Archive for January, 2016

“Marriages aren’t destroyed by lack of knowledge. They’re destroyed by our unwillingness to listen to the knowledge we already carry within us…”

Dr. Kelly Flanagan

3 marriage fallacies pic WoW

The Last Marriage Post You’ll Ever Need to Read

By Dr. Kelly Flanagan

Around this time last year, in Chicago, we were in the middle of a polar vortex. The thermostat hovered around zero. The schools were frequently closed. It was painful to go outside.

And my wife went to New Orleans without me.

It was a business trip, and she went out of her way to make provisions for the kids and me — she even flew her mother in to help with childcare while I was at work. Nevertheless, on the night the thermostat short-circuited and I discovered dog poop wedged in the couch cushions, she sent me a video of her enjoying Bourbon Street.

And I got as bitter as the weather outside.

When that happens — when I feel like I’m on my own and nobody cares about me — I put a big, invisible wall between me and everybody I love. When she returned from New Orleans, I wanted to be good to her but, to be honest, I also didn’t want to. So, I wasn’t. The problem is, after a few weeks, I was lonelier than ever and I just wanted my wife back.

I couldn’t figure out how to accomplish it, though. I felt like something big needed to change. I felt like something new needed to happen. I got away for an evening to brainstorm ideas, but I couldn’t come up with anything. Until I realized:

I had fallen prey to three big fallacies about how to make a marriage thrive.

Three Marriage Fallacies

  1. We think the key to a thriving marriage is a mystery. As a marital therapist, couples come to me to save their marriage or make it grow. They think I hold the answers. They think they don’t know how to do it. Most of us think we have to read a bunch of books or talk to a bunch of counselors to discover the hidden solutions to marriage.
  2. We believe something new must happen to get a marriage firing on all cylinders. It’s a consumer approach to love: when it’s broken, we shop for something new to fix it. It’s a medical approach to love: when a marriage is ailing, we try a new medicine to heal it.
  3. We think the new thing must be big.  We think our marriage requires open-heart surgery, not penicillin. Which is why we end up having kids to save the marriage. Or going on expensive vacations to rekindle a cooling love. Or buying a new house. Or orchestrating extravagant dates. Or having big fights. When the problem feels insurmountable, we assume the solution must be big, as well.

Yet, marriages aren’t destroyed by a lack of knowledge, lack of innovation, or lack of grandeur. Marriages are destroyed by ego. And it is ego that keeps us from hearing the voice inside, which is whispering the answers we already know about how to make our marriages come alive.

Listening for the Real Answers

On the night I got away to come up with some mysterious, innovative, and grand ways to get my marriage back on track, I sat in a quiet nook and observed my ego doing its thing — it had put up the wall between my wife and I and now it was trying to take the wall down. My ego is attached to shiny-new things, grand displays, and sophisticated answers and solutions.

I watched my ego do its thing, and I realized it was masking the real answers.

So, I stopped watching my ego and I began listening for the voice beneath my ego. The voice I call grace. It is the voice in me — indeed, in all of us — that knows exactly how to love. As I listened, I heard this: You haven’t put her first in years. And then I heard four very specific answers: kiss her on the forehead first thing every morning, say goodbye to her last before leaving the house each day, send her one text every day while apart, and say hello to her first when you walk in the door at night.

The answers were not mysterious, new, and grand.

The answers were obvious, old, and small.

Obvious, Old, and Small

Marriages aren’t healed with big things; they’re healed with small things done every day. They aren’t healed by doing new things; they’re healed by doing old things we used to do and quit doing somewhere along the way. And, if we can set aside our ego for a little while, we don’t need anyone to tell us what those things are. We already know.

Beneath all of our hiding and pretending and protecting and defending and accusing and criticizing, there is a voice always whispering the answer.

Marriage can change on a dime, and that dime is the moment we look past our ego and listen to the voice of grace within us. Marital therapy isn’t the place we go to for someone else’s answers; it’s the nook where we get quiet, look past our egos, and listen for the answers already within us. What we hear will be obvious, old, and small, but it will also be unique and specific to who we are and to the love we share. Because the voice of grace is that good.

