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This CHRISTmas

by Wendy Gladney on 12/17/18

I have a dear lifelong friend by the name of JC who I recently reconnected with and during one of our conversations we were talking about how different religions are bold in sharing their faith, while others may be a little more reserved.  Recently, on a day when he happened to be home, some Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped by and knocked on his door.  JC is a Christian and we met many years ago through the California Baptist Young People’s Convention, and in our youth we were all on fire for Christ.  I gave my life to Christ as a young girl and although I have loved Him for as long as I can remember, sometimes, I’ve not been as bold as I should be in sharing my faith.

I try to live my life in such a way where I walk the walk and I’ve not necessarily leaned on talking the talk, which is quite ironic since I talk for a living. Let me be clear, I’m not ashamed of my faith and I am committed, but as I write this piece, I realize that I have not been as on fire as I should be in sharing my faith with others, especially during this time of year. Christmas is when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.  We believe He came to earth in the form of a baby over two thousand years ago wrapped in swaddling clothing and laid in a manager.  He came to bring hope, love, peace and salvation to the world.  We are in times where it is important to share our faith and spread a little cheer. We need to give hope and help people to not despair.

We live in times when we don’t want to offend others.  We are often told to be careful with what we say or do (especially as it relates to politics and religion) so as not to offend others.  Speaking up for what we believe should not be censored, but what is important is making sure that we show respect when sharing with others. Growing up I always told my children it is not so much what you say verses how you say it.

This Christmas I want to do a better job of not only showing my faith but sharing my faith in what I say and do. I would like to encourage each of you as you go about participating in various celebrations and traditions with your friends and family to not be afraid to share what this season means to you.  For my family and me, we believe Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and so we should give Him gifts.  The way we give Him gifts is by helping the least of these and giving to those in need.  Will you give a gift to someone that is in need?  Someone that can’t give you anything in return?

This Christmas my family and I will gather together at my home on Christmas Eve, as we usually do, but our door will also be open to those that may be alone or may be experiencing hard times or just need a friend.   My grandmother used to say, you never know when you may be entertaining angels unaware that are watching everything you do. Matthew 5:16 tells us to let our lights shine before others so that they will see our good deeds in order to glorify the Lord.  I will continue to let my light shine, but I will also begin to be a little more vocal about my faith!  Thank you, JC, for reminding me to be bold about JC  (Jesus Christ). Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

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

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is an international coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. 

The Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela Calls Us All to Act as Global Citizens

by Wendy Gladney on 12/10/18

As I sit to write this article, I am overlooking where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez intersect in Los Cabos, Mexico.  My heart is full because I've had the opportunity to travel around the world and I enjoy being a Global Citizen.  I embrace this term not just because of my ability to travel, but also because I truly have a heart and compassion for the people of the world. This week while I've been down in Cabo the Global Citizen Festival was held in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.  The Festival had many main headliners such as Beyonce, JAY-Z, Ed Sheeran, Oprah Winfrey and so many others that came together to support the mission of and raise money for the Mandela Foundation.

2018 marked the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.  Many events and activities have been held across the globe celebrating the life, work and legacy of Mr. Mandela. The yearlong campaign theme was, "Be The Generation." The desire is to lift the global goals of improving health, nutrition, education, gender equality, water, sanitation and the criminalization of poverty.  I am not sure at the point of this writing how much has been raised (but let me say it is in the billions) and $500 million of what is raised will be set aside to impact specifically the needs of 20 million women and girls worldwide that are impacted by these issues. The nonprofit organization, Forgiving For Living, Inc., that I started close to 20 years ago, is also committed to helping girls improve their lifestyle and we believe the importance of making sure they have access to quality health, nutrition, education, gender equality and helping them rise above poverty.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the man behind this movement, was born in South Africa in 1918 and died in 2013.  During his lifetime he was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, leader and philanthropist.  He served close to a quarter of a century in prison for his work and beliefs. After his release from prison he received the Nobel Peace Prize along with FW de Klerk in 1993 and in 1994 he became the first black Head of State for South Africa. He once said, "It always seems impossible until it is done." Mr. Mandela certainly achieved what appeared too many to be the impossible. In 2014, I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa and although he had passed, and I never got the opportunity to meet him in person, I was able to tour his home, walk the streets he traveled as well as visit Robben Island where he served much of his time in prison.  His body was gone, but his spirit was alive and still is to this very day. 

