Tag Archives: blessings

New Paint

We have decided to place our home on the market, for the third time. In preparation, I am scraping down the old paint on the porch so that I can add a layer of adhesive primer and then some fresh paint. My son and I did something similar a couple of years ago to the same porch but without the adhesive primer. It looked great for a while, but after some time and weathering, the wood did not truly accept the paint and it began to lift off.

This reminded me of the process that we go through to become better people. Sometimes, we brush off the old habits, attitudes and thought processes so that we can take on new ones. A lot of the times, we find that without a proper foundation, the new habits, attitudes and thought processes just don’t stick like we thought they would. We find ourselves falling back into our old patterns. It certainly is easy enough to do.

I think that is why we need a life changing event, an ‘aha’ moment, a strong source of motivation to act as the adhesive primer to create the proper foundation for our newness. We need something that makes the new habits stick. My sister had complimented me on my will-power to avoid gluten containing foods, but I attributed that not to will-power, but a motivation to avoid the arthritis and pain that the inflammation gives me as a result from eating gluten and high sugar containing foods. That experience of overall pain and lack of mobility helps me want to avoid the same in the future.

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” – Marianne Williamson, American spiritual teacher, author and lecturer.

To have a different attitude or develop a different habit, we need to change the way we think. We must make a conscience effort to change and be better. It is like putting on a new coat of paint. To make sure the paint sticks, we need a good foundation, which is why this time, I am using an adhesive primer on the porch. I don’t want the porch to look good temporarily, but for it to look good for the new owners for many years. I don’t want to change myself for the better just to fall back to where I was. I want to change myself for the better so that I can create a firm foundation to continue getting better. I know that I will never be perfect, but that doesn’t matter, as long as I try daily to be better than I was the day before.

I hope to have the porch painted by the end of the week. It is a good exercise in reminding me that, like the porch getting new paint, that I must continually strive to improve myself as well. Take this time to be thankful for all that you have, all that you are and ask for guidance to be all that you are meant to be. Take care and be well.

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Your World Community

I was thinking about the vast array of connections that we have in our everyday objects. We don’t normally consider the tens, hundreds or even thousands of people, often in diverse places, that are involved in procuring, designing, producing, transporting and retailing the products and services in your life. I am amazed at the ingenuity and design that go into the products that we use every day. For instance, the car you may drive has so many different materials and technologies. It is quite possible that several hundreds of people were involved in producing it. As much as those people put their touch into your car, you affected them with your purchase. No matter what your job is, your efforts and your consumption adds to the community. So even if you are a loner, hiding from the world, the efforts of the world are still around you.

Think about how people you will probably never meet have made your life better. This isn’t necessarily the things you own, but the roads you use, the sidewalks, the buildings, everything you see and do have been made possible by community. Think about the community that supported you – not just your parents, but other relatives, friends, teachers, bosses, co-workers, etc. All of these people and many more have touched your life. More importantly, in ways you may never realize, you have touched many lives as well, not only personally, but through you work and consumption. You need the community and the community needs you.

Paying Attention to your Surroundings

May we marvel at the beauty and splendor around us.

May we marvel at the beauty and splendor around us.

My wife is writing a beautiful book about the 10 moons of Native American legend. I found it interesting when I received a calendar book from a charity for the Lakota (Sioux) and read that the months were named after the change that occurred month to month. For instance, February is called Moon of the Popping Trees because the frost, ice and snow caused the tree limbs to pop. I have heard the same thing here in upstate NY when we have our occasional ice storms and you can hear the limbs break as the shatter from the freezing and the weight of ice and snow. June is called Moon of Good Berries. The Lakota people were hunters and gatherers. The months were sometimes related to the food and conditions that were prevalent that month. They observed the changes of the season and what those seasons offered them.

I have always respected Native American culture. They were connected to nature and its marvelous mysteries and splendor. They studied the movements and changes of the seasons and the effects on their food supply. They paid attention to their surroundings, not only because they needed to do that to survive, but also to understand the wisdom of nature.

I suppose I admire those who are aware, because, honestly, I am not always aware of my surroundings. I get caught up in my thoughts. I have been accused at work of “zoning out” when I am trying to problem solve because I am busy visualizing how the problem was created so that I can pinpoint a solution.

