Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sit Outside

The sun is out and the warm weather is here. I can’t tell you what that does for my whole mood! I am more motivated, my attitude is better, and I feel more energized.

It is so nice to eat dinner outside on the patio table. It’s so nice to bring my laptop outside instead of sitting in my office with a space heater blowing on me to keep me warmed up.

But it’s more than that. It’s nature itself that renews, revives, and restores. I can close the lid of my laptop and look at the blue sky. I can watch a bird fly in the distance and close my eyes and hear all of the cheerful chirping.

No tv noise. Just the sounds of life.

And I’m reminded how my soul needs it. How it helps me clear my head and think.  How it calms my heart. How I somehow am able to make better decisions and choices.

Just by sitting outside. By taking in life and letting it fall over me, in me, and through me.

When warm weather sets in after winter, most people are out and about. But by the end of summer, it seems that spirit has faded somewhat. Not as many people want to be outside. They are tired of the sunshine. Bored with the warmth. They move back inside again.

Not me. I cling to what I know will be gone for many many months.  I soak in whatever last drop of gentle breeze, cheerful chirp, and warmth on my skin that I can get.

For I know the hidden secret. I know what looking at a tree and puffy clouds in the distance can do for me. I know what smelling the aromas of flowers blooming and fresh grass clipped does for my senses.

It gives me hope. Joy. Compassion. Love. And Life. Everything I need to face what hits me every day.

Sit outside. Try it. Close your eyes and take it in. And you’ll feel it too.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's Not Fair

There are so many things that I could look at in my life and declare them “unfair.”

So many things I feel robbed of. So many things that don’t come easily for me.  And yet I know that others feel the same way. They may look at some things in my life and think I get all the blessing while they struggle. And they feel like life’s unfair.

We all do.

And we are all right.

Life has been “unfair” to all of us in one way or another. We’ve all had to walk the bumpy path in one area of life or another. We’ve all skipped out on the dream in one area of our life.

It’s true.  Life’s not fair.

For one person they get the raw end of the stick when it comes to health. For another, it’s in family life and marriage. Still another person will never quite know what it’s like to live worry-free when it comes to finances.

Life is not fair. There is diabetes. Cancer. Divorce. Prodigal children. Death. Poverty. Heart disease. Arthritis. Amputations. Tumors. Gastrointestinal issues. Broken families. Depression. Rejection. Surgeries. Crime.

You name it. Someone somewhere is getting shafted, taken advantage of, struggling to overcome adversity, receiving bad news (yet again), and hurting.

That’s looking at the glass half empty.

But there’s another part of that glass. The part that is half full. The part of our lives where we ARE being dealt fairness. Where we DO get blessed.

Do we see it? Do we recognize it when it comes?

Do we thank God for it?

We may deal with bad health, but have an amazing spouse. We may struggle with our children but have superb health! Everyone has something to be thankful for. Something that God gives us to give us hope. To remind us to smile.

Each one of us would probably choose a different struggle or battle than the one we’ve been given. But I believe that our struggles are very personalized. That God allows them into our lives for very personal reasons. They are tailored just to us. Doesn’t make them fun or easy – or even wanted. But it does give them purpose that we can be determined to unfold.

Life. Is. Not. Fair. It never will be.  But it still holds amazing gifts.

Let’s ask God to open our eyes so we can see them.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Have To Be Intentional As A Parent

Being intentional. I have to constantly be intentional as a parent. The moment I drop my guard or get distracted or relaxed, the world swoops in to carry off my kids.

At least it tries to.

I feel very strongly about raising my children to be sold out warriors for the Lord. But I have to be intentional about it. I’ve watched mistakes I’ve made and I’ve watched other families and I’ve seen how easily Satan can slip in and steal my children’s hearts. How easily he can water-down the truth. Confuse. Distort.

I have to prioritize my faith and my walk with God for my children are not only watching me, they are following my example.  It’s not enough for me to go to church. It’s not enough for me to have values. I need to apply them.  I need to live them out. My children need to see that God’s Word is important to me. I can’t just say, “Follow this verse.”  My children need to see that I’m reading the Bible for myself and studying what God’s word says. That I’m growing.