  • Find a nook. And start listening.
  • Listen for the small things.
  • Listen for the old things.
  • Listen for the obvious things.

Become aware of this: your heart is writing its own marriage post every day. Your task is simply to transcribe what you hear onto the pages of your life together. Then, you may want to read more marriage posts, but you probably won’t need to.

You’ll be too busy doing the ordinary things that make your marriage an extraordinary thing.

Dr. Kelly Flanagan is a licensed clinical psychologist 
and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. 
He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, 
relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and 
enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. 
You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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My Cookies pic for Wow
Those are MY Cookies!

A young lady was waiting for her flight in a boarding room of a big airport. As she would need to wait a few hours, she decided to buy a book to spend her time. She also bought a pack of cookies. She sat down in an armchair, in the VIP room of the airport, to rest and read in peace.

Beside the armchair where the packet of cookies lay, a man sat down in the next seat, opened his magazine and started reading. When she took out the first cookie, the man took one also. She felt irritated, but said nothing. She just thought, “What a nerve! If I was in the mood, I would punch him for his daring!”

For each cookie she took, the man took one too. This was infuriating her, but she didn’t want to cause a scene. When only one cookie remained, she thought: “Ah… what will this selfish, abusive man do now?”

Then, the man taking the last cookie, divided it and gave her one half.

“Ah! That’s too much!” she thought. She was extremely angry now! In a huff, she took her book, her things and stormed to the boarding place. When she sat down in her seat inside the plane, she looked into her purse to take out her eyeglasses, and to her surprise, her packet of cookies was there, untouched… unopened.

She felt so ashamed! She realized that she was wrong… she had forgotten she had left her cookies in her purse. The man had divided his cookies with her, without feeling angered or bitter, while she had been very angry, thinking she was dividing her cookies with him.

And now, there was no chance to explain or apologize . . . or more importantly . . . to say thank you. She sat on the plane . . . alone with her thoughts.

                                                                                                                        Author Unknown

Thank you to my daughter Gabi for this great little story 
that reminds us of the value of being unconditionally generous with everyone.

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“Every time I think about those kids it makes me mad.”

President Barak Obama
Obama WoW pic

Thank you, Mr. President, for doing what Congress has repeatedly refused to do. This is perhaps the best speech of his Presidency . . . And shame on Congress for playing politics with peoples’ lives.

Obama will implement plan through executive actions

President Barack Obama unveiled a new set of executive actions aimed at limiting gun violence in a press conference Tuesday from the White House. The efforts largely center on more stringent background checks.

Here’s a full transcript of his remarks. The Father of a murdered 7-year-old child at Newtown introduced him.

THE PRESIDENT: Mark, I want to thank you for your introduction. I still remember the first time we met, the time we spent together, and the conversation we had about Daniel. And that changed me that day. And my hope, earnestly, has been that it would change the country.

Five years ago this week, a sitting member of Congress and 18 others were shot at, at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. It wasn’t the first time I had to talk to the nation in response to a mass shooting, nor would it be the last. Fort Hood. Binghamton. Aurora. Oak Creek. Newtown. The Navy Yard. Santa Barbara. Charleston. San Bernardino. Too many.




THE PRESIDENT: Thanks to a great medical team and the love of her husband, Mark, my dear friend and colleague, Gabby Giffords, survived. She’s here with us today, with her wonderful mom. (Applause.) Thanks to a great medical team, her wonderful husband, Mark – who, by the way, the last time I met with Mark – this is just a small aside – you may know Mark’s twin brother is in outer space. (Laughter.)

He came to the office, and I said, how often are you talking to him? And he says, well, I usually talk to him every day, but the call was coming in right before the meeting so I think I may have not answered his call – (laughter) – which made me feel kind of bad. (Laughter.) That’s a long-distance call. (Laughter.) So I told him if his brother, Scott, is calling today, that he should take it. (Laughter.) Turn the ringer on. (Laughter.)

