My Theme For 2017

My Theme For 2017

Happy New Year 2017

I know I say a version of the following statement every Jan 1st, but…….

……………….can you believe it’s 2017 already??!!

          Every year I select a word or a theme for the year that guides and encourages me daily. The theme is a way for me to focus on what’s important and expect the most of my life! I write my dreams down because I believe that when you “write the vision and make it plain” as it says in The Bible, wonderful things happen to our dreams and desires! When we write them down, our visions begin to take shape and become our reality.

 

          My Theme/Word for 2016 was GRATITUDE. I wrote several blog posts about GRATITUDE in 2016. If you want to check them out, here are a couple:

 

          Obviously, these blogs posts only scratch the surface of the millions of things that I’m grateful for. I thank God every single day for my many blessings – everything from waking up in the morning with breath in my body, the ability to speak, see, smell, hear, operate with clear thinking, to being thankful for my family, friends, patients in my medical practice, my sorority sisters, to the random people I meet in the grocery store who show respect and kindness, etc. If you really just take the time to sit down and be grateful for the things that you have, you will realize how astonishing and humbling life is.

 

Being GREAT begins with being GRATEFUL!

          So, now we are in 2017. Thank God for the blessing of entering into another year on this earth. The very fact that I am here means that God has work for me to do and it’s my duty to do that to the best of my ability every single day!

          As I do every year, I will reveal what my Theme for the year is, then encourage you to develop one for yourself. I even have a graphic that you can print off, fill out and post in your home and at work, just like I do 🙂

My Theme for 2017 is a funny-sounding phrase, but one that holds a lot of meaning. Here it is:

hold it in the road

          I had never heard this phrase until I met my husband lol. It’s an old “southern”/ “country” phrase that he probably picked up from one of his grandmother’s or someone at least a generation older than him lol! When I call or text him toward the end of a long work day just to say hi and ask him how his day is going, he’ll sometimes say “Hey babe, I’m just trying to hold it in the road!”, translated —–> “It’s been a long day, but I’m still working hard to get the work done”. I laughed hysterically the first couple of times I heard him say it because it sounds so “old-fashion” and truly “southern”. However, because I am a southern girl at heart, the phrase started to grow on me.

          Admit it, even when you are doing your life’s work, working in a job and/or career that you love, enjoying the relationships in your life, and life is good, it can also be met with difficulties, bumps in the road and can flat-out be exhausting sometimes. We all get tired every now and then. Even a car needs a tune up from time to time! When a car needs a little work, you get a tune-up, get it back into optimal working condition and continue driving it. You don’t send the car to the junk yard just because it needs a little work. Likewise, when things get a little tough or you get a bit tired, that’s not the time you should give up. It just might be a trick of the enemy to wear you out so that you give up before you reach your destiny and the wonderful experiences waiting for you along that journey!

          When I was in residency, there were days when I was on call that I literally felt like a walking zombie walking the halls of the hospital. I would be so flat-out exhausted some days that I would literally want to just throw the on-call pager in the toilet, OR out of a window, OR bury it in the foot-high snow there in Detroit, MI LOL! There was even a time during my first year of Residency that I questioned if this was really the career I wanted for my life. It seemed all so overwhelming. I took comfort in speaking with our residency coordinator who told me that she’d been working with medical residents for many, many years and that every single one of them, at some point during residency, most often during the first year, expressed similar emotions of feeling overwhelmed, second-guessing being a physician as the right choice and even wanting to quit. When I started talking to other residents I found out that she was right! Knowing that so many other residents had very similar experiences to mine helped me and all of a sudden I didn’t feel so alone.

          I had to remember everything my parents ever taught me growing up about never giving up! I drew upon everything my faith teaches me about “reaping if I faint not”, about “counting it all joy”, and that in all things with pray AND Thanksgiving, I must make my requests known to God Had I given up at that point I would not be the doctor and entrepreneur I am today. I learned to “hold it in the road”, even in those times when I wanted to call it quits!

          There are promises that I am waiting on God to manifest for me and during that process of anticipatory waiting, I will continue to “Hold it in the Road”! I will continue to pray AND meditate AND envision AND day-dream those promises into existence! When I “hold my car in the road”, the wheels say firmly on the ground, the car doesn’t veer off course and there is no slipping and sliding involved. I remain focused on getting to my destination successfully. The same is true for my life and staying focused on the desires of my heart. One of my most favorite scriptures is Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” and I know this to be true because it manifests in my life over and over again 🙂

           This practice has transformed my life! What I know for sure is that the things we think about, we bring about! The themes that we focus on in our lives the most are the things and experiences that become our reality!

