Be happy. Let your light shine today…

November 30, 2018

In a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack shared this saying from Buddha –

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” 

If you start each day by getting yourself in the right frame of mind – a happy frame of mind, why nor share that with those that you meet. You can be the candle from single candlewhich a thousand other people light their candle and it will not diminish you own happiness one bit. In fact, if you pay attention to the happiness that you might bring to others that will make you even happier.

I have a friend who bills himself as a “Happiness Coach”. Who knew that you needed a coach for happiness? Like many other things in our busy, high-tech, day to day lives; I guess happiness can get lost in the rush towards whatever it is that we think we are pursuing. For most that involves their job and success at work. The focus and intensity that many put on their job and being successful through hard work there definitely can detract from family and other elements of their life, often to the detriment of their happiness.

this-is-meIt is important to realize that happiness in life is not obtained by success at work or the accumulation of money and possessions. Happiness starts with being happy with being you and then extends outward to the joys of sharing that happiness with others. If you cannot get comfortable and happy with who you are as a person, you will be unable to interact with others in a way that makes you and them happier. You must first be able to say, “I like me” before you can say “I like you” to someone else.

Perhaps that is what my friend the Happiness Coach does with the people that he works with. He must first get them to light their own candle of happiness with themselves, before they can go out in the world to share that light and make others happy, too. I’m sure that he also advises them on how to share their happiness with those around them, especially their spruces and families.

A key component of becoming happy with yourself is to stop beating yourself up, to forgive yourself for any past failures or faults. The best way that I know to accomplish that is to get right with God first. If you establish a strong belief in God then you accept that God forgives you all of your sins and faults, and accepts you the way that you are. Once you accept His forgiveness it is easier to forgive yourself and move on. You can tell the coach to put you in the game. You will have lit your candle woman-prayingand now you can focus on sharing your light with others.

Perhaps you could get yourself in that happy state of mind by starting each day with a little prayer time, to reestablish your link to God. There’s a cute little song that you might have learned in Sunday School that starts the words “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” Be the candle from which others draw their light.

Don’t worry…be happy! Get right with God. Get right with yourself. Let your light shine today.

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Change the world one person at a time…

November 27, 2018

In today’s post to his blog Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed uses this quote –

“Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.”  (Quoted by Brittany Trout)

During the holiday season many people become a little more generous and drop money into a red Salvation Army kettle or perhaps donate to some other worthy cause. It makes them feel good about themselves and they know that it will help someone, somewhere.

homeless-beggarThe truth is that there is need all the time all around us and we have opportunities every day to help someone and perhaps change their world. Perhaps it is cynicism or fear that prevents us from stopping to help the homeless man on the street corner begging for enough to but a meal or maybe to provide one for his family.  Maybe we feel that we are too busy doing things that are “important” to us to bother with stopping to talk to the lonely elderly women that we sitting in the man rushingretirement home window. We don’t have time to be bothered trying to discuss their issues with the distraught and depressed neighbor that we wave to in the yard. Yet, each of those encounters represent an opportunity for us to change the world for that person.

Sometimes it takes money to help; but, many times it just takes your presence and your time to make a difference in that other person’s life. Maybe you can’t volunteer builderafford to buy a house for someone, but you could afford the time to work on a house for someone on a Habitat for Humanity project. Maybe you can’t take in the homeless man on the corner, but you could volunteer with the group Home for the Homeless to find him a place to stay. Or, perhaps you could volunteer to spend time at a local retirement home reading to the residents or just visiting with them.

If we have nothing else to give, we have our time. How we use that time to the benefit of others can change the world one person at a time. We see stories on the nightly newsfacing the wall 2 every so often about the ex-soldier with PTSD or the ex-addict or the ex-homeless person who was helped by someone and who now runs a shelter or charity organization that is helping others. That person’s life was changed by an act of kindness by someone else and it changed their world from one of hopelessness and despair into a world of fulfilling accomplishment and self-worth through service to others. Now they are changing the world, one more person at a time.

being kind 1Try it. Stop and help someone today. You might like it. YOU can change the world for someone today!


Don’t just sit there…build your door

November 26, 2018

To start the week off Jack Freed used this little quote in his Jack’s Winning Words blog – “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”  (Seneca)

Jack went on to write that he keeps a little slogan posted right by his computer – Get tough…Get off your duff!  It means, Get going and build that door! 

