What I Know for Sure… (Birthday Blog)


As I reflect on another trip around the sun, there are, in the words of Oprah, some things I know for sure. For one, life is short. One day you are 30, then suddenly you’re 50 and before you know it, you’re 80. You live the day and the days keep on moving forward. Days turn into months, months turn into years and years become a lifetime. Early on you’re figuring out children and finances, struggling to find your place in the world. Then, your kids are grown and you are no longer so focused on your money or your place. Now you are someone’s grandpa and the grey haired manager at work. You’ve got more money and more time and you find yourself contented with less. Words like retirement start popping up and although you aren’t as old as your dad was at the same age, you have to give it some thought. Curiously, you find yourself considering your legacy; what you would want your children or other people thinking about when they remembered you. Did you ever answer the question of who you were?

With the passing of time comes wisdom. You’ve lived long enough and screwed it up often enough to finally consider your ways. Yet, you recognize all that time you spent judging yourself was wasted time. You see things for what they are and understand that life always has choices and though you chose wrong a thousand times, you can always choose right. And, it dawns on you that you also chose right a thousand times and maybe didn’t recognize it at all. Instead of measuring and evaluating yourself by your mistakes, you can put those mistakes in perspective and see how little a part they played in the grand scheme of your life. Once you finally stop judging yourself, you find you stop judging other people as well. You understand that they, like you, are also learning and developing and you are viewing them at only one place along their journey.

Instead of seeing life as a whole, you see it in all of its parts. There are good parts and bad parts, exciting parts and boring parts. There are times of rejoicing and there are times of sorrow. You succeed and you fail. You fall down and you get back up. You get your ass kicked for a time, then you kick some ass yourself. You long to live your life in perpetual comfort, but learn that much of life is uncomfortable, at least for a little while. You wish for life without challenges, but acknowledge that the challenges help you grow. You know you have an opponent in life and obstacles, but you figure out how to make sure the enemy isn’t you. Simple things become the best things. Complexity belongs to error. You can finally admit you have some weak spots and in so knowing can finally build yourself up. It also dawns on you that you have some gloriously strong parts and you can figure out how to tap into them as often as possible. Don’t discount the value of being able to make someone smile or lift them up and out of their misery. You see the power of your words and how you wield them, and thus use them to bring light and not darkness. You can appreciate the pain you have endured, not for having it, but for how it forced you to find the way out of it.

Life is full of change and nothing stays the same, except for God. No matter how low you have descended, or how far down the rabbit hole you may have ventured, He will give you the same love when you return. One thing is faithful and it is Him. He loves you when you do not love yourself. He provides help when you aren’t asking for help. He is the one great constant in life. He doesn’t change His nature. He does not do people harm. He is the polar opposite of the world’s portrayal of Him. He is not following you around pointing out your moral deficiencies. He is not judging you. You experience those things at the hands of His opponent, who is ever portraying himself as something he is not. God doesn’t make you feel bad ever. He makes you feel good. He is the goodness you have always dreamed of and He always will be. My life today would not be the life it is without Him. The times He has answered me, rescued me and picked me up out of life’s gutters, I cannot count. The insights, the inklings, the tips and clues are without number. He loved me into loving myself and did it again and again and again. One thing I know for sure is that God is only good always…

Life, this life always has the promise of good things. Pretty soon you find yourself more clear on how to access those good things. You discern your own cooperation with the madness and stop cooperating. You at last see the part you play and make better plays. Sure, you still fumble at times, but you don’t let your head stay there. You stay clear on all of your touchdowns and let the missteps go. In short, you love yourself and continue to love yourself, bulges, sore knees and all. You become adamant not to be against yourself any longer. You know God loves you and you walk out with that love. And, you get busy healing and helping and lifting and loving. You see humanity surging with pain and grief, disappointment and loss, and you get in there and offer them something different; something wonderful instead. This, my friends, is a life well lived.

I’m not done yet of course and have a lot left to learn and to do. No regrets at all… Looking forward to another trip around the sun and more time to love and to bless.

Life is good.

Just some good thoughts…

What Do You Think?


It’s interesting during these times of increased uncertainty and fear that there would also be an increase in depression. Depression by its very nature refers to the act of lowering something or pressing something down. You don’t start with despondency, you arrive there. If you have ever been depressed, you know how terrible it is robbing your life of all enthusiasm and energy. And despite where you end up, chemical imbalance acknowledged, much of what happened to you happened because of what you were thinking. What do you think?

All thoughts are not equal. Some thoughts bring life and joy and peace. While other thoughts work to shatter your entire nervous system. What you think does matter! Certain trains of thought, if persisted in, will bring about great detriment to your life. Entertaining thoughts of fear and worry work to steal away your life force. They literally suck the life right out of you. If you continue in them and do not thwart them, they will bring you down into the great valleys of life. And, once you find yourself down there, it is damn hard to find your way back! Fear thoughts make you sick. Fear thoughts fill your mind and body with anxiety. Fear thoughts are the ultimate destruction and they have no logical end point. Fear thoughts are always a lie threatening some future day. And since you cannot live in the future, they will continue to work you over until you fold! Fear thoughts are not overcome with logic and more and more understanding. While it is true that ignorance leads to fear, at the end of the day, fear thoughts must be starved out. Each day spent in fear is a day lost. What you think and what you refuse to think does matter. It matters more than almost anything you can do in this life. 

