Martin Luther King Day: Things That Matter

Today, January 20th, 2014, is a day set aside to commemorate humanitarian and human rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. Many of his words remain immortal, as if suspended in time. In large part, because they cross man-made boundaries, borders, and heart lines. One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes is:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

If there is to be any significant and lasting change, then our “weapons of warfare” must be tools that allow for the greatest good (for all of humanity). Tools that make room for forgiveness, reconciliation, and understanding. It’s a type of violence of the heart–a formidable purposed action plan that invites sanity, promotes healing, cherishes true human brother and sisterhood, celebrates human potential for progress and good inclusive of all, and refuses to settle for less than pure truth.

Another Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that underscores the sacredness and the gift of life:

“Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about the things that matter.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

So, what are the “things that matter”? They are the things that bring life, and light, and love. Apart from them, we can go through our entire life believing a lie, basing our attitudes and actions on false evidences, promoting disharmony, and limiting all that was meant for us–never living our true potential. These are the threads that bind humanity together despite our uniqueness. They help us see that we are more the same than different. We celebrate our individual uniqueness with a concurrent understanding that we all share in our humanness, in that, we are each made up of body, soul, and spirit and wired with dreams, goals, and aspirations.

None of us placed ourselves on this planet. We are all pilgrims on a journey, co-travelers. We are individually responsible to discover and then propagate that life, light, and love. It’s profound in its seeming simplification, but there’s nothing ethereal about it. It’s owning the stewardship of our own lives, families, and responsibilities; being responsible for, and propagating things like justice–true justice, mercy, and compassion; and, being aware and intentional about the purpose of our lives–being about our personal destiny–the why to our being here. These are things that matter.

A recognition that hate against our fellow humans is a useless destroyer that invokes darkness. Unforgiveness kills the potential of the one who refuses to forgive. It invites a sickness that cannibalizes the one who holds it close to their heart. Then there’s selfishness. A pathetic desire to indulge ourselves above all regardless of the outcome–to hoard and cling to every good thing and opportunity for ourselves before others. And what about pride? A lie that allows individuals, people groups, and entire cultures to believe they are better, more worthy; and, more valuable or important than another. All of these petty and frivolous thoughts can become attitudes that eventually become behaviors. That’s why it’s so important to guard our hearts and think for ourselves. These “ways” can creep into our thinking and set up shop, creating mindsets that are destructive both for us and those we live alongside in this life. Ultimately, they insidiously weave their way (because we’ve invite them) into our way of “being”.

In remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. today, I want to be about the things that matter. The things that underscore and highlight life, light, and love. The things that will make a positive ripple effect in the world. The things that have power to make a meaningful difference, inclusive of all. Apart from truth, nothing else matters.

Let us be radical about love, about moving toward the light, and radical about seeking out truth. We are all on this journey together, how will we steward our lives and our part in the lives of those we co-journey with?

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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Second Chances

Second chances offer us an opportunity to start over, to reconcile, redeem, or restore things that aren’t quite what they could be, or could’ve been. A second chance may be related to a relationship, a new way of seeing, believing, or being; or it may be connected to a renewed goal or a dream.

Whatever it is, it’s an opportunity. It is unexpected grace, maybe even mercy, this ability to begin again. If we look for them, we can see second chances all around us. By respecting them and showing our gratitude, it’s as if we become alive or renewed again. Second chances are a gift. We can’t take them for granted, because nothing in this life is guaranteed. They may never cross our path again. By our attitudes and behaviors, we show how we value the gift. When we “awaken” to find that unexpected key in our hand, it is there for a reason. Unlock the door while the gift of the second chance is available. You’ll be humbled as you discover (or rediscover) what you once thought was lost. Here’s to second chances in the new year!

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Live Fearless, Live Free.

It has been said that fear is the prison of the heart. Look up, Push forward, keep going, don’t look back, because fear is a liar… and you’ve got better things to do with your life. Don’t give it power, don’t let it hold you down. Keep on dreaming, keep on hoping, keep on praying, keep on believing, keep on living, keep on keeping on, even in the face of fear. Live fearless. Live free. 

