Times are changing

Yesterday, in our area, we had a dearly beloved historical attraction and youth overnight field trip location SINK. Literally.

The tall ship – “The Pilgrim”, docked at The Ocean Institute in Dana Point, began to keel starboard and take on water. By the next morning, it’s deck was totally below water, with only the masts and a part of the bow above water.

the ship is keeling

The Pilgrim is a replica of the 3-masted schooner that Richard Henry Dana sailed from Boston to California on in 1843 and upon which he wrote his diary, which became the book and movie “Two Years Before the Mast.

It was a popular overnight field trip site for over 400,000 fourth and fifth graders from throughout Southern California, as they “enjoyed” nights at sea, living the life of a sailor.

It was known to have a leak that was being “handled” and was scheduled for a full pull out, that had been postponed. It is considered a total loss now, and is being salvaged.

a crane working on salvage

It’s been sad for our community, as we have now added the loss of the Pilgrim to everything else that’s going on these days.

Times are definitely changing.

It was Walt Whitman, who wrote the poem, “O Captain! My Captain!” in which he compared The United States to a ship. At the time of his writing, 1865, the US had just ended the Civil War and President Lincoln had just been assassinated.

During his days, times were also changing – drastically.

Through her long and rich history, the good ship – America, has weathered many storms. She has brought joy and fulfillment of dreams to millions of children and their families as she has carried them on their varied adventures.

She is worn but she is not weak. Her values are just, her purpose clear – life and liberty for all. She has taken hits, and may appear to keel, but her foundation is sure and secure. Her hull is not breached, her body resolute. She is not lost and is not sinking.

Her people, aboard her, within her lifelines and rails may be knocked by pounding waves and deadly tempests, yet they will sail through the squalls and they, aboard her will safely dock again in peaceful, quiet harbors.

Times are changing.

But America is strong and resilient because her people are, her foundations are. May we change as needed, where needed but not compromise who we are as Americans and the purpose for which we have been called – life and liberty for all.

Cheers to America!

Sail on!

Butterfly Effect

Butterflies are such beautiful and delicate creatures that most of us have taken the time to enjoy their movement, colors and mannerisms. Their wings are massive compared to their bodies and don’t even need to be so big for them to fly. They can actually fly with a damaged or broken wing.

They don’t flap their wings either, like birds do. You know – up and down. Butterflies create a figure 8 pattern motion with their wings by constricting their bodies thus moving their wings and propelling them through the air.

Their large wings act like a rudder. The larger the rudder, the faster you can turn a ship. With butterflies, their large wings enable them to turn faster and thereby not become someone’s dinner.

But that’s not all, let’s not forget how butterflies start out… as catepillars, then cocoon, then butterfly!

As that caterpillar is in confinement in his cocoon, the time grows near for his emergence. But that will never happen without a struggle, without pain, without a difficult fight. Without that struggle his transformation is incomplete.

As he pushes through the small hole, his swollen body and small, shriveled wings rub and rub and rub on the cocoon, until his struggle is successful and he emerges, nearly at the point of exhaustion. His body has been resized and is no longer swollen and his wings are dried, strengthened and he is NOW ready to fly.

Without the struggle, he will never grow or fly! This whole process, by the way, takes 5-21 days. Hmmmm.

This struggle that we now face, is not unlike the butterfly’s story.

We have allowed ourselves to become “swollen”, filled with excesses, and accumulation of things. Our ability to spread our huge wings and fly over it all has not been sufficiently developed, partially because the difficulties and frictions of life have been few and manageable.

” As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.”

” Storms make trees take deeper roots.”

” All flowers grow through dirt.”

In this time of “struggle”/confinement – let’s embrace the rubbing, reduce the excess, enjoy the process, persevere, and emerge with gigantic wings to fly above all that is earthbound.

Resist the urge to flap up and down at the same old pattern of your life. Let your wings develop a new pattern of flight and find their strength in practicing this new way, while still in your seclusion. For soon, you will be free to fly and turn quickly in your new found life.

Who knows what “Butterfly Effect” you are destined to cause?

Cheers to you.

Advice from the Animal Kingdom

(during the Coronavirus)
The Animal Kingdom

There are 7.77 million species of animals on the planet now and according to the Int’l Institute for Species Exploration 18,000 new species are discovered every year.

So I thought we could take a look at the Animal Kingdom and glean some advice from them and their “adaptations’.

