Life is never boring if you keep the wonder in it…

July 14, 2019

Do you ever hear someone say that they are bored and wonder why? Maybe it’s because they’ve stopped wondering. Wondering is a great way to stay mentally occupied. You can wonder why. You can wonder how or who. You can wonder if. There are lots of ways to let your mind wander and wonder and all of them give your mind something to do.smirk

These days when we wonder bot things or people, we most often Google the topic about which we ae wondering. If you do that you will see that Goggle returns page after page of responses, including a link to the web site Woderopolis.org – yes there is a wondering web site. It’s helpful to have such a site bookmarked, in case you can’t think of anything to wonder about, you can just go there and share in the wondering of other people – sort of wondering voyeurism, I guess.

boredWondering is often connected with wandering, which, I guess, is natural, since the mind often also wanders when it wonders. That brings to mind that old saying “All who wander are not lost”. Neither are those who wonder. Yet some do not spend much time wondering, because they mistakenly think that they already know. Their minds are made up; which is sometimes called beliefs and sometimes called prejudices. I found a great quote that covers that – “I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” (Gerry Spence)

Socrates knew the importance of wondering about things. He said –  “Wonder is the Socratesbeginning of wisdom.” Eventually the tendency to wonder will always bring you full circle back to wondering about yourself. It may take some time, as Saint Augustine said – “Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.”

gods-hands-2When you do get back to considering the questions of why and how and for what purpose about yourself, it doesn’t take too long before you wander into wondering about God. There’s a web site for that too – Closer to truth – Wondering about God. You really don’t need Google or a web site to tell you about God. If you take the time in prayer to ask Him, he will reveal Himself to you and you will see the wonder.

chimpanzeeOne can get caught up in wandering in wonder and never get anything done.  Craig D. Lounsbrough put it well when he said – “I wonder what life would have been like if I would have taken all that time I spent wondering what life would have been like, and instead used that time to make it what I wanted it to be like.”

So, while wondering is good; actually doing is even better.  I wonder what things I can actually get done today? Maybe I’ll meet you. I wonder where you live. I wonder what you do? I wonder about you. But the mind wanders. It’s another wonderful day.

 

Advertisements

I love a parade…

July 3, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog today comes this – “A love for tradition has never weakened a nation; indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.”  (Churchill)

Jack went on to write – There are 10 National Holidays, but 4 stand out in my mind as days that especially define America: Independence Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, Memorial Day.  The others are significant, too, but think today about these 4, particularly the 4th of July, a day to celebrate the history of a great nation, not perfect, but in the process.  😉  Jack

Parades are a way to pause and celebrate holidays in your hometown and in our p5nation. I organize the 4th of July Parade in my home town of Milford, Michigan. I march, as a veteran, in the Memorial Day parade and I work as a volunteer in the Christmas Parade, which always takes place Thanksgiving weekend. We don’t have a parade for Veteran’s Day.  We also have parades for the start of Little League Baseball, and the local high school homecoming. Obviously, we love traditions in Milford.

Huron Valley Middle School BandThe parades that we have in Milford mean that Main Street is shut down for s few hours and a crowd gathers to watch. The biggest parade, by far is our Memorial Day parade, which draws a crowd of several thousand to watch and which has almost 1,000 vets marching.  The Christmas Parade features the arrival of Santa Claus to Milford for the Christmas Season. The Independence Day parade usually draws a big crowd to watch, too.

Sadly, the Independence Day Parade on the 4th of July has been declining in both attendance and participation for the last few years. What used to be a parade with 70-80 participating groups is now down to about 50 groups marching or riding in the parade. The viewing audience is also down a bit. It seems that the same reasons thatHistorical Society marchers in 2017 parade are causing the decline in church attendance effects the parade on the 4th – people are just too busy with other things to do.

