LET'S LOVE, HOPE, & SPARKLE!!


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: DECEMBER 4, 2022

Blessings! 2022 has been a whirlwind year for everyone. We are still recovering from the pandemic and working through much of the chaotic energies from the recent world events. It is about standing with a sense of faith, hope, and resilience, while still living in the present. On a sparkling note, I would like to shift the energy to some positive announcements.


Someone asked me back in November, “So what is in-store for you in 2023?” After I was approached with this question, I didn’t have a perfect response. I mentioned to the person that I was in the moment, but spiritually speaking of living in the NOW more than ever.

 

Plus, I mentioned working on some projects while trying to get them done before the end of year. After that encounter, I took some self-reflection time to ponder over my intentions for 2023.


So, here are my 2023 intentions….


The first intention is to continue growing my intuitive life coaching business.


The second intention is to continue writing on my holistic website, serenegrace13.com and of course, my etiquette website, theinspiringpeacockpost.com.


The third intention is to continue growing in the wedding industry.


The fourth intention is to continue growing the “Shining Bright with Serene Grace” podcast/radio show on the Voice America Internet Talk Radio-Empowerment Channel.


This show is a huge creative endeavor to continue learning how to make content that empowers and heals people worldwide. I look forward to bringing more guests on my show that will have positive sparkles to share and learn from.


The fifth intention is to do more interviews to help grow my business structure.


The sixth intention is to work on the concept of writing books in the future.


The seventh intention is to work on my physical health (my body) and get myself back into better shape. Within the last twelve years, my body has endured unusual injuries to my joints, ligaments, and tendons from different accidents.


I also had major brain surgery to correct a condition called Arnold Chiari Malformation back in 2010. Now, that’s another story to write about next year. It’s a goal of mine to do a body competition before I turn fifty.


The eighth intention is to continue my spiritual journey for healing and cultivating more inner peace. We all have a journey to continue some healing within ourselves and become more authentic in this lifetime. It’s about living in the NOW more than ever.


The ninth intention is to do more holistic events in the United States and start traveling around the world more, so I can continue to put a positive sparkle into people’s lives.


The tenth intention is to create a foundation that promotes a global peace movement. As to how this idea will form, I will just surrender and release it up to God and go from there. 


Overall, I meant to be a vessel, mentor, ambassador, and teacher for peace in this lifetime. Currently, I have a global presence forming in different ways, so I am learning to utilize myself for the greater good


Talk about having a vision of positive goals with lots of sparkles. With 2022 behind me, it was a year to realign my purposes and execute them in a divine, timely manner. Most importantly, it was a time to lay my foundation down for myself and watch everything grow in harmony.


NEVER LET ANYONE DULL YOUR SPARKLE. That was my ultimate life lesson for this year. Moving into 2023, it will be my “Trinity Year of Great Movement.” And yes, I will continue to work on my strengths and weaknesses but it’s worth it to continue to have more LOVE, HOPE, and SPARKLE into 2023.


Everyone, have a beautiful Christmas and see you NEXT YEAR, while not forgetting to LOVE, HOPE, and SPARKLE more.

MY SPARKLING ACCOMPLISHMENTS!!


Written By: Sarah Jean

Date: December 4, 2022

Happy Holidays! 2022 has been an eye-opening year for me. During this year, I achieved many great accomplishments. 


The first accomplishment came shortly after the year began. I was finally able to cross off going to Hawaii from my travel list. I got to spend a wonderful week in Waikiki with my amazing boyfriend. 


Another thing, I got my school goals back on track, and I am determined to pass the exams that I need to be able to finish my teaching degree. I also created my very first blog, collaborated with a company to bring my fashion designs to life, and paid off my new SUV.


Most importantly, I started taking medication after being diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Overall, I urge anyone who thinks that medication can help them with their mental health to seek out assistance from a medical doctor. My world has been completely changed for the better. I no longer feel like I’m in a fog, especially when doing math, it doesn’t make me feel stupid anymore.


In 2023, I have several accomplishments that I want to achieve with remarkable success. First, I hope to have my own online store running and thriving by the end of the year. I have been collaborating with a company that does the back-end work for me, but it is sold on their website. While I enjoy collaborating with them, I would much rather be able to have my own E-commerce website where I can sell anything that pertains to cruelty free beauty and fashion.


Second, I am really excited to be finishing my master’s degree of education (M.Ed.). Later, I hope to have my own Kindergarten or first grade classroom. With that said, I also will be engaged to my boyfriend by the end of the year. We decided to postpone nuptials until we have finished our graduate programs. Don’t think we don’t love each other. We love each other dearly and always joke that we are already married (just not legally or officially yet).


Lastly, I hope to have a larger presence in the world of beauty and fashion and gain more momentum on all my social media platforms. Currently, I work with brands and get paid in free products, commission, or a minimal cash amount. While I am grateful, I want to monetize my passion more. I hope to have at least one long term high paying brand deal by next December.


My ultimate goal is to be able to not only exist but live a life of passion and fun. Look out 2023, Beautybell is determined and coming for you. 

AWAKENING FROM YOUR DREAM!


Written By: Phillip Nguyen

(Wisdom of the Master)


Date: December 4, 2022

Hello and greetings in the name of the Most High. And that name is LOVE. Namaste--this means respect and love for you. When I look at the upcoming New Year of 2023, I see it as a blank canvas that is ready for you and me to paint a new picture together. There is no such thing as sadness if you don't draw it on this new canvas. There is no such thing as hatred and negativity toward others nor yourselves if you don't make it become the truth.


You see, life is nothing more than a lucid dream. There is no difference between what you see at night when sleeping and your own daily life. When you learn to control your dreams at night, then you realize that what we call "real life" can be controlled in the same way. This is the definition of a lucid dream. You are the artist.


You make it the way you see it. If you see life as a bush of thorns stabbing you at every corner, then it shall be that way. If you see it as the opportunity to smile and make others feel your warm, beautiful presence, then you are indeed a bright yellow sun who deserves to be cherished by many.


You and I are God in human form. You and I are artists, mixing our paint, drawing on the canvas of life. The greatest wisdom you will ever learn is kindness. Even the most wicked person on Earth wants to love and be loved in return.


That is their deepest desire, yet they may not even understand it themselves. Will you be that incredibly, talented artist and show them their deepest desire? But before you can show anyone this enigmatic emotion of love, you must become love yourself. Love is happiness, peace, and the vibrant colors on that sweet painting you are portraying to bring it to others, but most importantly to yourself.


Let me give you a little secret. The number 23 hidden in this New Year means "Awakening." Now you understand why this brand-new painting we are going to draw together will be a fun, amazing time of our lives. Yes, I agree, you will encounter new challenges that may make you frown and bruise your ego. But where is the excitement and intrigue if life is a boring dream of dull colors? Have you ever watched a movie without drama? You would find it boring, giving the movie a one-star rating.


The year 2023 will be your chance, your time to be a dazzling ball of light! I would love for you to join me in being awakened in this lucid dream we call life. In both a metaphorical and literal sense, it's time to wake up from your dream.


With this kind of enlightened mindset, by this time next year, you are going to feel like a magnetic, charming person no one in this world can deny. Doesn't that sound wonderful? Let's show off our new painting to every person with eyes to see and a heart to feel later next year, they will shower you with love because you are love!




LET'S EXPLORE CHRISTMAS FROM AROUND THE WORLD!


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: DECEMBER 4, 2022

Whether you're interested in history, multicultural studies, or need some new Christmas traditions, just seeing what others are doing around the globe can be inspiring and fun. Whether it’s Christmas trees, wreaths, decorative ornaments, ribbon bows, or lights, some regions in the world have completely different and unique decoration customs and beliefs that haven't caught on with the mainstream. It's enlightening to see how other countries interpret Christmas differently.

 

So, let’s take the opportunity to explore some of these Christmas customs from around the world….


Italy: Italian Murano Glass Ornaments

When I went to Italy in 2015, I remembered getting a few Italian Murano glass ornaments for myself and my parents. The art of making these ornaments are amazing.


It is said that glassblowers and artisans are from the island of Murano. Each artisan puts all their efforts into creating the most vibrant, colorful, and unique glass-blown ornaments to celebrate the joy of the Christmas season. These highly coveted Italian Christmas decorations aren't easy to come by, because each one is handcrafted.


Ireland: Women's Little Christmas in Ireland

On January 6th, women in Ireland celebrate Women's Little Christmas, or Nollaig na mBan. Traditional gender roles are reversed, and while the men stay home to cook and clean, the women head out on the town for a day of fun.


Venezuela: Pass the Baby Jesus in Venezuela

One Venezuelan Christmas tradition from the Andean region involves passing around the Baby Jesus from a nativity. After everyone sings in front of paradura del nino, or the Christ child, they take turns kissing him before putting him back in the manger.


Argentina: Argentinian Cotton Balls on Trees

Many people decorate their traditional Christmas trees with cotton balls to represent snow. Argentinian Christmas tree decorations range from artisan to commercial, but the cheap and whimsical cotton ball takes center stage.


Peru: Chocolatadas in Peru

Peruvians extend the joy of Christmas throughout the entire season with traditional activities like Chocolatadas. This Christmas tradition in Peru involves more fortunate people giving to others. The main way people give to others is by providing cups of hot chocolate to kids and anyone who has traveled far for the treat. In some cases, treats also include cake and small gifts for kids.


Greece: Greek Colander on the Doorstep

The legendary goblins, or Kallikantzari, who come out on Christmas to play tricks, some Greeks will leave a kitchen colander outside their door. The idea is that the goblins will be distracted trying to count all the holes in the colander and they'll run out of time to participate in mischief.


Netherlands: Midwinter Hoornblazen in the Netherlands

Be prepared to hear some horns instead of bells. Midwinter Hoornblazen, or midwinter horn-blowing, is a tradition in rural, Eastern parts of the Netherlands. During Advent, these special large horns are blown over wells to announce the birth of Christ. They can be heard for miles to mark the season.


Finland: Finnish Himmeli

A himmeli is a hanging holiday decoration made from straw that is customary in Finland and found throughout other Nordic countries. Individual pieces of straw are folded and angled to create stunning geometric shapes and patterns. In the old days, the himmeli hung over the dining table starting at Christmas as a symbol of luck for a great harvest the next year. Today, the himmeli is more a symbol of honoring heritage during the holidays.


Germany: German Christmas Pyramids

German Christmas pyramids, or Weihnachtspyramide, are unique holiday decorations that look like decorative wooden toys. Each pyramid is crafted to have several tiers that hold candles and depict Christmas scenes. The heat from the candles turns a windmill-like fan at the top of the pyramid. Originally used in Saxony as a substitute for Christmas trees, they're meant to represent the joy and light of the Christmas season. Hanover is home to a 60-foot tall Christmas pyramid tower that visitors can walk through.


Holland: Surprises in Holland

Holland Christmas traditions include the giving of surprises instead of presents. On St. Nicholas Eve, people exchange gifts that are packaged using creative means instead of traditional wrapping. Some gifts use a Russian nesting doll design while others include a full scavenger hunt to get to the present. This makes the act of giving gifts more elaborate and fun.


Mexico: Las Posadas in Mexico

One unique Mexican Christmas tradition is called Las Posadas, meaning "the inns." From December 16th to Christmas Eve, families and groups gather for a sort of human parade where they dress as or carry statues of Mary and Joseph. The group mimics Mary and Joseph's search for shelter by knocking on doors and asking to be let in. This planned route often ends with one location letting the group in for a party.


Poland: Polish Wiglia

The Polish Christmas feast called Wiglia doesn't start until guests see the first star in the night sky on Christmas Eve. The twelve course meal can't start until everyone has broken traditional Christmas wafers together while wishing each other good things. These wafers feature stamped images of religious figures.


Bavaria: Bavarian Bride's Tree

Bavaria is the largest state in Germany and the only one that shares the Alps. It is made up of four major vacation regions: There is Upper Bavaria with Munich, the highest Alpine peaks, and picturesque lakes. Allgäu/Bavarian Swabia with its fairy-tale castle, unique mountain panoramas and a huge meteorite crater.


As to the Bavarian Bride’s Tree, it is a gift to newlyweds for their first Christmas together. Bavarians purchase sets of special Christmas ornaments for the couple to use to decorate their first Christmas tree, known as the Bride's Tree.


The sets include twelve ornaments, usually made from glass, each with a special meaning and wish for the couple:

• An angel represents God's guidance

• A bird wishes joy

• A fish represents Christ's blessing

• A flower basket sends good wishes

• A fruit basket represents generosity

• A heart symbolizes true love

• A house represents protection

• A pinecone wishes fruitfulness

• A rabbit symbolizes hope

• A rose represents affection

• Santa wishes good will

• A teapot symbolizes hospitality


Now, here is an excellent idea for some Christmas cheer. Throw a Christmas Around the World Party, so you can incorporate a vast array of details from diverse cultures to enjoy.


Here is how to plan a Christmas Around the World Party:

• Research how Christmas is celebrated in different areas around the globe.


• Decide on a few areas that you want to be prevalent at your party. For example, you might have various Christmas foods and desserts from around the world on the menu, or incorporate different decor from various countries on your Christmas tree.


• Include Christmas crafts, games, and carols, that highlight different areas of the globe, which will also provide a learning experience.


• Design an around-the-world-inspired invitation.


I hope you enjoyed this article on the Christmas customs from around the world. It just shows the world is different, but much alike with the same Christmas spirit. 

HOLIDAY SELF-CARE!!


Written By: Sarah Jean

Date: December 4, 2022

When we think about the holidays, we think about time spent with family, cookies and other sweet treats, and twinkling lights and candles. The holiday season can be very overwhelming to us, and it is important to take care of yourself, so you do not become burnt out.


One way that we can practice selfcare during the holidays is to make sure we take time to enjoy ourselves and to not get completely engrossed in the holiday hustle and bustle. For example, holidays offer a great discount on about everything. Whether it is seeing a play or treating yourself to a spa day! When the end of the year is near, treating yourself becomes more financially accessible.


Taking time to sip a holiday drink and read a book is also a wonderful way to take some time for yourself. Personally, I love to sip on a cup of mint mocha hot cocoa and read a book all snuggled up on the couch in a blanket with my cats and my amazing boyfriend.


Stress is inevitable because of how great of an importance we place on the holidays. I would dare say that the biggest holiday stressors holidays bring are gift giving and battling illness. The easiest way to avoid these stressors are to make sure you are eating healthy and taking precautions to avoid sickness. When it comes to gift giving, I say make a list because you would be surprised how stressful gift buying can be even among your relatives and friends.


We tend to become more generous during the holidays with our time and money. To avoid taking on too much, and overwhelming yourself, learn when to say NO. It is a known fact that people we like, and don’t like will try to take advantage of you, especially if you are known to be a big helper throughout the entire year. If you know that you cannot take on another work task, or attend another holiday party, then say no. It is better than having all the emotions and stress build up and then you are yelling and being rude to others when you don’t mean too.


In conjunction with learning to say no, learn to ask for help, especially with those people that are always asking you for extra help. Yes, I know it can be difficult, and I find myself having trouble with this still. I am 33 years old and fiercely independent; however, I have seen how it can really reduce the amount of stress I am feeling. There is no shame in asking for help, especially around the holidays.


Lastly, pretend you are Ebenezer Scrooge, and learn from the past but do not focus on it. Remain present, enjoy what is going on around you, and live in the moment. Too often we end up ruminating about the past, and that can bring us down, and throw those of us who battle with depression, right back into it.


Also, be hopeful for the future, but do not try and predict it because you cannot. All you can do is make a list of your goals, accomplish them, and hope for the best outcome. Thinking too far into the future and the past can rob us of the future that we want for ourselves.


Enjoy your present self, drink your pumpkin spice, and mocha mint lattes with friends and be thankful for what you have in front of you.


Blessings and Merry Christmas!!

Retirement: What’s Next!!


Written By: Chip Pratt

Date: December 4, 2022

Happy Holidays (Schone Ferien in German)! I like to talk about what’s it like to retire today. I am seventy-three years old and retired in May 2022.   Here are my insightful thoughts….


I have been working since I was nine years old. One of my first jobs was babysitting at nine years old. At ten years old, I started selling and delivering newspapers before school. My claim to fame was when I became Elvis Presley’s paper carrier in Friedberg, Germany.


While in high school, I worked after school at a fast-food restaurant and was a pharmacy helper. During summer vacation, I worked in a paper mill stacking carboard boxes. After high school, in Germany, I worked as a waiter, in the evening and during the day, I unloaded trucks.


Since I was twenty years old, I have worked two to three jobs for over fifty years. Now that I have retired, I find myself in a whole new world. Where I had a structured existence, I find myself with too much time on my hands. I have been too busy to have a hobby and any real outside interests.


Now I am trying to catch up on all the things I did not have time to do all these years. I’m not saying I did not do anything but work; I accomplished what needed to be done by working around my jobs. But that resulted in sacrificing any leisure time that I had between working and making a living.


I would say I do whatever I want, but that’s not reality. I have been married to the same woman for fifty-two years, and she is making up for things we could not do all these years. One of my friends has given me the nickname, “Shopper.” I am constantly taking my wife shopping, and when I am not shopping, I do honey-do projects.


We just moved from Maryland to Georgia about six months ago. We bought a new house and the lists of honey-do projects seem endless. I stay busy most of the time, but I really don’t mind. After all these years, I finally can watch football.


Also, I can take my wife to church, which I couldn’t do all these years as I worked on the weekends. I am trying to get closer to my neighbors, so I can get together with men my own age and experience. The truth is I am bored, I’m used to having a structured and satisfying life.


Most of my years have been as a supervisor. I have been responsible for my officers and responsible for the safety of the general public. I keep up with some of my former officers, but that’s not the same as collaborating with them every day professionally. I also considered them as part of my family, and I treated them as such.


I plan to get a part time job at the beginning of next year, just to keep busy. I do not have to work, but I want to get back into the work force where I am accomplishing something more than just waiting to die. Work gives me a purpose! I want to be able to do both work and spend my time with the ones I love.


I have been blessed with an understanding and loving wife. Also, a loving daughter that I’m able to spend time with more since moving to be closer to her. I may be bored, but I am grateful to be able to enjoy life and my family.


Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wedding Dresses & Customs From Around The World!


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: DECEMBER 4, 2022

Merry Christmas! In 2021, I decided to become a wedding officiant and embrace the joy of marrying people from all walks of life. To marry couples, I went through a wedding officiant program in 2021. And NO, I didn’t go through a website and with one click to become a minister. Actually, there was some studying involved.


In 2022, I went on my journey to learn and perform some weddings. Having the opportunity to marry couples, it has been so inspiring and enriching to bring love and joy into people’s lives.


Being the one to marry a couple is a unique perspective than walking down the aisle as the bride. I have been engaged a couple of times myself, but never got married. It wasn’t my timing, even though; those relationships ended with lessons to blessings. I am still good friends with some of my exes, and we wish each other the best.


And NO, I’m NOT the Runaway Bride…LOL. Last year, I said to myself, “Instead of getting married, I just marry people.” I figure God has someone instore for me when it’s the right timing and what is meant to be, will be. In the meantime, I keep focusing on my positive intentions and living my best life ever. I rather have it with God’s will and not look for love in the wrong places either.


And YES ladies, I know what it’s like to plan a wedding, along with having twenty-five (25) years of experience as an event coordinator. It’s an incredibly fun, but intense time to have all eyes on you, especially as the bride. Even though, I never walked down the aisle myself, but I did enjoy the moments of looking for a wedding dress, which is a very special time for a woman.


Now, let’s shift the topic to the DRESS. A wedding dress is also called a bridal gown. The color, style and ceremonial importance of the gown can depend on the religion and culture of the wedding participants. In Western cultures and Anglo-Saxon cultural spheres, the wedding dress is most commonly white, a fashion made popular by Queen Victoria when she married in 1840. In Eastern cultures, brides often choose red to symbolize auspiciousness.


As the world turns, there is so much diversity when it comes to wedding dresses and other customs from different cultures. Shall we explore them….


Japan

A traditional Japanese ceremony has many stages. It begins with a dinner for the two families to exchange gifts. Each family prepares part of the wedding dress for the other family.


The husband's family will give the bride a wedding sash to wear over a white kimono, called an obi. The bride's family will give the groom a type of pleated trouser, called a hakama, and a jacket, called a haori, which he will wear on top of his usually black kimono.


Ghana

A Ghanaian man proposes to a woman, and they don't exactly have privacy. The traditional way to propose is to visit her house with his entire family in tow. He better hope she says yes...otherwise it could get embarrassing.


Ghanaian couples usually match their ceremonial attire to each other. The outfits will be made of kente, a type of cloth handwoven in Ghana. It's custom for them to feature bright, colorful patterns and intricate geometric designs. These unique outfits should emphasize the couple's unique love.


Sri Lanka

East meets west in a way that is especially easy to see at a traditional wedding. Their heavily embroidered silk saris are shared culturally with nearby India and beyond, while their long lace veils show an influence from Europe.


With the sari and veil, the bride will wear a headpiece called a nalapata. Grooms will wear a 4-cornered hat, a velvet jacket, and a long white waistcloth called a mul anduma.


Peru

Color is the name of the game at a Peruvian wedding. Women wear bright handwoven skirts, called polleras, and men wear headdresses. The bride and groom will both also wear a cloak, or poncho.


These decorations and styles are reminiscent of the powerful Incan empire that once inhabited the region and beyond, with their capital Macchu Picchu in the mountains of Peru.


Peruvians even decorate their cakes in the same colors as their dress as well and as hiding a ring inside on a ribbon.


Scotland

"An nglacfaidh tú liom mar chéile?" That’s Scottish Gaelic for, Will you marry me? If you've seen or heard of Scottish men in skirts, it's not quite what it sounds like. Wait-wrapped clothes in Scotland, called kilts, bore the colors and emblems of the clan they were born into.


On their wedding day, men in Scotland traditionally wear the kilt of their clan. After the ceremony, the groom's family gives the bride a shawl in the colors of their clan to signify her transition into his family.


Poland

Traditional Polish weddings are not hard to find today. Bridal outfits include a special veil/cap (welon) that has its own ceremony (oczepiny) during the wedding.


The groom puts on a flower matching the bride's bouquet. During the ceremony, brides will move their dresses to cover their husband's shoe, while believing that this will give her a position of dominance in the relationship.


Polish also believe that a bride can die of unhappiness, and the flower crown is created for her in the days before her wedding to manifest a happy, fertile marriage.


Ukraine: Hutsul People

Near the border of Ukraine and Romania live the Hutsul people, who are most likely descended from the old Rus tribe and still practice many of their customs.


At their weddings, they ride to church on horseback, and celebrate for two or three days in a large wedding tent. Their dresses are made by the delicate handwork of women in both families.


Like certain other cultures, they strictly invite an odd number of people, believing odd numbers to be luckier because they can't be divided!


Yemen

In a traditional Yemenite Jewish wedding, the bride wears traditional jewelry and an elaborate headdress decorated with flowers and jewels. These are believed to ward off evil.


Gold threads are also woven into the fabric of her clothes and wedding celebrations traditionally last five to seven days.


Traditionally speaking, a bride is also expected to decorate her hands with henna, much like Hindu brides. The bride is also generally confined to her parents’ home during the preparation for the wedding.


Greece

At Greek weddings, ancient pagan traditions are combined with those of the Greek Orthodox church. Older tradition demands that the bride's family places a lump of sugar in her glove to ensure a sweet life, and a gold coin to the inside of her shoe to bring good fortune.


The groom puts a piece of iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits throughout the day. A priest places crowns joined by a ribbon (called stefana) on the couple's heads, representing their new unity.


Indonesia

Most Indonesian weddings across many regional subcultures feature a lot of gold, featured especially on headdresses and jewelry from head to toe which results in the bride and groom sparkling literally all over their bodies.


It's easy to see from its architecture that Indonesian empires had their fair share of glory and richness in the region, with many gold-adorned monuments. By wearing gold, the bride and groom as honor Indonesia's past as well as its kings and queens.


Tonga

Like many other Polynesian islands and cultures, Tongan weddings are strongly symbolic of the environment around them. As can be seen from the hand-made attire from Tiare 'O Patitifa, women wear a colorful wrap that covers their bodies only from the torso to the knees, while the men's wraps will cover everything from the waist down.


The priest who marries them wears a feathered headdress to symbolize the divine right given to him by higher powers, and the couple go to sea in a canoe to symbolize the isolation of their love from the world around them.


Malaysia

In Malay weddings, grooms traditionally wear long-sleeved shirt and trousers called baju melayu, and brides wear a sarong over a long dress, called baju kebeya. They come in many bright and beautiful colors and are usually embroidered with beautiful gold thread. They also cover their heads with elaborate cloths.


Before the official unification, there is a two-day ceremony called the bersanding ceremony, in which the couple visits the homes of both bride and groom and sit on decorated thrones, being lavished with blessings and gifts, yellow rice, and flower petals (symbolic of fertility). Then, the bride serves her groom a meal for the first time, called makan berdemai.


