Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Power of a Smile

I never realized how powerful a smile could be until a random encounter last week. I took my daughter Jordan for a doctor’s appointment at Georgetown Hospital. The trip to Georgetown was not easy with stop and go traffic all the way in and stress levels rising as we watched our appointment time tick away while stranded in traffic.

Fortunately, the office was flexible and willing to still see us once we got there. We were quickly sent down to have x-rays taken. As we sat in a small room waiting to be called, I still felt so stressed from the ride in and then started thinking about all I had to do that day which only increased the stress level. I sat staring straight-ahead when this teenage boy, I’d guess to be about 14 years old, was wheeled around the corner. We instantly made eye contact and he immediately smiled at me. I smiled back but that moment will forever remain with me. This teen’s face was horribly disfigured. It wasn’t clear if he was badly burned or in a horrific accident but the injuries sustained were obviously very severe.

In light of that, he still managed to hold his head high and simply smile. He wasn’t going to let whatever had happened to him hold him back. So powerful!, This young teen found the strength and courage to move beyond his injuries and chose to be a light to the world.

How many of us choose to hide behind our problems rather than be that beacon of light to world? It’s amazing the power a simple smile can give. It reminds us that this world really is about kindness and love. We may spend our days stressing about everything else but when the day is done, none of that really matters. I feel so blessed by that encounter and he probably has no idea how important that smile was. I’m thankful he felt empowered to shine his inner light to world. Yes, a smile can change a life; he certainly changed mine!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Embracing Each Moment

We are told the greatest gifts of life come when we can learn to live in the moment but doing so, especially in today's world, seems almost impossible. We have so many things pulling for our time and attention that it is so hard to shut it off and only focus on what's right in front of us, right now.

I was reading something earlier last week when I suddenly felt an acknowledgement from within that true happiness comes when we learn to live in the moment and embrace everything about that moment. It's funny, I wasn't even reading anything about "living in the moment"; it was as if someone randomly whispered it in my ear. I suddenly understood why we should not worry about the past or future, they honesty mean nothing. The only thing we really truly have is the moment we are presently in and there is always goodness in some form within that moment. If nothing else, that moment is bringing us another breath to experience life.

We are closest to God when we live in the moment. God does not bring fear, doubt or anxiety – those are emotions we bring on to ourselves when we live outside of the moment. They are byproducts of our thinking about the past or the future and distract us from fully experiencing all the goodness of that moment. We can absolutely experience the fullness of God when we learn to live in and embrace the moments of our day and in turn, acknowledge His divine presence in our lives.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Be Ready For The Blessings

I was flipping through the channels the other night when I stumbled upon a new show hosted by Oprah on her OWN network. I can’t recall the name of the show but in true Oprah style, she said something within minutes of my tuning in that reached deep within.

“You have to be ready for the blessing when it shows up”. I felt her words reach deep to my core but wasn’t exactly sure what they meant. As I thought about it, I realized exactly what she meant and how timely it was for me to hear these very words. We’re often so busy planning ahead and looking towards our future that we don’t even recognize the blessings that are right in front of us each and every day. We keep moving forward failing to acknowledge the now and the blessings of the moment. The blessings continue to show up but we’re not ready or more likely, we’re not living in the moment to fully appreciate those blessings. We don’t expect the blessings so we don’t prepare for them.

The Bible has shown us that God has a multitude of blessings in store for us but we need to be fully aware and ready for them to show up. This doesn’t mean standing still and waiting for them to fall into our lap but rather being aware and thanking God for all those little blessings he sends our way each and every day!

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” - 2 Corinthians 9:8

Friday, September 30, 2011

It Takes Discipline of the Mind

I'm reading "Working with the Law" by Raymond Holliwell for the third time now. I absolutely love this book-every time I pick it up, I find new insights!

My latest "aha moment" is around discipline. Holliwell writes of this one woman, "She lacked discipline in her mind except where others demanded it." The moment I read that sentence it really clarified something I've been allowing in my life. I am disciplined in meeting everyone else's needs but when it comes to being accountable to my own tasks and needs, I fall short. My tendency is to give attention to whoever or whatever enters my mind at the moment versus taking planned disciplined steps towards completing something. No wonder I have so many personal projects half way done. Had these projects been for a client, they would have been done!

That little distinction between allowing myself to be disciplined to respond to others needs and not when it comes to my own is tremendous. It's exactly the nudge I needed to bring clarity around why I always feel busy but not getting anything done. I need to give as much attention and relevance to my own tasks and projects as I do for others. I can then take planned action and start getting these things done. I need to make room for my life and start treating myself like a client. Sure enough, once again the answer lies in changing your mindset!

Monday, September 12, 2011


As I sat remembering and watching the events of September 11th, it brought to mind a trip we took into New York City that following Thanksgiving. We were moving from CT to Virginia in the coming spring and it had been a wish of mine since a very young age to see The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. I had grown up on Long Island and the events of 9/11 seemed so unreal, like a Hollywood movie playing out before our eyes. I knew it had really happened on one level but felt pulled to visit Ground Zero almost to seal it in my mind, "Yes, it's true". I just could not picture lower Manhattan without the sight of the Twin Towers in the skyline.

As much as 9/11 will stay in our minds forever, that day visiting Ground Zero will stay in my mind forever as well. I remember walking up to the site and shaking my head as I fully comprehended all the pictures on TV were indeed reality. What once were two gleaming beacons of NYC were now reduced to a smoldering pile of twisted steel. What once had been a bustling financial district in NYC was now a ghost town. The surrounding streets resembled what I would imagine a war zone would look like. We watched as workers and cranes carefully sifted through the pile. I found myself drawn to the only recognizable piece of the Twin Towers that stood in the midst of this pile and said a prayer, fully knowing a large number of those who perished on 9/11 were still under that pile.

Perhaps the most significant memory for me was all the signs posted around Ground Zero looking for loved ones lost on that tragic day. So many of these signs appeared to be fresh, showing their enduring hope that there still may be survivors. It broke my heart to read the detailed descriptions of their missing loved ones. It made the magnitude of the loss of life that much more real. I saw one person posting a new sign and just watched and cried imagining the intense pain they've had to endure. While we would go back to a Thanksgiving meal with our family by our side, this day would only intensify their grief and loss.

Amidst that scene one word kept coming to mind, "hope". The signs looking for missing loved ones represented hope, the workers carefully sifting through that huge pile of twisted and mangled metal represented hope. We had lost so much on 9/11 but the one thing that still remained was hope. As we walked away, I knew my life would be forever changed by not only what I witnessed on TV on 9/11 but more so what I saw firsthand at Ground Zero that Thanksgiving Day.

As I sat yesterday thinking how can I pay tribute to those who so innocently gave their lives on 9/11, I came up with the idea of setting a burning candle on my front porch that night to honor their lives and symbolize the power of light to always overcome darkness. I will do this now each September 11th, because we haven't forgotten and yes, we still have hope! I hope you will join me in remembering them next year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Learning to Serve

This morning I read a passage about asking how you can serve each and every day. It really resonated with me and as I journaled, I asked God to show me how I can serve in a powerful way today. Little did I realize God was about to teach me a lesson in learning to serve.

The morning continued like any other morning and I took our dog Toby for a walk. As we turned a corner I noticed a dog in the yard ahead who appeared to not be on a leash. I slowed down but the dog saw us and came running over. It was the sweetest little Shih Tzu, full of love and energy with his tail wagging a mile a minute. I talked briefly with a homeowner who shared that this dog had been hanging around their home for the past couple of days but it was not their dog or any of the surrounding neighbors. The dog followed us home and before I knew it, I was taking care of this little dog on our back patio. I felt the stress start to build as I watched the hours pass away caring for this dog, realizing yet another day's work was interrupted, the earthquake yesterday and now a stray dog. No sooner did I finish that thought when I heard a voice whisper, "You asked how you could serve in a powerful way, here it is".

I didn't recognize then how taking care of a stray dog would equate to serving in a powerful way but later in the afternoon when we were able to reunite the dog with its owner, I realized God was showing me exactly what that meant. That reunion was so heartwarming and as I watched I heard that same voice whisper, "The littlest acts of kindness can serve in the most powerful way."

God had taught me a very powerful lesson today! I felt the pull of work but made a conscious decision to focus on that dog and ignore my work, realizing where I was truly needed most at that moment. Oddly enough, I received very few emails today and no phone calls, unheard of! It was as if I agreed to answer God's call and He cleared my calendar so I could serve where I was needed most. Such a tremendous lesson! I now understand what is meant by serving in a powerful way. It's not our own measurement of what is significant that matters, it's being open to God's call to serve and then more importantly answering that call and following God's lead. If we commit to being open to serve, He will pave the way.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Reminder from Toby

Our dog Toby reminded me this week to slow down and begin each day with a spirit of love and thanksgiving. Toby is our one-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who is full of endless energy and always ready to play, with a toy in his mouth and tail wagging hard. He has these eyes that truly melt your heart as well - one look and you're done! His eyes convey nothing but pure love and devotion.

Toby has started this routine every morning now that requires me to stop and "show him some love" before we start our day. I'll open up his crate and call him for a walk but he will not come downstairs until we've said a "proper" good morning filled with lots of hugs, licks and "I love you's". I think he sensed I was moving too quick and not taking time for the things that really matter.

I've found the lessons of life often come to us disguised in our everyday activities and they remain hidden unless we're open to what truly is around us. Toby reminded me to take the time to greet each day with gratitude and love. It's so easy to just jump out of bed and begin full steam ahead into our daily routine. But that is not what God asks of us. I found this quote from Mother Teresa that sums it up so well, "There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread." We need to take a few moments each morning to express our gratitude and love for all the blessings in our life and let those whom we care about know how much we appreciate them. When we do, our days begin on much more positive and peaceful note.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." – Matthew 6:33

Friday, July 22, 2011

Look to the Things Unseen

It is amazing how you can hear or read something again and again and then one day, suddenly connect with its true meaning. I've heard countless times, "Look to the things that are unseen, not to the things that are seen" (2 Corinthians 3:18) and I understood it at one level but reading this scripture this morning, I suddenly felt a much deeper understanding of what this verse is really trying to teach us.

We so often spend our days focused on what is around us, what is "seen" as the scripture says and base everything we do on that. We are logical creatures and we look for validation and answers employing logic. Logic is based on the seen, the facts. But often the next step we need to take resides in the "unseen". We need to step out of our logical mindset and move into a mindset of faith and trust. What is the definition of faith? Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is the assurance of things we hope for being the proof of things we do not see".

God is there to guide us every step of the way but His way commands we have faith in the unseen. If we feel the spirit within us move when we think about something, that is God's way of guiding us. We need to tune into that. I can't tell you how many times I've felt an inner assurance about something but didn't see the "how" or the "way" to make it happen. I took the chance anyway and stepped forward believing it would happen and it did!

When we "look to the things that are unseen, not to the things that are seen" the journey becomes more exciting and the pieces somehow always come together. Be willing to take the chance and let God's unique purpose for you unfold.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Tranquility Within

The tranquility of God is mirrored in us. It's so easy in the hectic pace of life today to forget that the peace of God is with us and ever present. We get caught up in the externals and move away from that inner peace because we forget to acknowledge His spirit within us.

Wayne Dyer has said EGO stands for edging God out. When we allow ego to control our thoughts and actions, we edge God out and move away from the peace and tranquility God has given us. Those who are living a life truly in Spirit outside of ego resonate that peace within. You feel a certain calmness and joy in their presence. That is the Holy Spirit working through them and that gift of true peace is available to us all. We just need to make the space to nurture and connect with God's presence within us each and every day.

"Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart." - Ecclesiastes 5:19-20

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Little Bug’s Journey

Once again, a powerful lesson was taught to me just by quietly observing Mother Nature. I was sitting at my daughter's eighth grade promotion when a bug crawling on the floor caught my eye. It was busy scurrying to somewhere looking very determined to reach its destination. It then came upon the shoe of the person sitting next to me. It reacted in much the same way we often react when we hit a road block. The bug first stopped and sat for a moment and then tried to push through a few times as if the obstacle wasn't there. I then watched it step back as if to assess the situation and to my surprise, it turned right around and started marching straight back from where it came. Little did that bug know that if it tried going just a little to the left or just a little to the right, it would have easily gotten around the obstacle and continued on its journey. It chose however to go back to what was known and comfortable rather than chart out on a new course. How many of us do exactly the same thing when confronted with an obstacle in our life? Do we embrace it and look for the hidden opportunities or do we chose to retreat back into what feels safe and comfortable?

One thing that is guaranteed in life is that there will be obstacles to face. It is our choice to either chart a new course or retreat to safety. The opportunities are always there; we just need to have a willingness to open our hearts and minds to look for them within the obstacles. As this tiny little bug showed me, those opportunities are often just a little to the right or a just little to the left of our current path and require us to get outside our comfort zone to fully discover them.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Impact of One Voice

God can teach us a lesson when we least expect it! I was at church last Sunday reciting the traditional prayers and singing the hymns. The person behind me was doing the same but at a much faster rate – about a verse and half off from everyone else. What amazed me was how powerful that distraction was. Try as I might, I could not tune her out. All I heard was her voice over the hundred plus that were in unison.

I was starting to get agitated wondering why this woman was continuing to do this and more so, why I couldn't just block it out. Then, as if God whispered to me, "Do you choose to focus on the one negative distraction or the power and beauty of the hundred other voices around you?" Wow! Those words reached deep within and called out something I am guilty of. There is so much positive in our lives us but how many times do we choose to focus on the few negative things and allow that to distract us away from the positive? What we focus on clearly is a choice we make and God pointed that out to me this past Sunday in a very powerful way.

While it was hard to continue to block out her voice, I realized this is something I need to work on not just for that moment but for every moment in my life. We need to make a conscious decision to ignore the negative and focus on the positive until it becomes second nature. God has provided us with an abundance of the positive, we just need to be willing to tune into that and embrace its fullness.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Don’t Stop Believing

I attended my daughter's concert earlier this week and it is amazing how God can reach out to us in places we least expect it. I've been feeling very tired and drained recently, partly due to a health condition but more so to do with my mindset.

These past few months have shown tremendous growth for my business, stretching me in new ways that are both exciting and challenging. It has been a wonderful ride but the passion and energy that was fueling me was now getting lost in all I had to do. I started wondering, "Can I do this?"; "Am I really meant to do this?" Self-doubt never helps a situation and once that starts creeping in, it can grow like a weed.

God, in His all-knowing wisdom, was very much aware the self-doubt was starting to take root and knew it was time to intervene. It was then He whispered the voice of encouragement in the most unexpected way.

I showed up to my daughter's concert, tired and frazzled from yet another day of running around in twenty different directions chasing down deadlines and "to do's". The concert had already started and my heart sank thinking I may have even missed their portion of the performance as I raced to into the building. As I got settled in, my ears suddenly tuned into what they were singing, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. These young children sang it with an energy and spirit that spoke directly to my heart. I knew this was more than a verse in a song; it was a message I was meant to hear. And as God often does, He placed that message in front of me again two more times within the next 24 hours; once on the radio and again in a reference to that song in the book I was reading. By the third time, I clearly understood, it's not for me to ask how can I do this, but rather to believe in the outcome and the gifts God has given me to fulfill His purpose.

Now, when self-doubt creeps in, I just simply tell myself, "Don't stop believing".

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Answer Lies Between the Waves

I just got back from watching Soul Surfer – such an inspiring story on so many levels! The movie is based on the true story of then teenage surfer Beth Hamilton who tragically loses her arm in a shark attack just as her competitive surfing career is taking off. There are so many beautiful insights and words of wisdom in this movie as we watch Bethany come back stronger than ever. Her sheer will and determination are so inspiring and while her faith is truly challenged (tears rolled down my cheek as she asked "What kind of God would do this to me?"), she digs deep within and discovers so much about herself and her true purpose in the process.

There is one scene at the end of the movie when Beth is competing for Nationals that really spoke to me. Recognizing the pressure of this moment for Beth, her father simply tells her to "get to that quiet place between the waves, listen and then just trust your instincts". Don't follow the pack but rather go inside yourself and use your instincts to tell you where that next wave will be.

Such telling advice for us all! When we are looking for answers and feel the pressure of the moment, how many of us look for that space between the waves to connect with source and trust our instincts? We are quick to seek out others for their advice but fail to realize the true answer already lies within us. Her dad's advice reminded me once again just how important it is that we find that space to get quiet and allow ourselves to just listen and connect with source. That's where we will find our inspiration and that answer we've so desperately searched for. It's all there; we just need stop seeking outside and trust source to provide from within.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Let Your Purpose Lead the Way

"Once you clarify your purpose for doing something, the way to it becomes clear". I just read these words from Oprah in her January issue of Oprah. Yes, I know I'm a little behind in my magazines J. Anyway, these words really struck a chord. We spend so much time trying to figure out "the way" when we should instead, be spending that time clarifying our purpose.

She goes on to point out that fear comes from uncertainty. When we know what we want, it helps release the fear that can so often stand in our way and sabotage our results. When desire to achieve is greater than our fears incredible things happen. The soul of that desire rests in your purpose. When you are confident and feel connected to your purpose that overrides everything and allows you to move forward in ways you never imagined having the strength or ability to do so.

I'm learning that there is such power and inspiration when we connect with our purpose and live our lives centered in that purpose. It truly does define "the way". We just need to be willing to step back and really focus on connecting with our divine nature that resides in that purpose and then step forward with complete faith and confidence that the way will show up.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It’s Not About Doing, It’s About Creating

I've been feeling somewhat disconnected in my design work these past couple of weeks, almost like I'm going through the motions but not sensing that creative energy and flow. With so many projects on the plate right now, I have not allowed myself the time or thought to sort through those feelings and just keep pressing forward to get it all done. I've allowed deadlines to become the driver.

It wasn't until last night as I sat quietly listening to a concert my 5th grade and 8th grade daughters were participating in that I got that nudge to remind me where I've strayed.

The concert included students from 5th grade all the way up through high school and to see the talent and passion in these young students was truly inspiring. Especially the high school students; their joy and passion for music shined as they performed. I watched one girl in particular close her eyes as she pulled the bow across her violin and I could see how deeply lost she was in the moment and I could feel her passion for the music she was creating all the way up in the bleachers. It was then I realized, it's not about doing, it's about creating.

We all "do" each and every day but how often do we stop to find inspiration and create? How often do we allow ourselves to get lost in what we love to do? We forget that we shine the most when we are living our passion and creating our lives from that passion. When we stray from that, we feel disconnected and life becomes hard and challenging. We find ourselves going through the motions, pushing for results versus letter our passion guide us to the answer.

It's amazing how God will place certain people or moments into our path to help get us back on course. I love that my reminder came in such a beautiful and meaningful way through the presence of a young violinist.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Path of Least Resistance

How do you respond to the obstacles in your life? Do you resist them or work around them? Our first instinct is to often push through them to force our desired outcome but the path of greatest resistance typically doesn't produce the desired result.

When we confront something head on, it creates resistance that in turn creates negative energy. That negative energy distracts us from our goal, shifting our focus away from our greater purpose. We become so preoccupied with being in a state of resistance that we lose sight of the real goal at hand. Resistance depletes our energy leaving us less to give to those the tasks that will truly make a difference in reaching our goals. Obstacles can ultimately strengthen and empower us when we learn to work around them versus through them.

Water is a perfect example of something that is so purely powerful yet embodies true nonresistance. As the creek travels to the stream, then the river and ultimately the ocean, it grows stronger with each obstacle it encounters, always choosing the path of least resistance. It quietly works its way around each obstacle and moves on. Eventually, its strength and power is no match for those obstacles further down its path. The obstacles encountered literally melt away and become part of the process.

If you were to map out a direct path from the creek to the ocean, it would look very different I'm sure from the one that nature has created. Obstacles are to be expected. Learning to work around them serves a greater purpose and is just simply part of the process. It's nature's way.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Faith Is In the Action

I'm rereading "Working with the Law" by Raymond Holliwell and I'm convinced I'll read it many more times! It's one of those books that each time you read it, you uncover even more insights and wonder how they escaped your awareness before. I've heard people say your mind will receive that which it is ready to receive and I really do believe that.

Holliwell talks about faith but beyond just having faith, what it means to live in faith. He very simply states, "We have to believe in order to receive." In this second read through, that simple statement spoke so clearly and directly to me. Beyond just having faith, we have to act on that faith. Otherwise, our faith is meaningless. If we hold back in fear or uncertainty, then we do not believe in God's ability to provide that which we ask for. There is no middle ground. Faith is taking action despite our fears or challenges because we so completely believe and trust in the outcome. How many times do we sit on the sidelines and hope and wait for a sign before taking action? We sense the direction or the answer but want that final reassurance before boldly stepping into it. Holliwell points to the story of Peter following Jesus in walking on water. Peter was the only one to put his faith into action. The others sat in the boat wanting to believe but afraid to step into that. They let their fear compromise their faith. Did they really believe?

Demonstrate the true meaning of faith by your willingness to take action despite the circumstances. Don't wait for the sign, trust your instincts, that inner spirit that is there to guide us and be willing to step out of your comfort zone. God will see you through it and bring you the desired outcome in His timing and in His way as long as you put your trust in Him.

Whatever you ask for in prayer, BELIEVING, you shall receive. - Matthew 21:22

Monday, January 31, 2011

Receiving God’s Blessings

In my last post, I shared how important it is to fully release our desires to God to truly realize their presence in our life. I want to build on that and talk more about how our failure to release our desires ultimately sabotages their realization.

In "Working with the Law", Holliwell points out that we allow ourselves to release the smaller desires in our life and when they show up we often brush them off as coincidence. But it's really the power of God working to fulfill our desire and because we were able to completely release that thought or desire, God was able to bring it to fruition. It's the bigger desires that we hold onto through doubt and anxiety that creates a wall to receiving God's blessings.

Holliwell writes, "Nothing worthwhile is accomplished. The mind is like a sponge. We squeeze it hard with our anxious thoughts, but not until we can release the pressure and allow the sponge to take its shape can't it become absorbent and receptive again." How many times have we watched someone literally brought to their knees before they start realizing their desires? When we are brought to our knees we are finally saying to God, "I completely hand this over to you, I can do no more". It is then that God can truly provide the abundance and blessings He has available to us. We need to allow ourselves to be completely open to receiving these blessings, letting go of doubt and fear so we can be open and receptive to His guidance, taking action on that which He has divinely arranged for us to lead us towards the realization of that desire.

"Do not fret or have anxiety about anything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God." – Philippians 4:7

Friday, January 21, 2011

Releasing Your Desires

I just read a passage in "Working with the Law" by Raymond Holliwell that brought a new awareness to how we can sometimes sabotage our deepest desires.

Holliwell reminds us that we need to dream our biggest dreams and set intentions around those dreams but we then need then to release those thoughts outward to God through prayer believing in full faith they will come to pass. Ours is not to hope but to expect. I didn't realize until reading this passage how often I hold onto my desires. I set the intention but then moments of doubt and fear creep in. How many times have you had a strong desire for something to happen and then find yourself feeling anxiety or fear around that desire? Thoughts start running through your mind creating doubt in its possibility of realization. What if it doesn't happen? How will it happen? What if it doesn't show up in time? These are the very thoughts that are sabotaging our realization of that intention or desire. We need to get to a point where we can fully release our intentions to God in complete faith He will prevail to truly realize the overwhelming abundance He has made available to us. It's so hard to do but it is clear that is what God is asking us to do; to simply release and trust. He reminds us again and again through various scriptures in the Bible that this is how it works. As stated in Matthew 21:21-22, "And whatever you ask for in prayer, having FAITH and BELIEVING, you WILL receive".

What an amazing process God has given us, we just need to learn how to immerse ourselves in that process because once we do, God has promised He will do much more than anything we asked for or ever imagined. Amen!