How are you carrying your loads?

July 10, 2019

A saying attributed to Lou Holtz is this morning’s inspiration –

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”  (Lou Holtz)

It is easy to think immediately about physical loads and the advice that we may have picked up over time about how to lift and carry things. I’ve been amazed from time to time how a couple of appliance delivery guys, or maybe moving company guys, can use a simple set of straps to lift and carry heavy appliances or other items. They know how to carry those loads by using that strap.

Lou_HoltzI suspect that the load that Holtz was referring to had more to do with the loads of obligations or stress or guilt or remorse or sadness that we all pick up in life over time. For many, the “life” loads that occur are not carried well and they end up breaking down under the load. Some point to the inability to deal with (to carry) these loads as the root cause of depression and suicide.

The key to the ability of the moving guy to lift and carry heavy or bulky boxes or items is that strap that they use to gain leverage and the right grip on the load. It is also important to know when a load should be shared with a partner. In dealing with our life loads, our strap is our faith and the partner that we need is God. The life loads that I mentioned above are very real and can be very heavy – the loss of a abusived wifeloved one, the end to a relationship, the loss of a job come to mind. However, the loads can also include the regret at having made a thoughtless remark about someone or the guilt that comes after passing by the person in need of help.

To extend the moving person analogy a bit further, it is also important eventually to put the load down. Using your faith as the strap that allows you to lift and bear the load. Asking God for help when you need it allows you r bear even heavier loads. But, it is also important to find a way and a place to put the load down. Accepting that the person is woman-prayinggone or that the relationship is over or that the job went away or that you did do what you now regret is a first step. Turning that acceptance into a memory that finds its place in your knowledge bank is the next step. Using that knowledge to go on with life is the final step. Dwelling in a pit of disbelief or remorse or regret is a sure formula for depression. It happened. It’s over. You need to move on. Grab your strap of faith and move that event to its proper place in your memories and then PUT IT DOWN.

Prayer is a good way to pause and think about the loads that you might be carrying and how you are dealing with them. Maybe, in addition to asking for help with today’s decisions, you can ask God to help you find the right place to put down some of the loads that you’ve been carrying around for a while. Maybe it’s time to put down the load of sadness from the loss of a loved one and find that place in your heart where fond memories of them will live forever and bring a smile to your face, rather than a frown.depression 5 Maybe you can refocus all of the energy that you have been putting into regret over the loss of that old job into doing better at your new job. Maybe you can turn the remorse of having made that insensitive remark to a fellow worker into motivation for being a better person towards others.

Now that you’ve figured out how to carry and put down your loads, make better use of the strap of your faith to pick up and share the loads of others who could use your help. Help them lift the loads of poverty or infirmity or loss by being there for them, on the other end of the strap. You may be surprised that your own loads start to feel lighter or gods-hands-2that you just put them down without thinking about it.  That is the hand of God and he is on both ends of the strap that is lifting you up. Let God carry your load; you’ve things to do helping others with their loads. Don’t worry. It won’t break you down. You know how to carry those loads – God is on the other end of your strap.

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What are you doing about it?

July 9, 2019

I keep a file of quotes on hand as inspiration for writing posts. Most come from posts to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, but some I just stumble across while searching on the Internet. Sometimes, as is the case today, two or more quotes just seem to be destined to be used together.

From a recent post to Jack’s Winning Words comes this thought –

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral Mark Twaincourage so rare.”  (Mark Twain)

As I was adding that quote to my collection, another quote from Lou Holtz that I had found myself caught my eye and just seemed to fit with the Twain quote.

“When all is said and done, more is said than done.”  (Lou Holtz)

Moral indignation seems to be in good supply these days, while moral actions continue to lag behind. We see moral injustices documented every night on the news shows, many times based upon racism or prejudices against those who are “different”. Perhaps we have become “morally brain dead” to the events that we witness or are shown on the newscasts, or perhaps we think it is enough to sit in front of the TV and be indignant. But, what are we doing about it? Do we get out and protest the moral wrong? Do we contribute to the cause that is fighting that wrong? Or, do we sit in our easy chairs and go, “tsk, tsk, that is so wrong”?

andrew-robles-295224In many countries of the world, people take to the streets, protesting, erecting barricades and burning tires to demonstrate against the moral wrongs that they perceive their governments are committing. In America we saw that in the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting income inequity a few years ago and the Women’s March on Washington. We still see it in the Black Lives Matter protests that occur all too frequently after a questionable police shooting. Most recently, we have seen news reports of protests at the border detention centers over the deplorable conditions inside.

In the end, Lou Holtz’s quote may be the most accurate – much more is said than done. Politicians rush to the scene of whatever moral crisis is unfolding hoping to get a photoLou_Holtz op and, perhaps, a quick quote of indignation on the nightly news. Then you don’t see them again. You don’t hear of them introducing legislation to right the injustice. Perhaps they hold hearings of some committee in Washington, which gives them another photo op and the chance to be on the news, again.

So the real question is, “What are you doing about it?” You won’t get a photo op and you are unlikely to be featured on the news. What can you do? There are three roles available in any situation like this – be a leader in organizing the response, be a follower/supporter of the response or be a bystander and largely ignore the response. young-woman-furiousBeing a leader don’t necessarily being on the front line of the physical protests that may be occurring. It can mean being the organizer of a local drive to collect toiletries or food or money to send to the people in need at the border holding stations. Perhaps it means organizing a neighborhood group to work with the local police on diversity training. Maybe it just means being more open to diversity yourself or more sensitive to racial issues in your community. In some cases it may mean joining in the political movement to replace the politicians who have not been doing anything about what they see with new people that have the moral courage to act instead of just lamenting the wrongs and smiling for the cameras.

Whatever role you take on is better than just being a bystander or just commenting on how indignant you are at the wrong. By leading or joining a group of like-minded people who are trying to right a moral wrong, you are reinforcing the character and principles that this country was founded upon. So, just do something – join a movement or protest, collect supplies to be used to fight the crisis, give money, give blood, give time – these all help and give you an answer to the question, ”What are you doing about it?”

Another quote by a great coach sums it up well – “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”  (Vince Lombardi)

Commit to do something.


What will you see when you look at the mirror?

July 8, 2019

“God is like a mirror.  The mirror never changes, but everybody who looks at it sees something different.”  (Harold Kushner)  From a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Rabbi Kushner’s quote immediately brings to mind the question that is today’s headline. If looking to God shows a reflection of who you are, perhaps that is why so many turn away from Him. They just don’t like what they see in the mirror. Perhaps they see thearrogant things that they could have done differently; or, things that maybe should have done but did not. Maybe they see the ugliness of their prejudices or the hurt that their hate for others causes. Maybe the distorted face of cynicism stares back at them and they don’t like it. For many it may just be the look of guilt for having been away from God for so long.

Perhaps the mirror analogy is telling us that we see our own ego in the mirror and that mirror imagewe need to look beyond that reflection to find God in the mirror. Whatever one initially sees in God’s mirror; if you look beyond the ego that is reflected there and find God, the shame and guilt and remorse will all melt away as God forgives your sins and welcomes you back into the fold. Continue to look and ask for forgiveness and you will be rewarded with God’s peace.

Many are so wrapped up in themselves, in their own wants and needs that they do not take the time to look beyond the surface reflection in God’s mirror. They see only the things that they want to see and ignore all else. They may glance at God from time to time and see the things that they need for God to forgive; but, their reaction is one of “I’ll get back to you on that.” Many never do get back to God until it is too late.

So, take some time in prayer to look into God’s mirror and see what He sees. Ask for His man prayingforgiveness for the things you have done wrong or the things left undone that you should have done. Don’t start the day and the week with leftover baggage from the past. Unburden yourself and start anew by taking your problems to God. Look in the mirror and smile. You’ve seen the face of God there and he was smiling back at you.

What will you see when you look in the mirror – look deeply and find God there.


How would you like to be remembered?

July 5, 2019

“I’d like to be remembered for the way I went about doing my job.”  (Goose Gossage)

That quote, from today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, begs the question that is today’s post title. I suspect it is only as one gets older that they begin to think about that question and the answer that they would like people to remember them by.

There are all sorts of ways to be remembered – many good and many not so good. For many men the answer expressed by Goose Gossage might apply. Men tend to identify themselves with their jobs and most would probably like to be remembered as being depression 5successful at those jobs. Some are thrust into heroic acts in their jobs or lives and will undoubtedly be remembered forever for those acts. Most are not heroes, in that sense, yet you often hear someone being eulogized as being a hero or role model to someone else.

Perhaps that is the best way to be remembered – as someone who lived a life that others want to emulate. You hear them remembered as a good and kind and generous human being who cared about others and went about helping others. That is a great way to be remembered. So, perhaps the best way to rephrase what Gossage said is to change the ending and say, “I’d like to be remembered for the way that I lived my life.”

A good way to get on track to be remembered that way is to start each day with a littlewoman-praying prayer – “Lord help me live this day in a way that I will be happy to remember.” If you do that, others will remember you that way, too.

How would you like to be remembered?


Will you make a difference today?

June 26, 2019

From today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this inspiration – “It’s easy to make a buck.  It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”  (Tom Brokaw)

We begin each day faced with lots of choices – what to wear, what to have for breakfast, what route to take to work and many more. Add to that list the simple question, “What can I do to make a difference today?” and maybe that will put you in the right frame ofbored mind to go out and make that difference. Making the world a better place is a pretty big difference making challenge to throw at yourself the first thing in the morning; so. maybe start with the goal of just making a positive difference in someone else’s life. Something as small as a smile and a friendly “Hello” or holding a door open for someone can make his or her day better. Acts of kindness and consideration make a difference, one person at a time. Will you make a difference today?

If you have a goal to make the world a better place through some larger change, keep in mind that those changes take longer and that you may only be able to accomplish small increments on any given day. Keep at it, even though the evidence of change that day may be imperceptible. Persistence goes hand-in-hand with making a difference. Maybe sewrving soupyou are collecting signatures for some ballot initiative and today your goal is to get another 10-20 signatures. Keep at it. You are making a difference, however small today. Maybe you are saving your change each day, so that you can contribute to a worthy cause. Keep at it. Your nickels and pennies are adding up. Maybe you only have a little time after work that you can devote to helping coach a little league team or perhaps help at a local food bank or shelter. It makes a difference that you are spending that time making a difference in the lives of others. Will you make a difference today?

If you are hungry and I give you food; does that make a difference in your life? If you are cold and I give you a coat to wear; does that make a difference in your life? If you have nowhere to sleep tonight and I contribute to the local shelter; does than make a goaldifference to you? If you are seriously injured and you receive the pint of blood that I gave at the Red Cross; does that make a difference to you? If you suffered through a tornado that destroyed your home and the Red Cross uses the money that I contributed to provide you with shelter; does that make a difference to you? Making a difference comes in all sizes and forms; however, it almost always starts with a single person making the decision to make a difference by giving or their money or time. Will you make a difference today?

We often start our day by praying for God’s help in our own lives. We pray for the strength or courage or wisdom to get through a tough problem at home or at work. Maybe we pray for success in our business life or for help in resolving a conflict in ourGods work our hands personal life. How many of us pray for the opportunity to help make a difference in someone else’s life? That opportunity is the chance today for you to meet Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 25 – For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. When the disciples said that they had seen or done none of that, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Will you take the opportunity to meet Jesus today? Will you make a difference today?


The time is now to be generous…

June 21, 2019

From a post, some time ago on the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this thought – “Generosity lies less in giving much than in giving at the right moment.”  (Jean de La Bruyère)

I would submit that the time is always now – when you see the need, be generous. It is all too easy to pass by the beggar on the corner or homeless person and think I’ll give some day or I’ll stop and help next time I see them. Perhaps it hits you as you pass them bye, homeless man“There, but for the grace of God, go I.” If so, then let that grace show thought in your generosity, right then. Maybe you won’t have enough left for your double latte with whipped cream on the way to work, but you’ll feel a lot better all day long than that latte would have made you feel.

Generosity doesn’t always have to involve giving money. Many times what is needed is your time. Volunteering at your local shelter or food bank or at a homes for habitat project is being generous with what is arguably your most precious asset – your time. There are too many opportunities to volunteer in every community to list. Much of the “work” that needs to get done doesn’t involve anything strenuous. I know of one local volunteer who spends time at nursing homes reading books to the residents. Sometimes sewrving soupjust being there to visit someone who is shut in is the task that need to be accomplished. Just pick one or a few and be generous with your time.

When Jesus was leaving the disciples, after his death and resurrection, he gave them a new commandment – “Love one another as I have WWJDloved you” John 15:12

There is no better way to show your love for your fellow man than to give generously of your money and time to help those in need. There is no better time to be generous than now – when you see the need. Find your way to be generous this weekend.

The moment is right.


See and don’t be the good bad example…

June 20, 2019

Two posts in the Jack’s Winning Words blog that I get every day seemed destined to be in juxtaposition–

“My mom used to say, ‘No one is worthless, Jonny, they can at least be a good bad example.”  (Jon Hanson)

And da Vinci

“There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, and those who do not see.”  (Leonardo da Vinci)

Jonny’s mom knew that she was speaking of people who just don’t see. They refuse to see that the things that they may do or say out of prejudice or fear could be hurtful or maybe they just don’t care. They become the bad example that makes the newscast at night or that others use as an example of bad behavior. They are the people that give terms like “bigot” or “charlatan” or “sex offender” a face and form.  We know who they are and in most cases, they know who they are. They have been shown, but they just don’t care.

In order not to join that group, one must at least be a person of the second type that Leonardo mentioned – someone who sees once they are shown. Many of us grew up in right-and-wronghomes where there may have been prejudices expressed and perhaps even acted out. I certainly did. Once I started thinking and seeing for myself, I was able to sort out the truth about those prejudices from the fears that they were based upon. Vestiges of those early knee-jerk reactions to certain people or things remain in the back of my mind, but I am now able to see them for what they were. I hope I have not been the good bad example in front of my children, grandchildren and others. I try not to be.

There are special glasses that are used by various groups against drug and alcohol use that demonstrate the impact of alcohol on the body by distorting what you see so completely that you cannot do simple tasks like putting colored pegs in holes on a board,surprised emoji even though you can “see” through the glasses. Prejudices are like that for your life. They are the lens that you see life through that distort things and render you unable to function properly. Once you understand how to stop looking at life through those lenses, you can actually “see” the people and things that you are interacting with and life becomes much richer. Hopefully, you will come to understand if you are wearing those lenses or someone will tell you and then you will see.

What type of person are you? Do you see or at least consider and see things differently if you are told; or, are you so stuck in your ways that you cannot bring yourself to see any stubbornalternative to your set beliefs? When you encounter someone who is different from you, do you have an immediate reaction that dictates how you interact (or avoid interacting) with them? Have you thought about that? Has anyone told you that your preconceived notions are wrong? Can you see that it is wrong or at least wrong not to be open-minded enough to re-evaluate why you are reacting like that? Don’t be the good bad example. Take off the glasses of your prejudices and see?