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An Interview With Jesus This Christmas

by Wendy Gladney on 12/16/19

Growing up as a child I really enjoyed this time of year.  As much as I enjoy the festivities of the holiday season, I’ve never been caught up in the commercialism of Christmas.  I certainly do my share of gift giving and decorating my home; but overall, I try to stay focused on the true meaning of the season, which is to celebrate the birth of Christ.  In my grandmother’s home growing up we didn’t have a lot of gifts, but we had a lot of love.  Love is what we were told to share, both internally as a family as well as externally to others – especially during this time of year.

As I sit in the quietness of the moment, I wonder what Jesus would think about how we celebrate his own birth? Do people still believe that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” or has that sentiment been lost? I do understand that not everyone is a Christian and therefore may not connect Jesus with Christmas. But when we stop to think about it, the name of the holiday (holy-day) contains the name of CHRIST.  I completely understand that the “holidays” encompass several different traditions and religious beliefs, which I respect. But CHRISTmas, specifically, is in celebration of the birth of Christ.

I thought about what it would be like to interview Jesus and ask him what he thinks of how Christmas is celebrated today.  It is definitely different than what we learn from Bible stories of the first Christmas, when He was born in a manager, wrapped in swaddling clothing.  He lived on this earth for only 33 years and his ministry lasted for only approximately three years, but the impact of his life has stood the test of time from generation to generation. I believe Jesus would be more concerned how we show compassion, grace, mercy and love towards our fellow, man rather than getting caught up in hoopla and consumerism.

Most of my life I always heard about how Jesus was the exemplary demonstration of love.  He showed this by healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding the hungry and caring for the homeless. And in an ultimate expression of love, he gave his life for all of us so we could have eternal life. With this in mind, I believe the best way to celebrate Christ’s birthday, is to give the gift He so freely gave – love. As we go about hanging lights on our homes and trees this year, let’s not forget about the One who came to be the light of the world.  Let’s not be afraid to share this hope during a time when many feel hopeless.  Be light. Be love.

Ram Dass said, “Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It's not 'I love you' for this or that reason, not 'I love you if you love me.' It's love for no reason, love without an object.”

From our house to yours, we hope you are surrounded by love and light this Season. Merry Christmas!

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.


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

by Wendy Gladney on 12/10/19

Have you ever known someone whose attitude seems to be too good to be true?  Do you know someone who always seems to find the positive in life and wears a smile no matter what they may be experiencing? Over the years I’ve known a few people that fit this description and I wondered how they could carry on this way day after day.  Some people have even thought of me in this fashion, but I know that it is not easy; and it is a choice one makes on purpose every day.  It is a practice.

I recently went to the movies to see the film, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” The movie gave an insight into the life of Mr. “Fred” Rogers from the perspective of a journalist named Lloyd Vogel who was assigned by Esquire Magazine to do a piece on him being a hero.  As Lloyd interviewed Mr. Rogers and spent time with him, he felt that the image he projected was too good to be true.  He felt that he must be putting on an act.   Lloyd’s personal attitude or spirit came across to me as more pessimistic than optimistic. Not really trying to see the positive side of a situation.

Over the course of time, in the various conversations Lloyd and Mr. Rogers had together, the tables began to turn, and Mr. Rogers began to ask Lloyd questions -- making Lloyd a bit agitated and uncomfortable. Lloyd had no desire to open up and share anything about himself or personal life, but there was something about the sincerity of the way Mr. Rogers spoke to him that made the walls of his hesitation begin to come down.  Because of the genuine interest Mr. Rogers showed in Lloyd he allowed himself to become vulnerable, which ultimately began the process of healing for some of the past issues in Lloyd’s life. It’s amazing how people will open up when they feel someone is genuinely interested in them.

This scenario really spoke to me because Lloyd’s main problem centered around his relationship with his father and some issues that were from his childhood.  When Mr. Rogers was talking with Lloyd, one of the questions he asked was, “have you forgiven your father?” He shared with him how important forgiveness is and although we may never get to a place where we can forget, it is never too late to forgive someone.  This is the same thing I experienced. I had to learn how to forgive both of my parents for what I experienced as a child regarding the way I was treated by both my mother and father.  I’ve never forgotten what happened to me, but I have been able to forgive them and move forward with my life.

In order to have more good days than bad days and to make them beautiful, we must learn to release some things in our life that continue to hold us back.  I’m not saying this is easy because it isn’t; but it is possible.  We must remember that it is a choice we make every day to practice looking at life as the glass half full verses half empty.  We must learn to identify our hot buttons that can send us off into a negative direction and learn to control them so that we have the discipline to make choices that will have better results.

Watching the film about Mr. Rogers, I never paid attention to the “message behind the message” of what he was delivering day after day on his program.  He really wanted to touch the lives of children and hopefully have a positive impact on how they dealt with life.  Well, I would have to say he did a pretty good job! Thank you Mr. Rogers for helping to make neighborhoods a little more 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. 

What Lies Beneath the Surface in Your Life?

by Wendy Gladney on 12/05/19

Recently my pastor was preaching a sermon on character.  As I listened to his sermon, and then reviewed my notes, I stopped and did my own self-reflection. The basis of his message focused on who we are when no one is looking. At the end of the day, are you a person of integrity or are you easily swayed by popular opinion?  Another way to think of this is to examine an iceberg.  Most icebergs only show approximately 10% of what they are made of and the remaining 90% lies below the surface of the water. People can also be like an iceberg where we only see 10% of who they really are and 90% is hidden.

During his sermon, Pastor Diego talked about the tragic situation with the Titanic and how it went down in 1912 after hitting an iceberg.  Information has come forth that shows there were several warnings sent to the ship that icebergs were ahead, but they were either ignored or not taken seriously. By the time the crew acknowledged the iceberg was ahead, it was too late to act.  Oftentimes things that are below the surface are ignored or not taken seriously until it is too late.  What lies below the surface can sink our lives. What warnings do you have in your life that show you are not quite on course?

When discussing this subject, we must look at the difference between one’s character versus reputation.  What is character? It is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. Is your character strong and of good quality or is it not so positive?  What about your reputation? One’s reputation is the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about them. Some say one’s character is who they really are (including under the surface), whereas our reputation is more about what we want people to think and what we are willing to show them.

I believe we should aim to have our character and reputation in sync with one another.  When you are truly the same behind closed doors as you are in the public arena it means you are trustworthy, you walk with integrity and basically try to live an honest life.  Ask yourself: is it easy for you to tell the truth about something, even when it is not in your best interest to do so? Are you able to forgive others even when you prefer to hold onto a grudge? What is inside of us will ultimately determine our lives and the choices we make. What is beneath the surface will eventually be revealed.

There are things we can do and practice that can help us align our character and reputation. It is important for us to practice self-discipline.  Practicing self-discipline is a good practice for everything in our lives.  Self-discipline requires that we do what is right and what must be done; oftentimes, over what we may feel we would like to do.  We must also learn to be committed to our core values and convictions. We must be clear on what we won’t bend or flex on that could cause us to make conflicting decisions.

As I’ve shared in other articles I’ve written, much of our lives boil down to the choices we make. The earlier we can establish what we stand for will help us to build our character. Ultimately, we must be true to ourselves.  It has been said we can lie to others, but we can’t lie to ourselves.  Frederick Douglass said, I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

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. 

Do You Have an Attitude of Gratitude During This Season?

by Wendy Gladney on 11/25/19

When I teach about forgiveness, step number six (of my 10 steps) talks about the importance of embracing an “attitude of gratitude.”  This Thanksgiving, as we gather amongst family and friends, let’s be grateful for all our blessings as we also try to be a blessing to others; especially the less fortunate.  Thanksgiving represents the “kick-off” of the holiday season, where people look forward to celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe to just name a few.  How will you show your gratitude for all the wonderful people, places and things that are a part of your life?

I know for some, this past year may have had its share of trials and tribulations and I understand.  Although I live a very open and public life that shows a lot of joy, I too experience things that are not so positive and I am sensitive to the hurts and pains of others. One of the lessons I’ve learned is that no matter what we may go through there’s always someone else that has had it a little harder.  As long as we are above ground, we have another opportunity to make things better and improve our lot in life.  Our attitude plays a big role on our outlook and ultimately our outcome in life.

When you look at a glass, do you see it as half full or half empty?  When you awake in the morning is your attitude, “Good Morning God” or, “Good God; it’s Morning”? Remember, our perspective and how we internalize and think about things makes a difference.  Thoughts become actions. Before we can ever put our hands to doing anything, we must first think about it and visualize it.  Therefore, we must have an attitude of gratitude throughout our lifetime if we expect to see the brighter side of things.  

I believe our attitude is our choice.  If I am working on trying to improve my attitude, one of the things I do is make a list of all my blessings and all of the things I am grateful for.  The more I focus on the things I have to be grateful for, the less I have time to focus on the negatives or the things that may not be going as I would hope. My perspective begins to change and instead of feeling down I can smile.  Another thing I’ve learned over time is when I am a little down and having a hard time, I begin to help others more.  The more we help others, the less time we have to focus on ourselves. 

I would like to encourage all of us to pause before we get caught up in the throes of the holidays to practice kindness to all mankind.  Remember humanity is fragile and it is incumbent upon all of us to do our share of uplifting others along the way.  This is the perfect time to try and be less interesting and more interested in the lives of others.  Go out of your way to help someone that could use a little help from what you have to offer. I guarantee you will feel better and be grateful for the blessings in your life.

William Arthur Ward shared; “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” Let’s all be the change this season by having an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving.  Let’s take the focus off ourselves and turn our face to helping someone in need.  Helping others always makes me grateful.  Happy Thanksgiving!  


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. 

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.