An Exceptional Super Bowl Ad

Kudos to Microsoft for giving viewers one of the best Super Bowl commercials of 2019. You can also check out the video in the sidebar.

Two key thoughts:

  1. Physical differences should not deny anyone the opportunity to connect, grow, learn, and play, because when we connect, grow, learn, and play, “we all win.”
  2. No parent (caregiver) wants their child (no matter what age or level on the exceptional-needs spectrum) to feel like an outsider in this gift ( none of us earned it) of a world given to us all by God.

This reminds of the scripture, ‘On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, ‘ 1 Corinthians 12:22-23, New American Standard Bible (NASB)
https://my.bible.com/bible/100/1CO.12.22-23

Now back to the advertisement. I have to say what a way to endorse a product? If anyone has used it, please let me know. I’d like to share more than the commercial. For now, Microsoft wins in my book.

Artwork Credit

My Big Why

Behind all this blogging and writing stuff there has to be a reason, right? Sure there is, and today, while I was doing my morning devotion and getting my daily dose of wisdom from the 31st Proverb, I happened upon it in verses 8 and 9.

Oh, this is not the first time I have seen these verses or claimed them as my “Big Why.” Admittedly, I knew why I was blogging and doing advocacy work long before this day ever arrived. I’ve known for at least a year now; I’ve written it out in my notes for the book and on important papers, but I never thought to share it here…until today.

So if you are wondering, why this nerdy, wordy girl writes this blog, and you haven’t taken the time to read the About page, then here is the skinny –

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;

ensure justice for those being crushed.

Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,

and see that they get justice.”

That’s Reallyleah.com in a nutshell. My advocacy work and book in progress, For Those Like Us Who Care centers on these words of wisdom which are a mandate for all humanity.

I hope you will join my crusade, if not, be bold and share how you are living out these verses in your own life; maybe we can work together.

Time to Shine Again

Hello, Ocala/Marion County, I’m pleased to announce that Shining Lights will rise again for the 2019 Spring semester of Small Groups at the Meadowbrook Church. Last Summer, when I first initiated this group, it was my primary goal to bond with people like me – siblings of “exceptional people.”

However, the focus quickly changed to include people who are caregivers, of any kind. The reasoning behind their showing up didn’t matter, although it varied. Some came to find out about local resources in the area; others wanted to meet other parents and find friendships for their special needs children; still, others simply needed to get out of the house. And soon bonds were made.

Personally, I’ve learned so much from having this open door policy to other types of caregivers, and I have seen fantastic growth in our members. We have an ahhhhmazing time: breaking bread (if you chose to bring a lunch), learning new things that add to our lives, and how to avoid “caregiving syndrome.”

So if you’re in the area and you are a caregiver of any kind or YOU’D LIKE TO BE A CAREGIVER, please join us. Our only rule is that you leave your cares at the door because this is not a counseling group.

Registration (click the link) is open to the community (and you don’t have to be a member of MBCOcala) to join the Shining Lights Small Group. Our first meeting will take place on 2/7/19 at 12:30 PM.

Rainy day valet?

Rainy days can be the best days. Those wet afternoons when you don’t have anywhere to be, and you comfortably ball up on the couch and finish that novel you’ve been toting around for the last three months or binge watch that show everyone has been talking about. On those occasions, nothing beats a rainy day.

But when you do want to go somewhere as important as Church, a community event, or as simple as the grocery store; the rain can be a real drag, a darn right deterrent.  Well multiply that emotion times ten, and we might come close to knowing how a caregiver of a person with mobility challenges feels.

It takes a lot of planning to go somewhere when it rains. First, the caregiver has to prepare how to get their special person into the car, especially if she doesn’t have covered parking. In that case, she must plan how to do so without everyone getting soaking wet.

Such was the case for my family when we went to church this past Sunday. It was drizzling only a little when we left home, but by the time we were nearing the sanctuary, the sky had really opened up wide, and it was raining horses and cows. As discussed prior to our drive to church, I would let everyone out under the portico, park the car, and meet them inside the church. When church service was over, the rain was still coming down heavily, so my mother took a turn walking quite a distance to her parked car while I stood to wait with my wheelchair bound sister.

Well, how much more pleasant this scenario could have been had their been parkers for handicapped church attendees? Imagine, young, vibrant sneaker wearing, umbrella-toting, valet drivers who give you a ticket once you pull under the portico, then help you out of the car, takeout the wheelchair and assist your special needs person getting in the chair and inside the church without being drenched. Imagine how many more people might attend the service that day.

If you attend a large church as I do or if you are sponsoring an event of any kind and it happens to start pouring, perhaps you will consider offering valet parking for your handicapped guests. It’s a thought, and since all actions begin with one, I hope and pray this one thought will reach the powers that be.

A Commemorative Challenge

While service is usually something we think of in “visible” ways, much of the work is done behind the scenes by hidden figures where no masses of people will ever witness. To me that’s the heart work, selfishly giving of oneself and being fulfilled, knowing that you are making a powerful difference in the world.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had a unique calling of enormous scope but most of us are not called to that level of civil rights work. But we all should do something especially for people who have not had the privileges of White Americans. 

It doesn’t have to be broadcast on Twitter but through our everyday work (quietly and privately integrated into your personal calling) with the belief that what we sow today will be reaped by others for generations to come. I can’t tell you what that looks like for you, but you know what you can do. Then do it, not for one day but as often as you purpose in your heart.

Do something. For service not for show. I did (ordinary me). I will. I hope you will, too.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957.  

Builders

“She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.” Proverb 31:16 AMPC

Build anything without a firm foundation and whoops, the bottom eventually falls out.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, just imagine all of the things you have placed upon it crashing down and spilling over, because that is what happens. It all caves in and sometimes takes you with it.

Such is the case when we try to add something “else” to our busy lives without careful consideration of our current responsibilities. Our current responsibilities A.K.A. present realities or  “foundation” become weak and unsettled, and then, well, I won’t beat a dead horse. You get it.

And if you’re like me, you’ve been there done that more times than you care to admit. Laying brick upon layer of cemented block in all shapes and sizes and in the end reflecting on the mess constructed; daring to kick the whole thing down.

To rebuild.

How fortunate are we that the New Year is upon us when we can do just that? What an exceptional time to start again; to celebrate and build upon our triumphs, and forget the things that truly tanked. Each January 1 is our blessed universal do-over.

May, we use it well.

It’s a great time to let others know what we can and choose not to do for the upcoming months, too.  So if you are in dire need of approval, well, you don’t have to worry about feeling guilty about your decisions either, because this is also the time when everyone is making plans, setting goals, and starting afresh and anew. If Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.” New Year’s week has to be the most agreeable time of the year. Everyone, for the most part, is brimming with optimism.

As the scripture above posits, first, acknowledge your present duties and obligations, your talents, time, and strengths. Then, and only then, consider any opportunities in the new year as a means to build upon what already exists. Be honest about what your foundation can bear. Every good idea is not from God, so take your time with these decisions and do only what brings you peace. Finally, let this be your time to build the life you choose to live in for 2019 and then no one will be able to knock it down, and you won’t even dare to kick it out of place.

To your success in 2019,

L.A. Taylor

New Year’s Eve, 2018

FINAL NOTE:

If you’d like to share your personal testimonials of how you deal with new opportunities, please post a comment.  I’d really enjoy hearing your approach to staying on task and fulfilling your goals. Also note, that categories and tags on this site like “Peace of Mind” and “Ideas” and “The Network”  will yield references of tangible tools to help us build a happier and healthier life for all humankind.

Shining Verses

If you like inspirational quotes, you will likely enjoy scripture verses. Whether you consider yourself a saint or a sinner, well-formed words make us feel empowered and wise. We want to memorize them and share them with friends. And this is the case today.

Over the past year,  I’ve been puzzled by the number of references in the Word and world about terms such as shining and light and brightness, so I figured, I’d take my time to collect some. Many will be in scripture form from the Bible but others may not.

So how many are there? I’m not sure. But I’m excited to try to find out. Okay. Here goes…

  • Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 7.00.56 PM
  • Light is a created thing, created by the Creator of all things. Check out the verses from the beginning…may you celebrate the Light Giver, God, today…

    Scripture

  • Screen Shot 2018-12-20 at 12.06.10 PM.png
  • The road the righteous travel is like the sunrise, getting brighter and brighter until daylight has come. Proverbs 4:18
  • Don’t be envious of sinful people; let reverence for the Lord be the concern of your life. If it is, you have a bright future. Proverbs 23:17-18
  • IMG_1058
  •  Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 7.31.03 AM                                 Well, said, Stephanie! And thus concludes the end of this Shining Verses post for now.

    Have a Brilliant Monday, November 5, 2018!

  • “Their (Wise Parents) instructions are a shining light; their correction can teach you how to live.” Proverbs 6:23.

(These two verses came from Cherlono via a comment on another post. I’m grateful for these gifts wrapped in other Believers)

  • “For You, O Lord, are my lamp; The Lord illumines and dispels my darkness. 2 Samuel 22:29, and
  • The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it]. JOHN 1:5. Both from the Amplified Version.
  • You will succeed in all you do, and light will shine on your path. God brings down the proud and saves the humble. Job 22: 28-29.  Be humble, y’all!
  • “The righteous are like a light shining brightly; the wicked are like a lamp flickering out.” Proverbs 13:9 GNB
  • You are sure that you are a guide for the blind and a light for all who are in the dark.  Romans 2:19 CEV
  • “Now you’ve got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I’m on the right way.” Psalm 16:11 MSG

Could your new BFF be a Journal?

My new BFF is a Journal

For some, the act of writing in a journal is “like having a best friend that didn’t talk back. I didn’t get interrupted mid-sentence.” B. Lynn Goodwin, the former caregiver, and author admitted in an online article I recently read. And, while it is important to cultivate social relationships, like in the Shining Lights Community Small Group setting for Caregivers of Special Needs Loved Ones, sometimes your best relationship may be a “non-judgmental piece of paper.”1

Why? Well, for many reasons, such as:

  • Emotions are fickle.
  • There are good days and not-so-good days
  • Family and friends are not always available to talk to
  • You can keep it real. You can’t take back words said to people but you can ball up a letter and throw it in the trash if you like.

