Mayhem Monday: Why the Source of your Problems isn’t Who You Think!

I want to speak on something that may not win me any popularity contests, but it’s truth: quite simply, too many of us are focused on the wrong thing. We think our problems are the result of who when in actuality they have more to do with how! We think that it’s people who cause us grief when in reality it’s how we respond to them that determines that grief.

In addition, we’re unwilling to own our stuff and as long as we don’t own it, we will continue to be plagued by it.

What do I mean?  I’m talking about our focus:

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  • Rather than focus on your child’s misbehavior or academic deficiencies, you focus on everything that’s wrong with the school, the teachers or the administration…
  • Rather than focus on your insecurities or low self-esteem, you focus on how everybody’s doing you wrong, treating you badly and not giving you your due…
  • Rather than focus on your academic short-comings, you focus on your professors’ unwillingness to grade on the curve…
  • Rather than focus on your poor work ethic, you focus on your boss’ unwillingness to promote you…
  • Rather than focus on your bad habits, you focus on your friends’ unwillingness to be around you!

At what point do you turn the lens onto yourself? At what point does it become less about them and more about YOU?  When does it become your responsibility to improve the situation?

When is it time to own your stuff?

Maybe it’s  all the CNN and Fox News headlines that are starting to get to me. Maybe it’s the social media I’ve been seeing lately, but this blame game is ridiculous! Who’s at fault? Who cares? Pointing fingers is getting us NOWHERE!

Who do you blame for the problems that you’re dealing with? Is it all on the other guys? Are you sure about that?  Rarely are issues one-sided, but it’s so easy to project our shortcomings onto others.  How easy is it, though, to face criticism that is directed at us when it’s true?

Maybe, just maybe,  it’s time to look in the mirror. Nobody’s perfect, so why not figure out how to work through the imperfections rather than being so quick to attack? Why not try extending grace to others so that they may be willing to extend grace to us when (not if) we need it?  To solve our conflicts or fix our problems, why not try something different?

Why not change our focus?

Focus What will that look like for you, this focus on solutions? That’s a question you’ll have to answer, but I can tell you what it won’t look like. It won’t look like blaming or  pointing fingers. It won’t be about other people at all. It will begin with you.

What do you need to improve in yourself? In your children? In your habits? In your work ethic? Before you look outward, look inward.

Happy Monday!

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Don’t forget our Cityscape Challenge! Share pics of your favorite spots in the city or town where you live. Also, why not kickstart your day with my Green Tea Smoothie and a Tabata?

 

Revamp Monday: God is in the Gym!

Every year Writer’s Digest comes out with their “101 Best Websites for Writers” and I LOVE flipping through the pages of those issues then surfing the web for the latest sites and resources. There’s just so much fantastic stuff out there for writers! There’s the traditional stuff like critique or discussion forums and “everything agents,” job listings and writers’ conferences.  But then there’s the non-traditional, inspirational, stuff, like the creativity portal which offers a slew of brain teasers and visual prompts to spark the imagination, or coffitivity.com, a site that provides the background noise you would hear in a coffee shop–you know, in case you can’t get to an actual coffee shop to do your work!

My point is that Writer’s Digest has the same idea that I do.  We recognize that writers need all kinds of resources. Yes, we need to talk about writing, but we also need inspiration that will motivate us to write! That’s what Mayhem Mondays are all about! I’m trying to get us motivated to do the work that we were meant to do!  That’s also why I’m glad to have Tanzy back again to inspire us to keep pushing–whether it’s pencils or power squats!

GOD IS IN THE GYM

 In my experience, I’ve found that physical activity has the ability to mimic many of my personal spiritual experiences. My intangible journey of faith suddenly takes on shape, form and weight, when I’m in the gym.

The heaviness of the bars I press, remind me of the heaviness I feel at times when raising my arms to praise God. Struggling against the burden of complacency to honor Him through worship.

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Running miles, up and down hills on the treadmill as my heart aches in my chest. Step after step in agonizing fatigue, mirroring the deliverance I’ve been desperately pursuing. Pleading for the finish line to come into view.

The rope I grasp to pull my body vertically against gravity, is not unfamiliar to the ditch of depression I’ve tried to pull myself out of, time and time again. Muscles of hope burning as I grip tighter and pray harder that I can make it out this time.

The delicate yoga poses I hold are identical to the moments that I am expected to be still, and know that HE IS GOD.  Breathing deep and slow, as I patiently wait for God to instruct me to change position.  But until then I am forced to make still my anxious thoughts and trust in my creator.

For me, physical movement is capable of materializing my walk with Christ. God is indeed present with me in the gym.

Speaking to me on the bike trail.

Whispering to me with each lap in the pool.

Lifting with me rep after rep.

He helps me as I battle against the voice that says, “You can’t do this”. The spirit reminds me, “I can do all things”. In my world, he resides not only in the church, but also in the gym and Exercise is my reasonable act of worship. It’s my way of giving God praise for the gift of my body. It’s His way of  teaching me that I can overcome any challenge he calls me to face.

Physical fitness is the language God uses to save my soul.  A strong body is simply a side effect.

Tanzy Chandler

Founder of REVAMP FITNESS

Thanks, Tanzy!

Tanzy Chandler joins us on the first Monday of every month. Check out her article “Demote the Scale” and her YouTube channel! Also, for more Mayhem Monday Madness, check back every Monday and throughout the week for writing and word play.  Also, check out my  recipes  (I have a new kale salad that’s yum!) and energizers, ’cause you can’t write–or exercise–on an empty stomach!

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Monday Mayhem: 6 Ways to be Unstoppable!

They say youth is wasted on the young.

I would agree.

When we’re young we think we know it all, that life is simple and our success is guaranteed…

As I look into the wandering eyes of graduating seniors whose only thought is what design they’ll put on their graduation cap, I chuckle to myself. If only that were the most difficult decision they’ll be faced with in the coming months and years!

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I just pray their high hopes and lofty aspirations are not dashed against the rocks of grad school rejection letters and not-so-tweet-worthy entry-level jobs.

I’ve been there.

My lofty dreams were to author books, but life led me on a long detour of learning experiences. When I first stepped onto a college campus I was prepared to make my mark, but I had no idea what the future had in store…

So, here I am, all these years later with novels yet unwritten, but I have a clearer focus. While I’ve managed a few accomplishments along the way, I could be closer to some of my personal goals if I had just realized a few things a little earlier in life.  I wasted a lot of time worrying about what others thought and living my life according to unrealistic standards.  Now that my perspective is different,  I’d like to offer the young people who are gazing out the windows at their imminent futures 6 things I would tell my younger self if I could because

if I knew then, what I know now, I would have been unstoppable!

  1. Don’t let anyone discourage you from doing what you love—even if you have to do it as a side gig, keep doing it!
  2. Get used to hard work–it doesn’t end after final exams!
  3. Hone your networking skills—success is ALL about who you know
  4. Look for opportunities—paid or unpaid–in your field, or related to your field
  5. Don’t snub the small stuff–all experience is valuable. You have to start somewhere! The more you do, the more you’ll figure out what you want to do and what you’re good at. The more you experience the more you learn, which is what makes experience so valuable!
  6. Never stop learning.  Don’t ever think that you will reach a point when you know “enough”. There’s always more to learn. Once you stop learning, you stop living.

And, I’m all about living life to the fullest. So, go be unstoppable!

Happy Monday!

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Monday Mayhem: It’s Gonna Be Okay!

Do you ever look around and feel like nobody is dealing with the problems you are? Nobody understands what you’re going through? The pain you’re feeling is unique to you and nobody in the world will ever understand it? Guess what?

You’re wrong!

EVERYBODY has been there!

I’ve been there!

In that deep pit of despair that feels like the abyss? When you’re in that cold, dark place remember two things:

  • you’re never really alone because God is with you—call out to Him!
  • you’re also never alone because somebody has faced this problem before and survived.  You will too!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” (Eccl. 3:1, 4)

My new favorite pick-me-up is a warm drink, but now that the weather is warming up you may want to make it the night before and pour it over ice in the morning. It’s just put two bags of Twinings Buttermint tea and one bag of Tazo Green tea in your mug.  Pour in 8 oz of boiling water, let it steep then sweeten with a teaspoon of honey and you’re good to go–yum!

While you’re waiting for your tea, click play on the video below, ‘cuz it really is gonna be okay!

Happy Monday.

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Monday Mayhem: Introducing Revamp Mondays!

I am so excited to introduce to you a young lady whom I met several years ago through a mutual friend. She is a physical therapist and fitness enthusiast, but besides that she is just a genuinely nice person–kind and easy-going–easy to love and  loved by many! Her name is Tanzy Chandler and she has launched Revamp Fitness, which is all about promoting health and fitness in Tanzy’s own unique way. What I love most is how Tanzy perfectly blends her strength with femininity and demonstrates how to challenge self-perceived limits to push past impossible!

I think you will enjoy hearing her unique perspective, so I’ve decided that the first Monday of each month “Monday Mayhem” will be “Revamp Monday” and Tanzy will inspire us with fitness advice, tips and videos to get us charged up for our work week. Today we’re starting with “Demote the Scale!”

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I’ve come to realize an error that we’ve made in our community.  We’ve got things backwards–we’ve elevated the trivial things and minimized important things. Case in point: The Scale. This flat, plastic device scrolls through a series of numbers and the 3 digits it rests on seem to be able to speak life or death into our hearts. A smaller number boosts our ego and a larger number fills us with shame.

What if we put the scale in its rightful place?  On the ground instead of on a pedestal.

We’ve mistakenly given it the power to measure our worth. In our lives, the scale has the power to dictate our happiness, our mood, and even the way we are perceived. We lift it up high as if it were a god and we allow it’s numbers to rule us. What if we took the scale off its man-made throne and demoted it to its rightful position? The ground.

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It is meant to lay under our feet because it is the least of all the measuring tools that exists. It cannot measure our character, nor our integrity. It has no sense of our faith, or our thoughts. It cares nothing about how much we nurture, or cultivate friendships. It knows nothing of our past and cares nothing of our future. It has no insight into our dreams and passions, desires or delights. It cannot evaluate our purpose, or our pursuits.

There’s no need for me to wear the scale as a crown on my head or as a noose around my neck. It doesn’t belong in either place.  When we understand the truth about the scale, when the scale is put in its rightful place, we can smile at it no matter how the numbers line up. We are no longer afraid of its commentary because it’s voice is powerless.

I think it’s time that we demote the scale.

Tanzy Chandler

Founder of Revamp Fitness

Inspired? Check out my Monday Mayhem series for more inspiration to kick off your work week! And don’t forget to check out my recipes which will give you energy to get through the day.

Happy Monday!

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Monday Mayhem: PURPOSE

Purpose comes from knowing who you are.

Knowing who you are requires acknowledgment of what GOD has put inside of you and the great thing about what GOD has put inside of you is that NO ONE can take it away from you!

  • not your boss
  • not your spouse
  • not your roommate or your
  • so-called friends

No matter what they say about you, to you or on your behalf. The truth shall prevail, because GOD’s word is bond.

I’ve spent a lot of years searching for love in all the wrong places…

Wondering and wandering who I was and whose I was…

unsure of my purpose and place, all over the place…

but I’m finally starting to get it…

It’s been in me all along–now nobody can take it away!

One distinction that I’m especially going to make moving forward:

I’m not a teacher.

I didn’t go to school to be a teacher.  I studied Communications and English. So how did I get stuck with that label?

I let someone else define my purpose–no more!

I’m not a teacher.

I’m a writer.

I’m a professor of English who works with student writers.

I’m a writer who writes and works with writers–student writers and professional writers–and part of my work is to educate novices and professionals about the work that I do, because most people have a very limited understanding about the work that I do!

But I will NOT be confined any longer by the narrowness of others’ views.

I will NOT be defined any longer by the narrowness of others’ minds–tiny minds that think in tiny thoughts and tiny words…

I will NOT be restrained by institutions that are so buried in the bones of the past that they are unable to rise above the ashes of ancestry to see the light of a new day…

I will NOT be a cog in a wheel of an old wagon that’s draggin’ on but goin’ nowhere…

I will NOT be enslaved because I. am. free.

I am controlled by no one but GOD.

I am a free agent

with

purpose.

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Check out more from my new friends, the Piano Guys

 

Monday Mayhem: Intentional

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Note: This is a “Monday Mayhem Post” that’s a little late, so, just go with it…lol!

When I look at my students dozing off in class I wonder…

Why are they here? Why did they bother to roll out of bed, slide into their sweats and flop into those horrible green desks today? Why are they staring at me with those blank stares or into the blank screens of their laptops or cell phones? Why do any of us bother?

Professors dress up. We slip on our uncomfortable heels and button up our bow ties. We revise our syllabi and re-write our semeter schedules to make room for one more assignment, because, well, just because…

Is it intentional?

I’ve been challenging myself and my students lately to think about this. What are we doing–and why? Two of the four classes I teach each semester are sections of the “dreaded” Freshman Composition. The class everyone loves to hate. One of the reasons it’s so hated is that it’s considered to be a “pointless” class–an extention of 12th grade English–touché.

So, this semester, I’m being intentional.

I’m going to assume that their writing skills will progress naturally through the writing process, as writing skills tend to do, and I will instruct my students on the grammatical and usage standards, as any good English teacher should.  But, rather than have them write the traditional final essay–that they’ll read once (maybe) and never again–which I’ll, then, read once (or twice) then stick in a file–I’m going to have them, instead, create something of value, something meaningful, something that goes beyond this freshman class! I’m challenging these students to create a document that has legs!

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I want them to write with intention, to a real audience. Well, I’m real, but not just to me–to people other than me.

They’re going to identify a problem that they care about–a problem that they want to find a solution to–then they’re going to search out a solution to that problem and write to people who might be able to do something about…

  • the friend whose dad got deported
  • this religious organization that’s still segregated in 2017
  • the family with a history of violence and abuse

It’s about being intentional.

Because, what’s the point of learning how to write better if your essay just gets shoved in a drawer?

So, they’ll submit their articles to magazines or newspapers, or they’ll send off their letters to senators or presidents. They’ll draft feasibility reports or white papers for corporations. Whatever document they think will best serve a real purpose, that they think will make a real difference, that’s what they’ll create!

Who knows? Maybe the documents will still end up in a drawer, but if these students pour their hearts into these projects, their documents will no longer be “essays for Dr. Roper” but rather personal projects that achieve a purpose that they actually care about. These should go far beyond this class.  That would make me very happy.

I don’t expect perfect projects, but I’m excited because the act of doing this is enough to shake all of us out of the doldrums. Doing something that matters is worth it’s weight in gold.

So, what about you? Have you gotten stuck in a routine? Been doing the same old thing in the same old way? Why not re-evaluate?

Why are you here? Why did you bother to roll out of bed, slide into your slippers and flop into your day?  Are you staring out at your life, blankly wondering when, or how, it’s going to end? That’s no way to live! Challenge yourself! Try something new! Look for ways to make the mundane more meaningful. Why not start by looking for a problem you can solve? Even a small one.  Small accomplishments can go a long way towards moving you in the direction of your goal.

For us writers, that may mean a few words, a few pages or 10 minutes!  Just be intentional. You won’t regret it.

Happy Monday.

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