Be unforgettable today, in a good way…

July 24, 2017

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou

Maya’s quote about how you make people feel works two ways – you can make them feel good or an encounter with you can make them feel bad. I would hope that most of us would prefer to make the people that we meet feel better for having met us. Sometimes we do just the opposite by doing nothing at all and not even acknowledging those that we meet. Doesn’t it make you feel bad to be ignored? It causes a little pain if we make eyearrogant contact with someone and they look away or choose not to even acknowledge that they see us with a little smile or a nod, perhaps even a quick “hello, how are you”.

Nat King Cole had a wonderful hit “Unforgettable” that his daughter Natalie re-recorded as a duet with her father (on film). You can be unforgettable is a nice way by just making the people that you encounter during the day feel better. It’s not that hard to do; just acknowledge them with a smile and perhaps a quick hello. If you have time, stop and talk to them, ask them how they are and then really listen to their reply. It’s not magic. It’s empathy, concern, love, understanding and compassion all wrapped up in simple gestures that really don’t take that much of your time and it can have a magical effect on the other person.

So, tear your eyes and attention away from your smartphone and look around you for this-is-mesomeone else that you can say “Hi” to and you too will become unforgettable. Just remember that when you are not making that effort you may become unforgettable in a bad way and be considered to be aloof and unapproachable, or worse. I certainly don’t want to be unforgettable in that way. Do you?


Conquering fear with faith…

July 19, 2017

Fear of the unknown is at the root of most of the fears that seek to control us. We don’t do things that we may wish to do because we are fearful of some unknown (and unknowable) outcome. We don’t reach out to others because we fear an unknown outcome, perhaps rejection or worse. We don’t stretch ourselves and go for that new jobtimid or try that new sport because we don’t know enough about them and fear the consequences of those unknowns.

Perhaps no unknown is more feared than death. We think about it, but we can’t imagine what it will be like and what, if anything, comes after death. That is where faith comes in. Faith in God and His son Jesus is the only real option that you have when facing death. Jesus promised us life after death when he said “Where I go there you will be also” and many other comforting passages from the Bible. Having faith can help you conquer many fears while you are here on earth; however, the biggest fear that faith can help you conquer is the fear of death.

Our human imaginations help us find solutions to many of the problems that we VR2encounter in life; however, our imaginations at too often limited by our understanding of the physical world around us and the knowledge that we might have accumulated in life. We tend to frame things, including our ability to imagine life after death in very restrictive human terms. Some religions have very elaborate descriptions of life after death that imagine things almost completely in normal human terms. Other religions define the afterlife in terms that not even they understand. Even Christian religion uses descriptions of the afterlife in heaven that the common man might relate to – a “house with many rooms”; however, it is also alluded to a “peace that passes all understanding”.

As humans we tend to define what we hope heaven is like in terms that we can relate to. We hope to see loved ones there. We hope that our past pets might be there also. We depict people in white robes with wings and halos. We see it as a bright light at the endhelping hands of a tunnel. We do all that we can to imagine it as something warm and bright and comfortable, because we are trying to overcome our fear of the unknown. If any and all of that makes you feel better about it, imagine away; however, know that it is your faith that there is a life after death, that you will be with Jesus in His Father’s House and that your earthly fears and concerns and pains will all drop away.

What will it be like? No one can know until they get there, but we can be sure in our faith that it will be wonderful. Let your anticipation of what is to come next become stronger than your fear of the transition to that next life. That is called faith and faith conquers fear every time.


Hope based upon faith is not dreaming or wishing…

July 17, 2017

Recently the Jack’s Winning Words blog has featured a couple of post on wishing and hope –

“Wishing are the dreams we dream when we’re awake.”  (Buddy DeSylva)

“Accept life and what it brings, I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things.”  (The Kinks)

Jack went on to write – Peter Marty wrote recently about the difference between wishing and hoping.  Wishing upon a star is different than placing hope in God.  Hope seems to have a spiritual tone to it.  It’s what sustains us when we’re not ready to give up on God.  The Kinks’ song came out of the writer’s down time.  As I read the lyrics I see more hoping than wishing.  What do you see?    😉  Jack 

I suppose that one could argue about which comes first faith or hope. I would take the position that hoping in the absence of faith is just like dreaming or wishing; there is no basis for belief that something will actually happen to make the dream or wish come true. As Jack wrote, “Wishing upon a star is different than placing hope in God”, and thewoman-praying main difference is that “placing hope in God” is actually placing your faith in God. After all, who are you asking when you wish for something without a belief in God? Who will grant your wish? To whom do you turn when you have a dream of a better life? Hope based upon faith provides clear instructions on where to take your wishes and dreams and how to ask for what you need and want.

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” – Matthew 21:22

As you read the first part of that quote the tendency is to say, “Alright, I can have whatever I ask for”; however, the kicker is in those last four words – “if you have faith.” Time after time in the Bible you will read that faith is the precursor to hope or the fulfillment of prayers. Many times we “pray” for things that we do not get and there is usually the same answer for why not –

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” – James 4:3

There are many things that we may dreams about or wish for that fall under the general man prayingcategory of our passions – the things of this world that we sometimes think are so important. We might pray to win the Lotto or we might pray for a new car or for other material things, rather than praying that God help us do the right things in life and trust that He will provide all that we really need. The key is having faith first and allowing that faith to guide what you ask God for in your prayers. Base your hopes on faith and they will be fulfilled –

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24

I think I wrote here once before that, if I happen to include a mention of the Lottery in my prayers, I ask God to help me do the right things with the money, if I should win. Lately I have refocused my requests in prayer to a very simple ask – “God help me make good decisions today.” I have faith that those good decisions will actually be God decisions.

What do you ask God for in your prayer? Are your hopes based upon your faith?


Do it and achieve your destiny…

July 14, 2017

I was searching for inspiration this morning, determined to break out of the lull in my blog posting. My life got a little busy and then went off in directions that distracted me from making the effort to write for this blog. I missed it and decided it was time to get back to posting. I keep a list of inspirational quote on my PC desktop, so I perused that this morning. two entries in that list caught my eye as being things that should be linked together in a post. They are:

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda

What strange bedfellows Emerson and Yoda, yet thinking of those two quote together seemed natural. How often we hear people say, “I’m trying to be a better person.” That person needs to heed Emerson’s and Yoda’s advice and decide to just do it, not to just try.

IF you find that you need a little boost of confidence each morning to help you achieve your destiny, perhaps this little verse will help.

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

So make the decision and define your destiny, then get to it.


It’s Sunday morning; time for…

July 9, 2017

How do you end that sentence? For all too many, the ending is Golf, a ball game, a soccer match, or some other recreational or sporting activity. For fewer and fewer the ending is “church”. I read recently that in America 51% of adults claim to be religious but that on average less than 20% of the people regularly attend church services on Sunday mornings. Declining attendance could be blamed on many things, but the one that I find most alarming is the trend over the last few years for organized youth activities like baseball, soccer, and hockey to view Sunday mornings as prime game or practice time. The result is whole families missing church because they have to be at a practice or a game during the times that churches are holding services.

I remember times when many states had what were called “blue laws” that required that all stores be closed on Sundays and no alcoholic beverages cold be sold, so that people could go to church. They were gradually weakened or abandoned, which was probably a good thing, but it started the process of viewing Sundays differently and with less emphasis on God and church. Now Sunday’s are all about almost anything else than going to church – sports, shopping, entertainment. There are 168 hours in each week and all that God asks for is that you take one of those hours to go to church and say thanks, by worshiping Him.  Call me old fashion; but, that doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Parents are expected to try to give their children opportunities in things like sports, but they should also take seriously the need to teach their children about God and the practice of religion. It’s hard to do that if parents choose to put their child into sports that demand their time on Sunday mornings. Some parents push back and say that the church needs to adapt and offer services at more convenient times. To them I would say, “No; you need to get your priorities right.” It is not right to place the worship of God second to the playing of a game. What lesson is that teaching your children and bye the way, where were you during the church service? Both you and your child or worse for the decision to place God after your games or other distractions.

I’ll stop for now; but I won’t stop trying to get people back to the values that are really important in life and cajoling everyone to make better decisions about how to use their time on Sunday mornings. You won’t find God sitting in the bleachers next to you at your child’s game.


Have we become too busy to celebrate?

June 27, 2017

I’m co-chair of the Independence Day Parade for the area in which I live. The parade, which is held on the 4th of July every year, is slowly dying out as fewer and fewer local businesses and organizations sign up to be in the parade and thus fewer parade paradewatchers come out to see it. The parade, which used to attract up to 100 entries every year is down to less than half of that number and continuing to shrink.

