Category Archives: Life’s Lessons

5 Sure Ways to Be HaPpY

Choose to Be HaPpY

Choose to Be HaPpY

The tears surfaced and rolled down my cheeks as I observed poverty far greater than I thought humanly possible. As I walked the very streets that Mother Theresa walked in Kolkata, India, I noticed something peculiar as I looked beyond the trash, makeshift shanties and barefoot children. I saw smiles and heard laughter!

How could this be possible?  Didn’t they know what they were missing, lacking and deprived of?   Though their circumstantial challenges seemed great, they were happy – focused on what they DO have, not what they don’t.  Right before my eyes, I was witnessing what choosing to be happy looked like.

Be HaPpY

Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl,  and author of Man’s Search for Meaning said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

Game changer.

I went to India to inspire, teach and change the world, but instead it was ME that was inspired, taught and changed.  Forever.  

I realized that if  I desired to live a JOY filled life it was up to ME – it was a choice. My choice.

“When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.” ~Wayne W. Dyer

I have never been a materialistic person, well at least I thought I wasn’t.  Money didn’t grow on trees at my house, but I never felt I lacked any of the essentials.  There were days I stood in my closet staring at a long rack of clothes uttering “I don’t have a thing to wear.” Pathetic.  And there were days I opened the refrigerator, you know the big ice box that keeps food from spoiling for days and sometimes weeks on end, and while staring at shelves filled with food I mumble, “We don’t have a thing to eat – let’s go out.” Embarrassing. 

On the streets of Kolkata, I  made a conscious decision to be HaPpY. Yes, it’s no secret that life’s a rollercoaster filled with twists, turns and loop-de-loops.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who is challenge and trial free. And I would never pray to have less trials or to have my challenges removed – I feel that’s all part of the journey.

If Viktor Frankl is correct, and the only thing I am really in control of is my ability to choose my ATTITUDE then  I’m choosing to enJOY the journey every step of the way. It’s a choice.

I’ve discovered in my almost 52 years of life there are 5 sure ways to ensure HaPpY-ness.

1. Be Grateful.  Appreciate the little things.  Keep a gratitude journal at the side of your bed.  And at the end of each day write ONE thing that you are grateful for and FIVE reasons why.  This exercises creates a mind shift, training our brain to scan for happiness.  Being grateful adds beauty to life.

2.  Be Others Focused.  When you look for opportunities to serve expecting nothing in return, a beautiful thing happens; you forget about your worries and woes, endorphins are released, thus creating a shift in your mood. Being others focused brings joy to life.

3.  Be Creative – step outside the box.  Being creative adds pleasure to life – it puts the FUN in life and relationships. I love the dad who cut his jeans into short shorts to show his daughter that short shorts aren’t that cute – he demonstrated creative parenting.  I love him not just because he is my husband (smiley face), but because he looks for opportunities to lighten up tough or difficult situations.  That doesn’t mean to not take life serious, it just means to DO something each day that makes you and others smile.

“Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.”

4.  Be YOU

 Family Fun 3

Everyone is an unrepeatable miracle.  Share your gifts and talents to lift and serve others.  Being YOU adds VALUE to life.

5.  Be Forgiving.  Forgive yourself and forgive others.  This is not always easy and it does not mean you are condoning whoever hurt you, it means you are CHOOSING to move forward, and a better person for it.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”  ~Louis B. Smedes

As I incorporate these five actions, a paradigm shift happens, just as it did when I was in India.  I begin to automatically scan the world looking for good and to see the positive in people, situations and circumstances.  Beautiful.

Life’s Short Lesson: CHOOSE to be HaPpY.

Highlights of my trip to India.

Home2 Suites Hilton Making A Difference

The Home2 Suites Hilton, making a difference in the life of a young man who dreams big.

Bryson

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  ~Maya Angelou

By Becky Mackintosh

I’ve done my share of traveling, from a five star hotel in San Juan, to a bed and breakfast in Edinburgh Scotland, I’ve been to Dubia, India and Mexico to name a few, and have sailed on more than a half a dozen cruise ships. What I remember and cherish most about my travels are the friendships made, the relationships strengthened, and the way people made me feel.

It’s no secret that first impressions form immediate thoughts and feelings leaving a mental image.  I have stayed at many Hilton hotels, but had never heard of Home2 Suites, UNTIL a few months ago and what an impression it has made.

It was an unusually warm November day,  I was helping a young man, who had recently moved in with our family, on his quest for a new job. We had just began our journey of dropping off resumes.  As we entered the front lobby of the newly opened Home2 Suites at Thanksgiving Point, only ten minutes from our home. we were greeted with a warm smile and an enthusiastic,

“Hello, Welcome to Home2 Suites.  How may I help you?”

With an equally broad smile and enthusiasm, this young man extending his hand as he replied, “Hello, My name is BRY-son Cornaby. I am a hard worker.  I need a job.  Are you accepting applications?”  the words flowed from his mouth just like we’d practiced.

Bryson handed her his single-page resume, put together by his job coach Terri Ann from an organization called RISE, including a summary of his many qualifications and employment such as: Chick-fil-la, Costco, Hilton Garden Inn of St. George, Utah and the Cliffrose Lodge outside of Zions Park. A pretty impressive resume for a young man who since birth has faced challenges associated with mild retardation.

More about Bryson…

Bryson grew up in Utah, yes he’s Mormon, yes he likes green jello and yes one of his goals is to marry and have a family just like every other young man.  I’ve known Bryson for several years, and if you know Bryson you know that if he dreams it, desires it, he works hard to achieve it! Accomplishing the impossible, is something he is good at. Everyone who knows Bryson loves him – he’s just that kind of a guy. He’s quite the character and just plain amazing!

I am often asked, “How did Bryson come to live with your family?”  One of our son-in-laws introduced us to Bryson several years ago.  Then one day, in the middle of October, Bryson called me from his home in Saint George, Utah and with enough enthusiasm to fill a colosseum he blurted,

“I just put in my two week notice and then I’m moving up North!”

I knew this to be code for; “I’m moving in with you and your family and I need you to help me find a new job!” I was perfectly fine with this arrangement …my family too!  We welcomed Bryson with open arms, but FIRST…

I cleaned out the bedroom of one of my grown married children to make room for Bryson and his prize possessions which included; 37 new bottles of  lotions from Bed Bath and Beyond. (Let’s just say he is a little obsessed with smelling good.) Many bottles of used and never used cologne, countless numbers of shoes, a snowboard and a coveted gift from Dr. Dre.

That’s RIGHT!  Dr. Dre!

As Seen On Instagram,  posted by Cliffrose lodge owner Breck Dockstader,

 Bryson sporting his NEW pair of  Dr. Dre Beats! 

Bryson sporting a pair of Beats “Bryson received a gift from a guest today at the Clliffrose!  Turns out he made an impression on an executive VP that stayed with us from Beats! ”  `Breck Dockstader

His first week after joining our family, we got busy helping him look for a job, dropping off resumes to higher-end hotels and restaurants, Bryson likes the best, because he strives to be his best.  We practiced saying “Hello, My name is Bryson Cornaby. I am a hard worker seeking a job.  Are you accepting applications?”  Those weren’t always the exact words that came out of his mouth, but whatever he said, worked.  He made an impression. He got a call back for an interview at the Home2 Suites Hilton at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah.

Bam! He did it! He got the Job! 

For the next hour Bryson scrolled through his iPhone 6 Plus calling contact after contact…

“Hello, this is BRY-son, and guess what?”

“What?”

“I – got – a – job!”

“Where?”

“At the Home2 Suites Hilton at Thanksgiving Point!”

“Yahoo Bryson! That is amazing!” was the repeated response!

Now, five days a week, Bryson wakes up early, showers, eats breakfast, reads for 10 minutes, brushes his teeth, sprays a squirt or two or three of his favorite cologne and then WAITS watching the clock until it’s time to leave for work, never late, always early.  He loves his job, it’s rewarding to feel appreciated, valued and needed and that’s what he experiences from the entire staff at Home2 Suites Hilton, recently awarded Lehi, Utah’s 2014 Business of the year!  With a long list of charities they have contributed to in their short time of being open, is a reflection of their values and desire to make a difference in this world.  I know our family is grateful for the difference Home2 Suites is making in this young mans life and our HomeTOO Sweet!

P.S.  When you book your vacation at Home2 Suites say HELLO to Bryson!

IMG_9135Bryson Cornaby with Home2 Suites Lehi, Utah General Manager Devin Slorah

IMG_9118IMG_9117

 

IMG_9131

Bryson and staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why We DO What We Do

photo 2 copy 13

Why we Do what we DO…

When Scott Mackintosh wore the shorty-shorts we were inundated with interviews, phone calls and emails, the message that stood out and drove us to SPEAK were the many that said,

“I wish someone cared that much about me to do something like that.”

THAT tugged at our hearts and spurred us to talk about issues surrounding self-esteem, self-worth and the confidence to dance the dance, even when others say you can’t.

