Being Elsa (K.Blais)

Yep, that’s right. I have become Elsa. I don’t spontaneously burst into song, nor do I conjure up a storm and freeze everything in my path when I am angry or upset (now that’s not to say that some days I wouldn’t like to!), but for all intents and purposes I like to think that I have become, at least a little bit, like Elsa.

While I have written and posted on similar topics, ideas, and concepts throughout the years, I have found myself, as of late, really relying and focusing on the idea of “Let it go”.

I have used and reused the phrase lately probably more than anyone cares to hear, and, perhaps in some ways, it has become my mantra. But whatever works, right? And “let it go” works.

I say “let it go” to my children when I recognize they are becoming bogged down and focused on issues which seem big to them, but which I know are draining their time, energy, and positivity. When their friends (or their siblings) treat them unfairly and they cannot get past the point that it “isn’t fair”, I tell them to “let it go”. They are right, ‘it’ may not be fair, but they have to recognize that, realize it for what it is, express their feelings, but then to move on.

I tell my students to “let it go” for many of the same reasons. It is important that their voices and concerns are heard, but they must also realize that it is equally, if not, more important to “rise above” and move forward. Dwelling on things which we cannot control seldom does us any good. We must also recognize that and move on.

I tell myself to “let it go” when I recognize that I am becoming weighed down by things which are not good for me to be so focused on. There are days when the world either becomes too big or too small and either overwhelms or underwhelms me. There are times when I want more and then there are times when I want less. There are moments when I forget to be simply be grateful, to be happy with what I have been blessed with, and to work for what I want.

Far too often we may find ourselves caught up in issues or business that are really none of our concern. We need to take a step back and ask ourselves some pretty serious questions when we involve ourselves in things not directly related to our own personal life. Does or should this really concern me? Does being involved in this, does knowing (or needing to know) this information really affect my life? Am I involving myself for the right reasons, or am I becoming involved to benefit or to make myself feel better? Am I holding on to something that isn’t mine to begin with? Would it be better to simply “let it go”?

One of the most interesting quotes which I have read most recently is by F. Scott Fitzgerald , “It is more important to be kind, than to be right.” Perhaps maybe we need to let go of things which weigh us down, of the things which are unfair, and of the importance of being right. It is more important to be kind than to let less than important issues and concerns hurt our relationships with others needlessly. 

Maybe it’s time we were all a little more like Elsa. 


Testing Your Patience (K.Blais)

It’s usually right around this time of year that I begin to feel frustrated. I become frustrated with a season that seems reluctant to arrive (even though technically it is here already on the calendar) and frustrated with the “in between” feel of things – between wanting to move forward and relishing the fact that I can still hold back. 

It seems that this time of year is always when the most valuable lessons in patience are given to me and my tolerance for learning through those lessons is truly tested. 

But, in thinking about that, I realized that we often find our patience is tested, not just when we are waiting for spring to finally arrive, but also throughout the year, in different ways.

We find our patience being tested with the people in our lives- when we see what they need to do to help themselves and when we offer our advice and yet they still keep trudging down the same old path. Some days that can be likened to trying to convince a drowning person that he can save himself just by standing up. Our patience is surely challenged then.

Other times we may find ourselves having to be patient with those in our life by letting them figure things out for themselves. We can offer advice, even from valuable experience, but there are times when people just need to live and learn. As much as we may want to protect them, sometimes they need to make their own mistakes and learn from the consequences which arise. It takes patience to stand back and simply watch things enfold.

We learn the lessons of patience from our own wants and desires too.  We may want things to happen in a certain way and at a certain time because we believe that is what’s best for us, but things always happen when and how they are supposed to – in our necessary patience we are reminded that it is God who knows what is best. 

So we must learn to also have patience with ourselves. We will slip up, we will regress, and we will change direction several times in our lives and on our journey. We need to be patient with ourselves throughout our own mistakes. We need to allow ourselves to fall down, as long as each time we fall, we get back up again stronger than ever. If we fall down 7 times, we need to get up 8. 