That thought would have such a powerful and lasting effect in people’s lives, yet remain so misunderstood is one of the great mysteries of life. Your life, my life, literally hinges upon the thoughts we allow and encourage and those we refuse and reject. Your thoughts are one of the few things you can control in this life. And, aside from some rather vague generalities concerning being positive, we have been largely uninstructed in this regard. It is a common belief that people live their lives while thinking along the way, rather than what people think actually forms the basis of their lives. Good thoughts, right thoughts, true thoughts bring abounding peace to their possessor. Right thought introduces energy into your existence. Proper thinking leads to warm and sunny circumstances. Good thoughts open your heart to the goodness that is in the world and allows you to see it. True thoughts bring clarity and genuine understanding, shining a bright light on all that is false and harmful. Thoughts of guilt and condemnation, while appearing noble, actually rob your life of all vigor and grace. Hateful, judgmental thoughts bring harshness and cruelty to yourself first then to all others you come into contact with. While thoughts of love and kindness serve to soften and warm, bringing healing and every good possible. All of the various and unlimited, possible outcomes are wrapped up in the thoughts you entertain most frequently. 

The time to focus on and correct your thinking is today. You are only responsible for the thoughts you think right now. What are you thinking about? What thoughts race across your mind? What thoughts seem to settle in the background like dark specters, offering all the reasons why you cannot be happy or why you cannot finally relax? We all want to be happy, but we don’t all think the thoughts that are happy. Instead we sort of let our minds run like a motorboat, then act surprised when we end up at destinations we neither chose nor encouraged. We seem to wish that life would just work out no matter what we thought. We think failure, fear failure, expect failure, then get pissed off that we failed. How could we not? If you live your life being deathly afraid of some negative variable, get ready to face that variable! God didn’t do it to you, you did it to you! You have a solemn responsibility to control your thinking. You decide what you are going to think about or at minimum what you are going to keep thinking about. When you find yourself struck by some sudden negative element in your thinking or for that matter in your life, you have a decision to make. What are you going to think about? Are you going to cooperate with evil by spending your days contemplating some awful variable or are you going to think something else? They’re your thoughts! They have always been your thoughts…

It is never too late to turn your life around. You change your trajectory by changing your thinking. You don’t have to control and manage every thought, just your next thought. You decide. If you are feeling depressed, lacking energy and vitality, chances are you have been thinking about the wrong stuff, a lot! If you feel miserable and defeated, you are not thinking soundly. Your emotions follow your thoughts and not the other way around. If you feel agitated and distressed, fearful and anxious, ask yourself what you have been feeding your mind. What are you thinking? Believe it or not, you are responsible for the things you put into your mind. Oh sure, sometimes weird stuff pops in, but you don’t have to let it stay. I’m not talking about drowning yourself in positivity, despite whatever is going on. I’m talking about stop drowning yourself in negativity. Stop encouraging those thoughts. Stop feeding them. Stop giving them space in your mind. You aren’t just being human, you are squandering your resources. Every happy person you have ever met has had the same mental challenges you are having, they just refused to let them win! What do you think? 

Just some good thoughts…

Change Your Script and Fix Your Relationship…


Your successful relationships with other people form the basis of one of the most needful, necessary elements in your life. Your happiness, your personal feelings of fulfillment, your peace, your love, your joy, all rely heavily on your ability to successfully navigate your relationships. So, what can you do when your relationship lacks some of its original luster? Is there a way to escape the mundane and rekindle the once present emotional availability? Can you somehow steer the ship off the rocks and back into the deep water? Is there even anything you can do about it? Is it really all about your partner, or is it maybe about you?

Any couple who have been together for many years can tell you that things change over time. Goals change. Priorities change. People grow. People regress. The hopes and dreams you held in such high regard in high school are barely recognizable in middle age. Your body ages and things you once took for granted don’t come as easy as they used to do. You’re generally smarter and a little more assured about how things work. And, like anyone that has done the same thing for a number of years, you develop habits; many, many habits. Habits are built for efficiency. But, not all habits are good for you. Habits tend to be morally neutral. In other words, you can engage in certain habits for a lifetime and never feel they need any revision because of how long you’ve been holding on to them. Relationship habits can make for heaven on earth or make life a living hell. But, at the end of the day, they are your habits!

In order to have a successful relationship, you have to embrace the reality that people change. Your spouse is not the same person they were when you married them. Chances are they have grown, evolved and need different things to be happy. You also have changed, grown and evolved. Your needs are now different as well. To hold your partner in some sort of time-lock is categorically insane. To continue to think and rehearse that same old, tired, irritating version of them is also insane and entirely unfair to them. To perpetually strengthen and maintain in your mind all the things they have not done that they should have done or the things you didn’t like about them when you first met or the person you wish they were when you were first building your negative pictures of them, is to drag about a weight of epic proportions! In life, every day is a new day. Every moment is a new moment, unique and one that has not existed before. Your partner is also afforded the opportunity of a new day, a new moment. You have to be able to give them the same chance at doing better that you give yourself. You have to accept the reality that they, like you, can change. You see, things start going south not because of your relationship reality, but instead because of your rehearsed, mental reality! Things become worse and worse because your thinking has become worse and worse. You couldn’t see the things you so desperately want if they slapped you in the face, because you are stuck, trapped in rehearsed negative feelings and memories from the past days! In order for things to get better you have to get better.

