Tag Archive | blessings

50 – Acts of Kindness that is


KIK logo 8-13-13 It finally arrived – my 50th birthday, which means, August 13, 2013 was KINDNESS INSPIRES KINDNESS DAY!!! Woot woot! 1993-32007-18Nope, this story is really not about me at all – it’s just the day and the way I chose to celebrate a life sprinkled with the kindness of loved ones and strangers. I am dedicating that special day to 2 special couples – Mabel and Juel Bernard, my grandparents, and Jim and Jacque Miller, my parents. Because of how deeply they love, they chose to shower kindness into my life when I was a little ragamuffin girl in the orphanage, and still to this day. They changed my life. I cannot possibly repay them for the literal rescue they made of me, and so I choose to turn and pay it forward. They taught me how to love the unlovable, to give to those in need, and to never stop striving to be and do my best. I am forever in their debt. I love them with all my heart! Thank you Grandma, Grandpa, Mommy & Daddy!!

And, this day was also about the beautiful souls who continue to pour love and kindness into my life – my “Giving Crew”. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of hearts and hands who, when asked to help me with the Kindness day, generously said yes!  Love and hugs to all these loving souls – that includes those who were with me that day, those who contributed, and those who cheered me on. So many – too many to list them all but you know who you are! Thank you!!

For my readers, over the next several days I will be chronicling in pictures the 50 acts of kindness that we shared in the Cincinnati area. I started with 4 categories: 1) Babies/Children, 2) Sick/Elderly, 3) Those Who Serve, and 4) Just Because.  In as many acts as I could I included people and places that related to my life since it was, after all, a celebration of 50 years of blessings I’ve received. What a fabulous day – THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!! There really are not enough of the right words to describe the blessings I received during the day but I will attempt to at least share the stories and pictures.

Enjoy the journey with me in the next several days so you can see the whole story. KIK day cardsRemember to be a blessing, and be blessed in return! ~ Barbara Miller

Kindness Inspires Kindness Day – almost here


Image

Well, my 50th birthday is fast approaching. I am receiving help and donations from friends and family. Plans are taking shape and the pile in my garage is mounting. I cannot wait for my Kindness Inspires Kindness birthday bash. We will be running all over town sharing blessings and spreading kindness. It’s the best birthday celebration I can think of for my big 5-0. 

If you want to help me celebrate – step out and do a kindness in your sphere of the world on August 13. 

As the day approaches and the festivities occur I’ll be taking pictures and sharing on this blog. 

Woot Woot – best birthday plans ever!

Join me and be blessed!

~ Barb 

IT IS FINISHED!


ItIsFinishedTBToday, for Christians around the world, is a solemn, sacred day. It’s not about theologians determining the exact historical day that it came to pass, but rather, it’s about what today commemorates. Today we hold vigil for the greatest travesty and most sorrowful of days in our faith practice – Good Friday. The day that Jesus wore the crown of thorns, bore the ridicule and scorns, suffered the beatings, and ultimately was crucified.

I cannot imagine the terror that was in his heart as he faced his sentence and walked the long and painful path to his ultimate sacrifice. As a mother I cannot bear to think of the horror that Mary felt as she watched her son, the pure and loving man, writhe in agony as he was hanging on that cross.

But I also recognize that it was the day that Jesus uttered the mightiest 3 words ever spoken – IT IS FINISHED!

For those of us who recognize the power of those 3 words, it is the most sacred of all spoken. It is in those 3 words that the world shifted from needing salvation, to having a Savior. Those words completed the sacred purpose for Jesus’ walk upon the earth. And today, with grateful tears, I remember the passion of The Christ. I pray with gratitude that He paid the price I cannot pay. And I know, if I was the only human on this earth, that he would have done it just for me. And likewise … he would have done it just for you! That is the humbling reality to the perfect love of God.

Here’s a song from my childhood that still bring me to tears as I remember the greatest of all sacrifices: 

Know that you are loved and be blessed!

Jn3

Just another day in paradise …


I’m so glad that God still performs miracles! He does them every day and thankfully I try to be aware of them. I know I miss some along the way by being busy and distracted. However, some are just too HUGE to miss. Yesterday I received one of those – BIG, really very BIG!

