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Share Your Wisdom

I have observed that life is simply a cycle of learning, doing, and then teaching.  We are all teachers.  We are here to teach each other.  Keep in mind that every person you meet has something to teach you.  Little children are experts in spontaneity and living in the present moment.  They are often placed into our lives to remind us to slow down and to learn to appreciate the moment we are in.  Seeing the world through the eyes of a child can also remind you of the perfection of nature and the gifts we often take for granted as we rush through our busy lives.

I believe we all share the responsibility to pass on our knowledge, wisdom, and stories to our descendants and to anyone else who is willing and open to receiving them.  Think about your ancestors who have passed on.  What is the most valuable thing they could have left for you?  I personally believe nothing is more precious than the pictures and documented stories from their lives, including the lessons they learned and the wisdom they gained.

We are all connected on this planet, and we were put here to help each other.  Just as parents have the duty of teaching their own children how to stay safe and how to care for themselves as they grow, I believe it is our duty to help each other by lovingly sharing any wisdom gained and knowledge in our areas of expertise.

We all have a story to tell.  It may be scary at times to put yourself out there and share your story, but you never know who you may help by doing so.  One of the main reasons you are here is so you can share your story and help others going through similar situations.  Your story is more valuable than you know.  Please share it.

 Question of the Day

Which pieces of wisdom have you gained so far in life that you would like to pass on to others?

The above excerpt is from Day 25 of the book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge.  I am currently taking the challenge and this question came up today.  If I were asked to share what I have learned so far in my lifetime, here are the bits of advice I would offer:

  1. Open your mind!  Don’t stay stuck in the beliefs you have been fed throughout your lifetime.  There are many other perspectives out there that are also right.
  2. EVERYTHING is a gift!  EVERY person, EVERY thing, and EVERY situation you encounter IS a gift.
  3. Everything happens for a reason, and always for the greater good.
  4. GRATITUDE is the secret to happiness!
  5. Use your gifts to help others!  SERVICE is the secret to joy!
  6. SURRENDER is the secret to peace!  There is no need for worry.  Let go of your worries, and let God take them over.
  7. LOVE is ALWAYS the answer!
  8. Regardless of the mistakes you have made, you are UNCONDITIONALLY loved…we ALL are!  We are spiritual beings in a physical body.  Since spirit cannot be destroyed, you are NOT broken, and you can never be broken!
  9. Nature is the only thing that is perfect.  When we interfere with the perfection of nature, we create problems.
  10. All of the answers are within you.  Find some time each day to be in silence and connect with God, and you will find them!
  11. Treat others the way you would want to be treated.  We are all connected.  What you do, say, or think about others, you are also doing to yourself.  Be kind always and extend love, not judgement!
  12. BE YOURSELF!  God doesn’t make mistakes.  You were created exactly as you are for a reason.  You are needed on this earth exactly as you are!  Your purpose in life is to spread love to others by being yourself and using your natural gifts and talents!  Share your stories and your lessons learned to help others.

What have you learned so far in life that you would like to pass on to others?  Feel free to comment and share your wisdom with the rest of us!

Finding Peace

If you are reading this today and struggling in some way, I want you to know:

You are NOT an accident! You are here for a very important reason, and the world needs that unique combination of gifts that only you can provide! Your purpose here on this earth is to BE YOURSELF and use those talents to spread love to others. If you choose to do that, the world will be a better place because you were here.

Peace begins with SELF-LOVE! If you want to be at peace, you need to begin by learning how to love yourself unconditionally. Know that you were perfectly created! Stop giving yourself negative labels or believing the negative labels others have placed on you throughout the years. Get to know yourself and learn to be comfortable with who you are, and the world will be a much better place because of it!

GRATITUDE is the secret to happiness! You have SO much to be grateful for! Try to focus on all of the blessings in your life rather than the things you don’t have right now. If you need help recognizing those blessings, please ask someone to help you.  Keeping a gratitude journal might be a good way to help you begin to recognize the blessings in your life.

