Thank You

DSCN0461An expression of gratitude, appreciation, or acknowledgment of kindnesses

I murmured because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.   Persian Proverb

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.  Cicero

Nothing is more honorable than a thankful heart.  Seneca

It does not require much to say “thank you”? It is just an utterance of two words. What does it mean to say “thank you” and really mean it? That is another story. To be able to truly say “thank you” indicates that you are on relatively solid ground. It means your plumbing and electrical is in relatively good order. You are functioning fairly well and not overly focused on yourself or your needs.

You can appreciate kind words or kind acts performed by others. This indicates you have a good measure of self-esteem, self-respect, and self-love.  All of these things are good. It does not mean that you totally have your life together, but it does imply that you are leaning in the right direction. It takes a certain level of learning and maturity for a child to learn to say “thank you” to someone else. This should not change as we get older, we should always show our gratitude to others by saying “thank you”. A heartfelt “thank you” is so simple, but it is also very profound. It reveals much about us. It we can really say it, it means one thing. If we are unable to, it says something else. Observe those who say “thank you” and compare this to those that do not say “thank you”. What can we learn from such observations? Which one of these types of people are we most like?

Which kind of person do we want to be? As ridiculous as it may sound, there is a psychology to being able to say “thank you”. When we say “thank you” to someone else for their kindness, we recognize the kindness and in turn are returning their kindness.  It reinforces them and helps make them feel good to know they have been recognized and thanked for their kindness. The better these things are working together in us, the better they flow and the better the indication that our inner-self is in good working order. The problem is if this is not true, then our plumbing and wiring is deficient and there are issues which need addressing. Being able to say “thank you” is seemingly simple, but if we have problems doing it and really meaning it, we need to work on our issues. We should always be on the lookout for opportunities to say “thank you”. It should be so simple.

Challenge:  How easy are you able to say “thank you”?  How often do you find reasons to express “thank you” to others? Your answer should tell you something. While on this subject, what kind of things do you do daily for others that might warrant “thank you” from them? Your answers to these questions are self revealing. If you cannot say “thank you” and cannot do kind things for others, you have some serious work to do. Get busy.

Wisdom: Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude.  Joseph Wood Krutch

Spiritual: (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil 4:6

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus 1 Thess 5:18

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

Are we able to say “thank you” to our Heavenly Father for all of the things He gives us and does for us? The more we grow in Him and the more we see and understand, the more we will be expressing our gratitude for all that God does for us. We should learn to be thankful and grateful for all our many blessings. Those who are truly grateful tend to be those who find that many more blessings in their life. It is so amazing how this works.

Prayer:  Thank you for loving the unlovable and for dying on the cross so that I might be forgiven.

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Peace of Mind

TranquilityHarmony, balance, no tension or discord; no anxiety; no doubt, fear, or worry

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind. Emerson

Live in the present moment and find your interest and happiness in the things of today.  Emmett Fox

When we are present in each moment, the past gently rolls up behind us and the future slowly unravels before us. Richard Levy

A good way to consider the concept of peace of mind is to think of balance. It implies that the mind is in balance. This means a state of equilibrium, without stress or strife. There is no pressure, no hurry; time has no control. We are not regretting or reliving the past, nor are we worrying about the future. We are not motivated by time, pressure, demands, guilt, worry, doubt or fear. We are free from the power and control of such things.

Some synonyms to peace of mind might be happiness, contentment and satisfaction. These are not the same things as apathy or complacency. Achieving peace of mind does not mean we lose our motivation, drive, dreams, or ambition. These things should continue to be there. They remain behind the scenes; still inspiring us. They do not dominate, pre-occupy or dominate us. There is a sense of balance between accepting our present state of affairs and not being satisfied with status quo, there can continue to be the need for something more or better. A person can be at peace and at the same time not be complacent. This is a desirable state; having an overall sense of well-being while at the same time wanting to achieve, accomplish and live up to our potential. Peace of mind implies confidence, faith and sense of purpose. Last but not least, for those having achieved peace of mind, they have learned to accept themselves for who they are. This is perhaps the most important ingredient; a prerequisite to finding peace of mind is to have developed a healthy sense of self-acceptance and self-love. Life is good!

If we despise or hate the person who lives within our skin, peace of mind will continue to elude us. We will never find it. How can we be at peace when engaged in conflict and internal warfare? We are absolutely stuck with ourselves. Unhappy marriages often result in divorce. Some find happiness the second time around. We cannot get a divorce from the self; this is not an option. Those who find peace of mind, joy, happiness, even success; are those who find ways to be at peace internally. It is the wise among us who achieve this. A person does not have to have a great intellect or any special skills or abilities. They learn how to be at peace with themselves.