I’ve shared on my blog that I am adopted. I spent ages 3-8 in the orphanage and was adopted by a lovely family. I don’t even think about being adopted anymore really – they are simply my family. I spent most of my life turning my back on my painful past and keeping my eyes on my good fortune and the love this family showered me with. I was saved and I have no idea how or why. God plucked me from a hellish situation and gave me another path to walk. Leaving the past behind me worked for me as I got to create myself anew.

However, as I’m dancing in my middle age I have been gradually collecting blessings as I reconcile my past and my present. I realized along the way that there is enough love in me to keep my family and to reconnect with those in my birth family as well. And last night I reconnected a little bit more.

It was a quiet evening – just me and my puppies sitting by my fire trying to figure out what to watch on TV. One of my regained sisters, Lynnette, called me out of the blue. I’m thankful to have reconnected with her but we don’t get a chance to talk much (not nearly enough). She said “get in your car and come now”. She went on to tell me that my “baby brother” who lives in Texas and drives a big rig was about 90 minutes away from her house and was stopping on his way through. Wow! Now that was not a call I was expecting to get. So into my car I got and I drove the 50 minutes to her house. It was a multiple event as this was my first time meeting her lovely children and wonderful husband. That was momentous enough.

Then we hopped in her car and drove to the rest stop an exit away where he was to meet her. Of course she didn’t tell him I was coming but it was a wonderful surprise! I cannot describe in words what it feels like to look into the eyes of someone you’ve not seen for 43 years since he was a babe in arms. I cannot articulate the blessing and the healing that happens in that miraculous moment. Even with my command of words and love of using them … I cannot describe it.

I am bone tired but happy for the conversation into the wee hours of the night. I am blessed to know that the pains of childhood really can be released in adulthood. I am so awed that in the midst of craziness and hardship, this man turned out to be a warm, genuine, sweet man. The miracles just don’t stop happening when you are hanging out here in paradise.

Hugs your siblings, hold them tight … and be blessed!

History in Fabric


History – we all have one, but some are clearer and deeper than others. We have ancestors which we look like. We have stories we’ve heard countless time from parents, grandparents and others. We may live in family homes passed from generation to generation. And yet some of us live with mystery for history. I’m finding that the more I learn and understand my history, the more I am aware of myself – big things and tiny nuances come into focus.

My history is quite short though, having been adopted. I actually have two threads – one that goes back to my birth family where I have very little information. And a second thread that weaves through my “real” family – the ones who raised me. That is the family that I relate to the most. Those are the stories I can almost recite having heard them at the feet of my grandparents.

Bernard's Wedding QuiltEven with this dual history I find that I really don’t have any items in my home that belonged to anyone further back than an aunt or grandparent. Those that I have, I truly cherish. One of my favorites is a quilt that I have had tucked away. It’s been displayed off and on over the years in my various homes. I’m delighted to have pulled it back out this week and can see it every day again. This quilt was a wedding gift for my grandparents, Jule & Mabel Bernard. They are the couple that changed my life. It started when they would take me and my siblings out of the orphanage for “friends of the orphans day”. Eventually, I was adopted by their daughter when she married. I was able to keep them in my life as grandparents. They blessed me in so many ways.  Having this quilt that they received on their wedding day means so much to me. I don’t use it, although it is in pristine condition. But I love it for all that it stands for. It’s bold. It’s satin. And it’s symbolic of a love that lasted a lifetime. It’s also a touch-point for me to my history. I’m blessed to still have my grandmother. She’s 93 and not able to get out anymore. But she still remembers the stories. Here’s a picture of my quilt, displayed with pictures of my grandparents, parents, and my kids. When I see it, I can remember the fun times we had together. I can remember my history.

What is the most precious treasure you have from your history? I’d love to see a picture if you have one.

Remember and be blessed!

