The holidays are here. This is the time of year when we’re reminded to be kind and good and most of all, grateful.

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably like most of us; you have a lot to be grateful for. We hear all the time about the power of gratitude and how it contributes to a happy, healthy and purposeful life. But realistically, if you’re like me, you probably spend far more time complaining about what you don’t have and what’s not right, than you do about what you do have and what’s going well.

So why is that? Why is it so hard to stay in a conscious state of gratefulness about everything that’s good in our lives? Why is it so hard to consistently show public gratitude, to speak graciously of our blessings and openly remind ourselves that really when you think about it, all is well? Everything may not be as you would want and it may not in fact even be good by all accounts, but you have the heart, mind and body to work on it and it’s probably going to be ok. So again, why is it so hard to be grateful?

I spent some time thinking about this and here’s what I discovered and what I suggest we do about it:

1. Time & Habit:

We’re so busy! We got our morning routines, lists, schedules, meetings, appointments etc. Our daily habits are grounded in whatever it takes to get us from one moment to the next. We get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner with a hundred million things in between with “time to be grateful” nowhere to be found. And do it all over again the next day and our children likewise. And rarely do we consciously take the time to say, you know what, this day was pretty great. We’re not bad people but we’ve simply forgotten to make time to be grateful.

Try this:
Create natural gratitude triggers. These are things that you do naturally during the day that can remind you to do something else. For example, when your feet touch the floor when you get out of bed in the morning, say thank you…be grateful! When you sit down to eat, say thank you. When you arrive at a destination, say “thank you”. When you pay a bill, say “thank you.” When you pay for your groceries, say “thank you.” I think you get the idea. Before you know it, this practice will become a habit, one you will soon be grateful for!
Family Gratitude Time: When I was a little girl, my family would have prayer service at home. And at the end of service, Mama would have each of us stand up and say what we were grateful to God for. It was called testifying. This was our least favorite part. But overtime, we got used to sitting there reflecting on the day; trying to come up with things to be grateful for so we’d have something to say when it was our turn. Today, I’m grateful for this!
So, create a consistent time around the dinner table, on the way home or make up some other creative way to reflect on the good of the day as a family. Make it a habit like any other good thing that you do every day. Remember, everyone has to take a turn!

2. Complaining is contagious

Have you ever found yourself participating in a major complaint fest, personally or professionally? Where everyone around you is unhappy or dissatisfied about something and you’ve found yourself gathered together complaining. First, one person starts, then another, then another and there we are all together, one in our misery! The challenge with this is that if the moment isn’t ending with some type plan or resolution to fix whatever the problem is, then it’s just an unhealthy waste of valuable time and it makes you look and feel small, unproductive and of course ungrateful.

Try this:
Walk away, offer a solution to the problem or a reason to be grateful: When you find yourself about to become a part of a complaining session, slowly but intently step away from the conversation. If you have to, just say you have to go or you have something you gotta do. If this is too uncomfortable or not possible, just decide not to participate or offer a solution. Or even better, you can present a reason to be grateful for it all. But be prepared to get some strange looks and maybe even some push back because when complainers want to complain, they want to complain!!

3. You’re actually an ungrateful person.

It’s ok, well… not really but I understand. Sometimes life can be so riddled with challenges, it can be overwhelming and it can seem like there is no room or reason for gratefulness.

Try this:
Zoom In. If this is you, then odds are, you’re probably more unhappy than you are ungrateful. We tend to feel most unhappy when we are constantly focused on the massiveness of the big picture and thinking much too far ahead. Instead, zoom in. Focus on one small piece of the challenge at a time. When you can minimize the scope of a challenge, then you can minimize the steps that you need to take to complete one small thing first. Continue your approach in this way and you’ll soon find that there is plenty of room and reason to be grateful.

4. You’ve become complacent

Life’s been good or maybe just ok. Whatever the case, you’re satisfied; no reason for bells or whistles or reason to be particularly grateful. It is what it is. And besides you’re not sure to who or what you’re supposed to be grateful to! I mean, you’re the one working hard every day paying the bills and making it happen. There’s no fairy coming down from nowhere doing it for you.

Try this:
Rediscover AWEsomeness. Go to the ocean, visit the mountains, watch a sunrise or stare at the moon and the stars. Breathe, take it all in. If you do it right, the AWEsomeness of it all will remind you of your place in the universe and that it is love and gratitude that sustain us.

5. You’ve been spared.

Have you ever watched the news and seen someone after a devastating storm out scavenging outside of what use to be their home? They’re looking for anything…a wedding picture, a toy, something, that reminds them of what they had. And when they find it, you see this expression of immense gratitude and joy on their faces, over this one simple thing which now means so much. Most of us will never know what that’s like.

Even though we will all experience loss and disappointment in our life, most of us have been and will be spared life’s most devastating experiences like the tragic and immediate loss of a loved one or the sudden and dramatic loss of everything we own. And because of this we can take for granted what is today, constant and in place.

Try this:
It’s all a gift. Volunteer or donate regularly to organizations that assist those who have experienced great and overwhelming loss. This will remind you that every day and all that it contains is a gift. Be grateful for it and say thank you!

Accept compliments by saying “thank you”. You’ve worked really hard; don’t down play your efforts by pretending it was nothing!

Somewhere along the line, we have learned that rather than simply and immediately say thank you, we must first present ourselves as unworthy of the compliment. This can be particularly true when it comes to us girls!

We are mothers, daughters and wives and often raised to serve, nurture and work without the expectation of gratitude or recognition. So we don’t require it and in fact it may feel uncomfortable when it is bestow upon us.

And it’s true, most of the time we go about our day just doing our best with our heads down and our minds on getting it done. And before you know it, we’re feeling overworked and unappreciated rather it’s on our jobs or at home.

So, if someone takes the time to recognize something you done or said, don’t shrug it off as though it was nothing. Graciously and without reservation, look them in the eye and say thank you!

 Humility is nice in its place but it can be a killer of self-confidence and your sense worthiness!

Time for Prayer & Gratitude
Thank You for allowing me the mind, energy and spirit to work hard and do my best at all times. Allow me the courage to accept appreciation and to embrace the fact that I am worthy of it all!


Download my FREE eBook – How to Begin to Believe, 12 Essential Steps to Believing You Can Do It! It will help get you on your way!

Your decision to change can happen instantly. It is the manifestation of the change that takes time. Change one small thing that will offer you the quickest reward first, then on to the next.

Be patient with yourself. You’ve conquered what can be the most difficult step in changing a life habit, and that is deciding to do it!  The decision to change can happen instantly, but it can be difficult. This is because we’re fearful of what to expect, we’re grounded in routine, we see the change as not worth the effort or we don’t believe we have what it takes to make the change happen.

Here are some basic practices that have helped me to change unhealthy life habits and manage the fear  and other factors that can hold you back.

  1. Make a small change first. Instead of saying you want to be in perfect health, let the change be losing 10 lbs. or 5 lbs. even. When we set the bar too high, we invite failure and doubt into the mix.  So keep the change small and realistic. Whatever change you have in mind, plan to do half as much. You will instantly feel better and more confident.
  2. Give yourself enough time such that you can be both reasonably accountable  and comfortable.  The pressure of time can be a dream killer. Study examples of regular people who have accomplished the same thing.  Set your goal on the easiest end of the spectrum. Don’t worry, slow and steady actually does win the race.
  3. Reward yourself for making the day to day, step by step effort.  There is tremendous value in trying. Keep your reward simple, cheap, easy and satisfying. But be sure it doesn’t set you back in anyway.
  4. Expect that you’re going to want to quit. Know this now and plan for the moment by making a list of why you want to make this change in the first place. Keep this list where you can see it.
  5. Gather your support team. Make sure your REAL friends are ready to help you. Give them each a role to play in your process. But beware of faux friends that consistently make you feel bad or less confident. We’ll say a prayer for them. In the meantime limit your time and energy around anyone who doesn’t move you forward.

Your ability to make basic life changes is a key cog in believing you can take on any life change. Focus on this 5 factors first and soon you will have to courage and confidence to do more.

Time for Prayer & Gratitude

Thank You for placing on my heart the desire to be better than I am. Allow me the courage, wisdom, patience, knowledge and understanding so that I may manifest this change and use my new found place to be of service to others.


Download my FREE eBook – How to Begin to Believe, 12 Essential Steps to Believing You Can Do It!  It will help get you on your way!

To be abused dehumanizes. You won’t know its happening but it slowly takes away your sense of self worth, power and control. If he doesn’t kill you, one day, if you’re ready and only if you’re ready, a spark of light will appear. It will be faint but its there.

That light may come in the form of a helping hand, a story, a word said, a sign, a song or even the voice of God. When you see it or hear it, you will know that it is time and this spark will begin to light the way and lead you out and you’ll find that you’ll have the courage to follow.

But sometimes you’re are so beaten and broken, the only sparks you can see come after a blow to the head. And you’re so lost and it’s so dark that hope is unrecognizable. At this point, it can be too late and you die. You die of a broken spirit or broken bones.

So get ready, look for the light! And let us be that spark, that hand that reaches out and lights the way. Hurry.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1 800 799 7233.

Several years ago when I first begin my career working in community service, my work required the consistent practice of creating plans, completing reports, meeting deadlines and successfully reaching goals.

Hence, I learned the benefits in life and business of writing things down; my ideas, motivations, frustrations, to-do lists, notes, strategies etc. and using my own personal journal to house it all in.

Recently, as I was perusing one of my retired journals, I was taken by what it revealed about who I was and how I got things done.
Here are 15 virtues of my retired journal and why if you’ve never used a journal or planner, you should start now!

1. It will reveal your priorities at the time.
2. It will reveal your progress or lack thereof.
3. It will reveal your personal growth, if any.
4. It will reveal your greatest strengthen & weaknesses
5. It will tell you if you’re a quitter.
6. It will tell you what you’re good at.
7. It will tell you what you love.
8. It will tell you why it didn’t work out.
9. It will help you chart a new course.
10. It will reveal your mental and emotional state at the time.
11. It will remind you of what you’ve forgotten and left behind.
12. It will show you how far you’ve come.
13. It will reward you.
14. It will embarrass you.
15. It will tell you the truth!

To create a written account of your day to day life ie what you want, need, plan to do and how you will do it, takes courage because you never know how it’s all going to work out in the end. And when it doesn’t work, you’ll have it all there, in writing, to remind you. But when it works, when you can check off that last item on your list, you feel validated and capable!

For me, one of the most revealing things that I discovered about myself was that I seldom included “me” on the list. Most of my lists or plans were either about my family, household or work. I think my thinking was that since it was for me, I wouldn’t need to write to down. Surely, I wouldn’t need to be reminded to do something for myself!
I was wrong!

So the lesson learned here was, I should have put myself first more often. I would have be better positioned to do anything else that came after.
Also, I noticed that in some cases, I would just ignore the things that didn’t get done, like they were never there! My thinking on this is, when I first listed these things as something I planned to do, I probably knew then that I wasn’t going to follow through. Either the thing was too big to tackle at the time or it didn’t mean that much to me in the first place. So I turned my head and let it die…:(

The lesson learned here was; don’t write it down unless you feel that there is a good chance that you will follow through! The last thing you want to see is a bunch of things that went undone. This will do a job on your self-confidence and hinder your ability to believe that your word has any value.

Whatever the outcomes are, it’s hard for me to imagine a greater retrospective tool for gaging some of the most important aspects of who you are and how you get things done!

So if you’re ready, my best advice for selecting the right journal/planner is, not to pick one that asks questions you’re not ready to answer. A lot of planners can be pretty elaborate which can be intimidating.

For a first time user, I suggest using a simple journal type planner with lined paper and a wire spiral spine; that way, you can decide on the when, what, how and where, when you’re ready. If you still need help getting started using your journal, start by creating a simple daily to do list and grow from there.

Revisit your journal long after you have retired it and brace yourself for it will reveal about you!

Download my FREE eBook – How to Begin to Believe, 12 Essential Steps to Believing You Can Do It!  It will help get you on your way!

1. Am I grateful?

Gratitude is a great balancing force. It allows us to be kind to ourselves and have a greater perspective of where we REALLY stand.  Find something to be grateful for and remind yourself of it everyday!

2. Are my expectations/goals realistic?
Sometimes we can set goals higher than we can climb at one time. Let yourself off the hook and break down your goals/expectations into smaller more do-able pieces.

3. What actions I am I repeating over and over again that never seem to work out?
We can have a habit of repeating certain actions or practices, not because they’re working but because we’re comfortable with them and/or we’re too lazy or fearful to come up with a new way of doing things. Think about it; make a list…find the courage to make a different turn and you may find yourself in a different place.

4. What can I do differently?
Change is scary. But knowledge is power strong enough to beat change into submission…so read up on how to begin to change ONE thing for the better…start with something small.

5. Am I consistent?
Start…stop…start…stop! Successfully accomplishing anything like this is almost impossible! Instead, create mini-plans, each big enough to move you forward but small enough so that you can get it done before you’re tempted to quit!

6. Who am I spending my time with?
A lot can be said about the company we keep. We know full well who the toxic people are in our lives… pull back a little. They’ll be pissed for a while and probably accuse you of thinking that you’re better than they are but guess what, you probably are!

7. Do I speak positively of myself and my circumstances?
I can’t do this… It’s never gonna work…I suck! Instead, try saying this repeatedly everyday…Day by day, in every way with the help of God, I’m getting better and better and better and better!

8. Do I spend too much time complaining?
For some reason, complaining can feel so good! But we know that it’s a complete waste of time and energy. Fight the urge to complain by recognizing the triggers; do you complain when you hear other people complain, do you complain over lunch or when the bills come in or at the end of the day. Instead consciously decide to say the mantra in #7.

9. Do I pray regularly for myself and others?
“Prayer changes you and then you can change things”! Or how about this one, “You have not because you ask not”- James 4:2-3

10. Do my good habits outweigh my bad ones?
Make a list of all your good habits and all of your bad habits, now adjust the scale in your favor!

11. When was the last time I had a good laugh?
Laughter is a powerful thing. It’s said to even have the power to heal. But I know one thing for certain, during that moment when you’re laughing you’re head off or even smiling really hard, you’re not thinking about what’s going wrong in your life, you’re simply enjoying your life NOW at that moment and the more moments you can have like that, the better! Here’s joke to get you started…A snail gets mugged by a gang of turtles. When the cops show up and ask him what happened he replies, “I don’t know. It all happened so fast.” :)

12. Am I taking good care of my physical, mental and emotional self?
You can’t do your best if you don’t feel your best and nobody will take better care of you than you. Fix what’s ailing you!

13. Am I getting enough sleep?
There are those people, like my husband that need no more that 4 to 5 hours sleep tops and they’ll ready for the day. Not me, if I get less the 7, I’m screwed! So whatever your number is, make it happen consistently. And when you find yourself getting tired, stop for a while and start again when you’re refreshed.

14. Am I preoccupied with thinking the worst?
What we think and how we think weighs heavy on our actions and their outcomes. Thinking positive doesn’t mean be unrealistic, it means that once you’ve done all you can, hope for the best… I mean, why not? And one more thing, stay away for from negative thinkers and negative talkers, they are not your friends!

15. Am I a procrastinator?
I think it’s safe to say that we all procrastinate sometimes, some of us more than others! Refer back to #5 about creating mini-plans and schedules to keep yourself on task. And remember, if you fall off schedule, just start again!

16. Do I surround myself with more takers than givers?
Weed out the takers and let them go…slowly if you have to BUT LET THEM GO!

17. Are things really as bad as I think?
Go back to #1- Am I grateful. But don’t get me wrong, I understand that the answer to this question for you may be “Hell Yes!” And if that’s the case, that means you’ve learned a lot about what not to do. Study all the mistakes you’ve made and why and what you should or could have done instead, now do something with everything you’ve learned… write about it, start a blog etc. But most importantly re commit yourself to never making the same mistakes again!

18. Am I a priority in my own life?
Why do we have such a hard time with this? (me included!) Try this, at the beginning of each day, do one thing for yourself first before doing anything for anyone else. Hopefully, this will help you to begin a habit of thinking about you first…this is a good thing!

19. Am I doing the best I can with what I have right now?
When you think about it, can you honestly say you’re doing your best? If so, then be patient, your hard work will pay off eventually and propel you to your next level. It may not look like you think it should so be prepared to accept it however it comes. If you’re not doing your best, ask yourself why, maybe this thing is just not that important to you …maybe it once was, but not anymore. Re-evaluate and start again..try harder this time!

20. Who can help me?
Have you asked for help or better yet, have you asked for help from the appropriate source? Bad advice is bad advice even when it’s met with good intentions. Find someone who has done what you’re trying to do and spend time studying how they went about it; then use their plan as an outline to create a plan specific to your needs and goals.

21. Who can I help?
No matter how bad you think things are, you’re better off than the next guy. Find this guy and help him out. We all have the gift of making somebody’s life better, use it and at some point you may realize that things may not be so bad after all.

Download my FREE eBook – How to Begin to Believe, 12 Essential Steps to Believing You Can Do It!  It will help get you on your way!

(As Featured In Dumb Little Man)

“There is no difference between my humanness and your humanness, the only thing is if you’re trying to get there, you cannot stop believing.”- Tyler Perry

Focus, Hard Work, Believing & Grace

Pick one and start there; to get anything done successfully you will need to engage them all!

I started with grace. Grace has been defined as unmerited favor; goodness or gifts that are bestowed upon us that we have no reason to expect.

The challenge lies not in the lack of grace in our lives but lies in our inability to recognize and acknowledge it.  Acts of grace are abundant and are all around us. Here are a few gifts of grace that you may have lost sight of;

It is by God’s grace that:

  • We can ponder the idea of a life of greater purpose.
  • We desire right and not wrong.
  • We have this day, this moment, right now!

There are many, many people who work really hard to make great things happen but when you can walk in a spirit that is conscious of the grace factor, aware that even if you fall short, grace can not only make its way in and carry you over but it can bring you to the door of divine possibilities!

Make a list of moments of grace in your day to day life, while also making note of those moments when your reward far exceeded your expectations.  Make it a practice to acknowledge these moments.  This habit will humble your heart and make you more worthy than you will ever realize.


.. that ability to center our minds on the manifestation of one thing. Some of us are blessed with many gifts and it becomes difficult to choose what to solely commit ourselves to.  But know that if you are truly in line with your gift, no matter what you do, you will always return to it in some way.

Look for this!

Look for whatever that thing is that consistently appears in your life, that thing that you are always being told you’re good at. When people tell you you’re in the wrong business, what are they referring to?  Yeah, that!

Work to begin to narrow your energy and effort to this thing.  When you’re in line with your gift, focusing on it will be something you look forward to and you do gladly!   You just need to create a system that allows you to focus on it consistently and effectively.

Begin with these steps:

  1. Create your plan of action. It should have a small and doable end goal, one with easy action steps that will be easy to commit to. Once you’ve completed it, you will be more encouraged and have the confidence to move forward to something bigger and get even closer to where you’re headed.
  2. Decide when you have uninterrupted time to devote consistently to manifesting your plan of action. The important thing here is consistency; stopping and starting won’t get you there!
  3. Write it down. Keep a journal and pen ready for expected and unexpected ideas and inspiration.
  4. Stay organized.
  5. Find reliable support & resources.

Hard Work-

I think the concept of hard work is relative. On the outside, it may look like you are making tremendous sacrifices, laboring hours upon hours and YOU ARE. But what’s happening inside, is a spirit of excitement, eagerness and purpose!  You love it and in fact you lose all track of time.

Don’t be disillusioned, there will be times when you will want to stop, give up or question whether or not you’re on the right course.  These moments are the hardest.  These are the times when what you believe for yourself will either pick up and move you forward or have you to pack it up and call it a day…more on this later.

So, how do you ensure that your hard work is effective and that you’re not just running around chasing your tail?!

One of the most important keys to making sure your hard work pays off is a well thought out plan. The last thing you want to do is to jump out there and wing it. You will waste a lot of time and energy and open the door to failure and doubt. Know exactly what you’re going to do every time.  When you take the time to plan your hard work effectively, it will always yield good fruit, even if it’s not what you expected.

Five major components of a well thought out plan include:

  1. Goals- Long & Short Term
  2. Doable & Realistic Action Steps
  3. Reasonable Timetables
  4. Reliable Resources & Support Sources
  5. An Dependable Accountability System

Note the use of the words, doable, realistic, reasonable, reliable and dependable.  Don’t get so carried away with getting it done that you sabotage your efforts with unrealistic ideas and expectations.


This is where the magic is!  Your belief is what will sustain you when times get tough. Believing has the power to move barriers and can cause the universe to lean in your favor!

Believing in yourself is that part of your Spirit that speaks to what your true purpose is.  Either we listen to it and have the courage to act on it or we close our minds to it because we have yet to recognize and accept our God given potential, our gift!

Your belief system is nurtured and fortified every time you get it right!  When you are in line with your gift, you will begin to experience successes. They may be small at first, but that’s ok, that’s all you need for now.  These successes will validate that you are indeed on the right track.

They may not appear as you expect so be prepared to accepted them however they come.

So, I guess your question now is, what if I’m not getting it right? Suppose I’m not having any success at all?

My answer is to give it some time, only you will know how much.  If your allotted time has passed with no validation or confirmation that you’re headed the right way, slow down or stop all together. Review all that you have done. Reconsider your purpose and intention. Be sure that what you’re setting out to do has a broad and generous purpose and that your intentions are not purely self-serving.Take the best of what you’ve done and learned and redesign/revise your strategy and  your vision and start again.

Read much more on this in my ebook How to Begin to Believe- 12 Essential Steps to Believing You Can Do It! It’s free to download here!

Time For Prayer & Gratitude:

Thank You for renewing my spirit of hope and encouragement. Sometimes I get tired and it gets hard to stay on the path. These words of direction have strengthen me and I’m ready to go a little farther. Allow me to also be a source of encouragement to someone else along my way.



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