I often hear people say, “no one does anything for me”, which is difficult to accept when there are an abundance of blessings in front of us. Part of the problem is whether or not we chose to see them. I was walking into a store and watched a little, sandy hair boy with wide eyes struggle to hold the door open for a woman with a grocery bag and large purse in her arms. She didn’t look down and she didn’t thank him, but I’m quite sure she knew the door didn’t open itself. When I was having lunch, a gentlemen dropped his napkin on the floor and looked down, but left it there. The server came over, politely picked it up, and placed a fresh one next to his plate. The gentleman failed to look up and acknowledge him. He continued talking as if the server was invisible.
I observe these types of things more often than I see polite exchanges of appreciation. It is as though people feel entitled to courteous behavior, but fail to acknowledge it with a simple “thank you” or nod of appreciation if they are on the phone. Some type of acknowledgement is better than none.
- The next time someone communicates with kindness, return the kindness by acknowledging it and passing the courtesy along to someone else.
- Use the words, “thank you” more often.
- Look someone in the eye when they are doing something for you, even if you didn’t ask for their help.
- Because someone is serving you, doesn’t mean they are subservient or beneath your acknowledgement. We all serve someone in one way or another.
I love what I do as it allows me to inspire people to see the best in themselves and invest the time and work to bring their vision to fruition. My passion evolved from my personal journey many years ago and when I cross paths with those that do the same, it feeds my soul. It takes someone who has been on an extraordinary journey to bring enlightenment and encouragement to others. By sharing their experiences, they can help those that want to begin healing, but don’t know how.
When it comes to things that lead to child abuse, bullying, substance abuse and relevant subjects that need to be addressed, Todd James Myers has done so in a powerful story based on his life, The Fall. I love taking time to observe people in their natural state because it allows me to see the truth as to who they really are. I learned more than one could imagine about Todd and how he came to fall out of one life and into another. As he was writing his story, he took me to places he lived, the bridge he took the fall from, the location where he had his spiritual awakening and the ranch that he spent months in rehab piecing his life back together. He showed me where and how people begin a life of devastation from a history of pain. Have you ever taken the fall due to painful circumstances and found it difficult to overcome? We all do. The difference is some fight to overcome it while sadly, others concede and give in.
After hearing the powerful narrative of Todd’s life, I looked into his eyes and saw a man that truly understands his mission. He’s living it and making a difference in the lives of others every single day. In working with Todd to communicate the fascinating, yet painful details of his past, I found him to be the epitome of a compassionate soul that was created by the harsh experiences, which were his reality for many years.
In reading The Fall, you will learn to understand what people internalize and how carrying painful experiences can change the path of or destroy their life. We hold on to negative emotions without realizing the damage it will do if we don’t release them and seek healing and forgiveness from God. The inspiration and message in The Fall will change you forever!
I am constantly in awe of the extraordinary gift God has given me. We all receive God’s gifts in different ways. Some are during particular times throughout our life, others are unexpected, and some have the tendency to go unnoticed. For me, the most significant gift was my children. It was as if God knew what I would need to give me purpose, develop my passion and awaken my spirit. The joy that my children brought flushed out the pain of my own childhood and gave me a chance to do better or make their childhood as I thought it should be. I believe in order to accomplish something as brilliant as the light of the sun, that ability must come from God, as it is God who created the sun just as God created us. Taking care, skill and nurturing God’s gift is the way to show our appreciation for it. Here are five ways to accomplish this with your children.
- Instead of denying your children what you may have been denied as a child or at some point in your life, work diligently to give them the exact things you needed most.
- Take time to teach balance as well as boundaries. In addition, make sure they appreciate the blessings bestowed upon them by God, as there are many.
- Encourage them to believe in their dreams and go after any goal they desire with faith and effort, as it is God who will make it possible.
- Understand that it is your actions that can cultivate an environment where love towards one another is radiant, rather than pitting one child against the other to fight for your favor or love in the darkness.
- Show them how to return inspiration to this universe instead of depleting it out of greed and selfishness.
I realized that God hands us mighty gifts. The gift of children is but one as I have seen and heard the gift of music lift the soul, culinary skills inspire the palette, the depths of art reach hidden passions, and dance releases positive energy. Intellect raises the bar, kindness offers a cure for sadness, and athleticism breeds a competitive spirit and so on and so forth as the gifts given to each of us are what God believed we needed.
If you’ve not found your gift, drop to your knees and ask God to reveal it with clarity and then go inward to find it. Once you do, treasure it as it is just for you!
Inspiration by my family and I:
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In the past several years I’ve heard many personal accounts of people falling prey to bad mortgage loans or having made poor financial decisions, while others have lost their homes, which completely devastated their financial situation. One of the common denominators was lack of knowledge and understanding the consequences of not adhering to the warnings. It hurt my heart because I wasn’t certain there was much I could offer other than compassion, until now. We can’t change the past; however, we can better prepare for our future decisions.
We forget to protect ourselves by learning things that typically fall outside of our interest. Unfortunately, many people make financial mistakes simply because they don’t know any better. Lack of knowledge causes you to rely on or trust someone that may not be completely trustworthy or transparent with you. By the time the transaction is complete, they are gone and you are left with the consequences that may affect you adversely in more ways than you know.
Mortgage Secrets, Strategies, & Warnings is a guide to help you, or anyone you know making financial decisions that are specific to the mortgage marketplace. It will give you the secrets and strategies that your loan originator may not and reveal warnings that will make you question if you are being handled with integrity and whether or not the loan being offered is best for you. It will teach you how to improve and protect your credit score, the fundamentals to borrowing money and much more.
Knowledge is power so share Mortgage Secrets, Strategies, & Warnings with your children, those you mentor and anyone that is about to make one of the biggest financial decisions of his or her life!
Each day you are faced with choices. It doesn’t matter how substantial or insignificant they are, they are still yours to make. Do you ever consider how often you’ve made a decision to do something and then changed your mind only to find that your first choice would have been correct? It happens more often than you can imagine. See, all of us have an incredible gift but few select to use it. Why? Simply because of the inability to connect to it or tune in to something you may not be aware you have. If you learn how, this gift can protect you from many unsavory choices and even save your life. It’s one powerful word with remarkable accuracy, intuition.
Intuition is something that will cause an internal debate if you don’t know how to trust it because it rises above reason. Most times, there are things that you want to do but when you get that nagging feeling that opposes it, you may change your mind if it isn’t in your favor. Learning to trust your intuition is much like having faith, as it is trusting something unseen, unheard and untested. Why, because it is a positive part of your evolution. Intuition will help you in your personal life as well as with your career. Learning to trust your intuition even when you don’t know why is the key to embracing it. In time, you will see that you knew best. Trust and appreciate this gift from God and begin using it now!
Here are three ways to tune into your intuition.
Look behind you. You’ve left a track record of bad decisions that you knew you should not have made. Your first voice is your intuition and the second is you trying to debate or reason with yourself.
Tune out the noise and into peace. Take time to release negative thoughts and emotions by meditating, practicing yoga, walking along a beach, or creating something artistic. Whatever you chose to do needs to keep you from anything that disrupts your spirit.
Embrace your faith. If you don’t believe, it becomes difficult to trust something that you don’t understand. Trusting the gift of intuition is trusting God knows best. Don’t be afraid if decisions aren’t aligned with what you want as they are in accordance with what is best for you or those affected by your intuition.
Once you begin to pay more attention to your intuition you will learn to trust it.
Once you’re here, it’s real. Life isn’t simulated and you don’t get a practice run so you may as well resign to the fact of making this gift work, as our time isn’t guaranteed. Now I am at an age that I’ve learned to give an honest reflection of my life. I think about what I’ve been through and how many situations and their outcome have shaped me into the person I am today. I have to admit that sadness seeps in when I review the time that I squandered being angry and unwilling to forgive others for things that may have been out of their control at the time; they may have been a product of their environment. I remember time spent trying to control things I had no control over and the frustration it brought. I had moments that I wanted to give up before understanding the challenges I had were meant to make me stronger, and they did.
Each time I sought solace, I went to God and each time, God answered. There were times I listened and then there were times I didn’t because I wanted the fast, convenient path to my goals; but it never worked. As I learned to become diligent in submitting to God and the destiny that He had for me, things became clearer and I was able to see and comprehend His plan.
God wanted me to be kinder, more forgiving, and see far beyond my own plight. God wanted me to care about something other than what was within my grasp and share something that didn’t cost a thing. The same inspiration God granted me was meant for me to share with you. It lifted me up so I could see there was more beauty to life than what I was focusing on.
In your darkest hours, painful moments or times of struggle go beyond your boundaries and share compassion for others. Give freely and care abundantly as the healing will be for you. I am still growing and learning but I am trusting God to lead me through my journey. What people see in me that inspires them and lifts them at times of need is simply God working through me because I am receptive to it. Take the attention off of your problems and focus on developing yourself. It works because it will make you stronger and more resilient so you will accomplish your goals.
I often spend time catching up on my favorite shows like Being Human, Revenge, Nikita, Pretty Little Liars, The OC and Gossip Girl when I’m designing book covers for clients. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology I can’t help but to wonder if the characters are really as human or down to earth as some make it seem or if they are annoyed by the constant intrusion on their life.
It was early afternoon when my mother, brother and I casually stepped into a quaint little restaurant in Studio City, California to grab lunch. It was the first time I’d been there but my brother swore that the menu would satisfy my discriminating palette. Mom quickly agreed. After ordering lunch, we sat down at a table on the left side of the restaurant, closer to the back patio. We had just finished a taping on The Talk and leisurely bumped into Dan Bucatinsky, from Scandal, who kindly indulged in a little conversation with us. Then, Sheryl Underwood made time to say hello after a fun exchange between her and my brother, Aaron. The day was beautiful. Mom and I live in Ohio so every time we visit California for business, we make it a point to have fun. This trip wasn’t any different.
The server kindly came over to our table and placed Aaron’s Chai Tea in front of him along with a large slice of chocolate cake, a slice of lemon cheesecake for Mom and a large chocolate chip cookie for me.
Mom politely said, “I’m sorry, I ordered two cookies.”
Without hesitation the server smiled and said, “No problem. I’ll be right back,” before disappearing around the corner. Mom reached into her purse and eyed the receipt to make sure, then she smiled and said, “Lyss, I don’t see two cookies.” My face lit up as my brother started laughing.
“I didn’t pay for it,” she continued. Just then, the server dropped yet another large chocolate chip cookie in front of her and disappeared again before Mom could say anything. “Well, I can’t take this. I thought I paid for it, but I didn’t,” she admitted with a look of guilt on her face.
“That’s okay, I’ll take care of it. I’ll just go pay for it and explain what happened.”
“But what’s the big deal? It’s a cookie,” my brother teased, “It was a mistake.”
“Yes, one that I can fix because you know how Karma is.” I started to walk away and Mom insisted I take her credit card. “I’ve got it Mom,” I said smiling, watching my brother indulge in his chocolate cake.
I went back to the cashier to get in line and there were two guys in the front and a small group of people behind them. I have a habit of taking in my surroundings wherever I go and for some reason, one of the guys caught my attention. It was his skin tone. I know, it sounds a bit odd, but the guy played a vampire on Being Human. I caught a side view of the gorgeous Sam Witwer and instantly knew it was him before seeing his full face.
His friend caught my stunned reaction and said, “Oh, you’re looking at him? He’s my best friend. Go ahead,” he said motioning for me to approach Sam.
He tapped Sam on the shoulder and when he turned around, my heart raced as I managed to say the same thing he’s probably heard countless times, “I’m a big fan of Being Human.”
Without hesitation, Sam closed the menu, stepped out of line, and told the people behind him to go ahead. “Oh, thank you. I’m Sam,” he said, extending his hand.
“I’m Alyssa,” I said shaking his hand.” Then he lightly clasped his hands together and gave me his full attention, looking directly in my eyes (as his character on Being Human did when he hypnotized people) and so did his stunning friend. At that moment, I didn’t feel like a fan, I felt like a friend, too.
Sam said, “Thank you. How’s your day going?”
I told him about us being on The Talk and with sincere interest, Sam asked, who was on the show. It felt like nearly ten minutes before I asked to take a picture and he replied, “Sure. Of course.”
His friend said, “Here, I’ll take it for you.” And then his friend smiled and added, “I’ll take two for good measure.”
I glanced at the picture and Sam asked if he could see it too. “That one’s a little blurry, do you want to take it again?” Sam asked.
I swiped to the next picture and said, “Oh, this one’s perfect!” I thanked Sam and his friend, and told them both it was nice meeting them.
He returned to the counter to order and I stood behind him before another cashier said, “I can help you down here.” When I explained to the cashier what happened, she said, “Thank you for your honesty but I would have just eaten it.” We both laughed.
But this was one of those little things that Mom taught me a long time ago about Karma. I started to walk away and then I spun around and touched Sam on his arm. “Thank you for taking the time.”
“You’re welcome,” he said with an incredibly authentic smile and caring tone. My mouth fell agape as I floated back to the table.
By the time I sat down, Mom said, “What’s wrong with my baby girl?” noticing my eyes were filled with tears. Okay, well the tears were falling. I recanted what had just transpired and told her that Sam was exactly the way I thought he would be as his character seemed to be a true representation of him. I told her that it’s nice to meet people that are larger than life in their profession and they sometimes draw us into buying or believing their character is who they really are, and at times, we simply want to believe they are like that. Okay, obviously Sam isn’t a vampire but his character is kind at heart and tried to blend in and be more human. It was a reprieve to see that Sam was human and treated me more like a friend than a fan. And his friend, oh my goodness! I knew him and I knew him well as I was a fan of his too. Being on such an incredibly high cloud from meeting Sam, I couldn’t gather my thoughts together to ask him for a picture and tell him how much I love his character. He was more interested in me meeting Sam after seeing my reaction towards him then feeling disregarded. He was extremely kind and had a warm air of sophistication about him. He was none other than the guy you can’t help but love, Jack from Revenge, Nick Wechsler! He too was being human. When they walked past our table, Nick nodded and smiled. Sam gently touched my shoulder as if to comfort me from my unbelievable encounter.
There’s nothing wrong with being human and revealing your compassionate side towards others regardless of what’s going on in your life. Showing people you care is a beautiful way of inspiring others.
There are times that you may feel alone in your decision-making but you aren’t. When you need to make a decision and you aren’t sure what to do, find a place that allows you to transition into a peaceful state of mind. Whether that’s walking along the beach, practicing meditation, yoga or cooking, do what you love to calm your spirit before making a decision that has the ability to influence your future.
All of us have something that protects us from our own decisions or rationalization. However, many of the choices we make are emotional choices because we want what we want. When we are overcome with that feeling that is telling you to do something or not to do something, that’s your intuition. You may not understand it because intuition rises above reason and in the words of Steve Jobs, “Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect.” Although you may not understand why you should trust it, it is there to protect, guide and teach you. When you look behind you, evidence of your choices opposing your intuition is there for you to learn from.
Find peace, submit to God’s gift of intuition and trust it. You will be able and more willing to do so as you continue to remove negativity and unnecessary noise from your life so you can tune into your intuition.
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I was walking along the beach where I found my first sand dollar years ago. I am a collector of them and was searching for another one. After a few days of searching, I realized the ocean was not willing to share it. My mind was clear and I was as carefree as one can get. It’s my way of taking in peaceful moments so that when I take in the negativity or stress from life or others, my peace will not diminish.
Typically, sand dollars are found near the shore burrowed in the sand. For some reason, I didn’t want to leave this beach without one. An hour later, the sun was beginning to set and I paused for a brief moment and said, “Father God, I’d really like a sand dollar. Just one. A big one, but just one.” Yes, it seems like a very insignificant request, but meaningful to me. If you don’t know the spiritual significance behind a sand dollar you will want to know it. It was my daughter that shared it with me.
As I continued to comb the beach searching for sand dollars, I didn’t realize that a wide stream of water separated me from the ocean. To get closer to the ocean I walked across two feet of water. When I reached the other side, I looked down and saw this very beautiful and large sand dollar on the edge of the water, partially buried. The smile on my face was so broad you would have thought I won the biggest lottery. I reached my hand into the water and carefully scooped it up. “Thank you God,” I said jumping around the beach with my smile. “Thank you!”
Okay, it sounds strange, but it is truly my faith. You see God sends me little affirmations all the time to let me know He hears me. So when the big things happen or the beautiful things evolve, I know it’s because of Him too. God knows my true spirit, heart and mind. He knows that I ask because I know He can and will. With all of the troubles and burdens of this world, He has always made time for my prayers and conversations. He has healed me from feeling the pain of my childhood and given me tremendous strength to endure. Regardless of what you may think, it is your faith that will bring you to this if you truly believe. I don’t believe in coincidence but I do believe in God. Sometimes the little signs are really big signs to let you know that God is listening, so believe.
I was sitting at my desk overlooking a beautiful view of the woods, but I couldn’t seem to pull my thoughts together and write. Everything was peaceful, yet I couldn’t remember where I should begin or what to write about. Noticing that my fingers weren’t striking the keyboard of my computer, my daughter, Alyssa walked up behind me and said, “Let’s listen to some music.” Before I knew it, she selected one of my files and suddenly the melodious sounds began streaming into me. “Do I like this music?” I asked. “No,” she replied, “You love it.”
