Monday, November 3, 2008

Be Intentional

Awhile back I told you all to ask me anything that's on your mind and I'd do my best to answer... so ask and you shall receive... :)

You've actually touched on this topic before but could you/would you expand on it, in a post? What does it mean to you to live "with intention?" How is "intention" defining or maybe working in your life?

When I mentioned it before it was one of my Life Goals... to be intentional in all things. Here's the thing: I really do believe that everything we do, no matter how small, carries with it an impact. The decisions we make about who we want to be, how we want to live and how we treat others affects more than just our immediate surroundings. If I come in contact with someone I either leave them feeling better about themselves or worse, but I never leave them unaffected.

I can smile and give a compliment or I can begrudgingly say hi on my way to do something I deem more important. I can remind people of their value or I can diminish their worth by saying nothing. Every one of us matters in every moment of the day. Sometimes it's even in the way we talk to ourselves in our own minds. Do you get up and decide you're not in the mood for the day or do you get up and decide you will make a difference today? Because that conversation will directly affect how you treat each person you see.

The way for me to make sure I'm living intentionally is to first be sure I'm really present in the moment. I'm not crazy enough to think this is easy, or even always possible. I have enough friends who are moms to know that multitasking is a way of life. But when your kid comes up to tell you something exciting about his/her day, are you really there when you listen? Do you look them in the eye, soak up their joy, get excited with them and make them feel heard?

One of my most vivid memories of being little is when I was sitting at the dining room table and my mom was vacuuming. She stopped, sat down next to me and helped me write my name until I got it. She left her stuff intentionally, made me important and gave me her attention. I'm 35 years old and I still remember how that made me feel.

When I'm talking to or even emailing someone, I intentionally give them my focus and try to leave an impact. My goal is to leave everyone with whom I am in contact knowing they are special... that someone cares. It can be through joking with them, through complimenting them, or just by letting them know I am paying attention to the details of their lives. For me, being intentional is paying attention to what the need of the other person may be and doing my part to fill it.

be intentional

It also exists on a much broader scale for me. A lot of big changes have happened to me in a short number of years. I can no longer work. I can't travel. Reality check: I don't leave the house. I don't feel well and it would be very easy to let the world pass me by, thinking that if everything has been taken from me I might as well act like it.

But it's my intention to be open to whatever God has in store for me. My biggest fear is that He has a purpose for me and if I'm not paying attention, I'll miss it. So I pray for guidance and pray that I can be intentional in all things. I pay attention when I feel a tug on my heart or have an idea of something to do for someone else. I think those are God's ways of letting me know when I'm needed. As time has gone on and more of my own life has fallen by the wayside, I've come to realize that my biggest role in life is that of encourager. I believe in people when they don't believe in themselves... I believe in God's plan when others lose their faith... I encourage and, hopefully, leave someone feeling better than when I found them.

I only see that need in others and strength in myself when I am intentional with my habits and am paying attention to the words and actions of others. And, in a way, I've been blessed that this illness has stripped some things away from me. It's allowed me the freedom to no longer try to get it all done, usually without knowing my intention. I no longer feel the need to be the best at everything, and instead try to be my best by doing what will best serve.

This blog is a great example. I had the urge to write on a whim. I listened to the tug on my heart and I started. I am intentional with the things I say and my only goal is to write every day for all of you... so you all know how important you are, that you are worth my time and that your lives hold meaning to me. I love seeing you all show up on each others' blogs to lend support and be community for each other. That's what living with intention is all about.

I drop the ball on it all the time... I mess up with the best of them. But my intention is to always keep trying.


  1. I think you're amazing. Really. I just love that I found you and your blog.

    "You. Complete. Me."


  2. You really do live up to your goal, my friend. You are a bright and shining light in a world that can be quite menacing at times. It is an amazing encouragement not only to see someone live so selflessly and with such courage, but also to see someone set a goal and stay focused on that goal as consistently as you do.

    I'm glad you let us know you mess up sometimes. As Keith says, you were looking PRETTY good on paper. ;o)

    You know I think the world of you, Sara. Thank you for sharing your heart and life with us. We are better for it.

  3. You could never know how much you inspire me to be a better person. No one in my life thus far has come close to inspiring me the way you I guess I agree....
    "You. Complete. Me."

    Just a quick example....I sorta got ticked this past weekend, over a silly thing.

    I have been giving a coworker a ride to work and home everyday....for the last two weeks. Her car is in the shop. She kept saying..."I am going to give you gas money..... on Friday." That was fine...I did not ask for the money, she just kept saying she would do it, because I was going out of my way each day.

    Friday came, she called and said she did not need me to pick her up....fine...ok. She did not mention the gas money again....That is what got me. If she had not kept saying it, I would not have even thought about it....and I got ticked over it. (not so much ticked, but I did feel like she was taking advantage of my kindness)
    I am a firm believer if I tell you I am going to do something, I do it, or explain myself. I really felt like she was taking me for granted.

    Well, guess what? She left a voice message on my phone that said she needed me to pick her up monday for work....What?! Not ask mind you...just do it. I said to myself...too bad. I am not going to be able to do it...And was going to call her Monday and say I would not be able to.

