Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happiness -- Within Your Reach!

Probably the most sought after state of being or mindset in human kind is happiness. In fact I guess you could say the most universal desire in the world is man’s desire for happiness. At times we feel it’s arrived and just when we start to enjoy having happiness around lo and behold, sickness, trauma or some sort of unexpected stress shows up at our doorstep and happiness leaves through the back door. Many people work hard at grabbing hold of ‘make-believe’ happiness – fluff and stuff in forms of a quick-fix, a one night stand, the next gadget or gizmo, the latest in fashion or attending the hottest functions – all in the effort to have and maintain that elusive emotion – happiness.
I am here to let you in on a couple irrefutable secrets … that will ultimately allow you to realize – happiness is absolutely and totally within your reach.
First of all, it is of utmost importance to understand what love is and involves. Real love is GIVING! It seeks only the good of a loved one. Yet in giving love freely, you get it, for it is like energy in that it expands only as it is released. It is like a seed in that it multiplies only when you sow it.
As Ella Wheeler Wilcox put it like this –
Give love and love to your heart will flow;
A strength in your utmost need;
Have faith and a score of hearts will show
Their faith in your word and deed.”
True abundance is found in the number of things one loves and blesses, which he is loved and blessed by … the number of children that are helped, the friends that are loved, the pets cared for, even the plants, the rivers … all of it, one pours out love and he is shown love and devotion … and the heart overflows with the beauty of happiness.
The most unhappy person on earth is the person who keeps all his love to himself … they cease to give and ultimately cease to have.
You see, life itself is expansion – mentally and physically. When you stop growing, you die … literally – as in your body; and figuratively – as in mentally. And you know what? Just as life is expansion (action), so happiness is service. In helping and praising others and in making them happy, well, you win happiness for yourself! Cool!
It is God’s plan to make one win happiness through struggle and service, through adding to the happiness of others. So, just ask yourself, What have I got to GIVE that will add to the happiness of those around me? You will be absolutely blown away by how many simple little ways of brightening the lives of others will present themselves, and how great the reward these ways can bring.
Here is an excellent poem I’d love to share with you –
You have no talent? Say not so.
A weaker brother you can lift
And by your strength help him to go
Renewed and blessed – this is your gift.
No talent? Some one needs a word
Of courage, kindness, love and cheer –
Which only you can speak – to gird
His spirit against grief and fear.
Yours is a special gift that none
But you can use, Oh, lift your heart!
So much of good will be undone
unless you do your own great part.
You are God’s helper day by day;
He comforts, guides and speaks through you;
He needs just you in this blest way.
No talent? Oh, that is not true!
Evelyn Gage Brown
Two important ‘firsts” –
  • The first characteristic of love is to GIVE.
  • God’s first (and greatest) commandment is to give out love.
Make the world a happier place than you found it. Do that, and you cannot keep happiness from coming to you!
@ YOUR NINTH HOUR are some excellent resources on Giving Yourself Away – of finding the Power within to live and love Abundantly and thereby gaining true happiness.
Click YOUR NINTH HOUR and see for yourself! Happiness is within your reach!

Friday, October 23, 2009

TGIF --Celebrate!

FRIDAY … yeehaw!

TGIF! That means: The work week is almost over. There’s a break from school. The week-end is almost here. Parties, relaxation, fun times, good times, yard work, house work, getting with friends, shopping, R&R … just so many activities that are different than the grind of M-T-W-T … Because only Friday signifies “yeah! It’s almost over”; this finality uniquely makes it a very special day. Wow! On Twitter TGIF is one of the most talked about subjects on any given Friday. Radio stations across the US center their whole Friday morning themes around TGIF.

TGIF can be many things – like a conversation opener. You can be standing on a crowded bus come Friday morning and you may hear one person say to another … “TGIF” and the other will smile and agree. It leads to “Whatcha going to do this week-end?” Hallways at schools will find teachers and students exchanging “TGIF” and then plans for their respective week-ends.

We celebrate Fridays – every single week! This day must really feel special – I bet the other days of the week are envious. This feeling of euphoria starts in the morning when the day is fresh. People wake up in the morning and it’s the first thing they say! Maybe adding a “yippee” or “whoopee” … there’s this good mood that just kind of leads one through the day with a lightness of heart, an expectation of something better when the responsibilities of the day are out of the way.

Even the food on Friday is more relaxed. For example, Friday evening suppers are usually a more carefree meal – pizza or hamburgers. And for many families it’s movie night or game night when Friday rolls around. For some it’s just kick off your shoes and do nothing and for others it’s party all night cause we can sleep in on Saturday.

The expression: TGIF has been around always! Thank God It’s Friday is the most common but did you know there are at least 35 other meanings. Yep, you can go to Acronym Finder and see them for yourself. Two of them I really liked – That Girl Is Fine and Today God is First.

Whatever it means to you it’s pretty much taken for granted that most of us are sure happy it’s Friday. Including me!

TGIF, everyone!

Here’s a really neat Cookbook just for the crisp, wonderful days of Fall. You should see the great recipes for fun meals on Friday.
00902X: Taste of Autumn Taste of Autumn By Gooseberry Patch
Celebrate the crisp days of autumn with a Gooseberry Patch cookbook just for fall! Illustrated with country charm and packed to the brim with tasty recipes for the whole family! Comb binding, 222 delicious recipes and ideas for fun in the fall.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Owned by Stuff

part 2

Yep, I came to the conclusion I am owned by stuff. But also, in going through it and making some wise choices I am becoming less and less enslaved by stuff. Sometimes it takes a wake-up call for us to face our stuff and make a decision to denounce its claim over us – like a sudden decision to move, or going on a mission trip and being faced with real poverty, or a loved one dies and leaves you to go through their stuff. But back to my stuff …

Just because it’s been stored doesn’t mean it all is fantastic stuff – some of it represents sad, heartbreaking times. For example, I ran across the cards from when we journeyed through the ordeal of 2 miscarriages – the pain was fresh again but also, the comfort from dear friends was sweet. I also made a Baby Book for those times — the tears were frequent as I mourned anew for our Jordan Lee and Jonathan Samuel.

On the other hand, I had kept the little uniforms our girls wore daily to school in Argentina – and the native clothing the kids had worn in Africa … oh my! how cute! What an adventure those years were.

There were cards, letters, journals … stuff that can be reduced to a couple of excellent scrapbooks.

And, to me, this was a biggie, I was affirmed by my own words – I ran across writings from my hand when I was only 18 years old … long before I met the man who was to be my husband. But these words, were prophetic – declaring the life I wanted for myself and for my future family. By God’s grace, I have not been disappointed! In my own heart I had charted my course and set my path accordingly – always asking to be guided by the Father.

Have there been dark times? Yes. Have there been obstacles – well, naturally. Has there been laughter in our home and ‘I loves you’s’ bouncing off the walls? yes and yes! Tears of joy and sometimes of heartache, passions expressed and suppressed, words shouted in happiness and even anger – all that. But always, Jesus in the middle, and very much at home – in our  house.

I wonder sometimes how people DO life without that … supreme guidance. How and why live without someone bigger than themselves having the final say in the really important issues of life? To me and I guess it could just be me … it’s a comfort. Well, even though all this stuff represents so much work and maybe some foolish decisions, I am over-all just so glad that it has come to this and has to be done … hopefully, I will get it taken care of in the here and now and my loved ones won’t have to make tough judgment calls after I’m gone.

Oh, shoot, the reality of it is — all this stuff represents a bittersweet chore for me. I get to go through it – lovely! and I have to make decisions – tough! what to sell, what to throw and what to … well, let’s see here … is there some kind of compromise?

Life – what it’s made of – is good.
To get ahold of your stuff before it gets ahold of you can visit YOUR NINTH HOUR and get some good suggestions!

This is the Day

To Celebrate!
I love birthdays – this is the birth-date of my Dad. He lived an unselfish life and died a rich man – surrounded by the wealth of his family … who in one way or another he influenced for good. Moments before he died he was able to make eye contact with each of us – it was glory in all its grandeur – moments I will never forget.
My Dad knew abundance in its truest, most succinct form.
Today is also our oldest son’s spiritual birthday. Truly worth remembering.
How will we celebrate? A hike and picnic on the Blue Ridge Parkway!! Hooray!!
Catch you later to let you know how it went.
Have you celebrated lately? Are you leaving a legacy? Does your family know abundance?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Owned by Stuff!

Part 1
Do you own your stuff or does it own you? I had to reevaluate this recently and am still working on it. To me this is troubling. Abundance needs to be directional and thought out or else one truly can drown in or be buried by their abundance of stuff
* Am I rich and encumbered by oodles and caboodles of money or valuable equipment, furnishings or paraphernalia ? No!
* But, I have treasures!! (that to anyone else could be classified as JUNK)
* I am a slave to my accumulated stuff. I am held captive by years and years of collected memorabilia, favorite comfy clothes, nic-naks and padi-waks – all in boxes!
It’s nothing new – I mean, I’ve known it for a long time but every so often, like today, I am reminded: I am owned by my ’stuff’! You see, I needed a cat carrier and I knew it was in the back of my storage closet and all these boxes had to come out so I could get to it …. yuck!
How did it come to this? Did aliens drop it off as they passed over our house? Did fairies come whilst I slept and sprinkle junkee dust through my attic and in my closets and in the ’storage shed’? I know, maybe YOU brought it over when my back was turned and tucked it in using the convenient camouflage of the familiar.

What exactly do I mean by ‘owned by my stuff’? Well, I make decisions based on this stuff … even though it’s inanimate and most likely of no monetary value, I spend money, or space, or time on this stuff. Major decisions in life sometimes center around the stuff a person has – like a bigger house because, dadgum, where we gonna put all our stuff?!? Sadly, I could probably get by just fine without most of it – many boxes haven’t been opened for years.  Oh dear, oh me, oh my! What’s a girl to do?

Well, in our family, I have decisions to make concerning all this wonderful, beautiful stuff. It goes one of 4 places -
… the YARD SALE,
… the DUMP,
… our NEW HOME or once again
… into STORAGE …
What? did I really say that? No way! Reality check. I know, some of it will NOT be thrown or sold – it’s too precious. It’s US. It’s ME. It’s WONDERFUL!

Why do we have this stuff that we insist on storing?

Well, I reckon, in some form or fashion this accumulated stuff represents who we are – our family – it’s who we are, what we’re made of. Each of us have different stuff. I mean, it may be letters, yearbooks, souvenirs, clothing, little pretties, but mine is different than yours and when I look back through it I see the years of my life; of our life as a family. It’s actually pretty cool – reading letters from old girlfriends, seeing photos from other couples who were newlyweds when we were all young; holding the toys the kids played with 10, 15 or even 20 years ago, touching the dress I wore on our wedding day … it’s like a physical connection with days gone by and the memories become fresh because of what I am holding or reading … precious memories.

This past spring we emptied out a house we’d lived in for 7 years – I spent 2+ weeks just going through the attic that held stuff. Dear Husband helped me with some … we both lamented over the needless accumulation but also, we laughed and shared so many precious memories as we opened box after box and made those decisions.

I did make 5 trips to the city dump and didn’t even cringe or look back in regret … I do believe I am making progress in this emotional tie to my stuff!  We also made 5- 6 trips to the Kidney Foundation’s Thrift Store … OR an alternatives for some may be the Goodwill Store, or a Women’s Shelter, a Church Closet … just GIVE what you can, when you can but, remember, don’t give trash … that is for the dump! Even then, use wisdom and recycle when possible – that is the sort of city dump we chose.

Which brings me to our now … Another of our ‘Beginnings’ is around the corner. Since our big move last spring, the road map of our life has changed again and we’ll be cutting back even more … on the stuff I went through today … where did it all come from? How about you? Are you owned by your stuff?
If you are going to experience a MOVE soon, be sure and visit FlyLady for some wonderful tips and advice! And also, here’s a great book to consider reading before you are forced to make a decision about all your stuff. In fact, over at YOUR NINTH HOUR you can see some other resources on Stuff and Clutter … have a good week-end  – with all your stuff!

922630: 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter By Emilie Barnes
Better than a how-to television show, this compact resource written by home management expert Emilie Barnes, can help you transform your home, church, or office into a clutter-free zone. With 101 tips to choose from, you’ll soon be on your way to ridding your rooms of piles, stacks, and disarray. Paperback.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Marriage on Mondays

I truly believe Mondays are marvelous – to me they represent Beginnings … for many they mark the beginning of the work week or the school week. I believe they can also mark a new beginning for our marriages.

What?  A new beginning? You might say : I have been married for over a year,  and you – 10 years,  and you – 18; … for me it’s been over 30 years! No matter!

I am here to tell you Marriage is all about the ‘Transformation’ of 2 unique individuals to become an incredible, amazing, beautiful, crazy Creation of Oneness!!!  This is the day we can all decide to act in ways that are special, unique, new, and alive – it just takes one of us to make a conscious effort and invariably the other will notice and smile. When you both go at – whew! look out world, beauty in motion!

We are designed to take delight in new beginnings. Maybe you’re not sure what to do next, how to be any different, how to get out of this dadgum rut … well, there’s oodles of books about marriage over at YOUR NINTH HOUR – take a look-see and figure out which one strikes your fancy for this time in your life – for this time in your marriage. This could be the day a wonderful transformation begins.

One of my absolute favorite books is The Five Love Languages – it so happens that our Jessi and Benjamin’s small group is studying it right now. Lowell and I first read it about 15 years ago and he taught a wonderful series of lessons on it. The Five Love Languages speaks the language of our own unique hearts – it’s popularity has only grown through the years. Could it be that you didn’t know your wife/husband spoke in their own unique love language? What if you began this week to speak the language unique to their heart and your marriage was renewed in amazing ways. Maybe, like me, you read this book years ago, and you have forgotten the language of your lover’s heart – it could just be the time to remember it …

It could be just what you need to make your Marriage on Monday simply Marvelous!

Me and my Marvelous Marriage Partner! This is the Good Life!


73156: The Five Love Languages
The Five Love Languages

By Gary Chapman

Dr. Gary Chapman, Christian marriage counselor and author of The Five Love Languages, helps married couples deal with their unmet needs for love. Because a husband and wife often have different communication styles, it is common for a spouse to not feel or recognize the love given to them. In his bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, Dr. Chapman identifies and explains five unique communication methods – Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Then he encourages couples to learn how to speak love in their spouse’s primary love language, not their own. Love is something you do for someone else, not yourself. Begin today. Includes a study guide; paperback.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Idnit refreshing

Idnit Refreshing … Good Times With Friends and Family
Idnit refreshing to realize good times and good friends are still very much alive?! It just lifts the spirit to know and be a part of special events like we were this evening.
We went to a “Chicken Stew” — there was also “Brunswick Stew” but the name of the event is Wilburn and Helen’s annual Chicken Stew. So, it goes like this … there’s a big kettle cooked of each (been simmering throughout the day) and everyone brings their own bowl and spoon and if they want they can contribute a dessert, soft-drink, or crackers.
Tables are set up with long wooden benches and folks also bring their lawn chairs and by word of mouth invitations, about 80 or so people start showing up around 5 o’clock. MMMM good! The stews were marvelous … I had a little of both. Then the dessert table – wow, it was loaded but I contented myself with a little persimmon pudding and a small piece of Mississippi mud cake. Oh, yeah I also enjoyed a couple of bread and butter pickles, a few pickled beets and one pickled okra (my first ever).
Wow, it was some good eating but probably more than that was the superb visiting that got taken care of. There was a lot of catch-up that happened and rich stories swapped. From different ones in their 80’s to babies, all ages had a good time – gathering in this particular, sweet way we not only fed our tummies but also our souls. It was special indeed … the annual Chicken Stew.
Idnit refreshing? Times such as these – there’s not a price you can put on the precious opportunities of friendly fellowship of family and friends.
Life at is best.