Share the Love

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Flowers? Chocolate? A special dinner out? OR are you one of thousands who are single, thinking this is just a stupid celebration?UR Loved card

Whether you are in a relationship or not, today is all about LOVE…. in a relationship – GREAT!  Not in one, how about loving on yourself today.  

I am happily married BUT for many years, this day invited Negative Nelly to visit and often camp out for days.  I didn’t love myself, in fact on most days I didn’t even like me.  Years have passed, and I have learned to accept me for me.  Sure, there are days when I beat myself up but then I bless and release.

I celebrate the gift of love in my life…

The people who are there for me when the going gets tough.  The people who help me celebrate the milestones in my life – large and small.  The people who accept me for me. The ones who inspire and encourage me.  Some I see or talk to every day while others are part of my journey this season.  And even some are now gone, their season has passed.  Through it all, they loved me and I loved them for who we are and the difference we made in each other’s lives.

To day is the day I honor LOVE. Remember LOVE is an intense feeling with deep affection and we are meant to share it with others – family, friends or just a random act of kindness to a stranger.  I challenge you to put a smile on someone’s face to day.

In a random act of kindness, I am looking to share the love with some children who have been the silent victims of domestic violence…

Will you be a sponsor and help us to make a difference in the lives of a few children?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Build Belief on an Unshakable Foundation

Thank you Encouragement for Today for today’s message….

What we believe shows in the way we act, the decisions we make, and the choices we pursue. Over a decade ago, I learned this important lesson from a winsome woman I met at a women’s retreat. Her name was Ruth.

Ruth stood out in the retreat crowd not only because of her lustrous gray hair but also because of the cluster of younger women around her. They were talking with her, doting on her, and soaking in every word she said, so I headed over to meet this woman who drew in like a magnet.After listening to this delightful woman talk for a while, I asked her, “What’s your secret? Over the years, how have you continued to grow in the Lord, stay positive and exude joy?” Her answer was simple yet profound,

“Be today who you want to be tomorrow.”

As she spoke, I remembered a conversation from a girls-night-out with some women from my church. Conversation flowed freely from one topic to the next as I got to know the women across from me. We talked about our kids, our homes and our work. Ironically, both women had done specialized nursing with geriatric patients.

I started to question them about their work and their patients. Finally I asked, “Why do you think that so many older people, particularly women, seem to struggle with negativity as they age?” Both looked at me in surprise and said that I was incorrect. They were unanimous in their theory of how aging affects personality.

“Aging only magnifies who you already are,” my friend said.

“Yes,” chimed in the other, “If you are kind when you are young, then you’ll be even kinder as you age. If you think positively when you’re young, then you will also have that habit as you age. But if you are a complainer when you are young, then you’ll get worse as you age. If you are unforgiving when you are young, then you’ll become very bitter as you age.”

They explained that occasionally diseases that affect the brain will change a person’s personality, thinking and actions. Generally, however, through stories and comments of family members about the early days of their elderly patients, they had found that their original hypothesis held true. Ruth’s answer to my question about the secret to aging well was completely consistent with my friends’ observations. “Be today who you want to be tomorrow.”

I’d like to propose a corrolary truth to Ruth’s today:

What you believe determines who you’ll be.

Aging magnifies what we believe. If we believe that Jesus commands us to use words to build up, then we’ll develop the habit of encouraging words.

If we believe that God is good despite our circumstances, then we’ll develop the pattern of praise in the midst of hardship.

If we believe that He is the provider and healer, then we’ll cultivate patient, expectant waiting (without complaint…ouch!) as we wait for His provision and healing.

If we believe that the fruits of the Spirit given to us are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, then we’ll pursue portraying those traits.

Ruth’s beliefs shone brightly because of the kind of woman she had become. Who she had become reflected what she believed.

Do you desire to be a godly, older woman like Ruth? I do! Then, we’re called to pursue knowing Truth (belief is part of truly knowing!) and living the Truth. It really does change everything– including our aging.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Throwback: An Act of Kindness

No-Act-of-Kindness-Is-Wasted  This post first appeared in 2015..

Today’s blog was inspired by Lori Deschene….

As we approach the last few shopping days till Christmas, I have noticed a few things: tempers are shorter, people are in a hurry, while store employees are tired and feeling unappreciated.  The happiest time of the year has become the “let’s just get through this season”.  No, I am not being Negative Nelly just stating some observations while I was out shopping the other night.

The holiday season has taken on a new meaning for me.  I can’t explain it – hubby would say it is old age.  LOL.  I have found myself NOT just getting a gift because I need to get something.  I am NOT spending tons of money to show how I feel about someone.  I have found myself showing compassion and understanding more than ever before. I am surprised at their response.

Over the years, I have been shown kindness in many ways from friends and family but the kindness of strangers has taught me lasting lessons.  Think about it as you check out at the register.  Smile and greet the cashier.  Ask them how they are doing.  Maybe give someone a tip that they weren’t expecting.

They all have struggles, and dreams, and goals, and responsibilities, and they too could benefit from someone showing them patience, kindness, and understanding if they’re a little slow or less than friendly.

The other day I was with hubby as he stopped for gas.  He ALWAYS pays cash.  The total was $16 and he told the attendant to keep the change.  Okay, so $4 isn’t a big deal but the smile that spread across the attendant’s face was priceless.  He couldn’t thank us enough.  A random act of kindness made a difference in someone’s day.

The world is a better place when we see people beyond their nametags, and visualize everyone as someone who truly is doing their best.

