The Choices We Make Reveal the True Nature of Our Character

The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character. -Guinness

This, my friends, is what it is all about. Watch this beautiful video for a surprise ending.

It is so easy to become so inwardly focused that we forget what living an amazing life is really about. I am reminded of a quote by Ben Edwards at the memorial service for the beautiful, brave, kind, and giving, Jen Burgess Thompson.


The best way to heal our heart is to live outside of it. -Ben Edwards

This is the stuff that changes lives. Forever.

I challenge each of us to commit to doing an unselfish act each week. Pin a reminder on your computer, tie it on your finger, just anywhere that you will see it frequently. It matters. It matters a lot.

I am so guilty of getting lost in my own problems that it is often difficult to see past them to see anything else. But is that how we are meant to live? Is that part of our problem? I read the most beautiful article this past week that you will probably see me reference. A lot. Missing the Storm by Tara Banks (Seacoast) is a poignant article on what happens when we turn our eyes upon Jesus in the storms of life. Instead of focusing on the storm, what would happen if locked eyes with the Savior? I just cannot get it out of my head. I believe messages of truth are like that. What if, just what if when we focused on God and others, we found ourselves on the other side of our own storms more fully intact and beautiful?

When it all comes down to it, what kind of person do we want to be?

The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character. -Guinness

The Right Time to Live Is Now | This Is It. This Moment. This Is Life.

The right time to live is now, just the way you are, wherever you are.
Embrace today. Embrace the way you look. This is life. Right now.
This is it.

-Simply Topaz

I love fall, and even more specifically, I love November….for oh so many reasons. It is the month with Thanksgiving. It is the month with the most beautiful and warm colors. It is the month with the most perfect weather with that beautiful crisp feeling in the air. And it is the month in which I was born.

I live in the South, and it’s either wet or hot in the summer, and sometimes it’s both. So I began counting the days until my sweet November. And. Then. It. Hit. Me. I turn 50 this November. Wait, WHAT????? Put. The. Breaks. On.

All of a sudden my hot, wet summer is looking pretty good. It made me realize how much of life is lived like that, not appreciating what we have or where we are but always looking forward to something in the future or sometimes even just missing the past.

The same thing happens with age. We bemoan our age at every new decade. At 29, we do not want to turn 30. At 39, we do not want to turn 40. At 49, we do not want to turn 50. At 59, we do not want to turn 60. At 69, we do not want to turn 70. And on it goes. At 90, ANY of those numbers are looking pretty dang good. But when we were there, we were spending our precious time dreading the coming year and not appreciating the moment in which we were living.

In a similar vein, we do not appreciate the way we look today. We tend to not take pictures with our children, family, or friends because we do not like the way we look. We are too fat or too skinny. We do not like our eyes, our smile, our nose. Twenty years from now, we would most likely look at the picture that we never took and think how beautiful we look. We would not pick apart the way look. Oh sure, we might laugh at the fashion fads, but we would think our younger self was just beautiful. We would laugh and smile at how young we were and what a fun memory the picture brought back. And we would think that she was crazy for not liking the way she looked back then.

this is itThe Right Time to Live Is Now This Is It. This Moment. This Is Life. If we could realize this one thing today, oh how much better it would make our tomorrows. Oh, how full and rich our lives would be. Instead of looking back and realizing that we never started living because we were always waiting for something else to be perfect, we would have so many wonderful memories of how we were so alive and lived and loved so fully in every moment. Our life is happening now. Right now. This very moment. Here. Now. This is where life is lived.

This is it.

The weather is fine. You are just the right age. You are beautiful. Just the way you Are.

This is it.

Enjoy the moment. Take more pictures.

The right time to live is now.

We all like to think we are living like this now, but are we really? When was the last time you did something for the first time? When was the last time you challenged yourself to be brave and to go out of your comfort zone? When was the last time, you said, “Hey, let’s take a picture?” I am sometimes guilty of not always embracing the moment, guilty of waiting for some magical moment in the future when things will be perfect. As I have gotten older, I realized that magical moments do not just come. We make them happen. We make our moments magical by living in them, fully present, fully appreciating the gift of that moment.

Are you embracing the moment and living your life right now?

Pinterest: The Vision Board Exercise

A while back I was thinking about how Pinterest is a vision board of sorts: a snapshot of who we are, who want to be, and what moves us. I looked at mine at the time, and it just seemed to be a hot mess. While it seemed to be a semi-reflection of the disarray and inner struggle that I felt at the time (and still do sometimes), this was not an accurate representation of the real person underneath it all. But where was she in all of the mess?

