Broken Fences: Freedom in Forgiveness

The other day I was having a usual deep philosophical discussion with my daughter, Maddie. I talked to her about how a person can make up for past mistakes. The analogy I gave was one I heard awhile ago. If you walk past a fence and knock it down, you have to go back and repair or replace the fence. We discussed intent. That’s an important question. There is more culpability if you knock the fence down on purpose. However, imagine that you walked by with a stick and didn’t know you were knocking down the fence. It was an accident. I explained that the fence is still broken because of your action so you have to go back and fix it. She said something incredibly insightful. Maddie said, “It depends what the fence owner thinks. Maybe he would understand it was just a mistake and it’s okay. You don’t have to go back and fix it. He’d take care of it.” She makes a great point. God is a fence owner who understands and He keeps fixing our mistakes if we ask Him to.

Most people agree that holding on to our past mistakes or grudges against others who have hurt us, will leave us standing in the same spot or going backwards. So why is it so hard for us to make the choice to move on? Many times it is the simple fact that we are unwilling to forgive ourselves and/or others. I’ve heard people say that forgiving others is important because it benefits the forgivers by offering a release, making them feel better. This is favorable for their own health and other personal relationships. I believe this to be true, however it lacks motivation. If we were to act on what makes us feel better, than we would probably be more likely to hold on to that anger. Anger feels good because it feels like justice. Several years back I had dinner with the Dean of the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, Gladys Sweeney. In her scholarly fashion she stated, “Mercy is the ultimate form of justice, but if we do not know love, we cannot know this.” If God forgives us and loves us, then are we not called to forgive and love others in just the same manner?

Making amends for the harm we have caused others is another step in finding freedom from the bondage of the past. If it is possible to make it up to the person you have harmed, try to do that. There is no way to go back and change the past, but we have right now and hopefully time in the future to make up for our transgressions. Over time, people do heal by our love and affirmative actions. If it is not possible to do good for someone you have wronged, then do good for others. If you stole or cheated someone, give back what you have taken. If you are unable to give restitution directly to that person, make a donation to a charity. There are many places who will gladly accept donations. For example, there are many organizations who help more than 11 million Syrian refugees, many of them children. Organizations like Catholic Relief Services have helped over 1.25 million war affected Syrians by providing food, basic supplies, shelter and clear information about legal options for seeking asylum and international protection. You may also find a local organization to donate, such as Give To Others. The point is to be proactive to build up and restore others to make up for causing damage or being destructive, whether it was accidental or deliberate. Making the world a better place in some way can help us make peace with ourselves by knowing we contributed to others growth and well being.

Everyone makes mistakes. Our imperfections make us human. Forgiving ourselves makes us kinder toward others. If we make the decision to forgive, we begin to heal. We will also see ourselves with more clarity. If we examine why we committed our offenses, most of the time we will see that we acted out of some type of need. The greatest human need is to be loved. Many mistakes are made because we need love and do not know how to get it. Knowing our needs helps us to avoid future mistakes and find healthier ways of meeting our needs. Whatever haunts you, face it, do your best to make amends. Then bury it. For good.

‘IF’: Possibly the Biggest Small Word There is!

The thing that scares most people, is one of my favorite things about life. We do not know what’s around the next corner. Our entire lives can change in an instant, whether it be a visiting a new place, making a decision, new career or project, or a new person coming into our lives. Sure, tragedy and loss are also possible. Most of us are not strangers to some type of loss. Hopefully, we have gained more than we have lost. Even if we have lost more than we have gained, if we are still alive then we have a chance and the hope to gain. That brings me to the word ‘IF’. The word ‘if’ signals the change if you will allow it. ‘If’ is only found in silence.

