My cat Skippy is the epitome of the “curious cat.”  His antics, while amusing, are also cause for concern at times.  You see, Skippy especially loves to run out side every time he sees the door opened.  That might not sound like such a bad thing, but we live in an area where coyotes abound and everyone who knows anything about the wily creatures knows they consider felines a great delicacy.  Skippy is quite smart and quick on his feet, but he would be no match for a coyote!  Thus my decision to keep him inside where he is safe.

Before you start feeling sorry for Skippy being confined to the house, let me assure you he is afforded just about every luxury his little kitty-mind could imagine.  He has well over 3,000 sq. feet of living space to explore, lots of toys to play with, another cat and dog friend readily available for his amusement … and three humans at his beck and call whenever he feels the need for a cuddle or a good scratch behind his ears.

Nine out of ten cats agree; Skippy pretty much has it made as far as the “good life” goes.   Skippy, on the other hand (or paw, as the case may be) still can’t resist the lore of the outdoors and manages to escape quite often.

Luckily for him, we humans who share his abode normally use the garage door when we come and go.  That means, when the door opens and Skippy escapes, he can’t usually go any farther than the garage area.

So, several times a week Skippy bolts through the door that opens from the kitchen into the garage.  We sigh and simply shut the door behind him, knowing that eventually he’ll grow weary of exploring the area and yowl, as only a Siamese cat can, to be let back in.

Inevitably, upon seeing us open the door to allow his re-entry, he looks up as if to say, “Why in the world did you put me out there?”

Silly cat!  He seems to forget that it was his decision to go out the door to begin with.  If it were up to us, he would never go through any door leading to the dangers of the outside world.

We humans can be a lot like Skippy. Tempted by the unknown that lies outside our realm of safety, we bolt through opened doors, only to find ourselves lost and in danger. God provides for our every need and yet we can’t resist the lure of the unknown that lies beyond our given boundaries.    If we are wise, we will eventually realize the error of our ways and cry out to be let back inside, where we are safe.

Then, once we are rescued, we tend to look at the God and ask, “Why did YOU put me out there?”

All along, we know it was not God who put us there at all. We went on our own accord, then blamed Him when things didn’t work out as we imagined.

If only we would realize.  Not every door that opens is meant to be passed through.  Some doors lead us into blessings, protection, and God-given destiny, while others only offer access to danger, even death, or at the very least, unnecessary distraction and the wasting of our precious time.

Thankfully, God not only gives us freedom to choose what doors we pass through, but He also offers rescue and forgiveness for the asking, when we make the wrong choices.

Choose your doors wisely, and remember, God’s plan for you is good!

 

Becky J. Taylor

Bold New Day! LLC

http://www.boldnewday.com

 

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What’s Stopping You?

January 5, 2011

“Go! What’s stopping you?” is the slogan used by a major airline here in the U.S.  While this question is written to inspire people to fly with their particular company, it provides good food for thought for us all.

What’s stopping you from living the life you know you could be living?  What keeps you from chasing (and catching) your dreams?

Fear of failure?

Lack of belief in yourself?

The poor economy?

Most of us could legitimately claim at least one reason for not whole-heartedly pursuing our dreams, but if we allow those things to hold us back, we will eventually be left with nothing but a long list of “what could have been.”

As the airline motto implies, it’s time to leave all excuses behind and start moving forward in the direction of your dreams. Start now!   Instead of focusing on the reasons why you can’t, make a list of all the reasons you should and can, and redirect your thoughts toward those instead.

At first, this may take some conscious effort on your part, but aren’t your dreams worth it?

STOP complaining and rationalizing away your success.

GO in the direction of your dreams!

And don’t give up until you see those dreams come true!

God Bless!

Coach Becky J. Taylor

Bold New Day! LLC

Personal Development Coaching for Women

http://www.boldnewday.com

Follow Your Passion!  Pursue Your Purpose!

Become the Person You Know You Were Born to Be!

 

Coach Becky J. Taylor (Bold New Day! LLC) specializes in Personal Development Coaching for Women, based on Christian principles. She is available  for personal coaching, group coaching, face to face or phone coaching sessions, speaking engagements, women’s events, and workshops anywhere in the continental United States. http://www.boldnewday.com

State of Discontent

May 5, 2010

I’m in a place I’m not very fond of right now.  It’s a state of discontent.

Perhaps the reason I feel uncomfortable with my current status is because of what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:12.

“12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (NIV)

My religious upbringing tells me I am sinning because right now I am feeling anything but content.

My faith tells me differently.