What I discovered while organizing my pin boards about a year later …my life may seem to be in disarray and does not always seem to be the life I dream of, but with a little culling and rearranging, there is a very beautiful life underneath it all. And I am closer to it than I realized.

This exercise showed me that I am still evolving and changing, but I am on the right path to becoming the person I was created to be. It’s exciting to see her and to know that she’s there. She’s been there all along.

And if I did this with a little time on my Pinterest board, what could I accomplish with a little culling and rearranging in my life.


How The Words We Speak Direct Our Life

What you say and how you say it can greatly influence your relationships; this includes friends, lovers, and co-workers. A few simple words, depending on how they’re spoken, can lift someone up or crush them. There is power in words!

How can you learn to get your point across, to be the best communicator possible, and be seen as a positive influence? Here are some things to keep in mind each time you’re having a conversation.

Learn the Art of Listening
Although you may want to talk and have the other person hear you, get into the habit of listening to the other person as well. Many times people block out what someone is saying because they’re so busy thinking about what they want to communicate. This not only leads to misunderstandings, but you’ll be seen as a person who isn’t sensitive to the needs of others and not very good at conversing. When the other person is done talking, paraphrase what they said to you so they know you heard them then offer your advice or input.

Avoid Gossiping and Criticizing
There are few people who don’t enjoy the occasional lure of gossip. The truth is though that when you participate in this type of conversation it tends to put you in a bad light. Most people tend to gossip because it makes them feel better about themselves and their lives. Successful people don’t need to gossip. They’re too busy helping others and pursuing new and exciting goals. If you’re seen as someone who constantly criticizes or gossips, the very person you’re sharing this information with is most likely wondering if you talk about him or her as well! You lose the trust and respect of others when you use words to destroy and harm rather than build others up.

Constant Complaining Leaves You Powerless
You probably know at least one person who is a chronic complainer. Whether they’re complaining about their health, their finances, their weight, their family, or life in general, these types of people are never seen as strong and independent. On the contrary, others view them as weak and perpetual victims. These are the people who never take responsibility for anything in their lives and believe they live under a cloud of bad luck or are simply surrounded by people who hold them down.

Sure, everyone has bad days and it’s good to talk to a trusted friend and get a problem or worry off your chest, but avoid chronic complaining. Instead, bounce right back and get into a mode of doing something about the situation rather than simply complaining about it. That is true power!

Keep Your Promises and Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Never make a promise you can’t keep. Engrave this in your mind and try to stick to it. It’s easy to overextend yourself so you’ll look like the good guy, but if you truly can’t do what you’ve promised it simply makes you look irresponsible. Soon people will see you as someone who lets others down and you won’t be trusted. It’s better to say no and feel guilty for a moment than to say yes and know you can’t possibly stick to your word. When you do keep your promises your confidence will grow and others will know they can count on you.

Don’t underestimate the power of words. Always think before you speak and get into the habit of complimenting others, sticking to your commitment, and avoiding negative talk such as chronic complaining and criticizing. To others you’ll be known as someone who’s not only a delight to be around, but also a person who holds true to their morals and values. You’ll be an inspiration to others.

Written by: Debbie A. DeVita

Twitter @ImSimplyDebbie

Is there dissonance in your life?

Have you ever hit a couple of keys on a piano that were just not meant to be played together? You know with everything inside of you, no matter how little you know about music, that this is not right. These notes do not go together.

We can also have dissonance in our lives.

“Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.” -Lance Secretan

I know what this feels like, but I also know what it feels like to have the dissonance of not walking authentically every single day. Sometimes days I feel like the poster child for the dazed and confused. Other days, I feel like I am walking on a cloud of harmony and joy. I think, if we are honest, that many of us can relate to that feeling of dissonance at some time or another.

It is hard to be authentic if we feel like there are four different people inside of us. It reminds me of the old game show called, “To Tell The Truth”. Will the real [person’s name] please stand up?

Do you ever find that your actions do not always align with what you want? It’s as if we find ourselves living double lives.

And then you see the people who seem to totally have it together.

We assure ourselves that they have had perfect lives and every advantage known to man. Oddly, that is not usually the case. Sometimes it is the person without any of those advantages that goes the farthest. The biggest difference between the two groups is that one knows what she wants and does it and the other is listening to three other voices in her head and feels like she is going around in circles because of it.

So today, let’s write our mission statement…what is at the heart of who we are and what we want? Run everything you think, feel, say, or do by that mission statement. Let it be your litmus test. Does it go with the other notes in your life? We will be utterly amazed when we walk into the life that we were created to have. It will feel oh so right.

“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” -Oprah Winfrey

Have a wonderful and blessed day, my friends.

~Simply Topaz