The Mandela Foundation believes that it is important for all of us to take action, inspire change and make every day a Mandela Day.  It is important for us to think globally, but we must also act locally.  To keep the vision and legacy of Mr. Mandela’s alive think of ways you can do your part to be active and support causes in your own neighborhood.  Issues around social justice are just as important (if not even more so) today than they ever have been. The global goals of improving health, nutrition, education, gender equality, water, sanitation and ending poverty are universal.   We can all help make a difference and be global citizens even if we never leave our backyards.  We can all do our part and live large by pouring into others. "There is no passion to be found playing small in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."  Nelson Mandela

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

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is an international coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. 

The Art of the Handwritten Note

by Wendy Gladney on 12/03/18

December 7this official “National Letter Writing Day.”  I have loved writing handwritten notes since I was a little girl.  It is one of the gifts my paternal grandmother instilled in me as far back as I can remember. Whenever anyone would do anything nice for us, she would tell us that it was our responsibility to sit down at the dining room table and write them a thank you note.  I also enjoy sending handwritten notes and cards to celebrate the special days for the people in my life. I embrace anytime I can pause and write a note to let people know they are in my thoughts and prayers. Even though it is easier and faster to just send someone an email or a text with various emojis, there’s no comparison to the handwritten note that arrives in the mailbox with a little encouragement enclosed.  

 

Many years ago, I was part of a women’s bible study group and, besides studying specific subjects from the bible, we would also have interesting conversations on various topics.  One week we went around the table and we talked about what we thought were each other’s gifts. When it came around to me, several of the women said they felt I had the gift of hospitality and encouragement. I remember thinking, and even expressing, “what kind of gifts are those?”  I didn’t think they were special, and I really didn’t see them as gifts. What’s interesting is, the reason the women shared their sentiment was because just about every one of them had received cards and notes from me in the mail over the years.  It would be years, and literally thousands of stamps, later that I would come to understand and appreciate how special those gifts really are and how my acts helped and encouraged my friends, family and strangers.  

 

This year I had the opportunity to attend the Protocol School of Washington where we covered several topics including understanding stationery and the protocol of various forms of letter writing. There truly is an art to the handwritten note. Although letter writing tends to be associated more in a social context than business, it is part of both our personal and professional brands.  The quality of the paper we use, the instruments we write with and even our penmanship are all a reflection of our personal brand. But at the end of the day, people aren’t going to care about all of that because what matters most is the fact that you took the time to sit down and send them a letter -- and this time, when they open the mailbox, more than just bills and “junk mail” will be there.  A handwritten note is actually a present.  It is a gift that can put a smile on someone’s face. This holiday season, why not give the gift of your handwritten sentiments? Maya Angelou said, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

 

I am often asked how I’m able to send someone a note at a moments notice. This is a part of why people see hospitality and encouragement as gifts, but this is a gift that I can share with everyone.  If you always stay ready, you never have to get ready. I make it a point to always keep on hand nice stationery, various types of cards, good pens and a good supply of stamps.  When you have the right ammunition stocked up, you can fire at will. Whenever my family and friends ask me what I would like for my birthday, Mother’s Day or Christmas, the answer is always the same.  I love a nice cup of tea, a good bottle of wine, a nice smelling candle and a supply of beautiful cards and or stationery that I can use to send someone a note of love and encouragement.  

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is an international coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. 

Showing Leadership Through Forgiveness

by Wendy Gladney on 11/28/18

Leadership is powerful.  True leadership is an action word and is more about others than one’s self. Which means, leaders have a responsibility that surpasses that of most others. I have often used the phrase with my children when they were growing up, and even now with myself: “Do you want to win the battle, or do you want to win the war?” When I look at examples of people who I consider true leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Pope Francis, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ghandi, Jesus and so many others, they all have common threads that connect their leadership. One such characteristic is forgiveness.

I recently purchased First Lady Michelle Obama’s book, “Becoming.” I’ve also watched several shows that she’s been on recently promoting her book and one of the topics that has come up continuously is her comment, “I will never forgive Donald Trump for Birtherism.”  She went on to further say, the conspiracy theory wasn’t just racist; it made her fear for her family’s safety. While most could understand her feelings and comments, I ask, is unforgiveness really the answer?  After reading her comments and hearing her interview with Oprah, where she encouraged people to think about and discuss her comment, I had to weigh in since the topic of forgiveness has always been at my core.

