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Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas is both a time for giving and receiving. How are you at giving? How about receiving? Most of us are predominantly either one or the other. Rarely are we able to do both.

A child’s rhyme/song runs through my mind during this time of year:

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!”

You hear repeatedly that “It’s not the amount you spend on a gift that counts, but the thought you put into it.” Do we really hear that at the heart level?

I truly love this time of year. I love playing Santa to my friends and family. I know others do as well.

The naysayers emphasize the commercialization of the Christmas Holiday, stating that it is just a time for the stores to make money.  Yes, that is true, but it does not take away from the idea that you can give of the love in your heart, no matter the item.

It is a time for expressing that love in whatever way you deem appropriate. What attitude do you have when you are selecting your gifts? Are you stressed out? Do you feel unhappy because you do not have enough money? If this is true for you, you need to take a look at your priorities. If you cannot give even the smallest gift with a happy heart, filled with the peace of the Season, what blessing are you adding to the gift? That is what matters the most, after all is said and done.

What do you feel when you receive your gifts? Are you looking at the amount someone must have spent, or do you think about what a loving thought and blessing is wrapped inside the package? Are you open to receive that thought and blessing?

My first gift to my friend, who later became my husband, was a small Christmas stocking from a mall kiosk, with his name in glitter and some candy inside. He went into shock when I gave it to him because it was so unusual for him to receive a gift. He still has that little stocking in his desk drawer all these years later. So you never know what a small kindness can do.

In the flurry of the season, take a few moments to stop and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. The Christmas decorations, the music, and the Holiday Spirit (which does not come in a bottle, unfortunately) are all a part of it. I love to exchange Christmas cards because it is a time to touch base with friends and family to see how they all are, for they are now spread far and wide across the globe. What a special time of year!

The center of this Holiday is, of course, the Christ in Christmas. It is a time for celebrating his birth. Is He in your heart, mind, and spirit as you go about your activities? His Gentleness, His Love for all mankind, and His Caring Nature are all expressed through you on a personal level to every single person you contact. Be mindful of that as you go through your days. Do not be so busy with anything that you forget that.

Just know that you choose whether to be that blessing or not as you give your gifts. Put a little of your thoughts inside each one, K? Be a Blessing, K? Be aware of your attitudes when you open your own gifts — look for the thoughtfulness and be open to the gratitude for the expression of love that is inside each one, K?

God’s blessings upon your journey. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

 

Hibiscus & Christmas

Hibiscus & Christmas

Christmas Poinsetta

Christmas Poinsettia

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our warmest wishes for you is to have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

It is a day to watch parades on the television, probably overeat from a heavily laden table (if you are lucky), take a nap, enjoy the companionship of loved ones and friends, or perhaps even to just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Whatever your day consists of, we hope that you take the time to list all of the blessings which fill your life. Some are obvious, and others are not. Some you think of frequently, while others pass you by without your noticing. Some do not get any of your attention at all until something negative impacts it. Sometimes, the negative takes it away for a long time, if not forever.

Thanksgiving has always been a day for doing exactly that: Change your focus from what you do not have and are striving for to what you already possess. It does not matter if it is a nickel when you need it, or lots of cash at the right time.

Just notice: Can you walk? Can you talk? Can you sing? Can you use your hands freely? Do you have your health? Are you working your way through a health challenge? Can you eat whatever you like? Can you see? Can you hear? What beauty surrounds you?

There are so many people who do not have those blessings for they are either unable to do them for whatever reason or their life situation prohibits/inhibits it.

Life is made up of a lot of simple things which pass us by like a ship in the night if one does not take time to focus on them. We miss many blessings just because we do not see them. Look at your surroundings to see the beauty, life, and laughter that are there – no matter how small or insignificant it may appear. Just know that what you bless increases.

Gather your loved ones and friends, be they near or far, into your heart and thoughts. Bless them one and all.

