Thursday, December 30, 2010

Words of Action for 2011

2011 looms large on the horizon. New Year’s resolutions are well and good, but I want to talk about a different way of thinking and planning for this New Year. I simply want you to focus on a word or phrase that resonants with your heart and mind; words that you can adopt for this New Year. Make it something meaningful that will help give you new and fresh marching orders.

Here are a few suggestions.

-I will act now.
  -I am a controlled person.
    -I wisely save a portion of every pay check.
      -I seek only good wholesome thoughts for my mind.
        -I see the best in every person I meet.
        -I will increase my value to my family and my work place.
      -I approve of myself.
    -I am confident in my God-given abilities.
  -I will greet each person with kindness and a smile on my face.
-I will successfully plan my week for full productivity.

If you are of a religious persuasion, you surely have a dozen or more scriptural verses you can tap into as well. I know I have my own favorites. Some examples are Jeremiah 29:11 and Joshua 1:9.

One of my life-phrases this year will be “I Will ACT NOW.” When Carolyn asks me to do something specific she will find me responding rapidly.  When I am requested to do anything for anyone and I can feasibly perform that task, I will act now. This includes everything from taking out the trash, washing the car, filling the gas tank, washing windows, cleaning the bathroom and a dozen other requests that she may ask of me.

And when one of my readers asks for a special assignment for their sales team, I will respond immediately and set out to complete the requested project in a timely manner. By now you can see how the simple motto of I WILL ACT NOW can impact your life and everyone around you in positive ways.

I could write page after page on the above suggestions but you don’t need that from me. You get it.

So, now it’s time to get busy. Give some thought to the words, phrases and thoughts that you might adopt this year as your mantra, your marching orders or whatever handle you might put on this.

I would love to hear from you as to the words and phrases you choose for your life. Would you write to me?

Words of action do make a difference. I promise.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Story of Silent Night

In 1817, 25 year-old Joseph Mohr was assigned to the position of assistant priest at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria. As a lover of music since his childhood, Joseph was placed in charge of the music used at the small church and he even wrote poems and song lyrics for special services.


In 1818, during a particularly cold winter, Mohr was making last-minute preparation for a special Christmas Eve service that had been planed for months. Everything was in place, the music, the message, everything. But as he cleaned and readied the sanctuary, he encountered an unfathomable dilemma; St. Nicholas’ organ wouldn’t play. A frantic Mohr struggled with the old instrument for hours, making adjustments, fiddling with keys, stops and pedals, even crawling behind the console to see if he could find a problem. Yet the organ remained silent, its voice as still as a dark winter’s night.

Realizing he could do nothing else, the priest paused and prayed for inspiration. He asked God to show him a way to bring music to his congregation on the year’s most meaningful day of worship. His answer was found in events that had been initiated almost two years earlier.

In 1816, while assigned to a church in another village, Mohr had written a Christmas poem. The six unadorned stanzas were inspired on a winter’s walk from his grandfather’s home to church. Though he had shared the words with a few friends, the priest had never sought to have the work published nor attempted to come up with a melody to go with his words.

Digging Silent Night from his desk, Mohr read over the words two years later. Up until that moment the verses hadn’t seemed very important, but as he read them again, it was as if the Lord was tossing him a lifeline of hope. Encouraged by new and unfolding expectations, he shoved the worn paper into his coat pocket and rushed out into the night.

On that same evening, 31 year-old schoolteacher Franz Gruber was struggling to stay warm in his drafty apartment over the schoolhouse. Though he had once studied with a renowned organ master of his day, he now played organ only for St. Nicholas’ modest services. As he went over notes from one of his lessons, he heard a strong, insistent knock on his door. To his surprise there stood Father Mohr.

After a quick “Merry Christmas,” the agitated priest explained the problem of the non-working organ, and the last minute thoughts of their approaching Christmas Eve Service.

Father Mohr finally pulled out the poem he had penned two years earlier and begged Franz Gruber to “please write music to these words that can be easily learned by our choir. And, without an organ, I guess the song will have to be played on a guitar.”

They both glanced at the mantle clock. “But time is so short!”

Studying the poem, Gruber set to work. Father Mohr, feeling confident that God somehow had a special plan for this Christmas Eve, hurried back across the snow to the church, leaving Franz Gruber alone with his thoughts, a ticking clock, and a prayer for inspiration.

A short time later, the two friends met at St. Nicholas. There in a candlelit sanctuary, Gruber showed his new music to Mohr. The priest approved, and after learning the guitar chords, rushed it to the choir members who were waiting for their scheduled rehearsal. In very short order, Gruber taught the choir members the four-part harmonies to the last two lines of each verse.

Just after midnight, Mohr and Gruber stood in front of the main altar and introduced their simple little song. As they sang, they couldn’t have guessed that Silent Night! Holy Night! would be remembered not only the next Christmas in their small village, but almost two hundred years later, around the world.

(The original source of this story is long lost in my files.  If you know the origin of this story, would you please contact me so that I may give proper credit.  Thank you.)

Merriest Christmas of all to you and your love ones everywhere.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

When Love Was Enough At Christmas

In my past Christmas traditions giving and receiving gifts have always been a huge part of the whole experience. We were not considered a rich family by any means but there always seemed to be an abundance of presents under the tree and everyone, including me, garnered a large portion of gifts just for themselves.

My first taste of a decline in Christmas gifts happened in1990. This was my first Christmas as a single man after being married for a bunch of years. I celebrated with some of my family who lived in Dallas. I remember writing in my journal the sum total of Christmas gifts received that year: a lighthouse painting from my sister and brother-n-law, a shirt from my nephew and his family, and a gift certificate from my work place.

As I reflected back on Christmas ’90 in my journal I felt blessed, not wanting for anything and grateful for my life, my health and my family.

The year of 2008 was a serious transition year for Carolyn and me. I was faced with a declining market in real estate sales and forced to seek employment via other means. Money was tight for much of that year. When Christmas rolled around, we managed to spend a small amount of money on gifts for others in our family and a couple of close friends, but I had to break the unfortunate news to my wife that I felt we did not have any extra money to buy Christmas gifts for each other.

My beautiful wife Carolyn is a winner. She demonstrated such support when I broke that news to her and said some wonderfully reassuring words to the effect that “we will get through this, after all, we have each other.” I could tell she meant it.

I wondered how we would mark Christmas morning in a memorable and meaningful way without the excitement of exchanging gifts and all that goes with it.

          WE REVELED IN OUR LOVE 
and relationship by sharing a unique Christmas morning that is now a fond memory and will be cherished for a lifetime.

