What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Tired and yet not sleepy. Heart full and yet partially burdened. On my mind? My adaptation of 1 John 3…

Read it or don’t. I’m writing this for me. In fact – long or short – most of my posts and quotes are posted by me for me. If they add value to you – then that blesses me even more and brings me joy.

The question on my heart –


Whether or not you believe Jesus was God is not the question. The question is what does it truly mean to love one another. He lived – He loved.

That is documented.

If you love people – or want to be loved – then this post applies to you.


Jesus didn’t teach us to be the judge of one another, segregate ourselves like dissonant chords, or look down on people that don’t look or think the same way we do. You can’t build yourself up by simply propping yourself by standing on top of others. You can’t love one person or group of people at the expense of someone else. We’ve got one world. Harmony –> order –> peace –> unity.


Some people thought (and hoped) that Jesus came to lead a rebellion – to fight the government – to cause an uprising for one group against another. No. No He didn’t. He came to remind us of where we came from and how to get back there again. He came to remind us that we have a mission here to accomplish and that love never fails. It never gives up. He didn’t say “hey – love your one group and forget those other people.” No – he said if someone needs your coat give it to him, if you have never sinned then go ahead and cast a stone upon a sinner, pay your taxes, respect your leaders, live justly, if you thirst come to Him, believe in the way, truth and life, don’t bury your treasures, welcome people into your home and heart, ask and you receive, believe and you live, eat bread and drink of a cup as symbols of a broken body and shed blood – in Remembrance of the truest love ever known. Oh – and when you least expect anything – miracles happen. Daily.


His love is truly incomprehensible – higher than any mountains and obstacles we try to overcome. It’s stronger than any evil, negative, or discouraging situation that we face. We can’t love like that – but what’s the harm in trying to love better than we do right now?


All Jesus asked us to do was believe in Him and what He taught, to love God with ALL of our heart, soul and mind – and to love each other and to live a life worthy of living and that when we daily fail – it’s ok – because He came to save us from the evils of this world. Forever and ever.


Sometimes it truly baffles me that some people hate Him so much. Why? What He taught was solid and loving and good. I want to be more like Him. I want to see Him. I want to daily know Him more and be known by Him.

While you may believe in something different – I believe Christ was sent from God as His son, that He came to bring us closer to Him, that He lived a virtuous, loving and sin-free life, took my burdens and sins upon Himself, died a torturous death more vile than many will ever come close to experiencing – and He will come back again for ME – and for YOU. There is no greater love than that.


For those who already believe – those who may not know – or those who want to know…keep reading.

From the beginning – this is the teaching He taught: We MUST love each other.


So many people today are living like Cain. He is a guy who killed his brother. But why did he kill him? His brother was a good person. Cain was filled with darkness.

So many people today are filled with jealousy, negativity, tension, contemptuous attitudes, pride, hate and divisiveness. These things chip away at people. It’s destructive.

People who are hurting try to overcome that hurt by hurting other people. What’s the good that comes from that? Nothing.

If you don’t like living here – move. If you don’t like our leaders – vote (or run). If you don’t like your neighbor – pull the log out of your own eye long enough to see if who you really don’t like is who you see in the mirror.


If you want to make the world a better place – take a look at yourself and make a change (thank you M.J.)


Sometimes when you don’t co-sign with toxic people and their attitudes or poison – and they see you loving them anyway – they just can’t accept it. So, don’t be surprised when the people of this world hate you.


Seek them out anyway. Love anyway. Life here is short. Once we shed the skins of the world and realize that we have a mission here to love and to add value to people, and that it is not for our credit but for God’s glory – we can find a peace that is unexplainable.


This is serious stuff. Anyone who does not love is still in death.

Anyone who hates is like a murderer. Taking from people with nothing to gain but hurting someone. That’s no way to spend time here planning for Where we are going.


This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave HIS life for us. So we should give our lives for each other. Don’t get confused by this – it doesn’t mean to kill yourselves for someone.


Suppose a believer who is rich enough to have all the necessities (what you need) in life runs across a person who is poor and does not have even basic needs.

What if this rich person does not help the poor one? Is there a capacity for God’s love to reside in that person’s heart?

You may not be able to help everyone. But you can help someone. Even if that someone is your OWN SELF.


