Week 17 Lessons I learned in celebration of a life well lived

On January 23, 2015 my family celebrated the end of my aunt’s earthly journey. I was given the assignment of eulogizing my aunt. This assignment proved very eye opening for me as it relates to my own life and that of accomplishing my dreams and goals stated in my DMP, Definite Major Purpose.
In preparation to write the eulogy I asked my siblings and cousins to email me anything they remembered about our aunt. We all noted more or less the same things. We all had a very close relationship with my aunt. She did not birth any children but we can all say she was our 2nd mother.
As I wrote the eulogy the first thing that came to mind was my aunt “did not let the miracle that produced her end at her birth. “ She was entrepreneurial at heart, after retiring as a head nurse at a medical institution she started her own facility following her passion that of caring for the elderly. Her legacy continues as Veronica’s Caring Facility. I know there were challenges she endured when she first started her business or even as she continued in business but she may have said the words of Og Mandino, “The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal. Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult. I will persist until I succeed.
She lived life in service to humanity until the end whether it was caring for the elderly or making candles and floral arrangements for the Sunday services at church.
She was determined and focused and did not let anything get in the way of achieving her dreams and goals. Prior to my relocating to the United States twenty seven years ago my aunt shared with me the need for a group in the church to assist in the community and thus was born, the group “Friends of St Paul’s which will celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. She was also the brainchild behind the annual prayer breakfast hosted by the group which will host its 24th prayer breakfast later this year. A few years ago I had the opportunity to attend the breakfast and was in awe as to the hundreds in attendance not including those who were unable to attend and chose to collect their breakfast.

In MKMMA we are told every week give more get more. I believe this was her mantra, if she was not giving to the community; she was giving to her family. When her sister, my mother was ill she was there assisting us in any way she could. When her brother was ill in the Bahamas both she and her sister traveled to Freeport, Bahamas to take care of him. Yes, there were also fun gatherings like my sister’s wedding in Virginia she was there to make the floral arrangements and decorations. As we were cleaning up my aunt’s house I realized that she received just as much or more than she gave.
Since my return from Trinidad I have been asking myself the million dollar question what is my legacy? The question has elicited many emotions for me over the last month. At the end of the eulogy I urged those in attendance to honor her memory by being of service. I must set the example and I believe the best way I can honor her memory is having my own dream come to life and be of service to humanity. I am thankful to MKMMA for giving me the necessary tools to complete my assignment.

Week 16 Does Kindness Equal Happiness?

This past week in Master key Mastermind Alliance we turned our attention to kindness. What is kindness? Merriam Webster dictionary describes kindness as a kind deed that is a favor. I have always practiced kindness to one degree or other but it was different this week. Why was it different? What made the difference? Was it harmony? Was it the energy of the group as a whole, all the master key members on one accord? Was it my thinking? What is the difference between giving kindness and receiving kindness?
I have to conclude it was my focusing on the random acts of kindness that made the difference for me. I was not doing the acts of kindness in a rote manner as I normally would, but I chose to be present throughout the days we focused on kindness. As the days wore on I recognize that I was feeling happier. What did you say? You were happy because you assisted someone. Yes, the act made me feel happy, were you paid? No, no one paid me. I was happy just knowing that I made someone happy, I made someone smile. During this week of kindness I learned a very important lesson. What’s the lesson? There is no point in multitasking because it precludes one from learning valuable lessons about themselves and others. Always be present.
Some individuals at work commented that the activities I performed that week they would not have undertaken, but I know better. The individuals did not know that it was the week we were focusing on kindness. Was I strengthened by the activities? Was I exhausted at the end of the activities? Did I learn something I did not already know? Yes, I left work tired. Yes, I had to learn new skills but I am now wiser. I realize now that I am also being prepared to step into some places that I have never been and this week certainly was great preparation.
Kindness can be expressed in many ways but two that anyone can participate in are:
1. A smile.
2. Compliment someone.

Be kind one to another.

Week 15 Gratitude

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.
Have you used one to say “thank you?”
William A. Ward

Have you thanked someone today? Have you thanked the creator? Have you thanked yourself? Have you expressed any kind of gratitude lately? Two of the most important first words we learn as children as it relates to gratitude are please and thank you. As we grow older we realize that there are different levels of gratitude which must be expressed. Each stage in our life should teach us the importance of being grateful.
Why should we be grateful? Why express thankfulness? The answer can be found in the Bible, Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonians, 1st Thessalonians 5:18  Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
This answer is our blueprint for a successful life. Paul did not say to be thankful when we have everything in order, when we receive the promotion, when we win the lottery, when our children are doing the right thing, when the refrigerator is full, when we have found the love of our life, when our bank account has millions of dollars but no matter what the situation we are to be thankful.  Maybe like me you are thinking, what does Paul know? He  is not living through some crazy situations that we are going through with the economy, the kids acting up, the husband is never at home, the wife is angry, the job is not fulfilling, some have no job, the challenges with the business. Yes he is aware of them all hence the reason he says give thanks. Giving thanks changes the situation.

What are the benefits of giving thanks? Glad you asked.

1.  When we show that we are thankful our family, friends and co-workers are loyal to us and are ready and willing to assist in different situations.
2.  When we show appreciation to our circle of friends’ they draw closer to us and they will assist us without hesitation.
3. We receive many blessings and gifts when we are grateful, in other words what we appreciate appreciates.

How can I have an attitude of gratitude?

1. Keep a gratitude journal. List at least 5 things you are grateful for each day
2. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, library, shelter, or hospital.
3. Give of your talents and skills to an organization.
4. Show your spouse/partner appreciation – write and leave thank you notes. Should they call to say they are running late, thank them for letting you know, please do not be upset.
5. Be grateful to your friends – send a surprise note or card just because.
6. Be grateful to your co-workers – Say thank you to them, be sincere and specific when you show them appreciation.
7. Be thankful for your parents. Remember you chose them and they are the reason you are where you are at the present time. – A phone call or a visit will show you care.
8. Thank your customers and clients for business. A hand written note, email or birthday card can go a long way.
9. Thank people for excellent service. The mailman, the UPS man, the FEDEX man, the delivery guy, the waiter.
10. Employers – Show employees appreciation in front of their peers. Handle problems/challenges in private.
11. Show appreciation to the children – Thank them for making the right choices. Kisses, hugs and compliments go a long way. Thanking the children will instill in them the importance of being grateful.
12. Be confident in the decisions you make on a daily basis.
13. Be thankful for your body. Thank you God for healthy lungs.

Gratitude increases our money, joy, peace and love. Be grateful. Thank you.