Gifts and Blessings

I’m always amazed when people take time out of their days to bless me. Whether it’s a friend sending a text at exactly the right time or an email checking on me, lunch or meeting for coffee, it always seems to come at the right time. 

 (photo cred the WoW style)

Giving these gifts–big or small–requires a sacrifice of some sort. Maybe time or effort or just looking beyond one’s self to see who needs to be blessed. In a world of selfish behavior and looking out for #1, I find this gift-giving so refreshing. To be on either the giving or recieving end is a blessing.

Every time someone reaches out and does something spectacularly selfless, I not only fill up with squishy gooeyness on the inside, but it spurs me on to do the same. To pass it on and pay it forward. This week I recieved a very personal gift, and it required a sacrifice of time and lots of talent. My friend Linda gave me a portrait of my family that she drew. 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

This wasn’t just something she whipped up. It took time away from her busy schedule as a teacher, mama and grandma. She had to study the original, outline us, color us in. Every detail was tended to, from eye color to the cover of my book– 

 (original-photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

So I ask: who can you bless today? Who needs your time or talents or kind words or smile? Who needs some encouragement? I dare say there are several people in your world that could use some of that stuff. Encouragement and hope are powerful seeds to plant inside someone–take a moment today to look around and see who you can bless. 

And if your are in need yourself, see what happens when you encourage someone else. It’s amazing how it will come back to you–

 (photo cred brown-eyed-whimsy.tumblr.com)

Now go, be blessed and be a blessing!

Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

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Happy Leap Year Day!

What are you doing with your extra day this year? Are you celebrating? Doing something unusual? 

 (photo cred LivLane.com)

Maybe today could be the day you take that first step: do the research, make a phone call, file the paperwork, reconcile, restore. Take the leap–what better day than today?

We get this day once every four years. Relish in these 24 hours–they are a gift! Even if you only do one thing towards your dream or goal, that’s one step closer. Do you have the dream to own your own business? Get on it! Do you want to ask someone out or reconcile with a loved one? Pick up the phone! 

My husband and I decided a while back we needed to re-join the gym, that 2016 would be our year of getting back our health. So today–Leap Year Day–we met at the gym at lunch and joined.

And then we worked out.

Now friends, I am going to be a skooooosh sore tomorrow. But I feel great that we finally stopped thinking about it and just did it. 

 (photo cred Effortless Vitality)

Today is your extra day to make the changes you’ve been waiting to make. No more excuses, if there was ever a day to take a leap, today is it.

Don’t be comfortable with waiting anymore–make the change. Let’s all be like Nike and Just Do It. You’re worth it!

Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Coffee Quote

A day late and a dollar short, but here it is! Thanks for your patience, hope you have a blessed day!

(photo credit Dan Bustamante, Twitter) Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. I would love to connect with you on Facebook or Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

A Blessing

So I “met” this lovely woman on Facebook, much how I’ve met many of y’all. We chat and I feel like I’ve found a new friend. Again, much like y’all in this blogosphere.

A few weeks ago I posted this picture:

My new friend commented that it was a picture of how faith works. That you can’t always see what’s coming around the curve but you trust. And pray. And appreciate the blue skies while you have them, even as storms are approaching.

We met on Facebook because a mutual friend of ours thought we might have lots in common-she suffers from PTSD just like Mr. Wonderful does. And she paints, so she’s Artsy Fartsy like me.

Of course we hit it off.

Then she told me she paints as therapy for her PTSD. And she was painting the picture I had taken a few weeks before when I was at the ladies retreat in Colorado. She had decided she was going to send me her painting as a gift to remind me that PTSD will not win and we aren’t alone.

Isn’t that beautiful?!?

My new friend also drew my attention to a part of my original photograph that I hadn’t even noticed. Up in the upper left hand corner are two trees. She painted those trees in fall colors (because fall is my favorite season) and said that those two trees are like me and Mr. Wonderful–still growing strong even after all we’ve weathered.

My new piece of art came in the mail today: 

 I’m moved to tears that someone that I’ve never even met would take time out of their busy day and paint a gorgeous picture and then take more time and money to mail it to me. As a beautiful reminder about how far we’ve come in our PTSD journey, but also in the kindness and deep humanity of others.

I am so blessed.

You can connect with me on Facebook and Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hey!

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Last Weekend

I had the most amazing twenty-four hours last weekend! I flew out to Colorado to lead a ladies retreat that was supposed to bless them, give some lovely ladies much deserved rest and relaxation.

As it turns out, I was also blessed.

I’m so surprised how that worked. I spoke most of the day, helped facilitate small groups at our breakout sessions and then flew back immediately following. I should’ve been exhausted.

Instead I was exhilarated.

The ladies came to this retreat with a lot of stuff in their suitcases: relationship troubles, deaths of loved ones, job issues, sadness, regret, soul sickness.

It was not a day at the spa.

This was hard work for some of these ladies. And they stuck with it, worked through it, and left a lot of the baggage they brought with them at the retreat center when they left. Many of them walked out lighter, more determined, and more convinced than ever that they have a special place in this world that only they can fill.

And I left there wondering at a Maker who would create our beautiful surroundings, give us much needed time to discover his peace and give us hope just by being together in his presence. 

 

(Statue in the Mother Cabrini gardens, photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015)

Give It Away

It’s nearly Easter and this usually turns me inside out for some self-introspection. I love Easter-it takes place in spring, it’s a time of renewal and joy and making things new. A spiritual clean slate.

Along with newness I feel like cleaning up. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to give things away: from my home, in my work, from my heart. Unfortunately, for years, I was the wrong kind of giver. 

I gave away parts of myself that I shouldn’t have or gave with strings attached. I gave the wrong things to the wrong people because of a need to be liked or loved or perceived in a certain way.

That’s not true giving.

Now that I’m (finally) more comfortable in my own skin, I realize that giving away of one’s time, money, gifts, talents, heart or soul are big responsibilities. Ones that shouldn’t be taken lightly, for yourself or the recipient.

For me, giving now comes from the overflow of my life. The more blessed I become, the more I must give away. Not out of obligation, of course. But because this light shining in me is meant to be shared and I have more than enough to give away. It overflows from the new mercies granted to me every morning when I wake up.

No longer do I have to give away my pride or dreams or hopes for the future. I just give God’s love as freely as he has given it to me. I become its conduit as it flows through me, created by the joy I have, the gratitude I have for this life I’m living. Even though there are hard days and impossible days I can still do them all because of the God that lives in and strengthens me.

Today the thing I feel the need to give away most is encouragement. I may be a more “mature” cheerleader than you’re used to hearing from, but whatever that thing is that you’re facing, that hill or mountain or seemingly unsolvable situation, I have four simple words for you: You can do this

And once you do, you’re going to feel some overflow of gratitude. Some multiplication of lightness and joy unexplainable by mathematical equations that bubbles over and spreads into every crevice of your world and heart and mind.

What are you being asked to give away today?

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015)

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015