Monthly Archives: January 2010

Appreciating Little Things Challenge

    As Valentine’s Day approaches, and marketing departments everywhere push their chocolates, teddy bears and cards, people are encouraged to think about their loved ones. Like most holidays, I think this one should be practiced daily.

     Take a few moments to think about the little things that people do for you everyday that show they love and care about you. It is so easy to take these things for granted and forget to appreciate them. Even regular tasks can be filled with love and often are. Someone making dinner might do it everyday because it is part of their responsibility, but there are small touches of love added. Does that person choose foods that is a favorite of one of the kids, maybe a surprise dish, a new dish to provide adventure perhaps. Yes, even the most mundane of tasks  involve love. Does someone check the oil in your car so you don’t have to? Do they change the TV channel so that you can watch your favorite show? Do you recognize these things as appreciation for you, love for you, something that says “I am glad you are part of my world.” Look for these things throughout the day and you will realize how much love truly surrounds you.

    Now the challenge: leave a comment here (if there is no comment box, click on the comment hyperlink near the top of this article) and describe what someone has done for you that shows that you are loved. You can comment on grand things as well but I ask that you concentrate on the littlest of things that someone has done for you to show you that you are loved. Read the comments of others, again, if they aren’t showing, click on the comment hyperlink or the article heading. Please accept this challenge.

   At this time, don’t write about what you have done to show someone that you care, as I hope you do many of those things. This is to help you and all of us to realize that love abounds. By sharing your examples, others will realize that love surrounds them too.  Thank you in advance for sharing.

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God’s Junk Yard

   Well, it finally happened. After a couple of close calls and some mild strokes, Frank finally had the big one. Yep, he passed away quietly in the hospital. Frank had been turning junk into treasure and cash for decades, a task now left to his sons.

   Frank arrived in heaven in his new body. He was amazed at the beauty that surrounded him. He stretched his neck when he was surprised by a voice from behind. “Welcome, Frank, we’ve been waiting for you,” an angel said. Funny, she didn’t look like any angel Frank ever saw in paintings, but somehow he recognized her as an angel. “Thanks, Claire, I’m glad to be here.”

   He thought to himself, “Now how did I know her name? I guess it’s a heaven thing.”

   Claire asked him what he thought about heaven so far. Frank said that it was great, full of beauty, but he already missed his junkyard. “God has a junkyard too,” said Claire.

   “What does God need with a junkyard? I bet there is some quality junk in there.” Frank responded. “Oh, you’d be surprised what gets collected there,” Claire answered.

   She led him to the Hall of Forgiveness, through the atrium and just past the reception area. She parted the curtains and revealed a large room filled with various objects. Frank was confused by what he saw. To his right, there were bits of rope with knots in the middle, but frayed on both ends. ‘What are these?” he asked, pointing to the ropes.

   She thought for a moment, “Those are the ropes of fear and apprehension that bind people and keep them from growing. When they finally release their fears and trust in God, then He cuts the ropes and they’re delivered here.”

   “What are those?” Frank asked pointing to the next pile of statuettes heaped in a pile.

   “Oh, those are idols. People can have many idols, like money, fame, prestige, work, drugs, and addictions. When people realize that their focus is on something that is not eternal and place their focus on God, then God takes the idol from them and delivers them here.”

   “What else comes here?” Frank asked.

   “Oh, we get dream bottles, those are the bottles that hold the dreams until people are ready to open them and follow the destiny that God has for them. We get heart shells too. Heart shells occur when hatred, envy and jealousy harden the heart. It creates a shell around the heart that needs to be broken by love, forgiveness and acceptance. And we also get the dust of apathy, plenty of that.”

   “Wow, what happens to all this stuff?”

   “It gets turned into B&L?”

   “B&L, uh, what’s that?”

   “Blessin’s and Lessons. It all gets recycled and turned into B&L for the good of people. That’s really cool, isn’t it.”

   “Blessin’s and Lessons! I really like that. Hey, what about those bouquets of flowers over there? Those can’t be junk.”

   “Those are the blessings that God gives to people, but for some reason, they won’t accept them. So they go back into the garden until a later time.” Claire explained.

   “Does God ever junk people?” Frank asked, hesitantly.

   “Never! God doesn’t make junk. People deal with a lot of junk, but God never considers THEM junk! He gives to all people, regardless of who they are. He gives to them when they offer their junk and lives to Him. He takes their junk and gives them blessings. It is just the way it works. God doesn’t want anyone to forego His love and blessings. That is why His junk yard is in the Hall of Forgiveness.”

   “This is where I want to be. I want to help turn this junk into blessin’s and lessons.” Frank proclaimed proudly.

   “We know, Frank, that is why I brought you here. You ARE the junkman. Proud to have you on board. Take the junk and turn it into treasure. Hardships lead to wisdom, character and strength. I’m sure you’ll do just fine here.” Claire smiled and walked away.

   Frank felt his new body fill with joy. Of course God needs a junk yard. How else could he lift the troubles from people? Where else would all the worries and fears go?

   Give your troubles, your fears, your worries to God. He will gladly take them from you if you trust him. Learn from your hardships. Know that God loves you. Know that He has filled your life with blessings. You are loved.