Many, many people like to play the victim in their relationships. Poor old, unfulfilled me. “I just need someone to love me.” “I just need someone to accept me for me.” If only they were nice to me, then I would be nice. If they ever took time to offer me love and affection, then I would offer them love and affection back. But, they never do that for me and they’re not going to, so poor, poor me living my life in misery. The problem with this mentality is that you are playing a role in a drama that you are writing. You are acting in a play as the main character that you and you alone have assigned as the victim. And, as the victim it feels good to dredge up all the wrongs done to you and to fantasize about how good life could really be. But, would it really be good for you? How could it be? In order for your role to ever change, you have to change the script. You have to write a new story. Look, if you found a new relationship you would likely change the script and start thinking and acting like the person you wanted to be, which in turn would probably return to you the feelings you wanted to feel as well. Well, your solution is that you can do that now in your present relationship. Change your script. Edit your character. Stop rehearsing and ruminating and harboring and cleaving to every single thing you haven’t liked for the past twenty years and start fresh. Give your partner a chance to be someone else as well. I can assure you that they have some tremendous qualities waiting to be shared with you in your life once you finally give them the opportunity to do so. Don’t remain stuck in yesterday, live today.

One of life’s strangest dichotomies is found in relationships with other people. When you change towards them, they change towards you. You have to give love to get love. You have to show kindness to receive kindness. Waiting for the other person to change is a perilous waiting game. You might be waiting for a long time. Maybe you don’t feel fully accepted for who you are because you are spending so much time rejecting who they are. Maybe, just maybe you don’t feel like they like you because your behavior says you don’t like them! You cannot make other people do anything and you know that. The one person you can control and change is you. Are you doing for that person you are so upset with, what you would like to be done for yourself? Are you willing to let them be something other than the negative picture you have made them to be? You can become so accustomed to your habitual way of thinking that you don’t even recognize it anymore. Change your mind. Change your script. Change your bad habits of negative thinking and negative expectations.

Relationships take work to be successful, but it’s not the kind work you need a vacation from. The work is in learning to think properly. The effort is in refusing to harbor and maintain negative stories, likely only partially based in reality. Your energy is used to build and bless and help and warm which is always reciprocated when done from your heart. You can recover any relationship that has gone astray if you want to, but most of the work to be done will involve yourself first. That’s not to say that every relationship is worth preserving or repairing, as some relationships need to dissolve. In those scenarios there will be no doubt. But, it’s still worth your time to work on yourself to avoid it the next time.

It certainly takes two to tango, but the only dance moves you can improve are your own. Life is short and your chances at happiness sometimes fleeting, but a loving, warm, mutually committed relationship is worth every ounce of your effort! Decide to live love, it’s irresistible… Decide to forgive, it’s refreshing. Decide to make every day a brand new day, it’s life changing…

Just some good thoughts…

Connecting the Dots…


Life in its basic essence is spiritual. It originated from a spiritual source (God) who embodies love in every capacity possible. The creation is infused with order and laws that do not change. There are principles that cannot be altered. When the proper chain of reasoning is applied, you cannot fail. But, in order to be successful, you have to connect the dots.

The main reason that people suffer is from not knowing nor understanding the truth. In not knowing, they fall prey to a wicked despot working through the systems of the world to bring heartache and loss. He succeeds by introducing error, which when believed and practiced brings defeat. Though immensely intricate and well thought out, it can be summarized simply as those things that contradict the truth. Fear, which rules the world, is always error. Though it be justified and rationalized and even accepted as part of the human condition, it is man’s basic enemy which must be defeated. In the proportion that men overcome fear, they enjoy health, prosperity and success. In those areas where fear is permitted to remain, they suffer loss. Fear is the primary weapon the adversary uses to control and enslave people. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it is fear. In order to connect the dots, you have to recognize those areas where fear prevails and defeat it.

Fear feeds on and works according to principle; an unchanging principle that God set up for mankind; namely that those things a man believes in his heart will come to pass in his life. When operated positively, a man can overcome any challenge, achieve any result and see the impossible come into reality in his existence. However, believing also has a dark, negative side called fear. Fear is wrong believing. Fear is believing in reverse. Fear is becoming persuaded of some negative, potential outcome and holding onto that imaginary outcome until it too comes to pass in your life. The enemy parasitically leeches off this basic principle to bring evil and pain upon all people. The reason it has worked so successfully is because of man’s ignorance of the truth. Worse, many people aren’t even cognizant that they are afraid as fear has many, many disguises. It shows up as procrastination, as anger, as settling for less than the best, as a loss of enthusiasm and energy. It produces stilted actions, shame and all manner of ingenuine behaviors and hypocritical stage acting. It is life that has stopped moving forward, frozen in place and unable to move freely. It is the antithesis of love and as such is only overcome by love. Properly connecting the dots means to choose love.

