Author Archives: upliftingthoughts4u

No Room at the Inn

The Christmas story, as told in Luke 2:7 states: “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the Inn.”

The first part of that sentence — all the way up through “manger” captures our attention. But I would like to draw your attention to the last words in the sentence: “…no room for them in the Inn.”

During the Christmas season, busyness rules many people’s lives, dictating a hurry and scurry that tires the body and soul. There are lists to make, gifts to buy and wrap, cards to get ready to mail, parties to attend, and festivities/programs to partake of. All of these are great and useful.

But what if you stopped to think about your life and heart as a manger where the Christ child could rest?

Are you moving so fast to participate in all your activities that there is no quiet time to speak of the manger and what it could mean to you?

Is your life like the Inn where there is no room for the ideas of faith, peace, love, hope and joy – the quintessence of the Christmas Spirit?

Whoa! Slow down! Breathe deeply now.

Every day, your brain, heart, and body need to take the time for your own good in order to make room in your being for focusing on the qualities that make up the quintessence of the Christmas Spirit — the Faith which helps you along your way, the stillness of Peace, the Love of self and others, the Hope of a better day, and the Joy of life and more livingness daily.

It would only take a few minutes, but if you choose to spend that time, the gifts that will bring will last all day long. Are you willing?

God’s blessing be upon you and your journey!  Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!

Manger of the Heart

Faith

Bring you tidings of great Joy!

Blessings Be Upon You!

Peaceful Sunset

Sands of Time

What do you most treasure in your life?

Time flows like sand in an hourglass – it is in our attention zone for such a short time, like a second, and then passes beyond our reach where we cannot change anything that just happened. Yes, we can make changes in future seconds in what is about to happen or is pending.

So, I ask you, where is your focus? What are you thinking about or spending time doing? What do you cherish?

If you answered these questions, then you must ask yourself the next question: How am I spending my time, which is so very precious because once that moment is gone, it cannot be changed? Every day counts. Every choice matters.

Are you working so that you might have more stuff, be it a Gucci bag, a Rolex watch, a new home, or a vacation? Or are you working because you are a solid citizen who pays your bills, but in many instances the incoming moneys are not enough to satisfy the outgoing layout? At what point do you draw the line? In this economy, many people are just surviving, working more than one job, and yet do not have enough to pay for necessities, let alone luxuries like steak. Homelessness of individuals and families is growing in this country because the pay for the available jobs is not enough to rent an apartment, let alone own a place to live. Many are eating the foods they can afford, which are the type that not only add weight but also contribute to extremely poor health.

In short, life happens. Dreams can die if you let them. Possibilities are never realized because every day we jump into the hamster cage, going round and round, with nothing changing.

Einstein said the definition of  insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.

Time moves faster as one ages. Days fly by, months evaporate, and years come and go. You can look at the past and wonder where it all went and why. Many times it ends up in castigating oneself because of the negative perceptions/expectations unmet/sad remembrances.

So I ask you, where is your focus? Where do you want to put your energies/time/dollars/goals? Your answer is the essence of the choices you make every single day. So I ask again, What do you most treasure in your life? Are you keeping that in mind when you make your choices?  Every act of every minute of the day becomes history, with its impact felt like the ripples that form on the lake when a rock is thrown in.

Time is very, very real. How you spend it – every second of it – really does matter, for one day the sands do run out. There is no turning of the hourglass for you. Do your choices reflect what you want to achieve? If not, a change is required. Are you willing?

God’s blessings on your journey.

Image result for hourglass

Image result for ripples on water

 

Perceptions

We acquire our perceptions of reality from the moment of birth. Authority figures such as parents, friends, teachers, etc., all contribute to the plethora of our understanding. Some are positive, yet most are negative, along with the feelings engendered. When something occurs, our frame of reference for these perceptions come into their own. We reject whatever is outside of them, and accept without question that which “fits.” We react accordingly.

At what point do we question whether or not these “perceptions” are helpful or harmful? Unless something happens to challenge our perceptions, we go through life’s daily motions, living our life, whatever it is.

Here’s a thought: Our perceptions are actually crystallized thought patterns, which form a mold for future use, automatically. What if one finds that change is needed in whatever form?

In order to change something, one must first examine one’s reality to see WHAT IS. This will show us how we thought/felt in the past. Then we must chart a course to a new destination that we desire. We are at the helm of our individual ship, after all. To chart a course requires thought, with feeling becoming the wind in our sails.

If our thoughts/feelings cling to the past, there is no wind to affect our course. Only in the present can we make a difference.