YOU are the creator of your own reality. If you don’t like the way your life is going, you have the ability to change that beginning right now. Every action you take, every word you speak, and every thought you think is a choice.  Each one can be done out of love or out of fear…if you want your life to improve, choose love every time!

Every situation you have ever experienced in your life has happened FOR you. Try to view EVERY situation as a gift. Know that there IS something good in EVERY situation, so always look for the good! The seemingly unfortunate situations you have been through have made you stronger and shaped you into the person you are today. Some of the toughest situations in our lives turn out to be our greatest blessings. Once you overcome them, you can use those experiences to help others!

You must allow yourself to fully feel your emotions.  There is a time for everything.  When it is time to be sad, allow yourself to be sad, and let the tears flow.  Do not suppress it or try to numb it, or it will remain within you and continue to eat away at you, and eventually it may manifest itself as a physical or mental illness.

YOU ARE NOT BROKEN!!!  You may feel broken, but the REAL YOU can NEVER be broken! You are a spiritual being in a physical body.  In the spiritual sense, you are complete.  You have everything you need inside of you right at this moment, and you do not need anyone or anything else to complete you.  Underneath all of those layers of hurt and pain that have built up within you throughout the years in your physical life, you will find the only part of you that is REAL, and that part of you never changes. It is the place where God resides within you, it is pure LOVE and infinite wisdom, it is the voice that guides you to help others and spread love in the world, and it is the part of you that will go on living forever because what is real can NEVER be destroyed or broken. When you are able to completely FORGIVE (yourself and others) for all of the things that have happened “to” you in your life, you will be able to get through all of those other layers and access that REAL part of you, and then you WILL find peace…and love…and infinite wisdom!

You WILL get through this. Just remember, darkness always comes before the dawn. This will not last forever. Hang in there!

If you want help, please reach out to someone you trust and ASK for it! There are plenty of resources out there and people willing to help.

Know that you are never alone, and you are loved unconditionally for who you are! ♥

Random Acts of Kindness Generator and Additional Kindness Resources

kindness ripple jtcw

Random Acts of Kindness Generator

Being kind sounds so easy, but often we are so caught up in life’s activities that we forget to extend a helping hand. Simple things such as opening the door for someone, or helping a neighbor move are all opportunities to make someone’s life a little easier.

Random Acts of Kindness week is coming up on February 14th, and in order to prepare you for that,  Shari’s Berries has come up with a random acts of kindness generator.  Simply click on a category in the top row and their generator will provide a fun idea for the day.  There are over 50 ideas, so enough for being kind all year long!
RAK Generator preview 500

Additional Acts of Kindness Resources

Kindness Ideas

 

Inspiring Quotes and Stories about Kindness

Movies

  • The Letter Writer.   This inspiring movie is a great reminder of the impact our actions have on others, and the difference one act of kindness can make.
  • Pay it Forward

If you have some suggestions for more inspiring movies about kindness, please let me know about them in the comments below.

 

Coloring Pages

Be kind adult coloring page

From freelargeimages.com

kindness adult coloring page

From http://www.printablecolouringpages.co.uk/?s=kindness

Videos and Inspirational Stories

These inspiring videos demonstrate how a small act of kindness can make a big impact.

Do YOU have any kindness ideas, quotes, videos, or inspiration you would like to share? Feel free to leave them in a comment below or share them on the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook support group. Thank you! 🙂

 

February Acts of Kindness Challenge

When I think of the month of February, the first thing that comes into my mind is Valentine’s Day.   And when I think of Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of love.  So, I thought it might be fun to challenge myself and my family to spread our love during the month by performing at least one act of kindness each day.

When I first suggested the idea to my family in 2014, they were all really excited. I’m sure their excitement probably had something to do with me mentioning a reward at the end if we were able to complete it, but the real reward turned out to be the experience in itself.  We have taken the challenge every year since, and I can see this tradition being one that we will continue for a long time to come!

I invite you to join us and many others in spreading love and kindness all month!  Feel free to make up your own rules, or follow our guidelines below.

Act of Kindness Aesop light

 

Act of Kindness Challenge Guidelines:

  1. Prepare.  Print out this February 2017 Acts of Kindness Log for each member of your family.  Use it to record your acts of kindness throughout the month.  Also keep track of the acts of kindness performed toward you each day.  You might be surprised to actually see how many nice things people do for each other each day. 🙂  We put ours on the refrigerator so it stays in view and is easy to remember.
  2. Identify a Reward to keep You Motivated.  If you are taking the challenge with others, take a vote to see how you want to reward yourselves once you have completed the challenge!  In the past, we have rewarded ourselves by going out to dinner together as a family (something we usually only reserve for birthdays or special occasions.)  Come up with something that works for you and your family and that will motivate you to complete the challenge.  Don’t skip this step.  This is the step that keeps my kids motivated to keep going throughout the challenge.
  3. Spread your love!  Each day in February, perform at least one act of kindness and write it down on the log.  Try to come up with something different each day.  My definition of an Act of Kindness is:  any action you take to brighten someone’s day without expecting anything in return.  Also, write down any acts of kindness others performed toward you.
  4. Encourage each other and keep each other accountable.  Each day, share your ideas with your family members or loved ones who are also participating in the challenge.  Talk about the acts of kindness you performed.  Also, feel free to share your ideas and inspiration in our February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group so we can continue to support and encourage each other and keep each other accountable.
  5. When the month is over, share what you learned from the experience.  Feel free to join our February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group and share your stories with us there as well!
  6. REWARD YOURSELF!!  Don’t skip this step, either.  For many of us, the real reward is the experience in itself, but make sure to recognize your accomplishment and follow through on the reward you set in step 2.

I invite you to join us in this challenge and spread your love. It only takes a small act to make a big impact. Let’s make a difference together! “Like” the Facebook page February Acts of Kindness Challenge for inspirational stories and quotes each day, or join the Facebook support group at February Acts of Kindness Challenge to share your ideas and inspiration. 🙂

Feel free to do more than one Act of Kindness a day.  Don’t be afraid to write them all down.  You may already do several acts of kindness each day without even realizing it.  The point here is to become aware of all the good things you already do and realize the impact it has on others.  You may also want to try to take it a step further and do some things you normally wouldn’t do.  When we make a small effort to brighten someone’s day out of love (not obligation), we are rewarded with happiness.  Anything done out of obligation is not an act of love and will only cause you to feel resentment.  It doesn’t matter whether your acts of kindness are random or intentional, but to honor your own self-care, please make sure they are performed out of love.

As you perform more acts of kindness, you may also notice yourself becoming the recipient of more acts of kindness.  Learn to accept these gifts with gratitude.  Many times it is more challenging for us to receive than it is to give.  We may resist acts of kindness toward us because we may feel like we will owe the other person, but when you let people do nice things for you, you are actually giving them a gift.  Learning how to let others help you might be just what you need to learn from this challenge…I know from previous years it was exactly what I needed to learn.kindness mark twain

RESOURCES

If you run out of ideas at any point during the challenge, this Random Acts of Kindness generator is fantastic!

Check out this link for some great Random Acts of Kindness ideas!

“Like” the Facebook Page The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Check out the inspiring movie, The Letter Writer. It is a great reminder of the impact our actions have on others, and the difference one act of kindness can make.  If you have some suggestions for more inspiring movies about kindness, please let me know about them in the comments below.

Random Acts of Kindness week is a 7-day celebration of kindness.  This year it falls on February 10-16, 2017!

Check out this inspiring 5 minute video to see how one small act of kindness can make a big impact.  

