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June 26, 2015

“Anyway”

Filed under: Lady In Balance Blog — @ 1:18 am

I am reminded of a poem by Mother Teresa called “Anyway”. The first time I read this poem years ago in my sister’s office,  it resonated with my spirit so much that I printed it off and keep it with me. It reminds me to move forward in life, doing what I love, doing and being love, in spite of what may be going in life.

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will
forget tomorrow,
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and
it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got … anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is
between you and God,
It never was between you and them anyway..


Perfect Path Of Life

Filed under: Lady In Balance Blog — @ 1:17 am

Have you ever been in a place in your life where everything seemed to be flowing and every single piece of the puzzle seemed to fit just right? You were in optimal health, relationships were solid, your business and/or career was booming, kids were on the straight and narrow, and you felt as if you were on the verge of spiritual enlightenment.  It appeared as if all your plans, goals, and dreams, were finally coming together. Until one day, a huge stumbling block, better yet, a tornado comes along and shakes the foundation, misaligning the relationships, stressing your health, and has you looking to God like “WTH”?! Many of you know exactly what I am referring too. You were in the zone of life and something drastic happens which causes a ripple effect into every core area – love, family, career, and health. However, if you look a little closely, it appears even when life seems to be near perfect, there are still stumbling blocks along the way, relationships still have ups and downs, and there is always room for spiritual evolvement. However, some stumbling blocks seem to hit us a little harder, forcing us to grow a little more in those core areas of life. These stumbling blocks are yet another lesson on your journey of life to help make the pieces fit tighter, strengthen your relationships, and propel you to the next level. These challenges remind us that God always has a plan, the plan may not be aligned with your plans, but God’s plan is always working, and continually for your good in life and love. Lastly, through all of life’s ups and downs, we are always in the palm of God hands..  

“I like to believe that you don’t need to reach a certain goal to be happy. I prefer to think that happiness is always there, and that when things don’t go the way we might like them to, it’s a sign from above that something even better is right around the corner.” David Archuleta


April 29, 2015

Gotta Love Perceptions

As you go through life and you experience life’s ups, downs, hills, and valleys, each experience has a way of staying with you, shaping you, and molding you into the person you are today. If you were born into a traditional family, where Mom stayed home, maintained the house,  and prepared dinner every night,  your expectation of what a  “Mother’s role” would be slightly different than someone who grew up in a single family household where their Mom had to work two jobs. The perceptions and views of what you believe to be true would differ dramatically. The older you get, and the more experiences you have in life, shapes how you perceive the world and shifts based on your life encounters. Take for example, an individual born and raised in NY, accustomed to the hustle and grind of city life, may migrate to the South and perceive the area as laid back and such a refreshing change. It is all about perception, how they view and see the world around them. I have been to New York countless times, and even though it may be a busy city, there is a special connection to the city that is unique to me.  The same is true in all different aspects of life for you, and for all of us. How we interact with people, relationships, and even God comes from our perceptions, and how we see the world around us. How are you perceiving the world around you? Are you looking at the world as a safe place? Are you looking at your life as half full or half empty? Have you allowed life’s ups and downs to change the way you see your life? Are you looking at life through God’s eyes or through the eyes of carnal man? These are questions that I have been asking myself and I am asking them to you. Do you need to change your perception on anything in your life? Are you seeing through God’s eyes of the Holy Spirit? Or are you seeing through eyes of man?!

 “Reality is what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is what we believe.
What we believe is based upon our perceptions.
What we perceive depends upon what we look for.
What we look for depends upon what we think.
What we think depends upon what we perceive.
What we perceive determines what we believe.
What we believe determines what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is our reality.” Gary Zukov