One can use affirmations of what we can see is needed, together with prayer, to change the crystallized thoughts and perceptions. Only that will shatter the glass of crystallization, which will forever hold us in the same place, same habits, same situation.

Some people fear change because it is unknown. Only by Letting Go and Letting God with faith in the possibilities available can we begin to see the needed changes begin. Trust is a strong element here. Ego does not want it at all.

So if there is some change needed in your reality, no matter how big or how small, look at WHAT IS. Keep it before your eyes, thoughts, and feelings, without ambiguity or doubt. It is, after all, your journey, your ship. Are you willing?

God’s blessings for your journey.

Image result for ships

 

The Old Grocery Store

An elderly man shuffled up to an obviously very poor young girl with blond hair and blue eyes. She was dressed in an old hand-me-down, but she was clean and happy, humming a little song to herself.

He said, “Would you like to read a story?”

She nodded her head shyly as she answered, “Yes, thank you, I love to read.”

He handed her a simple book. She took it into her hands gently.

Out loud, she read, “The Old Grocery Store.”

She shook her head and asked, “What Old Grocery Store, Sir? There isn’t one around here.”

The old man smiled at her sadly, his eyes lowered, and responded, “There used to be.”

He raised his eyes to look at a very well-dressed older man as he swaggered by with a cigar and a pompous smile.

He said, “There used to be a grocery store right where the Dollar Tree is now.”

She said excitedly, “I like the Dollar Tree! I can get so many things! When I get a dollar and some change, I can spend a long time in there, just thinking about what I want to spend it on.”

He looked at her with a tear running down his cheek and said, “I know, little one, I know. What is your name?”

“Angel, cause Momma went to church to pray and asked God to give her a baby girl. So He sent me!” she responded. “I love to read. Can I keep it?”

“Yes, Angel, you may keep it. It is just an old man’s dream,” he answered as he turned and shuffled away.

She sat down on a bench in front of the Dollar Tree and began to read it. She did not stop till she had finished.

She smiled and thought, “That’s the way a book should end – happy.”

She got up and strolled home, thinking about the book.

When she got in her front door, she asked, “Momma, was there ever an Old Grocery Store where the Dollar Tree is now and a bathroom next to it, with no sign for ladies or gents? Why is it all gone?”

Her mother laughed and asked, “My goodness! Where did all those questions come from?”

Angel held the little book out to her, and she took it.

She looked at it and queried, “Where did you get this?”

Angel smiled as she thought of the old man and answered, “A very old man who shuffles. He doesn’t walk, ever, Momma.”

Her mother smiled back at her because she knew who it was, “That would be old Sam. He used to manage the grocery store for Mr. Bilks, who owned it. Then somebody advised Mr. Bilks that he could make more money on a Dollar Tree store. That ended it.”

“Is Mr. Bilks the older man with fancy clothes, struts like a peacock in the pictures I see, and smokes a big stinky cigar?” she asked.

“Yes, that would certainly be Mr. Bilks,” she answered.

“What about the bathroom without any signs? Who would know which one to use?” Angel asked.

“Well, everybody knew that the left one was for gentlemen and the right one was for ladies,” she responded.

“That sure seems strange to me,” Angel said as she turned to go into her room. “Signs are important.”

“May I read this book?” her mother inquired.

“Yes, of course. Old Sam said he wanted us to remember what it used to be like,” she answered.

Her mother sat down and read the little book as it took only a few minutes. She was crying when she finished it.

As luck would have it, her husband, Foster, came in just then.

Concerned when he saw her tears, he stopped in his tracks and asked, “Mary, why are you crying?”

She smiled at him and handed him the book, saying, “Read this. It will only take a few minutes.”

So he sat down and read it.

When he finished it, he smiled at Mary and said, “You old softy. You remember that Old Grocery Store as well as I do. We had our very first kiss in the back by the green beans!”

She laughed as he picked her up and whirled her around the room, stopping only to give her a big kiss before he set her down.

She asked, “Do you think we can do anything to bring that Old Grocery Store back? It was the center of this town, filled with camaraderie and laughter. The older men would play checkers out front before Mr. Bilks told them to stop loitering – that is was bad for business – and then he took away the table, chairs, and checkerboard. That is when he put the bench outside the window.”

He responded, “I do not know, Sweetheart. Mr. Bilks has the Town Council in his back pocket, and we both know that the dollar sign is the only thing that man is concerned about. After all, the whole town works for him in some way, as you know.”

“Yes, I agree, but it was so nice to be able to have the Old Grocery Store so close instead of driving several miles to the Wal-Mart in Kingsbury,” she stated.

Unbeknownst to either of them, Angel was standing at her doorway, listening to their conversation. She quietly closed her door and sat down, talking to Walter, her stuffed dog, that she held tightly.

“We have to do something about this, Walter. Now you know how I love to buy things in the Dollar Tree, but I don’t really need more stuff. I think that the Old Grocery Store is far more important, don’t you agree? I don’t know what I am going to do. After all, I am just a little girl. But I’m going to think about it!” she stated firmly.

Several days later, she smiled as she thought about an idea, “Why that just might work.”

She did not delay but asked her mother, “I have a dollar and some change. Can I go to the Dollar Tree, please?”

She answered, “Yes, you can. Just be home for supper, OK? You know your Dad likes us all to sit down together, pray before we eat, and talk about our day.”

Taking the little book with her, she marched out the door, intent on finding Mr. Bilks.  She got to the bench in front of the Dollar Tree, sat down, and waited. Sure enough, after a while, she spotted Mr. Bilks coming. She waited until he was almost upon her.

She got up for the bench, stood grimly in front of him, and said, “Pardon me, Mr. Bilks, but would you sit with me on this bench and read this little book, please?”

He grimaced at her and asked, “Why would I want to do that?”

With persistence only the young have, she answered, “Because it is important. You need to know there are some things money cannot buy!”

He looked askance at her boldness and thought, “Why not? What can it hurt? This little urchin is obviously not going to leave me alone anyway.”

With a sigh, he sat down, took the book, and read it. He actually felt chagrin as he read it.

When he finished, he turned to the little girl and asked, “So, OK, I read it. Now what do you want from me? What is your name, anyway?”

“Angel,” she answered, smiling up at him. “You know you should bring back the Grocery Store, the table, chairs, and the checkerboard, don’t you? After all, you must have enough money by now after all these years. Besides, you look pretty old to me. You know you can’t take it with you, don’t you?” she stated adamantly.

“Well, you’ve given me something to think about,” he said as he gave her back the book and turned away.

That is exactly what he did for several days. He looked back at the past and all the decisions he had made to get more money. He looked at his bank statements and the fancy house filled to the brim with beautiful furniture, original paintings, fine china and glassware. He also knew he had never found a woman to share his life or give him children. In fact, he was alone except for the servants.

Finally, he came to a decision. He knew that Angel was Foster and Mary’s child and all the trouble they had because it was just a small town, after all. He looked at his watch and determined that the family would be gathering together for supper. He picked up his hat and headed for the local flower shop to pick up some flowers before he knocked on their door.

Foster came to the door and looked surprised when he saw Mr. Bilks standing there.

He said, “Hello, sir, would you like to come in?”

“No,” he responded. “I am fine here. But may I talk to Angel for a minute?”

Foster turned questioningly to Mary, who nervously nodded her head in anxiety, thinking, “Oh, my, what trouble is happening for us now?”

“Angel, please go speak with Mr. Bilks,” she said.

Angel, knowing she was in big trouble now, rose hesitantly. With her head down in shame, she came over to Mr. Bilks.

He put a finger under her chin and pulled her eyes up to meet his as he bent over.

He stated, “You do know why I am here, don’t you?”

With tears in her eyes, she nodded her head, and said, “Yes, Sir,” so softly almost no one could hear her. “I am in big trouble, aren’t I?” As an afterthought, hoping to divert some anger, she added, “I am so sorry.”

To her amazement, he laughed heartily. He took the flowers from behind his back and presented them to her.

Her mouth dropped open in surprise.

Startled, Foster and Mary exchanged glances, wondering what was going on. After all, Mr. Bilks was a powerful man who aroused fear.

Still laughing happily, Mr. Bilks said to Angel, “You know, my dear, no one would dare talk to me the way you did. In fact, I would not have let them! I have been very satisfied with my life and everything in it. That is, I was until you came along. ‘Out of the mouth of babes’ is what they say. Well, today, I believe it. You are absolutely right! There are so many things all my money cannot buy me! So I wanted to tell you personally, thank you. I am, indeed, going to bring back the Old Grocery Store, the table and chairs, and the checkerboard. When I do that, will you play me a game of checkers? It’s been a long time since I did that.”

Angel smiled as she reached up to give him a kiss on the cheek, answering, “Yes, sir, I will.”

She turned and beamed a big smile at her parents, who were amazed at what had just happened.

Mr. Bilks wiped away a tear as he spoke to them all, “Thank you for reminding an old fool like me what life should be like.”