I was recovering from a craniotomy where I had multiple aneurysms clipped only two months prior. My speech was slow and my short-term memory, poor. I had trouble reading and writing, but I allowed the inspiration of Switchfoot to move me, and it did the same for Alyssa. The romantic, psychological thriller, Intuition was inspired by true events and one chapter after another was written to a seamless collection of their music.
Intuition was released a week prior to Switchfoot playing in our hometown. It was unquestionable that we’d go to the concert. Excitement filled me at the mere thought that they might play, “Where I Belong” because the conclusion of the story was specifically written to it. They did, and Jon Foreman exhibited the most incredible display of passion possible. He dove inside the music for the duration of the concert, belting out soul-shaking lyrics. He didn’t know it, but during one of the songs, he walked along the banister to where Alyssa and I were standing and held my hand while emitting a solid hardcore performance while the base rocked my soul! The luminosity in my daughter’s face was most likely reflected from their inspiration that night. They were a collective effort of perfection at its finest.
After the concert, we met Switchfoot backstage and shared our story of how and why Intuition came to be. Every one of the guys gave us their full attention and I will never forget the look in their eyes. I was humbled by their keen passion for life, flawless music, making a difference and inspiring people like me … without ever knowing it! I’m certain the countless fans of Switchfoot have undoubtedly been inspired as they have my daughter and I, so you get it. But if you haven’t listened to them yet, pick up any of their albums and ride the wave of inspiration. Listen to their soul tell stories about their lives, feel the creative elements they distribute freely, absorb the lyrics, feel the salt water and stars. Allow them to breathe inspiration into you. It works miracles.
Thank you Andrew, Ike, Jon, Tim, Drew, Jerome, and Chad!
Marala Scott & Alyssa Curry
When you criticize people, you’re expressing your own inadequacies or insecurities about something. Putting others down is a way people attempt to build themselves up but what they’re providing is a substantial contribution to creating a negative environment. Think before you speak or react negatively. Take under consideration what it is you’re really trying to communicate and why. If you can’t do it respectfully, then wait until you can. Those situations are a perfect opportunity for you to go inside of your own life and do a little work.
The tendency to complain about deficiencies that others have is greater than our willingness to look at our own life and make changes. When you change yourself you can alter your mindset and teach yourself to solicit positive results instead of fixating on the negative aspects of life. That’s when you will experience the manifestation of positive change and perhaps inspire others to change too. There is so much that begins with what you say and how you say it. Keep in mind your body language and actions speak volumes as well. Determine what your true intent is before you communicate your thoughts. If you begin with anger or negativity, that’s what your results will bring. Elect to bring a bit of inspiration instead.
Every day I find ways to celebrate life but today I celebrate life for it is the anniversary of yet another amazing gift God graciously handed me! I celebrate with a passion that I hadn’t fully discovered prior to two years ago, today. I was happy but hadn’t considered how limited my time here is and like most, I don’t know when it will end.
At the point I had the most peace in my life, I found out that I had a brain aneurysm and with more tests my neurosurgeon found yet another. (You can bring about life saving discovery if you pay attention to what your body is telling you so pay attention.) I was afraid to go through with the brain surgery because of the risk and location of the aneurysms and I wasn’t ready to leave the people I love although I knew the choice wasn’t mine. I put it in God’s hands and He told me to get it done immediately. Without hesitation, I scheduled the surgery a few days later, telling only one handful of people. I didn’t want anyone to worry. The night before my surgery, I prepared with prayer. I wasn’t afraid because I didn’t have any regrets or fear but I wasn’t finished here. It was difficult to imagine the possibility of leaving those I love, although inevitable.
The next afternoon, after an extensive surgery, my eyes fluttered open. I was grateful for this continued gift of life. I took a deep breath and whispered, “Thank you God, I have so much more to do.” The scar I carry is my scar of inspiration and faith as I was inspired by God to trust Him and have faith. It’s a reminder to live and not merely exist. We don’t always get a second chance at life and leave many, many things unspoken and undone. Embrace life and make a valiant go at it every single day. Share authentic love and positivity. Find peaceful resolutions and have faith, as it will alleviate your stress if you believe. There is so much you can do to help others live a better life, so share what you can, give them what you’ve needed. Be present in life as it can be gone with or without warning.
Thank you for taking my journey with me by reading and sharing my pieces of inspiration. They are meant to give you what they’ve given me: faith, passion and words that bring about change. Thank you God for every single day! I am grateful.