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Live A Life of No Regrets

Blog written on March 1, 2019 by Diane Patterson

Hi everyone.  Thank you for stopping by my blog.  I have a confession to make.  This is my first blog EVER.  So bear with me.  This is one of those things I didn’t think I would ever do. That is really what this blog is about.

 Now that you are 50-something, what are you going to try you have never tried before?

  Is there something hidden in the back of your brain, just bouncing around, wondering when you are going to let it come out to play.

It is scary..I get it.  I am where you are. I am a 54-year-old woman trying things for the first time, making mistakes, and wondering what in the world I’m getting myself into.  You know what keeps me going?

I want to live a life of NO REGRETS.

Let’s make this journey together. Me and you.  I need your encouragement and I will offer you encouragement along your path.  On this blog, I will post encouraging words, ideas for re-creating yourself or just enhancing the “you” you already are. I will include places to go that will bring peace and the ‘Power of Awe’ into your life.  Whether you are married, single or somewhere in-between, have kids at home or you are an empty-nester, wherever you are in life there is always something.  Something you want to say, do or be.

SAY IT!     DO IT!   BE IT!

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Tomorrow Could Be Your Someday

The saying goes, “Watch out what you ask for.” That is what is going through my head right now. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.

In March when the whole country shut down, all of a sudden I was without a job. No where to go in the morning. No more going to bed early because I had work the next day. At first, I thought, “This is great!”. I started working on forgotten projects. I could go shopping in the middle of the day. I stayed up late at night when I wanted to. After a while though, I began to wonder if I had a purpose. What I spent months going to school for was basically shut down now. I questioned many aspects of my life. I questioned God. I would pray for direction but it seemed as though life remained stagnant.

What do you do when your path you imagined yourself going down disappears before your eyes? I read something on Facebook one day that described exactly how I felt at the time. I printed it out and taped it to my refrigerator and read it every day:

You’ll wait. You’ll pray. You’ll question everything. But you will continue to be patient. You’ll keep waiting. And you will keep praying. And one day , when you least expect it , it will finally happen. So don’t ever stop believing. Don’t ever stop trusting. And don’t ever stop hoping. God is so ready to give you everything you’ve ever dreamed of–but you have to understand it’s on His timing, not yours.” ( not sure of the author)

Somewhere in those words I found hope. I feel that there may be someone reading this that needs to hear those words right now. You are at a point in your life where you have lost your purpose. You are waiting and praying. Yet nothing is happening. Just remember God has a purpose for you where you are right now. Maybe it has nothing to do with you. Maybe He is leading other people and setting up situations before He can lead you where He wants you to go. Someday your future will be there right in front of you.

That is what happen to me. Situations needed to be just right for my new path to open up. This path is not the path I imagined myself going down but it has brought me purpose and fulfillment. It is challenging at times but I believe God knew it was just what I needed.

So don’t give up hope….tomorrow could be your someday

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Don’t Abandon Ship

This last week, my husband, Doug, and I went to one of our favorite yearly get-a-ways. The place is called Roaring Gold Camp in Pine Grove, California. Most of the four days were spent floating on the river. One day as we were lounging in our cozy, yellow inflatable, we watched a group of 10 year-old boys playing on a big rubber raft. One boy sat on the front of the raft steering the boat with a long paddle. He wore a blue cowboy style hat on his head which he called his pirate hat. The other four boys were crowded into this green-army raft participating in the pirate themed game. One of the boys in the boat yells,” Abandon Ship!” and the boys one-by-one jumped out of the boat into the chilly water. The boy who was steering the boat says, ” I can’t abandon ship , I have my hat on!”. That phase from a ten year-old starting me thinking about how life is for many of us, especially during this time.

You are paddling your boat down the river of life. The water is choppy at times. The boat gets crowded with people’s needs, job demands, financial worries, health concerns, and your boat gets harder and harder to steer. In the back of your mind you think, “Abandon Ship!”, but then you remember that you have your hat on. This hat may represent responsibility, loyalty, integrity, image, self-esteem or whatever else that keeps you from jumping in the water. You realize that if you abandon ship, your boat will be at the mercy of the river. If you were to jump out, you might ruin your hat and it will be a lot harder to get back in control of the boat once your out of the boat.

