Giving love to those that paved the way

Picture Credit: Pixabay

When I was on a flight recently, I got to thinking about the past few years in the Bring Smiles to Seniors program. Then I started to think about seniors more broadly. Mostly about the support and assistance that we provide them and the focus that gets placed on them by society.

When we look out across the broad spectrum of not for profit entities, it is very easy to find large, cash filled entities that focus on a number of things. We pump hundreds of millions of dollars into disaster relief organizations, children’s charities and charities that focus on specific diseases. All worthy causes in their own right. However, it is much harder to find thriving charities that are focused on the elderly and taking care of those that many times painstakingly paved the way for us, so that we could have a better future.

I have had the benefit of traveling the world, living in other countries and experiencing different cultures. Nowhere in the world are the elderly less revered and taken care of than right here in our own country. It is almost as if once you reach a certain age, you are simply on the slow road to the end of your life and the need for resources to ensure that you are taken care of for your remaining days are of less importance.

I have been in many senior living communities and experienced a myriad of conditions that seniors live in. The ability to pay has a direct correlation to the environment where you get to spend your final days, if you are not lucky enough to be able to live at home or with loved ones. I have experienced first hand individuals who still have family, but once they enter the four walls of a senior community it is as if they no longer exist. There are just too many competing priorities to make the time to visit and remind the loved one that they still matter.

The interesting thing about all of this is that God willing we are all going to be one of those elderly people one day. The unfortunate thing is that we often don’t realize the importance of taking care of the elderly until we become an elderly person ourselves. Ensuring that those that came before us are reminded that they are loved and cared for it at the core of our mission. The need is great and we are only able to touch small corners of our society, but we have done that almost 100,000 times since the start of this program. Our elderly are one of our most precious resources and we owe it to them to remind them of that every single day.

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.

Ron

#bringsmilestoseniors #inspirationalposts #inspirationalmessages bringsmilestoseniors.com

Mornings with Ron is now available at iHeart Radio, anchor.fm/morningswithron, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and most podcast sites.

Commitment is driven by love and inspiration

When I saw this quote by Ella Fitzgerald, it made me think about how much passion drives us. When we are truly all in, there really is nothing that we can’t accomplish. Johann Wolfgang Goethe said, “At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you”. Nowhere is that more evident than what we see every day in the Bring Smiles to Seniors program.

One evening, several weeks ago we were prepping boxes to send out to our decorators. As we completed the last box, the bin that held the last of our cards was empty and I sat in my chair. I got that feeling that sometimes comes over me when this moment happens as I ask myself what is next? I sat and stared at all these empty bins while at the same time reminding myself that I had committed to the Bring Smiles family that we would deliver 50,000 cards this year. After a brief moment of panic, I remembered that my commitment to this program was not a passing whim, that I was all in and there was no way the power of this program was going to let us fail.

We had not made the lunch time post office run yet. However, when we did, there were thirteen packages of cards waiting for us that once again filled those empty spaces. Each and every one of them from individuals who were also all in. People who believe in our cause and purpose and are part of the universe that conspires to assist us as Goethe said. The love and inspiration that goes into every card is the true testament of being committed and an example of the belief that one person truly can make a difference.

If you could see what we see when open a box, an envelope or a package. If you could feel what we feel when we remove those seals and gaze at what is on the inside. If you could experience the magic of every card that comes out of all of those parcels, you would understand in an instant the power of what we are doing together. There are absolutely times when it gets tough and I lay awake at night and wonder how we are going to go on. Fortunately, those moments are rare and I remind myself that the commitment we made on March 29, 2016 stays strong and alive. It lives because we are committed and all of you show the love and compassion that drives everything that we do.

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.

Ron

#bringsmilestoseniors #inspirationalposts #inspirationalmessages bringsmilestoseniors.com

Mornings with Ron is now available as a podcast on iHeart Radio, anchor.fm/morningswithron, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and most podcast sites.

Family is what it is all about

This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with my family up in Michigan for my nephew’s high school graduation. During this visit, I got to spend even more time with my new great nephew. As I was feeding him one morning and walking with him in the pictures above I got to thinking about how fast time flies and our lives move forward without us even realizing it. It seems like yesterday that we were the children and now niece and nephews have all graduated and the next generation is starting their journey. It made me stop and realize how important it is to cherish life’s moments when you are presented with the opportunity.

