Seize the moments in your life…

November 29, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog featured this quote from Dr. Seuss – “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”  (Dr. Seuss)

When I saw that quote, another saying  that I recalled came to mind – “Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect.”  (Zoey Sayward)

Memories are things that we recall from the past, sometimes pleasantly so and so times not. Moments are here and now and what they become is often up to us. Seize the moments in your life.

Some moments just happen and we just happen to be in them. In those cases, we may be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised and we will later process them into happy or unhappy memories. However, much of the time the moments that we are experiencing we do have some level of control over and it the decisions that we make in the moment that dictate how they will be remembered. Seize the moments in your life.

One can take a very passive approach to life and wait for moments to unfold around you and sweep you along with them; or, you can be pro-active and seize the moment and try to make it the best that it can be.  While we can’t totally dictate the outcome of the moments of our lives, we all can influence those outcomes by how we choose to react to the unfolding events of the moment. We can choose to be victims of the moment or we can be warriors, like Sayward’s saying, and fight to make the moments perfect. Seize the moments in your life.

Seizing the moments in your life is not difficult, but it does require a conscious effort and a continuous effort. One begins to seize the moment when one takes this advice –

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.” ( Eckhart Tolle)

-and –

“There are no ordinary moments.”  (Dan Millman)

Moments that feel ordinary to you are just moments that you didn’t take the time to appreciate. You took them and life for granted. If you live each moment as if it were your last, you will begin to understand what Tolle and Millman were saying. Seize the moments in your life.

Sometimes the moments are difficult, but that is OK, because you will benefit from having lived through them. As Deena Kastor said – “Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us.” Any soldier, and especially any Marine, will tell you how going through boot camp helped defined them. Many were further tested and defined by moments on the battlefield. Seize the moments in your life.

Perhaps no better advice about seizing the moments in your life has ever been given than that given by Rcik Warren in this quote –

“Happy moments, PRAISE God. Difficult moments, SEEK God. Quiet moments, WORSHIP God. Painful moments, TRUST God. Every moment, THANK God. “ 

Remember that God is with you every moment and that will help you – Seize the moments in your life.


Make the choice…

November 26, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “Relationships last not because they were destined to last. Relationships last long because two people made the choice to keep it, fight for it and work for it.” – LessonsLearnedInLife.com

While the words “keep it, fight for it and work for it” are important, perhaps the most important words in that quote are “made the choice”. That begs a conscious decision on the part of both parties to make the relationship work. Very often in divorce cases it becomes obvious that only one of the parties had made that decision, or perhaps both had cavalierly entered into the relationship and neither was willing to put in the effort to make it work.

Relationships do take effort. They take compromise and a selflessness. They require that one put the relationship above self-interest. Lasting relationships also require vulnerability and trust. All of those things are matters of choice. All are usually tested during the relationship sometimes quite often. Sometimes it leads to one party in the relationship feeling trapped or smothered by the relationship. That is a red flag warning that the relationship may be in trouble or at least needs work. It is a call for self-reflection.

Am I feeling  trapped because I am selfish or unwilling to compromise? Is my opinion or desire more important than those of my partner in the relationship? Are my feelings driven by self-interest over the interest of the relationship? Is the good of the relationship more powerful than the bad that I feel right now? In cases where one does not pause to think through these types of relationship questions, one’s actions may lead to a breakup of the relationship.

So, understand that you are always making choices whenever a relationship is involved. You decided to enter into the relationship to begin with and now you have choices to make that will either keep it going or cause it to fail. These are value judgments, based upon the value that you assign to the relationship. You do not have to view the relationship as a zero-sum game, where one party is forced to lose so that the other can win. Strive instead to find win-win solutions in every decision that you must make. Win-win solutions increase the value of the relationship and you both benefit from that.  

It is also important to the relationship to know when to just step back and not be involved in something – to give your partner the space to just be themselves or have other relationships with friends. That is a recognition that you are not “in control” of your relationship partner and acceptance that they have their own life to live and their own decisions to make, both inside and outside of the relationship. You may find that this is one of the best decisions that you will make in the relationship and one that actually strengths it.

Make the choice today to be a thoughtful partner in the relationships that you have. Stop and consider the value of those relationships and be conscious of the work that you need to do to keep them and grow them. Relationships don’t just happen – you make them happen.

Make the choice today.


Seek God’s help with your day…

November 25, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Wining Words blog contained this Native American blessing – “May every sunrise bring you hope.  May every sunset bring you peace.” 

The simple and honest faith of Native Americans in what they called The Great Spirit (God) is something to be admired and emulated. Their faith was not perverted by religious practices or church dogma. They saw the hand of The Great Spirit in nature and had a very direct, personal relationship with God.