Cozy Introspection


Today is the last day of my 3 week vacation. I’ve never splurged with this much time off at once before but with vacation time that I would lose if I didn’t use it, well I HAD to use it. And I’m glad I did. The first week was busy prepping for Christmas. The second week was slow and casual with time visiting with friends and family with whom I seldom get to enjoy in an unhurried and quality way. And this week has been preparing to move my daughter to her apartment for her co-op semester and me setting intentions for my 2013 year ahead. I’ve been busy in a lovely way and I don’t regret one minute of taking the time off.

Today, as I wrap up my time off, I’ve had the pleasure of sleeping in, enjoying an at-home massage, and some day dreaming of the year ahead. I have much to be thankful for and more to look forward to. Here’s a few:

> I start a new job (same Company) on Feb 1.

Wedding-Ring-Ceremony1> My son will be getting married in July to a lovely girl and that will be a wonderful celebration.

happy-birthday> This will be the big year of birthdays in my family – Grandma turns 90, Mom turns 65 (yes, I am adopted lol) , I turn 50, my sister and her husband turn 40, my other sister and her husband turn 30, my son turns 25, and my cousin turns 20. We will have a wonderful celebration for all those milestones.

> My 50th birthday will bring an opportunity for me to give back with plans for my “Great Giving Day of 2013” where I will perform 50 acts of kindness on my birthday 8-13-13.
forbesprettiest-towns-05-g> And during my daughter’s final co-oping semester I will meet up with one of my dear friends for some rest and relaxation in Cape May, NJ. I have such a love for Victorian era homes and decor and this little town has long been calling my name to come for a visit.

I’m sure God has other delightful surprises in store as well. As I sit by my cozy fire with my cup of tea and sweet dogs by my side, I can say with great appreciation that life is good. Vacation was wonderful and I have much to be thankful for.

Count your blessings too, and be blessed.

12/12/12 Celebration!!!!


12-12-12Well I’m seeing it all over the place – 12/12/12 is the last triple number date we’ll see in our lifetimes. It’s been a fun little quirky thing to see 01/01/01, 02/02/02 ….. 11/11/11 all come and go. Nothing big unless you are into numbers. But firsts and lasts always seem to be significant for people so I thought for this one – the last, I would “celebrate” 12/12/12 in my own way.

And what is my way you ask? The same way I like to celebrate everything else – by spreading the love, sharing positivity, and making the world a little better. So today, in honor of this auspicious (well, okay, maybe not auspicious, but certainly unique) date in history, here’s how the celebration is going to go in my world. I will have a “12 Things Party” that lasts all day. I will:

kindness21 – Share 12 smiles

2 – Do 12 acts of random kindness

3 – Pray for 12 additional people

4 – Give 12 hugs to people who need them

5 – Give 12 compliments that are genuine and real

6 – Donate 12 items to charity

7 – Listen to 12 joyful songs

8 – Send 12 thank you notes to people I appreciate

9 – Deliver 12 positive quotes on my FB page

10 – Give 12 “gifts” to strangers

11 – Recognize 12 people for their hard work

12 – Encourage 12 people to see their true worth, beauty, and value

That’s alot of celebration – I best get to it! I hope you find 12 wonderful ways to improve your world today. And along the way … be blessed!

A Holy Moment


angel praiseToday I was in the office and my cube-mate was playing some holiday music by consent of our small group. Most were happy and light and it was fun to hear them. Then one song came on that made me stop. I’ve heard it many times but for some reason in that moment, I found myself really, really listening as if for the first time. It was Josh Groban singing  O Holy Night. His voice reverberated all the way to my soul and I was engulfed in a wave of praise and prayer. I had goose bumps and I could almost see every angel drop to their knees and join in the song. It was a tender, precious, holy moment in remembrance of an even greater holy moment.

I couldn’t pass up the chance to give you the same opportunity. And for my non-Christian friends, I hope you can simply enjoy the instrument that is his voice.

Enjoy and be blessed! 

Little Angel Abby


15984_10200119711252767_96737377_nUnfortunately in life, it becomes so easy to forget the simple little miracles and memories that are part of being around a baby. It’s been so many years since my kids were little. They are grown and making their own lives in the world. I am ever so proud of who they are becoming and the people they are choosing to bring into their journey with them.

