One word

whats-your-wordIf you had to pick one word to live by what would it be? Maybe it is a virtue you want more of in your life, maybe a challenge you want to overcome, or maybe something you are passionate about. I stumbled upon a service project online that asks this question. What’s your word?

I had to give this some thought, there are so many words that are perfect! Immediately the words love, hope, dream, breathe, pray, and wish popped into my head. Picking one word out of all the glorious, interesting, provoking, meaningful, wondrous, and reflective words out there can be downright intimidating!

So how do you go about picking one word?  Drive deep into your soul and list your qualities. Is agtzfndvcmRhcml1bXIfCxIHR2FsbGVyeRgBDAsSCkNsb3VkSW1hZ2UYudQ_DAthere something you could benefit from focusing on? This will help you nail down your personal motto – the word that captures your purpose and passion. This word defines you and your mission. It will be your focus, your mantra, the word that will guide you. Choosing one word makes it easier to remember and to put into action. It will help give you meaning, mission, passion and purpose. And your one word can change, it doesn’t have to be the same forever. Start with one and see how it goes.

56a5b7441e1df7e12af3878fcf27fa26After much reflection, I chose INSPIRE. It is one of my favorite words. I am lucky enough to have had many inspirational people in my life that put a fire in my heart to inspire others. I want to be a positive influence capable of inspiring others to become better versions of themselves. Of course, as I am constantly continuing to work on myself to be the best version of me.

Understanding the difference that positive inspiration can make in a person’s life gives me the motivation I need to make every moment count as an opportunity to inspire others. Inspiration is powerful. I take opportunities to inspire others through my words and actions during everything that goes on in this hectic world we live.  I try my best to be cognizant of how I act and react in situations.  But I am human, I need to remind myself to be authentic and true, to be kind and to not judge others so harshly.  By trying to be the best version of myself I hope to inspire others to do the same. My one word -inspire- I believe, challenges us all to live purposefully.

So, how did you do? Did you choose your One Word? 75cefe30b681dcd94e180f6c87d43831 You can now put that word to use, that’s my wish for you! Keep it where you can see it, and let it inspire you each day.

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall Foundation

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/one-word/

www.girltalkmarlton.org

www.thewishwall.org

Dream…Wish…Hope.

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Give your dreams a chance, I did. I clearly remember watching the news broadcast of Simonetta Lein, the Wishmaker being interviewed with the Philadelphia Wishwall in the backdrop and its purpose was being explained.

As I stood in front of the TV, I listened attentively trying to gather as much information as I could about this project. “A Wishwall in every city where people can express their wishes and we, the Wishwall Foundation, grant those dreams that are most meaningful”, Simonetta said in her beautiful Italian accent. When the segment concluded, I exclaimed loudly, “I want one!” No one in my house knew what I was talking about, but I was now on a mission.

I googled the Wishwall Foundation and found out all I drm902wishhopedreamcould online, I followed them on all social media, emailed Simonetta and let her know that I was interested in a Wishwall in my town of Marlton NJ. To my delight and amazement, she answered me almost immediately and by the end of the week we had spoken several times on the phone discussing the many facets of the Wishwall Foundation. My head was spinning thinking of different ways that my mentoring chapter of Girl Talk Inc could collaborate with her.

So, during the next leaders meeting of the mentoring program I spoke to the girls about the Wishwall. I showed them the news report along with a few other you tube videos and articles I found about actual wishes that Simonetta helped to make come true! The girls were in! We decided to make a mock-up of a small wishwall to explain it to the rest of the group so they could get a better understanding.

wish_web_1_1024x1024At our next general meeting when all the members of our chapter gather together, we revealed our mock-up wall and the leaders invited the girls to write wishes and come post them on this wall. We explained our desire to bring the Wishwall Foundation to Marlton with a permanent physical Wishwall where wishes can come true. We also discussed the online wishwall and that Girl Talk would be getting our own page and will be writing for the women’s wishwall every week! The girls were very excited to hear this and wanted to learn more. We let them know that we were heading to meet with Simonetta at her home the following week and we would have more information after that meeting.

mb-girltalk-pc_front_v4So, fast forward to today, we are in full swing planning our event. It will be Saturday, December 10th from 12:30-4:30pm at the Evesham Library in Marlton, NJ and YOU are invited to see my wish come true. This is my wish, for YOU. Please come with your meaningful wish and bring it to our wall in Marlton. You do NOT have to be resident of Marlton and the wish does NOT have to be for you. The wish need be a meaningful one and the Wishwall Foundation and the board members will review all wishes. The event will be spectacular with vendors, food, fun, music and plenty of love and smiles so please come and share in my wish come true. Girl Talk Marlton members and the Wishwall Foundation are very excited about this event!