I am not the Apostle Paul.  I’m just Becky.  A middle aged mother, grandmother and wife who at the moment doesn’t feel she is doing a particularly good job of fulfilling any of those roles … not to mention all the other things I thought I would be doing by this time in my life.

My soul is more than ready for some kind of sign that things are about to change for the better.  God doesn’t seem to have much to say to me right now, yet I need to hear from Him more than ever before.

Understand this: I don’t need pumped up.  I don’t need scolding.

No sermons, please!  I’ve heard them all.  I know them by heart.

I do not like “hype”. I can spot it from a mile away.

I need something real and I need it real soon!

Last week I was in a restaurant when I overheard a conversation between a mother and her son.  The boy looked to be about eight years old.  He was quite plump and was in the process of explaining to the woman that he’d been unable to participate in gym class that day.  He told her that he stood to the side instead, and “moved his arms and legs up and down” while the other children played a game of basketball.

His mother responded, “That’s good! You don’t have to compete with the others.  I’ll be happy as long as you keep moving, even if you’re only marching in place.”

I suppose that’s what I feel like I’m doing; moving, but not necessarily going anywhere.  I’m going through the motions while I wait for further instructions.

But I am moving none-the-less.  Surely that counts for something.

I’ve been questioning this a lot lately.  It’s been so long since anything has gone as I believe it should, so  I’ve started to entertain the idea that maybe this is the new normal.  Perhaps this is how it’s going to be for the rest of my life.

That caused a protest to arise within my spirit.   I will not, can not stay here!  This isn’t where I belong.  The last thing I intend to do is give up and make it my permanent home.

So maybe, just maybe I am content on some level.

Content in the understanding that this too shall pass.

In the meantime, I’ll keep doing my part by making every effort I can to stay in motion.  Even though those efforts appear to be taking me nowhere at all.

Becky Taylor

3/5/2010

Bold New Day! LLC

Personal Development Coaching for Women

http://www.beckyjtaylor.com

Follow Your Passion!  Pursue Your Purpose!

Become the Person You Know You Were Born to Be!

Love Story

January 7, 2010

Yesterday, I attended the memorial service of our precious friend, Bishop Charles Johnson.

Bishop Charles was a unique and remarkable man.  He had a true passion for souls, and made it his mission to carry the message of God’s love around the world.  From the backwoods and hollows of West Virgina to India and Africa, he was unstoppable!

Back in October, when the doctors diagnosed him with leukemia and sent him home with a prognosis of two days to live,  he traveled instead to North Carolina and preached to one of his many beloved congregations.  He had unfinished work to do and no man was going to tell him he couldn’t do it!

Bishop lived and ministered for three more months, not two days as had been predicted.  His desire to live and preach God’s Word was stronger than the disease that was trying to take him.

Bishop Charles was a great story-teller!  In his 50 plus years of ministry, he’d had many adventures and could describe each of them in a way that made a person feel as if they’d been right there beside him in the experience.  Many of his stories were hilariously funny and I often found myself wiping away tears of laughter as he spoke.

Even though I’d only met Bishop Charles six years ago, I felt I knew him fairly well, but it was not until his memorial service yesterday that I realized the legacy of love he was leaving behind.

Hundreds of people flowed into the auditorium to pay their last respects, and being very much a “people watcher” I couldn’t help but notice what a diverse group they were.

There were men and women in fur coats and fancy hats, as well as tattooed biker types with pony tails and tattered jeans.  There were old people and youngsters, people with perfect hairstyles and buttoned down collars … and a half-dozen or so with their hair dyed in all the colors of the rainbow.

Those who stood on the platform and spoke at the service were equally varied in their culture and color.

As I watched and listened, one thing became undeniably clear … not only had Bishop Charles Johnson preached the love of God to the nations, he’d practiced it!  The variety of people in attendance at his home-going celebration was a testimony to that fact.  As different from one another as we might have been, we had one thing in common.  Bishop Johnson loved us all unconditionally.

In his lifetime, Bishop Johnson was a great story-teller.  Ironically, it was his life itself that was the best story of all.  It was a story  written in accordance to God’s greatest commandment …

“Love One Another!”

Rest in peace, Bishop Charles.  May the lives of those you’ve touched continue to carry your story of love and acceptance to the ends of the earth!

Becky J. Taylor

http://www.boldnewday.com

January 7, 2010

Stress Stoppers, Pt. II

November 11, 2009

Stress Stoppers, Pt. II

More Ideas For Controlling Stress

(Continued from November 3rd Blog Entry)


6. Be A Good Neighbor!
Focusing on someone else’s needs can help to get your mind off your own problems for a while.

Tip: Visit a shut-in.  If there is an elderly person who lives alone in your neighborhood, buy an inexpensive bouquet of flowers for them and stop by for a visit.  No doubt, you will make their day (and probably yours too.)

Volunteer for a local charity of your choice.  Serve hot meals to the homeless, spend some time helping out at the local animal shelter, or read books to the kindergarten class at school.   There are numerous opportunities available to brighten someone else’s day.  If you have trouble locating an opportunity, check with your church.  They’ll likely be able to point you in the direction of someone in need of a helping hand.

7. Put That Adrenaline to Good Use!

Does stress have you feeling like you could crawl out of your own skin?   Are you overwhelmed with nervous energy, or feelings of anger toward your situation?  Use that negative energy to attain a positive goal.  Tackle a task you’ve been avoiding, such as cleaning out that closet or garage.
Tip: Gather unwanted items together and organize a yard sale, or donate them to a thrift store or homeless shelter.

8. Breathe In, Breathe Out!

If you’ve ever given birth, chances are you were taught some form of breathing techniques to help your body relax during contractions.   Similar exercises can also aid in regaining control of your body’s reaction to more familiar stress.  You can do this anywhere, even at your desk amid all the chaos of the workplace.

Tip: Relax your shoulders and neck.  Breath in slowly through your nose for a count of seven, then exhale through your mouth for a count of eleven. Repeat this several times over. It will slow down your racing heart and lower your blood pressure.  As a result, you will feel more calm and in control of your situation.

9. Take It Outside!

It helps to simply remove yourself from the stressful environment, even if only for a few moments.  Take a brisk walk, or just step outside into the sunshine.  A brief change  of scenery will boost your mood and help clear your mind.

Tip: When the weather is nice, take your breaks and lunch outside.  You’ll feel like you’re miles away from the office.  If for some reason you can’t go outdoors,  make it a point to leave your work area for a few minutes several times a day.  You may be surprised at the difference it makes.

10. Reward yourself!

During times of stress, you may begin to feel you have nothing to look forward to.   That can lead to potentially dangerous complications, such as depression.  Promise yourself you are going to indulge in a special activity you enjoy, and set a date or time to do it.  Don’t cancel your plans, it’s important to keep this promise to yourself.  Reminding yourself that you’re going to have a break in your stressful routine can help considerably!

Tip: Take yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant or buy yourself that great pair of shoes you’ve been dying to have. (As long as you know that spending a little extra money won’t add to your stress afterward.)   Treat yourself  to an ice cream cone, a day at the lake, an afternoon at the park, or your favorite movie.   Anything goes as long as it’s something special you can feel excited about and look forward to.

BONUS:

11. Keep The Faith!

Prayer, or talking to God is a great form of stress relief for those who believe.  It helps to know there is a Supreme being, one who is all-knowing and powerful, yet still cares deeply about our individual needs.  This knowledge ultimately gives us hope and the strength to carry on during times of stress.  In fact, studies have shown that people with deep religious beliefs are better able to cope with stress than their counterparts who do not hold any particular religious beliefs.

Tip: Talk to God.  You don’t need a script.  There are no “magic” words or prayers you need to memorize in order to get His attention.  Just talk to Him as if He was sitting right beside you (because He actually is!)  He is listening and He cares!

I leave you with this scripture from Philippians 4:6.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”

God bless!

Becky Taylor

11/11/09

What is stress? I’m glad you asked!

According to dictionary.com , stress is:

“A specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.”  

or “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension”

Of all the definitions listed, I think this one sums it up best: 

Stress is “the physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another; strain.”

This definition probably refers more to stress on tangible items, like crowbars against automobile rims, but I believe it also applies to the way stress feels to us.  If you’ve ever experienced stress (and if you’re old enough to read this, it’s safe to say you have) you’ll definitely identify with that feeling of  “force” being exerted on you by something, or someone in your life. 

Stress comes in different forms and as humans, we’ve developed many individual methods of dealing with it.  Some of us more successfully than others.  If you happen to fall into the “less successful” group, take heart!  You can learn to identify and conquer the stress in your life and even put it to work for you!

In order to understand effective methods of dealing with it, it’s helpful first, to identify the different types of stress one might encounter.

Consider these categories:

Shoo Fly!

