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.

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Where will you spend the rest of your life?

March 14, 2018

“My interest is in the future, because I’m going to be spending the rest of my life there.”   (Charles Kettering) – from a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write about Kettering, who was an inventor and a bit of a futurist.

Where do your interests lie? Are you stuck in the past, reminiscing about or lamenting over things that have happened in your past? Some things that we may have experienced are so strong (the word traumatic is often used) that we find it hard to put them behind us and move on. That happens a lot with soldiers who’ve been involved in wars. The term “post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS)” was invented to explain and label thisdepression 6 condition. PTSS is a leading cause of suicides among soldiers returning from prolonged or repeated duty in war zones.

In the past there was not a convenient terms to use to describe people suffering from the debilitating effect s of war; so, people often talked of someone being “shell shocked” or used the term “the fog of war” to describe their behavior. However it was described, it was (and is) a condition that does not allow the person to function normally in the present, due to the memories of overwhelming events in their past. People who’ve been through natural catastrophes such as tornadoes or floods may experience a similar impact on their lives. Sometimes the death of a loved one has a similar impact.

I’m sure that psychologists and psychiatrists have lots of ways to both explain and attempt to treat PTSS. Some cases seem to be fairly mild and involve mainly becoming mentally stuck in the era of the events. I know of a few Viet Nam era vets who still walk around in their bush hats and camouflage clothing and love nothing more than talking about where they were “back in the day.” They haven’t been able to let go of that experience and move on.

depression 5Perhaps you haven’t been through anything in life as traumatizing as deployment into a war zone; however, we all have had events in our lives that were (at the time anyway) somewhat traumatizing. Those “how can I go on” moments helped shape our lives. For most there was the “ah ha” realization that, as bad as it seemed at the time; it didn’t kill us and we made it through the event. Perhaps the pain was real or maybe just deeply emotional; but we survived and life went on. It is our ability to compartmentalize and rationalize things that happen to us that helps us get through them and go on with life.

For many, it is the ability to turn to their faith to see them through life’s tough moments that makes all of the difference. One of the hallmarks of PTSS is a feeling of loneliness; of thinking that no one understands you and what you’ve been through. It is in those moments of loneliness that one’s faith in God’s assurances can make the most difference.helping hands

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

You are never alone. God is always right there with you. He got you through the trauma and He is pointing your towards your future. Wouldn’t you rather spend the rest of your life there, in the future, rather than dwelling on the past? Don’t look back. Let go of your past and walk with God into your future.

Where will you spend the rest of your life? Look to God and see your future.


No worries, no regrets…

January 22, 2018

The little phrase “No worries, mate” became popular when the Crocodile Dundee movies came out and it is still widely use, albeit without the “mate” part. In a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack reports on an article that he read – An article in Psychology Today asks, What is the worst emotion you can imagine?  Sadness, or maybe, fear, anger, frustration?  The P.T. writer claims that it’s, regret.  How often have you said, “If only..?”

How sad it would be to go through life constantly saying “If only I had…” If only I’d triedturtle that. If only I had said something. If only I had introduced myself. If only…

 

 

Resolve today to overcome your fears of trying or doing and get more out of life. Life is meant to be experienced, not just thought or worried about. The time that you spend worrying about possible bad outcomes could have been spent enjoying a new friendship or having fun doing something that you’ve never done before.

How much fuller your life would be if you occasionally had to say, “Well that didn’t work out like I hoped, but at least I tried and I learned something from having tried”; rather than constantly regretting that you didn’t even try and wonder how it might have turned out.

handshakeSo summon up the courage to try this week. Finally say hello to that person that you cross paths with every day and have always wanted to meet. Try somewhere new for lunch, maybe that little place that you have always wondered about trying. Take advantage of that free trial offer at the gym to see how working out might be for you. Accept that invitation that you’ve always turned down to join in an activity at your church or in your community. The key is doing it and not just thinking about it.

We use the phrase “I’m in a rut” to describe our lives sometimes and sometimes that rut can get so deep that it’s hard to get out of, hard to try new things. Break out of your rut this week and see if your life doesn’t become a little more interesting and enjoyable. You’ll never know if you don’t try and then you’ll just regret not having tried. At least if you try you’ll have some new memories to think about and learn from. You won’t regret having tried.

Take the chance and try this week.


Maybe faith is what we are made of…

January 3, 2018

From a post to Jack’s Winning Words some time ago comes this little piece of advice about life – “The same boiling water which softens the potato hardens the egg; it’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.”  (Unknown)

One might also say that it’s how you react to the circumstances that you are in that shows depression4your character. You may know people who seem to “go to pieces” anytime they hit a tough spot in life. You may also know people for who the phrase, “adversity brings out their best” might have been coined. Those people don’t thrive on adversity; but they are able to handle it with aplomb.

We sometimes use the term “hot water” to describe bad situations. Normally these are situations that we got ourselves into, perhaps through bad decisions or maybe even onstubborn purpose. Whatever the reason, some hot water situations cause people to harden their position and perhaps even become stubborn or belligerent. Others may find that their preconceived notions about something or someone soften a bit in the midst of a shared adversity. They conclude, “We’re all in this situation together.”

How do you react to adversity? What does that tell you about what you’re made of? Do you turn inward in adverse situations, perhaps even sinking into depression; or, do you seek help from others with the problem? Do you lose sight of your faith during hard time woman-prayingor find strength by leaning upon it. Do you remember God’s promise – “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” He is right there with you and all you have to do is ask for His help.

Don’t let life’s circumstances harden you and turn you away from your faith. Even the hardest objects can be broken, while softer things tend to bend and flow with the circumstances, getting through adversity without breaking. Take strength from your faith and knowing that you are never facing life’s tests alone. If “what you are made of” is an unshakable faith in God; then, none of life’s circumstances will break you.

Have  great rest of the week. Handle life with the aplomb that faith gives you.


Get going in a different direction…

November 15, 2017

Thaccess deniedis little quote from the Jack’s Winning Words blog got me to thinking about the rejections in my life and how that changed my direction.

“Sometimes rejection in life is really redirection.”  (Tavis Smiley)

Rejections in life can come in many forms. We tend to remember the bigger moments of rejection, like being turned down for a date or being passed over for a promotion; however, life is full of little moments in which something that we want to do is somehow rejected or, at least that path is blocked and we must go in a different direction.

 

 

How we react to rejections in life and what we choose to do in the new direction says a bored2lot about us. Some don’t deal with rejection very well and may slip into anger or depression every time things don’t go the way that they and planned and hoped. Some are so flighty that rejections are quickly forgotten and they flit off in a new direction, seemingly oblivious to the rejection. Do you know people who react to rejection in those ways?

For most of us rejection is just a temporary bump in life. They may stop us for a moment, as we internalize what just happened, but we go on. What few of us take the time to do is to think about that rejection as a redirection in our lives. I wonder what would happen if woman-prayingwe paused and thought to ourselves, “OK, God didn’t want that to happen to me or for me; I wonder what direction He wants to take me in now?”

By taking that moment to attribute the rejection/redirection in your life to God’s will, you remove the need to seek an answer to the question of why that just happened. You also excuse yourself of the need to find blame in yourself or others. It was God’s will, not your will or actions that brought about the rejection, so use it as a redirection and seek His will in which way to go next. Maybe start off with a little prayer like, “God I know that you have something else in mind for me; please help me see the path that you wish for me to take.” Do that, knowing that God has only the best outcome in mind for you; and you will joyfully start off in your new direction.

Dealing with rejections as redirections from God in your life will allow you to keep a positive attitude towards life, no matter how and many or what types of rejections you hit. Sometimes God may throw a rejection at you to help re-ground you on the important things in life, like family vs. possessions. A rejection may force you to realize that you had begun to value the wrong things and to pursue the wrong things. Sometimes that rejection is a wake-up call that says that you have become too complaisant and too expectant of success; that you have become full of yourself and God needed to take you down a peg and remind you of who is in charge.

man prayingMaybe you can start each day with a variation of that little prayer that I suggested earlier. “God, I don’t know what you have in mind for me today, but help me accept the things that happen and see the new directions that you have laid out for me; trusting in You and your love for me, through your Son, Jesus Christ.”

Then get out there and get going in those new directions.


Don’t waste your time…Run to the next window

September 23, 2017

There are quotes that I happen upon that, thought totally unrelated, just seem to naturally go together. Here are two that I have collected over time from the Jack’s Winning Words blog:

“Don’t waste a minute not being happy.  If one window closes, run to the next.”  (Brooke Shields)

“You have to be able to laugh at yourself and to take it with a grain of salt.”  (Khloe Kardashian)

While life is obviously serious business, we all tend to take things too seriously, especially when we get down on ourselves. Sometimes we try things and fail. Sometimes we do bored2stupid things that we should have known better not to do. Sometimes life throws a curve ball at us and we react badly. Most of those times result in some amount of our time being spent in an unhappy state of mind. We may be sad or angry or frustrated or disappointed, but we are not happy.

