My Reflections

And Relax . . .


If 2020-2021 has taught me anything it has most taught me the necessity to relax. With so much happening that none of us were expecting, I learned to value time with those I love, respect and enjoy being around.

It’s also so important to enjoy some time with yourself doing what brings you joy.

I learned that some things I once viewed as necessary may not have been so important. This also helped me to find more balance in my life, with personal life, work life and my spiritual life. When one part overwhelms the others exponentially, the equation of our lives can lose focus.

Spending time doing nothing, alone or with others, is not a waste of time. I have found a lot of calmness, peace and time to think more clearly in those moments. Relaxing is not a bad use of time. It provides us with more time.

Taking a break when the weather is especially nice, just because you can.

Laughing, dancing and talking with friends and/or family are some of the best forms of relaxing that I’ve experienced over this past summer. Finding who you need in life helps us to stay healthy, happy and living the lives we are meant to live. It also helps to keep us accountable.

Find your people and relax together just as strongly as you support one another in the other portions of your lives.

Relaxing definitely looks different at various times and can be very different for each of us, but it is so crucial to our mental health. While we should all take care of our physical bodies, this past year has taught us so much of the importance of mental health for all of us. No one is one dimensional. We are multifaceted for a reason.

Whether it’s time to relax or time to work, stay persistent in living a life of balance.

If you need more balance, make it happen. Value yourself. Value others. Make it happen. You may need to start small, or you may be able to drastically change your life immediately, but whatever you do . . . relax.

If you need someone to tell you, it’s a gift to yourself and others when you spend time relaxing. Life is too short, and we all need time to enjoy as much of it as we possibly can.
My Reflections, Poetry

HOPE STILL REIGNS


The Lord is my shepherd

I know His call

For when I was young

He became my ALL

Providing me still pastures when I’ve needed rest

Bringing me to quiet waters, my soul restored the best

Whenever I’ve ever felt alone

His Spirit has guided my way

And through every dark valley

His hope within me has stayed

When I’ve felt like I could break

He’s comforted, loved and held me

Even when enemies were on the attack

He nourished and He blessed me

For His goodness and His love have followed all my days

And one day, I’ll be fully with Him forever and always

But till that day comes, He’s always been near

Till that day comes, He shows me that He’s here

When a pandemic tried to seriously crush my soul

When isolation and loss seemed to take control

Hope still reigned in the songs sung

Hope still reigned with every beautiful rise of the sun

Hope still reigned when justice marched

Hope still reigned as humanity battled on

No matter what’s happened or what will come

I will cling to His promises, every single one.

My Reflections

2021: Be the Fulcrum


As we usher in 2021, may we remember what truly matters.

So many are looking for 2021 to help us heal from what’s happened in 2020. Deaths of loved ones. Isolation. Lockdowns. Normal education having so many shifts. Fears in various forms. Faith and hope shaken up. Places shut down. Shortages and hoarding. Events cancelled. Places of worship shutting doors for weeks and months on end. Political unrest in ways never seen before. Racism and prejudices becoming harder to ignore. Loss of jobs, food, homes, relationships, and the list goes on and on.

I get it. I have faced a lot of that myself, as I’m sure you have, too.

There’s not a single human who can rescue us. God does all He can for us, yet we humans don’t make it easy. We never have.

We want life to get back to normal, while much of what was normal needed changing. Normal doesn’t exist.

We want masks gone. Not seeing full faces is not in our nature.

We want to hug and touch others. Humans crave connections.

We want to be there for our loved ones in the hospital or in adult care facilities. Going through hard times alone is not what we were meant to endure.

We want to gather with others for weddings, births, funerals and celebrations. Life milestones are important.

We want some sense of predictability we can rely on, after all of this. Yet, when was life ever predictable?

2021 will not erase the past and it will not entirely fix the world. However, each of us can do our parts and be the change this nation and world needs, be truly selfless and the best versions of who we each are meant to be in the time we have on this planet.

The best way to make 2021 a better year, involves all of us. May we do all we can to water those seeds.

