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Faith–the catalyst for victory

July 8th, 2014 · Comments Off

Faith 2014Faith is not for the faint of heart. Faith is for those that freely choose to trust God, who sees what we cannot, that all will be well. Faith is accepting that you have no control and being unafraid because fear is a useless emotion when one is designed for success. Faith understands that the outcome to a challenge may not be what you expected but is the perfect outcome for you. Faith recognizes that sometimes we are part of a difficult period not just for our own growth but for what we bring to others sharing our burden. Those with faith understand that through challenge a lesson is learned, character is strengthened, confidence is built–all in an effort to equip you with the grace, tools and experience necessary to rise higher. Faith reminds the essence of your soul that your journey is not one of failure and suffering but one of success, peace and joy, for this too shall pass. When the season of struggle comes to its natural end, a new season of prosperity is ushered in. This new period brings with it greater joy than you have known in the past because faith is the catalyst for heightened gratitude and gratitude is where joy is born.

Having faith does not mean that you will never waiver in your confidence that all will be well. It does not mean that you won’t get angry, feel cheated, feel as if you are being treated unfairly or become weary from an extend period of challenge. Faith is a grace that steps in despite these feelings and reminds you to breathe and trust that all will be well.

The power of faith, however, requires practice. It is a spiritual muscle that needs to be exercised daily to grow in strength. Some days faith will come easily and other days you will have to work very hard to feel its peace. On those harder days, ask yourself, “What is the alternative to having faith?” You may find that as you contemplate that question that without faith one would become ground up and feel as if there is no meaning to our struggles. One could begin to believe that there is no point to fulfilling their gifts because there are too many obstacles to overcome. One may even ask what the point is at all and fall into a bitter pit of despair. As hard as faith may be, it is far better to put effort and emotion into believing that our struggles do have meaning, that our gifts are worth working hard to share and that life is full of opportunity for victories made only sweeter by our efforts, sacrifices and setbacks.

When you have done all you can do and circumstances are out of your control, or when despite the best evidence; you believe that a way can be made where you do not see one, allow faith to take over. It begins to work when you speak optimistically over your life, especially during your darkest days. God hears your prayers, sees your actions and helps those that help themselves. Things may not turn out as you expected or when you wished but remember that God has our best interests at heart. Trust that there is a bigger picture that we are not privy to and that the pieces of our life’s puzzle fall into place for our highest good in God’s due time, which is at exactly the right moment.

Certain challenges will be far more painful than others, but take heart, remain in faith and keep repeating the mantra, “my best days are ahead of me.” With that belief ever present in your mind, you will more easily move through life’s challenges.

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God Bless Fathers

June 3rd, 2014 · Comments Off

Father's Day 2014Thank God for the men in our lives who lovingly and happily serve as a father. For they have accepted the awesome responsibility of ensuring the safety, health, well-being and future of their family. They are tireless warriors who protect their families, provide basic needs, the extras that make life sweeter and are examples of the kind of men boys will grow to become and the model women will use to measure the character of men. As a result of their unwavering devotion, they become the bedrock of their family, who is able flourish thanks to the security they provide.

Those that have been fortunate enough to have had a father, brother, uncle, grandfather, step-father or family friend who placed his family at the center of his life know their future was made possible due to the contributions of a man committed to providing his family with a strong foundation. Strong foundations are built by men who lead by example. We do our best learning when we draw our own conclusions through observation rather than through sermons. Fathers know that life is not fair and that how they navigate challenges and rise to the occasion will show their children that they come from good stock and will be just fine when it comes time for them to face their own obstacles. When those times come, children, young and of adult age, draw comfort from knowing that they can go home for advice, help and a place to recharge so they can go back out and overcome their trials. Fathers know actions speak louder than words. Ever observant children learn how to respect themselves and others as they watch how their father treats their mother, the elderly or someone in need. Children learn the importance of sacrifice as they watch their father place the needs of those he loves above his own and the reward he receives in the form of love and appreciation. The responsibility of fatherhood serves as a great reminder that children need to be held accountable for their behavior and decisions. Therefore, fathers have no reluctance when it comes time to call out bad behavior and hold their children responsible for making amends. They are also the proudest people on planet earth when their children meet with success, overcome an obstacle, achieve a milestone or simply behave in a respectful way. They have been known to tap the shoulder of the stranger sitting next to them and say with a puffed out chest , “that’s my child.”

Men with the capacity to be a good father genuinely want to see children outside their family do well too. One of the many extraordinary characteristics of these men is their willingness to not only serve their family but to serve as a surrogate to others, many times without even being aware of their surrogacy. Their genuine nature and living example attract the attention of others. Their children’s friends will come by for a visit and stay for dinner because they enjoy being in the company of someone who wishes them well, listens to them and willingly shares the benefit of his experience. The value of his contribution will likely remain unbeknownst to him until his children’s friends grow up and come back to visit and share news about their lives and relive fond memories of time spent with him growing up. It may only be then that he is aware of the part he played in helping them become who they are today.

Good fathers represent the highest caliber of men and no words could adequately illustrate the positive impact they have on their children and those in their community. Their unselfish dedication, example and love leave an indelible imprint on the souls of their children, and long after they have crossed over into the next life, their children will still be drawing on their memory for strength, confidence and the warmth of their love.

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A mother’s love is a love like no other

May 5th, 2014 · Comments Off

Flowers 5 2014A scared child looks for security in a loving and steady hand to hold. A heartbroken teen looks for warm arms to wrap themselves in as a reminder that they are still loved. An adult faced with the pressures and uncertainties of life looks for comfort in wise, loving eyes and the warmth of a heart that cares and understands. These selfless gifts are joyfully given throughout our life by those that watch us grow, help us learn, enjoy our victories and suffered with us our defeats. They encourage us to be our best and believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. We are nourished by the knowledge that we are never far from their thoughts and prayers. We take tremendous comfort knowing that they so desperately want the very best for us. These earthly angels who help shape us, teach us, heal us, comfort us and celebrate with us are those that mother us.

Mothers come into our life in a variety of ways. Some have given birth to us, others have adopted us into their heart and home, some are our sisters or grandmothers or aunties or neighbors or friends. The origin of the relationship is really inconsequential because all that matters is that they have made a commitment to provide a deep, sincere and genuine love for another that is like no other love in a person’s life.

For it takes a special love to willingly make the necessary sacrifices to ensure a child grows into a loving, happy adult. A mother will put her life on hold to meet the physical and emotional demands of raising a baby and toddler. When the day comes and her child heads off to school, she will be there to help manage the ups and downs that come from influences outside the home. When adolescence arrives, she will buckle up for the wild ride her children will take her on as she suddenly becomes the least knowledgeable and most out-of-touch person her children have ever met. There will be days when tough love will be necessary to remind know-it-all children that she has already been where they are and they have yet to get where she is in life. Even as these children act as if their mother is the obstacle to their happiness and will test her at every turn, she will be their safe haven when their peers are cruel by reminding them to consider the source and when a child gets too full of themselves she will have no compunction about telling them that self-praise stinks. As adolescence turns into adulthood, her work is not done. The complexion of the relationship changes from parent to friend but the love never changes. No matter how old you may be, no matter how successful you become, you will always be your mother’s child and she will always be there to help you and love you unconditionally.

Those that have lost their mother know what a tremendous hole that loss leaves because unfortunately we never truly understand the depth of a mother’s love until she is buried beneath the sod. However, the time spent and the love shared between mother and child secures her immortality in her child’s heart. Death cannot take her examples, lessons and love away. As her child goes forward, her presence will be felt as she lovingly guides from the other side.

Our mothers are our safety net, back-bone, morality, compassion, and the purest expression of love. The thanks we give to them, living or deceased, is the life we live and the love we give to others. Nothing could make a mother happier or prouder.

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Spring would not be so sweet if not for winter and so it goes in life too

April 1st, 2014 · Comments Off

 

spring 2014After a long and arduous winter, finally, spring has arrived! With the promise of warmer weather, the budding of flowers and a return of happily chirping birds, we look forward to long sunny days and an overall easier way of living. Winter coats, boots, hats and gloves are no longer necessary just to step outside. No more concern for icy roads and walkways. No more back-breaking snow shoveling chores and no more bone-chilling mornings that turn into short days, as night arrives early forcing temperatures even lower.