Do YOU have any kindness ideas, quotes, videos, or inspiration you would like to share? Feel free to leave them in a comment below or share them on the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook support group. Thank you! 🙂

A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

Are you tired of making New Year’s Resolutions you can’t keep?

This year, instead of focusing on all the things you want to change about yourself, what if you made a different kind of resolution? What if the only resolution you made was to love yourself more, exactly as you are?

You are a perfect creation just as you are!  You were born with so many natural gifts to share with the world, but when you focus on all the things you think are “wrong” with you or that society tells you are “wrong” with you, your precious time and energy will be spent on the wrong areas and everyone will be missing out on the real gifts you have to bring to the world. Instead, why not focus on being yourself, discovering those gifts, and sharing them with those around you?

marie forleo

When you learn to love yourself unconditionally and live a more authentic life, all of the things you think are “wrong” with you will naturally take care of themselves. For example, if losing weight was going to be your resolution, that will naturally happen when you take the time to love yourself as you are and commit to discovering the emotional cause of your eating habits. Once you are able to deal with and overcome those emotional issues, you will naturally want to care for your body and fuel it with real foods that nature intended us to eat. Then, the weight will fall off naturally. The same goes for any other area of your life that you think might need improvement.  When you begin to live authentically, everything begins to fall into place and your dreams will begin to come true!

If you do want to live a more authentic life and get to know and love yourself more but you don’t exactly know how to do that, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge was written to help you do just that.  It requires just 15 minutes of your undivided attention each day for 31-Days. You will learn to embrace your uniqueness, discover your priorities so you can spend your time and energy on those things that really matter in life, and recognize your gifts and talents so you can share them with the world and fulfill the purpose that you were sent here to make.

The_31Day_SelfLove_Cover_for_Kindle

So, whatever challenge or resolution you decide to make for this New Year, I wish you much success!

The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge Is Now Available!!

Do you want to live a more authentic, peaceful, and purposeful life? Do you want to live your life to the fullest and use your natural gifts and talents to make the world a better place?  If so, I am SO excited to introduce you to my very first book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge!

The_31-Day_Self-Love_Cover_for_Kindle

This 31-day guided journal will help you learn to recognize your worth, identify your purposes in life, and develop the habits necessary to become healthy in body, mind, and spirit.  It is intended for anyone who is starving for a little bit of alone time, or anyone who is willing to dedicate a little more time to get to know and love yourself more. If you know anyone who could benefit from this book, I would be grateful for your recommendation. It is currently available through Amazon here.

Also, if you enjoy inspiring quotes or would like to follow my journey as an author, please “Like” my FB Author page Stacy Rancourt.

EVERYTHING is a gift!

everything is a gift2

Everything that has happened to you so far in life has happened FOR you.  It is the combination of every single event and every single person you have met so far in life that has made you into the person you are today.  You may not realize it in the moment, and it may take a very long time to find the “good” in some situations, but trust that everything that happens is for a reason — to help you grow and become the person you were meant to be.  Learn to embrace each experience and situation that happens to you and view it as a gift to you and the world.

This is THE mantra that gets me through the tougher days in life.  When something unfortunate happens in my life that is out of my control, I remind myself that it is a gift.  And I truly DO believe it.  Some of my most difficult situations have turned out to be my greatest blessings.

Eventually, when we look back on our lives, we will be able to understand the gift in each situation, no matter how unfortunate it may have seemed in the moment.

Try it now.  Identify one event in your life that seemed unfortunate when it happened, but it turned out to be a blessing.

The next time something unfortunate happens that is out of your control, gently remind yourself that it is happening for a good reason and is in fact a gift. 🙂

**This post was also published on my blog Stacy Loves.

Movie Review: Food, Inc.

Food, Inc.

Food Inc cover

My Rating **** 4 out of 5 stars

Why Did I Watch?

