The Value Of A Holiday Time Out

May 28, 2013

It is amazing how refreshing and valuable a simple one day holiday can be. Here in the U.S. we celebrated Memorial Day on Monday. It is labeled the unofficial start to summer. I enjoyed a beautiful, relaxing weekend with my own family, along with my parents, siblings, nephews, and nieces.

This holiday allowed only one extra day off from my stress-filled job. However, it feels like I’ve had an entire week. Just this short time away from all the negativity has completely energized me, cleared my head of the negative cloud, and has me thinking once again that I can accomplish anything.

This all leads me to the point of this post. That is…why wait for the next holiday? I will provide some advice that I’ve written about regularly, yet sometimes get so caught up in the rat race that I forget it myself. The key is to take several mental time-outs throughout the day. When you take these short breaks and get away from the business and any negativity you may encounter, it has the same energetic effect as the day off I described. When you take those short mental time-outs, it helps you re-charge, re-focus, and fill your mind with positive, empowering thoughts. Even when it’s just for a few minutes, it can have amazing effects.

Here’s an example…during my lunch period, I would spend time grading or planning, and doing as much school work I could cram in during that time. Now I have learned to take that time period to write, read, pray, or whatever I feel moved to do at that time. I may not be getting as much done at that time, but it actually makes me more productive as the day goes on. This is because my mind is refreshed, and it is filled with positive thoughts. I have a greater faith that I will succeed, and my tasks are done with a much more positive mind-set. I try to do this throughout the day as well. There are times when I only have an extra minute, but it does wonders when I take that minute to take a few deep breaths, thank God for the successes of the day, and know that God’s presence is as close as that breath I take.

I challenge you to take that “holiday” break as much as you can during the day. You will make every day feel like a holiday because the day will get easier and more positive. After all that’s the way a holiday should be…easy and positive. Enjoy the blessings : )


How Should Life Be?

May 22, 2013

People often wonder how life is supposed to be. It may be a difficult question to answer because circumstances in life change so quickly. Sometimes it seems like just when things start going well, something happens to turn the tide the other way.

I am learning more and more that life is supposed to be wonderful. God intended that we live an abundant life. The Bible says He has great plans for us to prosper. A great quote I read from “The Secret” says, “life can and should be phenomenal..and it will be when you consciously apply the Law of Attraction”.

Let me repeat that…life is supposed to be phenomenal! It can be, regardless of reasons you can come up with that it isn’t. The key is at the end of the quote. Applying the law of attraction means maintaining positive thoughts and emotions. It means seeing the world as an abundant, ever-growing place, and acting as if you already have what you want or need.

Can I say it again? Life is supposed to be phenomenal. I challenge you to focus on the goodness of every circumstance, even if it doesn’t go your way. There is at least some good in everything. Do your absolute best to focus on the greatness of yourself and those around you. It’s amazing how, when you focus your mind on the highest things, the phenomenal life begins to manifest.

The phenomenal life is made and ready for all of us. Will you see it and be it? Enjoy the phenomenal blessings God provides for you today : )


He’s Not Out To Get You

May 19, 2013

I love life! I am thankful to God every day that I’ve been given the opportunity to spend part of my eternity living on this earth and helping to make it a better place.

Unfortunately, this life is not always fun and easy. Negative things happen, and we seem to be presented with obstacles on a regular basis. Too many times, people get down on themselves when bad things happen. When presented with the opportunity to pray for divine assistance, they avoid prayer. In many cases it’s because they think God is against them instead of for them. They feel like they are not worthy of His guidance and assistance. Possibly this is because of something they are guilty about, or simply a lack of self-worthiness.

Are you one of those people? If so, I am here to tell you that God is NEVER against you, and He is ALWAYS for you. I know the feeling because I would feel that way on occasion. I would think, “why would God want to help someone like me”? I would remind myself of my sins and all of the mistakes I had made, then think about how unworthy I was.

