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God Is Good!

During this long period of time after CoVID19 happened, changes in our world have left so many of us with extreme emotions about many topics. Everything we knew as normal is gone, with no expectation that anything will return to what it was.

These emotions range from despair, fear, angst, discord, grief, disappointment, anger, etc. There has been very little hope generated. Isn’t that a sad thought?

Now add in the upcoming election cycle, where civility has taken a back seat to angry dissertations and arguments between family members, friends, coworkers, etc. Everyone is so attached to their points of view that no one else can say anything else or contrary to it. Why is that? What makes this time in history different from any other occasion?

During this fractious time, if one were to say: “God is Good!” – it would seem like a crazy person said it. Why is that? How about: “Hope is a part of my everyday thinking!” Positive affirmations have been pushed aside as futile. Yet I would like to posit that this is the only way out of the darkness that surrounds us.

Is God Good when so many are in travail over the lack of money, lost jobs, missed opportunities, in ill health? Perhaps someone we care about has made his/her transition, and grief is all we can feel because we have not had the closure of being by his/her side when it happened? So many reasons to question the idea that God is still good.

Let me assure you that God has not changed, nor has He/She/It gone anywhere. You are not operating in a void, all alone in your misery. Your tool for access is prayer, whatever you define that to be. There is also meditation, deep breathing, yoga, being centered, exercise, experiencing the outdoors as best you can, peaceful sleep which rejuvenates the soul and mind, etc. Life can be better, no matter what you are personally dealing with.

It has been said that, “It is not what happens to you, but how you react to that which matters.” Can you believe that in this traumatic time? You can decide how you personally will respond to each and every situation in your daily life. Is that a unique idea to you? Possibly, but it is absolutely true. Outside happenings cannot dictate to you how you will decide to take action, unless it is an approaching angry tiger or elephant. Yet so many of us act like every single thing is an approaching angry tiger or elephant! No wonder you are exhausted when you fall into bed at night!

COVID19 and the election will pass. A vaccine will be formulated and distributed. Life will continue. The only question you have to ask yourself is: How am I going to make it through this storm?

If you are depressed, fearful, angry, grief-stricken, or caught up with any other negative emotion, you are planting more of the same. In order to have a different result, you will have to change your focus to something better.

You might ask me how. Focus is defined as concentrating on a thought or emotion, enabling clear perception or understanding. If you feel like you are a gerbil in a cage, with thoughts and feelings which only make you feel worse, you know you are stuck and need to turn your attention elsewhere. Only then will you be released from the cage of your own making.

Use whatever tools you possess (reading good thoughts, meditation, yoga, deep breathing while focusing on the stillness of a placid lake, whatever) to change your attention and perspective. You just have to be willing to do that. Are you?

Remember:  God Is Good!

Peace be with you on your journey.

New Book: Just Because I Am Blind Does Not Mean I Can’t See

Linda Joy Wirth’s new book is a delightful inspiration to read. Though Linda is blind, the underlying theme of this book is not really her blindness, but more the experience with a sighted world that cannot see from her perspective. She shares stories which shine light on her diverse educational experiences, college, marriage, children, music, dance, theatre, travel, and career. We become aware of the challenges she faced, adaptations she had to make, the barriers which she overcame, and the dreams she realized. With each new experience, we see her grow as she analyzes, accepts, forgives, and learns from every encounter. She tells her story with honesty, humor, and insight, not dwelling on the difficult situations, but always moving on to the next experience. Through it all, she demonstrates determination, a positive attitude, and a strong spirituality which grows as she does.

Linda is an optimistic and outgoing woman who has been blind since birth. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver and worked in the field of geriatric, long-term care for over 28 years. Linda is also a singer and actress, having performed in over 30 plays and musicals. She is an inspirational speaker who has presented to groups of all types from schoolchildren to professionals. She shares her message that, despite hardships, challenges, and disappointments, we must keep going and look for the the beautiful gifts life has to offer.

This is the link:  https://www.amazon.com/Just-Because-Blind-Does-Mean/dp/B08C4FTJJ7/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Linda+Joy+Wirth&qid=1598155707&sr=8-1

Give it a peek. You will be very happy you did!

Linda's front cover

Linda Joy Wirth

Love your Neighbor AS Yourself

Mark 12:31 states clearly: “Love your neighbor as yourself.

Note that it does not say before yourself, or instead of yourself, or NOT yourself!

It has been known for thousands of years the simple truth that: “Love begins with YOU!” Self Love is perhaps the hardest to master.

Most people are harder on themselves than they are with anyone else in their lives: bosses, friends, lovers, mates, children, acquaintances. We become our own worst enemy. Why is that?

I personally believe it is because we are so focused on OUT THERE realities from the second we wake up until we fall exhausted into bed at night. Then it doesn’t end. Look at all the different sleep medications out there that are for sale. There must be a reason. My guess is that our dear mind is keeping us awake, thinking of things we could have done better or differently, stress, nerves, world news, fears for money, jobs, and the pandemic of COVID19. My list could go on quite a while. So we beat ourselves up endlessly for so many reasons.

Does that sound like Self Love to you?

Also, how about FORGIVENESS? Can you forgive yourself for your shortcomings, no matter how small, big, or in between they are? Can you forgive others for past instances where they fell short in your eyes?

To me, Self Love includes not only Forgiveness, but also Gratitude. Are you truly grateful for all the blessings (big and small) you have in your life at this moment? I could start with allowing myself a deep breath, releasing stressful thoughts and condemnations, and just being glad I am alive in this moment. I am grateful for everything from a roof over my head, food to eat, a car to drive when I need it, bills are paid, good medical care as I age, this computer to use to communicate with my world at large, smart phone and tv, my Keurig that gives me a hot cup of coffee, etc. I also know how to handle all the aches and pains, injuries, etc., as I age because I have been careful to learn yoga, exercise, and physical therapy to strengthen whichever body part needs it at the moment. I include deep breathing as I start my day and as the day proceeds. Beauty is part of my world, which includes beautiful flowers, watching birds and observing my garden grow – providing us with squash, eggplants, and tomatoes to eat and to share. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The difference in my life is which thoughts and emotions I choose to entertain myself with. I, too, have strong emotions/thoughts that carry me away quickly. Prayer helps a lot with that. Meditation is necessary as a tool to calm down and love myself anyway. That to me is a key.

You, too, have the possibility of using your own keys to LOVE YOURSELF ANYWAY! After all, perfection is merely a goal, not a commandment.

We are lectured when we are young about our many faults. We take that inside of us and use it well, much to our own dismay. Sometimes it is so strong that we treat all of that as REQUIRED PERFECTION, from which we will ALWAYS fall short, requiring us to reprimand ourselves for every transgression. Isn’t that a sad thought? Because we do it at such a deep level and so naturally that it is difficult to change. However, we can choose to change. We truly can get off of our own backs and stop beating ourselves up!

You are in charge of your own mind. Are you willing to let what is really not working very well continue? Or do you want to begin to LOVE YOURSELF TRULY?

One of the yoga breaths is called the CARING BREATH: You reach both hands/arms out in front of you, take your right hand/arm and touch your left shoulder as you bow your head in that direction and you say, “I accept myself fully, with all my faults and shortcomings.” Then you reach out with your right hand/arm and say, “I am willing to serve, love, and care for others.” Then you repeat this with the left hand/arm. I find this so peaceful and life-changing.

Many motivational speakers tell us to look in the mirror every morning and say to ourselves, “I love you just as you are. You are enough. Go forth with joy in your being!”

Are you willing to try to love yourself? It is all up to you, after all.

God’s blessings on your journey!

 

Saint or Sinner? Peace or Chaos?

Each segment of the church system/religious beliefs has its own parameters of what consists the answer to the question: Are you a saint or a sinner? On one side is the saint, and on the other is the sinner.

Even in our own minds, we label our concepts of saint or sinner. From this point of reference, we judge our world, past and present, self and others. We beat ourselves up for our perceived shortcomings, where we fall short of our own expectation levels. Others also emphasize the same. This only reinforces the negative input incoming to our spirit. Is it productive or counter-productive? Does the negativity give us a desire to change? Nope. Only a positive attitude, working toward a positive goal, can do that. Isn’t it amazing, though, that so many people think that the negative motivation works?

Here is a revolutionary concept: What if we have the power through the use of our choices to be one or the other and even somewhere in between? Is that a possibility?

It may sound absolutely insane to think of life in that way. We put a lot of attention on blaming others, circumstances, or even life itself. This helps us to avoid the responsibility of accepting that we made a poor choice in the first place.

Yes, accidents happen, as do sickness, job loss, horrific weather, crazy politics, etc. Then we have to decide on what our particular response will be – not our reaction, mind you. I am focusing on the idea of what I am going to do in this situation that is occurring on this Third Rock from the Sun. Am I praying for the situation others are experiencing in such a traumatic way? Of course. My response is to choose to support the relief efforts in whatever way I can. Please note that I said response.

In my own life, stuff happens: Good, Bad, and all that comes between those two. However, as captain of my ship, I must decide how I am sailing: What, where, destination, journey, etc. In a strong wind, I must tack to maintain my course. I have to consider my destination (a fixed point) vs. the journey itself as it unfolds. Heaven knows that the destination certainly can change in an instant through positive or negative impacts, perhaps with no choice of my own involved. Life happens.

The only question you are left with: How do you want to respond vs. react to exterior situations/information? The choice is always yours, whether you recognize it or not. In this restless world at this point in time and space, the electronic transmission of all facts/perceptions are known to all with just a touch of a button, literally. The emotions are running so high that the fight or flight pattern in all of us is controlling so much of our thoughts. This state, if kept up long enough, will be our undoing, both individually and collectively.

Peace must be actively chosen as a part of our world. Step back for just a moment, breathe deeply, become quiet (no matter how briefly), and rest just a bit before reentering the exterior world. Your body and mind will thank you. That choice is up to you! Choose wisely.

Praying always for all the suffering that is happening now. Be safe. Act constructively and positively. Do what you must, but don’t lose your sense of self/peace in the process.

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Our Thoughts Our Angels Are

Our thoughts become the basis for living our lives.

If these thoughts are positive and uplifting, our lives are blessed.

If, however, these thoughts are negative – including anger, fear, worry, sadness or any variation thereof – our lives become a living hell. Do you remember the lake of fire where you are burning up, but it never ends? You are never without the pain of it all? Thus, our lives become bitter and cursed.

Most people do not realize how important our thoughts are. They get up in the morning and embark upon another day without a short time of quiet to calm their inner selves. They run through their day and obligations like a squirrel in a cage. At night, they drop into a restless night, not sleeping well because of their stress. Is this not a hell?

If a thought appears to these people which would lessen their hell, will they pay it attention or not?

The likelihood is that they will keep on keeping on, whether it be duty, lack of knowledge of a better way, or just plain tiredness.

What if a person could seize that thought and actually wake up to a new way? What a marvelous thing that would be! The pain would fizzle, and the fires of hell would dissipate!

Could you imagine such a future for you?

God sent angels in human form to the men of old, warning them to always take care of strangers at their door that they might entertain angels unbeknownst to them. Sometimes the angels came in a dream while they were sleeping.

In today’s world, God sends us many angels to help us live better, more fulfilled lives. These angels are our thoughts. They instruct us in better ways to live and move and have our being.

Why do we ignore this possibility for good in our lives? I believe it is the noise made by the disrupted emotions of anger, regret, pain, anguish over things that did or did not happen, etc.

What I am suggesting here is that where you put your attention – past, present, or future – grows into either your worst nightmare or your best dream. Which would you rather strengthen and enable? Which path would you choose? Could you take that class, read that book, get counseling, or simply stop in the morning with an appropriate quiet time to still your mind and spirit?

