Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Trip Around Your Imagination

When was the last time you wandered through your imagination stretching the boundary into ridiculousness and had fun?

Have you been told

  • Get your head out of the clouds
  • Focus on reality
  • You can’t do that
  • That idea will never work

I had a wonderful Masterminds meeting today as we talked about perceptions last week and imagination this week. Imagination is so important not only in creating a successful business, but in enriching our lives through practical necessity and entertainment.

When was the last time you looked at a sunset and thought about what it represented? Did you just see pretty colors? Or did you see: The wild colors of sunset romanced the dark colors of night. Tangy pink taffy melted into orange sherbert that drizzled across chocolate mountains. Then the wild stain vanished into a canvas of blinking stars. Excerpt from my book, The Confident Butterfly.

Did you even notice the sunset at all as you raced home?

I had one gentleman at the meeting ask a teenager, who happened to be attending the meeting with his mother, “What makes your imagination so different from ours [adults?] Why is it easier for you to daydream and imagine where adults have difficulty?”

That’s a good question. What do you think? Are you as imaginative as you used to be as a kid? If not, why?

I believe it all comes down to programming. Do you listen to what other people are telling you or do you listen to your own heart’s desires and intuition? Has something someone said to you hindered you, discouraged you into giving up on a goal?

During the meeting the teen stated he wanted to grow up financially independent and retire young. I thought it was a great goal to strive for. An older gentleman at the table just laughed openly and muttered, “Good luck with that.” What a dream squasher!

Is his dream impossible? No. Is it full of challenges and strategic planning to get there? Yes. I hope this kid listens to his own heart and not to the cynical adults around him. He has a real chance provided he works hard.

I stood up in the group and stated, “I’m 39 years old and I still have the same imagination as I did when I was 12. I never let people discourage me from dreaming.”

I actually had people tell me that I would never become a writer because I got C’s in English. Another one I heard was you need a Master’s Degree in English. I used to think that was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard of! All writer’s have editors and it’s the editor’s job to point out and fix those annoying comma splices and dangling participles—what the heck is that anyway?

Writers put together passionate thoughts and imagery that evoke emotion within readers. Editors dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Every writer in those bookstores has an editor, even the ones who got a Master’s in English! Guess, what? Stephen King's first editor believes I am a great writer.

If someone says to you imagination is a waste of time, tell them to go turn on a light. That little wonder started with a thought that turned into a reality. Imagination is the beginning of all inventions. It has a great purpose. You never know what inventions won’t be thought of if you tell someone to be “realistic.”

Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.
Charles F. Kettering

Do you need to dream again? Spend 15 minutes everyday imaging and playing in your mind. You never know where a little fun will take you when dealing with day-to-day stress and complications.

This is what my little book The Confident Butterfly is all about. Following your heart and living your dreams.






Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chapter Fourteen of Making Lemonade A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce

“I’m a Pit Bull”

Saturday morning I woke and readied myself for a new experience called Adopt-A-Block. The only thing I had heard about the outreach was people went to neighborhoods and gave food and clothes. God put it on my heart that I join, so I was ready for recruitment.

Arriving at the church, I saw people gathering around boxes of food and clothing and had no idea where to go. It was difficult to find someone to ask as they hurriedly gathered their supplies. Finally someone saw the “deer in the headlights” look and asked if I needed help.

“I’m new and have no idea where to go.”

“Go inside.” He pointed to the building in front of me. “Someone there will adopt you.”

Just as he said that, a voice belonging to a tall, semi-hyper man shouted, “I’ll adopt her!”

From that point, I considered myself adopted. His name was Kirk, and he led me inside and told me to sit and wait for him. With everyone seated, a pastor came to the front full of energy that mirrored Kirk’s and delivered a quick, motivating sermon.

I cannot tell you what section of the Bible he preached from, but all I remember to this day is how he said we had to have a pit bull attitude when it came to saving people, how Jesus didn’t give us the spirit of fear and to reach out with our hearts at our blocks.

A young man came up to me and told me he would be happy to take me and pointed out the mandatory background check forms we had to fill out.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” I shook his hand. “I’ve already been adopted by a group.” I pointed to Kirk.

“No problem. Glad you found someone.” Smiling, he left with his group.

Darn. He was cute. Too young for me, but cute all the same. I felt my loyalty was more important and knew there was a reason that God chose this block for me.

Kirk introduced me to a large black man who made me a little nervous. “This is Nathan, and I’m going to pair you up with him. He’s going to show you the block and what we do.” Instantly Nathan smiled and spoke to me. The intimidation factor left. He was a giant teddy bear!

