Sparkle a Little Brighter

 

Sparkle Brighter

There’s an old expression about human existence that says “in the end, no one gets out alive.” While that’s true, we all have whatever amount of time that we do have here, to live. In other words, to “be alive” while we are still living. To choose to be present. To make a decision to bring life to our moments (thoughts, attitudes, circumstances, expectations and relationships) or at least, allow life to infuse them. Life, in part, means energy, possibility and hope.

It is no secret that life ebbs and flows. Some seasons of our journey are simply more of a challenge. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have control over our attitude or mindset in the midst of those seasons. There may be times when you feel darkness creeping in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn up the wattage. Sometimes, we just need to plant a flag in it and say, “No more!”

When you feel darkness or discouragement closing in, take time to breathe in memories of goodness and joy, and the little things that have encouraged or lifted your spirit in the past. Let yourself reminisce about the things that once made your heart smile. Look for beauty in creation. Take inventory of the innumerable blessings (whether they’re things, people, discoveries or insights) that you have to be grateful for.

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark. -George Iles

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

Love is the light that brightens every heart’s darkness. -Bryant McGill

When the world says, “Give up,” hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” -Author Unknown

All of us have memory vaults filled with positive and beautiful gifts, some more than others, but no one is exempt. Sometimes we just need to lift the vault handle and be reminded. Hope believes. Love frees.

So here’s a friendly reminder: when the light dims, sparkle a little brighter.

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(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Give an Unconditional Gift — Free a Heart

Sometimes, the most valuable and empowering gifts we can give a person don’t come from a store, but from our heart.

They are the gifts that money can’t buy. They might take an investment of time, energy or commitment but what we sow, we also reap.  So what do these unconditional gifts look like?  Giving hope or encouragement, taking the time to really listen and connect, showing thoughtfulness or caring, and sometimes, the purest form of all, the one that reflects the true nature and spirit of Christmas: Unconditional Love.

And, one of the greatest extensions of the gift of unconditional love is asking for, or extending, Forgiveness.

When we give one of these unconditional gifts, they aren’t meant for the person on the receiving end alone. They are meant to be shared with us. They give comfort and peace and they bring comfort and peace. Like a healing balm, they relieve and soothe places deep inside of us that couldn’t be touched in any other way outside of the divine.

One of the most common reasons people resist taking action, especially when it comes to giving the gift of forgiveness, is connected with a sense of entitlement or justice. They are unwilling to move until an apology is issued or when an offense is acknowledged or admitted. In their own estimation, the other person is unworthy and doesn’t deserve it.  Justice will come eventually, not always in our timeframe, but it will come.

Life is too short and too precious to put on hold.  What many people do not realize is that by holding on to an offense, negative thoughts or feelings–whether they are justified or not–our own hearts become hard and enslaved in the process.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you” -Lewis B. Smedes

Some say, “Live today like there’s no tomorrow.” I prefer to take it a step (or heartbeat) further and say, “Love today because you might not get another chance tomorrow.”  What is life lived apart from love, except going through the motion of living on the outside, but not being completely (peacefully, joyfully, gratefully) alive on the inside. 

Is there someone you need to connect with this holiday season?  Don’t stop to over-think, over-analyze or calculate things to death. Just open your heart, pick up the phone, (pen or computer) and give your gift

Remember to give it with no strings attached. Once you open your heart and let it fly away, there’s always a possibility that it will meet with disappointment, but we can’t control the outcome of another’s reaction.

What we can control, is our own internal response. And we will have to live with our own choices–the dullness or brightness, heaviness or freedom within our own hearts.  Give the gift that costs nothing, but is priceless.  Free someone today, and in the process… Free yourself.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it” -Mark Twain

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Christmas Gifts of Love, Joy & Hope

 

Christmas, the time of year that symbolizes love, joy and hope, is here once again. 

Some of us know Christmas is near from the chill in the air. Crimson leaves have finally fallen. Trees stand still and stark against the bitter cold.  For those of us who enjoy the distinctness of the seasons however, it is a welcome chill that transports us to the warmth of our crackling fireplace sipping warm drinks, enveloped in music, family, festivities and cheer.  Our hearts swell with gratitude as we reflect on the love given and received throughout the year.  Our imaginations flow with dreams and visions for the New Year. Peace and joy abound.

But peace and joy escape many women, especially at this time of the year. Countless women and girls have received little or no love so there is no capacity for reflection, no warm memories to buoy their hearts. They experience another kind of chill. The coldness from a world, that, like the perpetual motion of a merry-go-round at a fair, just keeps going without a care.  

And there are ones who are locked away in the darkness of addiction, the bitter chill of un-forgiveness or some other form of dysfunction. They are not living their potential or destiny. Gripped with fear, self-loathing or pain, they feel powerless and incapacitated. Their hearts and imaginations are strangled by the icy fingers of hopelessness that wrap around them, causing their hearts to grow cold and sometimes, hard.

Life doesn’t stop for anyone. We live in a world that applauds wealth, status, beauty and accomplishment.  But, for many women and girls, the world’s definition of success is not even within their grasp. They are overlooked and in many cases, even viewed with distain. They feel forgotten, abandoned, neglected or unloved. They begin to believe the lie that the beauty, kindness and goodness in the world is not for them.

The orphaned feel abandoned. The abused feel neglected.  The unloved feel unworthy.  The marginalized feel trapped. The used feel shame.  And, those are the “lucky” ones, because many no longer feel anything at all.

But Christmas at its core symbolizes unconditional love, hope for the future, and God making a way (for the forgotten, addicted, dysfunctional, marginalized, abandoned and unloved) when there appeared to be no sign of deliverance or remedy. Gratefully, the ultimate gift of Christmas isn’t for a select or elite few, it is for all people, everywhere.

Don’t get swept up believing that people want to be left alone or that they have a “need” to be independent. Sometimes it’s good to gently press in and invite, welcome, encourage or simply reach out to those in our lives (or even strangers) that need to see the good in Christmas. They need to know someone feels, someone sees, someone cares. Their dreams are worthwhile and their life does matter.  And as long as they have breath, there is hope.  They need to feel the kiss of heaven.

It is with great joy that I will be highlighting several unique ways you can get involved to give the gifts of love, joy and hope to women and girls who desperately need to know that their life matters this Christmas season.  For if not for the grace of God, we could be her.

I challenge you to join me this month in helping in some small way, to ease the pain, soothe the sorrows and reignite the hope of a woman or girl in need.  Let’s put our feet to the street and prove that love does conquer and heal. Make a commitment to yourself (or maybe even take on a project with a group of friends) to love on a sister-friend unconditionally in some special “you” way this season.  I’d love for you to share how you decided to reach out, and how it also touched you in the process!

Who will you reach out to this holiday season by sharing the true meaning of Christmas?

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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