A Much Needed Get-Away

February 13, 2014

This winter here in Buffalo is probably the worst I’ve ever experienced. However, God has blessed my family and I with an opportunity to get away for 10 days to visit family and enjoy some beaches and attractions of Florida.

These trips are always dreams come true. Since I was 6 years old, I have known where all the states are in the U.S., and have had the desire to visit them. My grandparents lived in Florida, so during my childhood we would take a road trip there every two years. Each trip was looked forward to for months, and each contained memories that are still with me today.

As an adult, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to continue the tradition. My parents are now the grandparents that we visit (along with my wife’s father) in Florida, and we’ve been able to go every 3 years. Also in 2004, my family and I fulfilled one of my life-long dreams…a cross-country road trip to California.

As we leave for another Florida trip today, my gratitude for it is stronger than ever. I ask for your prayers for safe travel, and I look forward to communicating with you again upon my return. Have a wonderful week ūüôā


2014 New Years Expectations

January 2, 2014

I now present part two of my personal blogs about where I’ve been in 2013 and what I wish to see for 2014. I refuse to call this a list¬†of resolutions. I have learned that resolutions are goals that you hope to achieve (and many times don’t). Instead, I will call them expectations. I have learned that when you expect to accomplish something you generally do.

I counted on this being an easy list to create. After all, I enjoy making and striving for goals, and I have a good idea what I want to accomplish. However, as I looked at my past years lists, I realize that the goals I set were quite general. Things like avoid procrastination, see the best in everything, etc. Great goals yes, but difficult to pinpoint. This year I wanted to make more specific, measureable goals. This made the list a bit more difficult.

One more thing before I share my list…I read a great book recently by Russ Harris called, “The Confidence Gap”. One of the main themes is to live by your values. I have taken his advice and determined my core values, and I use these as a guide to set and accomplish these goals. Some of these goals may seem simple, but in past years I set some extra lofty goals that I didn’t achieve, and wanted to make some more reasonable.¬† So for anyone interested in viewing one human being’s goals and expectations for 2014, here you go…

  1. 30 minutes a day of personal growth. I have grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, and I am closer to God than ever. One goal this year is not only to continue that momentum, but apply what I’ve learned to empower my life and the lives of those around me.
  2. Exercise at least 1 hour a week. You may think one hour a week is nothing, and many of you probably do that in a day. However, as healthy as I am, I still often don’t do the physical exercise I need to do. To break this down to 4 15 minute blocks a week will not only inspire me to reach this goal, but probably go beyond it.
  3. Encourage many people each day. This goals seems like my previous general ones. However, I set up a plan to actually track the number of people I go out of my way to serve and encourage. I will use these notes to set further goals.
  4. Be the family leader I was created to be. My marriage is not the best, and I feel much of that rests on my shoulders. I have very good relationships with my three daughters, but I don’t feel like I focused as their well-being as much as I should have. As noted above, I will actually track my interactions with them to hold myself accountable in being the father and husband according to God’s words that I can be.
  5. Double my income. I’ve tried this one several times and came up short every time. I am trying some new strategies, one of which is knowing instead of hoping that this goal will be realized well before the end of 2014.

There you have some thoughts behind the head of this writer. Once again, I thank you immensely for reading if you’re still here at this point of the article. Every once in a while I like to share some personal thoughts like this to provide a basis for the rest of the information I provide here during the year.

I encourage you to share any of your goals, or whether we have some in common. I hope that for every one of you, 2014 is one of your best years ever. Enjoy the blessings : )


Enjoying The Small Moments

May 25, 2013

Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. ¬†–¬†Orison Swett Marden

I love this quote for several reasons. The main reason is that I am often guilty of waiting for “the big one”. The earth-shattering event that finally sets my life in motion towards the greatness I seek.

It is when we follow the advice of this quote that life is at its best. Enjoy the beautiful little moments that are often ignored. Take those small occasions and make them big and exciting ones. It’s all in the perspective of the mind.