We loaded up, and I caught a ride with another member to the block since I was unsure of how to get around the north side.

“Welcome to Sunnyslope,” he said as he pointed to the war zone I was about to enter.

Departing from the car, I rejoined Nathan, and we began walking the streets. I discovered he was only a few weeks old to Adopt-A-Block and told me about his first time. Taking me over to an apartment building, he pointed out the blood stain on the sidewalk.

“See this blood? This is from a guy who lived in this apartment. I came around the corner and he asked, ‘Do you speak English?’ I said, of course. Then he took his hand off his neck, and there was this gash where someone had cut his throat. I went to call Kirk, and he was standing right behind me with the same expression I had on my face. His brother was still inside the apartment, dead. Kirk told me, ‘Welcome to the block’!” If Nathan expected me to run back to the safety of my car and never come back, I’m happy to say the story didn’t deter me.

I found Sunnyslope to be nothing like its name. It’s a forgotten little corner behind a mountain ornamented with wealthy houses. On the opposite side lay middle class suburbia. Broken glass lay like shattered hope and carpeted the ground. It was as thick as the lies the enemy fed the inhabitants. A small cluster of apartment buildings flanked the sad street. Plastic windows, like blind eyes, stared out into the world. With each step the hot asphalt sucked out a little more happiness from my spirit.

“I want to go over here,” Nathan pointed across the street. “Now,” he began as he put his hand on my back and looked down on me like he was speaking to a small child, “There’s a crack house over there in that complex. If you don’t want to come, I understand.”

Drugs? Here in Sunnyslope? I had no idea. Biting back my sarcastic response, I simply answered, “I’ll come with you.”

Surprised, Nathan smiled and led me to the worst set of apartments on that street. Entering the U shaped complex, I was greeted by a parking lot covered in smashed beer bottles and condoms. Empty parking spaces were thick with black oil while others housed barely functional cars. I persevered.

Walking to the second story, Nathan kept on about how fragile I seemed and that he hoped that this experience wasn’t going to scare me away from the block. Finally, I had enough.

“Let me tell you something about me, Nathan.” I pointed to him. “The enemy doesn’t scare me. I’m not afraid of anything. I’m a Pit Bull.” Visions of ripping off the enemy’s horns danced through my head as I remembered the morning’s lesson.

Recoiling from my comment, he saw the look in my eyes and nearly fell off the balcony. At first he was angry that I would talk to him like that, but later, he respected this tiny, 5’1” woman who walked into Sunnyslope like she owned the place.

Never judge a book by its cover. Just as Nathan appeared scary to me, to him I looked like a nineteen-year-old who had never seen anything other than a silver spoon. What I told Nathan was true. I had seen the enemy. He had given me his worst for 35 years, and he was out of ideas on how to stop me from succeeding with the plans God had for me. He stripped away all that I loved, and now I was angry, and it was time I step up and fight back on his turf. Bring it on! Yes, Sunnyslope was now my block, my family.

Returning the following week, Nathan stated how much he and Kirk were amazed by me and said that this was the perfect block for me.

Nathan gave me a new name. “I have a new name for you—Ultimate Warrior. Because, Angela, you have no fear. You’re so awesome.” The following week, he changed my name to Pit Bull.

Slowly, I began forming relationships with our regular attendees in The Slope and continued searching for the hurting. Caring so much about the block, I would drive by at night by myself and pray for the people. Relaying this information to Kirk and Nathan, they had concerns for my safety. Again, I had no fear, and in some ways not a whole lot to live for.

To purchase a copy of the entire book:


Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Have a Dream, Now What?

Have you ever had a dream or a goal and told someone about it only to find they say, “Well, how are you going to do that?” Only it’s not a question? Instead it’s a deep sarcastic, dream-squashing comment.

There are always going to be people who will be threatened or jealous when you have a passion to succeed. They will criticize and try to sabotage you. Why? Because their life is a mess and misery truly does love company.

Have you had a dream or goal, but didn’t know where to begin or know if it was even feasible to accomplish?

Keep this one thing in mind, if you envisioned it, you’re the one who can make it happen.

To get started with your dream you need to write it down. Brainstorm ideas around it to include the who, why, what, when and how. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but be as specific as you can be at this point. You’ll fill in the gaps as things go along or compensate for new changes. So don’t be discouraged if you have more blanks in your specifics category than you’d like to see. Don’t let it hinder you from going forward.

You may find you’re a great ideas person, but you need help getting the project started and the specifics generated. Seek out friends, family, a person who is actually doing what you want to do or a mentor to help you along the way.

Are you great at figuring out what other people should do, but when it comes to your own life you get stuck? I’m great at ideas for my own life, but the planning may get a bit murky at times. You just need someone with a different perspective to analyze the situation. It’s like an artist who is too close to his painting to see a small detail that still needs to be created to bring the whole thing together.

Don’t procrastinate! You’ll only let fear and you’re inner critic win. And stop with the what ifs. You know, the “What if this . . . happens?” You can’t worry about what will happen. Eighty to ninety percent of what we worry about never happens anyway. And when it does, then you can deal with it and, most likely, be able to deal with it with the knowledge you gained along your journey.

Roadblocks are a part of any new challenge. You need to be creative in how to get around them. This is where you may need several people around you to generate fresh, new ideas. No one can do something alone and without proper support.

You may get discouraged along the way, and having a support group or networking group of like-minded people can help lift you up and keep you moving.

People always tell their goals, dreams and desires. You need goals, but your "WHY" is a big reason that will keep you’ll going. Know your why and you’ll continue with your dream even though you come across roadblocks. You’ll find a way to make it happen.

Keep asking these questions to find or remember your why.

Where's your fire? What do you love? What do you hate? What is really important to you? What do you really want? What situation in life do you want to get out of so it never happens again? Why is my project needed?

Why are you on this planet? In one form or another, you're here to change lives, touch lives and help people. What are you meant to do?

Stay away from the dream killing personalities—they’re literal dream vampires who will suck all the ambition and momentum out of you.

Keep moving forward despite the setbacks. I don’t think anyone ever got their plans right the first time. After all, it took Thomas Edison over 10,000 tries to create a light bulb, and in that process, he burned down one of his labs. He looked at the burned shell as a new opportunity to create a bigger and more advanced lab.

You are worth your dream, and your dream IS worth developing. Finally, keep your family and friends in the loop if they’re positive and supportive. This is especially true for spouses. If your dream takes off, they may think you traded your marriage for the goal instead of being married to them. If they stay involved then they feel like it’s a part of them, too.

Some days I get scared, my confidence is shaken. My Inner Critic won’t stop reminding me of my failures as I pursue my own dreams—to be a famous writer and life coach. There are days I can’t write a single sentence worthy of keeping let alone try to write a story or novel or self-help book. So I figured, if I can’t write during the day I’ll write at night.

I think I write better at night because my Inner Critic goes to sleep (after all, he needs to rest after beating me up all day) and Angela gets to come out and play.

With reality engulfed in the darkness, my imagination can come alive because all I see are the possibilities for my life. During this time it is easier to rely on belief rather than sight.

Find a way to live your dreams, and develop your passion. Learn to break your own bizarre rules your brain holds you accountable to and be everything the world needs you to become. We need you and what you have to offer!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chapter Thirteen of Making Lemonade A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce

You Saved My Life

One day, at the end of February, my boss called me into her office. Thoughts of getting fired entered my mind. Great, they’re tired of hearing me cry all day. It turned out to be a great blessing. Asking how I was holding up, as if it wasn’t obvious enough, she told me of a girl in another department whom I needed to get to know.

Briefly introducing ourselves, she told me of this great church she belonged to, Phoenix First Assembly of God. It was a drive, but she said it was worth it. God loved me so much He pulled me from a church where I was spiritually and physically dying to a place where I could receive the help I needed.

The following Sunday, I met her in the parking lot at work. During service, I was contemplating if I would return. I really liked the service. Pastor had a great message. The sanctuary was full of people of all ages and, according to the handout, there were several activities to get involved with. But was it worth a 45 minute drive each way?

I met up with her again to attend the 7:00 p.m. service. Joyce Meyer would be speaking. After reading her book, Reduce Me to Love, I really wanted to hear her. I was not disappointed. Her message was wonderful and fun. She had a style of delivering her message that everyone could relate to.

Lying in bed that night, I thought of the opportunity given to me. Yes, the drive was long, but the church had what I was looking for. I knew I wouldn’t be living in my duplex in Mesa forever. I liked the area the church was located. What else did I have to do? Maybe I had a new life waiting for me, and I had to make a temporary sacrifice to find that life.

My decision was made. Twice on Sundays, I traveled north to Phoenix First. The time alone in my car gave me time with God, and the drive through Scottsdale was scenic.

One night after service I stood at the front door with the girl who introduced me to the church. Her son had been part of the performance that night, and Pastor Barnett congratulated him. Pastor turned to me and shook my hand. After my last church experience, I was blown away. This man had a huge church and was taking time to shake my hand? I told him how grateful I was to be a part of his church, that I loved his messages and that he was a blessing to me. Tearing up, I also told him that he saved my life. In turn he told me that I was a blessing to him and was grateful for the comments.