He turned and started to walk away, but turned back, glanced at the simple meal on the table, and stated, “Oh, and by the way, Foster, you shouldn’t be surprised tomorrow when you come into work because I need a good foreman like you, and I will give you a paycheck to match. Anyone who could raise Angel to be the way she is deserves so much more from life. If you can keep a secret,” he said with a wink, “Angel is right. I can’t take it with me so I am going to give a pay increase to every person once the Old Grocery Store is back!”

With that, he turned and walked away, whistling, leaving consternation behind him.

Foster and Mary looked at Angel and asked simultaneously, “What in the world did you say to Mr. Bilks?”

Angel just shrugged her shoulders and said, “I just told him the truth: There are so many things money cannot buy, he must have made enough money by now, and he can’t take it with him cause he looks so old!”

Her parents looked at each other in wonderment.

Laughing together, they group hugged at the good news: the Old Grocery Store would be coming back!

The Old Grocery Store

An elderly man shuffled up to an obviously very poor young girl with blond hair and blue eyes. She was dressed in an old hand-me-down, but she was clean and happy, humming a little song to herself.

He said, “Would you like to read a story?”

She nodded her head shyly as she answered, “Yes, thank you, I love to read.”

He handed her a simple book. She took it into her hands gently.

Out loud, she read, “The Old Grocery Store.”

She shook her head and asked, “What Old Grocery Store, Sir? There isn’t one around here.”

The old man smiled at her sadly, his eyes lowered, and responded, “There used to be.”

He raised his eyes to look at a very well-dressed older man as he swaggered by with a cigar and a pompous smile.

He said, “There used to be a grocery store right where the Dollar Tree is now.”

She said excitedly, “I like the Dollar Tree! I can get so many things! When I get a dollar and some change, I can spend a long time in there, just thinking about what I want to spend it on.”

He looked at her with a tear running down his cheek and said, “I know, little one, I know. What is your name?”

“Angel, cause Momma went to church to pray and asked God to give her a baby girl. So He sent me!” she responded. “I love to read. Can I keep it?”

“Yes, Angel, you may keep it. It is just an old man’s dream,” he answered as he turned and shuffled away.

She sat down on a bench in front of the Dollar Tree and began to read it. She did not stop till she had finished.

She smiled and thought, “That’s the way a book should end – happy.”

She got up and strolled home, thinking about the book.

When she got in her front door, she asked, “Momma, was there ever an Old Grocery Store where the Dollar Tree is now and a bathroom next to it, with no sign for ladies or gents? Why is it all gone?”

Her mother laughed and asked, “My goodness! Where did all those questions come from?”

Angel held the little book out to her, and she took it.

She looked at it and queried, “Where did you get this?”

Angel smiled as she thought of the old man and answered, “A very old man who shuffles. He doesn’t walk, ever, Momma.”

Her mother smiled back at her because she knew who it was, “That would be old Sam. He used to manage the grocery store for Mr. Bilks, who owned it. Then somebody advised Mr. Bilks that he could make more money on a Dollar Tree store. That ended it.”

“Is Mr. Bilks the older man with fancy clothes, struts like a peacock in the pictures I see, and smokes a big stinky cigar?” she asked.

“Yes, that would certainly be Mr. Bilks,” she answered.

“What about the bathroom without any signs? Who would know which one to use?” Angel asked.

“Well, everybody knew that the left one was for gentlemen and the right one was for ladies,” she responded.

“That sure seems strange to me,” Angel said as she turned to go into her room. “Signs are important.”

“May I read this book?” her mother inquired.

“Yes, of course. Old Sam said he wanted us to remember what it used to be like,” she answered.

Her mother sat down and read the little book as it took only a few minutes. She was crying when she finished it.

As luck would have it, her husband, Foster, came in just then.

Concerned when he saw her tears, he stopped in his tracks and asked, “Mary, why are you crying?”

She smiled at him and handed him the book, saying, “Read this. It will only take a few minutes.”

So he sat down and read it.

When he finished it, he smiled at Mary and said, “You old softy. You remember that Old Grocery Store as well as I do. We had our very first kiss in the back by the green beans!”

She laughed as he picked her up and whirled her around the room, stopping only to give her a big kiss before he set her down.

She asked, “Do you think we can do anything to bring that Old Grocery Store back? It was the center of this town, filled with camaraderie and laughter. The older men would play checkers out front before Mr. Bilks told them to stop loitering – that is was bad for business – and then he took away the table, chairs, and checkerboard. That is when he put the bench outside the window.”

He responded, “I do not know, Sweetheart. Mr. Bilks has the Town Council in his back pocket, and we both know that the dollar sign is the only thing that man is concerned about. After all, the whole town works for him in some way, as you know.”