How about you? What do you choose to focus on today?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Beauty from Chihuly Exhibit at Denver Botanical Gardens:

Blue Icicle Towers

Blue Icicle Towers

Persian Towers

Persian Towers

Saffron Tower

Saffron Tower

White Tower

White Tower

Mirrored Green Hornets and Gold Waterdrops

Mirrored Green Hornets and Gold Waterdrops

Blue and Purple Boat with Walla Wallas

Blue and Purple Boat with Walla Wallas

Summer Sun

Summer Sun

Heliconia

Heliconia

Orchids

Orchids

 

Abundance

Matthew 13: 11 & 12 states: “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”

These verses had confused me for years. It sounds so unfair and certainly not my idea of what a Good God would do to anybody. It took a long time for me to understand the full import of these verses.

IT IS ALL A MATTER OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND UNDERSTANDING.

Consciousness is a big word that translates into: What are you thinking about and emotionalizing over?

Are you concentrating on what you DO NOT HAVE or grateful for WHAT YOU DO HAVE? Do you feel a sense of LOSS? Are you CONFUSED?

Separating emotions multiply exponentially – the more you dwell on them, the worse it gets. Bad things happen, but the more you dwell on them, the more it continues to occur. CHAOS REIGNS SUPREME!

Yes, abundance of the bad stuff that occurs is definitely not a goal for anyone, knowingly.

Many believe that SCARCITY RULES — If you have something, then someone else does not have it. In short, there is not enough to go around. It is not a matter of doing without while someone else enjoys a nice home, great clothes and jewelry, perhaps maid service or a private jet to travel the world. Actually, it is a matter of looking at your life and your choices and being happy with what gifts God has given to you. Envying others is a road that leads to nowhere. Yes, there are many others who have so much more than I will ever own, yet I truly enjoy my life and my possessions, whatever they are. Years ago, we were burglarized, and I lost many of my favorite pieces of jewelry which can never be replaced. It was a lesson to me to truly enjoy what I do have, and do not worry about anything else. If some good fortune comes our way and we change where and how we live, I will be just as happy. If it does not happen, I have lost nothing. You see, we always have enough and to spare and to share. God’s world is one of abundance for everyone – mankind creates shortages, wars, power struggles, etc. If one gets in touch with the idea that God provides OUR DAILY BREAD, the struggle ends. Daily Bread in Jesus’ time means everything that you need, not just bread, literally. Is that idea new to you? Ponder it, for it is a gem of the most precious worth to you.

So, are you one of those who HATH? Good for you! Or are you a HATH NOT? It says you will continue to lose ground.

Your heart and mind are a mated pair – not separated. What influences one changes both. If the LOVE you feel for self and others is a part of every moment of every day, guess what multiplies? However, if you CONDEMN yourself or others for any reason, it diminishes you and them as well. Which do you want to promulgate? The choice is yours to make.

Have you ever noticed a Dandelion that has gone to seed, or watched their seeds as they drift on the wind? That is the principle of abundance in action. You can see it everywhere in nature as things go to seed, getting ready for a new season. You, too, can do this. Just take a look at your consciousness and see what needs to change. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Dandelion = Abundance of Seeds

Dandelion = Abundance of Seeds

Nature's Abundance in Action

Nature’s Abundance in Action

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Is Your SEED Being Spread?

Matthew 13: 3-9, 18-23 states: “And he spake many things unto them in parables saying, ‘Behold a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.’

‘Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.’ ”

So, I ask you, which type of soil are you? Is your heart and mind open, ready for the good seed of words, thoughts, and deeds so that they may multiply? Or are you caught up in the daily vicissitudes of wear and tear, lack of money, somebody else got promoted instead of you, you see a gorgeous dress and know you cannot charge another item on your credit card because it is maxed out, etc.? Daily circumstances can wear you out to the core, creating lots of negative emotions and very few positive ones.

Words cannot help much with the stony places in your life, especially if you focus on what is NOT WORKING WELL.  The heat of the sun is living your life every day, trying to do your best – yet you are experiencing strong feelings of being OVERWHELMED and even HOPELESS. Each one of these feelings becomes a stone, impeding your growth and happiness.

The good ground is someone who, in spite of negative happenings, can press on and believe that things will get better. It may take time to unfold, but the possibility of change is enough to spur on that person as he/she seeks to know more and grow. How about you? Could you cultivate a better soil in you by slowing down, breathing deeper, meditate, do yoga, pray, or any other idea that occurs to you, like take a class, a workshop, or anything that will address the problems that exist in your life right now?

In Matthew 13:10 & 13-16, it states: “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?”

It continues: “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.”

