Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The World Needs You

In the season of giving, rejoice in the gifts that you bring to the world. You make the world a better place. Your gifts can change the world. You make a difference.

Don't worry that you can't do everything. Do the best you can, and that is enough. Be yourself. You are enough.

As you scatter kindness and love, be kind to yourself. The world needs you.

Linda Garner

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What About Charity?

When I speak to women about loving themselves, some are confused and uncomfortable. Is it okay to love myself? they sometimes ask. I encourage them to be kind to themselves and to understand their worth. I ask them to notice things they are doing well. If I feel good about my accomplishments isn’t that pride? If I do something nice for myself isn’t that being selfish?

Many women struggle with feelings of self-worth. Women in abusive relationships struggle in personal and painful ways. It is difficult for them to find themselves amid the abuse. They struggle to understand the doctrines of charity, forgiveness, and unconditional love.

Some who are in abusive relationships feel that having unconditional love means putting up with the abuse. They wonder if the abuse is their fault. Because they want to be Christlike they will stay in a harmful relationship to show they have charity. They may put on a cheerful face and minimize the abuse. They forgive the abuser and allow the abuse to continue, because they think that is what forgiveness means.

To any who struggle with self-worth or boundaries in a hurtful relationship, I tenderly offer some clarification.

Perhaps you are confusing unconditional love with unconditional acceptance. In other words we are told that our Heavenly Father cannot show the least degree of acceptance for sin, yet he always loves the sinner.

If you had two children and one was a bully, would you love the bully less than your picked on child? Would you love him unconditionally, even when he beat up the other child? That is charity. Out of that charity, would you allow him to continue to abuse your other child? Would you counsel the child with the broken nose, two cracked ribs, and a broken spirit to lie down and take it so that he could show unconditional love for his brother?

Forgiveness is essential. Loving the sinner is a commandment. Accepting the sin is foolish. Allowing the sinner to repeat unacceptable behavior out of charity is misguided.

If someone raped or murdered your daughter, your sister, your best friend, you might try to feel love for this person. You might have to dig deep to find this love, but you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.

You might ask Jesus to help you find forgiveness in your heart. Forgiveness is hard, but you will try. You might pray for charity, or unconditional love, but you do not want the rapist, the murderer, to go free and be allowed to repeat his crime. You might be able to find forgiveness, charity, unconditional love, but you want this man locked away from society where he can never hurt anyone again. Forgiving does not remove the consequence for unacceptable behavior. Having charity does not remove the consequence either.

Some years ago I was invited to address a small group of pastors about sexual abuse. It was a powerful experience. One pastor told of a man who had abused a child many years ago and his family still did not trust them with their children. He felt sorrow for this man, and pain, but forgiveness does not equal trust. Charity does not equal trust. Trust must be earned.

Suppose a man robbed a bank, then paid his debt to society. Suppose he served a prison term and then repaid the debt. The bank forgives. The law forgives. Society forgives. If it is your bank, will you then rehire him?

If we must have charity for the abuser, we must also have charity for the abused. If your child was being abused you would take your child out of the situation if it were possible. You would rescue the child no matter the cost, wouldn’t you? Or would you instead counsel your child to submit to the abuse in the name of charity?

Perhaps we should have said to our neighbors in Iraq, “We encourage you to show charity for these insane creatures who are murdering, raping, and pillaging you. Don’t try to defend yourselves, and don’t ask for help. This is for your own good. This is a time for selflessness.”

I do not believe that allowing others to abuse you is charity. The commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves opens at least two other questions. 1. Who is my neighbor? 2. Am I supposed to love myself?

In truth, the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves is also a commandment to love ourselves. How could it be otherwise? We can only love another to the degree that we love ourselves.

When we carefully consider this commandment, there are other questions. Can I show charity for myself? Is it possible? Will I do it? Will I feel guilty if I do? Is it selfish to give up being a doormat? Does being a doormat make me more celestial? Does allowing myself to be abused make me more loving, more Christlike, more charitable? Is submitting to abuse helping me to learn unconditional love? Is it making me a better person?

I do not believe that charity is synonymous with selflessness. Selfless service is beautiful thing, but selflessness implies a loss of identity, a loss of value. Jesus gave selfless service, but he never lost his value or his identity. Selfless service cannot come from an empty heart, any more than money can come from an empty purse, or food can come from an empty shelf.

To the woman taken in sin the Lord showed love and charity. He did not rebuke her, he frankly forgave her. He also counseled her to go and sin no more. Is it possible that mistreating herself was part of the sin? Is it possible that allowing someone to mistreat a child of God is a sinful act?

For some these are difficult concepts, and you may not agree with the words that I have written. I believe that they are true. You matter to Heavenly Father. He cherishes you. Ask him to tell you how he feels about you. Ask him if there is a thread of truth in my words. Ask him if it is okay to love yourself.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Good China

I got it out today and washed and rearranged it. I’ll serve my guests on it tonight. It’s pretty and festive. My mother picked it out for me almost 40 years ago. Even though I love it, it’s seldom used.

Most of our dinner parties involve a small army of close relatives. Most of them are on the short side, and aren't very good with china. Sometimes we use the everyday dishes, which are sturdy mostly-matching Correlle. I say sturdy, but I used to say unbreakable. In our family test kitchen we have found it possible to break almost every variety of supposedly unbreakable material.

Truthfully, we don’t really have enough mostly-matching Correlle to serve our small army. We generally use paper goods for even our fanciest family get-togethers. It suits us. We seldom run out of dishes and we have less cleanup. More time to enjoy each other. Less frayed nerves and less exhaustion. We’re not that fancy anyway.

Mother made sure I had beautiful china and a lovely place to store it in. Mom loved parties and she loved fancy things. I appreciate her thoughtfulness. I admire fancy things, but I don’t really crave them like Mom did. In some ways I’m like my mom, but we were cut from different cloth.

Do I own eight sets of matching silverware? I need matching silverware, not really silver of course, to go with the good china. Wait, it's salad at my house. I only need forks. Do I have matching forks for eight? Rummaging in silverware drawer. Six, seven, eight, nine...more than enough. I love abundance.

It will be fun to be fancy tonight with the girls at our annual progressive dinner party. I enjoyed washing the good china and rearranging it in my lovely china closet, as I remembered Mom. Eating on beautiful dishes doesn’t make me worth more. Of that I’m sure.

It’s okay to be different, and it’s okay that I miss my fancy mom.

Linda Garner

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gratitude: The Forgotten Key

There is something lovely about autumn. The days are crisper and there is a sense of purpose in the air. I enjoy the fall color and the gently falling leaves. I breathe deeply. I smell change.

As I watch the leaves fall, I ponder change. I wonder about the future. I look inside myself and enjoy the stillness. I step softly into my heart and take inventory. I embrace my gifts and examine my baggage. It is a good time for letting go.

What will I let go of this autumn? Some of my baggage is old and familiar. Shall I be done with it, at last? Is it time to move on? Can I let it go, like softly falling leaves, and allow it to gather at my feet, where I can sweep it up and carry it out?

Can I let go of judgement? Deceit? Bitterness? Self-Pity? Resentment? Anger? Can I let go of pain? Some thoughts have lodged in my heart for so long, they seem like family. Who would I be without these guests? Guests are they, or perhaps intruders?

I examine each piece of baggage, each intruder, and wonder why I have kept it close for so long. In the corners of my heart I find hidden containers. Secrets. Do I know them?

Inferiority. Not good enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough. No one likes me. It’s too late. I never… I always… How long have those bags been hidden in my heart? Who put them there?

