For it is in giving that we receive.”
― Francis of Assisi
Now that we have survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday what remains is the challenge to create that Christmas spirit of giving for the other 11 months of the year. A very sure way to ensure that “spirit of generosity” extends throughout the year is to incorporate a monthly charitable contribution in the categories of our prosperity budget.
While searching in my files for a property deed I discovered my first hand written budget I made 50 years ago. Our gross income with both of us working was $650 a month. There were two categories on that budget that have always remained nonnegotiable, savings and charitable contributions. Within a few months that income drastically declined. After our first child was born we decided that my wife would be a stay-at-home mom. We had to make reductions in all categories of our budget but continued to put a small amount in charitable contributions and savings.
There has been a universal principle that has always worked for me, namely “when you create a void something will show to fill the void.” Both tithing and clearing out things in the house that were no longer useful have brought me many surprise gifts.
The most fantastic surprise was receiving a tax return that covered major dental expense that I had not anticipated. Even though our tithing category had excess money I would not use it for our personal expenses.
The same principle works with giving away things we do not use but somehow keep for sentimental reasons or the thought that one day we may need this. I just experienced a very ordinary example of this. Before retirement I had a huge collection of my favorite dress shirts. At that time I wore a freshly laundered shirt dally. I decided to give Habitat 80% of all of these shirts. Within a few weeks I celebrated my birthday and I received several new carefree shirts.
Whenever we give away anything be it a monetary gift, possessions, our time for a worthy cause, or just a bit of kindness to others it always has a boomerang effect. Something always comes back!
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like
wrapping a present and not giving it."
William Arthur Ward
There are two ways to look at the world we live in today. The first initial reaction is that our world is in a disastrous state and it is overwhelming, even impossible to change things. What difference can one person make in effecting any positive changes? The second approach is to look at our world today on Thanksgiving Day and be thankful for our blessings and realize that there are opportunities to make this world a better place. We can make it better in very basic ways by focusing on the changes we can make in our own lives. All positive changes we make in ourselves greatly influence the lives of others. A simple effort of taking the time to let others know what you appreciate in them can have that rippling effect of lifting their day and also those with whom they are in contact that day.
Today I have more to be thankful for than any past Thanksgivings. This entire year every holiday has been special because it brings back so many great memories of our celebrating them together for 50 years.
I am thankful for our family, friends, and readers of my blog postings who have offered me support and encouragement to continue these endeavors to offer ideas to make positive changes.
I am thankful for the feedback from readers of my blog making positive changes after they read a book or have implemented one of the daily practices I suggested from my tool box.
I am thankful for a friend of my daughter telling her she reads every blog posting I release because it is the only positive thing she gets to hear about.
I am thankful for our wonderful grandchildren for giving me the title Positive Pops and for supporting my mission by talking to their friends and teachers about my blog. In conversation during her interview for high school one of our granddaughters told the interviewer he needed to check out her Pops’ website.
All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage
to press on to your destination.
The past two weeks I really thought I had come to the end of ideas to share to help others live a life of abundance. However I continued my daily practice of writing in my grateful journal and writing down my dreams. I patiently waited for inspiration.
Yesterday a few positive things happened that were so powerful I was left in awe. My parents are both deceased but they came to visit me in my dream. My dad said I haven’t seen you in a while and then he gave me a big hug. This was a real gift to me because when I woke up I felt his presence and thought about both of them throughout the day. The visit of my parents was not only a gift of their presence but I’m now convinced it was to prepare me for another gift they had in store for me.
My parents did not have many financial resources but they did a fantastic job of managing their limited income. They were also very generous by always reaching out to less fortunate family members and inviting them over for lunch or dinner. My mother passed almost 20 years after my father. After her death we discovered envelopes hidden behind a piece of furniture containing $7,000 in cash, some bills dated 1934. That amount of money was a fortune for them. The only other asset they had was their house that I inherited. I decided to keep it as a rental property to create a diversified bucket of income for my retirement.
The rental property manager for my parents’ house called to let me know the value of my property has increased by 40%. The area of the property is experiencing a massive growth because of a huge expansion in the hospital nearby. With this increased value property it now has a market value of a quarter of a million dollars.
Needless to say I am ecstatic with this good news. I am also moved by the lessons I learned by “staying the course” when the well seems dry; in other words continuing to write daily about positive possibilities. By continuing to write in my grateful journal miracles happened.
Whatever you want to achieve in life is possible if you stay committed to the tools from your personal toolbox on a daily basis. Thinking about the camel offers support. Camels are used for long journeys. They deliver you to your destination, but you need to be willing to patiently endure the long, slow journey.
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
It is always gratifying to receive a reply from a fan club member of Positive Pops. The following is the comment from one of them on the subject from my posting on telomeres:
“Since this is the official 100th posting, I am using my full first name.
OK…Now I need to be aware of my ‘telomeres’… this is why you don’t age. Jes you are always learning about new stuff that now seems important to know about. I guess I’m going to read this book. I wonder if I can place it on my head as I sleep. I need to find other ways to get this into my brain. I so appreciate your blogs. Thank You for sharing so much of yourself with me (and all of the other 2000 readers)!!!”
What has happened in his life is a success story that should offer everyone following my blog encouragement, especially those who are implementing a few of the tools I suggest from my tool box.
The four tools that he has used for many years to reach his million dollar goal are posting on his Dream Board, Implementing a Prosperity Budget, Establishing a Retirement Plan, and Goal Setting.
This person knocked on our door at the age of 18 and said our parish priest told him we had a spiritually group that he may interested in joining.
He joined the group and never missed a meeting. He eventually became friends with our whole family.
His first job was in the construction industry making a minimum wage.
I told him about my prosperity budget, that I started with an envelope system and progressed to a excel spread sheet. I also suggested that he begin putting aside a small amount to start a savings account and eventually invest in equities. He immediately started saving small amounts of money and followed through using this approach to saving throughout his career.
A few weeks ago he called to let me know that he had a meeting with his financial planner as he is determined to at least have the option to retire in 8 years. He was told that his investments will surpass a million dollars even if he did not make any additional contributions to his account. Needless to say he is ecstatic and so am I.
Many people read books that excite and motivate them to budget and save. It is not always easy to stick to a new discipline so they derail their future success by giving up. Remember it takes 90 days from the start of a new discipline to make it a habit or enable it to have a very strong start in becoming a way of life.
As we are approach the holiday season it may be a good time to think in advance for Christmas of 2018. Now is the time to have a Christmas budget item as a line entry in your prosperity budget. This will relieve the pressure and make your holidays much more joy filled. This is also a great time to review your prosperity budget so that you can increase your savings that you put into your tax saving retirement account. Any increase in savings of pre-tax dollars will also reduce your tax burden.
A healthy outside starts from the inside.
Two years ago I took a risk of writing my first blog posting. I had no idea if sharing my personal experience would be of interest to anyone beyond my grandkids. Today I am posting my 100th article. I greatly appreciate all of my followers. I am now celebrating a high point of 2000 viewers in one week. I also appreciate the feedback I receive from many of you.
I never preplan my postings. I just sit in silence after writing in my grateful journal. Whatever thought surfaces in word or idea becomes the topic for the week.
This week it was encouraging for me to start reading a book given to me by a friend titled The Telomere Effect, Living Younger, Healthier, and Longer by Nobel Prize Winner Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel, PhD. Telomeres are an essential part of human cellular aging that affect how our cells age. The book is about researched scientific evidence of the value of having a positive approach to life.
“Telomeres throughout the body shorten as we age, and this underlying mechanism contributes to most diseases of aging. Telomeres explain how we run out of our ability to replenish tissue. But telomere attrition is a clear and an early contributor to the aging process, and more exciting it is possible to slow or even reverse that attrition.”
Chapter 5 of the book:
Mind Your Telomeres:
Negative Thinking, Resilient Thinking:
“We are largely unaware of the mental chatter in our minds and how it affects us. Certain thought patterns appear to be unhealthy for telomeres. These include
thought suppression and rumination as well as negative thinking that characterize hostility and pessimism.”
Pessimism: Pessimism is a risk factor for poor health.
“Something bad is going to happen here.”
“These folks are the first to prepare for a worst-case scenario, the first to expect a bad outcome. In other words they’re pessimists.”
The iPhone mind-wandering study showed that when people are not thinking about what they are doing, they’re just not as happy as when they are engaged. www.trackyourhappiness.org
“Rumination is the act of rehashing your problems over and over. Being caught in rumination is more like getting sucked into a whirlpool that hurtles you through increasingly negative, self-critical thoughts.”
If you suffer from any painful mental habits we’ve just described (pessimism, rumination, negative mind wondering, and the thinking that characterizes cynical hostility) you probably want to make some changes. This book offers great ideas on how to live a more fulfilling life.
I was amazed that many of these tools suggested are the ones I use from my own personal toolbox, most of which I have shared with my readers.
This week you may want to focus on one practice you can incorporate into your daily routine to assist you in living younger, healthier and longer.
“The single biggest problem in communication is
the illusion that it has taken place.”
― George Bernard Shaw
Positive changes that open the doors to abundant living happen when we improve our listening skills enhanced by open communication. It amazes me to see families texting and talking constantly on their phones, living with the illusion that they are really communicating with one another.
