Let Go of Self-Doubt: Trust Yourself

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“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”-Suzy Kassem (Brainyquote.org)

Today, I was teaching English to a classroom of English as Second Language students. These students are often riddled with self-doubt about communicating in English. They share with me their reasons for wanting to learn English.  Their dreams are as diverse as they are.  The desire to reach dreams/personal goals is a universal desire that springs from  the depths of the human spirit.

One particular student this morning really got me to thinking about the negative, soul-crushing impact of self-doubt. She was so afraid that she couldn’t complete the activity sheet that she just sat at her desk and stared at it, lost. I sat next to her and asked her quietly to just simply do as best she could, that it was okay if she didn’t know everything, that she should at least give it a try. Well, she mustered up the courage and ended up shocking herself when she completed the activity sheet and scored high on it. The expression on her face was one of joy and surprise. I could see her confidence build as she realized that by trying she had succeeded. If she had not challenged herself and moved through her self-doubt she would never have known that she was capable of success.

Yes, doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will because if you are riddled with self-doubt you simply are too afraid to try.

Whatever my student’s personal dreams are, hopefully her experience today in my classroom will serve as a reminder that by moving past self-doubt and taking a chance she can succeed if she perseveres.

Whatever your dreams are, do not give into self-doubt. Of course, we all fail from time to time, but never stop trying to move forward. Life is a journey. Be hopeful, be confident, persevere. God is with you; you cannot fail. You can learn and move forward. Always move forward.

Blessings to all.

 

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

 

Do Something! Don’t Just Sit There!

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“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”- Benjamin Franklin (Brainyquote.org)

It has been said that life is an adventure. I truly believe that. We limit ourselves by our own negative self-talk. We procrastinate and put off what we should be doing to move ourselves forward toward the fulfillment of our hopes, goals and dreams.  If we don’t take the first step then nothing will ever change in our lives.

Tonight, I submitted a poem to a magazine. Last night, I did the same. I am doing something to move myself toward my goal as a writer. I want to be published and I am taking actionable steps to fulfill my goal. There is a certain risk that I might fail; there is also the possibility that I will succeed.  Doing nothing is a definite way not to succeed so I have chosen to do something tangible in order to succeed. I am working toward my goal each and every day now.

If there is something that you want to accomplish, set aside at minimum an hour a day to accomplish your goals. Make time for your goals. Write them down in a journal and check them off. Do not be discouraged; do not worry about whether you will fail. Consider that you will succeed only if you persevere and do not give into the negative self-talk that holds you back.

Do something! Time is precious. Cherish it.

May God bless you and keep you and give you courage to reach your full potential.

I look to Him for my strength always.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

 

 

 

At Least Try!

 

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“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”- Beverly Sills (BrainyQuote.org)

This year I have been thinking a lot about what it means for me personally to be successful. Where do I truly find happiness and fulfillment? Writing and expressing myself through positive messages is one place where I find happiness. I find happiness in creating poetry and fiction. I write because I love it. I want to share my writing with others. Hopefully, my words will inspire others. Each week I plan to submit my writing-poetry and short stories to contests, magazines, etc. A few minutes ago I submitted a poem to a literary magazine. You know what? I am not worried about whether or not it gets accepted and published. I have tried. I have taken a step forward. I have not hidden my writing away for fear of rejection and fear of failure. I don’t want to doom myself by my own inaction. Like Beverly Sills has so eloquently put it, if a person doesn’t at least try, he or she is doomed.

If you are afraid of rejection; if you are afraid of disappointment, just remember these words that Beverly Sills has spoken. Don’t doom yourself; at least try. This is a brand new decade. Go ahead and challenge yourself to make it the start of your most successful decade.

May God bless each and everyone of you with His love, peace, and protection always.

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

Living Fearlessly

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Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears-” Les Brown (Brainyquote.com)

I saw this quote in a 2020 journal I purchased a few weeks ago. It got me to thinking about all the opportunities that I have personally not taken because of fear of failure, fear of rejection, undefined fear, fear that I was not capable enough to actually succeed if I attempted to take action on something I truly wanted to accomplish; fearful living is not living at all.