Not I. Surely not I. Have I just been storing them, then, til someone claims them? Let them fall. I shake my inner tree and let them go.

I sweep the corners and gather the dust of loneliness, the cobwebs of despair, the skeletons of self-judgement, the bones of isolation.

Autumn feels good. With joy, I release things that no longer serve me. I let them go. I sweep up the leaves of yesterday and carry them out.

So much garbage. Did I get it all? Maybe not, but there is more room in my heart now. Room for shiny new gifts. Room for a jar of love, a box of forgiveness, a sack of friendship. Room for a cup of kindness, a tin of tolerance, and a can of cooperation.

With the baggage gone, I see a door that I didn’t noticed before. It was hidden behind the intruders. The word PEACE is painted on the door in pretty script. What lies behind that door ? A closet? A hallway? An adventure? The door is locked. I search for a key. There it is hanging from a ribbon on a nail. The key is ornate, the ribbon delicate, and it is labeled gratitude.

Gratitude is the key.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

I turn the key and enter. It’s not a hallway or a closet. It’s a beautiful room. Silently, it speaks the word on the door. It whispers peace.

The room is lovely. Fresh flowers grace the table. A fire crackles in the fireplace. The walls are decorated with things I love, meaningful art and pictures of things I am grateful for. I see faces of family and friends. I see happy memories frozen in time. These are precious gifts.

I explore this comfortable room. I sit at the piano and caress the keys lovingly. A tender melody flows from my grateful fingers. The music of my heart fills the stillness with gratitude. The gift of music sweetens my life.

I am drawn to the bookshelf where I notice my favorite books are mingled with some I have never read. I touch each one, feeling gratitude for the power of words. I am delighted that there are always new words to read. My fingers rest lovingly on the scriptures. I am grateful for the words of life.

Light filters in through a single window. I stand at the window and gaze at a charming garden alive with gracious plants. I throw open the window to breathe in the colors of life--the colors of gratitude. I find joy in this garden.

Inside this cozy room I become aware of my gifts, which are many. They bring meaning and enjoyment into my life. They bring me peace. I gather these gifts in my arms and carry them close to me, as I move toward the fire.

There is a mirror above the fireplace. As I look into the mirror, I am surprised to see not one, but two faces reflected there. I see my own face, and also the face of my Savior. I see that His life is woven together with mine. I see that His love and support makes my life meaningful. Gratitude swells within my heart.

A comfortable chair waits for me in front of the fire of love. It is inviting and has embroidery on the back. I trace the stiches with my fingers. At first the words are difficult to read, but as the fire tosses light onto the chair and fills the room with love, the words become clearer.

I can read the words now. Remember Who You Are. What a gift.

It’s a beautiful chair. I think I’ll sit a while.

Linda Garner

Friday, November 18, 2011

We Can Be More Gentle With Ourselves

I love the holidays, but there is so much to do. It can be hectic. High expectations. High stress. It's hard to measure up. Take time to do something nice for yourself, and please while you're dishing up kindness to everyone else, take a nice portion for yourself. If everything's not perfect, relax and look for the humor in the situation. Reduce stress by choosing gratitude. When things go wrong remember how awesome you are and always be gentle with yourself.

I love these healing words by Michael McLean. You may want to post them somewhere in your home to help you find peace when you are doing the Holiday Dance of Stress.


Words and Music by Michael McLean

Like a gentle wind can blow the clouds from the sky,
Like a gentle touch can ease the pain of goodbye,
Like a gentle smile embraces empty souls in lonely places,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Like the friend who gently builds us up when we're down,
Like a gentle kiss can turn our world all around,
We've been hurt by others often,
We've forgiven and forgotten,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Life can be hard but
we need not be so hard
on ourselves,
If we will see...

Like the Shepherd leads his flock with gentle commands.
With his gentle voice that only hearts understand.
One thing we can know for certain, He has borne the awful burdens
so we can be more gentle with ourselves.

One thing that I know for certain:
He will bear my every burden,
So I can be gentle with myself.

Thanks, Mike. I love those words.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Putting My Body First

The older I get, the more I appreciate my body. My body is my most valuable resource. I have sometimes taken her for granted. My friends and I are noticing changes. Some of us are slowing down. Tiredness, aches,and pains are common concerns. I’m not ready for this.

I expect to live a long time, and I’m not ready for the rocking chair. There are things I want to do. I need to feel good. Now, more than ever before I need to take care of my body.

My body is my first stewardship, my first priority. If I don’t take care of her, my body will have a hard time supporting me. This is the only body I am ever going to get, at least in this life. What could be more important than nourishing and strengthening my body?

Health is a controversial subject, but most experts agree that our bodies need exercise. Staying active is important. I have health issues that respond to exercise, so it is a high priority for me. Still, it is easy to let other activities take priority. If I do not exercise early in the day, chances are good that it won’t happen. I have good intentions, but am easily distracted.

I don’t mind exercise, but I don’t love it. There are lots of things I’d rather do. However, I love what exercise does for me. The health benefits are huge, and my body gives me immediate feedback. Exercise is a mood enhancer, and makes me feel amazing.

For years a daily walk was my favorite exercise. It’s free and I can do it any time, any place. Fresh air and sunshine have extra benefits. Most of us don’t get enough vitamin D. Sunshine helps our vitamin D levels. If you can find someone to walk with you, it gets better. Walking is more fun with a friend, and a daily commitment to meet at a certain time and place will develop consistency.

I find it much more difficult to maintain consistency when I don’t have a walking partner. Other exercise routines that have worked for me have been a daily bike ride, bouncing to music on our trampoline, working out with a yoga video, and dancing to music in my living room. (No spectators allowed.)

Our bodies are meant to move and the type of exercise we choose probably doesn’t matter as much as daily consistency. I found some helpful websites: hundredpushups.com and twohundredsitups.com A few weeks ago, I couldn’t imagine doing ten pushups, let alone one hundred. I didn’t do pushups as a teenager, so how could I do them now? Despite my insecurity, I wanted to strengthen my core which has grown rather weak and flabby.

The hundred pushups site gave me a plan that was totally doable, and I can do more pushups than I ever thought possible. I do pushups three days a week, and decided to add a sit up routine to the other three days. I do pushups Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and sit ups Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. I am getting stronger.

In addition to this, I walk, bike, jump, dance, or do yoga every day. I aim for an hour of exercise each day. That’s a big time drain, but I view it as an investment in my health. I could use a walking partner, though. Any takers?

I gave up walking for a while because of Plantar Fasciitis. That’s when we bought our bikes and it was a great help. I stayed off my feet as much as possible and got one of those little foot rollers that my chiropractor sells. It was heaven.

I didn’t see any significant improvement in my feet until I started taking magnesium. I had read about magnesium’s benefits and decided I needed some. What a difference it made in my feet. I had to take a lot at first, but now I just need a little. I thought I’d share this information in case any of my readers have Plantar Fasciitis. If you don’t have it be grateful. It’s no fun.

Putting my body first is not always easy, but I am really trying. My body has been good to me and I owe her something in return. If I am good to her, I think she’ll make it worth my time.

Come back next week for some tips on healthy eating.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Truth About Labels

The box was filled with canned vegetables, and was too heavy for me to carry. It was a wedding present, and a welcome one, I must admit. What newlyweds wouldn’t appreciate some food to stock their pantry?

There was one slight problem. No labels. Seriously. NO LABELS.

