Greatness Is Trapped In Everyone, Even If You’re Not Mother Teresa


You can’t always get what you want.

My mom would tell me that often. But as the years passed, I knew she wasn’t talking about something petty like a doll or pair of shoes. She was speaking about something much deeper. This was a difficult lesson to learn as a child, yet it’s one I’ll never forget.

When I was in third grade, I asked God to make me like Mother Teresa. I wanted to have her heart. I believed that if I could replicate the smallest fraction of Mother Teresa’s life, I would be loved. Well, I’ve been on this earth for nearly forty years and it’s not looking good. I’m certain my prayer won’t be answered anytime soon.

That’s okay because I realize I’m not supposed to be like anybody else. I believe I was uniquely made. I am not measured by the work I do but by the grace I receive. And I believe there is a great plan for my life even if it means just being a stay at home mom.

While Mother Teresa’s legacy will live on forever in my mind, I’ve accepted the fact that there’s only one her. Just like there is only one me and one you.

It’s a new year, and I’m headed in a different emotional direction. I feel liberated. Lighter. I’m aiming to create my own legacy now.

I’m still a bundle of paradoxes.

The real Anka is a paradox wrapped in a contradiction. I love and I hate. I feel good about feeling good. I feel guilty for feeling guilty. I’m trusting but suspicious. I’m honest but selective. That’s part of my story, but it’s not the whole story.

But there in the ruins of my story, my dreams and heartaches, my marriage and children, betrayal and forgiveness, love and loss, I have concluded one thing:

Love is not a moving target. It’s a fixed mark. Clear and attainable.

I know this because of an experience I had with my daughter. I was in the kitchen cooking as she walked toward me. She mumbled, “I already know the answer but I’m asking anyway. Can I make the soup?”

Her cheek pressed against my shoulder. I knew she was asking for something more–she wanted affirmation. As I looked into her soft brown eyes, I saw myself. The little girl, who at age nine, decided to do whatever it takes to ensure approval from her parents. Especially her mother’s.

In that moment, I remembered standing in my mom’s kitchen, begging her to help with dinner, but was denied. Leaving that memory in the past, where it belongs, I grabbed my daughter’s hand and replied:

Yes, you can help.

Guess sometimes you really do get what you want.

Why do many of us run away from our callings? Whether it’s to become a prolific writer, chocolate taster, or gondolier. What blocks us?



35 thoughts on “Greatness Is Trapped In Everyone, Even If You’re Not Mother Teresa

    1. You nailed it, RH. Fear of failure is a HUGE reason many of us are reluctant to pursue our dreams. Maybe that’s why we never do anything about the desires in our heart. Maybe that’s why our dreams lay dormant for so long.
      Fortunately, we have outlets like blogging to spur one another on. To inspire each other!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I like this!

    As we age and we experience things, the hope is that a person grows. I really see people in a different way than I did years ago. I do not see them as black or white. Good or bad. People are a mix of degrees and can sway to doing things that they probably would not be proud of depending on their circumstances. Some are just more bendable than others.

    This is what makes us different and defines us as individuals.

    Hope you had a great New Years!


    1. Happy New Year, Steve! I’m still recovering from the holidays, but am excited to see what 2015 will bring.

      As for seeing people in a different light, I absolutely agree. Like you said, as we age, our perspective on life starts to shift. I find myself being more tolerable these days. And I’m definitely less selfish than I was in my twenties or early thirties.
      I’m also trying to extend more grace to others. God knows, we could use a little mercy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year, Anka! So nice to see you. It’s interesting how a new year can bring about this emotional surge of starting again. I’m just on this journey with no breaks in the road yet, but I do feel energized by a new year. I think it’s cool that your daughter wants to help. I know that can be more work. My kids have no interest in helping, although one day my son told me he wants to learn how to cook. Not that I’m this great cook or anything, but I will teach him what I do know, eventually. I hope. xo


    1. Happy New Year, Amy! I’ve been thinking about you. I miss reading your posts. I’m going to try to squeeze in alone time later tonight.