“Yes, I agree, but it was so nice to be able to have the Old Grocery Store so close instead of driving several miles to the Wal-Mart in Kingsbury,” she stated.

Unbeknownst to either of them, Angel was standing at her doorway, listening to their conversation. She quietly closed her door and sat down, talking to Walter, her stuffed dog, that she held tightly.

“We have to do something about this, Walter. Now you know how I love to buy things in the Dollar Tree, but I don’t really need more stuff. I think that the Old Grocery Store is far more important, don’t you agree? I don’t know what I am going to do. After all, I am just a little girl. But I’m going to think about it!” she stated firmly.

Several days later, she smiled as she thought about an idea, “Why that just might work.”

She did not delay but asked her mother, “I have a dollar and some change. Can I go to the Dollar Tree, please?”

She answered, “Yes, you can. Just be home for supper, OK? You know your Dad likes us all to sit down together, pray before we eat, and talk about our day.”

Taking the little book with her, she marched out the door, intent on finding Mr. Bilks.  She got to the bench in front of the Dollar Tree, sat down, and waited. Sure enough, after a while, she spotted Mr. Bilks coming. She waited until he was almost upon her.

She got up for the bench, stood grimly in front of him, and said, “Pardon me, Mr. Bilks, but would you sit with me on this bench and read this little book, please?”

He grimaced at her and asked, “Why would I want to do that?”

With persistence only the young have, she answered, “Because it is important. You need to know there are some things money cannot buy!”

He looked askance at her boldness and thought, “Why not? What can it hurt? This little urchin is obviously not going to leave me alone anyway.”

With a sigh, he sat down, took the book, and read it. He actually felt chagrin as he read it.

When he finished, he turned to the little girl and asked, “So, OK, I read it. Now what do you want from me? What is your name, anyway?”

“Angel,” she answered, smiling up at him. “You know you should bring back the Grocery Store, the table, chairs, and the checkerboard, don’t you? After all, you must have enough money by now after all these years. Besides, you look pretty old to me. You know you can’t take it with you, don’t you?” she stated adamantly.

“Well, you’ve given me something to think about,” he said as he gave her back the book and turned away.

That is exactly what he did for several days. He looked back at the past and all the decisions he had made to get more money. He looked at his bank statements and the fancy house filled to the brim with beautiful furniture, original paintings, fine china and glassware. He also knew he had never found a woman to share his life or give him children. In fact, he was alone except for the servants.

Finally, he came to a decision. He knew that Angel was Foster and Mary’s child and all the trouble they had because it was just a small town, after all. He looked at his watch and determined that the family would be gathering together for supper. He picked up his hat and headed for the local flower shop to pick up some flowers before he knocked on their door.

Foster came to the door and looked surprised when he saw Mr. Bilks standing there.

He said, “Hello, sir, would you like to come in?”

“No,” he responded. “I am fine here. But may I talk to Angel for a minute?”

Foster turned questioningly to Mary, who nervously nodded her head in anxiety, thinking, “Oh, my, what trouble is happening for us now?”

“Angel, please go speak with Mr. Bilks,” she said.

Angel, knowing she was in big trouble now, rose hesitantly. With her head down in shame, she came over to Mr. Bilks.

He put a finger under her chin and pulled her eyes up to meet his as he bent over.

He stated, “You do know why I am here, don’t you?”

With tears in her eyes, she nodded her head, and said, “Yes, Sir,” so softly almost no one could hear her. “I am in big trouble, aren’t I?” As an afterthought, hoping to divert some anger, she added, “I am so sorry.”

To her amazement, he laughed heartily. He took the flowers from behind his back and presented them to her.

Her mouth dropped open in surprise.

Startled, Foster and Mary exchanged glances, wondering what was going on. After all, Mr. Bilks was a powerful man who aroused fear.

Still laughing happily, Mr. Bilks said to Angel, “You know, my dear, no one would dare talk to me the way you did. In fact, I would not have let them! I have been very satisfied with my life and everything in it. That is, I was until you came along. ‘Out of the mouth of babes’ is what they say. Well, today, I believe it. You are absolutely right! There are so many things all my money cannot buy me! So I wanted to tell you personally, thank you. I am, indeed, going to bring back the Old Grocery Store, the table and chairs, and the checkerboard. When I do that, will you play me a game of checkers? It’s been a long time since I did that.”

Angel smiled as she reached up to give him a kiss on the cheek, answering, “Yes, sir, I will.”

She turned and beamed a big smile at her parents, who were amazed at what had just happened.

Mr. Bilks wiped away a tear as he spoke to them all, “Thank you for reminding an old fool like me what life should be like.”

