I’m Moving!!

Moving-Boxes

I am SO excited to announce that I have a new and improved site for my blog! The name will stay the same, you’ll just search for it a little differently.

You can find it under: http://www.rhondamuse.com

Please bookmark the site and I’ll see you over there! I still have a few kinks to work out like the subscription form and as soon as I get it working I’ll ask you to sign up so you get notified when I post!

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What is a LOVE RIPPLE?

As a child I had a vivid imagination. I was blessed (?) with a dramatic flair fueled by a steady diet of books that transformed ordinary words into epic tales of good vs. evil, love, betrayal and adventure. I was SO hooked.

I believed anything was possible, wasn’t MY life a book ready to be written? Options seemed limitless until the day I told a friend my secret…I wanted to go to the moon! The MOON? she shouted. Who wants to go to the moon, and don’t you actually have to be smart?

I realized it’s not always wise to share your dreams with someone who will not hold them gently.

If going to the moon was out, “Plan B” was an excellent option as well…to Egypt I would travel and become an archaeologist. Unfortunately you had to be good in school to do that kind of work as well. Epic.Fail.

As I got older there were other things…marine biologist, travel agent, detective (thank you Nancy Drew), poet, novelist (as in a female version of Wilbur Smith) etc etc. What I realized is this:

The less important we feel, the harder we try to find purpose and meaning in order to validate our existence.

I never understood that I was important JUST BECAUSE! I didn’t know that simply living out my story would itself bring purpose and meaning to me and to others. No fancy job description, no plaques on my wall, no suits in my closet.

Just life.

Just sharing.

Just struggling.

Just at peace.

How did I learn this? I remember her every day.

I came across her blog through a friend of a friend on FB. She was struggling with stage 4 stomach cancer and was in Mexico receiving treatment. Her colorful f-bombs and contagious enthusiasm were smattered across each daily entry. At the end of every post she had a disclaimer that read:

“I DO NOT HAVE A F@#($*G EXPIRATION DATE MARKED ON THE BOTTOM OF MY FOOT”

I scanned her blog every day for almost 3 months willing her to be healthy, praying for her kids and husband, her parents and friends.

Then there was silence. Nothing to sound any alarms, she was just going home after being in Mexico for treatment. Except that wasn’t it. She passed away on Mother’s Day, less than a week after returning home to her two babies and extended family.

I was seriously gob-smacked by the impact this woman had on my life. Somehow I had been encouraged to face my own hardship with grace, humor and an unparalleled use of f-bombs from a voice I had never heard.

That’s when it hit me. It will be enough to live each day by God’s grace so that I can share my journey with you. It will be enough to be honest about what life throws at me as long as I have empowered you to do the same with your circle of friends.

So go on…stop hiding behind fear. A ripple starts when an oar moves deeper into the waters. Let’s call it a love ripple.

Why I Think You’re Beautiful

I have been meaning to tell you this for a long time. Seriously.

Why did it take so long to get written? I guess I was struggling with the honesty of it…is it too raw?  Maybe.

The crazy thing is that I haven’t been able to get it out of my head so I figured it was a sign, minus the booming voice from above, flashes of lightning and angelic song. Just a small, soft nudge in my gut that I needed to tell you why I think you’re beautiful.

The longer I tread this earth with my un-pedicured toes the more I value friendship. When I look back over the course of life I realize there are seasons of friendship. I smile thinking of those who ran along railroad tracks with me as we searched for a swimming hole, those who climbed trees with me and scaled to the rooftops of school buildings.

Those who taught me how to dance and dream.

Those who climbed mountains with me and raised children alongside my own. Those who are finding their way as empty-nesters just like us. Those who helped me navigate the often treacherous waters of the working world.

It is to each of you that I write this: You are loved.

You are unique…not in some weird miss-matched, un-kept way…more like a gem. Beautiful. Brilliant. Rare. I find myself staring at you and thinking deep thoughts about grace and purpose, forgiveness. Healing.

You know I love you, right? From the moment we met your light has warmed my heart. Your gifting’s have graced my life and I am fuller, richer for it.

Yet sometimes you ache over the lack in your life, the unfairness of it all. How your contribution to the world has gone unnoticed and unappreciated.

Don’t you see? You HAVE changed the world – you’ve changed me! Each raindrop of you that has soaked into my skin has nourished me in some way, encouraging me to be strong.

Your beauty shines. I was drawn to your passionate heart immediately. Strength was in your resolve, a willingness to bare your soul and yet afraid of rejection…common heartbeats between us. Camaraderie, friendship, validation.

You think that hardship has stolen your light. It feels like the ugly, rotten things have won. I am here to tell you that is a lie! Every day that you get up and decide to LIVE has created a depth of beauty no plastic surgeon could ever duplicate.

