Monday, May 18, 2009

New Me

I found myself in a bad situation this last Friday evening. Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to understand why others don't believe in, understand, and even care about the issues that I do. I believe in and am passionate about many things in life but most of all I believe that everyone deserves the right to equality. There's a quote from Obama that I like,

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is the true genius of America, a faith-a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted-at least most of the time."

This is why I was so upset with the way I reacted. I like debating issues and trying to understand other's points of views but I crossed a line. I allowed myself to get upset and take the argument personally. We all have the right to believe in the things we want to, but we also have to respect the beliefs of others. I don't think keeping quiet about what you believe in is the answer because that is simply how change happens. When facts and information are made public people just may take action or change their position. However, we can try to make our point of view known without putting down others or making them feel like they aren't being heard. You can share your information in a positive way that may open up a few minds and at the very least, make them ponder what you've presented. This is why I usually just try to simply present the facts for people to do with as they like (usually by passing on a e-mail, sharing a video, or quote). They can take it or leave it but I'll feel as though as I did my part for what I care about. I believe it is important to keep an open heart and open mind. Such as in homelessness, just because a few people take advantage of the system doesn't mean they all do. We should not judge them as a whole. We need to be understanding of each individuals circumstance. Not judging unless you've walked in their shoes. Some experiences that may not be debilitating to you, may crush others. Everyone handles situations differently. That is why it is so important to be compassionate. Just because something (policy, actions, volunteering...) doesn't benefit you personally as an individual, give it a chance and try to understand why it's there. It may be helping thousands of others in need that aren't as well off as you are or who don't have the same advantages. Bobby Kennedy said,

"What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom; and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer in our country, whether they be white or they be black."

He was known as such a great influential speaker because he brought people together by speaking the truth. He called upon the better angels of our nature to reaffirm our most basic human instincts of compassion, love, and empathy. This takes me to a different subject. Something that really stood out for me in church on Sunday. We all fight spiritual battles daily. You get to choose how you react to every challenge you face. It is easier said then done but when you become conscious of it, you can only go up from there. Whether it be an argument with a spouse, friend, or family member, someone who cut you off in traffic, someone who made a rude comment to you, you get to choose how you react. You can take the high road or the low road. When you become focused on and get caught up in that conflict you forget what's important in life. You become sidetracked from your true mission in life, you take a step back from becoming the person you're working towards rather than a step forward.

This weekend something AMAZING happened. A huge awakening, a step forward in my life...I finally made the decision for myself to be baptised. It was right, it was time...I was ready to accept my roll as a follower, to make that commitment. For the first time, I knew that the current church I have been participating in was where I needed to be at this moment in my life, what I needed to be a part of. Every day I leave feeling inspired, ready to help others and better myself. I'm so excited about my journey from here on out. Of course there's going to be bumps along the way. It can take a long time to get to your destination but enjoy the ride and learn from your mistakes!

Peace, love, & positive vibes....Danielle

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Here's to Life

The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time. -- Abraham Lincoln

Well, I've done first blog entry! :0) I want to start most of them out with something positive or thought provoking. I liked this quote from Abe because I always need to remind myself to quit worrying about the future and to just take it one beautiful day at a time! What will be, will be. You can only control your actions (and sometimes even that is hard to do) but everything else is up in the air. Life is pretty amazing even if we don't always understand it at the time. Instead of stressing about all the unimportant things, take a deep breath and enjoy the many miracles and mysteries in this crazy world. I often find myself complaining about all the stuff I have to do or about the lady behind the counter that was rude to me but, honestly, what good does that do for either of us? I should just smile with the hope that it's contagious and that I might even lift her spirits as well as my own. There are much more important things in life. Like watching the clouds float by, listening to the birds sing, enjoying the innocence of children, taking advantage of the peacefulness of nature while going on a hike to clear my head, loving my fiance, friends, and familywith all my heart, the sweet yet subtle bitterness of dark chocolate -- Mmmm, such a very important part of my life, I just had to throw that in there :o) know what I'm talking about.... all the good things in life, and these are different for everyone but what's important is that there is always good to be found. I truly am blessed and thank God every night for having such a wonderful life, things could always be worse and dwelling on all the negative will only bring more negative.

Speaking of God, today was Easter Sunday and what an amazing service we went to. The perfect way to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Since I was not baptised as a child, I have been to many different churches over the years. I've never really questioned whether or not I believe but I have questioned the Church's role in our lives. I do not enjoy going to a church and feeling uncomfortable or judged. I also don't believe that any church should turn certain groups of people away. People go through tough times and the last thing they need when tryingt to deal with something is to feel like an outcast. I feel that some churches only segregate the people further but today I did not feel this way for the first time. I felt that everyone was accepted. They welcome the divorced, homeless, abused, GLTB's...and offered many resources to help anyone in need. They encouraged us to accept all these people and to reach out to anyone that may be in need. I immediately was influenced and inspired to be a better person. It was also very uplifting and entertaining and focused on many issues that happen today in society. The world has changed and I feel that our belief system has to evolve just the same to accomodate the progress and changes that happen within society. Please know that I am not putting down any certain religion just simply stating that I have never felt completely comfortable committing to a specific religion before and still am not but I'm finding myself more excited about a church and it's belief system and values than ever before. We'll see what next week brings.

Now just a moment for gratitude...I'm thankful that I am close with my family and they are always behind me, that my fiance and I have a house to call our own, that I have one of the best future family of in-laws, that my family is in good health and has no major health concerns, that my sister and her son, Andre' have escaped a very negative environment and are thriving, that i have animals to love and that love me unconditionally, that my sister has a job interview next week, that Dane & I are still together and are taking our relationship to the next level in 2010, that I work for the most amazing family who has so graciously taken me in as their own and is always there for me, that I have some of the most caring and empathetic friends around, that I have no major health concerns, that I have a reliable source of transportation, oh I could go on and on :0) Most of all thanks to everyone who plays a role in my life. Whether it be as a sister, brother, mother, father, confidant, spirit lifter, joke teller, hugger,'re the reason I want to be a better person, the reason I want to live my life to the fullest. I still need you to get where I want to be. I still need to be reminded not to be so stubborn, to not dwell on the past, to not get caught up in the "why's" but to ask myself what can I do about it...I'll get there, you'll get long as we stick together!!!!

Sweet Dreams!

Peace, love, & positive vibes......