Here’s some advice from:

  • The cow – with 4 stomachs and a special digestive system that allows it to chew things just enough to swallow, then bring it back up as cud, and chew it again. ADVICE: take time to digest all that’s happening these days but make something useful out of it. (milk)
  • Leeches – these segmented creatures have 32 brains and 102 segments. Within their internal structure of 32 sections, each section is controlled by a brain. ADVICE: Stupid leeches can’t do anything more than stick to something and suck the life out of it. Surely we can do better than they with our one brain!
suckers!
  • Goblin shark – it’s mouth moves out of it’s body and moves independently ADVICE: Let’s not allow our mouth to be out of control and move independently of our brain.
this is out of a nightmare
  • Star nosed mole – looks like it has 3 sets of hands but its star shaped nose is 6x more sensitive than the human hand. ADVICE: Things aren’t always as they appear and sensitivity is required.
CRAZY!
  • Tufted deer – it’s fangs are funny looking but this guy isn’t well studied because he lives at high altitudes of 4,500 meters/2.7 miles above sea level. ADVICE: live above it all. Keep your head up and feet on the rock.
  • Glass frog – green on the top but it’s belly is transparent, so it’s organs can be seen. ADVICE: staying transparent and revealing what’s inside us is vital among those we’re close to.
amazing
  • Japanese spider crab – grows to 40 lbs. and 13 ft. long at the bottom of the ocean. ADVICE: Although crab is yummy, let’s be careful what we allow to grow in our seclusion. Darkness breeds bad stuff sometimes.
and yes, they are eaten, and delicious
  • Parrots – selflessly help each other out, regardless of previous relationship or friendship. ADVICE: Ummm… pretty clear. Be parrots. Help.
  • Slow lorises – the only venomous primates, they secrete a toxin from a gland in the creek of their arms. Their bite causes anaphylactic shock and can cause death in humans. ADVICE: Watch out for toxic people and deceiving hugs – they can do you harm.
he looks cute, but don’t hug him
  • Capuchin monkeys – wash their hands and feet with their urine, perhaps to attract the female. UCK!! ADVICE: Keep washing your hands.
silly monkey, females don’t like pee
  • Tasmanian devil – make friends for life and share their dens with friends ADVICE: be loyal and supportive in your relationships
  • the housefly – this pesty creature that annoys us so, actually flys around buzzing in the Key of F! For the non-musical, that means that they are actually buzzing music on pitch and in tune. ALWAYS! ADVICE: don’t let anything swat away your song. Keep singing!
keep buzzing around with your song

We are all in this thing together. Let’s be wise, stay healthy, and take the advice from our fellow animalia.

Cheers to you.

It’s time for Spring cleaning

time to clean up

Spring has arrived! Yay!

The weather is warming up, daylight is extended and energy has possibly increased.

Do you have your Spring cleaning hat on yet?

My husband just cleaned and reorganized under his bathroom sink. Does that count? I definately have areas that need attention. Our garage, although it fits both of our cars is packed. The drawer under my oven, which holds cookbooks, recipes, and placemats is crying for help.

I read several articles with lists, schedules and advice for Spring cleaning. Some were funny, others practical but all very serious about cleaning. They included where to start, why it’s important, and even a cheat sheet to clean like a pro. Cleaning is a serious business.

not my house!

It really is the season to declutter, clean off excess, get into the hidden places and those places not routinely exposed.

I AM NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE NEED FOR HOUSEHOLD CLEANING. (Phew, right?!) But I would like to use it as a metaphor.

This is a season to declutter. What have we allowed to stack up, pile up in our minds? We don’t remove the stack, we just move it to another place and start a new pile of thoughts, worries, fears, woes. Then we go to another area in our life and allow things there to not be fully addressed, thus one more stack. It’s time to declutter our mind and thinking.

It’s time to think differently. Renew our mind. Pull down old beliefs. Dust off those cobwebs, and give our thinking a good cleaning. Get rid of those stacks of stale, old ideas, think differently about things.

It’s time to clean off excess. Not just the scuff marks from the walls, baseboards and doors, but those scuffs on our heart. Those marks that have been there a long time. Maybe over time they have faded, but they are still there. You know, those longtime grudges. Unforgiven conversations. Bitter memories. They are a black mark on our heart that need some scrubbing.

It’s time to get into the hidden places and those places not routinely exposed. What’s hidden in our closets, drawers and back shelves of our life that needs light, soap, polish, or to just be thrown out? What do we know we need to get rid of, stop doing, stop saying, stop watching, stop listening to – but don’t do it?

Where do we need to give ourselves a clean slate, fresh start, new beginning? Where do we need to open up, be real, expose the dirt, clean it, and move on?

See, if we consistently clean these areas in our thinking and lives one day at a time, we wouldn’t need Spring cleaning. Spring cleaning 365 days of the year is the best way to make that happen.

regarding where to start… “Start at the highest point in the room…”

Woman’sDay.com

Let’s start there… let’s look up. Let’s start at the highest point. With God. In whatever room, closet or drawer of our life we need to clean up, let’s start by asking for Higher help. Let’s allow His hands to wash us, clean us, heal us from all the scuff marks of life. Let him remove all the smudges, crustiness, dead things and dust us off real good, so we are sparkling inside and out and smelling oh, so fresh.

Declutter. Clean off excess. Get to those hidden places.

It’s time for Spring cleaning in our life.

Cheers to you.

PS – In the Bible, this is called “repentance”. For those that would like a Bible study on that subject, click on this link. It’s also on our Resources page.

The importance of family

This week, these 2 concepts became a reality in our lives.

Self-imposed quarantine
Social distancing

Right from the start, I had a real hard time accepting even the terms. My mind raced and emotions raged, “We are not meant to be isolated… we were not made to be at a distance from others…and God, you sent Jesus to close the distance between you and man and between man and his/her neighbor.” I was pretty outspoken about it to those close to me and God.

As it has played out in our life, our community, and our nation, two things have rung true in my heart and mind. I submit them to you.

#1 – There has never been a more important time in our nation for family connections. Family is the single most important influence in our life. Family connections contribute to happiness, mental wellness and physical health. It is well documented that when people feel better connected it leads to a greater degree of support and wholeness psychologically.

In a family, its members feel safe, protected and loved. In that family confidence develops. Emotions are given vent and accepted. Sharing is valued and needed. Love is modeled, shared, given and received. It is unconditional.

This is important for all families. No matter the makeup, structure, or members. No matter the ties that bind it together, ie: blood, marriage, ancestry, affiliation, beliefs, or house of residence.

NOW is the time for our families to be more connected than ever before. No matter how far apart we are spread, how isolated we must stay, or how strained those very family ties may be. Whether all of your family members are in one home, or strewn about the nation. You need them and they need you. Now more than ever.

#2 – Communication is key. I’m sure not one of us would argue the value of effective communication in our family. So not much needs to be said, except DO IT. Communicate with your family.

Be approachable when a loved one wants to talk( even tho’ you are busy.) Allow for all feelings, anger and frustration are delicate issues. Spontaneous or planned conversations, be ready and spearhead both. Remember, “small talk” leads to bigger, and deeper concerns of the heart.

Because your kids may be grown and living away does not change this important key. It is still vitally important, to you, to them. Be vigilant in texts, calls, emails, and all those other fun apps and ways of communicating. (My son just sent me a TikTok this week of he and his finace, it was so funny and uplifting.)

So let’s reinforce, strengthen, and in some cases, even renew those communication lines in our family. Now is the time. There’s nothing that’s more important than family.

In the midst of distancing and quarantine let’s reach out, close the gap, embrace those we love and reassure each one of our support, love and commitment to them, in whatever ways we can.

There’s nothing more important than family.

I would love it if you would send me a pic of your family. Email it to me at the link below. (Then I’d like to put them all on a page to share.)

mailto:underdebraspalm@gmail.com?subject=Website%20Enquiry

Let’s make our families even stronger in SPITE of social distancing!

Cheers to you (and your family).

MY brother and sister
My husband, son and daughter-in-law

The unexpected

it’s not always a bad thing

The significance of surprises, coincidences and mistakes cannot be ignored or undervalued in our lives. They create opportunity to think creatively and solve problems. Fear and frustration constrict our brain from creating. So send those boogers on their way.

Today, I felt impressed to share with you some of my favorite, remarkable stories of things that didn’t go as expected but turned out pretty, darned good and even world changing. All are true stories and you will recognize the products and probably even use some of them.

