Pay Attention!

Pay Attention!

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats….” –Iris Murdoch When I read this I was struck by the word “small”. We usually wait for things to get easier, simpler, bigger or better before we take action or appreciate them. We tend to procrastinate, putting off action for “a better” time. We sacrifice small treats biding our time for bigger successes. But we need to remember that success comes one day at a time with small wins. How easily we lose sight of what we have before us. We slip from savoring the present moment filled with awe to merely surviving through another day. While waiting for the bigger and better, we might be missing out on the best right before us. Happiness builds on being attuned to the gifts of the present moment rather than looking backward or forward. Nostalgia for the way things used to be robs of us time. Mulling on things we once could do, or carefree days of youth only keep our heads turned backward. Similarly, dreaming of what we can do in the future if only a few things would fall into place lures us away from the gift of the present moment – filled with opportunities, no matter how small. Enjoy the small things in life, right now, because when you look back, they are really the big building blocks of our journeys. At the end, our lives are made up of small moments, enjoying a lunch with a friend, a shared moment of laughter with family, or a morning walk watching the sunrise. Don’t miss out waiting...
All Is Well

All Is Well

As we are preparing for the upcoming celebration of Easter it’s easy to get caught up in the traditions of hidden baskets, colorful eggs and joyous celebrations with family and friends. But in all the festivities, don’t miss the central meaning our faith –All Will Be Well We know that seasons are a part of our lives – our earthly life and spiritual life. The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven.” Just living day to day we witness these “seasons”… The Calm always follows the Storm. The Light always follows the Darkness. Spring always follows the Winter. Spiritually speaking: Our faith tells us the Life will follow death. Even Dolly Parton adds a more colorful take: “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” The rain, the storm, the darkness, and the winter may represent our fondest hopes getting dashed, our best ideas coming to nothing, the best we have wearing out and falling apart. We get sick and grow old, fall apart and die. It seems that the dark voice must be right. But there is another voice within us that says, “Not so. There’s more.” This is a faith-filled voice breaking through the darkness reminding us of the message, “It’s not over yet. All is not in vain. Easter always follows Good Friday. God didn’t make us for pain and suffering, for sadness and dying, but for life – enjoying this life and the exciting, eternal life. So as we prepare to celebrate the upcoming...
Two Sides of the Same Coin

Two Sides of the Same Coin

The Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of two characters. One of these notions represents danger. The other represents opportunity. – John F. Kennedy God tosses us a few coins.What do we do with them? They say that when God closes one door he opens a window. Yes, but we have to get through that door of crisis of danger, silencing the din of doubt and loss of faith, to be able to see the window of opportunity. We may have to live through the pain of divorce to find the happiness of a more fulfilling relationship. We may have to panic at the loss of a job in order to find a more satisfying line of work. We may have to suffer through a serious illness to enjoy a healthier life style and appreciate the support of friends and family. It’s not our problems that determine our lives. It’s how we deal with these problems that make all the difference. It’s all in our perspective and how we deal with the situation. It’s not the cards we are dealt with, but how we play them. We can lay down in self-pity, wallowing in our poor luck. Or we can see the situation as the opportunity that it really is. We look around our world and see terrible situations thinking, “how can they possibility live like that”, or “I couldn’t possibly do that”. But look at the resilience of our fellow man, taking on the challenges dealt to them. It is vital to be able to “rise to the occasion”, to see the other side of the coin, flipping...
It’s All Good!

It’s All Good!

Strolling through the streets on Catalina Island taking in all the window displays, my eyes and mind were captured by this one brightly colored tee shirt. It read:  “Wherever you go, there you are.” I laughed thinking “how ridiculous” or could it be “how sublime?” This affirmation by Ralph Waldo Emerson rang the same bell. “Wherever we are, God is, and all is well!”  I found this affirmation so comforting that I’m repeating it to myself a lot lately. In the midst of my worrying about this, fretting about that and losing sleep over the situations out of my control, I repeat this comforting mantra. “God is here, and all is well.”  Of course I pray telling God my concerns, (as if I had to fill Him in on my state of being). But sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a deaf ear. Is God really listening? Does He really care about my piddley problems in the whole scheme of the universe? On my soul level, I positively vow “YES”, but my mind has to be reigned in to catch up with God’s bigger picture. I’m not privy to this understanding while here on earth. With this knowledge and trust, I need to relax. I must totally give up control, letting go of the steering wheel, knowing that I’m in good hands with God in the drivers seat. Ask yourself these questions: Do you pray? Then why worry? After you reflect on these questions, repeat after me, “Wherever we are, God is, and all is well.”  ...
I Love You This Much!

I Love You This Much!

“God will overflow your cup, so grab the biggest one you can find.”- Rob Liano Every so often we need to be reminded of how much we are loved, not only by our spouses and friends, but also by God. When life seems tedious, things don’t go our way and God seems to have forgotten us turning a deaf eat to our prayers, we need that reminder of his love and commitment to us. I remember the Bishop of San Diego under attack in newspaper feature stories and editorials being accused of excessive extravagance in the building of the Immaculta Church. The citizens of the city questioned his judgment. He had to answer for the excessive amount of money spent. I’ll never forget his words from the pulpit. “Whenever you look at this church and others like it that brim over with lavish plentitude, remember God’s love for you is just like that: over the top, way out of line, and above and beyond our expectations.” From under his beautiful brocade vestments, the bishop extended his outstretched arms. “God loves you this much,” he spread his arms as broad as possible. Even nearly 40 years later, the image of the bishop representing Christ on the cross, with arms outstretched, stuck with me as a visual representation of God’s abundant love for us. What does it mean that God loves us so much that he will withhold nothing from us – not even his son? What it means is that no matter what, God will always be there for us, with ALL his love and power, comfort and grace, no...
Stay the Course!

Stay the Course!

One of my favorite motivational saying is, “It may not be the cruise we signed up for, but it’s the ship we’re on.” We start out in life with high hopes, even higher expectations, and the knowledge that everything in life will go as planned. But somehow life has a way of dashing our game plan. We all want the best of life, but that may be the source of our problems. Small disappointments and failures are an important part of our life’s journey, planned or not. Don’t let disappointments pollute your mind. We must be aware that our outside circumstances have nothing to do with our inside happiness – what really matters. Remember your many gifts. Don’t focus on the losses or the negative challenges that come to all of us. Bouncing back from disappointment does not mean that it did not sting. Focus on the whole picture of your life. Life is a special gift so there is always reason to celebrate. Remember that the sunshine always follows the rain. Everyday friends, jobs, family, love, health are all miracles that we sometimes overlook. Enjoy each blessing and each moment that life gives you to put the positivity in your outlook. The happiest of people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything the do have. Here’s what I mean. As I was walking, I saw this weathered car, chugging with the engine that sounded like it was missing on a few cylinders, slowed down to a stop in front of the stately home adorned with well manicured lawns and sophisticated gardens. A...