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The other day I was watching the news and I heard the anchor person talk about the record sales that are happening

since Black Friday.I watched a video that showed people shopping and fighting over THINGS in a store. The news then

showed massive lines of people waiting outside stores until they opened, hoping to get the best deals of the season.

I watched all of these things from the comfort of my couch, in my small apartment, sipping a cup of my favorite tea. It

was at that precise moment that I started to count my blessings and began to think about how fortunate I really am.

I keep my Christmas list small and the number of presents I buy even smaller. For me, I refuse to be pushed and pulled

physically or psychologically into purchasing THINGS that may end up in the return pile the day after Christmas.

Over the past three years, I have instituted a new Christmas list. This list is made up of days that I will get together

with my friends and family to share conversation, a meal and possibly a good card game. I believe that the most

precious gift that can be given this holiday season is the one of our time, not of THINGS.

I am not suggesting that exchanging gifts should be banned, all I am saying is that for me, gift giving is not about

fighting over a material object in a store. I do not believe that any THING is that important.

Maybe I am even suggesting that we all focus less on the gifts and more on the people in our lives. Because in all

honesty the only perfect gift we can give is our presence. Recognize YOUR blessings in the small things in life because

when all of those small things are added up they are far more valuable than anything you can find on a shelf in a store.

#holiday,#gifts,#giving

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The thing about change is that it begins with a place of discomfort. A feeling that something is not quite right and needs

to be different. Yet, for a lot of people being uncomfortable becomes the norm and they learn to live with it. It is similar

to having minor tooth pain. Most people shrug it off until it becomes so intolerable that medical intervention is

necessary.

But change can only happen if we as individuals take matters into our own hands. It is the very first step that is the

most difficult. And usually it is the smallest of all the steps. The person making the change may appear exactly the

same visually as they always have. The only thing that might be noticeable could be the way they are carrying

themselves. Or they may not be reacting to situations the same as they use to.

This beginning stage is crucial to it becoming more permanent. The more consistent we are in our new behaviors the

more likely it is they will remain .The most important factor in beginning change is to remain confident in what we are

trying to achieve. This can be a little challenging with people looking at us questionably. And depending upon the

situation we might regress into our old ways.

Whatever it is that YOU are thinking about changing do it NOW. Do not wait for the beginning of another week or day to

arrive. Use what YOU have already on hand. YOU are enough and what you HAVE is enough. Your new beginning awaits

you !!

#beginnings,#happiness,#change

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When I was a kid, every summer my mother would complain about all the little yellow flowers that were growing in our

lawn. Personally, I thought they were pretty. The yellow color intermingled with the grass,was very eye appealing to

me. It took me a few years to realize that these beautiful flowers were the same plants that resembled feathery ghosts

later in the summer. I did not have a lot of time to pay attention to these details as I was whisked off to summer camp

early in the morning and did not return until late in the afternoon.

The summer I turned ten, my relatives came to visit Boston from New Jersey. My two cousins and I were in the

backyard doing some exploring. One of them picked up a fossilized flower and blew on it. A most amazing

thing happened. All of the white whisps were carried into the air and were carried away with the breeze. I was

mesmerized. I had no idea that these remnants had any value. I just figured they would eventually wither away and be

lost to the dirt forever.

The three of us sat in the backyard plucking and sending these ghosts into the air for a long time. In the process we

were laughing and giggling. There was a competition going on to see which one of us could send our tendrils in the

breeze. This all came to a complete stop when my mother , aunt and uncle came outside and saw what we were

doing. We were all in the soup after that. We had no idea that what we thought were simply harmless puffs of white,

still carried the seed of life.

The following summer my mother made sure she THANKED me for all the additional yellow flowers that appeared in our

lawn that summer. What I learned from this experience is that something can be learned from the simplest pleasures in

life. I also learned that in mother nature EVERYTHING has a purpose even when it may not appear as though it does.

This lesson has remained with me all through my life. In some of my darkest moments I have used this memory to

remind me that there is something of purpose regardless of how dire things may seem. And that there is LIFE in the

most overlooked things around me. If you are facing some obstacles in your life that seem too hard to overcome, take

a good look around you for your DANDELIONS ...

