See the Beauty

Are you seeing the beauty in your life?  Look around you.  Sometimes you have to look above the clouds.  It’s there…open your senses. 

Sometimes the clouds block our vision.  When things are gloomy, take the time to look and really see, the things you have to be grateful for in your life.  They are there.  YOU have to take action.

“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action”—W.J. Cameron

North shore

Thanksgiving is about giving and being thankful.  This month, take time to be grateful.  See, listen, hear, taste, touch, feel, and smell.  Don’t complain.  Give up the negative thinking.  Enjoy what is right here, right now, and say “Thank you.”

Martin-Luther-King-Jr.jpg (1200×815)

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King wrote, in a 1956 sermon in Montgomery, Alabama, that “love is the most durable power in the world.”  He believed in “always avoiding violence.”  “If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.”    He advocated for “using only the weapon of love.”

In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with hateful and angry comments; criticism and judgment.  They are being spread in all forms of media and personal conversations.  What is legacy we are leaving our children? 

If we want peace, we need to be peaceful.  If we want love, we need to be loving.  If we want change, we need to be the change. 

As Mahtma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  


“Don’t die with your music still inside.  Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul.”  —  Wayne Dyer

Heart music

What is YOUR music?  Do you have an intuitive inner voice and passion that stirs your soul? What were you meant to do or dreamed of doing?  What are you passionate about?  What comes natural to you?  Why are you not following your inner voice?  Have you taken time to listen to that inner voice?

Are excuses holding you back?  Many of those excuses come from years of hearing them from others and telling yourself those same excuses.  Why are you believing them as fact and letting them control your life?  Ask yourself if those excuses are even true?  Did you pick up some beliefs over the years and are letting them hold you back?  You need to take responsibility for achieving your dreams. 

What excuses are you using? 

Are you blaming others?  Why are you giving others your power?  Where is that getting you?  It is a waste of your energy and your dreams. 

It is too difficult.  You have no idea if this excuse is even true.  Look for opportunities in your path and move.  If you go into it looking for the obstacles, you will find obstacles and overlook the opportunities.

I can’t afford it?  Have you tried?  Look for options.  Do what you can and keep your eyes open.  Do not let others tell you that it is too difficult and you cannot afford it.  Do they really know the truth?  

No one will help me.  Have you asked for help?  Actively look for those interested in helping. 

I am not smart enough.  Who tells you  that?  You?  Then stop it; it is an excuse not a fact.  It takes different types of intelligence for different passions.  When you are doing something you are passionate about, it just comes naturally for you.  

I am afraid and need a safety net.  Then set up the safety net but start moving forward.  Don’t use this as an excuse to not move at all.  The common saying is “one step at a time.”

I am too busy and don’t have the energy.  It is amazing how we can find the energy when we start doing something we love.  Make the time.  Stop spending so much time on ruminating about things that are not productive, untrue, and are holding you back.  Get out of the past and the future; this is where depression and anxiety lie.  Get into the present and MOVE!

Where did your beliefs and excuses come from…your past?  Are they even true today or have you just convinced yourself they are true?  Why are you keeping them?  What is their value?  Are these beliefs just holding you back?  What would your life look like if you let them go?  Can you change?  Of course you can change!  You can always change yourself, it is others you cannot change.  This leaves you with the big question: Are you willing?

Become conscious every moment about the excuses you are telling yourself.  Learn to let them go and find your passion in this moment. This will lead you to your music!

Kathi Ackerman, MSW, LGSW, LADC


Two Kings 2

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is about.” 

— Angela Schwindt

Many years ago, my oldest son was one of the three kings in the Christmas play.  He came on the stage, fearless, with one of the other kings.  They both looked around to see that there was still only two kings.  The audience was amused as the two looked for their missing classmate.  The two kings continued on with their lines as a teacher coaxed the third king onto the stage.  The audience laughed but the two kings didn’t care; the show just went on.  I watched on with pride and tears in my eyes (I always cry at my kids’ school performances); the kings did not care what others thought, they were proudly reciting their lines.  It was Christmas and they loved everything about it!

Children excitedly wave to their parents from the stage.  They dress up in colorful, cute costumes.  (I remember one year my son had to wear construction paper elf ears.  He is now 31 and it is still a great memory we enjoy.) The children happily sing at the top of their lungs.  Then only a few short years later, you are dragging them to their school concert and they are begging you to call and tell the school they are sick.

The enthusiasm and excitement of young children at Christmas!  When did WE lose it?  Why did we lose it?

Have you lost your holiday spirit?  Get out and watch some children today, we can learn a lot about how to enjoy life!! 

Kathi Ackerman, MSW, LGSW, LADC



“The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”   —  Lao Tzu

Are you overwhelmed?  Does your world or the rest of the world seem out of control?  Do you feel like there is nothing you can do to make a difference? 

STOP!  DO NOT give way to fear and old excuses!  Your past experiences are to be used for learning, not for making up excuses.  Get out of the future and stop getting overwhelmed by the amount of work needed to get there.  You only have the present.  Focus!  Start by just taking one step; one step at a time. 

That project you have been avoiding??  Do just one thing on it, right now. 

The world problems that you have been complaining about??  Help just one person, right now.

Stop giving in to fear that allows you to procrastinate.  Start by moving one step and then figure out the next step.  You can only live moment by moment so stop wasting time, get excited, and see where those steps will take you. 

Bridge Closed

‘’”When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”    —  Victor Frankl

When the situation around us seems challenging and we don’t know what to do; maybe we should look within ourselves. 

We cannot change others, they must change themselves.  Forcing them to think or do what we want will only cause later anger and resentment. 

We CAN change ourselves.  What can we do to help the situation?  Are we just adding to the conflict or are we part of the solution?  Are we just complaining or are we helping?  Are we just handing out empty words and no positive action?

Showing unconditional love, kindness, empathy, forgiveness, respect, and acceptance can go a long way to positively changing yourself.  This change will have a positive impact on others around you and will spread.

Martin Luther King wrote about not trying to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding.  He believed that at the center of action must be love.

This holiday season, lets all work on making our own change to impact our world!  Make a change, be the change!

“I am only one; but still I am one.

I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.

I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

–Helen Keller


Minnesota D.A.R.E. is a children’s organization whose mission to to advocate and educate for the safety and well-being of ALL children. 


Photo:  Mendota Heights Police Department

We don’t always get to see the positive things our law enforcement do everyday.  Our Minnesota DARE officers give a piece of their hearts to the students they instruct.  I want to share with you, over some of my next few posts, some of the letters, essays, and poems I have received from Minnesota  officers over the years.

The following poem was written by Willmar DARE Officer and Sgt. Julie Asmus.  She read this poem to her students and their DARE graduations. 

Officer Asmus was one of our first DARE Officers and recently retired.  She continues to serve as one of our DARE training mentors, instructing our new DARE officers.

I Taught Them

How much of what I teach

Will they really remember?

When peer pressure is heavy,

And they’re trying hard not to surrender.

Did I answer their questions,

In an adequate way?

Give information to support them,

In their decisions some day.

We talked about risks

And did skits and role playing.

I’m never taking drugs,

Is what they were saying!

It’s not about just saying no,

But about learning to care,

About themselves and others,

In this world that we share.

As I reflect back,

On our time together,

I know I’ve given them something,

They will use forever.

It’s hard to say goodbye,

But they know I’ll always care.

And I know they’ll make the right choices,

Because I taught them D.A.R.E.

–DARE Officer Julie Asmus

Willmar Police Department