November 26, 2014

In All Things Give Thanks

Filed under: Lady In Balance Blog — @ 1:06 pm

In All Things Give Thanks

When I was a little girl, the holiday season brought on so much excitement, joy, and anticipation. I remember feeling happy about having time off from school to relax and spend time with family, and friends. As a family, we would often attend church services, and my siblings and I would participate in various children ministries, so the deeper meaning of the holiday was in the forefront of my mind, along with the information taught at school. It was not until I grew a little older that I began to dive a little deeper into the meaning of certain holidays and I opened up to what resonated with me on spiritual level. As I reflect on what it means to be thankful this season, my heart is filled with so much gratitude and love for the many blessings in my life. At the same time, I am reminded to rejoice in all things. So, as you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family and friends, or if you are celebrating this holiday season by yourself, remember to give thanks for all things small and big in your life. It makes a difference. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tidbit

“So often we dwell on the things that seem impossible rather than on the things that are possible. So often we are depressed by what remains to be done and forget to be thankful for all that has been done.” Marian Wright Edelman”

JUSTBe Affirmation
“Let your heart rejoice in the good, bad, and even the ugly and thank God for the lessons and blessings!”


October 29, 2014

Are You Up Against The Wall?

Filed under: Lady In Balance Blog — @ 5:54 pm

Are You Up Against The Wall

Do the odds seem like they are stacked up against you? Are you in the midst of turmoil and you feel like your back is against the wall? Are you battling internal pressures, and stresses? Does the day to day routine have you feeling a robot on overdrive? Do you feel like your career or business is at standstill? Are your kids driving you insane? Lastly, do you feel like your dreams and goals are moving further away from you? If you feel like screaming “Heck Yes!” Stop. Breath. Pull your shoulders back and know that at this very moment, you will get through this time. You have to push through it, move through it, and work through it, because it will not last. You will survive. You may feel beat up, bruised, dragged through the mud, and sideways at the moment, but God will not give you more than you can bear. Take a moment count your blessings and pick yourself up from the floor, wipe the tears from your eyes, know that you may be down but you are not out! This is your life, your life, no one else’s! Sometimes you have to go through, to get through it. There are times in life, when you may not understand the situation or challenge but there is a lesson and a reason for it all. You may not fully grasp what it is and it may even feel like the situation will not end, but you have to stay strong, and stand strong. Here are 6 key steps to standing strong In the Midst of Adversity that will help you!

6 Keys To Standing Strong

1. Remember to Count Your Blessings – You have so many things to be thankful for in your life – family, friends, kids, good health, etc. You truly are a walking miracle and gift, simply because you are you! Be thankful

2. Be Easy On Yourself -So many of us are way too critical or hard on ourselves. You may have contributed to some of the madness in your life and some challenges may just be part of life’s many lessons, but it is important to remember that we all make mistakes, own it, and move on. It serves no one, and nothing to beat yourself up over spoiled milk or choices you made in the past. It changes nothing.

3. Focus On What You Can Change – Too often than not, people spend their time focusing on things they cannot change in life. In order to get through life’s ups and downs, and have victory over your life and in your life, focus on things that you can change – your thoughts, attitude, mental perception of yourself, your goals, let go of trying to change the weather, people’s opinion of you, the color of the moon. Focus on what you can change in your life.

4. Laugh – Laughter heals the soul, soothes the spirit, and releases happy cells, along with exercise.

5. Forgive Yourself & Others – You may not want to, but you have to release it and forgive yourself and others for any hurt, wrongdoing that may have caused pain in your life. Forgiveness can be a challenge and a daily choice but in order to reclaim your life, forgiveness is a must.

6. Take It One Day At a Time – It is true challenges, setbacks, will not last, however living for the future and not dealing with the present moment is far from healthy. Be present, live fully in the moment, eyes wide open and be completely honest with yourself. Make the most of each day, and be the best you can be each and every step of the way. Life is a journey, you are a survivor, and you will be stronger and better than you ever were before!

Tidbit

Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Michael Jordan”

JUSTBe Affirmation
“Everyday you arise, you have a choice to be joyful in the midst of the pain, or sink deeper in despair. Choose happiness. Never let the present obstacles take away the joy God has placed in your heart”.