There are two main reasons I learned that the opposite was true, and that I was indeed worthy:

  1. We are warned throughout the Bible that we would face trials. As good as life is, it’s part of the deal that we will face adversity. I learned that I am not the only person on this earth that goes through difficult times. Everyone does. However, we are reminded in this same Bible countless times that God is there to help us through those difficult times. He is there to help us gain victory, not failure.
  2. This was the clincher for me…Matthew 7:9-11 says…”which of you if his son asks for bread will give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

You would never give anything bad to those you love most, would you? Even though you are imperfect, you would only give your best to those you love.  You wouldn’t give anything bad in your imperfection, so do you think God would strive to give you bad things, being the perfect and loving being that He is? Never!

Please understand that God is not out to get you. He’s here to prosper you and guide you to greatness. That’s the only way He has intended that you live during this short time on earth. Instead of living in fear of Him, focus on His love and power that He readily shares with you. Use this power for your good, and to make this world a better place for everyone else. He’s out to get you to do that! Enjoy the blessings : )


How Is Life Like A Smartphone?

May 14, 2013

Ever since I saw the smartphone for the first time, I have been in love. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest devices ever invented. In the palm of my hand I not only have a phone, but basically a ticket to the world. I get so much use from this device, yet there is so much  more potential that I am not even aware of. If I had greater awareness of what this phone could do, I would be even more amazed than I already am.

The only negative with this device is that it needs to be re-charged every day. On some days, I need to charge it more than once. This can make if difficult to function, especially if I don’t have my charger available.

Sometimes interesting thoughts cross my mind. I realized how the smartphone is very similar to life, especially one that is lived in the Spiritual realm. When you live in the Spirit, the world is at your fingertips. You get so much more from life. Many of us are unaware of the great potential we have. If we had greater awareness of what we could accomplish through the Spirit that is within us, we would be amazed at what life would bring us.

Just like the smartphone, we need to re-charge on a regular basis. When we “plug in” to our power source, our power and capability are completely restored and ready for maximum use. Sometimes we need to re-charge more than once during the day for this to happen. In fact, I will go as far as recommending re-charging as much as possible. When we stay connected to our Source, we are never without power.

When you use your smartphone today, or see someone else who does, think of how life relates. You are a very powerful “device” capable of “bringing the world” to yourself and everyone that comes in contact with you. If you haven’t already, “plug yourself in” to your power Source and be thankful for that mighty power that you are supplied with. It is indeed a gift.

I would write more, but  my smartphone is ringing, and I need to take a call. Enjoy the blessings : )


How To Make Lasting Changes in Your Life

April 27, 2013

What is  the biggest part of your life that needs change? Most of us can easily and quickly answer this question. What they can’t easily answer is how to do it.

The following is a quote I read recently, and it really had me thinking…”The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind”. William James

It’s simple. What we think about, we bring about. It’s amazing how much control we have in the fate of our lives. However, it’s amazing how little we focus on and use this control. I speak for myself as well, because I did it often in the past, and still catch myself doing it now sometimes.

The key is to keep your mind focused on the highest possible thoughts. Envision the absolute ideal life in all areas. Then, as often as possible, keep focused on the details of that picture. Enjoy it in your imagination as much as possible. You will start to believe it, and eventually live it.

Keep this simple fact in mind today. Alter your thoughts and attitudes, and you alter your life. See beauty and positivity and you will experience it. Think success and you will live it. Think happy thoughts, and your reasons to smile will increase. The list can go on and on. The bottom line is that your thoughts and attitudes make a difference, and you have full control over it. Exercise that control, and live the life you want to live. Enjoy the blessings : )


Why Are People So Happy?

April 26, 2013

The above title is indeed an interesting question. The answer is an obvious one, right? People are happy because they are lucky and they’ve been given many great things in life. It’s all chance, right?

If you know me well enough, you know my answer to that response would be…WRONG!!! Happiness is not because of luck or good breaks. The happiest people are that way simply because they choose to be. There’s no luck or chance involved. They simply see the best in all situations, and make the choice that they are going to be happy no matter what.

You may be saying…”come on, that’s it? There must be more! Ok, I agree. There is more. I read a very interesting article today that actually lists common characteristics of happy people. These include being thankful and healthy, being able to stay mentally active, laugh, and forgive, and spending time with other happy people. It all certainly makes sense to me.

The bottom line is that happiness is not a random thing that only happens when things go well. It is a choice, a habit, and a way of being. I challenge you to make the conscious decision to be happy. I understand that sometimes circumstances and people make it difficult. However, you can still choose to see the bright side of things, and keep a smile on your face as much as possible. I know from experience that there’s no greater way to live.

