Be happy. Let your light shine today…

November 30, 2018

In a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack shared this saying from Buddha –

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” 

If you start each day by getting yourself in the right frame of mind – a happy frame of mind, why nor share that with those that you meet. You can be the candle from single candlewhich a thousand other people light their candle and it will not diminish you own happiness one bit. In fact, if you pay attention to the happiness that you might bring to others that will make you even happier.

I have a friend who bills himself as a “Happiness Coach”. Who knew that you needed a coach for happiness? Like many other things in our busy, high-tech, day to day lives; I guess happiness can get lost in the rush towards whatever it is that we think we are pursuing. For most that involves their job and success at work. The focus and intensity that many put on their job and being successful through hard work there definitely can detract from family and other elements of their life, often to the detriment of their happiness.

this-is-meIt is important to realize that happiness in life is not obtained by success at work or the accumulation of money and possessions. Happiness starts with being happy with being you and then extends outward to the joys of sharing that happiness with others. If you cannot get comfortable and happy with who you are as a person, you will be unable to interact with others in a way that makes you and them happier. You must first be able to say, “I like me” before you can say “I like you” to someone else.

Perhaps that is what my friend the Happiness Coach does with the people that he works with. He must first get them to light their own candle of happiness with themselves, before they can go out in the world to share that light and make others happy, too. I’m sure that he also advises them on how to share their happiness with those around them, especially their spruces and families.

A key component of becoming happy with yourself is to stop beating yourself up, to forgive yourself for any past failures or faults. The best way that I know to accomplish that is to get right with God first. If you establish a strong belief in God then you accept that God forgives you all of your sins and faults, and accepts you the way that you are. Once you accept His forgiveness it is easier to forgive yourself and move on. You can tell the coach to put you in the game. You will have lit your candle woman-prayingand now you can focus on sharing your light with others.

Perhaps you could get yourself in that happy state of mind by starting each day with a little prayer time, to reestablish your link to God. There’s a cute little song that you might have learned in Sunday School that starts the words “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” Be the candle from which others draw their light.

Don’t worry…be happy! Get right with God. Get right with yourself. Let your light shine today.

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Change the world one person at a time…

November 27, 2018

In today’s post to his blog Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed uses this quote –

“Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.”  (Quoted by Brittany Trout)

During the holiday season many people become a little more generous and drop money into a red Salvation Army kettle or perhaps donate to some other worthy cause. It makes them feel good about themselves and they know that it will help someone, somewhere.

homeless-beggarThe truth is that there is need all the time all around us and we have opportunities every day to help someone and perhaps change their world. Perhaps it is cynicism or fear that prevents us from stopping to help the homeless man on the street corner begging for enough to but a meal or maybe to provide one for his family.  Maybe we feel that we are too busy doing things that are “important” to us to bother with stopping to talk to the lonely elderly women that we sitting in the man rushingretirement home window. We don’t have time to be bothered trying to discuss their issues with the distraught and depressed neighbor that we wave to in the yard. Yet, each of those encounters represent an opportunity for us to change the world for that person.

Sometimes it takes money to help; but, many times it just takes your presence and your time to make a difference in that other person’s life. Maybe you can’t volunteer builderafford to buy a house for someone, but you could afford the time to work on a house for someone on a Habitat for Humanity project. Maybe you can’t take in the homeless man on the corner, but you could volunteer with the group Home for the Homeless to find him a place to stay. Or, perhaps you could volunteer to spend time at a local retirement home reading to the residents or just visiting with them.

If we have nothing else to give, we have our time. How we use that time to the benefit of others can change the world one person at a time. We see stories on the nightly newsfacing the wall 2 every so often about the ex-soldier with PTSD or the ex-addict or the ex-homeless person who was helped by someone and who now runs a shelter or charity organization that is helping others. That person’s life was changed by an act of kindness by someone else and it changed their world from one of hopelessness and despair into a world of fulfilling accomplishment and self-worth through service to others. Now they are changing the world, one more person at a time.

being kind 1Try it. Stop and help someone today. You might like it. YOU can change the world for someone today!


Don’t just sit there…build your door

November 26, 2018

To start the week off Jack Freed used this little quote in his Jack’s Winning Words blog – “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”  (Seneca)

Jack went on to write that he keeps a little slogan posted right by his computer – Get tough…Get off your duff!  It means, Get going and build that door! 