Too many of us spend our time lamenting that opportunity has passed us by or that it didn’t come knocking at our door. It is possible that it knocked and that we didn’t hear it, dancingbut it is more likely that we haven’t positioned ourselves to take advantage of it.  H. Jackson Brown, Jr. put it this way – “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.” Brown was pointing out that we need to be working at it, building that door, in order for opportunity to present itself. I also like this piece of advice about that dance with opportunity from Wayne Dyer – “When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” 

A big part of being prepared to jump on opportunity is believing. Gail Devers said this, “Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for thosewoman-praying who believe.” A great way to start each day is to reaffirm your faith in God and in His hand in your success. That pause to be in contact with God and reaffirm your faith will allow you to take the all-important first step on your journey to success. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it this way – “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Taking that first step also means overcoming the inertia of procrastination and worry. As Joseph B. Wirthlin put it – “Sometimes we make the process more complicated than we need to. We will never make a journey of a thousand miles by fretting about how leap of faithlong it will take or how hard it will be. We make the journey by taking each day step by step and then repeating it again and again until we reach our destination.”

So, get off your duff and build your door. The opportunity for success lies on the other side if you just take that first step.

Have a great week ahead!


What do you see in beauty?

November 20, 2018

Today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog begins with this quote – “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread.”  (John Muir)

Among the words that Jack always adds to the quote of the day was this sentence – A hungry man, with little money, used it to buy a loaf of bread and a rose. Why do you suppose the man wanted in the rose? He needed the bread to live, but he needed the rose to be alive. I think he saw the face of God in the beauty of the Rose.

What do you see when you see something beautiful? Do you see the hand of God at work, creating that beauty for you to enjoy? Look for beautiful things today and see if you can see Him as you admire whatever it is.

As we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday let’s pause to give thanks to God for all of the beauty that he surrounds us with. These are things that we do not have to wait until Black Friday to enjoy and best of all they are free. If you pause to give these things more than just a glance, you might look deep enough into them to see God smiling back at you.

Have a safe and beautiful day as you travel for the Holidays!


No strings attached…

November 19, 2018

From today’s installment of the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this –

“You are being manipulated.  You are the puppet.  They are the puppeteers.”  (Thomas Paine)

Jack used the popular kids show The Muppets to ask if you would rather be one of the characters or Jim Henson, the puppeteer behind a few of them.

One point that Jack was making in his post is the fact that we are both being manipulated puppetand being manipulative in our daily lives. We often hear the phrase, “He/she knows how to push my buttons.” That is just another way of saying that we are being manipulated by a puppeteer.

Advertisers consider themselves to be master puppeteers. They pull on the strings or push the buttons that they think will convince us to buy their products and services… and they are good at it. Advertisers have created whole new classes of personal or health problems that we never even considered and then provided us with the solutions to those problems with the catch phrase, “Ask your doctor about…”

Politicians are master puppeteers, too. For the most part, they have settled on the fear approach to getting their messages across. The recent spate of political ads were designed to strike fear in the minds of the viewer if, heaven forbid, the other guy/gal ever got elected. Our families would not be safe, our healthcare would be gone and the debaterscountry would go to pot (in some cases literally), if those scoundrels made it into office. The non-fear messages were just about as ridiculous – “elect me and I will go to Washington and single-handedly solve all of the problems.”

But, what about us? Do we act as puppeteers with those around us or are we being manipulated? Have you used the phrase, “She has me wound around her little finger?” You could be talking about a child, a girl friend or a wife. In abusive relationships one partner uses physical threats and actions to manipulate the other. Sometimes we useabusived wife deceptive behavior at work to gain an advantage or to “butter up” the boss. Maybe you are the boss and are allowing office flirting to influence your decisions. Are you acting as the puppeteer or being manipulated like a puppet?

Many have developed a healthy skepticism about ads on TV or elsewhere and most are too aware of the dangers to fall for the old scams that promise “you just won a million dollars, it you send us $1,000 to handle the processing of the award”.  I doubt that you’d be manipulated by the email that starts out, “Your grandson has been arrested in Abu Dahbi and needs you to bail him out.” Still, we feel the pulls on or heartstrings when the ASPCA ads for the abused little animals are shown and maybe we do pull out the checkbook and write a small donation for that.