#dandelions,#life,#ghosts

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The realm of YOUR possibilities are as limitless as you allow them to be. The question is, how do you unlock all the barriers you place on that thought? And if you do not think you have barriers surrounding your possibilities, then why have you not achieved any of them yet ? If they are all in the background as merely ideas, there is a reason for that.

Usually, the reason is that there is not enough energy being placed into them. All of your energy is probably being used maintaining a job, a family and a social life.

I am not suggesting that any of these things are NOT important, what I am saying is, moving your possibilities from a place of mere fantasy to reality, requires an open door mentality. With all of the other daily demands on your time, it is a challenge to put it mildly to entertain one more thing taking up any more of your time. If you are a parent, you might consider yourself being selfish by taking a chance on something that is merely POSSIBLE. You may feel as though you would be taking something away from your kids by taking a chance. But that could not be further from the truth. In fact this is the best time of all to begin working on your ideas. When you take a leap and begin taking those small steps to creating your future, you will begin to feel differently about yourself. You will gain confidence, and as a result, the new you will have more to give to the job, the family and the social network you are connected with.

In addition to what you will have to give to others, people will begin to treat you differently as well. They will have a new respect for you. Even if they do not outwardly say anything, deep inside they will be watching what you are doing.

They will be listening intently to what your plans are. Some of them may secretly begin to do some of the same things that you are doing.The difference between you and them will be that you STARTED on your tomorrow.

But none of this can happen until you unlock the door and widen your vision of what is POSSIBLE! Get started today without delay. Just one small step can lead to a major change.

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Holding onto hope sounds easy enough to do. Especially if things are good right at the moment. That is when there is

nothing to worry about. Our focus is only on good things. In fact, a lot of times it is easy to forget to be grateful and I

mean truly grateful for all that is right in our presence.

How would I know that if I had not lived it myself? I spent more than a decade raising two kids alone. Most of that time

we all lived in a house. It was the same home they were born into. I was determined to see them grow the rest of their

formative years in that house.

Struggle had become my new first name. I might have been divorced from a marriage but not from all of the issues that

being a single parent presented. No matter how much I worked, it still did not seem to be enough financially. For every

extra dollar I brought home,there was a new issue that required all that I made and then some. When the child support

did come through, it just meant some of the bills got paid on time. I walked around that house seeing only what was

wrong with the way we all were living.

Some months when there was no child support, the bills were paid later than late. I never had the electric or the gas

turned off, and I never lost the house. And the only way I was able to accomplish all of that was by holding onto HOPE.

It was a long road to get there, but I learned that within every small victory there was a huge amount of HOPE that

made it happen at all.

With each small step towards success, my grasp onto HOPE became stronger. I began to realize that what I wanted to

achieve was attainable. And with that knowledge, Hope became my source of strength. The one thing I could hold onto

even when things seemed to be totally against me.

I remember sitting in the living room of the house with my head in my hands. I would have tears streaming down my

face trying to make sense of how I was supposed to make things work. The longer I sat and allowed HOPE to enter into

my realm of thinking, the calmer and clearer my path appeared. And in all honesty, most of the time it was all I had to

hold onto. For everything that was going wrong at the time, HOPE provided the gateway to all that was required for

things to go RIGHT!!

Allow HOPE into your life regardless of your situation or circumstances and reap the benefits of doing so. It will allow

you to see what is RIGHT with your life instead of only seeing what is WRONG!!

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One thing about a rainy day is that I usually do not want to get out of bed. I hear the rain drops falling and it is as if they are playing a lullaby that increases my fatigue. But I have learned to raise above the rain. Oh do not get it twisted and think this is something that is easy to do. It certainly is not!

Raising above the rain came as I was recovering from breast cancer. It was what I had to do in order to get back to where I was physically before the surgery. I remember dragging myself out of bed, getting dressed, hitting the treadmill and the weights. It was really hard. I had days when I felt as though I would never make any progress. Day after day I refused to give up even though I felt as though it was of no use.