Here in the U.S. we have a holiday weekend that is often spent with family and friends. Whether you are celebrating a holiday or not, I recommend you take the small, beautiful moments this weekend, and cherish them. Make them as memorable as possible, and share them with as many people as you can. Enjoy the wonderful blessings : )


Why My Mother Is The Best

May 12, 2013

I wrote this post several years ago on a different site. I felt it appropriate to share here, especially because it’s all still true today : ) ……

With this being Mothers Day, I thought of all of the reasons I appreciate my mother so much. Actually, I lied. I cannot think of all of the reasons because there are far too many to consider. However, here are five:

  • Since the day I was born I have known that I am loved.
  • Most of my best personality traits¬†like patience,¬†understanding, and gentleness¬†come from her.
  • I can talk to her about anything and get excellent advice without fear of rejection or judgement. The best part¬†is that, even though she provides the advice, she always leaves it up to me to make the ultimate decision.
  • She is always there for me and the rest of my family. My kids say she’s an excellent “grammy” too.
  • Because she is Mom.

Simply said, mine is the best mother in the world (feel free to dispute this. I hope you think your mother is the best too).

Thanks Mom for all you do and all you are : )


Two Ways To Improve Your Relationships

April 23, 2013

One of the great means of peace while living on this earth is pleasant relationships. It’s not always easy. It is wonderful that God has blessed us with different personalities, gifts, and points of view. However, because of these differences, it is sometimes difficult to live in harmony.

I was doing some reading today about mind focus, and as I reflected, I was lead to two simple ways to enhance and improve any relationship.

Before I share, I will say that one word can make all the difference. That word is focus. Here’s how:

1. Focus on your best self. At this point you may ask, “aren’t we supposed to focus on the other person’s needs to help the relationship grow?” I will answer yes. However, you cannot give to someone else unless you are aware of your own positive qualities and strong points. When you focus on your own goodness, beauty, and talents you will feel like you have more to give away. Also, the more you love yourself for who you are, the more you will love others for who they are.

2. Focus on the best in others. It is so easy to focus on the faults of others, and the things they do that we don’t like. We all do it at some point, no matter how hard we try not to. The problem is that the more you dwell on the negative traits of others, the more likely you are to see them continuously. The good news is that the opposite is true. When you focus on the beautiful, positive qualities of others, you tend to see those qualities more often. You enjoy their company more. Even if they still do some of those things you don’t like, you are more likely to look past them and not allow them to bother you like they did before.

If you can focus on these two simple ideas, you will immediately see positive changes in your relationships that may be difficult. I have seen it in my own life. The relationship between my wife and I is still far from perfect. However, it is much better than it was simply because both of us decided to focus on being the best people we could be, and trying to focus on the positive qualities of the other. We still communicate any differences, but if there are any disagreements, they are handled in a much more cordial manner. Following these simple ideas has taken a great deal of stress off our relationship.

If you are struggling with any relationship today, I challenge you to focus on these simple, easy to do guidelines. It may not instantly take away all negativity, but you will see immediate positive changes. Enjoy the blessings : )


What Has He Done?

April 4, 2013

Ah, the beauty of blogging : ) I say that because what I’m about to write here today has nothing to do what I originally intended. It’s happened before, and it’s one of the quirks of writing that fascinates me.

As far as my intended topic today, that will have to wait. Instead, I write about something I read about twice in today’s Bible reading. Usually, that means God is trying to tell me something. Since He told it to me, I will share with you.

The first reading is from Deuteronomy. Moses is about to die, and he is giving a farewell address to the people. In this address, He reminds the people of all the great things God has done for them and all of the miracles they’ve witnessed. I then read Psalm 78. The message was the same! It was a reminder of the great things God has done for the people up until that time. I will say that I did not purposely read these verses. It just so happens that they were scheduled for today on the one year Bible plan I am using. Coincidence, however? I don’t think so.