The point of Jack’s post was that we should be more aware of the situations in life where someone is trying to manipulate us, or where we find ourselves trying to manipulate someone else. We would certainly prefer to be in the role of puppeteer than to be dangling on strings while someone else is in control of our emotions or actions. It is important; however, that we also realize when we are in a situation where we are manipulating someone else. We may think it is “for their own good”; however, any timethinking hard that we choose the role pf puppeteer we are being manipulative and really doing it for our own good, not theirs.

Keep in mind that the choice that you think you would make in that situation is made from your own perspective. They see things from a different perspective, one that may not allow them to see all of the alternatives and potential consequences. The better way for you to help is to try to help that person see the alternatives and consequences of their decision to allow them make the best decision for themselves in whatever choice they are facing. Anything beyond that is just being manipulative. Cut the strings. Don’t be a puppeteer, be a friend instead.

danceAs you go through the days ahead, see if you can identify those situations in which someone is trying to manipulate you or the times in which you find yourself trying to manipulate someone else. Just being aware in both cases will make you a better person, companion and friend, because you have chosen not to be manipulated and not to try to manipulate others. Let others dance to the puppeteers pulls on their strings. You have no strings attached and dance to your own tune.


Where are you headed?

November 7, 2018

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog this saying attributed to Buddha is used – “If you do not change direction, you may wind up where you are heading.” 

Renowned philosopher Yogi Berra had a different take on life’s direction – “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” 

Both quotes speak to the need for one to make decision’s in their life about the direction that they are headed in. Yogi’s point is that you shouldn’t just drift along in life and see where it takes you. Buddha is saying that you are in control of where you end up through new-way-forwardthe decisions that you make.

Yesterday’s election was labeled Decision 2018 by many of the network news organizations and the results of the elections saw the country make a conscious decision to change direction in Washington, at least in the House of Representatives and in many state houses, too.

Every now and then, everyone needs to pause and reflect on where they are headed and whether they need to or want to change direction. That moment of self-reflection can begin with the simple question, “Am I happy with my life?” Answering that simple question will not only force you to think about your current situation, but also about the direction in which you are headed. The questions, “If not, why not?” and “What do I need to change to be happy?” will come quickly to mind. If the answer to that initial question boredis yes, then give some thought to what it will take to maintain or even increase that happiness. In either case, the answers that you come up with will provide some new directions for you to pursue.

Remember that happiness in life is not a destination, but a journey; that journey may often require course corrections to get you back headed in the right direction. Where are you headed? What changes might you need to make to get closer to that goal today? Where do you look for help and direction? Ancient mariners learned to look to the heavens to find their directions. You, too, can look to Heaven for directions to get back on course. Pausing to woman-prayingstart each day with a prayer can help you reset your compass and get you started in the direction of happiness and contentment. I’ve found that the simple prayer, “Lord help me make good decisions today” helps me get off to a good start each day.

What is guiding your life? You can find the best guide through prayer.


Choose to vote…

November 5, 2018

The quote on the Jack’s Winning Words blog today is “Your life is the result of your choices.  What will you choose today for your tomorrows?  (Robert Allen)

Jack used that quote to talk about voting or at least not whining about the results if you don’t vote and you don’t like the outcome.

While we may not agree on anything else about this election, I think all of us can agree that we’ll be glad when it’s over and those obnoxious political commercial cease ruling (and ruining) the airways. If the ads are to be believed, we have choices between the debaterssleaze-bags and the dirt-bags; between fanatical, bigoted storm troopers on one side and Communist sympathizers on the other; between those who would stand by and watch your sick child die and those who would steal the future from that same child. The party colors may be blue and red, but the political contrasts stand out in stark black and white. The only reaching across the aisle being done here is to reach out in anger for the throats of the opponents.

Lost in all of the rancor and bombast is the welfare of the people of the country. Taking care of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure or providing for the health and welfare of those less fortunate and in need takes a seat at the absolute back of the political buses of both parties, which are focused almost solely on gaining or maintaining political power. Of course, both sides claim to be protecting America from the ravages of the other side’s radical politics.

Still, if you listen carefully, there are a few voices of reason out there among the candidates that give us hope. Sure, they are running under the banners of one party or the other; candidates have to do that to have any chance at all in our political system. voteHowever, some of these more reasonable candidates have expressed their independence from the platforms and leadership of the party under whose banner they are running. They have shown that they are more in tune with the needs and desires of their constituents than the just being toadies to the party line. In itself, that is enough reason to get out and vote on Tuesday. Make the choice about your tomorrows by voting on Tuesday.