Too many of us spend our time lamenting that opportunity has passed us by or that it didn’t come knocking at our door. It is possible that it knocked and that we didn’t hear it, dancingbut it is more likely that we haven’t positioned ourselves to take advantage of it.  H. Jackson Brown, Jr. put it this way – “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.” Brown was pointing out that we need to be working at it, building that door, in order for opportunity to present itself. I also like this piece of advice about that dance with opportunity from Wayne Dyer – “When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” 

A big part of being prepared to jump on opportunity is believing. Gail Devers said this, “Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for thosewoman-praying who believe.” A great way to start each day is to reaffirm your faith in God and in His hand in your success. That pause to be in contact with God and reaffirm your faith will allow you to take the all-important first step on your journey to success. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it this way – “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Taking that first step also means overcoming the inertia of procrastination and worry. As Joseph B. Wirthlin put it – “Sometimes we make the process more complicated than we need to. We will never make a journey of a thousand miles by fretting about how leap of faithlong it will take or how hard it will be. We make the journey by taking each day step by step and then repeating it again and again until we reach our destination.”

So, get off your duff and build your door. The opportunity for success lies on the other side if you just take that first step.

Have a great week ahead!


What do you see in beauty?

November 20, 2018

Today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog begins with this quote – “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread.”  (John Muir)

Among the words that Jack always adds to the quote of the day was this sentence – A hungry man, with little money, used it to buy a loaf of bread and a rose. Why do you suppose the man wanted in the rose? He needed the bread to live, but he needed the rose to be alive. I think he saw the face of God in the beauty of the Rose.

What do you see when you see something beautiful? Do you see the hand of God at work, creating that beauty for you to enjoy? Look for beautiful things today and see if you can see Him as you admire whatever it is.

As we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday let’s pause to give thanks to God for all of the beauty that he surrounds us with. These are things that we do not have to wait until Black Friday to enjoy and best of all they are free. If you pause to give these things more than just a glance, you might look deep enough into them to see God smiling back at you.

Have a safe and beautiful day as you travel for the Holidays!


Where are you headed?

November 7, 2018

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog this saying attributed to Buddha is used – “If you do not change direction, you may wind up where you are heading.” 

Renowned philosopher Yogi Berra had a different take on life’s direction – “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” 

Both quotes speak to the need for one to make decision’s in their life about the direction that they are headed in. Yogi’s point is that you shouldn’t just drift along in life and see where it takes you. Buddha is saying that you are in control of where you end up through new-way-forwardthe decisions that you make.

Yesterday’s election was labeled Decision 2018 by many of the network news organizations and the results of the elections saw the country make a conscious decision to change direction in Washington, at least in the House of Representatives and in many state houses, too.

Every now and then, everyone needs to pause and reflect on where they are headed and whether they need to or want to change direction. That moment of self-reflection can begin with the simple question, “Am I happy with my life?” Answering that simple question will not only force you to think about your current situation, but also about the direction in which you are headed. The questions, “If not, why not?” and “What do I need to change to be happy?” will come quickly to mind. If the answer to that initial question boredis yes, then give some thought to what it will take to maintain or even increase that happiness. In either case, the answers that you come up with will provide some new directions for you to pursue.

Remember that happiness in life is not a destination, but a journey; that journey may often require course corrections to get you back headed in the right direction. Where are you headed? What changes might you need to make to get closer to that goal today? Where do you look for help and direction? Ancient mariners learned to look to the heavens to find their directions. You, too, can look to Heaven for directions to get back on course. Pausing to woman-prayingstart each day with a prayer can help you reset your compass and get you started in the direction of happiness and contentment. I’ve found that the simple prayer, “Lord help me make good decisions today” helps me get off to a good start each day.

What is guiding your life? You can find the best guide through prayer.


Life happens…let go and move on

October 29, 2018

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this little quote – “Life is not like Burger King.  We can’t always have it our way.”  (Randi Zuckerberg)

One can imagine that life is unfolding in front of us in a totally random way; or, perhaps, take the approach that the things that are happening are God’s grand plan for how things are supposed to happen. I’m not a believer that God somehow micromanages everything that happens to everyone. Taking that position would seem to go against the concept of free will, which is an important tenant of Christian faith. There are sayings like “Everything happens for a reason”, which seem to be pointing towards God having a say in everything that happens. I don’t buy that either.

What I can buy into is God’s hand in how we react to the things that happen to us in life. The ability to accept things and move on and the ability to forgive those who may have caused us pain or harm and move on with life are different ways to react in which a strong belief in God plays a key role. In both cases, a key requirement is the ability to give up the self-delusion that we are in control of things.

If we admit that we cannot control the things that happen in life; then, what’s left for us to do? The main thing that we do control is how we react to those things that happen to us or around us. Some people spend a great deal of time and energy (mental and zombie apocolypsephysical) preparing for things that they imagine might happen. The recent fascination with the concept of a zombie apocalypse is an extreme example; however, there is a huge contingent of “survivalists” in every corner of the country who are planning and preparing for apocalyptic events that they “see” coming. They have stockpiles of food, water and guns to provide for and protect their families when the imagined worst happens.

A more likely day-to-day happening in life is for one to be faced with some disappointment that comes our way. It may be a social snub of some sort, a loss at a game, or perhaps something at work that doesn’t play out as we had hoped.  No matter what the disappointment or defeat is; we have a choice of how we react to it. The best coulda woulda shouldareaction may be one in which you say to yourself, “Oh well, I guess that wasn’t meant to be” and move on. The worst reaction is one in which you wallow in self-pity, self-recrimination or self-doubt. Those reactions are all the first steps toward self-loathing and depression. Don’t go there. There may well have been things that you could have done differently; but, you didn’t; so get over it, learn from it and get on with it.

How do you find the strength to deal with adversity and move on in life? That’s where your faith comes into play. Accompanying most setbacks in life is a sense (fear) of being alone. Sometimes this is self-imposed isolation, because we try to keep our remorse or woman-prayingregret or shame or hurt to ourselves. Perhaps we have no “significant other” with whom we can share these feelings. In either case, don’t forget that you are ever alone. God is there with you and ready to share and offload your burden. All you have to do is ask God for help and accept that help; in order to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. Try it. Use the little prayer that I often use – “Not my will but Thy will be done”. Let God lift your burden from your shoulders. Let it go.

Peace be with you. Move on.


What do you see in your mind?

October 15, 2018

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed used this quote to write about the wonder of our minds – “To different minds the same world is a hell and a heaven.”  (J.B. Priestley). Jack’s post talked about how our brains perceive things and he shared a book, It’s All in Your Head, that modern school kids are using to explore how their brains work. A fascinating statistic that Jack cited is that science only understands what about 10% of the brain does, with 90% still to be discovered.

We use such phrases as “in my mind’s eye” and “it’s all in your head” to describe how we perceive and react to the world around us. Some people’s brains work differently. Try todepression2 imagine having two minds inside your brain, one which sees the world as heaven and one that only sees darkness and hell. A bi-polar person may actually be living that experience, although only one of the minds may be in control at any one time. Schizophrenics may house many minds, perhaps with more than one “mind” fighting for control at any given time.

The mind is where fantasy and reality are supposed to be sorted out and kept in order, but for some that process doesn’t work well and we say of them that “they are living a fantasy world.” For some an imbalance in the brain may drag them into the dark pit of depression. Fortunately, for people suffering from depression, science has discovered solutions that can maintain a better balance within the brain and allow them a more “normal” life.

It is interesting that we have evolved to the point where our brains are contemplating insightthemselves and how they work. Much of the work in this area of science has focused upon how the brain controls various functions of our bodies or how it gathers, sorts, stores and recalls the information that it encounters in order to build our knowledge base. Yet to be understood is how the brain is capable of original thoughts. It may be that most of what we think of as original thoughts are really just well organized paths of discovery of the origin of something or the solution to a problem.

An even more interesting question is did our brains invent the concept of God or did God invent our brains so that we could “see” Him in our minds. Having been a Star Trek fan from the very first episode on TV, I can conjure up a vision that talking with God is like the Vulcan mind meld, with God playing the role of Spock. Imagine how far back God must have to throttle His mind in order to have a conversation with the small minds thatwoman-praying He encounters here on earth. When you talk to God through prayer, what do you “see” in your mind’s eye? Does God sound like James Earl Jones when he answers you?

It is inevitable that religion and science intersect, even in contemplating or own minds. I like a little saying from Einstein – “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” As scientists study our brains and the minds that they house, they will come to dead ends where the next steps can only be explained by religious belief. Where science stops is where God begins. Perhaps we should spend less time contemplating why things are as they are and spend more time just appreciating the beauty of things as they are. Stop and look at the beauty all around you. Anne Frank put it this way – “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” 

It is in the appreciation of that beauty that you will “see” the hand of God in your mind. Have a beautiful day!