Archive for the ‘Hot Topics’ Category

PostHeaderIcon HAPPY THANKSGIVING … A TIME TO BE THANKFUL

By Vernalee
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Happy Thanksgiving!
As we cook, bless the food, and enjoy the day off, it is a joyous time of reflections.
Oh yes … Thanksgiving is more than a day of the huge feast – turkey, ham, dressing, cakes, and pies; though the delectable food is yummy to our tummies! It’s more than a day of parades and countless football games.
It is a day to be thankful – thankful for life, loved ones, family, friends, and the amenities of living!
Recognized as one of the busiest travel times, many people travel near and far to be with and share time with people that they love. Kindred spirits are the order of the day.
On the flip side, the holidays can be a lonely time for some!
There are some folks who are not as fortunate as others. The bread of loneliness they may eat.
They may have few people who sincerely and lovingly care about them. Regretfully, some may even spend the day alone.
So this holiday season, let’s share our fortunes of love, kindness, and resources with others.
Give financial blessings and blessings of your time.
Let not your love be selfish and superficial; ignoring the needs of others.
Turning your head should not be an option.
God will see you if you do.
Let your love be overflowing like a cornucopia. I am sure that the recipients of your generosity will be thankful!
For certain, you would have left them better than you found them!
That feeling should fill your soul as much as the Thanksgiving meal filled your tummy!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Blessings!
Photo credit: www.catholicism.about.com

PostHeaderIcon LONELINESS DURING THE HOLIDAYS

By Vernalee

Thanksgiving starts the holiday countdown. We start preparing meals, giving gifts, attending parties, and being festive. Happiness and joy fill the air.
That’s great!
But … what about those people who don’t have anyone to celebrate or share their time with? What do they do? How can we help them?
There are so many pointers that we can give to those who are lonely at the holiday times.
Take a look.
1. Understand that you are not all alone.
2. Rethink your expectations.
3. Get connected.
4. Cultivate gratitude.
5. Give to others.
6. Examine your feelings.
7. Remember, alone doesn’t mean lonely.
8. Change up things.
9. Make someone else happy.
10. Don’t be afraid to initiate. Reach out to family and friends.
11. The holidays are not a time to open up old wounds.
12. Limit how much you take on.
13. Send care packages.
14. Volunteer. Get involved.
15. When no one is around, you always have God.
For those who have recently lost loved ones, these holidays will certainly feel different because they will not be here as they traditionally have been to cut the turkey at Thanksgiving, open presents at Christmas, or bring in the New Year. Let’s pray for strength.
In closing, here’s a shout out to those people who may feel lonely and a little down and out this holiday season.
Don’t have a pity party.
As difficult as it may be, be uplifted; be thankful; stay prayerful.
May God Bless you and relieve your loneliness during this holiday season.
Photo credit: www.bing.com; Source: www.verywell.com; www.directiondiva.com

PostHeaderIcon REMOVE THOSE LOW HANGING CLOUDS FROM YOUR LIFE

By Vernalee
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Undoubtedly, you have heard the expression that a person has a “cloud hanging over their head.”
That quote refers to a situation or future event that makes you worry or feel unhappy.
Another equivalent saying that is spiced up slightly adds that there is a
“Black cloud hanging over your head” which refers to a
feeling you have that something unpleasant is in the air or it can mean that you’re depressed or unhappy about something. Adding further, the black cloud may signify that you are in a dicey situation or that Lady Luck has vanished.” Though it is an expression and a feeling, for illustrative purposes, do know that we may have people floating on those clouds that are the root of our uneasiness and discomfort.
Now in real life, we know that clouds are visible masses of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere, typically high above the ground; and that although we feel the figurative effects, we are not literally walking around with our personal one over our heads. However, when we feel uneasy or uncomfortable, our inferences to visible references heighten our understanding sometimes. So when we feel those clouds, (and we will) be they “black” or not,
“here are some strategies that we can use that will help banish the stress.