I was there with Gabby when she was still in the hospital, and we didn’t think necessarily at that point that she was going to survive. And that was visit right before a memorial – about an hour later Gabby first opened her eyes. And I remember talking to mom about that. But I know the pain that she and her family have endured these past five years, and the rehabilitation and the work and the effort to recover from shattering injuries.

And then I think of all the Americans who aren’t as fortunate. Every single year, more than 30,000 Americans have their lives cut short by guns – 30,000. Suicides. Domestic violence. Gang shootouts. Accidents. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost brothers and sisters, or buried their own children. Many have had to learn to live with a disability, or learned to live without the love of their life.

A number of those people are here today. They can tell you some stories. In this room right here, there are a lot of stories. There’s a lot of heartache. There’s a lot of resilience, there’s a lot of strength, but there’s also a lot of pain. And this is just a small sample.

The United States of America is not the only country on Earth with violent or dangerous people. We are not inherently more prone to violence. But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close. And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking this is normal.

And instead of thinking about how to solve the problem, this has become one of our most polarized, partisan debates – despite the fact that there’s a general consensus in America about what needs to be done. That’s part of the reason why, on Thursday, I’m going to hold a town hall meeting in Virginia on gun violence. Because my goal here is to bring good people on both sides of this issue together for an open discussion.

I’m not on the ballot again. I’m not looking to score some points. I think we can disagree without impugning other people’s motives or without being disagreeable. We don’t need to be talking past one another. But we do have to feel a sense of urgency about it. In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the “fierce urgency of now.” Because people are dying. And the constant excuses for inaction no longer do, no longer suffice.

That’s why we’re here today. Not to debate the last mass shooting, but to do something to try to prevent the next one. (Applause.)

To prove that the vast majority of Americans, even if our voices aren’t always the loudest or most extreme, care enough about a little boy like Daniel to come together and take common-sense steps to save lives and protect more of our children.

Now, I want to be absolutely clear at the start – and I’ve said this over and over again, this also becomes routine, there is a ritual about this whole thing that I have to do – I believe in the Second Amendment. It’s there written on the paper. It guarantees a right to bear arms. No matter how many times people try to twist my words around – I taught constitutional law, I know a little about this – (applause) – I get it. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.

I mean, think about it.

We all believe in the First Amendment, the guarantee of free speech, but we accept that you can’t yell “fire” in a theater. We understand there are some constraints on our freedom in order to protect innocent people. We cherish our right to privacy, but we accept that you have to go through metal detectors before being allowed to board a plane. It’s not because people like doing that, but we understand that’s part of the price of living in a civilized society.

And what’s often ignored in this debate is that a majority of gun owners actually agree. A majority of gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking feud from inflicting harm on a massive scale.

Today, background checks are required at gun stores. If a father wants to teach his daughter how to hunt, he can walk into a gun store, get a background check, purchase his weapon safely and responsibly. This is not seen as an infringement on the Second Amendment. Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this hasn’t been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation.

Contrary to claims of some presidential candidates, apparently, before this meeting, this is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns. You pass a background check; you purchase a firearm.

The problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules. A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the Internet with no background check, no questions asked. A recent study found that about one in 30 people looking to buy guns on one website had criminal records – one out of 30 had a criminal record. We’re talking about individuals convicted of serious crimes – aggravated assault, domestic violence, robbery, illegal gun possession. People with lengthy criminal histories buying deadly weapons all too easily. And this was just one website within the span of a few months.

So we’ve created a system in which dangerous people are allowed to play by a different set of rules than a responsible gun owner who buys his or her gun the right way and subjects themselves to a background check. That doesn’t make sense. Everybody should have to abide by the same rules. Most Americans and gun owners agree. And that’s what we tried to change three years ago, after 26 Americans — including 20 children — were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Two United States Senators — Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, both gun owners, both strong defenders of our Second Amendment rights, both with “A” grades from the NRA — that’s hard to get – worked together in good faith, consulting with folks like our Vice President, who has been a champion on this for a long time, to write a common-sense compromise bill that would have required virtually everyone who buys a gun to get a background check. That was it. Pretty common-sense stuff.

