Archives for January 2017

It’s What You Do After Martin Luther King’s Birthday That Counts

MLK

We expect parades, concerts, TV specials and community events on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Day of Service. 

But if we truly want to honor King, we will show up not on just one day, but will follow his legacy of service everyday.

Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1986 after 32 years of campaigning at local and national levels. It later became the national Martin Luther King Day of Service when former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994. His most popular “I Have a Dream” speech galvanized the civil rights movement, but my favorite King speech is the Feb. 4, 1968 sermon,  “The Drum Major Instinct”. In it he said

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

If King’s call to serve has a familiar ring, it’s because the same message echoes throughout history.  

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.’ If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else. Chinese Proverb

The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve. Albert Schweitzer

Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy 1961 inaugural address

Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve. Marianne Willliamson

Serving others is easy.

You don’t have to go far nor do you need loads of skill or buckets of talent. Connecting with an established charity, church or other community groups can do enormous good and be gratifying for you, even if you work with them only occasionally throughout the year.

In every age group from premature newborns to senior citizens are people longing for conversation, a visit or a touch. Local and global groups can help you find people in one of these groups if you are drawn to serve one of them.

Serving others is accessible.

One neighborhood rallied around to help each other when someone was recovering from illness and needed a hot meal or were unable to drive and needed transportation to medical or other appointments.

Serving others is contagious.

When I owned a gift basket business, the owner of a customized cookie company recognizing that I was new to the business took time from working in her booth at the California Gift Show to sit me down and give me some great marketing advice.

Her spontaneous and generous mentoring inspired me to help other aspiring entrepreneurs through a nationwide network, a newsletter, speaking at gift shows. and presenting workshops at gift basket associations. 

Serving others is mutually beneficial.

Research has caught up with ancient wisdom.  Scientific studies and positive psychology have toppled some of the myths we have about what makes us happy. What is consistent among the findings is  we increase our own happiness by expressing gratitude and helping others. If you are curious to find out where you stand on gratitude and assess your level of happiness, take one of the many free questionnaires on Authentic Happiness.

Serving others is most powerful when it extends beyond one day.

Many communities and organizations used the National Day of Service as the kickoff day for extended service. Some groups provide healthy snacks to nearby schools. Philadelphia holds a citywide event where citizens pitch in on various projects. Some health organizations hold events calling attention to health and wellness issues in their community. 

King filled a void when he spoke out for justice and freedom. I encourage you to fill a void in the niche you serve and show flair and style in the life you live.

Let the way you earn your living also enable you to serve others.  Even if you are working on a job that is just a temporary stop along the way to your ideal career, give your sincere effort and best service, not just for others, but for yourself as well.

To serve, as King points out, all you need is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. Thankfully, these things are within everyone’s reach. To tap into them all you have to do is go within, believing that they are yours.

Let the National Martin Luther King Day of Service be a reminder to start your daily activities from your heart and soul, and carry out all your interactions with integrity and joy.

Tell us in Speak Your Mind below how you plan to honor King’s legacy throughout the year.

(Revision of a 2014 post.)

Lift Off to a Happy New Year

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After a particularly challenging year, we are all ready for a lighter, more hopeful new year. That’s what book reviewer Viga Boland had in mind when she chose to create an audio review of my book, Color Your Life Happy, 2nd ed., as her last podcast of 2016.  Click the link below to enjoy it.

http://vianvi.com/?powerpress_pinw=3796-podcast

or you can read the full written review below.

Enjoy!

COLOR YOUR LIFE HAPPY

by Flora Morris Brown

 Vianvi Podcast #17: A Book Review by Viga Boland

As we bid goodbye to 2016, I am bringing you my final book podcast book review for this year. Looking ahead to 2017, today’s book seems the most appropriate on which to end one year and usher in the new year. After all, who doesn’t hope that 2017 will find them happy? Perhaps Color Your Life Happy is just the book you need to read. Wishing all of you a wonderful and happy new year! Thanks for your patronage over 2016. I look forward to welcoming my listeners back sometime in mid-January 2017! Cheers!

Advance happy new year 2017_3

 

Are you searching for happiness? Who isn’t, right? Have you spent a small fortune attending seminars, hours watching videos and many dollars buying books in the hopes of finding the secret to being, and staying happy? Well you can stop all that searching right now! Just get yourself a copy of Color Your Life Happy by Flora Morris Brown, sign up on her website to receive her blog posts, and you’ll have everything you need to recognize happiness when you see it and Color Your Life Happy.

51baDtvpYELWhat a delightful, easy and important read Color Your Life Happy is. Flora’s style is conversational, personal and friendly. Reading her book is like sitting down and having a chat with your best friend, a friend who is close enough and knows you well enough to remind you of what you really do know but keep forgetting. Flora understands you: she’s been there. She’s bottomed out but recognized that inside each of us are the answers to getting back up. You just have to trust yourself. Flora Morris Brown urges you to stop listening to that inner critic who tells you you can’t, and trust that inner voice, your intuition, that says “go for it!” She’ll insist you start now to say “no” to everyone else and “yes” to yourself. Doing otherwise can stop you from being really happy.

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Author, Flora Morris Brown

In Color Your Life Happy, Flora Morris Brown presents all the positive reinforcements you find in the countless number of books available on how to be happy. Yes, she includes quotes but she expands on every idea by using anecdotes from her own life. These anecdotes are sometimes funny, sometimes touching but always relevant and so enjoyable to read.

As I read Color Your LIfe Happy, I found myself constantly reaching for a pen to jot down a great thought or sentence, like these:

“When we’re feeling stress, it’s because we’re not accepting that what is, is”

“Treat your body like a temple, not a dumpster!”

“Give up the ‘if only’s’ and ‘what if’s”

“Being happy and successful is not a matter of luck. It’s a matter of doing what is most important to you minute by minute, day by day.”

You have to read this book to see how she develops and expands on those thoughts. It’s all wonderful wisdom and so worth your time reading. Flora tells us we should take on challenges and be willing to fail…or quit when it just doesn’t feel good and isn’t working for you. Consider how much nicer it will be when you’re in your rocking chair and you can talk about what you did with your life instead of what you’d wish you’d done! She encourages readers to set realistic expectations and not to guilt trip over not being perfect or making a mistake. When you think about it, it’s all just good common sense. Color Your Life Happy is a book you need on your night table or somewhere ever handy when you need that important pick me up or reminder of the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer.

Another appealing part of Color Your Life Happy is its presentation: each chapter features a lovely illustration above the chapter heading. Along with that come highlighted sections, chapter summaries, and an extensive bibliography. Flora Morris Brown has really researched her subject. She includes book titles and quotes other authors as she writes, and suggests websites worth investigating. I certainly plan to check out many of them. There are also poems to make you smile and reflect and a delightful story about a Mexican fisherman and an American tourist in Chapter 6. If that story doesn’t convince you to slow down your crazy life, breathe, and take time out for those things that do make you happy, nothing will.

Marvellous book and highly recommended.

©Viga Boland, author and book reviewer

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