Fear has a way of robbing us of today. Then when today is gone, regret comes to visit to press on our minds the thoughts of guilt.

We can change that today by thinking in a new way. Today is a day full of faith and opportunities to be fearless. When we can face our fears, we can keep our power.

Friday is our day! We can make a change! Step out, step up and speak up.

Are we back to normal yet? What is normal? Many of the challenges and frustrations before the pandemic remain. In addition to those, we find many more to add to them. These factors deplete our emotional reserves and leave us feeling empty and deflated.

We just had a holiday break, and many found themselves looking at prices of items way out of reach, gas prices costing too much to travel, and airline issues to time along with costs worth the travel—all of this adding onto the layers of disappointment. The symptoms of frequent periods of tiredness, feelings of separation and loneliness may be mild at times or intense after the holidays. These times are all warnings to use it is time to replenish our reserves!

The truth is obvious; we can not be our best at anything until we care for our emotional well-being. Many think of quick-fix “remedies” or “prescriptions” to find a healthy emotional state. There are no things people can prescribe to you to “fix” your emotional state of mind. You control your state of mind, and this is how you want it to be. I can provide several tips to guide you, but it is you and the power of choice which decides.

Prescription for Healthy Life

It is cold in my area right now but getting out and enjoying a beautiful stroll in our park is something I enjoy. I love nature, and taking time to look at the beauty around us with appreciation fills my cup each day. Doing things for others is magical. It is even better when they have no idea where it comes from. Living life simply, giving to others, and knowing all of the storms we see shall pass to bring beautiful rainbows with promises for a better tomorrow.

As I prepare for the New Year I always select one word to move me forward. My one word for this year is Grit. Take a few days to think of the “One Word” that will move you forward in the new year.

My blog today talks about “Tell stories to change lives.” I have always been the authentic me. Telling your story does not make you less of a leader but an individual who can make a difference in the life of another. People want to know about struggles and they especially want to know they are not alone in them. When we share stories of overcoming, this gives others hope.

Having a life-changing injury did not sit well with me and provided me with the fight to work to regain as much as I could to get back to work! When one battle is won, you may find a new one for fighting, and it is through your passion, grit, and courage you will overcome to continue the work you want to do. It may not be in the way you did it before, and you may need to find different ways, but you will discover the how.

Thank you to Yo Taylor, who began following me and reached out to ask me to be a guest on her Podcast. She is a beautiful soul and is helping to bring positive changes in the work she is doing. We all share space, and learning to help each other in feeling good and safe is the best first step to take.

I apologize for the lighting and connection on my end. I live in the country and am not set up for Podcasts. I hope you can still find words to inspire you.

A story to tell, and The gifts are my stories for today. We have many to share to help others know they are not alone in their struggles. I can; you can; we can be the solution today in a world so thankful you are in it each day!


Oh, the beautiful gifts, all wrapped with care with the perfect bow and tag to know where it goes. Well, the gifts I give are usually tucked in a gift bag with some tissue paper or wrapped with no pattern and so much tape! Wrapping gifts is not one of my talents. I am still working to find my hidden talent, and I know it will show up someday!

We had my husband's sibling's birthday and Christmas celebration this past week. Trying to get all the packages out in the pouring rain was a difficult job, and I was soaked by the time I got through the door. So no one cared about how the bags looked as they saw us all coming to the restaurant.

Reflecting on the previous year, it was the same table we were at, in the same restaurant, and doing the same thing only a week sooner than the year before. My mind flashed back for a moment or two as we approached the table, sitting down all of the gifts.

Last year I asked everyone to listen for a moment as I wanted to tell them something we had just been told. Now, before I share the news, I want to explain we will celebrate just the same.

The doctor called just an hour ago. My test results came in, and I had to be told. I have breast cancer, and I will see several doctors as soon as Christmas is over to determine treatments and the level of cancer I have.

This year we began with the birthday celebration of singing, opening gifts, eating dinner, and then Christmas gifts along with Birthday cake. Two of the gifts I have received so far are very thoughtful and meaningful as we continue to move forward with a new year ahead.

In January, I will complete a bone density test to see the progression of the harm to my bones with the current daily medication I take, and then a new mammogram with ultrasounds to look at the other mass to check for any changes. I am sure a biopsy will be part of the plan.

Currently, I am cancer free. It is the best way to be. I plan to stay this way—Celebrating on Christmas Day! I have rung the bell, I believe, and I know all things are possible with faith and prayer.

Look at these two beautiful gifts I received from my “sisters”-in-laws and one more still to come.

A cancer survivor bell ornament for my dinning room tree where all of our family and friends meet.
An angel ornament to remind me to Believe, her favorite and my favorite word to use especially at Christmas. Added to my little pencil tree in the dinning room.

Each day I wake with gratitude for the blessings of a new day. Life's journey continues with a path before me that I know will be full of opportunities, change, storms, celebrations, and faith-shaking moments. However, I know I can face all things with peace, love, hope, and joy from the devotions I read each day.

I admit life can get a little busy! I thought retirement would slow me down a little, as well as others thought it would! However, each day new things find their way into my day, and I make room, as I always do.