Of all of the principles a man can employ in his life, love is the most powerful. God is love. Love activates believing; positive believing which yields phenomenal results. The actions you take in love cannot fail. Love is the great overcomer, able to heal and deliver and rescue from any situation you find yourself in. Love, when properly applied from your heart, melts fear away exposing it for the illusion it always was. Love isn’t just warm feelings but more so warm actions directed towards other people and yourself. Love is a decision made not from repayment but as a free-will offering expecting nothing in return. Love is the truth exemplified in actions. God so loved that He gave! We so love that we give. All men need God’s love and until they receive it are unable to fully love themselves. God loves us into loving ourselves. He looks past our foibles and our failings. He loves us unconditionally without any merit on our part to earn it. He forgives the unforgivable and sets us free from guilt and condemnation. He gave us His son, the perfect for the imperfect, forever liberating mankind from a cruel and hateful opponent. In this life you triumph as you connect the dots that God is love, the source and the originator of it.

Connecting the dots in your life means opening your heart to the truth. It means applying God’s system of logic rather than the world’s dog eat dog logic. It is refusing the endless pursuit of number one in favor of the pursuit of helping meet the needs of number two and three and four. It is shifting your focus away from yourself, your unmet needs, your problems, your difficulties and frustrations and turning them over to someone else; namely God. It is choosing to give instead of always trying to get and then receiving because of it. It is the polar opposite of how the world propounds things work! It is unselfish because it isn’t terrified its own needs won’t be met. It places its trust in the hands of another instead of always trying to figure out everything for itself. Connecting the dots means doing things God’s way, with God’s heart of love and concern for all people.

In these tumultious times we find ourselves in today, don’t fret and get anxious or worry how things are going to turn out. Learn to connect the dots spiritually and see for yourself that God is love and that in Him is no darkness at all. In so doing, not only will you enjoy the life that now is, but also the life that will never end. Connect the dots!

Just some good thoughts…

All I Want for Christmas is Love…


Christmas and the holidays in general bring back fond memories of times gone past; times filled with love and happiness and joy. It reminds us of the warm times we spent with our families; times when the people we ran into had a little more love, a little more kindness in their hearts. And yet for others, the holidays sometimes trigger sad feelings of loss and memories of loved ones who are no longer around. Or, they remind us of a better time; a time when things were simple and our lives were going the way we wanted them to go before we grew up and had to face a world that wasn’t always on our side. Whether our memories are pleasant or painful, what we all really want for Christmas is love…

We can all remember those precious times when we were young when we excitedly anticipated the big day when the mythical Santa came to visit and brought us the things that made us happy. Those days were all about ourselves and we didn’t take time to consider that someone was behind the scenes diligently attending to our happiness. We were completely unaware of the sacrifices someone was making to buy us the thing they really couldn’t afford or how many stores they searched to locate the last remaining big hit, popular thing that every child had to have. And why did they go to all of the trouble? They did it simply to bless us. They did it for the smile on our faces. They did it out of pure, unconditional love…

Flash forward thirty years and now we find ourselves the ones responsible for manufacturing the joy. Now, we are the ones expending the effort, carefully planning for the big day, worrying that maybe we missed something or that maybe someone didn’t get enough. And although we love a nice gift like anyone else, our real joy was found in the giving. Our true expression of love; indeed any expression of love always involves giving. And so we gave out of the love in our hearts and revelled in the joy that followed. Nothing brings a parent or a grandparent as much happiness as the happiness on the faces of those little ones. And in giving we found out what Christmas was all about. We learned that it is more blessed to give than to receive. And all that we gave, we gave out of love.

But, as we grew older with a few years under our belts and we no longer had to get up at 5:00 in the morning, we began to see a greater lesson. When our family starts to show up at our house with their parcels and merriment, excitedly bustling around, talking more loudly than usual with laughter abounding, we look at their smiling faces and we finally get it. These precious people, young and old, are what we really want. We treasure being around the people whom we love so dearly. We want to capture the moments forever. It’s the people, can’t you see it? It’s the love we share expressed in mutual smiles and warmth in our hearts. It’s the touch on someone’s shoulder or the clasp of a hand. It’s the laughter and goodness that follows our close associations. It’s the hugs and the tenderness of families and friends that is expressed in mutual affection. It’s your love and their love and shared love! It’s the love…

If you find yourself unhappy at this time of year, or just don’t seem able to capture the Christmas spirit, remember Christmas is just a day like any other day. It’s not magical or blessed, it’s just one day among many other days. The magic comes when you decide to stop making it about yourself; what you have and don’t have; what you’ve lost and where things went bad, but instead make it about someone else. We all feel that pang at times of simpler days long gone, but don’t let that discourage you. Living in this world, we all have access to other people, whether it be our family or our friends or that lonely lady who lives close by. So, you gather yourself up, set yourself aside for a minute, wipe the tears from your eyes and go love someone else. It’s not so important what you give, but that you give even if all you have to offer is some warmth and good intention from the heart. I think you’ll find that what everyone really wants for Christmas is love, love, love. Give love!

With the big day looming on the horizon, remember to give love. Whether you spent a fortune on someone special or made all your gifts yourself, what the people will fondly remember is your love. Our great God is a God of love and as such made His love the priority of our hearts; of all people’s hearts. Decide to love someone this Christmas. Decide to go out of your way to express that kindness and love. Get along with the difficult ones and give the sour ones a heartfelt pass. Love someone else with all that you are and see for yourself how wonderful love is. God is love. All I want for Christmas is love…

Just some good thoughts…

How to Get Back Your Tender Heart…


The number one reason people feel unhappy and unfulfilled in their lives is due to hardness of heart. Hardness of heart is subtle in that when your heart has gotten hard you are no longer aware of it, much like a callous on your hand. You can no longer discern you are getting poked! Today we focus on what you can do to get back your tender heart. I say back because your heart started out very tender, like the heart of a child, but the world and circumstances, disappointments and failures, as well as error believed then practiced rendered your heart hard and lacking feeling. It left you desensitized and numb to the true realities of life; those realities God wants you to experience. So, how can you get back your tender heart?

