Encouragement, Inspirational, Life Lessons, Motivation, Motivational

Let Us Remember to Love Our Neighbor As We Love Ourselves

To say more love is needed in this very moment, in every part of our country, and throughout the world is an understatement. Let us choose love over division, humanity above political views, and compassion and empathy before all else.

I cannot think of a time that my heart has hurt so much over the division and discourse that seems to be a means to a political end in our country today. I have wept and cried, as have many of you, and prayed for the innocent angels, the children separated from their families at our U.S. borders as a part of a political ploy to score points, points that in the long run have no place in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  These children are going through unspeakable crisis and despair, and it cannot go unnoticed. I am proud of the many men and women across the world who have spoken out against this travesty.

To continue, I find it necessary to no longer engage in social media platforms that do not highlight the seriousness of one of the most abhorrent things witnessed in my lifetime, the mistreatment of innocent children and the  neglect of common decency. Platforms that would rather focus on mundane topics not requiring actionable change, or at least take a break from such platforms.

We can no longer ignore the injustices that this current political environment  has allowed to fester under its leadership of zero tolerance on race relations, decency, equality, and the denial of basic human rights. A change must come and will come.

Let it begin with love.

We need love today.

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Encouragement, Happiness, Inspirational, Life Lessons, Motivation

Soar

selective photography of flying black falcon
Photo by Nigam Machchhar on Pexels.com

by Ariane Cunningham

Happiness is attainable, you just have to choose it. Love is available, you just have to believe it. Peace is within reach, if only you receive it. Joy can be yours, if only you accept it. Living in your truth is easy, do not be afraid, others who care for you will accept it. Wisdom is within you and can be yours, if you ask God for more of it. You can start over, nothing is in your way to hinder it. Forgiveness is there, you simply must ask for it.

Happiness. Love. Peace. Joy. Truth. Wisdom. Forgiveness. The choice is yours to make, but only if you make it. It will make a difference just wait, and see. It is time to spread your wings and soar like an eagle, do not wait to do it. 

Happiness, Uncategorized

Happiness – Defined

by Ariane Cunningham

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What is happiness?

It is being completely yourself. 

It is sharing joy with others. 

It is finding joy in the small things.

It is making an impact on the lives of others. 

It is not judgmental. 

It is kind. 

It is quick to forgive, and slow to anger.

It is living in your truth.   

It is knowing that each moment should be cherished.

It is small acts of kindness. 

It is the acceptance of being perfectly imperfect. 

It is being comfortable in your own skin. 

It is knowing that you are enough. 

It is knowing that you are capable of greatness.

It is knowing greatness is not defined by money or material things.

It is knowing in this large world, you have something integral to contribute. Something that only you can do. 

It is knowing it is never too late for a fresh start.

It is the expectation of being treated well and knowing you deserve nothing less.

It is knowing the importance of treating others well.

It is knowing to walk away when you are not treated well, as you deserve better. 

It is knowing that there are kindred spirits in this world. Those kindred spirits will accept you for who you are in this moment. 

It is finding your purpose, no matter how grand or small, and living in that purpose each day.

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Encouragement, Happiness, Inspirational, Life Lessons, Motivation

When God…

by Ariane Cunningham

When God….

When do you learn the lesson? When does the light appear? 

The answers are these. When God shines his light into your soul, radiating through you for all the world to see. When God lets you know that you are not perfect, that is not how he created you to be. When God allows his Word, his grace, and his mercy to be hidden in your heart. When God lets you know that no weapon formed against you may prosper. It won’t work. When God arms you with his full armor, and you can use his word as your shield. When God answers your request for wisdom, and he gives it freely because he loves you.

When God stands at the door knocking for you to let him in. When God orders peace, and orders you to be still. When God calls you according to his purpose. When God wipes your tears and says, the battle is over, you can shout now. 

Inspirational

Know Your Worth

by Ariane Cunningham

“We are not worthy! We are not worthy!” This infamous line from the movie Wayne’s World was said by both Wayne and Garth, played by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, upon finally meeting their favorite heavy metal icon.

