“The Black Cloud”

Have you ever had one of those days when absolutely NOTHING worked in your favor?  Here’s what I mean…you’re running late for an important meeting or an interview and you get several blocks from home and realize that you don’t have those vital papers for the meeting that you’re rushing to – or worse yet, you forgot that you needed to stop to get gas, which will now cause you to be even later to your appointment!  My personal favorite is when you finally take a sip of your coffee or tea and realize that the top isn’t secured only after you’re wearing most of it on the front of your blouse or shirt! Unfortunately these are pages from my own life. Yes, real life occurrences that made me look over my shoulder expecting Ashton Kutcher to step clearly into view and tell me that I’m being punked!

In each situation I had options: I could scream and throw a fit yelling “why me”? and then be upset for the rest of the day or I could stop, pray, take a deep breath and calmly figure out my next step. MOST of the time, I have chosen option 2. I have learned that a great deal of what happens to any us is out of our control. What we can control is how we react to what happens. I am starting to ask myself what lesson I can learn from each tragedy. Using the incidences that I mentioned above, I could have left home a little earlier and checked the night before to ensure that I had everything that I needed and placed those items where I could see them before I walked out of the door. As far as the spilled coffee is concerned, I am still learning to double check my lids…and I’m still working on remembering to regularly check the gas level in the car! I didn’t say I was perfect…

Take action now: Meditate on Ecclesiastes 7:14 – When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other (NIV).

Embrace this truth: Don’t sweat the small stuff and on the big scale of life, most of what happens each day is small stuff!

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“What Will Be Your Legacy?”

As we celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, I would like to ask the question, “What is the legacy that you would like to be remembered for in the years to come”? We all would agree that Dr. King’s legacy is that he fought for freedom, justice and equality. Legacy can be defined as what is handed down from generation to generation. Keeping that definition in mind, we can assume that those who are considered wealthy will leave trust funds, estates and money, etc. to their heirs. What about those who may be impoverished and have nothing tangible to leave other than their good reputation?

Money is eventually depleted (sometimes quickly AND frivolously) and may cause rifts within families or cause feuds between business partners. Lack of money has caused many marriages to dissolve. I would dare to say that a person that is noble, trust-worthy, kind and of good character is richer than the man or woman of great means. You may wonder how I’ve come to that conclusion. My answer is simple: if you take into consideration that the wealthy often have difficulty distinguishing between those who only spend time with them for financial gain and those who genuinely care. By contrast, the person who has no finances to offer will joyfully discover that those in their circle of influence are there because they actually desire to be in their presence, with no strings attached and no ulterior motive. THAT is what happiness looks like to me.

I posted recently on my Facebook page that ‘money may not buy happiness, but enough of it can make you smile’, so let me clearly state that I don’t think money is evil! (smile) I may not be in a position to leave millions of dollars to my children and grandchildren, but I hope I’ve deposited love, grace, compassion and kindness into them. That would be a great legacy…one that will be remembered long after I’m gone and something they will hopefully pass along to their children.

Take action now: Meditate on Mark 8:36, 37: And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul? (NLT).

Embrace this truth:  Let love and kindness be your legacy.

“Free Your Mind and The Rest Will Follow”

The saying, “if you think you can or if you think you can’t, you are right” speaks to the power of one’s thoughts. What you think about your abilities or capabilities will either propel you or paralyze you.

How often have you heard amazing survival stories of people who were stranded or lost for days without food or water? There are countless others noted for accomplishing seemingly impossible feats because they found the inner strength and motivation to keep going long after their bodies gave out.  The common factors in these situations can likely be attributed to determination and the confidence to finish the task.  In essence, they decided that they couldn’t or wouldn’t quit.

We are familiar with the fictitious children’s story The Little Engine That Could, which is a lesson about optimism.  As the story goes, the little train was confident in his own ability to succeed and finish the task at hand despite his small size.  He was able to save the day by pulling a train full of toys from one side of the mountain to the other. By the little training thinking that he could accomplish what he set out to do and then verbalizing, “I think I can”, he reached his goal and became the hero in the story. What others thought about him was not important. He was focused on the end result, which was getting the job done. How about you? Do you need more confidence in yourself and in your ability? You can start by shutting out the naysayers. Don’t listen to the crowd unless they are cheering you on!

Take action now: Meditate on Romans 8:31b: If God is for us, who can be against us?

Embrace this truth: You are equipped to do what you set your mind to accomplish.

“The Break Up”

This may sound harsh, but it’s time to write that ‘Dear John Letter’ and move on with your life!

Don’t be alarmed. This is not a blog about relationships gone bad…not exactly. It is encouragement for you to break up with bad habits or to let go of what is holding you back and keeping you from reaching your full potential and walking in your purpose.

You may be bound by negative self-talk, insecurity, addiction, substance abuse, lack of confidence or low self-esteem. You may have come from a life of lack and poverty or you may have been born into a family with great wealth. Your parents may have planned your birth with great anticipation or you may have been born to a mother serving time behind bars. The good news is how your life began is not important; you can start from where you are today and start anew and get on the path that God has laid out for you. You just have to be willing to move! That sounds simple, doesn’t it? The truth is many are paralyzed by fear. The fear of failure and the fear of rejection. Today is your day to soar and make the change you desire. Here are a few steps to get you unstuck:

Take action now: Meditate on Psalms 139:14 : “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Amplified Bible).

Embrace this truth: If you know your value, nobody can minimize your worth. I encourage you to BELIEVE in yourself!