I said, “I don’t think you understand. I was thinking of taking my life again until I came here. You saved my life.” A look of horror creased his face as he grabbed me and hugged me tightly. We just cried on each other.

Shortly after, I was baptized. I told myself that I had to put aside my anger and stop e-mailing hurtful things to my ex-husband. I did this when my anger got the best of me. I had to become a better person, a better Christian. It was time to be everything that God wanted me to be.

I stopped murdering my oranges.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chapter Twelve of Making Lemonade A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce

Spiritual Frost

While Steve was counting down the days until his lover would join him, I was waiting for the day I would begin healing. The week I moved in, I found a church within three miles of my home. It was a small congregation, smaller than the one I came from in Lake Havasu, but felt it should be intimate and easier to get to know the staff and meet people.

The first night I attended, I noticed everyone, minus the two people I was sitting with and another couple on the prayer team, was in their eighties and above. I knew finding friends was going to be impossible. As I looked upon all the couples, my heart was reminded how much I longed to be married and grow old with someone.

The pastor gave fiery sermons, but didn’t interact with his parishioners after service. My spiritual growth hit a hard frost. Lack of friends, family and a supportive church destroyed everything I accomplished before leaving Lake Havasu. The loneliness became a deeper pain than the divorce.

Every day driving to and from work, I screamed and cried out to God, “I want to go home! I don’t want to be here. I don’t like this place.” At night, I curled into a ball on the floor and cried until all my energy left, and my stomach cramped.

Through my pleas of telling God I wanted to go home, I would hear Him answer, We will find someone better for you. I didn’t wish to start over again. I would rather have the comfortable misery than an unknown future.

During these times when I cried, my neighbor would come over to see if I was okay and talk to me. “I’m afraid that one day I’m going to knock on your door and you won’t answer. I’m afraid you’ll be dead.” He grabbed me and cried. Ivan always provided positive comments such as, “You’re so pretty. You need to eat. Someone is going to be so blessed to have you. Look at you.” I felt God told him to check on me.

I cried all day at work in my cubicle. I cried in my car. I cried at home. I couldn’t stop. One night the pain became so desperate I couldn’t breathe. I had to cut the pain out. I stabbed the safety pen into my forearm. Tears of pain mingled with ones of heartache. Blood beaded upon my skin. Literally feeling Jesus beside me, his hand upon my back, he begged, Please, don’t do that. Please stop.

“No!” My scream echoed throughout the lonely duplex. “How dare you leave me here! How dare you take everything from me! How dare you!” Physical pain briefly masked the pain of my heart.

I couldn’t face another day. Turning off the alarm, I called in sick to work. Mulling over my options, I decided maybe I needed to go home to my mom. Maybe Montana was my new start.

When I called my mom, she seemed to bring reality to my irrational thoughts. She would be supportive and help me emotionally, but I would have to pay for the move. She reminded me there was no work to be found. And if I moved to Missoula, that would be another moving expense. I would be spending money and have no money coming in to replace it. Missoula had no guarantees either. It was also expensive, and good paying jobs were limited.

I decided to stay. I had to make the best of another mistake.

Carrying my laundry to the back, my foot rolled on an orange, nearly tripping me. The orange picked the wrong day to get in my way.


Orange juice splattered onto the sidewalk and my shoe. It felt good. After starting my laundry, I picked up several oranges and threw them against my block wall and stomped some more, venting my anger.

My energy spent, I sat and cried, then, with sticky shoes, I sauntered into the kitchen and threw them in the sink.

I did this on several occasions when I thought of his lover or remembered something hurtful.

I was early for the Wednesday night service. Slouching like a straw doll with most of its stuffing missing, I allowed myself to be swallowed by the peace of the sanctuary.

Pastor’s wife entered the room from the back. Walking from behind me to the stage, she said, “Have a bad day?” She did not stop or even wait for an answer.

Look at my arm! Look at me! My eyes shouted. Did you see that, God? Did you see how she walked past her wounded parishioner and didn’t care?

To top off my week, I had to deal with Valentine’s Day. I put on no makeup, turned off the radio so I didn’t have to hear the sappy love songs or even the love totally sucks songs, and went to bed as soon as I got home. I just wanted the day to end. I wanted the single season in my life to end. I wanted to shoot St. Valentine, but would settle for Cupid.

To purchase a copy of the entire book: