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.

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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.

 


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?


Who holds your future?

March 14, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “Positive thinking is not about expecting the best to happen every time, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for that moment.”  (Lori Schneider)  This is especially true when we see God at work in our lives. Ralph Abernathy once said, “I may not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”

Some people use the term “karma” and others point to “destiny” when they discuss whatman praying controls their future. In both cases one could ask, “But, who/what controls that?” Eventually you always get back to God as the only answer to your future. If that is the case, and the thought in the opening quote is also true, then we should be asking God for His help in accepting what he has in store for use and making the best of it.

VR2The real point is that we can’t fight against the future and we aren’t in control of it, but we are in control (or we could be) of how we react to the events of the future. We need to be in the right frame of mind, a positive, upbeat frame of mind,  to face each day. Jack used another quote in today’s Winning Words that is really applicable here – “To begin, begin within.”  (William Wordsworth).

So the real answer to the opening question, “Who holds your future?”, is that you do. You don’t have control over what will happen, just how you will react to what happens. It is within you.  So, when you get hit with that lemon today; instead of letting it sour your whole day, stop and say to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming; but, how can I make lemonade out of this situation?” If you just give yourself that little pause and the chance to see some good come out or any circumstances, you’d be surprised how differently your day will go.

Sometimes it help to get in the right frame of mind to have something to refer to or to read at the beginning of the day. I am subscribed to Jack’s Winning Words, so I get Jack’s little insights five mornings a week (he doesn’t post on the weekends). I also get updatesMarlo Rutz head shot on posts to a great new Facebook chat group by local women’s empowerment coach and comedian Marlo Rutz. Marlo’s chat group is called Laughter, Light and Love. You can see it here. Marlo’s posts are to a public Facebook group that you have to join in order to see each day.

I also hope that a few people also find something in what I post to be helpful to get into the right frame of mind in the morning. In my last post, I wrote about taking control of the day, rather than letting the day control you. A major step to make that happen is to get in the right frame of mind. Taking the time each morning to get your head in a positive mode isn’t going to change what happens during the day, but it will make a big difference on the how the day goes for you.

Who holds your future? You do. Make it a bright one.

 


Make today the better day…

March 11, 2019

“Something to keep in mind… When one thing comes to an end, another thing begins.”  (From the movie, Love Happens) – as reported in the Jack’s Winning Words blog today. Jack went on to write a few upbeat and encouraging words, as he always does. He concluded his remarks with, “A new and better day is ahead!”

bored2Maybe you had a tough week last week or the weekend didn’t turn out as you had hoped. Whatever the disappointment or set-back from the past, today is a new day and you still have the opportunity to make it a better day, a great day. Even if the problems that you were facing yesterday, or last week, are still there and still must be faced; you can make it a better day by approaching them with a new attitude and a new resolve to get through them and make it a better day.

Perhaps it was the loss of a loved one or the failure of a relationship or marriage. Maybe it was getting a layoff notice at work or word that the company was going under. Maybe it was something less dramatic, but none the less serious to you, such as your furnace going out on a cold weekend. Whatever the cause of yesterday’s bad day and no matter how it affected you then, you start today with a clean slate in terms of how you will react to the situation.

In most situations, you can’t really control the things that are happening or which haveangry woman happened. The only thing that you control is how you react to those happenings. You can give up and let them drag you down into the pit of despair and depression or you can take a deep breath and begin to work things out. There may not be a “solution” to what happened, but there is a way to accept it and move on with life.

Perhaps one of the best ways to find your way out of the mess that your mind may have put you in is to stop and have a moment of prayer. God has said that He will always be woman-prayingthere with us and that if we trust Him everything will be all right. He didn’t say that there would be no pain, no hardship, or no grieving. He said that if we believe in Him through those things we will be rewarded with a peace that passes all understanding. I have found that nothing helps more in life to get through life’s crises than to be at peace when all of those around you are in panic. That peace starts by going to God andgods-hands-2 saying, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

So, if you want to make today a better day, start by getting yourself right with God and asking for His help. Then bring it on. You’re ready to make it a better day.

Peace be with you.