This caused me to reflect on my life today. In one sense I have a very happy life. In another sense, I am far short of some of my goals, and I seek greater things. I may be getting a bit personal here, but it definitely helps communicate my point. I take the 6 main areas of my life and what I am shooting for:

1. God – As good as it is, my faith can certainly be better.
2. Family – I am still not the family leader I believe I could be.
3. Money – I am still far from the goals I have set.
4. Career – My dream is to touch thousands of lives a day by writing from home or traveling to speak and motivate others. Not there yet.
5. Health – I want to be in better shape and have more energy.
6. Friends/Extended Relatives – I strive to be a better friend and relative.

Am I complaining about the things I mentioned above? Not really. I’m just saying I am striving for great things. However, as I thought about this today, here is what I was reminded of:

1. God – Jesus died for me, and God is extremely proud of this creation. I am special and worthy in His eyes.
2. Family – I have been blessed with the most wonderful family. Better than I could have ever asked for.
3. Money – I have a house, two cars, computers, smart phones, readily available food and clothing. That means I’m richer than 90% of the rest of the world.
4. Career – Although politics have ruined it, and I strive for greater things, my dream job was to be a teacher. I am in my 10th year teaching, and I write this on my Spring break.
5. Health – I look and feel better than I should for someone my age. Also, I have never had any major injuries or sickness in these first 46 years. Neither has anyone else in my immediate family.
6. I am blessed with the most wonderful relatives and friends.

I don’t say this to brag by any means. I haven’t done anything to deserve it, and they are all gifts from above. I say it as a reminder based on what I read today. Let us look back on our lives and realize how much God has done for us. Let us remember the miracles He has already done as we seek greater ones. Even if your life has been difficult, there are things I’m sure you can find that are blessings.

One final thought is this…it has been proven to me that the more thankful we are for what we have and the more we reflect on what God has already done, the more the blessings continue to pour into our lives. I challenge you to reflect on the miracles you have seen in your life, and the great places you’ve been, whether you can count them on one hand, or you have a long list. Focus on them and be thankful for them. If you do, you can expect more to come. Enjoy!


The Gratitude Chain

February 21, 2013

I am a firm believer in the snowball effect. For example, a person does a good deed for someone, then the recipient does something for someone else, and so on. The result is that the lives of many are blessed in a major way.

During the past few weeks, I have felt the desire to spend my life in constant gratitude for the blessings in my life. I have always been thankful, but I am really focusing on being thankful for even the smallest things, like the air that I breath, the clean water I drink, the heated home that keeps me warm, etc. It has really helped me appreciate my life more, and has brought me even closer to God. Also, many little things that would bother me (someone driving way under the speed limit in front of me) barely even come to mind.

I am trying to spread this attitide of gratitude as far as I can. On a daily basis, my family and I write down the things we are most grateful for and reflect on them. I have shared this with other people close to me as well. However, I want to take it further. I asked God how I could do it, and this idea came to mind..

I would like to start a gratitude chain. I will start by sharing 5 things I am very thankful for. I will also ask for your input. If you have a few extra seconds, please share your top 5 thankful list here, and I will pray for you that each one continues and multiplies. I also challenge you to start your own list and get as many people as you can to share their gratitude list. Let’s see how far we can take this : )

Here’s my top 5 list:

1. I am thankful for God for His love, protection, blessing, grace, and everything!
2. I am thankful for the great parents and siblings I have, my wife and kids, and my extended family.
3. I am thankful for great health.
4. I am thankful for my job…the one I have and the dream job He is providing.
5. I am thankful for my house, cars, and all of my material possessions.

When people pay good deeds forward, many are blessed, and if people did it consistently, it can literally change the world. I have read in several places that, even when one person changes from a negative to postiive state of mind, it has a major ripple effect, and can change the world around them. The same is true for feeling gratitude. Not only will people feel better about themselves, but it will have a snowball effect on the world around them, and make a major turn to the positive. My sincere prayer is that God makes it happen today. I appreciate your participation and pray for major blessings for you as result. I look forward to seeing what you are thankful for!