          So pictured below is a graphic for you to print out, fill out and post up in your home and at your office. I hope you choose a theme for yourself this year that will encourage you and inspire you to be your best self. Sit in silent meditation for a while and listen to the theme/word that consistently pops into your mind. I usually start meditating on my word in Oct, Nov and Dec prior to the start of the new year and follow through with the word that most consistently comes to me and feels “right” during the meditations. I encourage you to do the same!

       

Theme for 2017

Happy New Year!!

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Grateful For Breakfast In Bed

Grateful For Breakfast In Bed

Gratitude

          I believe that the “little things” in life are really in fact the “big things” that matter the most. I’m on the go a lot and so when I have an opportunity to hang out in the bed with my crisp sheets, comfortable comforter and cushy pillows on a Saturday morning or Sunday morning before going to church, I do so……..or at least as long as I can before I start to get a tension headache from laying in the bed too long lol! Does that happen to anyone else out there?

          My husband gets up and starts moving around much earlier than I do and in particular, he likes to get up and cook breakfast! I’m so grateful for those random breakfast-in-bed moments that he surprises me with from time to time. Prior to getting married I NEVER ate in my bedroom……that was totally breaking the rules and off limits lol! But, there is no way I’m turning down my husband bringing in a wonderfully prepared breakfast to me out of love. Some rules are meant to be be broken, right?!?!?!??!

Prayer for my husband: “Lord, thank you for my husband and for his love toward me. He is one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met in my life! I thank you for blessing me with him. I’m grateful for his love, caring, and protection of me the way you have ordained a husband to be and do for his wife. His small acts of kindness toward me such as breakfast in bed are reflections of your love through him, Lord. As a single woman I prayed for so long to have a husband to love me in this way and I thank you for granting me the desires of my heart just as you promise in your word – “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).”. Thank you for your faithfulness toward me. Help me and support me in being a wonderful wife to Him. Encourage me in showering him with daily acts of kindness the way he does for me day-in and day-out. Continue to bless our marriage daily. Shield our marriage with a hedge of protection from any attacks of the enemy. Shower down your love and blessings over our union. Bless all our endeavors to be prosperous and bring you Glory! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.” – Carmen

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Grateful for Dinner With My Husband

Grateful for Dinner With My Husband

Gratitude

          Growing up, my parents were pretty strict about time spent together as a family and having dinner at the table together every evening. We ate, laughed and talked about our day. We fully engaged with each other the entire time and that’s what made the evening dinners so special and our family bond so close. I guess growing up with this type of experience on a regular basis is also why I find it so sad when I go out to restaurants now and see kids at the table on their phones and tablets, the parents doing the same things and none of them truly interacting with each other!! What. Is. The. Point. Of. That?

          Now that I’m married, I appreciate the evening dinners my husband and I have just as much as I did with my family growing up because it’s an opportunity to for us to connect and bond. We talk about our day along with a million other things! We chill out afterwards, watch Family Feud (I usually get more of the #1 answers than he does, but don’t tell him I said that lol!) or some other TV show that I drag him into watching with me!

          I’m GRATEFUL for the opportunity and time spent in the evenings connecting in this way!

Dr Carmen April SpeakerDr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Grateful for Lazy Saturday Mornings

Grateful For Lazy Saturday Mornings

Coffee ad love pillows

          I’ve talked here on the blog in the past about how I used to be a “busy bee” until I made a conscious decision to STOP THE GLORIFICATION OF BUSY! Someone could come up to me and say, “Hey Carmen, how’s your day going?” and my response would always be, “It’s great, but super busy!” My response was the absolute truth 99% of the time! I always had something on the calendar, something to do, and somewhere to go in addition to work and personal obligations.

          I will admit, the “busy” stage served it’s purpose during a point in my life and career where I was trying to network and meet as many people as possible after I first moved to Nashville and was growing my business. Howwwwwwww-ever, over committing and overworking myself became exhausting.

          Fast forward a couple of years later to the current time and I am so very GRATEFUL for lazy Saturday mornings when I can get out of bed when I decide to, grab some coffee or tea, head out for a leisurely walk in the park and just relax. I have a better understanding, since slowing things down a bit, that life is meant to be enjoyed, not rushed through.