We may have all heard the phrase “patience is a virtue” and it really is. Patience is something which can be learned though- it is a behaviour of high moral standards that we can all aspire to. We may need to learn patience through timely lessons, but we are all capable of learning. 

It just might take some, well, patience. 


Don’t Wait (K.Blais)

Sometimes it’s easier to put off today what you can do tomorrow, right? 

We all procrastinate to some extent. Some of us are better at procrastinating than others. I, personally, can be a self proclaimed expert at it. 

There are times when I am very good at getting ‘stuff’ done right away, and, in fact, I’ve gotten better at procrastinating less about many  things. With some fairly recent lifestyle changes, my energy levels have increased and I’ve been much more productive in many areas of my life. But… there are still moments when I can’t seem to push myself to get to doing things. (Hence the lapse of time between this blog post and my last one, right?)

I think it’s ok to take breaks and to give yourself time to tackle things. I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason and that taking a reprieve from things (even when you don’t intend to) is good. When the time is right we often find ourselves getting back at “it” (whatever “it” is) with renewed vigour and enthusiam. 

We often place too many expectations on ourselves. This doesn’t help then when the world weighs us down with expectations as well. Sometimes it’s hard to force ourselves to clean out that closet or to get to the bank to pay the bills on time when the world is constantly screaming at us what we should be doing anyway. 

But we must remember this also: life is too short to put off doing the really important things. In a blink of an eye life can change completely. 

There are some things that we should never procrastinate in doing; the things that should be on everyone’s “Don’t Wait” list. 

Don’t wait 

To tell someone how much you care, whether that is to say I love you or to air out your differences. Life is too short to live with words left unsaid.

To show someone how much you care, whether that is with actions or deeds. Life is too short to live with acts left undone. 

To appreciate the little things in life, whether it is a sunrise or a sunset, a beautiful view or warm crackling fire. Life is too short to let the “busy-ness” keep us from enjoying the simple things.

To smile and laugh, whether it is at your own silliness or with great company. Life is too short to not laugh every day. 

To enjoy what you have, whether it is little or much, whether it is how you dreamed life to be or something completely different. Life is too short to always worry that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. 

Maybe instead of procrastinating it is better to do what you must today and what can wait until tomorrow should be left to wait. 

Life is too short to not enjoy each moment and to waste time beating ourselves up for procrastinating, isn’t it? 

Eyes Wide Open (K.Blais)

I turned 39 over the Christmas break. It wasn’t a huge monumental occasion or anything like that, but it did give me a reason to pause for a moment and think about life so far. I’ve learned a lot in my 39 years.  Probably though, I believe that I have learned more in the last 12 than in the previous 27. 

As a child, teenager, and even young adult I believe that I, in some ways, coasted through life a bit oblivious, unaware, and sometimes with my eyes closed. I had a loving and innocent childhood. I led a somewhat sheltered life, but I don’t see anything wrong with being sheltered as a child. As a teen and young adult I attended a great university, obtained three degrees with honours, and got a job in a fulfilling career field. I got married and began a comfortable life with my husband and friend. 

I grew up believing that people are generally good and want to help others. The times in my life where this was proven completely inaccurate (at least by some) were shocking and devastating to me. Betrayals, lies, injustices, and the like shook me to my core in those early days of my ‘awakening’. I quickly came to realize that not all people are good and not all people want to help others. For some this may have been common knowledge, but for me it was as if my eyes were opened wider than they had ever been. 

Twelve years ago, just about the time when I had my son and started a family, I began to realize that not everyone wants what’s best for others. Many want what’s best for them. This was a foreign concept to me in certain ways. I still struggle with understanding it to some degree as I grew up believing that if we want what’s best for everyone then what’s best for us will naturally fall into place. 

Sometimes your childhood beliefs are the hardest ones to adjust. 

In all actuality I haven’t changed that thinking entirely. I still believe that when everyone benefits we all win. I still believe that most people are good and that most people want what’s best for us, at least in my world (I hope) they do. 

But, when we encounter those individuals who are out for number one only, who take and take and take and seldom give back, who chastise and criticize us for their own shortcomings, and who look to hurt rather than to help then maybe it’s time to clean house, to take out the trash, and to burn the bridge. 

I believe in giving everyone a fair chance, but I also believe that there are times when we need to rely on our own common sense and intuition. There are times when we need to use our God-given intelligence and realize when enough is enough. There are times when we need to see those who really love us and those who only love what we do for them.

Unfortunately, it is often in our time of need, when we are at our lowest points, when we look to those individuals that we thought were our closest allies and friends, that we are brought back to reality. Sometimes we are disappointed, perhaps even shocked, by their inability to be there for us. These are the times when we need to have our eyes wide open to the individuals whom we choose to allow (and who we choose to allow to remain) in our lives. We need to ask ourselves whether the people who take the most time, energy, and love from us will actually give the same in return. 

The rest of our lives lie stretched out in front of us like an open road, whether we are 39, 59, or 79. At any age, at any stage, and in any situation maybe it’s time to pause and reflect on what we see in our lives at this point and if who we have in our lives is a positive reflection of who we are and what we hope to achieve. If we have uncertainties about those things and people maybe it’s time to ask questions and to see what the responses are. We may not always like the answers, but the questions will always be worth asking. 

Maybe it’s better to have our eyes wide open sooner, rather than later. 

How’s Your Conscience? (K.Blais)

an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.

synonyms: sense of right and wrong, moral sense, inner voice

Soooooo, how’s your conscience doing lately?

When you lie your head down at night are you able to peacefully reflect on the day and all of its blessings or do you lie awake because of things you’ve said, behaviours you’ve displayed, or because you didn’t speak or act when you should’ve?

Did you live the day by the Golden Rule or did you continue throughout the day without thinking about how your words or actions may have affected others?

Did you speak to others with respect, even if you didn’t agree with them or their opinions? Did you treat others’ feelings with care so as not to embarrass them or cause them to feel ashamed for things either you misunderstood or for something beyond their control?

Did you attempt to be honest with yourself and with others? Did you take responsibility for your own behaviours or did you attempt to blame the purpose or cause of your actions on someone else? Did you make excuses or find reasons to be ‘right’, instead of being kind?

Did you attempt to justify the choices and the subsequent actions you took, however poor those decisions were, by rationalizing that somehow you ‘did what you had to do’? Or did you acknowledge your own choices as poor and vow to strive to do better the next time?

Did you try to be a positive role model for your children, children in your care, or children around you? Did you lovingly guide those children to appropriate behaviours and manners in dealing with others? Did your own actions reflect those you want to see in our future generation?

When you fell short, did you reflect on where you went wrong and how to avoid doing so again in the future? Did you ask for forgiveness when necessary? Were you able to find peace with yourself and others in talking things through and making amends?

When others approached you with their feelings and wanted to discuss concerns they have, did you keep an open frame of mind or did you become defensive and spring on the attack in order to point out their wrongs as well?

When you lie your head down at night or look at yourself in the mirror the next morning, are you able to accept the person you’ve become?

At the end of the day can you give an honest answer to the question : how is your conscience?


Is Your Life The Perfect Storm? (K.Blais)

Have you ever thought about your life as the perfect storm? Let’s think about it for a moment.

A “perfect storm” describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances aggravate a situation drastically. (Wikipedia)

Has there ever been a time or times in your life where you have thought that nothing else could possibly go wrong and then something else did? Have you wondered and/or had regrets about the choices you have made? Have you ever wished that you had tried a little harder, done something else that may have made things somehow different than they are right now?

Many of us have had regrets, have wished for “do-overs”, or have yearned for the road less travelled. But consider this: perhaps everything that has happened to us, the good, the bad, and the ugly, has all come together to make the perfect storm which is now our life.

The ‘perfect storm’ is a bit of an oxymoron if you think about it and consider its true definition. There is nothing perfect about a storm which creates a calamitous situation, other than that the storm is the perfection of the elements which came together to create it.

I considered this as I drove home tonight. Maybe our lives are each the perfect storm in their own way because our lives are themselves “the powerful combined effect of a unique set of circumstances” like the actual phenomenon itself.