The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be. –Unknown

As fear is a close companion to falsehood, so truth follows fearlessness. –Jawaharlar Nehru

We have to be fearless, we have to take chances. We can’t live just being afraid of what comes next, that’s not what living is about. –Unknown

The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing truth really will set you free. –Oprah Winfrey

Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears. –Arthur Koestler

When we love, we are courageous; and courage has nothing to do with being fearless, it’s about being willing to experience fear, even dread, to do what we must, without guarantee of outcome. –Vanna Bonta

Fear cannot take what you do not give it. –Christopher Coan

There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly you. –Anthony Rapp

Courage is fear that has said its prayers. –Dorothy Bernard

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to to be fearless when facing them. –Rabindranath Tagore

Be fearless, create your own world with courage. –Unknown

I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly. –Oprah Winfrey

The ground of fearlessness is fear. In order to be fearless, you have to stand in the middle of your fear. –Larry Rosenberg

I am afraid yet fearless. For fearlessness is not the absence of fear, but the bravery to do it anyways. –Unknown

Do you think courage means being fearless? Or daring? Courage, real courage, is taking three steps when it terrifies you. –Catherine Anderson

Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it. –Veronica Roth

Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. –Taylor Swift 

He who fears something gives it power over him. –Moorish Proverb

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fear is a poser masquerading as truth. -April McCallum

The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be truthful, gentle, and fearless. –Gandhi

There is much in the world to make us afraid. there is much more in our faith to make us unafraid. –Frederick W. Cropp

It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not. –Denis Waitley

I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back. –Erica Jong

Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway. –John Wayne

Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.Louis E. Boone

Look at hopelessness in the face and say: “We are simply not meant to be together.”  Hold courage’s hand and walk away. –Dodinsky

You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it fearlessly. –Steve Maraboli

How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. –Judy Blume

Here’s to all of you who live bold and brave, not because you aren’t afraid, but because you choose to push past your fears in order to live your life more fully, more freely, more alive.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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Risks Worth Taking

Life, hope, love, all risks worth taking…

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out for another is to risk involvement
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try is to risk failure
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing
They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live
Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom
Only a person who risks is free.” -Author Anonymous

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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Bridges in Our Lives

I am where I am because of the bridges that I crossed. Sojourner Truth was a bridge. Harriet Tubman was a bridge. Ida B. Wells was a bridge. Madam C. J. Walker was a bridge. Fannie Lou Hamer was a bridge.” –Oprah Winfrey

The same could be said by each of us about the people God has placed along the path throughout our life’s journey. Reflection makes us grateful.

Who were the “bridges” in your life?  What specifically made them a bridge for you? What words would you use to describe them? What words would they use to describe you? What are the lasting imprints they left on you? How will they be remembered in the archives of your story?

Some people stay in our lives forever, but most come and go through different seasons. Often the ones we remember most are the ones who gave us just the right encouragement or advice at just the right time. Maybe they didn’t use many words, but modeled for us what it meant to be brave, bold, creative, discover our voice, or follow our dreams. Or, maybe they were the ones who simply “showed up” when no one else did. Maybe they held our hearts, helped us heal, forgive, understand, or just listened.

Whatever our story, they were there. And, they were there for us. Because of them, we knew that somehow it was going to be okay. When we didn’t quite have enough of our own, they shared with us their courage, faith, love, and hope.

I’m so grateful for the people who were “bridges” in my life. I count them as blessings… like flowers in my internal garden that stand just a little taller and are just a little more fragrant than all the others. And in turn, they made me stand just a little bit taller and a little more fragrant. They lift our heads, our voices, our aspirations, our belief in God, and in ourselves, while quietly helping us not to settle, but believe there is “more to be had”.

It is important to reflect on the people who were bridges at significant and pivitol times in our life because it keeps us grateful. They are valuable and irreplaceable parts of our story. Likewise, it is important to be vigilant so that we don’t miss the opportunity to be a bridge in someone else’s life. Our blessings are meant for us at very specific times along our journey, but they are also meant to be shared and passed along to others on theirs.

Are you a bridge in someone else’s story today?

 
Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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Your Calling

What is the thing that will never be “just a job” to you, because for you, it is your calling…

“What is it that makes your heart sing? What is it that inspires you to stay up all night, make personal sacrifices, and work tirelessly just for the privilege of being involved?” -Kimberly Sowell

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What is Emotional Abuse?

“Emotional abuse is about someone manipulating your emotions on a psychological level” according to Gunta Krumins, BA, PMP, author of The Detrimental Effects of Emotional Abuse

Dr. Steven Stosny, Ph.D. says an emotional abuser controls another person by undermining his or her confidence, worthiness, growth, trust, or emotional stability, or by provoking fear or shame to manipulate or exploit; and that “Emotionally abusive behavior is anything that intentionally hurts the feelings of another person.”

