Share the Love
Share the Love
As the festive season of Christmas comes upon us we often get so busy with our own life that it can be easy to overlook others. Christmas can be one of the most joyous times of the year, but for many it is lonely and sad.
I have been very blessed to have spent every Christmas surrounded by love and generosity, but as a child, I thought everybody did. I grew up in a small town where, at the time, poverty and other life challenges were not prevalent, at least not in my little bubble. It was all about the presents for me.
It makes me a little sad to understand that’s what it meant to me, but it makes me very happy to know that now I have grown to understand it’s so much more.
Now, being much older, and having experienced some of my own life setbacks, as well as seeing misfortune in others, I have a much different perspective. I get much joy of giving to others....especially giving to people who need a helping hand. It’s also wonderful to see all the people who are pitching in to support others. It’s really a win-win.....helping people fills our own self with a sense of greater purpose and appreciation.
I’m proud to see how many people in our community are doing up Christmas hampers, gathering warm blankets, clothes and coats, doing toy drives, dinners, fundraisers and much more. People coming together for the sake of others is what I love most about this holiday season.
I’m also so grateful to have been asked to speak at a big Christmas Feast, sponsored by Life Exchange, for families going through critical times. Presents and Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings for those who have fallen on tough times will surely help to lift spirits. I think it is also a little comforting to know we are not alone.
Most everyone will experience challenging struggles at some time in their life, and feeling the love and generosity of others redeems our faith in humanity....at least it did for me.
When we can look beyond our own welfare, and feel the joy of expanding our offerings to others, then we will greater understand the meaning of gift giving.
For those of you in a position to help a family, or even one person, your generosity of sharing the love will be your best Christmas present of all!
God Bless and Merry Christmas.
Believe In Yourself
Believe In Yourself
Many people I know came so close to giving up on their dream because it seemed impossible to reach, yet for some reason despite all the hurdles and setbacks, they kept going....but why?
Were they a sucker for punishment? Did they want to inflict pain upon themselves by experiencing the failure of falling short over and over again? Of course not.... they have a determination and drive that is relentless to quitting. No matter what anyone says, or how many rejections they get, nothing will stop them until they reach their desired manifestations.
I personally am still a work in progress, but I think we always are no matter who we are, what we do, or how old we are. I think what sets apart the enthusiastic ‘go getter’ from the ‘negative Nelly’, is the optimism and grit to keep going. If plan A doesn’t work, go to plan B, C, D..... etc.
If you don’t have an alternate plan; make one. Often, it’s not going to be easy, or come the first try, but what’s the alternative?
I have many goals and dreams that I am currently working on, but I will share how I made one of my biggest goals come true.
In my first year of English Literature, my Professor mocked a novel I was working on, which was loosely based on my early adolescence. He basically said that I was wasting my time.....I had no creative artistic writing ability.
Thirty years later, I still remember the hurt I felt, and that cement block hitting the pit of my stomach. As youth, we are often insecure and supposed to believe the professionals, so I buried the dreams of my writing career.
Twenty five years later, after my son was born with a critical heart defect and my daughter was diagnosed with autism, I felt it had become my life’s purpose to share my experience to help others rise above adversity. I had a calling, which was so wonderful because I never did find my life’s purpose all those years later. But finally, I knew I had to share how life can still be wonderful, even if it doesn’t go as we hoped or planned.
Life will give us all setbacks and things we don’t expect, but it’s what we do with it that can make all the difference. I knew I had to write a book.
But something was holding me back. I didn’t feel smart enough to write a book....my English Professor told me so.
Well, it took a couple years, but finally my desire overcame my fear, and I said damn my English Professor, who is he anyway???? The words of Les Brown changed my life.....
”You don’t have to let someone else’s opinion of you become YOUR reality!”
It was the beginning of a new perspective, and my dream came true......I became the author of Bravery; Our Journey of Faith, Hope & love. Four years later and I am still getting calls and emails from people who have been profoundly affected by Bravery. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel gratitude for persevering and conquering the fears instilled by someone else who did not matter one bit in my life.