I had the amazing privilege and honor to visit a dear friend at a cloistered Trappist monastery, St. Joseph’s Abbey, this past weekend. Amidst the noise and busy-ness of life I have more than once imagined a life of complete silence-for a minute or so, of course! 🙂 After all, I enjoy people and conversation. As I walked the halls of the Abbey, I noticed a sound that was distinct and vaguely familiar, but I could not place it. After standing in the library surrounded by the knowledge of books on endless bookshelves softly lit by the gentle rays of sunlight that peacefully fell through the large wooden windows, I identified the sound. It was silence. The deep, unhindered, powerful sound of silence. It was beautiful. We live in world that runs from silence. Even if we do manage to get some silence, the noise in our head keeps us from really understanding its significance. I stood there in the quiet for a few moments and my new favorite word ‘IF’ came to me.

Silence is full of possibilities if we are open to it. Silence asks two questions: Who do you listen to? What do you really want? The first question reminds me of Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God”. Imagine for a second you could believe there is a very personal God out there who loves you and wants to tell you something. Wouldn’t anyone want to listen? The next question addresses the noise in our lives. Our culture constantly tells us to get ahead, acquire more, gain more power, more money, more pleasure and entertainment. If we could break free from those ideals for a moment and ask ourselves what we really want, deep down I think most of us would want more love, happiness and peace. Possessing money and power will not attain these objectives. Pleasure can be a cheap counterfeit for what we sincerely seek. The world has confused sex and pleasure with love. At times love contains sex, but sex never contains love. We as a culture stay on the hamster wheel with distractions and noise, so we do not have see the emptiness of our vain pursuits. What if we could see silence as the place for wonderful possibilities, instead of the void where we see our disappointments? This is the secret that monks have discovered. Silence is the place where we can recharge, prioritize, and see possibilities beyond our greatest dreams if we are open to it.

‘IF’: Possibly the Biggest Small Word There is!

The thing that scares most people, is one of my favorite things about life. We do not know what’s around the next corner. Our entire lives can change in an instant, whether it be a visiting a new place, making a decision, new career or project, or a new person coming into our lives. Sure, tragedy and loss are also possible. Most of us are not strangers to some type of loss. Hopefully, we have gained more than we have lost. Even if we have lost more than we have gained, if we are still alive then we have a chance and the hope to gain. That brings me to the word ‘IF’. The word ‘if’ signals the change if you will allow it. ‘If’ is only found in silence.

I had the amazing privilege and honor to visit a dear friend at a cloistered Trappist monastery, St Joseph’s Abbey, this past weekend. Amidst the noise and busy-ness of life I have more than once imagined a life of complete silence-for a minute or so, of course! 🙂 After all I enjoy people and conversation. As I walked the halls of the Abbey, I noticed a sound that was distinct and vaguely familiar, but I could not place it. After standing in the library surrounded by the knowledge of books on endless bookshelves softly lit by the gentle rays of sunlight that peacefully fell through the large wooden windows, I identified the sound. It was silence. The deep, unhindered, powerful sound of silence. It was beautiful. We live in world that runs from silence. Even if we do manage to get some silence, the noise in our head keeps us from really understanding its significance. I stood there in the quiet for a few moments and my new favorite word ‘IF’ came to me.

Silence is full of possibilities if we are open to it. Silence asks two questions: Who do you listen to? What do you really want? The first question reminds me of Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God”. Imagine for a second you could believe there is a very personal God out there who loves you and wants to tell you something. Wouldn’t anyone want to listen? The next question addresses the noise in our lives. Our culture constantly tells us to get ahead, acquire more, gain more power, more money, more pleasure and entertainment. If we could break free from those ideals for a moment and ask ourselves what we really want, deep down I think most of us would want more love, happiness and peace. Possessing money and power will not attain these objectives. Pleasure can be a cheap counterfeit for what we sincerely seek. The world has confused sex and pleasure with love. At times love contains sex, but sex never contains love. We as a culture stay on the hamster wheel with distractions and noise, so we do not have see the emptiness of our vain pursuits. What if we could see silence as the place for wonderful possibilities, instead of the void where we see our disappointments? This is the secret that monks have discovered. Silence is the place where we can recharge, prioritize, and see possibilities beyond our greatest dreams if we are open to it.

IT’S A NEW DAWN, IT’S A NEW DAY! 5 Tips to Color Your Summer with Music

GUEST BLOGGER UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT SOPHOMORE MADDIE BYER
Every year when summer is on its way, there is a unique energy in the air. We all feel it—it’s what makes us dream of palm branches swaying in the breeze, or cold margaritas condensing by the beach. Summer is a time to be upbeat and happy. It’s a time to discover new things about ourselves while things are a little slower, calmer, and less chaotic. This is the time to embrace lots of different levels of happy feelings. It’s my own personal belief that nothing quite sets the mood like good music. Music speaks to us in lots of different ways if we let it. Here are some tips on how to color your summer with music!
1. Step outside of your comfort zone. Summer marks the start of new adventures. That said, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone when it comes to music. Go see a concert by a band that you’ve never heard of! Outdoor concerts especially can be amazing experiences. Support local musicians when they play at venues near you! This goes for genres as well. Always been a rock and roll kind of person? Maybe try mixing it up with some pop or electronic. Never listen to anything but dance music? You might be surprised by how appealing jazz can sound when you’re relaxing by the pool or reading a good book underneath a tree. Is there a genre that you’ve always hated? Maybe revisit it. Don’t be afraid to give new music a chance because there’s nothing more refreshing than discovering a new favorite song that’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard or liked before.
2. Mix up your genres. Speaking of refreshing, variety is always a good thing. There are lots of different moods associated with summer. Some days are chill and breezy, while others are wild and crazy. You can reflect this through music by switching up your genres. Taking a long drive through some country roads? Find some fun country music to listen to! Having lots of people over and serving up some drinks? Have a dance or hip-hop playlist ready! Feeling nostalgic about happy summer memories or spending some time alone outside? Turn on some of your favorite classics!
3. Listen to international music. If you only listen to Western music, you are seriously limiting yourself. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been thoroughly charmed by 2017 Latin pop on the charts, and good news! There’s lots more like this. Latino pop is a favorite among Americans, but it’s not just Latino music that can give off such a warm, summery vibe. There’s French, African, Chinese, you name it!
4. Happy lyrics will make you happier. Lyrics are a really important aspect of music. If you’re on your way to the beach and a break-up song comes on the radio, that may not be the best way to prep yourself for some summer fun. Find something that makes you feel cheerful and excited! Think of the classic lyric, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me. And I’m feeling good.” This is the kind of mood you want to be in during your relaxing months of summer.
5. Don’t just listen to music during big moments. Everyone listens to music while they go dancing at the bar, or when they go to a summer concert. These are great times to listen to music, but try to extend yourself beyond this. All the time is a great time to jam to some music. Listen to a fun song, like Thunder by Imagine Dragons, while you’re doing some cleaning or getting ready for an event. If you wake up in a bad mood, throw on some happy music! Find some upbeat music to listen to even during those boring car rides to work or the grocery store. You may just find yourself starting to feel happier overall!

