Spiritually Speaking Blog

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In All Things Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I think the real reason is because Thanksgiving is a simple gathering of loved ones counting their blessings. No gifts, no cards, no extensive build up to the day, merely a day set aside to be grateful. How refreshing! In all the hubbub of the season we sometimes lose sight of the meaning and the why of the holiday. But on this special day, we find peace and blessings amid the chaos with family and friends. So as we gather around the table, let’s remember that we are too blessed to be stressed. Here’s a simple Grace that your family might use that captures the reason for the season! Thanksgiving Grace (all join hands and) This is a day for thanks. A day in which we see or hear or feel the wonders of the other moments of the year. This is a day for time. A day in which we think of pasts that make our present rich and bountiful. This is a day for joy. A day in which we share a gift of laughter, warm and gentle as a smile. Above all, this is a day for peace. So let us touch each other and know that we are one. For these and other blessings, we thank Thee, God. (Daniel Roselle from Graces by June Cotner   Wishing you and your families all the love, light, and laughter of this special day of gratitude. Thanks so much for your support and... read more

Two “Musts” for Thanksgiving

If next month is the time to be “merry”, this is the month to be grateful. Gratitude, being the lynchpin for a happy life, is the official celebration kicking off this holiday season. We don’t build a happy life being grateful during the Thanksgiving holiday or when things seem to be going well. We must develop a “habit” of appreciation throughout each day and each event no matter how we evaluate the situation. To encourage this practice of appreciation we must remember: “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Author Unknown Here are two powerful exercises you can do to build your gratitude into an everyday practice. 1 ) List building. Making a list is a powerful tool. Think, meditate and let yourself be caught up in the emotion of appreciation recalling events in your life. Here are a few list-builder ideas to help kick start a disposition of thankfulness. Be sure to identify by name and mentally thank each blessing. -5 most important days in your life. -5 most influential people in your life -5 talents that you have -5 loved ones who bring you joy -5 hardships that you have overcome -5 most important lessons that you’ve learned Being able to name and identify all things as “blessings” will open our eyes to the miracles of every day. 2) Instead of counting sheep to help you fall asleep, try thanking the Shepard for the many gifts that you enjoy. But here’s the kicker: count your blessings in alphabetical order! Not only does this build thankfulness but also tires you out putting you to sleep with a grateful heart... read more

Doing Your Best?

Recently I ran across a question posted on a FB page, “How do you know that you are doing your best?” One of the respondents wrote that a good nights sleep was an indicator. I used to measure my goodness by the number of thank you notes that I received! Some people judge their “best” by what others think of them, “Did I get a good evaluation?” In the end it’s not the opinion of others by which we are judged, it’s God’s review that counts. Remember the parable of the Talents? The Master entrusts a certain number of talents to his servants and expects a return. The parable teaches us that God has endowed us with certain gifts and talents and expects a ROI (Return On Investment). How did you spend your time? How did you use your talents? How did you make the world a better place? Besides giving us the talents, God also gives us the opportunities to use these talents. I call them G-vites. As each situation in life presents itself, we can respond with one of two choices. We can accept the invitation to change, give, evolve and move deeper into the human experience to meet God. Or we can remain on the sidelines in the safety of the status quo, afraid to risk, afraid to invest our talents and time. God gives us many chances to invest using our abilities. God is inviting us to step up to the plate employing our God-given talents. Leaving our comfort zones we can venture into bravery, compassion, honesty, perseverance, hope, resilience, forgiveness, patience, faith, gratitude and... read more

Formula For a Life of Happiness

Do you get confused with the pressures of everyday life – family responsibilities, work overload, social obligations, and the growing worldly tensions? Many times I feel my head spinning. Numerous factors pull us away from our real purpose of this earthly journey. Sometimes we just don’t “get it”! How often do we have the best of intentions to have a wonderful day or meaningful life, and before we know it we have gotten lost, distracted, or confused and end up bungling the job. God knows this about us. Without God’s help we are never going to get the point of life, never going to “get it together”. But God is never going to leave us floundering. To make sure that we don’t miss the point of this life, God gave us the teachings of Jesus to use as our foundation, the “never-fail principle”.   His whole teaching boils down to two points. First if you want to be happy, love your neighbor as you love yourself. It’s the only way of living that brings happiness and ensures that we “get it” the real meaning of “why” we are here. This seems like a paradox: we get a life by giving life. We get love and happiness by loving others and reaching out to make others happy. This is the true and lasting happiness that doesn’t leave us, even in the face of trail and tragedy.   The second point is that if we want to be happy, and are willing to do all the tough things that real love requires, we have to stay connected to God, the source of... read more

The Pain That Just Won’t Quit

In each of our homes, Joe and I have proudly flown the American flag. Following the protocol we lowered the flag to half-staff to honor the loss of life in the tragic shooting in Las Vegas. After two weeks we raised “Old Glory” to full height to symbolically get back to “normal”. But we, and especially the families who suffered these horrendous losses will never get back to “normal.” Grief weighs heavily on us. Even time fails to heal some grief. We can carry a huge hole in our hearts at the loss of family members or close friends. The sorrow can form deep scars. Grief is a part of the human condition. But in order to avoid losing ourselves in grief, we need to put adversity in its proper perspective. Father Richard Rhor, from the Center for Action and Contemplation commented in a conference that grief is a powerful portal into the soul’s work and transformation. He explained that grief is a time for waiting in the darkness for wisdom and hope. To get to this “wisdom and hope”, which seems like a total impossibility, a person works through the defined steps in the grieving process. According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross these five steps are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. We as humans are all dealing with grief at some time in our lives, never knowing quite when. Progressing through these five steps takes time. There is no order, or time limit on each step and no guarantee when a person will finally find peace and acceptance. The only people who think there’s a time limit for... read more

The Best Is Yet To Come!

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love him.”     1 Corinthians I need to read that daily, maybe put it on a sticky note on the steering wheel of my car. I need a constant reminder that we are not who we think we are. We are not of this world! The day-to-day responsibilities of this earthly life sometime saturate our minds pulling us into the falsehood that we are human bodies here on earth toting a spiritual soul. And that’s all there is. But just the opposite is true. We are first and foremost children of God. We were made as spiritual souls intended to have this earthly body for a physical existence. Our human bodies serve us as we make our journey, allowing us to learn lessons in the classrooms of joy and adversity. So exactly how does this change anything? I think it helps to put things in the right perspective. Amidst the earthly struggles, adversity, questions and doubts saturating and shaping our mental outlook, we need to remember that God is our father. We are “chips off the old block”! We share the same divine spirit of God. He planted the seed of goodness within each of us. God will never give up on us. That’s what God is like. Looking down upon us, God sees tiny implants of goodness just waiting to grow. God sees all the possibilities and all the gifts we have. God knows we’ve got good “genes.” There is no way God will... read more

Got Patience?

The virtue of patience is not my long suit. Last week I experienced an epi (epidural steroid injection) in my cervical spine. Listening to the instructions I didn’t think a little shot could be that much. After the numbing serum and the interventions sedative, the shot itself wasn’t that bad. What I did encounter was the surprise reaction at my lack of patience when I was out of my comfort zone of not feeling like my old self. I felt impatient with myself, others and probably God if I hadn’t realized that this was a very temporary setback. I was a little woozier than I usually am! Leaving the doctor’s office I had Joe’s steady arm to guide me. I had to clutch the handrail to keep from stumbling down the steps. (I don’t do “dependent” well either.) Once at breakfast I could raise my right arm to a certain height and then it would just drop. I couldn’t pick up my coffee with my right arm without scalding myself. Finding some relief that these setbacks were to last a few hours, I thought of all the times that I have been impatient with others who suffer with all kinds of impairments and some permanently with certain ailments. I berated myself thinking how I take my good health for granted. I mentally apologized for all the times that people failed to meet my time expectations. I reflected on all the times I tapped my toes in the grocery line as older feebler people fumbled paying for their groceries. Or when I lose patience walking behind slower amblers in crowds,... read more

How’s Your Vision?

“Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.” (John Madden) Sometimes we feel like that blind horse making our way, not knowing just where we are going, the whys, and sometimes the real purpose of our lives. Life would be so much easier if we could prepare ourselves for what was coming next. Surely we would make better plans if we were aware of upcoming events. Or, at least be able to endure certain hardships if we knew “why” they came our way. What lesson are we to take away. Life is made up of pop quizzes. Many times we cannot even study or prepare for what is asked of us. We try to make plans, only to adjust and readjust. (Ever feel like the GPS re-routing?) Sure we need a vision, but like the horse we need to plod ever forward pulling whatever load we have. The good news is that we don’t have to have 20/20 vision to find God. God will find us. All we have to do is to respond to his gentle (or sometimes not so gentle) guidance with a grateful and trusting heart. Like the rein on the back of the horse God will lead us in the direction for personal and spiritual perfection. We need to trust and honor that journey that God has in mind for us. We just have to face each day with a strong faith that the good Lord knows what is best for us. It’s not for us to know what is in the mind of God. Sometimes, when I struggle wanting to know... read more

Can You Be Positive in Negativity?

Can You Be Positive in Negativity? Upon rising I walked into our family room. Joe had the TV on with the morning news. “Who’s blowing up who today,” I greeted him. Besides the poor grammar, I caught myself in a negative moment. What a terrible way to begin my “glorious adventure for the day” that I had prayed for just moments BEFORE getting out of bed. In an instant, I had stepped away from my morning prayers ushering in a beautiful day into the bad news blaring. It seems like it’s a slippery slope downward from the heights of joy and anticipation to being caught up with turmoil, suffering, violence and seemingly impossible divisions bombarding us from all directions. The choice is ours. We can choose to live in this swarm of negativity or we can choose a life of happiness. We are not victims of our situations. Easier said than done, but try these 3 steps for a start. Become aware of the negativity. The pessimistic attitudes that others carry (sometimes unknowingly) rub off on you. Just listening to how someone’s day went can drag you down.  Be a strict gatekeeper of your mind. Assess and think critically, dismissing the onset of any negativity. Go mentally to a happier place. Make time in your day for happiness. Do things that lighten your spirit. Have lunch with friends who make you laugh, get some physical exercise releasing pent up stress, or enjoy some alone time reflecting on your blessings. Alan Watts, an English philosopher and expert in comparative religions, stated, “The whole art of life is knowing how to transform... read more