January 31, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 31 Jan 2014





In the depth of winter

I finally learned

that there was in me

an invincible summer.


~ Albert Camus



January 30, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 30 Jan 2014




Look inside.

That way lies dancing to the melodies

spun out by your own heart.

This is a symphony.

All the rest are jingles.


~ Anna Quindlen



January 29, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 29 Jan 2014



Whatever you can do

or dream you can,

begin it;

BOLDNESS 

has genius,

power,

and magic in it.


~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


January 28, 2014

January 27, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 27 Jan 2014




March on. Do not tarry.

To go forward is to move forward perfection.

March on, and fear not the thorns,

or the sharp stones on life's path.


~ Kahlil Gibran


January 26, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 26 Jan 2014




Only passions, great passions,

can elevate the soul to great things.


~ Denis Dedirot



January 25, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 25 Jan 2014




Look within.

Within is the fountain of good,

and it will ever bubble up,

if thou wilt ever dig.


~ Marcus Aurelius Antoninus



January 24, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 24 Jan 2014




Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you
the strength, the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars
to change the world.


~ Harriet Tubman



January 23, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 23 Jan 2014




Joy is what happens to us

when we allow ourselves to recognize

how good things really are.


~ Marianne Williamson


January 22, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 22 Jan 2014






Above all, 
watch with glittering eyes
the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets
are always hidden 
in the most unlikely places.
Those who don't believe in magic
will never find it.


~ Roald Dahl


January 21, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 21 Jan 2014





Logic will get you

from A to B.

Imagination will take you

everywhere.


~ Albert Einstein


January 20, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 20 Jan 2014





Dreams come true;

without  that possibility,

nature would not incite us to have them.


~ John Updike


January 19, 2014

My Word for 2014 ~ Nourish





Well, here I go again with “My Word for the Year”.  This is my 8th year doing this and every year, I get more serious about picking one word as a guide and inspiration to help shape my attitude and character.  I know that this is something I will keep up forever and I love that each year I get to add a new word to my collection. Here are my words for the last 7 years:

2007  - LISTEN
2008 – SIMPLIFY
2009 – LOVE
2010 – BE STILL
2011 – FOCUS
2012 – PRESENT
2013 - INTENTIONALITY

Prayerfully choosing one word that embodies my promise of the upcoming year is a discipline I shared with you for many years. This practice of asking God for His yearly theme in my life endows me with strength in the tough times, as well as good times. It renews my spirit and imbues me with purpose. It is “the word” that hangs as my guiding light, a glimmer of God that leads my steps throughout 2014, and throughout my life forever.

I never really go searching for the word. They surround me. They are in me, letters coating my veins and linking my bloodstream. Streaming through me, bringing life to my lungs. I am enclosed in words and sheathed in their comfort. To some it may be easy to just pick one, but not me.  Somehow, unexpectedly, the word tends to find me.  This year took a little time, but finally my word and I met.  


My word for 2014 is NOURISH.

Nourish: to cause (something) to develop or grow stronger. This word conforms to leading a good life, an abundant life, which is dependent upon one's spiritual, mental, and emotional base, not physical. These elements of the mind determine one's outlook, goals, and reactions to the myriad vicissitudes of life. I also believe that it confirms that God directly leads me into many of them, as a means of instructing me, producing dual results: first, to experience them and develop certain characteristics; second, to test me ~ to see where I stand and how I cope.

In doing so, I choose the following to NOURISH this year ~ tasks that will be permanently infused in me and I hope that you can adopt it too.

(1) Spiritual Nourishment ~

In the bible, it reminds me of this verse, “But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place prepared by God, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time.” (Revelation 12:14, NKJV)

