Unexpected Blessings

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Nov 18th has been very special day for me. I was presented a Women to Watch Award by Illinois CPA Society. I am in complete awe and very humbled by the recognition.

Early this year my boss said she would like to nominate me for this award. I was busy planning my wedding at the time and didnt think of it much. When I got back I was shocked to see the email that I was one of the winners. It took my breath away.

Who knew that me a survivor of Domestic Violence, someone who was told by my abuser that I was not worthy enough would be one day respected and recognized for her efforts by the entire accounting profession as a leader for her contributions to the community, the profession and to the organization she worked with.

Few years ago, if someone told me 10 years later I would be recognized as a Women to Watch and considered a leader I wouldnt have believed them. 10 years ago I had just walked out of an abusive relationship and was trying to get back on my feet.I never thought DV would happen to me but it did. It took a lot of courage to walk away from my abuser but I did it. I moved to a different country to go to school and started working to support myself soon after graudating with a Masters degree. The next 7-8 years I spent working hard, rebuilding my life, focusing on my career and healing myself. Along the way I was actively involved in helping my local community in whatever way I could.

As a survivor of domestic violence, it is incredible how far I have come.  Since 2011, I started working with survivors of DV and later with homeless kids, sharing my story and empowering them in any way I could. After several years of working directly with survivors of DV I felt ready to take my efforts a step further. I am happy to share that I recently became a board member of a nonprofit called Between Friends hoping I can make a bigger impact in my local community and be of service to the organization in preventing domestic violence.

God has blessed me not only with recognition professionlly but also gave me a second chance at love by bringing my wonderful husband into my life. As if these werent enough to overwhelm me He found a bigger role for me to play in the community as a Board member at Between friends. Yesterday when I was on our way back home from the award ceremony with my wonderful in laws in the taxi, the driver  mentioned he was the music director at his church. He was  playing a gospel song that was something to this effect”, He will wipe our eyes dry and take us up to His side.And forever we will be His.Singing, “Blessing and honor and glory and power forever to our God.”.

I took that as a sign that God was making his presence known and telling me I am with you in everything and I have you in the palm of my hand. I will lift you higher than you could possibly imagine.

Encouraged by the turn of events I decided to take a brave step and start a campaign to raise money for Domestic violence for Between Friends. I want everyone who is or has experienced Domestic Violence to have opportunities that were available to me.

Please take a few minutes to review the link and donate to support the cause. Every dollar matters. Help break the cylce BE THE CHANGE

https://www.gofundme.com/break-the-cylce-be-the-change

God bless

Copyright 2016 Vani Murthy

A day of glory

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“God I am turning this situation over to you. I am not going to let this steal my joy. I know you are in control. And at the right time, I believe you will not only turn it around, but you will bring me out better off than I was before”- from the book “The purpose driven life”.

In the summer of 2011 I was going through some difficult times. I felt gloomy all the time and hopeless. One of my dear friends suggested I read the book “The purpose driven life” by pastor Rick Warren. It is the best book I have read to date. It helped me get my hope back and changed the way I looked at things. It inspired me so much that I decided to laminate some key quotes from the book and make them into little cards to keep in my purse so I could read them whenever I needed a dose of inspiration. But somehow I wasn’t satisfied with the idea of keeping these precious jewels to myself. I felt compelled to  make multiple copies of it to share with close friends and family. I also felt I needed to keep some extra copies on hand so I can give them to anyone that needed them.

So on a hot Sunday afternoon I braved the SoCal sun and went to the nearest Fedex Kinkos. When I was laminating the print outs, I made the mistake of putting each page into single plastic sheets to laminate. Once I finished my first set I realized that it was going to be expensive. I thought I should stop and not make so many cards. But I had 8 people on my list that I wanted to give these to.I thought,”Well maybe I should give these to some people and not all of them”. Then I cancelled that thought and said ” God I am going to continue with this. I am not going to think about the money. You figure out how You are going to pay for this. I want these people to get Your message. And I am not stopping because of money.”