Stuck For Ideas: 4 Steps to a Sensational Summer

About now, most of us are feeling the pressures that come with Summer planning. Work, trips, sports camps, music camps and family vacations circling in your mind. Which ones to choose? Summer is a time when we are supposed to be able to slow down and relax a little with family and friends. Don’t let anxiety rob you of memories that last a life time. The key to a good Summer is having a strategy. Here are 4 steps to help you plan for a sensational Summer.
1.Don’t Plan Too Big. If you’re like me, then you will buy your first bike and immediately begin dreaming of taking a trip cross country. Once I thought it through, I decided to enjoy a 10 mile ride before I would think of biking over 2000 miles. Don’t plan too much or too big. It will kill the moment. When it comes to our children, they do not need big or extended activities. One of my son’s best memories is when we picked up barbecue chicken dinners at a local church and had an impromptu picnic in the park, complete with playing on the playground. Look at your community website for small activities, such as movies in the park, special events in the library and festivals. There are memories to made everywhere, right here right now.
2.Involve Your Kids in the Planning Process. I have a checklist of places I would like to visit. Over the years I have checked many destinations off of my list. Summer is great time to travel. Naturally I enjoy bringing my children on my adventures with me. Choosing which destinations to cover this year has been weighing on my mind. Are we ready for the cross country drive or should we head north to Canada? Deciding to ask my children what they would like to do was a great decision. I discovered the place they really want to go is only two hours away. Easier than I thought. As children grow up, you can’t just take them with you wherever you go. They have ideas-and plans, of their own. Asking them is a win-win because there are places they want to go and they are happy you will take them there. You can enjoy your list on your own time. Everyone wants a vacation with no friction.
3.Look for Deals. Check out popular sites to find deals for your family or personal adventures. Subscribing to online market places can help you with ideas and savings. Activities range from hourly, daily or weeklong adventures in places you may have never thought of. Make sure you read the fine print before you purchase. Many offers have some limits you will need to consider before committing, though most of the fine print is reasonable.
4.Use Your Smartphone. In world where many are ranting about the overuse of smartphones, I need to express that the technology of a Smartphone is incredible. There is a reason they call it “smart”. It saves you time, takes you to some amazing places you may never find on your own AND allows you to capture the events with a high quality camera. On a recent trip to New York City, I employed my GPS Walking Directions to help me make my way across town. My Smartphone GPS took me on a route I would normally not take. This route allowed me to have a nice lunch at Grand Central Station, have the best coffee I’ve ever had in Greenwich Village and take the High Line, a walking park above New York City. Having a Smartphone also allows me to check in on work needs in an efficient and timely manner, while enjoying my time “on the go”. Don’t be afraid to say, “Siri, directions to the nearest museum or park!” on your next adventure. You will be surprised at what you will find.

Making Summer sensational is all about planning, good communication with your travel partners and bringing along the right tools to help you. Also, be flexible and include some last minute, short adventures when the opportunity arises. Nothing will take the place of simply enjoying the place and the moment you are in.

Summer Lovin’: 4 Tips to Get Ready For Summer (And Weight Loss is Only One of Them!)

Summer has suddenly parked itself right in front of us. Don’t panic, even if you haven’t seen your legs (or anything else in daylight) since last November. However brief, Spring gives us a great window of opportunity to maximize our Summer experience. A few steps and you’ll be on your way to a fabulous Summer!
1. Evaluate the Situation and Act. That extra 5-10 pounds? I’m calling it a defense mechanism against the cold weather. We just don’t need the insulation anymore. Figure out honestly just how much insulation you’d like to get rid of. But ladies, for God’s sake, don’t punish or starve yourselves. You are more than the ever changing and subjective numbers on your clothes. Instead, pick an activity that you enjoy and make time for yourself to do it. I recently bought the first bike I’ve ever owned. Riding is not a chore or drudgery, like the gym at 5 am (I’m actually nauseous just thinking about it!) Biking is something I look forward to and it also gets me into tip top shape. Find your activity and have some fun!
2. Wear the Correct Size Clothing. As a former Booking Director at AMS Models & Talent, I can assure you that unless you’re an 18-25 year old runway model, size doesn’t matter. However, what does matter is that you are wearing clothes that fit you, not 1-2 sizes too small. This is a common mistake in a size obsessed culture. It’s also an issue because a 12 in one brand is an 8 in another. Again, get over the number. Make sure your clothes fit you. Wearing clothes that are too small looks sloppy and can actually make you look bigger than you are. Not to mention the discomfort of cutting off your circulation. Imagine a life where you’re not desperate to get home just to unbutton your pants. 🙂 This leads to my next tip.
3. Be Kind to Yourself. Take inventory. Trust me, even supermodels don’t look like supermodels. They are heavily made up and then photoshopped. Don’t compare yourself to someone who isn’t even real. Figure out your attributes and accent them. Everyone has something that makes them beautiful. Remember, there is nothing more attractive than personality and kindness. My guess is that if we are kinder and more encouraging to ourselves, we’ll be kinder and more encouraging to others, leading to an overall sense of happiness. You are beautiful!
4. Make a Checklist to Get Summer Ready. It can be overwhelming when you think of all you have to do after being bundled in layers for months. It is also very expensive. Make a list of all you have to do to be the best version of yourself. Then, choose your plan of attack. If you cannot afford to go to the spa, google ideas on how do it for yourself at home. One popular trend is to use coffee grounds to exfoliate your skin. A Spa service provider, Ha, insists the result is baby soft skin. (Caution! This may wreak havoc on your tub). You may also decide to get one service a week until you are in good shape for Summer. Making a Summer maintenance “To Do” list will help you manage time and your wallet, and keep stress at bay.
I was recently reminded by my friend and Dale Carnegie educator, Jeff Goldstein, that we should always be enthusiastic no matter what age we are. No excuses! The trick is to focus on what we want, not the cost of getting there. The point of getting ready for Summer is that we can enjoy it. These tips are only a few ways to help in the process.