1. Support Systems. If you’re constantly running on empty, your mind, body, and soul will suffer the repercussions of your tenacity. There’s no shame in asking for a helping hand. Sometimes, you’ll be able lean on a spouse, coworker, or friend, but if you find the need to talk to a therapist; do so. Start with having a discussion with your partner or family and see if you can brainstorm a way to eliminate daily stress pockets.
2. Self Care. What do you enjoy doing? Knitting, relaxing in a bubble bath, drawing, lounging in bed watching reruns of Sex and the City? Indulge yourself in your favorite restful activity a few times each week; carving out a few hours each weekend to indulge in your favorite lazy activity. Choose at least one weeknight to relax after work. Start with a walk outside. You might need your sunglasses because you have been under that dark cloud for so long. But trust me — there is sunshine, fresh air, beautiful things to look at out there!
3. Simplify life. Simplify your routines, your commitments, your information intake, your cluttered rooms, and have less stress as a result. Identify those things that are most important in your life…and then get rid of the rest. It may not be quite that easy, but you can certainly start somewhere with this idea. Think of just one thing that has been bothering you that you can remove and do it. Once you start with one, you will see a ray of sunlight.
4. Meditation. With meditation, we can learn to transform our minds from chaos to calm. And it is really not as hard as you might think. A favorite meditation is a “Breathing Meditation”. It is simple and you can do it anywhere. Sit in any comfortable position, with your eyes partially closed. Now breathe. Just breathe normally through your nose. Notice how your body moves and what the air feels like. If your mind wanders, just bring it back to your breath. Even just practicing this for two minutes a day will add another ray of sunlight.”
Into each life, the clouds give way to water and a little rain will fall. Taking this advice in stride though, the sky is the limit as we look to make our days and life pleasantly enjoyable. Removing the gloom and doom with a replacement of brightness and happiness is a good thing! Let’s get started! Take out your umbrella, let the sun rays hit your face, and start your day and journey by walking out of a dark cloudy day to a scorching sunny day. Let’s “feel fine on Cloud 9;” in our euphoric state of natural happiness!
Photo Credit: www.imagellance.com; Source: www.lifehack.org

PostHeaderIcon SHOPPING IN YOUR CLOSET

By Vernalee
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I had a fabulous shopping experience last week.
My finds were terrific.
Guess where I went?
No, I did not go to Macy’s or Saks Fifth Avenue at Legacy Village or Beachwood Place. Waking up to see the Eiffel Tower out of my Hilton Hotel window and walking the streets of Paris cruising from one boutique to another would have been great. It is on my bucket list!
But I was in none of those places.
Instead and not as exciting as Paris or NYC, I walked into my guest room and went shopping in my closet.
That’s right!
It was there that I found a number of items with price tags on them.
I am serious!
Where did these items come from? The answer is simple.
I went shopping some time ago, bought some items that I liked, put them in the closet, and forgot that they were there. That’s right.
Unbelievable!
How many folks can tell the same story? Hush!
Yet, I don’t know how many times that I have said, “I don’t have anything to wear!” What about you? Shame … on you and me!
What I realized is that my closet was not organized so I didn’t know exactly what I had. Oh my!
It didn’t surprise me that surveys stipulate that the average woman spends over $3500.00 a year and some change on clothing.
However, I am here to testify that my recent shopping experience was within arms reach as I did an archival dig in my closet.
I found what I wanted within the comfort of my home.
Take it from me! So before you go to the store, go to your closet first.
A new outfit and accessories probably await you.
Afterwards, here’s what you need to do:
* Team up with your tailor.
* Repair and Renew.
* Accessorize outside your jewelry box.
* Get crafty.
* Mix and Match it up.
* Strategically reposition and organize your clothing.
Now because I took a few steps, walked into the next room, and pulled out a few hangers that were already there, I have about 10 – 12 new outfits. Groovy!
I am thrilled. I have new glamorous outfits to sport a new look with no money spent!.
I am also rethinking my look and style. It’s time for a makeover since I got up off my rear end to move beyond my comfort zone of wearing the same things over and over.
To my fan club, you will be seeing me in a flash of more colors than my standard traditional black. While searching, I also found colorful scarves and attachments that I didn’t know I had! I plan to add a little spice to my life by accessorizing with vibrant sun bright colors … and more.
You go girl!
Time and energy are my only hurdles because I have 3 more closets to go! Then I’m off to search through my jewelry boxes.
Vintage jewelry, anyone?
Join me … but do so in your own closets … not mine!
Photo credit: www.pininterest.com

PostHeaderIcon WHAT TYPE OF SHOPPER ARE YOU?

By Vernalee
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Want to go shopping anyone?
When you go to the stores, be prepared.
Have a plan.
Smart shopping requires research, skills, and time.
My daughter Phoebe and I tend to go to a particular shop, purchase the items we desire, and go home.
My nieces, however are shopping divas with a skill set that can rival the best.
They are the “shop till you drop” ladies.
They can dig up a pricey Saks Fifth Avenue designer suit at a bargain warehouse for such a ridiculous price that it is laudable. I kid you not!
I marvel at their skills!
Their finds leave you speechless!
I don’t know if they have telescopic vision, but they know where all the sales are (near and far; on line and off) including the moment of their occurrence. Finding the “blue light” specials is their specialty as they emerge into one or several of the smart shoppers categories below:
1. The Bargain Hunter – Gets the best price.
2. The Impulse Buyer – Acts quickly to snag a deal.
3. The Loyalist – Uses rewards to save big.
4. The Researcher – Compares every offer.
5. The Negotiator – Always haggles.
6. The Shopper on a mission – Plans strategically.
To my nieces, I am recommending that you set up a personal shopping business.
You will make a mint!
Sometimes, I wonder who is the best shopper – Beverly, Sharon, Stefe, or Stacy.
It’s too close to call. They are all … just that good!
Here’s my advice girls –
To get you started, I’ll prepare your business plan and develop the necessary business particulars.
Use your skills and talents to shop for others and make big money doing the one thing that you love – shopping!
Cha Ching!
Photo credit: www.essence.com; Illustration by Aimee Camilien; Source: Essence Magazine