The impact of your life is powerful. It doesn’t come from dressing in monochromatic colors to hide the few pounds you hate. It doesn’t come from carefully applied make-up to shield the world from the pain underneath. Advertisers are wrong! The power of your life is in being YOU. How can it come from a boob job or lypo?

Beauty is in your voice. Not the timbre or tone but in the sweetness of trials, loss, love, joy that have been etched into your story. I thank you for sharing it with me.

xo

Wisdom 101: How to Ace Your Life

I haven’t always made the best choices.

~ the faint, heart shaped scar cut into my arm is proof of that

~ the school picture with bangs about 1/2″ long attests to that

~ the insurance premium after I cut across 4 lanes of Vancouver traffic was pretty black & white

~ letting my middle finger do the talking while leaving a Bible School campus after being cut-off by another driver…yah, not a shining moment

Of course there are many other stories. One’s I would never repeat. One’s I wish I could wipe away like all the tears I’ve cried over them. One’s that hurt so bad the ache seems to stiffen my resolve never to be foolish again

~ and then I say an unkind word

~ judge another only by what I can see

~ forget to be thankful

~ decide that my needs are more important than anyone elses

The decisions I make based on those things always lead to heartache and pain and for heavens sake at this point in my life I want peace not pain!!

Here are a few tried and tested benchmarks for making SUPER wise choices in life. Popular thought will not agree because right now the 1st world mantra is to make sure you are happy at all costs, regardless of others.

Ok so a little disclaimer…you might not like what I’m going to say. Please sign off now before you hurt yourself (aneurism) or me (punching my lights out). Thanks and hopefully we’ll see you again soon when I make another unwise choice and decide to make everyone happy rather than tell the truth on this blog!

Wisdom 101:

Wise choices are marked by PURE MOTIVES

Wise choices look for ways to PROMOTE PEACE

Wise choices always CONSIDER THE IMPACT TO OTHERS

Wise choices are RESPECTFUL TO AUTHORITY

Wise choices grant FORGIVENESS

Wise choices make sure that OTHERS ARE TREATED WELL

Wise choices are IMPARTIAL & SINCERE

I guess the only thing missing from that list is little old me. What about my needs, my right to get all the things I want? Foolishness screams that I am the only important one in the equation, wisdom whispers to put my finger down.

Finding the Courage to Finish

Ladies, can I let you in on a secret? On January 1st I made New Year’s Resolutions for the first time since 2013…probably because I had some big ambitions back then and fell off the bandwagon early on. Probably after I went through my unmentionables drawer actually www.fearlesstheanthology.blogspot.ca

I’ve always loved new beginnings and fresh starts. There’s something exhilarating about a clean slate. The do-over erases mistakes I’ve made in the past and gives me another chance.

The thing with resolutions is, if we haven’t committed to life change our lists mean nothing.

Why talk about this right now? In March?? Because of a pang, a big one. A regret that has made me sad for a long time. It was something I was pursuing years ago. But then I quit.

I wanted to learn Spanish. One day I met a wonderful lady from Argentina who taught Spanish and so I started taking lessons. The beauty of the language captivated my romantic heart and I threw myself into memorizing words, conjugating verbs and stringing sentences together like crazy. I was a Spanish~ learning machine!

I was so pumped that a life-long dream was being fulfilled! I was so excited that I quit. Threw in the towel.

Why?

A thought started niggling at me…a tiny little thing really. But the more I fed that thought the bigger it became until it swallowed my dream whole.

“There isn’t anyone to practice speaking with. You’re going to spend all this time learning a language that you’ll forget in a couple of months! What an incredible waste of time!”

I hate the self-defeating trash talk that echoes in my head when I don’t finish something. The voice of ridicule seems to shout LOUDLY “you are such a failure”! Have you ever been so sick of the negative voices in your own head that you told yourself to shut-up?!?

No te rindas

 

I get that in life there are some things you need to bring to a grinding halt. Poor decisions leading you away from truth and light need to stop. But if we’re honest with ourselves ladies there are things we should have stuck out. Struggled our way through. Seen to the end. But we quit.

Perseverance is the KEY to finishing

Persevere in prayer to be filled with peace

Persevere in forgiveness to be set free

Persevere in commitment and you’ll build lasting relationships

Persevere through pain and you will find joy

Persevere in training and you will be able to compete

Persevere through hardship and you will have strengthened your faith

Persevere through uncertainty and you will find yourself courageous

Persevere in the midst of defeat and you will come out in victory

Persevere while surrounded by shadows and you find the light

No te rindas~ don’t give up! Push through the tough spots so you can savour the victory on the other side.

