Will YOU Give Back this Holiday Season?

joyThis is one of my favorite times of the year, it is not the weather I like (I prefer the sun and beach), but it’s the season of giving I adore.  Although giving back is a great thing to do all year round, everyone seems a little more generous and charitable as the holidays draw near. Our country has been through so much with recent devastation to millions of families from hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other disasters, now is a great time to help.

5a1ddc36ca37b.image.jpgIt is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that the season brings. The endless commercials and advertisements combined with the pressures to shop, bake, decorate and wrap overshadow the true meaning of the holiday and can turn anyone into a Grinch. But take a second to stop and breathe. Count your blessings- your family, your friends, your job, and all that you have to celebrate. Just things we take for granted. Many people in our community do not have it as lucky as we do-and YES, even in our town.

give_6152c.jpgOne of the best things I believe you can do is teach your children that the holiday season isn’t just about getting gifts. Start some new holiday traditions by engaging your family in community service projects. Spend one day thinking of others and to help spread your holiday cheer to more than just your family. Donate some non-perishable foods to help community members facing food insecurity during the holiday season. No matter your income level, you can find time to donate to others.  Find ways to practice kindness, a kind word or smile to a homeless person, serving others during the holidays, drawing a picture, writing a note, or comforting a friend or family member does not cost a thing but will be priceless.5a1cb02a75e46

Enjoying the little things, special moments, and the people in your life is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. But there’s nothing like the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from making someone else happy, and that taps into the true meaning of the holiday season.

If you would like some ideas to help local families this holiday season, please reach out to me at GirlTalkMarlton@gmail.com

Happy Holidays to you & yours,

Mary Beth

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The Aftermath of Harvey

 

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You may get a chuckle out of this picture of a cat swimming because we all know how much cats hate water, but once you realize that this cat had no choice and is a survivor of Hurricane Harvey it isn’t quite funny. Photographer Scott Olson captured this deeply pissed off pussycat paddling through the water, and it didn’t take long for it to go viral. This feline has now become an online poster child for resilience, adapting to adversity with strength, resolve and sass.

lead_960On Friday, August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, with wind gusts observed up to 132 mph along the Gulf Coast, causing mass devastation and catastrophic flooding to communities in Texas and Louisiana. The local National Weather Service office in Houston observed an all-time record daily rainfall accumulation on both August 26 and 27, measured at 14.4 inches and 16.08 inches respectively. Harvey made landfall 3 times– twice as a hurricane in Texas and once more as a tropical storm in southwestern Louisiana.

Harvey has caused at least 66 confirmed deaths; including a Houston police officer, a family trapped in a van beneath surging floodwater, and a mother whose shivering 3-year-old was found clinging to her unresponsive body. One million people were forced to evacuate their homes as water inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues including pets. According to the American Red Cross, approximately 32,000 people were displaced in shelters across the state of Texas by August 31 with no idea when they can return home.

170903152456-path-of-harvey-van-vleck-super-169.jpgWith its torrential rain, devastating winds and widespread flooding, Hurricane Harvey could potentially be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. FEMA director Brock Long called Harvey the worst disaster in the state of Texas history, and expected the recovery to take many years. Economic losses are preliminarily estimated at between $70 to $190 billion, with a large portion of the losses sustained by uninsured homeowners-80 percent of Texans don’t have flood insurance. The Texas Department of Public Safety stated more than 185,000 homes were damaged, 9,000 destroyed and nearly 700 businesses were damaged as well.

It is one week after the storm and the danger isn’t over. Survivors face hurdles and consequences left by Harvey. There are debris everywhere-junked cars, houses full of mold, furniture and items destroyed. I worry about their state of mind during this time, things can be replaced-sure, but it is your great grandmothers ring you will never get to pass on to your daughter or your fathers WWII memorabilia that your grandkids will never see. Those heirlooms, precious memories, etc. that are now lost forever.

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The floodwaters that people are walking thru contain many hazards to the environment and human health. The Houston Health Department stated that “millions of contaminants” were present in floodwaters, not to mention the snakes and alligators- YIKES!

There were many positive stories that also came out of this disaster. Many unsung heroes emerged during the storm and volunteer efforts continue to grow throughout the United States. Organizations are helping victims every way they can. On Friday, FEMA distributed over 1,900,000 meals and 1,960,000 liters of water. The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United States Equestrian Federation, Humane Society of the United States, Catholic Charities USA, AmeriCares, Operation BBQ relief, many celebrities, and many other charitable organizations have provided and continue to help to the victims of the storm. The need is great, and our desire to help is strong in times of disaster, but be sure to donate responsibly. Donate money and time to trusted, reputable, voluntary or charitable organizations only.

170901-george-brown-convention-center-ac-831p_83a5acdeb063d9251c6d9a32582add63.nbcnews-ux-600-480.jpgThe survivors will struggle for a long time with the aftermath of Harvey, keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

To do our part, Girl Talk Marlton in conjunction with The Unforgotten Haven, will be collecting feminine products. If you would like to donate, please email girltalkmarlton@gmail.com or visit our site www.girltalkmarlton.org Thank you!

