Monday, December 29 2014
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Good morning, friends! Obviously I got my technological glitch worked out, but not without a few tough words for my PC. Still, I’m glad to connect with you this one last time in 2014.
I am ashamed to admit how often I allow circumstances and events to dictate my emotions and attitudes. I pray it is a human experience that we are reactionary beings so I am not alone. I think I’m not. It seems there is something about our natures that so easily falls into ruts. The trail is long.
About this time of year many people begin to fashion new year’s resolutions, pinning life improvement to tenuous commitments. All evidence shows that few resolutions are kept more than a few weeks. There is a clear commitment issue. Ruts have holding power.
Our quote addresses the real issue of the matter. If we seek happiness, better-ness, improvement, peace, anything, then the commitment within us will either enrich or doom our efforts. Will every day, in fact, be the best day of the year if you truly commit to such a dream? Absolutely not, but with a commitment to preserving your emotions and attitudes you can be assured that every day will be the best it can be, and often much better than it should be. Ruts can be broken.
Sure, make your resolutions this year, if you do, but this resolution I offer you. Own yourself this year. Take control of your emotions, attitudes, reactions, etc., and commit to make each day the best yet. There is no telling how great your year will be when first you commit to you. Create a new, improved rut! I have faith you’ll do great! And happy new year!
Sunday, December 28 2014
“Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.”
Good morning, friends! Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! I hope the week for you is blessed and stress free.
Who better (no pun intended) than Dr. Seuss to give our quote to this week? As with most great literature some of the best lessons come hidden in the worst packages, and such is true with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. That’s a much more compelling title than, “How Christmas Stole the Heart of the Grinch”. But isn’t that what really happened?
Perhaps it’s a lesson of maturity, or simple awareness, but I’m more attuned in later years to the centrality of relationships. Whether it is funerals attended by the masses positively impacted by the deceased, or faces beaming from pictures surrounded by loved ones, successful life is one that creates positive relationships.
We see that lesson played out in the story of the Grinch, perfected in the end when he, hand in hand, heart to heart, celebrates with every Who in Whoville. I pray your Christmas is celebrated hand in hand, heart to heart with many loved ones. If you have experienced a painful loss this year, know you are heart to heart with me. And if you have relationships that need mending, no better time than this one. I encourage you to celebrate not the bags and boxes, ribbons and bows, but the relationships in your life this year. And may you be blessed by them all.
In another great quote, “God bless us, every one!” And God bless you! Merry Christmas
P.S. I’m having some technological difficulties today. If I get them ironed out quickly you will get an Encouraging Word next Monday while I’m on vacation. If not, I’ll reach you again on Monday, January 5. And if that eventuates, happy new year, too!
Monday, December 08 2014
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”
Good afternoon, friends! It may not be Monday morning, but at least it’s Monday! I hope it has been a great day for you. It’s been another Monday for me.
Hope is a good Advent word. Advent, as you may be aware, is the Christian season of preparing for the birth of Christ. It begins with hope, and I love the way the Dalai Lama’s quote places hope. Isn’t hope always most profound in the darkest of days?
As a minister I am too privy to the dark days of people all around me. When I enter into the darkness of people I look for measures of hope the way the farmer does the first signs of life from plowed and planted fields. Darkness in life strips away hopes, dreams, comforts, peace, etc. to one degree or another. Is there hope the darkness will not last, that life will return, that light will prevail? I always pray I find hope.
This season is a dark time for many people, and many other people need no season for darkness in their life; it simply is. If this is a dark season for you, for any reason, is there hope in you? What is a way you can prepare for the focus of the brightness sure to come? How can you get the help you need, from anyone, to weather this storm?
Whatever color is your season right now I pray it is peaceful in you. May the green leaves of new life sprout within us all, returning us to spirit of greater joy in life. I pray that for you.
Tuesday, December 02 2014
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~Thomas A. Edison
Good morning, friends; I come with hat in hand. I’m begging for your grace and mercy. Yesterday was a frightful Monday and my schedule suffered the most. I hope the encouraging word that comes to you today speaks to today’s need and helps you as I pray it does.
One question I’ve been asked in nearly every interview in my life addresses strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you’ve had such questions asked of you. “What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness?” Having heard the question so many times, and learned the absurdity of it, I have learned to nuance my answer to more helpful expressions.
Any honest set of answers to weakness should reflect Edison’s thought, that we are prone to give up. Why? It is the easier path. It requires little or nothing of us. It ends the risk of failure. Just quit and be done with it all, we think and act.
Yet if we view success as a road to be traveled every attempt, even those attempts that fail, is a step towards success. Who knows if the very next effort, or the attempt after that one, will be the one that is the tipping point to success? No one knows; the only thing of which we can be sure is that we deny ourselves the joy and blessings of success when we surrender to our darkest weakness, quitting.
What success do you seek in this last month of the year? Are you still struggling with a New Year’s resolution from earlier in the year? Has quitting in small ways become so normal that your will is easily defeated? Begin small and encourage yourself to keep at some goal until you succeed. Experience the blessing of sustained effort, and then apply it to a bigger goal. Soon enough you can say your greatest strength is to never, ever quit! And for you I will not quit praying! Have a blessed week.