Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where's The Sun

Do you ever feel like the sun will never come out again? I live in Buffalo NY. We haven't seen much of the sun lately. In fact, most days it is cold, and we have received over 3 feet of snow in the past two weeks.

I don't say this to complain (although this weather does wear on me). I know that there is a sun hidden behind those clouds. I know eventually it will shine again, even though at this time I feel like it's not there at all.

Sometimes we face clouds and obstacles in our own lives. We may wonder where the sun is, or we believe God may have forgotten about us as we struggle though the days. However, I am reminded that, although He may not be "shining through" at the moment, he is there behind the "clouds" of our difficult situations. Eventually we will again feel His light and warmth.

Just as we know that summer is coming again in the not too distant future, we can also know that, if things are difficult now, brighter days are not that far away. We definitely have great things to look forward to : )

Have an excellent day!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time Management Tip

Time is such a precious commodity. It is something we often feel we never have enough of, especially during the Christmas season. So how do we find more of it? Or can we?

Earlier this year I read a great time management tip, one that has helped me more than any other. I've written about it before, but as I am feeling a bit of a time crunch these days, and many others are too, I feel the need to share again.

This time management tip comes from author Jim Britt in his book, "Do This Get Rich". It is very simple, and if followed, can have dramatic effects on your productivity. I've seen it in my own life. He suggests breaking the day down into 15 minute chunks. He says thaHe He points out that, in an average day, we have 60 of these blocks. By focusing on each of these 15 minute blocks, it helps us become more aware of the time and using it effectively. He says 15 minutes works best because it is enough time to get something done, and it is short enough that, if adjustments need to be made, they can be made without a good part of the day being wasted.

It's amazing how well this can help organize your day and increase the amount you accomplish. When I organize my day this way, I find that I am more focused and more aware of what I need to get done and what I can get done. Also, I don't feel so overwhelmed and disorganized. Almost magically, the to-do list decreases, and the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment increases.

I strongly suggest you try this method of the 15 minute breakdown. I believe you will find yourself accomplishing more, and will feel more peaceful during this sometimes hectic time. And please use one of your 15 minute chunks to share about your success : )

Have an excellent day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Guaranteed Success

Are you looking for ways to guarantee success? One of the most basic and direct ways to accomplish the success you are looking for is found in Proverbs 16:3. It says...Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Three simple words. Commit to the Lord. That leads to success. Is it that simple? I thought about this and researched it further. I believe the commentary in the Life Application Bible puts it best...It says to maintain a balance of trusting God as if everything depended on Him, and taking action as if everything depended on us.

Success is something we all want. It is also something we can all have. By following the above guidelines, it can be certain every time. When we trust God and have faith all things are possible. When we take action, we are doing our part, as God would want us to do. Sometimes we don't know exactly what we need to do. When that happens, we just need to pray and continue to trust. When we do, the answers will be revealed to us. Trust, obey, and act. When we follow those steps, success is guaranteed! I dare you to try it. Please share your success stories.

Have an excellent day!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You Fail?...Impossible!!

In the early 90s, I was lucky enough to work at a Long Island Christian radio station. During part of my time slot, the station featured various ministry programs. There were many good ones, with some very inspirational speakers.

The one that influenced me the most was by a local pastor. His broadcasts were short, but very powerful. He would end each broadcast with the following...greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. You fail?..Impossible!!

Upon hearing these messages, and especially that ending, I would be fired up each day. It still affects me today, almost 20 years later. It is an excellent reminder that the Godly power within us can overcome any obstacle or evil. It reminds me that I can accomplish anything, regardless of how much the odds are stacked against me.

For some reason, I was reminded of this verse today. I felt that, as long as I am sharing about faith-building verses (this one is 1 John 4:4), this would be a perfect one to include. It has helped me for all these years, and I feel obligated to share it to help as many other people as possible in the same way. If you are feeling like you just can't do something, worrisome thoughts are clouding your mind, or if you need inspiration for the next big step in your life, I highly reccomend you focus on this verse and believe it with all your heart. If so, failure will be impossible!.

Have an excellent day : )

Friday, November 26, 2010

If God is For Us...

...Who can be against us? This is a classic Bible verse (Romans 8:28-31), and one that is especially helpful in helping us develop our faith. The verse is a bit confusing, because people can actually be against us. However, if God is for us (and He certainly is), they have no chance of prospering against us.

There are a number of great Bible stories that demonstrate this. When Moses led the people out of Egypt, there was no chance that the Egyptians would be able to capture them and bring them back. Because God was with David, a young, untrained shepherd, he was able to defeat a 10 foot, feared-by-all warrior. Because the apostles were filled with the Spirit, they were able to overcome opposition while successfully spreading the Christian word.

The same is true in our lives. In any situation, if we pray and put our full focus into any endeavor, we can not be defeated. It's as simple as that. As with the other verses I've shared in the past few days, the key is to meditate on this verse and drill it into our conscious minds. The more we do, the more we will live it automatically. The result is a greater faith and confidence.

Have an excellent day : )

Monday, November 22, 2010

Strong and Courageous

What are you afraid of? What is it that is stressing you out right now? Hopefully your answer to that question is...nothing! However, if you are like me, there is at least one thing, if not several things, that are causing anxiety, you feel like you can't do, etc..

As I continue to write about some of the great faith verses in the Bible, here's one that has helped me in this situation, and I believe can help anyone. From Joshua 1:9...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

It is difficult to find more comforting and powerful words than that. Besides the fact that they are from God Himself, it tells me that God is with me and fighting my battles for me wherever, and whenever. The key again is to focus on this fact constantly. The more we do, the more it will be engrained in our conscious minds, eventually becoming our regular way of thinking. It will help us go from fear to faith; from worry to winning; from doubt to deliverance.

I think you get the point. As you develop and increase your level of faith, I believe this is a key verse to focus on. When you do, it's unbelievable how much more peaceful and empowered you feel.

Enjoy your day : )

Sunday, November 21, 2010

We Can Do All Things

Isn't it true that we admire people who seem fearless? Who seem like they can handle any situation, no matter how difficult it is? I know I do. We wish we had the same confident assurance as they do.

The more I think about it, the more I realize we can have that same confidence. The key is to focus on one of the more famous verses in the Bible..."I can do all things through Him who strengthens me"(Phil. 4:13). It doesn't say "some" things, it says ALL things. This tells me that I can accomplish anything if I believe that, and rely on God's strength to help me accomplish it.

Two main ideas have made this work for me. One is to constantly meditate on this verse. Many people know the verse, but how many actually believe it and live it? I have found it helpful to repeat this verse and dwell on it several times a day. It's amazing how peaceful and powerful it is. The second thing is to pray several times during the day as well. I find that when I do this, I am much more aware of God's presence and rely on His power to help me accomplish the goals I need to accomplish.

By believing and praying on this verse, we can indeed do ALL things and ANY thing we desire, and we can make a real difference in the world around us. Then people will be admiring the power of God they see in US because we will have that same confidence that we admire in others. Please share your victories!

Have an excellent day : )

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Faith Focus

What's the best non-fiction book you've ever read? For me, one of the best I have ever read, and continue to refer to on a regular basis is "The Power of Positive Thinking", by Norman Vincent Peale. It has a ton of excellent, helpful, and powerful information.

One of the main themes of this book is using faith techniques to create more confidence and power for ourselves. This in turn positively affects others around us as well. The main advice that he provides is to find as many faith verses as you can in the Bible, and focus on them throughout each day. It's a very simple, but logical idea. The power of God remains in our conscious minds, and it affects the way we go about our lives. These attitudes eventually become automatic, resulting in the greater confidence and power we are seeking. I have seen this in my own life so I know how true it is.

Over my next few blogs I will focus on some of these faith verses that have helped me. I will start with my favorite of all. It is from Mark 11:22-24....Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'go throw yourself into the sea and does not doubt in his heart but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

God has great things in store for our lives. He wants us to see it, and basically says that if it is His will and we see it happening (even though it hasn't yet), it will happen! An effective practice is to focus on seeing (in our minds) our prayers answered; see yourself living the life you want to live, and being the person you want to be, and then living it.

Am I oversimplifying this? At first I would tend to think yes. However, after focusing over and over on the above Bible verse, I believe it is what God would want me to do, along with prayer and making sure I am keeping Him, His will, and His kingdom first in my life. It is very powerful, and can have powerful effects on your life and the life of those around you. I challenge myself and anyone reading this to constantly "see" our prayers being answered before they actually are. I believe that, by doing this on a regular basis, you will "see" it for real. I've already seen far too much proof of this in my own life. As always, I look forward to hearing about your victories.

Have an excellent day : )

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Re-Think Possible

I must admit, I REALLY want an i-phone. For me, the novelty of the internet and having the world available on my computer has still not worn off. To have it at my fingertips is even more of an amazement. However, it was not the advertisement of the new 4G iphone that got my attention when I saw the AT&T commercial. It was the slogan "re-think possible". I don't know if this is a new slogan for them. I just know it got my attention in a hurry.

For the past year and a half of my life I have especially been trying to live this philosophy. I have learned the importance of keeping a high level of faith, and keeping positive thoughts in my head. It has had positive results, and I know the best is yet to come.

There are plenty of Bible verses that back this thought up. For example, it says all things are possible with God. According to your faith it will be done to you. This is just a small sample. The bottom line is to believe it.

Although AT&T doesn't have one of their i-phones sticking in my hand (yet), they do have a wonderful slogan sticking in my head. I challenge myself and anyone else to live by it and know that possible goes well beyond what we may think. It is up to us to reach for it and believe we can be the people we want to be, and achieve the dreams and goals we are looking to achieve. It is all possible if we believe it is, if we summon the heavenly assistance that is available to us, and take the necessary action to get there.

So what's possible for you? Think about it. I'll do the same, and in the very near future I'll call you on my i-phone to tell you about it : )

Have an excellent day!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

Do you ever have days where you are convinced God is trying to tell you something? It is usually when you hear the same message several times in a day, via several different means. I experienced that today, where I heard the message of the above title in several ways. First, there is a great song by Matt Maher called "Hold Us Together". The catchiest part of the song is the part where he sings, "this is the first day of the rest of your life". I am also on several e-mail lists, and this was the message for two that I received today.

I believe this message is an excellent one. It's a fact. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. For me it is very comforting and inspiring to know that whatever mistakes I've made before today are history. Whatever sins I've commited are forgiven as long as I ask for forgiveness. Whatever I failed to do in the past does not have to affect me today.

I've said this before, but I am so thankful that God divided time into days. Each day is a clean slate, and another chance to positively affect the present and future. We may not have reached our goals yet, but today we can be one step closer. You may feel that you haven't been the best person you can be, but today is an opportunity to change that.

Let us take advantage of the opportunity that each day gives us. I believe that is what God is telling me today. I also believe He is telling me to focus on each day and to do all I can to be my best for myself and those around me. It's true for me, and I challenge anyone else to do the same. After all, this is the first day of the rest of our lives.

Have an excellent day : )

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is It About Potential?

I received an excellent and thoughtful e-mail from author Robert Anthony (one of my favorite authors). The message discussed the difference between potential and capacity. I found it very interesting and helpful, so I thought I should share.

He says the two ideas are contrasting. He defines potential as something occurring in the future, and someone becoming something other than they are now. Capacity, he says, is based on the present moment, and doing something we can do today.

Which do you think is more effective? If you've read a number of my thoughts (many of which I've learned from Dr. Anthony) blogs on this site, you will guess capacity is more effective. Why? Because we have much more control of what we can do now in the present, than what we can "potentially" do. Dr. Anthony shares, for example, that we have the potential to accomplish many things and help many people. However, we only have the capacity to do what we can do in this present moment. It is that capacity that we need to focus on. If we do, we ultimately reach our potential.

For me, this is very comforting. Instead of trying to do everything at once, why not just focus on doing all we can now. In the end, if our efforts are sincere, potential is no longer a future tense word.

Have an excellent day : )

Monday, October 18, 2010

Like A One Year Old

Do you ever notice how you can read some books over and over again and still pick up something new each time? It happened to me this week. One of the first positive thinking books I read was Jeffrey Gitomer's "Little Gold Book of Yes Attitude". It is an excellent book that has really helped me change my attitude, increase my confidence, and hopefully helped me positively impact others.

I began re-reading this book, as I often do with excellent books like it. I noticed a part I don't recall reading before. He mentions (p.178) how we treat a one year old. A child that age is learning and doing some exciting things, like walking and talking. Parents take major strides to encourage their kids to take those steps without help, and to say those words the right way. We are full of encouragement. When they do it, we congratulate and praise them for their accomplishment, celebrating each step of the way.

The author's point is that we need to use encouragement regularly in our lives, not only with one years olds, but with everyone. Let us continue to celebrate our kids' achievements, even as they get older and more responsible for their success. Let us encourage our spouses, our friends, and even those we don't know. Let us praise them and appreciate them regularly.

The author adds that we actually feel more fulfilled when we encourage others. I believe it. So as long as we are all benefitting, why not take the extra time to encourage those around you and appreciate the things they do. You will make their day, and I believe it will come back at you quickly. I encourage you to try it.

Have an excellent day : )

Sunday, October 17, 2010

If You Can?

One of my favorite stories in the Bible (Mark 9 20-24) is one about a man whose son is demon-possessed, and has been since he was very young. He finds out Jesus is in town and goes to him for help. He says..."if you can do anything, take pity and help us". I love the response from Jesus...If you can? As if to say, are you kidding me?

As much as I enjoy this verse, it is also one that hits me in a negative way. I think of how many times I've prayed in the same way. Well God maybe you can. If you are able, please help. I have prayed like this far too often, wondering why I don't see the results I sometimes crave.

After Jesus questions the man, he makes a key statement. "Everything is possible for him who believes". Notice the first word. God is not a "sometimes" God. He is faithful at all times. Notice the last word. Believe. If we believe in the faithfulness of God and that "he can", then everything is possible. It's as simple as that.

One other way I can relate to the man in this story is that he acknowledged his faith was not up to par. He says, "I do believe: help me overcome my belief!" In many instances I am the same. I believe, yet I have difficulty believing. I believe my faith is strong, However, there are times when I still doubt. What do we do if we need faith for miracles in our lives, but we don't display or don't "feel" that faith? I believe this story shows that we can ask for that faith. This man admitted to Jesus himself that he still lacked perfect faith. However, he asked for help with this and his request of his son's healing was granted. We can do the same. When we do, I believe God will make things happen that will automatically increase our faith.

I challenge anyone to remember this the next time you ask "if He can". Take away the "if" and know that he can. And when we believe it, HE WILL!!

Have an excellent day : )

Monday, October 11, 2010

Persistence Pays Off

October is easily my favorite time of year for sports. My favorite sport, baseball is in the midst of its playoffs and World Series. Hockey, another favorite, is beginning. College and pro football are in full swing, as are the European soccer leagues. It's heaven for this sports fan.

Besides the quantity of action, I am noticing a great deal of high quality as well. Many of the games are well-played, and fun to watch. The part that stands out to me the most is the number of comebacks I am seeing. Already in this year's baseball playoffs we have seen teams come back from 4-0 leads. Football teams are also coming back from large leads. This is the reason I enjoy college basketball so much, because even a 20 point lead is rarely safe.

I believe we can use this as a lesson in our lives, especially for those days that we feel like we are losing badly. We may feel like nothing is going right, and it becomes rather frustrating. How did these teams come back and win after starting so badly?

1. They maintained a positive attitude. The scoreboard said one thing, but they still believed in themselves and always felt like they still had a chance to win.

2. They took it one step at a time. In baseball it is impossible to hit a 5 run homerun. In order to get even they had to take small, productive steps. The same is true for us. Instead of putting extra pressure on ourselves by trying to make things right all at once, we are better off taking small steps, a few minutes at time.

3. Be a team player. Great teams are just that. Each individual plays their part, and provides and receives assistance as well. We can do the same. First, play your part. Then, do your part to help others around you. It's amazing how great you begin to feel when you help others. It's a lot better than enjoying your own self-pity. Also, be open to receiving assistance from others. People are willing to help. It's up to us to accept it.

Hopefully there are not many "losing" days. However, when the day is not going as we would like, I have found it best to follow the steps noted above. When we do, we can usually be proud of our comeback victory. As with the sports teams, your "fans" and those around you will be impressed and impacted. So, upon saying that....

Have an excellent day : )

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A 3 Step Formula to Success

How can we check off tasks on our to-do lists and accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves when there is so little time to accomplish anything? I believe I have found a great formula. Before I explain, I will say that it is nothing new:

1. Pray - This step alone is almost a guarantee of success. When we pray and submit to the will of God, things will always go right. However, there are two other necessary steps.

2. Think about it - Once we have prayed and submitted, it is very beneficial to keep the accomplishment of the goal fixed in our minds. See it happening and believe that the goal will be accomplished. Also, take some time to determine what needs to be done.

3. Act - Do whatever you need to do to accomplish the goal. If you've done steps one and two properly, you should have an idea of what it is you're supposed to do. If it's still not clear, then keep praying about it until it is.

This is a great formula for getting results in life. I cannot take credit for this, so to avoid plagiarism, I need to note my source. That source....NIV Bible, idea from God Himself. In Matthew 7:7 it says, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. In my opinion, this is the success formula right here. Asking represents praying, seeking is thinking/considering, and knocking is the action.

Does the formula really work? Verse 8 says, everyone who asks receives (notice how it says EVERYONE); he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened. First of all, if God says something, I count it as true. Second, this tells me that prayers are answered, we are rewarded for faith, and the door of opportunity is opened when we take action and "knock". Things may not always work out as we plan. However, I believe that our prayers are always answered, and if we follow this formula we will be happy with any results God gives us. We need to believe that whatever we receive is for our best.

If you haven't already, I recommend anyone trying this formula for success. Don't be too surprised by what is accomplished. Please share your results.

Have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Present Moments

Ok, I think God is trying to tell me something lately. I keep coming across the same message in the books that I read and the positive thinking e-mails that I am receiving. They are all reminding me of the importance of focusing on the present moments of my life.

This topic is nothing new to me. I have read a great deal about focusing on the moment. I have also written several other blog posts on the same topic. Although we can certainly learn from it, the past is gone forever. Although we need to prepare for it, the future is not yet here. In fact, the quality of our future is completely dependent on what we do with our present moments.

The challenge is to pour all of our energy in what we can do and control today. We may not like some of the present situations we are in. However, if we ask for God's help and go into it with a positive attitude and do all we can possibly do, I believe we will be blessed. Eventually, either the situation will not be unpleasant anymore, or we will end up in a more desireable place.

Focusing on the present moments also helps prevent procrastination. We mainly procrastinate either because we are afraid of repeating past mistakes, or we are uncertain about a future outcome. Instead, let us focus with tunnel vision on the present task. With our own determination and God's help, we can accomplish any task at hand, regardless of past failure or what the outcome could be.

I find this to be very helpful advice. I am thankful that I have been directed to those pages and to the people who are sending this information to my e-mail inbox. It has helped me, and I throw it out there for anyone else to try as well. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.

Have an excellent day : )

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'll Be Happy When...

Lot's of things on this earth make me happy. The problem is that I have the tendency to want more. I'm not the only one. It's human nature. When we accomplish one goal we are already looking towards the next one.

I think back at times in my own life. In college I had many friends and was happy. However, I would really be happy when I had that special girlfriend I was missing. When I first moved from Long Island to Buffalo things went smoothly. But I would really be happy when I had that dream job. Later, my wife and I bought our first house. It was a big accomplishment. However, we would really be happy when we had our dream house in the suburbs instead of this starter house in the city.

Does this sound familiar? People (and as you can see I've been one of them) always say they will be happy when... However, we put ourselves in a difficult position because either "when" never comes or we try to automatically take the next step when it does instead of enjoying the moment.

How can we conquer this? In my recent readings I have seen the same message several times. I will break it down:

• Be thankful for what we have now - There is nothing wrong with asking for more or trying to be better. However, before we take the next step or ask for the next thing, let us constantly be thankful for where we are now.
• Be happy NOW!! Why spend our days worrying about tomorrow when today has enough concerns of its own? (see Matthew 6). If we are always waiting for certain things to be happy for, we may be waiting a very long time.
• Live as if we already have what we desire. Use the imagination to see life as we would want it. If it's money you desire, see yourself enjoying what you would be spending it on. If it's a relationship, see yourself as the ultimate partner enjoying the company of another. If it's better health, see yourself as healthy and doing the things you want to be doing. It's funny how these thoughts can quickly become reality.

My challenge for myself and anyone else is to be happy today. As a result, we will see life as more rewarding and positive. I also believe we will see a lot more positive manifest in our lives on a regular basis. There's no reason to wait. Why not put a smile on our faces and on those of others around us. Now!!

Have an excellent day : )

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There's Enough For Everyone

I've seen a few birthday parties this summer that featured a pinata as part of the fun. I never get tired of seeing it break and watching all of the kids run quickly to get the candy. After all, they need to hurry! There's only so much candy and so many kids that in order to fill up their bags, they need to move quickly before it all runs out.

There are some that hold this type of mentality as adults. We feel like we have to move so quickly because, if we don't, there will not be enough for us. Things will run out, and we will not receive our share. However, the more I learn in life the more I realize this is not necessarily the case. We serve a God of abundance. A God of more than enough, instead of a God of lack. I realize more and more that the resources are there. In fact, there are more resources than we can even wrap our minds around.

One may ask, how can I access more? If there is so much then why do some have and some don't? Why so many poor around the world? I will honestly say that I cannot answer all questions. God has His reasons. However, based on what I've read recently, here are some ways I have found to make the most of the vast resources. By following these we can not only help ourselves, but also those in need.

1. Gratitude - In order to gain more, we must first learn to appreciate what we have. There are biblical examples of men who were good stewards of what God gave them. As a result, they were given more.

2. Faith - Author Robert Anthony gives a great example in his book "Beyond Positive Thinking". He shares about the abundance of water in the ocean. It is practically endless! No one can lack water if they go to the ocean to get it. However, he says it is all a matter of our expectation. For example, some of us may go with a spoon, or a cup. Others may be bolder and go with a bottle. Some of us will bring a large jug or barrell that we can barely even carry. Who ends up with more? It is obviously the one who went to the ocean expecting more.

3. Generosity - God honors a faithful giver and always gives back to us what we give to others. We don't give solely to get, but it never fails that we get back what we give. In fact we usually get more than we gave.

Author and speaker Wayne Dyer put it best. He discusses the abundance of air. We don't debate that this is my air or yours, or that we can only breathe in a certain amount. It is abundantly available to us, and we don't even think twice about it. The same is true for God's abundance. When we are good stewards and use His gifts for His glory, He is more than willing to share abundance, whether it is money, love, good times, or any other blessing. It is up to us to go to Him expectantly, to carry as much blessing in our barrell as we can so we can enjoy it for ourselves and share it with others that need it. He is waiting to hear from us!

Have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Get Out of My Way!

I admit it. I am not a very patient driver. I have a great deal of patience in other areas of my life (I am a middle school teacher after all), but driving does not bring out the best in me. I sometimes have the attitude that the road belongs only to me, and anyone not going 0-5 miles over the speed limit is simply in my way. I have my destination in mind, but these "slow drivers" make it difficult to get there.

By all means, I am not proud of the above behavior. I have come a long way, but still have miles to go. When I thought about this the other day, I thought about how God must feel with me sometimes. How many times does He have a positive "destination" for my life only for me to get in the way and try to do things myself. If I just pulled over and got out of the way it would be easier for Him to do His will in my life. The ultimate result is more blessing for me and those around me.

God is so willing and able to do miracles in my life and yours. His power is so readily available. So why do I often ignore it and do things my way? A great example of this idea is found in the book Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. He talks about having your own personal limo driver that offers to drive you all around New York City. Nothing to do but let him/her drive us through the traffic and allow us to enjoy the sights. Would we ask this person to take the passenger seat and then take control of the car ourselves, having to drive ourselves through the chaotic streets? I would hope not. The object would be to have them in control while we enjoy the sights. He also mentions that some people hire house cleaners, yet they themselves do some serious cleaning before the cleaner even gets there! Why not leave the cleaning in control of the person they've hired and enjoy the benefits of leaving it to them for a clean house?

I believe this is a great lesson to be learned. For many of us, life is good already. How much better can it be though, if we would be able to get out of our own way in life, and leave the control to the One who has all of the answers? It's a question I'm willing to see answered. I believe the result will be blessings from above. And I'll be much nicer when I drive : )

Have an excellent day!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lessons From Mexico

I have been away from this blog site recently because I took a week-long trip to Mexico City. I title this blog Positive Power and would be remiss if I did not include powerful lessons learned on this trip.

I went with my church and an organization called Operation Serve International. The goal is to minister to people in some of the poorest areas of the city by providing medical, dental, and optical care they would not normally have access to. We also ministered to the children, and helped a local church and those living in the area. Another important aspect is to share the love of God and make them aware of how their lives can change by having a personal relationship with Christ.

This trip had powerful impacts on many lives we administered to. What I didn't expect, was the powerful impact it had on my own life. I was able to expereince a new culture and meet some great people. I speak Spanish, so I was able to have some excellent convsersations with some of the locals and help my teammates do the same as well. Throughout the trip, I learned two great lessons:

1. The power of team work. I came with people from my church (11 people). We also worked with other churches from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and England. Together we were a group of about 60. Besides making many new friends for life, I had never seen a greater display of team work. The reason it was so effective is that every person used their God-given talents to the best of their ability. No one complained that others did things better, or that they did too much or too little. Everyone was thankful of the talents they could offer, and utilized them to the best of their ability.

2. The power of the small things. As mentioned, I am able to speak Spanish, so I was able to converse with many of the locals. In several cases, I made small compliments that I would make to anyone. The impacts of those were unbelievable. I recall a woman who came to our medical station. She was shy and nervous, head down and shoulders hunched. She had a tatoo on her shoulder. I asked about it and at the end of her visit complimented the beautiful tatoo. Her demeanor completely changed, and a bright smile lit up her face. She left with her head up, and the smile never disappeared. It showed me how something so simple could have such a powerful impact. The lesson is that those little things don't only impact the poor of Mexico. They can be used daily in our own lives and can impact anyone around us.

This is a trip I will never forget. I will have pictures of the people I met and worked with and my mind forever. Chances are that I will have this opportunity again. However, these opportunities are in our lives everyday. By using our God-given talents (however few or many there are) to the best of our abilities, we can be great team players and make great impacts in our own worlds. Also, we need to know that even the smallest gestures of kindness can have the greatest impacts to those around us. They go a long, long way.

I thank God regularly for this opportunity. I already miss Mexico City and can't wait to get back there again. However, I know that I can apply what I learned in my own city as well. Anyone can.

