Take care of yourself…

November 10, 2016

We live in a world where many people spend an inordinate amount of time and energy worrying about tomorrow – what the future will bring – instead of focusing upon today. Norestless sleep amount of analytical effort, no matter how “scientific” is it touted to be, will really allow you to predict the future and certainly nothing that you do while sitting and worrying about it will change the future. The only thing that you can do to have an impact on your future is take actions today that will change your personal impact on the world.

Will you do things that are outgoing and friendly today or will you withdraw and shut down attempts by others to interact with you? Will you be open and receptive to new ideas or closed-minded and set in your ways? Will you greet those who are different from you with an inclusive and friendly attitude or will you shun them and look the other way? Will you offer your help to those in need or pass them by like the right-and-wrongpriest and the Levite did the man whom the Samaritan helped? You have choices all day long, every day, between doing right or wrong, good or evil, something or nothing, helping or ignoring. All of those choices are much more important than spending time worrying about the future.

Rather than spend your time and energy worrying about things that might happen in the future; spend that same energy on things that you can make happen today.  This day and every day is a test of your faith. At the core of that faith is the phrase “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” If you believe that, how can you be worried? Just take care of what His will has in mind for you today and let the rest take care of itself.

To spend your time worrying about what might happen outside of what you can control in your own behavior is really spending time trying to understand or questioning the will ofman praying God that is occurring all round you. Both of those efforts are foolhardy and egotistical acts of defiance against the will of God. Perhaps, instead of worrying about other things; you should be praying, “God, help me to be all that you want me to be today.” You’ll end up being a happier and better person and the world around you will take care of itself and seem to be a better place, too.

Start each day with a little prayer,” Not my will but thy will be done.” Then, go out and make that happen.  Think about all of the good that would happen in the world if everyone started their day with that prayer. Now, that’s a movement worth joining.  Have a great day.

And then the sun came up…

November 9, 2016

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today.  It’s already tomorrow in Australia.”  (Charles Schulz) – from the post on Jack’s Winning Words on the day after the recent Presidential election.

The reactions to the U.S. election around the world ranged from the pollsters’ and pundits’ shock and disbelief to a general sense worry and fear. The stock markets of the world swooned and nervous governments everywhere when back to the drawing boards to try to figure outme what this will mean to them. Many went to bed not knowing the outcome; some did not go to bed at all. And then the sun came up.
The world did not end and will not end because of the election of Donald Trump to be President of the United States. The awesome power and responsibilities of that office seemed to sink-in to the President Elect a bit as he delivered his winning speech to supporters, pledging to be a President for all of the people and trying to reassure allies and adversaries around the world that he will act prudently and with restraint. He had been through a dark and brutal campaign for almost two years; and then the sun came up.

President Elect Trump’s campaign tapped into and aligned itself with the frustration and anger of the American electorate – a frustration with the gridlock and self-dealing of Washington politicians and the anger of feeling helpless as the world-wide economy shifted and took jobs with it to other countries. That anger and frustration sometimes turned very dark, but it also fueled a movement bent on change, no matter what the cost. Perhaps there will be real good come out of some of that change. Whatever the immediate future holds, there will always be a tomorrow and another opportunity to change again. A old saying tells us that it is always darkest before the dawn.  And then the sun came up.

For those with tears in their eyes and fears in their hearts who supported Secretary
Clinton, it is hard to see anything positive from the outcome; however, they must not lose faith in the basic goodness and principals upon which our country was founded. Whether
it veers slightly to the right or slightly to the left it continues to move forward as the greatest example of a free people ruling jesus-as-lightthemselves for their common good and the good of the world. We print the foundation of our beliefs as a people on our money – In God we Trust.

And then the Son comes up.

God bless America!

Don’t make everyone unhappy…

November 8, 2016

“Unfortunately sometimes one can’t do what one thinks is right without making someone else unhappy.”  (W.Somerset Maugham) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Maugham might have gone on to say that not doing what you know is right may end up making everyone unhappy. Have you ever known someone who tried to make everyone happy all the time and ended up just making everyone unhappy? Those are people who straddle the fence and refuse to take a side or make a decision for fear of making someone unhappy.

