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A Legacy of Motherhood

by Wendy Gladney on 05/06/19

Mother’s Day is the grand mommy of family holidays. More flowers, candy and cards are sold for this day than any other (including Valentine’s Day). Have you ever tried to get a table at a restaurant on this special day?  Most restaurants won’t even take reservations due to the onslaught of requests.  The sad part about all of this is that, for some women, it is the only time they get fussed over and given special attention.  Motherhood is a tough job and to raise a family and pour into their lives is a commitment that lasts a lifetime.  It takes love, patience and discipline.  The word discipline means to be a pupil or student, which means that as we teach our children, we also continue to learn how to be and give our best.

I feel blessed and grateful to be the mother of two beautiful children and now also two beautiful grandchildren.  Just a couple of weeks ago my son and daughter-in-love had their second child, my first granddaughter, Siena Rose!  I have always loved being a mother and people who know me came to know my children as well.  Back in the day, as a single mother, my children grew up intertwined in just about everything I did.  Now, as a grandmother, I feel an even bigger and deeper responsibility to sow into their lives; especially with the climate we have in the world today. When I think back on my childhood, it was my grandmother who gave me my roots and foundation of who I am today.

It takes a village to raise a child and grandparents play a key role in the village.  It is incumbent upon us to pass down family history and knowledge if we expect to keep it alive.  Part of my passion or pastime is to research my family’s history.  I enjoy learning; not only about the ethnicities and culture of my various family members, but also the community and environment from which they came.  When we learn about not just our lineage, but also about the factors (environment) surrounding them, we gain insight as to why our ancestors might have made certain choices.  We become who we are as a result of both nature and nurture. 

I want my grandchildren to respect the differences of others, but to also be proud of who they are, where they’ve come from and the sacrifices their ancestors made for them to have the opportunities they have in this world.  Sometimes it feels and looks like our society is going backwards (and to some extent there are many strides that have rolled back), but there’s always hope for a brighter future as long as there are children being born into this world.  If we want the next generation to practice love and kindness towards other human beings, we must show and exhibit that same energy towards others today.  Children don’t practice so much what they hear, but rather more of what they see.

Oprah said, “I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual teachers there is.” I believe it goes even deeper; we must put the love of God in their hearts and make sure they grow up with core values and principles that will guide the decisions they make during their lifetime.  If they have no center in which to return when tough decisions must be made, they will fall to the wayside and become unbalanced.  We can help them by providing a legacy that will heal the world and make it a better place for all.  It’s called love.

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. 

Reflections From The Sea Of Cortez

by Wendy Gladney on 04/29/19

I enjoy getting away and going down to Los Cabos, especially the area of Cabo San Lucas.  I’ve been going there now for twelve years and each time I go I enjoy it more and more.  When I turned 50 (seven years ago), I even thought about moving there and starting a new life, but as circumstances would have it, instead of moving there permanently I purchased fractured ownership so I could go down and visit when I want, but still live in California.  This is the best of both worlds for me.

This past week my daughter and I went down to Cabo to spend a few days to reflect, refresh and rejuvenate for the work that is ahead.  She enjoys going down with me and each time we try to do something different, new and exciting.  This time we rented our own private yacht.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to brag, things just worked out where we were granted favor and got a great deal.  While we were out on the Sea of Cortez, I laid out enjoying the sun and as I felt the slight breeze across my face I was filled with gratitude for this special opportunity.

While on the yacht our Captain, Israel, shared with us a little about the history of the area and showed us where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet.  The area where the two meet is at The Arch of Cabo San Lucas and an area called “Lover’s Beach.”  There are only a few rocks that separate the two. On one side (the Pacific Ocean) the water was a bit choppy and we were prohibited from going there for safety reasons and yet on the other side (the Sea of Cortez) it was smooth sailing.  This made me think about how rocky things are with our current political climate fighting so hard to put up barriers (walls) to what was originally part of California. Cabo sits in the area known as Baja California Sur, Mexico. 

Growing up in Riverside California our neighborhood was mixed with African Americans and Mexican Americans.  We all got along and many of us non-Mexicans even learned to speak broken English, aka Spanglish.  As a matter of fact, one of our next-door neighbors was Mrs. Martinez and she would often help my grandmother take care of me when she had something come up and needed help.  We loved and respected Mrs. Martinez. She cooked for me and was very kind and warm. She often called me Mija. As a neighborhood we cared for each other and looked out for each other’s families. 

I agree there should be rules, laws and guidelines about international issues and immigration., but I don’t think building a wall that causes hate, division and animosity is the answer. I believe there must be a more humane and compassionate way to handle this situation.  Wherever there may be misunderstandings or injustices, forgiveness, love and communication can step in to build a bridge of understanding verses a wall that will only cause more discord.  Compassion and respect can sit at the same table.

Cinco de Mayo is upon us and some say that Mexican-Americans might even celebrate it more than their relatives back home. I want to wish all my amigos and amigas a happy Cinco de Mayo commemorating the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla.  Truth be told we’ve all had “battles” we had to overcome to experience victory for a better life. Just as the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean will sometimes have rough waters when peace steps in it calms things down for smooth sailing.    

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 Key That Unlocks & Opens All Possibilities

by Wendy Gladney on 04/15/19

I was recently contacted by the organization “The Giving Keys.”  They are a company that makes necklaces out of old keys whose mission is to inspire the world to pay it forward.  They don’t just talk the talk; they walk the walk.  They have a social impact employment model and every product they sell supports job creation for people transitioning out of homelessness. They’re not a nonprofit, but rather a social enterprise. They believe that job creation helps to break generational cycles of poverty and homelessness.  Their mission is what made me interested in participating in their campaign when they reached out. Their campaigns are centered on different words they’ve pre-selected and one of those words, which resonated with me, was FORGIVENESS.

We are in the season where Christians all over the world are commemorating and celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, also known as Resurrection Sunday (Easter). The timing of “The Giving Keys” reaching out was not lost on me. They asked me to talk about the importance of forgiveness by wearing the necklace they sent, and then pay it forward by sharing a second necklace with someone else. I couldn’t help but think about how the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ represents the “key” to helping people forgive and, more importantly, the key that unlocks and opens up all possibilities. 

We live in a world that can feel hopeless and lonely.  People are hurting everywhere we look, but this isn’t new.  Mankind has struggled since the beginning of time.  The news can be depressing.  Every time we turn on the television or our computers, we learn about another person being killed, the uncertainty of how our political leaders are handling world affairs, the rise in people living on the street and increased homelessness, hunger, sex trafficking, the lack of compassion and caring about humanity and the list goes on. But I say don’t despair, don’t give up or give in, there’s hope in the One who is the key and can unlock every hindrance in our lives. The choice is up to us if we are willing to accept what He has to offer.  A life filled with hope and possibilities.

The world sees Easter as a time when everything comes alive again.  Colors seem to be more vibrant and a freshness seems to blanket the earth. Trees begin to replenish their leaves, flowers begin to bloom, the sun seems to shine just a little brighter and people appear to smile after a gloomy winter.  This is true for me as well, but not because of bunny rabbits and colorful eggs, but because I have the key that gives me hope and life.  His name is Jesus.  People who know my life story have often asked me how can you be happy and smile when you’ve experienced things that would make others angry and bitter?  First of all when I look at what some have experienced and endured, my life doesn’t seem so tragic, things could have been much worse, but no matter what any of us may have gone through or may even be experiencing right now, we are not alone and He is the key. Although I may not know what tomorrow holds, I do know who holds tomorrow.   

So this Easter, or should I say Resurrection Sunday, I wish for you a world of possibilities and the key that unlocks any lock that may be holding you back from living the life that is meant for you.  His name is Jesus.

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 Hussle is Real

by Wendy Gladney on 04/09/19

We’ve all heard the saying, “The Struggle is Real,” but what does it really mean? We all experience difficulties in life; some will face more than others. The saying has slipped into our everyday culture and is often used humorously, even when it is not funny. Just as the struggle is real, so is the hustle. We recently were made aware of the tragic and untimely loss of rapper, Ermias Joseph Asghedom aka Nipsey Hussle. His hustle was very real and he used his influence, finances and resources to help those whose “struggle is real.” His violent death, at the hands of another black man, is a shame.  Hussle had the first “smart” clothing store in history. Customers were able to purchase a shirt or piece of clothing with a QR Code attached to it. Once purchased and scanned, the code was activated and customers could listen to Hussle’s unreleased music on their smart phones. Although he may be gone, his message lives on.

Hussle, the “Double Up” rapper, was shot in the parking lot outside one of his businesses, Marathon Clothing. A business where he employed local people and gave them a hand up and not just a hand out. He died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso after being shot by a man named Eric Holder. A 33-year-old black man was killed by a 29-year-old black man. There’s a lot of conversation about police brutality against black people, but what about black on black crime?  This is a conversation we can’t ignore. 

The money from Nipsey Hussle’s clothing store was used to fund other businesses such as restaurants surrounding his own store, to renovate them and to offer healthier eating choices for the community. He was determined to make a difference. He also worked on launching a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program. He was determined to make a difference where he came from, right in the middle of Crenshaw. His program is called “Too Big To Fail.”  He wanted to make sure inner-city kids had the same opportunity as Silicon Valley kids.

As I’ve continued to learn about the life of Nipsey Hussle and what he stood for, I’m just sorry that I didn’t get a chance to meet him in person.  Hussle, along with Steph Curry, started a conversation around the importance of respecting mothers and grandmothers and the significance on how they will treat the women in their lives.  This is so importance because if men don’t have the conversation around how to treat the women in their lives, it is difficult for women to teach girls how much they matter and how they should be valued.  That’s what we teach the girls in our Forgiving For Living, Inc., Ambassador Program.  They are beautiful and should be cherished, but they must believe in themselves first.  I once heard someone say we teach people how to treat us.  I believe it starts by loving ourselves and showing respect towards one another.

I recently read that God has intention for our pain, a cause for our struggle and a compensation for our faithfulness and that we can’t give up.  Many who follow my articles know that I was close to my grandmother and that she taught me to honor my community and I will until my final breath. But we must come together and be our brother (sister’s) keeper. Starting now. Let’s honor Hussle’s legacy with a hustle of our own.

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. 

What is the PLUS in the PLUS Awards?

by Wendy Gladney on 04/01/19

I’ve always been grateful for people who go above and beyond and have a heart for helping others.  As a child I experienced abandonment by my biological mother and sexual abuse by my father.  I was raised primarily by my paternal grandmother who instilled certain core values into me that have guided my life.  My grandmother encouraged my activities in school, church and community and because of the various activities I was involved with, I became a “product of the community.”  As I worked in the community, the community sowed back into my life. Many people went above and beyond to help me, and they became the PLUS in my life.

As I grew and overcame many of the challenges of my childhood, I was often asked how did I do it? I didn’t really understand what people meant or why they were even asking me the question, but as I continued my path it became apparent to me the role forgiveness played in my life. This was the motivation for me starting the organization called, Forgiving For Living, Inc., in 1999.  Although we’ve been around for close to twenty years, the PLUS Awards has only been around for twelve years.  It is our desire to bring attention and highlight the work of people in the community that are committed to making our community a better place. They represent the PLUS. We also give out scholarships to deserving young ladies who desire to advance their education after high school.  Over the past twelve years we’ve honored close to seventy-five individuals and have given out close to $100,000.00 in scholarships!

This year Forgiving For Living, Inc., has six individuals we are honoring that have exhibited the plus in their lives by helping others and making a positive impact. The Honorable Diane Watson will receive the President’s Award.  Ms. Watson is a pioneer in opening doors for women and girls across Los Angeles and across the world in the area of politics.  She has been the first and broke barriers that women continue to walk through to this day.  Lisa Collins, Publisher of LA Focus Newspaper has been committed to making sure the community is enlightened and informed on what is happening in the faith-based community for close to a quarter of a century and she gives women and girls the opportunity to be exposed to the world of publishing.  Chief Richard Fields has been serving as a Los Angeles Firefighter and Paramedic for close to 25 years and was one of 25 firefighters from his department that immediately responded to “Ground Zero.”  Kat Connolly, is a political consultant that has been helping politicians and community leaders make thoughtful decisions for over 20 years. Tera Hilliard, President of Forgotten Children, Inc., has been on the battlefield making sure our children are not forgotten and are given the resources and help they need and deserve for a better life.  Finally, Kandee Lewis, Executive Director, The Positive Results Corporation aims to prevent and ultimately end domestic violence.

This year we will continue in our tradition of giving scholarships. Six deserving young ladies graduating from high school will receive money to help them on their journey.  Anika Rahotep from Hamilton, Kortni Washington from Eleanor Roosevelt, Milani Noel White from Crenshaw, Nia Williams from Richard Gahr, Raeje Bryant from Lawndale and Victoria Simplis from South High School.  A mind is a terrible thing to waste and Forgiving For Living, Inc., is committed to doing our part in the vineyard where we are planted. I encourage you to think about who you can sow into and be the PLUS in their life? Together we can make a lasting difference. Thank you to our sponsors:  Comerica Bank, US Bank, Torrey Pines Bank. CiT Bank, SoCalGas, Iris Smith and the Ken Brooks Family Foundation. 

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.