Have an excellent day : )

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Are You Thinking?

The question in the title is always an intriguing one. We are usually very curious about what someone else may be thinking, whether it is about us or any other topic. The answers to the question can be as interesting as curiosity that peaqued our question in the first place.

I present this question for a reason besides being curious about what you are thinking at the moment. Instead, I ask because many of my recent reading material suggests that we focus on what we are thinking on a regular basis. The information suggests that we have full control of the thoughts that enter our mind, and it is up to us to keep them positive.

Easier said than done? At first, one may be tempted to answer yes. However, the more I practice and experience the benefits of controlling my thoughts, the more natural it becomes. I realize more each day that by keeping my thoughts positive, I experience more of the positive in my life. The same is true for anyone else. I need to say that I don't believe we could or should completely avoid negative thoughts. It is nearly impossible to do so, and I believe we can use them to learn from difficult situations and creative positive outcomes from them.

At this point, many would ask, "what do I think about?" or "what is a good method I can use to keep my thoughts positive, especially when a great deal of negative is occuring around me?" In my opinion, the best way to start is by following St. Paul's advice from Philippians 4:8. It says: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I have found that it is a two step process. The first is to focus on the things noted above. The second is to stop at times during the day and actually take periodic time-outs. I find that it helps to just stop and think about peaceful, pure, and praiseworthy thoughts, even if it's only for a few minutes at a time. It is amazing how it keeps my perspective positive. The result is a more positive and productive day for me, and for those around me.

So now I ask again. What are you thinking? I suggest you try, as much as possible, to focus on the Biblical instructions from the Philippians verse. I believe you will be blessed if you do.

Have an excellent day : )

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Positive Expectation

Why is it that some people have all the luck? Do you ever notice that the same people win most of the games, contests, lotteries, etc?

It is a fact that some people are luckier than others. But is it really luck? The more I read and learn, the more I realize there may be more. Sometimes it is just good luck. However, I now see it is more because these people EXPECT to win. They KNOW things will go there way. The more they think this way, the more good things happen.

It is a great lesson to be learned. When we expect good things in our lives, they are more likely to happen. The cool thing about this is that we can have something to do with it. By controling the way we think, we can actually bring better circumstances into our lives.

The challenge for me and anyone else reading this is to do our best to control the way we think about things. Let's release any worrisome, anxious thoughts. Instead, lets's expect the best. If we do, we are much more likely to receive the best.

Have an excellent day : )

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It All Counts

Many of us have big dreams and goals that we want to see realized. Not only do we want them to come true, but we want them NOW!

In many cases, we need to go through a step by step process to see our goals realized. I received an excellent reminder from someone today about that topic. Many times we are not happy until we have completely reached the goal. As a result, we don't enjoy and learn from the process. In many cases, we have many small victories before the big one. The advice given to me was to enjoy those small victories. We celebrate when babies crawl, even though the ultimate goal is for them to walk. Perhaps you lost 5 pounds, but are looking to lose 20. Instead of thinking you only lost 5 pounds, celebrate the fact that you lost some and you are going in the right direction. The same is true for income, or any other goals.

It was also pointed out that the more we feel encouraged by these victories, the more likely we will continue towards our ultimate goal, AND we are more likely to arrive there faster! On the other hand, if we don't enjoy the small victories as we make progress, we are more likely to get discouraged and possibly even give up.

I challenge myself and anyone reading to specifically focus on the small victories during the next few days. I believe it will keep us smiling, and automatically make our days better. I hope it works for you.

Have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

As a Man (or a Woman) Thinks

One can read the book of Proverbs anytime, anywhere, and find gold mines of excellent advice. One of my favorites is 23:7 which says, "as a man thinks so is he".

Ok, so what's the big deal about that? Before I answer, I will say that I continually read articles and books that stress the importance of seeing ourselves positively. That does not mean seeing ourselves as better than anyone else. It simply means seeing ourselves as God sees us: unique, beautiful individuals who all have a significant part to play in this world we live in.

Ok, so here's the big deal. If we see ourselves as that unique, beautiful individual... that is what we will be. We shouldn't be overly concerned with how people see us (easier said than done), but this is what they will see if we believe it. I am sure you can think of plenty of examples to back this up. Maybe you looked really good in that new outfit, and you knew it. You felt beautiful. I'm willing to bet many you came in contact with that day thought so too. Maybe you lost a significant amount of weight. You felt legitimately good about yourself. That was a positive change, and I would guess that several more positive changes followed as a result. Ever wonder why some people seem to make all the sales? It's because they see themselves as personable, confident, and able. And so does everyone else.

I will say that this is simply my interpretation of this verse, and I may even be stretching it a bit. The point is that I believe we are as we see ourselves. Even though no one is perfect, hopefully you see yourself as the unique, beautiful individual that you are. God does.

Have an excellent day : )

Monday, July 12, 2010

Defeating the Giants

It's funny how many times I will have some kind of theme on my mind for a few days. Then I go to church and hear the pastor preach about the same topic. It's almost like its meant for me when that happens.

This happened to me on Sunday. Lately I've been feeling like there are obstacles in my life preventing me from accomplishing some of the goals I have. I've mistakenly focused on those obstacles instead of potential solutions.

The pastor shared one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Moses sent 12 spies to "scout" the promised land. Ten of them saw giants, became afraid, and advised against going into this land. Two came back with a positive report about how beautiful the land was and that, with God's help, they could easily take it regardless of giants, obstacles, etc. Unfortunately, the majority vote won, and they did not enter the promised land until years later.

Too many of us today, including myself many times, focus on the obstacles. We see the giants ahead of us and automatically think we can't do it. As a result we miss many potential blessings in life. My goal is to be like the two that returned with positive news. They focused on the blessing. They saw the good. Most importantly, they knew that with God's help they could accomplish anything.

I want to allow myself as much as God's blessing as possible. I believe anyone would agree and want the same. So why not be like the two who focused on God's blessing and had the faith to believe it would happen. With this attitude, I believe we can experience much more blessing than we can ever imagine.

Have an excellent day : )

Friday, July 9, 2010

What If....

The above title is always a common question in our society. We tend to reflect on what could have been, what will be, etc.

One may ask, is a "what if" philosophy good or bad? As I think about the answer, I believe it could be both. Personally, I feel like I've used it for bad recently. I have tended to focus on the "what if" negatives. What if this goes wrong? What if that doesn't happen? What if a person doesn't like what I have to say? What if I fail?

Why not turn it around to the positive? How about..."what if I take this risk and succeed? What if what I have to say really helps someone? What if this new venture really takes off? What if I positively impact those around me?

I have been focusing on the negative lately. What that has done is impeded any progress I could have made for me or someone else. It shows a lack of faith in the God that empowers us to do anything we put our minds to.

Fortunately, I have caught myself. I have asked for (and faithfully received) forgivness for my doubts. I am now ready to press forward. With my positive thoughts and efforts, combined with God's power, I now charge ahead thinking "what if" to the excellent possibilities that lay ahead.

I share this information because, as you can see, it is so easy for us to get caught up in the negative "what ifs". Even us so called optimists can fall into that trap. I share this to encourage myself and anyone reading to have faith in themselves, and especially the God that is always with us. Let us constantly think "what if", and then fill in the blanks with faithful, positive, and powerful thoughts and prayers about what can be. I believe God is waiting for us to think this way and ask for His blessings. Then we can watch the miracles that follow. I look forward to hearing about yours.

Have an excellent day : )

Thursday, July 8, 2010

OMG - Where Have I Been?

It is amazing how fast time goes. I have been off this site for a while. There are two main reasons for that. One is that I have been extremely busy. Besides finishing up another school year, I took on a second job temporarily. I had a very rewarding experience as my school's baseball coach, but it took a lot of my spare time.

Another reason I have been away is that I call this blog "Positive Power". Lately, I feel like I have not been creating positive power in my life and for those around me. I have shared some very helpful advice I have received through reading and conversations. However, I have not been living it. I have not followed this advice myself, so I felt hypocritical throwing it out there for everyone else.

Ok, so after some thorough reflection over the past few days, I believe I am ready to move on. I am further motivated to create positive power for myself, those close to me, and anyone willing to read and learn from this blog. As I frequently mention, I am no expert. I have simply read and heard a great deal on living life positively, and the positive results that follow. As a result, I feel the need to live it out in my own life, and share my new knowledge with anyone curious to learn.

I certainly hope the information presented on this blog helps. I hope to be able to write on a regular basis and present helpful information that you can apply to your life as well. As always, I appreciate any feedback.

Have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's a Laughing Matter

The other day I was listening to a conversation. They were talking about an individual who spent a vacation with a group of people they didn't know very well. However, the person fit in perfectly, and his company was enjoyed by all. One of the reasons mentioned was that this person laughed a lot.

This struck my attention, and I took a short mental time-out from the conversation. Someone was a hit because they laughed a lot? As I thought about this further, I realized the truth in that statement. I enjoy this same person's company for the same reason...he laughs at my stupid jokes!

I realize how much more I enjoy certain people's company when they laugh a lot. I think of watching old sitcoms with my father. Part of the fun was hearing his contagious laugh. When I lived in New York, I regularly visited a comedy club with a friend of mine. The comics were funny, but I laughed even harder as I watched my friend convulse and laugh himself out of breath. These evenings were not the same when he was not there.

I have also received compliments from people at times I laughed a lot. I previously shared a story about how a friend was positively affected on a retreat because I was so "into it". Laughter was a regular part of that weekend.

In all of this there is a lesson. We can be great company by not being afraid to laugh, and not holding back from it. I would love it if someone said they had a better time when I was around because of the laughter I added to the gathering. The only problem is I don't do it enough. I pledge to see the humor in things and people more, and express it though my willingness to laugh. It's the least I can do to add a little joy to the world. Not only is it very easy to do, but it makes our lives more positive, and adds to the lives of those around us as well. I think it definitely puts a smile on God's face when we do.

Have an excellent day : )

Monday, May 31, 2010

Why My Family is the Best

I just returned from a weekend at my parents' house. I was there with my wife and kids, my parents, and my two sisters and their families. It's always a full house as one sister has 8 kids. It's a bit loud and crazy, but it's always great. There were three things I observed this weekend to further my belief that I am the luckiest human being regarding family:

1. There was not one negative word the whole weekend. This is no exaggeration. Yes, sometimes kids whine a bit, and adults disagree. However, all of the kids got along without any issues, and there was nothing but pleasant conversation among the adults.

2. Everyone enjoyed each other's company. I felt loved and appreciated by every single person there, and I am sure they felt the same from me. Everyone was happy to be there and would not have argued with the weekend lasting a few more days.

3. Laughs and smiles were the theme of the weekend. It was easy to laugh and help others to do the same.

I don't share this information to brag. I share it as a public display of thanks to my Creator for bringing me into this world and sharing this part of eternity with the wonderful people He has allowed me to call family. They are simply the best. I would certainly hope you are lucky enough to say the same about yours.

Have an excellent day : )

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's All About Faith

I can't believe I've only been able to write one entry on this site in the past two weeks. The amount of time I've had has gone down, and the demands of life and job have gone up. It's a bit frustrating because I feel like I can't accomplish some of the goals I have set for myself. What can I do to change that?

I believe one of the keys is in the first sentence of this entry. The first three words in fact. I have found myself "not believing" far too often. That's where things need to change.

If you find yourself in the same situation, perhaps the first thing to do is start believing. You've heard people say.."you can do anything you put your mind to". It is so true. The Bible is loaded with verses about faith and its benefits. With faith all things are possible. I can do ALL things through Christ. According to your faith it is done. It is a simple fact that great things happen for people who believe they can. If you believe in miracles, it is far more likely that you will see them happen.

I am at a point where I am tired of letting events and business affect my life. I challenge myself and anyone else to have the faith to know that God is fully in control of our lives. We need to have this confidence and faith in each situation in each day. I believe it will make a huge difference. I challenge you to try. I have faith that life will be great as a result.

Have an excellent day : )

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


You may be asking, "what's with the weird title?" What on earth does it mean? I will say that, no, I haven't yet learned to blog in code.

You may have heard the expression, WWJD. If not, it means "What Would Jesus Do?" The point is to think about situations in our lives and see them as Jesus would see them. We think about what Jesus would do, and do our best to be like Him. I believe it is a very helpful philosophy to live by, and one that can bring much success to all areas of our lives.

I was reading a book the other day that talked about ways to avoid worrying. It suggested that, when facing difficult situations, it is helpful to imagine Jesus as being right next to us. If He was there with us would we fear? I would think not. So I decided to create the phrase of the title. It stands for "What If Jesus Was Here?" Think about that for a minute. What if Jesus was right next to us and was with us for every situation we encountered in our lives: Our homes; our jobs; our church. We would move ahead with confidence in each and every situation, knowing any difficulties would be handled, and any necessary assistance would be available. Even miracles would be possible.

The truth is..Jesus really IS with us. He is with us in every area and every situation of our lives. They key is to constantly be aware of that. When we realize He is with us we can move ahead with confidence and know the difficulties are being handled. We can know that any necessary assistance is available, and we can even expect miracles!

Let us live our lives as if Jesus was right here with us. We can do that because He is! When we live this way we can live with confidence and power, and we can have great impacts on the world around us. I look forward to hearing your stories.

Have an excellent day : )

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Correcting Errors

I have always been a huge baseball fan. I played it, I watch it, and enjoy seeing young people learn the game. I recently became the head coach of my school's baseball team of 12-14 year old boys (and one girl).

This is the first time I have ever coached a team. I have two excellent assistants, and the kids are great. As a result, I am enjoying it immensely. We have a very good team. In our first game we played the defending champions. Going into the last inning the game was tied. We had a chance to win, except our team fell apart in the last inning, giving up 6 runs, mainly due to errors.

One of our players was responsible for several of the errors. He was very upset about it, and began crying as he took responsibility for the loss. After talking to our team, I talked to him individually. I explained to him that I was not at all upset with him because the errors were honest, physical errors, not mental ones. His head was in the game, and he was playing it right. He just made some honest mistakes, and I told him I had full confidence he could correct them. Fortunately, he felt much better after the discussion.

At the next practice, I discussed a 4 step process to help him out. The steps are:

1. Figure out the error/mistake - I made him aware of the mistakes he made that caused some of the errors.

2. Learn from the mistakes - Ask how the mistakes can be avoided in the future.

3. Know the right way - I showed him the correct way to do things like positioning, catching the ball, etc.

4. Practice/Repetition - We practiced several times, and continue to do so on a regular basis.

I thought about how this can apply to all areas of our lives. We all make errors. Some of us make more than our fair share. When we do, we have two choices: One is to keep making the same mistakes, while the other is to learn from them. I believe these four steps can help us correct our mistakes: determine what you are doing wrong; learn how to avoid the same mistake again; know the correct course of action; practice and make the right way the regular way.

Errors can be great ways to learn if we see them that way and refuse to let them get us down. That's how errors become home runs!

Have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Expect A Miracle

Mothers Day is always a special day as we celebrate the moms in our life. For this most recent one we spent a wonderful day with my mother in law. Per her request we attended service at her church instead of our own.

I am very comfortable with my church and very much enjoy our services. However, I am always open to visiting other churches to see how other Christians worship and reflect on the Word. As I entered this church, it took me about five seconds to know I would like it there. As you walk into the sanctuary, there is a big sign above that says "Expect a Miracle".

How often do you expect miracles? If you're like many, it is not often enough. We often focus on our worries and doubts instead of the great possibilities that await us. I know I can fall into that category more often than I care to admit.

It is amazing how, when we expect miracles, they happen. I've seen it far too many times in my own life. As we read about the many miracles in the Bible, or even in our current world, we see that it is when people have faith that great things happen. The Bible says, "if you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer (Matthew:21:22). "Everything is possible to him who believes (Mark 9:23). There are many other verses that say the same.

I believe God is waiting for us to ask for miracles. So why not ask? He will not be offended. He will not push us aside. He will not say we are wrong. However, he will expect us to believe.

Whatever you are hoping for today, know that it is possible. It may not happen this instant as we want it, but miracles are wating to occur in your life. Know it and expect it, and you will soon see it. Please share when it does take place.

Have an excellent day : )

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Focusing on the Moment

I was watching a beautiful sunset the other day. It was just one of those classic, beautiful settings outside my kitchen window on a warm Spring day. I watched it for a few seconds and enjoyed it. That is, until I thought of all the the things I still had to do that day. At that time, I left the window, and continued to get drawn in to my busy schedule.

Those that have been reading this blog may be thinking that I am writing different blogs about this same subject of focus on the present. I can't disagree if you think that. However, because of this situation and others, I feel the need to share this information.

I was quite disappointed in myself as I looked back on this situation. I couldn't enjoy a God-given, colorful sunset. Instead I focused on my business and worries, afraid that something wasn't going to get done on time. I've had a tendency to do this. I remember being at my parents' house in the country. We were outside at night, and there were millions of stars in the sky, much more than we can see in our suburban backyard. We also saw many shooting stars. However, I remember going inside much earlier than I would have liked. One reason was because the bugs were getting to me. The other is that I felt the need to get in and rest for my four hour drive home the next day. Once again, I could not enjoy one of nature's greatest moments because I focused on distractions and worries.

I keep reading these days about enjoying and taking advantage of the present moment. Some of those moments, like the scenic sunset and shooting star show, don't come about often. So why not fully enjoy them when they do? So what if the bugs are biting. So what if the clock is ticking faster than we would like. So what if some distractions come our way. Instead of focusing on them and what we may have to do tomorrow, why not enjoy what we have today. Enjoy and meditate on God's beauty all around us. Enjoy and love the beautiful people God has put in our lives (even the ones we don't want to). Enjoy the magic of each day we have on this earth. There is something beautiful about each one.

I wish I could say distractions and negative situations won't come into our lives. We all know they do. However, if we take the time to focus on the positive, the beautiful, and the good of the present moment, we will have the power to swat the negatives away like a persistent gnat.

I pledge to spend more time enjoying the great things around me, and not letting the negative thoughts and worries enter my head when I do. I am a positive person, and it's time to start acting that way. I would recommend the same for anyone. The next time you see the beautiful sunset, meteor shower, or any of nature's beautiful moments, please spend the extra time to enjoy them without letting any of life's distractions interfere. I believe that's exactly how God intended it.

Have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Focus on Success

Ok, here's the question of the day...what do baseball players and weather predictors have in common? Answer....many are making millions of dollars for failing most of the time.

It's an interesting concept. The best baseball players get hits 3 out of every 10 times at bat. That means they come up short 7 times out of every 10. I read an article by author/mind specialist Karim Hajee. He made a very interesting point. He says that, with these players, we don't focus on the 7 times they fail. We focus on the number of times they are successful. The best baseball players are known for the hits they get, not the outs they make.

After reading this, I realize we need to do the same in our own lives. I think about myself, and realize how often I focus on my failures. Each day I do some things right, some wrong. In many cases the "wrong" category far outweighs the "right". However, if I want to keep a good frame of mind, and maximize the positive power in my life, I need to focus on what I did right. I need to focus on my successes. Like the baseball player, I want to be known for my hits, not my outs.

Do we just ignore our failures? Of course not. When a baseball player makes several outs in a row, he takes the time to evaluate what he is doing wrong, and makes the necessary adjustments. If he maintains a positive attitude and effort, he eventually begins hitting again. The same is true for us. When we are not succeeding, we need to evaluate and make the necessary adjustments. With the right attitude and effort, we eventually return to our more successful ways.

When we focus on our success, we build on it and create more for ourselves. We realize the power we have in us, and our faith grows. And when our faith grows, we take positive, focused action. And when we mix faith with positive focused action, the possibilities in our lives are endless, and miracles abound. That's the kind of life I want to live.

So the next time you are frustrated about your failures stop and realize your successes. I believe you will soon realize how much you have actually accomplished, and how much positive you have in your life. When you focus on your successes, life is a home run!

Have an excellent day : )

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Present Moments

Wow, time goes quickly, doesn't it? I realize its been four days since I wrote something here. I also realize the other items not checked off on my to do list as another week has quickly passed us by.

So what do I do now? Try to catch it all up in one day? According to my most recent readings, the best I can do is...the best I can do. Yes, I understand that doesn't make sense. We are only alloted a certain amount of time to accomplish what we need to. The key is to do all we can in the amount of time we have in the present moment.

The minutes and hours I have lost this week are gone forever. The best I can do today is to be and do my best RIGHT NOW! I do need to have ideas and plans for the future. However, I have full control over this present moment. It is what I do with this control that will be the greatest determining factor of how future moments turn out.

Although I can learn from my past, I can't bring it back. Although I can be ready for my future, I can't bring it here now. It is the present moment that I have at my fingertips. This is the time to make things happen.

I hate to cut this short, but my to do list is made, and I am focused! This information has helped me a great deal, and that's why I share it with you. I have learned that, if I put my primary focus on what I can do in the present time I have, I worry less and accomplish more. Also, things are done more effectively.

Please enjoy your present moments today : )

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Christian Atheist??

There are certain things that don't go together in this world. For example, in our country there are no Republican Democrats. There are other examples to continue this little game: rich poor people; people that love the Yankees AND the Red Sox; country city slickers, etc. There are very few, if any that would fit into both of each category.

So what about my title? Do Christian Atheists exist? I will take the cop-out answer of yes and no. Now some of you are already thinking I've flown off the deep end. There's no such thing, you say. Partially true, I reply. But there's more to this story.

First, let's define both words. What is a Christian? The obvious answer is someone who believes in Jesus Christ, that he died on the cross, and was resurrected on the third day. Of course, there is much more to it, but that's the basic definition. An atheist, as defined by dictionary.com, is a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. So how can we have both at once?

I will answer that shortly. My main point is that I am reading an excellent book called "The Path to Prosperity", by James Allen. It is an incredible book about the effects positive thinking can have on our lives. However, it is the powerful statement of negative thoughts that really gets my attention. He says, "where there is fear, worry, anxiety, doubt, trouble, chagrin, or disappointment, there is lack of faith....to fear, worry and doubt is to deny, to dis-believe. (p. 36) Wow! Did he really say that?

At first, I had the inclination to throw the book down. I couldn't though because it is an e-book, and the whole computer would go with it. Besides, I'm not one for losing my temper anyway. However, as I thougth about this more, I realized how right the author is. We are commanded throughout the bible to have faith. There are countless stories about miracles that happened because of one's faith. There are also many verses commanding us not to worry, create anxiety, or dwell on negative circumstances.

I am a Christian. I think I'm a pretty good one too. However, after reading this, I humbly realize I am part atheist. Every time I worry, doubt or fear, I am saying I don't believe in the power and miracles God has for me. I am saying Jesus died in vain for me. I am saying it is more important for me to dwell on negative thoughts than to pray with faith for positive results. If I were God I would be seriously offended! Fortunately, He is very forgiving, and it is me I am hurting, not Him.

Once again, these words hit me hard and really made me think (that's the sign of a great book in my opinion). It is as I make a much greater effort to focus my thoughts on the positive blessings God has for me that I share this with you. I am not here to call you an atheist. However, it is my desire to remind you again of: the power within you; using that power to be a blessing to others and making a difference in this world; and focusing faithfully on God and the blessings he has for you. I want to be known as a faithful, believing Christian. Hopefully you do too : )

Have an excellent day!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Emotional Debate

I have always been interested in psychology and how emotions play a part in our lives. In one of my college classes we studied an interesting debate. It was about emotion and action. One side said that emotion came first, then the action. For example, we feel the emotion of happiness, then we smile or laugh. We become sad, then cry. The other side said that our action of crying, laughing, or whatever is actually what triggers the emotion.

For me, this was an easy one to figure out. I firmly believed the first argument. We feel the emotion, than comes the action. Recently, I thought of this from the other side. Would it be possible to act first to create the emotion? The more I thought about it, I thought..Yes!

Think about when we smile. Many times we smile because of a positive emotion. However, I believe it is possible to cause positive emotions by smiling. Try it. Spend a few minutes with a big smile on for your face. Does it make a difference? It does when I try it. The first time I did it, I actually ended up laughing because I thought I had officially gone crazy trying to keep a fake smile on my face. Before long though, it wasn't fake. When we smile and laugh we feel positive. And when we feel positive, life goes much smoother. Besides that, it positively impacts those around us.

A smile can also combat negative emotions and situations. When I worked in customer service, I often received calls from angry customers. When they "heard" my smile on the phone, they were much less likely to remain angry, and were much more willing to come up with a mutual solution. I recently read of an experiment. It suggested to try to smile and think of negative, worrisome thoughts at the same time. It is very difficult to do!

The bottom line is that our action can impact our emotion. The best part is we have full control over it. There are many benefits to keeping a smile on our face. One of the greatest is the positive emotions we feel as we do it. I don't know about you, but I no longer need psychological proof to believe this.

Have an excellent day : )

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Know Success

Wouldn't it be great if everything we did or tried in life was successful? We all know it doesn't happen this way. But we can dream, right?

I believe we can learn from this fantasy. I recently read advice of the importance of envisioning success with each task or goal we have. This is nothing new to me, and I have written about it before. However, the writer makes a strong and powerful statement. He advises to go into every endeavor as if success is guaranteed.

I thought about this for a moment and find it to be excellent advice. I reflected on the fact that, every time I failed at something, it was because I went into it half-heartedly or fearing failure. Everything I've had success with, I went into it with confidence, assuming I already had success.

I don't believe this happens by accident. Knowing this, I think we can create much of our success on purpose. By going into every task with thoughts of success in the front of our minds, our success levels can dramatically increase.

I wish I could say that we could be completely successful with everything, but none of us has been or will ever be perfect. However, why not think positive and see yourself succeeding before beginning your next task. I seriously think you will not only increase success, but you may end up trying and doing things you may not have thought of doing before. Either way, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. After being very much afraid to leave my comfort zone for a long time, I see the positive results in my own life. That's my main reason for sharing this information here. Please share your positive results. I would love to hear about it.

Have an excellent day : )

Friday, April 9, 2010

Be Your Best

Much of the conversations in our world today are about who's the best at something. Sports leagues are set up that way. After all, what sports league would be worth watching if there wasn't a champion determined. In entertainment, there are Grammys, Oscars, CMAs, etc, all to determine who is the best.

We all dream of being the best. I know I do. However, it is a very difficult task. Only one can be the best. As a result, trying to the be the best at something has caused stress for me for two reasons: One, is there are many people that do many things well (in many cases they do them much better than I do). Two, it can cause competition. Here's an example....When I began teaching seven years ago, I was thrilled to be in that position (I still am today). As a result, I wanted to be the best teacher in the school. This was a difficult task. First, there were many great teachers already there. They had much more experience and knowledge than I did. Once I realized this, I put extra pressure on myself, and even became a bit jealous when I saw the great things they were doing.

You may ask, is there an easier way? I can gladly answer.....YES! There is one idea that has helped me more than any. I recently read it again in two different sources, so I was inspired to share it here. Instead of being THE best, simply strive to be YOUR best. That simply means doing your best in every area of your life, doing all tasks (big and small) wholeheartedly.

This philosophy has several benefits:

1. Maximum efficiency. Imagine how much better and more efficient this world would be if everyone did their best at everything. I believe we would not be talking about recessions, double digit unemployment, educational breakdowns, etc.

2. Cooperation. Instead of working against people, more would be working together. Think of how much easier it is to go with the flow instead of against it.

3. Less Stress. Using my teaching example above, I have so much less pressure trying to be MY best instead of THE best. There are still many teachers better than me. Yet because I strive to be my best, that's what my students, peers, and employers receive from me. As a result they all benefit.

Ephesians 6:7 says to "serve wholeheartedly as if serving the Lord, not men. That's inspiration enough for me to do all things wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, there are too many times I don't. Funny how that's when I am without direction, I feel lost, and don't see positive results in my life. When I do things at my best, not only do they get done well, but things go smoother, and I enjoy the benefits mentioned above, besides many other blessings. So do all of those around me.

If you are looking for more productive and powerful results in your life, I recommend this advice of being your best in every area of your life. By being YOUR best you will exprience THE best as a result.

Have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Feeling Peaceful

Every once in a while I like to bring life's irony into my blogs. So why not today? I have been talking about raising our energy levels to increase our efficiency and that of those around us. I've talked about being loving and joyful, and now...peaceful?

One wouldn't normally put peace and tranquility into the same sentence with high energy. However, it can work. Peace is one of the fruits of the spirit. For that reason alone, it can add positive energy to our lives. However, what peace does, is remove the clutter in our minds and lives that takes away our energy. How often do stressful and negative thoughts keep us weighted down and drain us of our mental and physical energy? It's easy to let it happen. However, if we focus on taking at least a few minutes a day to reflect on peaceful and tranquil thoughts we can remove much of that negative baggage.

You may think, "when do I have time during the day to slow down and think tranquil thoughts?" Our days are busy enough. However, I have seen the importance of taking this time, and I have experienced the benefits as well.

Ok then, how do we do it? Can we deliberately bring peace into our lives? And if so, how? I firmly believe we can do anything we put our minds to. In fact, that is the key. If we want it bad enough, we will get it. If we believe it can happen, it will. In any circumstance. So if we think thoughts of peace and believe it is with us, we will experience it.

As far as how to do it, that's up to the individual. What works best for me is prayer and reflection. Even if it's just for a few minutes, it works. Based on a suggestion I read, I also have a weird but effective way of clearing my head. I actually close my eyes, bow my head, and make believe I have a hole in my head (some may tell me I don't have to make believe). I then envision all of the negative thoughts, worries, etc. literally draining out of my head until I feel like it's all out. Yes, I know it's a little different (isn't a blog for sharing our deepest personal thoughts?), but it is amazing how I actually feel much more peaceful after doing that. I do it for about two minutes (usually locked in the bathroom so no one thinks I am crazy....oops, too late for that...) two or three times a day. With a more peaceful and clear mind I can accomplish much more and live more effectively. The same is true for anyone.

The bottom line is that we are on this earth to be the best we can be. This is much easier to accomplish when we are at peace with ourselves and those around us. Ultimately this peace and tranquility enables us to live a high energy life. That's when we are at our best.

I will end with one of my favorite bible verses...Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ (Philippians 4:6-7).

Have an excellent day : )

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's Contagious!

Why is it that when we hear the word contagious, we think of some kind of sickness? I teach in a school, and contagious is a nasty word that no one wants to hear. The same can be true in any work place.

I like to use the contagious term in the postive form. Is there such a thing? In a previous blog I talked about living life with a high energy. I discussed the high energy of love, and now I will touch on joy. It's amazing how much better life seems when we live with a joyful attitude. Everything just seems better, more positive, and more rewarding.

What's the best part about living this way? It's contagious! Have you ever noticed how even one joyful, positive person can light up an entire room full of people? It's true that one negative person can take the fun away from things. However, not only is it true that one joyful person can inspire a crowd, but the energy and positive effects it creates is much more powerful than a negative one.

That's the type of person I want to be. It's also amazing how, when we live with a joyful attitude (yes, the choice is ours), the joyful circumstances seem to penetrate our lives. I see it in my own life. Sometimes life is excellent just because I think it is.

Since this has such a positive effect on my life and those around me, I take it as a challenge to live life with joy. Enjoy each moment and see God's beauty and good in everything. It's amazing how the beauty and good multiplies around me when I do. I present the same challenge to anyone reading this. I look forwarding to hearing about the results.

Have an excellent day : )

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Power of Love

It's funny how one of my favorite Celine Dion songs runs through my head as I write this title. However, love is much more powerful than what we hear in this and most other songs we listen to.

In my previous blog I discussed the power of living with a high energy. I mentioned the three I believe to be the highest energies: love, joy, and peace, with love being the highest. If we can live our lives with love and be love we can make our lives more effective and have greater postive impacts on the world around us. So how do we do this?

I believe we first have to fully understand what love is. There is no greater definition than that found in I Corinthians 13:4-7......Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

There is no better explanation than this one of what love is. As I look at what those verses say, I realize how "not difficult" it is. Yes, sometimes it is easier said than done, especially when difficult people and circumstances arrive. However, with practice, and most importantly relying on God to perfect it in us, these principles are easy to follow and easy to be.

The challenge for me, and I will relay it to anyone else interested in positively impacting our world, is to realize the benefits of being this loving example. In my mind I see myself being blessed beyond measure, and I see how it benefits those around me. I smile as I see in my mind what God is doing all around me, and how He is using me to build His kingdom. It's interesting how, when we continue to see this in our minds, that it is much more likely to occur in reality. For me, lots of this already has.

If our continuous focus is to be and share the love of God that is in us, the blessings and impacts we imagine (along with those so good we can't even imagine) will be real. I will share as they do for me, and invite anyone else to please do the same.

Have an excellent day : )

Monday, March 29, 2010

Increase Your Positive Energy

Does anyone know what a webinar is? I am on several positive message e-mailing lists, and received one advertising a special webinar. I decided to check it out. It was basically a seminar on the web. Makes sense, right?

Putting the novelty aside, it turned out to be quite informative and powerful. The host discussed the fact that, the higher the energy we live at, the more powerful and rewarding our lives are.

How true is this? I'm someone who believes everything I read or hear, yet I still like to give these topics serious consideration. The energy being described here is not physical energy, but spiritual. The speaker mentioned the highest forms of energy. They are:

1. Love
2. Joy
3. Peace

The main message is that if we are living our lives with these three qualities at the forefront of our minds, we are living at our highest energy level, thus resulting in positive results in our lives and postive impacts being made on others.

Does it make sense? I believe it does. First, I've learned this same concept in other books I've read, namely "The Power of Intention", by Wayne Dyer. He has a whole section of his book devoted to this topic. However, I can name a more important source....The Bible. You may recognize these as the first of the fruits of the Spirit named in Galatians 5. Looking at it from that perspective, it makes total sense. If we are constantly living our lives by the fruits of the Spirit, and constantly "being" those fruits, how can we not be blessed? How can we not make powerful impacts on those around us?

I like to call the high energy being discussed here as God energy. When we are operating on His energy, it is constant and powerful. That is the energy I want to have. That is the energy we all have available to us if we seek it and live it. The only ones who can stop it are ourselves.

It is not always easy to live these energies out, especially when there is so much negative energy around us. However, I intend this week to focus especially on living and being these qualities CONSTANTLY throughout my day. I challenge anyone else to do the same. I will touch upon each of the three "fruits" in more detail over the next few days.

In the meantime, have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Savor the Flavor

Have you ever wondered why, in general, Europeans are healthier and thinner than Americans? They eat fatty foods like cheese, starchy foods like noodles, pasta, and potatoes, and plenty of high calorie desserts. So what's the difference?

The information in the article I read named some reasons, such as more walking and exercise to smaller portions. However, the one that stood out was the fact that they eat their meals slowly. They take the time to enjoy the flavor and quality of each bite of the food, drink, and company. It is a fact that if you eat too fast you are more likely to remain hungry, thus more likely to eat more. The slower one eats, the more satisfied they feel, thus not craving more. As I teach this concept to my kids, the words "savor the flavor" remain the theme at our dinner table.

As I think about this further, I realize how this idea can apply to entire lives. Why not "savor the flavor" of each moment in our lives. Even when things aren't extra exciting, I believe life can be much more rewarding when we slow down and take the time to see the positive in it. Taking the time to be grateful. Taking the time to see God's beauty in everything. It doesn't take much effort.

When we savor the flavor during meal times, we enjoy it more and we are remain more healthy. I believe the same is true if we savor the flavor of life. We enjoy it more and ultimately feel more refreshed, energetic, and positive. Life moves quickly enough already. Why not slow down, even if only a short time each day, and savor the flavor of life. Just some food for thought for your day. Please enjoy each moment today : )

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Being a Good Receiver

Most people would be honored to be labeled as a giver. There are many people I know that I would consider to be excellent givers. It seems to be their automatic nature. Some of us aren't quite as good at it, but we try.

Recently, I have been reminded of the importance of being a good receiver as well. It is difficult because we don't hear of many people being called good receivers. It is natural in our society to attach a negative and see receiving as being selfish or greedy. It is for this reason that many, especially for those who give a lot, have difficulty receiving.

I believe it is important that we don't only take in life, and we do our share of giving. However, being a good receiver is also important. Why? Think of how we feel when we give to someone else. It's a great feeling watching someone enjoy the benefits of what we gave. That feeling also makes us want to give even more. Think of how we would feel if someone would not accept what we are offering. When we are not willing to receive we rob other people of that blessing. If it happens too much, it may deter someone from trying to give to us again in the future.

So the next time someone gives us a gift, offers to pay for dinner, watch our kids for free, or whatever, why not allow them to do so. As long as we regularly give what we have to offer, why not graciously accept the good that is offered to us. Not only are we blessed, but so is our giver. It's a win-win situation.

Have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Talking to Myself Again

Yes, I'm one of those people. You've seen me before. No one else is around, and my mouth is moving with words coming out. It's just me talking to myself again.

It is natural to give a second look anytime we see someone else doing the same thing. We even laugh at ourselves when we notice that we are talking to ourselves. However, is this necessarily a bad thing?

Being the optimist that I am, I try to find some good in this. And I found it! I've read at least three books lately which actually stress the importance of talking to ourselves. The authors mention that we not only need to talk to ourselves, but we need to keep it positive. Whether we realize it or not, much of the current state of our lives is being determined by what we believe about ourselves. We hear things from ourselves and from others.

If you are like me, you tend to believe what you hear. That is why it is so important to constantly feed our minds with positve thoughts and statements about ourselves. We don't see ourselves as superior to other people, but we need to constantly tell ourselves how good and valuable we are. We tell ourselves how much we have to offer. We tell ourselves that God is not only watching us, but is constantly with us. The Bible says that the kingdom of God is within us. That is God's power constantly with us, which can only be a recipe for success.

The more we tell ourselves good things, the more we will believe it. The result is a more positive self-image, which ultimately results in a more positive life for us and those around us. You may say that this doesn't take away the negative obstacles in our lives. That is true, but handling those issues with a positive self-confidence will normally help resolve them much quicker and easier.

So the next time you're the one talking to yourself in the middle of nowhere (or in the middle of a crowded place) make sure you are saying good things about yourself. You are too valuable not to.

Have an excellent day : )

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Positive Focus

Why is it that when we take on life's challenges we tend to think of what may go wrong instead of what we can accomplish? There are people that don't think that way. However, as much as I consider myself a positive thinker, I still fight this battle on a regular basis.

I keep reading how we eventually receive in our lives what we focus our thoughts on. So why not focus on what I want to happen? I am constantly reminded these days how beneficial this is, and how much more successful I can be by constantly seeing the end result as I believe it should be.

Perhaps you are facing the same struggle. If so, I will share the same advice I am being given. Focus on the positive results you want to see, not the potential negatives. If you focus and act correctly, the negatives and obstacles will be taken care of. Sometimes we may have to work harder and wait longer, but we will eventually reap the postive benefits of the task.

Want some examples? Perhaps you have a job interview. See yourself as successful and valuable instead of wondering how you will come across. Want to lose weight? See yourself at the weight you want to be at instead of reminding yourself of the snack habit you still can't break. Want to improve your relationships? See the beauty in yourself and others instead of the issues that may be causing problems. Need more money? Focus on positive opportunities instead of what you may be missing.

These are just some examples. This is obviously a bit simplified and there are more variables involved, but I still see it as helpful information. Once again, I am not the expert here. I am learning so much valuable information that is transforming my life and I feel the need to share. I hope it helps you as much as it does me.

Have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Quiet Example

There are many of us that strive to be a positive example to those around us. Sometimes we have the best of intentions, but don't always make the impacts we are looking to make. At least I feel that way sometimes. In my case, I sometimes I get lazy. Other times I don't focus as well as I should, or the focus is too much on myself.

One big reason I believe we are not the best examples we can be sometimes is that we feel the task is too overwhelming. For those of us who would absolutely love to change the whole world ourselves, it seems like there is too much to do that is far beyond our control and ability. We feel like we have to do entirely too much to have any kind of an impact.

The truth is it is not as difficult as it seems, or as we make it to be. Yes, we make a difference when we go out of our way to make an effort and serve others. However, as I read more on the topic, I realize that the greatest way to make positive impacts is to be the best person we can be. The more we realize our own value, and the more comfortable we feel with ourselves, the more we will be able to share this value with others. The bottom line is the more that we see it, the more others will as well.

For me, this is a very comforting thought. I am realizing that, along with my many imperfections, I also have something of value to offer others. I have a Godly spirit that dwells in me, along with many fruits of that Spirit. It is comforting for me to know that just living out those fruits of the spirit and mirroring the qualities and attitudes of my Lord are enough to make many positive impacts on those around me. Nothing fancy. Nothing I can't do. Nothing out of my realm of possibility. Just being the best I can be. It's unbelieveable what a major difference something so simple can be.

I see this as I look back at the most powerful moments of my life. I've had the greatest impacts on others when I was most at peace with myself, and most willing to submit to the Heavenly spirit within me. Now that I am aware of this, I will make a much more conscious effort to be my best and use that to be a blessing to others. I also believe this will make it easier to perform acts of service for others, as I can feel like I don't have to go above and beyond what I believe I can do.

I hope this information helps you as much as it is helping me. Please remember how special and valuable you are in God's eyes. Please make sure you see it in your own eyes too. If you do, many more eyes will see your positive example. As always, I would love to hear your story.

Have an excellent day : )

Monday, March 8, 2010

Life is Better Than a Mirror

What do we use mirrors for? It may sound like an obvious or even silly question. We all know that we use it to see ourselves. It is a reflection that comes back at us, resulting in the ability to see ourselves.

In life there are many things that "come back at us". It has been brought to my attention many times in recent days how we get back what we give out. One quote I read online said "say yes to life and it will say yes to you". Here are some others that were brought to mind:

- Send love and it will come right back at you.
- Give financially and watch how your bank account grows.
- Appreciate others and see how much you are appreciated.
- Keep positive thoughts in our heads and see the positive experiences in our lives quickly add up.

These are just a few of many examples. The theme is the same. What we give out reflects back to us. We shouldn't do these things just so we can get things in return, but receiving is a direct result of giving.

Here's the best part. When we give without expecting in return, we not only receive back, but we usually get MORE! That's how our great God works.

So if you are looking for ways to increase positive power in your life, take the time to give what you want to receive. Not only will you add to the lives of others, but you will impact your own world in an even greater manner. It never fails.

Have an excellent day : )

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Be "Into It"

It's always exciting to receive a new friend request on Facebook. I love the site because I am back in touch with many friends I thought I would never speak to again. Not only does it bring the people back, but many memories as well.

I received a request recently from an old friend from Long Island that triggered a very positive memory. I was 19, and we were away on a youth retreat in Springfield, Mass. It was at a time in my life where things were going very well, and my personal confidence was at an all-time high. Many of my best friends were also on this retreat, and I just enjoyed the time immensely.

This Facebook friend was one of the youth leaders, and one night he asked to talk and pray with me. I was quite surprised with what he said. However, I still remember it clearly, almost 25 years later. He thanked me for being such a positive light on this retreat and for all I had done to add to the positivity of it. When I thanked him and asked what I had done, he just said, "you're just so 'into it'".

I took this as the ultimate compliment. Again, I never have and never will forget it. He didn't say what he meant by "into it", but I have an idea. I had three things going for me this weekend:

1. I was constantly positive - I felt very good about myself and I very much appreciated the company around me. I was not afraid to demonstrate this confidence or tell my friends how much I was enjoying the time with them.

2. I laughed a lot, and never lost the smile on my face. I simply enjoyed the moment to the fullest. I am sure I could have found things to complain about, but I had no interest. The time was just too good, and I was intent on keeping it that way.

3. I was very close to God - I've been close to Him for a long time, but my communication with Him was constant and intense this weekend. Also, I was very thankful throughout, and appreciated the beauty in the entire experience.

I use this as a reminder in my current life. As I reflect further, I see that these three attitudes are prevelant during all of my most successful times in life. I realize that if I want to maximize my success today, I need to follow these same guidelines on a consistent basis. As my youth leader proved to me, not only does it benefit me, but other people notice and are positively impacted. This attitude is contagious and can do wonders in making one's world more positive.

I thank this friend for keeping in touch and for reminding me of this simple formula for success and positive impacts. It doesn't only work for me, but it will work for anyone. Life is a great experience, so let's "get into it".

Have an excellent day : )