Portugal

Traditional Portuguese weddings are layered with old pagan styles and somewhat more recent Catholic values. The brides traditionally wear a full-length tunic, covering them from head to toe and adorned with lots and lots of jewelry.


This jewelry has influence from a few diverse cultures – beads from the time of the Moors, crosses to honor the Catholic church, and gold in homage to the prosperity of the long line of Portuguese royals. In the past, these precious decorations would also serve as a dowry to the groom's family.


Kenya

In a Maasai wedding, the bride is required to wear a bold and colorful necklace made of beads and shells. On the night of the wedding, a party called the "kupamba" takes place.


During this party, the bride is allowed to take off her veil and show her hairstyle and jewels. The woman's head is also shaved before the wedding ceremony which is meant to symbolize her new life in the wedding. The woman is expected to arrive at the wedding with all of her personal belongings.


Vietnam

In traditional Vietnamese weddings, brides wear extravagant dresses, translucent cloaks, and a headpiece called a khăn vấn. The clothes are heavily embroidered and beaded with symbols that have historically represented the emperor, such as phoenixes, dragons, and other imagery from nature.


Early in the ceremony, the bride wears no jewelry, and is bestowed with some later on. The family and friends of the groom go to his future bride's home with an odd number of gifts, which represents luck for the marriage.


Andean Wedding

In a traditional Andean marriage ceremony, locals gather outside to celebrate a couple’s union in the presence of their most revered goddess: Mother Earth.


Both the bride and groom’s family have been working day and night, putting up decorations and preparing food. The bride and groom wear beautifully detailed traditional Andean clothing.


The bride wears a Montera hat, a sequined Jobona jacket, depicting scenes from nature, and the showstopper, a beautifully detailed pollera skirt. Andean wedding ceremonies are known as a celebration of the two things they value most: family and Mother Earth.


Iraq

In Iraq, a wedding proposal is accepted with rose water, cordial, and sweet Arabic coffee. Iraqi weddings are quite a long and epic affair.

The engagement can take up to years, and once the actual ceremony takes place, it takes 7 days.


Just before the wedding week, the bride will receive gifts from both families including many dresses of many colors. Then, on each of the seven days, she will wear a different color for each of the seven colors of the rainbow.


I hope you enjoyed this publication because I took my time to research the customs from the different countries, especially the ones that made the short list to be mentioned in it. On a side note, we have 195 countries in the world.

We can learn from each other since we do live in a small world with much in common along with our differences. It makes the world evolve with more harmony.


Our world is it made up with much diversity when it comes to wedding customs from different cultures, along with putting much empathize on - the wedding dress. As a wedding officiant, I look forward to marrying more couples in 2023. It is all about inspiring love, joy, and much grace into people’s lives.


Blessings with peace and much GRACE!!


WHO IS “SHINING BRIGHT WITH SERENE GRACE?”-Insights On Having Your Own Podcast.


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: DECEMBER 4, 2022


Ever since I was a child, I had this special gift of intuition with an “unique knowing” of things in my life, along with having a strong gift in mediumship to discern and connect with deceased loved ones, angels, spirit guides, and pets from the other side. I'm very gifted as an intuitive empath with the ability of using the clair senses of clairvoyance (clear vision), clairaudience (clear audio), clairsentience (clear feeling/empath), clairscent (clear smelling), and clairtangency (clear touching), and much more.


As I grew up, I never let anyone know about my uniqueness. Eventually, as a young adult in college, I started to embrace and accept more of my gifts. I also went on a spiritual journey to learn and evolve with my gifts for the last twenty years. I met wonderful teachers, mentors, and friends that shaped my spiritual perspective in life, and later, they encouraged me to share my gifts to the world.


From 2008-2018, I used to work for the federal government, while practicing my spiritual gifts in a local metaphysical shop. I gained the experience, practice, and confidence to believe in my abilities to help people as an intuitive life coach.


In 2019, as a Transformation-Intuitive Life Coach, I started "Shining Bright with Serene Grace" and my holistic website (serenegrace13.com) as a creative endeavor. 

In 2020, it turned into an intuitive life coaching business where I incorporated my healing modalities as an intuitive empath, spiritual medium, (reiki) energy practitioner, and empowerment life coach to guide people with the resources to improve in areas of love, career, business, spirituality, self-confidence, grieving, and over-coming fears. I also have incorporated hypnosis and therapeutic art within my background, along with becoming a wedding officiant in 2021. 


And yes, people have asked me where did I come up with the name "Serene Grace." Well, the first name, "Serene," started out as a business name that I chose to be called in the holistic community when I started out.  Accidentally, my last name, "Grace" was combined with my holistic name by mistake at a metaphysical event.  Afterwards, people started to refer to me as "Serene Grace," or sometimes, "Lady Grace." 


Later, in my business journey, I took another leap of faith to cross market myself as an etiquette expert. During the pandemic, I started an etiquette website called "The Inspiring Peacock Post," which featured wonderful articles with "Etiquette with Perspective." With this inspiring idea, I became an editor of my own etiquette website, along with other talented writers joining me on this creative endeavor.


Lastly, in 2022, Voice America-Live Internet Talk Radio approached me to host a podcast/radio show on their Empowerment Channel. The show was titled as "Shining Bright with Serene Grace." The show's focus is to inspire empowerment and expand your mind, body, and spirit to awaken and transform back to your authentic, higher self. Currently, I am in the middle of producing my show, and it is now broadcasting worldwide.


So, when it comes to having a successful podcast show, what does it take to produce one. First, never be too hard on yourself. It’s a huge learning curve, but a fun one. 


So, here are some insightful tips to sound better and be more professional with your own podcast….


Smile when you are speaking and pay attention to your tone of your voice: Smiling makes you sound nice. It just does. Another thing to remember that people cannot see your facial expressions and body language when you talk. So, just remember to be your authentic self and SMILE when speaking.


When you do a podcast, it is different than having an in-person conversation. Just be your genuine self with your tone of voice. It gets easier as you do more podcasts to develop your own style and rhythm with your tone of voice. Practice makes perfect!!


Tell your guests what you need: Be clear with everyone involved in your podcast (host, editor, and guests) about your show’s goals before you start. It is good to remind everyone that we’re all on the same team. Focus on the personalities of your guests, this allows them to let go, relax, and be themselves.


Create an outline of questions as a back-up and take notes: Usually, I have prepared questions which provides a basic outline of creating a flow of conversation during a show.


Sometimes, I don’t go in the order with my questions, and I tend to mix things up to make the conversation livelier. I also have given my guests a copy of my questions for their shows, so they know what to expect when I asked them.


I also write down details that I think would be helpful to add when it’s my turn to speak instead of shouting something like, “AND ANOTHER THING…” Lastly, make sure you say real sentences with real words inside of them.


Filler words: Don’t worry about “likes” or “ums.” Using filler language like “uhhhh,” “y’know,” or my favorite phrase “With that said,” is a sign that you’re speaking casually, and you are thinking between pauses. Try not to keep track of your “like” count; however, as you go along, try to cut out some of the “likes” and “ums,” once you become more aware of using them.


Captain of your own podcast: Make sure that you are setting your guest up for success. If someone can’t think up a good answer for your question, then you have two choices: you can help them along, or you can cut it.


Listen to how your guest responds and ask them to elaborate on something interesting that they just said. This is called active listening, which is an extremely useful skill that almost nobody has. Again, practice makes perfect.


With “Shining Bright with Serene Grace,” it’s the beginning of many new opportunities to give me the experience to continue empowering that positive sparkle into people’s lives. 


I look forward to seeing how this creative endeavor continues to keep growing and blessing me with much peace, light, and lots of sparkles. 

IMPROVING SELF-LOVE PART 10: INSIGHTS ON HAVING AN ABUNDANT MINDSET, WHILE BRINGING IN MORE ABUNDANCE IN YOUR LIFE.


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: NOVEMBER 4, 2022

Ever wanted more abundance in your life? It is about how you perceive abundance to manifest the way you want it. It is about learning the art of giving and receiving with your energies. To be abundant, one must think, see, feel, and be abundant.


Start with having gratitude to create an abundant life: To cultivate an abundant mindset, you practice gratitude. Embracing appreciation for what you have and are not being envious of what others have.


Abundant mindset people don’t feel guilty about what they have or what others don’t have. Overall, you learn to focus on being happy with who you are and what you have in your life. People with an abundance mentality focus on their strengths and expand their gratitude. They also express appreciation for the people they have in their life.


Most importantly, always make it a habit to look for the positives in any situation. Everything in life is about learning experiences, rather than focusing on things that went wrong.


Embracing people in your life who have an abundance mentality: People who have an abundance mindset surrounds themselves with other abundance-minded people. They seek out committed, self-aware people.


They also look for people who look for the positives in others and in any experience. It is about uplifting people and cheering them on. It is about holding accountability and celebrating achievements.


Expand abundance and eliminate scarcity: When you have an abundance mindset, you focus on expanding abundance. You are committed to eliminating scarcity. You understand what creates feelings of abundance, and what creates a scarcity mindset.


Abundant people are self-aware and focused on personal growth. When you become self-aware, you want to expand everything with feelings of abundance. You spend more time building positive habits. Also, you become more self-aware of the causes of a scarcity mindset. You find ways to be more positive and motivated, so there are more meaningful experiences and confidence about the future.


Last, we tend to notice what’s bad more easily than what’s good. Your brain is hardwired to see threats more likely to survive and became apart of our evolution. However, optimists rely on having an abundant mindset to live better, longer lives.


Creating an abundant life: It is important to do more of what you love. Abundant people know that doing what they love to do is the fastest way to increased happiness. Instead of doing things you don’t like, just focus on the opportunities that you like or drawn too.


To ensure you spend more time doing what you love to do, just make sure to set your days up for success. You identify your biggest priorities for the day and finding valuable time working on them.


Goal setting gives your life direction and purpose which builds confidence. Goals increase motivation and build excitement about your future. At the end, you focus on the positive accomplishments and progress that you want to make for your success.


Daily Abundance Affirmations: Using positive affirmations for yourself can improve your critical thinking skills and decrease signs of stress. Also, affirmations can shift your mentality from scarcity to abundance.


Here is a simple abundance affirmation to use in your daily routine. Just say the following statement, “I am going to receive this (put your specific intentions). These channels are NOW opening for me.”


To be abundant, you must think abundance, embrace abundance, and practice abundance daily in life. Later, it will become second nature to you.


Blessings with peace and abundance.

IMPROVING SELF-LOVE PART 9: INSIGHTS ON BOOSTING YOUR SELF-ESTEEM.


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: OCTOBER 9, 2022

Ever had low self-esteem in your life? Guess what!! Eventually, as humans, we all will experience the feeling of having low self-esteem. It’s unfortunately a self-fulling prophecy.


Good news!! There are ways to boost your self-esteem and feel more confident than before. All you must do is find ways that motivate you to make you feel better and be more positive about your life. Believe me, it will take some work to improve your self-esteem, but remember it’s a daily practice to love you first and the rest follows.


Here are some insights on how to boost your self-esteem….


Mastering a new skill: Finding something that corresponds with your talents and interests, it will help you increase your sense of competency.


Listing your accomplishments: Make a list of everything you have done that you feel proud of. Everything you've done well. Review your list as a reminder of your ability to get things done and to do them well.


Creating a cheerful outlook: To achieve anything in life, you must first believe in yourself and know you can create amazing things. It takes practice to think positive to be positive.


Getting out of your comfort zone: Get uncomfortable!!! Try something new, meet different people, or approach a situation in an unconventional way. Confidence begins with living on the edge a little.


Doing a good deed: Using your talents, skills, and abilities to help others, such as giving direct assistance, sharing helpful resources, or teaching someone something they want to learn. It is a gift when you help others, and at the same time, you are helping yourself too.


Reading something inspirational: A wonderful way to gain more self-esteem is to read something that lifts you up and makes you feel positive about yourself.


Taking care of you: Listening to your body. We tend to focus too much on our outward appearance, rather than the inside of our bodies. The whole of our being is inside us, and it is important to accept this rather than being concerned with our external appearance. Plus, making sure you eat the right food which helps us feel good about ourselves, because it gives us energy and is a fantastic way to ensure that we are ready for whatever comes our way. Last, set time aside for yourself is one of the best ways to boost your self-esteem. Having your “Me” time is important to have time to be alone in a healthy way and just reflect.


Healing your past: Unresolved issues and drama can keep you trapped in low self-esteem. Just seek the support of a trained counselor or life coach to help you heal the past so you can move onto the future.


Stop worrying about what others think: Oh boy, this is a huge one for people. When you worry about what others will think of you, you never feel free to be completely yourself. Make a firm decision to stop worrying. You will never please everyone around you, nor everyone is going to like you either. So, just redirect your energy towards yourself more and what’s important in your life.


Be a lifetime student, while embracing a creative flow in life: Think of yourself as a lifelong learner. Approach everything that you do with a student's mentality--what Zen Buddhists call Shoshin or "beginner's mind"--open, eager, unbiased, and willing to learn. Plus, allow a creative flow back into your life. Look for creativity to stimulate your brain, so the more you use it, the greater the benefits. Find ways to learn something new like learning music or painting, writing a story or poem, taking a dance class, or signing up for a community theater production.


Resetting your values, clearing your limiting beliefs, and reclaiming your integrity: What are your values? Examine your life to see where you're not living in alignment with what you believe. The more you know what you stand for, the more confident you will be. As to limiting beliefs, when you catch yourself thinking negatively about yourself, stop and challenge yourself. Don’t let robber emotions get the best of you. Most importantly, what does integrity mean to you? See if your life isn't aligned with your character, it will drain you and leave you feeling bad about yourself. Remember self-respect leaves you with loving YOU first and feeling more grounded and confident more than ever.


Letting go of negative people and setting stronger boundaries: If there are people in your life who are negative--who have nothing positive to say or who put you down or take advantage of you--do the smart thing and let them go. Surround yourself with supportive positive people who admire you and value you. Also, the best way to find your self-esteem is to create personal boundaries. Know what your boundaries are and how you wish to respond when people cross them. Don't allow others to control you, take advantage of you or manipulate you. Sometimes, you must firm your boundaries with others to maintain them without guilt.


Welcoming failure as part of growth: As humans, we have moments of being hard on ourselves when we fail in life, depending on the circumstances. However, you can shift your thinking to understand that failure is an opportunity to gain experience, that it plays a necessary role in growth. It helps you keep perspective in place while you're trying.


Last, just learn to have FUN in life: You only live once. So, make it a point to enjoy being YOU and your life. You are the only one to give yourself permission to do so. Having fun is one of the best ways of improving your self-esteem. Have courage and be creative to live your best life ever.


Improving your self-esteem is about changing your thoughts and beliefs about YOU. It is about taking the first step to encourage YOU to live life to the fullest. It is about taking some action and being fearless. You have nothing to lose. 


Peace and blessings!!

READY FOR SOME PUMPKIN SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE? INSIGHTS ON HAVING A HEALTHY AND ABUNDANT FALL SEASON!!


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: SEPTEMBER 14, 2022

Who is ready for some pumpkin spice and everything nice? Well, I am!! As autumn approaches, it is a time for the world to go more inwards to reflect on the good and to be grateful for what we have in the present. Also, we are transiting into a new season for better hopes and abundance. So, we have a lot to fall back on with optimism, while keeping things steady for the rest of the year.


For this publication, I will be waving my magical wand with a little hocus pocus of autumn cheer, while mentioning a list of fun activities that can bring your family and friends together:

• Go apple picking

• Get lost in a corn maze

• Take a leaf-peeping road trip

• Play a game of touch football

• Go for a hike

• Rent a cabin in the mountains

• Plant bulbs in your garden for next spring

• Run a race

• Visit a pumpkin patch and pick pumpkins

• Pitch a tent in the backyard for a "camping" adventure

• Watch geese flying south for the winter

• Head to the farmers market for winter squash and Brussels sprouts

• Visit a petting zoo

• Make a pinecone bird feeder

• Go on a nature scavenger hunt in the backyard: acorns, pinecones, orange leaves, oh my!

• Attend a fall festival

• Have a fall picnic

• Write down what you're thankful for

• Make a scarecrow

• Gather up leaves into a big pile, jump in, play, repeat

• Collect colorful leaves and press them into an album

• Take a bike ride

• Make s'mores

• Set up your own bobbing-for-apples station with a bin of water and lots of fruit

• Help craft your kid's (or your own) Halloween costume

• Eat candy apples or make your own

• Carve your own pumpkins

• Bake pumpkin bread together for breakfast

• Dig up your sweaters from storage and donate any you don't think you'll wear

• Learn to knit

• Bake an apple or pumpkin pie

• Start Christmas shopping

• Drink hot spiced apple cider by the fireplace

• Make butternut squash soup

• Get spooked in a haunted house

• Celebrate Oktoberfest at home with beer and sausages

• Re-watch your favorite scary movies leading up to Halloween

• Give out candy to trick or treaters all dressed up in your own costumes

• Cook a cozy fall meal: Think roasted vegetables or a hearty stew

• Have a cider and doughnut date at a local apple farm or farmers' market

• Make your own mulled wine

• Grab a blanket and go stargazing

• Tailgate at your local football game

• Tour a winery

• Host a potluck Friendsgiving dinner

• Spend a day antiquing

• Build a bonfire in the backyard

• Take a weekend road trip

• Spend the day at a nearby brewery

• Go on a bike ride to admire the fall foliage

• Host a cozy wine and cheese night

• Take a ghost tour or visit an old cemetery

• Spend the day at an amusement park

• Throw a Halloween party complete with a costume contest

• Make a big batch of chili and host football Sunday at your house


Last, I like to leave this special prayer, so you can include it into your daily meditation. For this fall, it’s about recentering ourselves and again, being grateful for what we have in our lives. Blessings!


A Prayer for Times of Abundance


“When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 24:19).


Lord,

We praise you when the harvest is plenty. We thank you for the abundance and overflow of goodness and blessings you give us. How humbled we are at your favor in our lives. As we find ourselves in a season of richness, may you cause our hearts to remember others. As your word instructs us, guide us to be helpers to those in need, givers to those who have less, and generous with our time, talents, and resources. We want to be obedient and faithful to you by giving to others the overflow of what we have, so that you would bless the work of our hands. We ask to be cheerful givers and to be representatives of your love in this world.  Amen.


Prayer is from: www.biblestudytools.com

IMPROVING SELF-LOVE PART 8: HAVING HEALTHIER BOUNDARIES WITH PEOPLE. 


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: AUGUST 14, 2022

What are boundaries? Everyone has them. They are values that are non-negotiable for you to bend to another person’s will. Sometimes, as humans, it can be hard to enforce them with people. With boundaries, it takes practice and patience to learn them in our daily routines in life.


There are various kinds of boundaries that are more flexible or harder limits (the rules you refuse to bend). Boundaries come in many shapes and forms. They include physical, emotional, moral, and financial limits.


Self-awareness is the first step towards change and understanding what kinds of boundaries you have. Think about past times where you maintained certain limits. How did it feel to respect yourself in that way? Ever felt compromised within your needs?


Now, we come to the mindset of learning how to set boundaries and maintaining them. With that said, here are some simple insights……


Pay Attention to Your Intuition:  Ever had that nagging voice in the back of your head that’s telling you something isn’t a good idea? Also, ever heard of the expression, “Listen to your gut.” Chances are, it’s guiding you in the right direction! Our intuition is a source of flowing guidance or that sixth sense. It acts like an internal compass within us. Occasionally, we ignore our intuition and later regret it. However, intuition helps us process unconscious information to make better and faster decisions. So, pay attention to your internal compass when it comes to making decisions to establish better boundaries with people in life situations.


Accountability for Your Needs:  It’s still your job to take care of yourself. Learning to take accountability for your life means:


• Avoiding blaming other people for your emotions

• Accepting adverse or difficult circumstances as a regular part of growth

• Taking ownership over your actions and how they affect others

• Making decisions that serve your best interest


When you practice taking accountability in your life, you release having intense expectations for how other people should behave. You stop acting like a victim of your circumstances, and this mindset can help simplify your boundaries.


Setting Boundaries for Your Own Benefit:  Setting boundaries can feel like a significant adjustment if you’re used to pleasing others or rejecting your own needs. At times, you may question if it’s even worth it, but at the end you will feel more liberated within yourself. Boundaries allow you to practice more self-love and protect you from resentment with others. Boundaries are great with giving you limits of what you can or cannot do. You will feel more grateful and have a healthier relationship with yourself and others around you.


Your boundaries won’t carry much weight if you don’t enforce them. If people know you’ll give in to what they want, they might just ignore your requests altogether. Consistency means following through with your boundaries, even if you don’t want to do it at that moment.


Practicing Saying “No” or Using “I”:  “No” is a great word!!! When “No” is used in the right circumstances, it makes a huge statement and watch how others react towards you. It is healthy nor selfish to use “I” statements in setting boundaries. When you use “I,” it should be clear, but you should be mindful of your tone and word choice. The goal isn’t to induce guilt or shame. Instead, it’s about asserting your needs and coming to a reasonable solution with someone else.


Remember that firm boundaries don’t require anyone else’s approval. Moreover, apologizing doesn’t necessarily change how the other person might feel about you.  Overall, someone is either going to accept and respect you for who you are, or you just move on to redirect your energy back to you, while maintaining your boundaries.


Unfortunately, setting boundaries doesn’t always feel good. It can feel incredibly awkward or even painful. You might feel guilty, even if the other person seems receptive. Some people might not respect your boundaries. This pushback can feel disheartening, especially if you aren’t expecting it. Remember that this doesn’t mean you need to back down. Discomfort can sometimes be a part of the growth process.


At the end, it’s also not your responsibility to make other people happy 24/7. You must learn to start with yourself, and the rest follows with how people respond to you. Nothing is perfect in this world but learning how to apply healthy boundaries is a solid start to bring in better peace of mind for yourself.


Peace and Light!

IMPROVING SELF-LOVE PART 7: INSIGHTS ON LEARNING TO HOLD 

SPACE FOR PEOPLE.


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: AUGUST 14, 2022

So, what does it mean to “hold space” for someone?


Holding space for someone in emotional pain is a concept many people are not familiar with but have nonetheless felt it at some point. Also, holding space for a person is hard because people don’t know how to respond properly or have the appropriate tools to guide a person in need. 


Holding space can be for people who are dealing with deep grief or depression, getting out of a relationship, losing a job, handling financial issues, struggling with unresolved trauma or medical concerns, and much more.


At one point in our lives, you will come across someone that will need a holding space from you. Plus, there will be moments you cannot escape it when a person really needs your help. You ask yourself how do I do this? It comes down to holding space with being more loving, nonjudgmental, and empathetic. It doesn’t mean you need to have all the answers to solve a person’s problem in his/her life. Sometimes, it is best to just listen instead of talking.


As a life coach, I learned the best solution is being more of a compassionate listener. Being a compassionate listener (instead of an active listener…to hear what you want to hear) gives you the opportunity to hear and learn something of a person’s circumstances without interrupting and being nonjudgmental. Usually, to become a compassionate listener, it takes patience and understanding, along with setting healthy boundaries when helping a person.


Here are some intuitive insights of how to hold space for people:


USE COMPASSIONATE LISTENING:

When practicing compassionate listening, we must learn to listen not just to hear but to understand. This practice goes beyond any kind of hearing that can be done with the ears. It is listening with the heart.


UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD AND PRACTICE NON-JUDGMENT:

This practice rests on the knowledge that no matter what the person has done or who the person is, the listener holds them with deep respect, compassion, and positive regard. Also, come into a place in your heart of not judging someone of his/her circumstances. You never know one day you could walk in those very same shoes.


SIT WITH WHAT IS:  Sitting with what is means simply being with the person for whom you’re holding space. Do not try to change anything and resist the urge to do anything. You are only creating a safe space for the other person to express and feel their feelings. Sit with them in the hard stuff.


Allow the other person to feel whatever they are feeling. Hold them if they need you to when they cry.


When someone is in pain, don’t try to fix it for him/her. While that might make us feel better, the other person may feel even more isolated in his/her pain. Do not try to fix someone’s feelings. They do not need fixing. The only way over their pain is through it.


Holding space for someone in deep pain can bring up your own pain. Holding space for another requires that you have a clear intention that although you’re in the trenches with them, you are only holding their hand—you are not stealing their hardship and making it your own.


BREATHE AND GROUND:  Remember to breathe. Checking in with your breath is an effective way to make sure you remain grounded. It will also help you stay connected to your own body, which is the most powerful tool you have in assessing your connection to the other person and to yourself. If you become un-grounded while holding space for someone who needs it, they may find it difficult to trust the space and you.


When it comes to holding space for people, it takes a little extra patience and understanding to just be present with someone. Sometimes, it is better to listen as a sound board than to talk over someone. It’s also okay to not have all the answers. Being more of a compassionate listener will be more effective for you and the person you are helping. 


Peace and blessings!

Can’t Hold Us Down!!!


Written By: Sarah Jean

Date: July 26, 2022


Ladies put your hands up if you are tired of everyone and everything going against you?


The population of women to men in the world is roughly equal. Didn’t know that! Well, it is. Yet, we are still being told to do this and that, while being told not to do this and that.


It’s aggravating and demeaning. It’s just downright exhausting. What does it matter if we want to get pregnant, or not? It’s the woman’s body, so it’s her choice.


Men get to take their little blue pills. Why can’t we take our little pink or white ones, if we want too? NEWS FLASH!!! They help us in many other ways. Not everything goes as planned. In fact, most of the time it doesn’t for anyone but that’s how life goes, and plans change.


For those out there that think abortion is evil, let me challenge you by asking… why is a child who is yet to be born, more valuable than the life already existing? We grieve for children who have lost a parent, yet the majority want them to be born without one. That’s just mind boggling. To me that’s evil and unfair to the child, even if they do have a parent left to care for them.


We, women are tired of having all our choices made for us throughout our lives. We decide how to dress, what to eat, what to think, and most importantly, what we do with our bodies. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” (Virginia Tech and Santayana, George). No saying could be truer for today but there’s a twist; we do remember, we just haven’t learned.


Women still get paid less than men, 83 cents for every dollar a man earns to be exact, but we are expected to pay more because of the pink tax. If you don’t know what that is, look it up.


Women must be strong, yet fragile, smart but not too smart, sexy but not promiscuous, homemakers and career women. For many people, all a man must be is a good worker, lover, and if a family is in the mix, a good father.


I seriously fear for the future, and hope we wake up before we time travel back to the fifties. Enough is enough, it’s time to stand up, and raise our voices because men can’t hold women down anymore!


History repeating. College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences | Virginia Tech. (2019, January 8). Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://liberalarts.vt.edu/magazine/2017/history-repeating.html 

Let's Talk: Communicating More Effectively in Today's World


Written By: Shannon Grace

Date: July 26, 2022

Officially, we are in the post-pandemic phase of trying to return to what is normal in a modern society. However, it will not come close to what we knew in the past. One thing that stands out is how people communicate differently today.


People are losing their way of how to relate to one another as human beings.   Today, people become extremely angry with overreacting, and their emotions become more chaotic. Is there a solution to all of this madness?

  

Just to put it bluntly! People just forgot how to communicate and be considerate at the same time. Plus, technology has not helped our society to communicate better, except having a sense of entitlement and being more judgmental to react to quickly. Well, I had to dig up an old article back on October 16, 2020. To have a decent conversation today, here are some simple reminders:


Letting go of the EGO and being SECURE in who you are: Nothing wrong with self-confidence, which comes with some practice. Being secured in your own skin is healthy. To be secure within yourself, you must let go of ego and realize you are not perfect. Also, being secure, you will be less likely to get defensive or hurt over something that means a lot to you.   Plus, you become more flexible when dealing with people. Being confident helps with harsh criticisms, broken promises, or miscommunications. You will be less likely to jump to conclusions and to calmly talk things out. Overall, the world is never going to agree with you entirely, especially when you see things differently with right and wrong.


Learn to LISTEN and STOP retaliating in conversations: This goes back to my concept of compassionately listening and responding. Better to listen than to keep talking. It gives you a clue of how people are perceiving you and how you make them feel heard and important. If you have a different opinion than someone, just listen on what is being said, you never know if there is valuable information that can be beneficial in the future. If even you are wrong about something, just take the opportunity to explain yourself without getting defensive. Having a conversation is a two-way street if you think about it.


It is OKAY to use the “I” statements: Using “I” in your conversations is healthy. Do not let people tell you differently. When you get defensive in a conversation, it is wise to use “I,” so it allows you to stay focused on your feelings and prevent unfair accusations. Plus, it gives people an open window to comprehend your emotions better.


Think LONG-TERM in your emotions: Let’s be careful of not being impulsive in conversations. There are those sayings, “Think before you talk,” or “Think before you act.” In a debate, take a deep breath and give yourself some space to pay close attention to your emotions and how you choose your responses with people. “Don't put your foot in your mouth,” with your emotions in the moment. Do not be quick to judge others. Never be the one to, “Cast the first stone.” It doesn’t have to be ugly without compromising yourself. However, in the long run, your emotions can have a lasting effect. Emotions can help or deter people’s thinking. Always be mindful of the influence that your emotions have over others.


Learn to RECEIVE criticism: Ever had moments where you received harsh criticism when you did not want it? Receiving criticism is never an easy task. Again, we are human, and we try to find fault with everything. When people give negative feedback, just take the time to listen and observe. Ask why they feel the way they do. Information is knowledge. Knowledge is power. It is wiser to learn to be the bigger person with people and knowing when to walk away. It is better to take a situation from being negative and turning it into something positive.


Admitting that you were WRONG: No one can be right all the time. When debating with people, it is always good to give yourself and others permission to be wrong and being more accepting of not getting everything right. It is not failure, except an opportunity to learn and grow.


At the end, everyone wants to be heard. It is all about having balance in your conversations without getting defensive. A little extra patience and consideration goes a long way. NOW, LET'S TALK!

Understanding SEXISM!!!!!


Written By: Shannon Grace

Date: July 26, 2022

Never had a moment of being discriminated based on your sex? Well, it is called sexism. Sexism is prejudice or discrimination against a person or group based on their sex or gender. It primarily affects women and girls, and it is the root cause of gender inequity worldwide.


Interesting enough, I was inspired to research this topic based on a recent event in my life where a person (won’t give a name out) tried to put me down for being a woman by using a discouraging attitude and treating me as though I had no intelligence.


Intuitively, the energy exchange was too strong, which I couldn't ignore. 


Believe me, the situation was not pretty where it affected my income during a weekend. Long story, but a spark went off in me to counteract this form of behavior against me. Talk about flexing my feminine backbone!!! I hate to say I had to become a bitch to correct the situation, but I was more in the right to do so.


In today’s world, much of women’s rights and recognition are going backwards at a fast rate. Women need to wake up and smell the coffee. However, this publication is about understanding the different kinds of sexism that women could experience and learn how to recognize them.


Sexist acts include any that frame one sex or gender as inferior. Sexism can be conveyed in:

• Behavior

• Speech

• Writing

• Images

• Gestures

• Laws and policies

• Practices and traditions


People categorize sexism in several ways. Sexism can be:

• Hostile

• Benevolent

• Ambivalent


Sexism can operate on different levels in society. It can be:

• Institutional

• Interpersonal

• Internalized


Hostile Sexism: This refers to beliefs and behaviors that are openly hostile toward a group of people based on their sex or gender. Misogyny, or the hatred of women, is an example of hostile sexism.


People who hold views that are hostile, and sexist may view women as:

• Manipulative

• Deceitful

• Capable of using seduction to control men.

• Needing to be kept in their place.


These views may also apply to anyone with feminine traits and anyone who expresses their gender in a way that is associated with femininity.


People who perpetuate hostile sexism want to preserve men’s dominance over women and people of other marginalized genders. They typically oppose gender equality and may also oppose LGBTQIA+ rights, seeing these things as a threat to men and the systems that benefit them.


Examples of hostile sexism include:

• Using sexist language or insults.

• Making threatening or aggressive comments based on a person’s gender or sex.

• Harassing or threatening someone for defying gender norms, online or offline.

• Treating people as subordinates based on their sex or gender and punishing them when they “step out of line.”

• Believing that some victims of sexual assault “ask for it” due to their behavior or clothing.

• Engaging in physical or sexual assault.


Benevolent Sexism: It includes views and behaviors that frame women as:

• Innocent

• Pure

• Caring and nurturing

• Fragile and in need of protection

• Beautiful


Some examples of benevolent sexism include:

• Basing a woman’s value on her role as a mother, wife, or girlfriend.

• Focusing attention and praise on someone’s appearance rather than their other attributes.

• Believing that people should not do things for themselves, such as manage money or drive a car, because of their gender.

• Assuming that a person is a nurse, assistant, or secretary — not a doctor, executive, or manager — based on their gender.

• Supporting policies that make it difficult for women to work, have independence, or deviate from traditional gender roles.


Ambivalent Sexism: This is a combination of benevolent and hostile sexism. People who engage in ambivalent sexism may vary between seeing women as good, pure, and innocent and seeing them as manipulative or deceitful, depending on the situation.


Some examples of ambivalent sexism include:

• Glorifying traditionally feminine behavior and demonizing “unladylike” behavior, in media coverage, for example.

• Hiring someone because they are attractive, then firing them if they do not respond to sexual advances.

• Differentiating between “good” women and “bad” women based on how they dress.


Institutional sexism: This refers to sexism that is entrenched in organizations and institutions, such as:

• The government

• The legal system

• The education system

• The healthcare system

• Financial institutions

• The media

• Other workplaces


Interpersonal Sexism: This manifests during interactions with others. It can occur in the workplace, within relationships, among family members, and in interactions with strangers.


Examples of interpersonal sexism include:

• Telling someone to be more ladylike.

• Judging someone for not fitting into stereotypes of femininity, such as by being caring or submissive.

• Making inappropriate comments about someone’s appearance.

• Talking down to someone based on assumptions about their gender.

• Engaging in unwanted sexual attention or touching.

• Justifying sexist behavior by saying “boys will be boys.”


Internalized Sexism: It refers to sexist beliefs that a person has about themselves. Usually, a person adopts these beliefs involuntarily because of exposure to sexist behavior or the opinions of others.


Internalized sexism may cause feelings of:

• Incompetence

• Self-doubt

• Powerlessness

• Shame


Some other examples of internalized sexism include:

• Making self-deprecating jokes about one’s gender, such as “blonde jokes.”

• Someone basing their self-worth on how desirable they are in the eyes of men.

• Feeling ashamed of aspects of being female, such as having periods or female        genitalia.

• Feeling that it is essential to conform to gender ideals, even if this means harming oneself, through restrictive dieting, for example.


Importantly, it is crucial to understand how sexism manifests and then to challenge sexist attitudes and practices at all levels. Knowledge is the power to know the difference to stop sexism. 

IMPROVING SELF-LOVE PART 6: SIMPLE INSIGHTS OF HAVING MORE SELF-COMPASSION WITHIN YOURSELF.


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: JULY 26, 2022

What is COMPASSION? Compassion is defined as the awareness of suffering, coupled with a desire to relieve that suffering. Today, we are missing the element of needing more compassion around the world. However, compassion usually starts with having self-compassion within ourselves.


SELF-COMPASSION is the act of noticing when you're struggling, recognizing that's part of being human, and being kind to yourself rather than beating yourself up. Self-compassion is something we should be practicing every day.


Self-compassion requires a lot of inner strength. It requires that we turn towards, rather than away from our problems. Self-compassion builds our ability to cope and makes us stronger and more resilient.


So, here are few simple insights on how to practice more self-compassion within yourself:


Check In With Yourself Throughout The Day:  You could try to take a half-hour break by yourself to recharge or a nap, or you can have a reassuring conversation with a friend. Part of caring for yourself is listening too and then addressing your needs.


Find Small Ways To Be Kind To Yourself: A cup of tea, watching a funny video or playing music, journaling, short walks, massages, traveling, exercising, prayer, or meditation. It is about finding ways to nourish your soul.  Keep an open mind. Just be creative in the process.


Creating A Strong Support System That Helps You Express Yourself:  It is wonderful to find ways to create outlets to help you express your thoughts and emotions where you can receive healing for your soul. It come down to finding the right life coaches, mentors, spiritual pastors, or outlets to get individual or group therapy sessions. It all depends what you are seeking to have a safe haven to feel comfortable to get support and information to receive resources to help you heal and find peace, depending on what the circumstances are. 


At the end, these steps can provide the right insights in practicing more self-compassion towards yourself. Plus, in order to take care of others, you must learn how to take care of yourself first.


Peace and blessings!

A HISTORY LESSON ON FATHER'S DAY


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: JUNE 12, 2022

Happy Father’s Day to all the great men out there. Last month, I wrote about how Mother’s Day was created and celebrated. Now, it’s time for a brief history on how Father’s Day was created.


Each year, the date of Father’s Day changes, but it always falls on the third Sunday in June. In 2022, it will fall on June 19th and shared the date with Juneteenth.


As you know, the history of Mother’s Day goes back to the 1860s. Mother’s Day was declared a national holiday in 1914. Then the celebration of mothers paved the way for Father’s Day.


Father’s Day goes back to 1908. It began when a church in West Virginia held a sermon to honor 362 men who had been killed the previous year in a coal mining explosion. This was the country’s first-ever event to strictly honor fathers, but it was just an one-and-done thing, at least in that community.


In 1909, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd started her quest to establish Father’s Day as a national holiday. Dodd was one of six children raised by their single father, and she thought fathers should be honored in the same way as mothers.