Dinnertime became an adventure. We never knew what was coming out of that can. What will we serve with that meatloaf? It was a loaded question. We learned to love spaghetti night with mystery on the side. Lasagna served with surprise was always a hit.

It was kooky but we had fun with it. We couldn’t tell by looking at the can what was inside. We had to look deeper. We had to actually open up the can and see for ourselves what was inside.

Labels work well for lots of things. Cans, clothes, pillows, toilet paper, and packaged food of every kind have useful labels. However, labels don’t always work well for people, especially when we don't look inside.

Sometimes we wear labels that someone else chose for us. Often they are not complementary. Lazy, thoughtless, worthless, dumb, weird are some that come to mind. These labels are damaging. Get rid of them.

Better labels are those that build confidence and self-worth. Try wearing something like kind, helpful, smart, thoughtful, creative, sensitive, sincere, or grateful. Wearing positive labels helps us feel valued and significant.

We tend to become what we think we are. Sometimes this means we become what we think others think we are. Like a sponge we soak up the ideas that are directed to us even when they are not true. If they feel true to us, we absorb those ideas and reflect them in our actions and choices. Sometimes these ideas have the shape of words, but a mean look or unkind behavior can be just as significant.

I recall a family activity when our children were young. We wrote each child a letter complimenting them on one or two qualities we appreciated in them. The activity was magical. The children were delighted to have such nourishment, but the fun was just beginning.

For weeks after the activity, we noticed the children taking it one step farther. The child who was praised for sharing said things like, “I think I should share this toy with my sister, because I’m good at sharing.” The child who was praised for patience said something like “It’s okay if you’re busy. I can wait, because I am patient.” The child who was praised for cheerfulness bounced out of bed each morning with a smile and spread happiness where ever she could.

Because of the effectiveness of this activity, I began to wish that we had made our lists longer. Think of all the things we could have listed, if we had realized what a difference it would make.

Don’t you love to be noticed for something positive. Often as parents we do just the opposite. We pay attention to the negative and ignore the positive. What are we thinking? The behavior we feed is the one that will grow.

If we want to make a difference we need to celebrate the positive. Think of a positive trait that you want to nurture in someone and notice any behavior that is a step in the right direction. Give complements and watch to see what happens. This can’t be phony.

An almost magical thing occurs when children hear us praising them to others, especially when they think we don’t know they are listening.

We can teach our kids to look for the good in others and to say positive things to them. Children can be cruel, but we can teach them to be kind. Negative labels created in childhood by thoughtless words are sometimes difficult to erase. Let’s teach kids not to create them in the first place.

Bullying is prevalent in our society today. It has worked its way into neighborhoods and schools. Bullies thrive on making others miserable. Often they try to make themselves feel good by making others feel bad. Too many children have been damaged in this way. Such damage may have a permanent effect on a precious life.

Think of a negative label you received as a child and the damage it did to you. Was it lasting? If you were fortunate, you were able to see through it or overcome it. Maybe you had helpful teachers or family who made a difference for you. For some it is devastating.

You have daily opportunities to make a difference by treating someone with kindness. Though you may encounter people who seem annoying, irritating, irresponsible, or difficult, you can respond kindly. You can choose to validate them with positive labels. Look for something good to appreciate and mention it.

You can do this at work, in the neighborhood, or at church. You can respond positively in the grocery store or in the doctor’s office. You can do it in the bleachers at the soccer game.

Don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Shake off the negative labels you have acquired over time. Let them go. Whether you created the label or someone else did, if it is not a helpful label, toss it out.

Create for yourself positive labels. You may choose to post them on a mirror or some other prominent place. You may choose to repeat them out loud. Notice any behavior that validates a positive label and acknowledge your progress.

There are lots of desirable labels, but my favorite is I am a Child of God. It is true, and it is overflowing with possibilities. I love remembering who I am. What label could be better than that?

Linda Garner

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let the Healing Begin

“We think that depression is a negative thing, but really it’s a chance to go inside and do some deep cleaning. It’s a time to rebalance and remember who you are.” Janet Wuthrich Stuart

Those aren’t Janet’s exact words, but they are close. Janet was my friend and she died a few years ago after a long illness. I believe she was well acquainted with depression.

Most of us have dealt with depression at least once in our lives. There are different kinds of depression. There is the kind that seems to come from brain chemistry and there is the kind that comes from challenging circumstances. Sometimes they come together.

In today’s world, there is a quick fix road for depression that includes prescription medication. I can tell you from experience that it is anything but quick. For some, it can support healing, when combined with other kinds of treatment. For most, it is not a long term solution.

When I think about my friend’s words, I realize that there is much more to healing than medication. Going inside is often painful, but crucial to healing. Deep cleaning is difficult but essential if healing is to be complete. At times we all need to rebalance in meaningful ways. I can’t think of anything that would do more for us, than remembering who we are.

Today a close friend told me that he is depressed. My reaction was not what you might expect. Instead of worrying about him, I rejoiced. My thought was this. Thank goodness. You are beginning to feel again.

Have you ever buried your feelings because they were too painful to deal with? Have you ever masked your hurt under a blanket of apathy? Not caring is a way to cope, but it doesn’t serve you well in the long run. You can only hide your feelings for so long. When the light reaches inside, those hidden feelings must surface. Will it be painful? Yes. Depressing? You bet. How long will it take? Who knows.

But the good news is, this is the first step to healing. You may want to get some help, but much of this is a do-it-yourself project. Who but you can go inside your head and rebalance? Let the healing begin.

Grab your cleaning supplies, and get ready to scrub. Couldn’t we all use some deep cleaning?

Linda Garner

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Should I answer the Doorbell?

Has this ever happened to you?

It's 10:00 a.m.. I've been up writing since 6:00 a.m, but I am still in my pajamas and my hair is wild one side and flat on the other, I have dark circles under my eyes from the mascara I didn't wash off last night, and there is broccoli in my teeth. (I get the munchies when I write.) The doorbell rings. What do I do?

When the doorbell rings, I notice the time and realize that it would be really nice if I had dressed and done my hair a little before 10:00. Makeup would be great, but it's a little late for that. It was still dark when I jumped out of bed and ran to my computer. I couldn't wait to get going. Where did the last four hours go?

Should I answer the doorbell? I could hide. What if it's someone important. I peek out the window. There's a car out front. I don't recognize it. What should I do. The person at the door may think I just got up. The person at the door may think that I am lazy or maybe a slob. But I'm not a slob, and I'm not lazy. I try to loosen the broccoli from my teeth with my tongue. Maybe they won't notice. Maybe they don't even know me. If I don't smile they might not see the broccoli. What do I do?

I answer it of course. I'm a little embarrassed, but hey how bad can it be? I know I don't look my best, but I can hold my head up. I can be polite and I can smile. Does that broccoli show?

She does know me. She's a friend. She is dressed up for work and she looks great. In spite of the broccoli, I smile. I don't explain my appearance, even though I know she's probably wondering. She's seen me look better. I don't feel bad.

A gift. She's brought me a gift. It's a thank-you from her girls--the ones I spoke to last week about self-worth. Now I get to practice what I preach. It's not my appearance that makes me worthwhile. It's not my hair, my clothes, my makeup. It's what's inside. It's who I am. It's my Heavenly Father's love.

Can Heavenly Father love me with broccoli in my teeth? Yes. In my pajamas with bed head and mascara circles? Yes.

I thank her for the note, and I open it without glancing in the mirror. I can laugh about that later. The note is awesome. The messages are sweet. The girls get it. For now, they know who they are. And if they remember, that will make the difference.

