Quiet Moments In A Busy World

Standing like a silent becon the ancient tree rises up to touch the sky. When I was a child this hilltop was pasture land. I can remember seeing the cattle gathered under it’s branches to shelter from the sun or the short summer rain shower. At other times dense blocks of hay formed a dotted line that followed the contour of the landscape. These big old trees have always been a draw for my eyes and even today one the lower branches seems to be waving hello. I imagine that the tree is inviting us to come and sit beneath it’s branches and enjoy the soft breeze as we listen for the voice of God. We climb to top of the hill and sit in cool grass. Close your eyes for a moment and lift your face to feel the warm rays of the sun. Can you hear it? That still small voice speaking peace to your soul?

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Stepping Through A Gateway Into A New World

I grew up watching old black and white reruns of the Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. A lot of the plot was always an analogy of the cold war but there was often the idea of an alternate reality. A world that almost identical to our own only with a few key differences. Tonight I’m wondering “what if I had chosen to do X instead of Y”? Our lives are a collection of the small choices that we make on a regular basis. So what if A gateway opened in front of you? On the other side of the reality you could see all the maybes that were the options that you didn’t choose. Would you step through? Would you really want to know what you missed? And what if by choosing to do things differently you changed the here and now? Would you have the life you really wanted? And what if I told you that every grain of sand that slips through the hour glass of our lives was it’s own little gateway to change? What if you discovered you didn’t have to change everything all at once in order to effect the outcome? What if by changing where and how the next grain of sand falls just a little we could effect the overall impact on our lives and that those changes compound into a big difference?

What does it take to make these changes? I guess it’s going to depend on what you want to change. For most of us the goal is to enhance the life we have instead of trying to replace it all together. We want to learn a new skill but don’t want to pay for a class until we see if we enjoy it. So the answer is look online and I’ll bet you can find someone on YouTube or other platforms teaching for free. If the goal is to get in shape or improve overall health the answer could be a pleasant stroll at some point in day. The hard one is a change in attitude. You have to consciously decide to alter your reactions over and over throughout the whole day. But eventually something happens and the change gets easier until you’re a new person.

We don’t need Rod Sterling to open up a magical vortex into the brave new world in order change our reality. All we need to take the opportunity as it arises and commit to the action.

Hangups,Errors a And Blunders. The Mistakes We Are Trained To Make.

Nobody is born being an expert. We might all have different aptitudes for various skills but it’s practice that makes perfect. Even if we achieve the skill level of “expert” that doesn’t mean that we are free from simple human error. Suddenly being faced with the undeniable truth that you’ve made a royal screwup is God’s way of keeping us humble. In other words, oopsies are the great leveling force of the universe. Remember, it was experts that built the Titanic and amateurs that built the Ark.

When I saw the collection of lost fishing tackle snagged in the overhead power lines my first thought was that someone’s kids had been on their first fishing trip. This inspired the meme below.

But after some thought I began to consider the phenomenon of “muscle memory”. If you are trained to cast a line with a high arc you might not think to adjust your cast while standing under the power lines. Your reflexes would kick in and your body would react out of pure instinct. You would do the right thing but at the wrong time. This kind of mistake happens to all of us and it happens more often than we care to admit. It also happens during the thought process and when reacting to something that someone else has said or done. I think that’s why it’s important to be quick to forgive. Jesus said to let he who is without sin cast the first stone. While there’s different interpretations of what was being implied in this statement I believe that at least in part Jesus was pointing out that errors in actions often include errors in judgment and nobody is immune from this. The experts in the law were reacting out of reflex without examining the circumstances. It’s the same kind of mistake we all make every day.

Mental Vacation

When I can’t really get out for some down time I take a moment for a mental vacation. Let me share one with you today in my thoughts below.

Warm sunshine and cool waters fill my thoughts. I long for the salty air and the cry of the seabirds. My only goal for the day should be to finish a good book with my toes in the sand. The ocean breeze washes over me as the crashing waves drown out whispers of the to do list. Responsibilities are for those who are imprisoned. Today I am free.

Stepping Out Of The Comfort Zone

It’s not easy to step out onto the edge. There’s something about that place if transition from one state of being to the next that really gets our attention. We get butterflies in our stomachs and our knees begin to tremble. We can feel our hearts pounding as adrenaline surges through our veins. That’s the feeling I would have during a repelling exercise or leaping from the tall cliffs into the water. In my young mind I knew that this is what it felt like to fly. Fear, excitement and recklessness all come together to form the experience. When I was a kid I had the opportunity to spend some one on one time with some of the Blue Angels flight team and I like the way one of the pilots described this feeling. He said that “There’s no difference between the thrill of flying and the fear of falling.” His point was that it’s in overcoming your desire to remain comfortable with your circumstances that we become more than we was yesterday.

It doesn’t have to be piloting the latest and hottest high performance jet at beyond the speed of sound. It doesn’t even have to be leaping into water or sliding down a cliff on a rope. (In fact especially not the cliff in the feature image. There’s no water under the rocks here and it’s not a legal place to repell from.) It could be as simple as deciding to strike up a conversation with that person who you’re interested in or starting a blog where you share your deepest thoughts with the world. Whatever it is know that when you overcome that shaky feeling that this is what it’s like to fly.

The Best Laid Plans

Patiently she sat in the meadow waiting for her turn. She dreamed of the day that her opportunity would come. She made lists and organized. Everything was ready. She only needed a chance. She wrote herself letters and kept them in a journal. Each on starting with the words “To my future self…” She kept all her plans stacked neatly in a box so that everything would be perfect once her opportunity arrived. She never got stressed out by the wait. She kept faith. Each morning she walked to the little meadow by the road and waited. She was there as sun rose and when the sun set on the opposite horizon. Sometimes the wind would come and she had to hold on so tightly to her little box of plans that her knuckles would turn white but she was fierce and prevailed against the wind. Other days the rain fell so hard that the meadow seemed to become a lake but still she would not be defeated. She held her little box of plans high above her head so they would not be washed away. When the snow and ice came the fire in her heart blazed brightly and once more her little box of plans remained secure. Nothing could rob her of her dreams. She was strong and beautiful and determined. She only lacked one crucial element. The opportunity she waited on never came to this meadow. And she waits there still.

We can have the best laid plans.

We can have the heart of a lion.

We can have all the faith in world.

And, we can have too much patience when waiting for an opportunity instead of traveling beyond our comfort zone and creating the opportunity ourselves.

Living is an action word. It might be difficult to know which action is the right one but inaction is the wrong state of being. Sure, timing is important. But time is also fleeting. Don’t wait too long. Do something every day to achieve at least a little piece of your goal. That’s how progress is made.

OUT OF THE PIT OF FEAR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION (guest post)

Tonight I want to do a bonus post.  Since its the first day of the New Year it’s a great time for new beginnings. The longest night of year has passed and if we watch carefully we’ll see the day lasting a little bit longer.  As life returns to the Earth so to do our souls awaken with new energy.   But, sometimes the day seems to be dark just for us. The  crushing weight of depression effects not only ourselves but those around us. In an effort to help people find and appreciate the new dawn I’m inviting my wife Angela to take over my blog as a guest and talk about her book Out Of The Pit Of Fear, Anxiety and Depression. 

Hello everyone!!! At some point in life I believe depression touches us all. Sometimes there’s a cause that we can pin point, for example: the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or some other major life change. Other times we can be taken over by depression and not know why. It’s a combination of many small things.

I went through a horrible time with depression and I describe it as being in the bottom of a pit where no light or air exist. It is a smothering darkness, that makes you want to die. It’s easy for someone on the outside to look at you and say, “Oh just snap out of it, it’ll be okay.” If it were only that easy.

 Once I escaped the pit of darkness and depression, I wanted to do something to give back. It took me a long time to write my book because I wanted everything to be so precise.

I’ve often prayed, ” Lord, please don’t allow what I’ve been through to be in vain. Let me use that to help someone else escape the pit.”

I now know you have to want to escape and it is a fight. But you are worth the fight. Freedom is worth the fight. 

 The above link to my book will take you to Amazon where you can download it for free this week. From now through Jan 5. If you are depressed or know someone who is suffering from depression, I hope you get my book and it helps you navigate the rough waters ahead. 

I will leave you with a quote that helps me keep perspective:

I CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST…I CAN ONLY MAKE THE MOST OF TODAY AND LOOK WITH HOPE TO TOMORROW.

May your days be filled with optimism, it is possible to live a happy life after depression. I am a survivor of the darkness of depression. 

Thanks for reading, feel free to share with anyone you know suffering from depression. Thank you for your support and encouragement of my husband Lloyd and his new business venture.