It Takes Time & 700 Words ⏱

It Takes Time & 700 Words ⏱

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Well, hello there, I can’t believe it has been so long since I last wrote to you amazing people. Huge apologies, but sometimes you just need to give yourself the gift of time, and so that is what I did. A whole year of it in fact. But I am back, and my eager heart and fingers are ready to share some good stuff with you, and hopefully connect on an even deeper level.

“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.”
― Arnold Bennett

How are you? Maybe like me, you have been on a journey of discovery and decisions? If so, I am sure that our paths will lead us to even deeper knowledge, new ideas, unexpected surprises and wonderful victories.  It is true, that our life experiences can add such value to how we impact the world and those around us. What we experience and survive allows a deeper awareness to grow in us, and we move from a place of shallow living to a depth we never before imagined. This also impacts our writing, and we suddenly feel even more sure that we have something bursting inside us that is worth writing. I am sure you have felt the same at times.

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”
― Sarah Dessen, (Just Listen)

Every season has its time frame, and it is vital that we enjoy the season we are in, even with its lessons. But an even more important aspect to seasons, is that we know when it is time to start something new or end something old. If we are not careful we can end up remaining in a season much longer than we are meant to, and so we miss what is coming next. Don’t linger longer than you need to, and don’t allow past disappointments to hinder the ‘next thing’ for you. It is always good to ask yourself, “what next?”, but sometimes you must simply as the question, “what now?”

So what is your “what now?”, maybe you need some time to make some choices and get ready for a change. What next must first start with a what now! What you do now, will magnificently impact your tomorrow. Only you know what it is that needs to change in your life, and only you can make these changes happen.  It’s not always easy, but the good news is that there are lots of people around you who want to support you and see you win.  So reach out to someone who cares, and let the others help you achieve new things. I’ve learned so deeply that God is my greatest source of strength. He holds my world together, especially when I let everything go and trust Him completely.  He is all we truly need. His always perfect strength!

“Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy.”― Roy T. Bennett

Before I go, you may be wondering why I have mentioned 700 words in my title. Well, it’s simply a quirky challenge I have set myself, that all my future blog entries, from today, will never exceed 700 words. I am absolutely 100% sure that there will be many days when I will want to write way more than 700 words, but I will restrain myself and meet this new challenge head-on.  So, dear reader, is there a small little challenge you can set yourself, that adds fun or humour to something you do every day? If so, do it! ⏱

Sometimes you must simply allow your life to change, and there’s no better time. So I will see you soon dear friends, and remember it is time for what is now…so let us begin!

Love,

Denise 🦌

Making Waves

Making Waves

by Denise Kennedy

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Most people don’t walk around  with a deep awareness of how they make an impact on the people or world around them. In truth, most of us just follow the path that ignites our passions and keeps our souls alive with excitement. Even as you read this, you may be truly blinded to the incredible way you use your gifts and talents to motivate, encourage and inspire others, but you do.

 

Don’t worry if you’re making waves simply by being yourself. The moon does it all the time.— Scott Stabile

 

Many have said that the most influential people in the world, are those who just humbly did what kept their hearts on fire. They helped people, lifted the hurting, reached out to feed the poor, painted their dreams, built beauty out of clay, and never stopped dreaming – even against the odds. You are one of those people, if you open your eyes every morning with a sense of expectation at what another day brings. You are one of those people, if you truly want to make a difference in the lives of others. You are a wave-maker, even if you never actually see the impact your waves make.

 

Think about the moon; it literally makes moves nothing else can compare to. You will never be as powerful as the moon, but you can make moves right now, where you are. Today can be the day that you dramatically choose to focus on the strength of purpose you carry. You are faced with the choice to give your all and channel your best efforts towards the dreams you carry in your heart. It could be time for you to build on the waves you are already making, or it may be time for you to make some changes in the direction you are moving in? The choice is always yours to make!

 

“It’s wonderful to be grateful. To have that gratitude well out from deep within you and pour out in waves. Once you truly experience this, you will never want to give it up.” – Srikumar Rao

 

Gratitude is a great outlook to encourage in your heart, even if things may not be as you would wish. There is always something to be thankful for, you just have to take the time to find it. Once you start looking, you will find even more than you previously imagined.

Look at what you are doing; is it moving you in the direction of your dreams? When you think about the things you do on a daily basis, will the end results be ones you will feel proud of? Is it time to write that book? Change careers? Make that move? Ask that question? The answer is right there in your whispered reply. Don’t ignore it.  Come on, an ocean of opportunity awaits you, don’t miss the next wave. Somebody else may be waiting on your waves to motivate them to start their own.

 

“Just like a surfer, when the right wave comes along, you better be ready!”

– Denise Kennedy

 

“Don’t give yourself the opportunity to regret the chance you didn’t take.” @roxanamjones

Hearts-ease ✿

Hearts-ease ✿

by Denise Kennedy

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A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac.

And so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart’s-ease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, heart’s-ease, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.” “No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.”

Hearts-ease, is a flower possibly so small that it goes unnoticed and unseen. So tiny that it can seem to be unimportant or insignificant. But this tiny little flower carries probably one of the most loveliest of flower names that I have yet to discover. When I think if the word ‘hearts-ease’, or ‘heart’s ease’, I am immediately drawn to the condition of my heart, and the hearts of those I care about. The dictionary gives the following description of ‘heart’s ease’:

Hearts-ease also heart’s-ease

n. 1. Peace of mind.

2. A small European plant (Viola tricolor) having spurred flowers marked with purple, yellow, and white. It was used to develop hybrid varieties of cultivated pansies. Also called wild pansy.

Today, this tiny little flower, created by a God who wanted it to exist, brought ease to my heart. Some seasons in life can bring challenges and trials, and it can feel like your life is very much hidden from the One who breathed it into being, but I assure you the very opposite is true. You are seen, known and very much cared for by God.

You are loved by the Creator of everything, and He is enough. He restores, redeems and gives back everything that has been stolen from you. He has more in mind for you than you can every dream up all on your own. So today, let your heart be at ease: free from worry or awkwardness; relaxed, tranquil, content, comfortable, secure, safe, chilled, serene and unworried.

Today I echo the words of our opening story, and decide to be a brave little flower!

“But as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease,

I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.”

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Beautiful, Scars And All

Scar – The Strength Story

by Denise Kennedy
November 17th

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As I sit here writing to you, the very first snow fall has started outside my south Dublin window. I am mesmerised by the fluttering white flakes as they chase each other to the ground below. They are each so different and beautiful in their own right. Winter is here early, and the white visitors contrast against the backdrop of autumn colours that my trees display; it is so beautiful that it is hard to keep my eyes from the window. So I stopped writing, wrapped my warm faux scarf around my neck and opened my window to really feel the white wonder, and breathe in the crisp cold air. So refreshing.

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Today I am relishing the thoughts of an impromptu walk I took yesterday in our city’s main central park. It was unplanned and turned out to be perfect. I found my deer friends, and captured a few beautiful photos of them, as I always do. Today I want to introduce you to one of them, he’s one of my favourites. I call him Scar.

