“I believe that God has put gifts and talents on the inside of every one of us. When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you’re a person of influence and a person of purpose, I believe you can rise up out of any situation.”
Talent shows! They are always interesting and very entertaining don't you agree? Several months ago we had a fantastic talent show at my school that my students and I really enjoyed. The only problem was that many of them had auditioned for it, but sadly had not made it. This is understandable as they are very young and only so many acts can be included. It was obvious though how disappointed they were to not be able to perform, so I made them a promise. My promise was that before the school year was up, we would have our own talent show where everyone from my class who would like to perform could do so for peers, parents and anyone else I could round up! Well today was the big day! Today we had a wonderful class talent show in our own little classroom. Desks were pushed aside. Chairs were set up and our carpet area was magically transformed into the "stage" where they were to make their big debut! Among the variety of acts were singing, dancing, comedy routines, magic tricks, hula hoop stunts and even mime theater. The really cool thing about this show is the eight year old students came up with their individual or group acts with minimal input from me. The students were so excited and very confident performing. It was wonderful and heart warming to witness. The show was such a success that we are going to do an encore performance next week for some other classes and parents who were unable to attend the original show. It was very touching for me to see the level of enthusiasm and effort the kids put into the show. I told them that each had the option of performing or simply watching the show if they preferred, yet all chose to participate which was wonderful. It is so exciting to see a child having a moment he or she will always cherish. I could tell this was to be a memory that would be filed away as something unique and special from their school days. I felt honoured to be some small part of this with them. Our grand finale was a real crowd pleaser. It was a lively rendition of Hard Knock Life from the Annie musical. When the show was over, I was so grateful that I had taken the time to allow them to showcase their talents and skills. It was so obvious that it meant so much to them as they grinned from ear to ear and took their enthusiastic, final bows. This is a memory as their teacher I will always cherish as well.
I love to watch the show America’s Got Talent. I find it especially exciting to watch the first auditions of acts that you know are going to really make it big! It gives me goose bumps watching some auditions as you can literally sense the power of the moment. The literal moment where this person’s life is about to drastically change is unfolding. Many acts have caught my attention through the years. I felt so impressed when little Jackie Evancho took the stage. She is a young opera singer who absolutely took the audience by surprise with her polished, mature voice of an angel. I was thoroughly enthralled by Terry Fator who is an amazing ventriloquist. He sang elaborate and complicated duets with his puppets, many who were female with perfection. Last year’ s winner Kenichi Ebina also was incredible. What he describes as a "dance- ish" performance was unreal and I am so glad he won as he was my favourite from the start. I have included his original audition below for you to enjoy. I love it when the judges ask each person or act what they are going to do and sometimes you see them smirk or roll their eyes before the act starts. The camera keeps rolling and the “judgmental” judges are later on their feet in thunderous applause with the crowd! I love it when that happens, as many people have incredible talent within them. They just haven’t had a chance to showcase it yet.
I am a vocalist and I remember feeling that way in high school. I love to sing and had sang in church many times, but had never had an opportunity to sing at school. My chance came and I was nervous, yet incredibly excited. I hoped the crowd would receive me well. My first solo in high school was for a Remembrance Day assembly. I sang an Amy Grant song called “I’ll Be Waiting.” I was accompanied by my sister Judy on keyboards, and two friends on bass and drums. This song is about the prodigal son returning, and although it is not a Remembrance Day song, the lyrics were very suitable as it talks of someone longing for their loved one’s safe return. This moment was so surreal. I could feel it was to be a turning point for me! I was singing a solo for my entire school and this was my dream come true. Pinch me! I also could sense to my relief and delight that people were actually enjoying it! This was the real icing on the cake! From then on I got many solos at school and my confidence soared. It was so powerful when you feel that people believe in you and support your abilities and talents!