Dr Carmen April SpeakerDr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Grateful For Balance

Grateful For Balance

Gratitude

          At this very moment I can say I’m Grateful for Balance. This has not always been the case (ie.- those years during med school, residency, first couple of years starting my medical practice) and will not always be the case, but…………….. for right now, it’s how I feel and I am grateful for it.

          We hear a lot about “work-life balance” and what that’s supposed to look like. I’m asked that question often when I’m out on various speaking engagements, especially by young professional women and college students. My best answer is for everyone, on a individual bases, figuring out what your activity limits are as it relates to pouring out too much of yourself into others without investing back into yourself.

          Instead of “Work-life balance”, I prefer to use the term “Life Integration” because to me that is more of a long time approach to this concept. Life occurs in stages so there will be times when we feel totally balanced like I do at this point in my life, but there are also times when things don’t feel balanced, and that’s OK too. As long as you are working to integrate work priorities with family obligations, community service, etc in a manner that works for you, no matter what it looks like for someone else, do THAT!

          Just up until about a year ago, I was THAT person who was on the go ALL the time! If I wasn’t in my office seeing patients and running the business side of my practice, I was at some meeting for one of the 3 Board of Directors I was on at the time, at a sorority meeting, doing community service with my sorority chapter or out blogging about something, somewhere! It was all cool and exciting until I just got tired. Point blank and THE period —-> I. Was. Tired.

          All that I was involved in looked really good on paper, but it wore me down and I felt that I had no time to myself. Even my Dinner With Nerds Food Blog, that I designed to be a creative outlet, began to get stressful. When I was doing full features on particular restaurants by interviewing the owners & chefs and coming in with my camera to photograph all the food, the owners and managers always wanted to know when I would be publishing the feature which then put me on a deadline, which then made it start to feel more like work and less like fun 😦

          My balance was off because I wasn’t integrating the various aspects of my life in a way that satisfied me. At the end of the day, if I’m not taking care of me……extensions of me begin to suffer (ie., my business, my health, my attitude toward things).

          When I began to say NO to some things, NO to people requesting my attention, rolled off a couple of the Board of Directors I was on and realized that my contributions to my community , to my work and to the people I love were already more than sufficient without having to add anything more, slowly but surely I began to feel more like myself again – less stressed and happier! I always feel honored when I’m approached to serve the community in some capacity or to offer my expertise in certain areas, but I have learned that I only have so much so give before I start feeling off-balanced. With time and age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes knowing your limits. I’ll choose this feeling over being over-committed and over-worked any day of the week!

Dr Carmen April Speaker              Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Grateful For Time Spent in My “Me” Place

Grateful For Time Spent in My “Me” Space

Gratitude

          I looooooove my “me” time, but I’ll be honest and say that it’s taken some practice for me to establish specific, set-aside time just for me to meditate and be with my happy thoughts! When I began carving out time to sit with my thoughts and mediate on the things in life that I’m grateful for, I began to notice a SHIFT in my way of thinking. My dominating thoughts have become those of GRATITUDE, love, faith, peace and of moving myself in the direction of “greater”!

          Spending alone time with God and my thoughts has allowed me to change the narrative of my life. I have a strong belief that, no matter what, life is on my side and is always pushing me to be a greater version of myself each and every day. I know that my dominating thoughts become my reality so I’m very intentional about concentrating on GRATITUDE, love, faith and expecting the best out of life! When I take the time daily to elevate my vibrations to a higher level of happiness, peace, love and GRATITUDE, all of those things return to me in immeasurable ways!

Here are a couple of things I do to get into my happy place during my “me” time:

  • Listen to calming spa-type music while laying awake in bed or on my couch and meditating
  • Tapping into one of my favorite iPhone apps, Calm,  that allows me to listen to sounds of the ocean and the beach while daydreaming about all that I appreciate, love and desire in life
  • Heading out to one of my favorite parks to walk/jog, listen to nature, and perform one of my walking meditation exercises where I thank God/Universe for all I see that is beautiful and makes me happy 🙂
  • Logging onto Instagram and following hashtags that lead me to awesome feeds of food, landscapes, beautiful homes, luxury hotels, luxury spas and inspirational quotes! I loooooove photography so seeing beautiful photos that raise my vibration into a happy place always do the trick and leave me feeling happy, at peace and serene 🙂

          Sometimes folks find it difficult to carve out “me” time, especially since we are in an age when the glorification of “busy” seems to be an “it” thing. However, I’ve learned that it’s detrimental not to do it. The “me” time does NOT have to be during the same time every day. Schedules vary, work and family demands vary and it’s ok to cut yourself some slack and be flexible with your personal time as well. Some days it may be better to spend time in the morning with this exercise and on other days the evenings may be better. Either way, we all owe it to ourselves to steal away and take some time to relax. Not only is it good for your psyche and mental health, but periods of relaxation and meditation have other health benefits such as lowering blood pressure & resting heart rate and lowering levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in our bodies.

