Each morning, just before I leave my sanctuary and head down the stairs to tackle the new day, I write in my Thankfulness Journal. It reminds me to begin each day with an Attitude of Gratitude.
So, as this page in the journal suggests, I do just that… I take about 5 minutes to reflect back on the day before… and I write down three things for which I am grateful. Sometimes I can’t stop at three (I’ll squeeze in 4 or 5), and other days (like last week when I was so annoyed at the persistent hacky cough), I can only think of one thing… “Life.” But, always there is SOMETHING for which to be thankful.
Here are the two pages for last week’s entries:
Every month or so, there is a page for reflection – a question to ponder. Today, the page said, “today i am gratetful” and the page across from it invited me to write about a place I am thankful I had the opportunity to visit.
Think about how you would respond to such a prompt. Tell me a place for which you are grateful.
When thinking about a place, this is what came to my mind:
Yesterday I worked at the Food Bank. The shelves were mighty bare. It’s because some folks are getting ready to replace the worn out carpet in there. I am grateful for the Food Bank, for those who donate food and those who donate time, for those who donate money and those who Care and Share in a ton of ways.
Today Bob & I are going to Helena, MT. We have been invited to an AARP Volunteers’ Recognition dinner there. I will tell you all about it tomorrow. It is our privilege to volunteer our time during these “Golden Years” to help those who need it. I am grateful today to Elaine Forsberg who nominated us as “Montana State Volunteers” worthy of mention. We do it for the Glory of the One who blesses us. Giving back is our greatest joy.
Dr. Perry, posted a blog titled, It’s OK to Have a Bad Day. It caused me to internalize this inward journey for peace and think about the habits I have worked to develop in order to be my own best friend.
He quoted Emerson, who wrote: ““Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ten Habits of Peaceful Living
Traveling inward, looking for contentment, I have found that I need to consciously adopt habits that foster inner peace:
Recognition of Limitations
Confrontation of Temptations
Elimination of Blame
Hope in the Face of Despair
Celebration of Where my Hope Lies
In the process of traveling the Road to Inner Peace, it is important to stop every now and then to look back. Consider your progress or regression. Have you every noticed when you’re traveling up a hill that you don’t realize how steep it is until you look back at the incline you have just traversed?
Likewise, when the road is on a decline, you may not realize how drastic the angle until you stop and look back up to the place you began. Reflecting on where you started and seeing how far you have improved or deteriorated can be very helpful.
Dr. Perry, in the post I referenced above says it this way, “After a period of time, reflect on what you have learned and gained from the negative event or interaction in your life. More often than not you will find that you have learned something. Perhaps you will discover an inner strength that you were not aware of or a higher purpose for your existence.”
In her September 27th, The Godly Chic Diaries posted a WordPress guest writer. She introduced Matik Nicholls by saying, “I’m a firm believer that if you have a pulse, you have a purpose. I say this with my whole heart, Everyone needs a blessing. And if you have the ability to bless others, be a blessing. And when you are a blessing to others, you will find ‘joy unspeakable’ in the process….”
Guest Blogger: Matik Nicholls wrote: “Every gift, ability and blessing we have is for the service of others. We are blessers not blessees! We carry the presence of God wherever we go for a greater purpose than just for us to be happy. It is our privilege and purpose to transfer the blessings of God to others!”
Take Joy in the Journey
Traveling life’s road, I take joy in the journey. Spreading it’s my goal.
With The Godly Chic’s help, I discovered this new website, and decided to subscribe to it. The author, Matik Amilcar Nicholls, has created an inspirational web blog at http://www.Authenticjoy.org. This handsome, positive-thinking young man resides in the beautiful islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
On his site, he shared, “I am an engineer by training, having graduated from the University of the West Indies with a B.Sc. Computer and Electrical Engineering (with honours). More recently, I completed an M.B.A. with the Heriot-Watt University. I also have a certificate in Applied Theology (class valedictorian) from the Millennium Bible Institute and currently I am pursuing an online programme with the International Coaching Academy to become a Certified Coach.”
Naturally, reading about him, I am inspired to want to learn more. My Road to Inner Peace is made more successful when I can join hands on the journey with people like Matik. People in other parts of the world. People whose life stories are far different from mine, but who share the common purpose of wanting to “Be a Blessing.” I encourage you to let Matik’s JOY infect you as I found it to be quite “catching” indeed!
Like me, spreading joy – and the source of his joy (his FAITH) – is what Matik says he is all about. He wrote, “I love Jesus. I love spending time with Him. I love His mercy that keeps flowing endlessly in my life. I love what He stands for: love, grace, mercy, peace, truth, freedom, humility and transformation. I am committed to these values. I’m committed to doing my part to preach the gospel, heal the sick, feed the poor, comfort the hurting and free the oppressed… I enjoy seeing people walk in the fullness of all that God has for them to be and do.“
Walk in the fullness Of all that God has for you Find that Inner Peace.
My blog, “Loving One Another” is all about how to love, encourage, and inspire one another. Cristian Mihai of “The Art of Blogging” says we need to be able to express in 6 words or less why we blog and what we blog about.
I answered his query saying, “I spread love and inspiration daily.” That’s six words.
I augmented my answer by adding, “I plan to inspire, inform, entertain, and encourage.”
If we want to shine, to inspire and encourage others, to be unconditional, effective lovers, are there some tips we need to keep in mind?