July 16, 2014

The Art of Letting Go In the Midst of Uncertainty

Filed under: Lady In Balance Blog — @ 4:16 am

One of our LIB readers shared an intimate account of her personal journey of letting go of an unhealthy relationship, and how leaving what was familiar, and moving on to something completely unfamiliar, “being single” terrified her to the point where she opted to stay in the unhealthy relationship.  She indicated “I was completely mortified to think that I would be alone, and staying in a situation that hurt me, was more comfortable than being alone. It was not until, I woke up one day and looked in the mirror and realized I did not recognize the woman staring back at me that I mustered up the courage to leave.” Have you ever been in a situation that you knew had run its course but feared moving forward because of the uncertainty of the future or what lay ahead? I believe that we have all been in similar situations or dealt with uncertainty in making a change.

 
Take moment and think about a beautiful sunrise over the ocean, If you look out into the ocean, the water closest to the shore is murky, still, and the air is foggy. It is not until the sun begins to rise and the rays of light hit the water, does the sea begin to gently stir. The waves slowly ripple along the surface, and the fog disappears. The stillness and beauty of the water engulfs you, takes you in, and calmness intertwined with the serenity of the water refreshes you. Think about situations in your life that may seem cloudy, unclear, or unsettling. It is not until you look out in the distance, take a deep breath, and let go that it somehow becomes clear that the through the mask of uncertainty lies a path of clarity and things anew. As you let go, you realize the darkest hour is passing and dawn is upon you. The way becomes clear. Sometimes the release or “wake up” is all you need in order for miracles to occur, your situation to get better, or you gather the courage to let go and move forward. Be blessed!

Mantra of the Month

“Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that he will”  Shared by Teia

Tidbit

“It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share.” Perna Chodron

JUSTBe Affirmation

“My inner guidance is there for me to call on anytime I need or want extra clarity, wisdom, knowledge, support, creative, inspiration, love, or companionship”. Shakti


April 19, 2014

Keep It Real With Yourself

LIB is super excited to share one of the projects we are working on which involves inspirational affirmations for the woman who simply wants to just be! As we roll these out each month, feel free to share your favorite affirmations or quotes and who knows it may be featured in the next newsletter!

Keep It Real With Yourself

Have you ever found yourself questioning the plan and purpose of your life? You may find yourself asking this question, when life throws you a curveball or if you feel like no matter how persistent you, stumbling blocks get in the way, or something happens that completely takes you off course. You may wonder is God saying No? Not now? Or is it a sign you should give up and settle for the status quo? No doubt, I think we have all been there. It’s during these moments where you should stop and shift your focus to love and take an honest assessment of where you are in your thoughts, actions, and life at the moment. For example, What is the true reason why you want to have your own successful business? Is it because you truly want to be your own “Boss”, or do you want to create a legacy and utilize your gifts and talents to serve the world your way? Whatever reason it is, be honest with your intentions and come from an internal place of love and truth. Be real and honest with yourself. In the meantime, if that “something” continually calls your name. Answer the call, openly, honestly and with love. The doors may not open when you want them too, but eventually the light will shine, doors will open, and things will take off for you! Keep moving forward and embracing the process and journey.

Tidbit

“Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward in the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence” Og Mandino”

JUSTBe Affirmation
I trust and believe that all is well and working out for my good.


March 16, 2014

Jaded, YA thriller

Filed under: Lady In Balance Blog — @ 4:50 am

By Kristy Feltenberger

 

Jade has spent her entire life within the confines of the eye-color- obsessed Nirvana commune. She dreams of experiencing freedom but travel to the Outside is forbidden. Besides, she’s a dutiful daughter who never breaks the rules. As her seventeenth birthday approaches, however, she realizes just how little she wants to follow the commune rules. She doesn’t want to undergo another eye color surgery, or immediately choose a life partner, or follow her parents’ life paths of teaching or wine making. In fact, her green eyes suit her just fine, she’s never even been on a date, and she’s passionate about photography. And yet she’s resigned to do as she’s told because it’s easier for her to close her eyes and follow orders. 
Her Grandmother Ruby’s murder is the catalyst that causes Jade to open her eyes wide for the first time in her life. She’s devastated yet determined to find the killer and their motive. With help from her mysterious friend Tyrian, and Peaches, the commune leader’s sweet daughter, Jade unearths dark secrets which include her mother’s illicit affair, her maternal grandparents’ escape from Nirvana, and a plethora of murders. To make matters worse, someone is hell bent on ending Jade’s mission for the truth, and that someone is most likely the killer. 
Jade can’t continue conforming to an evil society and yet she fears the Outside is just as corrupt. If she resolves to flee and is caught, the punishment is banishment to the slave cabins…and blinding
 

