My Not So Perfect But Fabulous Life

using my big words to inspire… & hopefully make a difference

Guidance January 28, 2010

Filed under: Friends,Hope,letting go,parenthood,Uncategorized — MDunbar @ 4:05 pm

A helping hand to guide us makes all the difference!

 

I never knew how difficult life would be at times. My parents have been together for almost 50 years. I watched them interact, dad the provider, mom the disciplinarian. They had their arguments (they were the parents that silently argued. If the house was quiet,  there was trouble.) but for the most part, everything seemed easy. My Dad made a great living and none of us wanted for anything.  

I had no idea that they were shielding us from the stress and at times frustration that is parenting!  I have worked very hard to let go of worrying but it still creeps up on me. I have said it before, my girlfriends keep me grounded and somewhat sane. Something that Sean and I didn’ t have was someone to help guide us. Someone who had been there before to give us advice. By the time I was married my parents had issues with health problems and Sean’s mother passed away a few months before we met. None of our parents explained budgets, parenting during difficult times or how to get through the tough places on our own marriage.  

We have since made friends that are older and wiser than we are. Experience is the best teacher and if someone has been where you are, let them tell you what they did, whether they failed or not, so that you can learn from that. There have been many instances in my life where the person taught me exactly what not to do but I remembered what they went through, or the pain they caused those around them, and I knew that I didn’t want to cause that kind of pain. We need people in our lives to help guide us. Whether it is a pastor at your church, a teacher at your school or a friend that has been around the block, so to speak. It is important to know that no matter what, we aren’t alone. We aren’t the first to experience life and we won’t be the last. It is just comforting to know that no matter what life gives us, we can depend on those around us to help us through the tough times.  

Who in your life helps to guide you? Who is your go-to person that is always there for you?  

SOmething I always thought was a beautiful concept was this: The word Guidance means we are guided by something. I feel that God guides me and in that we are in a realtionship together.  

Guidance = God U and I DANCE!

 

Guidance means God U and I DANCE!

 

The Jones’ January 27, 2010

Filed under: Being Positive,Faith,Friends,Hope,On being a mom,Unplug — MDunbar @ 7:57 pm

What's on your list?

” We are a tribe of dogmatic individuals who strive 24-7 to have it all but as a society, we don’t know when to throw in the towel.” Ellen Miller

How many times have you found yourself fighting for something that you know you can’t win. Maybe you held on to a project that was in no way going to come to fruition or maybe you tried with all your heart to make others care about something that you were passionate about but to no avail.

We drive ourselves and work very hard. Success, by society standards, is how much money/status/material possessions that you have. I know this as well as the next person. Starting off in advertising sales and working for a society magazine, I was caught up in what I thought was important. After a mission trip to Mexico, I remembered who I was and what was really important. I started to see the things that surrounded me were not at all in line with what was really important to me. People were lying, cheating, stealing. They were miserable people who, from the outside, seemed to have everything. I was a part of that all the while feeling like something was missing.

After returning from the mission trip, I quit sales altogether and had no job in sight. I only knew I had to get out of the environment I was in. Two weeks to the day I received a call from a friend at the church we attended and there was a position that seemed to have been created encompassing everything I had ever done. I truly felt it was God showing me that I had to trust in him and everything would work out. Why was I so surprised and overwhelmed? Growing up my mom always said that if I followed “God’s instruction manual for life” that things would work out like they should.

Well, God knows I am not perfect but I do know what is important to me. I am working very hard to not let the materialistic things get in the way of what is important. It is an everyday challenge to focus on my life and his plan and let go of the consumer in me. Sometimes I fall prey to “The Jones”. They seem to have everything, right? THe surprising thing is, once inside THe Jones’ house, they don’ have it figured out either.

Bottom line is, I know what is important to me. I am focused on being a good person. I am trying to be the kind of wife, mom, daughter, friend that I would want. Do I fall short? Every single day. I am told though, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” My schedule is full of my faith, my family and my friends.

If you looked at your schedule, what ranks highest? Like it or not, it tells you exactly what you think is important.

 

Pass It On January 21, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Friends,Give Back,Hope — MDunbar @ 7:00 am

Imagine what one small thing would do...

“Pass it on” I know it sounds like a cliché but it is so true. We take things for granted in good times and are reminded, sometimes painfully in hard times, that we need one another.

I have worked with non-profits, either salaried or in a volunteer capacity, for over ten years. I know that every single thing about a non-profit is made possible through donations and support of those who believe in the cause. It has been very interesting to work at a church in these hard economic times. Two years ago the reality of the world in which we live hit home really hard. Not only was the staff stripped of most of our budget used for specific ministries but we were on a pay increase hiatus. There were many of us who opted out of a raise in order to keep our friends on staff and some positions had to be cut anyway. The people in the church were spread too thin and so they cut back in the only area they could, discretionary income. That meant some families had to cut back on what they gave or stop giving altogether. This directly effected how we began to do ministry. We had to be more creative in what we did. We had to raise funds for some of the things that were funded in better financial years. It was a difficult task and frustrating at times but we had the blessing of seeing how folks came to help. 

I went to warm up my lunch and walked through the Welcome Area to find a member who was taking her lunch hour, once a week, to come in and clean the Welcome Area. Members came up to help out with repairs. Members came to the church on weekends to help clean out flower beds and do beautiful landscaping. Members even donated materials for classes so that we could continue to offer courses. People saw a need and they helped to fill it. One person fills a need not knowing they are helping someone else meet a need. It meant so much to me that these folks cared enough about their church to go beyond and give of themselves. That is what makes my job worthwhile. Seeing people work together, seeing people come to Christ.

A young woman came to St. James to learn more about what it means to be a Christian. She took a course called ALPHA.  She started attending a Young Adult Sunday School class. She started volunteering to help a special needs child as a shadow during Sunday School class. She and a friend led the next ALPHA course. I got to be present at her Baptism, which was one of the coolest, most beautiful things I have ever been a part of. I cried.

It all started with a step. She decided to give back by becoming part of something that was bigger than she. Someone was there for her and now she is there for someone else. It’s the whole “Pass it on” thing. I wish everyone could witness the beautiful change that happens when someone finds themselves and even more, helps others find themselves. It takes every single one of us to make this all work. The volunteers offered a course that a young girl took. Now that same young girl is a vital part of the church and it’s ministry.

I realy on my family and friends and they know they can on me. I can’t imagine where I would be without them. I can’t imagine being alone in this world. The cool thing is, I don’t have to and neither do you. It all starts with a step.

 

A Cheerful Giver January 20, 2010

Filed under: Give Back,Hope,Joy,Uncategorized — MDunbar @ 7:00 am

In response to yesterday’s post about volunteering and giving back, here are a few suggestions to help you determine where you need to spend your time/money, both very valuable resources.

In Miller’s Book, a few of her suggestions are:

  • “What do you want to see changed in your lifetime?                                               
  • What are your passions?
  • Can you link your passions to what bothers you?
  • Can the organization, given time and money, effect the change?”

These are questions that will help you decide on where you want to give back and it makes a huge difference in your attitude if you actually care about the good works you are doing! I know all too well of the good friend who needs help on a project or donation for a cause they love. I have given our of guilt and later felt a let down because it wasn’t MY passion. My time and money are both valuable commodities in my life. When I give either of these, I make sure it is something I am passionate about and I can’t tell you how good it feels. You can make a difference, just step out in faith and do it! If you can’t find a charity or program to support (I personally think you haven’t looked hard enough. There are a million worthwhile causes out there!) you can actually start your own!

The next time you give to a cause, a cause of YOUR OWN choosing, give cheerfully and know that you are doing your part to make this place a better world.

Here are a few unique gift ideas that keep on giving:

  1. Throw a party and instead of gifts, all donations go to the charity of your choice!
  2. Have a party at an animal shelter where guests help wash the animals and give them a prime adoption look.
  3. Donate an animal through Heifer Project International, to a 3rd World Country to help them become more self reliant! My brother-in-law was single at the time and we bought a “chick” and donated it in his name!http://www.heifer.org/site/c.edJRKQNiFiG/b.204586/
  4. Purchase a “Good Card” at http://www.sixdegrees.org/ and the recipient can give that amount to the charity of his or her choice! How cool?!?
  5. Help the victims of Haiti by visiting http://www.redcross.org/ 
 

Change A Life January 19, 2010

Filed under: Give Back,Hope,Uncategorized — MDunbar @ 10:24 am

Under the bridge Ministries: Feeding the homeless one meal at a time.

 

Today’s reading is focused on philanthropy. This I know a lot about because I have been active in so many non-profits. I volunteer because I find it fulfilling and because I feel like it is our duty to give what we can to make this world a better place. I have been at a point in the past where I was doing way too much. One thing that caused me to pause was that I was volunteering  out of a sense of obligation rather than passion. Not so much recently though. Due to family issues I had to back off from everything. I took a year off. I am slowly getting back into volunteering. I am committed to helping the homeless thanks to some very dear folks at our church. I go on mission trips as often as I can. I am helping the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raise funds for research. I donate artwork, calligraphy and other things as I can.  

I encourage everyone to find one thing that you are passionate about and get involved. There are so many great causes out there that I am sure you can find a place to use your talents. Whether it is time, money or talent, use what God has given you to make an impact on this world. You never know what life you might impact and I assure you, you will feel the blessings ten fold!

 

If by Rudyard Kipling January 18, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Hope — MDunbar @ 9:25 pm
These are beautiful words that my husband shared with me. He keeps this poem posted on his mirror to help him focus everyday. It is so beautiful to think we could be this kind of person. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
  
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!