  • A Russian chemist, who forgot to wash his hands upon returning home from work, picked up a dinner roll & took a bite. It was sweet. As was each item he ate. He realized what was happening chemically and SACCHARINE, the artificial-sweetener (Sweet N Low) was invented. (See, good things could come from not washing your hands)
  • A restaurant in Saratoga Springs had a very hard to please patron who 3 times sent back his thickly cut French style potatoes. The third time, the frustrated chef, George Crum, sliced the potatoes as thin as he could, over fried them and covered them in excessive salt. To his surprise, the patron loved them and ordered another round. The POTATOE CHIP was created. (Who knows what good can come of frustration)
bet you can’t eat just one
  • Percy Spencer was testing a new vacuum tube when he noticed the chocolate bar in his pocket was melting….welcome to the world… the MICROWAVE.
  • Charles Goodyear, a struggling businessman had no commercially successful products and his family was starving. After throwing stuff in the air, he invented vulcanized rubber- RUBBER CAR TIRES.
  • Ruth Wakefied was baking cookies at her Inn on Toll House Road, when she ran out of bakers chocolate. She replaced it with pieces of a chocolate bar and hoped it would melt, but it did not. And boy are we glad they didn’t – Thanks to her, we have the #1 cookie, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES and Toll House Cookies. Yum!
thank you, Ruth
  • QUININE, the malaria medicine was discovered by a sick Andean man drinking water at the foot of a Quina Quina tree.
  • Even VIAGRA was an unexpected discovery. It was intended to be a heart medication. It helped other things instead. 🙂
  • Finally, a walk in the mountains brings about unexpected events too. Enter George de Mestral and his dog, who upon returning home from a walk in the Alps noticed burrs stuck to his clothes and the dog. Looking closer, he saw seeds covered in small hooks. He didn’t realize it, but he was about to invent a revolutionary new fastening system called VELCRO.
crazy hooks, right?

“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that most heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” but, “…that’s funny…”.

Sciencealert.com

Scientists have long said that “the best innovations come from the unexpected.

Keep in mind that all of these inventions were unexpected and none of these accidental discoveries would have happened without the person realizing its value.

I believe, in this new day we are living, there is arising from the unexpected, opportunity. Opportunity for creative minds to think creative thoughts. Opportunity for needs that arise to be met with new and better solutions. Opportunity for long standing problems to be solved. Opportunity for old ways of education, shopping, selling, serving, to be improved.

Therefore, let us recognize the value of these unexpected times and allow our brains to be freed to create, discover and even fail.

Your experience just might lead to a wonderful new discovery. Really!

Cheers to you.

(Please drop me your thoughts, or comment below. I love reading them.)

On the lighter side

Now that we have some “time off”, to be “at home”, which is what we often complain about not having enough time for… now what?

I speak as one in the 65 and over group who is s’pose to stay inside and be isolated – I am being protected. And really, that is pretty much all of now, right?

I love the videos and posts from Mom’s who are pulling their hair out trying to manage their misbehaving kids and figure out what their teacher wants them to do while on “remote learning”. Or the businessman working from home with a newborn, and 3 other kids under the age of 8.

Each of us, whatever our situation or season of life are having to manage our days totally differently than we ever have. But hey, we are managing. Be honest.

clever one here
Ingenious

But seriously, what do we do for 2 weeks? I offer these ideas:

  • Find those moments to JUST RELAX. You need it.
  • Maybe read that book you haven’t had time for
  • Go outside. Backyard, front porch, balcony. Observe closely what’s out there. Take it in. Enjoy it.
  • Go for a walk. Take notice of the small things. Stop and look closely at plants, clouds, lizards, a spider web.
  • Find out, research the answer to a question you’ve always wondered about
  • Read and study up on your favorite animal.
  • Try a new recipe.
  • Bake something different.
  • Call a friend or family member.
  • Check in on your neighbors.
  • Spend time in a quality conversation with your child (each of them)
  • Work in the garden? With your plants?
  • Try reading (a new) part of the Bible
  • and of course there is always cleaning, organizing, etc.
Notice the small things

You have the time, use it. Do something wonderful with it. Something you normally would not do, or spend more time doing what you always wished you could.

This virus and it’s precautions may shut us in but they will NOT shut us down. Take advantage of the days. You never know what the future holds.

Find your peace and comfort and relieve stress in your way, doing what helps you.

I LOVE lotions!

We all have the same amount of time in a day. It’s up to us how we use it. Make the best of it. Enjoy it. Do something on the lighter side.

Cheers to you.

Results of prayer

surrounded and unafraid

It would be easy to say “Prayer changed (es) nothing”, or “I see no change”. We had a National Day of Prayer, so what? Big deal! No change.

Let’s be real. Your state has probably amped up it’s restrictions and guidelines. You most likely have family members and loved ones affected in some way. The places you frequent may be closed and your vacation plans are pending major change. Shoot, my son’s wedding, in Hawaii in May is in jeopardy! AND, this what we found at the store today!

there were scores of shelves like this

But prayer is not an Amazon order. Place your order and have it delivered in one or two days.

The results of prayer are sometimes obvious and other times not. Sometimes immediate other times delayed. Additionally, the results of prayer are not always outcome driven, results orientated. They often have much more have to do with the process, development, personal growth and increase.

That process is most often linked to growing in faith and reliance upon Someone bigger than me, more powerful, trustworthy and really in charge. Because, even though I am driven to be in charge, I really am not. I do not control it all. I must therefore learn to yield my perceived “in charge” to the One who really is.

I believe we will see results, obvious ones, outcome driven ones as a result of the National Day of Prayer. I will share more about that in a moment.

In the “inbetween” time, what do we do?

“Ask and keep on asking. Seek and keep on seeking. Knock and keep on knocking.”

Matthew the disciple, chapter 7 verse 7

Again, prayer isn’t a one time shot – like the famed “hail Mary pass”. It’s a process of trusting in Someone bigger than myself and learning to lean on that strength and understanding. It is having faith in something I don’t see. (Like results). It’s trusting His process in and through me.

With all that being said, I do want to share a personal experience or result that came to me yesterday, on our prayer day.

I was impressed to go the beach and stand on the shoreline and pray. So, guess where I went? On the way, I was reminded of Job’s encounter with God in chapter 38, when God basically blasts Job for his know it all attitude and pelts Job with question after question about creation, nature, weather, and affairs of the man. It is in verse 10 & 11 where God says,

“… I fixed limits for the sea, I said this far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.”

Job 38:10-11

And in that moment, I knew, those words were God’s words to us. In this time. This season. His promise was, that just as the ocean has been appointed limits and boundaries set, so too this virus had set limits and boundaries. AND, as we unite in prayer, those boundaries could be affected and even reduced. Therefore, I was to pray at the beach, on the boundary where sea meets land, “This far and no farther o’ virus. You are under the control of the creator and His limits.”

This far and no farther.
This far and no farther.

So what happened? Did the virus miraculously dry up and die? Did it physically leave the bodies it had entered? Did those we lost because of it return to their families? Did the panic and fear disappear?

I dunno. I didn’t see those results. But what I did see (hear and read actually) was increased measures being taken to CONTAIN the virus. Calls for a 15 day containment plan/period. Calls to 65 and older community, to restaurants, movie theatres, libraries. All with the purpose of tightening the lasso on the virus. Enforcing it’s boundaries. Limiting exposure.

“This far and no farther.” Containment. No further infections.

This is again where that whole results thing comes in. I cannot control the results. But I trust and keep on asking the One who does control them. Stop this virus, reel it in, arrest it. I don’t stop or quit. The results are His, but in the process my own life benefits and I grow personally.

So, just maybe there are some pretty miraculous things growing in you, in our nation, in the world as a result of prayer. Let’s keep on asking and trusting Him for the results.

Cheers to you.

It’s time to pray

Several days ago, when the news about this virus was breaching our environments, and data was becoming increasingly alarming, I just couldn’t sit quiet any longer and decided to take action.

I called The White House, emailed them too, called Vice President Pence’s office, emailed him, emailed other offices in the White House with jurisdiction and told them “to call for a national day of prayer”. Then, I prayed in earnest, waiting, expecting to hear an announcement. Now I am positive I was not the only one making this request for a national day of prayer, but I am happy to say I was one voice.

AND IT HAPPENED! Last night, President Trump called for this Sunday to be A National Day of Prayer.

I’m not here to argue the President’s spiritual fervor because I believe with the office of the presidency comes authority delegated by a higher power – no matter who the president is. Given that, his declaration, to call for Americans of all faiths and all faith levels to rally in this National Emergency is fantastic and vital for our nation’s healing. (in every way)

YOUR prayer is vital, needed, important. All of our prayers united, are powerful! Where two or three agree in prayer there is power, healing, change, and answers.