We can each make the differences that are needed, making life easier for all. Each of us have purpose and it is those purposes within us that are parts of so many solutions. There is much to be changed, no doubt.

However, if we truly consider our fellow humans and other living creatures that inhabit the land, sea and skies, as well as the planet itself and our Creator, life in 2021 can be the turning point that can finally get us all on the right path.

By truly choosing to see others as humans who have their own burdens, we can have more compassion.

By truly listening to understand, rather than to have our say, we can have more empathy.

By giving of the resources we have to those in need, we can heal.

By trusting those who have proven themselves worthy and by giving the benefit of the doubt to others till shown otherwise, we can have more respect for others.

By seeking truth and not just trying to confirm our own conceptions, we can have better discernment.

By doing all we can, by valuing the lives of other, we can have more unity.

We are always a part of the equation. Each of us have more power to do good than most of us believe. Step out in 2021 and let’s do this, together!

While we head into 2021 in a matter of hours, reflect on what you have learned during this past year. Reflect on the good moments, because they also happened even if some were different than prior years, and learn from the bad ones.

While no year can fix so much, we can shift the trajectory too many of us have been on and begin moving into brighter days, weeks, months and years. We can leave a better legacy for those who come after us, rather than leaving behind more heartache.

May we all see the pandemic end or at least lessen to a huge degree soon.

Are you ready to be the fulcrum? Come join me and so many others. A shift is about to happen and we have plenty of room on the ride.

May we give, love, laugh, and enjoy one another more than ever before.

Let’s make 2021 the year we all begin to heal and help others to heal, because we seek to make our lives and those all around us the best examples of ourselves that we all need. When we are each on the other side of Heaven, may we truly do so knowing that we were “good and faithful servants” to all.

As we look in the mirror, may we each remember that today is a good day to have a good day, for us and for others. https://nikkibanas.com/

Healing comes in many ways. Seek and you shall find.

My Reflections

MORE THAN JUST A GAME: Part 6 (Final) – Proverbs 4


Don’t let emotions ruin the moment.  I’m an emotional person.  I have no problem admitting that, and emotions can be a fabulous part of who we are, if used correctly. If emotions are steering the course, though, the outcome is normally not the best.  When I am golfing and I allow my emotions to take control, my focus is in the wrong place and what I set out to achieve normally falls short.

I encourage you, to keep your emotions in check (good and bad), as you work towards what you’re trying to achieve. That doesn’t mean to not have any emotions, but as they say, you have to keep your head in the game.

You will have plenty of time to rejoice later, or to possibly feel bad over what could have been, but at least you’ll know that you gave it your all.

While one is doing what must be done, take time to enjoy the view.  One of the big reasons that I love golf is getting to be outdoors.  I love seeing God’s creation. It’s absolutely amazing!  Most of the time, as I am at work, at home, at the store, at church, at the gym, or wherever, I’m indoors. Golf gives me the chance to be outside!  It’s awesome.

iPhoto Library

So, as I end this blog series, let me encourage you, one last time.  As you believe in yourself, follow through, try to improve, pay attention to the details, work through your plan and not let your emotions ruin all you’ve done, take the time to look around.  What’s the point of the journey, if you missed out on all the great points of interest along the way? The end goal is necessary, but life is lived in the seconds and minutes. Make the best of them.   

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My Reflections

MORE THAN JUST A GAME: Part 4 – Proverbs 4


Details matter.  Something else that I’ve learned, as I’ve worked on improving my game, is that details are extremely important in the game of golf. Wrong foot positioning, incorrect movements of the head, wrong analysis of angles, even if slightly off, will affect the entire trajectory of the ball and ultimately, your game.

We often go through life, oblivious to many of the details around us.  People can walk in and out of our day, without us even noticing. The emotions played out on their faces, evidence of who they are and what they’re going through, ignored.  The beauty of nature, art, and so many other things are too often replaced by our electronic devices and a myriad of other distractions.

The impact we are truly meant to have on one another, even if it’s only a small impact, may never happen.  Those seemingly small details can and do change the trajectory of a person’s day, and at times, a person’s life.  We often underestimate the influence our actions have on others, let alone ourselves.

That is a huge mistake, because it is no longer some game of golf.  When we ignore details in our everyday lives, the impact is one that ripples to those we may never meet.  Golf is fun, but life is important.  Don’t let it pass you by.

“Don’t look back at tomorrow and say you could have done more.” – a fire chief on “Chicago Fire”

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My Reflections

MORE THAN JUST A GAME – Part 3


Each moment is another opportunity to be better than you were before. One of the reasons I enjoy golf is because even though you are playing with others, your real competition is yourself.  You’re typically not part of a team, like in baseball or basketball.  Your level of achievement is truly measured by knowing how you’ve done before, and comparing yourself at that moment to what you did the last time and who you were before.

With the help of my husband, I spend time analyzing what I’m doing well and what still needs work. Though I need to do this more, I stop to watch others achieve what I’m trying to do, as a means of learning. I know that the next time I face the same hole, I can do what I may not have been able to do the last time.  Even if I have been stuck in neutral, on a specific hole of the golf course, as I learn more, I have a new chance to improve.  That’s pretty awesome!

I know that life isn’t always easy.  However, each day is a fresh start, another chance to improve upon the person who went to bed the night before. Mistakes can be learned from.  Achievements already made allow us to know what’s working, so we can continue in the right direction. New experiences can be had.

Really, it’s kind of exciting to know that yesterday wasn’t the end. As long as we have breath, we have the opportunity to improve upon ourselves.  We live in a country with many opportunities afforded to us, no matter where we came from or what lies people may have tried to get you to believe about yourself.  Seize the day! Heck, seize the moment!  I promise you that it will be worth the effort.

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My Reflections

MORE THAN JUST A GAME: Part 2 – Proverbs 4


Our actions are worth nothing, without follow through. As much as I’ve improved in my game, one of my biggest problems is not following through.  My club will hit the ball, and almost immediately my momentum stops.  If you know anything about golf, continuing to follow through is necessary for the ball to go the distance in which you initially sent it.

The same is true with anything we do, in life.  We may start off strong or gain some great momentum along the way, but following our actions through to the end is what counts.  Often, obstacles get in our way. If what was once started truly matters, those obstacles will strengthen us.  Just like the follow through, in golf, provides the rest of the power to take your game where it needs to go, as we are strengthened through overcoming each obstacle, our overall ability increases and we come to realize that our potential is much greater than we ever imagined.

Is there an area of your life where you began something, something important and gave up along the way?  Or have you achieved a certain level of success, in some part of your life, but then stopped reaching higher, stopped believing that you could do more?

Follow through, all the way. See all that you are capable of doing.  Don’t slow down. Don’t settle.  Don’t quit.

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My Reflections

MORE THAN JUST A GAME: Part 1 – Proverbs 4


Lately, I’ve gotten back into playing golf.  I’m not saying that I’m all that good at it, but I do my best and I enjoy it very much.  As I’ve been playing, life lessons have seemed to surround me.  Even if you’re not into golf, these can apply to anyone.

Ability can only take you so far. Believability will get you where you need to go. Whether I’m hitting the ball, or my husband is, this has proven true.  Whatever our ability is, it means nothing if we don’t believe we can do what we set out to do.

Don’t you find that true in life, too?  Think about all of the people you may know, you may even be one of them, who have so much potential, but who doesn’t seem to achieve as much as those around them know they could.  So much of what we accomplish in life starts in our own heads.  We may know what we need to do, we may even know how to do what we need to do, but if we can’t envision ourselves at the end of the finish line, all of that ability and knowledge means nothing.  But, when we can see ourselves crossing that finish line, even if you don’t end up coming in first, you begin to realize that anything is possible!

What have you been wanting to do, but you stop yourself before you even begin?  What dream do you wish you could accomplish, but your past attempts have failed?  As long as you have breath, and especially if you have the ability, you need to start believing and do it!

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