I know that human nature compels me to focus ALMOST totally upon the physical. I know that God provides me "wilderness experiences" to let me know that there is a spiritual aspect to life that requires feeding and maintenance just as surely as the physical.  Spiritual nourishment is more important than the nourishment itself. If I have the right source, the nourishment will be good. Otherwise, the situation is hopeless. My source of nourishment must, of course, be God.
Prayer, bible study, spiritual fitness, meditation, and obedience are the integration process in this analogous. Within this feeding/integration process, my relationship with God, worship, and religion should be enhanced to play an effective, positive role in my life. Worship is more than adoration and reverence; it is the response of the whole person to the entirety of God's will in all aspects of life. In the church, at home, on the job, and in the community, my direction must always be whatever God wills. I also understand that starvation of the spirit is less obvious on the outside than physical hunger because the spirit starves much more slowly and it resides within. Spiritual malnutrition may go unrecognized for long periods because the body and life goes right on. Yet just as surely as one's body gives signs that it needs nourishment, so does the spirit, and it, too, will eventually be recognized on the outside by its symptoms. I don’t want my spirit to be malnourished either from deprivation or harmful diet of evil and negligence. I don’t want to have the symptoms whatsoever because I don’t want my life to change for the worst, but for the better.
(2) Relationship Nourishment ~
A relationship is like a garden, it is expensive to maintain but very sweet and rewarding when it is well cultivated. The more time and effort I put in to nurture and nourish love in my relationships (Lovey, family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc.) the better the opportunity for my relationship to be healthy. If my relationship must be successful and fulfilling, then I must put in my best to make it succeed. I need to be a person who nourishes her relationships with the right nutrients needed for it to grow. The goodness of my relationships should challenge, inspire and empower others to make their relationships work justly as well.
Relationship is responsibility. It is a university of no graduation. Before you go into a relationship, one must be holistically mature and be ready to give 100% best. For two people to be in a harmonious relationship, they must be able to tolerate and help each other become better. A loveless relationship is frustrating and dis-empowering. A healthy and lovely relationship is a place where love reigns supreme. This makes you feel secured and rich.
Great relationships don’t happen by accident. Real relationships have ups and downs. Those enjoying bliss in their relationships are not from the moon, they are fellow humans and you can learn from them. Being a Marriage and Family Therapist, I’ve mentioned numerous times to my clients that, “Relationship is not a bed of roses, but you can make yours a bed of roses by nourishing love in it.” How? Try these nutrients/pointers below:
(a) Respect. It is reciprocal! In order to nourish love in your relationship, you cannot go wrong when you make mutual respect a priority in your affair. This will make you and your partner value each other well. Always respect and honor your partner.
(b) Trust.  It is a fundamental element that must be present at all times for love to grow in your relationship. A relationship without trust is heading for the rocks. Trust is glue that binds people together.
(c) Understanding.  It will help you resolve issues amicably and reach a reasonable compromise for love to reign in your relationship. Without understanding, your relationship will be full of quarrels and fights. Cultivate empathy, this enables you and your partner to know how each other feels and understands the reasons behind each other’s actions and reactions.
(d) Sacrifice for Love. To be well nourished in your relationship, there must selfless giving of your whole being to the relationship. Giving of oneself is one foolproof way to nourish love in any relationship. Make intensive effort to give 100% care to your relationship in other to boost love and make it a super success. Sacrifice pays! It will make your relationship succeed.
(e) Connection and Communication. 
The importance of connection and communication cannot be over-emphasized because they strengthen love in any relationship. Pay attention to your choice of word, tone of voice, body language and gesticulation. Always create a common ground for you and your partner because it solidifies love. Romanticism and intimacy is a must. It helps love to be nourished in your relationship.
It is a proven fact that love is the real strength of healthy human relationship. A relationship lacking love will crumble. When you love your partner with your whole heart, you are watering your relationship with true love. In doing this, your relationship flourishes like a tree planted by the riverside. It stays fresh, even in harsh weather conditions. With love well nourished, your relationship will overcome any challenge.
3.  Self Nourishment ~

            One of my favorite quotes by Buddha, “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. ”

When your life is going 180 miles per hour, you tend to forget to conduct self-check or self-appraisal.  Just as your car need maintenance, you do too. You do too much everyday and for others that you forget YOU. This is a simple mirror self-appraisal therapy that I use with my clients.  Simply look in the mirror and read this paragraph loudly:

You are your best friend, lover and inspiration, above all others. By loving your entire being you will gain unlimited capacity to share this unconditional love and kindness with everyone who crosses your path. Embrace the uniqueness of your being and begin to engage passionately in the admiration of your whole self. You have a specific meaning and purpose for being alive, thus it is your responsibility to honor your life. Before you can engage in any other relationships, you must devote love and respect for every aspect of your being. Learn to express compassionate and unconditional self-love. Allow the intuition of your soul to guide you to higher states of consciousness and be the recipient of the immense love that resides within your heart. Let love, compassion and kindness exude from your being and touch all the souls you come in contact with.”