Challenge: Do you get along with the person who lives inside you? This is the heart of such things as peace of mind, being mentally well-balanced and finding joy and happiness in life. If there is too much unresolved internal conflict, peace of mind will be absent. You cannot hide under a rock, bury your head in the sand, or look the other way. A very critical thing to do is to learn, strive and do what it takes to have a happy marriage with yourself.

Wisdom: Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. John Wooden  

Spiritual: (NIV)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God, may they be happy and joyful. Psalm 68:3

His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. Isaiah 28:26

At the heart of our internal conflict, is our stubborn and rebellious conflict with God. Trying to divorce ourselves from God is a futile attempt at ignoring and denouncing who we truly are. God made us in his image. We are his children. He knows and loves each of us just as every parent loves their own children. Until we acknowledge our need for a right relationship with God and seek Him in a personal relationship. We will never find peace of mind.

Prayer: Help me to understand love. Help me to love myself in a healthy way so that I can truly love others.

Seize the Day (Carpe Diem)

St. Louis the CrusaderAdmonition to seize the pleasures and the opportunity of the moment without concern for the future.

Doing the best at the moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.  Oprah Winfrey

Nothing is worth more than this day. Johan W Goethe

Each day comes bearing its gifts. Unite the ribbons. Ann Ruth Schabacker

   The only place in time that we can do anything that affects our lives is in the present moment. The past is gone and the future is yet to be. The past can teach us, but it is only in the present that we can do anything to improve our lot in life. “Carpe Diem” which means “Seize the Day” is wise and profound advice. The moment of opportunity is now, not yesterday, and not tomorrow. What we do now is that which affects tomorrow. If we do not act now, in the present moment, that opportunity has now slipped into the history of the past. We start over again; we are faced with the need to act now, or the same thing will happen. The moment of opportunity slips into the past. It is never in the future that we can act; it is always in the present moment that we must do something or lose the opportunity.

Many of us procrastinate; many of us daydream and the majority of us dread doing things that take us out of our comfort zone. All of our uncertainties, our doubts, our fears, and our worries hold us back and prevent us from taking advantage of the moment of opportunity. That moment is always “now”. The truth is that if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten.  If you are to ever make any changes in your life, you must act now. We do not have control over the past, nor can we have control of the future. The only thing we control is this present moment in time. It is in this sense that we have total control. I have the capability of being conscious of this very present moment, I can take control away from my subconscious mind, and in so doing I can make a conscious and thought-out decision that will change my life for the better. If I can do this once, I can do it over and over again. Your life can sky-rocket forward.

By learning to act in the present moment and by taking conscious control of our decision making process we can become our own extremely powerful agent of change. In so doing we can grow and develop the way we were meant to be. We can in so many respect control our own destinies.

Challenge: Stop! Be aware of this moment. Now it is gone. Your life is comprised of these moments. It is the only opportunity that you have to make changes to your life. You can waste your time and your opportunities by allowing these moments to slip into the past. Learn to raise your level of consciousness. Be aware of the present moment. Start taking action. Do it now. Seize the opportunity. Wow, there is so much that you can accomplish.

Wisdom: I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.  Abraham Maslow

Spiritual: (NIV):

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  II Timothy 1:7

Today is a day that the Lord hath made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it. Ecclesiastes Psalm 118:23 

The most important way in which to seize this day and make the most of life and all opportunities going forward is to truly realize that we need God in our lives. If we do not come to this realization, we are and will be doomed to fail at mastering and triumphing over this thing called life. If we fail at this, we will have missed out in the past and will continue to miss out in the future. The most important thing we do can right now is to know God.

Prayer:  Help me to seize this day and the moments there of. Help me to use it wisely and unto your glory.

Never

DSCN0336Forever, absolutely not going to happen, zero possibility, a very long time, gone and not to come back again, not ever, at no time, absolutely not

Lost time is never found again. Benjamin Franklin

Winners never quit and quitters never win. .Vince Lombardi

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right. Napoleon Hill

Never is forever. By definition never is an absolute; it has no provision for any possibility. Very often, the concept of never carries with it negative connotations. We should be very careful in how we conceive and think about “never” and the lasting impact it may have. It may be harmful to our well-being and our relationships.

We use “never” in our daily language without even thinking about what we are saying. Often as not, the odds are against never ever occurring. We have said such things as “I will never talk to that person again;” “I will never go back there again;” or “I will never forgive you.” These are absolute statements. Sometimes by making such statements we are backing ourselves into an undesirable corner. We may live to regret what we have said and there may a price to pay for our saying “never”. We should be very careful to avoid such statements.

The wise among us are careful and deliberate in what they say and mean. They do not go overboard or too far in making their points. Most of the time, it is a very bad idea to burn our bridges behind us. It is a good idea to always try to leave ourselves a little wiggle room or a way to retreat when necessary. It is good to remember and practice never saying “never.” It will save a lot of headaches, embarrassments, and having to eat crow.

