This angel has been sitting on my home office desk and smiling at me daily for over 15 years reminding me to “Follow Your Heart’s Desire”. It was given to me as a birthday present from a good friend at a time in my life when I was unsure and lacked confidence in myself and my abilities. In fact, at that point in my life I wasn’t sure where my “heart” wanted to go. I only knew that I was determined to start the journey. Around that same time I crafted my personal Mission Statement. It took me a long time to sort out and articulate my thoughts. This was the end result.
“I will take responsibility and initiative in accomplishing my goals. I will act instead of being acted upon, make my own choices and live with them. I will always strive for excellence. I will be a life-long learner, and keep my mind young and open to new ideas. I will be organized and disciplined in all areas of my life. I will spend less than I earn and regularly save part of my income. I will give to God and others with a grateful heart. My home will be a haven of comfort, peace and happiness for myself, my family, and all who enter. I will live a life of kindness, compassion and service for others, with a positive attitude and sense of humor. I will keep my body fit and healthy, my mind active and clear, my heart full of love and joy, my soul at peace with God.”
I haven’t always adhered to these words, but they have remained the same from that time until this. There have been bumps and hiccups along the way. My life has been a series of mistakes, lessons learned and constant change. Sometimes it feels like I take 3 steps forward and 2 ½ steps back! However, aspiring to be all that God has created me to be and to use the gifts He has given me to serve others is the desire of my heart. I will not give up, but continue to work toward my ideal. One of my favorite quotes is from Louisa May Allcott. She said, “Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” So I will continue to take my angel’s advice and “Follow My Heart’s Desire”.
The daily habit of making their bed comes easily for some people. However, for me it’s quite a different story. Every morning the struggle begins:
Beds should be made every day. (I don’t feel like it.)
My bed must be perfectly made. (Who cares?)
People will think I’m a terrible person if I don’t make my bed. (It’s not bothering anybody.)
My bed must be made. (I’ll make it later.)
JUST MAKE THE STUPID BED!!! (DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!)
This scenario only lasts a very short time but leaves me exhausted and my bed looks so comfy I just crawl back in it!
Making a bed may seem like a trivial thing, however for me it represents a bigger issue. It’s one of those day-to-day living details I lack the inner motivation to do, but is an integral part of my vision for my life. My vision of a clean and well-maintained home includes a well-made bed. Therefore, I really do want to make my bed! The question is how can I achieve that goal every day? I have decided my main focus for the next 12 months is to figure out how to work around my procrastinating nature and accomplish the important and necessary things in my life.
I’m going to start with . . . making my bed!
July 31st is a special day for me. This would have been Wayne and I’s middle son’s 39th birthday. Some years ago, I wrote down my thoughts and feelings about losing our baby. This is what I wrote.
The old cemetery was less than two miles from my childhood home. Many of my youthful days were spent there. The earth offered fresh, delicious raspberries for my enjoyment each July. The winding creek was a refreshing place to cool myself during hot, lazy, summer afternoons. Many exciting, dark nights were spent with friends as we walked to the graveyard telling frightening stories about ghosts and unearthly beings. Many times my brother and I would explore the abandoned old building at the edge of the trees and go on scavenger hunts for discarded plastic flowers which once adorned some loved one’s grave. I would read ancient tombstones and marvel at the ages of the people who had died. Some were old, some were young, others just said “Infant Daughter” or “Infant Son.”
Many of my ancestors were buried in this place. I had recently said goodbye here to my grandpa and a favorite elderly uncle. I had watched others being laid to rest after very long and full lives. This time it was different. This time it was difficult to make the trip. On that day, the crunch of the gravel beneath the tires of our car as we slowly made our way to the top of the small hill held a different meaning. This time I came here to bury my infant son, Nathan.
At the end of our journey waited a hearse, an undertaker, and our pastor. Assorted family and friends were making the somber trip with us. We approached the gravesite and I was shocked by the size of the cavity in the dirt. My father had lovingly dug the miniature grave that looked no bigger than a shoebox. His old, red Massey-Ferguson tractor waited nearby. The front-end loader was cupping the small amount of dirt it would take for my husband and father to cover my son. Sitting next to the open grave was a light gray plastic object that looked like my Singer sewing machine case. Then, reality hit me. I realized this case held the lifeless body of my baby! How could I deal with this?
