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!


The Power Of Intention Statements

December 15, 2012

Do you have a to-do list? I have learned that it is very helpful to have my plans written down, along with the goals to be accomplished each day. I try as much as I can to do this on a daily basis.

I have become more aware of ways to enhance the quality of life. One that I consistently read about is the concept of intention statements. An intention statement is exactly that..an intention. You say to yourself consistently that you intend to…and fill in the blank with a goal you are seeking to accomplish.

Do these work? I believe they work the same¬†as the to-do list I mentioned earlier. For example, my to-do list for today might say something about grading papers for all of my classes, and picking up a list of items at Walmart. Those are the goals. The list is something that keeps me focused on accomplishing those goals. If I use this as an intention, I can simply say that I intend to grade papers for all of my classes today and I intend to get A, B, and C at Walmart. I’m focused, I do what I need to do, and it gets done.

I am finding more each day that these intentions can be used for far more. They can be used to enhance the quality of your life in all areas. You can say things like..”I intend to spend at least 30 minutes of quality time with my family each day”; “I intend to add positivity and joy to the lives of at least 10 people today”; I intend to earn X dollars this year; I intend to bring my weight to X pounds within two months. These are just a few examples. Some can be general, but the best ones are the ones that are specific and measurable.

Why are intentions so effective? Mainly because intentions help you to keep your focus on the goal instead of the things that pull you away from it. It also makes the goal more believable. The more you repeat your intention, your subconscious mind believes it more and more. With enough repetition, you are convincing yourself that the desired result will take place. Once your subconscious believes something, it’s only a matter of time until you are lead towards manifestation of the goal.

Ultimately what you are doing when you use intention statements is using a glorified to-do list. You are writing down and saying what needs to get done, then you decide what you need to do and do it. It’s as simple as that. So why not put some lofty and ambitious goals on your intention list. Pray for God’s guidance, start moving and acting right away, and experience the joy of your goals being reached. Enjoy the blessings : )


Thankful Ideas

November 7, 2012

I often discuss the importance of being thankful for what we have. We are still several weeks away from Thanksgiving, but I believe every day should be spent finding something to be thankful for in our lives. I firmly believe that the more thankful we are for what we have, the more new blessings we will receive in our lives.

Even though we all have things to be thankful for, it is sometimes difficult to think of things, especially the little ones, to be thankful for. I recently received an email from a friend about exactly that…some of the little (or sometimes bigger)things we can be thankful for. I felt the need to share that list here. It’s called 21 days of Thanksgiving. It presents one idea per day to focus on being thankful for. Of course, you can always add more to the list…

21 days of Gratitude

Be thankful for one thing each day

A friend

Health

A family member

A teacher (someone who has taught you something)

A time of day

An emotion

A freedom you have

A co-worker/classmate

A skill/talent you possess

A restaurant

A physical activity you can do

An experience you had

Something in your room

Something in your kitchen

Something in your home

A gift you received

A deficit that made you stronger

The one thing that you can’t part with

An animal

A trait that someone that you are close to possesses

Creation, nature

A book that has been meaningful in your life

The one thing that you love most about you

Your mom and dad

Have fun with this. Feel free to use other ones as well. Either way, being thankful is a great way to put a smile on your face and make your day better. Enjoy the blessings : )

 


A Powerful Self-Talk Technique

November 14, 2011

It’s always funny when we see someone talking to themself, isn’t it? I think this is mainly¬†because we all do it, and we can all relate. On several occasions I have mentioned the importance of self-talk on this site. As much as we joke¬†about it, I believe it is very important to make a habit of deliberately telling ourselves great things about ourselves. The more our mind hears it, the more it believes it, and the more we act in confidence and faith.

I would like to take this self-talk technique a step further. I read this on a website recently (as well as other places before) and decided to try it. After only a few days, I can already see some dramatic positive effects. The technique is this…instead of just affirming great things, ask yourself a question. That powerful question is, what can I do TODAY that will bring about the desired result? For example, at this time in my life (my mid 40s), I am seeking to be in the best shape of my life.¬†¬†Instead of just affirming that¬†I am strong, healthy, and in great shape, I need to ask¬†myself what¬†I can do¬†this day¬†to make that happen. I am seeking to be the best husband and father I can be. Instead of just affirming that throughout the day, I can take it a step further by asking what I can do, ALL I can possibly do that day, to make it happen. I am looking to double my income in 2012. Instead of just affirming it, praying it, and visualizing it (all important steps), I need to ask on a daily basis what I can do to make it happen.

This may seem like an overly simple process. However, here’s the cool thing. When we sincerely and prayerfully ask that question, the answer ALWAYS comes. The key is to act on it as soon as it does. Also, there are many occasions where the actions we need to take are very small. We may hesitate when we receive a small answer, and even possibly dismiss it because we are looking for great solutions right away. However, the small action, such as a phone call to reach out to someone, filling out an application, looking up a Bible verse, or doing a small favor, can do wonders and have great impacts. Whatever it is you are inspired to do just do it!

The only drawback I’ve heard from this is that we are doing the work and not allowing God to do His. Yes, I know that sometimes people (definitely me) try to do too much and get in God’s way. Remember though, that although God wants us to faithfully rely on Him, He also expects us to act in obedience to Him. When we ask the question of what we can do to achieve our goal, and listen attentively for the answer, we will receive it. When we act on it, it is simply us doing our part as we pray for God to do His. It’s also a kick in the butt for people like me who are sometimes slow to act, to just do something, and then let God use it for His good.

I challenge you to ask yourself this question daily for whatever goal you have…What can I do TODAY to realize my goal? When you challenge yourself this way, the answer will come. And when you act on that answer, you will see fast results. I’ve seen it myself already after a short time of using this technique. I strongly recommend you try it. Enjoy the blessings : )

P.S. I wanted to share the link where I was presented with this challenge. The information on that website mainly deals with using this technique to increase your income. It will certainly help you do that. However, you can use this technique for any area of your life, whether it’s improving relationships, health, finding a job, or simply enjoying life more. The author also presents another process for helping reach your goals that I also recommend you try. In both cases, I believe this can be a great help to anyone. Enjoy!

http://www.nelsonberrysubliminalblog.com/4-free-subliminal-messages-video-downloads/