PostHeaderIcon LIES – HOW OFTEN DO WE TELL THEM?

By Vernalee
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Though your nose may not grow like the fictitious Pinocchio if you tell a lie, it is a statistical fact that we all lie – from time to time. Shut your mouth!
Stop lying by saying that you don’t!
Some of us are better liars than others; some can even lie convincingly without blinking an eye.
It may be a little lie, a big lie, or a “shading” of the truth lie by withholding critical information.
Yet, for certain, regardless of the size or content of the story – a lie is a lie!
Yes, that’s right, though admission may not be easy, you may be a big, fat liar.
According to current research, “by age four, 90% of children have grasped the concept of lying, and it just gets worse from there.
Just how bad is it?
Let’s see.
A. How frequent do we lie?
1. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults can’t have a ten minute conversation without lying at least once. But even that number makes it sound better than it really is; those people in the study who did lie actually told an average of 3 lies during their brief chat. And I know you’re sitting there right now insisting you would be part of the 40% that didn’t lie. That’s what the liars in the study thought, too. When they watched the taped conversations back, they were shocked at how many fibs they had told. The average number of lies told per day was 1.65. That number is surprisingly low. Many participants were lying about the extent of their lying!
B. Who do we lie to?
1. We lie to everyone. Our parents get the worst of it, according to “The Day America Told the Truth,” with 86% of us lying to them regularly; followed by friends (75%); siblings (73%); and spouses (69%). But in general we lie about things that aren’t important, little things that we think will make us look better or more like-able.
C. What do we lie about?
1. Liars are indiscriminate on their subject matter. However, sometimes we do lie about things that matter. According to one estimate, 40% of people lie on their resumes. According to a study by Scientific American, a whopping 90% of people looking for a date online, lie in their profile. The biggest fib told by women is an obvious one; on average ladies claim to weigh eight and a half pounds less than they actually do. Men, on the other hand, try to use their profile to convince potential partners that they are taller, richer, and/or better educated than they actually are. But before you vow never to trust anyone again, here’s some food for thought: A study by the University of Toronto found that it is actually the most trusting people who are best able to tell when they are being lied to.”
Lie detector tests are definitely out of the question. No telling how we would fare there!
It is highly likely that many would be too stressed to take the test because they can’t conceal the lies.
Are you in awe of those who lie and think that you think that they told the truth?
Let’s not forget that the so called “private” conservative people who are reluctant to tell you stuff are not reserved when it comes to lying.
They are often times the bigger offenders since their lives are built around not telling their business.
Keeping secrets and keeping you out of their business remain their number one goal. Lies aid in that process.
Did I hear someone reciting the childhood poem, “Liar, liar, pants on fire?” The fireman’s truth is to hose you down with water to extinguish the flames! Unbelievable – once you dry out, you start lying again!
All of this tells us one thing:
The truth is a luxury; it is worth its weight in gold since we hear so little of it!
Photo credit: www.cartoonbros.com; Source: www.mentalfloss.com; www.psychologytoday.com

PostHeaderIcon BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

By Vernalee

“Don’t doubt yourself, that’s what haters are for.”
― Turcois Ominek
The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful people isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources. It’s the belief that they can make their goals happen.
We all deal with vulnerability, uncertainty, and failure. Trust in yourself that you can move forward, then you will figure it out.
The below views should be encompassed in your belief system. Take a look.
A. Nurturing Positive Views
1. Make a list of past accomplishments.
2. Talk to people who love you.
3. Find a cause that you believe in.
4. Set realistic goals.
5. Reflect at the end of each day.
6. Be persistent.
B. Furthering Good Habits
1. Connect with people
2. Build yourself up.
3. Find ways to keep moving forward.
4. Be proactive.
5. Focus on the positive.
6. Do things that are hard.
7. Practice speaking up for yourself.
8. Help others.
C. Taking Care of Yourself
1. Pay attention to your appearance and hygiene.
2. Nourish your body with healthy food.
3. Exercise every day.
4. Get plenty of sleep.
5. Relax every day.
6. Maintain a pleasant environment.
Believe in yourself!
Move forward.
Photo credit: www.brainyquotes.com; Source: www.wikihow.con

