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The Karman Line

by Wendy Gladney on 11/19/19

I recently watched a show on television where a man had to make a critical decision regarding the health of his wife.  His wife had studied and prepared her entire life for the opportunity to go into space as an astronaut.  She was experiencing some dizziness and when rushed to the hospital she was told that she may have a specific disease that could impede her from ever going into space because it affected her equilibrium. The doctor went on to share that there was a procedure they could perform that could possibly heal her, but he could not guarantee it.  The wife wanted the surgery, but her husband was against it because it had possible negative effects. However, when he looked into his wife’s eyes and saw her determination, he knew he had to surrender.  He went on to say he loved her to the Karman Line.

When I heard him say this it really intrigued me.  I had never heard that phrase.  I immediately went to look it up and the definition says, the Karman line is a boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.  Once you cross the Karman line you are in another space.  The husband in the show went on to share that he had to let her do what her heart always aimed for, even if it meant that she would leave him behind.  That’s some pretty deep stuff.  I started to wonder if I ever loved someone to the point where I was willing to help them reach their “Karman Line” and help them achieve what they always dreamed of – even if it meant leaving me behind.

I think as a mother, that is easy to say about our children (or grandchildren) because we want them to succeed and reach their highest potential. But what about our significant other or spouse?  After all, the whole purpose people get married is to be together and to hopefully live out their lives together while they are here on this earth.  Who, ever, thinks about marrying someone with the understanding that if you outgrow me or if you must leave me to achieve your goals, I love you enough to let you go?  Is this true love?  I don’t have an answer for this question, but it sounds very self-sacrificing. I’m sure there are examples of this kind of love, though I’ve never personally known anyone to exhibit this firsthand.

If we take this scenario to another level, my question would be: what are you willing to sacrifice in your own life to become your best self?  What do you need to do to reach your Karman Line?  Regina King recently said, “comfort zones are where dreams go to die.” Oftentimes we do what we must do in order to survive or reach a certain level. But if we get uncomfortable, we often give up or don’t push ourselves to the point of truly achieving our best; myself included.  As I really think this through, I also ask myself how can we achieve the perfect balance of reaching our goals and yet still be there for our friends, family and community?  That’s a question I think each person must answer for themselves.

At the end of the day, I think we all have a calling on our lives.  Some may be bolder than others, but none are more important than another.  We all need each other to live in this world and we all depend on each other in one form or another.  As I continue to get older and I look back over my life, I want to know that I always tried to do the best I could with what I had to work with at any given time. That I tried to help others along the way. That I learned lessons from the journey. That I loved and was loved in return.  For in so doing, then I feel I will have reached my Karman Line.

 

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. 

Life is a Journey Full of Lessons

by Wendy Gladney on 11/11/19

Why does it take so many of us a lifetime to understand that we are all on a journey made up of some good days and some bad days?  Life is not about one specific destination; but rather, a series of decisions we make along the way.  When we are young, we run around chasing “this thing” and “that thing,” not really understanding what it means to be still and discern what is important and what will lead us to our true calling.  We don’t take the time to discover the gifts we were born with that will allow us to live out our true meaning and purpose.  What I’ve come to learn is that even with all the twists and turns we make in life; we can still do the great things we were meant to do if we learn the lessons along the way.

As I reflect on my almost six decades on this earth, I feel that I’ve made some pretty good decisions.  However, I can’t help but also look at the times when I went right when going left would have been a better choice. But instead of focusing on the wrong turns I’ve made; I try to see what lessons I have learned on this path I’ve chosen and if I can possibly help someone else on their journey from those lessons.  Instead of beating myself up and feeling bad, I’ve tried to remember that I am a child of God and that He has a purpose for my life if I am willing to stop and learn the lesson at every turn.

I’ve had people tell me they appreciate the fact that I am pretty much an open book.  I’ve shared so many of my highs and lows in the hopes of encouraging others that no matter what you may have been through there’s always tomorrow and tomorrow can be a better day.  I think it is important to share what has gone well and not so well because people need to know that every day may not be perfect but if we hold on and not give up, what once was a test can become a testimony.  We live in time when we compare ourselves with false images that live behind a veil, showing only what they want others to see.  That’s not reality.

One of the areas I’ve struggled with is having a successful marriage.  I’ve been married three times and as a Christian woman I felt like a failure with each divorce. But I must say I’ve learned a lesson or two on where I went wrong.  I’ve even had someone say to me that they couldn’t come to me for marriage advice because I’ve been divorced.  Although I would never force my advice on anyone about anything, one thing that I can say about marriage is that although I may currently be single, I’ve not given up on the hope of true love and living out my remaining days with the person God has for me. My life lessons in this area have taught me to be still and wait on God. Make sure you take time to know someone and that you are equally yoked. 