Ninety percent of Americans supported that idea. Ninety percent of Democrats in the Senate voted for that idea. But it failed because 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted against that idea.

How did this become such a partisan issue? Republican President George W. Bush once said, “I believe in background checks at gun shows or anywhere to make sure that guns don’t get into the hands of people that shouldn’t have them.”

Senator John McCain introduced a bipartisan measure to address the gun show loophole, saying, “We need this amendment because criminals and terrorists have exploited and are exploiting this very obvious loophole in our gun safety laws.”

Even the NRA used to support expanded background checks. And by the way, most of its members still do. Most Republican voters still do.

How did we get here? How did we get to the place where people think requiring a comprehensive background check means taking away people’s guns?

Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms, like background checks, might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying? I reject that thinking. (Applause.) We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence.

Some of you may recall, at the same time Sandy Hook happened, a disturbed person in China took a knife and tried to kill – with a knife – a bunch of children in China. But most of them survived because he didn’t have access to a powerful weapon. We maybe can’t save everybody, but we could save some.

Just as we don’t prevent all traffic accidents, but we take steps to try to reduce traffic accidents.

As Ronald Reagan once said, if mandatory background checks could save more lives, “it would be well worth making it the law of the land.” The bill before Congress three years ago met that test. Unfortunately, too many senators failed theirs. (Applause.)

In fact, we know background checks make a difference. After Connecticut passed a law requiring background checks and gun safety courses, gun deaths decreased by 40 percent – 40 percent. (Applause.)

Meanwhile, since Missouri repealed a law requiring comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, gun deaths have increased to almost 50 percent higher than the national average. One study found, unsurprisingly, that criminals in Missouri now have easier access to guns.

And the evidence tells us that in states that require background checks, law-abiding Americans don’t find it any harder to purchase guns whatsoever. Their guns have not been confiscated. Their rights have not been infringed.

And that’s just the information we have access to. With more research, we could further improve gun safety. Just as with more research, we’ve reduced traffic fatalities enormously over the last 30 years. We do research when cars, food, medicine, even toys harm people so we make them safer. And you know what – research, science – those are good things. They work. (Laughter and applause.) They do.

But think about this. When it comes to an inherently deadly weapon – nobody argues that guns are potentially deadly – weapons that kill tens of thousands of Americans every year, Congress actually voted to make it harder for public health experts to conduct research into gun violence; made it harder to collect data and facts and develop strategies to reduce gun violence.

Even after San Bernardino, they’ve refused to make it harder for terror suspects who can’t get on a plane to buy semi-automatic weapons. That’s not right. That can’t be right.

So the gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold America hostage. (Applause.) We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom. (Applause.)

Now, I want to be clear. Congress still needs to act. The folks in this room will not rest until Congress does. (Applause.) Because once Congress gets on board with common-sense gun safety measures, we can reduce gun violence a whole lot more. But we also can’t wait.

Until we have a Congress that’s in line with the majority of Americans, there are actions within my legal authority that we can take to help reduce gun violence and save more lives — actions that protect our rights and our kids.

After Sandy Hook, Joe and I worked together with our teams and we put forward a whole series of executive actions to try to tighten up the existing rules and systems we had in place. But today, we want to take it a step further. So let me outline what we’re going to be doing.

Number one, anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks, or be subject to criminal prosecutions. (Applause.) It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it over the Internet or at a gun show. It’s not where you do it, but what you do.
We’re also expanding background checks to cover violent criminals who try to buy some of the most dangerous firearms by hiding behind trusts and corporations and various cutouts.

We’re also taking steps to make the background check system more efficient. Under the guidance of Jim Comey and the FBI, our Deputy Director Tom Brandon at ATF, we’re going to hire more folks to process applications faster, and we’re going to bring an outdated background check system into the 21st century. (Applause.)

And these steps will actually lead to a smoother process for law-abiding gun owners, a smoother process for responsible gun dealers, a stronger process for protecting the people – the public – from dangerous people. So that’s number one.

Number two, we’re going to do everything we can to ensure the smart and effective enforcement of gun safety laws that are already on the books, which means we’re going to add 200 more ATF agents and investigators. We’re going to require firearms dealers to report more lost or stolen guns on a timely basis. We’re working with advocates to protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence, where too often – (applause) – where too often, people are not getting the protection they need.

Number three, we’re going to do more to help those suffering from mental illness get the help that they need. (Applause.) High-profile mass shootings tend to shine a light on those few mentally unstable people who inflict harm on others. But the truth is, is that nearly two in three gun deaths are from suicides. So a lot of our work is to prevent people from hurting themselves. 

That’s why we made sure the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – (laughter and applause) – that law made sure that treatment for mental health was covered the same as treatment for any other illness. And that’s why we’re going to invest $500 million to expand access to treatment across the country.


It’s also why we’re going to ensure federal mental health records are submitted to the background check system, and remove barriers that prevent states from reporting relevant information. If we can continue to de-stigmatize mental health issues, get folks proper care, and fill gaps in the background check system, then we can spare more families the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.

And for those in Congress who so often rush to blame mental illness for mass shootings as a way of avoiding action on guns, here’s your chance to support these efforts. Put your money where your mouth is. (Applause.)

Number four, we’re going to boost gun safety technology. Today, many gun injuries and deaths are the result of legal guns that were stolen or misused or discharged accidentally. In 2013 alone, more than 500 people lost their lives to gun accidents — and that includes 30 children younger than five years old. In the greatest, most technologically advanced nation on Earth, there is no reason for this. We need to develop new technologies that make guns safer. If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns? (Applause.)

If there’s an app that can help us find a missing tablet – which happens to me often the older I get – (laughter) – if we can do it for your iPad, there’s no reason we can’t do it with a stolen gun. If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should make sure they can’t pull a trigger on a gun.

(Applause.) Right?

So we’re going to advance research. We’re going to work with the private sector to update firearms technology.

And some gun retailers are already stepping up by refusing to finalize a purchase without a complete background check, or by refraining from selling semi-automatic weapons or high-capacity magazines. And I hope more retailers and more manufacturers join them – because they should care as much as anybody about a product that now kills almost as many Americans as car accidents.

I make this point because none of us can do this alone. I think Mark made that point earlier. All of us should be able to work together to find a balance that declares the rest of our rights are also important – Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them. Because our right to worship freely and safely — that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. (Applause.) And that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek. (Applause.)

They had rights, too. (Applause.)

Our right to peaceful assembly — that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown. First-graders. And from every family who never imagined their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day. (Applause.)

So all of us need to demand a Congress brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby’s lies. All of us need to stand up and protect its citizens. All of us need to demand governors and legislatures and businesses do their part to make our communities safer. We need the wide majority of responsible gun owners, who grieve with us every time this happens and feel like your views are not being properly represented, to join with us to demand something better. (Applause.)

And we need voters who want safer gun laws, and who are disappointed in leaders who stand in their way, to remember come election time. (Applause.)

I mean, some of this is just simple math. Yes, the gun lobby is loud and it is organized in defense of making it effortless for guns to be available for anybody, any time. Well, you know what, the rest of us, we all have to be just as passionate. We have to be just as organized in defense of our kids. This is not that complicated. The reason Congress blocks laws is because they want to win elections. And if you make it hard for them to win an election if they block those laws, they’ll change course, I promise you. (Applause.)

And, yes, it will be hard, and it won’t happen overnight. It won’t happen during this Congress. It won’t happen during my presidency. But a lot of things don’t happen overnight. A woman’s right to vote didn’t happen overnight. The liberation of African Americans didn’t happen overnight. LGBT rights – that was decades’ worth of work. So just because it’s hard, that’s no excuse not to try.

And if you have any doubt as to why you should feel that “fierce urgency of now,” think about what happened three weeks ago. Zaevion Dobson was a sophomore at Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. He played football; beloved by his classmates and his teachers. His own mayor called him one of their city’s success stories.