I look in the mirror and laugh. I pick at the broccoli in my teeth and remember who I am. I am a daughter of God, who loves me. For me, that makes all the difference.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What is that Negative Thought Costing You?

“No thought lives in your head rent-free. Each thought you have will either be an investment or a cost. It will either move you toward happiness and success or away from it. It will either empower you or disempower you. That’s why it is imperative you choose your thoughts and beliefs wisely." T. Harv Ecker

I love this quote. It resonates deeply with me. I've often said "You can't afford the luxury of a negative thought." I believe it with all my heart. Buying into negative thinking drains us of power and energy. It sucks us dry and leaves us with low self-esteem and low productivity.

Choosing to think positively strengthens us and builds our sense of worth. We get more done. We love more. We create more. And honestly, we enjoy more.

Though we are surrounded by negative influences, we have a choice. We can choose what we absorb. We can choose how we respond. We can choose our attitude.

Have you ever noticed how negative people drain your energy, yet positive people are like a breath of fresh air? Which person would you like to be, the person who wears you out, or the person that lifts you and inspires you?

Negative thoughts come to all of us, but we don't have to let them stay. Send them packing. Kick them to the curb. Your mind is a high rent district. Don't let the riff-raff in. Now don't go feeling sorry for getting rid of your negative thoughts. They can always go to the homeless shelter.

Entertain positive thoughts. Feed them. Clothe them. Enjoy them. Dream big. Believe in yourself. Feel gratitude. Choose joy. Bring beautiful thoughts home to stay. Let them move in and buy them lovely furniture.

What is that negative thought costing you? Choose wisely.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Confidence is Catching

Ever wonder why it is sometimes hard to feel confident?

Negative messages play a part. We see and hear things that zap our confidence every day.

It's not always easy to be positive when we are surrounded by negatives. Still we can choose a positive outlook. We can look for the good. We can complement others. We can complement ourselves. Why not.

Forgiveness and love are the antidote for judgement. We forgive others when they make mistakes. We love them even when they aren't perfect. Why not forgive ourselves when things go wrong. Let's do our best, and then forgive the rest. Forgive, and move on with confidence and love. Remember, it's okay to love yourself.

Comparing is a big confidence demon. We see others at their best and ourselves at our worst. We try to keep up with the neighbors. We want our yards, our bank accounts, and our children to look like theirs. It's hard to measure up.

Gratitude is the antidote for comparing. Gratitude helps us appreciate what we have. When we are comparing ourselves or our posessions with others we can't enjoy either one. Comparing robs us of peace and joy. When we choose to compare we can never have enough or be enough.

We can be our own worst enemy. We can be demanding and cruel. Judging and competing can destroy our peace and our confidence.

Choose to be positive. Choose joy. Choose confidence. Choose forgiveness. Choose love.

The choice is yours.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If We Do It in Elevators...

Are any of you old enough to remember candid camera? It was a funny show in black and white. They caught Americans on camera doing what they do when they think no one is watching. Here's a fun little clip that may surprise you.

Isn't that funny? I hope you laughed.

Made me wonder...

Why do we do it? Why do we follow the crowd? Most of us think that we aren't that worried about what others thing. We are independent. We think for ourselves. We do our own thing. We aren't influenced by peer pressure, are we?

If we do it in elevators...

Linda Garner

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's Okay to be Different

We like to be alike.

I don't know why, but we love to be the same. We were created to be different, but we spend a lot of our time trying to be like everyone else.

"What are you going to wear?" we ask each other. Where did you get that hat, that purse, that lipstick?

We want to fit in. We follow the crowd.

What's wrong with being unique? What's wrong with celebrating our differences? What's wrong with setting a trend instead of following one?

You are amazing. You are one of a kind. No one in the world is exactly like you. Why be the same when you were born to stand out?

Own your identity. Stand in your truth. Love being different.

Be yourself. Only you can do it.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Celebrating Miracles

I believe in miracles. One of my favorite miracles is the miracle of life.

We have a new miracle in our life. Her name is Maxine, and she is our granddaughter. She was born on Saturday, declaring her independence from the womb two days before America's birthday. I have been talking to her about the fireworks and telling her that the world is celebrating her birth. I think she believes me.

There are lots of reasons that Maxine is a miracle baby. The labor was long and hard. Her mom had health challenges that made having a baby seem risky. Maxine's parents waited a long time for her. They worked hard at getting healthy and minimizing the risk of having a baby.

Maxine is our miracle. What's yours?

Every life is a miracle. Every birth is worth celebrating and every life is worth living.

I am always amazed at the miracle of birth. What began as a single cell grows into a tiny human with a brain, a heart, and lungs. The human body is a complex bundle of organs, nerves, bone, and muscle. Think of the things this body is capable of. Imagine the gift of sight, hearing, thought. All these gifts are wrapped in an incredibly beautiful package and delivered in a most unusual way.

Did you know that babies are born without kneecaps, but fully equipped with a blueprint for their development at the appropriate time. Every beautiful body is encoded with instructions that will last a lifetime, and it's mostly automatic. No owner's manual to read.

Consider these amazing facts. The average human heart will beat 300,000 million times in its lifetime and pump 48 million gallons of blood. The average human brain has 100 billion nerve cells. Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles per hour.

There's more. During a 24-hour period, the average human will breathe 23,040 times. Human blood travels 60,000 miles per day on its journey through the body.

We could go on an on. The human body is the most miraculous amazing machine ever invented, and you are the proud owner of one. Celebrate the miracle of your body. Create a beautiful life.

Why not give your body the respect and care that it deserves. Clean air and water, nutritious food, and invigorating exercise are just the ticket. Thank your body for it's tireless service. Do something wonderful for you body every day. Today is the perfect day to start.

Celebrate life.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


It was one of the nicest notes I had ever received. It was from a piano student who thanked me for making a difference in his life. I saved it for a long time. I'm not sure what happened to it.

I'll bet you get letters like that. Not every day of course, but once in a while you get a thoughtful note that makes your day. For me, a meaningful note creates a special kind of happy, one that I like to remember. Think about the last really nice note you got. Do you remember what it said? Do you remember how it made you feel?What happened to it?

When I get letters like that, I save them for a while and read them again and again. Eventually, though, they become part of the clutter of my life. I give in to tidiness and throw them away. It hurts a little. I've sometimes regretted this, but, really, where do you store those special notes and letters? Maybe in a shoebox, right next to the box of photos that your grandkids will someday organize?

I received a gift that changed all that. It was an inexpensive notebook that had been covered with pretty paper and decorated with ribbons. It sat on my shelf for a long time looking lovely, but quite empty.

What to do with an empty book? What to do with sweet little notes? I think I found a match. This idea is so simple that even I can do it. All it takes is a little glue and it doesn't need to be acid free, archival stuff. I'm surprised I didn't think of it sooner.

Another messy problem for me was those cute little handouts I sometimes get. They might have little thoughts or quotes on them. Sometimes they are decorative. These go on my fridge for a while, but how many quotes do I want on my fridge? Do I want my fridge to become a bulletin board. Trust me, I'm not a neat-freak, but even I have limits.

After a reasonable time on my fridge/bulletin board, these little handouts can also make the move to my empty book.

Besides providing storage for special notes and handouts, this book can provide a little pick-me-up, on discouraging days, when I question my value or my effectiveness. Reading notes of appreciation can remind me that I am making a difference. I am loved and valued.

The handouts can remind me of special times with people who care about me. Reading the thoughts on them can lift my spirits, or change my attitude on a difficult day. Even on difficult days I can be grateful and I can be glad to be me.

Not every note or handout needs to be saved, but some are worth keeping. If I come across a thought that speaks to me, I don't have to wait for a handout. I can write it in my book. Pretty markers are fun, but totally optional. Sticky notes work too.

This is the first thought that made it into my notebook. "By being yourself you put something wonderful in the world that wasn't there before." (Edwin Elliot) I don't know who Edwin Elliot is, but I love the way he thinks. Don't you?

Do you have an empty notebook and some pretty paper? Size doesn't matter. You can dress it up, but only if you want to. It's a little scrapbook, but simpler. No stress involved.

Make it plain or fancy. Make it fun. Just do it. Create a space for meaningful notes--a space that you can visit whenever you want. Mine is called Linda's LoveNotes. Maybe yours will be called Teresa's Treasures or Sally's Stuff.

If notes of appreciation make a difference for you, maybe you can make a difference for someone else by writing thoughtful notes. Notice people. Catch them doing something nice and tell them you appreciate it. Notes don’t have to be elaborate, just heartfelt. They don’t even have to be on fancy cards. Nice words on notebook paper are just as meaningful. Make someone’s day.

If it’s been a while since you’ve received a thoughtful note, why not write your own. No one knows you better. Write a note that says the things you’d love to hear. Write the note that you would love to read. It's okay to love yourself.

What would you say to yourself? Here are some ideas.

I love your new haircut. It looks great on you.

By the way, have you lost weight? I noticed. You look terrific.

You have the nicest kids. I think you’ve taught them well.

I really appreciate your kindness. You made a difference last week when you stopped by to say hello.

That was a great lesson you gave on Sunday. It touched my heart.

I love your smile. You make me happy. Thanks for being my friend.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Work in Progress

It's true. I'm not perfect. Neither are you. I'm working on it. I have a feeling you are too. I'm a work in process. I have flaws, but I also have hope. I have both goals and dreams.

What if we were only valued for our achievements? What if the only goal that mattered was perfection? What if our worth was attached to the ends and not the means? What if only the perfect were considered worth something?

Sometimes we focus too much on results. We demand perfection and feel worth less when we fall short of our expectations. Perfection is a life-long process and may be beyond our grasp. Is there no joy in the journey?

If we harbor thoughts of worthlessness because we are not perfect, we have set ourselves up for failure. We will never be good enough.

This is a thinking error. Indeed our worth is infinite. Our service and contributions, though not perfect, are valuable. Your life has value. So does mine.

You are in charge of your thoughts. You can change your thinking. You can choose to value your efforts, your body, your appearance, your feelings, your thoughts. You can choose to enjoy the present. You can choose to enjoy becoming. You can choose.

You can do this. You can. You are a work in progress. What could be better.


Linda Garner

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It'll Be Our Secret

The page was covered with circles of different sizes. I invited the girls to write in each circle something they liked about themselves. I suggested that some could be about their appearance, but some should be about other things. Talents could be included, as well as character traits.

Most girls got right to work, but one beautiful and outstanding girl stared at the paper in her lap, and then gave me a questioning look. "This doesn't feel right," she said. "This feels like bragging." She really looked uncomfortable. "We aren't supposed to..." Her voice trailed off, as if she wasn't sure how to finish the sentence.

I finished it for her "We aren't supposed to like ourselves?"I asked. "Is that what you're thinking?"

She nodded. She seemed embarassed.

The discussion that followed was exciting. Ideas were shared that gave her a new perspective on self-worth. We gave her permission to celebrate her strengths. We gave her permission to love herself.

Lots of us identify with Emily's (not her real name)question. "We aren't supposed to like ourselves, are we? Liking ourselves is not part of our culture. We think that people who like themselves are selfish and bratty. We think that people who like themselves are mean.

Honestly, I think we have it backwards. People who like themselves are free to reach out to others. They serve more. They love more. They worry less about appearances. People who like themselves have more compassion. They don't go around hurting others.

Bullies are not people who like themselves. Prisons are filled with people who don't like themselves. Drug abuse, eating disorders, personality disorders, behavior disorders, and addictions take root in people who don't like themselves.

If we are supposed to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we better like ourselves a lot.

Draw some circles on a piece of paper. It's easy. Grab some lids from things in your cupboard and start tracing. In each circle write something you like about yourself. Don't be embarassed. Nobody has to see it but you. It'll be our secret.

Isn't it time we starting loving ourselves?

Linda Garner

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lies, Lies, Lies

How much do you value honesty? It's huge with me. I have a hard time functioning in relationships that are honesty-challenged. I can work with difficult people and even mean people if there is honesty. Without honesty, there's not much worth saving.

If you value honesty the way I do, ask yourself this question. Am I honest with myself? I find that most of us are hard on ourselves and we often repeat the lies we have heard others say. See if you have ever said any of these things to yourself.

I am not good enough. I can't. Nobody likes me. I'm a slob. I'm ugly. I'm a failure. I don't have what it takes. I'm worthless. I'm stupid. I'm not a good person. I don't have any backbone.

Sound familiar? We could go on, but you get the idea. There is not a shred of truth in any of these comments. If you are thinking or saying words like these, you are spreading lies. Saying or believing hurtful things is damaging to you and to those around you. We are like sponges absorbing the energy around us, whether negative or positive.

The truth is you are good enough. You can. Someone loves you. You are vibrant. You are beautiful. You can succeed. You have what it takes. You are valued. You are intelligent. You are a good person. You are powerful.

Belive in yourself. Believe in others. The truth rocks.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


If I were to offer you a choice between a $20 bill and a photo copy of one, which would you take? No question, you would want the real thing. What if the choice were between a genuine $20 bill and the photo copy of a larger bill, say one hundred smackers. Are you interested in the photo copy? Of course not.

Did you know it is illegal to make a color copy of any denomination of money, unless it is larger, smaller, or a different color than the real thing. There is a huge difference in the appearance of photo copied money and the real thing, yet there are laws protecting us from the confusion that arises from having realistic copies around.

Sometimes we are tempted to pretend. We want to make a good impression. We want to be liked. We want to be accepted. We aren't sure that people will like us the way we are, so we pretend to be different. I'm all for self-improvement, but not so much for pretending.

Pretending is exhausting and unfulfilling. There are easier games to play. You can't pay your mortgage with Monopoly Money.

If we can love ourselves and be comfortable in our own skin, then we will always be okay around others. Everyone loves the real thing, so be yourself, that's the one thing no else can be.

Isn't it time we start loving ourselves?

Linda Garner

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And the winner is. . .

Wow! A whole bunch of new followers and 19 comments to my baby blog. This was some party.

I loved your comments on self worth. You are awesome. I plan on quoting you every chance I get. You were born to make a difference.

Please come back to this blog every chance you get and tell all your friends. It's all about learning to love yourself and guaranteed to give you a boost. By commenting you strengthen others as well as yourself. I post here every Tuesday.

The winner of the I Know Who I Am workbook is landSsmom. The winner of The Book of Positive Messages is Alex. I will be contacting you both for mailing addresses. I hope you enjoy your gifts. Winners were selected by Random.org. I wish I had prizes for everyone.

Thanks for participating in the Easter Hop. Do me a favor. Make a list of 5 things you love about yourself. Only one can be about your appearance. Dig a little deeper. If this is challenging for you, give it some time. Post your list somewhere that you can see it often, and smile everytime you see it.

Isn't it time we started loving ourselves?