What areas in your life do you struggle with that may cause you to feel like a failure or want to give up?  For some it may be losing weight or finding that ideal job or mending that broken relationship.  Whatever it may be, don’t let anyone tell you you’re a failure.  Learn the lesson that is associated with whatever trial you may be experiencing.  Just like the race between the tortoise and the hare, the race is not won by someone who may be swift, but rather to the one that never gives up and endures to the end.  As my grandmother would say, just keep lying down and getting up and life will bring you a trial that you will have to learn to overcome.  Be slow to pass judgment on others and remember, when we point our finger at someone there’s three pointing back at us.  Take the time to learn life’s lessons and your journey can turn out beautiful.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. 

Fear of Missing Out

by Wendy Gladney on 11/04/19

Have you ever felt overwhelmed?  Where you have way too much on your plate and no idea how to get it all done?  I’ve been there many times over the span of my life.  One of the things I’ve learned is that it is better to take on less and accomplish more than to feel like you must conquer the whole world.  Oftentimes when we feel overwhelmed it is because we have taken on more than we can handle, we don’t have enough time, or we haven’t properly prepared. Most people have what’s called “FOMO” (fear of missing out). They feel they must do more so they can stay in the mix; so they don’t miss anything.  But I believe that whatever God has for you, no one can take from you.

Over the course of my life, I have come to understand that I don’t have to try and go to or do everything in order to have a wonderful, purposeful and beautiful life. The question is, are you comfortable in your own skin? When we begin to feel good about who we are and what we do, it’s amazing how other things begin to fall in place.  We begin to display a confidence that is contagious and complimentary and can even help others feel comfortable in their own skin.  When I moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA over four decades ago, I attended Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church. At that time the pastor was Dr. E.V. Hill and he used to always say, “If you can, don’t lie. If you can’t, don’t try.” That piece of advice has served me well over the years.

I think part of the problem some people face is trying to keep up with what they see on social, and other forms of, media.  What’s wrong with this is that oftentimes what we see on social media has been filtered and altered to fit the image that individuals want the world to see.  I think originally, social media was meant to just keep in touch with friends and family and share a few things going on in our worlds.  Now, people have turned social media into a personal marketing machine.  There’s nothing wrong with using social media to advance one’s career, but like the saying goes, “believe half of what you see and even less of what you hear.” Don’t compare your life with what is behind a veil or filtered through a lens.

Running an event management company and a nonprofit for over a quarter of a century, I’ve spent most of my life in the public working with and serving the community.  I enjoy what I do, and I’ve had my share of the paparazzi and red carpets, but what I’ve come to enjoy more than anything are quiet days at home enjoying my family (especially my grandbabies) and traveling taking in God’s beautiful world.  When I do attend activities in the community and special events, I enjoy them and support them any way I can, but if for some reason I can’t attend something it is okay.  I would hope my “presence” is felt even when I’m absent. When we live our best life and our true self you don’t have to worry about missing out.

The easiest way to not get caught up in FOMO is to focus on making your life the best it can be.  Focus on being the best you can be.  Learn to love yourself, warts and all.  It’s okay if we look to others for encouragement or guidance, but it’s best to be an original you versus an imitation of someone else.  Even when you don’t feel it, we were all made on purpose and for a purpose.  Spend more time working on  yourself  and then you will be able to give to the world what God meant for you to do.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker. 

The Importance of Making Healthy, Wealthy & Wise Decisions

by Wendy Gladney on 10/28/19

Forgiving For Living, Inc. is a non-profit that has been around since 1999 with a mission to help teen girls from low to moderate income communities overcome issues of low self-esteem caused by depression, abuse and/or abandonment. For the past eight years we’ve held our annual “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Conference” where we bring together girls to give them tools to help them make healthy, wealthy and wise decisions that can change the trajectory of their lives. In addition to the conference, we teach life skills and offer mentoring through our Ambassador Program and workshops throughout the year. We would not be able to do this work without volunteers and support from our various sponsors.  We believe if we don’t sow into the lives of our youth today, we can’t expect to reap much from them tomorrow.

