Spiritually Speaking Blog

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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... read 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... read 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... read more

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... read more

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... read more

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... read more

Christmas Perfection?

With this nostalgic time of the year, childhood memories of Christmases long, long ago come to mind. Putting up the traditional tree drags up dubious memories.   Have you ever had a mother instruct you on “exactly” how to put old-fashioned tinsel on the Christmas tree? With mom’s German engineering skills we were admonished to hang one, and only one piece on at a time and it had to dangle down not touching any other braches. There were many “do-overs” when not meeting these expectations.  By the time the “tinsel drill” was over, I was ready to throw the whole box and the tree and call it “close enough”! So much for losing the spirit of the season! Perfection, I think we’ve all had some sort of “perfection” drilled into us somewhere along the line. If not the Christmas tree, there were demanding teachers, exacting parents, or imposing church rules careful not to deviate from. Especially during these busy days we need to remember the admonition that life is not about the destination, but “The Journey”.  We get so caught up in preparing the perfect dinner, purchasing the perfect gift, and displaying the perfect family, that we are swept through this wonderful holiday season just going through the motions, seeking the impossible ideal of perfection.  Like the rude guest at a cocktail party, who talks with us while all the time being distracted while watching for someone more interesting to move on to meet, we often look right over the present moment right in front of us. We are seeking to create the perfect holiday while the numerous blessings are right... read more

Christmas Reminder!

As this wonderful season begins to unfold, I bring you a spiritual reminder. Yesterday is history.   Tomorrow a mystery.      Today is a gift.    That’s why we call it the present!     Just a four short weeks from now we will be taking down the tree, packing up the ornaments, cleaning up the mess and look at a stack of “to do’s” that have been set aside for the holiday season. We will be wondering what all the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking and dressing up was for? How will we feel in Dec. 26tH? How we feel that day hinges on how we remember what all the shopping, cooking and decorations are all about NOW. All of these preparations are about building community! All the work of Christmas is about renewing the bonds that bind us to one another and to the Lord. If we remember that we will know inside how to handle “The Present” these next few weeks. The gifts we buy will make sense in the larger scheme of things. How we decide to spend the days and how we decide not spend them will make sense. Our hosting of get-togethers and the way we are guests– reaching out and pulling everyone inside the circle of our care and concern. All will make sense if only we remember “why”. The calm we keep at our center during these busy days will tell all who see us that we know what “Our Present” is about, that we know what matters and what does not. And because of that, we ourselves will be a... read more

Who Needs Black Friday?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving devoted to sales, brings out the crazy drive to “get the best deal”. Saving money and securing the best price, often comes with strings – beating out your neighbor, getting up at dawn and grabbing at a limited supply. Granted everyone wants a “deal”, but who really needs it? Especially remembering that the best things in life are free! This time of the year, with Thanksgiving as the kickoff is the perfect time to celebrate God’s love for us – the best deal of our lives. We don’t need Black Friday to get in on this special offer. All we have to do us to be ourselves, living as beloved children of God. God’s love for each of us is abundant and not anything like the Black Friday Sales. In God’s Promotional Program: There is no time limit– this is not a one-day shot of love. The offer stands throughout our lifetime. You can ALWAYS count on God’s love to be there. There is not a limited supply of product. There is plenty of love and abundance for all. God will not run out of love, caring or compassion. This offer of unconditional love is open to all– you do not have to “earn” the deal. God does not give a day of his love for a day of our good behavior. God’s love is there in spite of our behavior. What better deal could there be? “Give thanks to God – He is good and his love never quits.”   (1 Chronicles... read more