10-17-2014 2-36-03 PMThe other day, I was in the gym rushing (of course) to get finished so I could be on to the next task on my list before heading home. You know the drill. First I started with the treadmill and then was on to the leg machine. I thought to myself “I am on a roll and will soon be finished and out of here!” Well, as I was getting ready for my next piece of equipment this lady came up to me to say hello. She then made it a point that I keep working out and not stop while she was speaking to me.

She said as seriously as she could “I know you because I have been you and been where you are.“ As I listened to her, she told me to slow down and really take time for myself and my workout without harboring those mental interruptions of all the activities and tasks I needed to complete. She told me to stop running so much around in my mind because all I was doing was making myself less available mentally for when I truly needed to be.

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She then proceeded to correct me on the way I was doing my exercises. She again told me to slow down and really allow the work out to enhance me and not harm me. She said “me time” should really be used for “me.” All I could do was listen to her because everything she was telling me was so true and I needed the wisdom she was sharing.

This never-ending checklist we call life does make it almost impossible to relax wouldn’t you say? Let’s take it a step further and really be truthful-most of the items on our list were put there by us with every intent to complete them all! What are we thinking? Well of course we are thinking of others as we so often do. In this life we find ourselves always doing for others, making sure they have what is needed, planning our lives around theirs, whether that be our spouses, parents, children, co-workers, relatives, or friends. Then we hope that maybe, just maybe in all that we do for others we find a few minutes left to steal away in all the madness.

Hey! Wake up! Who are we kidding? It is great to have the drive and will to give and care so much for others, but if you don’t care for yourself then you will not be here to do any of the items on your checklist of life.

Before I left the gym that day, believe me, I felt rejuvenated and refreshed after my encounter with the lady I had been talking to. I did slow down and lived in the moment for me, if only for a little while. I finished my workout without all those mental interruptions that I so often take with me. When we fail to give to ourselves, we fail to be successful in our giving to others.

I encourage you to also take the advice of the lady I met in the gym: slow down because stress kills!

I’ll leave you with a few tips for “Me Time Success “:
1. Self-time is not being selfish—it’s necessary. Say yes to “you time” for real for a change.
2. Learn to say no. Not every task has to be completed by you.
3. Take 2 minutes first thing in the morning to stretch and breathe.
4. Put your headphones on and listen to your favorite music.
5. Pray!

Lesson Learned: You never know who is watching and waiting to impart much needed wisdom in your life so LISTEN.

Until Next Time, Be sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com
Checkout our events: http://thebridge-us.yolasite.com
By: Jackie Warner

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9-19-2014 12-12-47 PMThere once was a farmer who planted good, precious seeds in his field. But the enemy came while it was night and planted tares (weeds) among the wheat. As the wheat started to grow, so did the tares. It was asked of the farmer by his workers if he had sown good seeds. Of course his response was that he had, but the farmer knew that the enemy had come and tried to sabotage his crop. The key word here is “tried.”

His workers then asked if they should pull out the tares that were growing with the wheat. The farmer said no, to let them all grow together until the harvest so as not to harm the wheat. Then they would be separated. So the good wheat and the tares grew together until the harvest. Then the tares were bundled and burned, and the wheat was put in the barn.

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You may ask why I have shared this story with you, and my answer would be to share this statement: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”-Galatians 6:9. As we view our media devices, turn on the news, read the paper, or listen to the radio, we are constantly being exposed to all that is wrong or bad with our world today. It is overwhelming, and it truly leads us to ask, “What is our world coming to?”

There is no denying it: there is negativity, destruction, and continuous chaos all around us. The world we once knew is no more. Yes, there is a lot of evil, but make no mistake- there is still a lot of good! We are living in different times, causing us open our eyes, broaden our thinking, and even expand our understanding in areas where before we never gave much thought or concern.