If you strip away all of the trimmings; get beyond all external appearances; get down to the very heart of things, all of us are the same. And although people are as varied and unique as the stars in the sky in multitude, we all want the same things. We all need love and acceptance; to belong and to feel needed. We have similar fears and dreads as well as similar aspirations for good health and prosperity. We all seek to get our needs met and the needs of those we love. Keeping this in mind is a good starting point for maintaining a tender heart. No matter how someone appears to be, whether abrasive and apparently heartless, aggressive and inflammatory, behind the facade is a scared, helpless person. At any given moment in time, all you may be exposed to is a version of that person, completely dependent upon where that person is coming from at any given time. Fear, which is error (also called sin or literally a stepping aside), is the number one hardener of your heart. Fear attempts to puff you up with a foolish disregard for things or people in an effort to protect you. Fear stops you from displaying the kindness and tenderness that is inherent inside. Fear of rejection or fear of not fitting in with the group leads you to all sorts of things that aren’t really you at all. Getting rid of fear with all of its associated lies is the first place to go to get back your tender heart. There was a time when you weren’t afraid of everything, that is until someone or some people taught you otherwise. Fear is a lie and like every lie believed, hardens your heart. Get rid of your fear…

Error in its most basic essence is the polar opposite of truth. The only sure way to discern truth from error is to know and understand God’s heart for His people, which can be found in His Word. Error, though almost always appealing, carries within it the seeds of error that damage and corrupt the vessel. Something can look good and feel good; be completely accepted by society, but if it’s basic essence is based on error it will only serve to hurt you. It will degrade and blunt your sharpness leading to more error and more heartache. All of us succumb to error in one capacity or another, but what matters most is what is in our hearts. Your heart will always respond favorably to goodness, to kindness, to love. And accordingly, your heart will always respond negatively to evil; to those being mean-spirited, to hatred. Thus your responsibility is to make love your basic response. As a great man once said, “Love sees more but is willing to see less.” Love covers a multitude of sins, because love comes from your heart. You want your heart to be more tender? Give people love! Bathe them in it. Love anyway… Practice kindness with absolutely no fear of a lack of repayment. Be tender in your approach and don’t reserve that tenderness solely for your children or grandchildren. If you think that through a little, the reason we can be tender with a child is because we have no fear of our love being rejected. Well, here’s a newsflash, no matter how that adult responded or how they behaved in the moment, they appreciated your expression of love at least as much as that child did. Trust me on that one. You want a tender heart, give out love to everyone. Once you know something is error, get rid of it. Love is at the basis of every good thing, so get rid of error and live love…

So let’s be honest with each other now. The reason your heart has gotten hard is because you have been damaged. You’re not weak or too sensitive, as many would purport, but rather, living in the world today, chances are you have been assaulted many times by an enemy you can neither see nor discern. You have been assailed often unfairly by a system setup to hurt you and break you down. Your adversary seeks only to steal from you and as such he steals away your happiness, your tenderheartedness, your true feelings of love and compassion and he does so because he hates God and all that is associated with God. God isn’t your problem ever, but his opponent is. Thus what you need most is God’s healing. You need Him to right the ship. You need God to make your crooked places straight. You need God to heal your broken heart. God is able to restore your heart and teach you how to feel again. You need God’s unconditional love. You need to know in His sight you are worthy and worth something, not because of what you do, but because of what He did for you. God and God alone can restore your heart and make life worth living again. God can open the eyes of your heart to the greater realities of life and make your path clear and obvious. Then, filled with His love and goodness, you can reach out and help all those other poor souls suffering and navigating a miserable existence. You want your tender heart back, get God’s healing for your life…

A tender heart is the best kind of heart. Get yours back my friends…

Just some good thoughts…

Have Things Gotten Bitter Between You? (Relationships with Sugar Added)


Relationships are often complicated because people are complicated. When a longterm relationship begins to dissolve, it’s not usually due to a big mistakes made or some epic past failure, but rather in response to a multitude of minor slights adding, multiplying and blending into one large, bitter whole! Relationships fail due to words not said, important things not remembered, genuine care and concern not demonstrated. It breaks up and splinters first in the mind, then in the heart from too many missed opportunities to communicate love. And despite all of its associated complexity, can be repaired quickly by adding a little sugar.

The problem with us humans is that we tend to hold on to the negatives and easily forget the positives. How many people still rehearse the cruel words spoken to them by their partner during a big fight from five years ago? How easy it is to compile a list of a spouse’s failings, then read those failings into future scenarios that soon become present? How many of you have simply made up your mind about who your significant other is and as such offer zero possibilities for a new way in a new day? Your boyfriend, your girlfriend has little chance to demonstrate proper behavior while being chained by you to the mistakes of their past.

