How to Get the Most Out of Life

How to Get the Most Out of Life

I think we have all read so many articles on how to live a longer healthier life, not to mention the anti-aging products flooding the market. Are there really ways to extent your earthly life? Sure, increasing exercise and eating more veggies certainly help. But in a recent article based on the book, “Barking Up The Wrong Tree,” by Eric Barker, I found a “spiritual purpose” that jumped out at me. The author maintained that knowing our life’s purpose would extend our lives. (I always knew that would bring meaning to my life, but it kind of surprised me that knowing my “why” would extend my longevity.) He explains that if you ask yourself, “Why do I wake up in the morning?” If it’s a good reason, you will probably have a lot more mornings ahead of you.The research reported that those individuals who expressed a clear goal in life – something to get up for in the morning, something that made a difference – lived longer and were sharper mentally than those who did not. Your purpose doesn’t have to be to save the world. It can be as simple as meaningful work or a hobby that you enjoy or just biding time until all the grandchildren walk down the aisle! Oscar Wilde wrote that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you realized “why”. We were not born into this world with instructions. We come here blind with respect to our mission, gifts and challenges. It’s up to us to stumble along determining our true purpose. Most...
Why Don’t We Do More?

Why Don’t We Do More?

Last week I shared an inspirational piece found in the belongings of Virginia Piper, a woman devoted to uplifting others. A woman who answered the call to “do more”. “I will do more than belong…I will participate. I will do more than believe…. I will practice. I will do more than give…I will serve and love.” (A few of my favorite lines. See last week’s post for the entire piece) As we read the call to action, we are mentally and emotionally buying-in, wanting to go that extra mile. But why don’t we? I think sometimes we get “stuck”. We are stuck in our own fearful thinking or become comfortable in the status quo.  We see many options – but the thought of choosing paralyzes us. We have big dreams – but are too afraid to chase them. We do what we are told – but not what needs to be done. We make a start  – but fail to follow through. We know what to do – but can’t see how to do it. Often times we don’t’ know what to do – and can’t quite define the problem. We get stuck in our lives of going along, and getting along. We tend to please, perfect, perform, pretend and procrastinate.  One of my favorite authors, Neale Donald Walsch, reminds us that life begins outside of our comfort zone. We literally must take that leap…..leap of faith, leap of courage or leap into the unknown.  Stop putting important actions on “hold” for a “better day”. Don’t procrastinate waiting for that “perfect time”. Jump in…now Stop waiting until… Until you have...
We Can Do More!

We Can Do More!

Being creatures of habit, we traditionally kick off the New Year making the same 3 or 4 resolutions each year. Most include something like lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking or getting our finances in order.   Do you think my New Year’s resolution to “eat healthy”, “lose 5 pounds” or “exercise daily” is really going to motivate me into action? If it hasn’t worked by now, what are the odds?  Why not build upon your own life and what DOES work for you? Why not strive to be the “better version of you”?    I propose that we ditch our routine New Year’s Resolutions and build on the opportunities we have to do “good things” in our daily lives.  Our dear friend, Paul shared a written piece that he found in going through his aunt’s memorabilia. Paul’s aunt is Virginia Galvin Piper, an inspirational woman, and philanthropist extraordinaire.  Let’s take a page out of Virginia Piper’s life as our call to action for this year: “I will do more than belong…I will participate. I will do more than believe…I will practice. I will do more than forgive…I will forget. I will do more than teach…I will inspire. I will do more than care…I will help. I will do more than be fair…I will be kind. I will do more than dream…I will work. I will do more than earn…I will enrich. I will do more than give …I will serve and love.” We all have daily invitations from God, calling us to be the best version of ourselves, to live unselfishly making the world a little more beautiful, more kind and...
The Hardship of Prayer

The Hardship of Prayer

During my recovery from my recent hip replacement, I remembered reading a book, “The Gift of Peace” by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, in which he discussed the hardship of prayer during his last days on earth dying with cancer. (Not that I thought I was dying, but I identified with the hardship of prayer during that time.) In his book, the Cardinal said that we have to set aside “quality time” for prayer. It can’t be done “on the run”. We have to put aside good time, quality time. He shared that he gave God the first hour of his day, no matter what, to be with him in prayer and meditation. He shared that this practice helped him put his life in a new and uplifting perspective.  Although I do not give God the first hour of my day, I do set aside quality time for the Divine connection. But during my hip surgery and recovery, I was not able to find the “energy” or the “time” for the practice of prayer, even though that’s all I had, “time”. I remembered reading about this prayer dilemma in the Cardinal’s book.  The Cardinal said that he was taken “aback” when he realized that during his period of convalescence, immediately after one of his surgeries that he did not have the desire or the strength to pray. He admonished us to, “Make sure that you pray when you’re well because when you’re sick, you probably won’t.” We sometimes think that our faith is waning when we are not able to pray as intensely as we might have before.  But don’t be surprised. I’m thinking maybe...
Life – A Team Sport?

Life – A Team Sport?

Growing up in Nebraska, mostly everyone is a football fan. Go Big Red! I never realized how much a blessing this was until I had been down for the count recovering from a hip replacement.  Since I had my surgery right before Christmas I had two options for my TV viewing – Hallmark Christmas movies (most of which make me cry even more in my weakened state) and football bowl games (between schools I’ve never heard of).  Opting for the stronger option I chose that of the football playoffs. In this one particular game between Houston and Army, I noticed a subtle difference with a powerful message. The Houston players all had their individual last names on the back of their uniforms.  The Army players only had the team name, ARMY, on the back of theirs. An obvious display in the differences in the approach to the game.  Now even in my “in and out” state of trying to wean myself off the pain meds, I got the message. We are all in this game of life together….sometimes we manage individually but for the most part, life is a team sport. We get by with a “little help from our friends”, as the song lyrics go. For there can be no “them”, only an all-inclusive “us.” The circle of our love has to grow so wide that no one is left outside. That is our life’s task and we we’ll achieve it on God’s team.  In creating the world and all that is in it, God left his fingerprint on every creature. We are all part of God’s handiwork coded to...
Christmas Brings Glad Tidings…

Christmas Brings Glad Tidings…

On that first Christmas night we read that there were angels in the sky proclaiming a heavenly message:  “I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.”  “For unto us a child is born…And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.”(Isaiah 9:6) What exactly is this great news meant for all of us?  Emmanuel, translating to “God with us”! Now that is great news! God is always with us.  As we go through our daily routines sometimes we feel our aloneness and feel our emptiness. God has a way of surprising us. If our hearts are open, God has a way of filling us in a way we’d least expect.  God will not forget us or abandon us.  Jesus is God’s living promise never to abandon or forget us, but always to be a life giver for us. God can give us life even in the worst and emptiest of times, even when all seems lost if we let go of the inner barriers of despair, anger and distrust. God can open the doors of a new world for us and fill our emptiness full. God can do all that if we just let him.  So as we celebrate this “great news”, let’s remember the secret that God spoke to us by sending Jesus: “I love you very much. I will always be with you. Take my love and wrap yourself in my constant care. Take my love inside you and day by day the peace you seek will more and more be yours.” This is God’s...