I find food documentaries fascinating.  Since I started becoming more health conscious, I have taken an interest in knowing exactly WHAT it is I am eating and WHERE my food is coming from.  This is a perfect movie to watch if you want to discover the truth about food in America.  I recently saw it available streaming on Netflix, so I decided to watch it again.

Summary

Have you ever wondered where supermarket food really comes from?  If so, Food, Inc. is a must see!  The movie takes a close look inside America’s supermarkets, slaughterhouses, chicken houses, and more to reveal the truth about our nation’s food industry.  Here are a few highlights I took away from the movie:

  • The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you’re eating…because if you knew, you might not want to eat it.
  • Our food is coming from enormous assembly lines where the animals and the workers are being abused.  And the food has become much more dangerous in ways that are being deliberately hidden from us.
  • The modern American supermarket has on average 47,000 products.  It may seem like a large variety of choices, but in reality, there are only a few companies involved and only a few crops involved.  Michael Pollan followed that food back to its source, and he always ended up in the same place…a cornfield in Iowa.  Most of the processed items in the supermarket can be traced back to corn or soy in one form or another.
  • There are only a handful of companies controlling our food system.  The top 4 beef packers control 80% of the beef market.
  • Processed foods are cheaper than produce, leading consumers to purchase the unhealthy foods.
  • Foods are being engineered to lengthen shelf life.
  • There is an overabundance of corn in the US.  Animals, and even fish, are being fed corn even though it is not their natural diet.
  • Research indicates that feeding cattle a high corn diet results in E.coli that are acid resistant.  These are the more harmful E.coli.
  • Regulatory agencies are being controlled by the very companies they are supposed to be scrutinizing.
  • In the 1970’s, there were thousands of slaughterhouses in the US.  Today, there are only 13 that process the majority of beef that is sold in the US.
  • Meat packing is one of the most dangerous jobs in America.  Many of the workers are illegal immigrants.  The government is arresting the workers, but nothing is happening to the company for hiring them.
  • Processed foods contribute to obesity and health issues.
  • It is against the law to criticize the food industry’s foods.
  • Monsanto created and patented a Genetically Modified soybean seed.  By 2008, over 90% of soybeans in the US contained this patented gene.
  • There are virtually no public seeds anymore.  Monsanto sues farmers for saving seeds.

What Did I Think? / My Recommendation

I found this documentary to be extremely eye-opening.  In my opinion, anyone who eats food in America should watch this.  While it did not turn me into a vegetarian, it did steer me away from buying the products of the big name companies mentioned in the movie.  I first watched this movie about 2 years ago, and I have not knowingly purchased one product by those companies since.  Every time we buy an item of food, we are voting.  I have chosen to vote with my dollar, and I encourage others to do the same.

I was surprised to learn that our government is more concerned about protecting the food industry than it is about protecting our health.  That is very concerning to me, and just reinforces to me that we need to be the ones to take the initiative to educate ourselves and pay attention to WHAT we are eating by closely reading ingredient labels.  The best way to know where your food is coming from is to buy local and seasonal whenever possible.  Or better yet, grow your own garden!

Overall, I applaud everyone who had a hand in the making of this movie because the truth about America’s food industry needs to be known.  I am going to do my part by continuing to spread the word and vote with my dollar.  If everyone does the same, we can make a difference!

As an additional note, if you want to go more in depth on any of the topics mentioned in the movie, I would highly recommend reading the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  The book is not an easy read as it is EXTREMELY thorough, but if you are looking for more details on any of these topics, I feel the book is a perfect companion to the movie.

For more information about the movie, additional reviews, and information about where to find the movie, check it out on IMDb here.