This is “everyday” stress.   Everyone experiences it.  It’s the stress you feel when you’re late for an appointment because you got stuck in traffic.   It’s the familiar feeling of having too much to do and too little time in which to get it done. It can start in the morning when your feet hit the floor and last until you turn off the light that night. It’s that force that constantly presses on you during the day from all kinds of people and circumstances.  Like a fly that keeps circling you at dinner, “Shoo-fly” stress consists of all the minor annoyances that plague us on a daily basis.

Cute Kitten:

This stress is actually good in nature, yet it requires something out of the ordinary from you, therefore force comes into the picture.  It might be a much desired move to a new house, your wedding day, or a brand new baby in your family.  We look forward to these happy occasions, but they all require action from us above and beyond our normal routine and are therefore stressful. 

Little Foxes:

This type of stress is a bit more serious and tends to require more of our attention.  It’s the kind of stress that happens when your plans are upset by an unexpected event that suddenly takes priority.  Your child gets sick at school and has to be picked up, despite the fact you’ve got three appointments scheduled that afternoon.  If you cancel your appointments, it could have long term effects on your business.  Or say, you get caught speeding and have to explain to the nice officer exactly why you were going 75 m.p.h in a 60 m.p.h. zone.  The officer might invite you to visit the judge and tell him your story instead.  Whether in the form of looming deadlines or impending court dates,  this kind of stress is capable of  keeping you awake at night. 

Wolves At The Door:

This stress is relentless and you probably feel like you don’t have much control over it.   It wears on you for long periods of time, and keeps you constantly aware of its presence. Overdue bills combined with inadequate finances, as well as unhealthy long term relationships, all cause this kind of stress.  The effects of this stress carry over to other areas of your life and can leave some pretty serious damage in it’s wake.  Many consider this the worst kind of stress simply due to the nature of the beast.  It might not be any fault of yours that it’s landed on your doorstep, yet you are helpless to make it go away.

Shark Attack:

This stress is traumatic and can have a permanent negative impact.  “Shark attack” stress leaves you emotionally disabled.  Situations  like the unexpected death of a loved one,  suffering horrible abuse at someone else’s hands, or losing your home in a fire are a few examples.  While it isn’t quite as common as the other forms of stress, it isn’t something that can be ignored.  The majority of us will encounter this serious form of stress at one time or another.  Most often, victims of this stress need professional help to reach a satisfactory recovery.

So, there you have it!  Stress is “a physical pressure, pull or other  force exerted” on one thing (you!) by another (person or situation.)

Stress is inevitable.  As long as we have breath in our body, we will have stress.  The good news is this; there are many methods of minimizing the negative effects of stress.

We’ll cover that next time!

God Bless!

Becky J. Taylor

CTA Certified Life Coach

http://www.boldnewday.com

Sept. 28, 2009

Don’t Worry! Be Happy!

February 13, 2009

My five year old grand-daughter, Esther had a doctor’s appointment yesterday afternoon.  She listened intently as the Pediatrician explained to her Mother that he would get a “diagnosis” and decide whether or not Esther needed medication for her ailment.   At the word “diagnosis”, Esther’s cheeks grew red and her face took on a somber expression.

She looked at my daughter, Emily and said, “But Mama! … Diagnosis is what they give the kids at the St. Jude Hospital for children!”

Because Esther’s experience with the word was limited to what she’d learned from a few brief moments of contact with t.v. commercials, she believed that “diagnosis” meant something terrible must be happening to her.

Thankfully, Emily was able to reassure Esther and help her to understand that a “diagnosis” in her situation was not going to result in a long hospital stay or the potential loss of her beautiful blond hair.  Now that Esther has been educated, she’s no longer worried about the consequences of being “diagnosed”.

I must say that Mamaw Becky feels better now too!  I can’t stand the thought of my precious grand-daughter being frightened so badly by such an imaginary threat.  I am so glad she spoke up and voiced her concerns to her mother!  Otherwise, she could have literally worried herself sick over her impending “diagnosis”.

Research shows that the vast majority of  things we worry about never take place.  This is probably due largely due to the fact that we we base our reactions on incomplete, or unrealistic information.   Most often, if we take the time to investigate we will realize that our concerns are a bit on the irrational side.   When all is said and done, it becomes obvious that all our worry has been in vain.

What a waste of time and brain cells!

The next time something happens that causes your “worry alert” bells to go off in your head, resist the temptation to give in to feelings of fear or dread.  Instead, focus your emotional energy on finding the facts about the situation at hand.  Chances are you’ll find your concerns are either unfounded, or at least that the circumstances are not quite as bad as they first appeared.

As the old song says, “Don’t Worry! Be Happy!”   Try it!  I know you’ll find it a much more appealing alternative.