Yes, I believe there are habits that lovers of people, lovers of animals, lovers of nature and of God, need to develop. I think they include these SEVEN HABITS OF EFFECTIVE LOVERS:
1. Listening with Intent
Effective lovers perk up their ears and really hear the voices, the sounds, the cries and laughter, the heart of everything around them.
2. Seeing non-judgmentally
Effective lovers look for the best in others. They see what they’re looking for. They see the person, animal or object as the Creator intended them/it to be. They imagine perfection, wholeness, beauty. They bring out the love that’s embedded in what they see.
3. Feeling with Compassion& Empathy
Effective lovers feel what others are feeling. They are compassionate and empathetic … not sympathetic. They don’t look at someone or something and say, “Oh, I feel so sorry for you/it.” They try to put themselves in the others’ shoes. They look for solutions. They offer real help. They fertilize the dying bush or bring the parched animal a drink.
4. Reaching Out
Effective lovers extend a helping hand without being asked. Their “feelers” are out looking for ways to help. They have a servant’s heart.
5. Taking Time
A habit effective lovers develop is the act of taking time for others. Whether it is visiting a friend who’s sick, caring for a pet while its owner is away, watering a garden, going to a nursing home, building a birdhouse or helping to complete a project, the effective lover is ever ready.
Knowing your own power is limited, knowing we’re all imperfect mortals who need divine guidance, effective lovers pray for others, pray for world peace, pray for endangered species and help in times of disasters and seemingly insurmountable struggles. Effective lovers reach for help beyond themselves.
We know our own limitations, and we know our own weaknesses. We know we do not always exhibit the kindness, patience and gentleness that effective lovers need. So, we ask for divine guidance and help from the One who strengthens us.
Effective lovers have staying power. They are tenacious. They are in it for the long haul. They are not quick to let go. Instead, they continue to love through thick and thin.
Like this beautiful spider web that is covered with snow, but hanging on for dear life as the wind howls outside my sanctuary, this web has a job to do. It will capture any insects that survive the storm … it will provide food for the spider that created it. It hangs on and fulfills its given purpose.
Being an Effective Lover involves listening, seeing, feeling, reaching, taking time, praying, and being tenacious… and it’s worth all that effort because you know:
“What you bring into the lives of others comes back into your own.”
Do you agree with these 7 habits or qualities for “Effective Lovers”? Do you have others you might add?
In today’s sermon, Elaine told a story of A lighthouse keeper:
On a stormy night, He climbed the rocks to the light; Turned it on and fell.
He fell and he died That night on the rocky hill After doing his job.
A sailor that night Saved his passengers and crew Because of the light.
The lightkeeper died So that others might be saved From falls in darkness.
Elaine Hundley, who delivered the message in church today reminded us that, like this lighthouse keeper, Jesus died that we might live. He gave His life for us. Likewise, we are reminded to share our lives – give what we have – to brighten the lives of others.
Elaine read from Luke 12:13-21, and she reminded us – “All we have is on loan to us From the Lord, the Almighty. If we have extra, we are told To give it away; don’t hold tightly.“
These are eleven of the WordPress bloggers who provide sunshine in my life – They share the writing talents they have been given; They are my choices for the Sunshine Blogger Award :
Dear Readers, you will enjoy checking out the blogs listed above. They are always inspiring. If any of these people wish to accept the award (Big Sky Buckeye already did – he sent this to me) and put it on their blog site, check back to see the rules posted yesterday on JanBeek.
Among the rules, I was asked to answer 11 questions and then create 11 questions for my Sunshine Award recipients to answer. Here are my questions:
When did you start blogging?
Why did you start blogging?
How often do you generally blog?
What’s the main topic of your blog (your “niche”)?
Is there a particular time of day when you generally blog? If so, when and why?
Who is your most faithful follower?
Do you have a tendency to post with that person in mind? Or do you have a different technique for personalizing your message?
Of all your posts, which one would you save if all were lost except one?
What’s one piece of advice you can pass on to beginning bloggers?
Where do you get most of your ideas?
If you could improve one thing about WordPress, what would it be?
Here are a half a dozen suggestions that work for me:
1. I Pray –
My faith in the Lord, knowing the Holy Spirit always is with me, is my first line of defense. I simply ask for His Peace to overcome the distress that is causing my stress. Usually that works if I just sit quietly long enough… and smile as I wait for His peace and confidence to flow through me. I know He is in charge – and He has my best interests at heart.
2. Take a walk or a ride
Go into nature and while I’m out and about, notice the beauty. Let the peacefulness of nature wash over me.
3. Reach out to friends.
Share my concerns with others and solicit their help. In the process, look for ways I can help them. Nothing makes me feel happier than being able to help another. My own stresses dissolve in the process.
4. Count my blessings.
Take my mind off the area that’s causing stress and remember all the areas of goodness & success in my life. Rejuvenate the “I can do this” spirit in me.
5. Put on some crazy music 🎶
… and let the theory of Music Therapy (the ISO Principle) wash over me as I gradually change crazy to rhythmic to slower, peaceful music. Watch … wait, and feel my mood change with the mood of the 🎵 music 🎼
Let the act of changing black and white to joyful color succeed in changing my stressful mindset to one of colorful positivity instead.
Which of those half a dozen ideas might work best for you?