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As I am writing this I must admit, I do have another wish. I am wishing for a physical space for my girls to “hangout”. I would like a place where the girls and our volunteers can call our own. Where the girls can decorate themselves and we can have some of our meetings. Ah….I can dream can’t I?

~Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall

www.girltalkmarlton.org

www.thewishwall.org

Unconditional Love & Acceptance

Love-Unconditionally-ds115.jpgUnconditional love is something that can be difficult to explain to those who have never experienced it; but on the occasion that you have been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of such an act of thoughtfulness, you are loved without restrictions or conditions. Loving unconditionally is one of the bravest things you will ever do.

Unconditional love means, “I love you no matter what happens,” not “no matter what you do to me.” Unconditional love does not mean “I love you if you hurt me.” You must love yourself unconditionally first. You are worthy.

Life is hard more often than we’d like it to be. Life is by nature, conditional. The idea that love might be unconditional sounds unrealistic. Is that even possible? Too often, the affection of others comes at a high price to even consider the possibility that love might be unconditional. It is a string-less gift of the heart. But it IS all around us!


Take a mother and child’s relationship. This is one of the most beautiful forms of unconditional love and sacrifice. As a mother, or parent, we sacrifice our own wants for the benefit of our child without thought for ourselves. This is love without conditions. This month will be 18 years that my mother has passed, I long for that feeling of unconditional love I felt from her.

If you have had a pet, especially a dog, they love their masters unconditionally. No matter if you get upset with them or don’t play with them when they want to play, the pets do not seem to mind, because they know that somewhere within, the master loves them.

In marriage or any committed relationship where there is unconditional love, there are hurdles. Remember to be accepting, love them with their flaws and imperfections. Forgiveness is also necessary to create a healthy long term relationship. Unconditional love is not petty. Love honor and cherish your partner who loves honors and cherishes you. By no way should you ever stay in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Treat each other with kindness. And when you argue with your significant other, because you will-fight fair. 

How can we bring more unconditional love into our lives? The best way to receive it is to give it away.

Unconditional love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves.  It could be as simple as smile or handshake or as complex as raising money for a specific cause. Whatever it is, we must recognize that we have the capacity to show unconditional love to others.

uncondloveIf you think carefully about those closest to you, there is likely at least one person in your life that understands and practices what it means to show unconditional love toward others. These people are out serving others. They aren’t waiting for the future to make a difference; they are making a difference today.

Unconditional love heals the broken, empowers the timid, affirms the hesitant, and elevates those who have been overlooked, forgotten, and silenced. There is a power that comes to those who show and to those who receive unconditional love. Those who show this love are released from being consumed with themselves. Those who receive this love are released from limitations others have placed on them. You have everything you need right now to show unconditional love toward someone else. It is within you, but you must first love yourself unconditionally.

To love unconditionally takes courage. It is hard, I know, especially when your heart has been broken. It takes courage to keep trying. But never give up! Don’t let another person ever define your sense of self-worth. You can change the world one person at a time.

My wish is for you to spread your unconditional love around the world, we need more of it.

 

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall Foundation

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“To be brave is to love someone unconditionally without expecting anything in return.” Madonna

Welcome Spring!

spring-1210194_1280Spring is the season of tremendous beauty, it is a time when flowers bloom and trees begin to grow. It is a time of new hope, new dreams, rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth. We welcome spring and rejoice in the longer days filled with visions of growth all around us after the cold depressing winter. Open your windows to allow the breeze to come through the curtains and let the sunlight fill your home waking it from its winters long slumber. This instantly lifts our mood and energizing us. Sometimes simply noticing the change of seasons is enough to bring a change within ourselves. We must learn to enjoy the simple things in life. Just observing the beauty of God’s creations and enjoying them gives us a sense of renewal.

“A prayer in Spring” poem is beautiful poem by Robert Frost and one of my favorite. Robert Frost is known as one of the best poets of the 20th century, his poems have been a source of inspiration to the young and old. In this poem below, he reminds us it is important to not overthink the future and live in the moment while enjoying the gifts God has given us.

34b5b46716894a8eb046fe4cb9ce452bLearn to be present and be grateful for all the beauty around us. Stop worrying so much about the future but instead love and embrace today. Use the visionary beauty of spring as inspiration to bring your goals and creative energy to fruition. Use this time to renew your commitment to your goals and replenish your motivation.

Spring is a perfect time to stop, reassess your life, and make changes. What better time than spring to re-group and re-prioritize, and even re-invent ourselves! My wish for you is to embrace the change of the season and take the time to enjoy the beauty of it. Welcome Spring!

 

A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost

OH, give us pleasure in the flowers today;

And give us not to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here

All simply in the springing of the year.

 

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,

Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;

And make us happy in the happy bees,

The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

 

And make us happy in the darting bird

That suddenly above the bees is heard,

The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,

And off a blossom in midair stands still.

 

For this is love and nothing else is love,

To which it is reserved for God above

To sanctify to what far ends he will,

But which it only needs that we fulfill.

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Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall Foundation

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/welcome-spring/

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/together-we-can-make-a-difference/

Quote Make A Difference Quotes About Making A Difference In The World QuotesgramDo you have what it takes to make a difference in the world? Of course, you do! Every one of us is put in this world to contribute. No matter age, religion or background, you can make an impact. No matter how large or small, each effort makes an important difference. You can change the world by helping one person at a time. Simply having the desire to make a difference in the world is enough to start your journey.

You don’t have to be like Gandhi or Mother Theresa, everyone has the capability of making a difference. It is our responsibility to seek ways to contribute. Start small and local just by adding value to the community where you live. By showing concern and love to the people around you, it will cause a ripple effect of positive feelings and spread out into the world. Can you imagine if everyone just did this?

You already have what it takes to make the world a better place. The greatest thing that you can do to make a difference in the world is to be yourself. Be happy with yourself, love yourself. Happiness and love are the two greatest gifts you can give to the world so start within you.

Empower and influence people around you by starting to do things that make a difference. And the best way to convince other people is to lead by example. Every effort counts, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. Just do something, and do something good.

I invite you to join in service, at least for one day, on Make A Difference Day this October 28.

Here are just a few suggestions:

Sharing

1. Brighten walls – and smiles – at the local senior center.
2. Got a favorite game? Teach it to younger kids.
3. Organize a canned foods drive and take to a food pantry.
4. Share your talents with others.
5. Donate your gently used clothing and items to a local shelter.
6. Donate party leftovers to a soup kitchen.
7. Donate your old books to a school library.

Giving

1. It’s your birthday! Give a gift to someone in need.
2. Share your lemonade stand $$$ with your favorite worthy cause!
3. How about a toy drive for kids stuck in the hospital?
4. Get a haircut! And give your ponytail to Locks of Love.
5. Got old sports equipment? Bring it to your local Parks & Rec!
6. Calling all chefs! Bake cakes and donate the proceeds.
7. Feed your furry friends at the animal shelter…drop off a bag of food!
8. Time is precious…share a bit of yours to help others.
9. Kind words lift spirits…give a compliment and lift yours too.

Conserving

1. Compost your fruit and veggie scraps…and watch your garden BLOOM!
2. Help save a gazillion disposable water bottles…use reusable bottles!
3. Save a tree! Use both sides of your notebook paper.
4. Reuse, recycle. Reuse, recycle. Reuse, recycle.
5. Walk, bike or use public transportation.
6. Pick up trash in your community!
7. Grow a community garden.
8. Plant some trees.
9. Use fabric bags instead of plastic!
10. Save water and tons of $$$ – turn off the water when you brush teeth!

Doing

1. Make some PB&J and hand out to the homeless or a soup kitchen!
2. Visit folks at the senior center and ask about the amazing things they’ve witnessed.
3. Want to change the world? Practice random acts of kindness.
4. Say “please” and “thank you!”.
5. Lead by your good example.
6. New kid at school? Eat lunch with them!
7. Volunteering? Invite your friends and family along.
8. Have an older neighbor? Rake their leaves or shovel their sidewalk!
9. Visit an animal shelter.
10. Make soldiers smile…send letters & goodies!
11. There’s nothing like a warm hug…share one today.
12. Show gratitude and write thank you notes!
13. Share a home cooked meal – and cheerful chat – with a home bound person.
14. See somebody struggling with heavy bags or boxes? Lend a hand.
15. Active voters make our country great. Ensure adults in your life are registered!
16. Adorable pets await loving homes! Where? The animal shelter…tell your friends and family!
17. Brighten the world…smile often!

My wish for you is to know that you CAN make a difference in the world, you just must do something!

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. ~Dr. Seuss

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. ~Mother Teresa

 

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/ The Wishwall Foundation

2013 Girl Talk Logounnamed

Mentor. Inspire. Empower.

I am a strong believer in mentoring, inspiring and empowering others, especially young girls. Research confirms the importance of having a quality mentoring relationship and shows it has a powerful positive effect on young people in personal, academic, and professional situations. Mentoring for me has always been first and foremost a relationship, I meet an extraordinary young woman and I think how can I help this person? How can I open doors for her and be supportive, encouraging and nourishing?

2013-girl-talk-logoIn 2013, I started a chapter of Girl Talk Inc in my town-Girl Talk Marlton.  Girl Talk Inc. is an international non-profit peer-to-peer mentoring program with a very simple premise: high school girls mentor middle school girls to help them deal with the issues they face during their formative early teenage years. Our mission is to help young teenage girls build self-esteem, develop leadership skills and recognize the value of community service. The girls develop confidence, leadership skills and compassion. They learn that they are not alone in the issues they face and that understanding, kindness and compassion can be the foundation for better relationships with others. This helps women become stronger leaders in the work place and more effective as parents. Since 2002, the Girl Talk Inc. organization has served more than 40,000 girls in 43 states and 7 countries. My group in Marlton, NJ has grown from 1 girl in 2013 to 107 young girls ages 10-18.

Why the need for female mentors? Statistics consistently demonstrate the alarming incidence of dangerous behaviors in middle school aged girls, as well as the positive impact of mentoring.

2009 data suggests that, of the middle school girl population in the U.S.:

9% are pregnant

22% never make it through high school (drop out)

27% have been or will be suicidal

34% have eating disorders

55% experiment with alcohol, drugs or tobacco

and, of those with low self-esteem, 25% resort to self-injurious behavior and 75% report engaging in activities such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking or drinking

 

The good news is that data also suggests that youth who are mentored are:

27% less likely to begin using alcohol

37% less likely to skip class

46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs

52% less likely to skip school, are more confident in their academic performance, and get along better with their families
7e277f9e37a1f037ff2ca5f826d533d5So, why NOT mentor, inspire and empower! Inspiration is all around us in everything we do and see. We need to mentor our young females to be inspired by the positive and not listen to the negative. And always empower them to aim high.

Young women often talk about the self-doubt that holds them back, that little negative voice inside their heads. We all have it, we all make mistakes, we are all human. Of course, sometimes even our role models get things wrong, or disappoint us, but this is also a useful reminder especially to girls that no one is perfect, and that anyone can survive both failure and error.

As women, we need to learn to build each other up. Women of different generations, colors and culture need to ensure that the progress we’ve made towards real equality continues.  We need to trust each other enough to share our power, knowledge, strength, talents and innovating solutions together. The women that do this are true role models and mentors and this is what I strive to be. They are the women who drive our motivation and imaginations, merely by their example. If we’re lucky enough, we count them as friends, and they are what we call our mentors.

My wish for you this week is to find a mentor in your life and become closer to them, learn from them and be empowered to inspire others.

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/mentor-inspire-empower/

~Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall Foundation

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 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?- Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”