Linda Garner


I had an awesome interview with the fabulous Linda Adams yesterday. Click here to read the interview. Click to enter her site and then click on her blog.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza

Learning to love yourself is not always easy. To share that love, I joined this Easter Hop. Why? A chance for you to win cool stuff. A chance for me to get new followers. A chance for spreading the word that it’s okay to love yourself.

Every blog on this hop is giving away something fun. You might find books, you might find gift certificates, you might find fun, book-related swag. Each and every blog has something to offer you, and all you have to do is click on the links below, follow that blog's easy instructions, and poof! You are entered. Then you move right along to the next site, and you tell your friends how much fun you're having.

On this blog, I’m giving away a copy of The Book of Positive Messages and a copy of the I Know Who I Am Workbook. These are great books for creating self-confidence and learning to appreciate your unique gifts. Good for teenagers too. Tell all your friends, so they can hop on.

To win one of my prizes, just become a follower of this blog and leave a comment about self-worth. It’s that easy. If you’re already a follower, just say so in your comment. The winner will be selected by Random.org. If you win, I will need a mailing address.

Since I am passionate about preventing sexual abuse, I’m including an eggstra chance to win. To get the eggstra chance, just copy the e-poster on this page and share it with someone. Think email, twitter, facebook, whatever.

Click here to hop to the next blog.

The Easter Hop ends at 11:59 p.m. on April 25.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Someone's Watching

Is it Selfish to Love Yourself? I know that’s what some of you think. We’ve been conditioned to think that we should take care of everyone else first, and if there’s any time or energy left, then we can take care of ourselves.

In truth, this is backwards thinking, because if we don’t take care of ourselves, we may become depleted and have nothing left to share. Remember how on airplanes they tell you to get your oxygen mask in place first? That’s because if you pass out from lack of oxygen you won’t be able to save your child. Makes sense doesn’t it.

I worry about the example we are setting when we run ourselves ragged and don’t take time for ourselves. Remember, if you have a daughter, a niece, a granddaughter…they are all watching. What are we modeling? Are we teaching them to care for themselves or are we teaching them that they do not matter?

If you are not motivated to take good care of yourself, think about the girls that are watching you. What kind of life do you want them to have? If you want those girls to grow up confident and serene, then model that behavior. If you want them to be strong and beautiful then model that. If you want them to feel awesome and think well of themselves then mind your own language and behavior.

Children have never been good at following directions, but they have never failed to follow our examples. What do you say when you talk to yourself? Be careful, because someone you love is watching.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

13 mattresses, 8 chairs, 11 drawers, two toilets...

Today is Spring Clean Up day in my neighborhood. People have been carting out their old stuff and piling it up on the curb. Today the City will send in crews to mop it up. As I was out riding my bike I noticed the variety. Though I didn’t count, I would say mattresses took first place with somewhere between 11 and 15. Chairs were probably next with eight to ten. There were many drawers, probably more than chairs, really. I also saw two toilets at one house and two sinks at another.

I couldn’t help wondering why these items were discarded. Once they were valued and purchased for a price. Today they have been replaced. Did they serve the user well? Were they helpful at one time, or were they just taking up space.

Discarding has always been difficult for me, but we live in a disposable society and almost everything has a limit to its useful life. What of my life? How useful am I? Am I disposable? Am I helpful or do I just take up space?

Thinking in those terms is a little sobering. What is the value of a life? How much do you value your own life? Your neighbor’s life? Your child’s life?

If the value we place on life has to do with popularity, beauty, strength, or intelligence, then most of us will come up short at one time or another. Is a kind person of more value than a mean one? Is a tidy person of more value than a messy one? Is a young person of more value than an old one?

Though we may strive for excellence, our value is more than our achievements,our skills,our talents,or our age. Our value is more than our character traits. Though we may be trying to improve ourselves in a variety of ways, our worth cannot be measured by our growth. When we try to measure our worth by a worldly yardstick, we will often feel less than.

Growing, improving, developing are satisfying and can enhance our self-esteem, but not our worth. Our worth is eternal. Our value is endless. It was created before we were born. We cannot do anything to erase our worth or to multiply it.

Finding peace with ourselves involves understanding who we are and perhaps more importantly whose we are. This is the source of our worth. When we understand that we were created on purpose and that we are perfect just the way we are, then we can begin to love ourselves. When we love ourselves, we can do anything.

That is our destiny.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Making Friends with Your Body

2 out of 5 women would trade 5 years of their life to be thin.

More women are suffering from anorexia or bulimia than are fighting breast cancer.

Most American girls begin to diet when they are just 8 years old.

Why are we our own worst enemies? How did our views get so distorted? We have a serious body image crisis on our hands.
(from the operation beautiful video.)

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your body? Many women do. Do you cringe when you look in the mirror? Do you feel that beauty is reserved for the thin or the young or the well dressed? What a damaging message that is. Your body shows up for you 24/7 and does amazing work for you. How about a little appreciation?

Have you ever considered what a miraculous machine your body is?

The average human brain has 100 billion nerve cells. Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel at a speed of 170 mph. It takes the interaction of 72 muscles to produce human speech. The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet. The average human heart will beat 3,000 million times and pump 48 million gallons of blood in its lifetime. Human blood travels 60,000 miles per day on its journey through the body. Each square inch of human skin consists of 20 feet of blood vessels. During a 24 hour period, the average human will breathe 23,040 times.

Those are startling facts, but let’s bring it home. Consider the value of the tasks your body does for you each day. Consider your feet which carry you anywhere you care to go. Consider your fingers and hands which serve you in so many ways. Think of your eyes and ears. Notice the beauty and joy they bring into your life. Imagine functioning without sight, without hearing. Your body is beautiful beyond belief. How about a little appreciation?

I like to take a few moments each day to thank my body for its service. Mentally and emotionally I send love and appreciation to every cell in my body. We’ve been friends for a long time, and I’d like to keep it that way. I also love doing kind things for my body like getting 8 hours of sleep, eating healthy foods, and finding time for exercise. I know my body is grateful when I take good care of it, but nothing beats a kind word.

Have you made friends with your body? Today’s a good day to start. Send a little love and appreciation out to your brain, your heart, your blood cells. Speak kindly to your your feet, your legs, your fingers. Send a smile of gratitude to your eyes, your ears, your mouth, your voice.

Enjoy your beautiful body, today. It is your very best friend.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is This You?

Is this YOU? Is your calendar out of control? Can you squeeze one more thing into your day planner? Are you addicted to your “to do” list?

Do you ever feel like you are in charge of everything and in control of nothing? Reminds me of the sign in my aunt’s kitchen: The hurrier I go, the behinder I get. If something goes wrong, are you the first lady of solutions? Are you the family fixer? Are you a general authority (an authority on everything in general)?

How’s it working out for you?

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Loving yourself is the key. It is not conceited to love yourself. It is essential. How can we hope to love anyone else if we don’t first love ourselves?

We take care of the things we love. Loving ourselves helps us to take care of ourselves. One problem with being too busy is that we don’t have time to take care of ourselves. If we aren’t careful we can become worn out and depleted. No good can come of it.

Another problem with being too busy is that we don’t have time to feel things. We need to feel things. We need to face our uncomfortable feelings so that we can make positive changes. If we cover up problems by filling up our “to do” list, then we miss the warning signs that things are amiss.

When we are too busy to feel, we don’t have time for feeling good about ourselves. We need to feel valued. We need to feel loved. We need to feel beautiful. We need to feel important. We need to feel that we are good enough. And most important, we need to feel peace.

How are you going to schedule that into your dayplanner?

