Spiritually Speaking Blog

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What Gets More Valuable With Age?

What, besides wine, gets better and more valuable with age? In an article by Jess Catcher the author lists 11 other interesting things that get better with age: whiskey, jeans, cheddar cheese, cast iron skillets, beef, balsamic vinegar, fine leather, pickles, flannel sheets, and seedlings. (Thumbnail Source: Pinterest). Agree? Anything else that you might add? Returning from a girls’ trip to Tucson with 4 of my dear high school classmates to celebrate a birthday, I’m reminded of just how precious life is. After spending 3 fun-filled days with them, I would highlight two additional things that become more valuable as we age: time and friendship! (Maybe the author, almost 30, has not lived long enough to value these other two.) Studies have shown that our happiness is in direct correlation with our social interactions.  Social interactions are paramount because friendships can add years to our lives and life to our years by creating meaningful connections. A good friend can help us make it though this life by acting as a sounding board, solving problems dealing with loss, disappointment, doubt, confusion, parenting issues and divorce..all  helping with depression. A friend’s honesty can be priceless, helping us see clearly.  Friends can be role models uplifting us to be our best selves. Through a sense of sharing and belonging our happiness soars. Our self-esteem grows. These  “friendship boots” are very difficult to fill, making friendship so precious and valuable, especially as the years tick away. True friendships are rock solid, forever firm. Time on the other hand is fleeting…If we waste it, we will never get it back. The old saying is true:... read more

Spurred On By ZD Wine

Recently I attended a wine dinner celebrating the 50thanniversary of the ZD winery in Napa Valley. The owner explained how his father began making wines while working in the aerospace industry in 1968.  In naming his newly found winery, he lifted the name, “ZD”, off the walls from his past employer, standing for Zero Defects. ZD – Zero Defects, a perfect call to excellence for all of us to remember. Can anything really be perfect? Well it is! Can we live in this conundrum with ironies surrounding us? All of creation is bursting with the Creator’s love. It’s up to us to discover how this “perfect” is in all the “imperfection” that we see. Even if you just look at the letters of the word, “imperfection”, you will find the word, “perfect”. The smaller word is tucked, almost hidden, in all the rest of the letters. How can we find this “perfect” with all the suffering, injustices and misery in the world? How can we find that kernel of perfect order in the midst of the chaos surrounding us? We need an attitude adjustment donning our faith colored glasses, knowing that everything works out for the best in God’s Big Picture. We may not understand it at the time. Maybe looking back in hindsight may help, but other times, may not. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are “chips off the old block”, working our way back home. Listen to your heart whispering, “There’s more than you can see right now, much, much more on the other side of the wall. You are not made... read more

Life’s Seasons

Recently Sears and Roebuck, famous for their coveted catalog and mail order business, closed its doors. Once known for being so big that the employees filling orders had to use roller skates in order to work in a timely manner! Similarly, singing the same sad song, the beautiful historic Montgomery Ward building on the Chicago River, now serves as the corporate headquarters for Groupon. Both of these landmark businesses have had their “season”. The extensive use of Amazon has shifted our way of shopping. Shopping trends, businesses and life styles come and go. And so do our lives. Seasons come and go as we cycle through our years of life! We need to live knowing that life is a participation in the Divine Cycle. The Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes, tells us that there is a season for everything. “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.” As we go through our daily lives, moving so quickly through the times of our lives, we sometimes miss the blessing that each cycle brings to us. We need to retrain ourselves learning to rejoice in the present, no matter how difficult: There is a time to soar and a time to grieve. There is a time to laugh and a time to cry. There is a time to ride the wave and a time to hang on for dear life. There is a time for work and there is a time to relax. There is a time for closeness and a time for separation. There’s a time... read more

Want a Do-Over?

Alabama native, Philip Rivers, quarterback of the San Diego’s Chargers, is a devout Catholic, a husband and father of seven. (Even though the team is now in Los Angeles, they will forever be the San Diego Chargers to me). At the North Carolina State University graduation last May, while delivering the commencement address, Rivers shared a Latin phrase that is very special to him. (Probably from his days as an altar boy!) “Nunc Coepi” translated “Now I begin”. While known for his passing bombs through the air, Rivers reminds us of how this phrase is applicable to everything in our lives. It seems like we are always beginning anew – In our relationships with others, building trust, compassion, acceptance and patience. In our professions, beginning a new assignment, taking on new responsibilities, In in our spiritual development, initiating certain practices strengthening our relationship with God. And in our habits, trying to become the best versions of ourselves. Whether you throw an interception, score a touchdown, make an error or earn success – you are always beginning anew. Nunc Coepi. These beginnings are ongoing. You begin again, and again and again. You never give up. Nunc Coepi. God does not expect us to be perfect. We make mistakes. We learn. We take a tiny step at a time – no huge leaps. Not an exciting process to watch; oftentimes weary. We learn resilience like the inflatable children’s toy that is designed when knocked down to spring right back up. It’s the ability to recover from difficulties. Similar to elasticity, resilience is the quality of being able to bend but not break. We... read more

Don’t Resist What Is!

We start out in life with high hopes, even higher expectations, and the knowledge that everything in life will go as planned. We make decisions based on our hopes and dreams around our lifetime goals – schools, spouses, employment, and retirement.   But somehow life has a way of dashing our game plan. Education may not be what we thought it would be. Marriages, fail. Jobs come and go. And retirement somehow wasn’t the cruise we signed up for…but it IS the ship we’re on! 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. Our happiness is not a goal, attained once and for all. Happiness is finding that joy in the present situation on our journey to fulfillment. There is no one way to happiness. Sometimes we put off happiness until…until we are out of school, until we are married, until we have children, until the children leave, until the divorce is final, until you pay off the house, until you get a promotion, until you retire… Alfred D. Souza put it in perspective, “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” These situations, for better or worse, are the building blocks of our lives. And as... read more

Give Me A Break!

In the maze at the DMV to apply for the new driver’s license, I was sent to desk number 5. Before I sat down I noticed this sign on my clerk’s desk, reading, “Please be patient, I am Training”. With patience being on my short list, I took heed especially in this stressful process of slow moving office workers shuffling mounds of paper amidst throngs of dazed driver applicants. You know the drill… How wise of the “new guy” to post this reminder to all of us. Maybe we should all post this on our foreheads. Be patient, we are ALL in training for our life’s work. Our mission in life is growing into the likeness of God, taking on his inner disposition being transformed to shine our Divine nature. Being patient, kind, forgiving, tolerant, honest, grateful, charitable, humble, compassionate and resilient! That’s a tall order, not only for a morning spent at the DMV, but for every day, every occasion.   We have all made our fair share of wrong turns and spent more than enough time on dead-end streets. None of those mistakes is any surprise to God. After all, as our maker, God knows we are slow learners. All that God asks is that we not look backward but get up and try again. We cannot be afraid of these “failures”. This give-and-take, the falling-down and getting-up, the forgiving and being forgiven in our daily lives will allow us to grow into our best selves. The fabric of greatness of goodness is woven out of ordinary thread.  It is woven very slowly and always by hand. ... read more

What Are the Best Doctors in the World?

In his last year on this earth, Steve Jobs reflected on life. “The best six doctors in the world are sunlight, rest, exercise, diet, self-confidence and friends.” As smart as Steve Jobs may have been, I think he missed a most significant power.  Although those six are important forces in any life, I would have to add “faith” to that list. With faith being just as strong and just as consistent, it can be a life-changer reducing stress and worry.  Faith is so powerful they even say, “Faith can move mountains.” Your faith is power pulling peace out of conflict, abundance out of lack, meaning out of sorrow, and peace of mind out of doubt. Faith can comfort you with peace in the midst of conflict.When the chaos and stress of daily living weigh you down you can go deep inside of your soul, finding peace in your Divine connection, your Rock. “Come to me, all of you that are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Faith can discover abundance in lack. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they do have. Jobs, money and position don’t ensure happiness nor do they ensure true abundance. “My cup runneth over.” (Psalm 23:5) Faith can give you meaning in the midst of sorrow. God did not promise us an easy journey breezing through life. But he did promise a safe return. Earth is a Life School teaching us valuable lessons for our personal growth and good.  “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,... read more

Ignite Your Passion!

Most young men probably don’t aspire to being a parking valet. But Jay does…with gusto! When Jay goes to retrieve our car, he runs all out, dashes like his pants are on fire. Returning with the car, Jay hands you your keys huffing and puffing smiling all the while.  Trying to reassure him, I said, “Jay, you don’t have to put out like that, we are in no hurry.” He beamed, “I want to.” His response surprised me.  “Why, I questioned, “ Do you want to tear at breakneck speed?” He explained, “When I was in high school I spent most of my time in a wheel chair with a bone disease watching others running, playing sports and having a good time.  Now that I can run, I do. Each step I take is with joy and thanksgiving for the ability that I now have.” Wow, what a powerful lesson on how to share your gifts with enthusiasm: Love What You Do, and Do What You Love! Jay has this passion for life that makes life worth living, finding joy and meaning in even the smallest of activities.  I hope his enthusiasm is contagious. We all need a dose of high energy and positivity. The dictionary defines enthusiasm as having “intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval for something.” This powerful resource of enthusiasm, injected into daily life will overcome obstacles, adding significance to EVERYTHING we do. Enthusiasm, optimism and interest can free us from being weighed down with negativity and chaos. As the years roll by, gravity seems to take over. It physically drags our face into wrinkles and... read more

Find the Power in Gratitude

If you have strengths such as love, kindness, hope, creativity and 20 other positive powerhouses, you will still be missing the single best predictor of good relationships and emotional well being as reported in the Scientific American journal….that being GRATITUDE.  We did not create ourselves, or our world. We did not get where we are today all alone on our own. So living in gratitude reveals our truth. It’s living honestly giving credit where credit is due. “Gratitude is a way of seeing that alters our gaze.”– Robert A. Emmons Living in gratitude means that we take nothing for granted. Life owes us nothing as we acknowledge all good that we have has been given. Our good gifts have been given to us on loan one day at a time by a very generous God. We haven’t earned them. They’re not owed to us. We have no title to them. They are simply gifts, given not because of our goodness but because God is a father who wants the best for his children. So how can we not be grateful? How can we stop gratitude from welling up inside us? We must give thanks. Our heart insists on it. How do we thank a father who already has everything? Pretty words won’t do it and we can’t send flowers! All we have are his gifts, and that’s our clue. The only thanks that God really wants is that we use our gifts well, and share them with one another as generously as God shared them with us. Thankfulness is ever so much more than just words. It’s a whole way of living,... read more