PostHeaderIcon NOT THE SHARPEST KNIFE IN THE DRAWER

By Vernalee
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Are you one of those folks who think that you are the smartest person walking; that no one can fool you because you have all the answers?
Of course, you don’t have to answer that question.
We often times deny who we really are anyway.
For sure, you may have attained the educational accolades and be recognized professionally.
You may even have the cream of the crop in terms of material possessions.
Great!
I’m proud and happy to see the progression.
You worked hard and invested the time, energies, and financial resources to acquire those things.
I ain’t mad at ya!
But before we move on, I pass on a hint that was grilled in my head early on.
I hope you find its acceptance.
Here goes.
* Stay humble!
* Keep your feet on solid ground!
* What goes up may come down!
* Don’t let what you have change who you are!
* Don’t elevate your level of importance or put your arrogant head in the clouds, and look down on others.
May I share with you an observation?
Growing up in small towns illuminates your vision.
It enables you to see things – up close and personal.
Many, in fact most of my hometown folks were uneducated; some illiterate.
Yet, they were some of the smartest people that I have meet.
Interesting, but true.
So today, read my lips.
What you see is not always what lies within!
I caution you to stop underestimating folks!
You know the group that the elite pompously relegate to the corner of ignorance for not being able to intelligently process information to their level of acceptance.
There is a plethora of one liners that are used to describe them.
Here is a modest list:
* Not the sharpest tool in the shed.
* Dumb as a bag of nails and a box of rocks.
* Not the brightest light in the harbor.
* The light’s on but no one’s home.
* Not the brightest bulb in the box.
* A few screws short of a hardware store.
* A few cards short of a deck.
* A few fries short of a Happy Meal.
* About as sharp as a marble.
* Only has one oar in the water.
* The elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor.
* A few peas short of a casserole, and of course,
* Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
They may not have been “A” students, but their common sense may put them light years ahead or equal to the academic greats with their street sense of understanding, interpretations, and calculations.
Much their eyes have seen!
Common sense is their strong suit.
You probably know some of these folks; I proudly know many.
So be careful!
They let the name calling roll off their backs.
The streets have toughen them up and granted them immunity.
“Sticks and stones may break their bones, but names will never hurt them!” Therefore, don’t disregard what they know!
Don’t underestimate their intelligence.
When it comes to street savvy, they wrote the book and may can run circles around the best!
Watch it!
They may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but their blade still cuts!
Photo credit: www.annoyingorange.wikia.comE

PostHeaderIcon THE POWER OF GIVING BACK

By Vernalee
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Is there a responsibility to reach back and help people?
I think so!
Don’t you?
Taking the time to share your time, energies, resources, and knowledge is needed if we truly want to impact the well being of others.
Being a sounding board also goes far. Nothing beats listening ears alongside the hands that help!
Think about it.
Since God has the whole world in his hands, your hands helping someone else isn’t too much to ask; is it?
Besides, the “giving back” process isn’t that difficult or time consuming.
What comes easy and natural to some can be foreign and difficult to others. Regardless, there is power in giving back!
It is the right thing to do. The residuals pay off bountifully.
Your selflessness, caring, thoughtfulness, and actions of making someone else’s life better will strengthen you immeasurably!
It is very fulfilling and satisfying. Try it; you will see and agree!
Together, we can make a difference. We can make the world a better place!
Photo credit: www.cuttingedgeproducts.net

PostHeaderIcon THE POWER OF AN APOLOGY

By Vernalee
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We cannot go back in time and redo what we messed up.
We can apologize!
Is it worth it or is your ego more valuable.
You must decide.
Was it a misstep?
Was it worth giving up everything for the action taken?
Is your pride in the way?
Pride always come before the fall.
Proverbs 16:18 tells us.
“Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.”
I’m sorry…
Two words that are difficult for many to say; two words that separate the men from the boys; two words that reveal our maturity.
Since we all misstep, admittance and an apology speak more to our character than the error of our ways.
More importantly, it shows that you are not above saying I’m sorry!
Alright, I feel the need to say, “I’m sorry!”
If you do too, let’s talk.
It doesn’t matter who calls first.
It doesn’t matter who makes the first step?
Does it?
For sure, whoever is the biggest person will establish contact.
Agreed?
The cowards will be just that – cowards!
Pieces are meant to be picked up sometimes.
They can be put back together; often times stronger than before.
Enough said!
We’ll see what wins; our regrets or our egos.
That’s what it boils down to; make no mistake about it!
Speaking of power …
Who will make the first step?
We’ll see!
Photo credit: www.sweetnessoftheeverydayblogspot.com; Quote: Maya Angelou.

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