“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the
courage to press on to your destination.”
Who is driving your car and what happens when the road you are traveling on comes to a dead end? Today we depend so much on technology that often making a choice from our own life experiences becomes a challenge. This happened to us when we were going to a funeral in an unfamiliar area. Before technology we would have attained accurate directions before we left home. But we never gave it a thought. We just assumed our GPS would get us there with no problems. The dependence on this technology failed us. It led us to a rural road and an impassable bridge that was being rebuilt.
When I have such an experience, I am drawn to recall aspects of my life that reflect similar experiences. I have to ask myself who is in the driver’s seat. Am I habitually allowing outside sources to direct me to my desired destination? Am I prepared to get past the dead end should it happen? Have I strengthened my inner resources on a daily basis?
My resources are quite varied. My curiosity has led me to much research and discovery of tools to expand my horizons and strengthen my ability to move forward to achieve my goals in life. Since I started this blog, I have received inquiries about finances, budgets, helpful books, and many other avenues for personal growth opportunities. I have been blessed to receive many success stories. In most cases interest in creating a positive change occurred when faced with a roadblock or dead end.
The one common factor to achieve our desired destination is to apply the 90-day rule. Try a new practice or discipline for 90 consecutive days and then it becomes a habit in your life. Fifteen years ago I started a daily grateful journal. My notebook and a cup of coffee are the first things I grab in the early morning.
The first 90 days it seemed like another discipline. I had to get up a little earlier and put aside the daily newspaper. It is now something I look forward to doing to get my thought process focused on the positive things happening in my life.
I suggest you spend some time this week working on your road map and your plan to get to your desired destination in life. It could be in the area of finance, budget, spiritual growth, career, family life. Give it a try; you may be surprised with the results!
“Even the slightest Deja Vu are supernatural incidents.”
A few weeks ago I posted on my blog about Mary Jo McCabe’s book Learn to See and how I use the principles taught in this book to seek signs to support any major decision I make.
I am doing something I have never done before. I am submitting a follow-up to a posting I released on August 16 entitled Tools to Defy and Define the Darkness. I would not want to confuse you or lead you into thinking you are having a Deja Vu moment. The events that followed that posting make it important to me to share them with you. That posting not only enticed the attention of many readers, it also confirmed its relevance by the many additional signs I received in the following days.
Four years ago our son gave us a book entitled Pope Francis in the U.S.
My wife had taken the book off of the bookshelf to read and had it placed on the table in the Living Room. I randomly opened it and saw a highlighted message, "The Prophet Isaiah can guide us in this process of ‘learning to see.” Throughout the years Mary Jo has held many classes teaching on the messages from the "Prophets of Isaiah," which is how her spiritual teachers identified themselves to her. She was inspired to write the book with that title Learn to See. She has always said we are all capable of receiving answers to major questions in our lives by paying attention to signs.
The second confirmation came from another powerful sign. A few days ago I opened the blinds on our side door and the first thing that I observed was a feather that seemed to be adhered to the glass of the door. Looking at it closely it looked as though a spider had made a small web that caught the feather when a breeze had blown during the night. I immediately opened the book Learn to See to understand what the symbol feather represents.
Feather - Gift from your guidance coming soon.
This is where the small feather is attached and has remained for several days now.
When I receive such a sign, I am like a kid anticipating Christmas morning. The gift to me is the confirmation that guidance is always there for us. Where is it leading me? That remains to be seen, but just having the awareness is a gift in itself.
This week you may want to jot down any signs you receive. Signs can often be discounted as coincidences. Don’t discard them too quickly. Awareness of your guidance can change your perspective on many things, can positively influence your choices, and can certainly enhance the abundance in your life.
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.”
Today I am writing this message especially with our grandchildren in mind so they will know that this is a milestone event for Granny and Pops. The celebration of our 52nd. Anniversary. This is something that our parents or grandparents never had the opportunity to experience. They had a lifetime of marriage together but did not live long enough to celebrate that many years.
The number of years is impressive but more significant is the realization that we still enjoy one another’s company. We have a deep level of friendship, passion for our relationship and life, unconditional love, and support of one another…all true gifts from God.
Many of the principles I have written about to achieve a life of abundance were used to attract a lifetime partner. I carried a list in my pocket of the qualities I wanted in a spouse. I dated quite a few girls, but they didn’t meet my expectations until I went on a blind date with Jeanne. At the end of that evening my friend told me I said to him, “That is the girl I’m going to marry.” Two and a half years after that first date we got married.