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When I go to the Phoenix Park, I always look out for Scar. This time I was more concerned about him because of a recent deer culling in the park, and I was not sure he was still with us. I was glad to see him. For some reason he tends to be a loner and wanders off on his own, something I love to do too. If you look at his face you will see why I gave him the name I have. To me, even with his scars, he is beautiful. And today, my friend, I want to tell you the same incredible truth is true about you.

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When we look at Scar, we see his outside wounds, and the proof that he has been hurt, but we also see that he survived what it was that hurt him. The battle left its mark on him but he lived on, and so will you dear reader. Scars are a sign that you are strong, that you overcame something that tried to take you out. Your battle may include disappointment, divorce, the loss of a dream, the realisation that life sometimes gives you what you do not ask for; and you have a choice to make.

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Your scars may be on the inside, where nobody can easily see them, they may be wounds that truly only you and those who you allow to come close can understand. Let me tell you that these wounds, whether internal or external, are things to be proud of because they are proof that you are stronger than the hurt, tougher than what tried to knock you down, and more resilient than the battles you have endured. Your scars tell others to hold on, and not to give up. They shine around your neck like a medal of honour, and you should see your scars as a sign of great victory, even in days of loss or pain.

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“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ― Kahlil Gibran

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Look at this beautiful Fallow buck, who I have rightly named Scar; he is majestic and strong, and will hopefully live through many more battles, bravely using the skills he learned the hard way in previous encounters. In the same way dear friend, so are you. You are a strong soul with a mighty God who wants to walk through every battle with you. He promises to never leave or forsake you, but to be your refuge where there is found rest in and from the storms of life. Even if you already have scars, you are a display for His Kingdom, shouting gloriously to the world, that you never gave up or surrendered. Your scars tell a magnificent story!

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Scars are evidence of life, of risks, or trying new things, of fighting for something you believed in. They are proof that you moved out of your comfort zone and decided to be brave. So today, instead of hiding your scars, whether they are seen or unseen,  choose to find someone who needs the story of courage that you carry in your heart. Tell them how you struggled, but that you are overcoming. Remind someone who is close to giving up, that they do not have to. Look for those who feel so isolated in their battle, and remind them that they truly are part of a great army of those who did not give up. This army may be scarred in many different ways, but their courage unites them. Each has a battle cry put in their heart by the Creator himself. Each one is as beautifully unique as each snowflake falling outside my window.

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Dear scarred one, your scars are the signs of strength and someone who feels weak today, needs to hear your story of strength!

♦ ♥ ♦

“Scars show toughness: that you’ve been through it,

and you’re still standing.” -Theo Rossi

Be A Goose ツ

Be A Goose…ツ
The Truth About Geese
By Denise Kennedy
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Geese are elegant, intelligent, loyal, majestic and creative. They soar through the sky with a sense of destiny and beauty. I recently captured this photo of them as I walked along the port area of Dublin city. I stood there as the sun rose, watching them fly together in a unity so incredible I held my breath.

So allow me to share some of the stunning things I have discovered about geese, that quite frankly distinguish them from lots of animals or birds we have; and to be honest, I found myself wanting to be a lot more like our feathered friend than I had ever imagined before…

  • Geese mate for life and will live a loyal life of faithfulness to one partner, even after their mate passes away.

  • A group of geese is called a gaggle – if they are flying they are known as a skein or wedge.

  • They choose to fly in a”V” shape so as to increase their flying power and range by at least 70%. By sharing the air space they make the flight easier for those flying with them. They look out for each other.

  • When the goose in front tires or grows weary another goose takes its place and then the tired goose moves back to rest, and into position to complete the formation.

  • While they are flying in formation they honk at each other to send encouagement to each other on the journey.

  • Geese care for each other; they look out for the other geese in their gaggle, to see if they are okay. If one gets sick, is attacked or hurt and drifts or falls from the formation, others will also leave the “V” shape and go to protect the injured goose. They stay with the sick goose until it recovers or dies. They will not leave it alone.

  • A young goose will find a mate for itself when it is only 3 years of age. If one of the pair dies the remaining goose will live many years without finding another mate. Most times the widowed goose lives the remainder of its life without a partner.

  • Male geese prefer to show very protective and kind behaviour towards the females in the group. They have been known to stand or fly between danger and the female in the situation; so beautiful and so courageous.

  • Geese choose to vocalize their messages to each other in a variety of ten different ways; it depends on the situation but they can stretch their necks or make loud honks in order to send a signal to others.

  • Geese live together and hatch a new gosling yearly, then both parents are involved in minding and taking care of the newborn.

The list goes on…

So…which characteristic was your favourite? Possibly, like me, you chose a few. One thing I found myself thinking as I read this list, is that I want to be more like geese. I want to love deeper, care for loved ones in a more devoted way. I want to be known as one who is faithful to the mate I choose for life. I want to go to rescue the hurting and stay with them until they can fly and join the group again. I want to be known as one who looks out for the dangers that are lurking and preying on my counterparts. I want to be so much more like a goose than I had ever thought of before…

If you feel the same then let’s honk and make the choice to stick together…

If my little thoughts today have inspired you then please give me a share and a like…every ‘honk’ lets me know that you are with me…and we are looking out for each other…

‘Honk! Honk!”

Denise

Bend Without Breaking ✯

Bend Without Breaking ✯

By Denise Kennedy

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“What doesn’t bend…breaks.”

– Ani Difranco

It is so important that we do not let our failures break us, but that we choose to bend with the storms life sends us, and find a greater strength than before. Yes, these are easy words to write, but I can safely say I am doing this very thing myself.

I feel motivated by the deep emotion shown by the 2016 Olympians. Their enthusiasm and dedication has awakened a new desire in me to overcome obstacles and hindrances in my own life. How we handle defeat reveals more about our character than how we handle success. I am so moved by some of the Olympians who gave their very best, but were unsuccessful in winning a medal. Today they make their journeys home and try to pick up the pieces that disappointment and loss have dealt them. I want to tell them that they are champions too, whether they wear a medal around their courageous necks or not.

One such Olympian quoted the following:

The only thing I ever wanted was to compete in the Olympics.”

(Syria’s Yusra Mardini, representing the Games’ first ever refugee team, after winning her 100m butterfly heat.)

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I want to say to these amazing Olympians that you can bend without breaking; that what you’re waiting for could be just around the bend…if you can choose not to let the challenges drive you around the bend or lose your mind in the process.

For so many Olympians like the horse jumping champion Nick Skelton, taking part in the 2016 Olympics was a matter of great courage. The veteran British Olympian, aged 58, who quit the sport in 2000 after breaking his neck in two places, vowed: “I am not going to stop now.” Nick Skelton, riding Big Star, won a dramatic six-rider jump-off to claim GB’s first show jumping gold to become the oldest winner of an equestrian event.

