What I learned in Five Years

Five years ago today, I had just been employed at my previous job for a few months.   Also, I was five years into membership at my previous church.  I had just met my mentor J, maybe a year back.  All in all, I could have never known the adventures in my life that awaited me, even a year or two later.  Five years later, I can honestly say that I have learned so much. Here are some of the things I learned:

First and foremost, I learned how to relate better to other people.  The one thing that I will always appreciate about my former place of employment is that they taught me so much about how to relate successfully to customers that I also apply to the job that I have now.  For instance, I learned how to cater to the customer’s needs, even when it may have been inconvenient or difficult to do so. Thus, I learned just how valuable the customers are to the business.  More recently, I have also learned the power of forgiveness. I can think of several people that I currently work with or for that I had misgivings about in the past, with whom I now get along great!  One important thing that I learned from those experiences that helped me to be able to forgive these people is to put myself in their shoes.  I know it may seem very difficult to do, especially since they hurt you! It was tough for me too, but when I was able to do this, I found that I was able to see, not just the person that hurt and damaged me, but maybe a hurting, vulnerable soul inside. I was able to see them through eyes of compassion and love, instead of through eyes of hate and disgust. Thus, I also learned how to love people better. Though being angry is still a struggle for me, I have learned so much about understanding others better and being a living sacrifice both for God and others.

Secondly, I learned some secrets to be content. Overall, I can say, five years later, I am more content with my life than I had been before.  One secret of contentment that I learned is gratitude.  In 2014, a year after 2013 (which was five years ago), I became very ill and had to be rushed to the E.R one day. (For the full story on this, go to this link.).  To make a long story short, I had an inflamed gallbladder that was twice the size it should have been, and it had to be removed. However, it was only three years after the surgery that I realized that I could have died had the surgery not occurred when it did! So, realizing that, I have learned to value my life more.  Also, many people around me have either gotten sick or died, and experiencing these trials alongside them has helped me to appreciate my good health more and also the value of making a positive difference in others’ lives.  Very recently, I have also learned to worry less. Though I still struggle with worry sometimes, I can happily say it is less than before. I have learned to trust God’s plan for me and also to let certain things that used to worry and aggravate me, go. For instance, I used to get really upset when traffic was really bad and people cut in front of me.  However, ever since my recent vacation where I learned how to tolerate traffic that was BEYOND horrible (even though I did not drive), I learned to be more patient and grateful for the comparatively smoother traffic I have where I live!

Finally, I also learned how to stay motivated and passionate in life.  One of the things I learned was to widen my interests. I learned this primarily by reading others’ blogs, as part of the blogging community I am part of online. Reading blogs covering a variety of topics, has piqued my interests in things that I didn’t care about or focus much on before, such as cooking and travel.  I also met diverse groups of people at work and at church. Meeting these people has also helped me discover new interests and things to learn about that I have never explored before.  I also have learned how to look to the life beyond the grave. Because of what I have learned in church and in life, I have learned to focus on a.) eternal rewards (i.e heaven) and b.) leaving a positive legacy for future generations more. This focus has motivated me to do the best I can in almost every aspect of my life. I want to leave this world knowing that I contributed something of value to it, and that I loved others as the valuable beings they are.

Overall, though these past five years have gone by so fast, I have learned so much. I can honestly say that I am a different person than the one five years ago. In the future, I want to continue to grow as a person and continue to live a positive legacy for those around me.

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FAQ’s About My Blog and Me

These are some get to know me questions and answers about this blog and my passion and inspirations in life, which also partly influence the content you read here. If you have any additional questions that you would like me to answer, please write them in the comment section of this post.  I will answer them in my replies to your comments. Thank you and I hope that as you read this, you will know why I write what I do, and my passion that drives these posts.  Thank you so much everyone, for reading and for your support and encouragement!  Enjoy!