I challenge each of us to continue planting those good seeds of faith, knowledge, love, kindness, and understanding. Let us focus on our critical goals and personal responsibilities to family and community. As the farmer instructed his workers not to remove the tares from the wheat, we too will be faced with the tares of life all around us that want to choke us out. However, we need to remember that personal growth is still an option.

The farmer said this to his workers at the time of harvest, so I will say to the reapers: “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”-Matthew 13: 24- 30. So, stay on the path and then reap the ultimate harvest. . .

Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com
Check out upcoming events: Website: http://thebridge-us.yolasite.com/

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8-15-2014 4-34-18 PMAs a working or stay at home parent, keeping all those balls in the air gets very difficult. Let’s face it, it’s truly a juggling act. We as parents and grandparents have the best intentions when it comes to making sure our children have everything they need and a whole lot of what they want, but then tend to forget to include the plan of action in making in all happen smoothly.

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The start of school is finally here. Yay!-Some peace of mind for a change. Who are you kidding?! It’s off and running again to morning car line, multiple practices, phone tree reminders, school meetings and afterschool pick-ups. Not at all one school, mind you, but multiple schools; and did I add they need to be picked up at the same time?! How in the world do we make this work? And yes, the next question as your child opens the door to get in the car after you have rushed across town hoping that you are not the last parent: “I am hungry, what’s for dinner?” Or better yet, “Can we stop at McDonald’s?” Oh, the things we want to say, but instead hold our peace and ask, “Honey, how was your day?” Finally, we make it home, tackle the homework assignments, eat that take-out we picked up because we were too tired to try and cook, and prepare for bed. Then a few hours later the alarm goes off, we hit the snooze button one last time, and we are off and running again.

STOP! Let’s find some balance in the chaos before we lose our sanity.

1. Start by planning ahead and getting things prepared and ready the night before. Assist your child with picking out clothes and making lunch and snacks for the next day. Fix breakfast sandwiches on the weekend and freeze them so they are prepared and ready for the microwave each morning.
2. Organization is essential! Have a place for everything. Select a space for keeping up with your children’s school related actions, and then create a rule for your children to clean out their book bags daily. Place all of their notes, calendars and announcements in an assigned folder that you review at a designated time each day.
3. Hold your children accountable and make sure they complete their chores. This includes cleaning up after themselves, folding and washing their clothes, assisting with dinner and preparing what’s needed for their upcoming events.
4. Ask for assistance from peers and other parents you trust, and then do the same for them.
5. Remember, there is no such thing as perfect balance, so don’t set unrealistic goals. We can only do so much. Look ahead at what’s on the horizon, and make plans accordingly.
6. Be sure and put yourself on the calendar for rest and relaxation so you have the energy to handle the next juggling act.

Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com
Check out upcoming events: Website: http://thebridge-us.yolasite.com/

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7-18-2014 2-56-04 PMLast weekend, The Bridge hosted a STEM Super Fun Saturday event that included engaging students ages 5 – 16 in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The students had a blast conducting science experiments and building engineering structures, but when it came time for the Math Smarts Competition, the only thing I heard was “I hate Math- it’s too hard!” Does this sound familiar? A rising number of our children in the United States have decided that math is their least favorite subject and would rather clean the house before working out math problems. Sadly, I am sure some of you feel the same way. You too would say give me the broom and put the math book away! Where does this attitude and stigma around math come from? Most research says it starts at home! Parents, teachers, and role models we must be careful what we say when it comes to our own negative thoughts and comments around the subject of math. We have heard it time and time again and mostly likely you heard it from someone in your family, statements such as: “I wasn’t good at math so you must take after me” or “Math is just not my thing.”

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There are several of us who can attest to some horror stories around math when we were growing up, and the discipline it took to keep those math grades up, but let’s face it: math is an essential part of life and everything we do is somehow connected to it. I was no math whiz myself while in school, but I definitely understand the importance and emphasis that must be put on math education for our students to be successful. Math has an image problem that needs some work and it is up to us to change the way our children think about the subject. I challenge each of you to drop the math negatives and accentuate the positives (no puns intended) to broaden our children’s understanding of how math impacts every moment of their lives. The earlier you start, the more equipped they will be for life. I think back to that million-dollar question “When will I ever use this stuff?” Surprisingly, now, more than we ever thought we would.