As we go through life there are many family milestones that come our way. Weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, special occasions and unfortunately even funerals. We sometimes find ourselves too busy to attend these gatherings, or to preoccupied to take advantage of them when they occur, only to realize how important they were when it is too late. When I considered the effort everyone made to be there to be a part of my nephew’s graduation it made my heart grow a few sizes.

Two individuals came all the way from Montana. My other nephew drove from Florida to North Carolina to meet up with his sister, her husband and six month old to drive 14 hours together. I made the trek from Florida through the Atlanta airport with my mom and dad who his dealing with Lymphoma. Think of the amazing effort that took for all of us to culminate in that one place. That is what we do for family. We fortunately understand the importance of being together and celebrating and joining when we can.

Being a part of a family comes with responsibility. We have the responsibility to care for each other, be there for each other and provide support. It should be a give and take that is equal in measure and full of love and compassion. It can’t be one side takes all and the need for continued involvement should not diminish with age, ailment or situation.

As I was feeding my great nephew that morning, I thought how lucky he was to be born into the family that he was. A family that is there or each other when we need it and yet gives space when it is needed. A family that is full of love, compassion and caring. A family that I am so happy to be a part of. Your future is bright little Carter and we will be there for you every step of the way. My wish for all of you is the same.

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.

Ron

#bringsmilestoseniors #connectingthecircleoflife bringsmilestoseniors.com

Mornings with Ron is now available as a podcast on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and most podcast sites.

Change your routine, change your life

It is so easy for life to become routine. We are a busy society and spend our days taking care of family, friends and responsibilities. Hopefully, somewhere in that day we have also squeezed in a few minutes to take care of ourselves. We often become so engrossed in the routine of the day that before we know it we are doing the same things over and over, day after day. Then we sit back and wonder why our life may be boring, when the reason is staring us right in the face.

For people like me who find it hard to move outside their comfort zone, it is very easy for life to become repetitional and mundane. We do the same things daily and then sit back and wonder why our life isn’t more interesting. In reality, all we have to do to change our lives is start making small changes in our daily routine, sometimes outside our comfort zone, to literally change our lives. Let me explain.

Several years ago, I found myself in a rut. I work from home, so unless you happen to have plans during the week, you wind up staring at the same four walls until the weekend comes and hopefully you are able to do something different. By the time you get to the end of your workday, you are too tired to do anything else and it is easier to just have dinner and sit on the sofa and watch television until it is time for bed. Then you go to bed and start all over again. As you can imagine, this can make life pretty mundane.

Then several years ago my friend in New Jersey introduced me to the game of Mah Jongg. That led me to introductions to some amazing women in my community and suddenly my life changed for the better. Getting out of the house a few times a week not only opened me to new experiences, it opened me to new friendships that would all lead to making my life just that much more special and meaningful. Believe me it was no easy thing to do. I had to not only allow myself to get introduced to a group of people who had been together for years, I had to do it with a game that I was just learning. However, changing that one thing in my day, several times a week, literally changed my life.

If your life has become routine and mundane and you are looking for a change, it really is never going to happen unless you make that one change in your daily routine. We cannot maintain the status quo and expect life to be different. That is not saying that people that may be content with a status quo life are wrong. It simply implies that those who are looking for something different cannot continue the routine and expect life to change on its own.

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.

Ron

Mornings with Ron is now available as a podcast on iHeart Radio, anchor.fm, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and most podcast sites.

#bringsmilestoseniors bringsmilestoseniors.com

The next second belongs to you

In the few seconds that you have read the title and quote that are a part of today’s post, something magical has happened. In less than a minute you have reached the point in your life where, from this moment forward, you are facing the beginning of anything you want. Think about it. Every thing that has happened prior to your reading this post is in the past and every second after contains moments that you can make whatever you want them to be.

Have you wanted to do something to change your life, take up a hobby, read a book, start exercising or just wanted to make life something different than it has been.l? Well, here is your opportunity. Because we control our own destiny and every second and minute that comes next can be anything that we want them to be. That alone should keep us from being afraid of the future and help us to embrace it, celebrate it and put the things in place that are required to make the next parts of our life truly special.

We often spend so much time beating ourselves up for what has happened, that we never allow ourselves the opportunity to make life different. Either that or we allow people to do the beating up for us and spend all our time focusing on them and not that for which we are capable. Our lives are an endless landscape of new experiences and possibilities. Our ability to navigate those paths and leave the past behind, while using it as a guide for our future, is what determines just how “ours” our life is going to be.