2020 is a fresh start and I have challenged myself to dedicate at least two hours daily to my writing.  So far, so good. I refuse to listen to that negative voice that tells me all the reasons I shouldn’t even try; I refuse to give into fear of failure and fear of rejection.

Truth is that in this life we are all limited editions with limited time in this space. Think about it-no one will ever in the history of this universe ever be exactly like we are as individuals. There will never be an exact replica of you or me. We are each unique with our own passions and dreams; we are incredibly precious souls who are here for such a short time when we consider the millennium that has come and gone, and is yet to come.

Lately, I have been looking back over old family photos. Some of the photos date back nearly a hundred years. I look at my grandmother’s face from so long ago and wonder what her joys were, as well as what her fears were. I have a photo of my father when he was in his early twenties. His face was tense and there was a haunting sadness in his large dark eyes; I wonder what was the source of that palpable sorrow. What did he fear at that moment? The year was during the early days of the The Great Depression. Had he been afraid of hunger? What fears had dogged him? How had those fears impacted his future?

Fear robs us of our future; it robs us of our potential. Fear paralyzes us with its worst case scenarios and catastrophic imaginings. Nothing is ever as bad as we imagine. We do not realize just how much power we do possess within our own spirits to accomplish great things for ourselves, as well as for others.

II Timothy 1:7 says: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Psalm 27:1 says: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

The Lord is with us in our sorrows; He is with us when we are afraid, as well.

A strategy I have implemented in 2020 is to fight back against those fears by reminding myself that God has given me a spirit of power, not a spirit of fear. When I am not strong enough (which is often), I remind myself that the Lord is my strength.

It is my total reliance on the Lord’s strength that gives me the courage to live fearlessly even when negative thoughts try to tell me otherwise.

 

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

 

 

A Favorite Quote

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“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.”- Vince Lombardi

 

 

Life has it’s ups and downs.  In my last blog, I wrote about my cousin Betty and her passing from this earthly existence to her eternal home.

Nothing in this life stays the same. We are all moving forward on our journey. At times, it is easy to give into despair and anxiety. It is difficult to accept this life’s twists and turns, but we must accept these changes whether we feel like it or not.

Like Lombardi implied, it is getting back up that truly matters.

These last few days I have prayed and read scripture, shared my feelings with my best friend, and released my sadness at the loss of my cousin Betty. Life is about changes, nothing remains the same. We have to grieve; we have to also honor this precious, fragile existence and not give into the abyss of despair.

This morning as I was eating breakfast I looked out the window at the majestic oaks in my back yard, and I watched hawks gracefully soar across the light blue sky. The sun peaked through the branches of the cherry laurels. Squirrels darted from branches high above oaks. The world in the early morning hour was truly beautiful.

I am thankful to God for this life that He has blessed me with. It isn’t always easy, but I know that He is with me just as He promised. God keeps His promises and I know that I am not alone. God gives me the strength to get back up even when I don’t think that I have any strength left.

 

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

Goodnight, Betty

 

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On January 21st, my cousin Betty died of cancer. Her last days were spent with family. Hospice provided the necessary in-home care with a morphine drip. Cancer is excruciatingly painful and nasty. She was down to only fifty-nine pounds when she died.

On my cousin Libby’s last visit with Betty, she told Betty that she loved her so much; Betty, although weakened, sat up and said “I love you more” with emphasis on the word “more.”

On this cold, rainy, and dreary Saturday night in the midst of winter and sorrow I ponder the meaning of this life, of the space of years that Betty lived, that I have lived, that we all have lived. What is the sum total of our days from the hour of a birth until our final breath? What have we all done here on this earth in that space allotted to us between our first breath and our last? Did we say “I love you” enough? Did we spend enough time with those who meant  the most to us? Did we share the treasures that Our Lord blessed us with? Were we petty and cruel? Were we apathetic and unforgiving? Did we waste our hours in front of a computer screen or television screen when we could have been sitting across a table drinking coffee and laughing with that person we loved most in the entire world? Did we lend a hand to the lonely and lost? Did we share? Did we love? What are the sum of our days?

I cannot go back and relive one lost second of my life. If I could, I would gather all my cousins around me and we would spend endless hours just laughing and talking and drinking sweet tea and eating pecan pie way into the late hours of the night.

It is said that time waits for nobody. This is true. You nor I can stop its passage. You nor I have the power to go back and spend one more second with those whom we loved. Once time passes, it is gone forever.

I plan to call my cousin Libby tonight and make plans to spend a week with her in the spring. This life is so precious and fragile; none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

Libby and I talked earlier about how Betty is home with Our Lord and that she is no longer suffering. I truly believe this to be the case. God created us and we return to Him. I truly believe that one day I will have a homecoming and I will see my Lord face to face and that I will see Betty and I will see all those whom I have loved in this life.

This life is not the end; death is not the end. Our spirits are eternal.

For now, I say Good night Betty, but I know that at the end of these earthly days, I will be reunited with her and all those whom I have loved.

Good night, Betty.

 

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

 

Need Your Opinion

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Hi Everyone,

This is the cover of my poetry book I put on Amazon/Kindle almost two years ago. It has not been selling. I have tried to market it on WordPress. Other bloggers have been very kind and have promoted it, as well as reviewed it. For this support I am very thankful.

I am also very discouraged because I feel that it has just been sitting out there in the virtual world despite my best efforts. Perhaps, my best efforts aren’t enough. I am very happy for those of you who have had success in promoting your books and making sales. I am not sure how you have managed to do it; perhaps, you all are far more outgoing than I am.

I am seriously considering removing my poetry book from Kindle/Amazon and looking into reaching out to more traditional publishers or literary agents. Maybe they can help me or advise me. I am not sure what to do. All I know is that I feel very isolated in this virtual world of writing. I feel as if I am flinging my words into an abyss, a black hole in a limitless expanse of nothingness. I, in short, feel as if I have been swallowed up by an immense void of darkness and silence. It has become quite deafening, this silence.

I have always loved to write. I have been told that I am a gifted writer. I have been rejected more than I have been accepted, however. Go figure. The world is upside down, anyway. I have grown to expect very little from it, except for occasional glimmers of light in an otherwise dark tunnel.

Thank you all so much for your encouragement over the past few years that I have blogged on WordPress. I do plan to continue blogging. I do so enjoy it. I just am quite disappointed in not seeing my poetry book reach more readers. Maybe it’s just that the world is just so big and there are so many writers and that time just marches on and that we just cannot control for destiny or the lack thereof.

2020 Copyright Jenny W. Andrews

 

 

 

Festival of Lights

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Chag urim sameach!

Happy Festival of Lights.

Hanukkah begins at sundown December 22nd and is celebrated until nightfall December 30th, this year.

It is a celebration of family, freedom and light.  Hanukkah means “dedication.” Historically, the origin of Hanukkah began in the year 168 BCE when Antiochus Epiphanes IV attempted to squash Judaism. The Maccabean Revolt ensued in which the Jewish rebel Judas Maccabeus defeated Antiochus Epiphanes IV. The Jews rededicated the Temple after the Greek occupation of that holy place. A small quantity of oil miraculously kept the Temple menorah lit for eight days.

Hanukkah is primarily celebrated on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev (late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar). It is entirely coincidental that it falls near Christmas.

For Hanukkah, families gather to light the menorah, pray and sing hymns, exchange gifts, and enjoy latkes and jam-filled donuts, just to name a few activities.

Tomorrow night, on the river front in my town a menorah will be lit a few feet from the Christmas tree. As a community, we will all gather to offer our prayers for peace. In this late December, it will promise to be a cold, dark winter night; however, the lights from the menorah will shine forth and unite with the glow from the Christmas tree lights just a few feet from it. As God’s people, we will join our voices together to ask for peace, to ask for justice, and to ask God to protect us as we turn our faces toward the future.