Perhaps we are angry at ourselves, which can be the hardest thing to forgive; just because there is no one else to blame. In any event, we waste time not being happy. Why? Does it really do any good to be angry? Does being disappointed make anything different? Does wallowing in self-pity make you feel any better? Perhaps a good cry depression4relieves some of the pain of the sadness of a lost or a disappointment, but does it change anything? Let the moment pass. Let go of the thing that is effecting you and move on. Step back and laugh at yourself…run to the next window.

I recently got to see this philosophy in action. I good friend had her business literally snatched out from under her, due to circumstances over which she had no control. A big, direct competitor in her line of business bought the building that her business was housed in and basically shut it down by canceling her lease. There was nowhere else to go in the area and the only choice that she had was to shut down her business.

calm personThese events could have been personally devastating for her; but, she has a great attitude and is viewing it as an opportunity to do something new and different. Was she initially bummed? Yes, who wouldn’t be. But, rather than wallow in self-pity and walking around complaining about how unfair life can be; she has decided to see this as an opportunity. She has accepted it better, and probably has a better attitude about it, than the people who were her clients in the old business. She is running to the next window and is actually excited about the new adventure. What a great attitude and reaction to the things that life has thrown her way. I’m sure that everyone who knows her will support her in her new career.

I read a story not too long ago about a man who was diagnosed with a terminal condition and given less than a year to live. Rather than wallow in self-pity, he decided to live to the fullest in the time that he has and to throw a party for his family and friends so that they could all celebrate his life together, rather than waiting for some sort of wake after his death. What a great idea. It is a lot easier to deal with the inevitability of death if you have a firm belief in your faith that this is just a transition point into the next life. You need not fear death as a great the unknown, when you know God and believe in whathelping hands comes next…you can run to the next window of happiness.

So, the choice is yours. You can get down and stay down on yourself, because of what life has handed you; or, you can run to the next window of happiness. Knowing that God is with you makes the journey to that next window a lot less scary. I’ll see you at the next window.


Please Stand By…

September 9, 2017

Every now and then I’ll pause to think about the fact that I haven’t posted to my blog for a while and realize that I got consumed by life again. Things happens, life happens and we get swept along with it, spending our time reacting to the events of life rather than working against timeproactively pursuing the things that we might wish to do. That’s life.

So, when I do get a spare moment that is not already committed to some other activity or reaction to life, I savor the moment and take the time to think about the things that I want to do, the posts that I want to write and the points that I might want to make. I sometimes also reflect on the reactions that past posts have elicited.

I write a lot about dealing with life and about the role of one’s faith in life and in managing crises. That seems to resonate with a large percentage of the people who follow my blog. Perhaps it is what they hoped someone would tell them or perhaps it’s because they agree and have found strength in their own faith. For whatever reason, I have noted that if I mention God in a post it gets more “Likes” than those with no mention of Him. Imagine that.

Recently, I’ve been consumed by work that I’ve been doing to get sponsorship’s for our annual Milford Home Tour. I’m a member of the Milford Historical Society (see our web site, which I also maintain) and I’m on the board of directors of that organization. The Society is a non-profit that raises funds to run a little local museum – the Milford Historical Museum – that is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of our local area.

The Milford Historical Society has run a tour of local historic homes for 41 years as its primary fund raiser. I go around and solicit sponsorship money from local businesses to help support the operation of the museum. That has been an all-consuming job for the last month and a half. The Home Tour is next weekend, so I’ve pretty much done all that I can on that. Hopefully, I’ll have more time to get back to blogging after that.

I’m sure that we can all identify with the ebbs and flows of life that can temporarily consume one’s time so completely that one’s normal routine is totally disrupted. In fact, I’ve started to conclude that there really isn’t any “normal routine” any more, just a few things that we seem to do more often than others. One only has to watch the nightly news (which I do as a part of my “normal routine”, when I have time) to see that “normal”clown car has taken on a new and twisted meaning under the current political environment. I guess when one lives within the theater of the absurd, one should expect surprises from the clowns who are in charge.

So, stay tuned. I will get back to a more regular routine of posting here, just as soon as I regain some level of control over the things that I choose to spend my time upon. In the meantime, if you live near Milford, Michigan; plan on going to our Home Tour on September 16 & 17. Read all about it at our web site.

Please stand by…our normal programming will resume momentarily.