When Your Angel Goes to College: 5 Tips to Help in the College Process

Sending my two girls off to college within the last two years has given me a crash course in parent “collegology”. The college chapter is when the whole family is on a roller coaster that doesn’t get back to the place where you all got on. You and your college bound student are in the front car that speeds up at every twist and turn. The new goal is not only getting your young adult to college, but not derailing the whole family all together. Tensions are high, uncertainty is your daily bread. Days and even moments can go from your student counting down the days until they leave, to sadness about leaving everything they know “behind”. Hang in there parents. This ride will stop. Your job in the process is to get control of the ride. Here are 5 steps to help you do just that.
1. Lighten Up. We wonder why teens think college is a life or death situation. It’s because they see adults act like it is. For example, all through high school, schools and parents put a ton of pressure on kids to exceed, excel, do better, do more-oh and remember to join every club you can so you appear socially conscious to colleges. Whoa. That’s a tall order for a teen. Imagine as a parent at this time in life if this type of pressure were put on us. When we’re older life success does not depend on how we live for only 4 years. Do we ever tell our teens what will happen after the 4 years of college? Imagine the let down they will have when they find out that the 4 years doesn’t lead to happy ever after. Success is measured by character, effort, excellence and most importantly, constancy. It’s not like we do not get second chances or a Plan B. We grow, Our interests and needs change as we get older. Our goals change. So far, we live in a society that supports and encourages change and growth. How about we tell our teens to do their best every day, to look at the whole picture and teach them to be constant? On tough days, our best may not be as good as it is on our good days. Choosing a college is not the be all, end all. If it doesn’t work out, they can change their minds. Removing the pressure of blowing the “the most important decision of their lives” will do wonders for them. Give them a little room to grow and the process might even be enjoyable. If we want our teens to lighten up, we must lighten up first.
2. Visit Colleges Years Before it is Time for them to Fly (Apply). Visiting colleges can easily cost as much as a year’s tuition. It is also very timely. Start visiting EARLY, and at everyone’s liesure. Whenever you take a family vacation, try to visit a college in that area while you are already there. This can be easily done while taking trips to visit family in other parts of the country as well. Seeing colleges while everyone is enjoying relaxing vacation time takes pressure off and adds excitement for their future. It can also save you time and money.
3.Don’t Take Every College Tour Before You Show Your Student the College First. This seems counter-intuitive, but scheduled tours can take up to 4 hours. Usually, your young adult knows if he or she wants to go there within minutes. Taking a brief visit to a college before planning a scheduled tour can save you a lot of time, as the tours give you details you would only want to know if it were a serious consideration.
4. Remember This is About Them, Not You. This is tougher than you think. It is incredible how much showing your teens colleges will bring back your own college memories. We learned valuable information in our college experience. If we could only do it again, we would do it better or right this time. As we help our kids, this time we can do it right. Right? Wrong. It’s their turn. We’ve had our time and made our decisions. Our responsibility is to help and guide these young adults to make decisions that will help them discover God’s purpose for them and their own purpose in life. Inadvertently treating our children as if they are some extension of our purpose in life will cause tension in our relationships and may even get in the way of God’s plans for them. Of course, they need our help to some degree. As a first generation American, I did not have help applying to colleges. I had to figure it out by myself. Just knowing the process and guiding them through it is a tremendous help. Anything beyond that may cause resentment and stress in your relationship. Give them room to exercise the mind and personality that you helped them to discover. It is sad to know they don’t need us as much as they did. It is also happy because, we’ve done a good job to get them to this point. There is something very beautiful about watching them fly.
5. Keep Emotions Separate. Of course this is not entirely possible. If it is our goal though, it may keep emotions in check. I began my “grieving process” of letting go a few years before it was time to get to work on the college hunt. I like to be prepared and plan ahead! 🙂 I also didn’t want my emotions to get in the way of sound reasoning. The most threatening emotion can be fear. It will ruin your life if it goes unchecked. Yes, fear can keep you safe in a dangerous moment. However, most fear is about events that will never, ever happen. Ever. Creating memory boards can help in the process of letting go. It is a lot of fun to go back through the years and look through photos that are snapshots of the privilege you’ve had to be their parent. Even though you still see them as that cherub who fell asleep in the chair with her angel costume on, they don’t see themselves that way. They are fighting to be seen as the adults you have raised them to be. On the same subject of emotions, give your kids a break too. They can only handle so much at a time. So when your high school senior who has two weeks to choose a college tells you “I can’t talk about it now”, resist the urge to pull a “mama bear”. Try to gently remind them that they will have to think about it soon. I recommend taking deep breaths first, and often.

Having kids go to college is a confusing, emotional and wonderful time. Confusing because they want to go and you are not ready. Wonderful because they are on the next part of their journey. And sad because you cannot go on this next part of their journey with them. Don’t worry though, they will still need you. Just in a different and a little more distant way. My favorite texts form my adults are, “Mom, can I ask you a question…”

Working in an Office Has Never Been This Good! 7 Reasons Desk Sharing is a Good Idea For Your Business

The World of Business is constantly changing. The days of excessively long work hours and isolation at the office are becoming a thing of the past. Researchers have found that employee output falls drastically after 50 hours a week. According to a study published by John Pencavel of Stanford University, adding longer hours to your work week leads to a higher turnover and a higher rate of absenteeism. Companies are also finding other important ways of increasing profits and productivity by changing outdated, stagnant and isolation induced ideas of office work space. For example, many businesses now offer standing desks and running workstations for those who are opposed to, or unable to, sit for long periods of time. This is good news for everyone. The more we move, the more oxygen flows throughout the body. This is both good for health in the body and stimulation of the mind. Furthermore, many employees are ditching old, under producing ideas of separating workers by department. They are now adapting new ways of bringing leaders from different departments together into one work space. This type of desk sharing is taking the business world by storm as it proves itself to contribute to higher productivity which leads to better work environments, and more profits. If you want to create the best work place, increase profits and encourage creative innovation, you will definitely want to know 7 reasons why desk sharing is a good idea for your business.

1. Increases Inspiration and Innovation. Over 20 years ago I attended a conference at a very successful national marketing firm. The key component of their company success was their ability to creatively innovate new and better ways of being successful. How did they do this? The entire team working on an account would fit themselves into a small closet and bounce ideas off of each other. Not exactly rocket science. The idea behind it was to fit the most creative energy of ideas into the smallest space. They got results. Desk sharing allows you to continually share creative space with co-workers (and leave the closet for supplies!)

2. Saves Space and Resources Which Reduces the Cost of Overhead. Multiple desks take up a lot of space. According to an article published by Entrepreneur, Brian Patrick Eha, shares that between 2012 and 2013, a business owner renting an average 1,500-square-foot office, paid $60 more a month. Desk sharing allows you to conduct business in a smaller, more cost efficient space. Office supplies can add up as a significant cost of business. Sharing supplies by using a desk sharing design can save you money on office space and supplies.

3. Builds a Better Working Environment by Creating a Sense of Community. Working together on ideas and efforts for successful projects builds community. Those who feel a sense of belonging to a community are happier and have a sincere, eager desire to help other team members achieve their goals. This increases company productivity. Employees who are happy at work tend to be absent less frequently. Also, having a sense of well-being reduces stress, which in turn, improves overall health. Desk sharing contributes to team building, which creates a sense of community resulting in a more productive and healthier company environment.

4. Keeps Everyone in “The Know” regarding company information. Being kept abreast of changes in information and company direction, increases trust in employees which creates a sense of empowerment and loyalty. Desk sharing allows for fast, easy communication between co-workers allowing them to keep focused on the objective and use time efficiently.

5. More Mobility. Today “mobile” offices are common. Employees are working back and forth at different locations of company offices. Some work from home, on the road or at the client location. We live in a world that is constantly on the move. Desk sharing takes this into consideration. Instead of allocating individual office space that may lay dormant for long period of time, it is more efficient to share a space. In addition, separate desk space may lead to important time sensitive information and files to go unnoticed. Desk sharing keeps company information and files all in one area, even when the employees are mobile.

6. Promotes Information Technology. According to an article published by International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, Jim Greer points out, “Increasingly, organizations are geographically distributed with activities coordinated and integrated through the use of information technology. Such organizations face constant change and the corresponding need for continual learning and the renewal of their workers.” In the modern day world, few work in a vacuum. We are more interconnected than ever before in history. We are also inundated with information and technology like never before. What poses even more of a challenge is the fact that information continues to change at a rapid pace. Desk sharing allows for employees to share updated information technology with their team. Company owners may also choose to put an information technology leader at every work station. This saves time and increases accurate output.

7. Makes it Easier For Employees to Cover For Each Other. Let’s face it, life happens. Employees become ill, take vacations and take time off for family needs or maternity leave. The shared desk space design helps employees to help each other. Close proximity enables co-workers know where each of them are, on certain projects or with each respective client. Information and files are also in a shared location. This makes it easy for another employee to pick up where their team member left of, without losing time. This leads to better efficiency, good customer satisfaction and increased productivity.

Any company or business looking to increase profits by increasing productivity, should seriously think about desk sharing. The concept works for all types and sizes of companies, as they make 2 person workstations, 3 person workstations, 4 person workstations and 6 person workstations. Or, you may want to consider standing or running desks. The point is, the world is constantly changing and moving. We need to keep moving forward with it. Considering the 7 reasons desk sharing is a good idea to improve your business makes sense in creating your perfect work space.

Make a Wish! 5 Steps To Find Your Dream

Several years back I came across someone who talked about dreams a lot. She posed the question, what is your dream? My dream? That’s right. We all have dreams deep inside ourselves. When you have a family, naturally they come first. My answer at that time was that I wanted to raise good children. If I had any dreams outside of my family, I honestly couldn’t remember. There is nothing more important to me. I wasn’t let off the hook because these were my dreams for others. I realized a personal dream has nothing to do with anyone else. It is a call God puts in your heart. It is something you must answer for yourself.

A short time later, I went to a conference. I was standing in the back of the room listening to a friend give her presentation when a lady I had never met, put a medal in my hand and walked away. I opened my hand and on this little medal there was a star. It read, “Good for one wish”. I’m not superstitious, nor did I think there was any special power in this medal, but it made me think. It made me smile. Another prompting to find my dream. Here are 5 things I learned about finding your own personal dream:

1. Dreams cannot be bought or sold. This has nothing to do with buying something like a vacation, a home, name brand clothing or anything else. All that is temporary and not personal. Dreams cannot be sold either. Many people try to sell you their dream for you, which just happens to cost you a lot of money. You do not need to spend a lot of money and line the pockets of “snake oil” salespeople to live your dream. Dreams are expressed through who you are as life unfolds.

2. Take inventory. Try not to think of all of the reasons you cannot find or live your dream. Write down a list of all your skills and attributes. One of my favorite things in life is to discover someone’s talent. EVERYBODY has talent. Discover yours. Chances are you have these strengths to help you do what you were made to do.

3. Don’t give in to fear. I was just reading an article from what I thought was a reputable source. They were sounding the alarm of what they called a certain oncoming terrorist attack on our power grid, citing 9 out of 10 people will die within a year. They almost had me, until I scrolled down to see a product link for a solar powered generator product! (Let me guess, they have a financial interest in selling these generators.) Fear freezes people and keeps them stuck in the status quo. Fear makes us give power to others. Perhaps that’s why people go out of their way to discourage others who have dreams. In the popular movie, FINDING NEMO, Marlin says, “I don’t want anything to happen to Nemo” Dory interjects, “That’s strange you don’t want anything to happen to Nemo?” The only time things get exciting is when things happen. There is a possibility the unknown future could be bad when you take chances, but it is more than likely it will be good. Don’t let fear get in the way of your dreams.

4. Make a plan. Once you find your talents, skills and strengths and get past your fear, write out a plan. Success does not happen overnight. Figure out what you need to get to where you’re going. Great achievements do not happen overnight. It takes hard work, dedication and a great game plan.

5. Be flexible. I love the old saying, “There’s more than one way up a mountain”. If we are too rigid, we may miss wonderful opportunities. Things rarely go as planned. The good news is that every stumbling block, can be one that you build with. Learn to make your mistakes and miscalculations work for you. Reassess often and make appropriate adjustments.

JRR Tolkien wrote, “A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.” Every great achievement began with a vision or a thought that it was possible. Each and every person was made for a specific purpose, a role that no other human in history can fill. We all have the gift of the Divine plan called life. If we really want to live, we must reach for the stars and dream big!

The Art of Follow Through, Hitting the Pavement

Ever notice how easy it is to think about helping others? We like the idea. We brand ourselves as being caring. Do we ask ourselves how much do we really give? I mean volunteering that isn’t for show or attention. A behind the scenes, genuine giving, only for the sake of helping others. We find every excuse as to why we cannot contribute or volunteer time or talent. Surely, we are busy with families, careers, aging parents, existing charitable causes, etc. It’s obvious to anyone on social media, there is too much talk about what should to be done, by others of course. Self-proclaimed experts pontificate on how to solve so many desperate problems in the world. The news seems to give more unrest and anxiety. How do we respond? Do we shut it off and find a nice village town at the top of hill in the Italian countryside to live in? (Not that I’ve dreamed about that or anything.) Or, can we all do what needs to be done and give a little more?

Two days ago, I pledged to God and myself I would give more. I didn’t have to think long before I recalled an invitation I had received to attend an open house a few days before, for a not for profit home for unwed mothers and babies in need. My friend Amy, who seems to give endlessly, had been inviting me to this cause for years. This was perfect. I agreed to attend.

On the way there I reminded myself that I’m a single mother of 4, with 3 teenagers. My mom needs extra care. I have work, not mention a few charitable projects that I already work on. A family wedding coming up. Did I mention my fear of commitment? I reviewed the many reasons why I am not able to give much time. I decided to switch my thoughts to, “what CAN I do?” Once I switched my mindset of what I cannot do, to what I can do, the anxiety left me. I can give ideas. That’s what I’m good at. It doesn’t take much time.

The home for mothers is remarkable. Walking in the door, I felt a strikingly good vibe. Kind, friendly faces of the volunteers in a highly efficient, pristine setting. A relatively large group of helpers greeted me with a friendly welcome. What a great contrast to the virtual world of news. This was truly good news! I was met by my beautiful friend, Amy, who gave me a tour. The women and babies are provided with everything they need to survive and thrive, including career training and a personal life coach.

As we began to talk, I mentioned that I truly wanted to help, but in this season of my life, I do not have much time to give. After offering my willingness to give ideas on planning and progress, Amy said, “well isn’t this something?” That’s exactly what we need! We are forming a committee on planning and development. They would meet quarterly and I had you in mind to help out.

What always take me by surprise, is the fact that when I try to help others, I help myself. The environment was so perfect at the home, I didn’t want to leave. Upon leaving, a baby boy, Caden, reached his arms out to me. With delight I held him and played with him for a few minutes. Nothing gives me hope like the smile of a precious baby. Caden reached his little arms out to me as I walked out the door. We had an unspoken conversation as I said to myself, “Yes, Caden. I will be back.”