He turned and started to walk away, but turned back, glanced at the simple meal on the table, and stated, “Oh, and by the way, Foster, you shouldn’t be surprised tomorrow when you come into work because I need a good foreman like you, and I will give you a paycheck to match. Anyone who could raise Angel to be the way she is deserves so much more from life. If you can keep a secret,” he said with a wink, “Angel is right. I can’t take it with me so I am going to give a pay increase to every person once the Old Grocery Store is back!”

With that, he turned and walked away, whistling, leaving consternation behind him.

Foster and Mary looked at Angel and asked simultaneously, “What in the world did you say to Mr. Bilks?”

Angel just shrugged her shoulders and said, “I just told him the truth: There are so many things money cannot buy, he must have made enough money by now, and he can’t take it with him cause he looks so old!”

Her parents looked at each other in wonderment.

Laughing together, they group hugged at the good news: the Old Grocery Store would be coming back!

Mindfulness

Webster’s Dictionary defines Mindfulness as: “Having in mind; aware.”

The Google for Mindfulness says:

“mind·ful·ness
ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/
noun
noun: mindfulness
  1. 1.
    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. 2.
    a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
     
My favorite is, of course, the latter one. I would also add: “Doing one thing at a time.” We can, in fact, do only one thing at a time, even if one is a good juggler and has a lot of items in the air all at once. At that present moment, it is only one item at a time, even though all items are in movement. That is the art of keeping them in motion.
Life sometimes comes at us so quickly that we actually can get lost in the shuffle: Of feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, actual events that are occurring in our lives, etc. What then?
The first thing you will notice as you get stressed out is that your breathing has changed: You are breathing from the upper body, leaving the diaphragm out of it altogether. When you notice this, you stop for just a second or two (or a moment or two), take a really, really deep breath.
You will notice that one act alone helps to calm you down. If you do not know how to do that, maybe it is time to look into a yoga class.
Focus is key here. What are you putting your attention towards? Is it a plethora of so many things that you feel like you, personally, must do all of them before the end of the day? That is common in our society, unfortunately. However, it can also, in fact, be a truth. Each person has many roles to play every day. Often the roles overlap and collide, causing a mess, both inside and outside of you. What then?
As we age, we also lose the ability to keep “balls in the air.” We slow down. Our responses are slower. I don’t believe that life is moving faster. It is just that we are moving more slowly.

Your choices are clear: Get on that spinning merry-go-round and keep going until you drop from fatigue, OR STOP, BREATHE, Prioritize, figure out what is number one, do that, and then move on to number two. Anything else leads to insanity and ill health.

Besides, it does not work very well if you just jump on and keep going. Even Type A personalities get tired.

Meditation is taught in so many forms these days. If you need a quiet mind to function at your optimum level (and most people do), even a few moments in the morning before you begin your day is enough. Beauty is everywhere around us. Look for it. Take a few seconds to enjoy it. It just takes Focus and Awareness.

When the tempo of the dance of your life picks up to a pace where you can no longer keep your rhythm, something has to change. You just have to decide what that is. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Flowers – Hibiscus

Autumn, Maroon Bells, CO

Autumn at Multnomah Falls, Oregon

beauty Mt Sneffels, Co

What’s up?

Baby Goslings

 

 

 

Enlightenment, Before and After

Before Enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water (did my many tasks).

After Enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water (did these same many tasks with mindfulness).

It is like watching a flower from bud, to unfoldment, to full blossom. I apply the idea of experiencing the present – the NOW – to every act/task.

After all, God did not say “I WAS” -which is yesterday. Nor did God say, “I WILL BE” – which is tomorrow. God said, “My name is I AM!”

God’s blessing on your journey!

Allium

Allium

Hardy Hibiscus

Hardy Hibiscus

 

Christmas Spirit vs. the Spirit of Christmas

Is it the Christmas Spirit or the Spirit of Christmas? Good question. The answer lies either between your ears or in your heart.

If it lies between your ears, your mind will say, “There is no difference – it is the same thing.”

Your heart will reply quite the opposite, however.

Christmas Spirit defined can include everything from the “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to Christmas Cards to gift giving to one and all. It can include stress caused by many sources, exhaustion from too much to do and too little time to complete tasks, the lack of money, etc. It can be an  endless array of Christmas parties and too little sleep. It can be Christmas gifts put on display in the stores before Halloween and reminders of how many days until Christmas signs everywhere. It can be holiday music, lights, trees, and tinsel every time you look around. Yes, it can be all those things and more, positive and negative, bright and festive, cheap and elegant side by side.