We were blessed in the first five years. It was all romance and very little disillusionment. We went on a Marriage Encounter weekend after our fifth anniversary. On that experience we were asked to become a presenting team and a leader to spread the message to others. It was a weekend structured to make good marriages better. Our training in that experience certainly strengthened our relationship.
For five years we practiced what we taught to other couples on the Marriage Encounter Weekend. We would spend ten minutes every day writing a love letter to each other sharing our feelings on many different topics such as money, our children, relatives, work, leisure time. The true gift of marriage is to have someone that loves you, supports you, and is always in your corner. Such a relationship encourages us to always be the best person we can possibly be and that benefits everyone whose lives we touch.
The advice that we have for each of our eight grandchildren is to pray that you meet a partner that will love you unconditionally and celebrate life with you. Coincidentally or providentially we both were in the same church praying to meet a lifetime partner before we went out on that blind date. We would also encourage you to seek personal and spiritual growth experiences together so that you will grow through the years individually and in your relationship.
It has been helpful for us to learn on that Marriage Encounter Weekend that committed relationships go through three phases throughout the years. These are Romance, Disillusionment, and True Joy. It is also important to keep in mind that “Love is a Decision!” Too often we equate love with “a feeling.” The “decision to love” when feelings certainly aren’t loving or kind can get us through some difficult times and can strengthen the foundation of our relationship again and again.
One of our great teachers was a Jesuit priest, Fr. Chuck Gallagher. His priesthood was dedicated to the elevation of Matrimony. He inspired us to see our relationship as a true vocation. He was responsible for getting the Marriage Encounter movement introduced worldwide. His book Embodied in Love reflects his passion for the sacrament of Matrimony. He deeply touched our lives. Here’s a quote from that book. “In all of our human encounters, we are to be credible symbols of the Trinity. And we become those symbols by being each other’s intimates, by living a passionate, self-abandoning concern for each other in every moment of meeting. We Christians are to be remarkable, noticeable, credible, for the way we love each other, and for that love for each other is our intimacy with God.”
You may want to set aside ten minutes this week to write a love letter to your significant other letting them know what you most appreciate about them. Spend some quiet time together as you exchange your letters.
To our grandchildren: You may want to practice this powerful experience by writing a love letter to your parents or a best friend letting them know what you appreciate about them.
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
Whenever I am starting something new or making a major decision, I seek a sign to support my endeavor. Once I receive the guidance then I can move forward with confidence with a plan of action to achieve my goal.
I attended several workshops given by MaryJo McCabe on “Learn to See,” an approach to your inner voice through symbols. After she gave these workshops, she published her book using the title of the workshop. One of many comments about this book came from Dr. Laura Herission, psychologist, “In our busy world and our busy lives, we all need time to slow down and to connect with our higher power and inner light. Learn to See gives us a roadmap, a way to get there.”
The following quote is a powerful message from the first chapter of the book.
“Michelangelo once had been commissioned to carve a statue in a courtyard. A young boy came by and watched him begin to chisel the huge stone for a moment. Then the puzzled boy asked the great sculptor why he was hitting at the rock. Michelangelo replied, ‘Because there’s an angel inside, and it wants to come out.’ There is an angel inside you, pressing against the windowpane of your consciousness, wanting to get out and lead you in your quest for life. All we need is a method of releasing this angel from within. The use of symbols from your higher self is the key to unlocking this wealth of timeless information and awareness. This is a logical part of God’s plan. We were not put here to struggle in isolation.”
The following was a powerful sign I received using the tools I learned from the workshops and this book. The other day my son sent me an email with an inspirational daily reflection. I responded with the comment. “Great focus for me today! Despite my efforts to let go of evaluating ‘success’ by the numbers I still find myself doing that very thing with the blog, eagerly checking the number of readers.” He replied immediately and said, “Dad, it’s not whether 1000 people have read your message. It’s whether at least one person has read your message and changed their life because of it.”
The night of that email exchange I had a dream in which I heard very clearly the words Luke 15 vs: 4. I had no idea what that was telling me, so I looked up the Bible passage when I woke up. Here it is, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, doth not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after that (one) which is lost, until he finds it.”
The message in my dream was a confirmation of what my son said. If I am sharing my story on my blog and it touches the life of one person, it is of value. The number one in symbols talked about in the book represents new beginnings, move forward. This lesson is one that is not easy for me to learn but I immediately accepted it because of the powerful sign I received.
You may want to pay attention to signs you are receiving this week to assist you in significant decision making. Once you receive these signs share your story with others. This may help them light their candle and this can help change the world into a more positive focused place one person at a time.
