Measures of Success

The smell of melted butter and sweet hot chocolate wafts through the room as I flip the choc-chip chocolate pancake. A few minutes later I slide it onto a crisp white plate, top it with maple syrup, strawberries, and a generous dollop of fresh cream. Sunday morning brunch with my family. This is success.

Success - let's be honest we are all striving for some. The opposite, failure, is something we grow and learn from, but it's not something that we work toward. It's easy to feel like a failure, one look at Instagram, or social media and life can look pretty disappointing. It's easy to succeed at failing.

Comparing our situation to others isn't always fair or accurate. Someone may be smiling widely on Instagram but be completely broke. A couple may look happy in Facebook photos but be on the verge of divorce. Even when a family may be genuinely laughing on a skiing trip, we don't know the personal struggles and privileges each person possesses. The road to failure is always successful when we compare ourselves to others. 

Success is an individual event. One person's success may be a normal day for someone else, or it may be a completely unreachable event for another. Measure your triumph against your own growth and ability. 

Have you every asked yourself, what does success mean or look like for me?

What is success at work?

What is success at home?

What is success in my family?

What is success in my health?

How is today's success different to the past?

When I started out as a Bible worker in 2004, I was being paid less than $5 an hour, which was a real struggle. At the time one of the pastors I knew would bake muffins for their sick parishioners. I so desperately wanted to do that, but it was financially prohibitive. 

Now, one of my measures of financial success is always having enough ingredients in the fridge and pantry to bake someone muffins. If you come to my house at any given time, I always have ingredients to bake you something sweet and comforting. This is success. 

2014 Flash Back!!!

2014 FLASH BACK!!!

I'm not sure what the deal is, if the media has become like high-school mean-girls or if as a society we've degenerated into believing that looks are all that matter.

Whatever the case, when did petty name calling and snide comments become a socially acceptable way of communicating? I read a mainstream magazine last week and some of the comments written under the Golden Globe Gowns section left me concerned.

I'll admit, the last time I viewed a glossy was in the 90s, but the denigrating comments were horrendous. What ever happened to "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?"

Celebrities are people too, and those comments aren't water off a ducks back. The negative diatribes stick and you end up with damaged individuals - ever wonder what happened to many of those Disney and Nick kids we've seen disintegrating before our very eyes?

I can only imagine how the celebrities parents, family, friends, or spouses must feel reading those repulsive quips.

Let's try to be an uplifting current, let's stop tearing down the tall poppy and build people up. 

I loved Jennifer Lawrence's dress, it reminded me of a very fancy version of The Little Mermaid's dress. Ariel won Eric's heart in that frock, and Lawrence won the Globe. 
So lets focus on the positives and be kind.

The Magic of Reading

There is no place so inspiring as the pages of the right book at the right time. 
At any given time I am reading multiple books. Currently, I am reading a frivolous novel. A book about church health. A guide to writing. The final transcript of an inspiring professor. A tale that promises better sleep. And a leadership book that encourages frog consumption. 

Most of my life I have been carried away on the wings of stories. 
I watched the Aslan the Lion sing the world into being.
I ran through the snowy mountains with the Silver Brumby.
I found a purpose driven life with Rick Warren.
I wept as Charlotte passed from the world and saved Wilbur’s life. 
I hated Alison Ashley. 
I felt the fear and did it anyway. 
I glimpsed the world of Wormwood the Demon with C.S. Lewis. 

So many adventures and lives lived through the pages of a book.
Yet, the book I have read most often and repeatedly is my Bible. No matter how many times I read it, I find something new. It never ceases to inspire me.

Today make time to read (or if you’re not a reader, listen to) something that will inspire you. 
As Emily Dickinson said, “To travel far, there is no better ship than a book.”