Imagine what Skelton would have missed had he given up in 2000, or allowed the fear of ever recovering from a broken neck govern his future. His horse, perfectly named Big Star, had almost been put into retirement too, but Nick Skelton believed that they could come to Rio and win. To even have the opportunity to be an Olympian was a huge achievement for both rider and horse alike. If he had allowed a broken neck to literally break him, his future would not hold the amazing gold medal achievement he enjoys today.

But Nick is a winner, even if he had not won gold. Each Olympian is a winner simply because they overcome so many tough and challenging circumstances in order to compete. There are so many motivational stories being shared every day about the obstacles and personal health setbacks that many overcome in order to finally be in Rio. I am sure a book could be written with all their moving and exhilarating accomplishments. To me, it is one of the reasons I found myself glued to the televised overage each night.

“When life’s strong winds come blowing, bend with them and let go. By bending, you will become stronger in new places. By letting go, you will be making room for the new and the better.”

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You are all amazing individuals; you have chosen to bend, but not to break. How you choose to handle your defeats speaks volumes to the world waiting to see strength overcome weakness. Well done! I applaud you because you move me to keep persevering and bend with the storms of life.

The 2016 Olympics have ended, and as I watch the energy of the closing ceremony, I want to awaken a desire in us to overcome the obstacles that try to break us. Make a decision now, that by the time the 2020 Olympics start, you will be able to look back and see how very much stronger you have grown!

Start now…I am.

Denise  ✯

Your PB ✪

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Welcome to my latest blog piece for the Irish Academy of Public Relations…

What is your PB? (And no, I don’t mean peanut butter…) =) If you have been gripped by the exciting moments of triumph and devastation that the Olympics bring, then you will know that PB means ‘Personal Best’, and it is usually the absolute desire of every athlete to beat their previous PB record, and win an Olympic gold medal on the way.

Every time I have watched these amazingly well trained Olympians champion their course I am reminded of my own PB, in various areas of my life. When I wake up in the morning I am learning to remind myself that today is a new day to challenge my personal best. I can always try to improve on the choices I made yesterday and give my absolute best in all I endeavour to do.

Michael Phelps has astonished all who have been watching his journey. He has come back from great challenges and a retirement, to win more medals than he even believed he could himself.

Michael’s 200m butterfly gold medal made him the oldest swimmer to win an individual Olympic title at 31 years of age. He has earned the title, ‘GOAT’ – ‘the greatest of all time’, and quite frankly he is a medal machine! As I watched him shed a tear as he held his new three month old son, my eyes filled with tears with him. It felt exhilarating to watch him kick his doubts, fears and physical challenges to the curb and go for gold. My blood raced with motivation and excitement as I watched the faces of the crowds who applauded him; I thought to myself how many of them have overcome their own PB challenges too, and are living testimonies to the same courage we see in Michael Phelps?

Your PB may only matter to you…there may never be a gold medal placed around your neck, but that does not diminish the innate value in giving your best. You can award yourself every day; every time you overcome a challenge or advance towards something you dearly want.

It starts now…read more here

Time To Trade Up ⇅

Time To Trade Up ⇅

by Denise Kennedy

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“Be careful that you do not create what you fear.”  – These are pretty powerful words aren’t they? They stopped me in my tracks today. They arrested my attention and commanded my analysis and response.

What are we afraid of? What keeps you awake at night, feeling afraid or overwhelmed? Write it down right now…clearly, boldly and honestly. Okay…now on the same piece of paper I want you to write down any behaviour that you are currently endorsing in your life that in anyway contributes to these fears coming to pass in your life. Is there something you are doing, or not doing, that will help these feared circumstances actually becoming your very real reality?

It is time to trade up…it is time to trade in your fears, change your behaviours and dramatically change the course your life is on. In order to have the life you dream of you must be all in, there is no halfway commitment to what is required.

You are amazing. You have capabilities beyond what you can even believe. You have strengths and competencies that make you the valuable and precious person you are. If there is a chance that this short little blog stirs you, then please act on it. Let August 1st, 2016, be the day the game changes. What is it you are losing to? What is taking you off track? What is more important to you right now than achieving the lifelong dreams you carry around in your heart every day? Begin to believe in the person you are, and in the potential you have.

I wrote these words for you today, as much as I need them myself too. Even the most successful people you know, need a gentle push in the right direction sometimes. So here it is, a gentle push from me. Make the changes, even if you are white-knuckle riding for a while. Decide on the destination you are dreaming of and make it happen. Your life will pass you by, so make it the kind of movie you want it to be.

I believe in you. It is time to trade-up. Trade in your fears and change the route you are on. You can do it. Let today be the game-changer, the day it all begins. Be careful that you do not create what you fear…don’t let self-sabotage ruin all the great possibility that you possess.

Let’s connect on Facebook

=) Denise

 

Be Unstoppable 👊

Be Unstoppable 👊

by Denise Kennedy

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I am currently reading the amazing book, The Unstoppable Golfer, by Dr. Bob Rotella. For those of you who are not golf lovers let me say that this book will help you gain a greater sense of control over your personal life and career objectives, not just your golf game. The psychology of golf can impact such areas of your life, as confidence, discipline, vision, and drive.

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One of my favourite quotes in the book is: “Every golfer has two opponents, the golf course and himself”, we all can relate to this truth.  As a business person or in your personal life, there are obstacles and challenges that seek to prevent you from achieving your destination. It matters greatly how you master these challenges; you must stand up on the inside before you will find the courage needed to meet the external challenges life throws at you.  Bob Rotella mentions the importance of playing your game with no fear, with true passion and a belief that you can do it.

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There are different beliefs in the golfing world about how much you should concentrate on your long or short game, and as I read the many theories on this idea, I was reminded that it is also true of the visions and plans I make regarding my own life. Do we have the right long-term goals for our lives? Does my present situation make it easy or difficult for these dreams to become my reality? If I identify obstacles in my way, then I must work and challenge myself to remove them. It is not easy to do, but what is right is not always easy.

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So today I encourage you to dig deep inside your heart and search through the myriads of choices, dreams and plans you are cultivating there; are they truly leading you to living an unstoppable life? Are you living other people’s dreams or are you genuinely excited about the person you are becoming?

What you do today, whether in your game of golf or your game of life, directly impacts the game you experience a year, or ten years from now.

Your short game influences your long game: make sure it is a game worth playing…

Let’s connect on Facebook

👊 Denise

Gentle Strength 🌸

Gentle Strength 🌸

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“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”

Saint Francis De Sales

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Gentle Strength – both words could be seen as complete opposites, but when blended together they produce one of the most beautiful character traits a person can display. I love strong people; they are trustworthy, reliable and confident. I also love gentle people; they are safe, approachable and usually deep. Both traits have their good points, but also have their weak spots too. Have you ever worked or shared office space with a strong person, who is controlling and manipulative? Strength is beautiful, but not when wielded and used to control others in hurtful ways. Gentleness is attractive, but not when the person becomes  overly apologetic, timid or passive, especially about important things.