Many of us have talents just waiting to emerge, but may be unsure of what others may think. Don't worry about that. You will meet people on your journey in life who will celebrate you and others who treat you like you are invisible. My advice is focus on those who bring out the best in you! They are the true friends and the folks who help us become better people. I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy at times through the years. I have often wanted to do things, but felt someone else would do a better job, or was very nervous about failing, or was unsure if I should step out into unfamiliar waters. Feeling vulnerable and out of my comfort zone is not one of my favourite scenarios that is for sure. I have come to realize that life is too short and I don’t want to live with regret. I want to use the talents that God has given me to bless and help others and I pray for direction daily on how I can best do that.
There is no one out there just like you. Of all the people in this entire universe, you are the only one who is you! Just ponder that for a moment. Isn’t God’s creativity amazing that He could create that many different kinds of special and incredibly unique people? Wow! We serve an awesome God! You, yes you, have something special to offer this world that only you can give. You may not know what it is exactly, but God does. He wants to use us for His glory if we allow Him to. I encourage you to pray about this and make yourself open to new possibilities. God can open doors that no man can shut and take you on a journey you could not have dreamed of if you are willing. If you are discouraged remember that you are an amazing person with incredible abilities and potential. There is a “stage” out there for you and your unique audience awaits. I have many mentors along my life’s journey and one of my mentors who has helped me immensely with my writing career said to me recently, “ I am so excited for you and how your writing is taking off! I know I will look back and will be able to say that I knew her when she was just starting and now look how far she has come!” I really value his opinion and his kind words meant so much to me. When others see potential in us, it allows us to look deeper inside too and recognize what we have ready to offer this world.
Finding our callings, passions and truly using our talents and abilities to the fullest can take time. Be patient. You will be glad you did and so will those around you as they stand to their feet and celebrate you believing in yourself and becoming all that God has for you. Your moment is coming! Can you feel it? I can and I have goose bumps!
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
Little Lesson Learned: Everyone has something he or she is good at. That something can be a great blessing and encouragement to others!
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014
“ A successful marriage requires falling in love many times
and always with the same person.” Mignon McLaughlin
This weekend my husband Phil and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that we have been married almost 25 years as the time has really flown by! I fondly remember how I first met Phil. I was on summer break from university, desperate for a job and feeling let’s just say … very lonely. "Looking for Love in All The Wrong Places" could be my theme song at that time sadly I guess. I asked my mom to approach friends of ours, the Romualdi family to see if I could get a job at their grocery store for the summer. Unfortunately they did not need summer help, but I was offered at first much to my dismay … the job of their housekeeper. My initial reaction was an absolute “no,” as this was not the type of work I had in mind. After some convincing, my mom got me to give it a try as she knew the family well, and knew that it would be a very positive and pleasant experience with Mrs. Romualdi working right alongside me. Well it did end up being a great job. They had a gorgeous home on the lake and working alongside Mrs. Romualdi, I grew to appreciate and love her dearly. We took many breaks, had great, long chats and she ALWAYS gave me the more pleasant housekeeping duties as this is just the type of person she is. Well to make a long story short, her son Phil came up often in our many conversations and one day he came home for lunch when I was working. I guess the rest is history! We hit is off right away! Not only was he incredibly handsome, but he had a wisdom beyond his years, a strong desire to settle down and a very sweet and sensitive nature I was immediately drawn to. It was like that feeling of I have known you all my life, “yet where have you been all my life?” all at the same time! Phil was such a breath of fresh air. He lived right down the street from me, but it took me a while to find him. I am so glad I did and I know that it was clearly God’s timing and plan for us to meet and marry.
So this brings me to where I am today, reflecting on 22 years of marriage. We have sure had our ups and downs, and no marriage is perfect believe me, but there are many things that Phil has done to contribute to the success of our marriage and I would like to speak about that at this time. I have certainly tried my best to make our marriage work as well, as it takes two to have a successful marriage but I really want this blog to be what I appreciate about my husband Phil. I want to put "trait number six" into action if you will so here goes! Phil you keep teasing me about when I will write a blog about you, so here it is. I hope you like it! The Six Traits of Successful Marriages and How They Apply to My Husband Phil!