But when you look at the Spirit of Christmas with your heart, you may find many surprises, one of which is the ability to see Beauty in your surroundings. That is because one is aware of time passing, along with a sense of peacefulness (like when floating on an inner tube on a lazy river).

If you are feeling rushed and filled with angst, slow down and take several deep breaths. Focus on just one thing at a time instead of a litany of tasks. Make a list of the tasks and choose just one, get it done, and then move on. Multi-tasking is a possibility if you still focus on just one object, like a person who is spinning plates on top of wooden dowels – touching one plate at a time to keep it spinning.

The Spirit of Christmas is not limited to a specific time frame on a calendar – it is truly an attitude that you can utilize year-round! In this way, one can see so much more clearly what is important vs. what is not so much. For example, you can give a gift from a thankful heart because of how satisfied you are with how well one is doing in lieu of giving out of duty or expectation. Pay attention to the details, one at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of it all. You can enjoy one Christmas card, one gift your receive or give, or one bite at a time of a fantastic meal.

Time will, indeed, flow by regardless of how crazy you make yourself. So why not slow down your responses to exterior (and interior) stimuli? Then you can select the way you react to it instead of wearing yourself out from the inside, reacting vs. acting. Life can become so much more simple if you try this method of selecting a response (Acting) vs. gut level Reacting.

The Spirit of Christmas should nourish your Spirit, creating attitudes of thankfulness and joy. Do you remember that last time when you actually felt JOY? If it has been a long time, some introspection is required to find out when it left, how long it has been gone, and decide what you can do to restore it to your life so you can experience it again on a more regular basis. You may ask why that is important: Because JOY and PEACE are twins – they come and go together.

Peace is more than a word you hear and see during the Christmas Season. It is an attitude and a way of living.  It is something you can cultivate in your life which can begin with learning to  breathe deeply. Take a yoga class or T’ai Chi if needed. In our frenetic world, it is vital to your Spirit because it nourishes you from the inside out. It also simplifies complex situations which crop up all too often. When you feel like you are in a box and cannot get out, it is time to take a truly deep breath and seek the CALM (like that at the center of a wheel in lieu of living on the circumference where you feel like you are being run over).

The Spirit of Christmas is a gift you can give yourself every morning, if you so choose, no matter the time of year. Think about it: Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Image result for Bling Christmas

 

 

Eating

Do you Eat to Live or Live to Eat?

This would appear to be a simple question, when in fact it is extremely complicated. Raised in families, we become accustomed to the foods we eat, as well as the way we eat them.

Do you eat your food quickly, as though you were starving? Or is a meal a leisurely activity that you enjoy eating slowly as you chat at the table with loved ones and friends? Do you prefer Italian to Mexican or American vs. Oriental? Are you a “meat and potatoes” person? Do you like white bread that sticks to the roof of your mouth or quality grains that nourish your body?

If you stuff in your food as fast as you can, the center in the brain that notifies you that you are full never gets a chance because you have already over-eaten, packing the food in, stretching your stomach so you will eat more next time. It actually takes 20 minutes from the time you are full and should stop eating until that center tells you to stop. So, how much more will you stuff in that your body does not need? Answer:  A lot!

How about where you are eating? Do you eat in front of the TV set, paying attention to whatever is going on there vs. how much and what you are eating? Do you drive up to a fast food outlet, order at the window, pick it up at another window, and start eating before you even leave the parking lot, stuffing it in as you drive? Or do you go in, order your food, and eat it there peacefully before you begin to drive?

Portions are equally important. When you are in a buffet, do you put so much on your plate that it should have side boards? Let’s say that you are really hungry, so you put more on the plate than you know you should really eat? Do you eat it all? Are you trained to “Clean your plate!” Do you continue to just stuff it in?

The statistics in these United States for overweight people, including not only the obese but the morbidly obese, have increased astronomically from the young all the way up to the very old. If you question this, go anywhere people congregate – the grocery store, schools, fast food restaurants, etc. You will find that most of the people are from somewhat big to so heavy they can hardly walk. It is no small wonder that medical costs are rising astronomically.

Look at the food shelves by checkout. They will be filled with comfort foods, sugary treats, and other items like chips, etc. Look at what is in the carts of people as they pass you by. You just might be amazed at what you find.

Do they teach nutrition in schools? Not really. Do they teach food groups? Not usually.

What is the answer to this conundrum? A change of focus is absolutely needed.

All diets work for the same reason: Your intake of food is less than what energy you expend, every day. There are so many diets out there that it makes your mind spin. If you try one and do lose weight, statistics say that you will put back on the weight you lost plus some within a year. It takes a whole year for your body to get used to the changes. Most people just go back to whatever they ate before they began the diet.