Scott and I have had many cool, inspiring and motivating experiences in our life, along with lots of hard lessons learned. THIS equipped us with many true life stories that EMPOWER others, Build CONFIDENCE and MOTIVATES real change. It’s rewarding to see someone’s eyes light up when they are able to see themselves as God sees them.

When our son told us he was gay and two years later we decided to go public, the response was mind-bogling, again inundated with hundreds of emails opened our eyes to the GREAT need for us to continue to be open, honest and REAL about our experience and lessons learned. Not everyone wants to be an open book, but everyone I meet desires to feel loved, respected, accepted and valued for who they are and the diversity they bring. We choose to be their voice.

Therefore…

using humor, courage and a whole lot of LOVE, we SPEAK from our heart in an effort to motivate YOU to put the FUN back in LIFE and Relationships.

AND

THAT is why we DO what we DO.  

 

P.S.  To see where we speak NEXT, follow us on Facebook or visit us at LifesShortLessons.com

 

Restless Nights

Jeffery C. Olsen  Sunset

I’m a mom.  I’m a worrier.

Thus…

Restless Nights. 

Lately I have had a hard time sleeping, I stay up late, get up early and toss and turn in-between. After another restless night, I logged onto Facebook with the intent to share what was on my mind.  As I wiped the tears from my face, I let my feelings spew onto my Facebook wall…

“It is with great sadness that I write this. It’s been almost a year since my son and I did a video of what it was like growing up living in FEAR of telling your parents or telling anyone you are gay. FEAR of being rejected and contemplating suicide as the best and only answer so no one would know. Ever!

I have received hundreds of emails from gay young men from around the world who stumble upon our video and for the first time feel HOPE—hope that perhaps their parents would or could be as loving. 

AGAIN last night I received another long email from a young man pouring his heart out – his worries – his fears – his lack of feeling any self-worth and battling daily depression – fighting the hurtful things that are said in church and in his home, drilling the confusion and pain even deeper.

This young man is only 18 and feels taking his life would be best—he said his father made it CLEAR to him and his brothers a couple of years ago, when his cousin “came out”, that IF any of his sons were gay they would no longer be his son!  

He said, “I cried myself to sleep that night!”

This young man has chosen not to serve a mission, he is feeling the heat from his leaders and especially his mother. He is so fearful of telling them the REAL reason behind not wanting to serve a mission – so fearful that he just wants to end his life – feeling THAT would be the better option rather than have his parents know they have a gay son who is dying inside and has been battling depression most his life because of his inner battle.

His story mirrors TOO many young men I hear from—SERIOUSLY this has to STOP! CHILDREN deserve to feel loved especially from their parents. It broke my heart to know my husband and I had created a home where our own son lived in FEAR of telling us—fear of rejection. Our son was 24, THAT is what breaks my heart, NOT that he is gay.

One of the greatest desires of every child and human being is to feel LOVED, ACCEPTED and VALUED for who they are NOT “Tow the line OR be BOOTED out of the HOME” – THAT does NOT feel like love to anyone. God does not force us to keep His commandments—He lovingly guides us with LOVE unfeigned. Parents DO THE SAME!! 

I promise a GAY son (or daughter) is far BETTER than having a DEAD son (or daughter)! Any day.”

I really didn’t expect many people to read such a long Facebook post – It felt good  to get it off my chest.  I resumed responding to this young man’s plea,  praying he could not only feel my love, but  feel his Heavenly Father’s love.

The unexpected happened…

The response was positive, with over 90 shares.  This young man’s story had not only tugged at my heart, but was touching the heart of others including his own.  He told me he read every Facebook comment and was deeply touched by the love he felt from total strangers. It gave him HOPE to know people REALLY do care.

The yearning to feel his parents love and acceptance continues,  it’s a dream he unfortunately doesn’t anticipate happening for many years to come.  I pray he is wrong.

I continue to have restless nights worrying about “my boys”, the young men who reach out to me in desperation, who live in fear of rejection and  contemplating  suicide.

What can we do to help?

It’s simple,  love your children, your spouse, your co-workers, your peers, your neighbor your friends. Open your heart and mind to see people as people.  Everyone I meet desires to feel loved, safe, respected accepted and valued for who they are.  Create the space that feels safe to talk about feelings without feeling judged and rejected.   If they can feel your love, they can feel their Father in Heaven’s love.

This young man could be your son, your co-worker, your peer, your neighbor, your friend. Let people know YOU care.

Photo by Jeffery C. Olsen