After I finished laminating I went over to the main counter to pay for it. There were three cash registers with three staff members at the checkout in the front of the store. However this young lady who was at one of the registers left it , came to me and said “lets go to the other side over there and I will help you check these out”. I thought it was odd she was asking me to go to this other register when there was no one ahead of me. Usually the store is very busy and most of the times there is some waiting time. But not on this day. A little unhappy that she was making me walk all the way across to the area I was at a few minutes ago with a big pile of laminated copies in my hand I wondered why she couldn’t have just helped me at the register she was at.

Once we were there she asked me how many lamination’s I had. I said, “48”. She looked at me and asked, “Did you use a single sheet for each card?.” I said “yes”. The girl said” its going to be very expensive you know. you could have just cut the paper and put 6 into one plastic sheet.” I said ” well I didn’t think of it. Its okay. I will be careful next time.” She picked up the calculator and started calculating. I thought,” Ok here it comes!”

Instead she looks at me and said- ” I am going to assume 6 of these could fit in one sheet and I am going to charge you only 27 dollars including taxes. If I charge you regular price it is going to cost you more than 90 dollars. It is too expensive. I don’t want you to pay so much. Please don’t tell anyone I am doing this. I will get into trouble. I am doing this only for you. So please don’t tell anyone and get me into trouble.”I couldn’t believe what I just heard. I got goose bumps and tears in my eyes as I thanked her and I said “Do you know what I just printed? Prayer cards.  Thank you.”

I paid for the cards and left . Once I was in my car I sat there completely still staring at the package in my hand. If the girl had stayed at the register along with her other coworkers she would have never given me a discount. Something had made her move away from that area and go to the register where there was no one around us. I was overcome with emotion as I felt His presence in that moment and realized what He had done for me. I must have cried for a few minutes but once I stopped I felt so peaceful and calm it is just hard to describe that feeling. I left the parking lot feeling  God wanted me to do this and was letting me know that I have His blessings.

“Today is a day of such happiness, such glory a day not lit by the sun but by the Original Light where you abide hidden in Eternity’-Rumi

Copyright Vani Murthy

Mercy in disguise

What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near? What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?- lyrics from the song Blessings by Laura Story

Recently I read a story in the media about Fred Barley, a 19 year old a homeless youth, who was discovered by the police sleeping in a tent outside the gates of his college last weekend. He told the officers he rode his younger brother’s bicycle six hours so he could get to college to register for his second semester classes. One thing led to another and the young man was temporarily put up at a motel, his story went viral and a few community members came forward to lend a helping hand by offering him a job, helped raise money, offer him some moral support and many families invited him to come spend time with them so he is not alone. I have been following his story on Facebook page and it was heart warming to see that in less than 4 days nearly $180,000 had been raised and there was an outpouring of support, both financial and emotional, from complete strangers for this young man.

I was listening to Lisa Osteen yesterday on having a Victory mindset. She lovingly and kindly reminded her audience that when we pray and nothing seems to be happening we should not lose faith. We need to remember that God is working for us behind the scenes. There are many angels fighting for us to bring us what God has ordained for us. All we need to do is never give up and wait in peace knowing God loves us, is working for us and watching over us at all times. It reminded me of Fred Barley. I am sure he didn’t realize his life would change dramatically when he set out on his brother’s bicycle that morning. Not only was he blessed but others who joined in have also been blessed. His story has inspired and given hope to many and also provided an opportunity for some to share their stories and keep spreading the message of love, hope and faith along with Fred. What an incredible testimony to God’s love and protection.

Needless to say his story has helped me dispel some doubts I have had these past few days and strengthened my faith in God as my promise keeper, redeemer and way maker. Amen.

2016 Copyright Vani Murthy

Its a wild wild thing

Imaginations

I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking- Albert Einstein

Recently I have had much free time on hand. Well I got a few things to do but nothing pressing. So on a cold  afternoon I was mindlessly looking up stuff on the internet and kept following some links. I accidentally came across a website that allowed people to make their own designs or just upload pictures , slap them onto various products and sell them online for a percentage in royalties. A different time and age and I would have balked at the idea of me creating stuff.

But as I was staring at the screen I looked up at the clock and sighed. With many more hours to go before my hubby got home I thought alright lets do this. So I started checking out different products, testing my ideas and creating designs to put on products! Before I knew it I lost track of time, had created quiet a few products and enjoyed it. Quiet frankly I am no expert in art or design. I am a tax accountant. To the outside world its the most boring job. But to me its my world and I love it. So creativity and taxes, completely different worlds.

But  when I was sitting there looking at the different opportunities to express myself I realized I was not thinking as an accountant or an expert in designing. I was just allowing myself to be.No judgment at all, just being and creating, letting the ideas flow and putting them down on stuff as quickly as they popped into my head. Over the next 2-3 days I went wild with my ideas and started creating more. I wasn’t worried about if people liked it or not I was just doing it for fun and loved it. Now when I look at all my designs I can’t believe I made them. Its like when I didn’t  thinking logically or rationally is when I created some really good designs.

So my friends when you get an opportunity to be creative don’t allow your mind to rationalize and talk you out of it. It will rob you of some of the most blissful creative experiences. Imagination is the most beautiful thing God gave you. Get started and soon enough inspiration will strike you. Once it does, it will take you on a wild journey through creative realms of your mind where imagination reigns supreme. There is much beauty, bliss  and healing in that place. So don’t be afraid or hesitate to get creative and to go wild with it!

©2016, Vani Murthy. All rights reserved

When purpose found me

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I do not know with what skills He will fill me and send me back to this earth- Rumi

Back in August 2014 I decided to do a financial literacy workshop for the women at a Domestic Violence Shelter on topics such as  budgeting, managing bank accounts, credit cards etc. I am terrified of public speaking. But I am passionate about serving and helping people. Women’s empowerment is a cause very close to my heart. As a CPA I felt my knowledge would benefit women who were working on starting afresh. So I pushed my fears aside and decided to get in touch with the coordinator. On the appointed date I showed up at the shelter and was guided to a large room with about 12-15 women.

As I started talking my nerves were obvious but I kept reminding myself to focus on the audience, keep them engaged and see if I needed to stop in between to allow them time to process the information. There were some women with interpreters so I had to proceed at a comfortable pace for all. Slowly I forgot about my nerves and before I knew it I had touched upon most topics I planned to cover that day, shared some worksheets, answered questions and closed with a quick summary. However I had finished sooner than expected.

With 30 more minutes to go I was a little embarrassed that I hadn’t planned enough activities to cover the whole hour. I told the coordinator if it was alright with her I  wanted to do some motivational speaking. So I spontaneously started speaking about believing in ourselves. Having lived abroad on my own for 11 plus years I had gone through a lot of struggles trying to make it on my own. Through it all I had to give myself a lot of pep talks, applaud my accomplishments, pick myself up after failures and teach my fearful self to keep walking and believing that I am going to make it with flying colors. And I did.

So when I stood there ready to speak words just started pouring out of my mouth instantly. Only this time I had a bigger audience. Pretty soon I saw eyes watching me intently, their look changing to one of deep concentration as if they were soaking up every word I was saying. Soon enough heads were nodding in agreement, a little spark was beginning to form in their eyes, some were smiling, some teary eyed as if they had an epiphany and remembered that they were more than what had happened to them.

As I came to a stop I saw inspired people applauding with big smiles and strong determination in their eyes. Surprised at the response and feedback I got I remember feeling dazed. After I got into my car I sat there  for a few minutes overwhelmed by the hugs and positive feed back I got. Memories of me doing everything I could to fight my inner demons, struggling to stay strong, and overcoming some of the most difficult phases of my life washed over me and I cried. I don’t know how long I was sitting there but by the end of it I felt peace. I felt that all those struggles had a purpose that lead me to this place where I could speak to these women without fear about something I had to tell myself everyday. And in that moment I understood somehow my efforts over the years towards personal empowerment had served a much bigger purpose than I could possibly imagine.

©2015, Vani Murthy. All rights reserved