Our thoughts our angels are, truly.

What will your choice be – pay attention and make changes or Keep on Keeping on? It is all up to you, after all.

God’s blessings as you walk your pathways upon your journey!

Cloud Angel

 

The Dance of Life Continues

As we age, things change. Our body parts begin to complain.We do not walk as fast as we once did. We can no longer do things that we actually took for granted. Perhaps we gain or lose weight. We are no longer young.

The question remains: Do you want to age better? Are you willing to make some life style changes in order to be healthier?

Are you looking backwards at memories, both sad and happy ones? Are you looking forwards with hope or dread? Do you live in the ever-present NOW?

Every second you spend anywhere else other than NOW is time lost forever, never to be regained.

If you are in your NOW, you are living your life to the fullest, taking advantage of opportunities that come your way.

Life is so short, no matter how long that is. Yes, it is a great oxymoron, but true.

Are you happy with your present, or are you trying to escape from something? Where is your focus and attention? Are you caught up like a hamster in a cage, going round and round every day? Do you see beauty around you? Are you so stressed out that you are chest breathing (which is the first thing that happens)? Are you breathing deeply, relaxing into the moment?

How is your dance going? You are the only one who can dance your unique movements. No one else can do it for you. Is it slow and full of rhythm like a waltz? Are you doing the minute waltz in 30 seconds or less, stuffing every moment with activities, either voluntarily or out of necessity? Are you dancing to your own tune or somebody else’s?

Wherever you are in your life, the only moment you can make a new choice is the present one.  Every change has a price tag in some form, be it time, money, effort, or something else. Are you willing to begin to change the music to which you are dancing?

If you make one small step in your chosen direction, it is a beginning. It does not have to be drastic. You can only do what is possible for you at this moment in time. Awareness of needed changes is vital to the process. After all, you are the only one who can make that decision to follow through.

Life is a beautiful thing that passes so quickly. Time does not stop for any reason. It is your journey and your dance. Make the most of your precious time.

God bless both your journey and your dance!

 

Good Happens

In this day and age, negativity surrounds us via so many channels of communication. It pervades the air.  Only as we center our attention on something more positive can we elevate ourselves above the din and strife.

Philippians 4:8 states: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Socrates stated: “Man must rise above the Earth…to the top of the atmosphere and beyond — for only thus will he understand the world in which he lives…”

Those are amazing thoughts from long ago! They are more applicable today than they have ever been.

In everyday life, just when you think you can see the future before you (Life is good. Everything is going well.), some incident occurs in a short period of time (or maybe even longer) and that future you were looking at and hoping for becomes not even a remote possibility.

What do you do then?

If you fall apart, things get worse. If you grit your teeth and just keep moving, your heart may not be in it. But who can spring forward under those circumstances?

It all depends upon your belief system, believe it or not.

If you do not have faith in the good side of life, one is forced to wallow in the negativity. How very sad. The ability to smile is most rare.

However, if you believe in the idea that Good Happens as well, it is a lot easier to pick yourself up and move on, maybe not immediately but sooner than later.

So I ask you: “Where is your attention? Do you want to stay stuck in whatever circumstances are present that are stifling your soul?”

Dr. Wayne Dyer stated, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

This world, with all of its broken dreams, is still beautiful, wondrous, and exciting.

Where you put your focus is all that matters. If you are looking behind you at what is lost, you cannot live very well in each day or see the path forward, with all its possibilities. How much more do you want to lose?

It is not what happens to you (facts) but how you react to the situation that will determine so much of what lies ahead.

Are you willing to wallow and stay where you are, weeping for that which is gone forever? Or do you want to grieve over the past appropriately, center your attention on today (the present), and look forward with faith that it will get better?

It’s all up to you.

An old song says, “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess with Mr. In Between!”

God’s blessings upon your journey!

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 
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