Our 2019 conference was held this past Saturday at the Boys & Girls Club Watts/Willowbrook under the leadership of Calvin Lyons, CEO & President.  Companies such as Comerica Bank, US Bank, CiT Bank, and Thrivent made it possible for all the girls to attend free of charge.  We are also grateful for the support of Costco, the Los Angeles Sentinel, ALFC Food Bank and other community supporters for making the day a great success.  Forgiving For Living, Inc., Board Members Bryan Barnes and Dr. Lauren Walton both taught classes that had a positive impact on the girls lives.  Dr. Walton spoke about understanding the signs of teenage suicide and Mr. Barnes shared how the choices you make today can have a big impact on where you land in the future.  Denise Ovalle, AVP Corporate CRA CIT/OneWest Bank shared with the girls about financial literacy and understanding the power of money.  Kerry Neal shared the basics of the “Urban Birds & Bees,” and Actress Christina Ford got the girls thinking and moving, teaching the importance of staying in shape both physically and mentally.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.”  Most of us make the decisions we make in life based on what we are exposed to or what others tell us we can do.  I am a firm believer that people would do better if they knew better.  We are trying to take as many negative scenarios out of the picture for the young ladies we serve.  We want them to believe in themselves and know they can do anything they set their minds to do.  Recently on social media a little boy repeating a positive affirmation on his way to school went viral.  His affirmation is, “I am smart, I am blessed, I can do anything.”  The likelihood that he will grow up believing in himself is strong.  We want to do the same thing for our girls.

Forgiving For Living’s Vision is to give young ladies hope and purpose through understanding the power and importance of forgiveness. We hope to build up their self-esteem, self-confidence and provide them with tools for a better and more productive life. All of us can play a role in the lives of young people (and all people for that matter) by sowing positive seeds into them, watering them with support and words of encouragement and pruning out the weeds of negativity whenever and wherever possible.

Remember, it is important for all of us to do our best to make healthy, wealthy and wise decisions.  What we do affects more than just ourselves, it also affects those around us and future generations; positive or negative.  We all make mistakes, but the question becomes do we go through them or grow through them?  The choice is up to us.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker. 

Black Women 4 Positive Change

by Wendy Gladney on 10/21/19

Black Women for Positive Change (BW4PC) is a national policy-focused network of predominately African American women and “Good Brothers” from various states here in the U.S. Its primary goals are to positively contribute to ideas and methods that can strengthen and expand the American Middle/Working class, with an emphasis on the African American community; and secondly to change the culture of violence in America. BW4PC was started by and is under the leadership of Dr. Stephanie Myers and the Honorable Daun Hester.

October 12th – 20th was the 8th Annual Week of Positive Change across the country emphasizing non-violence, justice and opportunities.  Here in the Southern California area, Congresswoman Maxine Waters served as the Co-Chair. Other Los Angeles leaders included Diane Mitchell Henry, the Honorable Jan Perry and me.  Our goal is to find positive ways to express oneself, especially for our youth.  With the current climate in our world today, non-violence and justice are difficult topics.  With police shootings still occurring against African Americans and negative race relations, the question becomes what can we do to make a positive change and provide hope?

We are aware of the Dallas police officer Amber Guyger who shot and killed Botham Jean when she claimed to mistake his apartment for hers, thinking he was an intruder.  More recently, Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black pre-med graduate was killed inside her own home when a white cop shot her through her window. The cop never identified himself and Ms. Jefferson’s nephew saw her murdered in cold blood. Although the police officer resigned and has been charged with murder, the community is still looking for answers and is seeking justice in the form of “vigorous prosecution and appropriate sentencing.”  When, and more importantly, how does all this unnecessary violence stop?

During this current administration, there has been a rise in shootings and various hate crimes.  Rhetoric from the top has influenced people and has incited violence.  The term “Make America Great Again” means for some, “make America white again.”  We must reach an understanding that America is a diverse nation with people from across the globe.  At one time or another we all either came here for a better life or were forced (slavery) here to help make this country a better place.   Just about all our ancestors (except for the Native Americans) came from somewhere else in pursuit of opportunities.  We must learn to live together with mutual understanding and respect for our differences.

I believe in order to make positive change, decrease violence, and provide opportunities for everyone, there must be a paradigm shift.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” In order to make this shift, there needs to be more training around diversity and inclusion.  We also must mandate “Sensitivity Training” for all public servants (police, fire, EMT, politicians and everyone who interfaces directly with the public).  It wouldn’t be a bad idea if all businesses mandated sensitivity training to help make the workplace a better environment.  What are you willing to do to help promote a culture of nonviolence and justice for all?

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker.