Be Careful What You Say…

The power of the tongue is life and death— those who love to talk will eat what it produces.–Proverbs 18:21, ISV

Today I read a message from Joel Osteen titled Blessing Your Future. It referenced James 3:10, NLT“And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”  I’ve heard similar messages before and have experienced the concept mentioned in my own life many times. This prompted me to want to write a post about how important it is to keep your speech and your thoughts positive, if for nothing else, at least to keep your peace of mind.

Are you speaking good, joyful, uplifting, positive, prosperous, progressive things over your life? Or, are you speaking negative, berating, belittling, damaging, discouraging things over your life? The things you say have powerful effects on your life, your mind, and your general well-being. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you reap what you sow.” Most of us understand this to mean that the seeds we plant in life will produce the corresponding fruit. A farmer can’t plant apple seeds and reasonably expect a grove of orange trees to grow. You don’t wait for roses to bloom on the bush at the edge of your driveway when you know you planted tulip seeds. Likewise, we can’t sprinkle our lives with negative words and reasonably expect positive events to occur. 

This is not to say that one bad word or statement will cause something bad to happen to you right away. Just like a planted seed, things happen over time. A seed needs to be nurtured to eventually blossom into a full-fledged plant. Negative, discouraging, depressing talk continued over time will change your mental state and produce nothing but more negativity, discouragement, and depression in your life and in the lives of those around you who have to constantly hear you speak this way.

You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control how you react to, speak about, and allow them to make you feel. Why make yourself feel worse in an already bad situation? What you say probably won’t fix everything or even anything, but it can change how you feel. 

Even when it’s dark and there’s total devastation all around you, keep your mind bright, clear, and focused on love. There’s a lot of hate in the world right now. Love is the only thing that conquers hate. Light is the only thing that drives out darkness. 

I know it’s hard, but you’re going to make it. We’re going to make it. Be kind to yourself. Encourage yourself. Talk more about the life you want, not the life you don’t. Call good things to your life–peace, happiness, joy, energy, health, friendship, and love. 

In the words of my late grandmother Ellabea, “Jesus loves you and I do, too.

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Don’t Miss Your Calling!

 missed-opportunity

Photo Credit: http://www.1bronation.com

I like to think of myself as a pretty good writer.  I still have plenty to learn and improve upon, but I think I’ve done all right for myself thus far with my writing.  Yesterday I came across an old resume and cover letter of mine and I actually got upset for a minute.  I looked at some of the companies I had sent it to, most of which never even called me back.  I remembered all the time and hard work I had put into that cover letter and resume.  It was great!  It made me sound like the best thing since sliced bread.  As I started at the words on the paper I said out loud, “Really xxxx Corporation?  How could you NOT have hired me?!  This cover letter and resume looks amazing!”  No sooner were the words out of my mouth, I realized exactly why I never heard from these jokers.

At the time I wrote and sent this resume to numerous companies, I was a new college graduate with a BA in English, working in billing for a company completely unrelated to my education, goals and dreams, and all the while, aspiring to be an English Teacher and a writer.  If one of these numerous companies that received my resume had actually called me and eventually hired me, I would have put my real goals on hold.  I might have become complacent with the new job, like I had with my current on at the time and forgotten all about what I really wanted to do.  All of my education and writing would have fallen by the wayside and have been for nothing.  If I had gotten one of these other jobs, I would have missed my true callingteaching and writing.

Photo Credit www.sheknows.ca

Now here I am a year or so later teaching Language Arts to 7th Graders, blogging on several different sites about things I love, and working on my first script, ebook, and novel.  Once of the coolest parts about it all is that Empower Network is helping me reach my goals by teaching me how to market myself and make more money with my blogs.  None of this would have happened had those other companies really loved my cover letter and resume as much as I did.

Luckily, you can do the same thing I’m doing.  Stop pursuing jobs you don’t really love just so you can get a paycheck.  Granted, we all need a paycheck, but how much sweeter would that check be if you got it doing something you love to do?  Start promoting yourself, your skills, your business, or whatever else you want to promote via your own blog on the Empower Network WordPress Platform.  This will be your own little space on the web to get creative, get promoting, and show the world what you’ve got.   Click here to join my team today.  Let’s get this money!

Share this post with people you know are looking to do something different and want to make money doing it.