Countless tears poured down my cheeks that hot August afternoon as I thought of all the experiences I would be denied. I would never feel his baby-soft skin against my cheek, or see his eyes looking up at mine – trusting and dependent on me – as he nursed at my breast. I wouldn’t be able to watch him take his first steps or listen to him speak his first words. I was denied the privilege of watching him grow from sweet baby innocence, to loving childhood and on to strong, Christian manhood.
Why was this happening to me? Why was I being denied the experience of raising this child? Why not take some older, sick person and give me my child? A baby is full of promise and hope. Why would God take away my son? These and many other thoughts and questions were streaming through my mind as the tears were flowing down my face.
Our pastor began talking. He did not deliver a strong sermon, but spoke just a few, gentle, well-chosen words. He likened death to God gathering a beautiful bouquet. The most beautiful bouquets use flowers in all stages of growth, from buds to full blooms, and Nathan was a tiny rosebud in God’s bouquet. This was such a comforting thought to me, and made me realize Nathan was in a beautiful, happy place.
My painful, agitated thoughts of being denied my child were replaced with a sense of peace. My son would not have to suffer any of the pain that is in this life. The severe lung disease contracted after he was born, which would have greatly affected the quality of his life if he had lived. To watch this child suffer through life would have been so devastating for me. It was easier to think of him as a healthy and happy rosebud in God’s bouquet. I believe God knows what He’s doing.
Nathan was a part of my life for the seven months I carried him and the two days he was here on this earth. I had the privilege to touch his tiny fingers once before he was taken to intensive care. The love I felt for my tiny baby consumed me and I hoped that somehow Nathan felt all the love I had for him through that single touch. I loved my son when he came into and left my life 25 years ago, and he will always be my little boy angel and a tiny rosebud in God’s bouquet.
Always remembered, forever loved and I will hold you in heaven.
Nathan Wayne Funk
Born July 31 and became God’s Rosebud on August 1, 1976
Have you heard of, or read, the book “Personality Plus” by Florence Littauer? The premise of the book is there are 4 basic temperaments in human nature. In fact, this was first established by Hippocrates over 2400 years ago! The temperaments are:
Sanguine – the extroverted, popular talker
Melancholy – the introverted, perfectionist thinker
Choleric – the extroverted, powerful doer
Phlegmatic – the introverted, peaceful watcher
My score was 8% Sanguine, 2% Choleric, 40% Melancholy, and 50% Phlegmatic. Therefore, I am considered a Phlegmatic Melancholy. The strengths and weaknesses of these temperaments listed in her book are the same as the ones I shared on my last blog post, Know Thyself, in which I wrote about my recent Myers/Briggs assessment. I am most definitely a Phlegmatic, Melancholy INFP!!
Now I know how I’m “wired” and why I think and act the way I do. However, now that I’ve embraced my strengths and acknowledged my weaknesses, what do I do next?
I think I’ll go buy a how-to book for Phlegmatic, Melancholy INFP’s, a new notebook and journal, and set up the perfect system to have my perfect, immaculate house, develop a perfect time management system and establish a perfect life maintenance routine. In other words, when I get finished I will have A PERFECT LIFE! However, where do I find the right how-to book? And I can’t decide which notebook or journal to buy, which color pen to use (or should I use a fountain pen or a fineline marker?), which routine would work the best for me or …or…or…!?!?!!
Whew, I’m exhausted and my brain is on overload so I need to “veg out” for a while. Therefore, I think I’ll take a break . . . and I won’t think about all this stuff right now, I’ll think about it tomorrow (if that’s okay with you)!!!
While I was searching for strength and weakness analysis’ on the internet this week, I came across the Myers-Briggs personality types. I did the assessment and the result is …I’m an INFP. (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) They explained “My primary mode is focused internally where I deal with things according to how I feel about them. My secondary mode is external where I take things in primarily via my intuition.”
In plain English . . .
