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Monthly Newsletter Archive

September 2010 - Celebrating Life & Another Year
August 2010 - Over The Summer
 
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"Summertime & The Livin' Is Easy"

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/27/16

Last week with the official kickoff of summer for some reason I thought it would be a good time to listen to the song Summertime.  The song was originally composed in 1934 for the opera Porgy and Bess and has been sung by many artist across several decades sharing the theme that fish are jumpin’ the cotton is high and the livin’ is easy.  As I reflected on the words of the song it prompted me to share my thoughts in my article for this week.  I asked myself are the words relevant for what we are experiencing in the world today?  It’s summertime and is the livin’ really easy?

 

When the song Summertime originally came out in the mid 1930’s it was during a decade of economic downfall known as the Great Depression.  The decade prior was known as the Roaring 20’s when people lived high on the hog so to speak, but yet people of color were still suffering.  Then came the crash of Wall Street in 1929 and the entire country had to rebuild.  As I continued to look at others who sang Summertime such as the great Sam Cooke who was popular in the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s which was also a time of chaos and change.  History has summarized the 1960’s as the decade of cultural and world political trends, as well as the Civil Rights era here in the United States.  Hope was restored and new beginnings were realized here and abroad. 

 

As I reflect on where the world is today with all of the racial divide that still exist, with the complexities of our political system, with the economic disparities and even global division around BREXIT it could look very daunting if summertime is going to be a time of living easy.  One constant in all of life is that nothing stays the same. Generation after generation will each experience their own highs and lows of life and none of us knows for certain what the future holds (although some at least know Who holds the future).  When history is written about this decade our children and our children’s children will look back at it and romanticize about the “good old days” or say our ancestors were simply nuts!

 

So as my thoughts go back to the words of the song, I am reminded that summer is a great time to relax and enjoy family and friends.  It is also a good time to get away and explore people, places and things you haven’t been able to make time for during the rest of the year.  Trouble will be with us always, but we won’t always have time to spend with our loved ones.  This summer can be the perfect time to plan a family reunion and reflect on your family history.  If there’s someone in your family that has served as the official or even unofficial historian share the legacy of your family and plant seeds for the next generation.  If no one has kept track of your family history then now is a perfect time to get started!

 

The next few months will continue to throw all of us curve balls with the Presidential election coming up in November and with the restructuring of the economic system on the global level due to BREXIT, so we might as well just relax and drink lemonade and iced tea real slow. Our parents, grandparents and great grandparents made it through and so will we.  It’s up to us to make life and living as easy as possible.   When I moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to attend UCLA I was attending Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Dr. E. V. Hill.  He used to always say, “don’t let your highs be too high and don’t let your lows be too low.”  I think this is pretty good advice any time of the year. 

 

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@wendyenterprises.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 4:30am. 

"Forgiveness Day"

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/19/16

Gandhi said, “Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”  People who have the capacity to forgive are often viewed as weak and soft, but in reality it takes more strength to forgive and truly mean it when someone has hurt or wronged you then to hold onto a grudge and be angry.  Anger is a reaction whereas practicing forgiveness is a skill that is cultivated and requires discipline.  Forgiveness is also a choice and an act of one’s will.  Each of us has the power to decide whether we will or will not forgive another individual. 

 

There are and have been various individuals that not only share about forgiveness, but practice it in their own lives such as Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Simon Wiesenthal, The Dalai Lama, Olivier Clerc and George Foster just to name a few.  If you were to google the word forgive or forgiveness so much pops up and there are many different voices. Some people approach and teach forgiveness from a spiritual point of view, whereas others come from a more humanitarian perspective. I believe they both come from a place of compassion and mindfulness. 

 

Americans and probably people everywhere enjoy celebrating or acknowledging special days.  June 26th has been recognized as “Forgiveness Day.”  This day or occasion caught my attention because of the work I do centered around forgiveness (www.forgivingforliving.org) and helping people overcome issues of their past and help provide hope for a better future.    The mission of Forgiveness Day is to stress the importance for all us to practice forgiveness while we also seek forgiveness.  Oftentimes we forget that not only do we need to forgive others, but others will need to forgive us.

 

I would like to share with you 10 steps I developed that have helped me practice forgiveness.  I call them, “Healing Without Hate:  How to Forgive to Live.”