My children watch me. Do I prioritize living a life for God? Or do I rationalize away my attitude and actions at times? Do I pray? Not just at dinnertime or on Sundays – but do I pray when I’m hurting, fearful, or rejoicing in a blessing?

Just exactly what does my faith mean to me?

I have to be intentional. I can’t rely on the church or a Christian school to teach my kids. I can’t expect that simply because they attend youth group that they will live a life for the Lord. I can’t expect that once they are out of my house and possibly live somewhere else, that they will choose to attend a church and be involved in one on their own…unless I’ve also put a high priority on being involved in church.

If I simply say, “I believe” but yet don’t put that belief into action – how can I possibly expect my children to? How can I expect them to have the roots and foundation to stand on, if I haven’t been intentional about giving them those very tools while they were in my home – in my care?

Time is limited. The window of opportunity is so short for me to play a big part in molding and shaping my precious children’s lives. I have to be intentional. Every day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Lack of Self Control?

We live in a society where it doesn’t seem like we need to have a lot of self-discipline or control.  How do I know? Because when we try to tame the beast that has become who we are, it is very tough.

I try to have just a “few” potato chips and they soon turn into munching straight from the bag. I try to be intentional about walking on the treadmill in the winter time and I easily put it off. Both, are examples of a lack of self-control and self-discipline.

We are constantly facing a barrage of “do what feels right” kind of advertisements. If you want to leave your spouse and are unhappy? We are told to leave.  Want that house? Buy it. Never mind that neither one may be the right choice.

God told us that just because something is permissible, it doesn’t mean that it’s beneficial for our lives.  I have seen that first hand. If I eat too much junk, I don’t feel good on the inside. I don’t feel as fit or as healthy. It was only temporary satisfaction. If I don’t have self-control or self discipline, I harm myself in the long run.

Boundaries are set in place in our lives for a reason. God did not place them there to hinder us from having fun or to control us. He put them there out of His great love for us. He wanted to protect us!

I believe that we live in a society that fears any kind of moral guidelines being placed on them. It’s as if we are afraid that being people of morality will rob us of something! Of what…I have no clue. But the further we have strayed from morals, values, and character – the more lost we have become. The sadder we seem to grow and the deeper we search for something we KNOW is missing in our hearts and lives.

Character and moral traits are what FREE us. They don’t handcuff us to something to which we don’t want to belong to.  What we perceive as freedom (eating as many chips or junk food as we want or buying ourselves into debt, etc) those in turn end up being the catalysts to which we become slaves to.

Anything good worth being a part of in life, has boundaries. But in time, we see that those boundaries are more like flashing lights guiding our way. And we all need more of those.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Gift of Our Time

People don’t have a lot of time these days. Busy, busy, busy. But one of the greatest gifts we can give our friends and those who are dear to us is our time.

I’ve noticed that people seem to flit in and out of things rather quickly. It’s another thing “to do.” That birthday party of your dear friend, the holiday dinner with family, the graduation celebration of your niece, etc – they are all just added things on the list.

I’ve been there. I’ve had many empty days fill up quicker than I could snap my fingers. My weary mind and body have been so hungry for a day to just relax and recharge. It vanishes quickly.

The thing is, when it vanishes – sometimes it’s my choice. I could tell my daughter “no” about that extra birthday party. I could say “no” to many things unless they are school-required or appointments that aren’t flexible. So when some of my free time fills up – it’s my doing.

I can still make choices though. I don’t have to go to 3 celebrations in one weekend. I can choose just 1 to prioritize and go to and give my regrets to the other two.  I don’t have to cram everything I’m invited to into my schedule. It doesn’t make me more loved (or them) to hop in and out of function after function as if I’m some celebrity that they are “graced” to have in their presence.

I’ve found that it’s more meaningful to do less – MORE. It’s more important to those I love to spend more time with them than to have many friends get less of me. To stop in for 30 min at party after party is exhausting for me as well as them. And let’s be honest. Parties, reunions, weddings, events, etc – they take a lot of effort, money, and time in preparing. It’s kind of rude to just go in, eat a little, give a quick hug and then leave! But how about staying for 3-4 hours? Getting to know someone better and truly investing and leaving our heart and time with them? How about clearing out our schedule and just focusing on one thing instead of 3 or 4? Yes, someone might be disappointed once in awhile but in the long run, everyone involved will get more out of it.