Are you a couch potato? You will normally be eating far more calories than you are burning. After checking with your doctor, you may begin any physical activity that you like. Walking is normally within everyone’s ability. Do what you can to increase your expenditure of calories. It will be a blessing in so many ways, including increasing your balance, stamina, and ability to live your life.

So you may ask, “What is the answer?”

It lies in educating yourself on food groups, portions control, and making wise choices with what you put into your mouth. It takes a life style change to be persistent in maintaining weight loss.  Perhaps you could write down what you are going to eat the next day and stick to it. That works really well for some people. It is not will power – it is more “won’t” power (as in I will lower my intake of pop, munchies like chips, and sugar products). It requires you to make a decision to lose weight so you can be healthier. Educate yourself on what your body likes. I know that mine loves vegetables and fruits, with some protein to balance it out. I try to eat something from all the food groups every day. If I do eat a piece of pie, I balance it out with eating well the rest of that day and the following one. I chew my food more slowly and savor the taste of each bite. This also helps me to know when I am full so I can stop eating. Physical activity  aids me as well as I enjoy yoga and strength training, including aerobic activities. My mantra is: “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips,” when I am deciding what to eat.

You just have to ask yourself: Do I live to eat or do I eat to live? The choices belong solely to you. No one can do it for you. Yes, you can get surgical intervention in several ways, but do you really want to do that? Everything carries a price. Do you want to pay the price of never making any changes in your selection of what you eat, how much, and how fast? Do you want to stay a couch potato? It may take a while, but that price will inevitably be paid in a way you do not like and will not want to pay. That may include a shorter life span with corresponding ill health.

God’s blessings upon your journey!

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Believe In Yourself

How many times have you heard, “Believe in yourself?”

If you begin at the very beginning, your self concept begins from the day you are born and continues to build as the days go by. The important people in your life, especially your parents or a teacher, can have great bearing on the formation of your personal identity. Whether or not you have low self-esteem issues, or perhaps you have a hard time expressing your opinions or standing up for yourself, you are a person with the ability to recognize any perceived short-comings you have. You also have the power to decide to change.

When I was young and in the above-mentioned state, I read Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. I came to many realizations as I read this book. I could see the common sense of it. I began to implement some changes. My husband at that time did not like the idea at all. In fact, he tore up my book into confetti-sized pieces, threw them at me as he exclaimed: “You cannot be a person because you are my wife!” Did the marriage last? No, because once I knew I could stand on my own two feet with the ability to make new choices, the situation was untenable.

If I were to look in a mirror today all these years later, I can celebrate because I married a man who truly wanted an intelligent mate who can think, act, and be the person I need to be – even while I am working with him, side by side, in harmony traces. (This is like a pair of horses, pulling a wagon, where the strengths of one aids the weaknesses of the other and vice versa, pulling the load equally.)

When I was a senior in high school (many years ago), I took Speech. Of course, I had to speak in front of the class. The person sitting in the first desk could not have really heard me – no projection, shy, slow of speech, etc. However, as I began to age, I discovered that I can be in a room of any size and be able to have everyone hear me without the aid of the microphone. How is this possible? It happened because I discovered that I could begin to unwrap my God-given gifts that I was born with and learn to use them to benefit myself and others.

When I was in elementary school, an art teacher, Mrs. Able, told me to never attempt to do anything in the art field. I was crushed and did not attempt any form of art for a long time. A few years back, I took an art class on my lunch break. My teacher made me promise to finish and frame my pencil drawing of a Norwhal, a collage I titled “Quietness,” and another collage in blue titled “Flight.” He told me I could put my works on  display in any gallery in town. So I ask you, “What made the difference?”

The answer is simple: I discovered some of the gifts that I possess and did, indeed, learn to use them. My self definition changed from “I can’t!” to either “I can!” or “I want to try something new.”

You, too, can discover that you are a unique human being with many gifts inside of you which need unwrapping. The words, “Believe In Yourself” take on new meaning as you find what you are capable of doing. As you begin to set aside the old tape recordings of how incapable you are, the more you begin to actually live your life more fully. You can decide to make new choices instead of rehashing old memories/words or beliefs.

The only question remaining is: Are you willing? It is, after all, entirely within your capabilities to recognize that a change is needed. Then you find out that just the process of recognizing that a change is needed actually begins a synergy that can carry you forward as far as you want to go.

God’s blessings upon your journey!

believe-in-yourself-kitty believe-in-yourself be-yourself how-do-i-see-myselfn attitude

 

 

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