You Are Unique – Just Like Everyone Else

We are all alike…we all have hearts and brains. We are all different…we do not think or feel the same way.

51PYQ4J95WL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_An important lesson in a book I came across titled We Are All Alike, We Are All Different – written for children, by children. With its original drawings and words by The Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergartners, it shows the perspectives of these 5-year old’s as it celebrates the multitude of differences in our society. The book reinforces multicultural and anti-bias learning and appreciation. Now more than ever, understanding tolerance for others and diversity in our world has never been more important. Everyone can benefit from this beautiful quick read.

There are many factors used throughout your life to forge your uniqueness: your life experiences, individual design and genetic makeup, physical characteristics like height, hair or eye color, or cultural differences, different backgrounds, environmental factors and personal vision. Everyone has a distinct personality, language, lifestyle, and culture. Because of these differences, sometimes we may not always get along with others, and personalities will collide. Even within a family, there are differences in age, gender, opinions and views. But try your best to treat everyone equal, practice patience and have compassion for others. Remember, we are all different, but the same.

IMG_3851-11bydaz.jpgIt is impossible for us to expect that everyone will react and behave just like you would if in that same situation. Some people are optimistic, while others are pessimistic. Some are active and progressive, whereas others are passive and lazy. Some are hot-tempered, while others are gentle and easygoing. Some are stingy and greedy, yet others are generous and charitable. How do we get along with all these different people?

To be happy in life, you must learn to get along with all types of people. We must learn to go with the flow. If we are constantly argumentative, act annoyed, and become resentful, others will reject us. Compassion will help us accept and be accepted by others.

images.pngThe best way to think of people is to view them as being made up of mixtures of ingredients, with different people being made up of different combinations of ingredients. Some are sweet and some are salty. Some are spicy while some are bland. The personality mixture is a set of individual differences that are affected by the development of an individual: values, attitudes, personal memories and social relationships. This recipe is what makes you, YOU.

We waste too much time comparing ourselves to others, wishing to be something we are not. Blue eyes, straighter hair, taller, thinner is just a few of the ingredients I wish I had, but even if I had those, would they make me a better person? We all have different thoughts, skills and opinions to offer that are positive and should be shared with the world. Why not focus on what we DO have. I am unique, but the same.

51wRWG8UscL.jpgOpen your mind and allow yourself to learn more about the people around you. This will help with avoiding personalities to clash. Find out the similarities in others, you may be pleasantly surprised. Encourage and appreciate differing opinions and views from others. Keep the lines of communication open to avoid any miscommunication.  Learn to be a good listener and don’t try to change people. Keep your sense of humor and learn to also laugh at yourself. Be open and honest with others. And remember to radiate positivity and smile often.

The levels of intelligence and morality among people in the world is varied. If we do not treat everyone equally, our words and actions will be misinterpreted by those around us. As the last sentence in the above titled book says, “We are all alike. We are all different. We are a family.” Let’s try our best to coexist.

~Mary Beth

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Let’s End All Racism Now

 

I believe we are all born equal and die the same way, equal in rights, equal in opportunities, equal in dreams and goals. We all begin life with a winning trust in others and an expectation that people are all good. So how is it that so much racism and hate are in the world?

a40b43290aa742579d2781809981863dRacism, researchers find, is a learned behavior exhibiting in children as young as three years of age. They state, the two most powerful purveyors of racism in children’s lives today are the media and the adults they know. Racism is an attitude of a person who with their acts, behavior, and their words differentiates another person for faith, skin color, and social and cultural backgrounds. It is sad to live in a world where racism, hatred, prejudice, and ignorance still exist.

ae1abad2fdc1fef12b419d5ca66c29b2--racism-today-stop-racism.jpgMany people are hesitant and uncomfortable discussing racism and racial differences, especially with their children. But whether you talk about it or not, kids will notice when someone is being treated different or looks differently than they do. From an early age, children should be taught to appreciate diversity and practice empathy. Despite all our best intentions to avoid and mute any mention of racism, children learn about it from their environments. Children need to be prepared for a future society that is becoming increasingly diverse and we need to encourage them to see this diversity as a positive. Parents, caregivers, teachers and, in fact, all humans have a responsibility to ensure all children learn to navigate the complexities of our diverse world with empathy and respect.  It’s time to start talking to our children about race.