There are many contributing factors to the loss of interest in the 4th of July parade, not the least of which is the fact that it occurs during the height of the summer vacation season. In our area, we have a really big and wonderful Memorial Day parade to honor veterans and those serving now, which siphons off some of the potential participants for the Independence Day parade. We used to get 5-10 scout troops – Cub Scouts and Brownies in particular – in the parade and now none show up.  I’m sure economics play some role, too. This year many local cities and townships canceled their 4th of July fireworks because of budget issues. Having said all of that, I think another big reason is that many think they are too busy to take the time to march in or go see a parade.

That thought brought to mind this quote by Socrates – “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” I think Socrates was trying to warn us about becoming too busy to appreciate and savor life. I’ve posted here before about the dangers of becoming so focused upon nap at worksuccess in a career that one loses sight of why they are working in the first place – they lose touch with the family that they point to as the reason for their hard work They become so busy that their life and that of those they love becomes barren.

Next week we have the one opportunity that we get a year to stop our busy-work and take a moment to contemplate the birth of the greatest nation on earth, yet most are too busy to get into the parade that celebrates that event or to come watch it. Maybe it’s time to stop for a moment and consider what you are doing with the prime of the only life that you get. Are you too busy for family and friend? Are you constantly working and not taking any time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor? Are you perhaps confusing being busy with being productive or even withwomen looking at watch being happy? Is your busy life really fulfilling or has being busy all the time left it barren?

It is ironic somehow that the only two times in our lives that we seem to take the time to enjoy it are at the two ends of it. When we are children we are blissfully ignorant of the need to be busy all the time, although we seem to be most of the time. When we are elderly, we may finally get the time to slow down and enjoy life without the need to be busy. But, oh boy; in between those two ages, we seem to be heads down busy all the time. I’ve already posted here about the opportunity to take time for God at church having been preempted by sports – see What happened to Sundays? We’ve become a society that is too busy to stop and devote a couple of hours to church, when there are ball games and soccer matches and hockey games to be played.

wonderingThere is only one solution to this problem and that is to just say no to the next busy thing that is demanding your time and instead take the time to go to church or to march in or watch the parade or to do the other things that aren’t on a To-Do list. Slow down, catch your breath, take time to think about and appreciate the things and people that are around you. You need not be busy 24/7. Life is not about being busy all the time.  While most of you may not even know who he was, this quote by Eddie Cantor seems an appropriate way to end this post  – “Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”

Come out and see our parade on the 4th of July; or, even better, be in it.


Life is lived somewhere in between…

June 22, 2017

“Mountaintops inspire leaders, but valleys mature them.”  (Winston Churchill) – as seen on a recent post to the blog Jack’s Winning Words.

Life is full of ups and downs. We have times when we are viewing the world from the mountain peaks of a success and other times when the world looks pretty dark from the deep valley of a failure or disappointment. Usually, though, life is somewhere in between and perhaps not as memorable as the thoughts that we have from the mountains and the valleys of our lives.

For reasons that I can’t explain that thought also made me think of the song, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Their lyrics were about love and begin with the one that you love. I suspect that there could have been cover of that song by God, because there is nothing that can keep God from your life and Hreaching goale is sure handy to have around when you enter one of life’s valleys. Have you also noticed how many great athletes take the time to thank God right after they have reached a sports mountain top – a home run, a touchdown or a goal.

But, as the headline for today’s post says, life is mostly lived in between the mountain tops and the valleys. It is lived on a fairly level plain, with little of the drama of the mountain top or valley experiences. It is easy todepression3 become complacent in everyday life and forget to call on God or to thanks Him for the everyday small things that He does for us. I catch myself every now and then saying something like, “Boy I got lucky with that” or maybe “Wow I’m glad that didn’t happen.”  Then I stop and think about it and take an opportunity to thanks God for either my good fortune or for protecting me from a misfortune.

So, as we live our boring little, somewhere-in-the-middle, everyday lives; let’s not forget to thank God for being with us in the middle as well as when we need him at the bottom right-and-wrongin our valleys or thank Him at the top of one of our mountains. Personally, I don’t usually start the day asking God for anything in particular, but I do quite often just say,” God, help me make good decisions today.” Really what more can you ask for?

I’ll see you somewhere in between.