  1. When did you start this blog and how did your blog develop? I started this blog officially on December 23, 2015, two days before Christmas.  The blog post is entitled “Pain and Hope,” because I was coming out of a painful time in my life, but I saw inklings of hope.  This blog really started to develop after I joined a Blogging Community, and became motivated to write more and more about what God has been teaching me in life. However, these life lessons can be applied by most everyone, of any religious persuasion.  To date, I have written over 200 posts.
  2. Do you have a day job? If so, what do you do? I work full time as a sales associate in a large business.  I make sure customers have the best service possible through my daily tasks I do, which keep me busy throughout the day.
  3. Where do you get ideas on what to write about in your blog? Sometimes, I actually get ideas for posts from my day job! This is one of the reasons why being a full-time blogger doesn’t really appeal to me. Also, I look for writing prompts that can apply to my niche, and things that I am going through or experience in everyday life.
  4. What is your life motto? My life motto is: Whatever you do, do it with all your heart! –There are so many people around me who work or do something “just because they have to.” They drag themselves to work, church, or other activities with no interest or joy in what they are doing.  What a depressing way to live!  For years, I tried to force myself to do certain things I didn’t want to do, just so that I could get through doing these things, but this way of living eventually wore me out and, I think, part of the reason why I had struggled so much with depression.  However, when I changed my mindset to develop the motto of striving to do everything with my whole heart, I found that I became much more joyful in life. For instance, working at my day job with all my heart has helped me not only persevere during stressful situations and not quit my job, but also has helped me stay motivated to do the best I can in each task given to me.  Also, blogging with my whole heart has helped me to stay motivated in continuing to post.
  5. Who are your inspirations, and why do they inspire you so much? Almost everyone has some qualities that inspire me, but these are some that inspire me most. One of my inspirations is my dad, because of how hard he works every day. I am also inspired by my mom’s strength and devotion to everyone in my family.  I am also inspired by my friend Holly* because despite everything that she has been through, she continues fighting not only for herself, but the lives of people in similar situations as she.  My favorite aunt also inspires me for how much she is willing to sacrifice for loved ones and how she perseveres even when she is sick or hurting.  Last but not least, one of my managers Chris* inspires me because of his hard work and passion to persevere at his job despite any obstacles he may face.
  6. What do you like most about blogging? I love learning about what others are writing about in their blogs, but I also like sharing with others through my posts what I have learned from my life. This sharing of information has helped me to become a better-rounded person.
  7. What do you dislike most about blogging? What I dislike most about blogging is just the process of getting people to read our content.  I don’t think it’s that what we all write about is not interesting or not well-written, rather it is the marketing process that is sometimes difficult.
  8. Besides writing, what are you most passionate about? What do you enjoy? I enjoy shopping, discussing with others about deeper issues in life, reading, spending time with family and friends, and more….. (just ask me).  I am also deeply passionate about social justice issues, such as ending human trafficking and abuse,  and making sure everyone is valued for who they are inside, without regards to human identifiers such a race, income, gender, etc…
  9. What other subjects would you write about besides those in your niche?  I would really like to review products that I enjoy that I use on a regular basis. One of them that I really love is Shick Razors.  I also would enjoy writing about the places that I have visited on my vacations with my family so far.
  10. What are some of your goals with this blog? Like most other bloggers, I would love more people to read and engage with my blog. I also want to get to about 300 posts soon (at least 250 by year’s end).  I would also love to collaborate some of these posts and do an inspirational autobiography on my life, not to brag about myself, but to inspire others in similar situations as mine to persevere in their lives.

*=not their real names

 

 

 

To My Co-Workers

EDIT: This is a kind of “pep-talk” to my co-workers.  I have been on the swing shift for 2 years, but now am moving to the morning shift. I do NOT have plans to leave my workplace at this time. However, I do miss working with my co-workers on the swing shift, and look forward to the people who I will see in the mornings. I want to stay at my current workplace for 1,000 years or more* (*=maybe not THAT long, but I do want to stay for awhile! 😉 )

To my co-workers,

It has been a pleasure and a joy to get to know each of you over the past two years or so.  We have been through a lot together.  To *Ted and *Tim (NOT their real names), I will miss working with you in the evenings.  You have been instrumental in making my experience here worth it.  To those of you who I will be working with in the mornings, I look forward to the many adventures that we will have together as we strive to serve our customers and do the best we can.