From a personal perspective, there are times that I have felt unworthy of love, praise, promotion, gratitude shown to me by others, and God’s love. I believe in God with all my heart and mind. I know that his grace is sufficient for all my needs. I am so thankful to him for his love, his grace, his blessings, and forgiveness. When I meditate on how God sees me, which is as his child beautifully and wonderfully made, I realize I AM WORTHY of love.

Lack of self-esteem and a lack belief in ourselves is something we have all struggled with at least once or, in my case, more than once. The issue with self-doubt is that it can be such a hindrance in realizing our relevance, our importance, and our worth. Self-doubt can be crippling and debilitating and cause us not to pursue our dreams simply due to a lack of fear. The great poet Langston Hughes compares a dream deferred like a “dried up raisin in the sun.” I do not know about you, but I do not want to be that dried up raisin. I want to rise above my fears, my self-doubt, and moments of lack of self-esteem so that I may pursue my dreams, inspire and encourage others and, most importantly, LIVE and realize my worth. I wish the same to all of you reading this right now. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgement.” 2 Timothy 2:7

Let us move forward, fearless, walking in self-love, not self-doubt. Pursuing our dreams with boldness, power, and sound judgement. We all have something to contribute to this world, no matter the size or scope of our contribution. There is a truly powerful quote that I love by the writer C. Allen that says, “Remember that you are needed. There is at least one important work to be done that will not be done unless you do it.”

Finally, my friends, I must disagree with the Wayne’s World infamous movie line. I AM WORTHY, and I KNOW MY WORTH.

We are ALL worthy of greatness, love, and blessings. Know Your Worth and run with it. The sky is the limit on the journey to your destiny, if you allow it to be so.

 

 

 

 

Inspirational, Motivational

Dear God…

by Ariane Cunningham

Dear God,

It is me again. It’s 2:00 a.m., the second day of the New Year.  I can’t sleep. What have I done to deserve your grace, your mercy, your kindness? How can I ever thank you for preserving my life, for saving my life, so that I may fulfill the destiny you have planned for my life? The answer is simply this. I have done nothing and can do nothing to earn your grace, your mercy, your forgiveness. What a wonderful gift you give freely to all of your children without hesitation, without thinking “Do you deserve this blessing?” One thing that I can do to honor your love and mercy, as I can never repay you, is to walk in your grace, thank you for your goodness, and pray that my steps continue to be ordered in a way in which you see fit.
 
Lately, I find myself laughing and smiling more. Not because I have won the lottery, met the man of my dreams, or own an island, but because I have decided to let go and let you give the increase. I have decreased so you can increase in my life. What a joy it is to have peace in knowing that you, God, have my best interests in mind. I may not see the way out, the next opportunity, or the next breakthrough, but I have faith and trust that you see it, you have aligned it according to your will and your timing, not mine. What a peace it is to surrender to God and say, “Not my will, but your will be done in my life,” in your perfect timing that isn’t my own. Knowing that you are able and willing to supply all of my needs according to your riches and glory.
 
I find I am at my worst when I am trying to force a situation that isn’t right for me, or control something or someone that may not be best for me. I become angry, frustrated and unhappy. Why? Because, in those moments, I am not trusting you. In those moments, I forget about my faith and put “me” before you.
 
What peace I have in my heart in the blessed assurance that you have everything under control. You want the best for me, you want to bless me, and you gave your only son so that we may all have life, and have it more abundantly. As I grow older, the peace and maturity of trusting you grows stronger within my spirit. Perhaps in my younger years I was literally Living on a Prayer, as Bon Jovi sings. When I allow your peace to manifest in my spirit, I have new ideas, new reasons to smile, new reasons to laugh, and new reasons to hope. You subtly tell me in a quiet voice “It will be OK. You are loved. You are not alone,” as you are doing right now at 2:00 a.m. this morning. Thank you, God, for this blessed assurance. There is no one like you, and I will continue to strive to keep you first in my life.
 
 Thank you for a New Year, a new day of your grace, a new day for a new beginning.
 
