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2015 Meet the Author Events

May 16th, 2015 · No Comments

celtic cross

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!

May 15
12:00 noon
Sayreville Senior Citizens, Guest Speaker
Sayreville Seniors Center
423 Main Street
Sayreville, NJ 08872

June 14
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
BooksNJ Festival
Paramus Public Library
116 E. Century Road
Paramus, NJ 07652
http://www.booksnj.org/

August 16-22
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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Celebration is good nutrition for the soul

May 3rd, 2015 · No Comments

Victory

Life is sweet no matter what and is meant to be celebrated at every opportunity.

When we think of celebrating, we usually think of life’s mile markers—buying a home, getting married, having a child, or reaching a particular age. These and many other occasions are worthy of celebration with our family and friends. However, truly celebrating life means rejoicing in the many achievements attained along our journey. Some celebrations, if we are truly reveling in life, are not only with family and friends. Sometimes they are with those we work with, sometimes they are with complete strangers, and sometimes they are just private celebrations with our self–small moments when it occurs to us how beautiful nature is, how peaceful our child looks when sleeping, or remembering just how many blessings we have to count.

Like all celebrations large and small, a certain amount of work and sacrifice is involved– and the greater the work, the greater the celebration. However, in order to truly appreciate the celebration associated with meeting one of life’s mile markers, we must be able to celebrate the small victories and the challenges we overcome. These small celebrations are stepping stones along the way to our larger accomplishments. For example, working to meet a professional objective is an example of a long-term goal. This desire will test you throughout your career, require you to make sacrifices, and call on internal resources to see you through unexpected challenges and unfair situations. Of course, at the time of retirement, a celebration with family and friends is most certainly in order.

However, in order to live joyfully throughout your career, you do not need to wait until you retire to celebrate. You would be well-served to recognize the many opportunities presented to you throughout your career worthy of celebration. These can include having a strong and personable team to work with each day, having the opportunity to develop professionally and personally, or perhaps having a job that is close to your home. Challenging career situations such as working through budget cuts, even if you are one of the cuts; delivering on a demanding challenge; or even changing your career entirely are also worthy of celebration. For these experiences caused you to have to rise to the occasion and show grace and strength in your ability to prevail.

Celebration means more than reveling in life’s happiest moments. It is also means congratulating our self and others for overcoming a challenge. Celebrating victory is the final step in our healing process. It tells the universe that we ready to welcome new opportunities.

Celebration is good nutrition for the soul. It feeds our optimism by reinforcing gratitude for our many gifts. It is a part of our most memorable experiences and permeates our daily life. It invites others to join us on our journey and share our experiences. It is contagious in its ability to help others see the beauty and joy in their own life. It is a necessary component when seeing us through a challenging time. It is the counterbalance to feelings of loss.

Therefore, remember that life is meant to be celebrated not endured. Look for something to celebrate each day–regardless of the day. The happiest souls do not wait for a special occasion to celebrate. They take time to celebrate the small moments as much as the big ones. They celebrate victory over challenge. They celebrate in solitude, with strangers and, of course, with those that mean the most to them. This is how you build good memories, strengthen your spirit, see yourself through difficulties, show your gratitude and invite cause for more celebration.

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Peace within

January 11th, 2015 · 1 Comment

eMake peace with it—simple words that when strung together offer wise advice for bringing calm and perspective to any situation that causes consternation. It makes sense. Instead of creating a lot of negative energy by focusing on how arbitrary, unfair or annoying a challenge is, we adjust our mindset to finding a way toward acceptance and in doing so take back our peace. This is easier said than done, but better than the alternative of living in discontent.

By making peace, we do not surrender to unacceptable behavior or forgo taking steps to improve a poor situation. Making peace means having the willingness to accept things as they are rather than maintaining hostility that they happened. Through an attitude of acceptance, we are better positioned to rationally develop solutions that are more likely to bear fruit and allow us to move forward. Acceptance and peace do not ensure that a solution will come easily and quickly, and they do not promise that we will not have to make peace again and again as we work to resolve the issue. Acceptance and peace do position us well to meet the challenge with an open mind and a positive attitude. This provides the forward trajectory necessary to resolve the problem and ultimately become stronger for the experience.

When we don’t have peace as we move through difficult situations, we make a bad situation worse. The absence of acceptance and peace invites self-pity to take up residence in our minds and our hearts. This destructive emotion encourages a lamenting of our woes that only brings us further and further away from our peace. This use of energy and time will not make the situation easier to bear or banish it from our lives. It will only serve to erode our spirit, making us less than rather than greater for what the difficulty was intended to teach us. The good news is that our peace is always accessible by merely changing our approach to how we view the challenges in our lives.