We got up Christmas morning, put on a large pot of coffee, lit a fire in the fireplace and sat side by side on the sofa in the shadow of our small but lovely Christmas tree. I read story after story about Christmas from a storybook we have in our family library.

There were times when we shed tears as I read, and I’ll admit it was painful and a bit sad at times, but we held tightly to each other, hand in hand, side by side, hearts united, and holding onto our love for each other. That Christmas, we discovered that our love was more than enough for any season.

Wow, a love that is enough.

What an incredible thought!

I hope you experience a love that is enough this Christmas.

-That love is demonstrated in the babe in the manger.
-It shows up in the joyful sounds of the season,
  both the secular and the religious.
-It shows up in the lights and bling of the decorations.

And it shows up in love expressed for one another.

Call somebody. Offer words of love.

There is enough love that unfolds in the Christmas story for all of us. Christmas is giving gifts for sure, but it is more you know. It is ultimately a love story.

          Love!



     It’s all about
                love,
                     and redemption,
                          and hope.

The Giver of the gift has more than enough love for each one of us.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Hope


There are some things that you just know and understand deep down. I knew from the first moment that I met Carolyn that we would at least have a second and third date. I hoped for more, but I sort of knew that much.


I knew as a boy growing up in Tennessee that I could count on a new belt from my grandmother every Christmas. She never failed me, for as many years as she was alive and able to give gifts.

And then sometimes I had huge hopes for Christmas. Not certainties you understand, just hopes. I remember the year I hoped for a new bicycle. On Christmas morning, there it sat; red fenders, white seat, shiny and new. Wow! Oh, to be a kid again.

I know what Carolyn hopes for this Christmas. And I’m gonna do my best to meet and exceed her hopes, but don’t tell her. Shhhhh.

I know of others who have hopes and dreams for this year’s Christmas season. Some hope for reconciliation with a loved one. I pray their hope becomes reality.

I know a family that has a few more bills than bucks this Christmas. They are hoping for the miracle of more funds to fund their dreams and hopes.

Today I passed a man on a street corner. He appeared to be in his sixties. His sign said “Need a job or Groceries.” He is seeking a big helping of hope this Christmas. I hope he gets everything he has asked for.

Hope is one of the key words in the whole of celebrating Christmas. We all hope for something, don’t we?

-Retail stores hope for big cash register sales
-My granddaughter Adia hopes for some new doll that will complete her life.
-Greyson, my 3 year old grandson hopes for some kind of toy gun I suppose.
-I know a 22 year old young lady who is hoping for a sparkling ring to put on her left hand.

In the Biblical accounting of the Christmas story it was all about hope. The hope that was sought was in the form of a king who would come and redeem and restore all wrongs and deliver oppressed people from their oppressors.

Instead, Hope showed up in the form of a newborn baby whose first night on earth was spent in a barn. Now that’s not a very elegant way for a king to be welcomed to this world is it?

But nevertheless He brought hope. And He still brings hope.

Hope for healing.
     Hope for encouragement.
          Hope for financial relief. .
               Hope for a mended heart.
                    Hope in place of loneliness.

Hope is the essence of survival.

It has been said that a person can live ...
--Forty days without food.
--Four minutes without air
--Only 4 seconds with hope.


Hope keeps your future alive


What are your hopes for this Christmas season?

As long as you have hope life has meaning. With hope, we seem to be able to hold onto the threads of life a bit longer.

What better season than Christmas for us to hold onto hope. Embrace it. Picture your hope turning into reality.

Hold on to HOPE!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams

Close your eyes and tell me what you see when you dream of your future? What kind of work are you doing? Where do you live? What does your family life look like? What is your economic status?

Dreams are a good thing. Everyone dreams – some just take their dream to the next level. They dream in more vivid detail and dream on purpose. I want to be an on-purpose dreamer. Care to join me?

Here’s a quote for us to ponder: “The soul never thinks without a picture.”

Paint your picture of your future. Use splashes of bright orange, yellows, beautiful blues, pink and rose. Paint to your heart’s content, but paint your picture for your soul’s sake. Use a big bold canvass to do your painting on. Make it enormous so that the whole world can see it and rejoice in your dream. Paint it and own it.

A wise man once said “Once I see it I will be it.” We see it first in our mind’s eye, and then we move in the direction of our dreams and our dominant thoughts.

But we have to create a clear image of the end result. That is what empowers us toward achieving the desired end.

Carolyn and I just returned from a vacation to Disneyland. I am struck with the creativity we experienced time and time again as we strolled the theme park and saw the sights that Walt Disney and his team of dreamers first saw in their mind’s eye, and then converted into concrete, plaster and paint.

They saw it first in their imagination, and then turned it into reality. The same principle is true for you and I.

I love this quote.

“Only Those Who Can See the Invisible
  Can Accomplish the Impossible.”

Now, add the part about believing in your dreams and you are well on your way toward the accomplishment of those hopes and dreams.

It all starts with hopes and dreams. Then comes the doing. Dreams without action are like flowers without rain. They wither and die for lack of nourishment. Give your dreams feet and wings. Allow them to grow, run and soar to heights yet unseen, all because you dreamed and nourished the dream.

Can you spend four hours some morning on your dream? Go off by yourself, take a pen and paper, or your computer, get a nice cup of your favorite hot drink and sit and think about your dreams. I ask this question often: “What would I do if I knew I could not fail?”

The answer to this question will most likely give you a real sense of what beats inside of you and a sense of direction for your dominant thoughts and desires for your life.

Whatever the answer is, live with it for a while, write down all of the possibilities for a dynamic life in pursuit of this dream, and see where your thoughts take you.

Live the life you’ve imagined.”


Go confidently in the
direction of your dreams.

(Henry David Thoreau)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Courage

Courage is such a strong word. Everybody hopes for courage in moments when courage is most needed.

Winston Churchill once said, “One person’s courage can make a remarkable and lasting difference.”

History is full of instances of courage. What most immediately comes to mind is the courage and fortitude that our founding fathers demonstrated in the early years of our country. Before America gained her independence, it took tons of courage on the part of a great host of displaced Britishers to stand up and say in effect, “This we believe. This we declare as our right. This we clearly will establish and this we will fight for to the end.”

American prisoners of war have retold countless tales of courage in the face of pain, torture, suffering and hopelessness.

Olympic athletes have told amazing stories of enduring tremendous pain in the moment to give their all and then some to go for the gold and win. Courage in the face of pain – that’s the stuff of champions.

I’m not an Olympic athlete. You probably aren’t either. So, can we ordinary mortals also demonstrate courage?

You bet we can.

Read this excerpt from an email I received in response to another blog I wrote a few months ago.

“Thanks Michael. Timely words that helped soothe a slightly damaged psyche after a tough week at the office. The boss tried to force a significant ethical compromise on a colleague and me. We stood firm and did not cave in but still feel like walking wounded after the battle. I appreciate you and the "Up Words".

I know a lady who had to walk away from an abusive relationship in order to save her own life, both physically and emotionally. That took courage. To leave the semblance of some sort of security, defective though it was, and face the uncertainty of becoming a single mother, still raising a teenage daughter.

That was difficult. But it was also courageous.

What is courage? Read these wise words.

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”      
--Winston Churchill

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’”
--Mary Anne Radmacher

“Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.”
--Dan Rather

“Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.”
--Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

“Courage can't see around corners, but goes around them anyway.”
--Mignon McLaughlin

“Sometimes the biggest act of courage is a small one.”
--Lauren Raffo

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
--C.S. Lewis

“Courage is tiny pieces of fear all glued together.”
--Terri Guillemets


Beauty and the Beast and Macbeth both use one of my favorite new quotes
          “Screw your courage to the sticking place.”

Meaning: Gain courage, hold on to it. Never lose it.

So, gather up your courage. Face life. Hold onto essential truths and guiding principles.

“Screw your courage to the sticking place.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

When It's All Over You've Only Just Begun

Have you ever come to the end of yourself? Have you reached a dead end and wondered what next?

When it's all over
you've only just begun!

Remember that!

I’ve lost in a few relationships.

I’ve had jobs that ran out.
     I've wondered "What next?"

Dead ends don't always mean dead ends.  Look for an opportunity to rebuild.



With every ending there is a new beginning.  Embrace it one step at a time.




“It’s not over till it’s over”, quipped Yogi Berra.

Yogi was referring to baseball. As long as there were innings left in the game, the team still had a chance.

How about this twist on Yogi’s thought? If you’re breathing you still have innings left in your game. What are you gonna do in the next inning?

Are you still alive and breathing?
          Then you have the seeds of a new beginning.

Do ideas still pop into your head?
          Then you have the seeds of a new beginning.

"Every adversity, every failure
and every heartache carries
with it the seed
of an equivalent
or a greater benefit."
Napoleon Hill

My friend Ron is going through “stuff” right now. His boss is shutting down the business that Ron has worked so hard on for the last bunch of years. Is he discouraged? Not Ron.

I just got an email from him this week. Listen to the optimism in his note..

“The future is looking hopeful, I really don't know how to react other than to live in the moment, and enjoy a breath of fresh air compared to the stress I've been living under these past couple of years."



A setback could be
the launching pad
for your
next great idea.

Remember …

When it’s all over,
you’ve only just begun.

Friday, November 12, 2010

You're Not a Nobody

I hear you. I take note of your joy, your cries, your pain, and your confusion. I know more about you than you might think I do.

For instance, I was there the day you were born. I heard your first cries. I watched over you and marveled at your beauty and development at your birth. I noted the potential that I put within you.

Maybe that is why you cried. Maybe you were afraid, even then.

I watched you take your first steps, learn to eat with a spoon, learn to sip from a cup. I saw you try and try again in mastering the stuff of life. You kept at it. You didn’t give up. Everything was new and fresh, and a challenge to conquer. I watched. I knew you then, I know you know.

When you went to kindergarten and first grade, I was there. I marveled at your adaptability then and you still have that within you. Don’t lose it. You struggled with math, and in English you thought you would never remember all the nuances that were being thrown at you. But you proved time and again that you could do it.

Your social skills grew. 
     You learned to say “please” and “thank you.”
          You learned to share, to make friends, to distinguish
               between right and wrong.

Some of those choices were hard at the time, but you began learning the necessary lessons of life. I was so proud of you.

As you grew and moved on beyond high school and college, you experienced your first job choices. You learned more. You continued to grow and rely upon those life experiences you’ve stored – such rich experiences.

Life hasn’t always been fair. Tough decisions have come and gone. Relationships have been tough to manage sometimes. Financial successes haven’t always been in your favor. But you’ve hung in there, you’ve managed, and I’ve watched, and believe it or not, I’ve been there by your side all along.

Remember, you’re not a nobody. You are a somebody.

I know your name.

I even know what is going on right this moment in your life. I know your joys and your concerns. And I am here, now!

You have proven in the past that you can make good decisions. Make them again as you face this stuff of life. Remember, I’m with you.

I know you.
  I made you.
    I Love YOU.

You are somebody to me. Always remember that.

I’m calling to you. Can you hear me? Oh, how I love to speak your name. Just resting my eyes on you makes me happy.

I know you.
 I was there at the beginning of your life and I’ve never left you.
  I’ve never abandoned you.
   I’m here, now.
    I’ve always been by your side.

Turn and look for me.
          Listen for my voice.
                    Trust me.

I Love You!

God

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Give Me An Enlarged Heart



I hope I die of an enlarged heart.


“Wow! Hold on a minute” I can hear you saying. “Are you crazy?”

Not really. Just thinking about my life and whatever legacy I may leave behind to show that I passed this way. I would be hanging out with some pretty impressive individuals you know.

Mother Teresa had one. Mother Teresa was the epitome of compassion and caring to the world. She cared wherever she went. She had a heart of love and compassion that knew no bounds. She walked among the sick and afflicted, she served the poor, and she suffered with those physically racked with disease.

Mother Teresa had an enlarged heart.

Billy Graham has one. His passion and mission is and has been to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and around the world. He is one of the most consistent, focused and respected ministers this world has ever seen and he has remained a man of integrity and has stayed true to his purpose.

Billy Graham has an enlarged heart.

Patch Adams has an enlarged heart. His unorthodox medical practices have garnered him volumes of criticism and praise. He is passionate in recognizing the patient as a human being first, with a name, a personal identity and uniqueness.

Patch stated in an interview that “during my own hospitalization in a psychiatric ward I realized that many of the patients around me suffered from extreme loneliness. They didn't have people in their lives who loved them as I loved them.”

He made friends with the patients, and he soon discovered that the key to human happiness is having loving and caring people in your life. It was then that he decided that the best way to spread his newfound knowledge was by becoming a doctor.

Patch Adams has an enlarged heart.

One of the great feel-good movies of 2007 is a movie called Freedom Writers. Based on the life of Erin Gruwell. Freedom Writers tells the story of a school teacher in an inner city school system. She possessed compassion and a burning desire to make a difference in her students, and not let them become just another statistic on the charts of Wilson High School in Long Beach, California.

