A Seat at my table…

During this physical distancing time, I have re-organized my closets, my dresser, the kitchen cabinets, my office desk, and the bookshelves. I have sorted in stacks of what I will keep, donate, and throw away.

So it occurred to me, what in my relationships do I need to re-organize? How am I relating to the people around me? How am I serving them? How are they serving me?

It is not an easy conversation to have with oneself because you don’t want to feel alone, nor are people disposable, or at least they shouldn’t be treated that way. My circle is small and intimate, which keeps things healthy. Yet, I know that several relationships are not serving me well.

Where do they belong? Where do I place them? How do I sort them out?

I have not figured that out as of yet; it’s a work in progress. I am setting a new table during my physical distancing, and I am inviting those that will help me grow, those who will sharpen me, those who will challenge me, those who will call me out when they see me losing my way. I am inviting those that will lift me, cheer me on, sit quietly when it’s necessary, and party when required.

A seat at my table will come with some rules…you must be exceptional!

Exceptional potential to be the best you can be without tearing anyone else down. Exceptional ways of loving. Exceptional ways of caring for one another. Exceptional ways of respecting each other’s opinions. Exceptional ways of living with an open mind.

My table is going to look a little different when we meet again, but that’s because I seek to be exceptional in loving, caring, giving, sharing, and living with open hands.

Lesson:
In this season of re-set, where can you learn to be exceptional? Who will have a seat at your table?

‘Til Tuesday

How did we get here so fast?

Honestly, how did we get to the beginning of the end of this year!!!

It’s around this time that I always sit and reflect on this past year.  The ups, the downs.  The dreams realized.  The hopes deferred.  The goals checked off.  The addition of new goals.  The losses and the gains.

This year came in like a wrecking ball.  And I mean that literally.  I always create a goal list for the year, and I try to review it every three, six and nine months to check on my progress and see if I am on target.  This year was an incredible exception of each day being incredibly unpredictable, so needless to say, I have been off the mark!

The first three months proved to be a precursor of what the rest of the year was going to look like.

 Life has a way of inserting itself in ways that genuinely leave you questioning EVERYTHING!!! 

My vision and motto for this year were the”year of new” and boy did it prove to be just that. And although I have three solid months to go for 2018, I truly can’t imagine what more “new” could possibly come, but I am sure it will be life-changing as everything has been so far.  Interestingly enough the “year of new” came with new experiences, new losses, new goals, new vision, new locations, new health experiences, and new sorrow.

As the year begins to wind down, though I have a lot more to get done and accomplish and experience, I await 2019 as the “Year of Miracles.” I will make my new set of goals, and maybe even carry some over from the “Year of New” and check in and see how I’m doing.

It’s an amazing journey of growth.  It comes with incredible mosts of exhilaration and deep sorrows, but they are all part of this beautiful experience called LIFE.

I intend to live it loud and quietly. I intend to live it laughing and crying.  I intend to live it dancing and sitting still.  I intend to live it with others and sometimes alone.  

BUT, I intend to live it!

 Embracing all that it gives me.  Learning so that I can teach.

What are your goals for 2019?  What do you have left to complete for 2018?

Lesson:

Surround yourself with love, laughter, and joy, so that when those moments comes that strip of joy, love, and laughter, you have a source to draw from.

 Don’t walk alone.

“Til Tuesday

Are you a spectator or participant….in your life?

Your immediate response may be, I am a participant? It’s my life I have to do me!  What kind of question is that?  

Well, after several interesting conversations I concluded that some folks are spectators in their own lives.

 They don’t participate.

They just do just enough to get through the day and meet their responsibilities.  Just enough to pay their bills, and keep relationships afloat.

They are spectators.

 They watch others from afar.  Don’t engage.  Don’t want to rock the boat.  Is that a bad thing?  Well, only if it leaves your gifts and talents unfulfilled.  You can run the risk of being critical of others as they “participate” in their lives.  Spectators sit on the sidelines and are comfortable. They can become critical of those in motion.

