In the Hands of a Child

Could there be anything more heartwarming than seeing your book in the hands of a child? I wrote this book as life lessons to help you navigate your life path at any age. Miss Morgan in New Jersey is showing us that it’s never too early to start! Thanks for sharing with us Grandma Christine!


Gratitude with Attitude

Finding yourself confined to the four walls of your home months at a time starts to affect the psyche in ways that you could have never imagined. Having time to focus on all the things you find yourself without, has a way of creating that “poor me” mentality, when in reality there are so many people that have it far worse. When we have too much time to focus on all the things that may be lacking in our lives, all the good things seem to be forgotten.

I am a person that likes to have complete control of my life. When I suddenly no longer have that ability, things like self doubt and negative self-reflection have an easier time coming into the mind. Not taking the time to be grateful for the good things, causes us to focus on the bad far more than we should. Luckily, my recent meditation on gratitude was exactly what I needed.

During the meditation, I was reminded of the importance of giving gratitude for even the simplest things that we often take for granted. Our lungs that continue to breath the air of life into our bodies without asking anything in return. Our hearts that pump blood twenty four hours a day without us even thinking about it. A roof over our heads and food in our stomachs so that we may stay safe and nourished. Things that are part of what keeps us alive that we often never take the time to stop and be grateful for. Which means that we often need a reminder.

In my meditation, it was mentioned that it is a good idea to keep a gratitude journal. A little booklet that you can keep by your bed and each evening write down the things that you were most grateful for that day. Each night when you go back to bed, read what you previously wrote before you write that days entry. Soon, the constant focus on all the things you are grateful for in your life means there is little time for the “poor me” mentality to take hold.

The reason I say gratitude with attitude is that gratitude has to become a part of your attitude every day. For it to truly keep the “poor me” mentality at bay, the focus has to be on that for which we should be grateful, rather than that which we are lacking. When we can master that, only then can we live a grateful life.


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The Ability to Love Starts From Within

We find ourselves in unprecedented times where the world needs a little more kindness, love and understanding. Where we have to believe that we come from that same process of conception and are brought into a world that isn’t the same for everyone. While teaching and learning are important to understanding how to experience the basic primal function of love, the ability to love and be loved really starts within ourselves.

People who don’t love themselves and are miserable in who they are find it difficult to be able to pass that love on to another person. Think about it. When you spend every one of your 1,440 minutes that you are awake wanting to be someone different because you don’t like the person you are or have become, it is impossible to have any emotional energy within you to pass that love on to someone else. At the same time, it is almost nearly impossible to let love in from other people.

Most of my life I was involved in bad relationships. Because I didn’t feel worthy, I allowed myself to be in relationships where I was mentally and sometimes physically abused. I went from one person to the next who had the same traits because it is was all I knew, it was in my comfort zone, and it was all that I believed I deserved. Despite all the love that surrounded me growing up, my life as an adult was quite different, because I didn’t love myself enough to let someone else in. I tried to take care of others to fill the void, but it was never enough.

When I finally met someone who truly loved me, I didn’t know how to accept it. It was foreign to me and my immediate reaction was to run. That was exactly what I did. A month later I stood in front of them and explained why love was so difficult for me. I told them that I couldn’t promise a day, a year, or a month, but just one day at a time. The response I got was that it was worth the wait. At that very moment, the ability to let love in started to change the very person that I would become and almost twenty one years later it has changed my life.

Once I began to talk to myself as I would someone I loved, my ability to share that love grew exponentially. Once I discovered my own value and what I could offer the world, I experienced opportunities that would not only change my life but others as well. Love and compassion starts within our own hearts. Once we get to that place where we can allow that self love to be real, we then have the power to make a difference in the world as a whole.


It Started With a Thought

There are those times in our lives where all it takes is acting on a thought to start something that has the ability to change the world. Not just thinking about it, but truly taking all the steps necessary to see that thought come to fruition. Such was the case with the Bring Smiles to Seniors program.

Visiting my grandmother in her senior community was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Every time I walked the halls and saw the sadness on the faces of those that were confined to their four walls, my heart felt heavy. As I talked with nurses and learned more about the loneliness of seniors, it baffled me how insignificant many seniors become as they reach the final years of their lives. This despite the fact that many had given so much.

On one particular night, I lay in my bed going through the previous visit in my mind and decided that there was something that I could do. I put a post on my personal Facebook page and asked all my friends and family to send me greeting cards that I could then take to the residents in my grandmother’s community. The response was overwhelming. I received enough cards to ensure that every single resident in her community received one. That was the true beginning of what has now become a national program.

Because I acted on that emotion and thought on that particular day, hundreds of thousands of seniors across America, Scotland, Norway, Australia and other parts of the world have been reminded that they are loved. An amazing group of volunteers have come together to run a program that now brings joy to so many. The people participating in our program have been given new purpose and added new meaning to their already incredible lives. Grandparents have reconnected with their grandchildren. Families have come together during card making events. Companies have involved their employees in the work that we do.

For me, it has been a personal journey. I started this program to send cards to seniors. What I wound up with is so much more. Without even realizing it, I have touched lives in ways that I could have never even imagined. Every day I learn of a new way that has happened and I receive confirmation that in this lifetime, this was what I was meant to do. I would venture to say that each and every one of our volunteers and individuals involved in this program could say exactly the same thing.

Four years ago I did that one thing that my future self would be thankful for. I have been reminded in the past, continue to be reminded today and no doubt will be reminded every day in the future. When we allow those thoughts that enter our minds to become realities, the impact we have on the world can be endless. Today, I hope that you turn that thought you may have into something that your future self will be thankful for as well.

#morningswithron #bringsmilestoseniors

The Power of We in Numbers

I often write about the “power of we”. Sometimes words are not necessary to explain, when numbers can do it for you. Especially in my Bring Smiles to Seniors program.

2016: 7,719 cards delivered

2017: 18,810 cards delivered

2018: 40,515 cards delivered

2019: 71,586 cards delivered

2020 to date: 77,172 cards delivered

#morningswithron #bringsmilestoseniors #thepowerofwe

Exceeding Goals is Amazing

Sometimes we underestimate the “power of we” when setting goals. For the past four years of the Bring Smiles to Seniors program, we have set goals that we hoped were attainable. When running a nonprofit, there are a lot of unknowns and setting a goal is not necessarily a science, but rather sometimes a gut feeling that leads you to a number. While that part may seem easy, it is bringing all the pieces together to make that goal become a reality where the real work lies. For Bring Smiles, it involves volunteers, cards, donations and time.

In 2016, our first year of operation, we didn’t set a goal and wound up delivering 7,719 cards. We went on to exceed our goals in subsequent years but every year got tougher. By 2019, we had delivered 71,586 cards and had no idea what the goal should be in 2020. Based on the effort required to achieve the 2019 number, we decided that the goal should be to do one more card than the year before. This would put our 2020 goal at 71,587. No one could have imagined what we would be facing in 2020. As the COVID situation unfolded, we were fearful that not only would that goal be unachievable, but we might be shut down all together with the country shutting down with us. What happened was quite the opposite.

As seniors were isolated in their communities and were not allowed to have friends and family visit, the need for our cards became even greater. The stars aligned to bring us a volunteer community outreach coordinator as more community requests came in. Our private Facebook groups grew and expanded. Companies like Cigna, Experian, Target, UnitedHealth and others reached out to get their employees involved. We found ourselves not only open for business, but all coming together for a common purpose to ensure that seniors were reminded that they are loved.

One would think that all of this effort would get us close to hitting that lofty goal of 71,587 cards delivered this year. Well I am here to tell you that not only did we hit it, we surpassed it. We announced on May 31st that we had delivered 74,373 cards so far this year….and we are only in the month of May. While this is an extraordinary year, where we go from here is the million dollar question.

Goals are meant to drive success. What has happened in the Bring Smiles to Seniors program is a true example of that. Goals motivate people to do their best, give their all and work in partnership to achieve a common objective. Goals are powerful, scary, exciting and necessary. When you not only meet, but exceed them, the possibilities become endless. A big thank you to each and every person involved in making this milestone a reality. #morningswithron

The Hugs You Remember

It is the times when you can’t be with your family that you remember things that happened in your life that remind you how special your relationship is. Things that may not have entered your thoughts for years, suddenly seem like they were yesterday.

My first assignment in the Air Force was in Turkey. I was allowed leave to come home and I had not seen my parents for some time. I was originally supposed to fly into one airport and I wound up being changed to another airport on my trip home. This was the days before cell phones so we had to get word to my parents over the airport loudspeaker that I would be arriving in a different city.

When I got to Orlando, I was taking the shuttle from one terminal to the main and during the ride we passed the shuttle going the other way. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my mom on the other shuttle and it was the oddest feeling as we were being separated in opposite directions, watching each other get further and further apart. Of course my mom got back on the returning shuttle and we were finally reunited with a big hug and a lot of tears.

Today in this Covid situation, it is those moments that we use to feel the hugs and the love that has always existed. It is those remembrances that remind us how important our family and loved ones are to us. It is those moments that wrap us in the hug that we need to remind us that time and circumstances can never separate love and caring. #morningswithron

The Power of Touch

One of the things I miss most in this pandemic is the power of touch. Seeing someone you love or have missed and not being able to run into their arms or shake their hand is hard.

Last week, I finally drove to see my mom and dad about three hours away. My dad has been battling Lymphoma for the last couple of years, so I wasn’t taking any chances and maintained severe social distancing. The desire to hug them and hold them was so overpowering that it reminded me just how important human touch is to our psyche and well being.

Somewhere out there today, someone you love needs that touch. While actual touch may not be possible, there are many ways you can take that moment and show them you care. Send a text, email, FaceTime, call or send them a card. We all need that touch, now more than ever. Sometimes all it takes is that virtual hug to get us through. #morningswithron

Are We Just Too Busy?

We got up this morning, started our daily chores, had our morning coffee and took a look at our calendar. There wasn’t an empty space to be found. From morning to night, every one of our waking minutes was filled with something to do. Suddenly, we realize that nowhere in that day is there time for us. At that moment we have a choice. Take out an eraser and block out some time that we can claim as our own. Or, live in a perpetual state of racing to the finish line without ever getting there. The decision is ours to make. #morningswithron

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