We’re all a little scared and a little rough around the edges.

We’re all looking for love, support, acceptance, and appreciation.

And we can all get and give these things every day, one tiny act at a time.

Has the power of tiny acts of kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance made a difference in your own life?  Here are some suggestions from Tiny Buddha’s 365 Love Challenges of small acts that we can all do:

Be patient and understanding with people who serve you, especially if they have a lot of customers to tend to.

Compliment someone who serves you in some way (for example, a waiter, barista, or bus driver) on how well they do their job.

Empathizing instead of criticizing is a big thing. Getting up to help instead of sitting back and judging is a big thing.

Keep an eye out for someone who looks sad—a friend, coworker, or even stranger—and say something that might make them laugh or smile.

It may seem like a tiny thing, but sometimes the tiny things are the big things.  And it’s big things like these that help us all feel seen, appreciated, and loved—and far happier for it.

What Random Act of Kindness will you do today?  Share it with us and let us all celebrate the spirit of Christmas this holiday season.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Never Forget

  It is Monday morning and we should be heading to Royal Carribean’s Majesty of the Sea for 5 glorious days of my pink bubble. Irma has had other plans and I am home reflecting on so many things…

It is a morning filled with lots of emotion…as a nation, we honor those who were lost on 9-11.  We continue to struggle with the evil which plaques our nation.  We mourn for those lost and honor those whose lives have forever been changed.   This day is one of few memories which I can clearly remember…  I remember as if it were yesterday.  I was working at Mia’s Christmas Shop in Ocean City, NJ.  We had just opened when I was called into the office by Charlie, the owner, who had the television on showing the attacks.  Charlie immediately started to collect money for those whose lives would be changed as a result of this horrific event.  I got to share the events of the morning with many people who were on vacation and CLUELESS about what was happening.  Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Edythe

September 11th took on a new meaning in 2011 when Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend  and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I spent ALOT of time with Edythe (and Elsie). When I was younger, they were my babysitters.  As the years went on, they were a BIG part of my support system.  Edythe (along with the rest of my family) helped to raise Belinda. As Belinda grew up, lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

The words describing those involved in the September 11th attacks and recovery efforts could now relate to Edythe: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Life seems to be full of moments which ask us to let go when we long to hold on.  I don’t know what you face right now, what season of life you’re in, but my prayer for you is simple and from the heart. May you know the comfort and strength of the One whose love will never fail you, and whose mercies are new every single morning!

As we reflect on this day, hug the ones you love, forgive the ones who you believe have done you wrong and enjoy the moment with those you love.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

How to Maneuver Difficult Converations

timthumb-phpWoohoo Wednesday is all about how to grow personally which will help us to grow professionally whether you are a business owner or not.

Think about the most successful person you know.  Visualize them?  Got the picture?  Do they have the most talent you have seen?  Did they go to college and have the highest test scores?  Do they have a degree from an Ivy League school?  Or, did they earn their success because of their way with words?

The truth is some of the most successful people are a success because they learned how to talk differently – to others, and to themselves.  They conquered the toughest skill of all –  the art of navigating a difficult conversation.  Do they sweat or worry? Or do they effortlessly talk about topics which would utterly stress you (and others) out?  I am in awe how they manage to maneuver through these mine fields without even a scratch.

I wondered how they did it so I went on a hunt to see if I could find out….

Here are six things successful people do differently when they have something hard to say.

Consider what conversation you need to have and

1. Plan it out.

Think about the outcome you want from the conversation. Then stay focused so you don’t get distracted by emotions. This is the tough part for me.  I tend to cry at the drop of a hat – not good in difficult conversations.  Write your key points. Decide how you want to say them. How do you want to end the conversation?

2. Have compassion.

Speak with respect and kindness. See it from the other side, not just your own. Remember it is not all about you.  What do they want? What are they feeling? Acknowledge those things. Hard conversations don’t have to be ugly as long as you are being compassionate when telling the truth.compassion-2

3. Get it over with.

When you need to have tough discussions, do you delay them?  It is the worse thing to do.  The longer you wait, the more stress.  When you stress and wait, all of these tips are useless.  Have the conversation because when you do, you will be able to bless and release.

4. Talk more than you type.

How often would you rather hide behind a keyboard then have the difficult conversation?  This is not the way to approach a difficult conversation.  WHY?  because it is important to have the back-and-forth interaction, sense the tone of the voices, and see the body language.  These are things you can’t convey in texts or emails.   Have a face to face (or phone conversation if in-person isn’t realistic) conversation.

5. Know listening is a form of speaking.

Listening is key to any conversation but letting others feel like they are being heard is extremely important in difficult conversations.  People can see their value in your eyes when you are listening.  I’m not saying to skirt around the points you want to make, just be sure to listen, too.  What did our mothers always say?  God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen MORE and talk less.

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6. Question your fear.

FEAR!  It stops us dead in tracks most most of the time.  Having tough conversations is not different.  Fear usually keeps up from moving forward on so many things.  It is not a stop sign. It does not mean we should not move forward.  Use the PAUSE as an opportunity to question your fear.  What are you afraid will happen if you have this conversation? How will you handle the reaction or response?  How can you have the conversation without having an unwanted outcome?  Face the fear and refuse to allow it to silence you by making a plan to deal with it.

So, who are you afraid to have a difficult conversation with?  What are the key points you want to say and how do you want the conversation to end?  Share with us and we will help you fight the fear…

Thank you Valerie Burton for these tips.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!