 With Love, Adoration, and Gratitude,
 
Your Child, Ariane

 

Inspirational, Life Lessons, Motivational

Four Things to Take Into the New Year – God’s Love, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Hope

by Ariane Cunningham

What a year this has been! I am sure many of us are in reflection mode as we look back at 2017, and prepare to do things differently in 2018, like exercising more, reading more, giving more.  These are all fantastic aspirations for the new year and are attainable.  As I reflect on the last year, the first word that comes to mind is “Wow”.  Did all of that really happen? 2017 was not all roses and sunshine for me.  I learned a lot, I experienced a whole lot, I was also blessed with a lot. The typical aspiration of most is to proclaim what they want to do differently in the New Year.  Personally, there are four intangible things I want to take into the New Year, including God’s Love, Forgiveness, Gratitude and Hope.

God’s Love. There is an old Christian hymn whose chorus goes like this “If it had not been for the Lord on my side, where would I be?” From personal experience, this is my summation of 2017. If it had not been for God’s love and his everlasting grace and mercy, I wouldn’t have discovered how fulfilling it is to blog and write to not only motivate and encourage others, but to also motivate myself in my darkest moments.  If it had not been for God’s divine gift of spiritual discernment, I would have walked fully into certain situations without listening to my gut, or God, saying STOP, DANGER AHEAD. If it had not been for God’s healing, I wouldn’t be cancer free in 2017, right now, today, after an emergency appendectomy in 2016 in which a surgeon found a cancerous tumor in my appendix. If it had not been for God’s faithfulness, I wouldn’t have the testimony of being diagnosed with stage one cancer in 2016, and two months later, after the emergency appendectomy, receiving a report from my Oncologist saying not only that the cancer had not metastasized and couldn’t be found, but there was a 99.9 percent chance that the cancer will NEVER return. I remain cancer free today.  God is the center of my joy, the center of my healing, and he will continue to be the center of my life in 2018 and years to come.

Forgiveness. Such a simple word, but so hard for those who have even the strongest faith.  Like most of you, I have been betrayed, deceived, and treated unfairly.  I find forgiveness very interesting as it is quite easy to say, “I forgive you,” but it doesn’t take away the hurt or pain of feeling wronged, often by those for whom we care most. As Maya Angelou famously said, “People will forget (or forgive) what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Forgiveness is a journey, but it is a necessary journey.  Holding on to bitterness, anger, and hate is more damaging to our health and our spirit than most sicknesses.  The journey of forgiveness is something I will continue into 2018 as, just as I need to forgive, our heavenly Father forgives us of all our sins and transgressions, separating them as far as the East is from the West. (Psalms 103:12)

Gratitude. One of the most important lessons I learned in 2017 is to be grateful for what I presently have, including a healthy and loving family, amazing friends that God has brought into my life within the last year, and having the health and strength to get up every morning to enjoy all the many blessings in my life.  Once we are grateful for that which we already have, God will bless us with that for which we pray he will give to us.

Hope. “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”. (Romans 8:25) There are so many things for which I hoped for in 2017, that have not yet manifested in my life. This does not mean the things for which I hope will never manifest. There is no “false sense of hope”, when it comes to waiting patiently for that which we hope. I will continue to hope for a loving, kind, God-fearing companion who loves God as much as I do, I will continue to hope that our children will grow up and be the integral change we need in this world, I will continue to hope that through God, all things are possible.  Lastly I will continue to have hope in one of my favorite verses from the Bible, “We boast in the hope of the Glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5)

Let’s take these four things into the New Year: God’s Love, Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Hope. 

Happy New Year!

Motivation

You Matter

by Ariane Cunningham

Martin Luther King, Jr. has a quote that I absolutely love. “Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are a nobody.” The simplicity of this quote is powerful. Whether you are a janitor taking amazing care of a property, a woman climbing the corporate ladder, a minority trying to find your way in this time of division in our country, you matter. You matter because there is no one else like you in this world. You matter because no one has the wisdom gained through life experience that you possess. You matter because it starts with one individual to make a change in this world, and no matter how small or large the size of your goal, it matters. Your goals matter. Your ideas matter. Your unique perspective matters. Your divine, predestined existence matters.

There is an amazing woman that works as a cashier at the CVS close to my home. I have never met someone so kind, so graceful, and so genuinely happy. She is always smiling, says hello to everyone that enters the store, and once you reach her register, she always has an encouraging word. I have made it a point to let her manager know on multiple occassions what a source of positive energy she is in the store. On the first day I did so, five people lined up behind me to express their gratitude for the sheer genuine kindness of this phenomenal woman. She humbly credits her kind spirit to God, and being thankful for life. As a cashier at CVS, she matters, and her smile and kindness has an amazing impact on me and many others.  She matters to me and has an impact on my day when I visit the store. She matters to everyone she encounters each day.  She is phenomenally somebody.

My friends, please let no one tell you that you don’t matter because of your social status, your gender, your ethnicity, your religion, or your beliefs. You matter, and you are SOMEBODY. 

Happiness, Inspirational, Life Lessons, Motivation, Motivational

No Comparisons – Don’t Hinder Your Happiness

by Ariane Cunningham

 I feel the number one hindrance to happiness is comparing yourself to others. It is an endless rabbit hole that will make you feel you don’t measure up to what your friends have, what your neighbors have, what other family members may possess.

EVERYONE has their own story. Everyone has a unique calling, a divine purpose, an innate gift that was given just for you. Rest in that. Live life to be YOUR best self, not the best in comparison to someone else. It can make all the difference.

You were uniquely made not to be your neighbor, your best friend, your family member, you were uniquely made to be the best YOU.

YOU are enough. Live to be Your best self. Live your own story. You will surprise yourself with the happiness that comes from No Comparisons.  

Encouragement, Inspirational, Life Lessons, Motivation, Motivational

Four Ways to Live Your Best Life Now

by Ariane Cunningham

My friends, I am sure this title evokes a possible side glance or two. Of course, there are more than four ways to live your best life now. My iconic role model, Oprah Winfrey, made the phrase “live your best life now” famous. So I must pay homage to Oprah. I am sure Oprah has 100 ways to live your best life now. I have narrowed it down to four ways to live your best life now, based on my life experience.

1. Laugh

My closest friends have this one attribute that is so close to my heart; they all love to laugh. One of my closest friends calls me every morning. She is quite witty, and she makes me laugh hysterically. Every morning. And, we are not laughing at other people. We laugh about something funny that happened the day before, and my infinite stories about my life as a single gal. I get off of the phone with her each day feeling so refreshed, happy, and peaceful. Laughter is often the best medicine. Laugh today and see how good you feel after a nice laugh. 

2. Do one thing each day that makes you happy

As a daughter, sister, and friend, I often go out of my way to make sure everyone around me is happy. I am constantly asking others “How are you? Is all well? If not, can I help?” I have a friend who is a therapist who said to me one day “Ariane, self-care first enables you to be the best person you can be to everyone around you.” That statement empowered me. That very day, I went to get a manicure. The next day, I sat on the deck in awe of all the beautiful flowers and rose bushes that my dad has planted so I am always surrounded by beautiful things. I sat for at least an hour, swinging in an outdoor chair, another gift from my awesome dad, and just enjoyed nature, the blue sky, and the warm sun. Since starting the trend, I do at least one thing everyday that makes ME happy. I journal, I laugh, I socialize with friends, I paint in abstract on a blank canvas. Today, my friends, begin doing at least one thing each day that makes YOU happy. 

3. Live in the Present

It is so easy to focus too much on our past, and too focus too much on the future. The thoughts from the past may be “I didn’t give to my favorite charity last year. I should have saved a certain amount five years ago. I met the love of my life 10 years ago and created a mess of that relationship.” The thoughts of the future may be “I want to be a multi-millionaire in five years. I want to have five kids in the next ten years. I want to live by the sea in 15 years.” Here is my humble advice to those pestering thoughts of the past and the future: STOP THOSE THOUGHTS as soon as they enter your mind. Start saving today. Start a list of things you would like to give to charity today . Look for the love of your life beginning today. Talk to your mate or partner  about broadening you family today. Begin looking at potential properties by the sea this weekend. All of these things may not be attainable in this moment, but that’s ok. Too much time focused on things we cannot change in the past and being consumed on the perfect future can often lead to missing the many blessings we have in our lives today, in this moment. Let’s start living in the PRESENT.  

4. Turn I can’t into I CAN

You can laugh today. You can do one thing each day to make you happy. You can live in the present. You can go back to school. You can be happy with the many blessings in your life now. You can be positive. You can enjoy each day. Release the invisible barriers of “I can’t” that we often place on our lives and choose to say, “I CAN.”