So hang in there captain! Although there are choppy waters ahead, it is better to be in the boat safe and dry then to be out of the boat treading water and going no where.

Before you abandon ship, remember your hat.

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When Life Leads You Full Circle

This blog is a follow-up testimonial to a blog I wrote back on June 7, 2020 titled ” Look For the Window”. At the time of the blog in June, the world was fully immersed in the pandemic. I was not working at my prior job as a substitute instructional aide for the school district and I , like many others, was wondering what direction to take concerning a job. I was searching for options and looking for new opportunities. Through the blog, I encouraged others to not be discouraged because of a closed door and to “look for the open window” that God will provide. I wrote that blog for myself as well, because I was struggling with knowing my direction in life. Although, I have a tendency to be inpatient and want answers right away, I have learned over the years that God is faithful and provides the answers in His timing.

So in my waiting period, I kept a positive attitude and faith that there would be a window opening soon. A couple weeks ago that open window appeared. I was asked by a former employer to teach kindergarten for a private school. To be honest, at first I considered turning down the offer. I had lots of excuses of why it wouldn’t work for me, but I realized that those excuses were all based in fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and fear of change. God was opening a window and I was allowing fear to block my way. So I stepped through the window and committed to a year of teaching. As I did this, a certain excitement came over me. The fear was gone and it was replaced by a renewing of purpose. I have an opportunity to create a learning environment for children where they can feel secure, loved, and can thrive emotionally and intellectually.

So if you are in a waiting period right now, do not give up hope. In the waiting period, you will strengthen your faith and the time to consider new opportunities. Look outside the box. It is natural to feel afraid at first, but do not allow fear to be a stumbling block. Push it aside and take that first step. After you take a step of faith, if you find the fear being replaced with peace and passion, run with it. If after taking the first step, you feel apprehensive, consider where these feeling are coming from. Is it fear? Is this the right place for you? Does the work required fit with your talents, values, and passions? Either stay and test it out or look for new opportunities. Most of all, don’t get discouraged. Have faith that there is purpose for you in this world. Be willing to learn the lessons through life’s journey because you never know where the last lesson will lead you.

Life leads us in many directions: sometimes it leads us full -circle

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Avoid the Pit

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” Mahatma Gandhi

Lately in this crazy-Covid world, I find myself thinking negatively about life sometimes. I realize that when I allow those negative thoughts to dwell in my mind, I start talking negatively about everything around me. Soon my behavior changes too. I am less tolerant of people. I am bothered by the littlest things. I feel confliction in my soul because this behavior goes against my nature. This is when I have to catch myself and STOP the negativity before it becomes a habit. If I don’t stop the habit, it will change who God made me to be.

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who constantly criticizes and speak negatively about any subject that comes up? These people not only put a negative spin on the conversation, they can put a negative spin on your mind. If you are intuitive to your mind and thoughts, you can feel the wave of heaviness taking over your mind and body. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into someone else’s pit. This person has allowed their thoughts , words and actions to effect who they are. Negativity is a slippery slope. Once a person starts down the slope it gets harder and harder for he or she to pull themselves out.

So how do you avoid the pit? First of all, stop the slide. When you feel like you are getting pulled in, change your thought process. Begin thinking of positive things to say. Change the mood of the conversation from one of doom and gloom to one from a happier perspective. Try to help the person out of the pit by changing the subject. Sometimes people don’t realize that they have allowed so much negativity in the conversation until someone illuminates it with positivity. If the person wants to continue in a negative tone, politely excuse yourself. It is your responsibility to guard your mind from destructive thoughts that want to create chaos in your life. Surround yourself with people of integrity and honor. Participate in conversations that inspire you. Be with people who lift up others instead of talking negatively about them behind their back. Just know, that if a person is talking negatively about someone to you, he or she is probably talking negatively to other people about you. These people become known as gossipers and “downers”. Sadly, their behavior has become their destiny.

Think thoughts that make you smile and conversations that bring joy.

Avoid the pit.

” Finally brethren, whatsoever is true, whatsoever is noble, whatsoever is right, whatsoever is pure, whatsoever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent and praiseworthy think on these things. Philippians 4:8

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Legacy of Love

Have you ever met a person who radiates love and kindness? When you are in this person’s presence he or she makes you feel loved. Are you that type of person? Do people feel comfortable and cared for in your presence? Or do people feel that they have to tip-toe around your feelings? Do people feel as though they have to say and do the right thing to avoid your wrath or judgement?