Each challenge we face provides us with an opportunity to learn but not every challenge can be resolved. These situations provide us with the opportunity to leverage our inherent wisdom to know the difference between giving up and moving on. When we have done all we can, sometimes the lesson is about closing one chapter in our lives and beginning another. This choice is not about giving up but rather about accepting that a specific time in our life has taught us all it can and that it is time to embark on new opportunities. Making peace with that choice means that we don’t feel as if we were pushed out or wasted our time but that we are grateful for what we learned and wish those that we leave behind well. By entering our new chapter with a peaceful heart, we ensure our happiness and future success.

Peace within us creates peace within the world. It is conscience choice we make each day. When we elect to make peace with our lives, we lead by example. We can never know who is watching and learning from us but we can rest assured that how we choose to embrace life will have an impact on ourselves and those around us. By making peace with our lives, our challenges don’t consume us. Instead we ensure joy and light can find their way into our lives and the lives of those around us helping to create a more harmonious world for all.

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YOU matter and have a big impact

December 7th, 2014 · No Comments

selfloveEvery soul is born with a purpose as well as the talent and the abilities necessary to inspire others while evolving its own spirit. Each soul is also as unique as a snowflake. While we may share certain talents and abilities, how those talents and abilities unveil themselves and how they affect others or ourselves are indeed very different. Some souls will impact a great number of people and other souls will impact a very small number of individuals. Some of us will understand early in our life what our talents are and how to utilize them. Some of us will take much longer to have our gifts and purpose revealed. However, like a snowflake, each soul is uniquely beautiful and of significant importance for its individuality and contribution and, therefore, cannot be even marginally diminished through comparison.

Although we understand intellectually that it is not possible for two people to have the same exact purpose or gifts any more than two identical snowflakes can fall from the sky, it is a very human response to sometimes look at others and wish we had their life and their gifts. By doing so, we momentarily allow ourselves to believe that our own life would be more meaningful if we were someone other than our self. Allow this to be a fleeting thought that comes to you in a moment of weakness. See the thought as an opportunity to remind yourself that if you could put down your troubles and pick up someone else’s, you would want to pick up your own troubles again. By imagining that you have discarded your troubles, you will realize that you have to let go of how much you have invested in your growth, how hard you have worked to overcome your challenges, shape your talents and that you will no longer be of service to those who have benefited from your experience. Stepping into someone else’s life would feel very uncomfortable, as if you were wearing clothes that do not fit. When you imagine that your life will be like another’s and that you will cease to be, you will begin to realize just how much your work matters, that your life does have meaning and that your contributions are important.

It would also not be uncommon to think that another is more talented and happier because they possess talents and experiences you lack. When you find yourself heading down this road of thought, remind yourself that there is a difference between admiring and being inspired by the life and talents of another and using their success as a way to negatively measure the value of your own experience and contributions. Stop for a moment and remember not to compare yourself to anyone else. Instead look to those you are admiring as models of inspiration to help you achieve the goals you have established and remember that you have gifts that can be of value to them.

As you go through life’s highs and lows, remain mindful that your unique purpose is of significance. Your contributions matter. Your talents and gifts matter. You are here to touch and be touched by the lives of others and to learn and grow from your experiences. As long as you draw breath, you will grow and evolve and have something to offer. Your journey, contributions and how you utilize your talents and gifts have an important impact. Therefore, take the time to make thoughtful decisions that align with your purpose and that leverage your God-given talents in a way that is meaningful to you and others. It would be a great disservice to your fellow man and your personal growth and happiness if you were anything other than your true, unique self.

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Be happy, always

November 9th, 2014 · No Comments

Be happyMoney can’t buy happiness and there is a good reason for that—it’s free! Access to this abundantly available commodity is easily gained by making a conscience choice to find joy every day, regardless of the day. Joy is not contingent upon the world living up to our expectations. If that was the case, we would be sentenced to a life of disappointment that granted only fleeting moments of happiness, and we were designed for a far greater experience. However, achieving a rich and joyful life is up to us. We must be able to see the beauty and promise in life even when we are living through disappointment and struggle. By remembering that if we did not face challenges, but rather lived in a constant state of bliss that allowed us to fall into complacency, the beauty and promise of life would not be deeply appreciated.

To experience happiness, we must accept that the volume to which we feel happy moves up and down but is never muted. When the volume of our happiness is down, we must challenge ourselves to find something positive to focus on such as the exquisiteness found in nature, our children or the love of a friend or pet. There is also always a reason to be grateful regardless of the size of a challenge. This is a great time to count your blessings. By making an effort to think positively, you demonstrate that happiness cannot be muted and that a positive demeanor will see you through your challenge in such a way that you are able to cheerfully embrace a new and better day. If, however, we elect to become mired down in feelings of despair and anger, we will have muted our happiness and be left vulnerable to not experiencing a joyful life. For this mentality becomes habitual and can severely block our ability to see the omnipresent beauty and promise of life.

As we develop ourselves as a life force for positivity, which secures our happiness, we will find that we attract positive people and circumstances to ourselves and, thereby, build the joyful life we have been promised. With a positive attitude as our guiding mantra, we must protect ourselves from negativity. Negativity is a strong force that can lead us away from access to our happiness. While it is impossible to completely escape negativity, we can look to it as a test of our commitment to remain positive and mitigate its impact on our lives by not taking the bait when misery comes looking for company. Instead say a prayer for those who wish to poison your happy state of mind with their discontent. By doing so, you will have twice blessed yourself. Once by not falling prey to their negativity and claiming your right to be happy and twice by taking the step of helping a negative soul become a positive one.

There can be no greater example of our divine right and ability to achieve happiness than when we learn of the extraordinary challenges someone has been faced with and, in spite of it all, is a positive, happy person. In fact, if you did not know their story, it would appear as if they have lived a life of ease and endless good fortune. They know better than most that there is no advantage to going through life in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. They have mastered the ability to remain positive, embrace the beauty and wonder of this life in all its shapes and sizes and to keep a grateful heart for their many blessings. Their life is a gift to those they meet, a living inspiration and example that a happy life is achievable by maintaining a positive attitude and remembering that life is beautiful and to be celebrated, always.

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Worry no more

October 6th, 2014 · No Comments

CalmWorry can be described as a wolf in sheep’s clothing for it is disguised as an expression of our love and concern when in reality it is a stealth thief of our joy, peace and truth. When we worry about our loved ones, ourselves or a situation, we do not affect the result. We just allow our imagination to anticipate a negative scenario that usually never comes to pass and robs us of our joy, peace and truth. Yet we have come to believe that if we truly care about a person or a situation, we must worry while never giving consideration to its useless and destructive nature.

This idea is particularly intriguing given that we are never thrilled to be in receipt of the trouble we inherit yet we are willing to borrow trouble by worrying. We may be inclined to worry because when troubles arise, we feel a loss of control and the feeling of helplessness associated with that can cause us to anticipate the worst. Sometimes worry is born out of impatience. When things are not moving as quickly as we like or in a manner that allows us to be comfortable, we conclude that things are not going to work out and we begin spending precious time having a defeatist attitude. Maybe we create worry when we allow ourselves to be more consumed with not meeting the presumed expectations of others rather than the merits of our individual journey. These negative thoughts are merely conjecture. The certainty is that in God’s due time all works out for our benefit. By remaining confident in this belief, we can save ourselves needless anguish and move through our challenges with joy and peace.

When feelings of impatience drive your state of mind, remember what is true–only time will tell how circumstances will turn out and that all delays are necessary to bring about the best outcome. All the worrying and hand wringing in the world will not move the universe before it is time. In the meantime, do not allow yourself to be so overwhelmed by your impatience that you miss the beauty in each day. Recognize discomfort as the turning point in a situation. The hardest work is done before the greatest breakthrough. Keep reminding yourself that anything worth having is worth working hard for and remain in faith expecting the best because that is what God wants for you. Don’t do yourself the disservice of comparing yourself to anyone else. The truth is that you do not know what others think or believe and, more importantly, it does not matter. Your journey is between you and God not you and others.

Our innate defense system wants to be as prepared as possible for any and all outcomes, thereby driving the need to worry. The truth is we can never be prepared, and we are not expected to design all the answers. Instead, our journey’s challenges are about providing us with opportunities to strengthen our faith that all will be well.

The next time you feel the need to worry pray. Prayer will allow you to unburden yourself by turning your worries over to God. Through regular practice, you will learn to trust that God always delivers the best possible solution, designed exclusively for you and your loved ones. It may look very different than you imagined and it may not arrive on your time table but as your faith grows and worries lessen, you will find happiness, peace and the truth that not only will all be well but that all is well.

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Speak kindly to yourself about yourself

September 8th, 2014 · No Comments

Self loveHuman behavior is a marvel. On one hand, we have the ability to happily help those in need, forgive those that hurt us, joyfully encourage others to follow their dreams and can easily see the best in those around us. We genuinely believe that others have the power to be successful, overcome challenges and lead fulfilling lives. It gives us great pleasure to be of use to our fellow man and speak positive messages designed to help them. On the other hand, our “inside voice,” those conversations we have with ourselves, don’t always seem to mirror the conversations we are able to easily have with others. We can be very harsh, critical, unforgiving and unable to see in ourselves what others do. While our “outside voice” comes naturally and happily, we sometimes need to remind ourselves to extend the same love and compassion we have for others to ourselves.

There may be many reasons why it is so hard for us to speak as gently to ourselves as we do to others. Perhaps it is a belief that it is conceited to say positive things about yourself to yourself. Perhaps it is a belief that it is selfish to focus on yourself with the same zeal we have when helping others. Perhaps responsibilities limit the time for our interests and we feel guilty when we use any time for ourselves. Perhaps we don’t feel worthy of forgiveness or success. When we look closely at these internal conversations, it becomes clear that they are all negative messages that do not serve us and are messages we would never share with others, yet we feel free to say them to ourselves.

To turn this negative inner voice off, remember that we do not set out to create conceit when we praise the talents of others; if we don’t help ourselves to grow, we will cease to be able to add value and by not making ourselves a priority we become worn out, unhappy and unable to be a light to others. As for forgiveness, let us remember that forgiveness is given to those who seek it. When you ask for it, it is granted; so take the lesson and leave the guilt. As for success, we were divinely created to be successful so please drop that notion from your mindset and speak heaps of success into yourself.

When encouraging others, we have the advantage of not living the challenge day in and day out. We easily see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is obvious to us that all can and will be well. However, when we are journeying on a dimly lit road, we sometimes can only see what is in front of us. When the challenge becomes consuming, it can cause us to have negative conversations, which are not only useless, they make the situation worse. Perhaps, the best way to help ourselves is to ask what we would say to a loved one faced with the same circumstances and start speaking that positive message into our head and heart.

Being kind to ourselves and speaking softly is not always natural but with practice it becomes easier. By habitually being patient and loving ourselves in small ways each day, we are able to become all that we dream and triumph over our challenges. Remind yourself of your talents and strengths. Be patient when things don’t go well. Remember how far you have come, that your best days are always ahead of you and most of all pray for yourself. God greatly appreciates your prayers for his children but don’t forget you are his child too and are loved by God just as much. God wants to hear from you, so take the time to speak with him about what is on your mind and don’t be afraid to get angry if that is how you feel. God can take it and understands. By opening up a conversation with God, he will help move you past your anger and surprise you with new joys because when God closes a door, he always opens a window. And your new blessings, thanks to your positive inner conversations, will allow you to be a blessing to others. Nothing could give God or you greater joy.

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Celebrate the beauty and gifts of your individuality

August 5th, 2014 · No Comments

individualityCan you imagine what a boring world we would live in if everyone was the same? Life would be filled with an overabundance of scientists or musicians or athletes. Who would create the beautiful frescos, or protect our communities or cook the exotic foods we have come to love? How would we ever learn, grow and experience joy if we all had the same abilities, personalities and experiences? Each day would be so very uninspiring. There would be no awe for the talents of others, no need for mentors to inspire us and personal development would not be necessary to learn what career or life best suits our individual personalities. The satisfaction and reward for triumphantly adapting to one of life’s unexpected little surprises would cease to exist. Yet, in spite of the beauty of our individual diversity, it seems, we cannot help ourselves at times from thinking that the grass is greener on the other side.

The funny thing about this idea is that you can never know just by looking what went into making that lawn so green. Maybe the owner has a natural gift. Maybe you missed the years of practice with different fertilizers, cutting lengths, watering systems and fall preparation before the owner stumbled upon the recipe for success or maybe you are admiring artificial turf. The reality is that you cannot compare yourself to another because you were intentionally designed with your own unique gifts, experiences and desires, which cannot be discounted simply because you do not measure up to the accomplishments of another. The desire to make comparisons is always heightened during periods of change, stress and challenge. During these times, it is very easy to glance at the perception of another’s life and say, “they have it made” or “they get all the breaks,” when in fact you don’t know that to be the case. This is frustration speaking and providing you with a signal to take a breath, count your blessings, acknowledge the beauty of your gifts and that now is the time to leverage your experience to see you through a difficult period because this too shall pass and you will be an improved person for having had this experience.

When you are inclined to perceive that someone is smarter, better looking, happier, wealthier, remember that you have talents that those you are envying admire about you. God architected each person to make a contribution to the world as well as with opportunities for personal growth and development. There is no perfect person or perfect life. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths inspire others and our weaknesses help us become a better person.

We need our individual diversity to help each other and ourselves. We cannot grow or be an inspiration to others if we diminish our talents by standing in the false shadow of another. The very gifts you possess add to the beauty of your life and the life of those around you. Collectively, we create a world that is exciting, interesting and full of opportunities. There will be times when someone is up and someone is down. It is all part of the yin and yang of life, which has been thoughtfully constructed by our Creator to provide us with opportunities to become successful and avail ourselves to the talents of others for encouragement. Don’t waste precious time feeling less than. Celebrate your gifts, your quirks, your shortcomings, your challenges and your victories. You are a critical part of creating a better world because someone is learning from you and you are learning from someone else, which is why we are all here.

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Faith–the catalyst for victory

July 8th, 2014 · No Comments

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 · No Comments

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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