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I think there is a beautiful balance in the marrying of these two character traits; a grand display of gentleness and strength working together. We become stronger when we know where we are weak, and there is a lot to be learned in being brave enough to search our hearts in order to face our fears. How we handle our career and personal lives in these areas will determine the kind of aroma we leave when people interact with us.

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How we handle defeat or victory also speaks volumes about the type of people we are; when we are victorious and pronounced the winner are we proud or gloating? It is a strength to really know ourselves, and it is an even grander accomplishment to then deal with the things we see in our hearts that we are not proud of. Sometimes not winning all the time makes us even more attractive, if our response is humble and gentle.

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When I saw this image of this magnificently strong elephant with gentle butterfly wings, I was moved by the thought ‘Gentle Strength’, and the perfect balance those two traits are; but I was also reminded that it is a precious thing to listen (butterfly ears) with a gentle response. A gentle response turns away anger…  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15)

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Be a strong person, but use your strength in a gentle way. Look at the areas in your life where you need to be stronger, or develop a backbone of steel. But it is also  beneficial to examine the areas in your behaviour where you need to allow gentleness to govern your responses and choices.

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Be brave enough to look inside, and really know yourself. What a wonderful world it would be to work, live and do life with people who choose ‘gentle strength’!

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Nisey K

Let’s connect on Facebook

Rethinking Someday

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Check out my latest blog post for The Irish Academy of Public Relations

Rethinking Someday

Sometimes it is not easy to put your fingers on these humble laptop keys, to try to communicate what it is that you want to share with the blogging world….and does anybody out there really read what you write or even care? I believe it is still worth the risk.

The following words motivated me to write today… ”I will get around to it someday”, I heard her say as she passed me by on her cell phone. A total stranger to me, yet our hearts were linked simply by the phrase she used.  We plan to do it, we plan to achieve so much but rarely make it a reality in our lives.

Read more… Rethinking Someday

Your Uniqueness Has Value

I’m delighted to be writing for The Irish Academy of Public Relations

Here is a reminder of just how valuable your uniqueness is! Have a look at this week’s blog…Your Uniqueness Has Value

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In this age of digital and personal development, many have thrown around the term USP, or otherwise known as your Unique Selling Point. Some folks find it easy to identify these incredible strengths in others, but struggle to evaluate these attributes in themselves, their talents or their business offering.

As entrepreneurs, communicators or anyone with a dream, it is vital that you know what your unique strengths are, and utilise them in all of your business endeavours.

Let’s break it down into smaller parts and evaluate the significance of this term.  When you are asked about your business, your skills, your capabilities or accomplishments, do you struggle to see what makes you unique? If you do, don’t worry, you are not alone in this dilemma. But if you do not challenge this weakness it will hold you back in every area where you seek to be successful. It is like carrying out a SWOT analysis on yourself, while determining where you are most likely to achieve your business goals.

So take a pen and paper, and jot down the words that come to mind as you answer these questions: There is no wrong answer, just be as honest as you can.

  1. What differentiates you from what your competitors are doing or offering?

  2. How do you add value in the industry or market you are currently in?

  3. If you were not doing what you are doing, what would your consumers or customers miss out on?

  4. When you wake up in the morning, are you motivated by the thought that you can make a difference in your work day, and if so, how?

Okay – how do you feel in the pit of your stomach right now? Are you chasing a goal that actually has no real value to your heart? Is there a possibility that you are stuck in your comfort zone and are no longer excited about what you are doing? If this is the case, then make the decision today to ‘unglue’ yourself from this place of underachieving.

When we forget our value or what we bring to the table, it helps to encounter new opportunities and meet new people. It is time to follow your dream, so let the journey start today. At the Irish Academy of Public Relations, you will find new career ideas, training courses and opportunities to up-skill in many areas such as, Event Management, Journalism, Social Media Marketing, Mobile Journalism. There is something there for everyone.

“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.”Jim Rohn

Your skill set may be perfectly matched to the industry you are working in, so it just may be the case that you need to sharpen your focus in a more dynamic way. Either way, unless we challenge these thoughts, we can find ourselves drifting along with no real motivation and certainly having no lasting impression on those we desperately want to impact in business and life.

It’s up to you! Check out the Irish Academy of Public Relations today, and start to sharpen those amazing skills you already have. It’s time to make the move!

Guest Blogger – Denise Kennedy

The Language of Flowers Part 2 ✤✤

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Some of you will remember my original story about that wonderful little book called, The Language of Flowers…a small quaint book, detailed in the most simple yet decorated hand painting. I first discovered this book while staying with a dear family in Atlanta, and when I first picked it up I knew it was not like any other book I had ever  seen. It looked like one of a kind, a once off created manuscript, printed for one reader, for one love, for the eyes of one beholder. I felt privileged to even hold it.

I flicked though the front pages, and soon discovered that I was not far from the truth in my observations. It was indeed a very special little book. Before my eyes, were lots of hand drawings of flowers, names inserted in a calligraphy pen, and then lists and lists of flowers, and the reason one may give them to another. It grabbed my heart. How happy I was that it had been so nicely arranged where it was, so that some guest or family member may be warmed by its presence. Looking back now, it couldn’t have found a more loving or deserving home, than the one in which I discovered it.

Well this is my exciting sequel to that beautiful romantic story.  Since I originally wrote about this book on Valentine’s Day, I thought another Valentine’s Day would be the perfect time to reveal some beautiful details about the author and this book.

After my previous story about this book, I received an incredible letter from Laurie (who’s mother was the object of love, for whom this precious book was written) Laurie is now custodian of the book, and wished me to know some more details about it…so please read on to learn of the gorgeous gems I was sent to share with you.

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Hi Denise,

Thanks for your prompt reply. I will try to give you as much information as I have regarding the book, The Language of Flowers, and its history. The author was F.W.L (Frederik Lucas) a Jew who was my mother’s (Margaret Florence Jean Pickston) grandfather.  I know little about his life although he was an artist of some standing and my mother says his work was in the Royal Academy of Art, but I cannot confirm that yet as it needs more research.

Now this book was never meant to be published and was written for his wife as a token of love, for I believe an anniversary (in 1913) or birthday from, ” Father to Mother”.  How long it took him is not known but would assume some time as he secretly undertook his work every evening after his wife retired to bed. For years it lay in pieces in my Grandfather’s clothes drawer, gathering dust, until 1967/1968.  My parents were at a party, when polite conversation turned to the little book, and by chance a gentleman overheard who worked for Micheal Joseph, the book publishers.  

He explained he was most interested in seeing the book as Michael Joseph had not published a book like this before. So the book was sent to London and rebound/restored to its former glory, including its original handmade leather dust jacket. Then the first copy went to print on 10/10/1968, which also happened to be when I was born.

You will see numerous mistakes in the book such as paint brush marks on pages and written mistakes. A little known fact is that this book was entirely illustrated by paint brush, including all the meanings of the plants, with the exception being the forwarding poem to mother. I am not sure if the book is still in print as Penguin books have taken over and produced a run a few years back to send to every library in the U.S.A. I hope this long letter builds a picture in your mind about what I call “the little book” AKA The Language of Flowers.