After she petitioned her local community and government for a year, Dodd’s home state of Washington celebrated its’ first official Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.


Over the years, the celebration of Father’s Day spread from state to state, and after a long fight, it was finally declared a national holiday in 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed it into law.

It took more than 60 years from the birth of the idea for Father’s Day to be recognized as a federal holiday, and a lot happened to threaten the parent-celebrating holidays during that time.


Interesting enough, in the 1920s and 1930s, there was a national movement to get rid of both Mother’s and Father’s Day and replace them with one “Parent’s Day.”


Some men didn’t even want a Father’s Day to begin with. They saw it as a “Hallmark holiday,” invented for the sole purpose of a commercial gimmick, and as many fathers were the sole breadwinners at the time, they didn’t particularly want their hard-earned cash spent on flowers and chocolates.


However, the Great Depression and World War II helped boost the idea of Father’s Day. Struggling retailers pushed the gift-giving holiday during that time because it became a way to honor the many fathers serving overseas. From there, it became more of a tradition and was already a national institution before President Nixon signed the proclamation making Father’s Day a holiday.


Now that you know the history of Father’s Day, you’re wondering how to celebrate with your dad? Well, spending time together is the best place to start, but here are some fun ideas to be more creative on Father’s Day:

• Have an indoor picnic

• Fly a kite in your backyard

• Have fondue for dinner

• Create an At-Home Wine Tasting

• Go bird watching

• Spoil him with breakfast in bed

• Tackle a task together

• Go on a bike ride

• Fire up the backyard grill

• Have an outdoor family movie night

• Cook something adventurous

• Complete a puzzle

• Pamper Dad with an in-house spa day

• Have a wine and paint night

• Conduct an indoor scavenger hunt

• Camp indoors and outdoors

• Plant a family garden

• Make ice cream

• Have a pizza party

• Make a time capsule

• Conduct a bingo tournament

• Do a blindfolded beer taste test

• Try axe throwing

• Take him online shopping

• Listen to old records

• Play old video games

• Stargaze

• Go bowling

• Put on a show

• Play mini-golf

• Take a scenic route

• Create your own brew


Finally, Father’s Day is celebrated on different days in different countries. For example, in Europe, the United States, and many other countries, the holiday is celebrated on the third Sunday in June.

In many Catholic countries, especially in Latin America, fathers are celebrated on St. Joseph’s Day, which falls on March 19.  In many Pacific countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, Father’s Day occurs on the first Sunday in September.


So, on Father’s Day, let’s honor the great men in our lives, while keeping the holiday as a great tradition. 

VACATION IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT

Written By: Sarah Jean

Date: June 12, 2022

How much have you always wanted to go on vacation, but always backed out because of the cost?


Well, let me tell you how to vacation on a cheap budget! Recently, my boyfriend and I went to Honolulu, Hawaii for a week. It cost us under $2,000.00.  For starters, it pays to have a credit card that you can earn airline miles with, so I suggest really researching and finding the right one.


When it comes to packing, instead of checking luggage, we just packed essentials we knew we would need for a beach vacation. A couple tops, socks, walking shoes, swimsuits, shorts, and crocs for the ocean. Don’t worry! We bought tons of sunscreen when we got there. Each of us took a backpack as our carry-on luggage.


To cut the cost down, we stayed at an Airbnb, instead of booking with a hotel. We wanted to go on a relaxing getaway, so we avoided planning lots of expensive touristy things for us to do. We did allow ourselves to do one touristy thing together for the week when we were there, and we enjoyed a fun catamaran whale watching tour.


As we all know, one of the costliest things about vacationing is eating out. To cut down the cost of eating out, we decided before going that we would eat out at a restaurant once a day (maybe), and eat snacks from the ABC stores, or gas stations near us. Don’t knock it before you try it because we got some awesome spam masubi and fruit bowls for breakfast before hitting the beach from these places.


I also got hooked on brown sugar boba milk bars after trying one from the gas station near our Airbnb. Lunch was usually light. It consisted of snacks and water that we would backpack around with us or hitting a beach shack to split a big smoothie or get a cheap meal like hotdogs.


We did splurge on alcoholic beverages for a couple of days while swimming in Waikiki, and that’s what ate up a good portion of the total cost. My boyfriend and I enjoy just being together, so for fun we just went walking and beach hopping throughout the week from one end of Waikiki to the other.


The point is that vacation can be as expensive or non-expensive as you want it to be. All you need is a plan, the right vacation buddy, and optimism. 

IMPROVING SELF-LOVE PART 5: EMBRACING  YOUR UNIQUENESS FROM WITHIN


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: JUNE 12, 2022

Ever felt judge by those around you, including in your own inner circle? Ever wonder if you had to change yourself to fit in better or feel more accepted? Ever had to be quieter at times and just play a role to please those around you? Ever stop being who you were because others felt threaten or uncomfortable around you? Ever had your worst fears play tricks on your mind and you stop being YOU? If you had pondered over these questions, you are not the first.


Every person on Earth had these questions crossed their minds. We are human. But being human is tricky, especially when we want to be more accepted in today’s world.  We are social creatures, but with so much ego to separate from. Spiritually, this is our test, as a collective race to learn to be more compassionate towards one another.


Within the world, we continue to deal with these struggles of being different, especially in race, religion, family, culture, politics, education, sexuality, medicine, science, the arts, and much more.

For this publication, it’s focused on self-love, but with an emphasis on EMBRACING YOUR UNIQUENESS FROM WITHIN. 


Zen Shin said it beautifully, “A flower does not think of competing with the other flower next to it. It just blooms.” Here are some reminders to embrace your UNIQUENESS:

• Remind Yourself of the Importance of Uniqueness.

• Understand and Accept Diversities in Humanity.

• Deal With Your Story and Practicing Self-Compassion and Self-Acceptance.

• Battle Your Fears with Worrying Less of What Others Think of You and Apologizing Less for 

  Who You Are.

• Identify and Positivize What’s Unique About You.

• Accept That You Can’t Please Everyone.

• Refuse to Follow Expectations That Aren’t You.

• Accept and Love Your True Self.

• Spend Time with Your Pack (Soul Tribe).

• Express Yourself in Skills.

• Get Comfortable with Criticism.

• Turn Comparison to Inspiration to Achieve Your Success.

• Regard Self-Accountability Highly.


When you are in a state of uniqueness, you are allowing your soul to express itself. You allow others to see a little bit of what makes up your soul.


When people see this, they want more and want to be a part of it. This uniqueness can be a source of attraction that is magnetic to others. They feel like they can learn from you because you have something unique that they don’t have.


You may attract people who have the same purpose as you in life, so they can work together towards something greater than they could do by themselves.


Being unique makes it easier for you to stand out from the crowd and show your true self. You feel good about yourself. You know what it is that makes you unique and embrace this.

Once you embraced your uniqueness, this allows you to attract people who will contribute positively to your life and help in your goals.


You learn to love being unique because it helps you develop your own identity. It allows you to express yourself and feel good about the contributions that you make to others’ lives.


Peace and Blessings!!!

POST PANDEMIC-INSIGHTS FOR MOVING SUCCESSFULLY


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: JUNE 12, 2022

MOVING DAY!!! There’s no denying that the experience of moving can be overwhelming while triggering emotions like stress and anxiety, even in the calmest and most organized person.


Well, I just moved my older parents (both are in their seventies) a few states over to be retired and closer to me. I am the only child. You get the point. Unfortunately, when my parents decided to move, they moved during the Memorial holiday weekend. Bad call. NEVER, EVER, EVER move during a holiday weekend, especially post pandemic.


For the record, my parents had all their ducks in the row, and their plans made in advance.  Well, the perfect storm hit, and their plans fell apart and everything went wrong. IT WAS A COMPLETE NIGHTMARE.


However, it’s great to have some back-up plans, which can help if problems occur and make things work at the last minute. The good news is that I got my parents moved safely to their new state, while they await to have a new house build. Thank God for back-up plans.


Whether this is your first time or 10th, moving is just one of those life experiences you must go through to get to the happy result. But the moving process doesn’t have to be difficult if you have some preparation and thing ahead of the game.


Whether you’re moving on your own or hiring a mover, here’s how to make your moving journey as hassle-free and easy as possible.


BE VERY, VERY PREPARE. YOU’LL NEED TO PUT YOUR MOVING PLAN INTO ACTION.


• Call a mover: If you’ve decided to use a mover, it’s best to call around and get a few quotes. Although affordability is a factor, the lowest-priced mover may not necessarily be the best. There are other factors to consider: Are they licensed? Do they have five-star Google reviews? Do they use newer trucks? Do they include packing materials and insurance in the quote? One of the best ways to hire a mover is to ask your neighbors in the community and friends for recommendations. Also, try to look up online your state’s moving association (some states have them) that have information on reliable moving companies.


• Rent a POD: A POD, or portable storage container, is a perfect option if you are not in a rush and want to move your belongings at a leisurely pace. It is also more affordable than a traditional moving company. You can pack and load your stuff yourself, and then the POD company will move it for you locally or long distance. You can also store it at one of their facilities until you are ready to move into your new home. Special note: Make sure to finalize your details two weeks prior (and not at the last minute) and leading up a few days before the move, especially long distance. Communication is the key to make sure you and the POD company (or I called POD people) are on the same page. If not, it will spell out in disaster with miscommunications and delays.


• Check into moving insurance: Most movers will offer some insurance in the quote they give you. You might opt for extra moving insurance if you have costly items that would be irreplaceable if they get damaged, like a piano, paintings, or other heirlooms.


• Call the utility company: Cancel your present utilities at least 48 hours in advance and let them know your move date. Call for an appointment to install your utilities in the new home at least one month in advance. The services you’ll need to set up may include water, electricity, Internet, cable, and a security system. Unless you are building a house and waiting for it to be finished, then that is a different story.


• Change your address/forward your mail: You can fill out a change of address form at the post office and submit it up to three months before your move at www.usps.com (online works faster). The mail can be unpredictable, so it’s best to notify your homeowner’s insurance company, car insurance, life insurance, medical insurance, and credit cards online or by calling, as these are services you can’t afford to lapse.


• Boxes and Packaging: If you’re moving on your own or your mover does not provide packing supplies, you can start accumulating boxes from your office or ask neighbors if they have any to spare. You’ll need to visit your office supply shop to get packing tape, markers, bubble wrap, and other essential packing materials. Sometimes, Dollar Tree has some packing materials at a low price and empty boxes, so check them out.


• Donate to Goodwill: Now is a great time to start looking through your closets for the stuff you no longer need or wear to donate to Goodwill. You can donate clothes, kids’ toys, dishes, sheets, towels, electronics, and anything you don’t use anymore. The best part is that you’ll have a lot less packing to do and get a charitable donation tax break.


PACKING IS THE MOST TIME-CONSUMING PART OF THE MOVING PROCESS, BUT WITH A LITTLE CAREFUL PLANNING, YOU’LL SAIL THROUGH THIS STEP LIKE A CHAMP!


• Bubble wrap your fragile and breakable items:  If you’re not adept at wrapping and would prefer a professional to help, most movers offer this service, or you can find a service online that will help you wrap and box up most items in your home.


• Leave clothes in drawers: Don’t waste time or energy packing clothes that you are just going to put back into the drawers anyway. If they are too heavy, take the drawers out, and bubble wrap them separately.


• Color-code boxes: Designating colors for each room with a sticker or marker makes it easier to remember where everything goes when you get to your new home.


• Photograph the backs of TVs and computers: This helpful hack ensures you’ll know exactly where your wires go instead of facing a confusing tangle of wires when the time comes to reinstall your electronics.


MOVING DAY IS FINALLY HERE! EVEN WITH THE BEST-LAID PLANS, THINGS MAY NOT ALWAYS GO AS EXPECTED. BUT YOU’LL BE MORE THAN PREPARED WITH A FEW SIMPLE TIPS.


• Pack a moving kit for the car: This kit should include essential items for the day like water, snacks, plates, cups, and plastic utensils for later when you’re hungry and can’t find your box of utensils or plates. It happens!


• Have a plan for your kids: If you have small children to care for, it’s best to leave them with a relative or family friend for the day so you can focus on the move. Allow tweens and teens to help by packing their own items and setting them up in their new rooms later.


• Have a plan for pets: Your furry babies are precious members of your family; take steps to ensure they don’t get lost in the chaos of moving day. Open doors provide the perfect escape for your pet to go exploring around the neighborhood unaccompanied. Avoid losing your pet by arranging for a trusted person to care for them on moving day.


• Take treasured smaller items with you: Even with the most experienced movers, accidents happen, and they can break things you can’t replace. If there is room, taking them with you can minimize any losses.