Do you have ears that hear? Do your eyes really see? That indicates a connection with the brain so that it begins to think about what is heard. Have you ever talked to a child or teenager, knowing that they do not hear a word you speak? You have to first get their attention, which involves the Hippocampus at the base of the brain. If you can get their attention (like take away their game boy,  electronic gadget, or turn off the computer, etc.), you can actually communicate. How about you? Is your mind so busy with all of the things on your To-Do-List, or other consuming ideas that you cannot be calm, quiet, and peaceful? Check your breathing. If your upper chest is breathing up and out instead of deep breathing from your stomach area, you are stressed out and in need of a change. Do you understand with your HEART? Only you can answer that question.

This is the time of the Summer Solstice and rebirth. You can see it all around you: The ducks and ducklings; geese and goslings, birds and baby birds, etc. Do you want a new beginning for you as well? You can have it every single day if you so choose.

Life does, indeed, happen, You are the only one who can see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and understand with your heart. Are you willing to take whatever action is needed to get off the merry-go-round of your daily life?  Think about your soil and the seeds. What is it you really want? Only you can answer that question.

God’s blessings upon your journey.

Baby Mallards

Baby Mallards

Baby Goslings

Baby Goslings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm comes from the root for “En” = From and “Dios” = God. In short, it means that God is our inspiration of ideas and livingness.

The dictionary defines Enthusiasm as: “To be inspired as by a god; intense or eager interest; zeal; fervor.” That is pretty clear.

Yet, the daily wear and tear of life does not let us live our lives with Enthusiasm. That is a matter between the head and the heart. Stress denies its presence. Obligations required by our work, our families, our friends, outnumber the good thoughts we do have. Our electronic gadgets pervade every corner and every minute of our waking experiences…smart phones, computers in every form, gaming, etc.

The question arises: Having said all of the above, how can one participate in one’s life with Enthusiasm?

Answer: The first half hour after you wake up, you have a direct inroad into your subconscious. The same occurs at night: The last half hour before you go to sleep provides the same opportunity.

Can you arrange some quiet time for yourself at those time frames? It is an inroad to peace of mind and heart with quiet and deep breathing, positive thoughts, meditation, and dwelling on what is right in your life in lieu of that which is wrong.

Even 5 minutes could make a difference if you cannot dream of 30 minutes. It is your life. You alone must choose how you will live it. Daily prayers are also the “meat and potatoes” of your existence. How are you feeding your soul?

My vote is a quiet, peaceful existence with positive food for my soul. What will you choose?

God’s blessings be upon your path and choices this day!

Beauty in Action

Beauty in Action

 

Anger Management

A quote I live by every day: “Life is too serious to be taken seriously.”

I have had at least one person ask me what that means. I just responded, “Lighten up.”

When I was young, my temper would often get the best of me. Then I would dwell on the situation, only making myself more upset by the minute. Often it would take me days to get over some small incident.

Even if someone actually means to do something ornery to you, is a grudge the best way to handle it?

If someone cuts you off in traffic, do you react with anger? Are you still upset at your desk hours later? I figure that  person who cut me off, nearly taking my fender with him, did not actually do it to me — it is a habitual way to drive which is a poor paymaster, eventually causing that person to damage his own vehicle and probably somebody else’s. I bless him on his way.

As I have aged, I grant others the ability to misbehave and make mistakes, knowing that they are doing the best they can at that moment. I do not take it personally. It saves me a lot of wear and tear on my heart and mind because I just do not want to get angry about the situation. When I get angry, I am leaving my center of peace and tranquillity and exchanging it for something that will not be worth the agony it causes. I have to choose to ACT and not REACT. If I have to state something clearly so that a situation is resolved, I do not have to yell or cuss to get my point across. Yet there is no doubt in anyone’s mind what I am communicating.

I took an Anger Management class many years ago. I learned that ACTIVE LISTENING is the key. You repeat back to the person who is yelling at you exactly what you heard. You keep it up. Soon, the volume decreases. People yell because they think you did not hear them. When you repeat what they say, they lose steam. The Anger flows away. You cannot rationalize with an angry person. He/she is not listening to you. You cannot discuss the issues if one person is yelling and not listening. You can even, eventually, agree to disagree and then set another time to actually discuss the issues if it is necessary. I personally had to deal with a very angry 300 pound man who was borderline getting physically violent. The active listening calmed him down until I could ask him to leave. So I know it works.