Erin’s heart appeared to be near the breaking point and she was close to defeat, but her enlarged heart beat another beat, and little by little she won the hearts of her students. They started paying attention; they learned, and they grew to love and respect this amazing woman named Erin Gruwell, who had an enlarged heart.

When you meet a person with an enlarged heart, rarely will you sense anything ‘wrong” with them. They don’t swell up, smell badly, look strange or take medication. Rather, people with an enlarged heart often live their lives without seeking a lot of public lime-light. They have an attitude of “What can I do for you today?”

What exactly is this enlarged heart thing all about? Here are just a few of the symptoms you’ll probably sense.

-Focus and a passion for something worthy for mankind
-A desire to make a positive difference
-A desire to leave people better for you having come along their pathway
-Demonstrating unconditional love
-An attitude and spirit of self-less giving

How is your heart? Is it a bit more swollen after thinking about this? You’ll change your world you know. You’ll most likely make a difference in the middle of mundane living.

I hope you become afflicted with an enlarged heart.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Squeeze the Towel Dry

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how good you look.
     No, that’s not right.

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how drunk you get.
     You’re kidding, right?

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you place the blame.
     Ouch. That’s terrible.

Grantland Rice, an American sportswriter who lived from 1880-1954, is perhaps most famous for the following lines:
     "For when the One Great Scorer comes,
     To write against your name,
     He marks - not that you won or lost –
     But how you played the Game."

Now that’s more like it.

Another way of saying this is,
“I went out and I squeezed the towel dry.”

That’s what Tiger Woods once said. After the Master’s Tournament in 1998, Tiger was disappointed that he did not repeat his win of the previous year, but he felt good about his top-ten finish: “I squeezed the towel dry this week. I’m very proud of the way I hung in there.”

On another occasion, after a British Open when he finished third, Tiger said, “Sometimes you get even more satisfaction out of creating a score when things aren’t completely perfect, when you’re not feeling so well about your swing.”
From Mindset, Pg 99, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

Here’s another legend addressing this concept.




Mia Hamm, as declared by the Washington Post as “perhaps the most important athlete of the last 15 years”, tells us, “After every game or practice, if you walk off the field knowing that you gave everything you had, you will always be a winner.”
From Mindset, Pg 99, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

Sometimes there is the simple satisfaction of knowing in your gut that you have given your absolute best and that is enough.

Have you won every time you’ve gone after something you wanted?
Have you scored perfectly in every situation of your life?

Know what? I surely haven’t.

Rather, answer these questions:
Have I done my best? Did I squeeze the towel dry?
  Did I think thoroughly?
    Did I try sufficiently?
      Did it read enough good and accurate stuff?
        Did I listen with open ears?
          Did I hear everything that was said?
            Did I give an open mind?
              Did I try every reasonable avenue?
                Did I do my best?

Did I act with integrity?

You can always rest well at night when you have the satisfaction of knowing you have given your best effort and that there is no stone left unturned.

I hope you’ll go out today and squeeze the towel dry.


In Closing

My friend Kevin Hall has written a terrific book called Aspire.  To use his words, "This book has gone viral."  I've read this book three times this year already, and I can see that I'll read this book from time to time.  It's that great.

Harvey MacKay, famous for authoring the book Swim with the Sharks has written a great piece on Kevin's book as well.  Here is the link for Harvey's column.
Enjoy!
Harvey MacKay - Aspire to Use the Hidden Power of Words

Thursday, October 21, 2010

One Year Anniversary





51 blogs
     Over 28,050 Words (550 average per blog)
          Hours of reading and writing
               Some late nights
                    Some early mornings
                         Some lost sleep to capture ideas
                           before they evaporate

So, I ask myself, “What have I accomplished?”

Some have had their hope reignited. Thanks for letting me know that.

Some have been encouraged. I know by the kind notes you’ve sent.

Some have received inspiration. You’ve told me so.










Above all, we’ve journeyed together through
this year and perhaps gotten to know one another
a bit better. That’s what I like best as I celebrate
this one-year mark of my weekly blogs.
You have inspired me to
continue doing what I love;
offering hope, encouragement and inspiration one word at a time.





Some of you have passed
these blogs along to others.
I am thankful and so grateful
for your kind act.
Please continue doing so.




        








I like to reminisce from time to time. As I look back over this year, I find some favorite pieces.  Some of you have joined in later in the year and perhaps you've missed some of these.  If you missed one, you’ll find the reference so that you can go back and read it later if you like.

Here are some of my favorites.

-“Define your mission. Define your mission and stick to it.”
     (Nov 6, 2009

-Aspire, one of the most significant books I’ve read this year.
     (January, 22, 2010)

-I Only Know Two Notes. (February 5, 2010

-“I’m losing my eyesight. I’ll never lose my vision.”
     (J.C. Penney quote, February 19, 2010)

-Hope (March 5, 2010 – one of the most responded-to blogs this year)

-Never Underestimate the Power of the Right Word Spoken at the Right Time. (March 19, 2010

-Failure Is Not Final (April 23, 2010, another favorite, judging by the comments in my in-box)

-Playing in the Right Key (May 14, 2010 – this one encouraged a good friend of mine and his business associate to maintain their integrity at work when they were asked to sacrifice truth for a lie.)

-The Bull’s Eye (July 8, 2010 – Another favorite based on e-mail responses)

-I Approve of Myself (July 22, 2010 – an important concept)

-Laugh (Sept 2, 2010 – Remember, God delights in us—His creation)

Where are we going this year? More of the same, and some fresh stuff to boot. I have perhaps 30 or 40 blogs written and waiting in inventory – waiting on the right moment to post them. You see, I kind of believe some of these are timely for someone on a specific date in time, maybe on a day when you most need that particular thought.

I have a plan and I’m working on it daily.

I have dreams and I visit them often.

Hope you’ll continue to journey with me.

Thanks, above all, for being a faithful reader. Because you read, I am inspired to write.

Be blessed.
Be at peace.
Hold on to your dreams.
 Love those close to you.
.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Courage


“Courage does not always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying
‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
(Mary Anne Radmacher)

In her book Mindset, author Carol S. Dweck tells this story about Michael Jordan, THE MICHAEL JORDAN, when he played for the University of North Carolina.

“Once, after his team lost the last game of the season, Jordan went and practiced his shots for hours. He was preparing for the next year. Even at the height of his success and fame – after he made himself into an athletic genius – his dogged practice remained legendary. Former Bulls assistant coach John Bach called him a ‘genius who constantly wants to upgrade his genius.’”

I think Michael was saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” After every defeat, after every disappointing experience, he always had a hope in his heart that “tomorrow will be a new beginning. Tomorrow, I’ll be better.”