          Lastly, as a Law of Attraction Practitioner, I encourage relaxation and meditation during “me” time as essential to elevating yourself to a higher vibration and attracting those things, experiences and opportunities into your life that you desire. Your dominating thoughts mixed with the positive emotions they create within you, bring them into your reality! It’s all about faith!

Dr Carmen April SpeakerDr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Grateful For The Little Things

Grateful For The Little Things

Gratitude

          I’m Grateful for the little things because the little things are actually the Big things! From the individual encouraging words I’ve always heard from my parents my entire life, to the way my sister and brother still look up to me as their big sister even though we’re all adults now, the sweet hugs and kisses from my nieces and them affectionately calling me “TT Carmen” a hundred times a day, to the countless times my wonderful husband tells me, “I love you baby and I thank God for you every day”

          I get so tickled when our Malti-poo fur-baby, Bella, literally spins around in circles of happiness because she’s so excited to see us come home from work every day

          I don’t take for granted the many luxuries I am blessed to enjoy every day and all the moving parts involved in making those things happen. I don’t have to go out and pick all of my fruits and vegetables from a garden or orchard because there are people who have done that for me and I’m GRATEFUL. I don’t have to go out and kill a chicken in order to have meat to eat.

          I’m so super serious about that chicken example. One of the amazing matriarchs of my family, at 93 years old, recently walked me through the steps she would take to slaughter a chicken and have it sitting on the dinner table a couple of hours later. Back in her younger days, if she or her husband didn’t kill a chicken themselves, there was no chicken to be had for dinner that night! I thank God I don’t have to grab a chicken, wring its neck, let it run around in a large barrel until it died, then put it in a pot of boiling water, pluck the feathers……you get the point! THAT is a true story and one I’m glad to have had passed down to me by oral history vs. actual experience lol!

          I don’t have to go out and draw water from a well to bathe, clean or drink because there are many other moving parts at play that allow me to have clean, running water coming straight into my home and for that I’m GRATEFUL. I don’t have to “foot-it” to work because I have a beautiful, safe vehicle to get me to work and back every day and for that I’m GRATEFUL! I don’t have to read by candlelight at home because I have lights and electricity that provide that luxury instead and I’m GRATEFUL. These are things that may seem like “basic necessities” and “expected” for us to have, but if you’ve ever known people who live without these basic necessities you will realize that they are in fact “luxuries”.

          The little moments matter and make up the spice of life. Don’t overlook them for the traditionally dramatic, shocking and spectacular. The little moments can be those things too…..just packaged a bit differently 🙂

Dr Carmen April SpeakerDr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

My Gratitude Box

My Gratitude Box

Gratitude Box

          My Theme/Word for 2016 is GRATITUDE! I’m Grateful for Life, Love, following Christ and for living a life with more experiences, opportunities, and wonderful people than I deserve. Life is so very precious and I don’t, for a second, take that for granted. Every day that I wake up and step foot out of my bed with a sound mind, is another opportunity to be thankful and express my Gratitude for it all!

          A practice that I’ve been doing for a couple of years now involves using a Gratitude Box to hold my notes of Gratitude to God/Universe. Point blank……..you find less to complain about when you focus on all you have to be Grateful for!! That’s not to say that I don’t have my human moments throughout the day when things tick me off OR have a mini “spazz-out” session or two, because I do lol! However, when the dust settles, as the old gospel song we sing in church says, “And I think things over…..all of my good days, outweigh my bad days, and I won’t complain!” #Hallelujah!

          One of the reasons I use a Gratitude Box such as the one above more often than a Gratitude Journal is because I physically add small trinkets that represent things I’m grateful for to the box in addition to the notes and Gratitude cards I place there. Once that box that sits on my night stand is “full of Gratitude” (I Love how that sounds!!!), I empty it into a bigger box that sits in my closet and start filling up the smaller box on my nightstand again.

Thank You cardsGratitude Cards I fill out and add to my Gratitude Box on a regular basis

Interesting Note: These photos of me were taken last year before I was married…..or engaged for that matter….and it’s a bit “strange” to see my left hand without my engagement ring and wedding band on it lol! The interesting thing about my Gratitude practice is that one of the things I repeatedly wrote a Gratitude/Thank You note to God for was this ———> My Husband….BEFORE I ever had one OR even knew who he would be!!! I have plenty of Gratitude notes in my Gratitude Box thanking God IN ADVANCE for my husband! #TrueStory

Thank you cards

           I physically write out the things I’m grateful for in greeting/thank you cards then place them in my Gratitude Box because the Bible says “Write the Vision and Make it plain” (Habakukk 2:2) There is power in writing down your desires, requests, praise and words of GRATITUDE! P.S. = I kind of have a small obsession with all things paper and beautiful greeting cards so this method of using pretty cards and fancy letterhead to fill the box also feeds that obsession of mine 🙂

Gratitude Journal

          Gratitude Journal – Another way to perform this practice is to write your words of Gratitude directly into a Gratitude Journal. This works well because it keeps everything in one compact journal, keeps the entries in chronological order and can be taken with you when you travel, etc. Once again, you are activating that special power that comes from physically writing down the words!

Gratitude Journal

          My Gratitude Expressions include everything under the sun and the Heavens above  – Literally! I include expressions of Gratitude for the love I have for my family to an appreciation of my favorite color, green, simply because it makes me happy! I express Gratitude for the food that I am blessed to eat everyday and for the farmers who grew that food in their fields, to the truck drivers who delivered it to the grocery store and the cashier who rung it up for me when I bought it! There is an unlimited abundance of life experiences to be grateful if we just take the time to sit down and really concentrate on them 🙂

          Choose the method that works for you, but my all means…..DO IT! Express your Gratitude!! The more you express Gratitude to God/ The Universe for the things you are ALREADY blessed with, the more the Universe will open up it’s channels to pour out MORE blessings and MORE things and MORE opportunities and MORE experiences and the right people in your life to be Grateful for!

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

My Word for 2016

My Word For 2016……………

 

Word for 2016

Wow, we are here! We made it! It’s 2016!

            Does anyone else feel like 2015 just flew by?? Each year seems to pass by more swiftly than the last! Someone told me that’s what happens the older you get and it seems like they’re right lol! So much happened for me in 2015 – both highs and lows, roses and thorns.

          The Thorns – I lost the physical presence of some really precious family members in 2015 and it stung….really bad. My peace comes in knowing that they are all rejoicing with our Heavenly Father for all eternity.

          The Roses – I got married to my wonderful husband and experienced many “firsts” with him. We began dating, got engaged and married all in the same year! My youngest niece is now old enough to scream with excitement for me when I walk into a room and she gives the best hugs and baby kisses (those adorable kisses that babies give you with their mouths wide open so you can smell their precious baby breath lol!). I saw financial increase in my business and was able to pay off some debt I incurred during the start-up period of my business 5 years ago. Oh yeah…..speaking of my business, January of 2016 makes 5 full years that I’ve successfully owned the medical practice I started from the ground up! God is so good and I’m forever grateful because as Marvin Sapp’s famous gospel song says, “I never would have made it without [Him]!”

           For those who’ve been following my blog for some time, you know that I choose a word or phrase for the year and this word serves as a guide for me for the year. It’s a word that I meditate on daily, read about, pray about and apply to my life on a consistent basis. Whether you’ve been reading my blog for a while or this is your first time coming across one of my posts, I’m sharing with you my “Word for 2016” and invite you to choose a word for yourself! I’ve even included a jpeg image for you to print off, enter your own word and post it around your home, office, car, etc

❐ My Word/Phrase for 2014:  “Count On It”

❐ My Word/Phrase for 2015: Love & Faith

❐ My Word/Phrase for 2016:……………………………………..

Dr Carmen April

GRATITUDE

          Over the past two years, I’ve focused heavily on Faith, Love and Counting on the blessings of God. He has been so faithful to me in everything I’ve asked of Him. Even those desires/requests that were “delayed” according to my time-table, all made sense when God revealed to me His outcome for all the things I requested. I am forever GRATEFUL for each and every desire of my heart that God has bestowed upon me. I live every day with a GRATEFUL heart.

          GRATITUDE is a special, one-of-a-kind key that unlocks an overflow of blessings into our lives. The cool thing about GRATITUDE is that the more we are GRATEFUL for what we have, the more the Universe gives us to be GRATEFUL for!! I’ve seen it for myself and I know it to be true.

          When I stopped complaining about money, complaining about how much everything costs to run a business, complaining about how I needed more money to do the things I needed to do in the start-up phase of my business and started being GRATEFUL for what I DID have to get my business started, things started changing. Money started flowing in my direction when I became truly GRATEFUL for all that I had, even when the dollar amount is not exactly what I wanted it to be at the time. I even started being GRATEFUL for my bills! Yes, I started being GRATEFUL for my bills because having bills means that I’m the entrepreneur I’ve always dreamed of being. It means that my business is fully operational and in that business I’m making money that allows me to live the life I want to live.

         My practice of GRATITUDE has been life-changing and that’s why I’ve chosen it as my word for 2016.

I have a practice of going on Gratitude Walks. Here’s an example of what my GRATITUDE walks through the park look like. This is what it sounds like in my mind:

➤ “Thank you Lord for the grass

➤ Thanks for the green grass….green is my favorite color…..it makes me happy and makes me smile

➤Thanks for the air I breathe

➤ Thank you for the process of breathing clean air, air that oxygenates my body and allows me to live

➤ Speaking of air flowing into my body, thank you Lord for my heart that beats without me even thinking about it. This wonderful heart of mine has been pumping away for over 30+ years without missing a beat, even when I’m asleep at night and for that I’m GRATEFUL!

➤ Since I’m thinking about how GRATEFUL I am for my heart and lungs, let me say THANK YOU for the proper, perfect, healthy workings of all my body parts….all the moving parts that allow me to get up out of bed in the morning, go to sleep at night and wake up again the next morning, enjoy my life and all the people and things in it!

➤ {As I keep walking I see a cute little bunny rabbit hopping along into the wooded area along the walking trail}……………..

➤ Awwwwwww, look at that cute bunny! Thank you Lord for all you precious creatures here on earth

➤ Thank you for beautiful things! Beautiful things and people and experiences make me happy!

➤ Thank you God for happiness and for the feeling of Happiness………… “

          So you see, as I go on these GRATITUDE Walks I just let my thoughts flow and as the thoughts enter my mind I focus on what it is about them that makes me GRATEFUL and I express that GRATITUDE by saying and truly feeling appreciation for them all! A Gratitude Walk for me is a walking prayer :-). Each of these walks brings me such peace of mind, serenity, happiness and joy. I feel blessed for my health and my peace of mind. I don’t take either of these for granted because I encounter folks everyday who don’t have “peace” in their lives because of health issues, etc they are dealing with.

          So, this year you will see a lot from me focused on GRATITUDE. I’ve already printed out “My Word for 2016” and taped it to my bathroom mirror, fridge, and office wall. I encourage you to pick your word and do the same. You can even print out the jpeg image I have here below and fill in your word.

          Last year I received some awesome testimonials from individuals who chose a word according to this practice after reading my blog post and saw awesome results in their own lives. It works…..it really, really works lol! The reason it works it because those things we focus on the most on and give much energy to tend to be those things that manifest in our lives the strongest!

Thoughts become Things!

Our Dominant Thoughts become Things!

          What do you want to see manifest in your life this year? Meditate on what your heart most desires for your life right now and choose a word that reflects that feeling. I would love to hear what comes of this practice for you so if you are inclined, please feel free to leave me a message under this blog post or any of the ones in the future that resonate with you.

Below is a jpeg image to print out, fill out and post around your home, office, etc to keep you motivated and focused on your word throughout the year!

My Word For 2016 - Blank

Happy New Year 2016!

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril

Choose to See Peace Instead

Choose to See Peace Instead

Choose to see Peace instead

          There are bound to be countless things that happen around you everyday that you have no control over. You can’t control how other people think or what they say, you can’t control the traffic jam that happened on the interstate, and you can’t control the fact that Chick-Fil-A ran out of Waffle fries lol! However, you most certainly have full control over how you respond to various situations. You can choose to react with negative energy or positive energy. You can choose to think ugly thoughts about people and circumstances around you that annoy your or you can choose to see Peace instead.

          The phrase that I use quite often when I am feeling my energy shift into a negative trajectory because of circumstances outside of my control is simple but Powerful:

I CHOOSE TO SEE PEACE INSTEAD

          I say this over and over to myself, quietly or out-loud, until I start to feel my energy tip the scales back into the positive direction. Your words and actions reflect your inner feelings and thoughts so if you convince yourself to see peace instead, that is exactly what will happen and you remain in control!!

          Try this the next time you become frazzled by something that happens out of your control and remember that the ball is in your court when it comes to deciding your response to it!

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Young Leader Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril