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 OF 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 OF 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 find more peace of mind. Here are some insights of how being quiet is a sign of inner strength which can improve self-love within yourself….


• 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.