Be Inspired ~ It All Begins With A Smile

“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.” -Maya Angelou Click To Tweet

Our smile! This is a powerful gift to those we love.

 

Sometimes it can be easy to take those we love for granted or perhaps even let them be who we rant our grievances to and maybe we even direct our frustrations toward them.

Some of the people I love most have either passed on recently or in the midst of illness and senior aging challenges. It became vividly clear to me along the way the light that I can bring into their lives. And it all begins with a smile.

Your smile can be the only light in an otherwise very dark atmosphere of thought a loved one is dwelling. But make no mistake. Your smile is a light. It brings light and has the ability to totally brighten the weary struggling heart of someone you love so very dearly.

Indeed, your smile doesn’t cost you anything. Yet it may be the most valuable gift you give to your loved one. And it leaves a memorable healing imprint. And…it can also lighten your own burdens and even soothe your sadness.

Annette Bridges

Annette Bridges

Author, Publisher and Women's Retreat Host

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy. Part of Annette’s own journaling practice includes collecting ideas, quotes, songs, videos and photos that inspire her. She shares some of her finds in these weekly “Be Inspired” posts to lift your spirit with encouragement, comfort and joy.

Connect with me here…

Be Inspired ~ For All We Know

The song “For all we know” sung by the Carpenters would have been sung at my wedding if I could have found the sheet music thirty-six years ago. I thought the words perfectly expressed my feelings and wishes as I said my vows to a young man I had met only seven months earlier.

With Valentine’s Day next week, this song came to mind once again.

We may not be strangers anymore (although sometimes I still feel like we have much to learn about each other), I can’t help but think about the lifetime we’ve spent together so far. And I can’t help but feel that the lifetime we have remaining doesn’t seem as long as it did on our wedding day.

“So much to say…”

Indeed!

I wonder if I’ve said all the important things I’ve wanted to say. Sometimes I think it’s easy to get so busy and caught up in the day to day of life, that too many important things get left unsaid.

Yes….I have much I want to say this Valentine’s Day!

Or better yet…

Don’t put off for tomorrow what could be said today, done today, experienced today! Regrets can happen when we put off. And this is true for ALL relationships including the relationship we have with our self!

Annette Bridges

Annette Bridges

Author, Publisher and Women's Retreat Host

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy. Part of Annette’s own journaling practice includes collecting ideas, quotes, songs, videos and photos that inspire her. She shares some of her finds in these weekly “Be Inspired” posts to lift your spirit with encouragement, comfort and joy.

Connect with me here…

Be Inspired ~ What Fills Your Soul?

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” – Rumi Click To Tweet

I simply LOVE the imagery that I feel when I read and reread these words. This seemed like the most fitting image for my blog this week since I’m heading out to a Heart Art Retreat tomorrow.

“From my soul” FOR ME means I am creating…

Thinking of new ideas, writing books and blogs, imagining new designs for journals, coloring book themes…

Also…redesigning and repurposing closets and rooms and houses…fills my soul with immense and total joy.

Indeed, my river is not a slow-moving kind of river! It’s more like rapids!! Ha!

At Heart Art Retreat, I’ve discovered the joy of painting. A blank canvas in front of you with no idea what you will do with it. Listening for what your soul decides. Ah….this kind of soul-moving has more smooth, calm waters. Peaceful. Soothing. Relaxing.

Oh my yes, I need some of this kind of “from my soul” activity this weekend!

What things do you do from YOUR soul? What fills YOUR soul with joy?

My wish for you is MUCH MORE of those kinds of things!

Annette Bridges

Annette Bridges

Author, Publisher and Women's Retreat Host

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy. Part of Annette’s own journaling practice includes collecting ideas, quotes, songs, videos and photos that inspire her. She shares some of her finds in these weekly “Be Inspired” posts to lift your spirit with encouragement, comfort and joy.

Connect with me here…

Be Inspired ~ You Become Who You Decide to Be

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. -Ralph Waldo Emerson Click To Tweet

These compelling words by Ralph Waldo Emerson keep repeating in my mind. Sometimes I ask myself if I’ve become the person I had dreamed I would be when I was a little girl.

And then as I reread Emerson’s words you realize that the power behind your destiny is within you.

You become who you decide to be.

What I love about this right now well past half of my life is that these words also make me feel like it’s never too late to become whom you decide to be. Because we are always each moment of each day living out our becoming. We are ever always becoming. For our entire life we are deciding who we will be each day.

These days I’m more interested in the qualities I live and express regardless of what career choices I still make.

Such as…

Are you deciding you will be happy? Kind? Loving? Helpful? Generous? Thoughtful? Patient? Honest? Creative? Teachable? Open-minded? Willing? Forgiving?

Just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz who learned she always had the power to go back home, we can realize that we always have had and still do have the power to become the person we decide to be.

Our power has always been within.

 

So important to remember that when we feel like everything is out of our control and we have no power or it’s too late to make a change. It’s in those moments when we can’t change what’s outside of our control that we must recognize and change all that is within – our attitudes, our reactions, our decisions, our choices, our beliefs, our feelings.