Trait Number One: Love your spouse and hold him or her in high regard above all other people. I have always felt loved and valued by Phil. He encourages me daily through his words and actions. He is my biggest fan. Besides writing, I love to sing. He has sat through more concerts of mine than I can count and will clap with gusto like he has never heard that song before each time. I don't know if I have ever even thanked him for that so thank you Phil! He works afternoons, but calls and texts often to keep in touch, which is very appreciated. As much as he loves our kids, I know that I have that that special top priority spot in his heart. He makes sure we take time for just the two of us and it is really healthy for our relationship.
Trait Number Two: Listen to and value your spouse’s dreams and goals no matter how grandiose or challenging they may seem. The fact that you support and really listen to your spouse about these special aspects of their lives makes all the difference. I have many dreams and goals and Phil has always been my biggest cheerleader. I had a dream to write and publish a book which I have done called Magic Kisses: A Grief Journey From Heartache to Hope. Phil has supported me from the start with this dream, as he was the first to propose I consider it. Though we had some challenges and hurdles taking it from an idea to reality, Phil’s belief that it would one day be a reality for me never wavered and I am so thankful for that!
Trait Number Three: Strive to bring out the best in each other.
I have often told Phil that he is the wind beneath my wings, but I really feel that. Phil and I are a great team. In some ways we are quite opposite, but I think that is why our marriage works. Phil has helped me grow in areas I struggle and has taught me many things. It was Phil’s idea that I become a teacher which I am today. It was not of interest to me originally as I am a social worker and at the time I was quite content working at our local library. Phil kept revisiting that notion of me teaching seeing the potential I could have to use my skill set and really help kids in a powerful and meaningful way. His encouragement and belief in me gave me the courage to leave a profession I enjoyed and head off to teacher’s college on a new and uncertain path. This has been a very positive move for me and I know I would not be where I am today without Phil’s support.
Trait Number Four: Stick together when the times get tough. We have been through many challenges as a couple like our family business Phil’s Leamington Foods being forced to close, several miscarriages, unemployment, deaths in the family of close loved ones, and many career changes. It has not been easy but through it all with God at the center of our relationship we have made it through. Phil has listened to me endlessly talk about heartaches, stressful situations, uncertain scenarios, and depressing topics. Through it all he has offered a listening ear, good advice, a kick in the pants if needed and a reassurance that he is right beside me all the way, no matter what we go through. A true test of marriage is how it stands during the tough times, and it is these tough times that can really make your marriage stronger if you allow it.
Trait Number Five: Keep God at the center of your relationship. This simple statement will help you immensely. Phil takes pride in being the spiritual leader in our home. He prays often for us and about us. He believes in and values what we have and knows that no matter what comes our way with God as part of the equation, we can take it one day at a time. If this is not a part of your marriage at present I urge you to invite God into your marriage and see what happens. You will be very glad you did I can assure you, as no longer are you alone as a couple but have every issue covered by the Lord Almighty. This is quite reassuring!
Trait Number Six: Say and show you love each other often!
My husband says and shows me he loves me often. He often takes me out to dinner or will drop by with a coffee at work to show he cares. Mornings are hectic at our house and I do try to do my part but no word of a lie, because he works afternoons, before he leaves for work he tidies up the entire house, doing lots of extras like deep cleaning and wash! I am very blessed! He is a custodian and his organizational skills and cleaning abilities really come in handy around our home!
So those are some of the things I appreciate about Phil. God has blessed me and I am truly thankful. He is not perfect but perfect for me. Our marriage is not perfect but we value it and feel that it is worth fighting for. Maybe your marriage is similar, better or worse. No matter what the state of your marriage is though, it is NEVER too late to start trying to make it better. Consider these six simple traits and put them to work today. You and your spouse will be so glad you did! Believe me! God bless!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ~ Two are better than one… for if they fall, one will lift up the other.
Little Lesson Learned: A good marriage does not just happen. Take time to value it and nurture it. It is worth the effort!
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014