    Well, Guess what? You are right. I will pick her up. You gave me a reality check. I am not a hateful person I was going to pretend to be. I would have felt guilty anyway for not doing it. I am also going to tell her to not worry about the money, maybe she can give me a ride sometime if I would need one.

    Most times, I am intentionally kind, thoughful, and try to be there for others...thanks for reminding me to stay true to myself.

  4. Sorry....I did not realize my rambling was so long!

  5. @bransblahg... LMAO over here... "You.Complete.Me." I'm with Brent; we may have been separated at birth...

    @anita: you make it so darn easy to be your friend and encourage you... I shouldn't get credit for that. And tell Keith I try to look good on paper because I'm not as cute in person :)

  6. @coloradolady: I SO get your story... and once something gets under your skin it's so hard to let it go. The thing is, it's ok to be annoyed by that. But then you have to follow through exactly like you did and decide your intention. You did a great thing for someone because it was the right thing to do. And while she may not get it right now, someday she'll learn from it and be intentional with someone else. We don't always see the end result of how we affect people, but it happens. We just have to trust that.

    So glad you hang around here! :)

  7. Oh I love this! When I live with intention I find I don't minimize what God may want to do through me.
    You have helped me remember also, to be in the moment. Something my foggy mind sometimes forgets.
    You are a household name in around here, I quote you all the time! You have made a difference in my life. Thank you for living with intention~

  8. You are a difference maker in this world. You leave each one of us who is lucky enough to have you in our lives, better for having known you. And I admire the courage and faith it takes you to "show up" for your life! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the "be intentional" artwork you created! I so want to be you when I grow up!

  9. Sara, I love you.

    You are a blessing in my life and I KNOW it was intentional, from the Father to me (through Tam).

    Thank you.

  10. So this is the post that finally made me stop, intentionally, and post to you. It has been my intention to say hi for awhile so I am.

    Thank you for being here and being intentional and being you. I am so thankful to God for putting me on a path to find you.

    I do not even have words to express how much I needed this today and quite frankly everyday. Your blog is first for my computer time every morning and I truly miss it on Sat. and Sun.

    Through my tears you have so spoken to my aching heart today. Thank you and May God bless you each and every day.

  11. I saw your comment on my blog, thanks :)

    I read your "Life Goals" post and it inspired me.
    I have an illness as well that prevents me from doing 99% of the things I want to do and it seems like I could learn a lot from you.

    I'm still very much in the process of letting go; letting go of the dreams I had for myself and the things I planned for myself. I'm still stuck in the -I don't want to miss all the fun things and I don't want to accept my limits- phase.
    So "To love what I have and not yearn for what I lack" is definitely something I want and need to do, but it's going to take a while I think.
    How long did it take you to reach that point?

    You seem to be farther into that process, so I'll be visiting your blog often...:)

  12. Beautiful - Just Beautiful! Thank you Sara.

  13. @robin, vicky, michelle, neas: thank you, but you guys really give me more than you get... I love having you around.

    @megan & anna: glad you both are here and that something has helped in any way. I'm really enjoying learning right along with you guys...

  14. Great post- thank you!

    Have you ever read The Four Agreements? A lot of the things in there remind me of your messages.

    I love making the connection and seeing something I read about at work in someones life. It really drives the point home!

    Thanks again,

  15. @melissa: I haven't ever read that book, but thanks for the suggestion. I'll have to check it out...

  16. I have always believed that what goes around, comes around -- that when I do good, I feel good. There is never a good excuse for being ugly. And, we are where we are in life to give us an opportunity to be there for someone who needs us.

    You are truly an amazing woman, Sara. Sweet and wise.

  17. I love your blog and your outlook on life . I am in need of a friend and I consider you as one. I am 64 years old and have copd and many other health problems . My hubby was recently diagnosed with lung cancer..stage four..the worst kind ..he is currently taking chemo for it . His prognosis is not too good . He is 76 years old . We just take life one day at a time now. I so admire your outlook and wish you the best.

  18. @sherri: "we are where we are in life to give us an opportunity to be there for someone who needs us" I so agree with you.

    @doris: I'm so sorry about your husband's diagnosis and your health problems. Cancer is a rough road and I'll be praying for you.

  19. dang. dang. dang.

    how is it this made me cry? seriously.

    the way you described yourself and your hearts intent - you did that perfectly. you ARE an encourager!

    you are a keeper of your word. that is a testimony that stands strong on its very own. but you also live out your word and it blesses and benefits others.

    i just know that i know that i know, God has the biggest smile on His face because of you!

  20. @tam: thanks for being MY encourager :) even when it means you talk me into stuff...

  21. i just add to the "already" thoughts in your head.

    its a gift.

    youre welcome.

  22. and...

    i hope im the HALF the person you are when i grow up.

    love you.

  23. Blessings to you as you live with "intention". May God continue to grant you the strength, courage, and joy to live life to its fullest, and may he encourage you on your journey... Amen...:-)

    Celita at...

  24. Hey,

    I saw some of your art on another blog and loved it! It's really, really cool.

    How do you do it? Is it paint/photo/digital?

    I think we have a few mutual blog friends.