I care about each one of you, and I would like to help everyone be the best they can be, both at work and in life. Although we (me included) will fall from time to time, we persevere. Here is what I learned, from various sources that have helped me find joy and meaning in the daily grind:

I have seen a board where some of the managers were asked their slogan or their mantra which they strive to live by. If I were asked my mantra that I strive to live by it would be: Whatever you do, do it will all of your heart.  My faith hero, Rachel Joy Scott, also lived by a version of this slogan by caring for others and by working hard to achieve her goals. She also had been known to say, “I won’t be labeled as average.”

I, too, do not want to be labeled as average.  When I work on returns or straighten my area, I don’t want to do a half-hearted or “average” job. I want to do the best I possibly can. Our best can vary from person to person, but you will have a sense of satisfaction in your heart if you know you did your best. When I serve customers, I don’t want to just to serve them the way the “average” worker does, but I want to go above and beyond, not only so the customer will be satisfied, but also as an example for all of us to follow.

Also, if you have already done what you could, with all your heart, and people still aren’t satisfied with that, you shouldn’t worry.  Many years ago, I had a job where I tried to do the best I can, but it still wasn’t enough.  In fact, I got demoted because I wasn’t fast enough, and it was only my first day there.  However, they still had some regard because one of my supervisors at the time acknowledged that I worked hard.  Yes, it is discouraging when you do something with your whole heart and it still isn’t enough. However, most people will still respect a good work ethic, regardless.

Another precept that I strive to live by is to make caring about others a priority. Often, at any workplace, profits and our own interests are put ahead of others. However, being an applecart upsetter, I strive to make caring about others more of a priority in my life.  For example, when we see a fellow co-worker or a manager that seems visibly stressed or upset, rather than disregarding or agitating him or her even more, we should try to speak encouraging words into their upsetting situation and into their souls.  For instance, if a co-worker feels that they are not appreciated by certain people, we could encourage them by providing specific examples of how we value and care about them and the work they do.  If someone is short of money to get food for their lunch, we could be a blessing to them and provide them with the funds they need to be able to eat.  We should make caring about others a priority because doing so can not only increase morale and motivation to work well , especially after a stressful day, but can even, in some cases, save someone’s life!

Finally, leave your mark on this place. If you have to leave this place, do not leave without making a positive impact on those around you. Don’t be afraid to stand out in some positive way, even if it may be met with a lot of resistance or pressure.   Always be true to yourself and your values. Do not pretend to be someone who you are not, because you always will be found out in the end.  Create a legacy that you will be satisfied and proud of, not only at this job, but also in life.

Sincerely,

Patricia

Soul Healer

written : 5/11/2018

dedicated to  J, Erica*, Veronica*,  Kelly*, Alice*, Holly*, Anna*, and my managers Chris* and Hope*  (*= all are pseudonyms) 

I was alone and in pain

I was also going insane

I felt so much shame

And I was in despair

 

I felt so unworthy of love and care

I dared never to lay my soul bare

Because I knew they’d condemn me

And all I came to be

 

But then, as water

That refreshes the soul,

On a hot, dry day

You came to me

 

You affirmed me with your love

The one from up above

You gave me a reason to hope

When I was on my last rope

 

Now I want to always love you

And bare my soul to you

Because you saved my life

And showed me God’s love

To Those On Their Last Rope

Disclaimer: May trigger—mentions issues surrounding depression, self-harm, bullying, and suicide.

Intro:  Many people I know around me are struggling, not only physically, but emotionally as well.  As you may know, I have struggled with depression with many years, and I just wanted to share the hope I found with them—and with anyone here, reading this that may be struggling as well, that there is hope.  If you are feeling strongly suicidal or need someone right away to talk to, please call this number: 1-800-273-8255. It’s free and there are trained professionals that can help you through this tough time, so you never have to be alone.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Friend,

I see that you have been struggling so much lately.  You may wonder through your daily routine, “ Is this life really worth it? “ You wonder if your suffering, your pain, will ever end.  You wonder if anyone really cares about you—or each other– for that matter.  You may not wonder these questions out loud, but subconsciously, you do.

I sometimes wonder these same things.