The week before Christmas, he headed to a friend’s house to play video games. He wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. He hadn’t made a bad decision. He was exactly where any other kid would be. Your kid. My kids. And then gunmen started firing.

And Zaevion – who was in high school, hadn’t even started in life – dove on top of three girls to shield them from the bullets. And he was shot in the head. And the girls were spared. He gave his life to save theirs — an act of heroism a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15-year-old.

“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

We are not asked to do what Zaevion Dobson did. We’re not asked to have shoulders that big; a heart that strong; reactions that quick. I’m not asking people to have that same level of courage, or sacrifice, or love. But if we love our kids and care about their prospects, and if we love this country and care about its future, then we can find the courage to vote. We can find the courage to get mobilized and organized. We can find the courage to cut through all the noise and do what a sensible country would do.

That’s what we’re doing today. And tomorrow, we should do more. And we should do more the day after that. And if we do, we’ll leave behind a nation that’s stronger than the one we inherited and worthy of the sacrifice of a young man like Zaevion. (Applause.)

Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. Thank you.

God Bless America. (Applause.)

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“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”

Denis Waitley

Falcon pic for WoW
The Falcon And The Branch

“Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained.

Months passed and one day, the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.

The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly.

He presented the task to the member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch.

Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, ‘May be I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.’ So he cried out to his court, ‘Go and get a farmer.’

In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, ‘Bring me the doer of this miracle.’

The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, ‘How did you make the falcon fly?’

With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, ‘It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting.'”

Chinese Proverb

Just like a ship is not made for the harbor and the falcon is not designed to sit on the branch, you and I weren’t created for a mediocre life. There is more to life than to settle for the familiar, the mundane and the safe zones.

Letting go is a core necessity of life if one is going to grow, to learn, to gain wisdom, and to succeed. When we were babies learning how to walk, we had to let go of the couch to get to the coffee table. Like the leaves that must drop to the ground before new ones can appear, we too, must let go of the past if we are to reach the future.

As you enter a New Year, perhaps it is time to ask yourselves some questions:

  • How have I been limiting myself?
  • How have I allowed my surrounding circumstances weigh me down and hold me back?
  • Who am I resisting or fighting? To whom do I give my power?
  • Am I conforming instead of breaking free to be whom I’m meant to be and reach for my limitless success?

How long have you been wishing, wanting and hoping for things to change . . . a relationship, a career, your health, your everyday happiness? Perhaps now is the time for you to jump out of the box.

But to do so, you must let go of what holds you back and keeps you stuck and trapped. What behaviors do you need to let go of? Laziness? Procrastination? What angers or hurts or fears do you hold on to? Whom do you need to stop blaming, arguing with and forgive? Who has not heard or felt “I love you” from you for a long time?

What have you been afraid to do or say or feel? What risk do you know you need to take? How long have you been waiting?

Without risk there is no reward.

Sometimes we can begin our “flight” by choosing it ourselves. Other times, we need something much more drastic – like our branch cut off from under us so we have no other choice but to flap our wings and fly!

But there is one thing I can promise you, if you don’t do it for yourself, Life will do it for you.

“It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win.”

John Paul Jones


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Hold Fast WoW
“Gather your blessings about you, draw the good that you have together.

Do not let the broken world hypnotize you into imagining all is lost, but be constant in your faith that kindness still stands before the wind and will not be overturned.

Hold fast to what you value.

Speak out the word of love.

Trust the right to return even if the wrong seems forever.

We were not made to play at believing, but to work at it with confident purpose.”

Bishop Steven Charleston


May your New Year be filled with many blessings.

May your hearts be filled with gratitude.

May we each hold true to the good that exists in this world and not be swayed by fear or discouraged by evil.

Nothing that ever happens is wasted.

It is all a test or a lesson, an opportunity to help us evolve into the spiritual beings we are meant to be…

at one and at peace with Universal Energy.

May we listen and learn carefully and may we let our courageous voices be heard on behalf of all humanity.

With love,
Martha Signature - first name only
Thank you to my good friend Marjorie Sennett for sharing this quote in her Christmas letter.

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