It’s all about the journey together…

June 18, 2019

A post some time ago on the Jack’s Winning Words blog contained this little gem – “Lovepraying-together does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”  (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

That got me to thinking that it also isn’t just about looking in the same direction but moving in that direction – taking life’s journey together. You often hear from divorcing couples that they are going in different directions and that may be a very apt description of what has happened in their lives. The common direction that they thought that they had, based upon physical attraction and the heat of passion, turned out not to be the way they wanted to go, once the passion cooled and time started to take its toll physically. It’s all about the journey together.

soulmate1True love is not about the heat of the moment but about the journey through life. It is about being able to reach to your side when you are uncertain or afraid and grasp the hand of the one person that you know will be there for you and with you. It is about sharing moments, both proud and disappointed, and events both good and bad It is about supporting and being supported. . It’s about being able to look back and smile at what you’ve been through together and look ahead in anticipation of all the wonderful things yet to come.  It’s all about the journey together.

One hears often from long time partners the phrase, “I couldn’t have done it without him/her.” Unsaid is the thought that I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without that partner. God knew that Adam needed a partner in life and created Eve. Ever since then, men have sought their partners for life’s journey. When it is real and lasting, we call that bond love. It’s all about the journey together.

Have you found your life partner for the journey through life? I’ve been with mine for 53

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“Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

years now and we’re still looking forward together. Enjoy your journey through life with someone that you love. It’s all about the journey together.

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Lighten up and enjoy life…

June 17, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this piece of advice from Tim Conway – “I’ve never really taken anything very seriously.  I enjoy life, because I really enjoy making other people enjoy it.”

Tim ConwayTim Conway was my favorite cast member on the old Carol Burnett show. He portrayed many clueless characters and often brought the other cast members to tears of laughter during routines that they were trying hard to get through. What a great philosophy for life – to have fun by helping others have fun.

Most of us need to lighten up a bit (some a lot) in our lives and stop taking ourselves so seriously. Very few things in life are truly life or death situations and even in those cases there is humor to be found, if one looks with the right attitude. The heavy burdens that we think we are bearing in life are often of our own making. Some of us are way too critical of ourselves and way too serious about things that mean little to others. We beat ourselves up more often than life deals us real blows.

So; before we start out on a new week, perhaps we should lighten up and give ourselveswoman-praying a break. Then, maybe we can start to enjoy life more. I’ve posted here several times that taking a little time for prayer first thing in the morning is a great way to start your day. It’s a little easier to face the day in a good mood, once you have gotten yourself right with God and accepted His forgiveness and love in return. Maybe then you can focus upon making others’ day better, too.

There are many ways to share the good news of Jesus and God. One of the best is to be a living example of the happiness that comes with acceptance of God in your life. You don’t have to go around preaching all day or standing on a soapbox loudly proclaiming God’s this-is-melove – just show it in the way that you live and the way that you interact with others. The message will get across.

Lighten up and enjoy the week ahead. Makes a few more people smile.


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!


Make time to reboot yourself…listen for the whisper

June 14, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog contained this little tidbit of wisdom – “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”  (Anne Lamott) Jack’s post went on to explain that re-booting things like computers or smartphones often fixes glitches that develop over time. I’ve certainly noticed that with my own computer and phone. Have you? I’ve noticed that those devices just seem to get overwhelmed or confused sometimes and turning them off and then back on seems to resolve that confusion and allow them to function properly again.

A point that Jack also made was that we all need to make time to reboot ourselves – toinsight take time away from the demands of day to day life, to let our minds settle and to get a fresh start. That is easier said than done in today’s 24/7 world, where we seem to always be booked with something that “we have to do”. Weekends, which used to be times to relax, are now times of constant activities. We have golf tee times or a tennis court reserved; we have to get out on the boat; we have children in sports or dance or other competitive activities. If there is not a weekend tournament, there is practice to get to or something that we need to go buy “for the team”.  We don’t have time for church on Sunday morning because that’s when the big tournament is or that’s when the team could get ice time at the rink. It’s go, go, go all weekend long. Some even welcome Mondays, so that they can get back to the comfort of work.

Then there is the influence of technology on our lives. When we have a moment, we phone with msgspend it staring down at our phone to see what might be going on that we missed. We schedule our lives there in our calendar apps and our lives are chronicled and shared there on the various social media that we use. It seems so important to us that we also check to see what others are doing and sharing about their lives that we have little time left for anything else.

Yet, we need to make time to unplug from this world, to reboot ourselves. Maybe you are the type of person who will have to put this time into your calendar in order to actuallywoman-praying do it; maybe not. One good way to make that time and use that time is to set aside a short period for prayer each day. Starting each day with some prayer time is a good way to do that; but, it can be any time during the day.

Why use that time for prayer? Because it forces us to stop and step back from the world for a few minutes and acknowledge something that is bigger and more important than anything else going on in your life at the moment. It provides some perspective on things and it allows the calming and clearing of the mind. It allows you to reboot. Just taking time for that quiet little prayer that I like to use – “Not my will; but, thy will be done” – seems to work wonders for me.

listenThere is a little plaque on our kitchen wall that says, “Take time for quiet moments, for the world is loud and God whispers.” You really need to make time for those quiet moments in your life, so that you can listen for the whispers of God in your life. Don’t worry; everything else in life will wait for you to reboot. Have a peaceful weekend and find time to listen for the whisper.

