Appreciation

It is possible to have an appreciation for what others have without feeling that what we have is somehow inadequate. When we express appreciation and gratitude for what we do have, we attract more of what is promised to us.

What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Inhale Gratitude, Exhale Attitude…
Inhale Appreciation, Exhale Criticism…
Inhale Thankfulness, Exhale Envy…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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Be Grateful

God has not promised me sunshine
That’s not the way it’s going to be
But a little rain
Mixed with God’s sunshine
A little pain
Makes me appreciate the good times
Be grateful
Be grateful” ~ Walter Hawkins

This weekend I found myself focused on the negative…the untimely death of a younger cousin, the result of the election and the racism it exposed. So I spent some time listening to the Hawkins family…Edwin, Walter, Tramaine…which led to a search for the songs I sang as a member of the Afro-American Gospel at Alabama.

Listen to Be Grateful here …you’re welcome!

Listening, I was reminded to focus on the many, many, many things I have to be so grateful for…a healthy family, friends who have done their work, time to be still and reflect, opportunities to live on purpose, a safe place to rest, more than enough to eat, faith that sustains me.

There are a couple of things I want and absolutely nothing I need…for that I am grateful.

Inhale Gratitude, Exhale Negativity…
Inhale Trust, Exhale Doubt…
Inhale Peace, Exhale Chatter…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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American Experiment: Hypothesis Disproved?

“America is an idea” Bono.

America is a great idea. It’s an idea full of hope. It’s an idea that speaks freedom, shouts equality and invites peoples from all over the world to pursue happiness HERE…youshouldbeherebanner

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Of course, the truths espoused in the American Declaration of Independence have never been true for all Americans. America has never willingly extended unalienable rights to all its citizens unless they demanded them. For those segments of the population whose rights were initially and deliberately withheld, the 2016 election seems to be a repudiation of everything fought for, hard-earned…never given. Like many Americans, I’m left wondering if America can really ever achieve its promise

Social and cultural psychologists like Jonathan Haidt, one of the creators of the Moral Foundations Theory, would seem to suggest it’s going to be really difficult. In his widely read piece “What Makes People Vote Republican?” he describes a conservative mindset that sees in diversity a breakdown of social norms and feels a decrease in a sense of belonging to a shared community. Haidt suggests the more liberal among the population focus on those conservative concerns and adjust their rhetoric accordingly.

But if the conservative, predominately white part of the country sees diversity in negative terms, what does that mean for an increasingly diverse America? alt-right-protestersIn a generation, America will no longer have a majority white population. If the determined 25 percent of the country who voted for our 45th president, decided an unqualified candidate, one supported by American terrorist groups like the KKK and spouting fear and division, was the president we deserved, are we supposed to believe they won’t support the repeal of rights gained over the past 50 years? And if the 50 percent of the population who didn’t vote is tired of fighting, too cynical to believe their participation matters or too disengaged to understand the impact of their non-participation, will there be enough to prevent what may be coming?

In the long run, the only way the American Experiment will survive is if we all recognize the fragility of our Republic and work together to overcome the fragmentation that threatens to break it apart. Tweet this now.

I pray it’s not too late.

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked

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Works

Now is not the time to grow weary, get distracted, become cynical, or loose hope. Now is the time to put into action that which you have been purposed to do….

“…You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.” James 2: 18 The Message.

Inhale Conviction, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Confidence, Exhale Distress…
Inhale Certainty, Exhale Insecurity…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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Action

“God does not place His promises in our hand, He places them within our reach, which means we have to do our part.” ~ Priscilla Shirer

You’ve heard a version of this story: Man in peril (sailboat capsized in the ocean, stuck on the side of a mountain, floodwaters rising, etc.), we’ll call him Paul, cries to God for help. Rescue comes in various forms, but Paul does not reach out to be rescued. And then he drowns or falls to his death, depending on the version of the story. When an angry Paul encounters God, he asks, “God, why didn’t you save me?” And God says, “Paul, I did MY part” …and He lists the various forms of rescue.

The point? Paul, described in at least one version of the story as faithful, did not do his part. He confidently expected God’s response to his request and his faith was justified. But he didn’t take action; he didn’t do what he needed to do to activate his faith.

I use this story for a lot of concepts … expectations, opportunities, etc. but this week as I’ve armored up, it occurred to me that it’s a great illustration of the faith-activating action referred to in Ephesians.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6: 16

Inhale Action, Exhale Apathy…
Inhale Caring, Exhale Cynicism…
Inhale Resolve, Exhale Fear…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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Aftermath

It’s been a week since the beginning of the apocalypse. I know many don’t see the election results in the same dire terns but many do; I’ve read some well-written, heartfelt pieces that have made me cry, some articulate, angry pieces that called me to action and of course, Awesomely Luvvie ‘cause she makes me howl even when she’s angry. Oh yeah, and the Joe Biden memes…much needed laughs.

But I’ve mostly been researching, reading and reflecting…and praying and planning. Because as Paul said, this is a life or death fight to the finish…

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Ephesians 6: 13 – 18, The Message

Inhale Faith, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Belief, Exhale Grief…
Inhale Action, Exhale Inertia…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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Choice

We are given free will to make our own choices.
We can choose to believe, or not…
We can choose to love, or not…
We can choose to live in and on purpose, or not.

I’ve made my choices, I’ve done my part and I’m thanking Him for all the rest.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Inhale Stillness, Exhale Stress…
Inhale Calm, Exhale Chaos…
Inhale Peace, Exhale Chatter…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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