What this type of person doesn’t realize most of the time worriesis that their waffling actually satisfies no one and can make things worse. They have a tendency to say to both sides in any disagreement whatever it is that they think they want to hear. Both sides temporarily think they have the support of that person for their point of view, until there is a showdown and they realize that the waffler doesn’t really support either side. Then everyone is unhappy.

People who waffle all of the time can seldom make firm decisions on just about anything. turtleThey always have doubts and are torn by FUD – fear, uncertainty and doubt. Their real problem for most of these people is a lack of self-confidence. Since they don’t feel good about themselves, they can’t get comfortable with any of the decisions that they have to make. It is just easier for them to go along with whatever way the wind in blowing at the time and to agree with the position of whomever is standing in front of them.

Many of these people seem to be analytical types – people who tell themselves that they visualizationare looking at both sides of the argument and analyzing the arguments before making a decision. The problem is that they never get to the decision point. They spend all of their time analyzing and looking at both sides. There is certainly nothing wrong with being open minded enough to see both sides of an issue. After all the opposite is to become bull-headed andarrogant rigidly set in your beliefs, no matter how wrong they have proven to be.

The key for an analytical person is to set a deadline for them self to bring closure to the analysis and make a decision based upon the facts that they have in hand at the time. That’s hard for an analytical person, but necessary to avoid ticking off everyone. Being an analytical person myself, I find that stopping to make a little Franklin chart of the “facts” at hand helps. Sometimes that also forces the re-evaluation of whether a known “fact” is actually a fact at all or just a rumor or hearsay. Usually going through that little exercise makes the choice clear.

voteToday is Election Day in America and we all have to stop waffling and make a decision in the voting booth. About half of the country will not be happy at the end of the day. I can’t do anything about that. I have my little Franklin Chart done and have made my decision. Hopefully, tomorrow we can all at least be happy that this “Silly Season” is over. I can’t wait for ads about laxatives and erectile dysfunction to once again take over the diner time TV ads. I think we can agree on that.

Get out and vote!

Maybe God’s hands hold the contents of our heart, too.

November 7, 2016

Jack Freed featured this quote from Martin Luther in a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all; but, whatever I have placed in God’s hands, I still possess.” 

As I thought about that quote what is perhaps a corollary to it occurred to me – Many things have come and gone in my head; but the things that made it to my heart have stayed with me.

We have many possessions during our lives, most of which are lost over time; and we learn and remember many things as we journey through life the majority of which we eventually forget. It turns out that the really important and valuable things in life are not possessions gods-hands-3or facts, but rather have to do with highly personal and emotional feelings and memories that we keep tucked away in our hearts. Perhaps they are the things that we place in God’s hands, as Luther suggested.

After all, what better place could there be to entrust your feelings, your hopes, your loves, your sorrows and your joys than in god’s hands. We say that they reside in our hearts, but I suspect that the safe keeper of our most personal and innermost feelings – the ones that we say that we keep in our hearts – is really God.

When you think about it, most of the things that live in our hearts had the hand of God in them somehow. Whether they involved births, deaths, those we love, our marriages, wonderful events, tragedies, great successes or horrible failures; in all of those moments we called upon God, either to thank Him or ask for His help. Maybe, when he answered our call, he took a snapshot of the emotions of that moment and wrote it in our hearts for safekeeping. We can go back and recall those moments and those same emotions will well gods-hands-2up in our hearts again. Maybe that’s God saying to us, “Do you remember when we did this together?”

There’s that old familiar insurance company ad – You’re in Good hands with Allstate. I’d submit that your emotions and memories are in good hands with God. Let Him be the caretaker of the things that live forever in your heart. So, maybe Luther was saying the same thing in a slightly different way…those things that we put in God’s hands and let him write in our hearts, we will have forever. Think about it.