When you buy a car, follow a recipe, decorate or remodel your home, go to the bank, start a wellness program, balance your checkbook, figure out the best deal when grocery shopping, purchase and calculate gas mileage on your car , prepare a household budget, estimate time and distance when traveling, price match and redeem coupons, and of course reviewing your paycheck, you are using math!

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Remember: “The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.” ~S. Gudder
Until Next Time, Be sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com

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2014-06-21_15-21-15Not to boast and definitely not because I want to scream team “ME” to the whole world, but sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader in the world of work. It’s a new business mindset and organizations say this is what it will take to get you noticed and considered worthy of the next step on your career ladder. In years past, we were taught to work hard and it will all pay off. I still believe it will. We were told don’t shine your light, just let your light shine. Fast Forward 2O years and the playbook has changed. I am not telling you to be that person we all know oh-so-well who toots their horn, is that artful fast talker and gets everyone’s attention while absolutely saying nothing of value- all talk and no real action. No, no, that is not the team “ME” Cheerleader that I speak of. Listen up: you are with YOU all day and AUTHENTIC self-appreciation, positive affirmation, and love for yourself should be a daily routine.

The “World of Work” can be a very harsh place at times and we constantly observe actions that lead us to believe that we are not good enough, not the right fit, or need to be fixed in some form or fashion. We live in a draining society and there will always be someone competing against you or trying to break your spirit. The “haters” they are called, but don’t be ashamed to say out loud “I love me, get used to it.” Why shouldn’t you be your biggest genuine cheerleader? When we start with ourselves, then we have so much more to give and share with others around us so don’t forget to pack your pom-poms and most of all, your self-motivation.

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Career Playbook- Cheerleading 101 Tips for Success:
1. Credit for what you do: Take it and accept it, don’t down play your expertise!
2. You said “Oh that was nothing.” Erase that phrase from your vocabulary. It was something and yes you did it. Thank them for the acknowledgement without minimizing your time and actions.
3. Celebrate your successes. Pat yourself on the back. You have permission to buy your own flowers.
4. Know what’s happening in your industry. Build your internal and external networks.
5. Plan for that upcoming performance review. Keep a journal of your successes and accomplishments throughout the year and send a copy to your boss to add to your personnel file (it’s just a friendly reminder that you value your work).
6. Look for opportunities beyond your desk. Put your knowledge on the road and speak at conferences in your area of expertise.
7. Set your own benchmarks to measure your success
8. When someone compliments you, breathe, let it in and say “thank you.” No need to discount it your worth!

Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com

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2014-05-16_14-51-54Just imagine- no email, cell phone, social media, not even the TV for an hour a day. This would truly be the recharge all of us need to find a quick moment of peace and really see and hear more clearly the woes and pleasures of life. Before mobile devices and endless sources of technology, we actually had better focus and transparency about our surroundings, families, hobbies and priorities.

It’s a new day and a different world. Everywhere we go, there is a cell/iPhone, iPad, laptop, iPod, digital camera or some sort of wireless device very near (and did I say dear?) and of course it has to be the latest and greatest on the market. We tell ourselves that this really keeps us connected with whats going on, but does it? I sometimes find myself saying if I text my daughter in her bedroom I will probably get a faster response than just yelling for her to come to dinner. Incredible! This really makes me feel connected to my family. We must stop kidding ourselves! I am definitely not condemning the benefits of technology but I am also certainly convinced of the benefits of unplugging to reap the real benefits of what’s truly becoming a lost art- effective face-to-face communication.

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In what some would call our “yester years,” you would not even think of sending an email to ask such personal questions as we do today and then expect a response, nor dare deliver terrible news. But now what do we say? “Just text it,” or “Send them an email.” Change has arrived and prompted a new mode of communicating, or should I say not communicating. True focus and clarity have gone out the window, and been replaced with short abbreviated letter messages someone made up and called a plausible language that everyone had to learn and follow. Oh, did I forget to say that you could even add your own letters too, not tell anyone what they meant, and take it for granted that everyone understood? Move over Webster’s, you have been replaced!

As I finish typing this article and decide to unplug from our tech world and fix dinner for my family, I leave you with a few parting tips:

1. De-tech and you will de-stress- YOLO (You Only Live Once)
2. Ditch the touch screens and spend less money online- The more you touch the screen the more you will want to purchase the items when shopping online.
3. Leave your phone while out with family & friends- Check it later; the messages will still be there.
4. Smart phones actually boost your stress levels- You are constantly holding in one hand a device that will do everything for you; real smart right? The problem: you actually let it!
5. Ban technology at the dinner table.
6. Instead of allowing children to take technology to their bedrooms to recharge overnight, take it in your room.
7. Live, laugh, and love the old fashioned way- for real and out loud! No “LOLs” allowed!
8. Practice mindfulness- the act of being present!

Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com
By: Jackie Warner

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2014-04-18_15-57-01High schools seniors and their parents all over the country are excited and getting ready to attend their high school graduations and hold those “EPIC” graduation parties. There is just one major problem being seen all over our nation- a failure to truly plan for what’s next. Statistics tell us that a tremendous number of high school seniors are ill prepared for their upcoming futures. More time is put on finding the right prom attire, attending the last series of sports events, and planning the graduation trip.
Parents, put on the brakes and halt the spending until you and your soon to be adult – “no longer a child”- have evaluated his or her plan of action for adulthood.

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High School Seniors & Parents Must Do List:

  • Parents and students should have a heart to heart about the future and schedule an appointment with your high school guidance counselor to discuss college and career options based on your student’s abilities.
  • Explore realistic career options that fit your skills, interests, and abilities.
  • Choose a path for your future. Whether it is college, going straight to work, military, or another option, have a plan of action!
  • Review your high school transcript for accuracy.
  • Take the ACT and/or SAT a minimum of two times to boost your scores when seeking scholarships and applying to colleges.
  • Visit the colleges you are interested in attending to make an informed decision about your future.
  • Be realistic and do the math on college costs and expenses before confirming your choice.
  • Apply for scholarships, no matter how small the amount; every dollar will help fund your education.
  • Apply for FAFSA -Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Most colleges require that you apply for Federal Student Aid before any scholarships will be awarded.

Parents, remember it’s your child’s future and they need to own it. You can assist but realize that it should be their plan. Students, hold yourself accountable to achieving your goals. Remember, High School Seniors- What you do today will determine how you live tomorrow! Don’t you want to live well?
Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com

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2014-03-21_14-09-22Does this sound familiar? Of course it does. All of us know someone who takes their leadership responsibilities overboard and allows it go to their head and therefore is really not leading at all. With leadership comes great responsibility and personal self-development. It involves more than just having the title. Leadership encompasses heart and a servant attitude.

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In today’s world of business, leading others takes special talents that one has to hone daily. When leaders acknowledge that they are not a one person island; they involve and value their team’s ideas and strengths, then and only then does authentic leadership qualities start to take root.

True Leaders value Heart in their day to day and do not hog the spotlight; they are humble and passionate individuals who are deeply involved in the details of business and believe that every employee should be treated with respect and be given the opportunity to do meaningful work.

Leadership should be intentional; so how does one get there?
• Communicate the Organization’s Vision, Goals, & Mission Statement
• Display kindness and compassion for the growth and development of your team
• Take time to know who is on your team- not just their names
• Ask for and value feedback; be receptive to others’ suggestions and ideas; implement
• Express genuine care and concern for your team’s wins and losses
• Recognize your need for the ones on your team- Let them know you appreciate them
• Stop jumping to conclusions; reflect and evaluate; situations are not always what they seem
• Share relevant information. Give employees the information they need to perform in their positions
• Seek critical feedback for ongoing self-development from your team; Admit mistakes
• Follow – Leading sometimes means stepping aside and allowing others to be the leader
• Be available

People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. — John C. Maxwell
Until Next Time, Be sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com
By: Jackie Warner

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I Did Not Sign Up For This!