People gravitate toward people who make them feel good about themselves. People want to be like people that build them up emotionally and mentally. How about your children? Did you raise or are you raising kind and empathetic children? Are your children looked up to because of their integrity and generous hearts? Do your actions encourage positive traits or is your influence negative, judgmental, prejudice or selfish? Whether you like it or not , you are a role model to your children and those around you. Choose today to be a model of love, understanding, kindness, and tolerance.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Do you want to leave a legacy of hate or a legacy of love? Will you be remembered for kindness or for your pettiness? Your legacy begins now, don’t waste this time to be a positive influence in the lives around you.

This blog is dedicated to my Aunt Charmaine, although she is no longer with us physically, her legacy of love lives on in all who were touched and influenced by her beautiful life.

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Let Them Go

Throughout our lives we will have many relationships with people. Some of these relationships are like candles in the wind. They are strong at first, keeping us warm in friendship , and helping to light our way, but after awhile the relationship burns out. I can think of many people in my life who, at the time, were a constant source of encouragement, joy and friendship, but for a variety of reasons, we went our own way and lost contact. Our lives intertwined for only a fraction but those relationships had an influence in who I am today.

What do you do, or feel when someone wants to leave a relationship with you? Natural feelings of betrayal, hurt, confusion, and maybe even guilt come flooding through your mind. Questions of why? Questions of what did I do and how can I resolve this situation? Honestly examine the relationship. Were you an honest, fair, and loving partner in this relationship? If so, let that person go. There is nothing more you can do. There is no use in beating yourself up with guilt. Sometimes people feel drawn toward another path in life and we must allow them to explore other options. The saying, ” If you love someone let them go, if they come back, they are yours; if they don’t, they never were, ” makes a good point but letting go can hurt. What do you do with the hurt of letting go? You remember the good times, you mourn the unshared moments, cry a little or a lot, and then you keep going down your own path. Be true to who you are and to your own goals in life.

I believe that people are in our lives sometimes for only a season. Throughout that season, we learn from them, gain strength from them, experience joy with them, cry with them, and , yes, sometimes even fall in love. Some seasons are longer than others but if it comes to an end , look back with no regrets. Realize that just like you, that person has a their own path to travel. Be thankful for your journey together and let them go.

But the Lord says,” Do not cling to events of the past or what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already-you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there. Isaiah 43:18-19

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Father , Father

Last month when it was nearing Mother’s Day, I had no problem finding the words about a mother’s love and connecting to the importance of having a mother. Now it is nearing Father’s Day and my thoughts about the role of a father are void of feelings and connection. My mom and dad divorced when I was four years old. I really don’t remember much about my dad. He made little effort to be in my sister and I’s life. My mother was and still is a great parent. She gave us a lot of love and attention, so much so that I never missed having a father.

Throughout my life, I have met people who had great relationships with their fathers and if you are one of them, be thankful for this amazing blessing. It is hard for me to relate with the feelings and experiences these people have when they share genuine love and affection for their dad. Yet, I do feel a vague longing that is hard to explain and wish things could of been different. But it is what it is and I can’t change that. When I was young, I use to think that because we moved to another state, after the divorce, that it was not his fault that he never came to see us. As an adult, I realize that he made that choice. If he really wanted to have a relationship with his daughters , he would have. So for many years, I buried the emotions of abandonment because I didn’t want to feel the hurt. I wanted to appear strong and show people and myself that I didn’t miss anything by not having a father in my life. You can’t miss what you never had, right?

I recently read a friend’s Facebook post about his father who had passed away. His words were so heartfelt and genuine that it made tears come to my eyes. I thought , ” Where are these emotions coming from?” I realized then that I would never have a chance to have those feelings for my earthly father and it made me sad. The hurt little girl inside still longed for it, although the adult in me knew it would never be possible. You see, my dad died many years ago. We didn’t even know about it until months later. He died a lonely, old man.

I know that there are many people out there that share these feelings. Maybe your father was in your house but he was abusive or distant. Maybe you never knew who your father was. You may feel resentment or bitterness toward your father. Maybe you blame yourself. Don’t dwell on these feelings. It only creates negativity in your heart and conflict in your soul. Let these feelings go. Soon your heart will heal. You will trust again. You will love again. You have a choice to not allow his choice to steal your joy and diminish the person you were created to be. Your father’s choices had to do with his own internal issues. It had nothing to do with who you are. You have a Father in Heaven that makes a choice everyday to love you. He can fill that void in your life, if you let Him. Although, I may feel sad at times when I think of not having a relationship with my earthly father, I never feel bitter or resentful because I grew up knowing my Heavenly Father. I realized many years ago that my father was human, who made mistakes but God never makes mistakes or disappoints. He fills the void in my life I never knew I had.

That is why on Father’s Day, I take the time to pray for the fathers who are struggling with their own inner thoughts and issues. I pray that they stand up strong and be the father God created them to be. I pray for all the little girls and boys out there that are living with abuse or abandonment. I pray they find their worth not through their earthly father’s eyes but through the Father who loves them more than any earthly father could.

Dear child…hold your head high and know that you are a son or daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally right now, exactly who you are.

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Look for the Open Window

As our nation is opening back up, we find ourselves searching for something familiar, something that looks and feels like our lives before the pandemic. We find that things have changed. We are changed. The experiences, the feelings of insecurities, and the lack of control over our world has changed us. We are waking up to the reality that life is fragile. What we thought was so solid in our lives such as our jobs, health , and personal freedoms can be taken away or modified quickly and quietly like a thief in the night.

So what do we do now? We look to the experiences of the last few months and examine the person we have become. Life experiences are great teachers. We learn best when we are tested. First of all, realize that normal may not be normal anymore. Think about what life has taught you about yourself, about God and the world around you. Anytime there is a change in your life: a divorce, a career change , or a loss of any kind, there is a time of mourning that must take place. You mourn lost relationships , you mourn the person you were, and dreams you had. Give yourself permission to be disappointed or sad.

Honor that lost dream, relationship or life by being the best you can be. Pray for guidance, open your mind to new opportunities, and remain hopeful that life can be good even if it’s not like it was before. I like the saying,” When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” Stand up strong, open your eyes and look around because there may be a window opening in a place you never considered before.

Look for the open window, it may be a beginning to a wonderful new normal

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Being Kind May Be the Most Important Thing You Do Today

You may have heard this story before but read it today with an open heart and open mind toward being the person who makes a difference in someone’s life…and your own.

A NYC taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.
 We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one
.

Unknown Author



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Love the Season You Are In

Do you sometimes wonder what life will be like for you in one year from today, or five years, or ten years? If you are in your 50’s , you may have heard people, who are older than you say, “It’s all down hill from your 50’s.” I don’t know about you, but that is something that concerns me. The reality of life and what could be ahead creates a certain urgency in my heart. My greatest fear is to live a life of unfulfilled dreams. I beat myself up for not doing something everyday toward being all I can be.

I realize that this mindset is not healthy. The most important thing in life is to know God and care for others. I believe I am successful in this most important task. I strive to know God better everyday and I show love and empathy to others. I am realizing that this is where my fulfillment should come from, not from a job or education or how much money I can make. My fulfillment should come from becoming the person God created me to be inside. Yet it is difficult when my life is at a stand-still and I feel as though I am not moving forward. I know there are some of you that are feeling this same way , especially right now as we are all faced with uncertainty and change.

I am reminded about what Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says:

” For everything there is a season , a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to give away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Each season of life has a purpose. I am learning to be content in the season I am in right now and make the best of it. If you are in a slower season of life, take time to reflect and time to rest. Take time to listen to God, others, and your own spirit. Be thankful for this time of refreshing, because just as the winter turns to spring, your life will blossom and produce beautiful fruit in your next season. If it wasn’t for the time of renewing your spirit, you might not have the energy needed to do what the “spring” season requires.

If you are in the busy season right now, be as productive as you can be. Make the best of every opportunity to make a difference, to move forward, take chances, and do your best in all you do. Stay strong, don’t give up, and know this season will end and there is a season of rest ahead.

So love the season you are in knowing that there is new exciting season coming