Kind regards,

L. Pickston.

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I am sure when this loving gentleman worked secretly on this labour of love for his wife, that he had no idea just how very loved it would be, by his wife and so many others. Today, may you find a labour of love to embrace, and make it your absolute passion to share it with the world. Someday I hope to make it to London and hold the original in my hands, so watch out for part three to The language of Flowers saga.

Feeling the love…

Denise

February 14th 2016

Valentine’s Day

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NOW ⏰

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At the start of a new year many of us decide to make some big changes in how we do things…

This is my new ‘now’ reminder, to seize the day and make tomorrow better, by doing my best today, now.

On days when I want to change everything about the past or the future, it is refreshing to simply remind my heart of the tremendous power the choices I make today carry. The seeds I sow today will reap a harvest in the future, so the opportunities of today deserve my full attention, now.

These cool watches are made by @stealtimeback who donate to charities that help children in need! ~♡~ Having dealt with them personally, I must say they simply have a fabulous customer service manner and set the standard high in customer care. Kudos!

When I look at my ‘now’ watch, I find myself motivated to crush procrastination to the ground, and get things done that are essential and necessary. Maybe you find it easy to do the more challenging chores of today? Maybe you fumble through your day with low energy or fear of failure? Whichever circumstance you find yourself in, start to make some small, significant changes now. Each little successful step will soon recharge and motivate you to make bigger changes. I am doing it, and already I am finding that I spend less time in the procrastination valley, and I see ‘now’ as a place full of immense potential and endless possibilities.

The person you will be tomorrow, depends on the person you choose to be today… ⏰ Denise

Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing. – Wayne Dyer

©niseyk

Abide 👌 👌

By Denise Kennedy

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As I type, I am surrounded by construction work, drilling to the left, drilling to the right, and even drilling on the street outside my house. Everywhere I look there is rubble, or walls being torn down. While there is a lot of noise, in the midst of it there are things being quietly built back up: foundations being laid, walls being secured, and new designs being drawn. It is a noisy mixture of tearing down and rebuilding, in three different places. As I sit here, sipping my green tea and sharing a few quiet moments with God before the rest of my day kicks in, I am quietly reminded that our lives resemble the havoc that surrounds the place I currently call home.

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Maybe you are in a season where all is being stripped from your life and things feel shaky and uncomfortable for you? It could be that there is a sense of old things dying so that they can be returned to you improved or mended? You may be struggling to surrender control over someone whom you wish you could change, or someone is trying to convince you that you yourself need to change too? Maybe you are in a glorious place of rebuilding and new things are appearing all around you, filling your heart and life with excitement and happiness? It is safe to say that all of us travel through these seasons at varying times in our lives, and we cannot always determine just when they will happen.

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In the last few days, the word ABIDE, has grabbed my heart and invited me to be still, and to come away from the madness around me. This word reminds my soul that even in the midst of construction work, (whether internal or external), there is a place of deep peace. It is not found in rushing around glorifying busy schedules, but in the solitude of a quiet moment of surrender and reflection.  Abide…Abide…Abide!

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Are you rushing around in a state of mayhem, losing your grip on everything because you are trying to carry too much? A lazy man’s load never works, even with the things of the heart! Let it all go…surrender it to God. Choose to ABIDE in the knowledge that the only person you can change is yourself, and that God is walking and working with you to bring order to your life. I am right here with you…learning to ABIDE, when all you see is disappointment and change. Take a breath, put everything in His great big hands. Trust Him with the process, the outcome, the journey and even the tears. You are His masterpiece, so choose to abide, and let the Master take over…I know I am.

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From the pen of a grateful Irish girl,

Denise 👌

❣ You Know You Want To ❣

by ♡ 𝕯enise Kennedy ♡

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    Have you ever found yourself in an unexpected place, where everything seems unpredictable? A place where virtually anything could happen next?

It could best be described as the most spontaneous, amazing, fearful, wonderful and challenging place your feet and your heart could ever find themselves; well I am there, right smack bang in the middle of it. Just the other day I penned the following words; “Sometimes too many choices are just too many!”     (A Nisey’original)

I eagerly reach ahead to grasp the future, yet my heart holds on tightly to the memories the years have made, but hope pulls me closer and commands me to lift up my head with earnest expectation and anticipation.  I can sincerely say that I am finding these days the strangest and scariest I have yet to walk through.  I rarely live life with no map before me, or at least an idea of what may unfold but lately the temptation to lock my heart away is overwhelming at times ~ to live from a place where it is safe, pain-free, careful and predictable (and boring, well at least to me) is as real as the chair I am sitting on right now…. but I cannot ignore the deep desire in me to do something crazy and unpredictable.

I always thought I would have my life’s direction figured out by now, a road map to potential happiness with all the boxes checked along the way.  But life has not worked out like that and I am learning lessons in hard places, yet finding unexpected joy in the crazy unforeseeable changes life brings.   I guess we all go through seasons where it seems fearful and yet wonderfully adventurous.  One of my favourite things to do is head off on a road trip, to wherever the road goes.  Having been on some amazing road trips in Ireland, America, New Zealand, Australia, and various places from Belgium to the Ukraine, I know the thrill of these shared adventures.  The sense of spontaneous decisions and the thrill of seeing where we end up tickles me pink!    I love living life like that.  And yet bravely and courageously my heart is saying, “Seize the adventure again Denise!”…. and so I must listen to my heart and let my passion and creativity lead me to where I really want to be.  And to the ‘me’ I really want to be.  Scary isn’t it?

During these past months (plus some), I have been tempted to abort the mission my heart longs for, to turn around and settle for less than I know is genuine, thrilling and passionate.   I have toyed with the idea of giving up on the picture I had of the future, and settling for a less challenging route.  At first I felt peace, calmness and collected repose.   It is easy to feel peace when you are no longer challenging your fears or advancing into new territory in your life.  Yes you feel peace at first, when all resistance fades away into living a life more ordinary, but not for long for soon that unsettled feeling of boredom will raise itself to the forefront of your heart and you know you cannot turn your back on what you need to do and really want.

So, what are you sacrificing? What dream are you abandoning and trying to live without?  Maybe it is time to pick it up again? I am choosing to do it differently now.  To take hold of the strength that I know God gives me daily, to speak to my dreams and my hopes, my talents and my skills to come alive again!  Do you need to do the same?  You may think that it is easier to ignore the longings of your heart, to run away from the deepest places of your soul, but it isn’t.  May I gently and lovingly tell you that you will turn into a person who is bored silly with life.  Joy will drain from you and all you dreamed of will be sacrificed for a false sense of security that you will grow to resent.  Trust me, I know.

So…..right now…..think quietly ~  What is it you really long to do with your life?  What is on your bucket list?  What wakes you up and puts a smile on your face no matter what the weather is like?  What is it that you do that makes you sigh deeply with the realisation that this is what you were born to accomplish?  You know it and you feel it, you live, breathe and think about it every waking or ‘should-be’ sleeping moment.  You have tried to banish it away like a vapour, thinking it is easier to live without it, but you are not living abundantly by hiding it away and ignoring it.  Take some time to write it down, remember it again, realise it is possibly the thing that will rescue you from a place of unfulfilled living.  Inside each of us there’s a Superman T-shirt or brave hero longing to be revealed.

