An African Proverb states, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito.” I happened to have spent the night with many mosquitos and know how much they can accomplish in a short time. I have talked about change with the kids at work and it usually seems to be a split group with half believing they can make a difference and the other half not. We have read Dr Seuss and in,( Oh, The places you will go) he mentions, “kid, you will move mountains.” Another African proverb states, “If you want to move mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting stones today.” The little stones can seem so insignificant when so many of us are afraid we will fail. Once again, we place the limits on ourselves and struggle on the inside much more than anyone will ever see from the outside. Today’s happiness challenge is to start saving for a trip to a beautiful place. So many of us would like to go places we have never been and do not realize that just putting aside a few small stones each day can take you wherever you have dreamed of going. The good things in life take time. Trust takes time, self improvement takes time and so on but then it makes what we work for so much more significant. I HOPE I can better appreciate how significant my stone moving can be, leading me to move mountains.
I am beginning to figure out that communication in all it’s forms is one of the most important things to improve my life. The inside and turning my heart in the right direction is first and second is how I speak or don’t through body language, which is at least 90% of it, along with carefully chosen words. I have started down a more introspective road these days and it was on my vision board to listen more and talk less. Putting the acts into place is hard work but I am starting to see the benefits of holding back. After all, I am a work in progress, thank you all for your patience while I am under construction. When thinking of holding my tongue I am reminded of the African Proverb, “Kindness is a language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.” After reading the book about Nelson Mandela I have started to think differently about how in my life I have been good at imprisoning myself. Instead of living behind literal bars I have been limiting myself behind the mental bars I have placed in my mind. I HOPE that in deeper faith and love I will continue to find freedom from myself and expand my life through kindness. Todays happiness challenge is to identify limits you may have placed on your life/self and work to give yourself permission to be free from them. Seek out truth and love in everything you do.
I HOPE to be more like my kids, a sponge for knowledge. I never want to stop learning in this life. “A grateful heart is like a sponge that soaks up God’s goodness.” -unknown. Today’s happiness challenge is to complete an act of service for someone else out of the kindness of your heart without any need for recognition. Dealing with entitlement on a regular basis with patients in the hospital has taught me how important it is to serve others. We are here, after all, for that reason and I think it gives us more than a good feeling inside. It teaches us about understanding and empathy along with not taking things for granted. I HOPE to pass this lesson down to my own children and to try and instill this concept in the people I serve. It is kind of like the story of teaching a man to fish rather than just giving him a fish. I believe in the importance of service to our heart and faith. In thinking further about the power of sponginess, what you do not need in your life anymore can be rung out and this way it may leave a little more room for all the good stuff to be absorbed. For me the ringing out comes when I hit a wall and am seeking guidance to change a negative focus. A few tears may need to be rung out before I can see that there is more to absorb.
Just like a camera what we focus on expands. About a week ago I listened to Joel Osteen talk about worrying so much about the city putting a sign for speed bumps in his lawn, that he planted a tree their instead to try and prevent it. Well, the city ended up putting the sign several houses down from his in a neighbors yard. He was given the gift of having planted his very own worry tree right where he worried the sign was going to be placed. I have to say, I am not free from these same behaviors. I have worried to the point of making myself physically sick. I am a very visual person thought, so I thought hey, that worry tree idea might be a great reminder to cue me to stop worrying. Most often we worry when there is no reason to and instead of worrying about what we have to loose maybe we should start focusing on what we have to gain, unless we are talking about weight. Making things tangible can be a great eye opener for growth. That is why todays happiness challenge is to plant a worry tree, bush, or flower and to use it to remind you of your focus. I HOPE to be focused less on my worry and more on my joy from now on. After all “it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln
I was walking around a beautiful garden yesterday on my break from work and began pondering the old saying “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” It was as I looked at moss stones sitting close to each other on the path that I was inspired by this thought. I wondered what this could relate to my life as. Perhaps as a lifelong learner who barely sits still long enough to get stagnant or gather the moss. I think that it can be looked at from many perspectives but two in particular were what I thought about. The above mentioned thought about staying open and rolling with it as to learn new things and not get bogged down in the past or future too much. The other is to understand the rocks that stay still and gather the moss seem perfectly content as some people I know are, remaining who they are where they are at without much need for change. This can also be a good thing as they are possibly able to watch things go by without being so effected. I tend to be more like the first where I embrace and actually look for new ways to do things and or to see things. I believe that the peace can be found in either state if you HOPE to embrace it. Yesterday’s happiness challenge was to bake something to share. Today’s happiness challenge is to stop when you become emotional and count to 10 slowly before responding. It is difficult to understand the projections we place on others and if we are able to see that everyone is coming from a place of feeling like they are correct in their minds, and justified in their behavior, they are doing the best they can. I would like to stop justifying any need to be right and just be. I HOPE to accept others right where they are and learn more from observing rather than speaking.