I have truly struggled lately with trying to understand why some people’s words don’t match their actions. That hurts me. In my reflection time I started to wonder if I am guilty of the same.

When I’m hurt – I’m sure I hurt–Others. I know I’m not nice or kind to every single person. I do not spend all 24 hours in day to the fullest service of my true purpose. I daily fail. Thankfully and mercifully I accept forgiveness and grace – undeserved and unearned. Just given – through love.

You have certainly heard the saying actions speak louder than words. This chapter (I believe) is where it comes from in the Bible. Love – real love – should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do.

That’s how we know we belong to the way of truth.


Don’t say you’re going to do something and then don’t. Don’t lead a person on to believe in you only to disappoint them or because you have selfish intentions or wrong motives. Don’t hold people hostage to you in your own negativity – even if it’s hard to let them go. Don’t be lazy. Take care of the people you are responsible to. Add value. That’s love.


How do you find quiet in the noise? Here’s where my peace came while reading this chapter. In verse 20 – it says that when our hearts make us feel guilty, we can still have peace before God, because God is greater than our hearts. He knows everything. For better or worse – the good, bad and ugly.


I spoil my kids. I give them just about anything they ask for. When they’re good and so precious to me I love giving to them. I also give myself to them when they are not at their best. They’re not perfect. Nor am I. But each day that I have – I want to be with them.

God knew us before we were formed. He knows everything we have ever done, ever will do and yet still unconditionally loves us. He is infinitely and abundantly more loving to us than we are to Him or to each other. He gives us more – far more – than we deserve or need.

He wants to be with us – FOREVER – and loves to give us what we ask for (when we don’t ask in selfishness). We receive it because we obey God’s commands and do what pleases Him.


God doesn’t command that we be perfect or nice every day or do everything right. He does command that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ, and that we love each other.

We are spirits. We came to this Earth to live in human bodies. We came from somewhere and will go somewhere. Energy cannot dissipate. It is all connected. We were created by God. He dwells within us. He gives us spiritual gifts – not to be squandered or hidden – but to be expressed by adding value to people, shining a light, and making Him known.


This world is broken. We are broken.

What the world needs is love – in a world of abundance – love is what there is just too little of.

Lord may I live with more intention and be more loving, seeking people to love and the while still loving the unlovely. Let Your love shine down brightly and abundantly to all who know you and all who seek to know. Thank you for loving me back. Amen.

24 hours of time

24 hours. What do we pack into it?

Do you ever stop to think that in each breath we take, we have the power to choose who we are and who we are becoming?

It may be in small moments such as a phone call, honoring someone else with our time, integrity in what we say, being fully present with and for ourselves (mindfulness) and the focus and care brought into normal, daily tasks.

Have you ever stopped to look around at the people who you choose to have in your life?

Do they deposit and add value to you? Or take away from you?

Do your relationships cause you to examine yourself, your life and your vision for yourself?

Do you spend time? Or invest it.

  • Do you know or recognize the difference?

Are you making yourself available to be stretched to go outside of comfort zone…by doing something BOLD with your life? Or are you wading through life.

Maybe this post resonates with you. I wrote it for me too. I fail tremendously – but my focus continues to sharpen on these questions and challenges for my life.

Lord – I want to live each moment with intention. Please let my faith be greater than a portion of a mustard seed. My prayer is to not let time pass without making a difference in this world. My hope is to not disappoint others – including myself. Please activate in me the full service of my purpose, removing any doubts, questions, or fears. Thank You for goodness, grace, guidance and Your abundant generosity in my life.

Stop – or maybe just think differently.

It’s easy to get discouraged, bored, frustrated.

Have you ever started something and not finished it?

I had a manager I really loved and respected many years ago who once told me – “Denise – you’re a great starter…” it was the “…” that impacted me the most.

At that time in my career – I was an innovator, idea generator, a sprinter.

I wanted to start – but had a hard time finishing.

I wasn’t in for the marathon.

It has been a very conscious and intentional journey for me to be a good finisher.

It’s not my greatest strength.

Why don’t some of us finish?

The excitement is gone, maybe we get a better idea, a distraction prevents us from seeing the finish line, or it’s just too plain exhausting to finish something complicated.

Changing is different than stopping.