      As for change and the new year, the two go hand in hand. It’s kind of like getting a second chance at life. So that if we didn’t play the roles right the first time, we get another go around. I’m jazzed about the season I’m in. I love exploring the unknown!

      I think you and your son should experiment in the kitchen together. You may botch a recipe, but at least you’ll be creating memories. Baking with kids is always a good starting point.

      Who doesn’t enjoy licking frosting off a spoon? Unless you don’t have a penchant for desserts. I forgot your palette–sweet or savory?


  3. For me… others callings seem more “dream-come-true” like, more daring, more useful/meaningful.

    But I know it’s because their calling is not my reality!

    I’m trying to trust I’m where I’m suppose to be… doing what I suppose to be doing because this is where I am! (Truly, Moderate Daddy and I are willing to go and do whatever God calls us to… so far no word as to a change so here is where we rest. We love where we are… at all times.. this pleases God and brings great joy and peace to us!)

    I’m also trying to not dismiss the kind things people say about my decision to be at home and their uplifting words about me as a person and how I might be used in their lives. God speaks through others and a lot of times I dismiss Him by dismissing them!

    I love your heart!!! What a gift you are to those who know you! I wish we lived closer to one another!!!

    Much love friend!!


    1. I’ve experienced the same thing. Unintentionally dismissing positive words spoken over me. And then, there are times, I’ve done it intentionally because my heart wasn’t ready to receive.

      It’s so much easier to have faith for others, to believe that everyone else’s dream will come true but your own. I’ve wrestled with this for years.

      But, I’m starting to believe there’s a plan for my life, too. It may not be in line with my ultimate desires, but I’ll accept it nonetheless. Staying in a place of gratitude is key no matter where you’re at in life.

      Because when a crumb of grace falls, it’s enough to sustain you.

      Miss you and love you my friend!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That was a wonderful post… I would like to say for the two cents it may or not be worth… There are things that stop us we inherited in our youth, those no you can’t helps are one of them. As you noted it goes beyond just helping it is indeed the affirmation that was important. I bow my head humbly and say thank you for the gift you shared with your daughter. It was a priceless one that will help her as she reaches for her dreams.
    Breaking the cycle and embracing change is a tool of empowerment you have given your daughter. It is also quite and inspirational post thank you for sharing it and your heart. Mother Theresa would certainly smile, you do have a very caring and compassionate heart. I wish you the best this year and the many, many more you will enjoy as you change the world one day and one smile at a time! Namaste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joe, I read your comment several times through. It’s full of wisdom. I kept replaying the lines “break the cycle” over and over in my head. Because at the end of the day, happiness and true freedom is all we want for our children. As parents, we want to be better, more loving, and more compassionate than the ones before us.
      I hope my daughter grows up knowing she was loved. Unconditionally loved. If she is confident of this one thing, then I’ve succeeded as a parent.

      Thanks again for your kind words. Wishing you health and peace this coming Year!!


  5. As always, I love everything about you. I struggle with a lot of this, too. I try so hard to make everything “right” and “perfect” and there are so many times when I KNOW that it will be so much faster to do everything myself rather than explain to a 4-year old how to do it. But the other day we were putting together a gingerbread house (after Christmas…we were late this year!) and I handed over the icing and the decorations and let the kids do whatever they wanted. And they loved it. And it was the rightest, most perfect house ever.

    I love that you mentioned grace. That is a quality I strive for in all things. As always, I wish we were closer…I just want to squeeze you!!!


    1. If you could only see the HUGE smile on my face, Anita!! You literally light up my face. That’s all. I just love you. Wish I could squeeze all the goodness, depth, and authenticity that’s oozes out of you!

      P.S. I have some catching up to do. So happy that you’re blogging again! I’ve had your tab open on my computer for days. I’ll swing by soon. Pinky promise.


      1. You’re incredible.

        And don’t worry for even one moment about catching up on my blog. Our love is like a warm comfy couch and a fireplace and a bottle of wine and all the perfect friendship in the world all wrapped up in a cozy little package…my blog will here waiting whenever you have the time!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that you wanted to be Mother Theresa as a third-grader. What a pure heart you have! I wish my sons would ask if they could help me make dinner. The few dishes I’ve taught them to make (because even boys should be able to prepare at least one dish) were met with eye rolls and grumbles. 🙂

    Lovely post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know if it’s a pure heart, Carrie. I was fascinated by Mother Teresa at a young age because the elders in my family would speak of her sacrifice often. Plus, her birth country, Macedonia, is less than 200 miles away from parents’ birth country.
      In any case, I agree that boys should learn to prepare a meal before leaving the nest. Kind of like learning to separate their laundry by color!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you! Making room for your daughter in the kitchen helps add value to her little life. Isn’t it funny how something so small can make kids feel SO important?

      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, when I was maybe a young teen I remember my mother not really wanting to deal with letting me help. So I think it then turned into I not wanting to help her at all. So I don’t want that to happen with my daughter.
        So even though there are times I don’t want to deal with her helping…you know I just want to hurry and get it done…I will let her help and be like yes you are a good helper. And she will repeat that to me. So cute.
        Even my older son likes to help. 😛
        But with children that did not bond like that with their parents(like me) it can be challenging at times.


      2. It sounds like we had similar experiences. I was always pushed out of the kitchen, too. I wanted nothing more than to be right there helping my mom.

        I gotta applaud you for sucking it up and mustering up the patience to indulge your children. Let’s be honest, it’s not always fun because it takes TWICE as long to prepare a meal. If it’s even edible at that point.

        The great thing is that you’re creating your own legacy with your children. One that is different from your childhood experience. I appreciate your transparency. It’s been great chatting with you!!


    1. Happy New Year, Kim!
      Hope you’re surviving the cold in MN. It dropped below 50 in California and we couldn’t stop whining. Guess I’m a weather wimp.

      As for fear of failure, I struggle with it, too. BIG TIME! This phenomenon is more common than we realize. A few months ago, I re-read the story of Jonah and the whale. I was fascinated by Jonah’s fear of self-actualization.
      What I discovered next was amazing . . . Apparently, there’s a name for this condition—-“The Jonah Complex.” Maslow created it to explain why humans who want to be brilliant are also terrified of their own success.

      I hope to explore this phenomenon in future blog posts. Hugs to you lovely lady and stay warm!!


  7. It is so true that we spend time, effort and worry to become somebody or something. Until we realize that everything we need is already here, in our makeup. That is quite liberating!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year, Tiny! Hope you had a restful holiday. I always look forward to your comments. It’s like I’m decoding a text in philosophy class. You inspire me to dig deeper!!


  8. Such a honest and lovely post. I teared up at the end because my mom always told me to leave the kitchen, I never got to cook with her. I now make it a point to always ask my kids if they want to help me. These moments are precious and soon enough they’ll be moved away to college so we have to appreciate the time with have. Great post, Anka!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m surprised to learn that so many of us share this experience with our mothers, especially in the kitchen. The only thing I can attribute it to is a generational thing. My mom was born in the 50’s. She was highly disciplined, loving but stoic. She certainly didn’t want kids at her feet.

      But, it’s refreshing to hear women like you encouraging ‘play’ in the kitchen. Your kids must be a riot when they help you cook. Your daughter reminds me so much of you. Have a restful (WARM) weekend, Darla!!


    1. Happy Happy New Year, Kerry!! I was thinking about you the other day. We still have our Christmas lights up. I was wondering if yours are still up too? Love seeing your gravatar come through. Miss you pretty lady!!
      And about that fear thing, let’s do it Taylor Swift style and “Shake it Off.” Have a great weekend my dear!!


      1. Still up and still on every night! My hubby says he’s shooting for April this year…we’ll see!
        I try to shake off fear, but it creeps in!
        I’m trying to be on regularly, but life with teenagers is getting in my way!
        It’s nice seeing you around here too! 😉


    1. Yep, that would be me! But like Taylor Swift I’m trying to “Shake it off.” There’s something endearing about being able to celebrate your inadequacies—to risk looking like a fool by laying it bare.

      Happy New Year, Mrs. Fringe! Hope 2015 is the BEST yet!!

      Liked by 1 person

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