Mary Beth of Girl Talk Marlton

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

We all judge each other, and it is OK

b036f98c3c60785e075834f61a10fb55.jpgYou always hear DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS, but I think it is a part of human nature. No matter how subtle, most of the time we judge unconsciously or by intuition.  I judge others all the time, and you do, too. You are judging this article right now, and that is okay.  From the moment you meet someone, you are judging their clothes, hair, makeup, and so on. You don’t even notice it, but we do it all day long.

Judgment is nothing but evaluation of evidence or facts to help us decide.  It is that little voice inside our heads that tells us to ask that sweet looking woman for directions instead of that young teenager because you judged him that he wouldn’t know.  Or when you decide to not pick the checkout line with the young chatty girl because you assume she will be too slow. We judge or evaluate life experiences, situations, things, opinions, thoughts, and people based on the values, emotions and logic we were taught. As human beings, we are blessed with touch, speech, hearing, taste, smell, common sense (most of us-lol) and intuition. These senses help us to evaluate every person or situation-in other words, judge.

Accept your urge to judge, it will help you make good decisions. Assume everyone else judges everyone else (because they do).  Ask others to share their judgements of you. Listen with an open heart and mind.  Embrace your judgements and be willing to learn from others judgements of you. Every person you meet has something special to give you—that is, if you are open to receiving it.

judgeMerriam-Webster defines “judgment” as “An opinion or decision that is based on careful thought. The act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought. The act of judging something or someone. The ability to make good decisions about what should be done.” Many people don’t use the “careful thought” part of the definition and that is where I think good judgment and bad judgment come into play.

Judge when it is right to judge, and know how to judge. That’s imperative. There’s a thin line between judgment and ignorance, which leads to injustice. Knowing when to judge is also very important. Discretion and calculation in judgment is strength, for it shows wisdom and maturity.  Gossiping, ridiculing, or wanting to cause harm to someone by judging shows only your immaturity and ignorance.

People fear being judged because they fear being evaluated. Don’t fear it, instead originalembrace it! We must recognize that we are all imperfect and it is okay. People are going to judge you regardless of what you are or are not doing, so just do whatever makes you happy. And when you choose to step out and walk into the things you have been called to do, you can and should except judgement. Prepare for it and it will not come as a surprise. We cannot always help what happens to us, but we can help how we react to these things.

 “If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” ~Pema Chodron

My wish for you is to Live Courageously!

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall Foundation

 

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/we-all-judge-each-other-and-it-is-ok/

Stand up & Do Your Part to Help Others by Mary Beth Iannarella

helping-handsIt’s easy to get so wrapped up in fixing your own life that you forget about helping others and being kind. And while it’s important to put yourself first sometimes, it is also important to help others whenever you can. People are usually good-hearted by nature. They want to do good things; they want to help other people whenever they can. Some will even go beyond their means to help someone in need if they’ve been deeply touched by the circumstances of the needy one. But sometimes, we just forget, it’s okay- we are all human.

There is scientific evidence that kindness can improve our lives. Helping others and showing kindness is not only good for those in need, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Kindness and caring for others also seem to be very contagious. When we see someone do something kind or thoughtful, or we are on the receiving end of kindness, it inspires us to be kinder ourselves. Kindness really is the key to creating a happier, more trusting local community. And kindness doesn’t cost a thing!

helping-others-quote-3-picture-quote-1And it’s not all about money – we can also give of our time, ideas and energy. We all have special talents that make this world a richer place. Serve people by showing them how beautiful life can be when you live passionately exploring it with your talents. This may be in writing, painting, singing, or any area of life. Or maybe you could listen and be present to people and just show them respect. Or just try to appreciate people for who they are, not just the behaviors they display.

Whatever you’re doing to help others, no matter how small or unimportant it may seem to you, it can make a huge impact in someone else’s life. Don’t think what you’re going to get in return, that ruins the good deeds. Just do “it”, whatever it is, from your heart. People may not have noticed what you’ve done, people may not compliment you for it but the good has been done. That’s when the blessing you didn’t ask for is bestowed upon you. That’s when the good amplifies and comes back to you.

It’s a beautiful circle, when helping begins with you and you inspire people to practice kindness and pass it on to others. Helping others in my opinion is no way selfish, rather it is a “win win” situation. The person you helped is much better off now and you have raised your self-esteem, feel happier, more motivated and super confident. You can achieve almost anything you want if you believe in yourself and you put your heart and mind to it.

I believe our true purpose in life is to give our lives away to others, and that we receive happiness, fulfillment, and meaning in return. Why not stand up and do your part to spread happiness and kindness in the world? Start small, in your community or neighborhood, or the man you see every morning on the corner. There is always someone that can use your help. My wish today is that you just give it a try.

Here are just a few suggestions from me to get you started:

What can I do to help others?

  • Smile and be friendly. You never know what someone is going through.

  • Call a charity to volunteer your time and talents.

  • Donate something you don’t use to an organization that doesn’t sell!

  • Make a monetary donation to your favorite local charity.

  • Stop to help someone in need.

  • Buy someone a cup of coffee.

  • Comfort someone in grief.

 

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall Foundation

 

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

 

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

The Wishwall in Marlton, NJ Update

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As I wrote previously, the event for the Wishwall in Marlton NJ on December 10th was a huge success. We had over 200 people in attendance posting their wishes and reading other wishes of those in the community. It was a beautiful day as we dedicated the Wishwall in honor of the late Christina Grimmie, who was from Marlton and represented herself well on the NBC show the voice. Pictured left, Mark Grimmie, Simonetta Lein- The Wishmaker, and myself. What an amazing day, you could just feel the love in the room. Pictures tell only part of the stories heard with so many wishes of those in attendance. My heart was filled with so much love and joy that day, I cannot even explain it in words.

As some of you may be aware of, the Evesham Library decided that once the event was over that they no longer wanted to hang the sign permanently in their location because they didn’t want holes in their walls nor liked the size of the sign. So, as of now, we are still looking for a permanent location for The Wishwall- in Marlton – where we can come together to view what our community needs are and maybe help one another. The Wishwall is good-hearted international mural project that is made by the people and is a point of attraction for all to see. Also, with this wishwall being dedicated in the memory of Marlton’s own Christina Grimmie, who was taken from us in an act of violence, it is a sign of love and hope for peace. I hope someone from the community of Marlton will step up and embrace the message The Wishwall Foundation & Girl Talk has brought to the town. I thank each person and business that has helped along the way thus far.

9c32e26deb6318921cd5e590932f003aThe Wishwall Foundation board members have been working very hard going through each wish that was submitted for the December 10th event. What a hard task to pick the wish to grant that will make the most impact on the community. Once the wish is picked, it is not over but only just begun. The Wishwall Foundation and the board members will get to work to make that wish a reality. There is much planning that is involved and I can’t give too much away to spoil the surprises but I can tell you that there are 3 wishes that will be granted from this wall. Each of these 3 wishes are ones that will impact the community the most. I am so very excited! Be sure to stay tuned to get all the details!

image15-1The Wishwall Foundation also has a huge online and social presence. People post wishes every day on the website www.thewishwall.org and The Wishwall Foundation spends many hours and dollars to help others. Please consider continuing to donate to this wonderful organization, this is my wish this week. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact The Wishwall Foundation or myself at any time.

 

“Confidence is not ‘they will like me’. Confidence instead is ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t’.”-Christina Grimmie

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl talk Marlton/The Wishwall Foundation

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/the-wishwall-in-marlton-nj-update/

Work Peacefully by Mary Beth Iannarella

See more on the wishwall online http://thewishwall.org/desideri/work-peacefully/

Millions of women across the globe took to the streets to march against President Donald Trump Saturday, January 21, 2017. In Washington DC alone, approximately 500,000 turned out to stand up for gender equality, healthcare for women and other issues thought to be threatened under Trump’s presidency.

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This protest on anti-female policies were all started on a Facebook event page. Teresa Shook, a retired attorney and grandmother living in Hawaii, created the event page calling for a march on Washington after Trump’s inauguration. On the other side of the country, Bob Bland had the same idea. He is a New York-based fashion designer. Bland, working with others, consolidated various protest pages, including Shook’s, that had cropped up on Facebook and recruited three longtime, New York-based activists to be co-chairs of the national march.

Per PoliticsUSA.com, the attendance in different cities were as follows:

Washington DC: 500,000
LA: 200,000-750,000
New York: 200,000-500,000
Chicago: 250,000
Boston: 250,000
Denver: 200,000
Oakland: 60,000
Madison: 100,000
Atlanta: 60,000
St. Paul: 60,000
Philadelphia: 50,000
Pittsburgh: 20,000
Nashville: 20,000
Marches were also held around Europe including Paris and Barcelona.

Per womensmarch.com, it’s message has only just begun. “Thank you to the millions of people around the world who, on January 21, came together to raise our voices. But our march forward does not end here. Now is the time to get our friends, family and community together and MAKE HISTORY. Join us in launching a new campaign: 10 Actions for the first 100 Days. EVERY 10 DAYS WE WILL TAKE ACTION ON AN ISSUE WE ALL CARE ABOUT, STARTING TODAY.”

The good news is, around the country more people have come together in solidarity protesting peacefully. It’s okay to be angry, it is how we channel that anger that makes it another matter. Violence, is never the answer. I believe it should be a peaceful movement simply asking for equal respect, justice and our rights.

Peaceful stances against unequal civil rights have been successful throughout history and nonviolent movements can lead to meaningful systemic changes. While media loves to bombards us with stories and images of bloodshed and the destruction a few protesters may cause, the true spotlight should be on those standing together today in peace simply asking for equality for all.

Hitting the streets to make your voice heard is a fundamental right in the United States, and it’s part of our country’s lifeblood. Whether you protest in support or dissent, stay peaceful. Living in society, we should share the sufferings of our fellow citizens and practice compassion and tolerance not only towards our loved ones but also towards our enemies. I will always stay true to myself and my beliefs but I do respect that other people have their own thoughts, beliefs and ideas also.

My wish for you is to work peacefully.

“Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results.”- James Lane Allen

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall

“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV