“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.
“Good travels at a snail's pace. Those who want to do good are not selfish, they are not in a hurry, they know that to impregnate people with good requires a long time.”
In addition to their day-to-day sleeping habits, snails also go into a deep sleep to avoid adverse weather conditions and periods when food is scarce. In colder climates they hibernate during the winter months, and in hotter climates they estivate during the summer months. When they go into hibernation or estivation, they seal themselves safely inside their shells with a layer of mucus that forms a hard cover over the opening.
Seems like the only excuse I can find for the recent lapse period of time that I was not motivated to write was I inadvertently became the snail. I needed to hibernate so I could make it for the journey ahead of me. Hopefully it will be a long journey because my eighth decade of life is rapidly approaching.
A few things awakened me from my rest period. I received a call from a friend wanting to know if his name was no longer on my mailing list of readers of Positive Pops. The second tap on my shell came from a friend that is a well-known spiritual teacher. She wanted me to know how much she enjoys my postings.
Being a success driven person I decided to check out on my website to see if anyone had read any of my previous postings. I was definitely surprised to learn that in one month 10,000 people had clicked on to my website. Finding this quote of Gandhi encouraged me to pick up my pen and start writing. As I have mentioned in previous posts, my initial motivation for writing a blog was to offer encouragement for our grandchildren who are bombarded with negative news. Hopefully that encouragement will come from my sharing positive things that are happening in my life and ideas that may open the doors for positive possibilities.
Once again reflecting on what has encouraged me to write, I realize it is the support from friends who see a value in the good that comes from ideas I share.
This week offers a good opportunity to think of someone you would like to encourage by sending a note or making a telephone call letting them know the positive difference they are making in the world. There are many things I observe that often do not get recognized for the value they contribute to making our world a better, more humane place. I have been deeply moved as I have observed the way in which several couples in our Good Timers group have cared for their ninety-plus year-old mothers affording them the respect and dignity they deserve as they approach the end of their lives.
This posting is to let you know I am back from hibernation. I will have a posting next week on experiences I have had that reassure me that we are indeed connected to members of our family even though they crossed over many years ago. They are definitely watching over us and making a positive influence in our lives.
“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don't.”
It has always amazed me that some people will eagerly embrace new ideas to live a life of abundance. Whereas others will repeat the same patterns and continue to complain about how bad things are in the world. The world cannot change if we do not change OUR WORLD which must start in our own environment. Everything I share in my posts comes from what I have personally experienced and have had success in implementing in my life. I also eagerly seek insights from professionals who teach these principles who have witnessed their effectiveness time and again. It is very encouraging too when friends share ideas that are working for them.
Presently we have a huge number of people participating in making positive changes because of the Lent/Spring season. It is a season that encourages us to do something in our lives that will help us live life fully and experience more joy and abundance.
I want to share what a friend decided to do for Lent and then I will share an idea from the book in my tool box that supports what they are doing. A couple in our senior social group decided they would do something positive for Lent this season. Instead of “giving up something” they focused on positive action. Every day for 40 days they are going through their closets, attic and house seeking something they are no longer using. They then bring these items to a charity to be distributed to those in need.
I know they are doing this as a spiritual practice, but it is backed up with support that clearing clutter has life changing benefits. In the book that I have referenced in previous postings Feng Shui Your Life comes the following information:
“Clearing clutter and cleaning space are the first steps in creating awesome energy within yourself and your surroundings. If you start with a clean slate, your dreams and goals will manifest much faster and easier.”
On my dream board I have a picture of a chair for our living room I wanted to replace a chair that no longer fit after we purchased new living room furniture. It was still in great shape and had rarely been sat upon. We held on to this chair waiting until we found another that we liked. We could not find the perfect chair, so we finally decided to give away that chair to a local charity. Last week we decided to just browse around furniture stores with no pressure for an immediate purchase. As we were exiting the last store we intended to visit, we found the exact chair we wanted. Once the space was open, we found exactly what we wanted.
Whenever we make a positive change it is not easy when we are doing it alone and do not have support. Now is a great time to make a positive change by implementing a new practice because we do have the support. A large group of people are doing Spring Cleaning, and many are embracing “positive action” for Lent.
You may want to share your success story in the comment section. How is your Lenten options/Spring Cleaning progressing?
“The way we experience the world around us is a
direct reflection of the world within us.”
Today Lent is a much-anticipated day for those of us who live in New Orleans. As soon as the fireworks and New Year’s parties are over, we get ready for endless partying until midnight of Fat Tuesday. This year I participated in many of these activities. Some of the partying became public when a video was posted on Facebook of me line dancing on the street while waiting for a parade. I did have a great time!
I am excited about the upcoming 40 days because these six weeks offer me a quiet reflective time to select one or two things from my tool box to seriously practice daily. This discipline can assist me in making a major positive change in my life.
In the past I have written about a tool I use daily, writing and saying affirmations. Some people have said to me that this sounds like a New Age practice.
It may be that for some but for me it creates trust and faith that what I want to attract in my life will manifest if I truly believe it will happen. One of my favorites affirmations is “I accept good graciously into my life. All of my needs are met abundantly for me now and always.”
I feel encouraged about the message I am sharing with others when I receive confirmation from people I hold in high regard. A few days ago in Fr. Richard Rohr’s daily reflection he talked about the importance of affirmations.
“We have been conditioned to focus on the negative in ourselves and others. Think of a negative phrase you have said aloud or thought to yourself that stems from a sense of shame rather than your inherent dignity. Turn it upside down and say, in the first person, present tense, an affirmation of your God-given value. For example:
I don’t have enough....I have everything I need.
I am alone....I am indwelled by God’s presence.
I am worthless...I am precious in God’s eyes, I am honored, and God loves me.
Repeat the positive statement aloud, slowly, with intention and trust, several times. Then rest silently in the awareness that you are already and forever, without any effort or achievement on your part, a beloved child of God.”
I believe the practice of daily affirmations during the 40 days of Lent can create unlimited possibilities and perhaps even create a habit that can certainly enrich your life.
“No person was ever honored for what he received, but for what he gave.”
A few days ago I listed a few tools that may be of benefit to you during this upcoming season of Spring and Lent. One of the ideas was, “Pay it Forward.” I gave a suggestion of telling the cashier in the fast food line to apply your change to the next person’s bill.
The next morning in the newspaper the headlines were that Tom and Gayle Benson’s charitable foundation gave $5 million dollars to a local high school.
My immediate thought was I am telling my readers that passing on change from a $20 bill will make a difference in someone’s life and the Bensons just gave away millions. A few days later I received a confirmation that small acts of “paying it forward” do matter. Regardless of the dollar amount people appreciate the generosity.
Every year during the Mardi Gras season we support a local school’s annual fund raiser that is on the parade route. We purchase a package from them that includes parking, grandstand viewing and food. When we entered the parking lot the organizer of the event thanked me for supporting them and said they were especially grateful for my additional donation. My wife looked at me and said how much extra money did we give because they seem to be so grateful. I told her when checking out as I registered on line, a pop-up appeared and asked if I would consider making a $20 additional donation. I checked “yes,” not giving much thought to such a minimal amount. It was very surprising to me that my small gift was even recognized.
One day we may all be in the financial position to make large charitable contributions. In the meantime this recognition of a small donation supports the benefit of giving from your substance because it does make a difference.
You may want to share with the readers any situation you experienced when “Paying it Forward” made a difference.