Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Change, who represents it better than the transformative chameleon?

I should mention that when taking these photos, I witnessed a papa chameleon feeding on a butterfly; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to photograph him in action. Enjoy!

Chameleon 1 Chameleon 2

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Change.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration

The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge asks, “What is your inspiration? What moves you? What is it that never fails to motivate you, to get you going, or make you happy?”

This:

Creation. Nature. Light. Truth. Authenticity. Quiet. Peace. Stillness.
Because in stillness, you connect with God and His creation. And in Him there is no lie.

Nature selfie

What inspires you?

6 Life Lessons I Discovered While Plucking Weeds

Weeds

Weeds are simply plants in the wrong place.

Weeds freak me out. They’re gnarly, thorny, and beast looking. They make my skin crawl. They start out looking small and harmless, and before you know it they’re taking over your backyard. They’ll unashamedly colonize any unoccupied territory.

Still, as much as I despise weeds, there are some great lessons to be learned from these wily plants. To quote poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” 

So here are 6 lessons that weeds can teach us about cultivating a successful productive life. Like weeds, we should:

  1. Flourish and grow rapidly: We all know the cliché “growing like a weed.” Growth and development is an essential part of successful living (spiritual, emotional, and physical). Are you growing your self-awareness muscle? Are you expanding your emotional vocabulary? Have you identified societal problems that need solving? You can’t give away what you don’t have.
  2. Be unafraid to colonize new territory: Weeds are unconscious pioneers. Leave a patch of land unoccupied, and before you know it, weeds have invaded the space. Likewise, we should seize every opportunity to occupy our sphere of influence and expand it. When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? Or tried something new?
  3. Be resilient: Ever tried to rid your garden of weeds? You pull them out and before you know it, they’ve resurfaced. Weeds can thrive in harsh climates, including those devoid of water and nutrition. To weather the storms of life, we too must be able to stand in the midst of strife. Suffering is part of cultivating the depth of our being. Experiencing hardship is needed to understand the joy of being alive. Do you embrace change or hardship? Do you welcome new challenges or shy away from them?
  4. Establish a strong root system: Weeds grow deep. If you want to prevent them from growing back, you must pluck the roots out. Ask anyone about their secret to success and they’ll emphasize the importance of family, community, and a strong support system. What keeps you grounded?
  5. Remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder: The definition of a weed is subjective, so I’ve learned. One person’s weed might be another person’s food, flower, or medicine. Take the dandelion for example. It’s considered a weed by some and a child’s flower by others – I love picking dandelions and blowing wishes with my Princess. And so in life, perception is everything. Oh the places you’ll go if you’d just open your mind to different experiences. How do you see yourself? Are people’s perceptions of you limiting your potential?
  6. Be adaptable: Weeds can thrive anywhere, and with diverse species. Adaptability – the ability to handle change (or be changed) and to thrive in varied settings – is a crucial leadership skill, and an important competency in emotional intelligence. Why? Because adaptability requires tremendous empathy and social awareness, attributes that are needed to work and play well with others. How high is your emotional intelligence?

At the beginning of this blog post I had a strong disdain for weeds, now, I appreciate their relevance to society. What lessons have you learned from weeds? Let me know in the comments.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In a Crisis.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way

Tukuyu, Tanzania

Tukuyu town, Tanzania

Roads are a lifeline for any small town. This rural road in Tukuyu town, Tanzania is buzzing with people, bicycles, and motorists who are on their way to conduct “biashara,” the Swahili word for business or professional dealings.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

Drip, drop. Splash, splash.
It's raining. 
Flowers are blooming. 
Spring makes all things new.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Forces of Nature.”

Is it Ever Okay to Have Negative Emotions?

Take a good look at these gorgeous gerberas; their beauty is meant to counteract the ugliness you may encounter in this blog.

gerberas

Think about the last time you caught a glimpse of your heart. Did you like what you saw? I’m not asking about the physical condition, but the spiritual state. The condition diagnosed in Jeremiah 17:9:

The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.

The heart is hopelessly dark

Sometimes a situation will arise that exposes the darkness in my heart forcing me to confront an ugly aspect of myself. The darkness may manifest as jealousy or envy, ugly qualities that I sure ain’t proud of. What’s frustrating is that my rational mind screams, “Eew, eew, get that away from me!” But my heart is a contradiction, accommodating these ugly emotions.

But I, God, search the heart … I get to the root of things

When God exposes icky behavior, it’s easy to plead ignorance and pretend that it doesn’t exist. It takes courage and vulnerability to acknowledge our dark passengers. We can only grow once we get to the root of things, and this demands work.

To quote my hubby, “Honesty to self is eternally rewarding; it allows us to frame the way forward on a cleansed platform.” So even though it hurts to confront our true emotions, in the end, the effort is worth it. Besides, we can’t hide from God—everything exposed by the light becomes visible, and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

Self-awareness: Know thyself

Whether good or bad, there is an upside to connecting with our emotions. It leads to high emotional intelligence—the ability to understand, express, and manage our emotions and the emotions of others. And we know that emotional intelligence is integral for:

  • Effective leadership
  • Happy and productive environments (families, homes, organizations, teams, workplaces)

According to Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence), self-awareness—recognizing feelings as they happen—is a keystone of emotional intelligence; it is crucial to psychological insight and self-understanding. Other building blocks include self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill (discussed here).

No wonder the Bible encourages us to build our self-awareness muscle (2 Corinthians 13:5):

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?

God always speaks to the real you

It’s scary to dig deep and come into contact with the real you. Many of us—myself included—don’t know what we really look like. But God doesn’t front; he will treat you as you really are, not as you pretend to be. God always speaks to the real you.

Being a stay-at-home mom, I sometimes feel stuck and envious of those who are advancing professionally. When this happens, I allow myself to experience the emotions in their raw, ugly state.

I know, Christians aren’t supposed to entertain envy or jealousy. But this is what “knowing thyself” is all about. The good news is that God’s spirit helps me manage my emotions responsibly. A combination of prayer, meditation, and self-learning are key to toning my awareness muscle.

What ugly emotions did you last uncover? What tools do you use to increase your awareness muscle?


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Quote Me.”