In my own self-reflecting, I considered that perhaps I have experienced betrayal and hurt from those I thought would always support me because I was meant to reach out to others who I would learn would stand by me to ride all the waves in the ocean.

Perhaps it was supposed to be that I would find myself needing to search for ways to improve the quality of my health and my lifestyle and in that search I would find a new friend and establish a great support system with others.

Perhaps the things that have happened in which I have felt wronged, attacked, slighted, or ignored, have all happened so that my own self confidence and self awareness would grow.

Maybe we are meant to lose or suffer loss somewhat in life – our jobs, our dignity, our friends, our loved ones, in order that our situation becomes aggravated enough that we are driven to change. Maybe we are meant to lose so that the storm pushes us in the direction where we can win.

Perhaps we fight, we battle, we live, we learn through all the negative and aggravating experiences in our life so that they all come together to build us into the people who we are today. If we consider it this way, then we need the negative, the bad, and the ugly, to allow us to grow and to ‘perfect’ ourselves.

All of our experiences combine themselves into the rare and unique set of circumstances which God has intended to be our life. While in most contexts anything described as the ‘perfect storm’ is most likely to have severe and negative consequences, if we think of our life as a series of factors and components which have shaped us and formed us, then maybe we can realize that our own chaotic lives are perfect storms indeed.

Calm Amidst Chaos (K.Blais)

Many of us find ourselves racing from the minute we get up in the morning to the minute we lay our heads down again at night. We rush to get up, to get breakfast and lunches made, and then we rush out the door to get to work or wherever the day may need us. We rush around at work trying to get things done, to achieve our own goals, and live up to our employer’s expectations. We rush home to our families to get supper on the table, to get to extra curricular activities, and then to get home again to get the kids and, eventually ourselves, to bed. Our day is filled with chaos, however organized it may be, and seldom do we feel or find any moments of calm.

It occurred to me today while chatting with a dear friend, that our lives are indeed chaotic and at some point there does seem to be a need to change that. In fact, my dear friend was the one who expressed this very need! Her statement got me to thinking: Where can we find calm amidst the chaos of our everyday lives?

For some of us, myself included, we rarely take time out for ourselves. We are so busy being a parent, a spouse, a friend, a (insert job title here), that we forget that before we were all of these things, we were a person first. Interesting how we can lose ourselves in being everything else to everyone else.

Now please don’t misunderstand, I am by no means implying that being those things to others makes us any less of a person, but when our responsibilities towards everyone else take priority to taking care of ourselves, even when we need it the most, that is where we can run into problems.

So, back to the question, where can one find calm when the world around us is chaos?

Surrounding yourself with positive people is a great place to start. Your closest friends should be your confidantes, your cheerleaders, the ones who go to bat for you when you can’t bat for yourself. Surrounding yourself with positive people will help you to avoid the trap of “falling into the negative” (a quote from my dear friend). And it’s ok to do fall from time to time; that’s where those positive people will help lift you up and get you righted on the waves of life again.

Calm may also mean finding something to do for you, whether it is to find a healthier lifestyle in regards to diet and exercise, or to find a hobby or pastime that you are passionate about. Decide that calm will be something that you do only for you. Think “Me Time”.

Don’t be afraid to take a break. Take some time away from your loved ones, even for a few moments, to take some deep breaths and to refocus yourself. Squirrel yourself away to read, to soak in a warm bath, or to just sit quietly to pray or meditate on life. Unplug from technology for a bit and try to remove yourself from the negativity society tries to ram down our throats. Instead, focus on the good, the uplifting, and the positive. These things can bring calm into your world in the simplest and smallest ways.

Our world will continue to be chaotic from time to time and not much may change that short of winning the lottery and moving to a deserted island. In reality, things may slow down a bit here and there, but the important thing to remember is that amidst the chaos calm can be found if you simply know where to look for it.