Understanding relationships is understanding how each of us grow and evolve. People can and do change even after they may have shown you who they are. The point being that who they are isn’t always defined by who they were. Priorities change. Desires change. Happiness and contentment are based on varying stages of life. Change is good unless it is met with a refusal to see the person through a different lens. Maybe your ex-husband is so happy with his new wife because he finally was afforded the opportunity to be someone else. Maybe you needed to get away from your ex-husband so you could be someone else. Wherever you are or whatever you may be facing, you must have some capability to modify your thinking; to get out of your rut; to reframe your expectations.

I think if you are honest, you have to recognize that relationships require commitment on both parts. I’m not referring to your decision to commit yourself to the relationship, but rather your decision to commit yourself to stop drawing negative conclusions. You have to change your own mind, your own beliefs, your own long-held preconceived notions. You have to cease from being mired in perpetual negative expectations. No matter your justifications, your righteous rights, your standing up for yourself and your other stories you’ve made up to justify your shitty approach, you have to flip the script. You have to realign your “self-defense” mentality to one of alignment and loving mutual respect. You cannot make someone else be something else, but you can damn sure make yourself be something or someone else.

In order for a relationship to thrive there has to be some element of love involved and love is best characterized by sweetness. To think that sweetness is somehow weak or pitiful or acknowledging inferiority is to be deluded in regard to the essence of human relationships. Now I recognize that people have hurt you and maybe done and said all manner of terrible things to you, but that doesn’t negate your ability to be kind; to be tender; to be sweet. The alternative is simply to keep living and reliving the same nightmare over and over and over again. Your escape isn’t in finding the perfect guy or the ideal woman, but rather in relocating your heart; the one you had before the damage occurred. The real you wants to give love and receive love no matter how far down you got knocked. It seems risky but in reality there is no risk because love never fails!

Real love; true love; abiding love requires a new beginning, a fresh start. Just as you forgive yourself for your own absurdities and foolishness, you have to be willing to offer your love interest the same privileges. You have to learn to make your evaluations and draw your conclusions based on today in the moment called now. Today is always a new day and carries with it unlimited new beginnings. Sure stuff is going to happen that drags you back to yesterday, but in like fashion you pull your own self back to today. You treat your partner like someone you love in spite of yourself. Just as a soft answer turns away wrath, a soft approach can remedy a whole world of failings. If your love is always based on proper behaviors and the right words you are setting yourself up for a misery that cannot be overcome.

Decide right now to be that warm, loving person you know you really are already. Stop with your defensive approach, your self preservation, ever hedging just in case.  End your failure planning and plan to succeed. In spite of what is going on and what you are experiencing, be sweet; so lovingly, genuinely sweet. In doing so you will find that sweetness and kindness are irresistible and almost impossible to slight. You will find yourself on the high road, unshaken and unaltered in your thinking. You will find yourself living love and giving love from which there is never any need to retreat. You will be loving people how God loves you, unconditionally and without a change of heart.

No matter how bitter or jaundiced you may have become towards him or her, know that there is something you can do. Don’t go to the counselor with an expectation of confirmation for the things you have seen for years, but instead with an open heart regarding what you can do with you to effect a change. Maybe, just maybe it’s you! And if it’s not you, you still have the solemn responsibility to guard and nurture your own heart which is never accomplished in anger, fighting and bitterness of soul! Oh my friends choose sweetness! Add some sugar and see how much better it all tastes!

Just some good thoughts…

 

The Love Factor…


There is one thing the whole world needs and there is one thing the whole world seeks and that is love. Love is the unifying power of the universe. Love is the answer to every heartfelt question. Love is an unstoppable force. Love is the reason and motive for every human life. Love never fails and God is love. When your life feels off-track or unfulfilled or empty the cause is always a lack of that love. In order to live a real life you need much, much love. You need to employ the love factor!

Life absent love is not a real life. Days spent earning and churning to succeed and get ahead; to outwork and outproduce; to lead the pack; to be the top dog, when lacking love as the motive, end only in a material gratification amidst an empty soul. Rewards gained through arduous effort and toil without love behind them leave a man desolate and unfulfilled. The ambitious drive for success is not wrong, but becomes so in the heart and life of the man without love as the only alternative to love is fear. Fear motivation, though powerful, cannot help but produce more of the same.

People today exist in a world that repudiates love. Love is somehow viewed as soft or weak. Love is considered too vulnerable and is reserved only for the closest of family and friends. Love freely given seems to come with a risk, the risk of possible rejection, ridicule or shame. In order to properly insulate your tender heart you think it plausible to armor your heart with hardness, a tough exterior impenetrable to outside jabs and assaults. You wrongly conclude that a hardened heart cannot be reached and in so doing close yourself off to life’s greatest reality. In your hardness and calloused response you fail to recognize the true sensitivity of life and in no longer feeling, miss everything. On your deathbed all that will matter to you is the people that you love and the people that love you. Your life begins and ends in love.

God in His basic essence is love and accordingly, if you lack love, is the sole thing missing from your life. You don’t need more relationships, you need ONE relationship from which ALL relationships take shape and blossom! Your relationship with Him is not one of faultfinding and bondage under the hand of the moral police, but instead one of unfathomable love, unlimited forgiveness and unending, unearned, divine favor allowing you to at last prosper and thrive! God is the life you once dared to imagine unfolding in infinite variety and blessedness. God is love without conditions. God is tender and kind and able to warm your soul, demonstrating in your life a complete and unquenchable restoration. God loves you first so you can love Him next, ending in your love being extended to the world.

