Companies Giving Back #109

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“Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides.”

Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

 
I came across this article in regards to companies who enforce “giving back”…AND I just had to share: 

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The 50 Best Workplaces for Giving Back in 2018

Increasingly, employees are asking for more from companies than just a paycheck and an ID badgethey want to know their work has a positive impact.

Fortune (fortune.compartner Great Place to Work combed through hundreds of thousands of employee surveys to compile the following list of the U.S. companies that workers say are doing the best job at making a difference.  ❤

  1.   Salesforce (Information Technology)
  2.   Bank of America (Financial Services & Insurance)
  3.   Cisco (Information Tech.)
  4.   Merck (Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals)
  5.   Nvidia (Information Tech.)
  6.   Deloitte (Professional Services)
  7.   Intuit (Information Tech.)
  8.   AbbVie (Biotechnology & Pharm.)
  9.   Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Non-profit philanthropic organization)
  10.  Autodesk (Information Tech.)
  11.  Dixon Schwabl (Advertising & Marketing)
  12.  NuStar Energy (Transportation)
  13.  Cadence (Electronics)
  14.  VMware (Information Tech.)
  15.  Patagonia (Retail)
  16.  Ultimate Software (Information Tech.)
  17.  Genentech (Biotechnology & Pharm.)
  18.  Roche Diagnostics (Biotechnology & Pharm.)
  19.  Texas Health Resources (Health Care)
  20.  Elevation Church (Growth & Community/Non-profit Organization)
  21.  Kronos (Information Tech.)
  22.  Stryker (Manufacturing & Production)
  23.  Veterans United Home Loans (Financial Svc. & Insurance)
  24.  Workday (Information Tech.)
  25.  American Transmission Company (Manufacturing & Production)
  26.  Voya Financial (Financial Svc. & Insurance)
  27.  Crowe Horwath (Professional Svc.)
  28.  West Monroe Partners (Professional Svc.)
  29.  Adobe Systems (Information Tech.)
  30.  Old Navy (Retail)
  31.  Baird (Financial Svc. & Insurance)
  32.  American Express (Financial Svc. & Insurance)
  33.  Cornerstone OnDemand (Information Tech.)
  34.  Clif Bar & Company (Manufacturing & Production)
  35.  SAP America (Information Tech.)
  36.  Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (Health Care)
  37.  Capital One Financial (Financial Svc. & Insurance)
  38.  PricewaterhouseCoopers (Professional Svc.)
  39.  Synchrony Financials (Financial Svc. & Insurance)
  40.  Novo Nordisk (Biotechnology & Pharm.)
  41.  Cooley (Professional Svc.)
  42.  Edward Jones (Financial Svc. & Insurance)
  43.  World Wide Technology (Information Tech.)
  44.  Ernst & Young (Professional Svc.)
  45.  SAS Institute (Information Tech.)
  46.  Baptist Health South Florida (Health Care)
  47.  Prometheus Real Estate Group (Construction & Real Estate)
  48.  Principal (Financial Svc. & Insurance)
  49.  American Fidelity Assurance Company (Financial Svc. & Insurance)
  50.  Hunton & Williams (Professional Svc.)

For more information about these companies, or to read positive feedback from employees who work at these establishments and the benefits offered to them and their communities click on the link below:

http://fortune.com/2018/02/09/best-workplaces-giving-back-2018/

 

“Giving back is where you give, and then nothing happens. No benefits for you, no recognition, nothing tangible gets sent your way. Your biggest and sole reward is the realization that you’ve made a significant change in someone’s life. And if not “significant” then a positive change nevertheless.”

 

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The Grateful 10! #108

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“We have so much to be grateful for in this life. Each and every day.”  

~Debbie McDaniel

 

Here’s Debbie’s 10 tips to staying grateful for all that we have…

 

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy. Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable life theme of gratefulness.

2. Remember the Bad. To be grateful in your current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times that you once experienced. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.

3. Ask Yourself Three Questions. Utilize the meditation technique known as Naikan, which involves reflecting on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have I caused?”

4. Learn Prayers of Gratitude. In many spiritual traditions, prayers of gratitude are considered to be the most powerful form of prayer, because through these prayers people recognize the ultimate source of all they are and all they will ever be.

5. Come to Your Senses. Through our senses—the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear—we gain an appreciation of what it means to be human and of what an incredible miracle it is to be alive. Seen through the lens of gratitude, the human body is not only a miraculous construction, but also a gift.

6. Use Visual Reminders. Because the two primary obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness, visual reminders can serve as cues to trigger thoughts of gratitude. Often times, the best visual reminders are other people.

7. Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude. Research shows that making an oath to perform a behavior increases the likelihood that the action will be executed. Therefore, write your own gratitude vow, which could be as simple as “I vow to count my blessings each day,” and post it somewhere where you will be reminded of it every day.

8. Watch your Language. Grateful people have a particular linguistic style that uses the language of gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate, and abundance. In gratitude, you should not focus on how inherently good you are, but rather on the inherently good things that others have done on your behalf.

9. Go Through the Motions. If you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude.

10. Think Outside the Box. If you want to make the most out of opportunities to flex your gratitude muscles, you must creatively look for new situations and circumstances in which to feel grateful.

 

Being thankful isn’t just for the Thanksgiving holiday. Scripture tells us to be “thankful in everything, in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). When we find ourselves overwhelmed with burdens and worried about tomorrow, we can praise God for who he is and his promise to never leave us or forsake us. We have been blessed with the free gift of salvation and eternal life!

 

Find some quiet time to pray and thank God, read Scripture out-loud, and find a renewed heart that is filled with peace and joy!  ❤

 

 

https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/

 

Book 2 Published! #107

What Kind Of Animal Would I Be?

 

 

Published by ME – Grandma Smith (pseudonym)  

I’m so excited to have this book go onto publishing!

My grandchildren really seemed to enjoy the FIRST book I had published, in which I dedicated my work to all of my sweet grandkids.  However, it truly was my eldest granddaughter who inspired me to start drawing again.   Since she was born, I was highly motivated in creating an interactive coloring book along with cherished Scriptures to guide her young mind and help ‘plant a seed’ towards spiritual growth.

“When you plant a seed of love, it is you that blossoms.”
― Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

 

“You read and write and sing and experience, thinking that one day these things will build the character you admire to live as. You love and lose and bleed best you can, to the extreme, hoping that one day the world will read you like the poem you want to be.”Charlotte Eriksson

 

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https://www.facebook.com/csmithcoach

The ABC’s I Want My Grandkids To Know Paperback – August 8, 2017

https://www.amazon.com/What-Kind-Animal-Would-Interactive/dp/1986897729/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522850929&sr=8-1&keywords=what+kind+of+animal+would+I+be%3F&dpID=41v9VKeHR1L&preST=_SX258_BO1%2C204%2C203%2C200_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

https://wordpress.com/post/1000waystobeawarrior.wordpress.com/127

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Mom, Hear Me ROAR! #106

Every now and then I enjoy reminiscing to the good ol’ days…

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“Strap on your seatbelt!”

 

 

“He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.”
~Psalm 113:9

 

❤ The Joys of Motherhood…

“Being a mom is a roller-coaster ride of exhilarating joys and pull-out-your-hair frustrations.  Sometimes a sweet infusion of humor is just what you need to lift your heart to new heights, to heal the hurts of a bad day, or to instill your soul with inspiration.  Take a deep breath, inhale the joy, soak up the merriment, and you’ll surely find that your heart is lighter, your day brighter!”  ~Shari McDonald

 

Who can relate to this?   I sure can!

 

He turned around and smiled at me, almost as if I were human.  I was only one hour into my “runaway adventure”, and already people were starting to notice me as more than just a cluster of ceiling fans and breader of pork chops.

The man’s blue eyes gazed into my olive green ones, and he opened his mouth to speak.

“Lady.” he said, “you’re standing on my magazine.”

Mumbling an embarrassed “Oops, sorry,” I bent over, dusted off the ‘Q’ on his GQ, and handed it back to him.  Then, adjusting my position in line, I focused my attention on the several hundred thousand travel destinations from which I had to choose.  I scanned the computerized listing as one would look over a flavor menu at an ice cream parlor.  If you can’t decide among thirty-one ice cream choices, how do you expect to choose one of a zillion places to go? taunted a voice inside my head.

“I’ll decide when I get up to the counter,” I answered.

In the line ahead of me, Blue Eyes moved several steps forward while the surrounding travelers stared as if they’d never seen a woman talking to herself before.

I shrugged and continued my conversation with myself.

You’re crazy.  You know that, don’t you?  You can’t just run away.  Moms don’t run away, said my inner voice.

“I’m not crazy,” I said aloud, looking exactly that.  “Every mom thinks about running away at time.  Besides, I just want to go where God can use my talents and gifts.  Someplace glorious.   Someplace where I’m loved and appreciated and where it’s not my fault if it rains and a camping trip gets canceled.”

Sounds great.  Where is that?

“That’s the problem.  I don’t know.”

