Strengthen your bones…

March 20, 2019

A recent post to my favorite source of inspiration, the Jack’s Winning Words blog,  had this quote – “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” – Reba McEntire

While not real anatomical parts of our bodies, all three of these “bones” are important to leading a happy life.

Your wishbone is where hopes and dreams come from and everyone needs to aspire to accomplish things. It is in working towards those dreams that we accomplished thingsVR2 and experience successes. Wishes, hopes and dreams may start as rather nebulous ideas, but in the fleshing out of those vague thoughts comes our life plans. We set timetables and establish goals along the way. We figure out different paths to achieve those goals and we deal with the setbacks that may occur and we pursue them. Beyond all of that for this life; through our faith, we hold onto the hope for the better life to come.

Your backbone is the resolve that you muster each day or for the day’s happenstances to preserver and find a way through or out of the situation and continue pursuing your predjuicesgoals. It is also the nerve and bravery that you need to stand on your beliefs and principals in the face of adversity or setbacks. Your backbone holds you up when life tries to beat you down. Sometimes we need to strengthen our backbone, our resolve to go on, and that can be done through prayer, where we ask for strength from God to see us through. Our faith works to strengthen our backbones.

Finally, we all need a sense of humor or a funny bone in our lives. Life can get very serious and it is easy to let it get us down, unless we can find ways to laugh in the face of adversity and fear. I’ve posted here a few times about not taking yourself or life soSnoopy joy seriously. Laughter is a release for your soul from the things that would weight it down. Sometimes seeing the humor in even a bad situation makes the difference between being able to deal with it and letting it overwhelm you. Sometimes you have to force humor back into your life, because things seem so bad. Keep a couple of quick links to YouTube videos your favorite comedy routines. That way you can go watch them and they will probably do the trick to light you up a bit.

Like many other important parts of your overall health, these three aspects work best when they are strengthened through regular exercise. Keep these important bones in your body in good shape by regularly dreaming, hoping and wishing; plus standing up for what you believe is right; and, finally, by laughing regularly at yourself and the things that happen in life. Life will feel a lot better and success will come your way.

 

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How will things turn out for you?

March 19, 2019

The Jack’s Winning Words blog today shared this bit of wisdom  “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”  (Art Linkletter) Jack went on to write a little bit about Art Linkletter’s life, which turned out OK for him.

How about you? Are you able to make the best of what comes you way in life or do you rail against history? Different people react differently to the twists and turns that life blowhardthrows at them. Some refuse to accept that something has happened or is happening. Strangely, some confuse belief with facts and many have even bought into the concept of “alternative facts” or the thought that “the truth is not the truth”. These people stand outside on a cold winter day and ask, “What ever happened to global warming? We could use some of that warming right now.”  For those confused people ignorance is temporary bliss; however, in the end, it is still ignorance.

Others let life’s downs overwhelm them and slip into bouts of depression. They are unable to see any way to make the best of what has happened and most have no facing the wall 2foundation of faith upon which to base their reaction to events in their lives. For many it is that inability to see a way OUT of the situation that is the key hang up. They are looking for the wrong thing. What they need to focus upon is a way THRU the events that have happened or which are happening – a way forward in life. That “no way out” mentality leads to suicides as an answer. There is always a better answer.

Those who profess to be “people of faith” turn to God for help getting through the things that life throws their way. Some may initially ask God to change history, to make some incident or pain go away. They know in the back of their minds that this is not the way God works in our lives. Eventually they ask for God’s help in the right way, praying for gods-hands-2the strength to get through the events and the continued faith to believe that things will turn out for the best. God shows them the way through the events and leads them out of the dungeon of depression.

So, how will things turn out for you? Do you fight against history or find a way to make the best of how things have turned out. Do you waste time asking, “Why me, God?’ or “How could you let this happen to me, God?”; or, do you find the strength of faith to say, “Thy will be done” and move on with life? You can’t change history (or the facts), but you can waste a lot of time and energy wallowing in self-pity or refusing to accept what has happened and dealing with it in a way that allows you to move forward. Maybe the best that you can make of the decisionssituation is just to learn from it, so that you don’t make the same mistake again. That’s something. That’s positive. That’s making the best of it.

How will things turn out for you? It all depends upon how you react and what you make of the situation. What’s your choice?


So just do it, now…

March 18, 2019

I save quotes from the Jack’s Winning Words blog because I think I’ll someday use them to inspire a post here. That was the case with today’s quote – “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.”  (Chinese Proverb)

Every now and then something that we meant to do just gets left behind and forgotten. We get busy with other things or other people and leave projects unfinished or let old friends drift away. I saw a recent episode of Chasing Classic Cars in which a man was selling a 1978 Datsun 280 Z that he had parked in his garage 40 years earlier. He had purchased the car and put about 2,000 miles on it during the summer months. He had some small problems with it, so he parked it in the fall with the intention of getting it out in the spring and make the needed repairs. Some 40 years later, the car still sat exactly where he had parked it and now he had decided that he was probably never going to get around to those repairs and it was time to sell.