It is a wonder that once the bad weather departs and the more inviting weather arrives, we are able to easily transition from one season to the next. We are unencumbered by the change and indeed welcome it. We begin to forget the daily challenges of living through an unyielding winter season and simply bask in the gifts of spring.

As we go about our springtime business, it never occurs to us to detract from spring’s pleasures by reliving the challenges of winter. When sitting on the grass in our bare feet on a warm evening, we don’t remain focused on a time passed when we were stuck inside looking out at a cold, dark night unwilling to leave the comfort of our warm home because road conditions were dangerous and it was too cold outside. We let that season go and simply enjoy the new season. We remain present in the moment as we sit on the grass in our bare feet, feeling a warm breeze on our face and looking up at the stars, showing gratitude for the new season by not looking back at what was and not looking ahead to what might be but simply being present.

Winter, and particularly a bad winter, provides an opportunity to draw on our inner reserves of faith that the season will come to an end and a new and enjoyable season will greet us; confidence in our ability to meet its challenges; and gratitude for the lessons winter teaches and the riches of a new season. Spring would never be so lovely and so welcome if not for winter. The same beauty can be found in the seasons of our lives. It is true that into each life a little rain must fall and sometimes when it rains, it pours, but the sun always comes out again. It is our soul’s purpose to truly enjoy the beauty of life, which could not be fully appreciated if we did not experience opportunities disguised as challenges to grow, see with clearer eyes our many blessings, and welcome new blessings to further enrich our lives.

Therefore, when a challenging season in your life comes to an end, treat it the same way you would a bad winter—learn from it, be proud of how you persevered, make peace with it, release it, welcome with an open heart the change of season, and be present in your new and more enjoyable season. You have earned this new season’s peace and blessings. Don’t prolong the challenging season and diminish the blessings of your “spring” by carrying over the hardships and heartaches of the past season. As you remember to not look back, also remember not to jump ahead to summer and fall and begin worrying now that winter will have to return. It is but one season in four. Enjoy the beauty and wonder of each season in your life for they have helped to develop the person you are today by providing you with lessons and blessings. Remember as you go through all your seasons that life is sweet, no matter what—because your best days are always ahead of you.

 

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Why the Irish are lucky and how you can be too

March 6th, 2014 · Comments Off

 

St. Pat 2014It has been said that if you are lucky enough to be Irish, you are lucky enough. If that statement was taken at face-value, one may be inclined to think that simply being of Irish descent means a life blessed with lucky breaks and doors opening to one great opportunity after another. However, when you consider Irish history, that statement becomes a paradox. For centuries the Irish battled against a British government that was determined to persecute them in the most dehumanizing manner in an effort to colonize Ireland. During this extensive period, the Irish seemed to be fighting a losing battle. They would gain some ground only to lose it again. Much blood was shed and many families were destroyed before they were able to finally gain their independence. Given those events, it is staggering to understand how the Irish could be considered lucky people. Even more mind-boggling is that through all the tragedy, the Irish, to this very day, have remained a joyful, faithful, grateful people. It would seem that the truth in the paradox is that the Irish made their own luck. They did not let their enemies defeat them, and more importantly, they never allowed their oppressors to conquer their spirit. By remaining positive, they were able to not only overcome their challenges but went on to become well-loved the world over and admired for the many contributions they have made to their families and communities.

The Irish are a living example we can look to when faced with adversity. Their journey is a reminder that the strength of your soul is not equal to but greater than any challenge you may face. Obstacles are not designed to hold back success and happiness but rather are an opportunity to grow into a more self-confident, compassionate person blessed with gratitude for what you have and what will be. Those that are blessed with this knowledge are light souls for they do not carry the useless weight of worry and desperation. They see a glass as half full rather than half empty and can always find a way to smile and laugh because they know that this too shall pass and want to be ready to welcome in their best days, which are always ahead of them. The power of light souls extends beyond securing their own personal growth and happiness. They have the ability to project their wisdom through example to those in their circle. By surrounding yourself with lights souls, the collective power of that wisdom and their joyful, knowing, peaceful spirit allows you to more easily navigate life’s challenges and curve balls. Having a circle of light souls protects against getting mired down by feelings of worry and desperation. The more time spent placing faith in your ability to learn, grow and come out the other side better than when you began, the more you begin to understand how very useless feelings of worry and desperation are because they change nothing and only needlessly extend suffering.

If you are lucky to be a positive thinking person, you are lucky enough. You like the Irish know that you have it in your power to make your own luck by remaining optimistic and staying focused on the opportunities rather than the loss. Take their proven example and build a community of people around you who don’t let life get the better of them but rather make the best of their life and you too will have the luck of the Irish.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 

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2014 Meet the Author Events

February 6th, 2014 · Comments Off

 

Irish Leprechun

I am pleased to announce that I will be at the following “Meet the Author” events where I will be speaking and signing my book. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

March 2
12:30 p.m.
Paperback Exchange
Meet the Author Event during Belmar’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festivities
703 1/2 9th Ave, Belmar, NJ 07719
(732) 681-6829
www.Apaperbackexchange.com

March 11
Writestream Online Radio by Dariaanne
Radio interview with Daria DiGiovanni celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and the wisdom of the Irish
Stay tuned for more details

March 23
2:00 p.m.
Sayreville Public Library
Educational session focused on how to become a published author
1050 Washington Road
Parlin, NJ 08859
732-727-0212

May 3
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Ocean Grove NJ Spring Fling
Comfort Zone
Book Signing
44 1/2 Main Avenue
Ocean Grove, NJ 07756
732-869-9990
www.comfortzone-og.com

August 25-29
Deerfield Spa
Daily Gathering to Share the Power of Wisdom
650 Resica Falls Road
East Stroudsburg, PA 18302
800-852-4494
www.deerfieldspa.com

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Love–the great teacher and the great rewarder

February 3rd, 2014 · Comments Off

love hearts

 

Love makes the world go around. It puts a lift in our step, makes our heart skip a beat, provides an abundance of joy, confidence, security, desire, pride and puts purpose to our lives. Oh, but love is a contrary emotion. It also has the ability to break our hearts, cause us concern, leave us feeling lonely and scared and sometimes tricks us into loving the wrong people–thereby making it the perfect ingredient to help us develop. For love allows us to learn and grow from its very low, lows and rewards our progress with tremendous celebration during its very high, highs.

The reach of love is inescapable. It is apparent in each choice we make–the people we invite into our lives and invest our emotions in, the work we do, the causes we support and even the tone of our conversation and the spirit we bring to all relationships and situations. Therefore, it is also a great barometer for letting us know if we are being authentic with our choices or simply following the wishes of others in the pursuit of false love. Love can also simply elude us or appear to be cruel at times. The pain of disappointment and loss can cause us to feel betrayed or unworthy of love. When those times arise, it is important to take a step back and lovingly remember that everything happens for a reason. No one walks through life untouched by disappointment or pain. These difficult times help us build character and an appreciation for the love we have known or clarity about the love that is right for us. They also provide an opportunity, if we are willing, to become stronger and open to greater love in the future. Healing and growth come when we recognize the importance of loving ourselves. When we remember to love and respect our unique journey, we don’t compare ourselves to anyone else. The grass does not appear greener on the other side and we understand that true beauty is in the eye of the beholder and not in the opinion of another. By adapting this mind-set, we are able to shut out all the noise around us telling us who we are or how to be, and we are able to listen to our own voice and confidently follow it to a place that has been designed to bring the joy our heart honestly desires.

When we love ourselves, we achieve a higher level of consciousness, which allows us to more easily recognize people and situations that do not serve us. This awareness provides the confidence and desire necessary to gracefully remove ourselves from such situations and wish those who do not serve us all our best as they continue on their journey without us. When obstacles are removed from our path, we are able to develop an aura of joy and light that invites people and situations that do serve us, which is just the beginning of a new more loving approach to life. Knowing that we are purposefully being true to ourselves brings recognition of gratitude for the many blessings we already have and makes our hearts even more filled with joy and love. Loving ourselves will not insulate us from pain but it helps us more easily move through the pain because we understand that this too shall pass. We may have some battle scars but we know our hearts will heal in preparation for our best days, which are always ahead of us.

 

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The importance of marking the swift passage of time with a loving heart

January 6th, 2014 · Comments Off

2014As one year ends and a new one begins, we seem to always say where did the year go, how did the time go by so fast and as we age, we notice how each year seems to pass even more quickly. Children, on the other hand, find that time hangs. Perhaps this is because they are untarnished by the demands of life. Instead, they are singularly focused on making it to the next milestone—staying up later, walking to school by themselves, having a double digit birthday, going out without parental supervision, and the grand prize of getting a driver’s license–which all seem to take forever. Each of these milestones represents a step toward adulthood driven by the misguided idea that once adulthood is achieved they will be able to do whatever they want.

Those that have reached adulthood know what a farce this notion is. Adults don’t have enough hours in the day for the demands on their time and they certainly are not dictating all those demands or when they will be completed. And while in hindsight time may race by because we are so busy juggling our “to dos” and the surprises life sends our way–good and challenging–it is the challenging ones that seem to move as slowly for adults as time does for children. However, as adults, we have the power to not prolong our harder days.

When difficult situations arise, it is helpful to remember that this too shall pass and what a precious commodity time is. Like any precious commodity, the best philosophy to remember is “waste not, want not.” Once a challenge has come to its natural end, don’t waste time holding onto negativity so you are left wanting for things your heart cannot make room for. If you allow yourself to become consumed with who wronged you, what you did not get, how you screwed up or how unfair a situation may be, your time will be spent in agony. Instead allow yourself to learn from it. You may have to look hard for the lesson but it will be there. It may not be easy to forgive yourself, but please do. If you are willing to learn, the time spent in challenge will not be in vain. Instead you will have spent your time becoming a stronger, wiser and more receptive to greater happiness and blessings.

We all have a limited amount of time in our life and how we spend that time is entirely up to us. It is going to fly by whether we approach life with a loving heart or a bitter one. There is no doubt that there will be times in our life that will be filled with difficulties, when nothing seems to go right and loss. This is just part of the human condition, designed to help us appreciate the good moments in our life all the more. Through the practice of looking for the lessons in life—and it does take practice–we will not only appreciate the big moments of happiness in our life–achieving our goals, welcoming new family members and friends, sharing the holidays together, but we will also appreciate the many unspoken joys of life, time alone with our thoughts, the sand between our toes, the rain after a long draught or perhaps a warm day in the middle of winter.

As we embark on a new year and recognize how quickly the previous one went by, take a moment to remember what you learned, honor your journey, count your blessings and look to the new year with an open and loving heart so that as you mark the swift passage of time your reflections will be filled with smiles, joy, peace and love for yourself and others.

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The best Christmas presents are not found under the tree

December 3rd, 2013 · Comments Off

It has been said many times that the best gifts come in small boxes. Perhaps this expression came to be because we live in a society where bigger is usually perceived as better. Therefore, we need to be reminded that the gifts we find in small boxes can be the best gifts of all. While small boxes may contain very expensive gifts, I don’t believe that sentiment accurately reflects where to find the best gifts. I think the very best gifts are the ones that don’t come in a box of any size or shape, regardless of how attractively it may be wrapped. The best gifts we will receive this Christmas are the ones we can’t see or even hold in our hands. We can’t take them out and show them to our friends; we can’t wear them; we don’t need to insure them and they can never be lost or stolen from us. These gifts get better with age and are guaranteed to grow in value over time.

These invisible gifts are received by our heart, and they come often throughout the Christmas season. They come as we make our preparations and look forward to spending time with family and friends. They come as we recall Christmases past and remember those that are no longer with us and how they made Christmas special. We take the memories they gave us and carry on traditions as we welcome a new generation of family and friends, hoping that they will adopt these traditions with the generation that follows them. For it is through traditions that–past, current and future–family and friends are all with us during this joyous time of year. We receive these priceless gifts when we remember those that are less fortunate and give of our own treasure, knowing that we helped another’s holiday be a little bit brighter. We receive gifts that light up our spirit when we take a moment to delight in the holiday decorations as we drive through our neighborhood, sit in our living room, or shop in the stores. We feel the warmth of the holidays while Christmas carols play as we cook and bake for our guests. We even chuckle to ourselves as family members talk us into wrapping their presents for them because, as they are quick to point out, we are far more talented at wrapping gifts.  And what about those curious ones that turn the house upside down trying to find out what you bought. Every year we marvel at their resourcefulness and know we need to be a bit craftier about where we hide their gifts. Even though they drive us crazy, the holidays would not be the same if we did not play this game.

The gifts we receive that are purchased with money, whether they come in a large or small box, are wonderful tokens of another’s affection.  We are grateful for these heart-felt presents and appreciate the thought and love that went into purchasing, wrapping and sharing them. However, the very best gifts we receive are the ones that cannot be wrapped and placed in a box of any size. The very best gifts are the ones we privately acknowledge and treasure in our heart–the gift of coming together to celebrate traditions, create memories, remember loved ones, and be of service to family, friends and strangers. Christmas provides the opportunity to count our blessings, create new ones and to remember that money can’t buy happiness. True happiness comes when we graciously accept the gifts of beauty, wonder and love that surround us during Christmas and throughout the year. May you have a very Merry Christmas!

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I think it starts with gratitude

November 3rd, 2013 · Comments Off

I think it starts with gratitude…success, peace, happiness, contentment, a well-lived life.

Many believe that success occurs once you attain a goal. However, if success only happens at the time the goal is achieved, how do you see yourself during the process of attaining that goal, as an unsuccessful person?  Do you then say to yourself, once I achieve my goal and have success I will have peace, which will bring happiness, which will lead to contentment and then my life will have been well-lived. But what happens if a goal you set for yourself does not come to pass?  Are you now a doubly unsuccessful person?  If that is the case, there are going to be many, many long, hard, sad days along your journey.

However, if you start each day counting your blessings and expressing gratitude for all that you have received; you begin each day as a successful person who has been bestowed with much good fortune. Each day becomes yet another opportunity to build on your success. Knowing you are already a success provides you with the confidence needed to take lessons from challenges by rising to the occasion and focusing on the glass being half full as opposed to half empty. You understand that obstacles are there to help build character and prepare you for even greater blessings. By remaining optimistic and refraining from falling into despair, you do not slow down or block future blessings; you invite more.  Knowing that you are inviting more blessings brings you peace, which makes you happy and content while you continue creating a well-lived life.

It is not always easy. Even the most optimistic among us hit periods in life that are excruciatingly painful with no sense of when they will end. It is during this time, that our many blessings become hard to see because the size of our challenge temporarily blocks them from view. When this happens, it may be easier to show gratitude for the beauty you can feel and observe–the breath you can take, the wonder that your heart continues to beat even as it aches, the warmth of the sun on your face, children laughing, the peaceful rhythm of the rain tapping on a windowsill, the family and friends that make you laugh. These thoughts of gratitude will give you the strength and the jolt of peace needed to help you remember that this too shall pass and that your best days are ahead of you.

Showing true gratitude means not comparing yourself to anyone else.  When we use our energy to compare our blessings with the blessings of others, we diminish the greatness of what we have been given. In effect, we are saying that we are less and someone else is more.  Therefore, we are inferior to someone else.  You can’t be successful if you allow yourself to feel inferior to another. Each person comes into the world with specific gifts, talents and challenges that help us create a well-lived life.  You can never know what another has been through or is faced with today in order to gain their blessings.  Instead of allowing yourself to feel inferior to another, channel that energy by wishing that person continued blessings.  By wishing more for another, the blessing blocking energy of inferiority is turned into graciousness, allowing your spirit to regain access to future blessings.

Beyond counting our blessings, it is important to say “thank you” for our blessings. These two little words are so powerful because they allow us to underscore our gratitude. With this in mind, as we get together to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, let’s say thank you for the many blessings we have today and for the many blessings that are on their way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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