Our Chapters, Once Upon a Time…

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Image Credit: Mysticsartdesign

Once upon a time…

As we flip through the pages in the chapters of our life, each phase is a lesson learned with teachable moments to share. Society tells us what they expect from us and how they should be treated, yet all too often we don’t tell society our expectations of them and how we expect them to treat and respect us.

Each day we are blessed to see its new birth, and we are tasked with serving a greater purpose from divine potential. Once upon a time…during the years meandering through the ups and downs, the good and the not so good times, we experience, we learn, we develop, we share, and we uplift. Each page in our book of life, reveals a place of awareness, and periods that hold memories of the way we were, what we’ve done, and where we’ve been.

Now today, it’s time to document the newness of life in the present. We evaluate our attitudes, our performances, our expectations, our contributions, and identify those areas where we know we can make improvements for positive change and empowering results. We are reminded in the process to take care of ourselves and our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states. We can’t help others if our wholeness lacks stability. We must inspect our current location to see if the environment is equipped and conducive to meeting our expectations and aspirations. If not, then we must recalibrate and redefine the direction of our destination.

If we died today, would the work we’ve done, the way we treated others, the contributions we made, and the life we lived leave an indelible mark on the world? Will it be a better, less chaotic place than when we arrived here in Chapter 1 of our life?

Once upon a time is now!

🚶🏽‍♀️ Walk Away 🚶🏽‍♂️

Walking to the Sun
Image Credit: Kitphoto Elliott

I came across this post on Facebook a couple of days ago that made me give it two snaps and a circle. While I am all too familiar with the factors contained in this message, I still need a reminder about these little things that can creep into your life, unannounced and wreak havoc on your spirit and wellbeing. 🤯 I think we all have a lot of walking to do, even if it begins with a stroll.

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Anonymous by Facebook User

Pennies and People

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Image Credit: Pixabay

Find a penny pick it up, the rest of the day, you’ll have good luck!

I know you’ve always heard some type of idiom about pennies: a penny for your thoughts · a penny saved is a penny earned · pennies from heaven…

Pennies, although the lowest denomination in currency is actually an artistic creation, the only coin currency made from copper. Whether burnished or bright, sparkling new or antique, pennies are getting a bad wrap and people are dismissing their incredible value and worth.

When I think about the unique qualities of a penny, I am reminded of how society has a tendency to look at marginalized members within our communities like lost pennies on the ground, walked over, ignored, stepped on, or flippantly discarded. All too often we watch and hear about how the disenfranchised are devalued simply based on how they look, where they come from, where they live, what they drive, what type of job they have, their economic level, their religion, or what level of education they have achieved.

Appearances and behaviors reveal that we value people based on what they give and how much they can afford. I sometimes feel like we are so programmed and disassociated from the value of worth, with pennies and people. If the penny is alleviated from the currency, do we then eliminate the number 1? Do we realize how much value each person uniquely gives to humankind and to the world? Without the penny, the value of larger denominations would not exist. We must understand how much the smaller, contributes to the larger.

Never underestimate the power, potential, the unique qualities, and value people and pennies contribute to the big picture.

Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder

Woman With Purple and Yellow Hair
Image Credit: Sergey Katyshkin

At times I find myself being just a little too serious, too adultish, and a little predictable. When I get into these moods, I tend to become aggravated with myself, because I begin to feel left out, life continues to evolve, life continues to move on, and sooner or later life comes to an end.

I began thinking about my quest for adventure when I was young and I have childhood scars to prove it. I was energized, always curious, always wanting to learn something new and exciting, always wanting to share my discoveries with all my friends, family, and anyone who was crazy enough to listen.

I look at the lives of so many people I am around, individuals who have some amazing talents, natural God-given gifts, and some incredible intellect. So many of these people I know never reach or see their full potential. Perhaps I am one of those individuals because I sometimes fall into a slump and say, “Why bother? What difference would it make?”

We weren’t put here, placed in this life to merely exist, but to live and produce. Some of us did not have the luxury of certain privileges or come from prominent families or circumstances. But each of us has been given something uniquely ours, and it is our duty and responsibility to exercise the right to contribute and leave this world a much better place than when we got here.

We should always be curious, embrace adventure, continue to create, understand our purpose, strive for that great potential of being our best, and excel with passion. Never lose your sense of wonder. Practice doing something, no matter how small, each day and tap into your curiosity. Explore and embrace your sense of wonder. 🤗 I am recharged and refocused!

Woman With Blue Green and Yellow Powder on Her Face
Image Credit: Sergey Katyshkin
Woman With Blue Hair Lying on Green Grass
Image Credit: Sergey Katyshkin
Free stock photo of abstract, art, artistic
Image Credit: Sergey Katyshkin
Free stock photo of abstract, art, artistic
Image Credit: Sergey Katyshkin
Free stock photo of abstract, art, background
Image Credit: Sergey Katyshkin
Purple Green and Blue Light
Image Credit: Sergey Katyshkin

Open Your Mouth and Say Ahhh 😛

Tongue
Image Credit: Bjorn de Leeuw

Did you ever sit in your vehicle at a stoplight and casually glance over at the next car and watched as a mischievous kid stuck their tongue out at you? Have you ever been tempted to stick your tongue out at them in return? Did you? I know I sure did and it was pretty hilarious too. Well, it’s time to start the week off with a twisted bit of wackiness and silliness. Today is “Stick out your Tongue Day” which is celebrated annually on July 19, mainly in the United States.

Now, who in the world, or at least in the U.S. came up with a day to stick out your tongue for whatever silly reasons there might be? Many cultures find it rude and childish to stick out your tongue at someone, but in Tibet, for example, the gesture of sticking out your tongue is seen as a polite greeting. So loosen up, and let’s get silly. This is no tongue twister either! 😝😛😜

red lollilop tongue
Image Credit: Anissa Thompson
Judith
Image Credit: Helmut Gevert
Green Hair
Image Credit: Kristof Meixner
My Brother
Image Credit: Tobias Pohler
Expressions of Simon 3
Image Credit: T. Rolf
Buddha Quote On A Tongue
Image Credit: Piotr Siedlecki

Don’t Manipulate People Who Offer to Help

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Bill Wither’s song “Lean on Me” is a clear and present reminder about the gift of helps. Many years ago, someone gave me a book called “The Ministry of Helps Handbook” (the acronym HELPS is Having Enough Loving People Serving). This book was a guide to understand the ministry of helping (assisting) in the body of the church, serving this body with zeal, and a transformed mind.

While this was easily understandable, I found that during those years of my commitment to focus more on upping my ante to help, I was overworked, underappreciated, and felt myself dying spiritually. I was depleted of energy, pouring out my help on a huge scale, as nothing was being poured back into me to recharge my spiritual and physical battery to do more. This is just one sample of how I and so many countless, well-meaning people are spiritually abused.

Many people who have good hearts and a willingness to help others when they need help can be manipulated by individuals taking the opportunity to squeeze out all they can for their benefit. People who genuinely help, go out of their way to make sure to feed a need from their heart. But like so many well intentions, there are just as many people on the receiving end of the helping hand, who manipulate the situation for their personal gain.

While carefully crafted manipulation sometimes depletes the energy or willingness of the giver, the authentic love of the helper is not deterred, just redirected differently. They may get bruised, sometimes broken even, but another helper comes along to pour encouragement back into their spirits. This helps the helper to multiply a willingness to be fruitful, to recalibrate, and give more to those who are in need, are humbled by, and appreciative of the helper’s time, commitment, and efforts.

Love Doesn’t Die

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Before the season finale of NCIS (starring Mark Harmon), tragedy struck again among the cast members. There was an epitaph that was read during a portion of the episode which resonated in the emotional atmosphere for which the tragedy embodied. This poem, by Merrit Malloy, is one to ruminate about when we want to leave a message for those we love. Enjoy!

Epitaph
By Merrit Malloy

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.

And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

Love is never-ending. The more you give it away, it never dies, only flourishes.

Easily Influenced

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If your friend jumped off of the bridge, would you? Growing up, that was the question our parents would often ask us when we wanted to do something so badly and put up the valid argument that all of our friends were doing it.

Influencer. We commonly hear this word nowadays and generally think about the social media influencers who create videos, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and other social media communiqué that often changes the behavior, belief, or conversation among those they come in contact with. Yet, often we don’t realize how easily swayed we are by emotional words and images that trigger us to quite often compromise our integrity and reputation, even if momentarily.

It is scary to look around and see evidence of how effortlessly certain influences can instantly and sometimes tragically trigger conduct and conversations that have changed and damaged lives forever. Things said, done, or thought cannot be erased after they are carried out. There are more media outlets than there have ever been, and some influencers are looking at marketing tactics to reel people in like fish out of water.

None of us are immune to the slippery slope certain influences create until after we are tumbling down a cliff. I listen to many young people who have stamped their unwavering allegiance to certain influences and influencers and take it as the gospel truth. But I can’t blame the kids because as I look at so many adults, they are just as worse. I suppose we weren’t influenced as much back in the day as what we are exposed to today, but still, we see how influence played a major part in what people believed and reacted to.

We have to be mindful of our everyday thoughts and actions. When disaster strikes, no matter what form it may appear in, we are led to seek explanations for our suffering, because our wayward acts defy comprehension and the core of our moral and ethical foundation has been shaken.

We allow for individual independency, and freewill. Yet, as I look at the myriad of influences that so easily trap, defame, and destroy the minds, bodies, and spirits of some vulnerable people wanting to be a part of the great popular number, we could reach a point of no return. That can be destructive and deadly if we don’t wake up soon.

Go Through Grow Through

flower themed digital art poster with inspiration quote
Image Credit: Linnaea Mallette

Grow through what you go through.

Nowadays there is no shortage of trials, tribulations and challenges that seem to multiply more rapidly than than the rising sun. We feel knocked down, bruised, looked at from the corner of other eyes when you seem to be the only one in the room going through some “thangs,” not things.

Yet these challenges, while they seem to be ripping us to shreds are moments to learn from and to grow from. When we go through pain, tragedy, and complete discouragement, we feel like we’re in a freefall heading into the pit of catastrophe. It seems like there is no way out of crazy circumstances, unless we sit a spell, put ourselves in “timeout” and embrace the lessons we learn, by growing through what we are going through.

Chance, Choice, Change

Woman in White Spaghetti Strap Top Holding Yellow and Red Banner
Image Credit: Viktoria Slowikowska

If you have the chance to give a bouquet of flowers

then give it.

If you have the chance to love and to say I love you

then say it.

If you have the chance to watch nature in all its splendor

then watch and embrace it.

If you have the chance to do something good for someone, without looking for anything in return

then do it.

If you have the chance to travel to a place you’ve always wanted to visit

then travel there.

If you have the chance to speak up for justice, the marginalized or the downtrodden

then speak up.

If you have the chance to encourage, motivate or inspire, then don’t think about it,

just do it.

If there is a goal that you want to achieve, then plan it, work it

and achieve that dream.

If you’ve done the very best that you can, you can stand where you are

and be satisfied.

All too often we think about doing something, but put it off for whatever reasons there might be. We lose opportunities by waiting too long to walk through those open doors fulfilling the newness of life. What are you waiting for? Stop putting off the good that you can do today, by waiting for a tomorrow that may never come. Turn your chance into choices that change.