But before you toss this notion of “getting it all out on paper,” know that there are many benefits to expressive writing. Some of which are changes for the better in your:

  • Outlook
  • Concentration
  • Sleeping
  • Relationships
  • Immune function2

Sounds appealing, right?

So what should you journal? The short answer is … anything you like.

My personal suggestion is, to begin with, a gratitude journal. Since we as humans are much too quick to forget all the blessings we have. You could try to count them one-by-one, and collect your memories in a singular notebook, store-bought journal, or in a word processing document.

Other options could be to capture the main events of the day, a reaction to a bible scripture or a quote, or quite simply jot down the thought that is on your mind at the moment. It’s entirely up to you. Remember this is expressive writing and it’s for your eyes only.

Do you have time? Probably not, so you have to make the time and do your best to be consistent. Around 7 to 10 minutes a day in a private setting is a good start. Whether it’s morning, evening or at home on the throne, it doesn’t matter. The best time is always, whenever it works best for you. And if you miss a day, write about “why” the next day, or scrap it and focus on the present.

Whatever, you do, start today! You may find journaling to be the best friend and listener you’ve ever encountered.

The above is a transcript written for the Shining Lights Community Small Group for Caregivers of Special Needs Adults.

  1. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/journal on 10/30/18@ 2:08 PM, article, “Dear Diary: Journaling for Caregivers,” December 8, 2011.
  2. Article by Robert Busha, Ph.D., LifeWise Living Ministries, Copyright 2014

All the Ways to Shine Bright In 28 days

“Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16 MSG

Shine in this text denotes the transliteration of the Greek word, lampó. It is a primary verb, meaning “to beam, i.e., Radiate brilliancy (literally or figuratively) — give light, shine.”

And, if God says we are to do it, that means we can do it! Right?

We have absolutely no excuses.

It only takes 28 days!!! Can you believe it?

You better, because it’s the truth. Believing is your first step, and it is the start of a brighter life.

So, how does it work?

One word: Consistency. Within 21 consecutive days, any habit can be created, but with an additional 7 days, that habit becomes a long-term memory pattern. That’s the clincher and the most magnificent part of the process. By day 28, that old habit, of being dull (uninteresting, lacking luster, stupid, sluggish, listless) will be an attribute of your past.

Let’s Take the Challenge to SHINE BRIGHTER, Together, in 4 Simple Steps:

  1. Choose a different word that means to shine from the Wordlist each day for the next 28 days. I’ll add definitions as I go through the 28-day process.
  2. Meditate on that word with the five senses (see it, touch it, feel it, taste it, and smell what the Lord is cooking up in you)!!! It should take you about 5 – 7 minutes to do this.
  3. Throughout the day, find ways to use this word in your verbal or written communication. Maybe you will use the word in your journaling or in an affirmation or how about a compliment to someone else. *** If you need to remain accountable, as I do, come back to this post and share the action you took for the day.
  4. Repeat the above steps for the next 28 days.

The results!

Brilliance. Radiance, and the like. You will have developed the new habit and long-term memory of shining all the time, well beyond the 28 days it took to change your dull ways. Shining will have seeped from your mind and become a part of your heart.

The effects!

You and l will want to do better, be better and help others just as Matthew 5:15-15 tells us.

Isn’t this exciting?

Time really does work for us when we set our minds to stay the course. It changes our hearts and helps us to become all God created us to be. I pray you will accept this offer and never be dull again!

If this blog has inspired you, please take the time to post a comment.  Thank you. Until the next time, SHINE BRIGHTLY and give God the glory,

Reallyleah.com

Welcome for 2018

Dear Reader,

Welcome. It is great to make your virtual acquaintance. I am not quite sure how you got here. But, I am really, really glad you did.

And now that you are here, allow me to share some high points on what Reallyleah.com is all about. In short, this website is about:

  1. Miracles, builders, authors, lovers, and givers.
  2. Expressing needs through thoughtful transparency, and
  3. Finding seeds of support.
  4. Reuniting and staying connected with my old buds. Psst. Perhaps after we leave here, we can set up a time to meet-up, sit down, unwind, and exchange some common oxygen.
  5. My lifestyle (a little), which I hope initiates a meaningful conversation.
  6. Change, growth and togetherness.
  7. Laughing and not getting overwhelmed by what will happen next.

So, thanks for visiting. I hope you’ll save this site in your Favorites and come back often. And, please feel free to react to any of the aforementioned or anything you see on the site. You’re always welcome to do so.

Really yours,

L.A.

Thank you, Dr. King

It is my heartfelt hope that this interview of Dr. Martin Luther King will answer the question for many who wonder why the civil rights fight remains relevant to most Black people. And if after watching the videos posted here, you still don’t understand, I pray you are courageous enough to ask one of your Black friends or associates; one who is also familiar with the struggle, to educate you, honestly, on how it feels to be born Black and to live in America. It’s worth the conversation if you genuinely desire to live peacefully.

For Those Like Us Who Care

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