When I was in my sophomore year of high school, the pain was sometimes so great, I wondered if I had the strength to go on in life. I considered (more than once) a way to end my own life.  . In one of my diary entries from that time, I had written: “I wish I could be more […] effervescent (lively). I feel dead without being physically killed. I hope I don’t die emotionally, but I am dying. If I could only find that zest, that greatness life is supposed to hold. But where is it, at least in me?”

I also see that you are emotionally dying.  The spark, that smile, that I once saw, is now faded.  You seem really stressed and broken inside—like I was when I was in my sophomore year of high school.  I know you now see joy in my spirit, and a bounce in my walk. You also may think that “everyone likes me.” However, know that this was not always the case.

When I was in school, I struggled with being bullied, almost on a constant basis.  People would mock my way of dress, my hairstyle, and even how I looked.  This almost drove me to suicide, several times in my life.

Because of my history of being bullied, and being regularly excluded by my peers, I never really like I “fit in.”  I felt that in order to be part of any group, I had to beg. Then, maybe someone would feel sorry for me, and hang out with me for a while. That would, of course, never last for too long.

Then, in high school, I had an instructor that basically made me feel like I was worthless and would never amount to much in my life. I had almost no friends that could uplift and encourage me during that tough time, and this was before I knew about God’s love and presence in my life. I didn’t feel like I could talk to my family because I had assumed that they would not be able to really relate to my problems. Also, I had felt hopeless that I would find anyone around me who would truly accept who I was, inside and out. I didn’t think anyone would be able to really love me, especially if they really knew who I was inside.

Sometimes, I hear that you are being mocked and bullied by those around you too, and for that I am sorry.  I wish I could do more than just offer an encouraging word to you. I wish your bullies would know how much damage they are inflicting against your soul and your Creator as well, and repent of (i.e..stop) their bullying behaviors.

Know though that you are a valuable creation.  No one in the world is exactly like you (even if you have an identical twin!), and no one can touch the world in exactly the way you do!  Sometimes, I know you feel that you can’t do much positive, or live a legacy worth living.  However, that is the depression speaking, and it is lying!  Even if you are bed bound, you still can make an impact by greeting people who visit you with a cheerful and positive attitude, despite your pain and suffering. This will then make people look inside themselves, and say, “ Even with all the stuff that I’ve been through, I am grateful that even if I become bedbound, that I could make someone else smile!”

Also, reach out and get the help you need. You are NOT weak for asking for or needing help. On the contrary, depression is often a sign that you have tried to be strong too long. Know that you are not alone in your struggles. I sometimes still struggle too, but I know that there is hope for me.

I find that hope in a relationship with God and knowing that I am still able to make an impact on this world. It’s never too late to do something positive with your life—as long as you are still here!

So, what happened to me since high school?

I continued to struggle, off and on, with depression and suicidal thoughts, through my early twenties, though it was less than before I knew God’s love.

Then, about twelve years ago, I found a church that embraced me, and some friends who were willing to support and love me through the long haul. I am still in contact with some of them today.  I am eternally grateful that God brought me to that church.  I explored my passions for helping others and also began to write more often.

About two years ago, one of my managers, Chris* (NOT his real name), interviewed me for a position at my current job.  This position I still hold to this day.  Then, about a year ago, God brought me to another church, which has shown me how to love others, at a deeper level than I have ever known before.  Both, through my current job and my church, I have found a joy and love that I had only dreamed of before.

It may take a long time to realize your dreams, but it is never too late to start somewhere. Don’t give up. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sincerely,

Patricia

My Dreams

(written on : April 29, 2018)

Dedicated to all my co-workers and managers at my current job

I dreamed of the day

When I would be here

And leave a mark

Lasting until my dying day

 

I dreamed of the day

When I would be loved and valued

For not just the person I could be

But for the person they already see

 

And now my dreams have come true

God has worked in and through me

Now I can see

A bright future coming up ahead of me

 

So, I dream of the day

When the Love and Joy I found

Will become real to you

And fill you too

How to Find Someone’s Spark

Written in honor of Rachel Joy Scott, the first Columbine martyr, and the one who lived an amazing life, full of love and faith

Many times in my life, whether it would be people at school (when I was attending), at work, and even in the churches I attended; people have broken off contact with someone because of a couple bad incidents.  So, maybe they were really bad! Still, I think the following that Rachel Scott wrote in her essay, “My Ethics, My Codes of Life, “deserve serious consideration and application to our relationships:

[I]magine you had just met someone, and you speak to them three times on brief, everyday conversations. They come off as a harsh, cruel, stubborn and ignorant person. You reach your judgment just on these three encounters. Let me ask you something…did you ever ask them what their goal in life is, what kind of past they came from, did they experience love, did they experience hurt, did you look into their soul and just at their appearance? Until you know them and not just their “type,” you have no right to shun them. You have not looked their beauty, their good. You have not seen the light in their eyes. Look hard enough and you will always find a light, and you can even help it grow, if you don’t walk away from those three impressions first.

So, how can we find the light, or the positive parts of another’s personality, particularly if they do come off as cruel, stubborn, harsh, ignorant, or negative in any way to us?  How can we not give up on our relationships when things get tough?  How can we prevent ourselves from writing off people who we disagree with, or who aggravate us sometimes? (Note: This does not apply to situations of abuse or people who are genuinely unsafe to be around).  How can we cultivate a passion for loving those who are initially undesirable in some way to us? Here is what I learned about finding someone’s spark, or light, in their soul and how I would help it grow:

  1. Strive not to make snap judgments of others.—Much of our society makes snap judgments based on things that won’t matter in eternity, such as physical appearance and social class. I believe this is very sad, not only because many people in our world write off people who could be very kind and gentle inside, just because of something trivial like their physical appearance or how much money they make, but also because these judgers will not be able to grow past their preconceived notions of others and cultivate growing relationships with others.  Unfortunately, even making snap judgments about someone’s character is not effective in gauging who would be a good friend.  For instance, I know of several people at work who I initially did not get along with well.  Most people, if they were in my place, would probably quit their job and/or avoid these people at all costs.  However, God prevented me from doing so.  In addition, I even had to interact with most of these people on at least a weekly, if not, daily basis!  One thing I learned from having to interact with these people was not to make snap judgments of them, and instead look for their light in their souls.
  2. Learn their life stories.—Another thing that can help us find the spark in someone, is to learn some of their life story. Find out what kind of past they came from—what they had to endure to get to where they are now. Find out how they were treated in the past, if they have ever experienced true, sacrificial (agape) love, and not just a flippant form of “love,” what hurts and triumphs they have experienced in their lives?  When I learned some of the life story about someone that I initially did not really like, I began to understand why they acted like they did and began to have compassion and even love for them. When we are able to appreciate what someone we may not initially get along with, has gone through, I find that we are more able to relate to and/or have compassion for them.
  3. Do intentional acts of kindness for them.—What I have had to learn to do with certain people with whom it was difficult to get along is to intentionally be kind to them. This won’t work if you do this only out of obligation or because you say “I’ll be the better person” but inside you are still full of anger and resentment towards them.  However, if you strive to be kind to even those who you dislike, in order to show them the love they probably so desperately need, then the light in their souls will most likely start to expose itself.  For instance, if you live next to a grumpy neighbor, but he keeps a neat yard, compliment him on his maintenance of the yard.  Tell him how much you appreciate his hard work and dedication to do his part to make the neighborhood look neat.  Be genuine in your compliment, of course, but also don’t be afraid to encourage others in need.  For another example, I have had coworkers who I have had trouble dealing with at first, but when I tried to encourage them in something good that they did and tried to help them with their work, I found that I got along much better with them! Not only that, but I found some positive qualities in them that I had not taken the time to find before!

When we strive not to judge against people whom we initially not see eye-to-eye, when we strive to learn more about others’ life stories, and when we intentionally strive to be kind to those we don’t  like, at first, then we will be able to find the light in these people’ s souls.  When we find the light in them, we can help their light grow by continuing to apply these principles to our relationship with them. May we do that, and make the world a better place.

 

Source: Scott, Rachel Joy. My Ethics, My Codes of Life. March 1999. Retrieved from: https://rachelschallenge.org/media/media_press_kit/Code_of_ethics.pdf.