Life on Earth has not gone south because of poor presidents or liberal agendas or the lack of a more simple time. The world has gone astray because of the victory of fear over love. The more you allow the world to make you afraid and conclude there is no solution, the more you help perpetuate the same. You remain powerless to shape the course of the world, but your true power resides in your decision to love. Every deliverance from bondage, every healing, every setting a captive free was done so in love.  In fact, every good thing you ever did, every lasting impact, every difference you made, only did so because of your love. Love never fails and is the antithesis and antidote to fear. Love properly exercised and freely given brightens the hearts of men and adds light to a world engulfed in darkness.

The love factor is an unstoppable force. But, to have a true imprint in the hearts of men, must be initiated and given by you. Love the unloveable. Offer people kindness. Be that sweet soul for people. Decide to care about them and be the one among a thousand that helped them. Don’t give them all your money, give them all your heart! Don’t concern yourself with what the world says. Concern yourself with what God says and in so doing set people free. People don’t need unlimited riches, they need the right words at the right time from a heart of love; from your heart of love. Love has no complexity in it, no wrong motive, no pretense. Love not to be known as a lover, but because you already are…

Living love, working your love factor, you will find that life begins to take on a glow that encourages and refreshes your heart. Things begin to settle down on the inside. Peace will reign where anxiety once ruled. Your concerns will be that of others and you will finally be able to let go of almighty self. And God working in you as the ultimate source of love, will ensure that everything you need will be there before you can even ask for it. Odd as it seems, that is the true design, the Master’s ultimate plan!

Are you unhappy, unfulfilled and empty? Does it all seem so futile and pointless? If so, it does so because your heart has been hardened and the softening is found in love. Get yourself directly to the source. Talk to God and tell Him how you feel. Open your heart to Him. Believe that He is and see if He will not reward and bless your decision. Everything you ever wanted to experience in life is found in love; in God who is love! Don’t be afraid anymore. Use the love factor! Choose love!

I love you.

Just some good thoughts…

 

Who is Driving Your Bus? (Revisited)


There are only two basic motivators in life, love and fear. The life you are experiencing at this very moment in time is built upon the driving force behind your life. Love motivation is incapable of failing. Fear motivation, though appearing to feel safe and responsible, leads only to failure. If things aren’t going well for you it’s time to answer the question, “Who is driving your bus?”

Fear has become so prevalent, so accepted by society that most people think it is normal. Or worse, many people find themselves completely oblivious to the reality that fear is lying hidden behind most of the decisions they make. The world is indeed a scary place. There are so many things that can go wrong, some with catastrophic results. Recognizing, on their own, their apparent inability to control their own lives, people resort to fear of those negative outcomes and then take actions to try and alleviate those fears. Those actions encompass a whole, delusional world of behaviors all offered in response to something that was a lie to begin with. Fear, on its own, is not real. However, once a fear is believed and strengthened by actions associated with that fear, it takes on a life of itself. Most of the failures and difficulties that assault mankind, could have been remedied by a refusal to fear. Fear is indeed man’s greatest enemy.

All that a man receives into his life comes as a result of what he believes in the core of his being. That doesn’t mean that a man is specifically expecting certain negative outcomes, but rather that his belief that those outcomes could happen to him, open the door to all kinds of disasters. Those people you see living well do so by the things they believe for themselves. It isn’t that they are more highly favored than you per se,’ but rather that they maintain an expectation for the good in life and act accordingly. Thinking you were predestined to some sad life of failure and disappointment, isn’t a fate assigned to you by God, but instead some serious errors in thinking that led eventually to a belief. And once negatively believed (fear), the cycle plays itself out in infinite reality. The solution is to stop sending that negative information to your mind. Change your mind. You aren’t being mature, realistic or responsible, you are being afraid!

Free-will to believe is one of the greatest gifts God could have ever given to man. It is God’s solution. It is God’s answer. It is your God-given ability to take back control of your life. It is the most basic tenet of life; believe and fear not. When you disobey and choose fear, either by ignorance or wrong teaching, you receive the consequences of your choice. You receive negative results. You are misusing what God gave you. You are not properly stewarding your mind. For, out of your heart come the issues of your life! You cannot co-exist with fear. It doesn’t matter if anyone knows or doesn’t know you are afraid of things. You can put on the greatest persona ever seen, but in the end, you know when you are afraid and if persisted in it will produce a bad outcome in your life.

Fear can only be overcome by love. Actions based on love never fail to yield positive results. God is love. Learning to believe God’s promises allows God to perform those promises in your life. The dread of something horrible happening to your child cannot be salved by your million-fold efforts to protect him or her. Life is just too big for you to accomplish your mission. In fact, you likely do your children a huge disservice by teaching them to be afraid as well. Instead of worrying yourself into anxiety, you learn to trust God and believe what He says about protecting your family. Then, you act on that belief. You give them to God and leave them in His hands. In so doing and so acting, you have chosen love over fear and reap the blessed result of safe, happy children. You may apply this principle to everything that ever shook you up or took away your sleep.