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A Time Beyond

   There is a time beyond the present called the future. Our hopes and dreams abide there as well as our fears. The time that has passed is just that, the past. We have no power of what has already occurred. We can remember it, we can revisit it, we can learn from it, but we can’t change it, no matter how hard we try. We can rejoice in the past. We can apologize for it. So what are we left with? Look down at your feet. This is where you are, right here, right now. This is the time that you can affect. This is your chance to make a difference. Now is the time for you to shape your future. Your reactions, your choices, and the decisions that you make right now will affect your future by creating your path to it.

   What about planning for the future? It is a great idea to plan. Look ahead and see where you want to be. Create and pursue the path to your goals and dreams. It is very good to prepare for the future. Consider both good and bad things that might happen, could happen, might not happen, probably won’t happen. The future is unknowable. You have no idea, as much as you would like to think you do, as to what will happen tomorrow. That is why we buy insurance, to guard us against and prepare us for future events. Just remember though, when you are looking at all the things that can go wrong, don’t forget to plan for all the wonderful things that can go so right.

   Don’t be so absorbed in what might go wrong that it paralyzes you and prevents you from moving forward. Be prudent but also be willing to take educated risks that could lead to much joy. How many of us have regrets that we did not do certain things because of fears, usually baseless and unwarranted fears? Dwelling on the past and worrying about the future deprives you of the very time you have to make a difference. That time is now!

   Nothing tomorrow is certain. I could very easily lose my job tomorrow, even lose my life. I certainly plan to be alive tomorrow, but I don’t honestly know that for sure. Odds are I will be alive tomorrow. But realizing that the future is unknowable is even more reason to cherish the present. To share love with all those around you. You have no idea what seeds you plant today will grow into tomorrow. Think that every smile, every good deed, every kind word will change somebody’s life for the better. You just never know.

   Live in the present. Be in the place you are now. Cherish the time you have now because once it has passed, you won’t have a chance to use that time again. In the Book of James in the Bible, he says in chapter 4, verse 14: How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. (NLT) So right now you have a chance to impact your life as well as the life of others. Spend time with a loved one. Let them know they are loved and appreciated. Not because they might be gone tomorrow, but because you love them today.

   If you have faith that God is your Father, and your Friend, then future takes on even a greater meaning. The future isn’t just a bunch of tomorrows here on earth, but eventually an eternity of eternities. Now that is an awesome thought. Have you thought about that?

   I hope that this new year will bring you incredible opportunities. We still struggle with the economic hardships which surround us, but with much faith and love, even those can be overcome. Take a look at what you have and appreciate what is really important. Do it today, not tomorrow. Be present, be here, experience the now with an eye to a brighter future and with lessons learned from the past. I know you can do it because you are someone special who is loved, accepted, and appreciated.

   Take care, stay well, and be safe.

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A Safe Relationship

   While listening to the radio during my commute to work, I heard an interesting conversation about why some people become uncomfortable when things are going well for us when we move to change positively. Having witnessed this before, I was curious as to the direction of the banter.

   One reason presented was that the other person in the relationship may be insecure and feels better around you because of one-upmanship.  They may be thinner or wealthier or happier or feel they have it together more. The relationship is threatened when you move to change the dynamics that exist. They may be supportive of your efforts at first and as you change they realize they are losing their place where they had felt comfortable. They didn’t feel safe because of their insecurity. A safe relationship is one where you can feel comfortable with a person not because of insecurities but in spite of them.

    Everyone should have at least one “safe” relationship because everyone deserves to feel loved. Not “safe” as in an unabusive relationship, which a safe relationship would be, but one where you are accepted for who you are and who you are becoming, especially if you are moving in a positive direction. If you were moving in a negative direction, this same safe relationship would confront you in a loving and supportive manner with concern about what is best for you. Safe means loving in an unconditional way.

    Agape love is often attributed to divine love, and it is a divine love, but it is also a kind of love that we can have for each other. Agape love can be demonstrated by loving parents every day. Parents love their children, even when they misbehave. Parents celebrate with them when their children are doing well. They also guide and support them when their children are challenged. This kind of agape love is not just reserved for God or parents. This kind of love is available to all of us, regardless of the type of relationship we have.

    I hope that you have at least one safe and loving relationship, whether it be with a friend, child, parent, lover, teacher, student or any other close relationship. I hope that there is someone in your life that you feel safe with, where you feel loved, accepted and protected. I hope there is someone there who has your very best interest at heart. I also hope that you are this person to someone else.

    I also hope that you have this kind of relationship with yourself. Do you accept yourself? Do you realize that you are loved and are lovable? Do you work towards your own good? Do you set goals and strive to reach your full potential? Can you be honest with yourself, be merciful to yourself and forgive yourself? God gave us all gifts and talents. Have you found yours? Are you going to open the gift God gave you and share it with the world or leave the blessing unopened? Remember, you always have this safe and loving relationship with your Creator. God always loves you, you just have to accept His love, His grace, His forgiveness.

    Don’t hide your light under a bushel but bring it forth so that it can shine for all to see. I want to celebrate your gifts and blessings. I want to see the treasure that is you because God doesn’t make junk. You are precious, a treasure, a gift to the world and the gifts given to you are to be shared with the world.

    May God bless you throughout the year. Accept the wonderful blessings that abound. Be the treasure you were meant to be. Take care, stay well and be safe.

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