2014-02-22_16-13-33We all come to this earth with a purpose unknown to us in many ways, but it is definitely there without a doubt for us to accomplish. Often we catch ourselves saying, “I didn’t sign up for this” and “Why me?” Actually you were signed up and didn’t even know it. The things we encounter in this life are not totally by accident. I will say it again! The things we encounter in this life are not entirely accident. It is what we choose to do next that ultimately makes the difference in the fulfillment of our purpose. My actions and your actions in times of trouble, pain, and sorrow are what determine the depth of our strength.

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There is a story of a man I would like to share with you. He strived to do right, prayed to the Lord daily and kept himself from the evils of this world just as many of you do in your lives. One day he received word that there had been a major devastation and all ten of his children had been killed, seven sons and three daughters. Imagine how he must have felt. Not one child, not even two of his children but all ten were now dead.

Truly he must have thought “I did not sign up for this to happen in my life!” At such a terrible, devastating, and sorrowful moment his next move, many would say, was unique and truly different from how our society today deals with matters of distress and hurt.

The actions he took after receiving this news should encourage us when we are faced with despair, pain, and suffering to know that we are not in control. When he was told the horrible news about the loss of all his children, he fell down (yes, he fell down) and worshipped saying “I came into this world naked and naked shall I return. The Lord gives and he takes. Blessed be His Name.”

Would this have been your response? For many the answer would be no, but I challenge you to think about all the things in your life that you have dealt with or are dealing with. Loss of a loved one, stress on your job, divorce, heartache, sickness, family troubles, disobedient children, unemployment, cheating spouse… Whatever it is or whatever it was, allow your next actions to be strengthened by what the man in this story decided to do. The man I speak of was Job. I only shared with you the loss of his children. He lost so much more, but chose to fall and worship. (Job Chapter 1)

As I close today, I would like to leave you with this verse: Job 22:21 “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee.”
Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com

1-17-2014 4-01-05 PMHave you ever heard someone say, “I bombed that interview!”? Mostly likely the answer would be yes. We have also heard others say, “I nailed it and I think I got the job!” It takes a lot of work to truly be ready and successfully complete a job interview. Being prepared for the interview requires specific actions on the part of employers and perspective candidates.

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An interview is not a one but a two-way process. During the interview both parties are seeking to make an informed decision as to whether or not this is the right investment for their future. Employer investments include the fit with others in the organization, salary, training and other resources specific to the position, while perspective employees should determine if this is the right investment for them, taking into account key factors specific to their personal and family needs and goals.
As you are preparing for the job interview, take critical thought to ensure that you are in fact ready to successfully complete the interview and obtain a desired offer of employment.
1. Check yourself first! What’s on your social media sites? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linked In) Employers will definitely check, so clean it up.
2. Research the company and match your skills to the open positions. Stop applying for everything.
3. Practice, practice, practice. Complete a mock interview with an objective friend for constructive feedback, and then follow it to be ready.
4. Know where you are going and arrive early.
5. Leave your cell phone in the car.
6. Be alert for the interview- Get a good night’s rest!
7. Dress professionally. Know what you are wearing before the day of your interview.
8. Speak with confidence, shake hands, make eye contact, exude confidence, and engage the person(s) you are speaking with.
9. Answer the questions asked by tying them back to relevant work experience, skills and education for the position.
10. Bring a portfolio, including a copy of your resume and samples of your work.
11. Always have questions prepared to ask the interviewer about the position. Remember this is a two-way process and you also want to make an informed decision.
12. Thank the interviewer for their time and send a thank you note via mail or email.

Until next time, be sincere, kind and intentional.
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com

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