A lot of things in our life will come and go. Relationships are where it’s at and what truly matters.  Take the time. Invest your time. Love with your time. You will be so glad you prioritized and made the choice to focus on less.. with MORE of you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Don't Feel Guilty If You Don't Want To Participate

Causes. Ministries. Mission trips. Community events. The list goes on and on of good things we can be involved in and with.

Most of them are VERY good and worthwhile endeavors. They encourage. They help. They love on others. And they ask of us to be involved.

I think it’s easy to get involved. It’s easy because we can all too easily feel guilty if we don’t.

We can feel guilty for not helping those affected by the tornado.

We can feel guilty for not giving to that family or child in need.

We can feel guilty for not participating in the event that promotes and spreads information on cancer or sex trafficking.

We can feel guilty for not going down to clean the church on the weekend.

Guilty for not wanting to go on that missions trip.

But we shouldn’t.

God gives each one of us passions and natural “bents.” It’s okay to not feel comfortable or driven to good causes. You don’t have to WANT or desire to be involved simply because they are…good.

There are lots of good things out there. But not all of them are for us. God didn’t intend on us filling all the shoes for each one of them.

“For everything may be permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”

We can so easily get excited when we come back from the mission field that we think everyone should have to go and be where we were. But they don’t. Or at least, they might not in the same way.

And we can get so excited about the cause we are promoting for heart disease because we have been affected by it personally in our family. But not everyone has. Not everyone will have the same passion for it as we do – and it’s okay.

There are thousands and thousands of ministries, missions opportunities, and causes out there. There are plenty for us to be involved in. Not by guilt – but by choice. By our natural “bents” and passions for what is at stake or involved.

I may never want to go to Africa or Iraq. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that the missions trips I HAVE taken are inconsequential or don’t matter at all. They do. A lot. It just means that God may have me on a different course where He can use me best.

So let’s let Him use us in the BEST places.   And not feel guilty if we don’t want to participate in the rest. As long as we are participating and being used somewhere. Some place. Some place where God has lead us… a leash on our heart.

That’s right where we are meant to be.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Do You Want To Be Healthy? ~ Klutchclub!

I have been trying to change my health habits by making intentional baby steps the last few years.  More and more, I realize the importance of eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

It's been a struggle for me because I love fatty foods and I live in a cold climate that doesn't always encourage exercise. But each baby step I make, is one step closer to feeling good and living longer in a body that feels healthy and energized.

I don't know about you, but if I have chips on hand, I'll eat chips. But if I have healthy food on hand - I'll eat healthier food!

I was so excited to discover there is a company like "Klutchclub." Klutchclub sends its members a box in the mail each month filled with healthy goodies and samples.

I received this box....

It had:

*A yoga workout DVD by Kristin McGee
*A bottle of Zico coconut water
*A bottle of Flax Oil to add to yogurt, dressings, etc
*3 flavors of anti-oxidant teas to help improve my skin
*Energy drink powder to add to my water with 0 calories!
*Rose Hips Black Soap Facial Cleanser (microdermabrasion in a bottle)
*A $25 gift coupon to Hyde yoga clothing company
*A peanut butter and dark chocolate Kind granola bar
*Enjoy Life seed and fruit mix
*Enjoy Life garlic and parmesan lentil chips

All that in one box!

First of all - the box is soooo fun to open. It slides right out and it feels like Christmas to find all the goodies packed so neatly inside.

If you are anything like me, you will find that you are overwhelmed to know what healthy products to choose at a grocery store. Plus, they are downright expensive. With Klutchclub, you can sample all sorts of things and know if you like them or not before buying them. For instance, I'd always wanted to try coconut water but didn't want to buy a whole case if I didn't like it! So I was so excited to find a bottle of coconut water in my Klutchclub box! (It's very refreshing! Just tastes like water with a hint of coconut flavor.)

I think Klutchclub is a genius idea. Each box is only $18 and it contains over $50 worth of products. Plus, you are pampering yourself and investing in yourself when you spend that $18. If you want to subscribe to 3 months of Klutchclub, it's only $17 a box and if you sign up for a year, it's only $16!  That's not very expensive if you think about it! And just imagine how fun it will be to have a gift box full of healthy goodies in your mailbox every month!