. . .I am thoughtful and considerate, but defensive.
. . .I am a perfectionist with very high standards, but am undisciplined and avoid day to day life maintenance.
. . .I am intelligent and a deep thinker, but wishy-washy, won’t make decisions and avoid confrontations.
. . .I am creative and artistic, but lack inner motivation.
. . .I seek harmony and peace, but am stubborn and rebellious.
. . .I am understanding and willing to help, but overly sensitive and take things personally.
. . . I am laid-back and patient, but hard on myself and over-think everything.
. . . I have very high expectations for myself but procrastinate and don’t follow through.
. . . I value spirituality, but focus on feelings.
With all this bouncing back and forth in my head all the time, no wonder I get to feeling like this!!
This personality type is present in less than 4% of the population. (Now I understand why I sometimes have the feeling that I don’t “fit in”!) I am in good company, however. Among some famous INFP’s are many authors, philosophers and artists, including: Kierkegaard, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K Rowling, Vincent Van Gogh, Helen Keller, John Lennon, Mr. Rodgers, Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana. On the other hand, there has never been INFP who has become President of the United States and I can understand why!
We INFP’s are the idealistic dreamers. We are thoughtful and considerate individuals who create beauty and promote harmony in the world, and I am proud to say I am one of them.
I thought I was the only one who struggles with an internal “War of the Worlds”, but i found out otherwise. I have spent a lot of time this week thinking about this and decided to share my thoughts with you..
God has created me with so many interests, desires, and an inner drive for self-improvement and excellence. He has created me with strengths, weaknesses and inherited tendencies. In fact, I am “fearfully (awesomely) and wonderfully made.” Psa 139:13. Because of this fact, I need to embrace my strengths and work to develop them and I need to acknowledge my weaknesses and figure out ways to work around them. If I spend all my time focusing on changing my weaknesses, I’ll have no time or energy to build on my strengths. For some of us, that is easier said than done! For instance: “What if I dislike cleaning house but am not financially equipped to hire a housekeeper, but desire a clean house?” That is quite a conundrum! I know, and can articulate, what I want to happen (setting goals and aspirations-which is a strength), but my weaknesses (procrastination, perfectionism, etc., etc., etc.) take over and I get bogged down in the details and implementation. The question is, “How do I work around my weaknesses?” Maybe I need to focus on the desire or end result, a clean house, instead of the method, the actual cleaning. Maybe I get so wrapped up in finding the “perfect” method, tool or system that I get too tired before I even start! (Maybe I tend to overthink things too much!! (Ya think!!))
I plan on spending some time this week listing my strengths and weaknesses. Then I want to formulate some ideas for increasing my strengths and minimizing my weaknesses. Do you think that will work for me? I’d love to know what works for you!
There is so much I must do, should do, and want to do in my life. The Henderson (German) grit and determination I have inherited enables me to keep making plans, setting goals and gives me the desire to be excellent in every area of my life. The McGlothin (Scots-Irish) side of me rebels and thinks, “You’re not going to tell me what to do!” (Read “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America” by Jim Webb). Therefore, I very often (maybe I should say usually!) do something different than what I need to do or have planned. This pattern has been prevalent throughout my entire life. I have lamented this fact for many years in my journals and it doesn’t seem to change. Somehow I need to learn how to get the two sides to work together. However, having struggled with this internal “War of the Worlds” for over 60 years I still haven’t learned how! Thankfully, I do have the McGlothin sense of humor and can laugh at myself. That is until I get so far behind that I start getting overwhelmed, depressed and eventually paralyzed and lose my motivation to do anything. At that point the Henderson “never give up” attitude slowly kicks in and I pick myself up by the bootstraps and start the pattern again (again, and again……).
Although my life’s journey seems to be constantly 3 steps forward and 2 steps back, that still means I am making progress (albeit very slow progress!) toward my goals and aspirations. So with Henderson stubbornness and determination and with McGlothin spirit and zest for life, I will to continue to “keep plugging away”!