I often tell my spouse as I am going to bed at night that it is one of my favorite parts of the day. The reason I say that is that I go to sleep closing the chapter on what has passed and look forward to a new morning where I can make the next day anything that I want it to be. It’s not because I am depressed and just don’t want to deal with the world. It is because I know that those few hours that come between dusk and dawn are going to reenergize me and give me the strength I need to make tomorrow mine.

As we strive to make our life ours, we have to avoid our old enemy self doubt. It is rare that anyone can be as hard on us as we are on ourselves and that often prevents us from moving forward in the manner that we desire. I’m going to repeat what Nadia said in my last post because I think it is so powerful, “I’m never going to say I can’t do it. I’m never going to say maybe. I’m never going to say I think I can. I can and I will”. That is the mantra that we all need to ensure that those next moments that we face are those that we make our own.

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.

Ron

Mornings with Ron is now available as a podcast on iHeart Radio, anchor.fm, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and most podcast sites.

#bringsmilestoseniors bringsmilestoseniors.com

I can and I will

Sometimes, we get our inspiration in the oddest of places. We see people accomplish what they seemed to think impossible and watching them we get inspired to strive to be the best that we can be ourselves. Such was the case with me as I was watching the finale of one of the seasons of the Great British Baking Show.

If you have never seen the show, I suggest you take a look if you have Netflix. All the seasons are out there and it is a rare look into compassion and competition without the backbiting and negativity that often accompanies our competition shows. The person that moved me the most in this season was Nadia, a Bangladesh woman who took a chance and risk despite her reservations and self doubt. To watch her grow and challenge herself throughout the ten episodes was something special to watch. What she said after the finale was something that touched my heart. She said, “I’m never going to say I can’t do it. I’m never going to say maybe. I’m never going to say I think I can. I can and I will”.

What is more powerful than that. As we go through life wanting to do and accomplish that which we desire, it is often the second guessing of ourselves that keeps from that which we want most. Because we don’t challenge what we perceive as our limitations, we assume that we are not capable or worthy, when in reality we can do far more than we could ever imagine if we only believe. When we are willing to take the risk, the possibilities are endless. Each failure becomes a stepping stone to success, if only we find the will to persevere and carry on. As each step leads us to the next, we suddenly find ourselves having accomplished that which we never thought possible.

There have been many ups and downs in my life that led to where I am today. I bombed out of my first year of college not knowing what I was going to do next. I left the Air Force after four years not having any idea where my life was taking me. I held different jobs that never seemed to gel. Finally, one day I started believing in myself and stopped questioning my limitations and focused on my possibilities. Taking a chance on me led to a Bachelors, MBA, 30+ year career in the pharmaceutical and healthcare network industry and to become the head of a not for profit that is doing amazing things in the senior community.

Converting I don’t think I can into I think I can is no easy task. It takes hard work, self reflection, dedication and the will to see through the mire even where there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It is also not a one and done. It is a life long effort that when executed provides you with a life that is fulfilling and wonderful.

So, on this day, I thank Nadia from that little baking show from across the pond. I thank her for reminding me to reflect, remember and celebrate the fact that hard work and believing in yourself pays off. We all have the tools that we need within ourselves to succeed if we only believe that we can. Well done Nadia!

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.

Ron

Mornings with Ron is now available as a podcast on iHeart Radio, anchor.fm, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and most podcast sites.

#bringsmilestoseniors bringsmilestoseniors.com

Mornings With Ron now on iHeart Radio

We are pleased to announce that our Mornings with Ron podcast is now available on iHeart Radio. Five messages weekly to provoke thought, inspire the heart and feed the soul. You can access it via this link: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/256-mornings-with-ron-31128326/

A better version of ourselves is all we can ask

As we go through life, we often put unnecessary pressures on ourselves. We have to be the best, have the most, be liked more than others and strive for perfection. We create this ideal person in our minds that we should be and rarely do we ever achieve 100% success in that endeavor. No matter how hard we try, or how hard we work, we fail to live up to our own expectations and at the end of the day feel like we have let ourselves down.

What if we were to eliminate some of that pressure and simply look at ourselves and realize that we are already great? By the mere fact that we have made it to the point that we have in our lives, we have already overcome obstacles and made achievements that have made us the person that we are. Once we validate that and realize that our only goal should be to become a better version of who we already are, it is only then life becomes less of a burden and more of a challenge that can be enjoyed.

We are always quick to give others credit for what they have done and accomplished, but rarely do we take the time to give ourselves the same validation. We see our successes and achievements as simply doing what we were supposed to do, even if the thing that we accomplished may have been something extraordinary.

