Friday, August 31, 2012

Me, Myself and I...on being alone

As I have mentioned in prior posts, I used to hate the idea of being alone let alone actually having to be alone...there are sure a lot of alones in that sentence...whew!

What I never realized was that there is a difference between alone time, and loneliness.

One thing I certain of  is that if you are going to be your own best friend, you do have to master being alone in what are considered healthy and positive ways.

Now just so we are on the level, this is something I myself have only recently mastered. There is a chance that it isn’t the little bit on maturity in my back pocket, but more as a result of my lifes experiences.

As I’ve said  before I am the oldest of seven children and through most of my life I’ve always had someone around. In fact privacy was almost unheard of.

I distinctly remember when I first got  married and my husband was at work during the day (I worked a night shift at the time) I would turn the T.V. on and let it run even if I was in another room doing something else, because the silence of being alone was too deafening.

I had also been raised in a home with the backyard to the freeway, so when we moved to that quiet neighborhood in Bountiful, it was a stark unsettling contrast.

It just proves what I was taught in Design school...that we humans are very adaptable even in undesirable circumstances.

There are many types of being alone. There is the alone where you could be around a million people and feel deep down that you are isolated and unseen. This feeling I think comes from a deep inherent need to be understood and when we feel no one understands us, then we feel alone which is what I consider loneliness.

I loved it when Lisa Nichols came to Salt Lake City a few year back and said something about this. In essence she said that the reason no one understands you because they aren't you. It is not their dream or their purpose or thier life. It is yours, so they aren't going to get it. That is okay.

I needed to hear that. Somehow, I had always felt that I needed to be validated, understood and be seen. It seemed if anyone came along in my life and seemed to ‘get me’ or showed a lot of interest, I was going to be attracted to them.

The problem with this though is their motives or intentions were not always to ‘get me’ (understand me) but to see what they could ‘get out of me.’ Then when it was all said and done I felt betrayed.

It is rejection we seem to hate and fear most, and I think we somehow believe if people just understood us we would be spared from that rejection. It’s probably true. If people did take the time to really ‘get’ one another...which would require a truly compassionate effort...there probably would be little rejection. Life isn't like that though.

Another type of alone, is just physically being alone. This is difficult in its own ways. Some of us folks love to have others around, and find that this interaction with others recharges our battery.

Then there are people who practically climb the wall when they are isolated. They need constant interaction and having any quiet time is as bad as a jail sentence. It almost seems like these people are afraid to be alone with themselves because they don't know what might happen if they actually had to face themselves.

I am not this person to be honest. This may be the most revealing post to date of my ever increasing introverted side, but I have learned that for me to re-boot, so to speak..I need some alone time.

Although I’ve been calling it “being alone” its meaning here can be used somewhat interchangeably with the words ‘privacy’ ‘solitude,’ and ‘retreat.’ I am not encouraging loneliness because you couldn't be your own best friend successfully if you felt lonely, plus no one ever wants to feel lonely.

What I am talking about is time for yourself. It is that time you set aside for you where no one else can get in your head. Their judgments, demands and expectations are not invited...neither is their noise and the distractions that come with it.  

Alone time is the space you allow yourself to breath. You can meditate, exercise and do something for yourself that usually you must schedule time for. You have to make you the priority even if it is for only a little while. That is what this is about.

This is the balance you add to your life. It is not about being a hermit...although I admit at times I have actually fantasized about being just that...and I find this tends to happen when I’ve allowed other demands or negative people swallow up my time or I am not using it well...

So this is what my experience has been with alone time, and here is the key. I am not always physically alone when I experience it...before you decide to have me committed, let me explain how this looks for me.

It is different than feeling alone with a bunch of people around you, yet it is the same. The difference is it isn't something you dread or feel badly about, it is something you will chose and you usually chose it out of self preservation.

The truth is I have very little privacy, which means that there are a lot of things I want to do that I don’t get to do. When I am listening to Pandora dance mixes I am doing it with headphones on because there are people around who won't appreciate this genre, so I’m not able to blast it on the stereo in an open room and dance like no one is watching...because I really only dance when no one is watching.

Please! No one, not even my kids want to see my hips gyrating anymore, or my spinning around like a ballerina.