 


Always carry a spare smile…

June 12, 2019

In today’s post to his blog – Jack’s Winning Words – Jack Freed shared this thought from Dolly Parton – “If you see someone without a smile, give ‘em yours.” Jack went on to Dolly PArtonwrite that recent studies have shown that people are less happy today than they were in the 1990’s. Although he didn’t mention why that is true, he did echo Dolly’s advice about taking the time to listen to those that you encounter during the day and sharing a smile where needed.

As a society, we have become a bit more introverted and insular. I blame the rise of the smartphone for at least some of that. We have allowed ourselves to be captivated andcouple-looking-at-phones captured by a device that steals time away from everything else, including our interactions with other human beings. Me may not even notice the frown or sadness on the face of those that we encounter because we are too busy looking at our phones. We certainly don’t take the time to ask what is wrong, and since we can’t Google that, we just move on to the next attention grabber that shows up on our screen.

So, perhaps the first step to all of us getting better and having smiles would be to put this-is-medown those smartphones and take a good look at what is going on around us. Step two might be to make sure that we put a smile on our own face. I’ve posted here a few times about loving yourself before you can share love with others (see the post Start your day with love and the rest will take care of itself). So take a moment, before you set out on your day, to find that love of self and who you are that will put a smile on your face. Many times that may involve taking time for a short prayer of thanks to God for another day. Acknowledging and accepting the love of God each day allows you to also love yourself and then to be ready to share that love with others.

Back to the thought of the day about sharing a smile. In order to share your smile you need to do a little more than just smile at someone, although that helps, too. Perhaps your smile is the icebreaker that allows you to ask, “How are you doing?” or even “Is there something troubling you that I might be able to help with?” That might be being kind 1awkward with a total stranger, but many of the people that you encounter won’t be total strangers. Finding a way to initiate a conversation will allow you to find out what may be troubling them. Even if you can’t really do anything to help in the situation; just giving them an outlet to talk about whatever it is that is troubling them will help. You can be empathetic and supportive, even if you can’t solve the problem. Sometimes they may just need a shoulder to cry on or a good hug of reassurance.

So, always carry a spare smile and be ready to share it with others who might need it today. You have more and they need the one on your face more than you do, right now. smiling-sunPut away your smartphone and look around you for those who might need to borrow your smile. When you find them and give them your smile, you’ll find that God immediately puts another smile on your face so you can continue His work in the world.

Share a smile today!


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.


Focus upon what you can control…

May 7, 2019

At my Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce referral network meeting this morning our norma-nickolosonspeaker was Norma Nicholson, author, motivational speaker and owner of Wise Owl Enterprises, a life coaching business. Norma helps people deal with what life throws at them and live a better life. If I boil down what Norma talked about in her advice it is this – “Focus upon what you can control.”

Norma uses several examples of things that have happened in her life and in the lives of others that she has helped, to set the stage for how she helped herself and now helps others. Her examples are all things that happen to many people – the loss of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of a job. These are things, most of which are totally out of our control, that just happen to us. What Norma focuses people to look at is how they react to those things and how to take control of those reactions.

I’ve posted here several times about letting go of things and realizing that we cannot control all of the events in life that happen, no matter how hard we try or would like toabusived wife believe that we are in control. What we can control is how we react to those events. Almost all of life’s big events cause an initial, sometimes overwhelming, emotional reaction. There is nothing that we can do to avoid the fear or sadness or sense of loss that washes over us at the moment of impact of such an event; however, we can, and should, try to recover and regain control of ourselves as soon as we can. Why? Because we are also often called upon to make quick decisions and to answer the immediate question – What now?

If we just surrendered to the grief, anger, or remorse that initially overtook us, we might slip into depression, lash out in response, or otherwise react foolishly. We would be letting the event control us, instead of controlling our response. The beginning of facing the wall 2regaining control of the situation is the admission to ourselves that we cannot or could not have controlled the event. For some that is difficult. They tend to spend time in self-recrimination, searching their minds for something that they could have done differently to prevent the event from occurring. What a waste that is. It did occur and there is no going back, no do-overs. There is only, “What now?”

So maybe you’d benefit from buying and reading one of Norma’s books. You might also benefit from going back to re-read some of what I’ve posted here about dealing with life’s challenges, such as this post on letting go.  Maybe reading about being in control of your life instead of life-s event would help. There are other posts about how to deal with life by dealing with the issue of control. The point of most of them is coming to grips with the fact that you are not in control of anything except how you choose to react to what is happening around you and to you. That is up to you.

Many people find that turning to prayer in difficult situations helps. Perhaps it is that momentary need to refocus upon God that gives them the peace that they needed to start woman-prayingto think clearly again. Whatever, the cause, the effect of turning to prayer can be immediate and dramatic. Most importantly, when you turn to God you have to let go of control of the situation and admit that there was nothing that you could do to change it, it happened. Then you can move on to the question of – now what? Your most effective prayer might be, “Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to get through this situation.”

Whether you turn to prayer or not, the advice that both Norma and I provide is to focus upon what you can control – your attitude and reaction to the situation. Don’t allow yourself to become self-defeating, but rather be self-empowering, through a positive attitude. A saying from a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words Blog comes to mind – “If you wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.  If you don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.”  (Unknown)

There will be a tomorrow. Focus upon what you can control.