I have included a link to the full article mentioned above. I suggest you check out the list and see how you measure up and how many of the common characteristics you possess. Have a wonderful day : )

http://johnderrick.com/self_improvement/healthy-lifestyle/healthly-tips/things-happy-people-have-common/


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 : )


It’s Great To Be Alive

April 12, 2013

As I was thinking about today’s writing topic, I thought back to some gifts I received at Christmas when I was a kid. I was big into games and electronics. The two I most remember are my first Monopoly game, and a Coleco Electronic Quarterback game (I waited months for that one). They were both great gifts. Sometimes I won, and sometimes I lost. I don’t like to lose, so these gifts would upset me sometimes. However, I was still very happy to have them.

I think of some of the wonderful gifts I have today, such as my family. They too are great gifts that sometimes disappoint and upset me. However, I still truly treasure them.

My point is…life is a gift. It will sometimes disappoint and frustrate you, but if you treat it as the true gift that it is, you will treasure it and be blessed. Don’t let the difficulties of life get you down. Know that you may lose sometimes, but you were made to win. Like one of my blog’s messages says…life is sweet. Enjoy it!

To drive the point home of treasuring life, I’ve included a link to my favorite Christian song of 2012. Enjoy!


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!


A Fast Way To A Remarkable Life

April 1, 2013

I’ve been away for the past few days. I attended a Fine Arts competition in Syracuse NY. Members of our church participate regularly, but this year was extra special for me because my 13 year old daughter participated for the first time. A group wrote a song, and she was invited to sing it for them. We were very proud as she did a great job, especially for her first performance in front of a public crowd. If it went well enough, she would have the opportunity to compete in national competition in Orlando. Exciting stuff!

As it turns out, my daughter did not receive the opportunity to move on. Why not? After all, I said she was very good, right? Very true. However, as we waited to see who would move on, the top acts performed again for the large crowd. It was here where I realized why they were moving on. It’s because they stood out from the rest. Some sang, some played instruments, some preached, and some acted in skits. Many performers were very good. In every category, these top performers were different from the rest. They all did something and had something that the others did not. This is why they were so remarkable.

I am lucky that I am able to do several things in life well. Some I do very well. However, through this experience I realized that, for me to take my life to the next level, good and well is not enough. I need to stand out in whatever area I want to take to a higher level. For example, I am a good teacher. My students learn and generally enjoy my classroom experience. However, in order to excel as a teacher, that can’t be good enough. I need to ask, what can I do to make this experience memorable and at the highest level possible?

I love to write, and believe I am a fairly good writer. However, it is my goal to stand out and touch thousands of lives a day. In order for that to happen, I need to stand out in some way. I need to constantly ask myself and others how I can do that. Only in that way can my writing be its absolute best and positively impact as many people as possible.

I challenge you to do the same. What is it that you want to excel at? What part of your life are you seeking to be truly remarkable? To make it happen, find out how you can stand out. What can you do that others can’t?

You may be wondering, “how can I answer that question”? I certainly don’t have all the answers. What I usually do is pray for divine guidance. God has all of the answers. He can and will direct you if you need help. Ask in prayer what you can do to stand out. If you truly seek answers they will come. Then act on the inspiration you receive and make it happen. Keep in mind that, especially when you pray and invite God into the equation, you are actually inviting His light to shine through you. All you have to do is turn on the switch. When you let His light shine, people will definitely notice as His grace is manifested. Another thing that works is to seek answers online through articles, other blogs, and videos. It’s amazing how much you can find out from others with the same concerns and goals.

My daughter and her group performed very well. They were good enough to move on. However, they didn’t because there were other groups that simply did more to stand out. If you don’t already know, please realize you have many talents and many things you can do well. If you are seeking to make your life remarkable, I challenge you to figure out what to do to stand out. Then do it. I have much more focus on this challenge of standing out and letting the Spirit of God manifest through me. I will say that it’s a fun challenge, and I invite you to enjoy it as well.

I would appreciate it very much if you would share what works for you and how you stand out in a particular area. I am sure there is plenty of valuable information and assistance I am leaving out here. It would certainly help other readers if there is any input you can provide. Many blessings : )