I am a true admirer of Michelle Obama and she will forever be my First Lady.  As a woman of color that is full of beauty, grace and intellect, as well as a loving wife and mother, how could I not be in awe of her?  She is bold and outspoken, and I appreciate that she has the courage to speak her truth; however, the words that come back to mind for me is when she said, “When they go low we go high.”  I believe she is challenged right now to remember that mantra. I know she is bigger than what has been thrown her way and she can rise and be a true example of forgiveness as a leader that women, girls and even men look up to.

As children, we are told that sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt us.  We all know this couldn’t be further from the truth. Words do hurt and can have lasting ramifications long after the bruises of a physical altercation have healed. But there comes a time when we must rise to the occasion. First Lady, we all know that #45 has said many things that aren’t true. We can’t let him, or anyone bring us down to a place or position that is not a reflection of our true self.  We are counting on you to take us high when they go low. Stay true to your core and practice what you believe is true in your heart.  

Mrs. Obama, you have every right to be upset. I, too, am a mother and if anyone were to even think of hurting my children or grandchild, they would have a Mamma Bear to reckon with. But no one should ever be able to take us from our core values and belief.  You are a role model, you are our role model and we need you to go high, especially when they go low.  One of the best ways you can do this is by showing your leadership through an act of forgiveness. Remember, forgiveness does not mean we accept what someone does or says, it frees us of the chains of bondage others try to place upon us.  And we are free indeed.  #MichelleObama #BecomingMichelleObama #Leadership #Forgiveness #WendysWindow 

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

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. 

Give Thanks No Matter What

by Wendy Gladney on 11/20/18

As I celebrate this Thanksgiving, I am reminded of all my blessings; no matter what the year may have tried to throw my way.  Years ago I heard someone say, “when you stop and count all of the good things in your life, all the things you were spared from, all the things you didn’t have to check when you went to the doctor’s office, you can’t help but stop and think about God’s grace and mercy in your life and give thanks.”  There will be storms that come into our lives (external and internal), but when we get hit with various trials and tribulations, that is truly when we must stop and give thanks; no matter what.

I recently had the privilege to connect with a group of special women.  As we all shared and talked about some of the things we were dealing with in our day to day lives, we had to remind ourselves to stay focused and to remember what is important and go back to our core values.  It is so easy to get caught up in the trap of comparing our lives with others, especially with social media and how we all want to paint a picture-perfect life.  In reality, no one has a picture-perfect life, but we can have a life that is just right for us.  Oftentimes if we would put in the time and energy into watering and harvesting our own “backyards,” we could have what we desire. 

Whenever I am going through any specific challenge I stop and ask myself is this my crop or my cross? In other words, is this something I created (crop) or is this something I must experience because of situations beyond my control (cross)? I believe when we stop and analyze a situation and then learn the lesson, it will help us not to repeat negative cycles and it will help us have an attitude of gratitude for being able to come through to the other side. If I am honest, when I really assess what I am going through, and it is not what I wanted, I realize I played a role in getting there and it is up to me to get out of it.   Ask yourself what you can do to improve your situation in order to get on track to the life you truly desire.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and prepare for the holiday season, I encourage you to stop and think about all your blessings.  Yes, there is turmoil all around us, especially as it relates to some of the things that we face day to day in the political and economic realm (and maybe even in our own personal circles). But if we are alive and healthy, we have another opportunity to turn things around and strive to be our best selves. It is said that one of the best ways to feel better and to take your eyes off your own problems is when we stop and help someone else.  What better time than the holidays?  There are plenty of organizations, houses of worship or community centers that could use a helping hand right now.  There are no excuses of how you can help someone else and, who knows, it might even put a smile on your own face.  

As for me and my house, we are going to continue doing our part to help others and be grateful for each other.  My family continues to grow (grand baby number two is on the way) and I am grateful for life, legacy and for what I’ve been able not only to go through, but also to grow through. I will keep my eyes focused and give thanks for what I have and not worry about what I think might be missing. After all, I’ve learned to appreciate the view from where I stand. Don’t let anything or anyone steal your joy!  Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com.