Friday, November 7, 2014

Words of a 10 year old... a Mindset Essay

Ah-CHOO!  That's the sound of all the dust flying as I dust off this old blog site!  OH BOY does it NEED a make over & update... that will come (please look beyond it's dated appearance).  

I could not resist the desire to post an essay written by Blyss.  She asked me to read it and I was blown away.  The content was so relevant to many conversations I've had lately with friends and colleagues.  So, here is her unedited grade 6 English LA essay, I hope it makes you stop and think about the importance of our mindset.  

  Mindset Essay
By:Blyss Ward

Grade 6, for me so far, has been a pretty good year learning wise; I am a grade 6 student in French immersion and I am 10 years old. I am the youngest in my class but it doesn’t impact me in a bad way, in fact, I use being the youngest in class as an advantage. My advantage is that I will almost always push myself to work as hard as or even harder than my older classmates. In this unit, we learned about different mindsets like growth and fixed. We also learned about our mindset and the brain. We learned about how a growth mindset and a fixed mindset affects what people say, do, and how they act. We have also learned about growing a healthy mindset and the steps to having a stronger brain.

What do you know about the brain? Did you know that your brain contains many, MANY neurons even when you are little and don’t even know how to talk? Isn’t that amazing! Your brain is a muscle so like all muscles you can make it stronger. You can grow your “brain muscle” by practising math, science, or even spelling. Learning new words can help grow your vocabulary and your brain. Your brain even has enough electricity to power a 20 watt lightbulb! Your brain controls your feelings and your actions. Depending on what food you eat, you will feel different emotions and I found that quite interesting. It is not as easy to focus when you are stressed, worried, sad, or angry. It is easiest to focus and learn when you are relaxed or happy or even both! I learned these brain facts from some videos we watched and articles we read in class.

            There are 2 types of mindsets and they are called fixed mindset and growth mindset; throughout these past 3 months, we have been talking about them, and I’m here to educate you on the 2 of them but first I will talk about growth mindset. Growth mindset people are resilient. For example, if they failed a class they would work harder until they understand it, or if they failed a test they would study more they wouldn’t give up. They also think that their intelligence is malleable and if you try, you can become smarter and you can develop your intelligence. They also think it is more important to learn than look smart, they would rather learn than simply get the highest grades. Another thing, they believe that effort is positive and that the harder you work at something the better you’ll become at it.

Now, I will talk about fixed mindset. Fixed mindset people are helpless.  For example, if they failed on a test they would cheat or fake on the next test and if they failed a subject they would spend less time on that subject or avoid it instead of trying harder. They also think that intelligence is a fixed trait and can not be changed. They say that you remain as dumb as you were when you were born, if that was true no one would be smart. To all the fixed mindset people that read this, by the way, you CAN teach old dogs new tricks! Fixed mindset people say that looking smart is most important and that the main thing they want to do when they do work, is to show how good they are at it. Last but not least, they think that effort is negative and they think if they have to work hard, it means they are not smart or it makes them feel stupid.

Here are some of the things I found interesting that we learned in class. People said that Thomas Edison was “too stupid” yet he invented something people all around the world use on a day to day basis and if you don’t know what I’m talking about it’s the light bulb, which is CRAZY! Abraham Lincoln lost 8 elections yet he became one of the most important and memorable men in history. Michael Jordan was cut from his highschool basketball team and then locked himself in his room and bawled his eyes out and now he is the world’s greatest basketball player. People told Walt Disney that he lacked imagination and couldn’t do cartoons because of it. You can be like them, it wouldn’t be easy, but if you want it super bad, and you work for it, you will succeed. Life equals risks because if you’ve never failed you’ve never lived. Michael Jordan said “ I’ve failed over and over again and that’s why I succeed.” All these amazing people are great examples of growth mindset people.

            Now, I’m going to tell you about my mindset and how I know what my mindset is. First, I’ll tell you about how I found out my mindset.  Our class did a test to test our mindsets by using multiple choice. My test results were all growth mindset, but I know that sometimes I don’t really demonstrate growth mindset. The way I know I’m mostly growth mindset is that most of the time when I fail I try to learn from my mistakes and try harder even though sometimes that can be really hard. I think it is much, MUCH more important to learn than look smart. The way I know that I have a bit of fixed is sometimes I give up or quit, but I think that I’m still more growth mindset than fixed mindset but I know I can work on that.

            Are you fixed mindset but want to grow a healthy mindset to become growth mindset? Because right now I’m going to tell you the 4 steps to growing a healthy mindset.
Step 1:  learn, learn, learn, you need to learn and I can tell you this for a fact, learning is definitely NOT easy!
Step 2:  Hard work is key, if you have a choice don’t always chose the easy work even if the hard work is quite hard, if the work is hard it’s a good thing so don’t give up, and no one will work as hard for yourself as you.
Step 3:  Face your failures, if you never fail you will never succeed, don’t give up if you fail just try harder!
Step 4:  You have to believe in yourself you can’t give up.