Participants are in constant motion. They are moving forward.  Looking to engage, encourage, inspire and fulfill dreams and aspirations. They seek relationships. They enjoy conversation, engagement with others.  They are looking to do better, be better and do more.  They live life to it’s fullest.  They find joy in the simplest things.  They crave learning and growing in the knowledge that expands their understanding of others.

Participants take risks.  Participants fulfill dreams.  Participants show up. Participants inspire. Participants make no excuses.

Don’t sit on the sidelines of your own life. Be an active participant and fulfill the hopes and aspirations that were once birthed in your heart. Pursue the goals you’ve always wanted to accomplish.  It’s one step forward.  The first step is always the hardest.  When you engage in your life you will notice the spectators around you and wonder, why are they sitting on the sidelines?

 They are watching you!

Watching you grow and in doing so, you will inspire them to step out of the stands and join the team.

Don’t be a spectator.  Participate.  Someone is waiting for you to step out of your comfort zone and walk alongside them.

What can you do today that will change the trajectory of your life?  Go for a walk, eat better, make a phone call, write a letter? Visit a friend, get a physical? Apply back to school? Apply to a new job? Run the marathon? Take the trip?

Lesson:

When you show up and participate in your life, you inspire others to do the same.  Live generously, it changes everything!

“Til Tuesday

I needed it to be a cold blue…

I sat and cried.

I thought I was okay, but I wasn’t.  The night before, I was taking my evening stroll and lectured my husband, that if anything should come back, that’s questionable, I didn’t want anyone to overact. That if my tests were to prove something malignant, I wanted everyone to be strong.

Yet, here I was sitting at my kitchen counter the morning of my thermography scan wiping away tears.  Fear gripped me in an unexpected way.  I was afraid of the unknown.  Though I had prayed for healing, boldness, and confidence in the unknown, my insides were shaking with fear.  

I didn’t want to know that I was going to put my family through the journey of an unpredictable diagnosis.

I had already made a gutsy declaration should the diagnosis be positive/malignant, I was going to face this disease head on and do it my way.

I had made a bold declaration that nothing was going to take me down, yet here I was wiping away tears that kept rolling down my cheeks as I was eating my breakfast. I looked over at my husband and told him, “I’m scared, I am really scared.” I was so surprised at myself.  I was surprised that after all these days of believing in a good report, here I was literally shaking.

We entered the facility. We walked in silence.

I thought of the many women in my life that have had to walk this journey of the unexpected news of a diagnosis that would change everything.

I sat, quietly waiting.  

She greeted me with a warm smile and explained the procedure.  It’s interesting how everything is in slow motion, and you catch yourself looking around feeling a little bit more sensitive, more alert, more aware of your surrounding. 

Everything is brighter, louder. 

I entered the room, and she explained why it was so cold.  The cold temperature will assist the magnification of any hot spots that will be disclosed on the images.  If there were any “red hot spots,” then that would mean there was a tumor or tumors. 

I disrobed, put my arms behind my head and waited. Turned. Turned again.  Angle turned around. Silence, just silence.  I needed it to be blue, cold blue, no hot spots, I literally was shaking not because the room was cold, but my spirit was shuttering.  I quieted my spirit as I closed my eyes, remembering the many folks that I knew were praying for me to be okay. Exam over, I put the robe back on, and she asked me to come over and look at the images.  It was all blue, cold blue.  There were no hot spots, no red, other than where it was supposed to be.  Preliminarily she said there was nothing to be alarmed. 

I was fine.

I stood there not sure what to say.  I felt vulnerable, and though my husband was in the room with me while she was explaining all the details, I felt alone.  I thought about how many women walk this long road and feel alone. How many women don’t get the good news I received, how many women hear the dreaded words?  

I was quiet. I needed to process my fear, and I needed to process my empathy.  We drove home, I was quiet.  I was thankful and quiet.  I knew that yet again I was given the opportunity to feel the fear of the unknown so that I can remember to empathize with those who walk this very unpredictable journey.