Of course, the summer months are vacation months, so many families are traveling while school is out. Still, the fact that fewer local businesses and groups participate is troubling. We used to have 6-7 Boy and Girl Scout troops and Brownies and Cub Packs, but now only get 1-2. We had participation by many of the local churches, but now again only get 1 or 2. Many of the local service organizations used to march, now we are lucky if any participate. The excuses are always the same – “We couldn’t get enough people to be in the parade.”

What we are really saying is that we are too busy, too distracted or overwhelmed by Bridge to Unity floatlife to pause and take a moment to just enjoy a shared celebration of thankfulness for things like the birth of our nation or those who served our country. We have become so wrapped up in ME that we don’t have time to celebrate the things that make us WE. I am not sure whether this is an indicator of, or a cause of, the state of unrest, distrust and hatefulness across the nation that seems to be reflected in nightly news stories.

Still, there is hope. We are carrying on the traditions, like the Independence Day parade, in the hope that providing events that allows us to celebrate the great WE20160704_114059 events of the past will once again remind us that we have more in common than the differences that want to drive us apart. We stop to celebrate the events that were put in motion by those seeking the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is still a work in process, as Jack said; but it is worth pausing and having a parade.

Maybe I’ll see you at the Milford Independence Day parade. The parade starts at 11 PM. I’ll be announcing the participants as they march by. Pause for a moment and celebrate WE.


Jumping off the hack bandwagon…

June 15, 2019

It seems that everything is a “hack” these days. The use of the term hack is getting a bit hackneyed, i.e.  overused, overworked, overdone, worn out, timeworn, platitudinous, vapid, stale, tired, threadbare. Hack that all you marketing types who can’t think of a better way to say something than to call it a hack.  This morning I even got and email from L.L. Bean with the headline “Camping Hacks”. It was about camping gear and clothing that they sell.

boredWhat the heck is a hack, anyway? If you look up the term hack the definitions tend to center around the original computer terms for illegally gaining entry into a system or program. The more traditional definition of crudely chopping away at something is also there. What’s not there is a definition that covers the current use of the term as somehow representing a new of different way of doing something or using something. Hacks for living seems to be a very modern and inventive way of using the word. It apparently is supposed to be shorthand for describing something that the writer didn’t want to take the time to write out, so it becomes a hack. According to the web site Daily Writing Tips, The term hack, which entered general usage with a new, nontechnological sense of “solution” or “work-around,” as in the phrase “life hack”.

Our language is full of terms that seem to come and go with each new generation. Many of them last only a short time before that are discarded onto the junk heap of misused and overused words. I’m sure that hack has already peaked and is on it’s way out; however, for now, we all have to put up with lazy writers of ads and other material using this convenient term instead of taking the time to write out a complete thought.

I guess I was never on the hack bandwagon, so my headline today is not accurate. I couldman praying describe the type of posts that I normally place here as “life hacks”, but I won’t. They are usually just common sense advice written from a faith-based point of view. I suppose a belief in God is the ultimate life hack, since that is the solution to most of life’s perceived problems.

So hack your day by starting off with a little prayer time with the ultimate life hacker – God. Have a great weekend, fellow hackers!


Let that child out to play again…

June 4, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this post –

“We speak of educating children.  Do we know that our children also educate us?”  (Lydia  Sigourney)  Jack went on to write – Yes, children can be teachers, too.  Sometimes we seem to forget what it’s like to be a child…how to be carefree, and not to worry so much about tomorrow…how to forgive and not hold grudges…how to be creative.

I’ve written here before about the inner child that is still there within us and the value of looking within and find that child again.

As we grow up our inner child is more and more confined and pushed down in our opinionatedminds by the rules that we are taught about how we are to act, if we want to be an adult; although I’m not sure why we ever thought that was such a great idea.

Slowly our carefree lifestyle is replaced by one of worries and responsibilities, many of bored2them imagined or self-imposed. The companionship and  camaraderie of play is replaced by the competition and stress of career advancement, making a living and getting ahead. Selfishness replaces sharing and anger and revenge displace forgiveness in our lives. Our imagination is replace by ambition and drive.