2015 February Acts of Kindness Challenge

The February Acts of Kindness Challenge is a challenge I began on this blog last year to help spread kindness during the entire month of February.  It was such a rewarding experience for me and my family, we have decided to do it again this year!  I invite you to join us and many others in spreading love and kindness all month!  The guidelines are below.

aesopactofkindness

When I think of the month of February, the first thing that comes into my mind is Valentine’s Day.  And when I think of Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of love.  So I thought it might be fun to challenge myself and my family to spread our love this month by performing at least one act of kindness each day.  When I suggested the idea to my family, they were all really excited.  I’m sure their excitement probably had something to do with me mentioning a reward at the end if we were able to complete it, but I know the real reward will be in the experience itself.

Act of Kindness Challenge Guidelines:

1.  I  have made this February Acts of Kindness Log  for each member of my family to record our acts of kindness throughout the month.  I printed it out for each family member and put it on the refrigerator.  Feel free to download and print it out as well if you would like to keep a record of your progress. 🙂

2.  Each day in February, perform at least one act of kindness and write it down on the log.  My definition of an Act of Kindness is: any action you take to brighten someone’s day without expecting anything in return.

3.  Share your acts of kindness with your loved ones who are also participating in the challenge, or share your ideas and inspiration on February Acts of Kindness Challenge so we can continue to support and encourage each other.

4.  When the month is over, share what you learned with each other.

5.  REWARD YOURSELF!!  This is the most important step off all!  If you are taking the challenge with others, take a vote to see how you want to reward yourselves!

I invite you to join us in this challenge and spread your love.  It only takes a small act to make a big impact.  Let’s make a difference together!  “Like” the Facebook page February Acts of Kindness Challenge or join the Facebook support group at February Acts of Kindness Challenge to share your ideas and inspiration. 🙂

Feel free to do more than one Act of Kindness a day.  Don’t be afraid to write them all down.  You may already do several acts of kindness each day without even realizing it.  The point here is to become aware of all the good things you already do and realize the impact it has on others.  You may also want to try to take it a step further and do some things you normally wouldn’t do.  When we make a small effort to brighten someone’s day out of love (not obligation), we are rewarded with happiness.  Anything done out of obligation is not an act of love and will only cause you to feel resentment.  It doesn’t matter whether your acts of kindness are random or intentional, but to honor your own self-care, please make sure they are performed out of love.

As you perform more acts of kindness, you may also notice yourself becoming the recipient of more acts of kindness.  Learn to accept these gifts with gratitude.  Many times it is more challenging for us to receive than it is to give.  We may resist acts of kindness toward us because we may feel like we will owe the other person, but when you let people do nice things for you, you are actually giving them a gift.

RESOURCES

Check out this link for some great Random Acts of Kindness ideas!

Check out this inspiring 5 minute video to see how one small act of kindness can make a big impact.

“Like” the Facebook Page The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Check out the inspiring movie, The Letter Writer.  It is a great reminder of the impact our actions have on others, and the difference one act of kindness can make.

Don’t forget Random Acts of Kindness week is February 9-15, 2015.

kindness mark twain

If you’re stuck for ideas, a simple way to make someone’s day is to download a Care Card from You Matter.   #YouMatter is a grassroots movement that aims to promote positive mental health through acts of caring. Telling someone they matter can have a greater impact than we may know! 

There are four easy steps to participate in #YouMatter:

1) Download a Care Card from the MSW@USC blog.

2) Write a message of caring, friendship or appreciation.

3) Snap a picture of your card and share on social media using the hashtag #youmatter and tag us @youmatterbc to inspire others.

4) Give the Care Card to someone and make that person’s day!

Do YOU have any kindness ideas, quotes, videos, or inspiration you would like to share?  Feel free to leave them in a comment below or share them on the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook support group.  Thank you! 🙂

Visual Quote: What Are You Doing For Others?

MLK what are you doing for others frame

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day coming up on Monday, I am sharing one of my favorite quotes of his.  I think we all have the desire to make a difference in this world, and we have an endless amount of opportunities to do that every day.  Every small act of kindness we perform has the potential to make a huge difference in someone’s life.

How will YOU be the light in someone’s day today?