Because of the silent nature of emotional abuse, it’s not untypical for a woman to feel hopeless, depressed, confused and/or trapped. In extreme cases, emotional abusers can break a person’s confidence and spirit to the point they can even convince their victim that they deserve what they get. It is twisted, damaging, and it’s all about control.

Emotional abuse is any nonphysical behavior or attitude that controls, intimidates, subjugates, demeans, punishes or isolates another person by using degradation, humiliation or fear.

Examples of Emotionally Abusive Behaviors:

  • Humiliating, degrading, mocking, bullying 
  • Discounting, distorting, negating, lying 
  • Accusing, blaming, and threatening
  • Isolating the victim from the people and things they care about
  • Deception and manipulating people’s emotions, decisions, and situations
  • Withholding affection and emotional support
  • Withholding financial and practical resources
  • Dismissive, disapproving, or contemptuous looks, comments or behavior
  • Threatening harm to the victim, their family, friends, pets, or possessions

“Emotional abuse seems more personal than physical abuse, more about you as a person, more about your spirit. It makes love hurt.” -Dr. Steven Stosny, Ph.D.

Additional Reading:

Stop the Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse: It Hurts When You Love

Quotes From Women Who Have Suffered Emotional Abuse

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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Quotes From Women Who Have Suffered Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse victims (women and men) often feel paralyzed or powerless to change their relationship or situation because their perpetrators are likely control freaks and master manipulators. Because of the silent nature of emotional abuse, it’s not untypical for a woman to feel hopeless, depressed, confused and/or trapped.

Though it can seem unimaginable to people on the outside, some women caught in abusive relationships can even start to believe what their abusers tell them about themselves.

Bullies may tell their victims that they are stupid, unlovable, ugly, or that no one would believe them if they tried to speak up. Often they try to blame the abuse on their victims trying to convince them that the abuse is somehow, their fault. You can imagine the damaging effects to a person’s health, both mind and body, and how living with that constant turmoil, sadly, would begin to erode their spirit.

Here are some quotes from real women who have lived through the very real pain of emotional abuse:

Bruises heal, but you don’t forget words and emotions, how an abuser makes you feel about yourself.

I have always walked on eggshells waiting for his reaction to whatever situation.

I am slowly beginning to realize that I deserve better and I can do better. It’s been a struggle.

I was a happy, confident, outgoing person once.

I would rather he would hit me because at least a bruise would eventually go away.

I am in an emotionally abusive relationship but I don’t know how to leave because he needs me.

I never know what to expect. Sometimes he’s charming, sometimes he’s volatile. He’s a chronic manipulator and deceiver. Everything revolves around “his truth.”

I used to be a happy person who had plans and dreams. The emotional and verbal abuse wore me down. I felt exhausted, numb and dioriented about who I was. I stopped thinking and believing for myself. I lost hope for a better life.

Please do not stay in that kind of relationship. Your children will suffer. 

He is the ultimate narcissist and uses his charisma as a weapon of choice to dissuade anyone from thinking it is him.

He isolated me from my family and the people and things I care about.

He’s constantly putting me down, labeling me, mocking or making fun of me. It’s his way of staying in control. 

He makes me feel ugly, stupid, small. Like I don’t matter, won’t amount to anything, or like I’m not worthy of being loved.

No one deserves to be treated like trash, especially not by the person you love.

Get out now! Abuse only gets worse over time. No one deserves to be treated like dirt. No one.

Do not sit back and take it. Pack your things and leave.

I am in domestic violence counseling and trying to put back the pieces of my shattered life.

Abuse isn’t love.

Sometimes it helps to take a step back and listen, because it can help you assess your own relationship or situation. If reading these quotes sounds only too familiar to what you are experiencing, it’s time to seriously think about what you really want out of life.

You do have a choice. Choose life—your life.

Don’t give another person permission (in essence) to define who you are, or how your life story will read. If you are already in an abusive situation, be wise about your next steps, stay safe and row toward freedom.

You matter, and you deserve to live a life filled with color, joy, peace, and fulfillment.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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God Crazy Freedom

 

In her book, God Crazy Freedom, author Michelle Borquez brings together over 20 real-life stories from women who found freedom. Even after the odds were stacked so high against them, each woman shares her own very personal journey and how she learned to embrace the future in a brand new and liberating way. Michelle has a passion to ignite and inspire women to seek freedom from whatever is blocking their path to wholeness. To not allow their past to define them, but to discover and then live out the dreams and destinies that await them.

