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Does Your Life Reflect Love & Service?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 01/26/15

This past weekend I attended the home going service of a dear friend Dr. Carol Spellen.  I have had the honor and privilege of knowing Carol for close to a decade through another dear friend, sister and board member of Forgiving For Living, Dr. Lauren Walton.  The service was simply beautiful, thought provoking and calming to the soul.  What I took away from the day was her commitment to love and service through every aspect of her life.  She exuded friendship and goodwill to others in both her professional and personal worlds.

 

Carol has been a friend to Forgiving For Living since she was introduced to the organization several years ago.  I also learned that the kindness and concern she shared for us was just the tip of the iceberg of her love for so many.  How could one woman love so much?  She was simply amazing.  During the service one of her brothers, Andrew, shared fond memories about his sister and a couple of things really stood out to me.  Paraphrasing, he shared as he reflected on his sister, when you think of Carol you think of God and he went on to share that God is true, and God is kind, and God is love and if He is all of these things then we should tell others about Him?  Carol truly represented these attributes and you could see the goodness of God through her heart.  The question is do we reflect the love of God through our service? 

 

One thing I know to be true is that we all only have but a short time here on earth.  The more I encounter those that are transitioning from this life to the next, I am reminded that only what we do for Christ will last.  I also know that we must get out of ourselves and really think about others.  As I visited Carol at the hospital during her last days, all I can think about is how she was concerned about the needs of others and how she could help.  Her smile would embrace you as you entered her room and you were ushered over to sit next to her.  She would take your hand and just look into your face and smile.  When was the last time we took a moment to just sit with someone and listen to their heart?

 

What is true friendship?  When we call someone a friend are we faithful?  Oftentimes we get caught up in lip service and we say one thing while doing another.  Yes, we live in a time where we are in such a hurry to run here and run there chasing one thing or another.  If we are honest many of us are trying to get all we can, can all we get, and then just sit on the can.  We need to open our can and share with others.  We need to have our life be one of love and service.  During the repass after the service, I was sitting at a table where a young man was sharing his experience with Carol.  He said he was hired to do some handy work around her house and some kind of way it came out that he was experiencing a problem.  Carol told him to come over, take a seat and talk to her.  He went on to say, no I have to get my work done.  She said that can wait, let us work on the problem.  Can we follow that example and help others work through a problem? You just might change a life.

 

Mahatma Gandhi once said, The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.  Carol through your faithfulness,  commitment to love and service you were definitely found!

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

Charles Walker Thank You For Being A Mentor That Touches Lives!

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 01/18/15

January is National Mentoring Month.  As the Founder and President of Forgiving For Living, Inc., it has always been my goal to have mentoring as a key component to the work we do.  Our mission hinges on the success we know mentorship brings to the lives of those we teach.  Marian Wright Edelman said, “Service is the rent we pay for being.  It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.” We have to remember someone is always watching us and whether you are an official mentor or not, your actions are speaking into someone’s life.

 

I recently had the honor of attending a dear friend’s 70th birthday party.  His name is Charles Walker and we met over thirty years ago in church.  Little did I know how much his friendship, commitment to his family and loyalty to Christ would be a light that ignites a new fire in my life today.  Through the years I have always remembered his birthday and various other special occasions by sending a card and reaching out to his family.  Little did I know my gesture of kindness would be something special and I would be invited by his family to share in his birthday celebration. I am grateful. 

 

As I reflected over the events of the night, I saw people that I hadn’t seen in ten, twenty or thirty years, but yet they were the same as I always remembered.  There’s something to say about consistency and continuity that brings you back to your center.  When I think about the example of Charles Walker, his life is exactly what a mentor is all about.  The dictionary defines a mentor as an experienced and trusted adviser.  He has demonstrated these qualities in both his personal and professional life.  Until sharing in the festivities for his 70th birthday party, I didn’t realize the depth of how much his walk had touched my life.

 

Sometimes it takes a lifetime before we realize how others have touched our lives.  When they are the real deal the impression they leave is indelible.  What we do with that mark is up to us, but it is imperative that we give back.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would not be where I am today if it had not been for those that took time to sow into my life. Some mentors are official and some are unofficial, but they all matter.

 

While on this earth we only have one life to live, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it alone.  There are people all around us that are willing to lend a helping hand if we are willing to open our eyes and see who is in front of us.  As we celebrate this month dedicated to mentoring, I want to challenge each of us to find someone that we can spend time with and share a bit of knowledge we’ve learned along the way.  On the flip side if there’s someone you’ve admired from afar and you think they can be a blessing in your life, don’t be afraid to speak up and let them know.  You just might be surprised from their response. 

 

Charles Walker thank you for being a giant in this world and for letting your life and work speak for you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

Keeping Our Eye on the Prize Can Be Difficult When We Don’t Know What the Prize is?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 01/11/15

The precipice of where we stand to today is critical.  We are currently at the intersection of how our society will be judged in years to come.  We are told that we live in a great nation, if not the greatest nation on earth, America.  It is true that we have made many advances and have come a mighty long way, but when you look at history, so much is being repeated that should have been lessons learned so long ago.  Where have we gone wrong?  Why do people hold onto hatred and have a hard time extending forgiveness and understanding?  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.  He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.  There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.  When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.   