            Here are some ways I will use this information in the future. I will never forget to try harder if I fail and I will try to maintain a healthy mindset by using the 4 steps I’ve learned. I will also not forget this quote “If you’ve never failed you’ve never lived.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reclaiming "Princess"

Yesterday at my ladies small group, the DVD speaker talked about us as “daughters of the king” which really means we are princesses.  He said when you are born into royalty, you are told from day 1 you are a Princess and are raised from day 1 to act like a Princess.  What he was referring to was to act with dignity, innate worth, and act from a place of respect because a Princess is respectable.  I decided to look up “What is a princess?” in the source of all information these days “Google”… I found the following information from the “Urban Dictionary” website:
Princess Qualities
So, how does a princess act? What qualities should a young maiden have to catch the eye of a prince? Let's take a look at what a princess should be.

Noble: A princess is a noble young lady who carries herself with poise and dignity. She listens attentively. And when she speaks, she carefully chooses her words. She exercises control over her emotions and makes choices based on what's right rather than on how she feels. Though she isn't perfect, she possesses a strong sense of duty that comes with knowing she's a princess.

Selfless: A princess thinks of others

Trusting and Faithful: A princess believes and trusts

Humble: Another princess virtue is humility. She doesn’t demand or expect special treatment from others and chooses to refrain from bragging or boasting. Instead, she focuses on others and their needs. She doesn't have to be in the spotlight because she already knows she’s a princess.

Kind: A princess is extraordinarily beneficent. Gentle, generous, compassionate, patient, good-natured and forgiving are all words to describe a princess.

Respectable and Admirable: A princess doesn't compete with a prince. Just the opposite, she builds him up. It's her admiration and respect that inspire the prince and compel him to greatness. When he sees that he's a hero in her eyes, it's no wonder he's willing to suffer for her. A hero will go through anything to keep an admiring princess by his side.

A princess is a princess regardless of her attire or her circumstances

Hmmm… I find this very interesting. Did this description match what you had in mind when you think of that “friend” you called a princess because she is unwilling to scrub toilets?  Is this this what I meant when I called my daughter a princess this morning because she didn’t clean up after herself for the thousandth time?  Sure, we may put on tiaras or boas for silly pictures, but soon after leaving our little-girl years behind us, being called a princess is usually not steeped in positivity. Forgive me but for lack of a better term, the word Princess has been bastardized in our culture to mean “prima-donna, high maintenance, spoiled, selfish, etc.”  It certainly hasn’t been used to positively describe women in most instances – especially when we use it like a curse word to describe someone else! 

So, how did we get so far away from the actual intent?  Why is it that we want to see our little girls as princesses but we want them to grow up and not be a “princess”?  What if we reclaimed the word Princess?  What if we started to take our place as Princesses – Daughters of the King most High?

Imagine… a world where we really believe we are daughters of the King… a world where we raise our daughters knowing they are princesses… a world where we live out the values and characteristics of a princess because we KNOW who’s we are… a world where our value is not determined or shaped by what the world says a we are but one where we know our worth was determined before we were even born… a world where we live in the knowledge that our inheritance is a kingdom – no, THE Kingdom!

How would our lives and the lives of those around us change if we stepped into our destiny as princesses?  Would our relationships strengthen if we were noble (“listens attentively. And when she speaks, she carefully chooses her words. She exercises control over her emotions and makes choices based on what's right rather than on how she feels.”)?  Could we really change the world if we were truly more humble and kind (She doesn’t demand or expect special treatment from others and chooses to refrain from bragging or boasting. Instead, she focuses on others and their needs. Gentle, generous, compassionate, patient, good-natured and forgiving)?  Would our marriages be stronger, more fulfilling if we behaved more respectably and admirably (A princess doesn't compete with a prince. Just the opposite, she builds him up. It's her admiration and respect that inspire the prince and compel him to greatness. When he sees that he's a hero in her eyes, it's no wonder he's willing to suffer for her. A hero will go through anything to keep an admiring princess by his side. )

I don’t know about you but I know that my behaviour is often so far from God’s perspective of princess.  I don’t act selflessly – I often think “what about me? It’s not fair!”  Shamefully, I don’t always act respectably towards my husband; I am often critical and self-righteous.  It’s painful to look at just how far I am from being described as a Princess. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a Princess but God does.  I have His daughter and He is the King; ergo, I’m a princess.  My prayer is to start living each day as God sees me; maybe, just maybe, if I did that, others would start to see Him through me and when I looked in the mirror, the reflection would be more of Him and less of me everyday.   At the end of my days, I want my epitaph read “She knew she was a beloved daughter of the King most High and lived her life as a Princess everyday!” 

Let’s reclaim the word “Princess”!  Let’s live & leave the legacy we were meant to as daughters of the King!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hello old friend...

It has been over 1 year since I posted last; not quite what I'd planned when I started the blog with gusto & enthusiasm! One thing I know, this blog is looking old and tired just like me lately; needs some updating for sure!!! Pretty sure no one visits my blog so I'm probably just talking to myself right now (especially considering it's been stale for so long anyone who was interested has probably lost interest!!!) I've actually started many entries but, sadly, life called me away leaving blog entries unfinished. When I would finally return to them, I'd either forgotten my point, they were irrelevant or I convinced myself they were just not any good.

Interestingly, I realize that my blog is a metaphor for so many other ventures in my life. I feel drawn but then my insecurities and fears have blocked my desire, calling, and drive. There's the fear that I don't write well enough now, there's the fear that I'll offend someone, there's the fear that I'll be judged if I reveal my flaws, there's the fear that I'll be judged if I'm too shallow... you get the picture. The fear of what people might think... or worse yet, the fear that no one will care to read my blog. So, it is easier for me to let my busy life be a justifiable excuse to put off for another day (like Scarlett O'Hara " I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow. ") I know that God has placed certain dreams on my heart so why have I let life, fear, insecurity, etc. stop me? God has a plan and a purpose for my life - I don't have to figure it all out, I don't have to care what other people will think, I just have to lean into Him and let Him guide my steps. That's my plan for 2012 - that I would let God direct my steps and unfold His plan in my life.

What's your plan for 2012? God has a plan and a purpose for you, too. Will you let Him guide you?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Have you ever asked yourself "what does it mean to be generous"? Well, defines generosity as "freedom from meanness or smallness of mind or character". Hmmm.... pretty deep, hey?

So, instead of worrying about the definitions, I asked myself "where does generosity spring from?" Does it come from an attitude of "I have lots so I am willing to give as long as there's enough left for me"? Or, does it come from a place of complete trust in the provider of all we have? A place where we may not have an abundance of _________ (money, time, patience - you know what goes in the blank for you), BUT a place where we give out of an abundance of faith and trust?

A good friend challenged me a couple of weeks ago to think bigger than an immediate request for help I'd received. She challenged me to really look (I mean really look) at us as a larger body of Christ who share and help and support each other; to truly making it less about mine and more about "ours".

Maybe to you it seems a little "Pollyanna" to think that people in the Church (not a church building but THE Church as in the body of believers) really could be doing life together, really, truly there to support and help each other but just imagine what it could be like... to give and receive from a place of wealth and abundance and love... even when our bank account doesn't look plentiful... even when we really want to have a nap but someone needs our help or just a shoulder to cry on...

Dream with me for a minute... What if we truly, truly and completely believed Proverbs 11:25 "
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed"?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lead me...

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I can have a bit of a stubborn streak. I can be a bit opinionated on certain topics with certain people - mostly, my family but especially with my husband. Over most of the 16 years of our marriage, we certainly did not fulfill "traditional" roles with our family. Due to circumstances and choices (both good & bad), I was often the one bringing home the bacon and Sherwin was the one frying it up. We told ourselves that we were good with that; it didn't really matter. However, somewhere in my deepest heart, I harboured resentment and bitterness over the situation. Most of the time, it was buried so deeply I would have argued with anyone who tried to call me on it. Yet, the fruit of that bitterness was discontent, snippy attitude with Sherwin, envy of others, lack of focus on my family and home... I could go on and on but the most vile fruit was that I emasculated my husband little by little; I stood in the way of him being the leader in our home, in the most important way - spiritually.

Don't get me wrong... I am not saying that it is "bad" for a wife to earn more money or to have a more flourishing career than her husband, it wasn't a matter of who made more money - this was a heart matter for me (possibly for him, too, but definitely for me). I think it is very possible for a wife to have a strong career and her husband to even be a stay at home dad BUT you have to be so much more intentional about honouring the way God created us - for the husband to be the spiritual head of the home. Men need to be admired, they need to be needed, and, most important, they need to know they are respected. I digress... so, for me, it was a heart matter. In my heart of hearts, I wanted to be home to raise my family, to care for my husband, to be the wife and mom that my mom was for us - I didn't intend on having a career. Through the years, I told myself that I wouldn't have been good at home anyway, that Sherwin was a way better mom than me so we were okay: our marriage was ok, our home was ok, our kids would be ok.

I have to ask myself, "why was ok enough?" God wants us to have life to the full! I want that for my life, my marriage, my family. My continued denial of my true heart in this matter eroded all of it. However, over the past months with lots of prayer, support, and seeking God's face; I have openly repented for the resentment I felt towards Sherwin in this regard. I'd never allowed him to truly be the leader in our family and that left us all feeling like we were walking on shifting sand.

The past few months have been a time of steep growth around our house as we begin to live out the roles God gave us within the constraints of the personalities He gave us (not to mention the different Love Languages). What I can tell you is that it takes work, it takes intentionality not to fall into old patterns, and it takes understanding. We came to realize that Sherwin, like many men his age, did not really even understand his role. He came to realize that my hurts at the hands of men had seriously constricted my ability to trust him fully. Praise God that HE is a God of healing, the Wonderful Counsellor, the God of miracles... with His help, we are moving forward, we are growing and soon, I believe we will be truly flourishing. No more will the fruits be vile and bitter but sweet, savoury, and bountiful...

Now my heart's cry is LEAD Me.... I want to be the wife, mother, and woman God created me to be.

California trip

California trip
A group of my "rocks"