I know there are many reasons that stop us from getting where we ’d like to be. There are people, situations, obstacles holding us back from following our dreams....achieving our goals. It’s okay to feel discouraged and frustrated, but just don’t give up.... .never ever give up!!!
How Do We Make Sense Of Anything These Days?
How Do We Make Sense Of Anything These Days?
It’s impossible to make sense out of senseless tragedies like the recent one in Las Vegas.
I don’t know how you all feel, or how this latest catastrophic event affected your life. If you knew any of the people involved I’m sure you were crippled with emotional angst, despair, pain and so many other emotions.
Even if you didn’t know anyone personally affected, I’m sure you felt similar feelings...... I felt helpless, horrified, sadness, and for a few days.....depleted of hope for a brighter future.
We all experience different symptoms when something like this happens, but we also need to realize that we all possess different tools to cope, and to rise above these devastating times. We can’t let evil prevail, and with a little soul searching we can look to our strengths and support one another.
There is no explanation to these kinds of atrocities and I think we need to first realize this before we can begin to heal. If we can lean on each other in times of need, we can overcome.
One of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela reads,
When we replace I with we, even illness can become wellness.
When difficult times hit my life, I didn’t know if my son was going to live. Staying in the ICU at BC Children's Hospital, I saw many critically sick babies, some of which passed away. I was at a complete loss; I wanted to crawl into a dark hole and I remember walking around like a zombie, wishing someone could give me some kind of drug to go into a coma until it was all over.
Fortunately, a morsel of strength wiggled its way in and, by the grace of God, I was able to believe in myself...believe that although I can’t control so many things in life, I could control me and my power to overcome.
My destiny changed the day my son Avery was born. Now it has become my life's purpose to help others who have gone through adversity. It doesn’t happen overnight but in time we can recover, and maybe even find a new purpose.
We can find support systems and even one day become a support system for someone else. We mustn't let situations that are out of our control cripple us. Otherwise. we become defeated and the enemy wins.
Events will happen in our life that we will never make sense out of, things we can never control. But, we will always have a choice with how we deal with it and, just maybe, if we try, we can find a way to make positive change for the future. That’s when we will win.
Have you ever tasted or smelled something that reminded you of someone, or maybe a particular time or place you were at?
Well, today I had a piece of Juicy Fruit gum and instantly I was taken back to forty years ago!
I immediately became flooded with all kinds of wonderful memories spent with my grandma from my youth, and time seemed to stop still for a few moments. Much of my younger years and best memories were growing up with my grandma, and she always had juicy fruit gum.
It’s funny how little reminders of our life experiences surface when we least expect it. Life gets so busy and time goes by so fast; how wonderful that we have little reminders of the amazing people who were an important part of our life at one time.
Often on my bike rides I spend the time thinking of all I need to do for the rest of the day...and week, but on my ride today, I practiced my gratitude affirmations. Instead of getting so caught up with all the hustle and bustle life brings, and the daily life stressors of what needs to get done, I just looked around and took in all the beauty, and felt thankful.
Sometimes we forget to live in the present.....to enjoy the good moments and all we have to be appreciative for. These days it seems we have lists for our lists, and with all the technology we have you’d think life would be simpler.
Perhaps, we take on more because we can. But nonetheless, let’s not lose sight of the present, or the wonderful memories that shape us. Just because we can take on more, does it mean we have to?
Of course, we all know that famous cliché....take time to smell the roses. But how often do we?
There are opportunities we miss and memories to reminisce, so maybe, with a little effort, we can try and be more aware of our daily encounters and reap some of the benefits they offer.
The purpose of my blogs has always been to give a little enlightenment, but I never thought I’d be inspired by a stick of gum...so just think of the endless opportunities that present themselves and take a little time to enjoy. There may not be a rose bush around but there will always be something else if your eyes are open.
What Inspires You?
My Friend Has Reenforced My Belief That Anything Is Possible.....His Story Is Remarkable & Stunning!
Recently I made a new friend and am very excited about it. I’m proud to be friends with someone so remarkable.
His name is Dan Keplinger and he is a famous artist among many other talents.
A documentary about him called King Gimp won an Oscar in 2000. But what makes Dan so unique and amazing is how he produces such masterpieces, with the determination to bring it to life and give it meaning.
Born with cerebral palsy and very limited motor control, he passed all expectations and found his passion and expression through art. Whether it is a sculpture, chalk, or paintbrush on acrylic, there is no conventional way that Dan expresses.
When I first viewed some of Dan’s paintings I was very impressed, but when I saw how he paints, with a paintbrush attached to his forehead, I was astounded. It really is incredible.
Dan’s determination to not let his disability define or limit him is nothing short of heroic. Becoming a mentor to all those who have challenges, and anyone battling with inadequacy or limitations, his conviction demonstrates we can all live a prosperous and abundant life.
In his own words,
“At first glance, my work addresses my perception of society as a person with a disability. Objects such as my head-stick and my wheel chair are referenced in my artwork as symbols of my everyday obstacles. These pieces, however, are about much more than my disability. I morph and combine these objects with images of my body to create my own vocabulary, which pertains to different life circumstances. Self-perception can be one of the biggest challenges to overcome. No matter how much one explains their situation, we can never fully understand the extent of their individual circumstances, nor think as they do. Obstacles and challenges are a universal part of the human condition. We all face them in everyday life, yet we have the ability to choose how we approach them. Many of us are likely to get discouraged during the difficult times in our lives. In my work I hope to encourage viewers to realize that they have the ability to persevere.” - Dan Keplinger
For anyone who feels they are stuck in life, or at a crossroad of some sort, whether you are typical or special needs, I highly recommend you watch Dan’s documentary, King Gimp. I’m sure it will bring a new clarity, and possibly change your perspective on life.
One of my favourite pieces.
When I first talked to Dan and learned about all his great accomplishments, I instantly became a huge advocate and supporter.
Having a daughter with autism and a son who survived a critical heart defect with mild cerebral palsy, I felt I could identify with his story and strength to overcome.
Even though I wasn’t the one with special needs, my life as a mom wasn’t typical, or anything I had anticipated it would be. But it wasn’t long until I would understand I had a choice, and instead of wallowing in anguish, I became a much stronger person and transformed my experience into a larger purpose, just like Dan.
We have chosen to learn from adversity....to take our experiences and give them a purpose, to mentor others who follow in our footsteps and help them rise to their best potential.
Thanks Dan for sharing your gifts with us and demonstrating that despite your struggles, life can be wonderful....it’s our future to decide.
Here is a great link of Dan’s to check out:
Photo courtesy of Dan's Facebook page.
What Does Success Mean to You?
What Does Success Mean to You?
Sometimes I wonder if I should have been a philosopher because I'm always trying to figure things out, pondering life, and placing things in perspective.
Take success for one.....It’s such a broad spectrum to be defined; however, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I believe so is success! It's what we think of ourselves that really matters. What anyone else thinks of us shouldn’t really hold a lot of stock.
Of course, we can care about what other people think, especially one’s we have a relationship with, but their opinion doesn’t determine our worth. Only we have that right.
What success is to one person, may be considered as failure by another. Take Hilary Clinton for example; many think she is a failure because she lost the presidency to Barack Obama and recently Donald Trump. But many think Hilary is a great success because of all her other many accomplishments in Senate.
There are people I know who don't believe they are successful because they don't have their dream house, or a million dollars in the bank. Well, if that's what they believe then I guess, in their own right, they are not successful.
I don't have my dream car or millions of dollars in the bank, but I believe I'm successful because I raised two amazing children, I do my best to stay healthy, I have wonderful relationships in my life, and I am doing what I love.
So really, why wait for New Years to make a Resolution, let's try to pay attention and acknowledge the successes we have. I bet more will follow. After all, whatever frequency we are vibrating in, we will get more of!
Let's choose the positive ones and see what happens!
Good luck and God Bless!