53dcb51fc25df8dceb8384b386a01874--anti-racism-skin-colors.jpgThis is not a new problem. We all know that racism abounds in our society. Yet, the recent events in Charlottesville, VA. are shocking to us. The most frightening thing about what happened in Charlottesville is that these hate groups exist all over America. And they will continue to build and grow until we put an end to it. With the recent events being broadcast all over the news and social media, there is a good chance your children have been exposed to these images. Children need to be reassured that they are safe, please have a discussion with them. Reaffirm your beliefs and explain the values you wish to instill in your child.

80480ef40b8400f66535dfa84e67b296--stairway-to-heaven-stairways.jpgWill racism ever disappear completely? I am hopeful. I wish to live in a nation where no one will be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. This may not happen in my lifetime, or yours, but let’s do our part by continuing the fight against the hatred in the world.

First, we must confront it in ourselves. Anti-racism begins with a basic respect for all people. All people of all races are equal, don’t judge the book by its cover. Reach out and get to know people who are different from you, learn about them and their cultures.

Build a community that helps to prevent hate and racism issues by creating a better future through instilling values to our youth by providing support and education in diversity and ethnic awareness. Let them know that hate and racism are unacceptable. Advocate for students in your community by making a concerted effort to stop racism, hate and bullying at your school. Learn to speak up and step in when you see racism occurring, and disrupt it in a safe way.

images.pngThe ultimate goal to anti-racism is to make institutional and structural changes in our society to achieve racial equity – equal opportunity and access for all. No one person can do it all or do it alone, but we can all do things to help, and in doing so, work collectively to end racism.

~Mary Beth

Girl Talk Marlton

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Summer Lovin’

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Summer is the time to enjoy late night dinner with friends, strolls on the beach, and back yard BBQ’s! There’s something about getting home from work when it’s still light out that gives you bundles of energy! Summer is a time of leisure and good times with the people you love. There’s so much to do every night of the week in the summer and when the evenings are longer why not get out there and have some fun. Sleep is for winter-get out there and enjoy summer!

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The beach is my number one favorite thing about summer. I love everything from the glowing hot sun, the various striped and colored umbrellas titled in the burning sand, the refreshing cool salty water, and the hunt for beautiful seashells. I can look for hours into the ocean hoping to see dolphins and watching the waves. It is my happy place.

 

The boardwalk is quite entertaining. The food, the drinks, the Ice-cream and the peoplewatching. I used to love the rides but in my old age I prefer a nice safe arcade game instead.

Early sunshine and late sunsets, vacations, holidays, baseball games, fireworks, flip flops, why-i-love-summer-break.jpgbonfires, summer storms, tanned skin, sweet corn on the cob, sunglasses, sangria, blooming flowers, fruits & vegetables, dog parks, ice coffee, driving with the windows open and music loud, stepping out into the sun after sitting in a/c all day, floating in the pool, rainy movie days, sleeping in the a/c with a blanket. Late nights, long sleep-ins, catch-ups with family and friends, happy hours, new hobbies and craft projects, home revamps and new experiences to be etched in our memories forever.

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We are lucky here in NJ that we are close to many major cities including New York and Philadelphia, dozens of beaches and boardwalks, state parks, amusement parks and the mountains. There are so many summer activities from outdoor concerts and movies, festivals, fairs and carnivals, drive-in movie theaters, zoos, museums, farmers markets, lakes, lighthouses and more. So, if you are bored, it is your own fault. Get out your phone and look up to see what is going on in your neck of the woods. Go out and enjoy the summer and have some fun!

~Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

 

100 Reasons to LOVE SUMMER  ♥ ocean ♥ sand♥ sun ♥ warmth ♥ beach days ♥ ice cream ♥ popsicles ♥ smoothies ♥ BBQs ♥ green grass ♥ salty air ♥ salty skin ♥ sandy feet ♥ bare feet ♥ relaxation ♥ vacations ♥ road trips ♥ visiting the lake house ♥ long nights ♥ star gazing ♥ fireworks ♥ sparklers ♥ bonfires ♥ s’mores ♥ blooming flowers/trees ♥ morning walks ♥ sunsets ♥ surf boarding ♥ boogie boarding ♥ paddle boarding ♥ tubing ♥ boat cruises ♥ outdoor concerts/festivals ♥ cliff jumping into water ♥ swimming pools ♥ yard games ♥ flip flops ♥ sun dresses ♥ shorts ♥ t shirts ♥ waves ♥ a nice tan ♥ naps ♥ naps in hammocks ♥ time for reading ♥ blasting music with the windows down ♥ reuniting with old friends/family ♥ bike rides ♥ thunderstorms ♥ kayaking ♥ sailboats ♥ corn ♥ watermelon ♥ seafood ♥ golf ♥ tiki torches ♥ late night swims ♥ spontaneous adventures ♥ fourth of July ♥ carnivals ♥ fishing ♥ laying under an umbrella ♥ laying in the sand ♥ beach chairs ♥ floating on rafts ♥ fresh air ♥ constantly wearing your bathing suit under your clothes ♥ laying in the shade ♥ puzzles and board games on the rainy days ♥ rainy movie/Netflix days ♥ camping ♥ building tents ♥ carefree ♥ lemonade ♥ picnics ♥ eating outside ♥ shell/sea glass collecting ♥ picking flowers ♥ hikes ♥ day trips to the city ♥ outdoor markets/festivals ♥ parades ♥ rollerblading ♥ pie ♥ chips and salsa ♥ bubbles ♥ running through the sprinkler ♥ snorkeling ♥ smell of sunscreen and bug spray ♥ refreshing ♥ swims/showers ♥ sand castles ♥ drive-in movies ♥ climbing trees ♥ fresh fruit ♥ coconut ♥ sea creatures ♥ car washes ♥ flying kites ♥buzzing bees ♥ trips to the park ♥ Hawaiian shirts ♥ dancing

 

INTEGRITY

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If I could teach everyone only one value to live by, it would be integrity.

Integrity is crucial in all aspects of life: professional, personal, social and spiritual. Yet, so many people lack it. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when nobody’s watching. It means being true to yourself.

Wisdom-knowing-font-b-Integrity-b-font-Decor-Cute-vinyl-wall-decal-font-b-quote-bIntegrity is a consistency between a person’s inner values and attitudes and their outward words and actions. The more consistent we are, the higher the degree of integrity we possess.

Those that live with the value of integrity are honest, trustworthy, fair, show respect, accept responsibility, and have courage. The best way to guard your integrity is to decide in advance that you will never sell out or surrender your integrity.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAgGAAAAJDQ5NTMwNGNiLTY5ZDctNDEzZS04NWFiLTNjZTY5N2I4OGUxZQThe road to integrity is not an easy one but it’s the only one worth traveling. Integrity is essential if we are going to become people who positively and powerfully impact others.

People who demonstrate integrity draw others to them because they are trustworthy and dependable. They act with honor and truthfulness. They treat people equally and take responsibility for their own feelings and actions.

A word of advice to those who are striving for a reputation of integrity: Avoid those who are not trustworthy. If someone is dishonest in any aspect of his or her life you can be guaranteed that they will be dishonest in many aspects of their life. It is important to realize that others pay attention to those you have chosen to associate with, and they will inevitably judge your character by the character of your friends.

So, surround yourself with people of integrity. That makes sense, doesn’t it?!

~Mary Beth Iannarella

GirlTalkMarlton.org

 “Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

St. Baldrick’s & Nico’s Army

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I’m not going to lie, there are some things in this world that makes me question my faith and one of them is cancer, particularly Childhood cancer. The universe is random and chaotic. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. I can’t make sense of it and try not to spend my time focusing on the why. I rather admire the courage and determination of these brave soldiers fighting this hard battle and join the army full of passion to make a difference in doing my part to contributing to advancements in childhood cancer research. Honestly, what else can I do? Of course, I pray but I also argue with my God for allowing these children and families to suffer.

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Over the years, I have unfortunately lost family and friends to cancer, as many of you have also. And we have watched them suffer thru sickness, some lucky enough to beat it and some who have left this world. It is a horrible disease and I wish for a cure- quickly.

 

 

 

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The Unforgotten Haven, which I am proud to be one of the managers of, has been a huge supporter and friend of 10 yr. old Nico, a blackwood resident battling Neuroblastoma. Nico was diagnosed with stage IV high risk neuroblastoma in August 2010 at the age of 3. The Haven has helped raise money for his bucket list and took part in this year’s St. Baldrick’s event. A few team members even shaved their heads! It was an amazing fundraising event. Cancer sucks and it breaks my heart to see the suffering it causes. But through all the tears and hugs, the heroes, miracles and truly good hearted people that have gathered- all for the good of the cause-has touched my heart so much.

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Nico has touched so many lives, more than he will ever know. I am very grateful that he has allowed us to follow him along the way through social media. Nico’s Army posts updates on Facebook showing pictures of Nico, with his approval, at the many hospital and doctor visits and tests that he needs. He is a quiet hero to all. He is a personal inspiration for me not to sweat the small stuff and not to take anything for granted.  Nico’s family, friends, Army and supporters are also hero’s. Please keep them all in your prayers, as I will continue to do.

 

 

Together we can make a difference against childhood cancer.

~Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

Celebrate Mother’s Day

As we near another Mother’s Day celebration, we make our way to the Hallmark store and the florist. But it is not all about the commercialized holiday festivities, at least to me it is not. Call me selfish, but it is about the time I get to spend with my lovies doting on me. The hugs, the kisses, and yes, OK, the flowers and cards. LOL. No matter what we do or where we go, as long as we are together, it is a Happy Mother’s Day for me. When you’ve lost your mom like I have, Mothimageser’s Day is a tough day—but my lovies make my heart full.

Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is observed in over 40 countries around the world.

Let’s face it, moms are those amazing people in our lives who act as our guardian angels, cheerleaders, defense attorneys and personal assistants. They do more than we can ever imagine or pay them for. You of course, won’t understand this until you are a mom (or a parent).

Mother’s Day is also a good opportunity to celebrate women in general and to ponder THM_HappyMothersDay_1how to act to achieve equal rights for all. Not all women are mothers, of course – and not all want to be. But, Mother’s Day is a great day for thinking about the diversity of women in general and how all women should be respected equally.

So, whether it be in person, by card or phone, connect with the mother figure in your life and let them know you care.

Enjoy your Mother’s Day.

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

 

The Greatest Love of All

44fad4f6843f1b92f5d97ab041a3709aI believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, Show them all the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride to make it easier, Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

Everybody searching for a hero, People need someone to look up to,
I never found anyone who fulfill my needs, A lonely place to be,
So I learned to depend on me.

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows, If I fail, if I succeed,
At least I’ll live as I believe, no matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity.

Because the greatest love of all Is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all, inside of me. The greatest love of all, is easy to achieve.
Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows, If I fail, if I succeed, At least I’ll live as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity.
Because the greatest love of all, is happening to me. I found the greatest love of all,
Inside of me. The greatest love of all, is easy to achieve.

Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.

And if by chance, that special place, that you’ve been dreaming of,
Leads you to a lonely place, Find your strength in love.

This song by Whitney Houston came on the radio as I was stuck in traffic last week. For the very first time I listened to every single word. She sings of self-love and standing up for your beliefs. But we all know the decision to love one’s self is not quite as easy as the lyrics suggest. There are many struggles faced in learning to love yourself and being happy with who you are, even the parts of yourself you aren’t too fond of.

Given all that has been happening in our country with youth on youth violence and youth suicide, I was struck by the timeliness of the message of this song. However, it was the chorus, which resonated with my spirit. I believe we need to teach our youth how to connect with themselves so they can create a better future for themselves and the next generation. We must teach our youth, and ourselves, the true meaning of self-love, The Greatest Love of All.

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton