Posted in Personal Development

Are We There Yet?

This week we’re going talk about endurance. By now some of you are struggling with sticking with your New Year’s resolutions. Are you still on track? We’re 15 days in now. It’s starting to get harder. Some people have already given up. Many more will give up by the end of the month. Remember when I said 21 days to create a new habit. Well you’re almost there.

Endurance is part of the word endure. To endure something sounds like you’re just putting up with it, like it’s uncomfortable or even painful. It’s a hardship. It’s not easy to do. I think it’s all in your perspective and whether or not you’re really committed to achieving the goal that you want. It’s all how you look at it.

Endurance is about stamina. Are you training for it? You’ve set goals and now you’re holding on until they are accomplished.

The Bible tells us there are things we are going to have to endure: afflictions, persecutions, tribulations, grief, chastising, temptations, all things. All these things we experience help us to grow in character and virtue and most importantly, love. They help us to become better human beings. They help us to become holy. Now some of you may be smirking or rolling your eyes about being holy, but I believe that is our purpose here on this earth. God is holy and being sons and daughters of Him, we are called to grow in holiness. That could be why some people are so unhappy—they’ve stopped growing in holiness. (These are just my opinions.)

So many people have already given up on their resolutions. They stopped trying. I’m here to encourage you. Don’t stop trying. Don’t give up. Keep going. Get back to your resolutions and goals. Finish strong. Find someone to help keep you accountable.

Endurance is about taking it one step at a time. With each step forward, bit by bit, little by little, you will find yourself closer each day to your goal.

So what are you enduring? How can you finish strong? Here’s the endurance worksheet to help you. Keep going. Don’t give up.

I have the blessing of being married for 36 years this July. —36 years! Step by step, one day at a time. Never giving up. Committed to making it work for me, my spouse and my kids. There have been trials and grief and temptations-all those things listed above. But we’re still making it work. We are going to finish strong. The joys and peace and love far outweigh all that other stuff and we’re stronger because of it.

Stick with it. God will bless you for it.

Posted in Personal Development

The Discipline of Self-Control

What is self-control? Does anyone practice that anymore?

Self-control is a discipline. It’s learning how to say no. It’s the discipline of controlling our emotions and behaviors. It’s not having that 2nd piece of pie, not drinking soda at every meal, not buying another cute outfit, not losing your temper because your day was awful. Self-control is just that, controlling yourself, your emotions and impulses.

In this day and age we have access to anything and everything. Our bellies are full. Our homes are full. Our lives are full. There are so many choices, it’s overwhelming. Everyone is selling something and we are all buying it, because we can. And if we can’t afford it, well let’s just borrow the money to get it.

I recently had my daughter help me clean out my sewing room. I mean we cleaned..it..out! I got rid of so much stuff! I can’t believe how much I still have even after purging it all. It makes me sick now to think about how much money I’ve spent over the years on all the stuff that I never used. Now mind you, this is over 20 years of sewing purchases. (Even now, I’m trying to justify it, lol.) But I am not alone. I know a lot of family and friends who have a lot of stuff too.

I read a biography about Mahatma Gandhi who, when he died, only had 6 possessions. Can you imagine only owning 6 items? What would your 6 items be? (I have great admiration for minimalists.). I couldn’t even pick 6 things just for the sewing room!

We all have struggles. Some people struggle with money, some struggle with food. Some people struggle with addictions to drugs and alcohol. Some people struggle with depression and some with anger. What’s your struggle?

When you lack self-control, you are going to struggle. You have to be able to see your struggle for what it is and be able to address it.

Learning self-control is doable. It takes practice and discipline, Being aware of the things you struggle with is key. Avoiding those situations is also key. Having supporting family and friends matters too. Faith in God and prayer can help you overcome along with determination. Sometimes though, some struggles need a little extra help. That’s when you need to seek the help of a professional. There’s no shame in that.

I don’t want to seem flippant but in getting my sewing room cleaned out, I sought the help of my daughter who is an organizer guru. Whenever I walked into that room, the thought of cleaning it out was so overwhelming, I could never just get started. But when I asked for help, suddenly it was doable. We tackled it bit by bit. Before I knew it, it was done. Now when I walk into that room, there is a sense of peace and calmness. It’s wonderful. So if you’re struggling with something, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

“All things are permissible, but not all are beneficial.” “Everything in moderation.” and “Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.”or “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” I’ve heard these sayings many times throughout my life.

So what’s your struggle? Write it down. Make a choice to practice self-control for the next 21 days. There’s no better time like the present to make a change. It’s the new year. Change your habits. Change your life. Each change you make brings you closer to living life to the fullest!

Here’s a self-control worksheet to help get you started. Download and if you like this post, please share with your friends. God bless.

Posted in Personal Development

You Gotta Have Faith

Faith, now there’s a character trait! You gotta have hope in something greater than yourself; something to believe in. I’m stepping out in mine.

When I first started writing this blog, it wasn’t my intent to begin talking about my faith, right out of the gate, but I guess it was inevitable. Someone once told me I wear my faith on my sleeve. If you know me, you know I’m a person of faith. I don’t usually spout Scripture and I won’t shove it down your throat, but I’m not afraid to talk about Jesus, or God or the Holy Spirit. My faith is who I am. It’s what makes me, me.

I love to listen to Christian music. I read Christian books, especially books about saints and people who have faithfully served God. I work for my church. I try to stay connected to Jesus every day because I love Him. My peace and joy come from the Lord. I’m not bragging, just sharing what I know and what works for me. It’s good to learn what works for others and try it to see if it would work for us.

There are two commandments. 1. Love God. 2. Love others. I believe that is our mission here on earth. We can learn about and put on new character traits and virtues all we want, but if we don’t have love to go with it, it’s all for nothing.

This world is crazy and scary and seems out of control for those who have no hope or faith. It can be overwhelming, even for those who do have faith. But if you have faith in Christ, you know and trust that He has all this under control.

Good and evil. Love and hate. Heaven and hell. God and Satan. These things are real. We get to choose between them every day. God gives us free will. Jesus came that we might choose to have life and have it more abundantly. Eternal life is His promise. We have to learn to make good choices. Choose the better part. Think, “What would Jesus do or want me to do in this situation?” One day at a time. One choice at a time.

We are sure to make mistakes because that’s just who we are. We are sinners. That’s why we need a Savior. Jesus is full of mercy, grace and forgiveness. He loves us all so much. We just need to trust Him.

I was a little timid about posting this subject this early in my blogging career, but I’m trusting that Jesus will bless me (and you) for it. And just so you know, I’ve prayed over this post. God is going to use this for His good purpose. This is where the stepping out in faith comes in.

Here’s the faith activity sheet to inspire you to go a little deeper in your faith. Start small and build a better relationship with Christ. Find someone to encourage you in your walk. We are all on a faith journey, in different places. It’s not a one-size- fits-all kind of faith. It takes time to grow.

Let me leave you with a blessing for the New Year:

“The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace! So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.” —Numbers 6:24-27.

Thanks to all my friends and family for following along. This is a message that many need to hear. If you don’t mind, please share it with your friends. God bless. Happy New Year!

Posted in Personal Development

Old Things Become New Again

This season brings about memories of Christmases past and times gone by. Wouldn’t it be fun to go back in time for some of our favorite things from different time periods? What were some of your favorites? Here’s a few of mine. Hope it inspires you to reminisce and share your stories.

In the movie, “The Sound of Music”, one of my favorite songs was “My Favorite Things”. (Let that song play in your head for a little while. I bet it brings a smile.)

I love the music from the 50’s and 60’s: The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Elvis. I would say music is one of my favorite things. But I also loved westerns with John Wayne and movies with Elvis and family shows like Andy Griffith and Leave It to Beaver.

Those times seemed so carefree. People sat on their front porches just passing the time, visiting, talking and telling stories. I remember my grandpa showing me how to whittle a piece of wood with a pocket knife while we sat in a metal glider chair on the front porch.

I like the old cars too. My dad had a ‘55 Chevy and a Rambler that had push buttons for drive and park. Remember milk wagons and bread trucks? Fresh milk and bread delivered to right your door weekly from local businesses. —And if you were really good, you could talk your grandparents into getting a candy bar for a treat.

I have a silver Christmas tree that I put up in the living room. One of my favorite memories was one with the color wheel that went with the tree. The wheel spun around with red, yellow and blue colors. Under the wheel was one big hot light bulb that projected the colors onto the tree. As kids we would lay on the floor and watch that thing spin around and around. One year, it got so hot, the wheel melted to the light bulb. We were lucky it didn’t start a fire.

Riding bikes in the neighborhood, staying outside playing till it was dark; coming up with or creating your own games with your imagination and your dog or siblings; Red Rider wagons and BB guns. Being a kid was fun.

These were a few of my favorite things. Bring back the good old days!

We can still sit on our front porches and pass the time, if we can slow down and choose to make time. We can replace whittling with phones that FaceTime or Skype and tablets that can hold all the books we would ever want to read. (Even better, invite someone over to sit on the front porch with you.) We can listen to the 50’s and 60’s music on our Echoes or Alexa’s anytime. We have cable and Roku that plays all the old tv shows we loved to watch. Amazon will deliver just about anything you need right to your front door.

We have the opportunity to share all our favorite things with our kids, grandkids, friends and neighbors. We can teach some valuable things to a new generation. We just need to make the time to do it. That’s what it’s all about; Making time to pass on all our favorite things.

Old things can become new again! There’s no better time to start. What are some of your favorite things? Who can you share your stories with?

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Posted in Personal Development

Joyful! Joyful! ‘Tis the Season!!

Ok. It’s time for an attitude check. How’s yours during the holiday season? Are you “the glass is half full or half empty“ person? Do you look for the good in everything or focus on the negative? You can choose which one you are, you know.

Joy comes from choosing to be grateful and happy. What brings you joy? Is it this Christmas season? Celebrating the birth of Christ? Or maybe it’s shopping and the giving and receiving of gifts or visiting family and friends. Maybe it’s a hobby you enjoy.

Joyfulness is a character trait we all could use more of, don’t you agree? When you’re out driving around, how many other drivers do you see with smiles on their faces? Not too many. I get a kick out of seeing someone singing along with the radio.

At this stage of my life my joy comes every morning when I can get out of bed without an ache or pain. I’m thankful for each and every day. Joy comes when I see the faces of my grandchildren laughing or smiling at me.

Joy is everywhere but you have to look for it. You have to try to find it in every situation, in every hour of every day. There can be something joyful in everything if you look hard enough. I know. That seems like a lot of work to try to find joy in everything, but it’s worth it. It really is. Did you know that a joyful smile can strengthen your immune system? Who doesn’t want that?

Joy is contagious. Have you ever been around someone who is so happy and joyful that they just helped to improve your mood or day? Wouldn’t it be a great feeling to know that you could do that for someone else?

So be joyful today, tomorrow and the day after that. Keep spreading a little sunshine and joy wherever you go. It will help you get through your day and who knows who else may benefit from it too.

Today’s worksheet is one you will create yourself. On the left side of a sheet of paper list all the things that bring you joy. On the right side, write down ways in which you could bring joy to others. Go. Have a great day. God bless.

Posted in Personal Development

Who Has Time For Patience?

In this culture of getting what we want, when we want it at our beck and call, we’ve become impatient when we don’t get immediate results. We’ve come to expect quick responses.

It’s the time of year when everyone is running around getting things done in preparation for Christmas. Kids are getting excited about Santa. People become stressed and impatient with others. The nights are long and winter seems so cold. We spend a good deal of time indoors. The sun seems elusive.

This is a good time to learn the virtue of patience.

Have you ever tried to lose weight? Did you ever run a marathon or blaze the Appalachian Trail? That stuff doesn’t happen overnight. You have to train and work out consistently. You have to learn to eat healthier. You have to have patience.

In the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, let’s practice being patient. Let go of irritations and restlessness. Let’s take some time and slow down a little bit. Breathe in. Exhale. Most of the things we are impatient about aren’t really that important. Let someone in the grocery line go ahead of you if they seem agitated or tired. Hit the brakes instead of the accelerator at those yellow lights.

Teaching children not to interrupt in conversations is a great lesson in patience. I know some adults who could learn this as well.

I’m learning my own lesson in patience. I’d like this blog to take off and have thousands of followers like, right now! I know that’s not realistic. It takes time to build a following and create a website that helps people fill a need, something they want to read. It could take years. But that’s ok. I’m learning and growing in the virtue of patience. When you are persistent and patient, hard work will pay off.

What do you need to be patient about? Here’s the patience worksheet that may help.

Posted in Personal Development

Greatness

Everybody dreams of being great, or at least being great at something. We want big lives, big houses and big paychecks just like the celebrities and sports hero’s we see on our big TV’s.

Not everyone who sets out for greatness achieves it. I think it could be because they’re focused too much on the greatness of it instead of the service of it. Being great takes a lot of hard work and determination. It’s not very often that it just falls into your lap.

Mother Teresa didn’t become great because she was seeking greatness. She became great because she was focused on doing all the little things in her life that God called her to do. She did them day after day, after day. She was consistent in her approach to helping others. She was constantly in touch with Jesus and Mary through prayer. She was discerning about what she was to do to help the sick and the dying. She seized opportunities and utilized people to help her in her mission. God provided the skills she needed as she progressed in her calling. She learned a great deal through trial and error.

We all have a calling or purpose. We can all learn to be great by watching those who are great and learning from them. I can never be Mother Teresa because there is no one else like her. I am not called to do what she did. But I can learn from her and from other great people and use what I’ve learned to apply that to my own purpose or calling.

So if you’re looking to be great, just get started living life one small step at a time. Accept the small opportunities as they come. Grow and learn something new from every day of life.

Love God with all your heart and see where He will lead your smallness to greatness.