I do think it is important to stop and look around. I try to be aware of the little issues that may be getting in the way of keeping people happy. Sometimes the smallest of changes can have a big effect. Someone may be looking at a larger goal that seems almost impossible but may miss the small step that might get them towards the goal. I once was listening to a radio host who had always dreamed of working as a radio host, but could not seem to land the opportunity. Even though it was not his goal, he took a job as a library person at a radio station, pulling tapes and keeping track of their audio inventory. At least he was in radio, if not on the air. One day, the regular radio host could not make the show for one reason or another. The owner of the station asked the librarian to step in. It was an emergency and the station owner needed a voice on the air. This librarian, who had always wanted to be a radio host, finally had a chance to be on the air. He did so well, that he scored his own show.

Even though he was not meeting his dream at first, he paid attention to what he wanted, paid attention to the tasks behind the scenes which gave him a better understanding of how the radio host was supported. He finally reached his goal of becoming a radio host.

Things are changing where I work. Our procedures are changing. We are still working out how our work is going to be done. By paying attention to our workflow and what needs to be done, we will find efficient ways to get them done.

Just as we are often forced to look around to fix problems. But we should remember to look around and see all the things that are good. We can count our blessings and be glad to have what we do. It is so hard to find happiness if we don’t appreciate what we already have. We should pay attention to the good things that can lead to better things as well as the not-so-good things that have to be changed.

It is wise to stop and smell the roses, but I think it is just as wise to stop and look at the garden. It is a chance to think globally as well as locally. You can change your world and you get to decide how big that world is. I hope that you look around and find that your blessings are many.

Ceasless Wonderment

I have embarked on an online study program for nutrition and I signed up for a second class to learn about plant-based nutrition. I have always had an incredible thirst for learning. The more I learn, the more I realize that there is so much more to learn. If God gives me 5,000 years to live on this earth, I still don’t think I would run out of things to learn about. In that time, there would be more discoveries, more understanding, rethinking things that were once thought to be understood as well as the social, civil and moral changes that would take place.

The universe is a ceaseless source of wonderment. Think back, if you will, to a time when you were just a child. Things were magic then. You could imagine anything at all. You could see castles, dragons, jungles and pirates on the sea. The magic was all around you and most importantly, the magic was in you. It was that wonderment that made you appreciate the most mundane thing. A cardboard box could magically become a boat, a car, a lion’s cage or a treasure chest.

We think that when we set aside those types of thoughts that we become more mature, a grown up. But really, you can bring that magic with you even today. It just takes being mindful of what is around you, paying attention to the moment, savoring the experience.

Since I started my grain free diet, I have a better appreciation for the food that I eat. I taste it. I experience the texture, the taste while it is in my mouth and the finish after I swallow. It is magical. That attention to the food helps me pay attention to other areas in my life. While I am hiking with my son, or walking through the parks with my dog, I am awed by the diversity the universe affords us. The vast number of plants, insects, wildlife that abounds. It makes each walk an incredible journey in the intelligence of nature, the infinite touch of God.

Even as we strive to understand quantum physics, genetic expression, and the human mind, each discovery leads to more questions and more opportunity to be in awe of what is around us. And just as we do understand some universal law, we can find exceptions. Everything in the universe expands when it is heated and contracts when it is cooled – everything that is except for water. Water expands when it is heated and when it freezes. The reason and mechanism is an understanding beyond me. It is magic.

Magic can be the awe of those things that are not yet understood. Rabbits come from magician hats and if you put two of them in a closet, you find 200 when you open the door 10 minutes later. That’s how it works in the cartoons. But really, the universe has such incredible diversity, that there is no one person that could possibly learn everything there is to learn. But, I promise, that as long as I am able and cognitively aware, I will wear myself out trying to learn more and more. Knowing that all that I learn will show me how much I have left to learn. In the global library of knowledge, I know next to nothing. But what I do know I hope will settle in my heart as wisdom.

Be in the moment, pay attention to what is around you and do forget the magic that fills every day. Heck, I think that just waking up in the morning is such a blessing. It means that I get to enjoy another day in God’s incredible creation and experience the ceaseless diversity and wonderment that waits for me.

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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