This can be a cold, dark world, filled with cruelty and hatred. It can also be a beautiful world filled with light. It is up to us all to be that light, to shine bright like the candles in the darkness.

May our hearts be filled with the light of God’s love.

May God’s peace be with us all.

Amen.

Copyright 2019 Jenny W. Andrews

 

Research sources:

reformjudaism.org/hanukkah-history

myjewishlearning.com/article-the-macabean-revolt

 

 

 

Go Ahead and Sing!

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“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.”-Rumi (beliefnet,com)

I love this quote because it reminds me of the importance of just being oneself. We waste way too many years of our lives worrying about other people’s opinions of us. Truth is that we are all different in our own special ways; we all have been blessed with a variety of talents. Nobody is exactly the same. Imagine how absolutely drab and boring this life would be if everyone were exactly the same.

Everyone has differing opinions. This fact should validate our own right to be different. We should follow our own hearts with the secure acceptance that not everyone is going to approve of us. We don’t need everyone’s approval. We just need to be the best possible version of ourselves. The litmus test is if we can look in the mirror and feel proud of the reflection looking back at us. We should enjoy the freedom to live our fullest life according to our own hopes and dreams, not other’s approval or disapproval.

At the end of the day, it is your own reflection that you have to deal with.

We should strive to “sing” our own songs with joy without worrying about “who hears us or what they think,” to paraphrase Rumi.

 

Copyright 2019 Jenny W. Andrews

There is Always a Sunrise

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2019 is quickly coming to an end. Soon enough it will be history. Endings can be sad; in fact, depression increases this time of year. We tend to dwell on those goals we failed to accomplish; we tend to dwell on what could have been and what should have been. We tally up our losses and oftentimes neglect to consider our gains. The truth is that we cannot undo what has been done; we cannot go back and do what we should have done. We have to reconcile ourselves to our choices. It is too easy to search for someone or something to blame for our failures. Of course, we are influenced by conditions beyond our control, such as downward turns in the economy and illness.

We can, however, control whether to watch a movie on Netflix or write a chapter of our novel. We can control whether to spend money on buying shoes we don’t really need or donating money to a reputable charity. Our time is precious and once spent it is irretrievably gone forever.

We must reconcile ourselves to the consequences of our choices. If we waste our precious time dedicated to actions that do not move us towards our definition of prosperity (spiritual, physical, emotional, mental) then we have to reconcile ourselves to those consequences.

It takes courage to accept consequences for our own actions.

In 2020, define what your purpose is in your own life. What matters the most to you? How are you planning to achieve your purpose? What will this time next year look like to you?

Jeremiah 29:11 states: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Clearly, you do not have to go it alone. God is ever-present and is supportive of you. Lean on His support. He wants you to prosper and he offers you hope and a future.

A quote of which I have not been able to attribute to an author is:

“God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggles, and a reward for your faithfulness. Don’t give up.”-unknown author (spiritualcleansing.org)

Don’t give up. Just don’t give up. God has a purpose for your life. Find that purpose. You have a purpose. Ask God for guidance to find that purpose. Lean on Him.

Unfortunately, in our world people tend to define success in monetary terms; in truth, success has a far greater definition than just money. When I think of a successful life, I remember my mother and how she shared love and joy. She genuinely loved from her heart and soul. She was never monetarily rich, but her spirit was rich beyond measure.

Define what success is to you. How will you achieve your definition of success?

Zig Ziglar wrote: “You are a success when you have made friends with your past, are focused on the present, and are optimistic about the future.” (Ziglar.com)

2020 is a new year. It is a new decade. This life’s journey only goes forward; there is no turning back on this road.

There is, however, always a sunrise.

With each new sunrise, how are you going to spend your precious time?

Copyright 2019 Jenny W. Andrews