 

We as African Americans are the descendants of a great people.  We have survived toils and dangers beyond belief.  We made it through the passages while traveling in the hulls of slave ships.  We made it through slavery, reconstruction and segregation.  We are at the time of year where we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the work he did in his lifetime to promote justice and civil rights for every man, woman and child.  This past week I had the opportunity to take my niece to see the film Selma directed by Ava DuVernay.  What I found quite interesting is although my niece is a freshman in college and comes from what we think is a conscious family, she did not know or understand what really happened and what was achieved during the civil rights movement.  Our discussion made me question where did we go wrong as a family?  As a community we have to make sure our history does not get lost.  It would be a great tragedy if the sacrifices made by our ancestors were made in vain. 

 

More than ever we need to keep our eyes on the prize.  To do this we have to understand and be clear what is the prize.  The phrase Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, comes from a folk song that became popular during the civil rights movement.  The song encouraged those that were fighting so hard and laying their lives on the line to remember the goal and not get distracted by the obstacles that would eventually come.  When aiming to accomplish great things, it is important to stay motivated during tough times.  Many times the things that we encounter are only distractions of a bigger problem. 

 

In 1964 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.  Dr. King was very clear what the prize was that he was fighting for.  The question I would ask is do we know what we are fighting for?  We must learn to all come together and make society a better place for all mankind.  We can keep his legacy alive by learning to communicate with one another, love one another, forgive one another and work together for the common good of all mankind. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

Vision Boards: If You Can See It You Can Achieve It!

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 01/03/15

Last week I talked about the importance of having a plan going into 2015.  This week I will share how to take a plan and put it in a format that makes it easy for us to visualize what we hope and want to accomplish. No matter what our background, age, gender or artistic capabilities, vision boards are on the rise as a tool people use to make their dreams and goals a reality.  They are not a new concept and people have been making them in one form or another for years, but for some reason they are becoming more popular than ever.  As the saying goes if you can see it you can achieve it.

 

Another way to think of a vision board is as a road map or a collage of words, pictures, affirmations, or thoughts that express what is on your mind and in your heart.  You can make your vision boards as complicated or simplistic as you desire.  I appreciate people that are able to express themselves by drawing, but that is not one of my skillsets.  Therefore my vision boards are filled more with words and photos that I take from personal collections, newspapers or magazines.  I also collect quotes from people I admire that motivate me in my line of work.   Building your vision board is not a contest. Do not worry if your board does not look professional.  The main thing is that it resonates and speaks to you.

 

I have been doing vision boards off and on since I was a young girl.  I remember taking pictures out of magazines depicting images of women that I thought were beautiful and the way they dressed and pasting them to poster boards.  Back then I did not understand the subliminal messages that lie beneath the surface of what we take in on a regular basis.  With this in mind it is important to be careful what you include in your layout on your board. 

 

Over the years as I expanded the type of reading I engaged in and started noticing how people talked about their vision boards as an expression of their goals, I began to take mine to a whole new level.  Now I actually include all aspects of my life on my board including personal, professional, health and spiritual.  I actually make different vision boards for different reasons, but each year when I make my main board for that year, I also include on the flip side my goals written out in detail to expand my visual. This helps me to chart and measure my progress a little better. 

 

Today everywhere you look people are sharing their vision boards.  Famous people such as Oprah and even author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield, talk about vision boards and how they use them as tools.  If you don’t know where to begin you can even go online and search for apps and templates that speak to your taste and flavor.  Once you complete your board make sure you place it in a location where you are able to look at it on a regular basis, this will help keep you on track and motivated.  Your board should inspire you and help attract what you want in your life.  If necessary do not be afraid to adjust or revamp your board as you see fit. As you look back over the years you will see a beautiful and evolving journey.

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

Do You Have A Plan?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 12/28/14

Happy New Year!  This time of year makes most of us look at what we accomplished over the past twelve months and assess what our goals are going to be in the year to come. If you are active on Facebook, they even send you a snapshot of what they consider to be the highlights of your year.  When we sit down to write out what our goals and plans for the year will look like, how many of us actually really put thought and action into what we say we plan to accomplish?  The key word to this question is plan.  Many different variables can play a role in whether we achieve the desired results we are hoping for, but making a plan is critical.  As the saying goes, Most people don’t plan to fail, this just fail to plan.

 

A good acronym to follow when laying out a PLAN is:

 

P - Prepare

L – Learn

A - Aim

N – Necessary

 

It is always important to do the necessary preparation to lay a solid foundation for the journey you expect to take.  When we prepare it helps to eliminate mistakes that come when we do things by the seat of our pants or haphazardly.  Learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.  When I was little I used to hear my father say, a sore head makes for a sore behind.  This is what happens when we go through life instead of grow through life.  Also take time to learn something new this year.  Find something new that will help you become better at your craft and purpose.   Aim to be your best in all that you do.  Oftentimes we cut ourselves short because we do not reach our real potential due to aiming too low.  Finally, do what is necessary.  I do not mean compromising your morals or values, but start thinking out of the box.  Be willing to go above and beyond what is expected. There are no real shortcuts in life.  If you want to be your best you have to give your best.  Nobody who has really excelled at something achieved it by sitting on the sidelines. 

 

When I look back at my life I realize that even with all the right planning there are some things that did not turn out the way I hoped.  Sometimes it is because of detours I took or I may have just gotten off course.  Sometimes it may have been due to circumstances beyond my control.  Life is filled with swift transitions and sometimes we have to make adjustments along the way.  So as you challenge yourself to be your best in 2015 mind, body and soul, stay fluid so you do not crumble if adjustments must be made.  Every experience can be used as a building block in your ultimate journey.  Even our mistakes! A good rule of thumb is to pray as if it all depends on God and work as if it depends on you.  Then wherever you end up will be on the right side.

 

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

 

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am.