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

Covered, Not Forgotten


A perfect metaphor for the new year.

January 1st of 2021

So full of hopes and dreams

Wanting to leave so much behind

With 2020 busting all our seams

And as I woke and started this day

The snow continues to fall

Beautifully covering everything

A true metaphor of my heart’s call

Covering what we want forgotten

Covering all the tears and pain

Covering all the heartache

Covering, so it ceases to remain

But lest we forget all the good

The lessons we hopefully received

Remember that this snow will melt

Creating new versions of who we can be

As the spring will come in the months ahead

And we walk forward into the new year

May we be better humans and learn from the past

May we love those who are still here

May we make choices for the better

May we walk boldly through each season

For we are now here in 2021

For a purpose, for a reason

So while the snow continues to cover

What’s under it still is there

May this year be far better

Because we chose to truly care.

By Rachel Basden ©️2021

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

THE POWER OF YOUR LIFE: Psalm 139


appreciation

I have taught for 17 years of my life, and I absolutely adore what I do for a living. While I very much enjoy the subject that I teach, I enjoy my students even more. They always brighten my day, remind me of how important it is to serve others and to use our gifts, and they teach me so much more than I ever imagined I would learn, before I embarked on this journey, called teaching.

Over the last two weeks, or so, God has been so kind in showing me some of the impact I have made on my students.  Some showed me their appreciation through gifts, like the one in the picture, given to me during Teacher Appreciation Week. However, this week, four of my classes got to write letters of appreciation to any staff member in the school. While organizing those letters to distribute to my co-workers, I was overwhelmed to discover that a quarter of them were addressed to me.

Very humbling, to say the least!

In one student’s letter, I learned of the impact I had unknowingly had on her, during a very trying time in her life.  Another letter shared a variety of personal traumas she has endured for two years, and she credited me to causing her to finally overcome these traumas. Each letter was such a gift, as these precious teens shared pieces of their hearts with me.

I know that none of this is because of me, but because of Christ within me.  I sat in marvel, over the working of the Holy Spirit, with tears in my eyes, as I read one letter after another.

Psalm 139:1-18 says, Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up.  You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LordYou go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence. If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

Do you know what I see when I read that? God truly cares about us, has always cared about us, and doesn’t leave us. He sees us, even before anyone else ever did. That’s huge!  That’s amazing!

Honestly, I think that’s a big part of why “what” we do with our lives is so powerful. People want to know that they matter, no matter how old they are. They want, and more importantly need, to be seen, heard, understood.

As I read each of those precious letters, from my students, that’s what I heard speaking to me, over and over again.  You saw me.  You cared.  You went out of your way to go beyond teaching me the subject, and taught me about life.  You believed in me.

All I want to say in return to all of them is this. . .Oh, honey, I don’t just see you, hear you, care about you, and believe in you. God does! If I hadn’t realized that as a child, I wouldn’t be fulfilling my purpose, as I am right now.  Touching you all with His love. You are so very precious to me, because you’re precious to Him.

I encourage you, no matter where God places you, to be His hands and feet to those around you.  It may be an encounter with a person that lasts for just a brief moment, or you may spend years with these individuals.  But, live your life with impactful purpose.

We matter. Others matter, and they matter, because we matter to our Creator.

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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 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

REMEMBER TO LEARN . . . DON’T REMEMBER TO DWELL – Isaiah 43:18-19, Philippians 4:8, Psalm 30:11, Philippians 4:13


 
If it is one thing we all have in common is that we are all vulnerable to pain. Some experience it more than others. Some experience it earlier than others. But we all know what it is like to hurt. As followers of Christ, if we allow Him to, He can use our past pains in marvelous ways, for His glory.
 
As a female, I know that it is very easy to dwell.  To dwell on our day, to dwell on our future, to dwell on our past. . .especially to dwell on our past! That is not always a bad thing, but too often, when we think about our past hurts, we stay in that place for too long. That’s when it can get dangerous.
 
The Bible tells us, in Isaiah 43:18 & 19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
 
When we think on past pain and ask God to heal us, that is beneficial. When we think on our past pain and ask God to show us how He can use it for His glory, that is called healing. When we think on the past pain and get stuck in a bad place mentally, and our emotions and thoughts can’t seem to move away from those moments in time, that is not where God wants us to be.
 
You see? While it is easy to dwell, when we do that, we begin believing we are living in defeat. We begin to feel like we haven’t moved forward, when we have already taken steps in that direction. There’s a reason why we’re reminded in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
 
When we think in those terms, then we begin asking God to turn our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11). We begin to praise Him for how far He’s taken us, since those moments, how much we’ve healed, as we’ve shared and given those pains and hurts to Him. We begin to realize that the truth is that God is doing a new thing in us, as we live for Him.  He’s doing things with us, that in those painful moments of our lives, we never thought possible!
 
Will there ever be a day when we stop getting hurt?  Not on this side of Heaven, but one thing is certain. With Christ, you can have the strength you need, to fully move forward  (Philippians 4:13). So, remember to learn from the past. Don’t remember to dwell.

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Poetry

What This is All About


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

REFLECTION

 
Lord, may I reflect all that You are

To those I encounter

Please show them Your heart
Through the words that I say

And the actions I do

May I go unnoticed

As they only see You

And while I am just trying

To walk in Your ways

May You receive the glory

All honor and praise.

By Rachel Basden © 2013

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