You may not believe it yet, but God never intended for you to “do life” on your own! You have likely already proven this to yourself. How much failure and disappointment can one person endure? How long can you go on living without any real purpose in life? When is the last time you felt truly peaceful without a care in the world? Your life, if it lacks contentment and joy, is so because you are making decisions based on fear. You, as the playwright, are continuing to write a story wherein you always end up the loser! Then you blame life or worse God for an existence you are producing. But, no matter what has happened to you; no matter where you are today; no matter how far down the rungs of life you have fallen, there is always a solution. The solution is love, God’s love and all that accompanies that love!

Now hear what I’m saying! If you feel like your boss doesn’t like you and that makes you afraid, instead of spending your days fawning and sucking up (fear), believe for a new boss or a new job! If you are worried about diseases, stop reading up on them, stop dwelling on them, stop accepting their possibility in your life (fear). Instead believe God’s promises for your health and don’t give them another thought. (You would be surprised how many fears go away simply by refusing to think about them). If you are scared of not having your needs met (fear), stop telling everyone how poor you are and how you can never get ahead. Instead, confess those positive promises of prosperity in your life and act accordingly.

You see, at the end of the day, you only have one bus to drive and you are the driver! Take back the wheel of the bus! When you live in fear, you give control of your bus over to someone or something else. Instead of negotiating and choosing behaviors based on fear, just get back in the bus and start driving again! Whose driving your bus? I hope it’s you and that you are doing it with love…

Just some good thoughts…

Make Yourself a Priority…


make-priorityI know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking here comes another admonition to make yourself number one in a culture already deluged in narcissism and love of self above all else. Forget about other people and their needs because it’s all about you! Yeah those people do exist, but I don’t think they are a majority. In fact, I think most of us are the exact opposite. Recently I had the most unusual insight concerning our personal happiness and incredibly it involved making yourself a priority.

I know it sounds selfish and swims uphill against all we’ve been taught about sublimating our needs for others. It definitely challenges our well-worn “Christian” virtues suggesting we always place ourselves last in line. But, I think there’s some honesty to it we may not have considered before, mainly because of what we have been taught. And, while selfishness is naturally frowned upon, making your own needs a priority isn’t really selfish at all.

You my friend are the only you, you have got. You’ve got one you. There’s no two you’s requiring that you share you. When it comes to you there is just you. When you do things that make you unhappy, you are doing it to “you” alone. When you make choices based on what other people think and what other people say that disagree with what you think and what you say, you are lying to “you.” When you endeavor to live up to other’s expectations for you while not honoring your own expectations for you, you are not taking care of you. When you try so hard not to hurt other people’s feelings and to protect other’s feelings, while running roughshod against your own feelings or worse denying your own feelings, you are only hurting you. You are the only you, you have been given and you have a sacred responsibility to so love and care for you, that you will naturally and willingly love and care for others.

When it comes to serving God I think people have gotten it all wrong. God does not require that we give until it hurts or that we burn ourselves out in service for other people. Nor does He expect us to sacrifice ourselves and our own happiness to make sure others are happy. Religion may have told you that, but God never did. Instead the natural order is that God blesses us and in proportion to that blessing, we bless others. The happier and more well taken care of I am, the more likely I am to help you. Oh sure, I can help you when I have needs too, but the real joy and love behind it will be missing. Think about it in terms of giving. The more I have, the more I have to give. Yes, I can give when I have little but when I have been abundantly blessed, I want to give abundantly. The same principle applies to speaking God’s Word. The proportion of how blessed I am will directly correlate to how much I want to tell other people about God. You don’t have to tell super blessed and joyful people to go out and witness for the Lord. Their joy already got them out there. But, unhappy, unblessed folks will need to be prodded and goaded before they will they go. Do you see it? Get yourself blessed first and stop acting like it’s an imposition on God or something and something you dare not believe for in your life. It’s not selfish, you are the only you, you have got!

Making yourself a priority is about slowing down from your busy and frenetic pace and daring to get back in touch with yourself. (See, even that sounded selfish…) Deep down who are you and what do you need to be happy? What things in life paint a smile on your face and add energy to your steps? In your interactions with others are you with people you genuinely love and care about or are you “making it work” with drinks and fake smiles, playing the role until they go away? What goes through your mind on your way to work? What sadness or frustration have you been ignoring for years? What life flashes through your mind on those rare occasions and why can’t you live that life now? What drastic change or revolution might occur in your existence if you stopped being afraid to allow yourself to matter at least as much as you make everyone else matter?

The difference between being selfish and making yourself a priority is that you are not the only vote, but your vote counts as much as everyone else’s does. It’s not giving and loving and kind to get to the place where your vote doesn’t count. With God everyone wins. They matter and you matter. Their happiness is important and you do all you can to ensure it, but your happiness matters just as much. If you can supply their needs, whatever those needs are, you do it. But, you also have needs and they do not rank any less in priority. Every mother knows that although her infant is helpless without her, she will offer no help if she doesn’t get what she needs to thrive as well. You don’t always have to occupy first place in the line, but you don’t need to step out of the line completely.

Maybe it’s time you rethink your worn-out ideas about service usually imposed upon you by people who needed some work done, and recognize that you are the only you, you have got and if you fail to care for you, you won’t be taken care of. God will always supply your needs but only if you are willing to believe for them for yourself! Life is short my friends. Don’t spend your whole life trying to live someone else’s dream. You matter. Your needs matter. Make yourself a priority.

I love you!

Just some good thoughts…