or missing my flight in JFK...not being abducted in the hotel in Athens, Greece by two Ethiopian Air Force officers who tried to have dinner with me and take me to the Plaka (Athens night life mecca).
 
Success making it home via Cairo and hundreds of machine-gun toting militia...coupled with sitting on the tarmac while passengers prayed to Mecca.  Some flights had a few chickens, etc. mixed in for a different smell of success!
 
For so many years I was scared someone was going to 'look' at me...
my feet shook so hard my shoes made knocking noises on the floor...yikes...be quiet feet...or was it my legs that made my feet shake.  Could've been my entire body...yes, that was it.  Ha!  No where to hide.
 
I decided I must have some crazy sort of magnet embedded somewhere in my bod.  I would be innocently listening to a lady seminar speaker when she would suddenly say, " I need a volunteer to lead a prayer, please" and she'd fixate on my eyes...my insides were doing the "Oh, please don't look at me...look over there at anyone else but me."  Didn't work, I ended up doing it (with a tremor in my voice, of course...and only God knows what I prayed, I don't). 
 
Success comes with tiny steps...at least in my case!  Little by little...and not at all obvious.  I ended up teaching classes of Chinese university students...how could that have happened? 
 
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal:
It is the courage to continue that counts."
Winston Churchill
 
So, to me...success smells like fresh air, clean and clear after a rain...relief from pressure...the ability to get on with it...a feeling that I am loved and have someone important caring for me...mmm, smells good to me!  I am humbled. 
 
From my heart...to yours,
Vasca

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A LITTLE SOMETHING SPECIAL...


 
"God put us here, on this carnival ride. 
We close our eyes never knowing where it'll take us next." 
Carrie Underwood

I've just celebrated yet another birthday...awesome to have birthdays, they're good.   Our oldest son mentioned I was probably born in a hospital...I wasn't.  I was born in my grandparents farmhouse in Oklahoma...during the Depression.
 
Thinking about that brought back memories...some good, others not so good...but still, part of my life.  My life...I had no idea what my life would be. 
 
Dr. Seuss put it this way:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

After high school, I made my move to the 'Golden State', California...where I discovered, as Larry Gatlin and his brothers sang, 'all the gold in California is in the bank in the middle of Beverly Hills...in somebody else's name'.  My fortune was nowhere to be found so I returned to Texas where God handed me a gold nugget (oh wow) in the form of a Michael...a handsome nugget all my own. 
 
We joined lives, closed our eyes and became 'spirit-led'...we were honestly unaware of what was happening...we just went.  Ever so happy and so in love!
 
M and I didn't plan...obviously we didn't.  Ha, we had our four sons before I could wink at Michael...we had no insurance, no money...but you know what?  We never fretted and smiled all the way...we always made it...went with the flow.  Oh, did we ever go.  Love is something special, right?

Do you know the word, lagniappe?  It's a southern word...hand-in-hand with Louisiana...meaning  a little something special.   
A friend introduced that word to me; I fell in love with it...a little something special.
 
Until M & I merged I hadn't much self-esteem...that's the truth. 
Then 'a little something special' took root and it's in full bloom, believe me!
 
Life has been totally unpredictable, unplanned and we hadn't a clue as to where it would take us...what can I say except that we were in God's hands...100%.
 
"Life is so full of unpredictable beauty and strange surprises.  Sometimes that beauty is too much for me to handle.  
 
Strange surprises, beautiful things?   

God saw to it that we remained unattached to our surroundings; with Him in charge it is always 'something special'.  Oh the places you'll go and the things you will see?  Wow, we went...we saw...and loved everything.  Kings and Queens, Acropolis, Parthenon, Colossus of Rhodes, Red Sea, Great Wall of China...around the world carnival ride...oh what surprises.

Of course there were bumps...more than a few...aren't there always? We had many long separations...made it through those too.  M and I talk a lot...so we bridged those lonesome years with written words...we exchanged letters every day we were apart.  We shared our lives on paper...words that kept us going; words that truly moved us to tears...changed us.
      
Do you know that feeling? 
When something is just too beautiful? 
When someone says something or writes something
or plays something that moves you to the point of tears,
maybe even changes you." 
Mark Oliver Everett ~ 
 
There are many things in my life that truly are simply too beautiful.  When Michael tells me how much I encourage him...how important I am in his life...how much he loves me?  I am moved to tears.  When I think of all the awesome people who have molded my life?  When I think of how God has used us?  Used me?  When I think of what He has done in my life?
Tears...tears of joy, of thankfulness...special tears.
 
Just now I have my eyes closed, and I know what I know...but Dr. Seuss?
Someone else is steering...and I've 'a little something special'...got it?

From my heart...to yours,
Vasca

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

COURAGEOUS JUMP


 
"Have the courage to say 'no'.
Have the courage to face the truth.
Do the right thing because it is right.
These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity."
W. Clement Stone 
 
In case you've forgotten, it's election day...of course you haven't...how could one forget when it is and has been a 24/7 topic.  I once thought it only began a short time prior to the actual event but these past few years it has been non-stop, year round.  A career of 'campaigning'. Oh brother!  Quite tiresome, at least to me it is.  
 
Perhaps it would go down a bit smoother if there was more integrity involved...where did that go?  Once upon a time (must've been in Disneyland) there seemed to be some semblance of honesty, good sportsmanship...you know, the things that a good person should have in their DNA.  
 
Wouldn't it be wonderful if each of us could honestly be full of integrity?  Wow.  Of course, it begins with me...now that is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.  
 
Where does one begin...perhaps with a guilty conscience?  Ah...I'm guilty!
 
I recently saw this quote from a famous person...a hero of sorts...and it spurred my thinking: "It's been six years since I had a drink and I have two girls
and my priorities are a lot different now and I just can't believe
that I was that guy.  And I would not go back. 
I would not trade the way I am now for anything.  Brett Favre
 
It must have taken a lot of courage to admit it to oneself...then put it out for your loved ones and for publication.  I imagine it carries some clout and who knows how many others could be influenced to change their habits.  Being a celebrity carries a load of responsibility...no way would I want it. 

But hey, stop and think about it for a minute.  Shouldn't it be the same for each of us...for you and for me?  I never know who is looking to me for guidance, example...I'm teaching whether I realize it or not.  Besides, there is someone who knows my every thought...now that's a wake-up call.  So then, I carry a load of responsibility...where's my integrity?  Maybe you are already full of integrity...I'm not.
 
There are those of us who, for one reason or another, became addicted to drugs and hit the bottom before changing their life pattern.  It happened to me and thank God for His help and the love of my family...they lifted me, showed me how to regain my life...and my integrity.  If you've not been there?  Well, trust me...it takes courage to beat it. 
 
There are so many types of addictions that find their way into lives.  Facing up to what's necessary to beat them can and does take all kinds of courage! 
 
Ann Romney has this to say about her struggle with MS...
"There are certain things that don't mix well with MS.
One is staying up late at night. 
Another is big, noisy crowds.
Well, campaigns are staying up
late at night and big noisy crowds."
She has become more aware of what it takes to manage her MS...she's in the public eye...a celebrity...she doesn't seem to feel sorry for herself.  People could say, "Well, she's very wealthy...she has everything"...beside the point.  She seems to have a lot of integrity...and that's important.  Perhaps she can influence others.
 
You know that I've been thinking about my thinking and it's amazing what a difference it can make...could be I've become more aware...no matter, it's an improvement...a wake-up call of sorts.
 

Working on integrity has somehow put some awesome people and opportunities in my path...
call it 'testimonial'...'witnessing'...
whatever you like but lately, each week,
I've had experiences that have so enriched my life. 
I pray others have been touched as well.



I'm almost to the point I can say 'no' when I should...
I am able to face the truth...
I can do what's right because it's right...
Guess what?  I've discovered the magic keys...not to Disneyland...but to integrity. 
And I am so excited...I honestly am!  Maybe I'm contagious!

From my heart...to yours,
Vasca