This is an example of something I do purely for myself to let out all my stresses and loosen up...but for the last four years because of economic hardship I have had to share a bedroom with my daughter and I have had to live in houses with multiple families so there little privacy for such things.

This is why I said before, my valuing alone time has come from my experiences. Oh, I used to have alone time before. Like after my divorce when I had my home still. I had plenty of alone time during the time my kids were with their dad. What I didn't realize nor did I always utilize it well, was that time was my recharging time. It kept me sane.

So many of us push through life putting ourselves on the back burner. We think we'll take the time later but we have to make it now or it never comes along

I promise something very powerful happens when you take time for yourself even if it is just a few minutes. Here are some examples of how I get my “me time” in.

I exercise. even if it is twenty to thirty minutes walking fast on the treadmill because I can’t hit the gym. I make sure I do this much at least twice a week.  

I paint. Okay maybe that sounds simple and it can be, but my art is a must less intrusive escape from reality than my dancing in the dark used to be. I just set aside a little spot in the kitchen and it doesnt matter who is around when I am so preoccupied. Headphones help also.

I will give myself a facial if I can squeeze in some extra time. One thing I love, is to give myself a manicure or pedicure. This one is tricky and I have to work it around my schedule as well as others....I can’t paint nail polish in the car like my daughter does, since nail polish that hasn't had time to dry properly makes me insane. If you have the means, pay someone else to do it for you.

This, is an example of taking the time to do something for me, and when my toes are all cute and I see them poking through my open toed pumps I feel pretty good about valuing myself enough to makes sure even my feet look nice.  

Reading books and sketching are great ways to have alone time. A lot of my alone time is in the car driving or waiting for my daughter at dance or my sons during his drum lessons. That is when I get out a book, which for me somewhat transfers me to another dimension or I will get my creative juices flowing over a sketch book.

I honestly can get so engrossed in things like this, that I am somewhere else in my mind and all my worries have melted away for a time. It is a vacation for the mind and it is a huge stress buster for me. In fact it is tapping into my creative genius these past few years that has helped me overcome my worst depression.

So I highly recommend getting in touch with your positive-creative-capacities. Put a focus on making them a priority in your life, to infuse a ‘feel good power into your day.’ This is the best medicine for discouragement I have found for me personally.

Do it without expectations for others approval though. You are doing it for you, not for anyone else.

If you do it without that in mind you will be stuck on what everyone outside of you thinks about what you are producing, and it will stifle your creativity and growth as well as add to the mound of life's pressures you are already feeling.

While you don’t need others opinions all the time, don’t be averse to asking advice of an experienced professional whose insight can give you the tools you need to develop and improve what you are doing.

Another way I give myself me time has actually been super offensive to some folks...and no. It is not drinking.

It is something I really don't have a name for other than the word “Allowing.” It is all about what I will and won't allow.

It is sort of about scheduling really, but maybe it is more about deflecting. It is how I manage those crazy sometimes highly emotionally charged  things or people that want to bombard me at any time it suits them. You see with cell phones and close living arrangements and some friendships, people can put a lot of immediate demands on you for your time.  

Now  while I love my friends and family dearly and am concerned about others, I am careful about when I allow this sort of interaction. This means allowing myself to say ‘no’ sometimes or I acknowledging to myself that I need to deal with this later. It is actually more complex than this but for now I will explain it this way...

I’ve found if I am anticipating a meeting with a new client or doing any type of design work that even though I am my own boss I cannot always expend the emotional energy for this sort of distraction. Hey, I may work from home at times but I still set working hours, and I decide based on what I need to accomplish that day or even that week...when I can allow other distractions in.

I am also this way when it come to time with my children. Because I am divorced and they are not always around, when they are and I am not working I want to give them my full attention.

This doesn't mean I won't get to it at some point, but in order for me to function well, I have to allow myself to fit those things into my day when I know they won't be detrimental to what I have to accomplish.

As I was working on this blog I received this article in my inbox on loneliness called 'Being Alone Doesn't Mean You Are Lonely.' I thought it was timely with this post as it talks about there being a balance and suggests that “we need solitude and community simultaneously.”

I am sure as I master this “alone time thing,”  that it will change over time but here is why it is valuable for me personally.