“The proof is in the puddin’, as we used to say in Tennessee. Michael Jordan had the courage to face his fears and disappointments, get back out on the court and work hard to develop his now legendary talent. But there was a time when he was a nobody.


Nobody paid attention.

          Nobody gave a care

                    And nobody thought much about him
                              nor did they lay accolades at his feet.

Sometimes the courage to try and try again makes all the difference in the world.

Norman Cousins, former editor of the Saturday Review, was diagnosed with an incurable ailment and his destiny was a death sentence. He said, “No thanks. I’ll try again tomorrow”, and he literally cured himself by using laughter and his doctor's suggestions. Read this amazing story in his book called The Healing Heart. (To order, click on this link -    Up-Words LifeLine Book Store This book is located on the opening page, lower right corner)

In the early days of the United States space exploration, NASA faced setback after setback. But with wisdom they continued to say “We will try again tomorrow.” And now look at what has been accomplished. Landing on the moon, exploration of far distant solar systems and planets, and just this week I read that we may soon be able to purchase a ticket for inter-planetary space tourist travel.

I have some friends who are music composers. They work at their craft every day of their lives. Some days they write wonderful melodies and lyrics and other days, well, on other days they throw their work into the trash can, yet they quietly say I’ll try again tomorrow.”

I hope you are finding the courage to try and try again after whatever setbacks you may face. I posted a blog on July 8, 2010 called The Bull’s Eye. The premise is this … “The arrow that hits the bull’s eye is the result of one-hundred misses.”

As they sing in Beauty and the Beast, “Screw your courage to the sticking place.”

Remember what Scarlet O’Hara said?

 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

He Is Here!

9-1-1- is an amazing system. I had to use it recently. I was in a retail store when a woman customer went into a series of seizures.

John, her partner, yelled out “Call 9-1-1!. I responded immediately and within a very few minutes the medical team arrived and immediately began assisting this nice lady.

As they were assisting her, I stood back 40 feet to give them plenty of room to work, and as I often do in a crisis such as this, I began praying for this lady. My prayers were taking the theme of “God be present, be with her, be with her partner ... Almost instantly, it seems that God spoke to me and said, “I am already here. I’ve been here all along.”

What a comforting thought.

I have a good number of individuals now reading my weekly blog and many come from backgrounds different from mine. There are Christian readers, Buddhist readers, Muslim readers, and other varieties of faith-based ideologies. My thoughts are for all of us. May the God of your understanding be intimately involved in your life and may HE be real and present with you every minute of every day, just as I experienced.

I am reminded of a verse that has been an anchor in my own life. It is from the Old Testament, Joshua 1:9.




The phrase “wherever you go” jumps out at me.

As I reflect on my life, I am reminded of times when I had
more bills than bucks.

God Was There.

When I faced relationship strife,
When I faced job change decisions,
When a loved one faced a medical crisis,

He Was There!

When I was discouraged,
When I was fearful,       
When my parents died,  
When my grandkids were born,

He Was There!

When I graduated from college,
When I needed my first job
out of college,                   

He was there.

When you face retirement,


He is there.

When I have experienced joy
and happiness beyond belief,         

He has been there.

God has been there in every moment, in every situation I have faced.

     He has never gone to sleep.
          He has never taken a break
               And He has never abandoned me for someone more
                  interesting or more devoted or better looking.

And I certainly know He was there when Kathleen had her seizure.

“I will be with you

wherever you go.”

What an amazingly comforting thought.

May your God-concept expand enough to include this attribute of God. He Is BIG enough, you know!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Has Your Life Had a Beginning?




I am a sucker for great quotes.  Here's one I like.

"Fear not that your life
will come to an end
but that it will never
have a beginning."

John Henry Newman, British theologian


Coasting
     Drifting along
          Aimless living
               Meandering
                    Wandering
                         Come what may living


Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? That’s a great way to live on vacation, I suppose. But day to day?

I want to do some things with my life. I have stuff to write, speeches to give, thoughts to think, people to know, books to read, and my mind to fill with good stuff. God deliver me from drifting into aimlessness. It’s a maze in there, they say.

What do you want to do with your life? Do you have books to write? People to see? Places to go? Concepts to instill into fresh, fertile minds? Is there a mission, a passion that you are committed to that will better define your life?

What will it take to go after whatever it is you want? Is today, perhaps, a good day to make a new beginning?

I think that what John Henry Newman means by the above statement is this: what is your purpose for existing? What are you great at doing? What should you do above all other activities that could occupy your time? Where are your acres of diamonds and of what do they consist?

All of these thoughts are another way of saying “Has your life had a beginning?” Has anything captured your imagination so forcefully that you can’t help but respond to life and to this dominant thought?

Once we reckon with these questions then, I think, we have the beginnings of a beginning.




Once you know the answer to your driving motive for life, begin at the beginning. Begin now, today, whether you are ready or not, and take the first steps on this journey of living your life from the beginning. And when you come to the end, you will be able to look back and smile within and perhaps say, “I did some good along the way.” What a satisfying thought.

I hope you’ll be able to say …

“I made a difference.”
“I changed a life.”
“I lifted a load.”
“I encouraged some weary soul.”
“I showed someone a better way.”
“I helped lift someone from despair to determination.”
“I found a better way of doing ….”

“Has Your Life Had a Beginning?”

Friday, September 24, 2010

Can I or Can't I?

Your direction is determined by the set of your sails. Some ships head east, yet others head west, all from the same wind. The wind doesn’t decide to blow one ship in one direction and the other in the other. The captain of the ship determines in which direction he is going to go.


Same is true for you and for me as well.


Think of the sails as thoughts in your life. Are you harboring good thoughts? Are they steering you in the direction in which you want to go?

“If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.

“If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will –
It’s all in the state of mind.

“If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late,
The man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”
(Walter D. Wintle - late 19th early 20th Century)

Sometimes, conquering is a matter of breaking down a task into smaller, simpler parts. Master those one at a time, slowly, successfully, then weave them together with the bigger puzzle pieces, the bigger picture.  Increase your speed, assure your accuracy, and in no time you will have climbed on top of that massive goal.

Could you read War and Peace in the first grade?

As a ten year old, could you lift 200 lbs. over your head?

Probably not. But in time, bit by bit, you grew in strength and understanding and with consistency and purpose you soon developed the mental skills and physical prowess to read a large volume or lift a large weight.

There are some terms that are tossed about in goal setting and self-development books that speak to what we are talking about. Some of these terms are
-Definite Chief Aim
-Desire
-Goal
-Purpose
-Dreams

The winds may be blowing in my face, yet by properly setting my sails, I can head into the winds and make progress.