I am only halfway through trying out some of my goodies. I'm totally sold on the peanut butter and dark chocolate KIND bar (which I ate as a snack instead of chips one day because - yep - it was available!) and I plan on spending an evening doing yoga with my girls soon (who both wanted to try it out with me!)  I already take flax oil supplements so having a liquid bottle to add to meals is a super big plus. And they didn't send me a tiny sample bottle, but a full size bottle that will last quite awhile! I already devoured the lentil chips (the first thing I tried) and as someone who drinks a lot of water, the energy powder came in handy to add to it on a day that I was feeling pretty tired.

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know I am never frivolous about what I write. I write only what I believe. And I think Klutchclub is a good investment. Sometimes we need that extra push to take care of ourselves, and if we had healthy snacks and drinks delivered right to our door - maybe that's just the push we need to start being good to our own bodies!

For me, I'm seriously thinking about signing up for a subscription.  And if I sign up in May (or if YOU sign up in May), you can get 10% off your purchase if you use the code "Brightpink" plus 10% will go to this charity that helps in early detection, prevention and awareness of breast & ovarian cancer. As a woman, that is another investment in yourself and your future!

Take a minute, stop by and check them out. Seriously think about investing in at least one box to try. If you can't invest in a box or subscription for yourself, ask for one for your birthday or give one away as a gift!  We could all eat and think "healthier" for our lives.  Plus - it's just plain fun.

*Disclosure: As per FTC guidelines, I need you to know that Klutchclub provided me with this box for my honest review. I received no money nor did they influence me in any way for this review. All opinions and thoughts are 100% mine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Free To Be "You"

Do you feel free to be yourself? Do you surround yourself with people who make you feel comfortable with yourself? Do you feel like your flaws can be loved as a part of who you are?

Not many of us feel free to be ourselves. We even “dress up” our homes in perfection and then we don’t feel like we can let our hair down even on our own sofa.

I’m not sure about you, but I’m striving more and more to be comfortable with who I am. And that means sifting through who I surround myself with in life and what kind of environments I hang out in.

It means learning to say “no.”

It means learning how to be alone sometimes.

But I’m discovering that I’d rather be alone and enjoy myself than be in a social setting where I can’t wait to leave because I don’t feel like I belong – and I don’t want to!

Being free to be ourselves doesn’t mean saying everything that is on our minds regardless of how it may hurt someone else. It doesn’t mean carelessly forgetting to care for ourselves or not trying to continue and grow internally as a human being. It simply means to RELAX. To laugh at the imperfections, love the strengths, and embrace the uniqueness.

We can learn to enjoy being different. To feel content standing out. We can learn to find it “ok.”

We can be at peace with having a different view than everyone else and love our own sense of style.

Feeling free means knowing we are “one.” Not one of many. And there is definitely freedom in the specialness of that!

God made us the way we are.  Perfection is our enemy. So if we can fight it, and simply rest in the breath that God gifted to us, we will enjoy so many more of life’s moments.

You’ve got something to bring to the table – the world. It’s yourself.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Family Is My Greatest Blessing

There are times in life where God really helps me put my life into perspective. For most of us, when we become adults there comes a time when we start talking stock of where we are, where we’ve been, and where we want to be. Dreams haven’t come true, challenges lay before us, and we can wonder where our purpose in life lies.

I’m so thankful that my God shows me the jewels and gems in my life. Those things that I might otherwise overlook or take for granted.  Lately, He has been showing me just how blessed I am with my family.

I have always loved my family. We have great fun together and each one of them is so dear to my heart. But more recently, I’ve been realizing just how much each one of them brings to my life. Each member of my family is so unique. They each teach me so much about life and myself. They are a part of me.

I can get hard on myself at times. I may not be where I want to be on my own ambitious “agenda” journey. Or maybe I feel (just like most people) that I’m not cool enough to be accepted by certain people or not talented enough in areas that a woman and mom SHOULD be talented.  But all of that doesn’t really matter if I have my family along the ride with me. If we are getting along, cheering one another on, taking great joy in life together, crying with each other over hurts, and genuinely growing together  - not much else can rise up to that kind of priority or placement in my heart and life.