*I gives me a chance to be the priority. I may not be someone elses top priority but I am and can be mine, especially during the times when I feel out of balance and neglected.

* It gives me time to pull back every so often and think about the whole picture and how that fits into what I believe , need and want.

* It gives me a chance to nurture my spiritual and physical self. If it weren't for this time these two areas would be pretty much neglected in my life.

*I am able to escape from unnecessary noise and drama that leaves me feeling drained.

*It is time set aside to develop my gifts and talents.

*I can ask myself honest questions and face myself.

*It is a way to retreat from high stress people or situations.

*It recharges my battery and refreshes me.  

*It allows me time to ponder on my relationships and see where my love and encouragement or time might be needed.

If you have never really done this for yourself maybe give it a try. It can be as simple as watching a favorite movie alone or tackling a recipe you've always wanted to try. Maybe you can just sit back and listen to your favorite music when no one is home or have some silence around you as you meditate.

This is the time you do something for yourself without being defined by the world around you. It is important.

The only advice I will give is not to let negative thought patterns circulate through your mind. I have had some personal experience with this which I plan to cover in the near future so you might stay posted if you have ever struggled with this.

So there you go! Start making time for yourself a priority! It will empower you. I promise.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My own best friend...

Have you ever heard the statement “be your own best friend?” I used to hear it as a little girl and honestly it would make me cringe.

How could I really be my own best friend? I mean seriously...what did that mean anyway???

Well now after years have gone by, and I am well out of my childhood...based off the numbers mind you. I promise I am still a girl at heart...I found myself telling my daughter to do just this the other night, but I did her a favor which I had never received. I explained exactly what this means to me...

In truth, the reason this idea made me so uncomfortable was because I knew it meant being comfortable with being alone. Which since things often overlap, will have be separated into a different post.

For much of my life until very recently I had not learned of the quiet power that can come from being alone. Even with my first blog post here a few years back I stated that I had finally learned to be alone but that it didn’t mean I liked it.

I was always the girl that hated to be alone. I am not sure if that was because I was the oldest of seven children or because of my Libra nature, but I had it bad.

The truth is that I always felt alone deep down inside and I suppose to fill that void I wanted to have people around...although the years have taught me that some people have the uncanny ability to make you feel alone even if you are with them all the time.

In my last post I talked about caring and being a people pleaser, which I really feel does play into the need to have others around. I explained how I cared a lot about what others thought of me, and I honestly think I have not been alone in this world ‘on basing my worth on the opinions of others.’

Now I while I won’t entirely discount the opinions of others. I now look at such things as though I were reading a highly subjective movie review, rather than a yardstick that is a measure of my character.

The opinions of others are just that...opinions! And although they can be informative at times, they can be destructive as well, and I find if people are spouting them off too frequently they are usually the latter. Isn't it curious that these are most often the people who know you the least?

Just remember opinions are not the whole picture.

Maybe it is such experiences that have changed me from the girl that always thought what she was missing was a very best girlfriend, to a grown lady who is capable of being her own friend when there isn't one around.

I am sure we all have various definitions of what a friend is. At the same time I am sure most of us share consistent expectations.  I encourage you to make a list and take a look at it. Here is an example.

A friend is someone who...

is Loyal
is Honest
is Protective
is Fun
is Comfortable to be with
is Accepting
is Interesting
is Fun to talk to
is A Good listener
is Good company
Supports me
Listens to me
Likes me maybe even loves me

You get the idea. The of course there are the what a  friend is ‘not’ list. Which is something like this...

A friend is not,,,

Constantly demanding of my time and attention
Someone who shares my secrets and confidences with others
A person who talks down to me or brings me down
Someone  who will slander me or stab me in the back

So here is the key. Now that you have a list to look at of what a friend is and is not, then you honestly measure yourself against the list. Because you know yourself better than anyone this is about seeing the facts and not others opinions, so ask yourself questions like...

Am I loyal to myself?
Am I honest with myself and others?
Am I protective of myself and my loved ones?
Am I fun?
Am I comfortable to be around, or do I put myself and others on edge?
Am I accepting of myself? (If you're not, how can you be of others?)

Am I interesting? (We will have to cover this in a separate post, but still ask yourself this question.)

Even ask yourself, Do I listen to myself? Do I know what I am saying, and what I am saying is really about? Are there hidden messages I am covering up? (If you are inconsistent in your messages with yourself I guarantee you are with those around you.)

Do I act supportive of my own dreams, desires and of myself during struggles?

Do I like myself?

Am I impatient?

Am I negative?

Am I needy or demanding?

Do I share my secrets and confidences with others?

This goes along with being protective of ourselves and I think it’s HUGE! Sometimes in our desire to relate to others by letting them know we aren't perfect either, we trust them with very personal things...information about our struggles or past experiences that leave us very vulnerable...especially if they haven't proved that they are trustworthy or have the compassion to see it and you, without judgement.

The funny thing about this is that when you share these sort of confidences with someone looking for their understanding, you run the risk that instead of them saying, “hey, you are human like me and I've had struggles too and feel less alone now”...they instead feel they have some sort of power over you or upper hand.

The folks who seem to need you to validate your humanness for them the most are the ones you shouldn’t take the risk on, as they are insecure and looking for any justification or evidence that somehow they just aren't as bad as you are.

Respect yourself enough to be protective of your life's past experiences. You know better than anyone that the lessons you’ve gained from what you've gone through have made you the much more conscious person that you are now.

If you have that understanding, when others give you a lot of information about themselves you can give them some respect as well letting them know that their various past experiences are just that, and they do not completely define them. It would be ignorance to think they do.

Also ask yourself am I a jealous person? (This is a big one that we will cover later)

This being your own friend is just as much about what kind of friend you are to others, as it is about what kind of friend you are to yourself.

The way you feel about yourself will often project into the way you feel about others. When you think you know something about someone, ask yourself if what you think you feel about them really is a reflection of something going on with you more than it really is something about them?

Remember this when you ask yourself do I talk down to myself? Am I critical or judgmental toward myself? Do I hold negative thoughts about myself that I tell myself over and over? If the answer is yes, then you need to change this pattern and fast! Nothing can keep you from being your own best friend, than already being your own worst enemy. So in the words that I have heard my boyfriend repeat over and over when I have been stuck in those negative talk patterns towards myself “STOP IT!”

So those are some steps I have taken to getting on the path to being my own best friend. It has been and still is a learning process and it takes time. It is my experience that I can usually only work on one item at a time on my list. It takes work and a lot of time an effort to invest in your relationship with yourself, which is really no different than the sacrifices you would make in any other relationship.

The benefits of working on the friendship you have with yourself, is that you are more in control of the outcome. Be warned though, it can also be more painful at times because you have to be honest with yourself and let go of patterns that are destructive that you can sometimes ignore in others.  

I am gentle with myself about this process of growing and changing because that is what a good friend would be, and because I am committed to be my own best friend.

Some reasons for this are that I alone am responsible for my happiness. No one else is.  I also know that people have and will, come and go in my life and that changes in our relationships are inevitable. It is unfair to expect others to solely fulfill my personal needs or to hold them prisoner to my expectations. I have to make sure I am the friend who will provide what I need for myself first so that no matter what, I know it is there to receive no matter how alone I might actually be.

My thoughts on caring...

I had this realization today. I was thinking about caring and how I used to care so much about the feelings of others that I would do almost anything to spare their feelings or to keep them from being mad or inconvenienced. I also cared a lot about what others thought of me. This meant that it was easy for me to get pushed around and I was a target for those who wanted to control me.

I am not sure when and how I became a people pleaser. I feel that I was sort of set up to be that way. Always getting the message that I wasn’t enough and that if I was only different then my parents, siblings, friends...husband would be happier.

From an early age the belief was ingrained in me that if I cared about others I would be more like them, think like them and do what they wanted. There was nothing ever brought to my attention about how we are each individually responsible for our own happiness and that others don’t make us anything...happy, unhappy, angry or anything else. We chose our emotion whether it is subconscious or conscious, and then chose to act and then of course we have deal with the outcome of our choice.

I was so sensitive to the belief that I was a disappointment if I didn’t do everything perfect...not understanding that perfection was subjective at the time...that I feared everything and was certain I couldn't do anything right. Since I had so many people trying to make decisions for me and telling me what choices to make and what to think this only confirmed my belief that I was incapable of doing so myself and a disappointment.

So for the first part of my life I was a people pleaser that couldn't seem to please any one...make anyone happy...then I had an epiphany. It started with my in-laws (now ex-in-laws) who I was never good enough for, which was excruciatingly evident by the way they treated me. I would bend over backwards to try to be a friend, show interest and support in their lives and with their kids. It was bad and although I won't go into details I will say that for my ten year marriage I was just miserable. I cared a whole lot about people who cared nothing for me.

I am sure almost everyone has felt that feeling before on some levels. You care so much about people that when they are unkind, do things at your expense or just don’t care, it is painful.

My number one realization at the end of my marriage was that these people made a choice from the moment they meet me that nothing I was going to do would ever be good enough. It doesn't even matter why really. They set me up to fail before even knowing who I was or my heart. The thing that baffles me now, is how I could care so much about having their love and approval.

Well I was set up for that, way before I ever meet them because of the beliefs I had ingrained in me as a child and my inherent caring nature.

Since that time I have dealt with many cruel uncaring people throughout my life. I have seen and experienced people who claimed to be strong righteous followers of Christ, do everything in their power to crush and bring down others around them believing it bring themselves up and even justify to themselves up or even doing the “right thing.”

I have analyzed my feelings about caring and what it really is about.  I have felt like it was my caring about others that has even gotten me into trouble at times. People that pushed me hard to make choices that later caused me pain. The world carries with it a “dog eat dog” moto and for the record I hate it! The worlds message is to care only about number one, meaning oneself and puts selfishness first.

Logically though we know that the world gets nowhere with this mentality. Nothing we do can really function without consideration for those around least not for long. Every business exists because it serves someone on some level. We keep the laws on the road and we are protected as we protect others...families, friendships, romantic relationships all require an ‘us’ factor and we know they will eventually suffocate or become extremely destructive  when selfishness is the continuing theme.

We know this but we are constantly bombarded by the “me theme.”

In this past year I’ve reached my limit. I have been pushed so hard, so often and by so many  people I cared about that I was done without question. I have suffered painful consequences a number of times when I have allowed people to push me to do things they said were best...people who really despite their words...did not have my best interests at heart.

I am not talking about peer pressure to do something immoral here people. I am talking about those who think that everyone must do things their way, and cannot allow others the ability to grow, make choices and achieve things on their own without their interfering hands in the pot.

So anyway... originally with one of these people particular I thought I had established my boundaries, communicated clearly and hoped by doing so I would not have to deal with more  of this sort of conflict. The problem is that if people want conflict they will find a way to create it even when it isn’t there.

You see they believe if you don't do things “their way” you deserve to be punished, yelled at and even gossiped about...even lied about.

So what about caring? How do you care about someone who doesn't care enough about you to respecting your choices and to want what is best for you?

Last year I walked away from a relationship that was becoming destructive and took a stand. I knew on my heart that this person cared more about things going their way then what was in my best interest. I knew that if they cared about the friendship as much as they said they did they would have been fiercely loyal and protective of me because I was in a devastating place at the time, but instead they kicked me when I was I asked myself today when I dropped my daughter off at my future mother in laws, and saw this same person walking their dog in the distance...what about caring?

You see I knew I cared. What this person did hurt so bad I couldn't sleep for weeks & fact my body thought it was under full blown attack because my adrenals would not stop producing adrenaline. It was like the last and final straw for me mentally and it took me down hard. I was not in any position to deal with one more unnecessary drama.

All this spun through my mind today and then at lunch while I was listening to K-Love in my car and thinking about the Savior, I thought about caring. You see he cares about all of us even when we care nothing for him.

I even told my daughter this last night when she was telling me how worried she was about what others think of her during her dance class...she is like her mother used to be. She has a tendency to define her value based on what others think of her....especially those she cares about.

I  told her that Christ cares about us even if we don’t him. He would never take back all he has done for us. He is not jealous, he is not motivated by selfishness only love. Love, real love I told her is open and embracing and without judgment. It reaches out and invites, it doesn't push and shove and it isn't closed, jealous, suspicious and conditional.