IMAG0234And even though I enjoy who they are today, I do sometimes try to recall the details of their infancy. In so many ways it seems like just a short time ago, and yet the mind only remembers their lives in flashes and snapshots. I wish I could watch the movies I took when they were small but unfortunately those tapes were accidentally taped over years ago. That was a stunning loss and I never got back into the habit of filming them. Now, I wish I had.  And so I look at pictures and try to recall the details – how they sounded, the smell of their sweet little heads, their smiles, and the good and silly things they did along the way. Those two children have been the delight of my existence and my greatest gift to the world. (And I know yours have been that for you as well.)

Today I was finally well enough to get a chance to spend some quality time with my newest little niece, Abby. Oh she’s an adorable little angel! It was a pleasure to feel the weight of her tiny body in the crook of my arm as she fell asleep. I giggled at her ever-changing expression while she was in dreamland. To hear that tiny little voice give a cry to shake off the hiccups and coo a bit here and there was a treat for my heart.

There is nothing better than the emerging expression of a new little human being awakening to the world around them. They are full of wonder and unbridled potential. Just being in the presence of this sweet little angel brought a sense of awe to my heart. I am blessed.

I pray you be blessed too!

Music that Moves Me ….


rockefeller-center-christmas-tree-nyLast week I was watching a TV program with the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in NYC. That tree is an iconic symbol of the season in the US and over the years the lighting ceremony has turned into quite the celebration with the songs of the season. I saw some favorite singers and some newbies that come from the various singing competition shows that are ever so popular these days.

What struck me that night was that this time of year is even more joyful as it allows for songs of faith to ring out from every corner of our culture. What a blessing when I hear praise and glorification going on by some of the most famous of people.  Some even unexpected people.

Recently this video has been going around FB and I wanted to share it here for your enjoyment as well. I must say the ending gave me shivers and my heart was moved – be sure to stick with it until the end!

Enjoy this medley of lovely Christmas songs and be blessed! 

 

Grateful for YOU!


Today, like so many other people, is my favorite holiday. In the US the 3rd Thursday in November is “Thanksgiving Day.” Oh, it is the feast to end all feasts. It originated in the humble beginnings of our nation as the settlers and American Indians came together in peace to celebrate and share the bounties of the harvest. Those are honorable and neighborly roots – some of the best of our national history.

Today, every family has their traditional fare in which turkey, stuffing and all the fixings and side dishes are featured at the table. Cooking and planning takes days or weeks and not hours. There is nostalgia as traditions are repeated year after year. Favorite dishes might only show up on this special day. And in true US fashion, the fall event is punctuated with parades through the streets and on TV to usher in Santa to the season, lots of American football games to rally the men around the TV, and all the fun (and sometimes crazy) dynamics that family gatherings seem to produce. Oh yeah, and the insanity of the kick-off to the holiday shopping frenzy (not my favorite part I must say).

That’s the logistics of the day. And while I love and cherish the traditions of the day, the real reason it is my favorite holiday is that, at its heart is the spirit of gratitude. It is a day for THANKS giving and not gift giving. It’s a day where people come with hands full of offerings and not open for receiving. It is a precious day set aside to be thankful and for that reason, today, I count my blessings.

Here’s a few for this year:

> I am thankful for God and my faith. It is the sacrifice of Jesus that gives me eternal life, hope, and daily guidance. Without it, I am a shell of  a human and I am grateful.

> I am thankful for my job and that both of my children are once again gainfully employed as well. I am thankful that hope and perseverance will rule the day and others I love and care for will also find employment. It is my prayer and my belief for them.

> I am thankful for the love of my family, where I have 2 Grandmothers, my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my dear sisters, their husbands and my precious nieces. And a brand new dose of gratitude for the newest, my 2 day old niece Abby. What a lovely addition to a wonderful, loving family.

> I am thankful for the reunion with some precious members of my original family. The healing is complete. The appreciation has begun. I am grateful and blessed to have more family to love – Shirley & Lynette.

> I am thankful for my friends who have held my hand and my heart through thick, thin, joy, pain, fear and fun. They are precious in every way. I am especially grateful this year for Jeanie, my oldest and dearest friend who has fought the valiant fight against breast cancer and won. Praise God for that special blessing!