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Somthing New

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When you start something new, there’s a learning curve, right? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a newborn baby and your “something new” is life itself, or you’re a 65 year old man entering retirement and your “something new” is a fixed income and reprogramming your body not to wake up at 4:30am for your shift at the factory. New things bring with them excitement, wonder, and optimism, but they also bring anxiety, doubt, and difficulty. Starting a new business or attempting to market your existing one to the next level is no different.

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When I decided to become a freelance writer, I couldn’t wait to get started—but short of just transferring the thoughts and ideas in my head onto my computer screen, I had no idea what to do. I had to go through the aforementioned learning curve. That required plenty of research on exactly what a freelance writer does, what topics I would write about, how to get my writing seen, how to market myself, how to be published, how to appeal to my audience, and how to make money doing it. As technology, people’s interests, and the world in general change, I have to learn to adapt. I am constantly learning new ways to use technology, brainstorming ways to stay relevant to my readers, and researching ways to grow my audience.
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I parallel my journey to becoming a successful writer to that of a baby’s journey to becoming a thriving adult.

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teamwork

Unfortunately, I went through the beginning of my aspiring writer learning curve solo. I didn’t realize the importance of having the right people around you with similar interests and mindsets, but more experience and solid success. As I start my latest endeavor with Empower Network, I’m anticipating the learning curve but the great thing about it is that there are so many training resources and knowledgeable, successful members that my learning curve thus far has been pretty narrow. Having such a strong team of people to support you and guide you around the learning curve is amazing. Whether you’re bold enough to take the Empower Network plunge and start living your dream on purpose, or you have some other “something new” going on, make sure to surround yourself with a great support system.

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So keeping all of this in mind, what is your “something new?” Are you embarking on a new career, buying a new home, or just trying to get your life and your income to the next level? Whatever your “something new” is, don’t get discouraged as you swing around that learning curve. Just hold on tight and lean into it. You can do it!

Let’s help each steer this learning curve and make some moola in the process.
Click here to join my team!

R. Kelly Tribute to Sandy Hook Elementary School

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By now, every American who is capable of understanding news media reports, social media sites, and general conversation knows about the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT that claimed the lives of 20 students and 6 staff members on December 11, 2012.

Many people around the world have paid their respects to the families and residents of the town who have been affected by this senseless act of violence. Multiple organizations have set up donation funds and many television and radio shows have aired tributes to the victims.

R&B megastar R. Kelly has followed suit.

You may remember his song “Rise Up” that was released in 2007 as a tribute to those affected by the Virginia Tech Massacre (2007) Hurricane Katrina (2005). and the September 11th Attacks (2001).

Kelly’s newest single “I Know You Are Hurting” is another tribute song, this time for the Sandy Hook shooting victims. Like “Rise Up” it features a gospel-esque choir offering inspirational lyrics. Though both songs have a gospel feel and a crooning choir, they differ greatly. The verses are actually sung by Kelly on “Rise Up”, but his voice is barely heard on the Sandy Hook tribute. The entire song is sung by the choir with just a few floaty runs by Kelly sprinkled here and there.

Despite the fact that most of this “R. Kelly” song is not really sung by the Pied Piper himself, the effort was still made to do something special for those affected by the tragedy. It is reported that all proceeds from the song will go to support the families of the victims. The song is now available for purchase on iTunes for .99.

Dedication to My Grandmother on Her Birthday (R.I.P)

Today, January 5th, is my Grandmother’s birthday. She would have been 86. Unfortunately, she left this earth a few months ago on September 22, 2012. I loved her dearly and miss her very much. I know I am who I am today largely because of who she was to me. To honor her today on her birthday, I wrote a short story about one of my fondest memories with her.

Dedicated to Lillian Beatrice Grub MillerJanuary 5, 1927-September 22, 2012
Dedicated to Lillian Beatrice Grubb Miller
January 5, 1927-September 22, 2012

Grandparent’s Day

“Class! Class! Settle down! In your seats! I have an exciting announcement for you all,” said Mrs. Landis to her class of 16 kindergarteners. The wide-eyed little students wandered around the room for just a few moments longer, making their way from the plastic kitchen set in one corner of the large classroom, the aquarium of small turtles by the pint-sized sink in the back of the room, and the pinto bean plants growing in wet, brown paper towels by the window sill to each of their names printed on brightly colored construction paper in their own handwriting taped around low, laminated tables.

As each little face looked up at her with anticipation, Mrs. Landis smiled warmly back through chocolate-colored eyes that matched her chocolate-colored hair perfectly, and began to speak. “There is a special day next week–Grandparent’s Day! Can anyone tell me what Grandparent’s Day is?” She glanced around the room waiting for tiny hands to shoot up in the air signaling the imminent release of five-year old wisdom.

Two small bodies bolted out of their child-sized wooden chairs as their right hands cut vertically through the air in perfectly straight lines. They stared each other down as they did this and immediately began to argue whose hand was raised first.

“Well mine is higher than yours so I’m first,” snaps one of the hand-raisers.  He’s a chubby little boy with a round face, red hair, and missing one of his front teeth.

“No, it’s not!  See look!” says the other.  He has dark afro cut into a short box.   He stands on his tiptoes and stretches his body as far as it will go.

“Boys, please sit down.  You’ll both get to answer,” said Mrs. Landis, interrupting the stretching match that has taken place between the two students.  She is a small, slightly pudgy woman with a soft round face and smooth lines around her eyes and mouth.   “You first, Bradley.”

Bradley was the one with the box haircut.  He looked over at his opponent with a triumphant grin as he took his seat.  The other boy plopped down in his chair with his arms crossed tightly across his He-Man sweatshirt adorned chest and stuck out his tongue at Bradley.

“Go ahead, Bradley,” said Ms. Landis as she gave the other boy a look of disapproval.

“Umm…what was the question again?” Bradley asked.  The class began to giggle and Bradley sunk back into his seat in embarrassment.

“I asked if anyone could tell me what Grandparent’s Day is,” Mrs. Landis replied.  Evidently Bradley thought the question was more about who could raise his hand first than anything else.

“I know! I know!” shrieked a little girl at the table across from Bradley and He-Man shirt.  She had one little light brown hand raised and used the other to twirl one of her two long, dark, twisted pigtails.

Yes, Courtney?”  Mrs. Landis responded.

“It’s when your Grandparents come to school and eat lunch with you,” Courtney answered.

“That’s right,” Mrs. Landis said and gave Courtney an approving look.

Courtney smiled, proud of herself for knowing the answer.  She smoothed the folds of her navy corduroy dress and straightened the neck of the white turtle neck underneath.  Of course she knew what Grandparent’s Day was.  She had been waiting anxiously for its arrival since school started a few weeks ago.  She had been excited to finally start Kindergarten, but was a bit sad that she wouldn’t be able to spend every day with her grandmother anymore.  During the day her grandmother would watch after her while her parents were at work.  Grandparents Day meant she could spend a little extra time with her grandmother, and show her how great her classroom was and all introduce her to all her new friends.

“So, next Monday all of your grandparents are welcome to come and see the classroom and have lunch in the cafeteria with you,” Mrs. Landis explained.

“I can’t wait to tell Grannie!” Courtney said to the little girl next to her.  She excitedly twirled her pigtail and scratched at the itchy, white tights her mother had made her wear.

“What do you mean you can’t come?”  Courtney exclaimed with tears in her light brown eyes.  She was sitting at the dining room table having her afternoon snack with Grannie.

“Baby, Grannie has a doctor’s appointment Monday.  I would come if I could, but I can’t do it on Monday,” said Grannie as she wiped the mixture of tears and milk from Courtney’s upper lip with a napkin.  Though Grannie was in her early 60’s, she could easily pass for 45 with her light, smooth skin, petite figure, and long, black hair with only a handful of gray strands.

“But Grannie,” Courtney whined as she played with her plate of baby carrots and peanut butter covered celery sticks.  “Everybody’s grandparents are going to be there and I’ll be the only one whose aren’t.  It’s not fair!” She kicked off her little brown shoes under the table and aired out her freed toes that were still clad in the itchy, white tights.

Hush up and finish your snack before your mama gets here.  I’ll come next time, sweetie,” Grannie said in an apologetic tone.

“But there won’t be a next time!”  Courtney cried.  It’s just one day.  Just Monday.  You have to come Grannie!  Pleeeease?”  She jumped up from the table, grabbed her grandmother around the waist and buried her little head into Grannie’s red housecoat-covered waist.

“Oh, honey,” Grannie said softly and rubbed the back of her granddaughter’s neck and shoulders.  “I promise I will come another day.”  She gently lifted Courtney’s from her waist, looked down into her crying eyes, fixed her crooked red ribbons around her pigtails, and kissed her on the forehead.