Yet, somewhere in the back of your mind, hiding perhaps in the little corners of your memory, that inner child still lurks, wishing that he/she could come out and play again.

Perhaps there is an apex in life where the drive to “act like an adult” peaks and we start back down the other side of the bell curve towards that innocence of childhood again. smell-the-rosesThe revelation that we don’t have to “act your age” can come at any time in life. It occurs when we stop taking everything so seriously and “stop to smell the roses” – to just enjoy being alive.

Faith can play a big role in getting back to an innocent, inner-child state of mind, because faith allows you to off-load those adult concerns and pressures to God by woman-prayingsaying “not my will, but thy will be done.” Once you have arrived at that point, the next step towards, “Let’s go play”, comes much easier, happiness comes much easier, listening toi music.pngcontentment comes much easier. God would much rather see us having fun and playing than being worried and serious all of the time.

So, get right with God and give him your worries and concerns; then, go find that inner child that is still within you and play again.  God will be smiling as He watches you play.


What kind of memory will meeting you become?

May 28, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog today comes this bit of wisdom from Dr. Seuss – “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Jack went on to write about attending the Memorial Day observances in a local cemetery and noticing people standing alone by tombstones remembering those who are buried there. Many of us may think of those who have passed from time to time, but do we ever consider what the memories of others about us will be? Will we represent pleasant memories, fond memories, maybe even loving memories? Will remembering us bring athis-is-me smile to the faces of those who pause to reflect upon knowing us or will there be a frown there?

More than any possessions, that one might be able to amass; the collective memories of us in the minds of those who we have met are what really make up our true “legacy”. Will you be remembered as a friend, as a kind and compassionate person, as a good listener, as dependable and trustworthy; or will your legacy be that of a self-centered, arrogant, boorish person who was best avoided? Most of us will probably be remembered somewhere in the middle; hopefully closer to the former than the latter end of that scale.

being kind 1Another aspect of the Dr. Seuss quote is realizing that the moment that you are in will become a memory someday. I hope that it will become a fond memory and, realizing that, will allow you to savor it even more. In some cases it is a moment that you just need to get through and put behind you. My wife and I have a little saying that we use for some of those moments, “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh.” You just have to realize that every “now” becomes a “then” with time. The pain of a loss now will become the comfortable memory of the many “thens” that you had together. The sting of a disappointment or a failure will fade as you process the experience into understanding and wisdom. The joys of successes, victories, friendships and loves will take their places on the trophy shelf in the back of your mind, ready to be revisited and savored once again, when you need a lift.

So, one take-away from today’s quote is that the moment that you are in is a future memory – make the best memory of it that you can. If you are just meeting someone for the first time, treat it as if this will be the only time that they encounter you. What memory of you do you want them to have and what memory of them do you want to keep? If you are doing something, make sure that the memory of this effort is one that dinosauryou can look back on with pride. Place a high value on your time and how you spend it. Each fleeting moment is a memory being formed. Make sure that your memories are those of a life well lived and not a dull still life full of coulda, woulda and shoulda’s. Go out and make some great memories this week.

I’ll remember the time spent writing this and smile.  Have a great week ahead.


Are you happy with what you get?

April 15, 2019

“Success is getting what you want.  Happiness is wanting what you get.”  (Dale Carnegie) – as seen in today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Sometimes I think back to the simpler times of my childhood – ancient times, before smartphones or the Internet or even television. Wow. That is ancient. Yet, we were happy female soccer playeras children running around the neighborhood playing cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers or just hide and go seek. We were happy with what we got and did not spend our time wanting things that we didn’t have. Perhaps ignorance was bliss, since we didn’t have the ubiquitous Internet and Google to show us all of the things that we didn’t have. We just had fun and that was enough for us. We couldn’t wait for the next day, so be able to get out and play again. Nobody sat around with their head down, staring at a tiny screen.

It is harder these days for kids to just be kids and have fun. Even babies are often parked in their Bubble seats in front of TV screens, which serve as electronic babysitters and provide visual distraction. Young children, sometimes not even old enough for pre-school, are handed electronic tablets with simple, cute games on them to occupy their selfie 2time and keep them quiet. It’s no wonder that by the time they are old enough to go to school they have become completely hooked on electronics for their entertainment and as their source of information. It’s somewhat sad to think that there are only 1-2 generations alive today that did not grow up in the electronic age and who remember what we did to entertain ourselves before all of the electronics came along.

Getting back to the quote of the day, are you constantly chasing the things that you think you want; or, are you happy with the things that you have? In his post today, Jack went on to write about Loretta Lynn’s title song in the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter, in which she sings “We were poor but we had love  That’s the one thing that daddy made sure of.” That song makes the point that it is in our relationships with others that we find true mother with childhappiness. After all, you can’t have a relationship with a thing that you might want. Hugging your new car will never satisfy like hugging your wife and kids – they hug back.

Perhaps, it is that insight into what is important in life that allows some to be happy with what they get. They focus upon the relationships in their life – the love that they receive from and give to others –rather than upon material things. The happiness that they can recall is usually centered around events and activities with others and not about the car that they were in or the house that they happened to own at the time. Good times are almost always about sharing things with others – activities, events, milestones or whatever.

So, one can be successful and attain lots of material things that they may have wanted; but to be happy usually has less to do with those things than with the people around us with whom we share life’s events. If you focus upon those people, instead of things; you will find that you are happy with what you get, because you had them there to share it with you.

Start by putting down that phone and looking to see who is around you. Instead of couple-looking-at-phonestexting “WYD?” to someone that you can’t see; start a conversation with someone that you can see. It may be hard at first, actually talking to someone; but you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll probably find it to be a lot more rewarding than staring at a screen and waiting for a reply to your text.  Who knows, maybe that person that you are talking to may become your new BFF.

You can be happy with what you get in life, if you are first happy with those around you when you get it.

Hello. How are you today? Did you have a good weekend? OMG, we’re talking!

 


Stop faking it…get real

April 8, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog cones this bit of advice from Ice Cube – “I think, to me, reality is better than being fake.” 

At first I thought that the word “fake” might be a little too harsh when talking about people; but, then I considered that it really just means trying to be something that you aren’t. Who hasn’t tried that at some point on our lives? In my youth, we all tried to beJames Dean “cool”. In those ancient times, being cool was associated with the “beat generation” and role models in Hollywood included James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood. Being cool meant combing a duck-tail into your hair and wearing jeans and black leather. It was all just fake and we weren’t really cool; but, most of us tried anyway.

Today’s society in America is much less homogeneous than it was back then (and that’s a good thing), so the roles models that today’s kids are faking it to try to emulate are all over the place. Each generation adopts its own set of role models and goes through its own phase of faking it. It’s part of the journey through childhood. Eventually, almost everyone accepts the reality of who they are and makes the best of it.

It is a key to happiness in life that you stop faking it and accept and get comfortable with who you are – that you “get real” as Dr. Phil would say. I’ve posted here a few times about loving yourself before you can love others – see this post on starting your day off right.  A part of getting right with yourself is getting right with God. You can’t really fake it when talking with God. You know that He knows. So, instead of asking God to “let me woman-prayingbe like him (or her), ask instead that God help you accept yourself as you are and for His help to make the best of that – “help me be the best me that I can be”. That is the premise of the self-help advice in the 1967 book, “I’m OK, You’re OK”, by Thomas Harris. The gist of that book and the training that was built upon it is understanding and accepting where you are coming from and being comfortable with that when you interact with others.

So, instead of being fake today; be yourself and be OK with that. Accept yourself first and you will find that others accept you, too. Rather than waste your time and energy on trying to be something or someone that you aren’t; put that energy into being the bestthis-is-me you that you can be. You will be pleasantly surprised how many other people like that you, too.

Have a great and real day and week ahead.