To nourish your relationship with yourself, try these:

1.  Embrace simplicity. This is the essence of spiritual life. To simply be, living devoid of all the chaos caused by external demands, is the path to ultimate liberation and pure joy. Implement enjoyment and humor in each moment you experience during your journey of life. Learn to laugh at yourself and the challenges presented to you. Smile in the face of adversity and know that this is the natural state of your genuine being in this physical lifetime.
2. Awaken to the truth of life. Do not allow your ego to manipulate you into believing that the melodramas of the physical world are a reality in which you must participate. Always reflect deeply within your being and allow your spirit to determine what is important in your life.
3. Accept change. Acknowledging change plays a vital role in our relationships. When we accept that others have faults and weaknesses, just like ourselves, we are truly in a position to know the other person and to experience their inner world. Rather than attempting to change the person to our ideal partner, we are able to witness and enjoy the growth of another unique human being.
4. Quiet your ego. Be still and know that you are not what your ego tells you and you do not have to react to what your mind thinks, feels, or believes. Stillness will help you to connect to that genuine part of yourself that doesn’t judge, manipulate, or harm. To live by your ego whether you are relating with yourself or others will ultimately cause conflict and confusion. Relating with your genuine self will emanate love in all interactions.
5. Acknowledge impermanence. Escape from behind the clouds of misunderstanding and gently surrender to the eternal present of your daily life. Accept and be one with the energy of the Universe. Nothing stays the same, yet everything remains perfect. To surrender to whom you are and to what is in each moment is the way to enlightenment in all areas of your life.  Acceptance of momentary and constant change is the key to peace.
6. Practice mindfulness. A life lived mindfully is a life filled with peace, tranquility, joy, truth, bliss, ecstasy and compassion. Mindfulness is a form of meditation, involving direct participation in each moment as it occurs with complete awareness of your present experience. Let go of the attachments of the past and the desires of the future and simply be, right now. These attachments always lead to discontentment, frustration, and an inability to enjoy life. Free yourself from this bondage by first forgiving yourself, and then forgiving others.

Whew!  J It took me a little longer (literally) to express my word for this year.  But it is worth it.

I hope you enjoy reading this.  Remember, nourishment is an important part of everyday life.  Just as Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote, “When your life is filled with the desire to see the holiness in everyday life, something magical happens: ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul.”

Have a great year everyone!

Much love,
Ella 



Shot of Joy ~ 19 Jan 2014






Without forgiveness,

there is no future.


~ Desmond Tutu


January 18, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 18 Jan 2014






No one saves us but ourselves.

No one can and no one may.

We ourselves must walk the path.


~ Buddha


January 17, 2014

Shot of Joy ~ 17 Jan 2014





Put your ear down

close to your soul

and listen hard.


~ Anne Sexton


Shot of Joy ~ 16 Jan 2014





Nobody gets to live life backward.

Look ahead,

that is where your future lies.


~ Ann Landers


Shot of Joy ~ 15 Jan 2014




At some point in life 

the world's beauty is enough.

You don't need to photograph, paint,

or even remember it.

It is enough

~ Toni Morrison





Shot of Joy ~ 14 Jan 2014





The greatest joy lies

not in simply being, 

but in becoming.


~ Oprah Winfrey



Shot of Joy ~ 13 Jan 2014





Keep your face to the sunshine

and you cannot see the shadows.


~ Helen Keller



Shot of Joy ~ 12 Jan 2014





There is only one journey:

going inside yourself.


~ Rainer Maria Rike


Shot of Joy ~ 11 Jan 2014





The mind is not a vessel to be filled,

but a fire to be kindled.


~ Plutarch

January 15, 2014

Shot of Joy - 10 Jan 2013





What lies behind us
and what lies before us
are small matters
compared to what lies
within us.


~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Shot of Joy - 9 Jan 2014





The future belongs to those who 

believe

in the beauty of their dreams.


~ Eleanor Roosevelt




January 08, 2014

Shot of Joy - 8 Jan 2014




Action and reactions,
ebb and flow,
trial and error,
change ~ this is the rhythm of living.
Out of our over-confidence, fear;
out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope.
And out of hope, progress.


~ Bruce Barton