> I am thankful for new acquaintances who have come into my life in varied and surprising ways – from my summer intern Ellidia, to friends across the nation and across the globe that I have connected with over the year.

> I am thankful that in my country we can dissent with passion, speak out our minds and our hearts, and peacefully shift power and authority in our government. Agree or not on the choices, we democratically and peacefully shift.

> I am thankful for those that serve – military, police, and fire fighters. They honor us with their daily sacrifices and they serve to protect all that we hold dear – our ideals as well as our lives. I am deeply grateful.

> I am thankful that my education and experience have given me success in my career and my skills are sought after by those who offer opportunity for recognition and new growth.

> I am thankful for my spiritual sisters and brothers who come into my life daily, weekly, and monthly in loving and supportive ways. I especially treasure my Wise Women & Bill friends who speak only of love, acceptance, gratitude, and friendship. They feed my soul and my heart on a constant basis and bless me in countless ways.

> I am thankful for this platform and the virtual friends who I have met online. You have broadened my world, allowing me to see my life and talents differently. Not only do you listen but you also contribute to my world. Especially you Dan – you have opened my eyes to how blessed I am in big and small ways. Your humor and your loving, generous spirit bring a light into my world and I am grateful.

This is just the beginning of my grateful list. As I prepare the meal for my family today I will continue to joyously and gratefully say prayers of “Thank You.”

I wish you all an awakening to your heart of all that blesses you – the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual gifts that make you “you” and your life so precious. Happy Thanksgiving Day … be blessed!

 
 


 

I’m changing the world


One of the topics in my book MIGHTY INSPIRATION, Love Letters from God, is the concept of changing the world. Do you believe that you can change the world? I do. Every action and word we use creates a ripple effect. We don’t just put  ideas and energy out into the world – we move them along as well. We expand them when we focus on them or talk about them.

It is my firm desire to change this world. I believe that I have a purpose. It’s not to gather the most possessions or attain the highest of titles. It’s way, way more important than that. I believe my purpose is to help others see their own light and empower them to embrace it. No I’m not perfect at it but I do deliberately work on it. I have a spiritual practice that involves gratitude as well as intercession prayers. Science is even backing up the idea that prayer and faith can change things. This is not new news to the believer but it is important confirmation that is starting to build.

I also work to use my talent for words to inspire – not just on my blog or in my social networking platforms, but also in my work. Planting seeds of positivity seems to be producing many fruitful changes. I enjoy seeing the faces of people when my words seem to strike a cord in their hearts. I enjoy it more when they share the words or even suggest some more. I see a bit of encouragement growing in the work place and I hope that my small efforts are a part of the cause.

And next I want to move from words of inspiration to actions of change. I have long been a “sponsor” for children outside of my country. And yes, I can help them with my modest financial donations. That enables others to use my gift by putting it into action. Lately, that hasn’t seemed like enough.

Next year I’m turning 50. Yep, it’s just a number but in my head it’s a number that represents the middle of my life. I’ve graduated from the daily needs of my children – they are adults and creating their own lives now. And I’m not at the end of my life where I reflect on the journey complete. I’m in the middle. I’m in a position of flexibility that I want to put to use. So I’m exploring where to go and what to do to make my mark on lives I don’t ordinarily have the opportunity to affect. I can go into the world, not once, but over and over. I can combine my love of travel and appreciation for different cultures to spur me into action – I can see the world and change the world and we shall all be the better for it.

I’m wrestling with new questions – Where do I go? What gifts do I give? What talents do I share? Who do I take by my side? The answers to these questions may not stir the world, but they will change the lives of some human beings I don’t yet know. I want to dream big. I want to reach as far as my hands can go. I want to change the world and leave it better for my journey. I want to let strangers know the love of God because they met a woman – this woman.

I’m open to suggestions and inspirations – help me answer my questions … and be blessed!

New-found Blessing – original poem


“NEW-FOUND BLESSING”

There was a day that changed my soul and it happened with a word.

From fantasy to truth at last, and I felt my spirit turn.

I hadn’t seen you in this light and you caught me by surprise.

With both confession and revelation I was opening my eyes.

It wasn’t fear I felt this time but a subtle recognition.

I saw you for the first time and not the apparition.

I mourned the one I knew before although they were not you.

Suddenly the world felt raw and I wasn’t sure what to do.

Then I felt emotion surge inside my heart again.

It was the truth that stirred my soul and I pray a quiet amen.

This was all I wanted, the story that was real.

And having it made an instant path for my head and heart to heal.

Now day by day and inch by inch I love the truth I see.

Your heart and hurt and hope are growing closer to meet me.

The connection is strong and surprisingly flows with gentle ease.

And I find you on my heart and mind as I pray upon my knees.

The future path is open wide and I see such possibilities.

Let’s sow the seeds we wish to grow with love and gentle peace.

For who you are is a gift from God which I cannot deny.

And I shall quiet my mind for now and cease to question why.

Now it’s time for me to live and stop the constant guessing.

Because this seems to be the time to count my new-found blessing.

~ Barbara Bernard Miller

Soul Tending


I had some real insights today when I was participating in a SoulCollage ® workshop with my friend Mar. Our theme today was gratitude, and as I wrote earlier this week, it’s a topic I’m working on in my life in general. During my one-to-one sharing I dug a little deeper into one of the images that I had created (see right). The experience left me a bit in awe. I’m not surprised really – that’s what “tending the soul” does when we actually take time to do it.

Have you ever taken the time to look back at the hopes and dreams that you had as a young adult? It is a time when the innocence of spirit is fresh and all things are possible. In that time we have an image of ourselves – how we want to live our lives, the impact we wish to have in the world. And the ideals of who we are and what our life’s purpose is. I remember those days and I always thought that I’d do small things that would make me and my family comfortable. Sure, I wanted to learn and progress in my career. I wanted to marry and have a family. But it seems I wasn’t dreaming big then – well, not as big as I am today.

In my reflection time, I also tarried a bit to notice the struggles and the barriers that my younger self was faced with. Those changed my course time after time. Some of them eroded the edges of my dreams. Others created opportunities for me to choose my convictions, solidify my beliefs, and create my current path. The result of this reflection is the realization that my current self, my current wisdom and strengths, are actually greater than “what could have been.”

I live larger now than I thought I would. I spread my passion broadly. I love with greater compassion than I ever thought was possible. I listen, discern, and rely on my intuition because I have come to know that it is my greatest link to my truth. The current, older version of myself is exactly who I am meant to be. That’s a wonderful insight. It’s liberating actually. It’s also a challenge for me to fulfill my true purpose, and not just the dreams of a younger version of myself. I am where I am supposed to be. All is well.

Be blessed!

 

GRATITUDE


I have a new day coming soon and I’m very excited to share it. A woman from work that I’ve known since the early days of my career contacted me recently. She said that she is always inspired by the quotes and positive comments I post on my work bulletin board each week. She’s not the first to tell me this and it’s part of what inspires me to continue my practice of spreading positive words. But this time, things are different. She talked about her work group and how they have a monthly speaker come to their meetings. For November they were seeking someone to come talk to the group about GRATITUDE. That’s fitting since November is the month of Thanksgiving Day here in the US. Then she said it – they want to spread the great benefits of an attitude of gratitude and they thought I’d be perfect for task.

WOW!

I’m not shy and don’t fear public speaking. I have been a speaker for work related topics –  Myers-Briggs training of course, policy and benefits deployments, and all sorts of other HR related topics. But this is different. This will be the first time that a group from my company has asked me to speak from my heart. This will indeed be an opportunity for me to bring my whole self to work in a way I’ve not done before. So, excited isn’t the right word for how I feel about this. I am honored is more in line with it. My dream is to be an inspirational speaker. And now, I have a glimpse at step one.

Of course, I immediately said yes, and in the 2nd moment felt the panic arise. What on earth will I say to a group of business folks. Yes, they are professional and that doesn’t intimidate me. But these are MY colleagues. Do I have 30 minutes of inspiration to share in that setting? It isn’t difficult to reach their minds, but I want to touch their hearts.

I’m praying on it! Join me and be blessed!