Feeling good about ourselves doesn't come from what others think or say. It's an inside job. What we believe about ourselves carries the most weight. Others may complement us, but it won’t mean a thing until we believe it.

Believe in yourself. Believe in your worth. Believe that you are beautiful, important, and enough. Find peace.

Today, take time for you. Take time to feel.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


What a wonderful day to Celebrate. Today is International Women's Day, the 100th anniversary. I hope you do something fun to celebrate. I hope you are kind and thoughtful to all the beautiful women in your life.

I want to celebrate by sharing some inspiration videos with you. Click on these links. Enjoy.

Evolution of Beauty

Operation Beautiful

The One Flaw In Women

You are beautiful and amazing. Think Beautiful Thoughts. Have a Beautiful Day.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hats Off to You!

There’s something about hats. Even though I love carefree simplicity and am casual by nature, I adore hats. When we cleaned out our parents’ home, after they had died, we discovered a bag of hats belonging to Mom. I have no memory of Mom wearing these hats, but I felt an instant connection to her and claimed the hats.

I love those vintage hats. I have used them often, in displays and presentations. I also claimed Dad’s army hat, and dress hats which I believe belonged to my two Grandfathers. My grandfather’s hats have a spot in a display case in my living room. Mother’s hats were once displayed atop an etegere in my bedroom.

Last summer we added a closet to our bedroom and removed the etegere. Where did the hats end up? It crossed my mind more than once, and yesterday I went on a frantic search because I needed the hats for a skit tonight. To my horror, I found the hats in the garage in two boxes. One box was moist and full of mildew. I almost cried. I cleaned up what I could, and sorrowfully threw two hats away.

I’m not sure what fuels my fascination with hats. I’ve always loved them. Like you, I wear many hats. I wear the mother hat, the sweetheart (wife) hat, the grandma hat, the piano teacher hat, the friend hat, the sister hat, the aunt hat, the writer hat, the speaker hat. I’ve also been known to wear the listener hat, the advice giver hat, the advice taker hat, the learner hat. I’ve often thought about wearing the organizer hat or the clean house hat, but they just don’t make them in my size. Wish they did. Or do I?

Mostly, I wear the hats I love, and I love the way I feel in them. I love being myself. Your hats may be different than mine. If they are right for you, that’s all that matters. Wear the hats you love, and have fun wearing them. Enjoy being yourself. Choose it.

Hats off to you!

Linda Garner

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lock It In

This was the third time. We’ve had our car about 8 months. It doesn’t have automatic locks, so I can’t figure it out. Since I seldom lock my car, I was especially baffled the first time. I accidentally locked my keys in my car. When Friend-husband came to rescue me he broke down on the freeway. I ended up spending the night at my niece's home and calling a locksmith in the morning.

The second time was also at my niece's house. I had a funny feeling that I should be sure to keep my keys with me, even though I was going to be in and out. You guessed it. I accidentally locked my car. So glad I had listened to that feeling and held on to my keys.

This Sunday after Church I found my car locked with the keys inside. How did it happen? I opted for a ride home. Friend-husband and I would return later with his keys. He was in a meeting and it seemed the easiest way to work things out.

Strangely, when we returned with Hubby’s keys, my car was not locked, and it was parked in a different place. What? Oh, yeah. I remember now that I ran home during Church for something I had forgotten and lost my parking place. That other car,…the one that was locked earlier…it wasn’t mine. ( Sheepish grin.) Now please, don’t remind me that I’m getting old. (It was my birthday, by the way.)

Memories play tricks on us sometimes. I bet it’s happened to you, too. Cars are not the only things with locks. Accidentally locking my car is a little frustrating, but what else am I locking? Am I locking in feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, not good enough? Am I locking out feelings of confidence, talent, abundance? In other words am I limiting myself because of my belief that I am not enough?

When we close our doors against feelings of self-worth we create limiting beliefs and those beliefs can be big obstacles. If we accidentally lock those beliefs in, how will we find the success we desire and deserve? When we lock in limiting beliefs we lock out abundance, creativity, possibilities, and joy.

Unlock your heart. Let go of your limiting beliefs. Let go of fear and disappointment. Let them out. Make room for peace, faith, confidence, hope, and joy. Remember that you are amazing, talented, capable, and gorgeous. Remember who you are. Lock it in.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Take Care

I know you’ve done it. Run yourself into the ground taking care of others. It’s our feminine nature to nurture others and it’s a noble thing. However, there’s nothing noble about depleting your reserves and putting yourself on the wounded list.

It’s great to feel needed. As women, we are always needed, especially at certain seasons of our life. We are surrounded by needs and we know how to help. We know how to be good listeners, how to feed the hungry, how to run the errands, how to tend the children, and countless other care-taking chores. We serve in our homes, our extended families, our neighborhoods. We love being needed, we love making a difference, and we love serving. Serving helps us feel important and valuable. Service helps us develop Christlike qualities and helps us feel closer to him.

This constant service, though rewarding, can be draining, especially if we neglect to tend our own garden of needs. There is much to be done and we can make a difference, but it’s easy to overlook our own needs and let our lives be swallowed up in service. The key is balance. We need to balance our own needs with those of others.

You can’t take water from an empty bucket, no matter what your dipper looks like. Filling your bucket needs to be at the top of your to do list. It is not selfish to take care of yourself, it is essential. How will we serve if our buckets are empty? Taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your family, because it ensures that you will still be able to serve tomorrow.

What can you do to fill your bucket? For me, a good night’s sleep is essential. Lack of sleep is guaranteed to make me grouchy and unsociable. Service, not likely. I also need to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. Fitting exercise into my life is challenging, but oh the difference it makes.

This probably sounds really simple so far, but I’ll bet you’ve put off every one of these things when someone needed you. In addition to taking care of my physical needs, I have emotional needs. I need a little me time every day to do something I love, something that feeds me. Writing can do this for me, so can reading a good book, chatting with a friend, a date with Friend-husband. Sometimes a nap is called for.

I have spiritual needs too, and for me daily prayer and scripture reading are a must. I can’t stay on top of my game when I neglect these rituals on a consistent basis.

Cleaning toilets, washing dishes, and folding laundry do not qualify as me time, even though it is nice to get things done. The result is enjoyable, but it just doesn’t fill my bucket. Maybe it’s different for you.

Bucket filling works best when we do it daily. If we let our buckets get bone dry before we refresh them, it’s going to be hard, but if we continually refresh, then we have more to give.

What refreshes you? Maybe we could make a big list and share it with other amazing women.

Take care. You take care of others. Please take care of you.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Culture of Kindness

I was at the counter checking out. It was a small store and the owner was my cashier. His phone rang and he answered. To his dismay, it turned out to be a solicitor. His friendly, polite demeanor instantly changed. He rudely rebuffed the caller and noisily hung up on him. As if that wasn’t enough, he then grouched to me about having his time wasted by unwanted phone calls.

I was uncomfortable with his behavior and it caused me to to reflect on how I treat others. I am usually polite to people I know, and people I interact with in social situations. I am polite in the doctors office and in the checkout line at the grocery store, but I how do treat strangers that I meet only on the phone. And what if their call happens to be ill-timed or obnoxious? Do I then choose to treat them with kindness or hostility?

There is enough trash talk in the world. We do not lack for unkind words, put downs, or confrontations. We have more than enough bullies, more than enough fear and discouragement, more than enough comparison and competition, and more than enough isolation and sadness. What we need is kindness.