You Win Some, You Lose Some (K.Blais)

I was thinking about this phrase as I drove home tonight. I must say that this familiar saying seems to appropriately paraphrase my life lately.
Here’s something you may or may not know about me: I enjoy things that I am moderately “good at”. Things that challenge me are enjoyable as long as I can have a fair amount of success (even feigned success or success in my own mind) at doing them. Things that are left up to ‘chance’ often frustrate me.
Tonight I played bingo with some of my family members. It’s a simple radio bingo. You buy the bingo cards at a local grocery or convenience store and you tune in to the radio station at a certain time to hear the caller ‘call’ the numbers. You phone into the radio station if you win. I don’t play a whole lot and I have never won. My family members play regularly, but they seldom win either. To be honest though, no one really cares. It’s the time together and the laughs that we have (including the tears rolling down our faces!) that we cherish.
Sometimes, though, I get frustrated with these games of chance and perhaps that is because I believe if you work hard enough at something you can probably achieve what you are working towards, at least to some degree of success. Radio bingo is not like that. Sure I can make the effort to drive to the store to buy my cards, I can be successful at purchasing one, and I can even be lucky enough to be on time to tune in to the radio station to hear the numbers called, but beyond that there is nothing more than I can do to be successful, that is, to win. The rest is left up to chance or should I say, God’s will.
So much of life seems to operate on this idea of “chance”. I caught myself saying this week – “We should hope for nice weather and maybe we will be lucky.” This is so totally not the case though, really. That nice weather will only truly depend on the weather patterns and, ultimately, God’s plan.
It goes for other things in life as well. So much we think is dependant on chance or the luck of the draw, I truly believe is part of a bigger, deeper plan beyond our realm of thinking.
Winning or losing though has a lot to teach us. We teach our children to be gracious winners, to be good sports, and to treat others they way they would like to be treated. We should also adhere to this way of thinking ourselves.
There will be things or people in our life who seem determined to knock us down for whatever reason. That reason may be known or unknown to us, but these things will still happen. We may also seem to do and say all the “wrong” things and the only success we may have is screwing it all up or sticking our foot in our own mouth. We can definitely feel like we are “losing”.
There will be times where we seem to do the right things and find ourselves fairly successful at them. Things may seem to be falling into place and going our way. Others may support and encourage us and seem to be “on our side”. We may even seem like we are “winning”.
There will also be times when neither may be the case. We may simply feel like we are putting one foot in front of the other, some days taking five steps forward and ten steps backward, and never seeming to get anywhere. Those days may seem to be the most frustrating of them all. It is those days that seem like we are neither winning or losing, but that maybe we are at a “draw”.
In any case, winning some, losing some, we continue on, we press forward, we trust in God’s will and His plan for us. We can believe that the days will get better if they are rough right now and we know that tomorrow offers a fresh start and a new beginning. If the days have been good, we should remember to be grateful for them.
Tomorrow will offer another day to play again, or, in the case of radio bingo, next Thursday. 😉

Living, Writing, and Shootin’ Skeet: A Revisit (K.Blais)

This is one of my personal favourite posts from two years ago. I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular post lately because I truly enjoyed writing it.
Rereading this was also a good reminder that I once wrote a book I loved (and still do, even though two years has passed.) I still need to do something about that, don’t I?
Maybe I just need to take aim and shoot…

On February 18th, 2013, I finished writing my novel. This is actually the second novel which I have written, but probably the only one which will see publishing (at least it is my hope that it will). Don’t get me wrong, this novel still needs editing, touchups, and revisions here and there, but for all intents and purposes the story has ended… for now.

It took a long time to write the ending to the novel. For the most part, the story flowed quite freely, taking a lot less time to write than my first book. The ending, however, took two and a half months to write. Part of me thinks this was the case because I was reluctant to give up the characters with whom I fell in love, each in their own way. The more I wrote and thought about these characters, the more real they became. As well, at times, the small town which I wrote about seemed just as real (if not more) than my own surroundings. (I even had the strangest desire to seek out this place which I was sure existed somewhere, not just in my imagination, and planned a tentative trip out to eastern Canada to search for it. The journey, unfortunately, had to be postponed.)

Part of me also didn’t know how the story was supposed to end. I don’t exactly write following the rules – I don’t bother much with outlines and plot sketches. I’m kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer, or a “whim writer”, as my W fondly calls me. When I write, the only elements and rules that I follow are the thoughts in my head. Characters’ voices speak to me (sounds creepy I know, but really it’s not!). Inspiration comes from various sources: a picture, a thought, a phrase, even a name can trigger a story-line, action, behavior, or personality trait of a character or inspire a blog post. It’s a fantastic process – one that I don’t nearly have enough time to enjoy.

This week’s blog post was inspired by the above image.

This picture features the friend of a friend on their skeet shooting adventure. Now, I don’t know a whole lot about skeet shooting (I’ll get to that in a bit), but I do know that when I came across this photo on Facebook I was immediately struck by its strength and simplicity, all at once. It’s a simple picture, but its striking light, the black and white background juxtaposed by the coloured images in the foreground (completely naturally), and the strength and determination in the posture of the shooter spoke volumes to me. I was moved by this picture and I knew immediately that I had to write about it.

I actually knew very little about skeet shooting until writing this blog, but I will admit that it has always intrigued me. I think the first time I may have seen skeet or clay shooting was in the movie “Overboard” where Goldie Hawn’s husband is shooting skeet off of the deck of their luxury yacht. (Yes, that was a while ago.) It’s always seemed like a neat sport – much less brutal and bloody than hunting itself. tells me that skeet shooting “is a recreational and competitive activity where participants, using shotguns, attempt to break clay disks automatically flung into the air from two fixed stations at high speed from a variety of angles.”

From my readings I also learned that skeet shooting is meant to simulate the action of bird hunting. There are rules as to which skeet should be shot first, high or low, and stations set up to determine how the targets are launched from the high or low house. My eyes started to glaze over a bit on the rules (I’m generally a visual and let-me-just-try-it kind of person), but I think I got the general idea. I also found some interesting bits of history – the word “skeet” was said to be derived from the Norwegian word for “shoot” (skyte) and during WW II, skeet was used in the American military to teach gunners the principle of leading and timing on a flying target. Makes sense to me.

(In my research, I actually came across a great blog site devoted solely to skeet shooting: Bloggin’ on Skeet , which boasts Skeet Shooting 101. I like to support fellow bloggers and this is actually pretty cool stuff. Check it out here.)

So, here’s my big idea:

Living is a lot like writing. Writing is a lot like skeet shooting.

Similar to writing, living is about carving a path, creating a storyline for ourselves by the decisions and choices we make, and how we deal with the consequences of our actions, good and bad. For every action there is a reaction and a series of events which follow it. We are never stuck or defeated. At any given moment we have the power to say, “This is not how the story is going to end”. God gave us brains, instinct, and will for a reason. We are co-authors in our lives – we may ask God to guide our footsteps, but we have to be willing to move our feet.

When we go about our daily lives we set goals for ourselves – perhaps even something as simple as getting through the day. When we, as writers, create, we set goals for ourselves too. The goal may be similar to getting through the day or the week, perhaps it is finishing a chapter or making a blog deadline.

Shooting skeet is not much different. There is a goal to be attained: getting the best score possible. There are decisions to be made: where to aim and when to pull the trigger. There is the skill and precision in the act of taking aim and firing. In life, the skeet can be considered the goals we set and how we choose to take target them. In writing, the skeet are the writing pieces (whether they be blogs, reviews, short stories, or novels) which are thrown out into the world to be targeted by the shooters (the readers, agents, publishers). Skeet can also be ideas – you launch an idea into the air, take aim at your readers, and fire away in your writing. Sometimes you hit bang on (in skeet terms called dead), sometimes you completely pulverize the skeet itself (smoke it), and sometimes it’s a complete miss of the target (lost).

In writing, skeet shooting, and life sometimes you get a hit (success) and sometimes it’s a miss (the opportunity to try again). Just like a determined skeet shooter you keep trying, out of sheer determination at some points, sending skeet out high and low. It can test your patience and your skill, but generally it’s your innate desire to succeed which keeps you moving forward and completing the round.

You see, writing, skeet shooting, and life aren’t all that different. We might need to consider the following questions: Do we take initiative in life? Do we take aim and fire? Do we follow through with our goals or do we give up? Do we choose which battles to fight or do we attempt to work them out as they occur? Is our life full of incomplete rounds, indecisive ponderings, unfinished stories? When at first we don’t succeed, do we re-load and try again?

In my own life, I know that I need to get back to my current novel and finish its edits. I also need to finish editing my first book, just to have the satisfaction of seeing it to completion. I need to take aim at agents, publishers, independent publishing companies, and anyone who will read me. I need to send that skeet high into the air and fire all 25 shots. If I don’t succeed in this round, then I need to get back out on the range and try again.

I think I may finally be getting this living and writing thing down pat, maybe next I can convince the boys to take me out shootin’ skeet…

(Dear Readers, Special thanks to Grant Glover and Benjamin Czyz for sharing their awesome skeet shootin’ photos with me! Photo credits belong to them. I do believe I will be adding Shooting Skeet onto my list of “Things I Wanna Do”! Thank you for your likes, comments, and shares! Please like our Facebook page Writing For The Love of It and follow me on Twitter at @kim_blais. Keep on shootin’! ~ K ~)



CAUTION: Drifting Snow Ahead (K.Blais)

I see this sign to and from my way to work every day. It’s posted on the side of the road year round and I read it each and every time I drive by.
I love this sign. Let me tell you why.
This sign reminds me to be prepared. In the winter time I am reminded literally to be prepared about this section of the street as the open fields on either side of it allow for continuous blowing and drifting snow. The blowing and drifting often make the section of the road marked with these signs a bit treacherous at times. I am also reminded throughout the other 3 (usually non-snow) seasons that I should be prepared because ANYTHING could happen.
Now I don’t mean that I am always living life in a state of worry or even anxious anticipation. There is enough stress in life without being constantly worried or anxious about what may happen next, especially from reading a road sign. I try to remember to put my trust in God when I have those moments (days, weeks) which are worrisome and when I find myself fretting over things which are beyond my control. Things like the actions of others, what others are thinking/believing, and how their actions, however insensitive or unkind, may continue to affect me or my loved ones are issues which I don’t have much control over. Usually I am wise enough to remember that it is only the ways in which I choose to deal with and handle those concerns which I can directly control.
Preparedness is much different than worry, however. Preparedness is about being mentally ready for things in life which may happen and to not only be ready for them, but also ‘being ready’ in knowing how to deal with them.
I know it is not always possible to be ‘ready’ for everything which may occur or happen to us, or even because of us, but I do find that being prepared to handle things as they may come makes a lot of sense.
Mental preparedness can be associated with traumatic events (such as mentally preparing for survival, emergencies, or disasters), and it’s even connected to preparing to change one’s lifestyle as in quitting a habit or beginning an exercise regime or diet. But mental preparedness can also be appropriate and relevant to handling crises in the smaller, everyday life occurrences as well.
Mental preparedness is not tensely waiting for the worst, but being ready to accept things as they come.
Mental preparedness is not being completely set in our ways, but being flexible enough to go with the flow and roll with the punches.
Mental preparedness is being ready for whatever may come.
Mental preparedness is also the belief that we can make things happen and that we can have faith in ourselves to overcome whatever is in our way whether it be self-doubt, weakness, or uncertainty.
Being mentally prepared also means that we strive to become mentally strong. One way to build this is through self-talk – turning pain or discomfort into a positive, perhaps by choosing a mantra or phrase which continues to motivate us to persevere.
Another way to build mental toughness is through breathing and/or meditation practices which can reduce stress and conserve energy in order to use it in more valuable ways such as problem-solving.
Chunking whatever challenge may face us into smaller issues or tasks is another effective way to build up strength in mental preparedness. If we place our focus on these smaller steps and set mini goals we will be less likely to become overwhelmed with the larger picture.
Visualizing is often an important key to preparing to handle whatever may be presented to us. Mentally rehearsing and picturing what a successful outcome will look and sound like helps to answer the questions, ‘How will I overcome this challenge?’ and ‘What will it feel like to get through this?’
Reading that road sign every day helps me to remember that life is a series of drifting snow events.
I need to hold on to the steering wheel, scan the road in front of me, and remember to have faith because whatever drifting snow may lie ahead, I will strive to be prepared for it.