This conversation last night was the key to my thoughts today. So Christ cares. I have no doubt he cares about all of us, but when I've realized others have manipulated my caring to have their way, and how much pain that has cost me in the past...and how many times I’ve wondered if I should keep caring and asked myself why I even do....?

I wondered again at how much He cares even when so many don’t return the favor and then it hit me. He will always care, but he never will care so much about us that he ever compromises who he is, and what is right. He always stood his ground. He wasn’t mean he wasn’t cruel but he always stood for his beliefs. No one could sway him.

No wonder so many were angered by him and hated him. Because he didn’t do things their way...and you all know someone who thinks their way is the only way...but he still cared. He just knew that the sacrifice he was to make for us was not to sacrifice who he was to make others happy, but it was a sacrifice in spite of what others wanted.

During his ministry he didn’t even hang out with those people. He was kind to them and answered their questions as they sought him out but he put his energy into those who respected him and who were humble. God often has to love us from afar.  He won't dwell with us in our hearts are turned from him, but I believe the love he has for us never stops. He stands with reaching arms inviting us but never forcing. He has boundaries and that never changes.
I’ve also realized that he also feels similar pain as we because he cares. There really can not be any caring without a risk and it hurts when it isn't returned.

Christ suffered at the hand of others, so who are we to think we are too good to suffer that same kind of hurt and rejection at the hands of another?

So I what came to terms with today on a deeper level than I had before, is  that it is okay that I took a stand. It is okay that I have boundaries. I don’t have to prove my love and how much I cared about a friendship by giving up myself and what I and my children needed, and knew was right for me and my family. I do not have to follow the self serving intentions of another.

I still care about this person...wish they understood the magnitude of what they were pressuring me to do and how very detrimental it would be for me in the long run...although I am pretty sure they knew, and that was the problem. It kind of comes down to “who in their right mind....?”

All the same I think it is sad. Sad that people do this to one another. We have such a great example of love and caring through Christ so why don’t we follow him? I am talking about the basics. Love being the number one.

My belief in God and Christ comes down to my belief in love. I don't care for the social pressures and appearances that seems to go along with being a follower... there can be a lot of pride and blindness there...all I see is that if we are without that love and genuine caring, which is truly Charity. Then we aren't following him at all...then I guess we don’t really care.

I myself commit to always care, but I now care enough to have boundaries as well.

Friday, February 19, 2010

As I begin....

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

---Marianne Williamson

This is my first official start at blogging about the more personal aspects of my life. I decided to start it out my new blog with a quote I found recently that really has stuck with me. I spend everyday measuring myself against many things, my past accomplishments, fears, failures, goals, hopes, desires and even the opinions and expectations of others now and over the years.

Life has taken many turns for me in the past few years….if someone had told me I would be where I am now I never would have believed it. I have had my moments of mourning for the past and my losses. Despite the trauma I have also had so much great support and love. There are so many of my friends and family who have been angels for me. I greatly appreciate them. I am reminded everyday that this life is a test and I am not yet at my destination. When I see it that way it doesn’t matter that I have lost a marriage, my job, been hit by a truck, suffered financial losses, lost my home and even another relationship, one that I had put so much of my heart and energy into.

I have been given so much in the way of my talents and my two beautiful children. The future is still so uncertain but I have my dreams, my faith and my desires to keep me going. I used to be so afraid of everything. I was just paralyzed by the thought that I wasn’t good enough. I was also seeing myself through the inaccurate eyes of others. But I think that deep inside I knew I have so much more…the truth is I was afraid to see what my potential really is and was. It also seemed the more I would push to learn grow and excel the more alone I became. I am not afraid of being alone anymore. I still dislike it but I do not want to hold myself back just so others feel comfortable around me. This is my life’s experience and I want to live my life and really live it, taste it and feel it…and I hope to inspire others to tap into their own energy to do so. Especially my two most precious gifts…my children.

I will only have myself to blame if I live on the terms of others. I do not want to be caught up in that anymore. I am not sure I even wanted to be or even meant to be but through my own fear and insecurities I have not been allowing myself to reach my full potential. I am now on a journey to listen to and follow my heart. I just hope my heart will hold steady without failing me, leading me in truth as I move forward in hopeful faith everyday.