There is a positive side of the concept of never. It can be used to foster determination and perseverance. Believing in never quitting or in giving up can give us the little extra that sometimes sees us through obstacles and disappointments. It empowers us to think in terms of no retreat or surrender. It supports the idea of paying the price whatever it may be. This reminds us of such individuals as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Thomas Edison. Quitting was not a concept they embraced. They turned the idea of never around. The normal or “status quo” was “never” acceptable to them.  Quitting or giving up was never going to happen.

The lesson to be learned is to be careful and cautious in how we think of “never”.  We should never use it carelessly and only use it to motivate and inspire us to think in terms of never quitting or giving up.

Challenge: Never say “never,” should be something that reminds you to be careful in what you say and what you really mean. It should help you to be more articulate and careful with your words. Do not say things that you may later regret. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be aware that you can use the concept of never to motive and inspire you. If something is really worthwhile, never quit, persevere through until you are victorious.

Wisdom: Beware of making absolute statements. They often come back to haunt you. Randall Burkhalter

Spiritual: (NIV)

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

We should be very careful about the concept of never. We should always remember that God is sovereign and controls time and everything within it. In our limited capacities and abilities, we do not know what is going to happen tomorrow or much less in a year or in many years. In our foolishness and arrogance, we get carried away with our sense of supremacy and power. The wise look to God and trust him. It makes life so much easier.

Prayer: Help me to be patient, calm and perseverant. May my faith and confidence continue to grow in You.

To Conform or not to Conform?

100_1989Choosing to be like others or to be different

The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Walter Bagehot

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. Adlai Stevenson

Nothing pains some people more than having to think. Martin Luther King, Jr

  There is a sense of safety and security that comes from being like everyone else, to fit in and not stand out. Conformity has its place. The more we conform the less likely we are to be judged, criticized or even noticed. Being normal is like being a card carrying member of society’s group comfort zone. It is a place to chill, vegetate, escape, be complacent and avoid confrontations. This has both good and bad connotations to it.

It is good for us to have a place to fit in and escape the pressures of life. Home is such a place. The saying that there is no place like home portrays safety, comfort and security. Conforming to the norm is like the concept of home is many ways. We can let our guard down, have fewer demands on us, back off and get lost in the crowd. Is there a problem with conforming; lowering expectations, fitting in and being like everyone else? There are tradeoffs. If being like everyone else fits our concept of success, joy and happiness; then conformity is a good thing for us. Do normal everyday people live the kind of lives we want? Are they fulfilled; have they achieved success? Many of them have what they want. Life meets their expectations. Some are frustrated but have they accepted lives of mediocrity?  Others are unsatisfied because their lives do not match their expectations or potential. Some are unhappy and know it, while others avoid thinking about such things. We try not to think about the things that make us uncomfortable. Everyone has to determine their degree of conformity. Society does require that we comply with certain of its expectations. The more we conform, the more we lose some of our individuality and uniqueness. Each of us does conform in our own individual way.

Everyone has a one of a kind brain, personality, heredity, and background. These things made us into what we are and greatly affects our aspirations. Some choose to march to the beat of different drummers; answering the desire to be different and willing to take some risks. Conformity is not their thing. For others, being normal may mean some compromise, escape; or even burying their heads in the sand. We do not find answers by avoiding life’s challengers. We must confront and deal with them. Maybe some of us conform more than we should.

Challenge: If you have an ache in your gut reminding you that life is not what it should be, you have issues that need to be dealt with. You do not have your ‘t’s’ crossed or ‘i’s’ dotted as they should be. There are missing pieces to your puzzle. Your life is not in harmony. The ache will not go away by ignoring it or by burying your head in the sand. Finding joy and happiness depends on balancing your goals and desires with the life you live.

Wisdom: The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them. George Bernard Shaw

Spiritual: (NIV)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11; 1

Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Isaiah 3:10

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were created to be unique individuals, but live in a world where we must live with and interact with those around us. We are also spiritual beings meant to interact and have a personal relationship with God. These choices conflict. Choosing worldly ways leads us away from our spiritual nature and our personal relationship with God. This is a most critical issue that requires our attention. We are not meant to live this life without God.

Prayer: Help me to live in this world with my primary emphasis on the spiritual world according to God’s will.

 

It’s Never Too Late

Clock TowerCertain things are worth doing regardless of when they get done

It is never too late to have a happy childhood. Tom Robbins

It’s never too late to give up our prejudices. Thoreau

It’s never too late to mend your way. American Proverb

We measure Life too much against the clock. Things need to be done by certain points in time. If we fail to get it done by an imposed deadline, there is often a sense of failure, disappointment and even punishment; even if it was something very important and worthy of celebrating. Getting things done according to schedule may be desirable. It is almost never too late to hang in there and get certain things done no matter how long it takes.