My family is definitely my greatest blessing in life. They are just so fabulous. Each one of them. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel. How delighted that God would choose each one of them for my life. And although I value and am so thankful for health and ministry opportunities…. My family is everything to me.  They are my deepest loves, my highest delights, and my most lavish hopes rest with them.

I realize more than ever before how my family gives me my strongest roots to face everything else in life. They complete me. Without them, I am not fully able to reach my highest potential.

What a gift! Riches come and go. Health fades. Popularity is fickle. But family – true family who loves you despite your flaws, mistakes, and mess-ups ….they are there for you always. Loving you more, wanting more for you, and being kind and honest when you truly need to hear it. No gift in life can quite compare to that kind of solidarity and heartfelt support.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Presuming to Know What God's Answer Is Going To Be

I can be too big for my britches sometimes. I mean, I act as if I know what’s going to happen before it happens. I predict.

I often make choices based on what I think WILL happen. I play God.

We all play God sometimes. It’s our pride – our emotions, our fears.  We let them overtake us and fuel us in directions that God might not have intended us to go in.  All because we THINK we know what His answer would be if we came to Him with those very same pride issues, emotions, and fears.

It’s like a child who doesn’t ask a parent something because they just know the parent will say “no.” But do they? And do we?

We presume to know what God’s answer is going to be. We presume.  And that’s just not fair to Him….or ourselves.  We shoot ourselves in the foot simply because we think He won’t bless, okay, or allow something.

Sometimes we have to reach the point where we are shown where our struggles are and where our heart has been wrongly focused. We have to break a little in order to see that we’ve shortchanged God out of the equation of helping us.

Who are we, to presume to know God’s intentions for our life? Who are we to assume that we know what the future holds?

I don’t want to be that kind of a person. I want to hold onto hope. Even if I’m wrong, I want to give my Lord the benefit of the doubt. I want Him to know that I trust Him and I believe that He CAN do anything for me and in my life!

We don’t know what God’s answers are going to be to our requests. We don’t know what He sees in the big picture of our lives. So why not give Him a chance to blow us away? Why not simply come to Him and ask…just because we value our relationship and Him enough – to ASK?

God’s answers are as varied as we are. Each one colored, packaged, and shaped differently – yet personally just for us. He just might be waiting for us to value Him enough to step up in front of Him and ask.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Week In Washington DC

Last week I went to Washington DC with my daughter and her history class. I think there were 80-something of us total.

It was a "whirlwind" of a week but one that was super fun. I can't believe we were able to go to so many monuments, historical sites, and museums. I was so tired!

I'm still so tired. I think I need a "vacation" to recuperate from my vacation! I haven't quite caught up on my sleep yet and even now as I type this out on my keyboard, I find my eyes feeling very heavy. But life resumes and eventually, I WILL get rested up.

Being in Idaho right now which is very dry and brown; I LOVED the greenery in Washington DC. What a pretty city! I loved the beautiful history in the architecture and buildings. I loved being around teenagers who made me laugh and feel young and free. I loved seeing things that I've read about in history books since I was a young girl.  I mean, can you even explain what it's like to look down on the Declaration of Independence? Or to see the hat that President Lincoln wore the night he was shot? How about George Washington's coffin? Or the Guggenheim Bible? Iconic moments.

I learned a lot on this trip. I learned things about our country, about my God, and about myself. I think for most of us Americans, we have forgotten where we come from. We've forgotten what is and was at stake. We have grown up in such a privileged state that we grow accustomed to a certain way of living. We have "expectations." But it was very sobering to see what our ancestors have fought for. What they have given us...many times with their lives.

It was refreshing to see leaders who had strong morals and character. Men (and at times, women) who would not bend to the vocal majority but who believed passionately in our land, our freedom, and our GOD.  Oh how I long for more men and women such as these to be vocal today!

I still love this country very much. It makes me sad to think of the direction we are going in. But I am reminded to pray for my people and my land. Look back and learn so that we can go forward with more conviction and character.