The rest of the week dragged on for Courtney.  She was so sad and disappointed that Grannie couldn’t come for Grandparent’s Day.  She tried to forget about it, but every now and then one of her classmates would bring it up and she would be at the brink of tears as she listened to them talk excitedly about how great their grandparents were.  At the end of the week, Mrs. Landis taped a reminder to everyone’s notebooks about Grandparent’s Day.  Courtney pulled hers off and ripped it up.

“I don’t feel good.  I’m not going to school today,” Courtney told her mother in the most pitiful voice she could muster up.  She gave a little fake cough and closed her eyes.  It was Monday morning–Grandparent’s Day.

“Don’t try that with me,” her mother said as she pulled back the covers and then walked over to the windows to open up the curtains.  “You were just fine last night and you’re just fine today.  I know you’re still upset that Grannie can’t come have lunch with you today, but you will be fine.  You’ll see Grannie when you get off the bus today like you always do.”  She was scooping up Courtney’s three year old sister Loni from the other side of the bed.

Courtney groaned, crawled reluctantly out of bed and got ready for school.

It was horrible, just like she thought it would be.  A little while before lunchtime, the grandparents started arriving.  One by one an excited kid would jump up out of their seat screaming, “Grandpa!” or “Nana!” and run to the classroom doorway when they saw their loved one poke his or her head in.  Courtney kept hoping she would look up and the head that poked through the doorway would be Grannie’s.  It never was.

At lunchtime while everyone ate with their grandparents talking and laughing, Courtney sat quietly at the table and tried to tune out everyone else.  “I just wish this day would be over,” she whispered to herself as she picked at the grayish colored hot dog and flimsy French fries on her pea green, plastic lunch tray.

When the big yellow school bus stopped at the end of her grandmother’s driveway and Courtney saw Grannie standing there in her burgundy polyester pants suit and her hair done in a long black braid that hung down the front of her shoulder she rolled her eyes.

“Hi sweetie,” her grandmother said as Courtney descended the three steps off the bus and stepped onto the black asphalted driveway.

“Hi,” Courtney said curtly without making eye contact.  Instead of hugging her grandmother like she usually did when she got off the bus, she tucked her thumbs under the straps of her Rainbow Brite backpack and brushed past her.

As the week went on, the excitement of Grandparent’s Day quickly died down in Courtney’s classroom.  By Friday, everything was back to normal.

Just before lunchtime, the class was sitting quietly at their tables coloring pictures of flowers and animals.  Courtney was concentrating hard on staying inside the lines as she colored the face of a cow green when she heard Mrs. Landis call her name.  A little irritated that the teacher had broken her concentration, Courtney looked up towards the teacher’s desk.  Mrs. Landis was smiling sweetly and pointing at the doorway.

Courtney dropped her green crayon and her jaw.  “Grannie!” she exclaimed and jumped out of her seat.  Her grandmother was standing there in the doorway wearing a pretty light blue cotton dress, white hose, and shiny white dress shoes.  Her long hair was done up in a loose bun atop her head and she carried a shiny, leather purse.   With a big smile on her face and her arms outstretched for a hug she said, “Hi, sweetie!”  Courtney ran to her and again grabbed her around the waist and buried her head into her stomach.

“What are you doing here?”  Courtney asked after several seconds of squeezing her grandmother’s waist.

“I came to have lunch with you,” she answered.  “I told you I would come another day.  So here I am.”  She kissed Courtney on the forehead and straightened the bright yellow ribbons holding her two twisted pigtails in place.

Courtney grabbed her grandmother’s hand and pulled her to the middle of the classroom.

“Everybody, this is my Grannie!“ she said as she held tight to her grandmother’s hand.  She twisted from side to side with excitement making the skirt of her yellow flowered dress sway back and forth.  “She couldn’t come on your Grandparent’s Day so we are making today our own.”  She looked up at her Grannie’s bright smile and gave an even brighter one back in return.

Courtney and Grannie sat at one of the low lunch tables eating watery spaghetti and sipping cold milk from red and white half-pint cartons.

“I’m glad you came today instead of Monday, Grannie,” Courtney said as she attempted to wind the yellowish noodles around her fork prongs.  “We had hotdogs Monday.  I hate hotdogs.  Spaghetti is my favorite,” she said as she slurped up a noodle, splashing red sauce around her mouth.

“Mine, too,” Grannie said and she smiled as she wiped a mixture of spaghetti sauce and milk from Courtney’s upper lip.

Happy Birthday Grannie!

Me, Grannie, and AnthonyMother's Day 2012
Me, Grannie, and Anthony
Mother’s Day 2012