Life is full of little stories like that, which usually use the words coulda, woulda, shoulda somewhere in the telling.

You have old friends that you used to be very close with, but life got in the way and now talking-2it’s been years since you’ve talked. You had a favorite bar or restaurant that you used to hang out in, but you started trying new things and it’s been a long time since you visited your old haunt. Maybe you promised your mom that you’d come visit her regularly in the retirement home, but with the kids school activities and other things putting demands upon you, you just didn’t get the time.

Maybe it’s not an old thing that has been forgotten but a dream that was never pursued. Perhaps you always meant to get back to school and finish up that degree, but family came along and there was always a reason to put it off. Maybe it was that sport that you hoped to take up or that hobby that you always wanted to pursue. Perhaps it was that person that you always wanted to meet or ask out, but were to shy to approach.

Whatever the unfinished things are that sit in the back of your mind and nag at you every now and then, the time is now. The tomorrows that you promised yourself youlife-choices would use to do those things eventually run out. Stop putting things off and just do them. Realize that it’s not that you don’t have the time, it’s that you aren’t using that time that you have to do the things that you want to do. You are letting the living of your life get in the way of the life that you’d like to be living. Take back control of your life and do the things that you’ve been putting off.

So, get that old dream out of your mental garage, dust it off and make it happen. Rekindle old relationships and fulfill old obligations. Do the things that you coulda, woulda and shoulda been doing.

It’s a great time to plant that tree today!


Who holds your future?

March 14, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “Positive thinking is not about expecting the best to happen every time, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for that moment.”  (Lori Schneider)  This is especially true when we see God at work in our lives. Ralph Abernathy once said, “I may not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”

Some people use the term “karma” and others point to “destiny” when they discuss whatman praying controls their future. In both cases one could ask, “But, who/what controls that?” Eventually you always get back to God as the only answer to your future. If that is the case, and the thought in the opening quote is also true, then we should be asking God for His help in accepting what he has in store for use and making the best of it.

VR2The real point is that we can’t fight against the future and we aren’t in control of it, but we are in control (or we could be) of how we react to the events of the future. We need to be in the right frame of mind, a positive, upbeat frame of mind,  to face each day. Jack used another quote in today’s Winning Words that is really applicable here – “To begin, begin within.”  (William Wordsworth).

So the real answer to the opening question, “Who holds your future?”, is that you do. You don’t have control over what will happen, just how you will react to what happens. It is within you.  So, when you get hit with that lemon today; instead of letting it sour your whole day, stop and say to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming; but, how can I make lemonade out of this situation?” If you just give yourself that little pause and the chance to see some good come out or any circumstances, you’d be surprised how differently your day will go.

Sometimes it help to get in the right frame of mind to have something to refer to or to read at the beginning of the day. I am subscribed to Jack’s Winning Words, so I get Jack’s little insights five mornings a week (he doesn’t post on the weekends). I also get updatesMarlo Rutz head shot on posts to a great new Facebook chat group by local women’s empowerment coach and comedian Marlo Rutz. Marlo’s chat group is called Laughter, Light and Love. You can see it here. Marlo’s posts are to a public Facebook group that you have to join in order to see each day.

I also hope that a few people also find something in what I post to be helpful to get into the right frame of mind in the morning. In my last post, I wrote about taking control of the day, rather than letting the day control you. A major step to make that happen is to get in the right frame of mind. Taking the time each morning to get your head in a positive mode isn’t going to change what happens during the day, but it will make a big difference on the how the day goes for you.

Who holds your future? You do. Make it a bright one.

 


Who will run your day?

March 13, 2019

From an article on planning and time management that I recently read – “Either you run your day or your day runs you.”

The article wasn’t about trying to control things, which is good, because there is no way to be in control of the day; however, you can be in control of yourself…and that was the point the article made. It was about having the self-discipline to get up and spend some time thinking about your day and how you wish to spend it, rather than getting up, looking at your phone and immediately going into react mode. In fact the article phone with msgspecifically mentioned being disciplined enough not to look at your phone until you had created a prioritized list of the things that you want to get accomplished that day – call it a to-do list or a schedule or calendar.

When you eventually do look at the messages and news that have accumulated on your phone overnight, you will be able to slot any needed reaction to things you see there into the schedule that you have set for yourself. You may have to juggle the schedule a bit, but you still have an ordered and prioritized list of things that you want to accomplish. You are running your day, instead of the day running you.

Another piece of advice from the article was not to let “shiny things” distract you. Shiny things are those distractions that occur during the day that are attention grabbing and shiny thingscan cause you to wander seriously off course. For some it can be the little ding or musical notes or buzzing that indicates that a new email or message has arrived on your phone. Somehow, we have become trained to react in real time to the need of the phone for attention. Most of the time the attention-demanding message turns out to be spam or trash, but we have interrupted whatever we were doing to answer the demand of the phone for our attention. Other shiny things might be something passing by outside that catches our eye or someone entering the room. Whatever it is, if you let those things distract you from what you were doing the day is running you.

The key point in the article is constantly being aware of what you are doing and why. If you are aware of that, you will not let other things (distractions) take time away from the tasks at hand. You also need to be aware of those times when you have nothing on your tree slouthschedule and decide how you wish to spend your down time. A popular term in our vernacular today to describe such a time that has no plan is “I’m just hanging out”. A person who answers the question, “What are you doing?” with that phrase is letting the day run him/her. You are basically saying, “I have no idea what to do and have turned off my brain.” There are always things to do. Things that you have been wanting to do. Things that you’ve been putting off. Opportunities to spend time with family or friends. You are in control of that down time.

If you are in control of nothing else, you do control how you spend your time. Don’t just hang out, letting the day run you…grab the day and run it.

Oops, gotta go…my phone just buzzed. I must obey. Ooooooh, shiny thing.


Watch or DIY?

March 12, 2019

I don’t watch a lot of television anymore, but when I do it is likely to be a reality TV show. No, I don’t watch the Kardashians; more likely one of the car shows on the Motor Trend channel or American Pickers on the History Channel. My wife likes the Dr. Pol show and other reality shows on the Animal Planet channel and the National Geographic channel.

Obviously, these shows aren’t pure reality TV, since they are taped and edited and the participants know that they are being taped. I suppose that the live action police body camera TV shows come closest to being reality shows. However, the shows that  I mentioned do provide that mindless respite from our own reality that we all need everywatching TV now and then.

Occasionally, I’ll be watching one of these shows and the thought comes to mind, “Why am I watching what they’re doing instead of doing something myself.” Do you ever feel like that? It’s a guilt reflex triggered by the realization that I’m not “doing something”, combined with the inability to let go and relax. My wife gets on my case about not being able to relax all the time.

Still, there is a message there that living one’s own life is better than watching someone else live his or her life. Doing it yourself (DIY) is better than watching someone else do it. I am often inspired by that thought to get up and turn off the tube and find things to do. There are always things that need doing or that you know you should do. Even reading a good book is better than sitting there watching someone else reading a book (how dumb would that be?).

The next time that you find yourself mindlessly watching Duck Dynasty, The Real dinosaurHousewives of Wherever, or whatever reality you have tuned into, ask yourself if there isn’t something that you could/should be doing that would add more value to your life or the lives of others around you? I suspect that you’ll put down the snack, turn off the TV and start DIY. And that’s a good thing. Living your life to the fullest is a whole lot more exciting than watching the lives of others on TV and you don’t have to wait through commercials to get to the next good part.

Watch or DIY – you make the choice.


Make today the better day…

March 11, 2019

“Something to keep in mind… When one thing comes to an end, another thing begins.”  (From the movie, Love Happens) – as reported in the Jack’s Winning Words blog today. Jack went on to write a few upbeat and encouraging words, as he always does. He concluded his remarks with, “A new and better day is ahead!”

bored2Maybe you had a tough week last week or the weekend didn’t turn out as you had hoped. Whatever the disappointment or set-back from the past, today is a new day and you still have the opportunity to make it a better day, a great day. Even if the problems that you were facing yesterday, or last week, are still there and still must be faced; you can make it a better day by approaching them with a new attitude and a new resolve to get through them and make it a better day.

Perhaps it was the loss of a loved one or the failure of a relationship or marriage. Maybe it was getting a layoff notice at work or word that the company was going under. Maybe it was something less dramatic, but none the less serious to you, such as your furnace going out on a cold weekend. Whatever the cause of yesterday’s bad day and no matter how it affected you then, you start today with a clean slate in terms of how you will react to the situation.

In most situations, you can’t really control the things that are happening or which haveangry woman happened. The only thing that you control is how you react to those happenings. You can give up and let them drag you down into the pit of despair and depression or you can take a deep breath and begin to work things out. There may not be a “solution” to what happened, but there is a way to accept it and move on with life.

Perhaps one of the best ways to find your way out of the mess that your mind may have put you in is to stop and have a moment of prayer. God has said that He will always be woman-prayingthere with us and that if we trust Him everything will be all right. He didn’t say that there would be no pain, no hardship, or no grieving. He said that if we believe in Him through those things we will be rewarded with a peace that passes all understanding. I have found that nothing helps more in life to get through life’s crises than to be at peace when all of those around you are in panic. That peace starts by going to God andgods-hands-2 saying, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

So, if you want to make today a better day, start by getting yourself right with God and asking for His help. Then bring it on. You’re ready to make it a better day.

Peace be with you.