“If you paint in your mind a picture of bright and happy expectations,
you put yourself into a condition conducive to your goal.”
---Norman Vincent Peale
When our friend Roy who now lives in Tennessee retired from his teaching career, he started spending much of his free time capturing the beauty of flowers, wildlife and nature in beautiful still life photography. He does this as a hobby and has no interest in marketing his artwork. He generously offered me availability of his artwork for use on my blog postings. His work stirs in me the same positive feelings as when I walk in nature. In the beauty of nature I am assured that there is surely a God that connects me to the Universal God presence in all things. The title he gave to the photo above is, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. That says it all, doesn’t it?
When we are in a positive environment of nature it is easy to see everything in rose colored glasses. Many readers of my blog have mentioned that they are amazed that I can see the positive perspective of so many things when we are living in such challenging times.
I have already written about several of the things I do daily. As I reflect over past years, there were many turning points that helped me achieve this state of mind. When I was in school, I had no interest in doing any more reading than what was absolutely required.
Once I started my career in marketing, one of the very first books I read and have kept on my bookshelf is The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. It was published in 1952 and remained on the New York’s Best Seller book list for 182 weeks. The message is as pertinent today as when the book was first published 67 years ago. It certainly whetted my appetite for inspirational reading and that has been a passion of mine since.
I am not going to go into detail about the book. I do want to say that it greatly influenced me to start thinking, acting, and reacting positively. It is the way I want to encourage our grandchildren to think and process situations in their lives. Every positive thought and action taken will make this world a better place for all of us!
Listed below are a few of the titles of the chapters in this powerful book. You may want to reflect on them to see if they offer something you have already implemented yesterday or plan to do so today or tomorrow.
“Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
-- Helen Keller
Making a positive shift in the way we approach life is not always easy. When challenges occur, they become the main focus and we cannot even think of moving forward. The disappointment totally absorbs our energy and discouragement sets in.
The force of negativity in the news that we read, and view is powerful. It often becomes an acceptable fact of life. Just a minute ago I turned on my computer to write and a message instantly popped up on my screen regarding, a major explosion in another state in which several people were injured and one person was killed. These types of heart wrenching messages pop up on my iPhone throughout the day.
In order to prepare ourselves for these negative influences we need to spend some time focusing on positive possibilities. That is why I work at it daily. It helps me to surround myself with people who are also working on making positive changes in their lives. We have been blessed with many people in our lives that are doing that very thing.
Yesterday I read about the value of “community” in one of my daily resource readings and it said: “When I am open and vulnerable in community, I reap blessings beyond my imagination.” The power of this kind of support was also quoted in a scripture passage “When two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
When I retired twelve years ago, we were blessed to connect with a couple’s social group which has now have evolved into a positive community experience. In participating in and witnessing the support we have been to one another I can confidently say I know we are making a positive difference in the world.
Last week we attended the funeral of our good friend Carol. She had dealt with many adversities, but always amazed us with her positive attitude to affirm her faith in God and renew her determination to move forward. The evening of testimonies was about how she made such a positive influence on so many people’s lives.
Carol’s Memorial Service touched us deeply. At the Church the entire altar where the urn with her ashes was placed was covered with affirmation cards that she had written and placed throughout her home. She prepared her mind daily to think positive wherever she was in her house.
The evening of testimonies was inspiring and uplifting. Her son-in-law shared beautifully on Carol’s ambitions in life which were always motivated by her desire to make other people’s lives better. The contractor that built her state-of-the-art day care center gave a beautiful testimony. He said when he met Carol, he was 45 and was already looking forward to the day he would retire. He was amazed that Carol was 60 and retirement was the farthest thing from her mind. She was tremendously excited about having a million-dollar building built to start a business that would house 350 children for her early learning development center.
Three weeks before she passed at the age of 86, she met with the pastor of her Church to lay out an entire program to get an early learning center established in the church community. At that time she was having challenges with her breathing and was dependent on portable oxygen. Once again, despite these health issues she volunteered to work with him to get it started.
Unfortunately any such positive happenings will not pop up on our computer screens or iPhones, so it is important to have resources of support and encouragement to assist us in seeing the positive possibilities every day. Each day is a fresh start. Life is too short to get bogged down in negativity. Put yourself in those places and around those people who are pursuing life with a half-full cup. You will be amazed at the boost this will be to your energy and enthusiasm which will in turn affect your contacts and continue to change many lives!
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
My wife is my most faithful of my “out of box” thinking. She will often tell me, “Where did you come from? You seem to have an automatic positive response to situations regardless of the challenge they may present.”
I have always approached life with expectations of a positive outcomes. There have been occasions however when this belief was tested. I really didn’t think there was anything I couldn’t approach this way. But there came a time when responsibilities became overwhelming and solutions more complicated and I had real moments of doubt. There were not always immediate or obvious answers to difficult situations. The areas I was having a difficult time controlling were finances, ending of a six-year community experience, and the illness and death of my father.
During these times I sought guidance and advice from many professionals, a therapist, a spiritual director, and a financial planner. I developed resource materials to draw on and put them to use daily.
One of the tools I use daily is reflecting on the message and scripture passage from Daily Word. After reading the message I underscore a few sentences to use as a guidepost for my day. “With a new dawn comes a fresh start, an opportunity to choose again.” I have also been reminded that a positive outcome can be defined in many ways. It can be a hard lesson learned or an unpleasant task accomplished. It’s my approach that defines that experience as negative or positive.
Beginning a day with a fresh start gives me hope that regardless of yesterday’s challenges I can approach TODAY with a clear mind and positive approach..
I have posted below the Daily Word message from this Thursday.
I make wise decisions that lead me to my greatest good.
Thursday, 25, 2019
The warm yellow glow of a sunrise reminds me that each day holds the promise of a new beginning. With a new dawn comes a fresh start—an opportunity to choose again. Which thoughts will I choose today? What is important to me? Which actions will lead me to my greatest good?
Lessons learned yesterday help me make better decisions today. As I tune in to my inner wisdom, I am guided clearly by the intentions I set for my life. Limiting patterns of thought that held me back in the past have no power over me today. As I gain clarity, I make wise decisions that change the course of my life for the better. With this new awareness, I claim my good now!
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?—Isaiah 43:
Each issue of Daily Word magazine includes two months of daily affirmative messages, feature articles, and spiritual poetry. Subscriptions are available in print and digital. http://www.dailyword.com/
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” --- Joseph Campbell
True gifts in life do not come wrapped and arrive when least expected. We were blessed to have that experience and are now grieving the loss of that gift. This person bearing many gifts made a perfect entrance and a perfect exit. She blessed us with many invaluable lessons on how to move on in life in spite of many adversities.
Twenty-seven years ago we hosted a meeting for spiritual enrichment in our home. The guest speaker had to reschedule the date, so we called everyone registered to attend. We somehow missed calling one person that we had never met. Of course she showed up right on time the evening of the scheduled event. We were so embarrassed that we had not called her but asked her to come in for a cup of coffee. That was the beginning of a long friendship. As it turned out we shared many of the same passions, a love to travel, to read and discuss books on personal and spiritual growth and attend workshops. We shared an enthusiasm about new experiences and encouraged others to do the same.
The experience of how she entered into our life confirms my belief that there are no mistakes. We could have allowed our embarrassment that evening to brush her off with a quick apology and brief “See you next week.” Once we opened the door everything changed. As I reflect on this experience, I realize the lesson for me is to let go of control and allow the gifts of life to flow into open doors with ease.
Last week this friend received and accepted the invitation from God to join him for a lifetime of eternal bliss. The closing of her door to this life gave us a role model for a perfect ending. The final three weeks of her life somewhat eases the pain of her departure.
On some level she must had known her time here was coming to an end. She called and said she would like to come over for lunch. She had to drive thirty miles to get to our house and traveled with an oxygen tank in her car. We sat and visited for several hours. During lunch she stopped, put her fork down, looked at us with tear-filled eyes and said she wanted us to know how much she valued our friendship and loved us dearly. Her birthday was the next week. Typical of her style, she planned her own celebration and invited family and friends to join her for breakfast. As we concluded the meal she went around the table and told each person the qualities she appreciated in them and how much they meant to her.
One week later she was in the hospital. In just a few days hospice was brought in. Years ago she had prepared a list of people she wanted called should it be evident that she was departing. She wanted to let them know how much they were loved and appreciated in her life. Her door to this life closed a few hours after all calls were made.
Her presence will be missed but the life lessons she taught will make the world a better place. Focus on the positive, encourage others to become their best, support one another in their dreams and passions in life and do not let adversity stop you. She faced many trials and obstacles, but she continued to move forward in faith and trust.
People function better when they know that they are appreciated. That person may be a friend, a parent, a sibling or a stranger that knocks on your door. You may want to take some time during the next few days to let people in your life know what you value about them.
“Remember: it is not about what happens to you, but what you choose to DO WITH what happens to you that truly defines who you are.” ― Alexandra Silber
One of the blessings in practicing what I share with others is it always comes back to me when I least expect it. I have always said never give up on your dream. That is why I have a toolbox of support material to assist me to stay focused on my dreams and aspirations to live life to the fullest.
In spite of these available resources I still have times of doubt. It is in those times I start receiving positive feedback that others are having success using some of the tools I suggest. Since my postings during the past two weeks a floodgate has opened offering me tremendous signs of encouragement.
Yesterday a young serviceman arrived to replace a piece of equipment for our Wi-Fi connection. I was his last service call so when he completed the job, he sat down to talk with me. His story is truly inspiring and supports my belief that with a positive attitude and a focused goal anything is possible.
This young man came from a home with an abusive alcoholic father who eventually left them. He had several mishaps with police, but then something happened that changed everything. He had two near-death experiences and received a very clear message that he had a mission to help young men that came from troubled backgrounds such as he had experienced.
His plan of action and the tools he uses to achieve his goals are many that I have in my toolbox. What is amazing with this young man is he developed these tools on his own. He only touched the surface of his success as we spoke. The thing that really touched me is he is accomplishing this in spite of the adversity he experienced in his upbringing. Perhaps his determination is even fueled by those early challenges.
He told me about his Dream Board and how he had manifested everything he had posted. He said his dream car remains on his Dream Board simply because it was so far out of reach for what he could afford that he always wants to be reminded of the power of this tool of manifesting your dreams. That car that is still on his Dream Board is the car he is driving today.
In addition to the Dream Board he has goals set for what he plans on doing with his life when he retires. The impressive thing about his long-term goal is he is only 28 years old and he knows exactly what he wants to do in retirement.
The third and most inspiring thing that he shared with me is how he tithes. He reaches out to young boys that come from the same troubled backgrounds that he lived in. He takes them to a movie, sports event and follows up with dinner to offer them encouragement. These young men are truly fortunate to receive the gift of his time and life experience. I was blessed by his enthusiasm, positive attitude and encouragement.
If you are not already using the tools this young man is using to create the life of his dreams with major success you may want to spend some time this week to start with at least one of them.
Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.
Life after life is still a mystery to me. I really never thought our loved ones still connected with us or could embrace, support and influence us once they crossed over to another realm of existence.
The following sequence of events that have happened from last week and going back to 1991 when I scheduled an appointment for a reading with Mary Jo McCabe, a spiritual intuitive, has made me a believer that our relatives can have a positive influence on our lives.
Up until the day I traveled to Baton Rouge for my scheduled appointment with Mary Jo I had never met her, and she did not know anyone in my family. The very first words she said to me was, “Your grandmother is here on your father’s side. She is very protective of you; she’s got her arms around you.”
My grandmother had died along with the baby many years before I was born while giving birth to her eighth child. My mother had never met her because my dad was a young boy when his mother died. She was never talked about in family gatherings and in fact I did not even know her name was Elizabeth.
The following is what I believe is the influence my grandmother Elizabeth had in my life going back to the name given to me at birth. My parents decided since I was born on Christopher Columbus Day that I would be named Christopher. When they were ready to sign the birth certificate, they changed their mind and wrote the name Jesse on it. My grandfather, grandmother Elizabeth’s husband, was named was Jesse.
Out first two children are boys, but my wife had selected the name Suzanne if either would have been a girl. We really wanted a girl, but we were not having success getting a third child. We joined a large group of Marriage Encounter couples going to Lourdes and Rome for the Holy Year in 1975. While at Lourdes we prayed for another baby and my wife said we would love for it to be a girl. Nine months later my wife gave birth to a baby girl. We still had the name Suzanne in mind, but Jeanne’s dad wanted us to name her Jeanne, after my wife. We were in somewhat of a quandary. I got home after the delivery, spontaneously opened the Bible, and the page opened to the passage of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth. I called Jeanne and said we are calling our daughter Elizabeth.
You may still be thinking that these things are just coincidental but the event that happened last week the day before my daughter’s birthday still has me amazed. My grandmother is still managing to connect with me.
I received a call from an attorney’s office saying he is settling the estate of my grandmother Elizabeth Landry’s parents. They owned a small piece of land in Donaldsonville, Louisiana that had been sold. Elizabeth was one of 11 children and she had seven surviving children. The money isn’t significant since there were so many descendants. The timing however was.
This is a profound sequence of events that has happened going back to the influence she had on the name given to me, the name we chose for of our daughter being unaware at that time of her name, and how she came to me in a reading from a spiritual intuitive. All of this has made a believer out of me that our loved ones are with us even if they passed over before we were born.
You may want to spend a quiet moment in prayer for a family member that has passed to give you a sign of their presence in your life.