Love and Hope

As we come to the close of January and enter February, I thought I would share something that has been on my mind for a few weeks now, a song.  One thing I don’t do enough of is listening to inspiring or Christian music.  I thought I would share a song by Brandon Heath with you today.  Read the words, listen to the song, and think about the hope and love in your life.

“Your Love”

I felt it first when I was younger
A strange connection to the light
I tried to satisfy the hunger
I never got it right
I never got it right

So I climbed a mountain and l built an altar
Looked out as far as I could see
And everyday I’m getting older
I’m running outta dreams
I’m running outta dreams

But Your love
Your love
The only the thing that matters is Your love
Your love is all I have to give
Your love is enough to light up the darkness
It’s Your love
Your love
all I ever needed is Your love

You know the effort I have given
And you know exactly what it cost
And though my innocence was taken
Not everything is lost
Not everything is lost nooooo

But Your love
Your love
The only the thing that matters is Your love
Your love is all I have to give
Your love is enough to light up the darkness
It’s Your love
Your love
all I ever needed is Your love

You’re the hope in the morning
You’re the light when the night is falling
You’re the song when my heart is singing
it’s Your love
You’re the eyes to the blind man
You’re the feet to the lame man walking
You’re the sound of the people singing
It’s Your love

But Your love
Your love
The only the thing that matters is Your love
Your love is all I have to give
Your love is enough to light up the darkness
It’s Your love
Your love
all I ever needed is Your love

But Your love
(Your love is all that I needed)
The only the thing that matters is Your love
Your love is all I have to give
Your love is enough to light up the darkness
(Your love is all that I needed)
It’s Your love
Your love
It’s all I ever needed

Your Love via YouTube.

It’s a challenging world we live in.  There are so many opportunities to be emotionally injured, mentally distracted and it’s very easy to get overtaken by the way the world presents things (negatively).  I think we’re all entering a new phase in our lives and the only way we’ll all make it through is with an attitude, spirit and heart transformation towards one of hope. I’m thankful that Brandon Heath and others are sharing this message of hope so publicly and so well through song.

Share love and hope with someone today!  What impact has love and hope had on your life? Share your thoughts below.

The Why of Confidence

As I was planning my blog posts for this week, I decided I would write one about confidence.  Confidence is something that makes people happier, improves self-esteem and helps people be successful.  I’ve written in the past about some ways to be confident and there are tons of resources available online for improving your self-confidence.  Today however, I’m sharing about one way that I’ve seen shared a lot in a slightly different context, but I realized it’s a great way to build your confidence.

Everyone needs a “why” in life.  The reason you get out of bed, the reason you run your own business, the reason you work at the job you do, the reason you’re in the relationships you’re in. What are some of your “whys?”

What I’ve discovered is that when I use my “why” in my conversations with potential clients, I feel more confident!  When I remember my “why” while I’m dealing with writer’s block, I often get inspired, and my confidence in my writing returns.  Your “why” will give you confidence too!

Why does having a “why” give you confidence?  It lights that important fire within you. Confident people are inspired and driven by something or someone.  It also gives you energy. Confident people are usually very alert looking and seem to have a special energy around them that makes everyone around them notice them. Having a “why” gives you a purpose.  Confident people are not only purpose-driven, but they’re also purpose inspired and make decisions based on that purpose.

To get you started, I’m going to share one of my “whys” and I would love to hear your “why” below!

My why starts with you.  I have seen so many unhappy, unsuccessful, unfulfilled people.  These people are living this way for no reason!  There are so many opportunities available to each of us today, opportunities for personal development, relationship openness, financial security and future possibility that people are either ignoring or unaware of.  Each day I do what I do in hopes of showing one more person the possibilities that lie within themselves, in their relationships and in their creativity.  One place it started for me was with a fresh perspective, a perspective of hope for each and every day.

What is your why?  Share what motivates you and gives you your hope for tomorrow below!

The Possibilities of Hope

“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” Christopher Reeve

Today’s quote really inspires me.  After talking about Dr. Martin Luther King last week, I’m excited to be talking about this bit of inspiration from Christopher Reeve.  There’s a couple important things to notice here.

First, hope is a choice.  Every day we make choices that impact what we do, how we do it and the people who are involved.  Each and every day I get up and make one decision: to share hope with the world.  It’s not always an easy decision, but it’s really important to me.  I believe that hope is so important to each and every person’s life today.  You can choose if you want to live focused on your problems, mistakes, bad decisions and challenges.  Or you can choose to live with hope about the opportunities that are available and doors that will open for you.

Second, once you’ve made the decision to live and share hope, the world opens to you.  When you live closed off to the possibilities of the world (when you reject hope), you limit your life and yourself.  You basically decide that you don’t want to be as successful as you could in life, you don’t want to work as well as you could, you don’t want to be happy in life and you want to be miserable as long as you live.  However, the decision to live with hope gives you possibilities. If you’re hopeful you’ll see options not problems, opportunities and not issues, and chances not closed doors.  Yes you will have challenges, but the attitude shift you’ve chosen towards hope will help you see those challenges in a whole new light than you would if you didn’t choose hope.

If you asked Warren Buffet, Babe Ruth, Christopher Columbus, Oprah, Marie Curie, Jesus, or any other successful, transformational individual if they lived with an attitude of hope or one that limited them, I’m pretty sure that all of them would tell you that they had hope in something that they could accomplish what they set out to do.

