Archive | February 2014

When words just aren’t enough…

                  In our Pinterest driven world, a picture is really worth a thousand words! There is just something about “seeing” a quote or verse, rather than just reading it, that really captures our attention and causes the words to stick like glue! So I’ve put together some of my recent favorite picture quotes. Hope these inspire you to continue Making Life Magnificent 🙂

Don't Be Ashamed To Feel

           This one stands out to me because there are times when I truly do feel that I have to appear strong and in charge all the time because I don’t want to be judged for being weak. Whoever said that being weak is a negative!? Maybe it’s our “Super Hero” mentality, but this one is a good reminder that apart of being human means you’re going to have not-so-strong days. It’s still ok, embrace those moments, learn from them, then keep it moving!








I don’t know about you, but I have definitely been hurt before! This helps me have a healthier perspective on forgiving those who’ve hurt me AND on forgiving myself.

follow your heart









Balance Passion & Wisdom! Enough said.

Press Toward The Mark










This one reminds me of Paul’s words in Philippians 3: 12-14 about Pressing Toward The Mark. Read it here







relationships are work relationship patience








Shine from within





This reminds me of a the Maya Angelou poem, Phenomenal Woman…see it below








You know how they say “misery loves company?” Well this turns that right on top of its head!










Work hard in silence  Although it’s small, this one packs a big punch. It reminds me of a quote I heard years ago: “Excellence is the best revenge.” 🙂





Related Articles:
God’s Word Made Visual


My Inner Peace: Kung Fu Panda Style

   I’m not a big t.v. watcher. I can name my faithful favorites on one hand: Scandal, Mary Mary, Chopped and Wheel of Fortune!  Occasionally I’ll feast on HGTV  or Cooking Channel. Other than that, if the t.v. is on in my house, it’s showing cartoons. And I must admit, I’ve learned more life lessons from watching cartoons that anything else I watch.

       Po from Kung Fu Panda continues to be one of my favorites. The most unlikely (and un-liked) person–panda rather–in the entire village is chosen to be The Master Warrior. Reminds me of Bible stories like David being chosen as King of Israel, Gideon being chosen to defeat a massive army with only 300 men, Rahab the prostitute being spared from death in the victory over Jericho, little insignificant and unknown Mary to birth the Savior into the world. Talk about turning the world on its head! Just when we think we are so unfit to achieve something great, life has a way of showing us that we are the perfect person for the job!

      After Po completes a grueling training to prove he can become The Master Warrior, a sequel is released in which Po is confronted by his unknown past. (If you haven’t seen the movie, sorry that I’m giving away all the details.) So Master Shifu (pronounced She-fu) wants to teach Po how to have inner peace. The meditative chant: Inner Peace, Inner Peace…Inner Inner Peace is repeated throughout the movie, with no luck in helping Po achieve any real peace within himself. It wasn’t until the climax and height of tension that Po realizes the secret to achieving real peace, and this is where I’m hit hard every time:

The Peacock, Po’s enemy says: “How did you do it? I scarred you for life. How did you achieve inner peace?”
Po responds: “Scars heal….what matters is what you choose to be.”

        Peace, happiness, contentment, any of the things we desire in life, come only through our choosing–not by our circumstances. On most days, I think I have many reasons to be bitter: I lost my husband at the age of 24, I live 3 1/2 hours away from all my family, my most frequent places to visit are work, church and the grocery store. Unless I just specifically plan for something else, my “free time” is spent cleaning my house. So many scars…but like The Master Warrior points out to his perpetrator, I am not a victim unless I choose to be.

      Please don’t think I am minimizing hardship. Despite how tragic my story may seem, there are many who face challenges even greater and much more present: rape, homelessness, sickness, joblessness and more plague the lives of too many around us. Too many that are closer than we realize. I know from experience that when you are in the middle of a hard time, you can’t always see that even in these circumstances, you  still have a choice. Life will always be ready to inflict scars. Just don’t forget that scars really do heal: so what do you choose to be?

     Let’s learn from that adorable cartoon panda, whose parents were killed and he ended up being raised by a duck in a noodle shop, that we can truly have Inner, Inner Peace. Challenge yourself to choose magnificence in the midst of your beautiful struggles. 🙂


The Day I Learned To Laugh

This post is actually an excerpt from my upcoming book–which I’m working hard on having released by the end of this year. The book is a memoir of life lessons I’ve learned over the years. This lesson (which is a TRUE story) taught me how to laugh at all the beautiful struggles I endure on my quest to Make Life Magnificent. Enjoy 🙂

           …I’d convinced my mom to buy me “the hooker boots!” They were so stylish: black leather, knee-high, four and a half inch heel, “sexy boots” is what I called them! I had no business wearing these or the khaki shirt with two long splits up the side. After all, I was only in high school! But high school wasn’t the time to be rational or logical or use the good sense God gave us. It was the time to be social and popular and impressive, and I just had to impress him. This outfit is just what I needed to pull it off.

           The big day finally arrived. My outfit and hair were just right, and after what seemed like an eternity, the lunch bell finally rang. He was standing where I knew he’d be, by the vending machines in our high school cafeteria, with his other football buddies. He was so adorable. All I needed was for him to catch a good glimpse of me going down the stairs in my sexy boots and skirt, and I knew he would officially be mine! Now, when I really look back on all this, I wish the shoes would have come with an instruction manual; “WARNING: Please do not attempt to operate while under the influence of high school puppy love!” If the manufacture did have that label attached, I obviously missed it!

             In my own little love world, I was waving and smiling to Mr. Adorable as I headed down the stairs. In my own little love world, he was winking at me, while waving and smiling back. Yet in the real world, the heel of one of those “hooker boots” got stuck on the edge of the top step and the next thing I knew, I was going head first down the stairs. To my dismay, I landed flat on my back right beside the vending machines. This wasn’t a head-first type fall; this was literally a head over heels fall. My backpack flipped over my head and my entire body seemed to do a somersault down the stairs. Instead of my secret crush admiring me, he and his friends were standing directly over me–as I lay sprawled on my back–yelling, “Oh my God, are you ok?” This is definitely NOT what I had in mind.

                  “Tanya, are you alright?”
                   “Man she hit that floor kind of hard!”
                  “Pull her skirt down, you can see her…”
                   “Maybe we should try to pick her up.”
                  “Naw man, she might be dead or something!”
                 “Tanya, Tanya…!”

          I lay completely motionless. I figured if I played dead, somehow all of this would either just magically rewind and I could start the day over, or I’d just disappear into thin air. Where’s that convenient little fairy godmother when you need her?


        A teacher who saw the commotion, called the ambulance and they rushed me to a hospital thinking I’d had some kind of head injury. My mom had a real field day with this one, since she never liked those boots anyway! Luckily, my hospital stay was very brief. The doctor’s diagnosis was “post-traumatic embarrassment!” After all, the hard part wasn’t the fall, it was having to face the high school masses. The hard part was having to face him again.

*                                              *                                        *                                      *

             The greatest lesson I’d ever learn was right upon my heels–literally and figuratively. Mr. Adorable approached me during lunch a couple of days later with a look of concern splattered across his face. My first thought was that I would literally die or pass out right in front of him. I couldn’t believe that this was the way I had to face him. Then the unthinkable happened. When he asked me was I ok, I busted out laughing: the tear jerking, belly holding kind of laughing, and he started laughing too! I don’t know if I was laughing out of fear that he would laugh first or if being so close to the “crime scene” brought on a flashback of my fall or maybe it was a combination of so many things happening at once. Whatever the case, I laughed hysterically at myself and my huge mistake. And like magic, everything was ok.

          As Mr. Adorable and I re-enacted the whole thing through our jerks of laughter, it seemed as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulder. Although he and I never dated, we did become very good friends and shared many more laughs together. On top of this, I learned one of the best lessons of my life: Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself! Cut yourself some slack and don’t take everything so seriously. One day your embarrassments will only be faint memories. I’ve carried this lesson with me from that high school day to my shaky graduation speech, my first day of college away from home, as I almost tripped down the aisle on the day of my wedding, at my dramatic display of giving birth to my son, and even now as a single mother and young widow who is working hard every day to make life better. I have had plenty more “post-traumatic embarrassments” with plenty more heartaches and disappointments in the mix. When I get to the end of those days, I remember this lesson and I smile. 🙂

      The next time you feel the urge to crawl inside yourself and cry over life’s mishaps, think about the cow cheese commercial that asks, “Have you laughed today?”         *                                             *                                       *