Rise & Shine Interview: Anne Sikes

I connected with Anne a couple of months ago when she commented on one of my blog posts. Thank you, Anne, for being a loyal reader and contributor to my blog! It means so much.  Anne was just returning to blogging at the time and has since shared many insightful stories on her blog (http://mylifeuncutalmost.wordpress.com/).  I'm blessed to have her support and encouragement.  I thought I would ask her to take part in the series. Thank you Anne for sharing your thoughts on perseverance with us! I'm looking forward to connecting with you more.

I'm a 55-year-old mother of three grown children, and a grandmother of one.  I was born in California, raised in Texas, and my first husband and I travelled a great deal throughout his 20-year Navy career.  He passed away in 2001, and I remarried in 2006.  Currently separated from my husband, I'm living with my two grown daughters and my 10-year-old granddaughter in northwest Florida. Read Anne's interview below!

Image (c) Anne Sikes
Image (c) Anne Sikes

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who did you receive it from?

Regarding painful memories that I was having years ago, my Aunt Minnie told me,"That's horrible what happened to you. But that was your story.  Now your children will have a different story to tell."  It really hit me, about letting the past go and its hurts, and not carrying the pain of the past into the future.

How important is mentorship in terms of your success?

I don't know that I've ever had a 'mentor', per se. I have had family members, teachers, or friends through the years whose influence and support have helped me along the way.  Speaking of those people, their influence on me was of great value in many ways.  I see definite benefits to the idea of mentors, especially for children whose parents can't be there for them for some reason.

What has been the best moment in your life so far?

The best moment was also one of the worst, actually. About twelve-and-a-half years ago, I was going through a very deep time of trial with several big things happening at once.  I went home and sat in a chair in my dark living room...too exhausted to even pray. But I just sort of placed myself in the presence of God, and was surrounded by His love in the most amazing way...indescribably really.  It energized me and lifted me out of the place of discouragement and deep grief where I was.  I can't even describe it adequately, but it was very real and I have never forgotten it since.  That experience is the reason why, no matter what I go through in my life, I trust God completely and I know without a doubt that He loves me.

What tips would you have for living a healthy life?

Spend time in the sunshine...get some exercise, eat healthier.  Those are typical suggestions, of course.  Laugh often, and don't worry about things.  Forgive those who have hurt you, even if they never apologize...not for them, but for you.   Unforgiveness and bitterness are like poison.   Do things that you enjoy, whether they are how you make a living or just hobbies.  Be who God made you to be, and never let anyone tell you that person isn't good enough. If you're having a bad day, remember it's just a moment in time.  Let it go, and remember that you don't have to carry it into the next moment.  Be joyful.

How do you motivate yourself to persist despite setbacks?

My faith motivates me more than anything. Knowing that God loves me and believing that He's in control, and that this life is not all there is...that gets me through above all else.  I also remember (if for a moment I may forget sometimes), what I said in the last question. It's just a moment in time.  Life is full of hills and valleys.  Going through the valleys actually make the hills sweeter...or vice versa...depending on how you look at it. Ha ha!  And as I said, laugh at situations, and laugh at yourself, and let things go.

What has been your biggest setback? How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?

Hmmm.  This one is hard because I've had several big setbacks.  I think it was when my husband and I were living out of our car a few years ago though, and unable to find work.  That was difficult.  What did I learn?  I learned that some people you think you can trust, will fail you.  And some who you would never expect, will go above and beyond to help you.  I learned that God was there through it, the whole time.  But truthfully, I don't think I'm done learning about that one, because it set a series of things in motion that are still going on for me in some way.  You might have to ask me again in another few years. :)

How do you deal with critics?

Not everyone will like, understand, or approve of me.  That's okay. One thing I don't do is judge them in return...or I try not to, anyway.  We all have our own ideas, beliefs, personalities, etc.  Those things are based on whatever our own personal experiences have been in life.  So I try not to judge those people for their criticism.  But I'm not going to try to be something I'm not to gain approval, either.  Been there, done that.  The important thing is to remember that my worth has to come from within me...not from the outside.  If I'm being the best me that I can be, I'll have no need to fret or be upset if someone doesn't approve.

How important is social support in overcoming obstacles?

I do think it's of enormous value, but not everyone has it so much.  It's much harder to overcome though, without some support of family or friends...but I don't think it's impossible.

What advice would you give others about goal setting?

Make sure your goals are attainable. I think small, daily goals are good.   I'm a person who has trouble with the big picture sometimes...I can be overwhelmed by it. So I have to break things down into smaller goals.  For example, instead of saying I'm going to clean the house, I might break it down to specific rooms, or tasks.  For others, I think it may work differently.  But that's what works best for me.

What life lesson have you learned that you would like to pass along to others?

No matter what, the glass is always at least half full.  Be like Pollyanna...play the glad game.  Life is much better that way, and there truly is always something to be thankful for. Oh...and God is good...always!

Thank you, Anne, for sharing your story and encouraging us! I'm so glad you found my blog and connected with me.  Keep pressing on!

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!