Can you hear it? A whispering excitement beginning like a soft drum in your chest…. a beat that wants to sound loudly to you that there are new things to call forth from you.  It is time, the clock ticks, and it waits for no one.   I want to see you, the real you, shining forth in all your great yet humble talent for the world to see.

Come on…come alive!  It may feel like you are stepping out onto nothing, not knowing really where you are going, but you will find it easier after you take the first step.  I am beside you, cheering you on (and myself).  Take my hand if you need to.  Look for others in your life who have stopped living from their heart, encourage them to speak tenderly again to their dreams and listen to the deepest longing within them.

You know you want to…

♡ 𝕯enise ❣ ~~ ♥ ~~ ♥ ~~

The Sound of Life… ☕ 🎧 🍝

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As I sit here writing to you, I hear the soft flickering of my open coal fire, as heat radiates and the smell of warmth fills the room. I am grateful. Over in my kitchen, a freshly prepared, by yours truly, pot of Irish stew gurgles and bubbles as it cooks on my brand new stove. My nearby window, slightly ajar, lets me hear the birds singing to each other from their branches, and the funny screams of sea gulls as they soar in the sky.  The sound of life!

Some of you know I have moved, and many of you have asked me to tell the story of how it all happened. First, let me take a sip from my freshly brewed cup of brilliance, and I will begin to pen the tale.

The story is long, so I will keep it brief and pertinent to what really matters. I needed to move, and time was running out on my lease. Days, weeks and months were flying past, with no real success in finding my new abode. I remained resilient and positive, but meanwhile back at the ranch, my heart was growing wearisome and tiresome. You know the feeling.

So, on a seemingly ordinary Tuesday morning, way back in November, I awoke with a sense of destiny, urgency, optimism and a certain, “Je ne sais quoi.

I went through my usual morning routine, breakfast, reading, quiet time, etc etc, but all the while I knew today was the day I would find it. I decreed it in my heart, that today God and I would find it, as if God needed my help, and the day commenced.

Soon I was out walking on the street, in the south city suburbs of Dublin, with no real place to go, just watching people and looking for opportunity. This particular day, opportunity came wearing overalls and holding a paintbrush. He was a stranger to me, but I soon found myself interrupting his work to inquire if he may possibly be the landlord of said property. He wasn’t. But quite resolutely he took me into the house to meet the landlord of this lovely Georgian house. To cut a long eventful story short, I spent about half an hour chatting with a landlord, who had nothing to offer me, but took the time to offer me friendly advice and hear my story. He had just come out of a three hour meeting, yet gave me much more than the time of day. It was inspiring, but even more so, when he simply said, that he wanted to give me some timely and encouraging advice…”Don’t lose hope!..”

He said it calmly and resolutely. So much so that the tired heart in me was lifted up. I blinked the tears from my eyes and thanked him for this kindness and time. And ventured out onto the street again.

Moments later I saw another gentleman in overalls. So, yes, you guessed it. I did. I gingerly approached him on the front steps of another Georgian building, and inquired if he were possibly the landlord. And, guess what? No, he wasn’t. We chatted a bit about why I was out stopping strangers and the like. He then decided to call the landlord of this property to inquire on my behalf. And low and behold, he had just driven in around the rear of the building at that moment. So, had I arrived at this second property thirty minutes earlier, things may not have lined up so perfectly for me. I mused to myself, thank God the other landlord took thirty minutes out of his day to be kind to a stranger.

Soon I rushed round the corner to meet another stranger, who now is my current landlord.

It all did not go as smoothly as planned, and there were a few delays and hiccups to test my faith, but soon after, the keys to my brightly new refurbished from floor to ceiling, Georgian studio were in my hands. I moved in well before Christmas, with the help of family and friends. I have all I need, plus one extra, a real open log fire! That part was a pleasant surprise. Blessed with brand new fixtures and fittings, a new cooker, fridge and utilities. And this is where I write to you from, sitting in my own antique nursing chair, by my heat-yielding flickering fire.

And although there are challenges afoot, and things that greatly challenge my heart today, I can look around me and be grateful that I have more than some, and less than a lot, but I have what I need. I am ready to move on to the next adventure, wherever and whenever that is. Today the sound of life is beautiful, and I am grateful for the journey, and for the strength that tears can bring.

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Anyway, I better go, the sound and aroma of my homemade stew bubbling signals to me that it is ready, and so am I. Oh, there is one more important thing I must tell you; remember when I met the second landlord? Well, he was not planning on advertising this property, so the only way I would have found him is if I met him on the street. So, there you have it. Get out there and meet people. Take risks, go out on a limb and see what happens. I did, and it changed everything.

Denise

 

The Giving Thanks Season ღ¸.•*´¨Thanksgiving!

by Denise Kennedy

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As I sit here at my office table writing to you, I am surrounded by half-packed boxes and disordered belongings…all of which are screaming for my attention.

My freshly brewed coffee steams beside me, swirling amidst the scent of my favourite pumpkin spice candle, and the birds chirp and dance outside as the frost melts in the November sun…

So I choose to be still. I choose to be thankful. It is easy to be thankful when all about you is splendidly perfect and testing times have come and gone, but when you are in the midst of true battles it can be a difficult thing to choose. I understand my friend, as I too am in that place. Between the now and the not-yet can be the scariest place to find yourself, or the grandest adventure ever. We can either see it as an opportunity or a threat.

I am moving, well getting ready to move, to a place unknown to me. As I prepare, I have been reminded over and over to be grateful for the things I have, while waiting for the things not yet seen. We have a choice to make…we can wallow in fear or we can flap our wings and use the winds of adversity to take us only higher. I want to choose the greater thing, the activity of winners, of fighters, of eagles. Today my friend Katie Taylor won her fifth world boxing championship title. What a legend! And as I watched her interview after the fight, I was overwhelmed by the expression of pure joy and relief on her face.

I couldn’t help but think of all the times she must have felt like giving up, or quitting. There must have been days when the sacrifice seemed too hard or too costly, but it all paid off today.  And what a day of thanksgiving it is for her and all of us who know her and love her.

So, my friend, today we must decide to be brave, to be thankfully courageous, and respond with strength, boldness and faith. We can let the fear of the unknown overcome us or we can choose to respond with determination and perseverance. In this season of Thanksgiving it can be hard to be thankful when things are not as we would love them to be, but when we start to focus on the many beautiful things in our lives, joy will come and fill our tired hearts.

As we embrace the winds of adversity and change, thankfulness and bravery can be our companions.  Choosing to be thankful creates a strong foundation in our lives that becomes our default response, even when circumstances are completely challenging. It is not easy but it is possible. I am sure there were days when Katie Taylor had to fight to believe that she could achieve her dreams, and today she celebrates where discipline and training have brought her. We can too my friend!