The first half of 2015 is history now and was full of joys, frustrations and adjusting to changes. The biggest adjustment was learning to live life without Daddy with us. I continue to get phone calls, but none are from him saying “This is Daddy. I was just checking on ya.” We continue to play scrabble on Sunday afternoons, but without the entertaining serenade. I continue to moan and groan (loudly at times) but I don’t have the company and laughter of a fellow moaner and groaner! In other words, I miss my Daddy very much!!
Another change was my working hours; they were temporarily reduced. I was happy to be able to help out with the grand kids on a “last minute notice” basis! (Loved those quick trips to Waterville.) I also did a lot of home improvement projects at first, then started to become lazy and “in a funk”. I got a temp job and am now working 2 jobs! I went from taking a nap almost every afternoon to working all the time! It’s only for a short time though, and my professional life should get back to normal.
I recently spent a week on Lake Erie with my cousins. We enjoyed being on the water (although we were wishing it could be the ocean!) We explored Marblehead Lighthouse, too. We spent a lot of time laughing and doing nothing. Our “Cousin Trips” are a lot of fun.
So much went on during the first half of 2015 and it’s difficult to articulate my thoughts and feelings. However, I look forward the last half of the year and all the joys, frustrations and changes that my journey will bring.
If you have been thinking about having a website and/or blog, I encourage you to pursue it. It can be about anything you choose. The following steps are what I used to set up mine up. For you to set up your home on the web you need to:
- Purchase a domain name at GoDaddy.com
- Choose a hosting service, either at GoDaddy or elsewhere. I have a self-hosted website and blog. My hosting service is ipage.com. (Their instant chat support team is amazingly helpful!) However, if you google “hosting service” you can choose from many others. You can also google “free hosting service” if you don’t want to pay for hosting. However, on a self-hosted website/blog you have total control of the content .
- Install WordPress
- Start having fun!!
This is the very simplified version. My best advice is to watch any of Tyler Moore’s tutorials on you tube. He walks you through every aspect step by step. He begins with choosing and purchasing a domain name and hosting service. He continues to explain each step simply and thoroughly and it is easy to follow right along. I couldn’t have done it without his instructional videos. I would watch the video in one window, then pause it and work on my website in another window and not give up until I had accomplished what he was explaining. Here are a couple of my favorites:
You will have a genuine sense of accomplishment when you enter your own domain name in the web address bar and your personal, awesome looking website or blog appears! Play around with it and have fun! I sure do.
I love technology, writing, being creative and learning something new. I love anything heart-shaped and have collected ‘hearts’ for years. (I still have the heart-shaped stone Andrew found for me when he was a small child.)
Knowing all this, about 20 years ago Caleb and I were talking and he said. “Mom, you need to have a website.” This idea intrigued me so I asked, “What would I call it?” He said he’d call back in a few minutes. When the phone rang, Caleb said, ‘beaucoeur.com’. It’s French for ‘beautiful heart’”. A perfect fit!! I purchased the domain name beaucoeur.com right away and have kept it since them.
After purchasing my domain name and choosing a hosting service, I attempted to use an old copy of Dreamweaver to build a website. It was difficult, uninspiring and crude but a great learning experience!
The years rolled on and my web presence sat on the back burner for a long time. Then about 6 years ago I started dabbling at web building again. I found so much had changed and the new technology was awesome! I discovered YouTube video tutorials that explained step by step how to build your own website with WordPress. I discovered the plethora of themes available to personalize my website. I also discovered blogging! I got excited and wanted to learn everything and start my own blog just for fun. I purchased another domain name, kathleenfunk.com, and attempted to build and write a blog. At one point I had a lot of posts then lost them due to my ignorance! I started over and have maintained my current blog for a couple years now. Those first years I didn’t post very often. This year my goal is to post once a week.
In addition to my personal spaces on the web, I have built and maintain sarahwhittaker.com and Daddy’s Memorial Website. My hobby has helped me professionally, too. I recently built a website for my boss that will soon go live. (More information about that at a later date!)
Working on my blog and websites is something I thoroughly enjoy. However, like me, they are not perfect and always “under construction”! It is an interesting hobby that allows me to learn, create and express myself. It’s cool to be able to say, “check out my website” or “as I wrote on my blog…”. And, it’s fun!!!