Although Jaded is considered a young adult dystopian novel, adults will be able to relate to Jade’s plight. 

jaded.jpg

 

Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00II0UUSQ 


My blog, Keep Calm and Write On-http://kristyfgillespie.com/

 

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/kristy.feltenbergergillespie?filter=3

 

Twitter- https://twitter.com/KFGillespie

 

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4997591-kristy-feltenberger-gillespie


Kristin Clark Taylor Visit

 By Cindy Brookshire

 Kristin Clark Taylor inspires students to power down and become memory makers

While Olivia Pope fans were home watching “Scandal” on Feb. 27, I was taking myself on an “author” date to NOVA’s Manassas campus. The Office of Student Life sponsored a free community event with Kristin Clark Taylor – Scandal-inspiration Judy Smith’s real life friend – speaking about her years working in the West Wing.

 Taylor was the first African-American woman to serve as White House director of communications for President George H.W. Bush. She wrote a book about her experiences called “The First to Speak: A Woman of Color inside the White House” (Doubleday, 1993).

  Taylor kept her comments brief so she could interact with the young adults in Colgan Theatre. She shared what it was like to find a job after leaving Michigan State with just an undergrad degree in classical literature. Luckily her byline in the Detroit Free Press caught the eye of the launch team at Gannett, who recruited her to help start the new national daily USA Today. From there she was offered the job as Vice President Bush’s communications strategist, press officer and writer.

  Taylor was proud to bring her mother to the White House one day, and even kept a clump of dirt and grass from the Rose Garden that she cleaned off her high heel as a memento. When her mother died two months before Bush was elected president, her death forged their friendship.

  “Working in the White House was a living history lesson,” said Taylor, who said she always took a moment of reverence before entering the Oval Office. “I was aware of the hands that had polished the doorknobs I touched. The past is a living, breathing thing. We all need to connect with something larger than ourselves.”

  Oh, and those racy (and racing) scenes in “Scandal” in the West Wing? Taylor said it’s more like working in a private home; calm, even in crisis. So she has to laugh when she sees all those extras running in the background on the show.  She said the décor of the HBO TV series Veep is truer to form – she was sure they were filming in her old office!

Taylor encouraged students to be “memory makers” of those we have loved and lost. As an example, she shared the moment she asked her father if he thought there would ever be a black president. He was in the basement of their family home, bent over a fishing tackle box. She watched his shoulders strengthen, and he said, yes – maybe not in his lifetime, or hers, but yes. When that day came, she said, it was in her lifetime, not his; and it was historic, whether you agreed with Barack Obama’s policies or not.

  Taylor focuses her writing on the inspirational. Since “First to Speak” she has published three more books, “Black Mothers: Songs of Praise and Celebration,” (Doubleday, 2000), “Black Fathers: A Call for Healing,” (Doubleday, 2003) and “The Forever Box,” (Berkley, 2011). Currently, she is working on a novel, and is active in a writers group in Great Falls, Va. Her children are grown; she lives with her husband, Lonnie.

  “Prayer is for God to expand the territory of my heart,” said Taylor, who starts each day with an expression of gratitude and Bible reading to “put the rest of the day in perspective and gird myself” for what comes. She practices tai chi, and encouraged students to “power down” and create stillness so that they could allow space to be filled with whatever is waiting to come in.

  Driving home from campus in the extreme winter chill, I turned off the car radio, and created a stillness that allowed peace to enter. I thought about the loved ones who are no longer here, the memories we made together and the times we cherished. I had held them in, protecting them. Now I realize I need to write them down, and share them, as Kristin Clark Taylor has inspired me to do.

 


The Prairie Star – An 1850’s Anthology

Women’s History Month has me thinking about women, yes, but mainly women writers.  Those of you who know me or are familiar with my writing, know I like to illuminate the stories of everyday people from the past, that so often have parallels with our own.

 

When settlers went west they didn’t leave everything behind.  They brought many cultural traditions to their new communities as a way to socialize with new neighbors and bring some feeling of civilization to newly formed towns.

 

Today I would like to introduce you to the ladies of the Kansas Philomathic Literary Society.  This group, formed in Topeka, Kansas, held its first meeting during the winter of 1855-1856 in Union Hall.  The first Saturday of the month was set aside for lectures, with the other Saturdays for discussion and literary readings.  In 1857, the Society began producing a handwritten “journal” called the Prairie Star, which featured the poetry and prose of its members.  All punctuation and spelling has been left as in the original documents.

 

The “mission statement” of the group is poetical as presented in the prospectus:

 

            We have christened our paper the Prairie Star, Seeking a name synonymous with

our far Western and beautiful land, and from these broad and fair Prairies we will endeavor to send forth Such Sentiments as will serve a beacon light to those

around us, pointing them to all that is Noble, fair, and truthful. 

 

In the January 24, 1857 inaugural issue, Maria Martin, the journal’s editor, opened with reflections on settlers’ perspectives as they huddled inside for the winter:

 

            With the early days of the bright New Year, while the cold searching winds

            Come sweeping o’er these broad prairies, entering every creek and crevice of our Kansas Homes,                                                

We circle round our quiet firesides, each busy with his or her own thoughts, thankful for the measure of peace which now is ours after the distracting Scenes of the past year-

The man of business as he rests from his daily toil, thinks of his prospects, how much the receipts of his last years labors were.  How he will provide and act for the future.  The Mother thinks of the home She has left, of the valuable Schools, the many advantages which formerly surrounded her youthful family and earnest hopes that the Same may ere long Surround her and hers, in this there far Western Home.  The young wife with busy thoughts intent, building up in her imagination her little home with all of Nature and Arts adornments . . . but bright dreams for the future occupy her every thought.  And the young man, and blooming maiden full of gaity and mirth, and bright anticipations, Transplant to there new homes, Some of the Scenes and enjoyments of former homes.  First, and most valued among we consider out “Literary Society” . . .

 

 

Certainly, our writing groups today are different from the Philomathic Society in many ways.  But think about why your own writing group came together – comraderie, a shared interest in writing, and perhaps educating each other and the community.  Consider the Prairie Star as the Society’s anthology, with its goal to enlighten their neighbors.  Unlike many anthologies today, printed on Create Space or other electronic means, each Prairie Star issue, and each copy of each issue, was handwritten.  What an undertaking and what an accomplishment. 

 

The editor expressed the group’s desire to produce a quality journal.  Although, the group was primarily ladies, they did not discriminate in accepting submissions as the editor points out:

 

. . . Our lady friends we hope will rally around aiding us with there contributions of Poetry and Prose, and not only from the ladies but we trust our male friends will lend us the cheering smile, and kindly word, and think it a priviledge to occasionally Send us a few thoughts by the more practicable pens for our mutual benefit and of wit and humour a share to enliven our pages and amuse our

hearers . . .

 

So now on this fourth day of Women’s History Month, let us raise our pens to the ladies  of the Kansas Philomathic Literary Society.

 

 

Writer and artist Linda S. Johnston enjoys combining history, art, and nature in her writing.  She began reading reading pioneer diaries in 1986 and never stopped.  Her first book Hope Amid Hardship: Pioneer Voices from Kansas Territory, is a collection of pioneer writings about the happy side of life in early Kansas and includes watercolor sketches throughout.  To learn more about Linda and her writing, please visit www.lindasjohnston.com

 

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