My friend Judy Wells, who is an anti-bullying speaker, tells me that our culture breeds bullies. She hopes that we can create a culture of kindness. What an amazing idea. Instead of a culture of competition, a culture of kindness. Instead of a culture of deception and fraud, a culture of kindness. Instead of a culture of selfishness and bullying, a culture of kindess.

I have seldom returned to that small store, and I have tried never to treat another person with unkindness. The salesman on the phone, or at my door are only trying to make a living. I don’t have to give them my business, but I can certainly give them some courtesy. It costs me nothing. It’s the least I can do.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to create a culture of kindness? If we worked on it together, maybe it could happen. Won’t you join us? That would make three of us. You, Judy, and I.

While we’re changing the world, let’s not forget to spread a little kindness around our homes, and please, pretty please,

...will you please dump some of that kindness on yourself. You deserve it.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Larger than Life

I like binoculars. They are great when Friend-husband and I go hiking. Our favorite hiking spot is Bryce Canyon and I have a small pair of binoculars that is easy to carry and gives us a better view of our surroundings. Friend-husband likes taking binoculars along when he goes to football games for a close up of the action. We like keeping binocs in the car, because we often like to stop and look around. It is fun to look for mountain sheep among the rocks in canyon places or to find birds in the trees and ducks on a pond.

Binoculars are okay for people watching if you know how to use them. I have often noticed that when we look at other people we use the business end of the binoculars, showing us a magnified view of all their goodness. We see larger than life images of their talents and skills. They appear to be spectacular. We see their lives in brilliant colors and in huge proportions. No wonder we feel small in comparison.

Sadly, when we look at ourselves we tend to invert the binoculars and see instead the smallness of our lives. Our talents seem miniscule, our abilities microscopic. We see a washed out miniaturized version of ourselves. Even our good deeds diminish in value as we look through the wrong end of the binoculars. We may feel unimportant, unappreciated, or even undesireable.

Comparing ourselves with others is never a good idea, as we always see a distorted image of ourselves. Instead of trying to change the way we look, we should change the way we see. Let’s see the good in ourselves as well as others. Let’s stop competing, stop comparing, and stop putting ourselves down.

Binoculars are great for some things. They’re not so good for seeing ourselves as we really are. It’s okay to be yourself. Celebrate your strengths, accept your weaknesses, and enjoy the journey. You are good enough. You are larger than life. You make a difference every day, just by being yourself.

Yes, you do.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Toxic Waste

No kidding: It said it was bad for you

Have you ever eaten one of these? I haven’t. I’ve never even seen one. The title is intriguing. Can you imagine: Toxic Waste? Nuclear Sludge? Sounds delicious, right?

Did you hear the news? The Toxic Waste candy bar has been recalled. Turns out, it has high levels of lead and is indeed toxic. A clever marketing tactic gone bad. One headline read No kidding: It said it was bad for you.

Even without the high levels of lead, I’m not sure I could ever put something called Toxic Waste into my body. Just goes against my grain. Maybe you’re not as sensitive to the label as I am, but now that you know the truth, I’m confident that you would avoid it.

We wouldn’t put toxic waste into our bodies, but what are we putting in our minds? The air is filled with toxic waste, and I don’t mean air pollution. I’m not just talking about the obvious things like pornography and filthy language. I’m talking about the negative messages we absorb every day.

Gossip, arguments, comparisons all take a toll on our well-being, and so do the implied expectations that we should look and act like movie stars and fashion models. There is a lot of fat talk circulating. When we indulge in fat talk or other trash talk about our bodies we not only sabotage our efforts to feel good about ourselves, but we sabatoge our body’s ability to support us. Thinking negative thoughts about your body make it that much harder for your body to do it’s amazing work.

You wouldn’t talk that way to your best friend. Why would you talk that way to yourself?

Bad habits are sometimes hard to change. The quickest way to diffuse the toxic waste is appreciation. Find things to appreciate. Appreciate those around you. Appreciate your family and your friends. Appreciate your comforts, your blessings, your opportunities. Appreciate your talents and your abilities. Take time to think about your amazing body and appreciate what it does for you each and every day. Your body shows up for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That is incredible.

Thank your body for its tireless service. Do something nice for your body today.

Toxic Waste? Who needs it?

Linda Garner

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Something Wonderful

“By being yourself you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before.” Edwin Elliot

I’m not pretty enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough. No one likes me. I’m not popular. My clothes aren’t cute enough. I hate my hair. I hate my freckles. I wish I were blonde. I wish I were taller. I wish I were slimmer. I’m ugly. I’m fat. I’m a loser.

If you’re a woman,or a young women, chances are you’ve had thoughts like these. These thoughts are demeaning and drain us of our self-worth. Somehow, we have been programmed to believe that our worth is somehow attached to the way we look. TV, movies, and magazines give us a distorted view of beauty and reality. Trying to live up to the distorted pictures we see is not fulfilling. No wonder we sometimes feel empty.

A beautiful woman is one who accepts and appreciates herself as she is. A beautiful woman loves and appreciates her body, flaws and all. A beautiful woman radiates confidence and smiles often. She believes in herself and doesn’t compare herself to the images on the screen. A beautiful woman takes care of herself. She is comfortable in her own skin and doesn’t try to live up to anyone’s expectation. She is content to be herself.

What if we could change the way we think? What if we could change the way we see ourselves. Instead of the trash talk at the beginning of this post, we could say: I am beautiful. I am clever and smart. I am good. I am amazing. I am enough. Everyone likes me. People love me. People are so nice to me. I love my clothes. I adore my hair. Freckles are fun. I like being myself. I am beautiful just the way I am. I am a winner.

Silence the negative chatter in your head. You’re in charge. Take control of your thoughts. For every negative thought that pops into your head, give yourself three compliments. You give complements to others. How about treating yourself kindly, for a change. Do something nice for yourself. Think beautiful thoughts.

You’re beautiful. Yes, you. It’s true, but it won’t mean a thing until you believe it. Go look at yourself in a mirror and tell yourself so. Look in those gorgeous eyes and say “Hi Beautiful. You look fantastic.” It’s okay to love yourself. I promise you it will make all the difference. Start today.

You don’t need to be like anyone else. It’s okay to be different. Different is awesome. There is nobody else on the planet that is exactly like you. You are amazing. Appreciate your unique gifts. Appreciate your unique beauty. Be yourself. That’s something only you can do.

It's true, you know... By being yourself you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spam (not the kind you eat)

A few days ago, I discovered an enormous amount of spam on my website. Over 9,000 spam comments had been posted on the website for my book, Some Secrets Hurt. Deleting as fast as I could I was able to delete about 4,000 comments in about 3 hours. As soon as I left, new spam appeared, and I knew I could never do this alone. I asked my web administrator for help and he cleaned up the site and put new controls in place.

This experience reminded me of the negative messages that surround us. The negative things we hear, see, and experience are like spam. Our world is filled with unsolicited, unhelpful words that clutter our thoughts and drag us down.

Spam can be a nuisance on any site, but if we are not watchful, it may find its way onto our hard drive where the damage can be extensive and hard to reverse.

Whether we like it or not, negative messages have an impact on the way we see ourselves. We need to get rid of that negative energy. Let's hit the delete key as often as we need to, and then get help from loving friends and family to clean up our environment. We may even need to get help from our site administrator to help us clean things up.

In this case, my site administrator is a loving Heavenly Father. I know I can trust him to help me understand my true worth.

I invite you to join me on my journey of self worth. This site will be built on positive messages. Consider it your weekly dose of self worth.

Isn't time you learned to love yourself?

Linda Garner