 

“There is nothing more powerful than hearing the story of someone who has overcome and is willing to be real and share about it.”  

Words have power. That is one of the reasons that women sharing their stories of hope and freedom can motivate even the weakest and most fearful among us. They can give us courage to choose to really live. To hear of shattered dreams being made whole, deliverance from an abuser, an addiction, or a paralyzing fear; or victory after a devastaing event in someone else’s life means that there is hope for us. In each chapter you will find a “Freedom Story” along with a biblical-based devotional and practical hope-filled action points.

Michelle is also the author of the Freedom Series. A biblical-based series of mini-books that help women find freedom from bondages, abuse, shame, paralyzing fear, rejection, and more. Look for these books as they become available over the next few months.

“We are God Crazy Women who have found hope at the other end of heartbreak, love at the other end of loneliness, and grace at the other end of our garbage. Join us on the journey!” -Michelle Borquez

About the Author

Author Michelle Borquez-Thornton

Michelle Borquez has hosted and co-produced television’s Shine with Michelle Borquez on INSP; and has also hosted and been a featured guest on numerous radio and television shows. She founded and was the Editor-in-Chief of Shine Magazine, a 40,000 subscriber publication for women. Michelle is a prolific writer, coach, public speaker, and a passionate advocate and mentor for girls and women. 

Currently she is CEO of Bella Women Network (launching in June) featuring Shine with Michelle Borquez along with other programs for women, Bella Bella Gifts, and founder and President of the Dream, Hope, Love foundation, a mentoring organization for young girls. Michelle travels and speaks with her God Crazy team of authentic, very cool, amazing women, and lives with her husband Michael and four children in Nashville, Tennessee.

Purchase the bookGod Crazy Freedom 

Learn More: The Freedom Series by Michelle Borquez

Check out Shine With Michelle Borquez and the Bella Women Network, or join her on Twitter @GodCrazy.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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Freedom Series by Michelle Borquez

The Freedom Series by multi-award winning author & speaker Michelle Borquez includes 12 mini-books focused on key issues that sabbotage women from living their lives to the fullest. Words, life circumstances, and choices that steal our courage, hope, and joy for life. The issues that hamper our ability to forgive or seek forgiveness, and the ability to truly see our future as it can be, which ultimately robs us of what we so desperately want, our freedom.

Topics that resonate with women include fear, abuse, shame, abandonment, divorce, lonlieness, self-value, and more. The primary purpose of this biblical-based series is to bring truth, healing, and hope to women who are caught in the lies that hold them down and keep them from breaking free and reclaiming the lives they were meant to live. This series created by Michelle Borquez presents a variety of authors and will be in book stores beginning in April. 

“Michelle Borquez is a bundle of energy; a veritable wellspring of love, joy, and enthusiasm; and an incredible communicator of a message that can transform the world. Her passion for her work is only exceeded by her compassion for those who hurt. She truly brings life, hope, and healing to everyone she encounters.” -Ken Abraham, New York Times bestselling author

About the Author

Author Michelle Borquez-Thornton

Michelle Borquez hosted and co-produced I-Life Television’s SHINE with Michelle Borquez on INSP. She has hosted and been a featured guest on hundreds of television and radio programs, including, NBC’s Midday Connection, The 700 Club, Life Today with James and Betty Robinson, Positively Texas, TBN, just to name a few. She founded Shine Magazine, a 40,000 subscriber publication for women featuring fashion, travel and health articles. As Editor-in-Chief, she interviewed well-known personalities such as First Lady Laura Bush, Anne Graham-Lotz, Michael W. Smith, Kurt Warner, Chuck and Gena Norris, Beth Moore, and many more. She is a prolific writer and passionate advocate and mentor for girls and women. 

Currently she is CEO of Bella Women Network (launching in June) featuring, Shine with Michelle Borquez along with other programs for women; Bella Bella Gifts; and founder and President of the Dream, Hope, Love foundation, a mentoring organization for young girls. Michelle travels and speaks with her God Crazy team of authentic, very cool, amazing women, and lives with her husband Michael and four children in Nashville, Tennessee.

You may also be interested in:

God Crazy Freedom (or purchase the book, God Crazy Freedom by Michelle Borquez.)

Live Again: Wholeness After Divorce (8-session DVD kit for individuals or groups)

Check out Shine With Michelle Borquez and the Bella Women Network, or join her on Twitter @GodCrazy.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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