One of my favorite memories from my church growing up was picking up a copy of Our Daily Bread. I loved reading the stories with the scriptures and learning with so much meaning to me as it related to others. So I decided as an adult to subscribe and send donations to this beautiful publication.

As we are in the final week leading up to Christmas, I wanted to share this one with all of you as it captures all I wanted to convey in my words of Peace, Love, Hope, and Joy to all this Christmas Day and each day of the New Year. Blessings to all!

Our Daily Bread

The Bible has a lot to say about love. In John 13:34–35 we are commanded to “love one another as Christ loved us.” In doing so, those around us will know that we are His followers. In his first of three small letters John tells us why we are to love, “for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7–8). We show love by allowing God’s love to flow through our lives and into the lives of those around us.

Loving others is not always easy and entails multiple actions on our part. For example, to love we must show empathy as well as sympathy to others. We need to learn to see each other as broken vessels in need of God’s love and transformation. This unique perspective of other people requires humility on our part. When we recognize our own failings, that we are not perfect, only then will we begin to approach others with a caring and compassionate attitude. Part of this humility comes in recognizing what God has done for us in Jesus.

We are all in need of the redemption God offers in Christ, no one is exempt. Our love for others is founded on God’s love as demonstrated in that he entered into this world in the form of humanity and died on a cross for us. This is the true story of Christmas.

The second theme we encounter is Joy. Have you ever been around an individual, especially a believer, who is always depressed or sad? I’m not talking about someone who has experienced a recent tragedy or received bad news, but someone who consistently demonstrates a life devoid of joy. As followers of Christ, joy should characterize our lives. In his letter to the church at Rome Paul writes, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13 ESV). Here we find three of the themes of Advent mentioned together. In fact, as followers of Jesus we are called to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). Several times in his letter to the Philippian believers Paul mentions rejoicing, and does so from a jail cell.

In Luke 2 we read how the angels expressed joy at the birth of Jesus, and so should we. Our love for others and the witness of a joyous Spirit testified to God’s work of salvation in our lives. Therefore, during this busy Christmas season, let’s remember and reflect on what God has done in the birth of Jesus—how that birth would bring hope to the world through the forgiveness of sins and the promise of everlasting life.” David Frees
Senior Director of Digital Asset Management & Online Learning

Sincere love is when you love others with a pure heart, as God does. We are accepting of God’s love for ourselves as well. We will no longer be controlled by our experiences of being hurt, rejected, abused, hatefully treated by others, or negative self-talk.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud. It does not dishonor others; it is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hope, and always perseveres. Love never fails.

Can we bring back love to our lives? The evil of the world cannot be accepted.

As a small child, I never really thought about teaching. Then as I reflect on my memories, I did not know think about education because I had a bad experience in 3rd grade, so I blocked out all of the opportunities I experienced teaching throughout my childhood.

My parents did not have an education, so I spent time reading stories to my father. I shared this with my grandchildren in one of my Christmas themes. I gave them a basket of books wrapped up. They unwrapped one each day starting after Thanksgiving with family activities to do until Christmas, sharing with them the reason for my love of reading.

I also was given opportunities at church to teach Sunday School to the little children, do a youth group and supervise the trip to the Church Camp. All great experiences which led to my career in education. I thank my parents, my minister, and those special teachers along the way who paved my path.

Just this past week, my daughter called to ask if I could teach for the rest of the school year my youngest grandson, who is four years old. I said, Yes, maybe faster than she had time to get the words out. He does not turn five years old until December, so he missed the cutoff to kindergarten this year. Which is a good thing; he still has maturing to do before taking that step. However, he has been at this same school for a long time now with the same staff and growing a little tired of things. He is a typical boy and a handful. My grandchildren are all different in their personalities.

I had not had the opportunity to spend as much time with my youngest grandson as I have with the other two, so I could not wait to have this time together. My love of teaching and learning was going to hopefully rub off on him. I wanted him to have the same kind of passion.

I have been away from teaching for a long time, but I was eager to get back to the routine of daily plans. I had not taught Pre-K but had overseen the program for a few years. I knew all of the things we needed to do. Day one was here, and I was ready to pick up my student.

Never let any moments be missed by being a teachable moment. So the drive time would be full of conversation and teaching. However, I was his teacher and grandmother too. He started talking to me about a little boy who had bad breath because he did not brush his teeth and would breathe in his face. I told him, “Well, you know when something like that happens, we do not want to hurt their feelings, so we may want to say something like: I brush my teeth every morning-He interrupts and says, “Yes, I told him I brush my teeth every day because of germs and being healthy. He does not like to brush his teeth.” I see, I told him. Well, maybe the teacher can help. “I don’t think so. My teacher hurt my heart.”

His voice had turned to a soft voice of despair. I looked in the rearview mirror to see his eyes looking down. My heart was breaking. “How did your teacher hurt your heart?” She was yelling at me all the time. His voice got more robust. He looked up and pointed his outstretched arm pointing straight ahead. Get on the wall. That is what she would say. Then she would point her hand like this to put my head down.” The vision of him pointing his finger and arm, the voice yelling-it was my third-grade teacher. I knew exactly how he felt. Oh, my goodness. This can’t be. How could this have happened to my little boy?

We have completed our first week of school. He is enjoying our routine and the work we are doing. I am working hard to correct the negatives and replacing with positives. It will take some time and an excellent teacher for a few years to help him heal. I know he will have them, and I believe in our teachers.

We must all be reminded of the power of our words and actions. What we think we are doing to be firm in setting guidelines could be sending the message of hurt when we are not communicating the what, how, and why. He said he was silly on this day but then changed it to happy. This makes every teacher and grandmother happy too!

Today, I discovered looking at old pictures; I did not recognize many things at first. Then, all of a sudden a little memory escaped from the photo and jumped right out to bring me a great story to enjoy a laugh.

Have you ever had a moment when you realized the value of those little moments captured in pictures that store memories for those in them? Each individual in the image could tell their memory which can contain the things unique to them.

Why not capture more memories and moments every day? As you pass by someone, do you say anything? Maybe you don’t know them, but it is okay. Can you still say, Good Morning? What about the people you see each day? Do you ever take a moment to do something to help them realize how much you appreciate them? Why not?

My brain injury has taken a great deal from me, and I work each day to keep what remains and regain what I can that was taken. It is difficult for others to see the struggles, and actions taken by some during times of difficulty seem to stand out in my memories. But we must do our best to push aside those negative thoughts and replace them with the kindness, love, generosity, and encouragement found in the captured memories over time.

Memories fade over time; even pictures do at times, but the ones we can keep vivid in our lives through sharing, connecting, and having others tell us more about them are even better.

Why not slow down just a little to ensure all of the moments in the day are worthy of a piece of the puzzle for a memory in the story of the days we share with the many people who share the days with us? In the 24 hours in a day, how many of those hours do you find yourself sharing the day with those you barely know? How much time is spent alone? How much time is spent with those you know? If you reflect on your previous week, what stands out in your memories? It is fun to think about what you are holding on to and letting go of as you go through the days.

I have asked a few people to get together with me. I was only lucky enough to meet with a couple. Life is busy for people. I just wanted them to tell me stories they have from their past work life together. I want to hear their stories and memories to capture them in puzzle pieces to store in my memories. The more you listen to them, the more they will remain. I hope to meet with more again soon.

We are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:15

I love the different aromas from the flower gardens when they are in full bloom, but these are not the only times aroma affects me. How about you?

To walk into Bath and Body works, you are hit with the wall of aroma that fills the store, and if you pass by those perfume outlets, the aromas escape through the doors to linger outside to entice you to come inside. But honestly, they are overwhelming at times.

Have you ever been so hungry that you could smell the aroma from your neighbor's backyard of the grill siring a steak? Maybe you passed a steak house with a giant wave of mouth-watering scents.

People want to experience these effects from the leaders they follow. They want to follow the aroma of leadership, which is pleasant to their senses but not overwhelming.

Five Senses

How do we provide in leadership the aroma people need to accommodate all of their senses without overwhelming them? We can begin by looking at the five senses themselves. I opened with the sense of smell. I love the fragrances we have, well, the pleasant ones, at least.

Regarding leadership, people can smell a “rotten” leader in seconds. This is a pretty harsh word, but when leaders begin by putting on a fake show and not an authentic one, people are not interested at all. If they had tomatoes and didn’t think they would get in trouble, they would throw them.

As the leader begins, it is what people see from their leaders every day that impacts them. How does the leader model what they expect? Do they say what they mean and then do it? Is this a person we can trust?

Communication is a big part of effective leadership. It is not only what you say, but it is what others hear that matters the most! How do you communicate? Are you able to reach all of those you want to share with? Do you speak, send emails, text messages, or send something on Twitter or Instagram? Making sure your message is received in the tone and manner you want it delivered is a vital part of success.

While talking to some former staff members, I realized taste matters in leadership. When we think about taste, we automatically think of food to eat. However, the taste can come in a variety of ways. The best way to the heart of your staff is in the fantastic food treats you provide at breaks, celebrations, and a just because of day. They also consider the taste of style you have in leadership. Are you military-like? Do you make it up as you go? Are you nurturing? Both the food and style are essential!

The most important one I have left for last is how you make them feel. If you pass them in the hallway without a greeting, never ask them how they are doing, do not include them in meetings or conversations, or never return their emails, how do you think they feel? A person will only work for those who appreciate them as an individual. Building relationships is an integral part of leadership.

Aroma or fragrance can awaken all of our senses. People often have a favorite because it means something to them. It can be a special memory, a reminder of someone, and can provide comfort or support. Leaders work to awaken those they lead to take giant leaps, try new things, discover, uncover and develop. Leaders encourage others to grow, share and collaborate with teams. If leaders cannot utilize all of the senses, then shortcomings will create.

Do you have a favorite scent? My husband, many years ago, bought me Christmas, Beautiful perfume by Estée Lauder; I have only worn this perfume for all of these years. I do not think I can ever smell it. I also love warm vanilla sugar and lavender—both reminders of my mother and mother-in-law.

Remember to have just the right amount of the aromas you use because too much will overwhelm your staff!

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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