It is what is WITHIN that we CAN change. We decide.

 

Each day offers us a fresh start. A do-over. New opportunities. Another chance.

 

It’s never too late to become the person we decide to be. What a relief!

Annette Bridges

Annette Bridges

Author, Publisher and Women's Retreat Host

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy. Part of Annette’s own journaling practice includes collecting ideas, quotes, songs, videos and photos that inspire her. She shares some of her finds in these weekly “Be Inspired” posts to lift your spirit with encouragement, comfort and joy.

Connect with me here…

Be Inspired ~ Choose Hope

“May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.” Click To Tweet

“May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.” These words written by a man who spent a major part of his life incarcerated amazes me and yet perhaps also speaks to how his will to live survived those horrible years.

As a woman who has more fears these days than hopes, I say living by this statement is not so easy. Or at least it doesn’t feel so easy on the days when my fears are far overshadowing my hopes – which honestly is a day like today.

BUT on those days or in those moments when my hopes shine through and rise above the clouds of my fears, making choices that reflect and are inspired by my hopes happen naturally.

So how do we keep our hopes higher, stronger and more powerful than our fears?

Pay attention to those moments and days when your hopes are strong. What’s happening in those moments? What are you doing? Where are you? And however you answer these questions, DO MORE OF THAT!

When your fears seem to overwhelm you and invade the confidence and certainty that your hopes inspire, do more of whatever you do that feeds and fuels your hopes.

I’m asking myself these questions RIGHT NOW as I type this message while listening to beautiful soothing saxophone background music. It’s helping to quiet my fears. I need to walk outside. It always surprises me how the sounds and views that nature provides can bring fresh perspectives. And the deep breathes that being in the outdoors invites give my hopes encouragement and reassurance.

DO MORE OF WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO TO FEED AND FUEL YOUR HOPES!

Don’t give in to your fears without a fight! You’re not alone in your battle. Click To Tweet

Don’t give in to your fears without a fight! You’re not alone in your battle. I’ve been remembering there is a divine presence and power called God, Love, Spirit – whatever name you prefer – that will comfort and strengthen you. Reaching out to friends is also a good choice and one I forget at times when I’m feeling very alone. You are never alone. You have friends (and even strangers!) who are ready and waiting to be the angel of hope that you need. All you have to do is choose to ASK.

Choose hope!

Annette Bridges

Annette Bridges

Author, Publisher and Women's Retreat Host

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy. Part of Annette’s own journaling practice includes collecting ideas, quotes, songs, videos and photos that inspire her. She shares some of her finds in these weekly “Be Inspired” posts to lift your spirit with encouragement, comfort and joy.

Connect with me here…

Be Inspired ~ It’s Never Too Late

It's never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot #Quote Click To Tweet

These words are powerful to me and encouraging. This image, as most all of the images I share in my blogs, was first posted on my Facebook author page. Most weeks my blogs are featuring one of my favorites.

I keep re-reading this quote!!! I guess I’ve needed this reminder lately.

It’s tempting, the older I get, to feel like I’ve waited too long to begin aspiring to attain a certain goal, that there isn’t enough time, that a certain ship has sailed and I just missed the boat. That I should move on in search of another idea.

I must admit I do have moments when I think my life might be easier if I gave up my aspirations and dreams.

I like to think of myself as open and ready to act upon new inspirations. And for some, I may appear to be someone who changes her mind at the drop of a hat. I consider myself as teachable and flexible and when I learn a new and better way of doing something, then I see no reason to not change, regroup, edit, tweak, or go in a totally different direction when it feels like the thing to do.

And perhaps I could even reach the conclusion that stopping something altogether is the thing to do.

BUT I really resist any notion that the reason to stop is because it is too late.

I just can’t believe that. I don’t want to believe that. I refuse to believe that.

Some of you have heard me say in recent times that my ninety year old mother’s latest life lesson to me is that it’s never too late to learn something new, to discover and experience new passion. Her newfound love of painting has been my example that confirms to me it truly is never too late to be what you might have been!

Those last words in this quote keep stirring in my heart – “…what you might have been.” And I’m recalling some of those things I aspired to in younger years and wondering why I let go of them. And just maybe…it’s not too late to consider them again.

How about YOU? Have you ever given up on something you wanted to do because you thought it was too late?

Annette Bridges

Annette Bridges

Author, Publisher and Women's Retreat Host

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy. Part of Annette’s own journaling practice includes collecting ideas, quotes, songs, videos and photos that inspire her. She shares some of her finds in these weekly “Be Inspired” posts to lift your spirit with encouragement, comfort and joy.

Connect with me here…

Be Inspired ~ Dare to Dream

Dare to dream. The title of one of my 2017 Color Your World Journals. And it’s the featured theme for my January journaling prompts in my journal club and the theme inspiring gorgeous photo quotes on my Facebook author page this month.

But I certainly did NOT coin the phrase.  Many authors, teachers, leaders have used some variation of this phrase in some way.

I especially love this quote:

“Dare to do what you dare to dream.” -John Tortorella Click To Tweet

I enjoy looking up definitions of words. I’m often surprised! I’m inspired when I discover a deeper meaning of a word!

“Dare” included such phrases as: have the courage to do something, be brave enough, be so bold as, have the audacity, defy or challenge to do something.

January seemed like the perfect month to do some focused journaling about daring to dream as I gather courage to take action and defy the odds against my success.

My New Year’s wish to you…that you dare to do what YOU dare to dream!

Happy BRAVE AND BOLD New Year my friends! I think it’s the trying and doing that is most important!

Annette Bridges

Annette Bridges

Author, Publisher and Women's Retreat Host

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy. Part of Annette’s own journaling practice includes collecting ideas, quotes, songs, videos and photos that inspire her. She shares some of her finds in these weekly “Be Inspired” posts to lift your spirit with encouragement, comfort and joy.

Connect with me here…

Be Inspired ~ A Cold and Broken Hallelujah!

We’re about a begin a brand new year! I’m sure I’m not the only one who at this time reminisces and reflects on the year about to pass.

I’ve heard this song performed by many artists but this rendition by Pentatonix gave me GOOSIES!!!! And…I felt like I was hearing the song for the first time!

I’ve never thought I understood the meaning of the song lyric speaking of love as a cold and broken hallelujah. But that image is resonating with me for the first time as this year closes. After watching a brother pass on, after being by my mom’s side as she rallied back from near death moments, after being on my knees more times than I can count in prayer to God crying about my dreads and fears, regrets and disappointments…yes….I feel it now….love that is a cold and broken hallelujah.

Love isn’t all warm and fuzzy everything is perfect tied up in a beautiful bow. My feelings of love this past year (the past few years actually!) could not be described in that way.

My love has been lived. My love has been present. Even when my being present was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life. Even when I felt cold and broken, sad and lost…my love wasn’t going anywhere. My love was constant and steadfast. And it will remain so. And that makes me cry out HALLELUJAH!

 

We can all do that. We do our best. We give our all. Our love is enough!

Hallelujah!

Annette Bridges

Annette Bridges

Author, Publisher and Women's Retreat Host

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy. Part of Annette’s own journaling practice includes collecting ideas, quotes, songs, videos and photos that inspire her. She shares some of her finds in these weekly “Be Inspired” posts to lift your spirit with encouragement, comfort and joy.

Connect with me here…

Be Inspired ~ Let In Some Light

This week I’ve slowed down a bit and given myself more pause breaks. I’ve had to actually. My body seemed to be saying, “No more missy! Whoah!”

It’s all too easy to get caught up in rushing around doing all we think must be done. Pushing ourselves to the point where we forget to enjoy the present moments we are living. 

If we’re not feeling the joy, I think that’s a sign to put the brakes on and pause. A little time well-spent gazing at your Christmas tree lights may be just what is needed. At least I can say that is precisely what I needed! 

Yep! When you’re feeling blue, harried, tired, sick…let in some light! 

When you're feeling blue, harried, tired, sick...let in some light! Click To Tweet

Let your thoughts be focused on the light. The light that fills your heart with peace, calm, comfort, love… 

Twinkly lights can remind you of what you need to lighten and brighten your day, your present moment, this beautiful season, your life, your New Year. 

Give yourself the gift of gazing…deep breaths…sighs…

Pause all the thinking, overthinking, analyzing, worrying and GAZE!

And have a Merry Christmas my friends and family with so much love! 

Annette Bridges

Annette Bridges

Author, Publisher and Women's Retreat Host

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy. Part of Annette’s own journaling practice includes collecting ideas, quotes, songs, videos and photos that inspire her. She shares some of her finds in these weekly “Be Inspired” posts to lift your spirit with encouragement, comfort and joy.

Connect with me here…

Be Inspired ~ Enough Is Enough I Say

Don't let full agendas and busy schedules dictate your holidays! Click To Tweet

Boy oh boy, have I NOT been following this advice lately! My overloaded overextended agendas and crazy busy have done nothing but dictate my holidays so far! 

Enough is enough I say! I haven’t even decorated our tree or put out any decorations YET and this is way off my usual preferred routine. Every friend I talk to lately seem to be in the same boat. What’s going on this year???

Eventually we must all learn when to say no. And when to make our priorities really be our priorities! 

As soon as I finish this note to y’all, I’m shutting down my computer and putting my phone on silent, turning on Christmas music and I am going to decorate! Probably need to do a bit of dusting first but I’m going to dust and decorate as I go! 

I want to immerse myself into the look and feel of the season. And for me….that requires lots of whimsy and lights! Everywhere I look! 

It’s 10 days till Christmas my friends! 

I wish you all much joy, peace and fun!  

Annette Bridges

Annette Bridges

Author, Publisher and Women's Retreat Host

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy. Part of Annette’s own journaling practice includes collecting ideas, quotes, songs, videos and photos that inspire her. She shares some of her finds in these weekly “Be Inspired” posts to lift your spirit with encouragement, comfort and joy.

Connect with me here…