Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way

April 4, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog had this little quote“If only God would give me some sign, Boris says, If he would just speak to me once.  Anything.  One sentence.  Two words.  If he would just cough.”  (From the 1975 movie, Love and Death)

I suspect that another quote that’s I’ve used here from Pinterest applies in this case –“ Make time for the quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud.”

Many of us (maybe most of us) tend to call on God during loud times, times of trouble or desperate need, times when the world is especially loud. Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.

It is especially true during those times that we need take the time to make a quiet woman-prayingmoment for God. Just having the self-discipline to quiet yourself in moments of crisis, while all of those around you panic, will allow you to think clearly and to listen for the whisper of the voice of God in your life. Some may attribute it to their “conscience” speaking to them. Others may describe a calming feeling that came over them. No matter how one “hears” God’s whisper when we stop and ask for His help, it is there. Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.

Every now and then, we face situations in life where the choice between doing what it right or wrong is presented to us or forced upon us. It is in that instant, when you realizeright-and-wrong in the back of your mind that you have that choice to make,  that may be thought of as God coughing to remind us that He is still there and to help us make the right decision. Don’t hear it?  Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.

man prayingSo, take the time in your life to make those quiet moments when you can speak to God and then listen for the whisper of His reply. Some find those moments in meditation, some take the time to quietly pray. Whatever you think will work for you, just do it. If you haven’t heard God’s whisper in your life until now, don’t give up…maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.

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Be a breath of Spring to those around you…

April 1, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “An optimist is the personification of Spring.”  (Susan Bissonette)

Spring is the season most anticipated and waited for by most during the year (unless you are into winter sports), because it represents the reawakening of Nature’s beauty and is a harbinger of the warm days of summer.

flowers in the iceSpring is all about hope for the better days ahead. So it is with the optimist. Hope for, and anticipation of, better days to come are the central driving forces of optimism. Rather than linger in the darkness of winter or the depths of despair, the optimist is ever hopeful for the future and ever sure that it will bring relief from whatever is trying to drag you down.

There is no direct link ever mentioned between optimism and faith in God, but it is there nonetheless. How can one be optimistic about the future without having something in the back of their mind upon which to base those feelings? The optimist doesn’t usuallythis-is-me say, “I will make it a better day”; but rather expresses the belief that, “A better day is ahead.” That feeling, or belief, is based upon an unspoken faith that good will prevail (remove one “o” from that to see the root belief). In sharing that spirit of optimism they may actually make it a better day for others.

So, one may conclude from this that the person who is seen as an optimist personifies not only the spirit of Spring but the spirit of God in the world. God is not a pessimist. In the Bible, optimism is expressed most often as hope. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

People who are optimists are seldom shy about sharing their positive point of view. They animated-light-bulb-gif-22want people around them to join them in their happiness, so they share their optimism. There is a gospel song that expresses this need to share titled, “This little light of mine.” Needless to say, optimists let their little lights shine. Even the most hardened pessimist is in some small way influenced in a positive way upon encountering an optimist.

So, if you are optimistic about the future (even if you don’t call yourself an optimist), let your little light shine on others. Let the God who has given you the peace and happiness that fills your heart work through you to help others. Be the Spring in someone’s life today.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


Change it, accept it or let it go and move on…

March 29, 2019

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this bit of advice – “Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.”  (Denis Waitley)

Waitley is a famous and very successful motivational speaker and trainer. His advice echo’s the advice that I have posted here a few time; although I’m pretty sure that he didn’t get it from my posts. Actually his advice and my posts are really just about common sense applied to problems solving.

When life throws a challenge or setback your way, what else can you do? You try to quickly evaluate whether or not change is possible in the situation at hand. If it is, you formulate a plan to effect that change and set about working the plan. If change is not depression4possible, one can either accept things as they are, or rail against the unacceptable and beat your head against the wall.  All that accomplishes for most is that you give yourself a headache. For some the inability to accept the unchangeable results in anger and depression. They stay in place and wallow in self-pity or perhaps self-loathing. They can’t seem to get past whatever it is and move on.

That’s where people like Waitley provide help. There are tons of motivational web sites and people offering coaching and help to those who are stuck in some unchangeable Marlo Rutz head shotsituation that they can’t seem to move past. One such local site is the Laughter, Love and Light Facebook page hosted by Marlo Rutz. Marlo’s focus is upon empowering women and a big part of that empowerment is getting past the things that some women believe stops them. In most cases these are changeable things that they somehow have come to believe are unchangeable. For those that are truly unchangeable, she helps them move on in life by letting go or removing themselves from the unchangeable.

It is interesting that most of the people that I know who engage in various types of practices to help others deal with life have themselves gone through some type of cathartic event(s) in their lives.  Most have come to realize how they got through those times, either with help from someone or through self-examination and making a conscious decision to change direction. Whatever their own “A-HA” moment was, they now wish to share what they learned from that experience with others. They want to help. Each takes a different approach to sharing their experience. Some take a very personal, one-on-one approach like my friend and self-proclaimed “Happiness Coach”, John Hovich. Some. Like Marlo, reach out through social media to larger audiences. Marlo uses Facebook Live posts. Another person who does this type of norma-nickolosoncoaching/counseling whom I know, Norma Nickolson, has reached out by publishing 3 or 4 self-help books now; in addition to her one-on-one life-coaching practice.

I suspect that all of them would agree with the quote that I used today. They all focus on getting people unstuck from whatever bad places they may be in and helping them see how to get on with life and be happier doing it. I hope that in my own little way, with this blog, I do something similar. I’ve written often about problem solving and getting through things that come at you and getting on with life. I often turn to faith woman-prayingas a key to dealing with life’s challenges, perhaps because I found that to be what got me through the cathartic events  in my life. The power of faith and prayer to calm the situation and renew hope in the face of despair has been the most important thing in my life. It can be in your life, too; if you open yourself to God and let it happen.

The point that I and all of the people that I’ve talked about is well summed up in Waitley’s quote –  “Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.” 

 Just get on with life. Move on.


Make your words count…

March 25, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “The fewer the words, the better the prayer.”  (Martin Luther)

Jack went on to write – Luther was following the advice of Jesus: “When you pray, don’t keep babbling like pagans who think that they’ll be heard because of their many words.”

He also mentioned the words of advice from FDR for giving a speech, which applies to praying, too.  “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”

This past Sunday our pastor used a story about a commencement speech that Winstonchurchill Churchill gave, in which, after a long introduction, Churchill strode to the podium and said, “Never give up!” He then returned to his seat and sat down. The stunned audience sat in silence, not knowing what to do. Churchill returned to the podium and said, “Never give up.” He again returned to his seat. Churchill did this several times before the audience finally realized the greatness of his brief advice.

The sermon this week was brief, about 10 minutes total, as it usually is. Our pastor takes to heart the advice of George Burns, who said – “The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.” That is also good advice for speeches and blog posts.

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg gave one of America’s greatest speeches in 1863. At the time, giving speeches was a very important way to communicate and lengthy speeches, some lasting for hours, especially by politicians, were common. Lincoln’s speech lasted all of 2 minutes and was only 272 words long, yet it changed history. Watch a video about this brief, but important speech.

Brevity in writing and in speech is both powerful and appreciated by the listeners and readers (although sometimes misunderstood at the time). The less we fill our speech with meaningless words and phrases, like “like” or “you know” the better. Those are time wasters for the listener and a sure indication that you have engaged your mouth before engaging your brain and now need verbal pauses to allow your brain time to try to catch up.

woman-prayingPrayers can be like that, too. People tend to babble on, enumerating for God (as if He didn’t know already) all of the perceived problems in their lives. I’ve posted here many times a simple, short prayer that covers everything that one needs to say to God to get the help that they need – “Not my will, but Thy will be done”. Then be seated.

The message here is clear. Be brief. Be concise. Be quiet. Enough said.

 


What do you see in your mirror?

March 22, 2019

Today’s entry in the Jack’s Winning Words blog has this quote – “Smile in the mirror.  Do that every morning, and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life.”  (Yoko Ono)

funny face 2Readers of this blog will recall that I’ve posted here more than once about making a funny face in the mirror in the morning to get your day started off right. In this morning’s paper these was a review of the new scary movie “Us” (click here to watch trailer), in which mirrors play a frightening role.

The point of looking in the mirror and smiling or making a funny face is to be more aware of what people see when they look at you during the day. Most of us go through most of our awake lives without any idea what we look like. When we aren’t making asad looking man conscious effort to smile or “at rest” face is what the world sees. It’s not that we are trying to look unfriendly or angry or sad. In fact, we aren’t making any effort to look any particular way. It’s just that, when our facial muscles completely relax, our faces tend to droop into looks that can easily be mistaken for any of those feelings. Have you ever had someone ask you , out of the blue, why you are frowning or what you are mad/sad about? It’s your at rest face giving you a bum rap.

It’s possible to see what you look like by looking in the mirror and relaxing; but most of us would probably still consciously put on some kind of “face” in the mirror.  A better way to see what you normally look like is to have someone take a picture of you when you are not aware of it. You will probably look at those pictures and ask, “I don’t really look like that do I?” The answer is yes. Most of the time the average person’s “at rest” face looks bored, or sad or maybe even a little angry. They are usually not all that inviting and friendly. It takes an effort to smile and when we relax, we don’t make that effort.

What are we to do so that we don’t turn off the world with our at rest face? Well, you can smiling dogstart with today’s advice and conscientiously make the effort to smile in your mirror in the morning. Make that funny face to help you get in the mood. Then fix that feeling of the smile that you are wearing in your mind and try to be aware of your face as the day progresses. You won’t be able to maintain that thought all day, no one can; however, it will pop back into your mind during the day and you can bring the smile back to your face.

An interesting thing happens when people encounter you with a smile on your face, instead of the frown that your normal “at rest” face presents. Instead of avoiding you handshakebecause you look unhappy, they will engage you to find out what you are smiling about. You will look upbeat and people want to associate with upbeat people and not with the Debbie Downer’s of life. A smile presents a mystery to the world that they will want to share, while a frown just says, “you don’t want to know what’s bothering me”.

So, take Yoko’s advice (or mine) and start the day with a smile or a funny face in your mirror and see if your day doesn’t go better because of it.

this-is-meOh, look at her; I wonder what she is smiling about?


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.

 


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?