If you look back over your life, I bet that you can find countless instances where things that you have done may have seemed ordinary, yet they had a profound impact on another person in ways that you could have never imagined. By the same token, the things that you have done for yourself have propelled you to become an even better version of the person that you already were. That in itself is worth celebrating.

We have to take life one day at a time, ensure that we don’t bite off more than we can chew and celebrate ourselves when we have successes that pave the way for that next chapter in our life path. When we realize that all we need to do is strive to be a better version of the person that we already are and do that one step at a time, then is when we live a life that is satisfying and fulfilling.

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.

Ron

Mornings With Ron is now available as a podcast at anchor.fm/morningswithron, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and most podcast sites.

#bringsmilestoseniors #inspirationalposts #inspirationalmessages bringsmilestoseniors.com

We are the only approving authority of ourselves

How much of our life do we spend trying to be someone that we are not, or attempting to please everyone but ourselves. Rather than celebrate the unique individual that we are and all that we deserve along with that, we find ourselves trying to live up to everyone else’s standards day after day. Our life becomes so mired in trying to ensure that we have everyone else’s approval, that we fail to realize that we really don’t need it, if we truly believe in who we are and our worth.

There is no commandment that says that we have to mold our lives to make everyone else happy. Usually, when we make what others think of us the basis for our self worth, we set ourselves up for major disappointment. This usually happens because many people need others to feel inferior for them to be able to feel better about their own lives, which may not be so great.

Wasting our days trying to prove our worth to others is often an exercise in futility. We become so engrossed with seeking others approval and satisfaction, that we often forget to live our life for ourselves. Nowhere is this more evident than on social media. People judge themselves by the amount of likes on their pictures, the number of followers they have on Instagram or the number of people that have subscribed to their page. This is something that we are all probably guilty of at one point or another.

We go through our days seeking approval. We want approval at home, we need it within our jobs, we look for it in our extracurricular activities and attempt to find it wherever we can as a validation of who we are. It is only when we realize that the only approval we need is the satisfaction that we have done our best and made every attempt to be the best that we can be by our standards, that we start to alleviate some of the pressure that we place on ourselves.

At the end of the day our first responsibility is to ourselves and our well being. If we are not in a good place or position, then it is rare that we would have the strength necessary to take of others. When we have placed ourselves in the position where we feel the strongest, it is only then that we realize that we don’t have to prove anything to anyone other than ourselves and that gives us the life that most of us deisre.

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.

Ron

Mornings With Ron is now available as a podcast on anchor.fm/morningswithron, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and most podcast sites.

#bringsmilestoseniors #inspirationalposts #inspirationalmessages bringsmilestoseniors.com

Goodbye past, hello future!

We all have a past. Just in the few seconds that you have been reading this post a past has already been created for you. There is no escaping it as we move forward through life. Along life’s journey there are going to be situations and events that we will encounter that will, in totality, become what we will refer to as out past. It is how we use those moments as life lessons that will ultimately prepare us for what is to come tomorrow.

If we use our experiences as learning tools, then it is rare that we will repeat the same mistake twice. It is those experiences that teach us the lessons that we need to navigate our future. If we truly use the lessons as a guide, then we are in the best position to ensure that we are ready for what is yet to come.

Some of us have had led mundane lives, some exciting ones and some have had experiences that are down right awful. It is how we have maneuvered through those times that determined how much we had prepared ourselves for what was to come. If we have done it wisely, then we are truly ready for our future and what ever it may throw our way.

It always surprises me when I see people making the same mistakes over and over as if the previous mistake ever happened. It surprises me even more when I find myself doing the very same thing. Yet, if we took a hard look at our own lives, I bet that each and every one of us can find one point or another where we can say, “geez, I thought I learned my lesson”. What that means is that we never truly learned the lesson the first time and therefore are not ready for what the future may bring.

Every day is a preparation for our future. We are going to make mistakes, ignore lessons that we should be learning and find ourselves dealing with things that we would rather not deal with. Yet, used wisely, those instances build the strength and character that we need to get us through another day. They aren’t reasons to beat ourselves up, they are reasons to stop, take breath, adjust and tackle the next phase of our life that is yet to come.

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles today.

Ron

Mornings With Ron is now available as a podcast on anchor.fm/morningswithron, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and most podcast sites.

#bringsmilestoseniors #inspirationalposts #inspirationalmessages bringsmilestoseniors.com

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