Yes, I'm very patriotic. I always have been. But now I have added perspective to add to my patriotism. And for that, I'm so thankful.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Discovering a Life Full of Joy

I listen to the “Today Show” a lot in the mornings while I’m getting ready for the day. On occasion, I leave it on instead of flipping to my favorite radio show or listening to a podcast on my IPOD. When I do, I love to listen to Willard Scott do the “Smuckers” Happy Birthday segment. I consistently am in awe as I hear of men and women celebrating their 100th or 110th birthdays.

One of my favorite parts of this segment is hearing Willard talk about the birthday person and what they attribute their secret of longevity to.  I hear a wide range of answers – things from “my beautiful spouse,” “traveling,” “a good stiff drink,” “my faith,” or “good friends.”  I find it fascinating that these answers range from loving relationships, beliefs in God, and hobbies to habits that would otherwise be thought to shorten a lifespan because they are unhealthy!

One common denominator I’ve seen in these “centenarians” is that everything anyone suggests or attributes to being able to live a good long life encompasses joy.  Whether it’s a person, an activity, or a habit – it has brought these individuals great joy.

On my cell phone I have a saying that I typed into the screen. When you open it up it says, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”  Joy.  God gives us our joys.  He strengthens us in those joys. Joy can heal us when we are emotionally wounded or physically unwell. It’s well-said that laughter is great medicine! Why? Because it brings us joy.  So it stands to reason that joy also extends life.

There is so much to be stressful about. We can get wrapped up in the fact that so-and-so hurt our feelings or we don’t have the amount of money that we want. We can engage in so many battles that only deepen our worry lines and our frowns instead of deepening our smiles.

My quest this year is to find what these “Smuckers” birthday celebrants have found. Deep joy.  I want to access the joy that I know that God wants to hand to me on a daily basis. I want to laugh more often and deeper. I want to smile, celebrate, and love with pure contented joy in simply being alive.  And if I’m lucky enough, someday Willard (or his successor) will be saying my name and wishing me a happy 100th birthday. Oh what joy that will bring me.

Friday, May 4, 2012

For Such a Time As This

You have to acknowledge who you are before you can be used.

You see, I think a lot of us sit back and hope that others will step up to the plate and be the strong Christian leaders we need. We wait for someone to admire, to look up to. We hope for other Christians to lead the way, pave the way, and guide us. But what if WE'RE the ones that are supposed to do that? What if WE are the ones God is waiting for, to step up to the plate and be an example? What if WE were created for "such a time as this?"

I think we were. I think I was.

I feel so unqualified at times. So inept. But I think we all do. Just because we are called for a purpose and reason doesn't mean that we feel we can confidently handle it all. No, it simply means we were called. And we just need to be obedient. God will do the rest. Because in and of ourselves, we can't do much of anything anyways. It is God's power and strength in us that does the mighty stuff!

So ~ I challenge myself and you ~ to start rising to the challenges presented before you in your life. Don't wait for someone to come and rescue you, but step up to the plate and let God give you the strength and courage you may need "for such a time as this."

I think you will see more of yourself how God sees you. And, I don't think you'll be sorry.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Without Applause

How much of what we do is for other eyes? 

So many of us give of our time. Whether it’s volunteering at our child’s school, at our church, or in our community – we can have the wrong motivation in being involved.

I believe that God wants us to give of ourselves. I believe He wants us to help the needy, the poor, to share, and to love. But is it really love if we tell everyone what we have done? Do we really serve if we serve from a heart that is hoping everyone will notice our efforts?

I read a verse in the Bible that talked about our rewards in heaven. It mentioned that it is those things done in secret that will get rewarded. It got me to thinking about how many times I have told someone something I have done for someone else in the hopes that they will be proud of me, admire me, or want to emulate my actions. And I’m ashamed of that. For when I do that, it kind of defeats the selfless giving that I did in the first place!

I now understand why God doesn’t want us to boast about how much we help someone else. He wants us to do something out of a heart that is filled with His love. He wants us to be willing to give our money, our time, and our hearts without needing, wanting, or expecting recognition for what we have done. If we can sacrifice something, if we can deny ourselves something in order for someone else to benefit – then that is true service.

I want to live the kind of life and be the kind of person that can do for others regardless of who may be watching. I want to be able to do great things for others knowing there will be no applause from anyone else.

To me, that is true service and true love.