Is there someone you need to walk alongside their illness journey?

Lesson:

Don’t ever forget to empathize with someone walking alone through their illness.  No one knows the sorrow.

Volunteer, show up and be present for those walking the long and lonely road of illness.  You never know when it can be your turn.

‘Til Tuesday

Take off the mask… (Repost) Someone needs to read this…

Depression: “feelings of severe despondency and dejection.”

I was depressed, and I didn’t even know it.

I never liked the word “depressed.”

I said I was at peace, but I was actually numb –

The hurt was so grave I didn’t know what else to do but to mask it with what I called peace, yet it was numbness.

Numb to the reality that you can be so deeply hurt by the one you love the most

Numb to the reality that what your dreams for someone’s life was never meant to be manifested. Only the dreams that are destined in their life but not by our own doing

Numb to the reality that no matter how many times someone tells you how great of a person you are, you just can’t seem to accept that to be true since your life at that moment doesn’t align with the strength they see in you.

Numb to the reality that things will be better, while your body and mind are still reeling from the physical and emotional pain that at times seemed unbearable.

My first point of healing and recovering was recognizing that I was depressed.  A depression that turned into despair, deep, deep sorrow and numbness.

My first point of healing was becoming still enough to feel the sorrow that had swept my heart.

My first point of healing was accepting the help that would allow me to begin to peel back my disappointment.

My first point of healing had a community that held me up when all I wanted to do was crawl up in a ball and go away.

My first point of healing was saying I need help!

My first point of healing was prayer.  Praying with complete abandonment, screaming to the top of my lungs and laying on the ground in a fetal position.

My first point of healing was rising up from the ashes and saying…it’s okay.  I’m okay.

Don’t stay depressed, there is a long hallway out, keep moving forward.  Along the way, you will find your“first points.”  Allow those “first points” to help you and begin your healing.

Lesson:

We are created to live a life of light and joy though life experiences can come in as a way of darkness and despair.  Don’t allow shame to cloud your judgment.  Seek help.  Talk about.   Take off the mask.

‘Til Tuesday

Crazy Faith!

“Crazy Faith! Don’t just pray about it, ACT ON IT! Normal begets normal. Crazy begets crazy!” – Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle

So I decided to go back to school after 25 years!!! Yup, 25 years since I earned my Bachelor of Arts.

Not only did I choose to return to obtain a Masters Degree, but not any Masters. I chose a field of study that I have no expertise or experience- LAW!

So you see I have taken a CRAZY leap, that has required CRAZY FAITH.

The excitement that comes with doing something that takes you out of our comfort zone is exhilarating! Yet it comes with great risk. Fear of failing, fear of embarrassing myself and fear of not completing the degree!!!

Yet I have CRAZY FAITH to believe that I will not fail, I will not be embarrassed, I will complete the degree. 

What have are you facing that requires CRAZY faith? What are you teetering with? What are you walking away from that you should embrace? What have you said is an impossibility?

A relationship, money decisions, buying a home, changing your job, going back to school, reconciliation in a relationship, starting your own business. Saying yes to something that scares you to death. These all require Crazy Faith.

Embrace CRAZY Faith! Act on what you believe is set before you. Reach out, walk towards it, pick it up! Don’t expect others to do for you what only you can do!

I challenge you to live creatively, live generously, live joyously…

Lesson:

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” – Helen Keller

‘Til Tuesday

Living Ready…​

These past few weeks I have reflected deeply on one simple theme –

Am I living ready?  

It seems we live ready for the next job, the next relationship, the next opportunity to seize the moment.  We want to take on the world, become the next big star, influencer, motivator.  We live ready to turn someone’s world upside down and

 #Liveourbestlife

But how are we doing those things?  At what cost?  Are we living present?  Are we nurturing our spirit?  Are we invested in where we will go when we leave this earth?  Do we care? What consumes our thoughts?

 In all of the memorial services, I viewed and witnessed and participated in, there was one common thread.

They served others, loved people, and honored God.  