I still remember lifting those tiny two pound weights, crying inside. I could not believe what cancer had reduced me to. It would be six months before I was ready to increase the weights I was lifting to a whopping five pounds. That was one of my biggest milestones. That day I felt as though I could overcome just about anything. I never told anyone about this until now. I figured that most people would not have understood my personal battle.

From then on, I was like the postman. Nothing was going to keep me down. I refused to allow the weather conditions to hinder my progress. I found ways around the depressing effects that rain.sleet and snow have over my mood. Even if the kids did not have school, I got up and I got out of that house. It was something I had to do for myself. To this day, I still work out whenever I can. And I do not permit the weather determine whether or not I can get a workout.

I have applied this mentality to every aspect of my life. And you can too. Raise above the Rain and find your way to what it is that should and can be achieved today and everyday !!

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This coming Monday in Boston,Massachussetts, thousands of runners will take to the streets in an effort to

complete the grueling twenty six mile course known as the Boston Marathon. The most fascinating part of this

race are the stories of the entrants in the news prior to what is called "Marathon Monday". Each person

highlighted on the evening news, comes from a different set of circumstances. Some of the people have lost

someone and are running in their memory. While others have just decided that this is "the" time for them to

take on this challenge.

One of the most difficult parts of this particular course is halfway through. At mile twenty all of the runners must face

"Heartbreak Hill". This is a 1.23 mile stretch that is an ascent. It is at this juncture that many runners cannot go on.

Every year I watch this race on the television and I am amazed and impressed at the bravery of each entrant for this

race. I believe that this particular race has the highest number of people who complete it without regard to their timing.

For some people it might be daylight when they begin the course and dusk upon completion. That represents a

high commitment to the goal of finishing this race.

I believe that everyone of us is in a "marathon" of sorts. Even though people have said that life is "short" the truth is,

the average life span is 79 years. That is a long time made up of intervals that mark major chronological changes that

impact us differently at each stage. If we were all sprinters, then the vast majority of folks would not make it past the

first quarter century. But that is not the case. This indicates that most people have what it takes to go the distance

regardless of their situation or circumstance. It is not necessary for them to have been previously condition for the long

haul, because when it comes down to it, what matters the most is the level of commitment to living as long as possible.

So this Monday also known as Patriots Day in Boston, remember that we are all Marathoners. It is not necessary to

have a number or a shirt in order to be in the race that represents your life. Regardless of where you are in the

Marathon, it only matters that you finish ! It is a race that is very individualized with results that vary from person

to person. Stay in it !!

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Have you ever been in the middle of your day and just had a vision in your head of something you would love to do?

Most people have this experience every once in a while. Unfortunately, what happens is that once that moment has

passed, with it goes all the hopes and possibilities, that vision brought. I have heard people say things like "Yeah like

that could ever happen". But the truth of the matter is, that everyone has access to ideas or visions that are unique to

their own experience. And the way that the access becomes blocked is through the negativity each one of us associates

with the possibility of actually achieving that vision.

These thoughts begin in our everyday experience and it is almost as though a door is opened showing us something the

is completely different from what we do on a day to day basis. Something that brings with it a glimpse of possibilities

we can only see from our small perspective. Unless we are willing to take a step further into the vision we are

experiencing, the door closes and all the things we caught sight of are lost. Once this happens it is near impossible

to bring back those initial feelings surrounding that vision.

Notice I said NEAR IMPOSSIBLE! Nothing is impossible, but it takes some work and effort on our parts. It means sitting

down with ourselves and admitting that we DESERVE to explore our vision further, instead of shrugging it off. It's easy

to think ourselves OUT of something, but extremely difficult to focus and bring an intangible to life.

The use of vision boards is one way of keeping our focus on goals and ideas. But it is MORE important to ALLOW the

possibility of the idea. Without that, all the vision boards in the world are of no use.

This week focus on an idea that you might have suppressed because it seemed out of reach. Allow yourself to have

ACCESS to that experience and just let it flow from there. You might just be surprised at the results. Solutions to

previously held obstacles could appear before your very eyes !!

#POSSIBILITIES,#ACCESS,#DESERVE


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