My list for 2015? Simple but sincere…

  1. Kiss hubs 1 time everyday 🙂  (at least)
  2. Read 1 book
  3. Finish 1 project
  4. Clean out 1 guest room completely
  5. Get dirty 1 time doing something crazy and fun
  6. Connect with 1 person that I haven’t been able to in the past
  7. Develop 1 good habit
  8. Call Grandma 1 time a month
  9. Go to the doctor for an annual (1) check-up
  10. Learn 1 new thing, study a subject that interests me…maybe I’ll go back to my Spanish lessons

Philosophical in Love

the feeling of home no matter where you are

the shoulder I cry on when I’ve had a bad day

the us & we in all our decisions

the joint in our finances

the hand I hold to steady my world

the ache in my heart when he’s hurting

the flip-flop in my stomach when I catch his eye

the purest expression of love~our kids

the bright lights and starry skies of every love song

the ending to the start of my sentences

the forever of our wedding vows

the continuum of the rings we wear

the promise of together for every tomorrow

the power of forgiveness in every failure

Be in love, stay in love, I am in love.

The Problem with Gratitude

A couple of months ago social media went berserk with “grateful” challenges. It seemed that everyone hopped on the proverbial bandwagon, cymbals clanging…drums beating…trumpets honking.

Our business was up and running but I had personally hit a rough patch. It was like I was a balloon sailing merrily along with the wind when all of a sudden I developed a tiny little hole. Not enough to blow the whole thing up at once, but enough to have me whining steadily and losing air.

Grateful challenges had people sharing how wonderful their lives were, how much they loved everyone, how green their grass was. How stinking happy they were. I decided not to participate because I was quite content at that moment with the noise coming out of the tiny little hole in my balloon. I felt I had the right be unhappy and was going to enjoy it for a bit.

I did. I did enjoy it for a bit. Every morsel of pain I chewed on for awhile…getting the full flavor out of it. Every bit of sorrow I swilled around in my mouth so I could taste the fullness of it. Every difficulty I swallowed so that I felt the satisfaction of being fed by it.

Until the grateful challenge. Until a random comment from a stranger in my store helped me realize why I didn’t want to be grateful.

Gratefulness won’t let me feel sorry for myself! And at that moment I was working the false humility angle by feeling sorry for myself. Bad.

Gratefulness won’t let me be selfish! And it was ALL about me at that point. Didn’t I ALWAYS do…, wasn’t it ALWAYS me who…won’t I EVER be able to…Wrong.

Gratefulness won’t let me be unkind! Oh the deliciously horrid thoughts we can conjure up when hard done by. The sheer genius and creativity we all of a sudden possess when we want to get back at someone. Nasty.

The strangers comment? All he said was…being grateful is having the gift of looking at the same set of circumstances with a new pair of eyes. Whammo. Done. Finished.

Grateful.

How to Quit a Job You Love for One You Hope You’ll Like

We’ve all been there…quitting a job we hate. It’s easy right? You enter your bosses office with a self-righteous swagger and an aura of power. You deliver the news in the most creative way possible just to see the flinch, the fear, the look of utter madness that their very best employee just gave them the boot! Oh how the tables have turned, you muse! Ha! That’ll show em!

 

Quitting a job you love is another story. You might be meandering down your life-path, quite content, when all of a sudden an exit sign shows up and you’re faced with a  decision to stay on the path or veer off into the unknown. Your decision to go for it opens up a whole can of whoopee pies…how do you tell your boss you’re leaving?

 

PREP:

This may sound overly simplistic, but please apply the appropriate amount of deodorant. Degree…isn’t that the one that dials up when the stress kicks in? Buy some of that. There is nothing worse than trying to deliver bad news and smelling like the turnip truck your boss thinks you just fell off of. You’ll miss out on the whole “awww, we’re going to miss you so much” response you were hoping for.

 

You would probably also want to make a quick trip to the washroom. Piddling the floor or clenching your legs together aren’t super attractive and won’t convey the right message that you’re trying to get across.

 

Let’s say you work in an industry handling sensitive financial and/or personal information. When you give your notice you might be quickly propelled to the door. Prepare for that! Clean out your desk and office space of personal items right before you talk to your boss. Let me tell you from experience that even if it’s been your own choice to leave, being walked to the door makes you feel like a criminal! So, take back a measure of your pride by having your packing done. By the way, leave behind all company assets…you could be sued for taking office supplies and anything else that does not belong to you.

 

REVELATION:

Please don’t bring dynamite to the big reveal party. Burning bridges is the last thing you want to do…life is a funny thing, one day you may meet up with your co-workers or boss under different circumstances. The way that you handle the departure will be the last thing they remember of you.

 

Prepare for the discussion you will have. Think through your timelines carefully, and be open with your boss about what your needs are and give plenty of lead-time so they can prepare to fill your vacancy.