In our early years of marriage we enjoyed married life so much we never realized we did not know how to communicate, especially when we experienced challenging situations. The first two crises that hit us hard were becoming parents and my dissatisfaction with my job.
Fortunately at that time we experienced a Marriage Encounter weekend which was actually an intense communications course. That experience changed our lives by offering us tools to use to improve our communication skills. We also left that weekend realizing more fully that any issue of consequence, a job issue, the birth of a new baby or a health issue, affects both in that relationship. These major events affect the couple, the children and the extended family. Whenever a crisis comes up us we have renewed gratitude for that weekend and the tools it gave us to draw strength from one another in facing any issue.
Since it is easier for me to express myself by writing that is how I personally begin the process. Once I have it in writing I use my writing as a tool for verbal communication. Find what works for you and use that tool as soon as the issue surfaces.
Some families deal with family crises by trying to resolve them individually and do not involve the entire family. Unfortunately there are no secrets because what is not verbalized is internalized by the energy that is transmitted to all members of the family.
When good communication does not happen children will have bad dreams, some will want to escape and others will just stuff it and years later they will have to deal with the affect it had on their lives.
I know this from my own experience growing up in a family that did not communicate. They always worried about what other people may think if they knew what was happening in their lives. There were no open discussions. Regardless of their assumption that they were sparing me I internalized their fear and worry. Since I had no means of communicating it started to surface with fearful dreams. Later in life it required years of therapy to get to the root cause of my fears.
A life of abundance is not only financial freedom it is the freedom to be the best person that I can be to change my world. That starts with creating positive changes in my own life. That is followed up with practicing better communication skills with others.
You may want to write in your notebook what areas of your life need improvement in your communication skills. On the next page write down what tools you plan to use to achieve this goal.
“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening”.
In today’s society we can obtain answers immediately to almost any question we may have. Research that once took me tedious hours in the library is now done in minutes through a Google search or by asking Siri on the IPhone. The down side to this digital age is that so much time is now spent on electronic communication that our verbal communication and listening skills have been compromised to some degree.
Growing up I felt good about myself when I came home from school and sat outside talking to my grandfather about my day. He was a great listener. I do not remember him giving me much advice but I seemed to get the answers for myself as he listened to me. Some of life’s biggest lessons are learned outside of the structured educational system. My grandfather was a simple uneducated man but what he taught me by being a good listener helped me in my sales career.
When I visited with a customer I always tried to listen to what was being said beneath the surface talk. I learned very quickly that it mattered little how much I contributed to the talk of the winning football teams, golf games, etc., the things I didn’t know much about. I just listened, nodded, and eventually the conversation gravitated to their concerns in their businesses. Then I knew I could offer a positive solution. A particular example comes to mind. In the course of our typically casual conversation one customer casually mentioned that he was worried that he would lose many of his lifetime truck drivers. He said they were excellent drivers but now they would have to pass a test and get certified. I left that meeting, did some research and learned there was a video training program to help drivers pass the written test. I convinced my company to purchase the videos. I offered this customer my time and resources to show these videos to their drivers over a three-week period. When the program was finished I gave each driver a certificate acknowledging the completion of the training. This gave them a sense of pride and confidence and the majority passed the test. I was able to implement this service with many other customers.
Just as I appreciated being listened to and learned from my grandfather I feel the same way when our grandchildren listen to me about all the tools I use from my toolbox that help me live life to the fullest.
Several years ago I was telling my grandson Sam about my story when I was a little boy his age. Sam is a sensitive caring young boy who is a fantastic listener. I love telling him my stories because I always sense he hears what I am saying. I told him we did not have television but we listened to the radio. I said we did not have air-conditioning but we did have an attic fan and slept with the windows open. He sat and listened without saying a word and when I finished he asked, “Pops did you have a real house to live in and a real bed to sleep in?” Passing our story along to our grandchildren is a priceless gift, a blessing.
Not everyone has grandchildren but listening is a developed skill that is valuable to everyone regardless of age. This week you may want to make a conscious effort of not thinking about what you want to say in conversations but ask questions to the person you are talking to so that you can listen and learn from their story. This may offer an opportunity to follow up with a book, CD or other material on that subject that would be beneficial to them.
The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision
the fact that you can do something, you can do it,
as long as you really believe 100 percent.
When our first grandchild was born my wife bought grandparent books in which each of us could expound upon our family of origin, our upcoming, our likes and dislikes as children, adolescents, our dating days, marriage, and many aspects of “the way it was” for us. Our histories would be a special gift to our grandchildren. I procrastinated in writing anything in my book. I just didn’t do it.
As I look back to my original intent in starting a blog, I wanted to tell my story to them in this way, through my blog postings. Too much structure stifles me. I felt boxed in answering the questions in the grandparent book. I am curious, creative and always thinking outside the box or norm. That's why my blog has become a comfortable way for me to tell them my story. I am grateful that many of you have also supported me by following my weekly blog postings.
We have been blessed with eight wonderful grandchildren and I am personally grateful to see them using some of the resources I share with my readers. When our oldest grandchild was a little toddle she would tell others that her Pops is full of commotion. She was right on target because 17 years later I am still full of commotion but now it is expressed in my writings about tools I use from my tool box. I am grateful that all of them have been open to listening to my endless stories. It is even more gratifying to see them drawing on my experiences to create their own success stories.
Ellie was so shy in preschool she could not sit in the circle of her classmates for Grandparents’ Day. She would break out in tears and had to be consoled by her teacher. When she went to dance school and had to get on stage for the revue I told her to keep repeating “I can do it.” She had amazing stage presence when she walked on that stage and performed her dance number. She came to me after with a beaming smile and said “I can do it Pops!” This week the concluding statement of her talk in running for class president was “I am small but I can do it all.” She called me yesterday to tell me she was elected Class President of her 7th Grade Class.
Introducing even the simplest things into our lives to help us achieve greatness seems to be difficult for many people. I can sympathize with them because I am a success driven person and I lose patience when I do not experience positive results.
Today my message from the symbol cards from the Guides is Camel. Camels are used for long journeys. Because they don't need regular nourishment they are able to live off their own resources for extended periods. The message on that card is “Keep the end in sight and push ahead. You will get there.” You can use the cards at no charge by going to Mary Jo McCabe’s website. Mary Jo is a spiritual intuitive and a very good friend of ours for over 25 years. maryjomccabe.com.
I now realize that this message was not just for me but also for my readers who are working on living a life of abundance for themselves, their family, and friends. Today you may want to introduce one practice to assist you in achieving the life of your dreams. Remember when introducing a new practice tell yourself “I can do it.” And Once you experience results from this practice you can help create a better life for others by sharing your successful practice with them.
Today’s message from Daily Word clarifies and supports my belief and recommendations on how to create Prosperity. The Daily Word is one of the tools I have in my resource tool box that I have read for many years.
I joyously anticipate new adventures in prosperous living.
Thursday, September 28, 2017In his book Spiritual Economics, Eric Butterworth explained, “The word prosperity comes from the Latin root which literally translates: ‘according to hope,’ or ‘to go forward hopefully.’ Thus it is not so much a condition in life as it is an attitude toward life.”
With this in mind, I focus my thinking on what I want to experience in this adventure called life. If I slip into thoughts of lack, I realign by centering myself again in the peace and assurance of God’s love and abundance.
Prosperity is a way of living, of expecting good outcomes, and answered prayers. It is a consciousness of believing in possibilities and going forward in hope. Anticipating new adventures in prosperous living, I give thanks for all I have and for the blessings yet to come.
For surely I know the plans I have for you.–Jeremiah 29:11
“Patience and diligence, like faith, removes mountains.”
Being a success-driven person one of the most challenging things for me is to be patient when an answer or result comes about more slowly than I anticipated. The challenge is amplified when the reality of failure is evident and I know I have to move in a different direction. This is true in all areas of life. It encompasses careers, finances, relationships, dream board goal setting, health and wellness, and the desire to make a positive difference in the world.
My greatest accomplishment in my career came by using several tools to help me build up my confidence and cultivate patience. The specific year to which I am referring was a year when the competition was intense and sales were down. To shift my thinking from possibility to reality I wrote down a few affirmations that soundly proclaimed “mission accomplished” or “done deal.” Here are those affirmations. “I am celebrating a 10% increase in my sales volume this year. I am excited to be the winner of the sales contest and will receive two first-class airline tickets to Canada.”
Even though I faithfully wrote and said these affirmations daily nothing positive was happening. Again this was a true test of my patience and my belief that a positive outcome was possible.
At the end of that year during the qualifying period a once in a lifetime bid came out from a company wanting to export bag cement to South Africa. I was the successful bidder. It was the largest bag sale in the history of our company and I increased my sales by 10% and I won the sales contest. My wife and I traveled first class to Canada and had a wonderful trip.
I believe if we know what we want to achieve in life, have a positive plan of action and the patience to move forward regardless of setbacks the impossible becomes possible.
Life today is moving on such a fast track with the full plate most of us are juggling. I suppose that has always been somewhat true but social media has brought distractions to a much higher lever. Many people find it difficult to use the tools that I suggest to assist them in achieving their dreams in living a life of abundance.
You may want to just spend 10 minutes to write down one thing that you would like to happen in your life. Turn that desire into a one sentence affirmation that states it is happening. Be patient with yourself when introducing a new tool for your tool box. It may seem like it is taking forever to manifest your dream, but it is certainly worth the effort.