• Finish all your packing the day before the move or I say a few days prior: Having last-minute things to pack and sort while movers are putting stuff into the truck can lead to confusion, and more stress. You’ll find things go smoother when everything is boxed up and ready to go on moving day. Now you can breathe easier!


• Reserve a hotel as a back-up if your moving plans are delayed: Things do come up. I had to get my parents a hotel for two days when moving them. Their plans fell through the cracks at the last minute, which was not their fault.


• Make sure to carry your important documents during the move: If you have any important documents, make sure to have an organized filing system in place to go with you. Do not put anything into storage that you would need later on.  Plus, put your computers, laptops, and wires in a separate box and carry them with you on your travels. You don’t want anything to get damaged.


It all comes down to thinking ahead and having some preparation for a successful move. You have nothing to lose, but more to gain. 


Peace and blessings!

INSPIRING INSIGHTS ON HOW MOTHER'S DAY WAS CREATED AND CELEBRATED


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: MAY 8, 2022

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the beautiful mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and furry moms in the world. The list can go on and on. For all women, who made a positive impact in women’s lives, personally and professionally, as mentors, you are given credit, too. It doesn’t matter if you had children or not, especially when you were present in a nurturing way.


When YOU uplift those around you, you come into a mothering role, believe it or not. Sometimes, a smile, a hug, a compliment, or just being presence to listen is enough to change someone’s life in a heartbeat. That’s being a mother in spirit (including for men that tap into their intuitive side to helps others).


As women, we are the backbones of all societies, which reflects in different races, religions, families, professions, and cultures. Presently, we are here to connect and balance the divine feminine energy more than ever. Feminine energy compliments masculine energy. In humans, we both have these energies to co-exist together. You cannot have one without the other. We, as women, should be reminded to not forget our sparkles to shine our light in today’s world.


Within this publication, I want to highlight some historic insights on Mother’s Day. Shall we begin!


Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. They had festivals in honor of the mother goddesses, Rhea, and Cybele.


There is a Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” It was a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. The celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church.” The “Mothering Sunday” tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom remerged with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.


The origins of Mother’s Day as celebrated in the United States date back to the 19th century. During the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis started “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. In 1868, Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.


In 1870, the abolitionist and suffragette, Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873, she campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2nd. There were other pioneers that advocated the celebration for Mother’s Day, such as, Juliet Calhoun Blakely, Mary Towles Sasseen, and Frank Hering (also called the father of Mother’s Day).


How did Mother's Day become a National Holiday? We can give thanks to Ann Reeves Jarvis. In 1905, her mother passed away, and she was inspired with the idea of Mother’s Day, to become a national holiday as a way of honoring the sacrifices that mothers made for their children.


In 1908, Jarvis got financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, where she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. Also, on the same day, thousands of people attend another Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.


Jarvis who remained unmarried and childless her whole life wanted to see her holiday added to the national calendar. She started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging to adopt a special day honoring motherhood. By 1912, many states, towns, and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday.


Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.


One of the traditions on Mother’s Day was to give a white carnation as a badge while visiting one’s mother or attending church services. Once Mother’s Day became a national holiday, many florists, card companies, and other merchants capitalized on its' popularity.


By 1920, Jarvis became disgusted of how the holiday was commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards, and candies. She also launched countless lawsuits against groups that had used the name “Mother’s Day” for the wrong reasons. She spent most of her personal wealth in legal fees. Before her death in 1948, she disowned the holiday altogether, and lobbied the government to see it removed from the American calendar.


Wow! What a history lesson on Mother’s Day! Interesting facts, you think? However, I feel that Jarvis (if she is looking down from heaven) should look at her efforts as positive as time moved on to celebrate Mother’s Day in different ways to honor women around the world.


How is Mother’s Day celebrated around the world? Currently, Mother’s Day is celebrated worldwide with different traditions, depending on the country. Here are some examples:


Thailand: Mother’s Day is celebrated on August 12th on the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, the Mother of all Thai people. 


Ethiopia: Families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood.


United States: Mother’s Day is celebrated by presenting mothers and other women with gifts/flowers, taking them out to dinner, or giving a day off from activities like cooking or household chores.


Mother’s Day is a very diversified holiday that needs to be continued and celebrated for many reasons. For all of the women around the world, let’s honor them. Peace and blessings!

IMPROVING SELF-LOVE PART 4: DON'T LET ANYONE DULL YOUR SPARKLE!!!!


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: APRIL 3, 2022

Eckhart Tolle said it perfectly, “Sometimes, letting things go is an art of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” This quote spoke volumes!


In April, my 45th birthday will be coming up. I am looking forward to a better year with peace, renewal, and creating more sparkles to shine brighter than last year. For my 44th year, it was an incredibly challenging year with my own share of difficulties. Talk about lots of life lessons while trying to evolve with all the rapid changes in the world. It was not an easy task, and I am still trying to adjust.


One of my best friends gave me a wonderful plaque with a title on it, “Don’t Let Anyone Dull Your SPARKLE.” When I got this gift, it really resonated with my heart and how I felt with people around me lately.


In 2021 into 2022, I had people, personally and professionally challenge my boundaries as an authentic person. With that said, intuitively people looked at me as a free commodity for my time and resources. Also, from their actions, they displayed the attitude of what was in it for them, instead of practicing more of the equal of give and receive, which is never perfect. They also had an agenda to manipulate me with their egos and take advantage of my goodness, which they thought was a weakness.


Come to find out, my respect was a privilege to be earned on various levels, along with learning that I had an extraordinarily strong backbone that flexed when you crossed that line with me if a conflict came up. Bottom line, I wasn’t born yesterday.


So, here are some insights that I learned from my 44th year that I would love to share and spark your outlook on life….


• Don't allow yourself to be changed for the wrong reasons. Don't let anyone dull your shine.


• If there is something you're passionate about, stop questioning and relying on the guidance of the people around you, and listen to your heart.


• You need to learn to accept yourself for who you are and understand that not everyone is going to get you, nor everyone is going to agree with you.


• In today’s world, everyone has haters. There are more people out there that are not going to like you just because naturally (energies not matching up), for the wrong, judgmental reasons, or where you don’t give in to their negative ways. These people can be in your inner circle and later make you into an enemy intentionally or unintentionally. Last, when someone doesn’t like you for something (believe me, it can be anything these days), it’s not your fault. That’s their problem and not yours.


• When there’s a healthy sense of self-worth, it shows itself, but people around you can become intimidated or jealous of where you are in life. You may find yourself with them wanting to put you down more or asking for a favor that you said NO, and their reactions are extremely negative towards you. People act out like that because they are not feeling good about themselves. Also, what comes to mind is the word called PROJECTION of the ego.


• Not everyone is going to truly value you for who you are and what you bring to a connection, personally and professionally. Sometimes, your expectations in life can later make you feel disappointed of how others view you as a whole person. That’s more of an internal element of your spirit.


• There will always be people who will try to bring you down, but that does not have to get in the way of you seeing your own self-worth (the sparkles).


• You lose things in your life, sometimes you lose yourself with them. This could be your job, your relationship, your friends, your habits- anything.


• We all have emotional attachments to things and people. Your attachments are a sense of self to the external and when they’re gone, you wonder if you have gone with them. You lose sight of who you are. You lose sight of your goals, which are attached again to your sense of self to the external.


• You can’t be afraid to be honest with people and tell them how it is. Sometimes, we get caught up in trying to please everyone around us that we don’t put ourselves first.


YOU HAVE TO GIVE TO YOURSELF LIKE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE ELSE. It is okay to say NO more often. You must learn to leave situations that are bringing you down.


• Don’t waste your time and energy in your life if it’s going to make you lose yourself to someone else. If people can’t get with the program, then they aren’t for your life. It’s okay to tell them that or God will remove you from them.


• Your soul tribe is out there. No good to lie to the wrong people and tell yourself that they are the right people. Don’t lie to yourself anymore. Again, easy said than done. Most importantly, people in our lives are brief moments, seasons (short or long), or lifetimes.


Got to love how Marilyn Monroe puts it so beautifully, “Never let anyone dull your sparkle.” Remember to always aim for balance with your sparkles in your life. Make up your own rules to sparkle brighter. Create reasons on how you love that aspect of yourself. It is all about how you wear your crown. Follow your own path. The rules of beauty and intelligence are known as confidence. It is the new sexy. You are your own fashion statement and don’t let anyone tell you WHO you are. God made you unique and the only original copy. 


Most importantly, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, and APPRECIATE yourself first. This is where empowerment comes in to keep spreading your glitter upon everyone you meet.


NOW LET’S SHINE AND SPARKLE. 

IMPROVING SELF-LOVE PART 3: HAVING AN ATTITUDE WITH GRATITUDE


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: MARCH 17, 2022

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Let your luck turn around with a healthy dose of gratitude. Having gratitude is an excellent way to create a MORE positive image of self-love, especially as we evolve with the world we live in today. Here are some insightful tips to be MORE of an attitude with gratitude….


Keep a Gratitude Journal: Having a daily practice to remind yourself of the gifts, graces, benefits, and good things you enjoy in life. Write down your moments of gratitude which are associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people. Gratefulness is very grounding and good for our souls.


Meditating on your Gratitude: There's a meditation technique known as Naikan, which involves reflecting on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have I caused?”


Learn Prayers of Gratitude: Prayers of gratitude are the most powerful form of prayer to connect ourselves to God or a Higher Source.


A Prayer for Gratitude and Promises

“Father, I come to You, confessing that I tend to have a heart that is filled with whining and complaining instead of gratitude. Please forgive me. Help me learn to see Your hand at work in my life. I want to trust You even when I don’t understand my circumstances. Right now, I choose to praise You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” - By Mary Southerland


Colossians. 2:7

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." 


Iroquois Prayer of Gratitude

"We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us. We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with waters. We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicine for the cure of our diseases.


We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters, the beans and the squashes, which give us life. We return thanks to the wind, which moving the air has banished diseases.


We return thanks to the moon and the stars, which have given us their light when the sun was gone. We return thanks to the sun, that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye. 


Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness, and who directs all things for the good of his children." 

IMPROVING SELF-LOVE PART 2: INSIGHTS ON HOW BEING QUIET IS A SIGN OF INNER STRENGTH


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: MARCH 13, 2022

Happy Spring! It’s a time to put the spring into spring. It’s a time for renewal and finding some sense of peace of mind.


How do we find that peace? Well, for March, I have been reprioritizing my life choices with more of being quiet in my daily routine within my sacred space. I know it sounds boring, but with the noises of our crazy world today, I'm at a point of practicing more silence and observing people’s true intentions around me.


Within the last few months, I have had certain life situations landed in my lap to make unexpected, letting-go choices based on people’s actions that didn’t fit my healthy boundaries. I was surprised by the way others looked at me as a commodity.


With those people, it tested my personal and professional connections with them. I also was surprised of how they reacted when I asserted myself with healthy communication and boundaries, especially in a fair manner with consideration to their needs. Their reactions were of anger, ego, and not getting their way with me (which is their problem and not mine).


As I process these circumstances in my mind, I asked myself could I have been more reasonable? The answer was NO.


In the moment, when people ask me for favors on the spot or to listen to their problems as a soundboard (don’t forget I am a life coach), I always try to give my time as a reasonable resource.


But lately, I have been saying more of NO for my time with people. In my daily routine, things are getting more busier with work (great things are happening, but needing more focus), while dealing with my own personal affairs that need more devotion and attention to my mind, body, and spirit.


In life, things change with people’s schedules and lifestyles. When people have always gotten their ways with others (easy-going or care-taker personalities), they don’t like when change happens because they don’t get their ways with people that changed around them. Guess what, suck it up!


People with co-dependent or toxic personalities need to learn how to take more accountability within their lives. People with these tendencies operate with lower vibrations/egos that can create a vacuum effect of draining people around them.


Sometimes, they are aware of it and use the opportunity to dwell in self-absorbed, victim energy as power to cover up their own inner struggles.


There are others that do not realize their actions and impacts that affect people around them, which can be unintentional, but more fear base or other things contributing, such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and much more. It can be very hard for them to recognize it on many levels.


However, people that they used to count on others to get what they wanted had the element of controlling situations of receiving more time, attention, and resources. At the end, people with the resources (even time) didn’t want to be taken for granted nor manipulate with their boundaries anymore. It gets old very fast! That’s where healthy boundaries are practiced, especially for people that incorporate them more into their lifestyles. Also, it’s called self-preservation.


Now, let’s get back to how we can find more peace of mind. Here are some insights on how being quiet is a sign of inner strength….