For me – I learned that if I don’t fully complete what I started – that changing or adapting or elevating what I started – is different than stopping.

Maybe you have started something and now questioning if you should stop.

Think about why you started.

Maybe you will get a new perspective on how to finish well.

Need a coach to help you be a good finisher? Contact me here and explore the benefits of coaching.

Lessons from my father

I have a lot to say about my daddy.

Those of you that know him – know him (whether good, bad or indifferent)

I’d do anything for him or my mom Angie. Anything. Period. Anything.

I don’t ever take for granted that I only live a few minutes from them and if I had it my way it would be even closer. I also am thankful that I get to talk to my parents every single day – sometimes multiple times a day. It’s best when I can see them face to face. Even for a few minutes.

What is the most important thing my dad every taught me?

There’s more than a few things:

  • Serve people well and they will spend money with you
  • Always go above and beyond. It’s what’s the minimum to be successful
  • Being on time is being late – always be early
  • Sometimes you have to just be quiet and get your check – even when you don’t want to (be quiet that is)
  • Always stand up for yourself – don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and need. If you do a good job – it will already show
  • Don’t take crap from anyone (except him I guess haha and he would not have said “crap”)
  • Being a strong negotiator is like a game – plan to win (my dad could have written a book like winning friends and influencing people. He’s somehow simply brilliant at it. He knows absolutely everyone)
  • You don’t always have to use a lot of words to get your point across
  • Get more than you pay for and give more than you’re paid
  • The Yankees are the best ever no matter what
  • Sun is wayyyy better than snow
  • Don’t just look at the outside of a house (deep actually)
  • Make sure you know where the gas and oil gauges are in the car
  • Be a defensive driver
  • As long as you water your plants – they’ll grow
  • Do what you enjoy – every day (he does)
  • Always put your family first – no matter what – you’re all you really have
  • Provide for your family (that’s what dad has done best)

My dad. I love him. Have seen a lot with him and mom for almost half a century.

I’m his little girl – he still treats me that way – and I hope we have many many many more years to spend together.

Young Activist Featured for Global Service

Young volunteer has stepped up for her community

By Lori Carter

May 17, 2018

Olivia Russo-Hood of Deltona puts her best foot forward.

Olivia, a 16-year-old sophomore at University High School, was recently recognized for her volunteer work as a Distinguished Finalist for the 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. She received an engraved bronze medallion.

“I just can’t stop smiling. It makes me feel really happy,” Olivia said. “I’m honored to have received the award. It’s impacted me more. It’s kind of like a milestone for me – for all the people I’ve helped.”

Nearly 30,000 young people across the U.S. participated in the volunteer recognition program, which has been around for 23 years.

The selection process was based on personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.

Olivia, nominated by the Four Townes Family YMCA, is the founder of Save the Earth Projects, which includes the group’s main project that collected more than 37,000 pairs of shoes given to those in need to include people in third world counties, the islands and US.

“It all started in 2010,” she said. “There was a flood destroying my house. Through it, a lot of people came out and volunteered, giving us clothes, cleaning the house. All of those people affected me in a certain way.”

Once the family settled into an apartment, Olivia said she wanted to do something, so she went to her mother, Denise.

“My mom is a great activist, giving back to people, community service things,” she said. “I think that’s where I get it from being in an environment like that.”

Olivia said she decided to collect slightly used or new shoes for those in need and did so locally for a period of time. Then her mother somehow connected with a woman from Shoebox Recycling.

“’When does she get off work?’” is what my mother told me of the conversation. “She told her I got out at 4. I was talking to the lady for hours. She realized I was 8 years old and I wanted to help my community. We were able to make it into one larger partnership.”

Other programs under the Save the Earth Projects umbrella, include Leave a GOOD Footprint, S.T.E.P. Outside the Box and S.T.E.P. Up to the Plate. The latter was something her brother, Vincent, started because of global hunger and childhood obesity. His main focus promoted community gardens, healthy eating and healthy living.

“It makes me feel joy,” she said of her work to help others, “It’s undescribable. It’s heartwarming. It fills in holes in my heart that I didn’t know I had before. It’s amazing. I love doing it.

“These projects would not be possible without the help of people in the community,” she said. “It’s not just me doing it. It’s the community coming together and acting as one.”

For more information, go to savetheearthprojects.com.