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I invite you today, to be thankful, to be bravely thankful! And now back to my boxes…the adventure awaits! ¸.•*¨) Nisey K

IS THIS LOVE? by guest writer Andy Patton

Today I want to introduce a new writer on the block, and in the theme of love and romance it seems only right that he share a beautiful love story with you… Take it away Andy! It is a pleasure to have you write your first (of many) blogs on my watch. Denise

“Is This Love?”

 by Andy Patton

“Is This Love?” If you are anything like me or grew up in the 80s, when you read those words your mind was instantly transported back to the year 1987, and you began to hum the tune to that classic ballad by Whitesnake.

When I first saw her it wasn’t love… or was it? When I first talked to her it wasn’t love… well maybe it was… no it definitely wasn’t.  I know it wasn’t, because I couldn’t understand most of what she said!  Not because she was soft spoken, shy or timid. In fact, just the opposite. Honestly, it was her thick Dublin accent that held me at bay and forced me to nod, smile and pathetically attempt to piece together the few words I did understand.

She was full of life and it manifested itself in the fast paced manner in which she bounded into conversation.  It flowed from her lips with such ease and joy. She welcomed the opportunity to share her delight and vigor for life with any who would engage her.  Desiring to express her glee with life, her conversation seemed to gain speed the more she talked!

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That morning she had gathered with several ladies for their customarily tea and talk, and I stumbled into the kitchen looking for a bucket and sponge. Being a 20 – something young man of course she captured my eye, but I fought desperately not to ogle. I do believe I eeked out a disastrously awkward “good morning” greeting as I hurried to disappear. All the while, it was her carefree poise that silently screamed at my heart.

Was there any doubt I was an American in Dublin? Could she tell that I was from a far distant mysterious place called New England? Could she know without me saying a word that I was instantly drawn to her?

I hoped so….

As the next week unfolded, I found myself more and more in her company. Each time I felt a bit bolder to interact with her. Now mind you, I wasn’t intimidated, but excited to hear what new adventures or experiences life had brought her since we last chatted.  Okay maybe I was smitten. Her brown eyes sparkled and her smile was intoxicating. But at least, I could now grasp most of the conversation. Either I had honed my listening skills or she had slowed down her talking speed, or maybe a combination of both. At any rate I was enjoying every second of it.

Is this Love? Well maybe the start of it, for me at least. What I had discovered was all that I had encountered, all that I had been privileged to experience during my times with her, it wasn’t special to her, it was normal. She was just being her! I realized the interaction I had with her was the connection that everyone had with her. Not because of them and their efforts, but hers. She loved people of all shapes, sizes and colors. She just simply loved being around and involved in the lives of the people she came in contact with, anywhere and any time. That is what I loved first about her. Love is a two way street and are these two people, moving in opposite directions, willing to step off the sidewalk? After all it had only been a week!

Are you serious? Come on!  Could that have really happened?  I must have been dreaming! Was I? For more than a week I had been chatting off and on with this wonderful young woman, and she had captivated me with her zest for life.  She cherished each moment of each day and that trickled down to anyone she spoke to, myself included.

We had spent lunches in cafés with friends, bowling events with fellow team members and site-seeing tours around various attractions in the city. Our conversations were centered on our cultures, young adult life in our respective countries and our families. I was staying with a host family outside the city center, which required me to catch a bus each evening.

My routine was to hop on and make my way upstairs to the top deck so I could take in the sights from a better vantage point. From there I could witness the bustling streets filled with pedestrians, cyclists and peddlers, I was enamored with it all.

Most journeys my mind retraced my steps of the day, and many of them guided me back to my daily communiqué with the energetic, inspiring woman I was growing so fond of.  I found myself wanting to extend our get-togethers in order to spend more time getting to know her. Talking with her was effortless and time seemed to stand still when I was around her.

One evening early on in my summer long adventure, I was actively engaging life with my host family. Our talks ranged from me trying to fit into their culture, to learning the slang vocabulary and decoding their accents. I figured the more I talked with them the easier it would be to understand the people I would meet during my travels in town each day… after all it was English they were speaking so I just needed to listen more than I talked.

On that memorable night my I learned more about their family than I could have imagined. First of all they had five kids… Up until that point I had only known the two youngest. The older three were moved out of the house. The two older sons were living in England and their oldest lived in the city with a couple of roommates. As I shared my family dynamic of having three older sisters and no brothers, they related that their family makeup was just the reverse. There was one girl and four brothers. I was the youngest and their daughter was the oldest. I remember thinking I haven’t even seen family photos around the house to tip me off to how many children they actually had.

They told me all about the their kids as they were growing up and we laughed at similar stories of childhood. Then they pulled out a few photos to introduce me to the three older kids I had not yet met, obviously the two older boys were out of country so they didn’t see them much. Their daughter had not come by to visit, at least when I was there. As they showed me pictures of her when she was little and progressively through her younger years.

She looked familiar, so familiar I felt as though I knew her. Then came one photo that had been taken a few months prior to me arriving. To my amazement…it was her! The girl that so captured my near every thought, the girl that sauntered into my life nearly two weeks ago. I was living in her old bedroom and eating evening meals and enjoying laughter filled chats with her dad and mom!

To be continued…

More of this wonderful story soon so stay tuned… Andy

✿♥‿♥✿ Always Faithful ~ Forever Strong ✿♥‿♥✿

✿♥‿♥✿  Written by Denise Kennedy

✿♥‿♥✿ “ALWAYS FAITHFUL ~ FOREVER STRONG!”

Today I was reminded of quite a special conversation that took place a little over a year ago, but has been revisited in my thoughts at various times.  The memory has been awakened by the emotion I see daily in the current 2012 Olympic Games being held now in London.

Let me take you back to that special occasion .. .. .. I packed my bags and hit the road.  My arms were ready for hugs, my heart was eager for slobbery kisses and smiling faces.  In my bag were goodies and treats for two little boys and a little pink princess. Soon I was there, and hugs and cuddles commenced eagerly.  Eskimo kisses were exchanged and laughter filled our hearts and the room.  I was on a sleepover with my nephews and niece, oh and their parents, who I had told to go on a date as I would babysit for them.  Soon it was just me and the three musketeers, all in our pyjamas on the couch watching a movie. My eldest nephew, a courageous 7 year old then, turned to me as he noticed my black & pink heart pyjamas.  He giggled and said, “Nisey, you always have heart things, why?”  I snuggled him closer and explained to all three of them how important the heart is.  They were giggling with laughter as I explained how the heart inside us keeps us alive by pumping blood around our body, but that it is also with the heart that we are able to love, and without a heart we would feel nothing.  As they followed my lead they placed their little hands on the spot where their hearts were beating and their eyes opened wider as they understood what I was saying.

