Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Paying it Forward

"Changing the World...One small Favor at a time"

"Anyone can Pay it Back. The true beauty is Paying it Forward."

Good morning everyone. I pray you had a peaceful and wonderful holiday. As for me, this was truly one of the best, if not thee best Christmas I've ever experienced. We were even blessed to have a white Christmas this year! Although I'm not a fan of the white stuff...I must admit, it was just enough to add that special kiss to an amazing day and extended weekend.

As the Christmas of 2010 becomes yet another memory, I would like to focus on the inspiration for the upcoming 2011 year. The topic for this week’s blog was actually placed on my heart 2 weeks ago but because it keeps resurfacing, I know this is the destined place I need to park it - and share it. 
Over the past few weeks, I have been running head-on with the concept of "Paying it Forward." It's like everywhere I turn...I keep hearing about heart-tugging stories of people that have received blessings at the hands of a total stranger. I was first introduced to the concept years ago when I watched the movie, "Pay it Forward." The concept was popularized with the book Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde, which was later made into the movie. Since then, I have encountered individuals that have shared their personal stories with me about how a total stranger did something for them...no questions asked. The only thing they may ask is that the person Pay it forward. Thus, do something kind for someone else that will be a blessing; just as they were blessed. Example, stories of people paying the tolls for the car behind them, buying groceries for the person in front of them in the check-out line, seeing a stranger in need of assistance and lending a helping hand..I could go on and on but I'm sure you get the picture. It's not always something big; in fact they are usually small gestures of kindness that have a positive ripple effect in the Universe.

"The world can seem like an unfriendly, threatening place, yet we all want safety, health, and happiness for ourselves and our loved ones. How can one ordinary person -- you or me -- make a positive difference in this world? One way is the practice "paying it forward." While the steps might be simple, the outcome could change the world."

The one thing I do know..the universe is round, "What you give is what you get...Universal Plan" and although you do things not expecting something in return, you never know when your act of kindness will boomerang back to YOUR doorstep. 

I would like to challenge you all to adopt "Pay it Forward" in your every day living. I know I am! I want 2011 to be the year that I personally do things that will have some positive impact on the way people view the world. No, Paying it Forward will not save the world..but it WILL perhaps change the way someone views the people in it. I want to believe that there are still some good, thoughtful, kind and compassionate people here! I want to believe that there are still people that will do good deeds without expecting something in return. I want to believe that people still care about someone other than themselves. So, the only way for me to believe that...is to start with ME leading by example.
My journey is to become a better & more spiritually aware person. Also to live more authentically. I've been in this journey for almost a year now. I learned several valuable lessons along the way and I'm thankful for what each one has taught me. I've learned that not everyone will see the good in people. I've learned that not all good deeds are rewarded (in the way that YOU feel they should). I've learned that people's perception about life... based on their own personal past experiences can shape and mold how they view others. I've learned that life isn't always fair. People aren't always fair, and people will misjudge you when your heart is in the best of places...my list could go on and on. But the one thing I want to leave you all with is that...living a self-less life and doing for other people will make a huge difference in how you respond to life itself. Be the light that will brighten the path for someone else along their journey.
Do something kind for another person and just watch how it softens your own heart.  
Pay it forward.

Until we meet again, Happy New Year!! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

When nothing's wrong....

It's ALL Good!

"Life isn't a matter of milestones but of moments."   Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

Happy Monday to you all! I pray your weekend was filled with peace and love. This will be a short and sweet blog but one that has been layed on my heart.

Yesterday's word was, "Making it through the day." Meaning...sometimes life will throw you curve balls, painful events, disappointments and just "learning lessons" that are difficult to weather. With all that we go through in life..sometimes you find yourself just trying to make it thru the day. We've all been there at some point or another. And as the old folks would say.."If you haven't, just keep on livin'."
The purpose of this particular blog is to shine light on celebrating, enjoying and appreciating when things are all good! Those moments in life when there is nothing going on, no fires to put out, no issues to deal with, no drama, no immediate bill or financial issues, no problems with the kids, no brewing conflicts with coworkers...you get the picture. I find that we focus so much on things "happening" or pending things that could happen that we forget to enjoy and appreciate when nothings happening.
I found myself reflecting this weekend and I had to take a deep breath and say: "Thank you Lord for this time of everything being ALL good!" Happiness, peace, love, family, emotional, spiritual, mental, physical...friends, pets, finances....everything is just ALL good! I slept so well. I laughed, shopped... I mean, I just enjoyed Life!
We all know that old saying "If it ain't one thing it's another" and "It's always something around the corner"...and most times, these are very true. Which is why we must appreciate when life is calm, peaceful and going smooth. You need those times to help you maintain and weather when you do find yourself in the thick of Life. On the other side..if you are actively IN a storm...hold on! This too shall pass. You too will be able to enjoy a season of calm. You just have to hang in there and don't give up!
So, today I say...if you are like me, and in a calm, still and great season in life...no matter how long or short this season will be...enjoy it! Yes, there may be something waiting for you tomorrow, this week or next month... but for now...just appreciate the precious gift from God of everything being, all Good!

Stay Encouraged!
Have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Giving & Receiving

The Holiday Gift

If you're a receiver..practice the art of giving from your heart. Do something that makes someone else smile and let that be reward enough for you.
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."  ~William A. Ward

I hope this weeks Blog finds you all in the best health and strength. Since we are approaching the wonderful Holiday season, Christmas...I wanted to take a few moments to share my thoughts giving and receiving.

Some people are natural givers, this includes myself. Giving makes us feel good. It makes us feel of value and worth. It's the one thing we can do to bring a smile to someone else’s face & their hearts. The giving I'm referring to is not always materialistic. I'm speaking about the gift(s) of encouragement, uplifting, time, love, a helping hand, laughter, a shoulder to lean on etc. If you're like me, you actually sit back and think, "What can I do to put a smile on someone's face?" For those of you that know me...you'll get the occasional greeting card just because, my favorite "Stay Encouraged" text..Or my "come to the crib...let's sip some wine and tell me alllll about it." lol...Those things make me feel good. At this stage of my life I'm filled with love. Because of everything that God has done for me and with me. No, I'm not saying the "fleshly" part of Chanel, doesn't want to expose its ugly head from time to time but I work daily at putting others before myself. I do it because of my obedience, not because I necessarily want to. Also, because I am so grateful for being able to look myself in the mirror at night and sleep peacefully. Those things are... my gifts. To give you more about my personal background to help you understand where I'm coming from: I once took a spiritual gifts class. It was determined that I have the spiritual gift of exhortation. For those of you who don't know exactly what that means:
The gift of Exhortation: the special gift whereby the Spirit enables certain Christians to stand beside fellow believers in need and bring comfort, counsel and encouragement so they feel helped. It is ability to minister strengthening words of consolation to other members of the Body in such a way that they feel helped and healed. The gifted believer is able to reach out with Christian love and presence to people in personal conflict or facing a spiritual void. By virtue of this gift these people are motivated through encouraging words to live fruitful lives.
So, giving is not something that I do...but that which I am. I can't control it. It's a gift that I give to others...but it's primarily a gift given to me...by God. I always wondered why I have the strong desire to give (remember, I'm not speaking about material things here)...I always wondered why I feel complete and filled when I give. I also have cried a many of tears when I do give and it's not received. It leaves an emptiness that I have to pray in order for it to be filled. Well, once I took this class I realized. The answer is.. because it not for me...but for those who are in need. I'm just the vessel. But, God rewards me, with the feeling I get knowing I'm doing what I'm here to do. To uplift, encourage and comfort those individuals sent to me for such purposes.

Which leads me into the next area...receiving. Many givers are not always "good receivers." But it's so true; many people that are natural givers...do not always know how to receive. I'm not sure why, but speaking for myself, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable at first. You may question someone’s motives, or the reasons behind it...or even feel like "why is this person being SO nice!? There must be something wrong?" Does this sound familiar to any of the givers in the house? lol ..I'm sure it does. We are so used to giving that we haven't quite mastered the art of receiving. This leads to the other person feeling frustrated, unappreciated and confused. Although that is FAR from your intention, that's exactly what it does.

The truth is...everyone has a desire to give. We must allow people to DO what has been laid on their heart to do. Your inability to receive may in fact block someone else’s blessing. How so? ..Because if God speaks to someone and tells them to do something for you...and you give them a hard way to go or are always questioning why someone can be so nice, they may get frustrated and throw up their hands with it. Thus, not being obedient to what God has told them to do..and hence blocking a blessing they have coming to them. Learn to let go of fears and insecurities that hold you back from really receiving the love of God being shared thru someone else. Learn to trust God and break through walls that make it difficult for you to receive.
We are spiritual-beings in a natural living experience. Learn to give...but also learn how to receive.

May you all have a blessed, safe & peaceful week. Thank you for all of your kind words support. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Nobody Greater"

"Nobody Greater"

I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend. This weeks blog is different from the others in that, I simply want to share this video clip with you. The title is simple...the message is direct.
The voids in your life, the things you search for externally, the pain and confusion you deal with....the problems you have, the issues you battle, the emptiness you feel.....just remember:
There is Nobody Greater!

"Don't tell God how big your problem is. Tell your problem how BIG your God is."

I hope this video uplifts & encourages YOU just as it always does for me.
Have a Great week!
(Just click the Vashawn Mitchell link below the picture to view)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Simply Thankful...

I'm simply Thankful

I hope this week’s blog finds you all in a place of peace. I celebrated my 34th Birthday yesterday and it's only fitting that I dedicate this blog to....giving Thanks.

Lord, I want to take this time to say, "Thank you!" I'm so grateful for those people you have strategically placed in my life. Those people who took a few seconds from their day to celebrate ME... via calls, texts, emails, tweets etc. I'm so humbled having individuals in my life that love me, support me, encourage me, make me laugh, are a listening ear, voices of reason when I need it...etc. The people in my life cover every dynamic in so many different ways. Genuine friends, true souls that I know are not "here" in my life by chance. Divinely placed and I am so thankful for each and every one.
A small but powerful circle of people that have a major impact on my life. A mommy that rocks & if it was not for her I have NO idea where I would be *smile*, A grandma that is my own personal source of comedy and wisdom, the gift of a true blood sister, Aunts that are more like sisters and cousins fly and funny in every way, cousins that make me feel super old...as they get super old..lol, A Partner that by divine intervention was placed in my life & I'm grateful beyond measure, My God-Sent-Kids that warm my heart and with the smallest gestures almost ALWAYS brings me to tears, My wonderful, loyal, genuine Core circle of friends Stunts-And-Shows all the way! You all honestly mean more to my life than I could ever express (although I always do)...You bring so much to my life and I pray we always stay connected. This is the place where I could do personal shoutouts but I don't have enough blog space to do that! We'd be here all day. Let me just say I thank God for you all EVERY single day.
I'm thankful for my peace of mind, an amazing family, health & strength, shelter, the desire to live the best life I can live, a career, and all those things so many people are having to do without. I know nothing is promised....but everything is gifted by Him.

Have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20

Hindsight is 20/20....And so much MORE!

                           "20/20 Hindsight is thus a perfect view of the past using today's knowledge"

I hope you all had a wonderful week and weekend since my last blog.
Today I want to touch on a topic that made me chuckle but provided SO much insight regarding this very old saying..."Hindsight is 20/20." I will use my own personal experience and you can for SURE laugh at my connection between the two. So, I often ask myself "How can you know if God is really moving IN your life? I mean, despite the obvious things...how can you really see how he's led you, provided guidance, and protected you from your own wants, needs, desires etc. You know, those things you were like "God PLEASE let me have this...or let me do that." Those things you want SO bad...at some point in your life. We all have had those "things" that we thought would make us totally happy so we prayed, lost sleep, spent money, lost hair, weight and our minds! At that time, (and I'm repeating that for a reason), we thought if God had given us what we wanted that the rest of our lives would be great!

Which leads me into the reason for this particular blog. Many times God is in fact working things out for us and we must understand that if he tells us "No"....there is that ALL knowing, ALL seeing element of Him that we should find peace with. Meaning, we should be ok with whatever his answer is because if it is good for us, not only for our NOW but for our future, he would not withhold it. However, if that ALL knowing and ALL seeing element says that, that particular something is NOT going to be good for you not only in your NOW but in your future, I'm sure that "No"...is for your protection. It's not always easy to see how God is working on your behalf, leading you, intervening in your life and protecting you from things...while you're in the midst of a situation. You may be in a state now where you are desiring something or praying for something to happen (or not happen) and perhaps God is saying "no" to you, He may be saying "not right now" but either way we must be okay with that. Trust ME, it's Not easy...Lord knows it's not. But it's for the good of your own mental well-being to look at life from this perspective.

To me, hindsight is more than just 20/20...I think hindsight provides US with a clear view and confirmation of exactly how God worked something out on our behalf, even when we didn't know He in fact was! Hindsight..is more than just realizing a decision you've made was a good or bad one..it's a way of seeing just how God had mercy on us and protected us from making critical mistakes. Or how He provided us with ability to make a great decision about something! I'm not sure about all of you but I do need that little extra encouragement sometimes that he is in fact leading me and walking with me in my life. This hindsight provides me with just that because I can SEE just how His, no's, wait's, and later's have actually been for my best interest.

My example: When I was 14, I LOVED KCi from Jodeci! Me and unnamed persons *snickers* met Jodeci, I gave Kci my phone number, he called me and I so wanted to marry him! I mean Jodeci was EVERYTHING and I just knew if he liked me and we talked he would want to marry me as well! He was soooo cute, sexy and wanted by millions of chicks around the world! But God knew where I would be later on in life...as well as where Kci would be later on in life and let's just say ummm....Things wouldn't have worked out. (You may laugh)....All I knew is that I wanted to marry Kci. Period. (Pause)
But I wanted to marry THIS KCi--------->

NOT This one

Nor This One!! Ugh!


Now that you've laughed at my expense...have a wonderful week!
Happy Birthday to ME 11/22!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Are YOU Operating in Fear?

Operating in Fear

Mary Manin

The more I live & listen to the universe; I discover just how we as humans contribute in many ways to our own self-sabotage. That is, we allow the things we fear to infiltrate our lives, decisions, thoughts, actions and everyday living. We operate in fear, thus constantly putting up walls, barriers, and limitations on all the wonderful things this life has to offer. We drive people away with our actions or lack thereof when we really want them to stay. We don't apply for jobs and promotions when we really want to advance and maximize to our fullest potential. We do everything possible to "protect" ourselves from hurt, disappointment, sadness, pain or rejection so we create the reality that we feel will do just that. In fact, we go so far as to tell ourselves that, "this is just the way I am and how I deal." When in actuality what you're really saying is. "I'm afraid." I'm afraid to be hurt again. I'm afraid of rejection. I'm afraid of feeling inadequate. I'm afraid of being vulnerable. I'm afraid of the disappointment. I'm afraid of not being in control of my emotions. I'm afraid of really stepping into my potential.

Operating in fear will always keep you stagnant. It will serve as an internal means of self-sabotage. YOU, not others will be the reason why the very thing you fear will win and keep you stuck in a place of unhappiness. The defense mechanism we put in place to protect us from those not so good feelings, in essence is the very thing that will destroy and stand in the way of us receiving what the universe has for us. We allow past hurt, pain, disappointment and rejection to guide us through our present and future endeavors. We gauge our responses, reactions or lack there of on how we feel the situations will play out. We make decisions based on fear, we close ourselves up based on fear, and we make excuses based on fear. We do all these things simply because we want to protect ourselves from experiencing those things which are inevitable. This life will bring pain, it will bring tears, it will bring heartache, it will bring let-downs, and it will bring anger. This is not a blog to suggest that you won't get your fair-share of any of the above BUT if you meet any of them by way of facing a fear I promise you, you will not look at the fear itself in the same way as you did when you avoided it. Once you begin to face those things you fear you will find your anxiety will decrease and the fear itself will diminish in strength because you've faced it head on.

Decisions made based on fear will always lead to a road of dissatisfaction. Think of times when you've made decisions based on fear: fear of being alone, fear of being hurt, fear of getting rejected, fear of looking inadequate....and how that particular decision only led to more fear based decisions and feelings of emptiness. Think of how reacting and responding based on fear only led to more fear, more unhappiness and more inner turmoil. Fear is one of the strongest motivators for action....as well as inaction.
Many great ideas, programs, inventions and relationships have been killed, destroyed and unbirthed simply because of fear. Think of how many lives could be saved if someone put action behind their ideas in the fields of medicine. Think of how many people could live authentic lives if they simply stepped out from behind their fears and did the very thing that is burning within them to do. Think of how many couples could have beautiful, loving, fearLESS relationships if they let go of the fear of being vulnerable, being hurt, fear of the unknown, the past or being disappointed. Love and fear cannot occupy the same space. If you Love..fear cannot exist. If you fear..love cannot exist. We don't realize how much a negative impact living in fear has on our growth as humans. We don't realize how our fears are the things that stand in the way of our greatness. We don't realize how fears have played a critical part in our failures as a whole; our careers, dreams, passions, relationships, marriages, parenting etc. These are just a small faction of the many areas where operating in fear will keep us in a place of living beneath where we were destined to live. 

Some of the most destructive tricks of the enemy is convincing you that you are always right, protect yourself at all cost & stay in your comfort zone. God did not give us the spirit of fear. God did not intend for us to be alone. God did not give you the purpose of your life to have you sit on it in fear. God did not bless you with gifts to not share with the world. God did not give you a prophetic word to have you let it die within your fears. God did not give you a wonderful mate to have you destroy the relationship because of the fears your have from a previous relationship. God did not answer your prayers to have you stop and dig your heels in the mud out of fear of moving forward. You see, fear will prevent you from ultimately pleasing God. How so?...Because each of us has a purpose for waking up, each and every day. To live. But not only to live...but to live more abundantly. To give thanks and try to live the best lives we can. If he has blessed you with a skill, vision, dream, gift, relationship....we owe it to him to do all we can with it! No, we are not perfect. Yes...in fact we are far from it but simply recognizing how operating in fear is shifting your life off course is a great start toward forward progression.

I challenge you today: face at least one of your fears by first acknowledging that it exists. Do some self-evaluation and see how that particular fear is having a negative impact on your life, growth & your potential. Then, make a conscious decision step outside your self made shell and face your fear head on. Walk in your authentic self. Stop allowing fear to stand in the way of you truly having joy and of you accomplishing your goals. Stop making fear based decisions that only serve to feed your ego, keep you in bondage and prevent you from living up to your true potential. Have faith not fear.
I leave you all with this famous quote. Have peace. Stay encouraged.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Art of Positive thinking...

Some of your most Intense Battles are Fought....In Your Mind.

"A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes."Mahatma Gandhi

I love the above quote. It makes me reflect back to a time in my own life when my thoughts were very destructive and my mind was the enemy. My internal thought process was the element I had to fight each and every day. My mind had become cancerous to my whole being. I literally had to wake up and be at war with my own mind. If something happened or if I didn't understand something I would immediately think the worst possible outcome. I would always think the worst of people and circumstances. My justification was; if I think the worst and something good actually happens..it's all good. But if something bad happens, at least I won't be disappointed or crushed when things don't go as intended. I'm sure I'm not the only person that used this morphed sense of rationalization.

What I realized through prayer, motivational text, speakers and various positive thinking publications..is that your thoughts, ultimately become your reality. If you are always down, negative and draining...that is exactly what you will attract from the universe. The energy you give off...is the energy you will receive. Speaking death, defeat, depression and downfall will result in you being stuck in a place where your authentic self cannot thrive. There is life....and death in the tongue and there is power in your words. Thoughts become actions---and those actions become the character-builders from which you identify with. If you can only see the bad in a situation and you only see how things aren't going the way you intended, more than likely you will become swallowed in your own abyss of despair.  Change your vocabulary and omit words that are self destructive. Change your conversations from "woe is me" to "I can do ALL things!" Change your focus from "What can people do for ME?" to "How can I be a blessing to someone else!?" Have a spirit of expectation...not just for material things but for the renewing of your mind! A new mind that builds you up instead of knocking you down. I could go on and on but I'm sure you get the picture.

Please don't read this and think I have it all together, because I don't. I still practice the art of positive thinking...each and every day. I'm not a master at this but I've seen my life totally change because I no longer have to fight my mind. I no longer break myself down every day with thoughts that will not produce fruit. I no longer see the glass as half empty; I see it as just amount that God wants ME to have. I no longer automatically think the worst of people. I no longer kill my dreams with a defeated spirit. You see, by simply changing the way I think...I've allowed the universe the full ability to have its' way with the course of my life. No, things aren't all peachy...No, I don't have all the things I want and desire...Yes, I still find myself getting in a "glass half empty" frame of mind, But when that happens..I'm aware and mindful of it and I can coach myself back on track. We are all works in progress. We are all wandering through this thing called life trying to find our way. We do not have control over many things in life but we CAN control our thoughts. We can control how we perceive situations, people and our circumstances. Practice the Art of Positive thinking, I promise you will feel free! You will give the universe an opportunity to send those energies your way that will add to your life and not subtract from it. You are what you think....

Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
 John 16:24

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In the Beginning....

                           "Don't Downplay the Set-up of your Blessing"

How many times have you gone through things in your life and you've asked the question, "WHY did I have to go through that?" Or..."How does that life lesson play into the bigger picture of my life's purpose?"
I'm not sure about you...but I've gone through some things that I really wish I didn't have to go through. I wish I could have just pressed the fast-forward button of my life and skipped over some chapters, events, heartaches, set-backs, trials etc and just learned some lessons in a different way. I've asked, "why did I have to experience THAT to get HERE?"

The thing we must understand is that God knows US. He knows our hearts, our thoughts, our inter workings...better than WE know ourselves. He knows what things need to happen in order to shape and mold us into the people we were put here to be. I would be doing a disservice to this blog if I didn't include the fact that a lot of times WE put ourselves into situations that God never intended us to be in but that's a whole nother blog! So, I will just say this...even when we mess up and put ourselves into those not so good situations, God can turn even the bad...into Good! But I digress....Those things we must go through serve as character and faith builders and without them, we would never live up to our potential or get the lessons meant for our lives. Those situations refine us. They are necessary in order for us to see beyond our current positions in life.
Think back to what you considered the worst thing to ever happen in your life (pause). Now, think of how that particular situation was the catalyst for other things happening in your life (pause). Now, think about how what you perceived to be a "bad" situation actually was the set-up for all the "good" things that came after. Although when you were IN the situation, nothing good seemed like it could come of it! While you were IN it...life itself really sucked! You just didn't see how such a "bad" situation...could actually work for your good. You cried, groaned, and felt like God Himself had turned his back on you. You felt as though all hope was lost and you had no idea how things would EVER get better.
Then...the clouds faded away and the sun began to shine in your life. You weathered the storm and because you did, you now see why that certain situation had to happen in order for you to become the person you are today. Yes, it was painful, hurtful and probably seemed down-right unfair! But in the end...it was the very situation that shaped and molded you into a Stronger - Wiser - Better You!
So, the next time things seem to be going haywire in your life and you don't understand why...just Stand. Be receptive to the lesson the universe is trying to teach you. Know that the set-up is in most cases more important than the blessing at the other end of the storm. You have to go through some things in this life in order to be prepared for those things you desire and pray for. You must undergo spiritual conditioning to be in a place where once you DO receive that blessing you will appreciate it and be able to sustain it.

Don't Downplay your setup! Hold on & don't give up. Stay Encouraged.