Believe in the Beauty of Your Dreams

This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt might just be one of my favorite quotes ever. I am a big proponent of the future. It holds all our possibilities, dreams and eventual realities. It provides us opportunities for change, life altering experiences and a path to achieve our dreams. The future can be anything we want it to be, if we only believe that dreams can come true. If we truly believe.

When I was growing up as a kid, I always wanted to do something great. Not necessarily to be rich and famous, but I dreamed of a life full of meaning and passion. Along the way I had opportunities to do good things for good people and also made mistakes that set me back from the life I wanted to live. I had self doubt, low self esteem and all the things that teens and young adults experience as they navigate their life path. In my adult life through mergers and changes, I lost jobs where I had devoted greater than ten years of my life that caused me to start over. Yet, I still had that dream to live a life full of meaning and passion. It was only when I finally discovered not defining my life by jobs, money and possessions was the key that I needed to achieving that dream.

One would think that walking into a nursing home for the first time to visit a grandmother would be the beginning of a long lonely road, not a moment of self discovery. When those visits led to the creation of the Bring Smiles to Seniors program, it was only then that I realized that achieving your dreams were possible. Over the next four years I would meet people all over the world that became part of an amazing movement to remind seniors that they are loved. My dream of living a life full of meaning and passion was not only realized, it helped me believe how beautiful dreams can be.

When I speak about the Bring Smiles to Seniors program, I tell everyone that I had a little dream that became a very big reality. Not only for the hundreds of thousands of seniors that we have made smile, but for me and my own life journey. On days when I am down and need a pick me up, I focus on the change my volunteers, the people who participate in our program and I bring to the senior community every day. My hope for you is that you too believe in the beauty of your dreams. Not only believe in them, but fight for them, love them and make them your own. They may not come over night, but they will come. When they do, what a beautiful experience it is.

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Spend Time Letting Go Not Holding On

Many of us are in a constant search for happiness for those things that will bring our lives into the panacea that we all want it to be. The issue is that we often torpedo that very effort simply by doing everything in our power to hold on to those very things that are keeping us from the happiness that we deserve.

We often find it very difficult to let go of the things that are creating those walls. We expend so much energy doing every thing in our power to hold on to them, that we have very little energy left to open our hearts to the happiness that we deserve. Perhaps it is simply time to give ourselves the break that we need.

Being good to ourselves should not be a chore. Forgiving ourselves for the transgressions of our past should not be an impossibility. If we expend the same energy focusing on the future and simply let go of the past, the life path ahead of us would be that much brighter and the chance for happiness that much greater.

When things seem the most dire, it is difficult to see through the fog and believe that happiness is possible. However, once we start letting go of the wall of the past, one brick at a time, the light starts to come through. As those bricks continue to fall, eventually the happiness we desire is suddenly reachable. From there we can build on that new found happiness and enrich our lives.

We are stronger than we realize and all have the power within us to leave the past behind and move toward that happier future. It isn’t always easy to find, but the capability is there. Once we master letting go, the happiness that we deserve and seek can finally be realized.

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At the Perfect Time, Not Our Time

There was a time when to achieve what you wanted simply meant hard work and perseverance to see it come to fruition. Things didn’t materialize simply because we pressed a button or made a phone call. If we wanted something, we waited for it and when it finally arrived there was reason to celebrate. Today we live in a very different world.

The expectation that hard work is required to achieve what we desire has diminished greatly. Things are so readily available to us that we have come to expect that all things that we desire should come in the time we expect, not at the perfect time when they are supposed to. Think about it.

If you need an item, you simply go on the computer and in some areas it arrives within hours. Want it tomorrow? Pay for expedited shipping and voila it is sitting on your doorstep. Don’t have the means to buy it at the moment, charge it and you can immediately have it sitting in your home. There is such an array of products in stores that even if what we really wanted isn’t available, there is always an alternative to ensure that we procure it immediately. We are surrounded by nothing but availability in our lives. The mentality of having to have it now has seeped into our psyche and not necessarily in a good way.

Our want it, need it, have to have it now culture has laid waste to the our ability to appreciate that which we actually receive. Working for that which we desire and having the patience to see it come to reality when it is the right time, not the me time, allows for a greater opportunity to be grateful for what we receive. Our life path is designed that way.

As we navigate life, there are reasons that what we desire isn’t always made immediately available. Sometimes it requires lessons and adjustments along the way to get us ready to appreciate what comes our way. Sometimes we will never receive our desire at all because doing so will have an unknown detrimental effect on us. However, in most cases that which we truly want and are willing to work hard for and be “all in” on our journey to success will come. It will come if we truly need it and it will come at the perfect time.

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When There is a No at Every Turn

Life is full of no. Every where we turn people are telling us what we can’t do. So much so that we start to engrain that very thought into our own lives and psyche. We often live in fear of attempting things simply because of the fear of failure. It happens in all aspects of our lives.

The seeds of self doubt that we can accomplish that which we desire are often sown early in life. We want to pursue a passion, career or hobby and we are told no by our parents because it isn’t the vision they have for us. We grow into adults and the no keeps coming. We apply for a credit card and are told no because we don’t have enough credit. We apply for a home and are told no because we don’t qualify. We get involved in relationships that we believe to be “the one” and are told no when we take the step of proposing. We attempt to sell into a client and are told no because we were beat by the competition or it wasn’t the right time. Get the picture?

We get so used to hearing no, that when we make the effort to do something for ourselves, our minds immediately expect no and failure because we seem to face it at many turns in our life. I am here to tell you that I am not one of those people who accept no. If you tell me no, I am going to do everything in my power to get that no to a yes. However, only if I have fully evaluated that yes should be the right answer. Having that mentality has served me well in both my personal and work life.

A mindful thoughtful approach to getting around that no is often what it takes. Engaging in the effort with the belief that yes is possible helps give the courage and strength to break down those walls and barriers that others are so eager to place in front of you. Sometimes no is the given answer simply to see if we have the resolve for what it takes to get to yes, thereby increasing another’s confidence in us and our abilities.

Is there something that you have wanted to do but were afraid to try. Is there a recent situation where you have been told no when there was no rational reason and yes really should have been the answer? Then go for it and be all in. Pursue a yes and find the strength and resolve to see it through. Can you get to yes if you truly desire and are willing to work for it? Yes, you can!

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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!

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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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Online Book Club Review

Received 4 out of 4 stars from a major reviewer at onlinebookclub.org. Awesome!

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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.

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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.

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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

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