Anger, in some people, causes them to withdraw as a reaction. They crawl up into a little shell, which only increases the anger expression of whoever is perpetrating the situation. Obviously, that person does not know you are listening to them.  Some people just try to get away from whatever is happening and just run away from the scene as fast as they can. Resolution never occurs.

Bullies love it. We admit that. They like to feel powerful and power-filled. They usually find someone to pick on that is smaller than they are.  They win by intimidation. Some supervisors do that same thing. You cannot interact with them because they know they have POWER. But being quiet like a mouse does not work either as a response. They usually only get worse. Try Active Listening techniques. Perhaps it will help calm the situation.

When someone is angry, it raises their blood pressure, the adrenalin “fight or flight” response, and the wear and tear on the body. It is like a light that goes shooting out at the person or situation. When it is over, one feels empty and drained. If the anger is not expressed properly, however, it turns inward and becomes depression. That is a bad beast to have to deal with.

You can pound on pillows, write a hate letter and shred it, perform physical exercise, imagining that you are stomping out the problem/situation/person. There are lots of ways to exorcise the bad feelings without putting one’s fist through a wall, person, or thing.

I have had three accidents in my life which have impacted my body functioning and hampered how I can do many tasks. I have had to deal with anger over the losses to my healthy body. Life is not fair, and it will never be so. I had to work my way through the anger responses so I could deal with the pain and the situation. That is not an easy thing to do, but it is necessary because I choose to be a pleasant person with a smile on my face. Most people will never know what I have gone through and what is happening to my body at any moment. I do not let the pain or the anger control me and dictate what my interaction level will be with others. I choose to overcome it and share the best that is in me with my world.

We are like puppets of the memories we have, registered long ago when we were learning how to interact with our world. We learned how to deal with situations by watching those around us. If we did not have good mentors (and most of us had parents and others around us who are capable of making mistakes), we respond with whatever we learned, good or bad.

Most of the therapy that people pay for is so they can react and interact with their world differently than what they learned when they were small. They want to be able to be more functional. That is a good thing. It is never too late to change, using whatever tools you can find that work for you, be it a book, a good friend, etc.

If you find yourself becoming angry at something or someone, can you stop for even a second before you light that flame of destruction? Can you ask yourself why you are ready to rip somebody’s head off? Can you stop and breathe deeply, trying to calm yourself, your blood pressure, and your “fight or flight” response? That is the purpose for counting to 10, slowly.

Do you remember the scene in the Harry Potter movie where Ron was facing his fears, and he turned the spider into a clown, with roller skates on each leg?  Do you know that anger can be dealt with in the same way? I quietly think about a scene from Alice in Wonderland, looking for the Mad Hatter, The Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit with the pocket watch yelling, “I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!” Anything that will add levity to the situation until I can regain my perspective. I don’t have to tell anyone what I am up to…I just do it.

When things gets crazy around me, instead of joining the craziness, I just calmly rise in my air balloon, looking at the situation as a spectator. If I choose to ACT, I can then do so. No hint of REACT is there. (Now, if I had a charging tiger to deal with, I would put my adrenalin to good use. But short of that, in real life, there are not many  dangers out there to react to. It is the imaginary dangers that cause the damage, and most of them never happen. We just worry about it all, nonetheless.)

If have been told that I am a very positive person. I work at it. It is not something that happens by chance. I work on my calm attitudes because I want to be part of the answer, not the problem.

Each morning when I get up, I set my sails so that if some errant wind catches me, I can then adjust my sails so I can keep heading towards my destination, whatever that may be for the day. Lots of people can try to huff and puff, and blow me off course…all to no avail. Circumstances can do the same. I still press on with my hand on the helm, charting my course by my belief system and my faith. with prayers always in my heart.

Life happens. We all make mistakes. We have to continually pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.

If you find yourself stewing over some situation and not arriving at a peaceful resolution, just know that you have lots of company. The only questions you need to ask yourself are, “Do I want to continue feeling like this? Do I want to change that?” Hanging onto your anger will not solve a thing. It only wears you out from the inside. Is it worth it?

 

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