• Quiet strength is known as having the ability to really listen. In today’s world, we have so much more noise, and everyone thinks that being loud is power. We have really forgotten the art of relating to people in conversations with different feelings, opinions, or perceptions in life. It is about learning to agree to disagree. It seems like people need to interrupt others to hold more influence in conversations, but that is where you really miss out on revealing information that can be newsworthy or profound. It doesn’t mean you are refraining from pressing someone to understand or hide your truths when being quiet (or holding your silence). The purpose of being quieter in life situations is to observe a person's true intentions by watching his or her words and actions rather than to win an argument, convert them, or show them up.


• By being quiet, you show more humility and strength by physical appearance. People with quiet strength have the knowledge that they can be resilient in tough situations. Really strong people have class where they can carry themselves with quiet ease and grace.


• People who practice more of inner strength do not need to act aggressively because they have the power and skills to take over the details of a situation and bring it to a close. Less drama, more peace keeping in preserving calmness.


• To obtain inner strength, you must allow your self-care to come first at times. You are responsible to preserve your balance of keeping your physical and mental strength in check while working in synergy. They both feed each other to form a strong individual that deals with life challenges. Also, your physical endurance and mental health is like a flexible muscle.


• When you need your quiet time, it is good to separate yourself from people, so you can release any energies or build-up stresses that are creating blocks in your lifestyle. It is always good to have a balance of your ME time and creating outlets to do things that bring you joy, relaxation, and peace of mind. No one owns your sacred space. This’s why we create healthy boundaries again. It helps people with the parameters of understanding how to respond to you better as a person. However, never easy said than done. Nothing is perfect.


So, there is nothing wrong with being quiet.  There is inner strength to that concept.  It is healthy to be a quiet observer while learning someone’s true intentions. There’s that saying, “Silence is golden.”


Your time is a resource that you can never get back fully. It is precious, and how you invest your energy with people around you, especially more these days. Also, your PEACE OF MIND has a HUGE PRICE.  Think about it. Blessings!


VALENTINE'S DAY: AS THE WORLD CELEBRATES IT


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: FEBRUARY 8, 2022

Why is Valentine’s Day so SPECIAL? Well, let’s go back in time to discover its’ origins.

Interesting enough, this holiday goes back to the Roman Period. The first celebration was celebrated in the year 496. It originated from a Roman festival called Lupercalia. It was held in the middle of February at the start of their springtime.


During these celebrations, boys and girls would draw names from a box and would be boyfriend and girlfriend during the festival. Sometimes, they would later get married.


Eventually, the Roman Catholic Church changed the festival into a Christian celebration and named it after St. Valentine. The day is celebrated on February 14th, and later, it became more associated with romantic love during the Middle Ages in England.


Around the world, there are certain countries that celebrate Valentine’s Day differently. Let’s explore some of their customs….


United States (US): Valentine’s Day is extremely popular in the US and celebrated on February 14th. The US is the Hallmark Capital of Valentine’s Cards. Over one billion cards are sent annually. It also one of those biggest holidays next to Halloween and Christmas.


It is a special day for couples to celebrate their love by giving gifts, along with going out to dinner. This holiday is also used to get engaged on or get married.


On another special note, my parents got married on Valentine’s Day and will be celebrating their 53rd anniversary. Talk about a lifetime together!


Japan: There are two different dates celebrated in Japan. On February 14th, females present gifts to their loved ones and on March 14th, men later return the favor called White Day.


Women give the gift of one of two types of chocolate. One is called giri-choco, which is for friends, bosses, colleagues, or close male friends. The second type is called hon-mei, which is for boyfriends and husbands and prepared by the women themselves.


This tradition is also observed in South Korea, but with a slight difference in the gift giving between women and men.


Germany: The color of red is seen across the country as a symbol of love and passion on Valentine’s Day. Bouquets of roses are used as an essential part of the celebration. Children make heart-shaped gifts with messages and are given to parents, teachers, and classmates. Also, baskets of chocolates and sweets are traditionally given.


Philippines: On Valentine’s Day, mass wedding ceremonies are commonly performed.


South Africa: The tradition is quite different on Valentine’s Day than just giving chocolates and gifts. For women, they pin the names of their love interests on their shirtsleeves.


Valentine’s Day is a special day with origins that bring people together and spread lots of love around the world. Would it be wonderful to celebrate it every day? But on a budget! My suggestion would be doing more acts of love as kind deeds. Always remember LOVE goes a long way.

A MILLENNIAL'S PERSPECTIVE ON RELATIONSHIP SUCCESS


WRITTEN BY: SARAH JEAN

DATE: FEBRUARY 8, 2022

It’s the month of love. I would like to talk to you about relationships, and an important part of relationship success called attachment style. I would also like to point out differences in priorities of relationships for millennials compared to the generations prior.


Attachment Styles

Anxious-

This attachment style is often one that is seen more in women than men. People with this attachment style are considered “clingy” but also have the fear that their significant other does not reciprocate the love and does not wish to be as close as they would like them to be. The biggest key characteristic of this style is that they tend to say things and act out due to taking things to personally and later regretting the words and actions. When in a relationship, you need to be reassured of your love and affection and feel safe and secure.


Secure-

This is the coveted attachment style. This particular attachment style knows that balance is the key to keeping a relationship working and growing. Being loving and intimate comes naturally to this style and knowing when to mention things that are bothering them without being overbearing is something they can balance well. Sharing successes, and listening to your partner's needs, wants, and problems is something that doesn’t worry you and your partner appreciates that.


Avoidant-

This style is seen in both men and women but men, hold the trophy for this style. Independence is the most important thing to you when in a relationship. While you want to be close to your partner in a relationship it does not come easily to you, and you end up keeping your other half at arm’s length. Romantic relationships are not terribly important to you to have a successful life. You prefer autonomy, and control to being close or emotionally connected to others, including life partners.


Attachment styles aren’t always something you are stuck with for life though. It is very common for them to change throughout our life as we age. For example, most high-school couples aren’t secure on either end; in contrast to a couple in their thirties who have been together for years and have gotten into the groove and become comfortable with each other. While this can also be in contrast to a married couple in their sixties or older when comfortability turns into boredom, and paranoia and irritability can creep in.


Millennials and Their Priorities

As a millennial here, I have a simple request. Please stop asking when couples will be settling down or having children. The answer is, yes, we do want to have that, but we are financially struggling so we can’t. Yes, we do want to get a house together some day but if it's between saving for a house and being able to eat then we choose food.


The questions you should be asking are these. Why are school loans so high? Why is renting a 1-bedroom apartment the same as or more than the cost of a mortgage? We were told to go to school, and get higher education because without it, we wouldn’t get anywhere in life.


Well, we did, and we are still struggling to get anywhere in life. When it comes to priorities, millennial couples just want to live comfortably together. We don’t care about the 2-month salary engagement ring, or planning, and throwing a big fancy wedding like our parents did, we would rather save the money, and get married at the courthouse and have a small gathering afterwards. That money saved would be better spent on a house, or on a honeymoon together to create lasting memories. Having a big family is no longer a priority to most of us either, as we know it is not fair to bring other lives into the world that we ourselves are struggling to live in.


We care about our partner's feelings and are very mentally and emotionally connected when we get into the right relationship. Times change, and so do generational priorities and values, that’s just how it goes.


If you would like to learn more about attachment styles, and how to find and keep love, then I urge you to pick up the book Attached by Amir Levine, and Rachel S.F. Heller.


Levine, A. (2011). Attached. The Penguin Group.

IMPROVING SELF-LOVE: PART 1


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: FEBRUARY 8, 2022

Hello 2022! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get my feet wet with new hopes, dreams, goals, desires, and beginnings. With that said, we need a healthy dose of SELF-LOVE to accomplish these things.


Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I wanted to focus on the concept of SELF-LOVE. To find love, you must learn to love yourself first and the rest follows. This is my intuitive two cents.


Keep a lookout within the next two months of ways to improve your SELF-LOVE, I will be featuring different articles on the concept.


Why is SELF-LOVE important? SELF-LOVE is the backbone of how you love yourself and love others around you. It promotes a better balance in how we view ourselves and relate to others in relationships, personally and professionally. This is called harmony. We need more harmony to co-exist within our world today or…I call it in your happy bubble.


Without SELF-LOVE, you develop low self-esteem and self-respect. You would be looking for love in the wrong places, which leads to bad relationships, eating disorders, bad drinking habits, and other negative social issues. You would be willing to take whatever you can get to validate yourself.


What would it take to have better SELF-LOVE? It’s a daily, spiritual practice you must do every day for the rest of your life. It takes time to develop a healthy outlook. You will have good days and bad days.


Some people have it easier than others, especially when your upbringing plays a huge role of how you were loved and again, see yourself. There are different factors that play into our outlook on SELF-LOVE.


Here is a simple SELF-LOVE exercise that can give you a better understanding on SELF-LOVE.

With this SELF-LOVE exercise, you will develop repetition and consistency. Daily practice is the most effective way to develop SELF-LOVE and a positive self-image. 


SELF-LOVE MEDITATION: You can practice this SELF-LOVE meditation by sitting or lying down, whichever makes you feel most comfortable. You also can add relaxing music in the background.


Try to incorporate this simple SELF-LOVE mantra into your meditation to help manifest confidence and positivity.

• Inhale, I am worthy

• Exhale, I am enough


Close your eyes and start with a big inhale and exhale.  Exhale and return to a normal breath, noticing your current state of mind.  After a few regular breaths to calm the mind, start reciting your mantra. As you inhale, "I am worthy." On the exhale, "I am enough."  If you can, try to say the mantra out loud. Hearing yourself say the words can be very effective.


However, you can find any mantra that you are drawn to if you look it up on the internet. Once you found your mantra(s), you can allow 5 minutes to complete this meditation or go longer into your routine.


So, step up your routine in SELF-LOVE and give yourself the opportunity to love yourself more. You need to start somewhere. 

2022 Financial Tips: Lessons from the Great Depression


Written By: Shannon Grace

Date: February 8, 2022


Since the pandemic, the global economy has endured a lot of volatility. With inflation and the supply shortages happening globally, we ask ourselves about our lifestyles. So much has changed! How do we respond to these rapid changes?


I hate to say it, but this year is about being more frugal. It is about knowing between your wants and needs. It will be about balance in moderation in our spending and savings. Self-awareness is the key to understand today’s economy.


Presently, the times are changing to the point we are reliving some history. This is a reminder of the days of the Great Depression. We had family members who have passed down their lessons during that historical time. 


They learned the hard way of learning to survive after the financial crash, which put them in awful, financial circumstances. However, they survived and learned great resilience.


The Great Depression made a lasting impression on future generations, and today, it will remind us again. Despite all the modern conveniences we enjoy in our lives, there’s this feeling that we have taken things for granted, especially in the United States. We are very entitled and expect things to be face-pace.


Guess what? We are slowly down and having an opposite effect on how we live. A huge wake-up call is happening within our economy. We must be ready to endure some challenging times. So, pay attention, if you want to know how to navigate through these deep waters.


Our families survived during the Great Depression, and we can learn some things from them for today's times….


Never Use Something Just Once: People were careful of how they used their resources and for things to last for a long time. Nothing was ever wasted. There is this saying, “Waste not, want not.”


Learn More Than One Trade: For job security, people had different fields to earn income. It was essential back then to survive.


Diversifying Your Funds: Making sure to have different forms of funds as a back-up. During the Great Depression, people learned to save hefty stash of cash as a tangible case for an emergency.


Sharp Eye for Good Deals: Making sure to never settle with the first option. Learning to be savvy to look for good deals would help stretch those funds for families.


Keep Cupboards Full: Back in those days, folks did canning and preserving food. People could learn how to do that process today. Also, it always good to have a supply of food and other resources as a back-up. You never know these days because of today’s supply storages.


Getting Your Hands Dirty: Most families grew their own groceries, such as gardens in their backyards.


People Were of Community: Communities rallied together and supported each other through the emotional pains that often came with trying to make ends meet.


Protect Your Family: Crime rates were extremely high during the Great Depression. People had to learn to be smart within their environments. Families communicated their whereabouts with their loved ones and used common sense. Today, the crime rates are higher than before in previous years and safety is a real concern in urban cities.


Between Wants and Needs: Communities learned to find simple and inexpensive ways to have fun. People embraced having good times with their families, even in the smallest measures during tough times. Again, family was important and nurturing those relationships was the key to survive.


Embrace Little Escapes: Even with struggles, don’t forget to enjoy life. It can be finding a movie theater, going to church, dancing, or taking a road trip. People found ways to entertain themselves from their troubles. It is about being smart and creative in your expenses and choices of entertainment.


Everything that I mentioned is something to consider, especially when we can learn to be more financially prepared for this year.


It is about moderation and keeping things steady with some common sense.