I wish I had…

November 5, 2016

From a post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog so time ago…

“We are always optimists when it comes to time; we think there will be time to do things with other people.  And time to say things to them.”  (Fredrik Backman)

I wish I had…” That is one of the most often heard lines at funerals. I wish I had said I sad looking manlove you. I wish I had said good bye. I wish I had spent more time with him/her. At those moments; when it’s too late, you realize that you let other; less important things in your life get in the way of what is the most important thing in life – interpersonal relationships.

Most of the things that we spend our time on in life have to do with objects, earning to buy them, procuring them or using them; however those inanimate objects are not capable of giving or returning love. They do not have feelings that need to be understood, nor can they return a hug. They consume our time without giving back. They demand our attention, without feelings or caring. They dictate our schedule without considering the consequences. They steal our time, if you let them. I wish I had…

mother and childrenSomewhere in the deepest recesses of our minds most of us have warm, fond memories of being in our mothers arms as a child. Many of us have strong memories of the passion and love that we shared with a significant other. Some have vivid memories of the birth of children and watching them grow up. Yet those memories got somehow pushed back in our minds due to the seeming urgency of or day to day lives. We always thought that there would be more time with mom or dad; one more Thanksgiving or Christmas; one more birthday party; one more opportunity to say I love you. I wish I had…

When our children were growing up and we had to work to pay for more objects or to prove
more for their futures. We told ourselves that we were sacrificing our time with them so that we could provide for them. We always thought that there would be father-daughter danceone more ball game, one more dance recital, and one more graduation to go to; but, then they were grown and gone. I wish I had…

And when that significant other than you took as your partner for life was young and vibrant along with you; you always thought that there was nothing that the two of you couldn’t do together and nowhere that you wouldn’t get to go together. Yet you found yourself spending less time together, as the demands of a career took over. Somewhere along the way both of you have slowed a bit, aged a bit and things have changed a bit in your relationship. Passion slowly gave way to old coouplecompanionship and fervor to comfort. Time seemed to speed up, but you always thought there would be more; more time to say I love you and more time to prove it.  I wish I had…

Don’t let life’s distractions steal all of your time. Tell the people in your life that you love them and show them that love by spending more of your precious time with them. Seeing your son’s ball game or your daughter’s dance recital is more important than staying late at the office to work on that report. Finding time to visit mom and dad is more rewarding than washing and waxing that new car you worked so hard to get. Taking time for a hug and a kiss with your significant other and telling him/her than you love them, is more hugimportant than getting into work early. By the end of the day, those opportunities may be gone forever. Of all of the thoughts that you could have today; don’t let one of them be – I wish I had…

Do the important things today…things with the people that you love and who love you. In the final analysis, those things that you do will mean more to you than the things that you own. In the end, it is better to say, I’m glad I did; than it is to say I wish I had…

Use your eraser…

November 4, 2016

From my favorite source for blog post inspirations, Jack’s Winning Words, comes this recent thought for the day – “Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.”  (Meister Eckhart)

Jack went on to write about God’s forgiving us our sins and allowing us to go on in life. One of the real points was our ability to admit errors and ask for forgiveness or forgive ourselves and move on with life. Jack had a link to a cute little poem that drives home the point about being able to start over or go on with life after a screw-up –  https://www.wattpad.com/290000064-poetry-to-guide-you-the-new-leaf

bored2I’ve posted here before about dealing with life’s setbacks or roadblocks and one key thing that may not have been said as well as Jack’s post puts it is the ability to erase it (put it behind you) and move on – to be given a new leaf or to give yourself a new leaf and not to dwell on your past failures or disappointments. Use your eraser.

Life gives you a big pencil with which to write your future. You can’t erase the things thatpencil-eraser have happened in the past. There is no real way to do what they do on the TV program Timeline and go back in time to make things different, so why waste a lot of time beating yourself up for your past mistakes. They happened and you don’t get a do-over. You do still have the opportunity to do-better in the future. Use your eraser.

Many people spend time in denial that the bad things in their lives actually happened. mistakreSome spend their time looking for scapegoats – someone else to blame those things on. Still others just can’t give themselves a break and make bad decisions worse by beating themselves up over and over again. A few get bogged down in a bad case of  the coulda, woudla, shoulda’s and can’t seem to get out. Use your eraser.

In the movie Forest Gump, a man approaches Forest during one of his cross country runs to ask about a saying for a T-shirt. The man steps in some dog doo and Forest comments, “Poop occurs”. The man turns that into “Shit Happens” and makes a fortune on T-shirt sales. Poop will occur in your life. Use your eraser.

Of course the eraser is a metaphor, but for what? For forgiveness of your sins (mistakes)man praying and the ability to go on, forgiven and renewed. Perhaps the best explanation for that metaphor is that God is the Great Eraser and prayer is the way you use it. If you honestly pray for forgiveness God will grant that to you and grant you the peace to go on with your life. Use your Eraser.

The good thing is that, like the eraser on the end of your pencil, God is always there in your life, waiting for you to call on him. Don’t ask him to change things – even he can’t go back in time and change what has happened. Ask instead for forgiveness and understanding and the strength to go on. Use your eraser!

Who would you invite into your house?

November 1, 2016

From the blog, Jack’s Winning Words, comes this little tidbit –   “Television is where you watch people in your living room that you would not want near your house.”  (Groucho Marx)

groucho-marxGroucho’s saying certainly rings true during this silly season of politics. If you believe all of the political ads that are being run on TV there’s not an honest, trustworthy politician running from either party. None of them are running many ads that focus upon what they might do if elected; however, all of them are warning us about the dangers of electing the scum bags that they are running against. If you believe one political attack add, you might as well believe them all.

Looking at the television and cable program line-ups; once you get past the news and a few game show hosts, there aren’t a lot characters in shows (especially in prime time) that you might want to invite into your home. I suppose that viewers get some pleasure out of seeing people in those shows who are more flawed than themselves; but, would you invite them in, if those characters showed up in person?

Jack asked a question at the end of his blog post – who’s a TV personality that you might want in your living room? I think Lester Holt, anchor the NBC Nightly News, might make an interesting guess or even Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy. Perhaps some of the personalities from the reality travel and adventure shows would also have interesting stories to share.

A sad variation on Groucho’s quote is also true for too many– Church is where you pray to a God that you do not allow near your house. For many the experience of going to church on Sunday is primarily a social gathering; a place to see and be seen and to chat with people that you see only once a week (if that often). It can be all too easy to leave whatever religious feeling that you get on Sunday at the church doors and not take that Christian Spirit home with you.

Sometimes Christ is not invited into the home, because it is inconvenient to consider the question, “What would Jesus do?” Sometimes the world that we live in becomes so loud and fast and all-consuming that we just don’t have time for God in our daily lives. We’ll wait and go to church on Sunday, because that is the day for worship – if, of course, therefemale soccer player isn’t soccer practice or a match that morning.

Perhaps you say, ”after soccer’s over, we’ll go to church” – “oh, wait, then hockey starts and Sunday morning is the time when they could get ice time for practice.”

When did Sunday morning become sports practice and game time? When did taking time to worship God become less important than sports practice and games? Are you more comfortable inviting the soccer or hockey coaches into your house than God? What are your children learning from what they see happening? Do they see God as an invited guest in your house?

If you go to church, why is it important to also invite God into your house? Think about it. Church services are a combination of social events and a structured worship experience. It is certainly possible to have a person experience with God during a church service; woman-prayinghowever, how much better and more intimate a setting for that experience is the comfort and quiet of your own house. It is there that you can have those meaningful, one-on-one experiences with God that shape your life and help you solve your problems.

So, take some time to turn off the TV and invite God into your house. You don’t have to do anything showy; just sit there quietly and have a talk with God. I think that you will find it more fascinating than a discussion with Lester Holt or Alex Trebek and certainly a lot more rewarding. God is waiting for your invitation.

Who are you inviting into your house?