 

Put away to Kleenex box when, after the initial shock has worn off in the office, people take you off e-mail distribution lists and you’re not invited to meetings. Humans have a tremendous ability to adapt quickly to change. This adaptation is no reflection on the job you did or your value as an employee. Rather, a new pecking order has emerged and everyone’s going to be hustling to find their place in the company hierarchy.

 

POST TRAMATIC CARE:

Post-haste get to your favorite spa. There is nothing more soothing than a massage followed by a mani-pedi and a few tears sploshing into the complimentary glass or two of wine.

 

Stay focused on why you needed a change. Underneath all the emotional drama you have just endured are some solid and profound reasons you decided that the fork was the one to take. Be true to yourself and be proud of having the nerve to follow your passions in a world where mediocrity is the easier route.

 

And, last…hope like heck you made the right choice.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Happens When You Let Memories Slip Through?

All that was missing was the subtle smell of wood smoke. The crisp morning air was just enough to tingle the end of my nose when I breathed in, the clear sky promising a warm day ahead. The pink hue of early dawn had wrapped its beauty around my soul and asked me to stop my busy feet  and enjoy the moment.

I carried my steaming mug of fresh brewed coffee outside onto the deck. I say fresh brewed because I have a thing for a good cup of coffee. It’s my drug of choice and daily companion. I’ve stopped apologizing to all the nay-sayers out there who love to quote the newest studies saying how bad it is, mucks up your insides and makes your teeth and hair fall out. Ok, I’m exaggerating but I know you get the picture. I’ve decided to stop listening.

My eyes close so that my heart is open to see. Birds singing to each other high in the Spruce trees makes me smile for a moment. The wind whispers through branches just beginning to gain strength after a long winter, ruffling my already out of place hair. It’s in the relaxing that it overwhelms me.

There are few similarities so I’m not sure why. A moment in time so long passed that it had ceased to exist, or so I thought. The merest wisp of memory that had floated into my subconscious in the cool of the morning, minus the wood smoke. Africa. 

A heavy sadness fills up my chest cavity to the point that I am afraid I will sink through the flimsy material on my chair and split the deck as I fall. Inaudible, untraceable, so sad that my whole being ached to reveal its source.

I had shut that part of my life off like a kitchen faucet many years ago and now that I wanted to test the water again, not even a dribble would come out. I couldn’t grasp the essence…I was sure wood smoke would have unlocked the door.

Tears threatened to well up and make my signature chin wobble. Our family has a long line of unique chins which have been handed down generationally, my generation included. I push the tears back, they are not allowed to slip between the crease of my closed eyes.

I wonder…if just once, I would let the glistening drops fall, what story would be told? Would the dam break? I take a deep breath to help me relax. Hesitant and afraid of what is going to be undone, I decide to let one get away.

It’s Time to Quit

I sat in kitchen and wept. Hot tears coursed down my cheeks, splat, splat, splat as they hit the deep brown wood of the tabletop. I was wasted, exhausted, used up and feeling deeply unappreciated.

 

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Hadn’t I worked hard? Hadn’t I thrown myself into ensuring success for everyone concerned? Wasn’t I going “above and beyond” the call of duty? Hadn’t I stepped up when no one else wanted to? Hadn’t anyone noticed??

 

Poor, poor pitiful me. I decided to quit. Stop trying so hard to do the right thing. Stop showing up. Stop feeling like I needed to be the hero. Let someone else do it, I reasoned with myself. Walk away. Let this be a lesson to you. It’s just not worth it.

 

I seemed to have bought in to our cultural standard that declares unless someone notices the job you did, the hours you put in, the sacrifice you made, you will never get ahead. Unless your name is in lights and people are moving out of your way to let you pass, you haven’t “made it”. Me. Me. Me.

 

But what does faith say? It says…shhh. Do your work quietly and without being broadcast. Be still so that you can hear God say…hey, I see what you did! I love that you made someone else’s life-journey easier. I will make sure that what you’ve done has far-reaching impact so that more people hear the message of how much I love them!

 

Our ego’s are often thinly disguised by acts of charity…how can you tell? If you get upset when no one noticed what you did and how hard you worked. So what is a true act of charity?

 

True charity is this, that we love our neighbors and love God with heart, soul, strength and mind. That we see a need and fill it without judgement, without pride, without hoopla, without calculating personal benefit. That we actually don’t think about ourselves at all, but are so moved by compassion for another’s situation that it drives us, compels us to action.

 

So, yah. I quit. I’m done with seeking praise and acknowledgement from people. I want God’s approval and that means I need to do things radically different than this culture is telling me it has to be done. No social-media campaign to advertise what I’ve accomplished. Instead, a life that shouts out my love for God in the quietest of ways, in the softest of voices, in stillness of peace. 

 

I’d like to discover what a quiet life is. Care to join me?