High school graduation normally occurs at the age of seventeen to eighteen. It is an important event that acknowledges the acquiring of some needed life skills and basic education. Some do not graduate on time and eventually go on to get their GED diplomas; some never do. Some may be late according to normal, but it is still an important event. It is never too late to accomplish anything so important or worthwhile. There are those who go to college later in life, go back to finish; and some who do not even start on degrees until late in life. It is never too late to do something worthwhile. Life has its share of disappointments. Many suffer unhappy marriages, unsuccessful careers, and search in vain for meaning or purpose. There is always the ongoing quest of looking for joy and happiness. It is never too late to find these things, no matter the age, or how long it takes.

Many of life’s quests have multiple steps and many requirements. This includes such elements as completing certain prerequisites; overcoming obstacles, and learning and understanding certain things before tasks can be finished. Some things do not come together until the timing is right, necessary steps have been taken, and all the required pieces come together. It cannot happen before. A caterpillar does not become a butterfly until timing is right. We march to different drummers, keep time in different time zones; choose different paths and experience life from different perspectives. We have different learning curves and do not have to do things the same way or at the same time. For many issues, it is not so important that we get something done according to someone else’s schedule; what is really important is that it gets done, no matter how long it may take. It is never too late to accomplish things that are really worthy of our perseverance and commitment.

Challenge: You are unique and no other is like you. What you must do, experience, and learn to fulfill your destiny and potential are uniquely yours. Of course, there is something to be said for getting things done as soon as possible; but timing is probably secondary to the importance of getting it done. In many respects, it matters most that you get it done, not when you do it. Do not give up your dreams or your quests. It is never too late.

Wisdom: It is never too late to become what you might have been. George Eliot

Spiritual: (NIV)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up Galatians 6:9

But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:13

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Psalm 128:2

In the spiritual sense, as far as we know, it is not over until it is over. It is never too late to come to the wisdom that life without God is a losing proposition. It does not matter so much when we realize this as long as we finally do. The important thing is; we do transform ourselves from the caterpillar stage into the beautiful butterfly. This is something that only can be done with God being involved in our transformation.

Prayer: Help me to become the butterfly that You designed me do be.

Perseverance

DSC_0693Perseverance, doggedness, tenacity, not giving up, refusing to quit

Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel. Napoleon Hill.

When life knocks you down you have two choices- stay down or get up. Tom Krause

Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence. Collin Powell

  If we have not really learned to persist, we probably have accomplished very little in our lives. Persistence means to not give up. When it comes to accomplishing a certain goal, we become like a heat seeking missile; not giving up; and persisting until we have acquired and struck our target.

If we never persisted in order to accomplish something, then either we have accomplished very little or that which we have accomplished came way too easily. It is a condition of human life that we have to learn to strive, taking two steps forward and one step backwards, handling adversity, falling down and getting back up, and to always persevere. We need these experiences in our lives in order to become all that we are capable of being.

Those mastering the art of persistence, for all extents and purposes have no goals they cannot complete. Mastering “persistence” is evidenced when seemingly there is nothing they cannot accomplish. It would seem “persisters” are “heat seeking missiles” or “robotic computers” that do not fail. Another example would be young men and women who join the U.S. Marines and what it takes for them to graduate from boot camp. Young marines are full of self-confidence, know no fear, and will go after their objectives with all that they have.

Those of us who are trying to become more proficient at “persistence” can learn much from such analogies. Many of us are not prepared to really “pay the price”. We are not committed to staying our course of action. We are not willing to suffer adversity, setbacks, anguish, disappointment, obstacles, and the things that line themselves up in front of us to test our resolve. We are required to “earn” the right and “pay the price” to accomplish our goals. It would be wonderful, if the pharmaceutical industry could develop a drug that would enable us to ingest doses of persistence, perseverance, self-confidence, will power, and all of the attributes that would cause us to be more successful. Life just does not work that way. We have to earn our success the old-fashioned way, we have to work for it. Persistence is a learned skill. We learn it and master it by doing it and experiencing it. The more we do it, the better we get at it. If we do it long enough, eventually we will master it.

Challenge: Can you be described as a person who is persistent; one who perseveres; one who does not take “no” for an answer? Are you someone who cannot be diverted from your course of action or from accomplishing your goals? If your answer is “yes”, you have what it takes. If, your answer is “no”, learning to persist should become a higher priority in your life. Mastering persistence can make huge a difference in you and your successes.

Wisdom: Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. Emerson

Spiritual: (NIV)

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Isaiah 40:29

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  Psalm 103:12

Prayer:   Grant me the strength and the ability to persist, to not give up and to succeed at this life.