We all start the day with hopes. A quick way to make the prospects of achieving your hopes today is to pause to ask for God’s help. Ask not that God make your hopes come true; but rather, ask for the wisdom and strength of character to make wise decisions during the day and the determination to carry out your decisions.

If you seek God’s help at the beginning of the day, it will be much easier at the end of the day to find peace. The key to that peace is to focus upon all of the things that you did get done and not on the things that remain for you to do. Thank God, for His help during the day and be satisfied that you did all that you could today to realize your hopes. If you get into a routine of asking God and thanking God each day for His help in fulfilling your hopes, you may find that your hopes each morning align better with your ability to achieve those hopes. That is part of the wisdom that you were seeking in your morning prayer.

So, be happy and thankful that you made it to another sunrise and pause to seek God’s help with your day. Then, at the end of the day, pause to thank God for His help during the day and find the peace that you need to get a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow will be another day filled with hope.

Have a great week ahead and  be thankful on Thanksgiving Day.


When enough said is too much…

November 24, 2019

I save most of the little quotes that Jack Freed uses each weekday morning in his blog Jack’s Winning Words.  They provide me with inspiration for my own posts to this blog . Sometimes, when I look at the little collection of quotes, it jumps out at me that two for more seem to belong together. Such was the case this morning. I was saving the quote about things best left unsaid, when I spotted the quote about knowing who’s business it is – 

“It is awfully important to know what is and what is not your business.”  (Gertrude Stein)

“Some things are just better left unsaid, and I usually realize that right after I say them.” (not attributed)

There are occasions when getting involved in somebody else’s business is warranted, in order to prevent them from hurting themselves or others. Sometimes those occasions are called interventions and many times deal with situations where the person can no longer determine right from wrong. Those situations could be caused by an addiction or maybe just a series of bad decisions that have led to a path of self-destruction.

Unfortunately, many well-meaning people stick their noses in where they don’t belong, because the situation offends their own personal beliefs. Such is often the case with efforts to discourage or intervene in certain life-style decisions, especially those involving sexuality. That is not your business and the more left unsaid the better.

So listen to this Ariana Grande song about leaving things unsaid and think about it before you jump in and say something that you will regret right after you say it. It probably wasn’t your business to begin with. In most cases you will be much better off using your ears to listen than using your mouth to interject.

Enough said!


What are you thinking?

November 20, 2019

A quote today from the Jack’s Winning Words Blog got me to thinking – “It’s not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”  (Rene Descartes)

Rene Descartes

Maybe Descartes should have added “or to use it at all”. How many times have you seen news stories or heard about some incident  and immediately what popped into your mind was the question, “What were they thinking?”

Maybe they weren’t thinking at all. Perhaps their actions were being driven by unbridled anger, such as in the numerous “road rage” stories that we hear about so often. Perhaps preconceived prejudices or unfounded fears had taken over, as we witness in the many stories in the news about black people being discriminated against in restaurants and elsewhere. In many news stories, we are told that they probably weren’t thinking at all because their minds had been clouded by drugs or alcohol.  In all of those cases there is no good answer to the question, What where they thinking?

Jack wrote in his post that he admired Descartes because he was not afraid to use his mind and to disagree with others in his day. It is also important to use one’s mind to question your own thoughts, opinions and actions or reactions to things that are occurring around you. I have not yet mastered the ability to completely shut out old prejudices or preconceived ideas from my past; however, I have developed more awareness of when they take over my mind or cause a specific reaction. I am more able now to stop myself quicker from proceeding down a path that those prejudices may be dictating. When I stop and ask myself the question, “What were you thinking?” the answer most often is that I wasn’t really thinking, I was letting something else control my emotions and actions or reactions. That pause to think allows me to regain some measure of control.  I only wish that I took that pause to think more often.

Perhaps the best take away from today it that you can’t go through life on cruise control or auto-pilot. Just like current experiments with autonomous cars, there are too many things that may occur in life that require that you keep your mind focused upon the steering wheel of your life.  That means using your mind, as Descartes recommended and constantly being aware of what you are thinking and (more importantly) why you are thinking that way. It is important to examine and challenge the thoughts and actions of others; however, it is just as important to challenge the basis of your own thoughts and actions and to ask yourself the question – What were you thinking?

The real challenge for us all is to move from the past tense in that little phrase and become more aware in the present of what we are thinking and why. That is what Descartes was saying when he advised that we use our minds well. It means staying in control by constantly being aware of your own thoughts, preconceived or otherwise, and making better decisions about what you allow to control your emotions and reactions to events in life. Just keep asking yourself, “What am I thinking ?” and, like Descartes, keep questioning, why?

Use your mind well today.  What are you thinking?


Be happy with what you have…

November 18, 2019

As we approach the Christmas season (which some stores started before Halloween), some focus upon what they don’t have and makes lists of things that they want, in hopes of getting someone to give those things to them. Many of those people  believe that they won’t  be happy until they get all of the things that they want. Back in 2015, I wrote the post below, inspired by a quote from my favorite blog. It still applies, today.

“Just remember there is someone out there that is more than happy with less than what you have.”  (Unknown) From the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Sadly, we live in a society that conditions us to be unhappy with what we have and to always be striving for more. Whatever we have is not enough to make us happy because someone else has more or different things.  Now there is certainly nothing wrong with striving to get ahead, but one has to stop every now and then and ask, “Ahead of what?” Very few of us live in survival mode, scraping along for our next meal or a place to sleep tonight; but there are those people among us. In general we are able to provide at least food and shelter for our family and for most a good deal beyond just those necessities. But, are we happy with what we have; or, do we constantly want more, in the belief that having more will make us happier?

One of the most unhappy men in the Bible was the man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to get into heaven. When Jesus replied that he should sell everything that he had and give the money to the poor and follow him; the man wandered off unhappily muttering to himself, for we are told that he was very wealthy and obviously did not want to give up that wealth. Are we the same way today? Do we reach and reach and reach for what we don’t have, instead of being happy with what we do have and what would we do if Jesus asked us to sell everything that we have, give the money to the poor and follow him? Jesus might be a pretty lonely guy in today’s world.

The key to being happy with what you have, it seems to me, is to change your focus from things to people, from possessions to relationships, from those that you’d love to be like to those who love you as you are. Learn to express your love for them without holding out a gift of some sort or buying a new possession to share with them. If you ever get to an honest state with them, they’d probably tell you that they could care less about your car or your house or your boat or any other of your possessions. What they value is your time and attention; your love and affection; you sharing of yourself and not your possessions.

What happens when you get to that state of understanding and happiness with your loved ones is that you grant yourself permission to be happy with what you have. That doesn’t mean that you just quit your job or don’t accept the next promotion or even stop looking for a bigger house someday. Giving yourself permission to be happy with what you’ve got just means that you will no longer use the pursuit of possessions as the measure of your life and your happiness. You stop keeping score on that scorecard, because you’ve started keeping score based upon the smiles on the faces of the one that you love; and those smiles come because you were there sharing your love and not because of what you brought with you. Once you change to that focus getting the next possession will be much less important to than attending the next little league game or the father daughter dance or maybe going out to dinner with your significant other.

Dale Carnegie  put it well when he said – “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

May you find happiness in what you have. Then, it will be a merry Christmas indeed.


Knowing when not to battle…

November 15, 2019

Jack used this quote today in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“Be selective of your battles, for sometimes peace is better than being right.”

That’s certainly good advice in politics and for life. How many of us have had to implement the old advice to “bite your tongue” or maybe to heed the advice that Archie often gave Edith in the Archie Bunker show to “stifle yourself”? Sometimes swallowing your pride or your need to be right about something is the better choice.

The use of the word “peace” in the quote is interesting. Obviously, it refers to being at peace with those with whom you might disagree. In the current political environment, one might substitute the word civility. Things would certainly be better in Washington if the politicians could find a way to act with civility towards those with whom they disagree.

Another aspect of the peace that the quote is alluding to is the ability of being at peace with your decision not to do battle just because you believe that you are right. The decision not to jump into battle over an issue requires that you pause long enough to consider the circumstances and the worth of doing battle. Is it worth possibly losing a friend? If you were to win this battle, does the other party have to lose? What possible benefit will accrue to you for having won this battle? What loss is there really in not doing battle? I think if we all stopped long enough to consider one or two or those kinds of questions there would be far less battling going on and more of us would be at peace with our decisions not to do battle over every disagreement.

The final aspect of the quote that bears some introspection is the final word – “right”. Right by what standard? Right based upon what proof? Right from what perspective? If one is “right” based upon unproven and unsupportable prejudices are they really right? If one is right, based upon” facts” that are not true are they really right? If being “right” is based solely upon ones opinion, rather than facts or proof, how right is it really? If I’m “right” must you be wrong; or, are we looking at things from two completely different perspectives? Can we both be “right” at the same time? Why not?

So, consider these thoughts today, as you encounter situations in which the impulse to do battle because you are “right” pops up. Try instead to be at peace with your decision not to waste your energy on skirmishes that really have little meaning or value in your life. That is not to say that you should be passive in all things. Rather, you should pick the battles that are really worth fighting because they involve things for which winning the battle will make a real difference in your life or the lives of others.

Have a peaceful day. It’s the “right” thing to do.