I encourage you to choose to live with hope today.  It’s not always the easiest decision, but it’s always the best.  Share your commitment to hope, the way you share hope with the world or your thoughts below!

Many Reasons For Joy

In reading Nehemiah 12 this week, I was inspired by verse 43 to share some reasons we have to be joyful in 2011!  Share your reasons for joy below!

Laughter

Gratitude

You’re part of the greater plan

Movement of life

Creative solutions

Opportunities in the disguise of challenges

Letting go

You matter

Joy is in the journey

Opportunities to give

Giving back

Music

Dreams

Accomplishments

Exploration

Being playful

Friends

Yoga

Food

Nature

Forgiveness

Hope

Relaxation

Learning to say no

Animals

Sleep

Children

Chocolate

Would you share things that bring you joy, and your reasons for being joyful below?

Stop Talking, Start Communicating

Following Monday’s post on words, today we’re talking about communication.

Let’s start by discussing the difference between communicating and talking. Talking covers all types of words that we share, from gossip, to long and drawn out stories, to curses and (in)formal conversation.  However, communication is more direct, more clear, and more purposeful.  You can be a great communicator without talking a lot.  If people communicated more and talked less, we would all get more done, have better relationships and hopefully have happier lives.

So how do we upgrade from just talking to communicating?

Be clear: go ahead, think before you speak!  Be concise, and take your time to really think about the right word or phrase.  Don’t just settle with a curse or two!  Write it down if you have to just so you get to the point, the person you’re talking to doesn’t tune out, and you express what you really feel is important to say.

Be honest: don’t be afraid to tell the truth.  If you’re really communicating for the benefit of your relationship, you’ll be honest.  A sprinkle or two of love & gentleness never hurts though!

Use descriptive words: you don’t have to sound like a scholar, but go for fewer, but more descriptive words.

Finally, listen at least 60% of the time and talk 40% of the time.  I’m a full supporter of making sure everyone has a fair and as equal as possible chance in life, but if we took the time to listen more often than we spoke, we would miss less and make fewer major mistakes.

What are your thoughts on words and communicating?  What strategies do you use or have you learned that have made you a better communicator?  Share your thoughts and tips below.

The Inspiration of Dreams

Today rather than sharing an inspirational quote, I thought we could discuss an inspirational individual.  Although it’s after the official celebration, we do have February and Black History Month coming up. You’re probably familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who is famous for his 1963 peace rally in Washington DC with his I have a dream speech.  Let’s take a look at some of the reasons Martin Luther King Jr. is an inspirational person.

Dreams: Dr. King had dreams, he shared his dreams with not just “his people” but with everyone. He wasn’t afraid to talk with those he didn’t know or worry that someone wouldn’t like him. He put his dreams first and fears second.

Everybody can be great: He didn’t limit anyone’s abilities or dreams.  He was one of the most outspoken people about anyone being able to be not only great, but a powerful vehicle for change and transformation.

Everybody can serve and make a difference: no matter how young or old you are you can do something good and helpful for someone else.

Hope, healing, freedom: Dr. King’s message is one that is always applicable, but so much more now.  As we’re getting into 2011, we need more hope, healing and freedom than ever, from the recession, and for the earth.

Values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service: Dr. King’s insistence on everyone having values grows from the very document and values the USA was based on.  These values should be available for and lived by everyone today.

Universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence: The movement in the 60’s wasn’t all about protesting, as we see so many groups today, it was about love for everyone, forgiveness to those who hadn’t shown love in the past, and it provided a nonviolent opportunity for safe, and necessary, change.

Have a voice: In 2011 there are more ways than ever to have a voice.  There are blogs, Facebook, Twitter, radio shows and other ways you can share your voice and have your message heard.

Have a vision: Dr. King didn’t just protest, he had a dream that was bigger than the issue at hand.  Don’t just be upset with where you are in life, have a vision and plan for the different life you will have in the future.

Take action: This is probably one of his best characteristics. Not only did Dr. King have a vision, and inspire people, but he made sure to put actions behind his words.

Today I encourage you to follow Dr. King’s lead.  Have a dream and live it too!  What actions will you take today and in the following weeks and months to make your dreams a reality?

The Words We Speak

As I was looking for some inspirational thoughts from the Bible to share with you on our first of two posts this week about words and communication, I stumbled upon these verses in Revelation:

Revelation 2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.”

Revelation 2:8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.”

Revelation 2:12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.”

Revelation 2:18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.”

Revelation 3:1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.”

Revelation 3:7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”

Revelation 3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.”

Reading these descriptions about Jesus I was humbled.  I know my words don’t always stack me up against these descriptions of Jesus.  Jesus’ words are powerful, but so are yours and mine.  Ours have the ability to help or hurt, love or wound, break or build. Our words share a lot about who we are.  Jesus always took the time to listen and care for others with his words.  Jesus also was the perfect example of someone who always used his words to help, love and build. I know I’m not the First and the Last, the Amen or He who is holy and true.  However, I am a child of God made in His image.  Because I’m made to be like Him, my words should be like His.  This week not only will I strive to use words that would be honoring of my blessing to be a child of God, but also I will do my best to remember the power behind each word I speak (I challenge you to do this too!). The great thing about words is that they can be used to ask for forgiveness when they’re used in error or ill-use of power 🙂

How about you?  What lessons have words taught you?  Share your thoughts below.