So then the challenge came…my eldest nephew turned to me saying, “Nisey, do you think you can find a heart every day and take a photo of it with your phone?” ~  I accepted his challenge, and we agreed that  for a year, I would find a ‘heart’; and so the “Hearts 365 Project” began!  The heart project has finished now, but in all of our lives the work of living with courage from our heart, still continues!  It was an amazing project, and one that many people all over the world became involved in, joining in the fun of finding hearts.  A heart revolution you might say!  There will be more about that project at a later date ✿♥‿♥✿

.. .. ..  As I watch the Olympics I am left in awe at the sense of teamwork and commitment I see between the various countries and their teams.  On the night of the Opening Ceremony they each walked with pride behind their country flag and joined together in courage and preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games.  Surely each of us felt our hearts beating loudly with anticipation and excitement?  I know mine did as our dear friend Katie Taylor proudly led Team Ireland♣ with the Irish flag in her strong boxing arm! Go Katie!♣

“Semper Fidelis”,  (a motto I love), resounds loudly from their hearts as they challenge their physical capabilities for the next two weeks.  But no matter what medals are won or lost, they are together under the umbrella of “Always Faithful”, and even those who fail to make the cut or win their medal are still on the team, and will not be disowned in terms of their flag colours and team membership.  We have much to learn about this in our own evaluation of the way we do life together day to day.  Semper Fidelis  is  Latin for “Always Faithful” or “Always Loyal”, as the motto of the United States Marine Corps (and often shortened to Semper Fi  in Marine contexts), Semper Fidelis  has served as a slogan for many families and entities, in many countries, dated to have been started no later than the 16th century.  Newly married couples have even had it engraved on the inside of their wedding rings, as a beautiful sign of their commitment and loyalty for the rest of their lives ~ beautiful!  Semper Fidelis goes beyond teamwork ~ it is a brotherhood that can always be counted on. This became the Marine Corps motto in 1883 and it guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to their country, no matter what.

So to live as a committed person is to walk with a code of personal integrity, and they say that it is honour that guides those who do the right thing when no one is looking.  It is not only a duty, but also a distinction, and one that sets you apart from those who easily compromise their values and ethics.  It is true, that when you meet someone you can trust, your heart feels safe and refreshed, that although they are not perfect and may fail, you still know that at their core there is a code of honour and truth that they strive to live by.  What is found in one’s beliefs is exhibited through one’s actions;  When our truest principles are tested, it’s courage that prevents us from crumbling.  It isn’t about ignoring fear, but being stronger than fear.  Courage starts in the heart, and it is also the guardian of all the other values that we hold fast to.  It is there when times are toughest, when difficult decisions have to be made.

A Nisey Note ~~> May God’s love reach in and heal where disappointments and emptiness war for our hearts! May His love stir our hearts again to live from a place of abandoned adventure. When the heart hurts it is tempting to kill it, to not feel from it, to hide it away where nothing can hurt it again; to pretend what we treasured was less than the beautiful gift we knew it to be.  But from our heart is where God wants our life to live; from our deepest part comes our deepest impact on this world, from our heart our worship sings!  Don’t kill your heart, for it is the place where real intimacy and life must spring from.  Semper Fidelis “Always Faithful”…. must be the anthem of our hearts and the motto of our lives.

The amazing cyclist, Lance Armstrong uses the great slogan LIVESTRONG ~ so keep in mind no matter what you are battling, you can live Always Faithful ~ Forever Strong!

Nisey K ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

A Good Cheer! ✫✫✫

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by Denise Kennedy

Do you know that there’s someone beautiful, amazing, talented, incredible, strong and precious who needs you today? They need your resilience, your love, your optimism, your faith, and your belief that they can do anything that they set their mind on. They need your encouragement and your approval of them as well as your support when they fail. They need your pat on the back when they doubt they can make it. They desperately need your courageous discipline when they settle for less than what they’re capable of. When life crashes in on them, it’s your unconditional love and sustenance that they yearn for.  When some days seem more lonely than usual, and it appears that there’s nobody to lean on, they cry out needing your assurance. When a dream shatters like glass into a million pieces, it is you they need to inspire and encourage them to get back up and  try it again.

When they’re not feeling their strongest and life is a bit like a boxing ring, it is you who helps them muster the strength to get up off the floor and throw their best left hook ever. It is you who speaks softly to them that they’re as amazing now as they ever were, that scars and all, they’re still the best thing since sliced bread or before it. When nobody notices they had a hard day but still managed to conquer their fears anyway, it is you who hands them the bravery award.
There is no other in their life able to motivate them to believe that God has not forgotten them, or that there will be greater days ahead and new promises to glean from the field of life. It is your wisdom that directs them towards the faith they hold so dear, knowing that it steadies them on the tightrope of life. In the day to day routine of this individual, you are the one who calls the shots in the choices they make.

Who is the person who needs you??  Have you any idea yet?

Well it is you. You need to be your own cheerleader. They say “Self praise is no praise!’ do you agree? Hmmm well I guess it depends on the context, like a lot of things people say. So if I were to ask you about the cheerleader inside you, what picture do you immediately think of? Are you a strong supporter of your own achievements? Or do you sit around waiting for the applause of others to determine whether or not you did a good job? Sure we need the heart of God to show us unconditional love, and we need our family and friends to help us through thick and thin, but you need to cheer yourself when there seems to be no one on the field wearing your colours!  There is a God in heaven who thinks you’re the bee’s knees or the wasp’s ankles, but if you don’t rise up to accept the role of a cheerleader in your own life than you will never really believe you can do anything of substance. You will end up believing there is nothing resembling a legend within you.

So come on. Get your pompoms out. Start to cheer yourself on. Position yourself in your own corner; I guarantee this will make you a faithful and amazing cheerleader in the lives of those around you.  Let it start now, believe what God says about you and it will certainly influence your behaviour. Tell yourself you are amazing, for that is what is true about you! Right now it’s your “cheerleading heart” that needs to know that whatever comes your way, you believe you can face it head on! And the voice of God cheers you on every step of the way. If you cannot hear the cheers from your own dear heart sweet one, then you may never allow the cheers of those around you, or those of God to really influence your picture of who you are.

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So, get those coloured pompoms out, begin to sound those cheers!  Change the conversations you have with yourself, don’t be your own worst enemy!  Loving yourself is not a crime, once it is balanced with a good dose of humility and regard for others. Let the sound of your own voice lift your heart up with gladness and hope, it is a beautiful thing! You will know strength even in the most heartbreaking circumstances. God will sweep in, as He runs to lift you up. Your faith will begin to grow and soon you will barely recognise yourself.  Don’t be so quick to put yourself down for consequently you will sabotage your efforts and your very relationships.

If you abandon yourself, then what a sad heart you will develop. Start to tell yourself you are so proud of all you have achieved today. Yes it may feel awkward at first, but when the battles come which they will, you can be sure that you’re standing in your own corner, cheering loudly what God and all those around you, already know is the best thing about you ~ You just need to believe it yourself! Come on, you know you want to. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

Be of good cheer, those who cheer themselves on can’t help but cheer others on too! =)

“Encourage your heart and strengthen yourself in every good deed and word.”

(2 Thessalonians 2:16)

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