I am in awe sitting outside on my patio this morning and blogging this message. The beauty of all the life that is around me and the sounds and the smells. Even my dog, running over to the chickens to apparently let them know who’s boss, is enjoyable to sit and watch. So many illusions of problems we think surround us despite also being surrounded by all this beauty gets very confusing. The illusion of thinking someone needs to be right or wrong, The illusion that we are so different that we can not understand each other. The illusion that our feelings are a mystery to others. Running our own race is part of the lesson but so is enjoying the splendor of creation along the way and accepting that the challenge including illusion of suffering will always be there and so will the reward at the finish. Today’s happiness challenge is to put into practice a delayed response to everything. What’s the rush, we know the destination.
Have you ever walked your dog past a pack of yapping dogs and had your dog stay calm and seemingly unaffected by them? Well, I did that today and I was soo proud of our little healer pup, Max. Thanks again Cesar Millan, what a difference an energy shift can make. I am happiness bound and today’s addition was to spend time outside and appreciate the beauty all around us. We planted our veggies in our raised beds today and the weather has been heavenly. I am trying to imagine that every day of my life I am on mini vacations from time to time walking in meditation or finding peace with God in my heart. Our pastor this morning talked about how this world is not supposed to be comfortable it is supposed to be challenging. I think I forget that often and just want a day off from all the struggles. When I feel this way I tend to dwell in it but when I choose to let it go and let Him handle it I am into the challenge much more quickly and easily. Took my daughter to see Miracles From Heaven recently and really enjoyed it. I HOPE Lydia loved it as much as I did. With all of the struggles lately, we needed that. Life is better when we recognize all the miracles happening around us moment to moment, day to day. There is no lack of them. It does matter if you are looking, that’s the challenge. My mom turned 70 today and I want to praise her for all that she has done for me in my life. She is an amazing lady who deserves the best birthday ever. I love you mom and when I grow up I HOPE to be close to the gracious woman you are. What an inspiration!
Just watched a Joel Osteen episode with Mary last night and learned about how important it is to run your own race and not get into the habit of comparing ourselves to others. So often we think she’s got a nicer yard, car, haircut, etc… This thinking divides us rather than unites us. It makes it difficult to celebrate the wins of our friends when we are focused on comparing our race to theirs. Let us be happy for them in their race. Let us celebrate with them in their race and celebrate and focus on our own without comparing. He also talked about worry and idolizing our worry to a fault, sometimes without reason as most things we worry about do not ever happen. He spoke about putting God back in the thrown and dethroning our worries. Instead of dwelling in misery and troubles let’s rejoice in him, in gratitude and joy. I am a runner and am currently getting back into my own race physically and emotionally. I am done being part of the worldly rat race and any other negative races that I can’t win or that only make me feel worse about myself. I am in the race of my life and HOPE that I can keep my blinders on and stay focused on running my race and my race alone. I know the heavenly after race reward is waiting for me at the end. My happiness challenge today is to focus on my own race and to be a better cheerleader for everyone else in theirs.
I Hope to live for others before myself and to be humbled to serve and care for the weak, weary and suffering. I want to adopt an understanding that everyone is coming from their very best at any given time. I have praised my loved ones. I would like to reach out to a friend today and praise them with great intention. I sang Grace wins in the shower today. I meditated and created. I am going to a training today and hoping to enjoy all the beautiful weather. I sang in the car, affirmed myself and am in the process of improving myself and my patience. Our puppy has been teaching me some life lessons about patience and calm, assertive behavior. He gets easily obsessively focused on things just like I do. I’m sure this is some shared energy but he is a blue heeler puppy and gets very intense by his breeds nature very easily. We end up having to exercise him multiple times per day just to keep him calm enough to work with him. I think his obsessive focus has encouraged me to do some self reflection on my own ruminative nature. It is difficult to focus on my own self-pity when I am fully engaged in helping others. After all, “A life not lived for others is not a life.” -Mother Teresa
Proverbs 3:5 “open your heart to God and don’t lean on your own understanding.” I am really trying to live this verse. I HOPE that I can hand things over more consistently as I tent to fall right back into driver seat mode of life until I start to lose control. I would like to be the passenger all the time and no backseat driving either. I am grateful for our home sweet home, daycare and new grass. I praised my kids and husband, meditated, and sang stayin’ alive today. Yesterday we sang bohemian rhapsody in the car together . I created something and worked on being more open. Today’s happiness challenge is to try and go with the flow more readily and easily and not try and control things as much. I HOPE for greater faith.
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
― Corrie ten Boom