 

  1.  Prayer or Meditation – Pray for others and set aside quiet time for yourself
  2. Counsel – Don’t be afraid to get the help you need
  3. Confront – Deal with situations head on and don’t let them fester in your heart
  4. Release – Learn to just let some things go
  5. Forgive – Pardon verses Parole the effect something or someone has on your life
  6. Attitude – Look for the positive in everything and focus on it
  7. Joy – Learn what brings you joy and happiness and don’t let anyone take it from you
  8. Goals – When you have something to live for you learn to focus more on the future and less on the past
  9. Give – Help others along your journey and you will realize you are not alone
  10. Live – Tomorrow isn’t promised so don’t let your past drag you down

 

So on this Forgiveness Day I challenge each of us to choose the path of forgiveness it will help us feel lighter and not be so heavy laden.  When we open our hearts and forgive others healing can begin and we can make a difference not only in our families, but also in our communities and with global world issues that plague our society today. #Forgiveness #Compassion #Mindfulness #CoachWendy

 

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@wendyenterprises.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 4:30am. 

"Fathers Are Worthy"

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/13/16

June typically is the time we celebrate graduations, weddings and the beginning of summer vacations.  Sandwiched between all of these activities is Father’s Day.  Traditionally fathers don’t get as much attention as mothers do for their special day, but there are some that highlight and bring attention to the worthiness of fathers.  Father’s Day brings mixed emotions for me because my father passed away several years ago and during my youth we had a tumultuous relationship, but as I grew into womanhood we were able to deal with our situation and the power of forgiveness gave us a new chance. For many years Bill Cosby (who people often said my father looked like) and his character Dr. Huxtable represented the epitome of the perfect father and husband, but eventually it came out that he was flawed. Who and what are we comparing our fathers too?

 

Many years ago I went through a divorce from my first husband the father of my children.  As a mother who experienced divorce with two children, I understand the other side of how fathers are viewed when a family dissolves.  Oftentimes, but not always, in a divorce children end up living with their mother.  If a father doesn’t really put forth an asserted effort children feel left behind or casualties of war.   There are many men that no matter what life brings they are there for their children and really take their responsibility of fatherhood seriously no matter what may come. One thing life has taught me is that as I grow older my heart has softened and it is easier to release the pain of the past and make the decision or choice to move forward with positive feelings.

 

Historically television highlighted the good things about dads with shows like “Father Knows Best.”  When children and wives needed reassurance or strength they would turn to dad. Fathers were the ones with all of the answers and we felt dad could do anything and could do no wrong. To many they compared their earthly father with a heavenly Father. Oftentimes today dads have been stereotyped as doofus and lost.  Many media outlets show an overbearing portrayal of the modern-day husband and father as lazy, incompetent and stupid.  It is important for us to pay attention to all of the fathers that are trying to get it right and lift them up.  There are some really good men in our community.   

 

There’s a woman that not only takes a stand in the courtroom on television, but also takes a stand for fathers and their good works.  Judge Mablean has been celebrating fathers for the past fourteen years with her “Honoring Unsung Fathers Awards Brunch & Concert” put on by the Mablean Ephriam Foundation.  Through her organization she focuses on the positive things being done by fathers and shares it with others.  It is true that not all fathers are deadbeats and that not enough attention is brought to those that sacrifice every day for the betterment of their families. 

 

Geoffrey Hill said, “Finally coming to terms with Father’s Day.  I blow as a Dad.  I get it.  No, I’m not an evil, abusive Father, it’s just that while all my intentions and thoughts have been out of love for my kids, my actions and behavior never measured up.”  This reminds me of the saying that I can’t hear what you are saying because I see what you are doing.  None of us want to mess up or fall short, but some of us do.  This Father’s Day let’s take dad by the hand and show him a little love and compassion and thank him for the things he has done and be grateful that he is still here and in your life.  For those of us whose fathers have already gone on, take a moment to reflect on a positive memory and smile because after all you wouldn’t be here without him.  #FathersDay #MableanEphriamFoundation

 

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@wendyenterprises.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 4:30am. 

"When The Champ Came To Riverside"

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 06/06/16

In 1977 when I was in high school I remember there was a lot of chatter that someone famous was coming to town.  This was a big deal because I grew up in a suburb outside of Los Angeles in a city called Riverside where it was not an everyday occurrence for celebrities to just stop by.  I attended Riverside Polytechnic High School and it was the mecca of my world during the late 1970’s.  I remember a helicopter set down and a car entourage was assembled where Mr. Muhammad Ali would take a tour throughout the city making several stops along the way where various individuals were chosen to be part of the motorcade.  To this day I am not sure how or why, but I was chosen to be the student from my high school to hang out and spend a day with the Champ!

 

When I heard Mr. Ali passed away from septic shock while being treated for a respiratory problem, I searched through all of my photos to try and find my picture from that infamous day when he came to Riverside.  I wasn’t able to put my finger on it right then, but I am determined to find it and frame it for my grandchildren to one day see the man that kept everyone on their toes inside and outside the ring. Although I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to find the picture of me standing with Muhammad Ali the memory of that experience will stay with me all the days of my life. 

 

Over the days and weeks to come many people will write their thoughts and possibly memories of Mr. Ali. They will talk about how many fights he won in the ring, some feel that he was not only the best boxer of all times, but possibly even the best athlete of all times.  Some remember the fact that he joined the Nation of Islam and that he defied the Vietnam draft citing religious beliefs causing him to be banned from boxing for three years.  Others may remember that even after he retired from boxing and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease he still gave his life to service through humanitarian work helping others.  He eventually was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest award given to a civilian in the United States. 

 

When I think about what will stay with me about Muhammad Ali it would be his quick wit and his use of the English language.  Whenever he would come on television or would be interviewed I wanted to hear what he had to say and how he would say it.  As a writer, I understand the power of words and how they can pull a reader into the story and help them visualize what you are trying to convey.  His words not only made you smile or laugh, but they also made you think.  I want to share a few that impacted my life and have made me try to be a better person.

 

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” I believe it is incumbent upon all of us to help our fellow brother or sister along life’s journey.  “Don’t count the days; make the days count.” Life is filled with many ups and downs and it is important to remember that tomorrow isn’t promised and we must do what we can while it is still day.  The final one I want to share is, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”  My life has been filled with taking risks as far back as I can remember.  Having giants such as my grandmother, Rebecca Ruth Reed Harris, Rosa Parks who took a seat so I could stand, and yes even Muhammad Ali who stopped by a city called Riverside to say a few words and would allow a teenager name Wendy to be part of his entourage.  A seed was planted in my life to let me know we can all be champs if we fulfill the purpose we were put on this earth to do.  #MuhammadAli #Purpose #CoachWendy

 

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@wendyenterprises.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 4:30am. 

A Letter From a Mother to Her Son On His Wedding Day

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 05/29/16

My Dearest Freddie

 

There’s nothing like the relationship between a mother and her children.  With each child you develop a unique union based on their individual personalities and idiosyncrasies. What may occur between a mother and a daughter is definitely different than what develops between a mother and her son.  My heart is full as I sit to write this letter to you the morning of your wedding day.  I pray you receive it with all the love I have for you in my heart.

 

Life is full of swift transitions and time passes so fast.  It seems like it was just yesterday that you were born and I was holding you in my arms.  You have always been a true bundle of joy with lots of energy, charisma and charm.  As a little boy you oftentimes would walk around with a frown on your face, but when you would open up and give the world your smile you could brighten up any room.  I remember when you were in grade school and you struggled with stuttering and you asked me, “Mommy what’s wrong, why do I talk like that?”  I remember telling you nothing is wrong and don’t worry God will work it out just slow down and gather your thoughts.  Well God did work it out and today you not only speak eloquently, but you speak volumes into the lives of people God puts in your path. 

 

As I pause and look back over your life to this point you have ventured out to try many things.  Growing up you tried different sports such as basketball, football, baseball or track and although you never went on to play professionally in any of these areas you gave it your best and you were a star in my eyes.  You also went on to try various forms of music taking up different instruments and then one day in college while you were on stage with your fellow Kappa Alpha Psi brothers I heard you sing with a voice that was music to my ears. I remember talking about where you would eventually go to college and when you decided on attending the University of California Irvine it gave you the freedom to go and spread your wings, but still close enough when you needed my hand.    

 

I know that life has thrown our family a few curve balls and we’ve experienced some ups and downs along the way, but I want you to know that I am truly proud of you from the depths of my heart.  As a little boy you asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior and if you keep Him the center of your life you will always be alright.   Freddie, you have stayed the course and although your race is not finished you have been faithful and true.  A mother could not ask for a better son. 

 

I don’t know what the future holds, but I definitely know who holds the future.  I am sure God has so much more in store for you and now you will have a wife that will hold your hand and will be with you every step of the way.  One day hopefully you will have children of your own and besides me having the joy of being a grandmother, you will understand a love that only comes from being a parent.  You are my son in whom I am well pleased. 

 

I will close with the prayer that I taught you and Courtney since you were little kids, “Always remember you are a Christian and a Gladney and your mother loves you with all her heart!”

 

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@wendyenterprises.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 4:30am.