It seems to me that in a culture of “meism” and “selfies” and chasing after the “next big thing,” we have overlooked the most important part of our existence and that is our souls!  Are our souls ready? When you pass away, will you leave behind a beautiful memory and a fragrance of your time on earth? Will the seeds that you planted in your time here on earth bear fruit that is eternal?

I’ve come across some “influencers”  that are consumed with “flipping” everyone off and consuming their pages with what they will do for themselves.  It makes for a stale existence.  

Are we living ready? Are you living in peace?  Are you living with the confidence that no matter what life may throw your way you are “living ready” to walk through the valley?

Ask yourselves these questions?  Has someone stolen your joy, peace, and laughter, and you are not living ready? Are you consumed with day to day responsibilities?  Living ready is more than monetary gain and chasing after the wind.

It’s living with the knowledge that you know where your soul will find it’s ultimate resting place.

Think about it…

Lesson:

It takes someone to pass away to reflect on what will be said of me when I leave this earth.  Am I living ready?  Are you living ready?

If you want to know how to live ready, ask me how.

 

-Annette Ortiz Mata

The Measure of a Man

We met 25 years ago.  I was broken, and he was whole.  We married and built a life together that was nothing but unconventional.

Through it all he is consistent.  

His character is consistent

His temper is consistent

His commitment to our family is consistent

When we met, I lived in New York City, and he lived in Los Angeles.  Many questioned our relationship, and it’s authenticity.  They were concerned that he could be lying to me, but I chose to believe him.  I chose to accept his word.

As we honored his father’s memory, I sat in agreement with every accolade bestowed upon Lyle.  It was not lip-service for the simple memorializing the man. You see I married the son he raised.

  I am the recipient of the measure of this man they were speaking of.

Love has a way of revealing who we are.  How we choose to love. Who we choose to love. What we choose to love. Lyle loved his family and serving and people.

Robert is not perfect.  We have had our moments of reckoning, but he has had the example of love. Choosing love.  Choosing God. Choosing his family.  Choosing me.

What is the measure of the man?  It’s often the reflection of the man or woman who raised him.  

Choose wisely how you live and who you live for.  Choose your friends wisely. Choose God. Choose love. It will reflect on everything you do.

I live with the beauty of the Measure of a Man that choose to love, and for that I am thankful. We all have the choice to be better whether we had the example of love or not. We must all return to love.

Lesson:

Look around you, what have you chosen. What have you embraced?  Who have you chosen to love? Remember to love the things that can love you back!

“Til Tuesday

Save Yourself

The past few weeks I have sat in several conversations where someone said, “I need to let it go” or “I’m letting it go”… it struck me that there is a marked difference in these words along with their actions and all I kept thinking was “save yourself.”

“Letting go,” is a slow and sometimes painful process of releasing a person, an experience, a conversation, a Facebook friend (yep that is a real situation), a dream, a child, a job that we thought we couldn’t live without.

In the process of letting go, there are tears, mourning, laughter, joy and a sense of relief waiting for us on the other side (we just have to get there).

I learned that once you start letting go, you begin to place things that were out of order in their rightful place and you begin to create space and understanding for what is supposed to be in your life. Letting go is an exercise of obedience, and in it, we find our growth, our peace, our new day. We begin to see and experience change.

It is a mental, emotional and physical exercise of our will.

When you “let it go,” it’s an immediate reaction to a situation that may be un-beneficial, hurtful and unfruitful. It may be an argument that you know will not benefit either party. It may be a relationship that is toxic, and it requires immediate termination.

When you let it go…it’s done. You drop it, and it’s over.

Whether you need to “let it go” and are “letting it go” you must face the fact that you are “saving yourself” from what was never a win and you begin to open up to the possibilities to all the victories in your life.

Mourn the loss and rejoice in the new beginnings, in the adventures that you are now ready to experience.  

Lesson:

When you Save Yourself, you release the power someone else can hold over you.  I never said it was easy, but it is the most freeing experience.  

Your burden will feel light.

“Til Tuesday