When I began my tenure as publisher of The Connect magazine several years ago, my biggest challenge—or so I thought at the time—was to get advertising agencies to pay more attention to the ideas and vision entrusted to my care. I never considered a fundamental question: Why did a magazine of excellence, faith, and reporting inspiring stories need to serve as a sales medium between advertisers and readers; why should advertising be our principal means of support? Not that I didn’t want advertising or have respect for our advertisers, some of whom were genuinely civic-minded. In 2016, we are making a dedicated effort to improve our editorial content and the stories we choose to feature in The Connect Magazine.

For a story to make it into the magazine, it must fall in line with Excellence and overall focus on a balanced lifestyle. We have four pillars that guide us through our decision-making process. We feel that if you are healthy physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially, you are living a well-balanced life. I must admit, this movement has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been a part of. With that being said, it has allowed me to have a stronger relationship with God. I challenge you guys to give more this year. To find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.

Giving takes you out of yourself and allows you to expand beyond earthly limitations. True joy lies in the act of giving without an expectation of receiving something in return. If you find yourself feeling unhappy, try making someone else happy and see what happens. If you’re feeling empty and unfulfilled, try doing some meaningful and worthwhile work and see how you feel. Try to smile more, laugh more, hug more, listen more, help more and be intentional with your walk of faith. If 2015 didn’t go the way you planned it, please stop right now and pray for guidance.

Matthew 7:7

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you…”

Take a strong look at your support system. When you are exposed to negativity by another person, it can quickly take hold and spiral out of control affecting you on every level (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically) until you consciously begin to interject more positivity into your life. Focusing on the negative or perpetuating it by being around negative and toxic people does not serve our spirits. Our spirits long for happiness, peace, and contentment. They do not thrive on the disempowering emotions of anger, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, and the like. If you want to achieve happiness, better health, stronger relationships, and continued success, you may not have to look any further than the mirror. “The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.”