By the time I’d finished my conversation with myself, I had reached the head of the line.  There, a chipper young man with a full thirty-two-tooth grin greeted me from the counter.  He had All-American, Rah-Rah, Ivy League, Mom, and Apple Pie written all over him.

“Hello!  I’m Blake!”  he said and clicked his pen.  “Do you have any reservations?” he asked — still grinning, still clicking his pen.

I wrinkled my brow.  Reservations?  Well, maybe a few.  Depending on how long I’d be gone, I might miss Laura’s softball tryouts or my annual Christmas shopping trip with Alison, where I show her what I like, she tells Barry, and he buys it.

It’s not that I don’t love them.  It’s just….
And then there’s Barry and the spare room we’re working on….

But then there’s the fighting and the whining and the bickering and the tripping over work boots and the….

“Nope.  No reservations,”  I told Blake and pounded the counter.  “I’m gonna do this.  Just write me up a ticket.”

His smile didn’t change one iota.  He simply raised his left eye-brow and said, “O–kay.  What’s your name, ma’am?”

“My name?”  Suddenly, my mind went blank.  It wasn’t as if I didn’t know my own name.  I just didn’t know which one to give him.

Mommy?
Mom?
Mama?
MomcanIgetmynavelpierced?
MomIthinkI’mgonnathrowup?

I gave up using the name on my birth certificate and just started referring to myself as Mommy.  As in:

“Come give Mommy a kiss.”
“Tell Mommy where it hurts.”
“I told you Mommy’s ears can’t hear whining.”
“Mommy’s face looks like this because Mommy just found out that somebody used her lace tablecloth to wipe off fingernail polish.”

I knew I wasn’t alone on that either.  I know for a fact that none of my friends have names.  We greet each other in the market:

“Hi, Sarah’s mom!”
“Hi, Laura’s mom!”
The vet even calls me “Blackie’s mom.”

At one women’s luncheon where I was introduced as “Nancy Kennedy,” I simply sat in my seat, looking around, until the woman next to me discreetly pointed to my name tag and whispered, “That’s you!”

That’s why I hesitated at Blake’s seemingly simple request.  There was nothing simple about my name or the awesome responsibility it carried.

“Mom,” I told him.  “My name is Mom.”

He wrinkled his brow and scratched his head.   “I’m sorry, but the company needs more than just ‘Mom.’  Do you have another name?”

It was my turn to wrinkle my brow and scratch my head.
“Another name?” I echoed.  I was about to tell him that Barry sometimes calls me Honey or Sweetheart (although more often “Where’d you put my _________”), when Blake interrupted my thoughts.

“Do you have a credit card with your name on it?” he suggested, then told me firmly:  “We need to know who you are.”

Who am I?  You know who I am…

  •  There’s a container of Gak dumped in a corner of my living room carpet and the moldy remains of a peach deemed too gross to eat stuffed in the cushions of my couch.
  • I walk around the house with dryer lint and used Q-tips in the pocket of my robe
  • I spend the majority of my day behind the wheel of a car — traveling hundreds of miles to and from softball practice, cheerleading practice, and trips to the market — yet never leave the city limits.
  • I can’t do a quadratic equation, but I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street. ❤
  • My prayers are often frantic and generally specific.  (Lord, please help my child throw up in the bucket and not on the wall.”)  
  • At times I pray to be invisible, like during PTA meetings when they need someone to chair the fifth grade fundraising car wash
  • Or during the Christmas program when it’s my child up on stage singing. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,” as she proceeds to slug the boy standing next to her.

 

I know you know me…

  • I wash my children’s faces with spit
  • Pick at the dirt behind their ears
  • Constantly wipe nose-burgers in and out around their noses (plus their walls along their bedside)
  • Whine about their whining
  • Nag about their nagging
  • Worry that I’ll never live to see the day they’ll change their underwear without coercion or threats of bodily harm
  • I have eyes in the back of my head and a nose that can sniff out doggy doo-doo on a sneakered foot fifty yards away.
  • I have ears that can hear Oreo cookies being eaten underneath the covers by a child who is supposedly asleep.
  • With just one sideways glance, I can tell who sharpened her crayon with my eyeliner pencil sharpener
  • And who accidentally-on-purpose let the bathroom sink overflow.
  • A few years ago, you would have recognized me as the one with strained chicken and peas plastered in my hair and a faraway look in my eyes, as I dreamed of a life that was not planned around nap time and late night feedings
  • I was the one who, when asked by a poll-taker to name my favorite male television performer, answered without hesitation, “Grover from Sesame Street.” 

Once upon a time… I had a stomach that didn’t fall to the floor and boobs to the waistline.  Once, I had hips that didn’t serve as a baby saddle and a shelf for grocery bags.  Once, I could even take a bath.  ALONE.  All by myself.  Without someone pounding on the closed door, asking if she could use the blue food coloring or “just wondering” if Super Glue ruins dining room tables.

If you looked in my closet you’d find:  baggy sweats with elastic waists; big, long sweaters; and pull-on pants.  Forget Bill Blass and Anne Klein, give me Hanes Her Way any day.

You know who I am…

  • I eat standing up
  • “Breakfast” consists of the soggy cereal left in bowls on the kitchen table
  • The ends of bread left in the bag
  • Blobs of strawberry jam scraped from the counter
  • I grab lunch on the run from a drive-through window
  • Nibble on dinner as I cook it]
  • I finish everyone else’s ice cream
  • Then wonder why I can’t ever seem to lose weight

Don’t tell anyone, but I live for bedtime.  I yearn for the sounds of a child’s slumber.  I long for my own head to hit the pillow.  I pine for (yawn)…zzzzz.
You know me…

  • I’m the one with the knot in her stomach, praying her child will figure out how to turn over on the playground turnover bar so she won’t be humiliated in front of her classmates during gym class
  • I’m the one who drinks the powdered milk so the rest of the family can have the “real” stuff
  • I’m the one who eagerly counted the days until both daughters went to school, then cried when that day finally arrived
  • I’m the one who willingly suffered through morning sickness, swollen ankles, uncontrollable crying jags, and overwhelming desires for lemon meringue pie and out-of-season blackberries (not to mention pushing a bowling ball through a part of my body a bowling ball doesn’t normally fit — twice)
  • I’m the one frightened voices call for in the middle of the night
  • I’m the one who changes wet sheets at three in the morning, rocks a nightmare-stricken preschooler back to sleep at four, then gets up at five to let the dog out
  • I’m the one who, despite an utterly selfish nature and a propensity towards evil (in addition to an inadequacy in and of myself and a definite lack of experience), God chose as caretaker, teacher, and nurturer for two totally dependent little sinners

With apologies to the Peace Corps, I have the toughest job anyone will ever love.

  •  I am battle-weary from referring squabbles over who did or did not do the dishes last
  • And battle-scarred from getting smacked in the thigh by a line-driven softball during backyard batting practice.  Still, I endure.

Who am I?  I AM…

  • Cooker of oatmeal
  • Cleaner of soap scum
  • Taxi driver
  • Spider killer
  • Purchaser of folders with pockets and prongs
  • Pencil finder
  • Dental appointment maker
  • Loudest cheerleader
  • Most fervent prayer
  • Encourager of dreams
  • Holder of hands
  • A tear wiper and boo-boo kisser
  • Toothbrushing gestapo
  • And example of faith  ❤

You know who I am…

I AM A MOTHER!

And I don’t need a credit card to prove it~

 

 

Recovering From Pain #105

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“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
Rumi

“Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself.  Believe in yourself, your abilities and your own potential. Never let self-doubt hold you captive. You are worthy of all that you dream of and hope for.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

 

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” ~Romans 5:3-5

 

Hang On By Plumb

“I’m so stubborn
That’s how I got here
So alone
Feels like forever
Wanna swim away
And breath the open air
I feel so afraid
Then, I hear You say

Hang on when the water is rising
Hang on when the waves are crashing
Hang on just don’t ever let go

I’m so hungry
How can I stay here?
I’m starving for what I hold so dear
Like a hurricane,
Takes everything
From me
Wake me from this dream

Hang on when the water is rising
Hang on when the waves are crashing
Hang on just don’t ever let go
Hang on when you are barely breathing
Hang on when your hearts still beating
Hang on
Just don’t ever let go

Three days, thirty years
So hopeless, doesn’t matter
Don’t say it’s too late
If you blink your eyes
The sun is rising
The sun is rising

Hang on when the water is rising
Hang on when the waves are crashing
Hang on
Just don’t ever let go
Hang on when you are barely breathing
Hang on when your heart’s still beating
Hang on
Just don’t ever let go.

 

Battling Addiction #104

“We MUST remain humble to keep the wisdom flowing within the vessel, for the mind (itself) knows nothing if the heart is hard (of feeling/hearing).”

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Words of a son caught in a battle…

“If I disliked something it would be myself intoxicated, deranged, and hopeless.  All alcohol does for me is makes me emotionless, confused, or angry and spiritually blocked from reality in the sense of knowing myself intentionally and intuitively.

Self-will to not drink and willpower to sustain sobriety is with the same hand.  If one is so set on remaining sober one mustn’t need a sponsor; just to remain in contact with higher power (Jesus Christ of Nazareth), and to maintain a healthy relationship with self soberly.  If I drink I realize I become negative and not comfortable with my ways.  I am a sensitive person and respect all forms of life; but if I drink I’ll become that alcoholic that is senseless and demoralizing to self and all life (I won’t feel like I want to live, and I’ll find myself thinking of possibilities of death).”

To embrace all of the light or spirit I must face the darkness with a sound mind, ‘Sober mind’ to find that perfect balance in which to live, and think/feel.

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Alcohol is a poison; will wear and tear the mind, corrupting the vessel and body from the source of light: The Creator.  The more we drink, the more we become discontent, dishonest, unforgiving, angry and miserable (this may not be the case for some).

Maybe it’ll give false hope or honesty for awhile; but after long use it can even corrupt the wisest or most brilliant man to convince him he is his own god or that his fleshly existence is all of his own will, and nothing else IS.

Alcohol, just as marijuana, will only be a temporary crutch or feeling, while we only need essential food and water to live.  Why poison self over and over expecting a different result?  This is insanity and obsessing over the same mistakes is making us feel as if we are stuck and that there is no way out.  We need a sober mind so we can grow and so we can always evaluate ourselves in a respectful manner, and for change and prospective.  We need God’s insights and wisdom to daily reflect on His will.

The importance at our higher power is to know we don’t have the answers, and that we shall always know God has a plan for us, each and individually.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You — who walk in the light of Your presence, O’Lord.

Blessed are those who rejoice and believe there is a way of the Father, that is all forgiving and most righteous, most magnificent, MOST LOVING~  ❤

Personal Story

I grew up a Christian since my mother turned to God far before my birth.  I believed I was saved, and secured in the name of the Lord at birth.  Smoked weed at an early age and drank  my first drink around 14.  It taught me a lot about the world and I always had more questions and was more inquisitive while high.  I just wish I was finished with my education before I started experimenting.  I couldn’t done better in school or gotten a degree in college.  Shrooms and marijuana helped awaken me more into my spirituality and the more I started losing focus on everything else from there.  I was always the outcast , never seemed to fit into a particular group in school, nor did I care.  All I started to focus on was finding the reason why we were living (why life was possible/and how).

I loved being philosophical and thinking for myself.  Tesla and Einstein were onto something and I needed to contribute to the world by thinking the way I did.

And so now I’m 23 in physical (form) age, but feel 87 in maturity to the old timers; that have very simple, yet very complicated principles they live by.   (Staying open-minded and just smile, have a laugh).

Being at peace with everything and content; humble continues to be a goal of mine.   If I’m at peace, there won’t be worry or stress that will hold me back; this is why service work makes sense to me.  Helping others I become a better person, more carrying and freeing.

(If I become truly at peace all other goals then can easily be met through this lesson.)

My Spirituality (My understanding)….

Spirituality to me is sort of like fishing, takes patience…takes practice…sometimes it takes the right place or spot to find yourself able to reflect in the silence of noise.  To be able to be still mentally and physically in the mind long enough to let the heart express itself.  Like a pole (with its line) in the water wanting for a fish to tug; sometimes we must practice to silence the mind long enough to feel the vast roaring ocean of emotions of life essence that forms who we are.

The consciousness of our essence is pure light, and mankind has journeyed afar from its roots.  We are light and that light is unconditional love, within a fleshy body that will only grow old and weak.  The soul grows old and sweet like a ripening fruit, but the riper the fruit the less it seems appealing, however the sweeter it is when eaten.  The soul can’t/doesn’t die like the physical shell/vessel, it only experiences and transforms…transcends~

If I want healthy relationships with others, I must acquire a healthy relationship within myself.

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Creativity to Me…

Is an art of healing, an art of BE-ing.  Alike unconditional love, you can practice being creative in unique ways to bring out your inner essence.  For me, being able to be expressive and reflective into writing music, gives me a joy I greatly appreciate.  (I’d like to say I’m deeply in search and understanding of the wisdoms of God), music is key.

For us to unlock our true potential within ourselves we must learn to love and appreciate ALL walks of life, and humble the heart/mind of any hatred or unfairness.

“Music is the sound of the soul, for we are vibration, and all that is; purely vibration of different frequencies of light and dark, yin and yang.”

 

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I don’t believe I have a problem with alcohol, I believe I have a problem with myself, with society and my self-esteem.  I’ve gone many years smoking marijuana daily and for some time it was a strong habit.  Smoking to influence my music creativity and smoking just for the effects (clarity, insight, laziness, uphoria).  I’ve always felt more spiritually connected with nature and with God after smoking; I don’t need marijuana for these things, but it was a tool for a long time.  I need to be content and stay humble (totally sober so my connection to spirit will be more pure and natural).  Alcohol dimmed this connection and over time totally blocked it out.

“A man that is wise is a man of God; but his own ways will lead him astray and self-righteous.”

“Willpower is restored by God we just need to keep our eyes open and ears listening to the ‘heart of Him.'”

 

My hope and self willingness to stay sober remains strong in the Name of the Lord.  I feel reborn and new walking the path of God.  I am not looking for anything else, but unconditional love and acceptance of self.  Constantly I observe my thoughts and ask my heart if this is truly me or the temptations of the enemy (for as light reflects a shadow that is not always see).  We mustn’t turn our back on the most high expecting Him to give us visions or clarity, only a fool believes His ways are godly.  A man who confesses his sins and repents his wrong doings to God is a man practicing to become wise.  For God loves his children that seek Him and bless them with the love of wisdom and grants them understanding.

“Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.”

“Love vs. Fear”

 

 

Comforting Our Friends #103

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“Sometimes, the best way to help someone is just to be near them.”
Veronica Roth, Divergent

 

Think of the last time you tried to comfort someone who was hurting:

What did you do right?      What did you do wrong?

What will you do differently next time?

 

One way God comforts hurting people is to put caring friends in their lives. And if we’re following God, one day we’ll be one of those caring friends. The apostle Paul says, “Praise be to . . . the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3 – 4).  ❤

God uses our experiences to reach out to others with compassion and comfort.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when talking with someone who is hurting:

 

  • Ask God to guide you before you speak.  He will give you the right words to say.

 

  • Give your hurting friend a chance to share their feelings. Listen closely and ask questions. Don’t try to correct anything the person says.

 

  • Don’t use clichés or try to give simple answers. Instead, talk about how much you care about your friend.

 

  • Pray with your friend.

 

  • Ask if you can do simple things, like chores or errands, to make your friend’s life a little easier.

 


Prayer:  Dear God, thank you for putting loved ones in our lives who care about us and comfort us. Teach us to be people who can offer care and comfort to other hurting people.   ~Amen

 

~Taken from Once a Day At the Table

 

“But there is greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question.” ― Thomas Merton

 

“12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.  13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.”  ~Job 2:12-13

SPEAKOUT-4-CHANGE #102

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“An estimated 25% of girls and 16% of boys experience sexual abuse before they are 18 years old.”

  • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
  • Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.

#SPEAKOUT4CHANGE

 

“Every 98 seconds, another person experiences sexual assault.”

 https://www.rainn.org/about-sexual-assault

 

 

“Do Something”
“If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something…”

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No ‘I’ won’t stand still
No ‘I’ won’t stand still
   No ‘I’ won’t stand still!”

 

Alarming Statistics on Rape and Incest

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“More serious crimes such as muggings, murders and sexual assault are much further down the list, but why?”

https://www.statista.com/chart/11735/the-crimes-americans-worry-about-most/

 

What do YOU worry most about?

I feel it depends GREATLY if you or someone close to you have been victims in a certain category listed above.  If I wasn’t a victim already of childhood incest and a violent rape at 16, I’m not sure how worried I’d be of “being sexually assaulted” and the effects it would have on me.  HOWEVER, the statistics are alarming:

“Every 98 seconds, another person experiences sexual assault.”

 https://www.rainn.org/about-sexual-assault

Sexual violence affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. While we’re making progress — the number of assaults has fallen by more than half since 1993 — even today, only 6 out of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison.

Fortunately, I have been able to speak out and share my story on social platforms along with the alarming statistics and horrific facts about sexual abuse and I will continue to do so.  A lot of children and women can’t find their voices, so it is up to those who CAN speak out and help make changes to create a safer, non-violent, world where female (and male) children and adults are not hunted for pleasures and heinous acts by those who seek them.

REFORM, JUSTICE and RECOVERY, and  in the AREAS of SEXUAL ASSAULT need to continue to be at the forefront of our legislature and current law enforcement.  We need stronger laws to put petaphiles and re-offenders behind bars for good!

https://www.rainn.org/articles/incest

https://optimisticwhispere.wixsite.com/thewarrior

https://www.facebook.com/rapesurvivorsovercome/

https://www.cdc.gov/features/sexualviolence/index.html

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/sexual-assault-victims/

https://www.thoughtco.com/facts-about-child-sexual-abuse-statistics-3533871

https://www.statista.com/chart/11735/the-crimes-americans-worry-about-most/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/50-facts-rape_b_2019338.html

https://www.statista.com/statistics/191137/reported-forcible-rape-cases-in-the-usa-since-1990/

https://victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/child-sexual-abuse-statistics

http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2013/aug/15/wendy-davis/surveys-show-wide-disagreement-number-rape-related/

 

 

The Healing Power of Compassion #101

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❤ “I see you, I hear you, I feel you.” ❤

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. -Dalai Lama

“I found that when I am in a state of ever-expanding love and compassion, I am able to truly feel free. And for that, I am truly thankful.”

Extending our capacity for love and compassion toward ourselves, and those who have hurt us, also expands our capacity for love and compassion toward everyone and everything. I truly believe that if everyone were to proactively expand their capacity for love and compassion, the world would not only be a better place, but it would be the perfect place.

I am now of the belief that the purpose of all hurt is to teach us love and compassion. For if we cannot grow from this, then there was no purpose for it. And if we can all grow from it, then humanity as a whole grows from it.

~Anna Shelley (artist, musician, and muse based in Melbourne, Australia)

 

“In life we encounter many different experiences. Some are joyful and uplifting, and others are painful and challenging.”

What helps us walk through our suffering and the suffering of others is to become aware of when we are reacting to pain and learn to transform this reaction into a compassionate, caring response.

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Cultivating a Compassionate Response

Providing a nonjudgmental presence, connecting with an open heart, and having compassion towards others, as well as yourself, as you listen to others tell their stories is what really heals. This means, the part of us that wants to control or ‘fix’ has to let go and allow ourselves to be present with their pain and our own during this time.

Opening Heart and Mind Helps Connect and Heal

What helps others heal (in challenging and suffering times) and become empowered is their ability to let go of judgment, share their stories in a supportive environment, and learn to develop a practice of self-care and compassion.

What Gets in the Way of Compassion

As we travel through life we will encounter pain. When this happens, the tendency is to get lost in judgment; we beat ourselves or others up in an attempt to stop the pain. This only intensifies our suffering. Caught in this reactive response we forget that there’s a real need to treat ourselves with kindness, love, and compassion. When we turn towards suffering with compassion it helps us heal and reconnect with life.

The Practice of Compassion

In helping people learn the skill of transforming reactivity into a compassionate and caring response.  Our deepest need, when we are in pain, is compassion; this is what helps us heal. It is not a luxury, it’s a necessity!  This turning towards pain, with an open heart and the intention to heal, is what helps us to live life fully.

Developing Self-Compassion

Becoming aware of when we are reacting or in any way judging ourselves is the first step. The second step is to become present with how our bodies, minds, and hearts are responding to the experience of pain. Setting an intention to be kind towards ourselves and let go of reacting is what helps us to connect with compassion.

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/healing-power-of-compassion-0411124/

 

What compassion is:

  • A sense of awareness that we and others might be struggling or suffering in some way
  • A desire to quell physical or emotional pain
  • A connection to other people, rather than an us vs. them mentality
  • Seeing ourselves as fully human, with myriad emotional states, as well as choices about ways to act on these states

What compassion isn’t:

  • Feeling sorry for another or ourselves, or being in victim mode
  • Attempting to fix, save or cure another person from a perspective of one up/one down
  • Co-dependent caregiving
  • Seeing ourselves or someone else as irredeemably broken
  • An excuse for indulging in irresponsible, reckless or dangerous behaviors
  • A rationale for turning to drugs or other addictive behaviors to suppress painful feelings

Kristin Neff, PhD, an associate professor of human development and culture at University of Texas at Austin, created a self-compassion test to determine how we view ourselves:

http://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/

 

There are dramatic differences in the effects most people experience when needs for love and compassion are met compared to when they aren’t:

Not having our need for love met results in:

  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Depression
  • Stress-induced physical illness that might include hypertension, cardiac conditions and cancer
  • An increased need for medications
  • Turning to substances to provide a semblance of comfort
  • Engaging in unhealthy relationships, rationalizing that any connection, even one fraught with conflict, is better than being alone

Having our need for love met results in:

  • Reciprocal relationships rather than being subjected to one-sided interactions in order to “earn” love
  • A decreased likelihood of turning to substances to fill the “hole in the soul”
  • An enhancement of self-worth, valuing yourself enough to ask for what you want, rather than merely what you think someone else would agree to
  • Experiencing greater fulfillment by discovering your purpose and taking inspired action to see it through
  • Treating your body in a way that sustains your health in terms of what you put into it and ways you interact with others sexually
  • Standing up for your values
  • Saying yes and no with ease, based on your wishes, rather than what you believe is expected of you or you feel obligated to do
  • Recognizing that self-love and self-centeredness aren’t synonymous

More on ‘healing power of love and compassion,’ click on the link below:
https://www.promises.com/articles/the-healing-power-of-love-and-compassion/

 

“Learning to hold our own lives with a gentle compassion is a key element in all emotional healing and spiritual awakening.”

 

The Benefits of Working With Kids #100

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“Children give back “joy, youthfulness, happiness.”
~Lois M Collins

“The presence of children CAN alter overall life satisfaction or improve day-to-day emotions, and it may bring an increased sense of meaning and purpose to people’s lives.”

Adults (school officials and staff, counselors, church/youth directors, etc.) and children give each other hope, experts say. They trade wisdoms – one gained by time and experience, the other unsullied and innocent. Theirs is a nonjudgmental and often cherished friendship.

These treasured friendships are especially helpful to teens who need guidance but won’t always listen to their parents. “Elders need, I believe, a purpose and to feel that somebody needs them, that they can make a difference,” Wrolson said. Kids and teens get hope from seeing longevity and hearing about victories, adventures and even scrapes. The old get hope, too. “It alleviates some of their worries about where this world is going,” Wrolson said. “It’s not in jeopardy as much as they think if they never connect with the younger generation.”

  • Someone to admire

A good relationship with older people gives something to youths they will not find elsewhere.

  • Not alone

Both adults and kids benefit from a sense of belonging, hope, feelings of security, something to look forward to and a feeling of being part of the “pack.” Stephanie Mihalas, a psychologist and a clinical professor at UCLA, works with both intact and dysfunctional family relations. “I think that old people carry a lot of knowledge and wisdom that are different than their peers’ and can transmit it to young children,” Mihalas said. “They have a sense of history that can be transmitted – and a sense of intrigue about the world and history that excites children intellectually.

Older people are also oftentimes very grounded in a chaotic world where peers are often judgmental. Old people can provide a sense of stability that everything is going to be OK. With time, with confidence, one can move through difficult situations. A teen can look at older persons and see that, in fact, their life is OK.” She believes that “lots of very deep mentoring relationships are fostered with older people. You can rely on and trust them.” And kids bring vibrancy to old friends. “The benefit is mutual.” She’s seen old people who were losing hope about their lives but had it rekindled by youthful relationships. Mihalas said more is known about the benefit to teens than to young kids, but no one doubts that the reach across generations at the very least “feels deep and healthy and securing,” she said.

Children who don’t have old people around naturally may be drawn to seek them out, from volunteering somewhere with old people to hanging out with peers’ grandparents. “You hear a bit of a sense of loss with some teenagers who say they never had a grandparent, don’t know what it’s like. They’re not sure what they’re missing, but they know it’s something.”

Intergenerational relationships are a great way for children to get a sense of history, context and perspective, said Jennifer Chung, parenting expert, mom and co-founder ofKinsights.com, an online mentoring and advice portal. “I’ve seen family friends help teenagers through a rough time at school, grandparents give insightful friendship and advice, and uncles get their nieces and nephews to try a new activity,” she said.

  • Who am I?

Kids need older people in their lives to complete full self-identification, said Dr. Fran Walfish, a family psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, Calif., and author of “The Self-Aware Parent.” They round out young people’s understanding of “who I am,” providing both continuity and longevity. In a good relationship, an old person can also meet a child’s need for someone to idealize and to want to be like. That wide-eyed acceptance and affection is also enormously valuable to the elderly, she noted. “Feeling worthy – having something of meaning to contribute, everyone wants to have that.”

Anyone can be a “giant,” large in heart and passion and influence, but often they are older people, such as grandparents, educators, coaches, and other school officials (individuals who are around children the most; spending quality time) who change and uplift and show the power of perseverance.

“There’s opportunity to interact and engage and maybe make a little bit of difference.” They need someone who will listen and care and make time for them. “For young people and also for us older people, the world is full of messages that tell us we don’t have value, we’re invisible, we’re a speck of sand on the seashore. The result is ‘why try?’ thinking. Why not check out and game 24/7 or do some other distracted thing? I think those are things older individuals can teach.”

  • Joyful connections

“There is a far greater depth and value to conversations with outside influences.”

Many times, kids do things only because Mom and Dad said to not do them. However, if that lesson comes from a source that is seen as a friend and not as a parent, they often are more apt to listen to it.

 

http://www.pjstar.com/article/20140114/NEWS/301149893