It’s all in the set of your sails. How is your sail set? How securely is your mind fixed on your objective, dream, goal?


The Bible offers this thought.
“As a man thinks, so is he.”


Dozens of thought leaders, philosophers and gurus have said the same thing in other ways.
“You become what you think about.”
“If you think you can, you can.”
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”

I don’t know where you want to go, but I do know that if you set your course, determine where you want to be, give yourself a timeline, and do daily actions to move yourself along toward your goals, you will sooner or later reach your destination.


Determination

      Desire

Action


Pretty simple, right?

On paper, yes. Carrying through? That is up to you.

All I know is this …


Start where you are
to get to where
you want to go!



And begin today, whether you are ready or not.

Let’s go for a sail!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Peach Tree

Have you ever seen a dead peach tree? I have … almost. When I lived in Albuquerque we had a peach tree in our back yard that looked as if it was dead, or at least dying. Several people told me it had wood borers and that I should chop it down.

For two years I allowed that decaying tree to remain in my yard. In the spring of the third year I decided I would drown that peach tree with water and see what happened.

Every night, faithfully, yet with little faith that I was doing anything of significance, I stood at the base of that tree, garden hose in hand and poured what seemed to me enormous amounts of water to that tree.

Yes, Albuquerque can be hot and dry. Yes, it is tough to keep even the grass green in that wonderfully beautiful desert land. Was I fighting a losing battle? I didn’t know for sure, but I did my job without fail.

Wonder of wonders. Later that summer I enjoyed the most delicious crop of peaches you would ever want to taste. They were juicy, large and perfect. No sign of worms, bores, or anything remotely resembling a pesky varmint.

The tree just needed water.

It Just Needed Water

The stuff of life.

I’ve had friendships that just needed a bit of watering in order for them to thrive.

I’ve met people who needed a touch of something that I could give them – water in the form of words of hope and encouragement, to enable them to grow, stand up tall again, and walk into a better, more encouraging, hope-filled future.

My friends Russ and Janelle Hansen offer nourishment for the soul with stunning video imagery set to inspirational music. Check out their website at http://www.gloryscapes.com/  For a real treat take a look at the Moonlight Sonata/Were You There clip.

Have you had dry seasons in your life? Have you sometimes shown signs of wood borers and dead, scaly bark?

I’ve had a season or two like that. I’ve had times when I’ve been in great need of nourishment and nutrients to get me back to a healthy state. I’ve had to read more, study more, spend the extra effort to gain whatever advantage I needed to make some improvements in my own life.

And I’ve had some key friends who have come along at just the right time and say the words that spoke health and healing, hope and encouragement to my soul.

Sometimes, all it takes is a little nurturing, a little refreshment, a touch of the right ingredients; the right words that can make all the difference in the world.

I want to be that kind of person. I want to go around adding to people’s lives. I want to pour on huge doses of nurture and life-sustenance stuff that grows you up, inflates your sails and helps you soar.

Will you join me in this cause?

Can you add to someone today?

Let’s go water some peach trees.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Laugh

I love to laugh! Some wise person has said “laughter is like jogging on the inside.”

Laughter is contagious. When I hear someone giving a genuine full-bodied laugh it often makes me want to laugh as well.

When my step-daughter, Ashley, was little, she had the most infectious giggle.  She was full of life and laughter and she was going to enjoy every minute life had to offer. Her giggles made me giggle.


Ava & Grey
My granddaughter Ava is the same way. When she is with her cousins you can hear her above all of the others, laughing and giggling and having the time of her life. She lets it all out. I love that about her.




When my siblings are able to get together, we always end up telling family stories, laughing and reminiscing and enjoying our family history.

I’ve seen a rather large painting of the Christ figure throwing his head back and laughing a good old belly laugh. Can you imagine that happening?


I can.

God has more of a sense of humor than we might allow him, don’t you think?

Carolyn and I have enjoyed some amazing sunsets this spring and summer particularly. During and after every one of them we marvel at the beauty and majesty of this world of ours and savor the moments we can share together watching the sun go down.

Seems at times I can hear God chuckling to himself as he watches us enjoy his handiwork.



I think God goes around laughing at my newest grandson Eliot. That boy is the picture of life and joy, smiles and laughter. Just look at the expression on his face? You gotta love that about him. He doesn’t have a care in the world, except scooting that wheeled cart across the floor, learning to walk, gaining new feet and wings and loving life at top speed.






I think God laughed the other day as I was holding Carolyn’s hand. We were going nowhere in particular, just enjoying our day together, holding hands, being in each other’s presence and enjoying the moment. I’m pretty sure I heard a guffaw come from somewhere up there.

Have you heard God laugh with you?  Have you ever felt His delight just because you exist?  He never mocks us – oh no. He simply delights in us. He delights in what delights us.

I seem to collect friends who also enjoy a good chuckle or a snort. When my long-time friend Brenda and I get together on rare occasions we end up laughing at the silliest things. We’re just being ourselves, expanding our friendship one more notch, and loving whatever our curious minds find to laugh about.

I have two close college friends and if you mention the words “milk donuts” you will throw the three of us into spasms of giggles and hooting and hollering.

So, laugh more. Giggle – out loud. Snicker occasionally. Hoot if you want to. Snort and cackle and especially chortle.

It’s good for you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Are You Going to Give Up or Get Up?

What an awakening question. Everyone has ‘things’ that come along and knock us off our rocker. The real question is “Are you going to give up or get up?”

In December of 1980 I awakened to discover that a third of my back yard was missing. It had washed down into the ravine behind my home here in Seattle. I had no clue at that moment as to what to do. I wondered if my home was safe from sliding off into the same ravine, however, the bigger question was, “what do I do next and how much will it cost?” Of course I wanted to bury my head in the pillows and not surface for a few months, but I had to face reality. I chose to “get up” and do what I could to remedy my situation.

Here are some solutions for us to use when the wind gets knocked out of our sails.
1. Get a right perspective. What actually happened? What can you do about it? What will it cost to correct the situation? What is beyond your control?
2. Seek out the right people. Who can help you? Who will give you good advice? Who can point you in the right direction? Who do you trust?
3. Plot out a reasonable time line. “Reasonable” is the key word here. How long do you realistically think it will take to correct your dilemma?
4. What can I possibly learn from this situation? There are lessons in everything in life. We need to assess and process to help us gain a new perspective.
5. Remember, this too shall pass.

In the September 2010 issue of Success Magazine, John Maxwell said “It may not be your fault for being down, but it is your fault for not getting up.”

So, it’s time to respond.

Are You Going to Give Up or Get Up?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Living Without Regrets

If you could live your life over, what would you do differently?
Most elderly people, when asked this question, responded this way.
“If I could live my life over, I would have taken more chances.”

“I WOULD HAVE TAKEN MORE CHANCES!”

I love that!

Do you know what they are really saying? My music is still in me and I wish I would have gotten it all out.

One of the great tragedies of life is to reach the end of our days with our unfulfilled dreams still burning inside us.

There is a man that you and I know about who faced a few challenges in his day. Listen to this:
-He had ten or more failures before becoming one of our more memorable men in history.
-He ran for numerous political offices, and lost.
-His fiancé died.
-He started two businesses and they both failed.

But in 1860, the man who signed his name A. Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States. I believe Abraham Lincoln was saying to us today, “I lived my life without regrets."

When I lived in Waco, Texas I had the good fortune to meet a multi-millionaire by the name of Paul J. Meyer. Some of you may have known of Paul and perhaps have listened to his motivational recordings.

Paul said that he started over 130 companies in his lifetime, and 65% of those failed.

65% Failure Rate

Yet he kept going. Paul lived his life without regret.

Lance Armstrong was diagnoised with testicular cancer in October 1996. In February 1997 he was pronounced healthy from this cancer.

Lance Armstrong didn’t give up. He was determined to live a life without regrets. He still saw himself riding his bicycle and winning races. He has won seven Tour De France bicycle race. And he is still riding. He is getting his music out.

May I sing you a song?
“Do you remember those famous men
Who had to fall to rise again
They pick themselves up,
Dust themselves off
And start all over again.”

What deeply buried dreams, passions, longings, reside in your heart?

Dream you dreams; give them feet and wings!

Live your life without regrets.

What is your passion? What makes your heart beat faster?

I’m living my passion. I’m writing and speaking, offering hope, encouragement and inspiration one word at a time. I receive some amazing comments from my readers and that really inflates my sails. After each kind note I receive I am motivated to write more words that build people up.

What dreams beat in your heart? What do you want to do more than anything else in the world?

Don’t die with your music still in you.

There once was a master violin virtuoso who had to sell his expertly crafted violin. After selling it to the pawnshop he vowed to one day buy back that very violin.

Time passed. He saved his money until one day he went to the pawn shop to purchase back his violin, only to find that it has been sold to a collector to be placed in a shadowbox and hung on a wall.

The virtuoso paid a visit to the collector and pleaded with him to sell him back his violin. The collector refused. In desperation, the virtuoso asked if he could at least play his violin one last time before it became a part of this man’s collection, never to produce another note.

The collector agreed. The virtuoso tuned the strings and played a lovely melody. As the sounds of this instrument filled the room, the collector’s heart was softened and he agreed to sell the violin to the master musician. How could he deprive the world of the lovely sounds being produced from this finely crafted instrument? He could not let this violin sit in silence.

Don’t you sit in silence! Don’t let the world pass you by.

Live your life without regrets.

                   Write your books.
                                              Sing your songs.
                                                                       Build your dreams.

Get your music out.

Go and live your life without regrets.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Act In Spite of Fear

There are all kinds of fears that plague a person. If we listened to our fears, some days we would probably never get out of bed.

There’s the fear of poor health
The fear of having an accident
The fear of the sky falling
The fear of an economic collapse

Experts say the fear of public speaking is the number one fear of all.

And there is the fear of fear itself, I suppose.

In every instance of fear that we face, we just need to do it! We need to act in spite of fear.

Denis Waitley, highly successful speaker and writer says, “FEAR stands for ...
False
Evidence
Appearing
Real.

That’s what it all boils down to.

So, what is it that we fear exactly?

I remember anticipating going to college while in high school. I looked at my brother’s college year books from past years and dreamed of the day I would set foot on campus.

When the day finally arrived I made the fifty mile trip, un-packed my stuff, then lay down on the bed in my dorm room. I felt this awful sense of fear and aloneness. I was afraid of getting out and enjoying and exploring my new territory.

Will people like me and accept me?
Will I make a fool of myself?

I wanted to be Mr. Cool, Mr. Big Man on Campus.
But what if I failed?

Finally I had to face my fears, pull myself up off that bed and plant one foot in front of the other and begin the journey for which I had longed. I had to get out there and meet people and begin making friends. All it took was that first step. But I had to face my fears and just go do it. I’m so thankful I did just that.

For most of my adult life I’ve had this desire to write, but fear kept me from attempting it, and if I did attempt some things, fear kept me from showing them to anyone.

Before I had my first magazine article published in 1979, I almost abandoned it because of fear. I’m so glad I persisted.  I received a check for $22 for that first article. Wow! I was rich … for a day.

I’ve sung solos when I’ve been afraid.
I’ve given speeches when I faced fear.
I’ve been on job interviews when I’ve faced fear.
I’ve done lots of stuff in the face of fear. And I made it through all of them. I’m still standing.
I’ve grown and learned from every situation in which I’ve faced my fears.

And I am alive!

Some wise person once said, “Face your fears and the death of fear is certain.”

What fears do you face?
What is the worst that could happen if you faced your fear and did it anyway?
What is the best that could happen?

Those are really the only two questions that matter when it comes to facing our fears, aren’t they?

Let me encourage you ...

Act In Spite Of Your Fears!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reality

I once had it said to me, “You’re an accident waiting to happen.” Ouch. That hurt. I could have chosen to dwell on that comment and let it color the rest of my life, but at some point I made the conscious choice to move beyond those words and realize the reality that I was and am better than that comment and I wasn’t going to give it a foothold in my life any longer.

Les Brown, internationally recognized motivational speaker, once said, “Someone’s opinion of you does not have to be your reality.”

Thank God this is true.

But how often do we ruminate on past words that someone has offered in judgment on our lives and we have accepted those words as truth?

We don’t have to look very far to find people who will rain on our parade. Parents, siblings, in-laws, co-workers, and many others sometimes seem willing and ready to take aim at our lives, our conduct, and our situations and offer judgments, pronouncements and opinions of what is wrong and what to do to fix our situation.

But what is the truth?

What is reality?

Maybe you have failed.
The reality is that you are not a failure.

Maybe you have made a mistake.
The reality is that your whole life is not a mistake.

Maybe you have had one or two bad relationships.
The reality is that you are still capable of reinventing your relationships, improving them and learning from your past mistakes.

Maybe you have been miscast into a job that didn’t show your best skill set.
The reality is that there is a job, a work that is perfectly suited for you. Go find it.

From this day forward…
-I will live an examined life.
-I will take counsel with those who have my best interests at heart.
-I will evaluate and improve my life every day.
-I will learn from every situation.
-I will read books that will enlarge me.
-I will learn the difference between reality and the opinion of others.

From this day forward, I will live the best “me” that I can. I will accept my good points, improve my weak points, and live my own reality.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Will You Use Your Life?

Life is a gift. We are here for a short span of time, we interact, we construct, we create, we consume. We occupy space and use resources, but what is it all about?

I so admire people who live their lives on purpose. I can think of some major influencers in my own life who have left huge footprints and I am better for having known them.

I think of my own father, who chose – on purpose - the town in which we grew up. He felt Lewisburg, Tennessee would be a good place to raise his growing family. He started a Nazarene church that is still thriving today, he was Mayor of the town for two terms and he was generally known as Preacher Biggs. His legacy was huge!

Just one month ago I received a nice Face Book post from a lady who was reflecting on my father’s legacy. She shared some of the positive impact his influence had had on her and on others in her family. Remember, my father died eighteen years ago. His influence is felt even today.

I’ve had mentors and life influencers who have taught me valuable skills, insights, and left huge impressions all over my life. Have you?

I hope you pause and reflect and give thanks for some of these people, and if they are still around, maybe you should send them a note of appreciation for their influence on your life.

But what I really want us to think about is what are we doing to leave our own legacy? How are you using your life? Sobering question.

I have a friend in Nashville and he is still investing into the lives of young ministerial students at the university campus from which I graduated. Keep going Wilbur.

My friend Harold has written over 25 books and they all are designed to improve someone’s handling of life and the stuff that comes with it. He is using his life as a writer and speaker.

My friend Kevin is writing and speaking to inspire and encourage people through the power of words. I admire you Kevin.

My friend Steve in Indiana is leading worship for a church and is active in bringing people into a closer relationship with God. I’m proud of you Steve.

My wife decided to get a university degree after raising her kids, and she sees ways of helping mankind with a sociology degree in hand. Honey, you will make a difference.

If you’ve been reading these blogs for very long you know my aim in life is to offer hope, encouragement and inspiration one word at a time. That is one way in which I am using my life.

I’ve had a few different career tracks, and I’ve lived a bunch of places. I do a lot of reflecting and mulling over of my life. Have I done enough? Have I been true to myself and my God?  Have I developed my skills to my best ability, all with the thought of bettering mankind?

I hope so.

You’re going to live your life anyway. You are going to occupy space and resources.

Are you going to be a taker or a giver?

Will you covenant to use your life to the best advantage you can?

I believe you will!

I got the inspiration for this blog from an audio interview with Ken Dychtwald in the August 2010 issue of Success Magazine. He was asked one day, “Ken, how will you use your life?”

So, now that I’ve got you thinking about this, here are other questions for us to consider.
-What lasting legacy will I leave behind?
-What seeds of greatness or encouragement will I plant inside of someone?
-What impact will I have on this earth?
-What good marks will I leave behind indicating that I’ve walked this earth?

How will you live your life?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Approve of Myself

Growing up is hard work. I have a life-long friend named Michael Ross. When his first child, Brent, was born I was living in Albuquerque and Michael and Diana were serving on the same church staff that I served on.

I remember that Michael would walk around singing to Brent “It’s Tough Being a Boy Growing Up.” Of course this was a made-up song, but it gave us some great laughs, especially as Brent would lie there crying his little heart out while Michael or Diana tried to sooth and console him.

Life is tough. It is sometimes unfair, difficult and mundane.

Some wise counselor has observed that the hardest work we will ever do is on ourselves. When we’re born, we’re like an empty disc just awaiting input to be written all over our lives. As we grow and develop we encounter all kinds of data – some helpful and truthful, yet other data that is corrupt, or it has “a virus”. Oh, “they” meant well, but “they” fed us wrong information and instilled wrong stuff into our minds.

The more I read and study, the more I have come to realize that many people grow up feeling less than worthy. They feel no sense of acceptance or approval, and have a great lack of the right kind of love and connections in their lives. Perhaps they play their memory CDs too many times and hear voices from their past that were so ingrained in them that they can’t get past the first cut on the album in their mind.

Sometimes these songs go like this:
“You’re lousy.”
“You are a loser.”
“I don’t like you.”
“I hate you.”
“Leave that alone. You don’t know what you’re doing.”
“You’re fat!”
“You’re ugly.”

Well, you get the picture.

Sometimes we are loved in life because of something we do very well. We are accepted because we can perform some task or talent exceptionally well.

Great News! Did you know you are loved just because you are you? You are created in the image of a God who loves you more than you could possibly know. He has given you a specific DNA, a unique finger print, and a skill set that is perfect for you to give you a whole and complete life.

You don’t have to prove anything to anyone to be accepted and loved. You exist! That is all that is required.

Now, here is a critical key to helping you understand this and accept your uniqueness.

Approve of yourself!

That’s it. Say to yourself “I approve of myself!”

You may say:                         Instead Say:
“But I’ve done …”                   “I approve of myself.”
“Look at my size.”                  “I approve of myself.”
“I’m not coordinated.”            “I approve of myself.”
“I’m too …”                            “I approve of myself.”
“I’m not …”                            “I approve of myself.”
“But my Dad says …”               “I approve of myself.”
“My teacher once told me…”    “I approve of myself.”

You see, it’s not what “they” say. It’s what you now say to yourself.

Let me repeat that. It’s what you now say to yourself!

In the October 2009 issue of Success Magazine I read an article about Louise Hay, best-selling author and writer. One simple phrase jumped out and grabbed me as I read her article.

Louise shared her story and then told about the day when she discovered the phrase “I approve of myself.”

When I read this phrase I put down my magazine and said audibly “Wow! I needed that.” I felt as if I had found a piece that fit perfectly into my life. Louise says that she began repeating this phrase to herself numerous times each day.

I too, began repeating this phrase, and I too began to approve of and accept myself. I felt that I had discovered something significant that was missing in my own life and it was going to make a difference in my thoughts and attitudes and in how I viewed myself.

Understand that this phrase and mindset has nothing to do with a feeling of superiority or a “better-than-you” attitude, nor have I abandoned any of my fundamental religious concepts. This phrase has had a profound impact on how I view my skill set and my sense of self-value. I’ve found a healthy way of valuing myself!

I approve of myself.

Say it with me!

“I Approve of Myself! “

“I APPROVE OF MYSELF!”

Always remember, the only person from whom you really need approval is yourself.

As Brian Tracy says, “I like myself.”

As Louise and I say, “I Approve of Myself!