Prayer changes things. It changes us, but it also changes things. We can come boldly to God and lift up whatever request is on our heart and He will hear us. (Heb. 4:16; Eph. 6:18; 1 John 5:14)

If we are anxious, sick or in trouble when we pray He hears us. (Phil. 4:6; Jas. 5:13)

If we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our evil ways, He has promised to HEAL OUR LAND! (2 Chron. 7:14) Boy, do we need that right now. Healing in so many areas. America needs healing.

I am convinced, as Americans join together in prayer that the tide will supernaturally shift and this super virus will be halted and America (and the globe) will be spared further devastation.

Please join us. No matter your faith or your level of faith. You can:

  • call out for healing in our land
  • ask for wisdom and divine strategies for the leaders in charge
  • plead for the spread of the virus to be arrested
  • pray for the nation to be strong and united
  • ask for healing of those who are ill and protections for those who are not
  • call for a healing of the economy and businesses
  • ask for minimal effects to businesses, and schools
  • pray for the healthcare providers for strength, protection & wisdom
  • plead for Americans to be united
  • ask for personal forgiveness and healing
  • trust God to do a miracle

Prayer gives us a better sense of self and brings us closer the Higher Power. Prayer reduces ego and promotes humility. Prayer improves your attitude, reduces stress and gives us hope.

In prayer we have the amazing privilege of talking to the One who loves us, listens to us and yet holds the globe between his fingers. The One in who’s omnipotence we trust. In prayer, we come boldly asking yet trusting in His mercy and forgiveness.

This is the call. This is the day. This is what our nation needs, what we need.

IT’S TIME TO PRAY.

If you’re in, and are gonna pray, please leave me a message. I’d love to know and pray with you.

Cheers to you.

Fear and Faith

Before you read further, please click on the video…

Faith verses Fear 53 seconds

Although the video may seem a bit silly, it makes 4 important points:

  • How do you do that? (be so calm)
  • You never know when you might get hit
  • Aren’t you afraid?
  • You believe

Hang on to those, we will come back to them.

We are living in unprecedented days which are evolving with new challenges and fears every hour. Our lives, plans, futures, minds, emotions, and spirit have been burst upon with unexpected concerns and fears.

Fear is an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined.”

Dictionary.com

Fear, the emotion most of us are wrestling with today, is a common emotion and is meant to promote survival. Fear helps protect us, makes us alert to danger and prepares us to deal with it. It is natural and helpful, like a warning, a signal that tells us to be careful.

When the fear is triggered the brain instantly sends signals to the nervous system and the body responds. The heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure all increase. Muscle groups get ready for action and the skin begins to sweat, readying for the “Fight or Flight” battle, until the ALL CLEAR signal sounds. Then, all systems return to normal.

Fear is activated in the brain seconds before the thinking part of the brain can process what’s happening. So that’s why sometimes we are startled by a loud noise, even though it’s no harm.

Lastly on fear… although it is a healthy response it can become unhealthy. Science tells us that fear releases hormones that shut down systems we don’t need for the fight or flight. It weakens immune systems, effects heart damage, GI issues and even fertility. Fear tells the brain to immediately respond to the overactive signals from the Amygdala (the part of the brain that deals with emotions) rather than the more rational parts of the brain. (“Amygdala hijack”)

Well thanks, Deb, that’s encouraging, I heard someone whisper… Ok, so let’s go back to those 4 points from the video.

#1 – How do you do that?

How do you stay calm in the face of fear and what it is doing in your head and heart? (city and nation)

Because part of fear is feeling loss of control, and my inability to control that event/thing – I seek out The One who holds all things in His control. The One to whom winds, waves, nature, all living things, all rulers, all powers and principalities AND EVEN VIRUSES respond to.

” When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

King David Psalm 56:4

Psalm 91 – those who stay close to God are protected from deadly pestilence for He will cover you

Psalm 23:4 – even though I walk through the valley with a shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me

#2 You never know when you might get hit

That’s right. You don’t know what the future holds. But I do know this –

” For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”

The prophet Jeremiah, chapter 29 verse 11

So no matter what happens, I choose to trust His plans for me, my family, friends and associates.

#3 Aren’t you afraid?

To be honest, concerned a little, but there is a peace that permeates my heart because of who I trust and place my faith in. And when fear does come, (and be sure it does) I go to those verses above and choose to trust Him and His plan. That’s faith.

#4 You believe

Yup. That’s it. I choose to beleive in someone bigger than the situation, news, CDC, President, virus, or the panic. But I don’t believe in some passive, naive way. I’m not hiding my head in the sand. I’m actively contending within my own mind, spirit and emotions to not let fear get hold of me. It’s a battle. But I believe. I choose to. I will not give way to fear and panic. I believe.

In closing, I am reminded of these famous words:

” These are the times that try men’s souls.”

Thomas Paine 1776

In these times may we be found strong in faith as we are learning to overcome our fear.

Cheers to you.

The Parable of the Unprepared Boater

On a peaceful, sunny day at the harbor, as the boater was enjoying the water and plentiful sunshine, a thought entered the boater’s mind. “I think I should prepare the dinghy for the storm that’s coming. I should go and put the cover on it, before the storm arrives.”

But the boater was busy with other things, and after those were done, the boater knew they would be too tired to deal with preparations for the dinghy and the coming storm too. So the boater brushed off that “prepare” thought and continued to enjoy the beautiful, sunshiny day at the harbor.

But the sunshine and peace didn’t last, and the storm came as expected. The boater knew that now, in the midst of the storm the dinghy must be covered or it would fill up with water and be overcome and perhaps even be sink. So the boater, with rain falling, winds blowing, clothes drenched, body aching, covered the dinghy with much effort and grumbling, because the boater knew that they should have prepared the dinghy earlier, before the storm arrived.

The boater’s prepared/covered dinghy

I believe you could easily glean a moral or two from this parable. So, please do. Apply it and gain from it anything you see.

My intended purpose was to use my real life experience, as a lesson and picture of what’s happening in our world today.

Yes, I am the boater in this parable who didn’t pay attention to the voice that said “Prepare. I didn’t prepare before the storm. I ignored the signs and weather forcasters warning of the coming storm.

We are living in stormy times and I fear a storm is still on the horizon. Reputable forecasters are speaking of it and issuing warnings to “Prepare”. It behooves us to pay attention to the coming storm and prepare.

There are many ways to prepare. Look inside yourself, evaluate the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs there. Look up for help. Look in your family, home, place of business, church, bank, store. Begin to prepare.

The urgency of the day says it’s time to prepare. Not wait til the storm arrives, because then the winds will blow and rain will fall, your body will be achy, and you will be grumbling. Now is the time to prepare.

Please, accept a Parable from the Unprepared Boater – ME.

Cheers to you.

What do you trust in?

Been thinking a lot about our national motto – In God We Trust. Frankly, I think I forgot it was more than a phrase on our money and that it had been selected as our national motto. Oops…

It first appeared on US coins in 1864, when it appeared on the 2 cent coin. It was after the Secretary of Tresury Salmon Chase received requests for the US to recognize the Diety on coins. That first letter came to him in 1861 and it was not long after that he directed the US Mint in Philadelphia to prepare a motto. In his letter to them, he said,

“No nation can be strong except in the strength of God…the trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delyay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition.”

Solomon Chase, Director of Treasury 1861

After legal issues were settled, on April 22, 1864, In God We Trust first appeared on the 2 cent coin. In 1873 The Coinage Act stated that it may be inscribed on other coins. By 1938 all US coins bore the motto.

Then on July 30, 1956, the 84th Congress approved IN GOD WE TRUST as the national motto and President Eisenhower signed the bill. In 1957 the national motto was first used on US paper money.

Fast forward and look at the tremendous change in American thinking:

  • 1984 – the courts use the phrase “ceremonial deism” to say that the motto “through constant use has lost it’s religious content and is no longer religious in nature.”
  • 1994 – The Freedom From Religion sued the federal government to have In God We Trust removed from currency.
  • 2006 – CA Court of appeals – “the national motto… has no theological or ritualistic impact and is purely secular, patriotic and ceremonial in character.”
  • 2019 – The American Athiests condemned the North Dakota bill allowing the display of the national motto in public schools.

There’s so much more, but I don’t want to loose you in the History.

It has become apparent that not everyone agrees that In God We Trust. So I ask, what do YOU trust in? Money, friends, family, self, God…

Trust is the basis of all human systems of morality. Upon what do you build that trust? I don’t care if it’s “Affective trust” – trusting with your heart, or “Cognitive trust” – trusting with your head. Psychologists say those are the 2 kinds of trust, so pick one or the other, or both.

At the bedrock of your life, my life, what’s there to attach trust to? In the stresses and storms of life, what holds me secure? When loss and pain overcome me, who/what do I take it to? When the Coronavirus scares me and threatens my loved ones, who or what strengthens and comforts me? What do you trust in for confidence, strength, hope, comfort, support?

I think that Secretary Chase, President Eisenhower and millions of others through the ages actually got it right. But that’s my opinion, my belief. It is also my purpose for writing this and my hope – that you, too, will trust in God.

In God We Trust.

Cheers to you.

What’s happened to truth and righteousness?

Just today I had a conversation with a friend in which I said, “I don’t believe everything I am told. Far too often, I don’t believe people tell the truth”. This so reminded me of the dozens of times my sister and I have had similar conversations.

Is it 41 years of teaching and hearing so many “stories”? Is it working with teenagers for so long? Is it the culture? Is it the society? Is it the years I spent working in jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers? Is it having raised a son in the 1990’s? Is it just me? I dunno. I can say that my sister and my friend are both waaaay more trusting and believing than I am.

Where do you stand? Are you a believer in what people tell you or a doubter?

The truth is, if you listen to much news, or politics, or are privy to administrative meetings, sales reps, and commercial pitches you will find it sorely lacking. Especially in this modern age of being “woke”. Unfortunately, “truth” has morphed into “my truth”, “your truth”, “their truth”. What has happened to truth?

Then, there is the old English, long, lost word – righteousness. It’s not used much, but it’s root is – righteous. Now that’s used as more of an old, cool, trendy, surfer, exclamation – “That’s righteous”. (Can you tell I grew up in the 60’s/70’s?) Where else is it used? The Righteous Brothers? (sorry another old one)

Do our young people even know what it is? Sometimes I wonder the same about truth. What’s happened to righteousness?

Here’s the deal, I don’t particularly like the direction our society is going. I’m not a fan of what has become accepted as the “norm”, the “everyone’s doing it” ploy. You can agree or disagree. But I am not willing to let society (and our kids) go uncontested, unchallenged, and down this slippery slope.

I am not willing to give in to the “no absolutes” philosophy or the “accepting everything” morals. I believe there are absolutes and truth is not just “my” truth”, but “the truth”. (Sorry Oprah)

“Truth – that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.”

“Righteousness – acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin”

“Righteous – (of a person or conduct) morally right; virtuous. Very good, excellent.”

Merriam Webster

I just feel that we can make an impact by what we say, do and believe. By what we stand up for, speak up for and won’t stand for.

We can make a difference by speaking the truth and not compromising on confronting untruths. Holding to truthfulness.

We can make a difference by living “rightly” – righteous, in righteousness. We’re not perfect, but we can choose to live right, and we can choose to do what is right and not be troubled by guilt.

What’s happened to truth and righteousness?

Cheers to you

It’s time to bloom

California superbloom

It’s March, nearly spring – officially, and it is beginning to look like it all around us. Plants and flowers are beginning to open up and show off their beauty. Seeds have sprouted (or soon will), and the 300,000 species of Kingdom Plantae are about to display what’s really in them. These angiosperms will produce flowers and bear their seeds in fruits because that is what they were designed to do – bear seeds and fruit.

Yum, sunflower seeds

Inside the plant is a gene called “apetala 1” and it tells the plant to start blooming. That gene is triggered when the petals within the bud start growing to the point that they invert because they have filled with so much water and the only place to go is out! So out they come. BLOOM. Flowers. Beauty. Bam.

“The process of flowers opening up is part of plants reproductive cycle. If a plant does not bloom or develop seeds, it cannot be pollinated. A plant that blossoms is mature and ready to take part in the development of seeds that will carry new plant life to surrounding areas.”

Bloomstoday.com

God had this whole seed, plant, flower, thing going on from the very beginning. And from the beginning, it has been of the utmost importance to Him and us. You see, it was there, He instructed us, mankind, to “Be fruitful and multiply…”. Bloom. Bear fruit. Plant seeds. Grow. Reproduce.

We can understand that having children is not all that is implied here, right? In fact, we can be fruitful and multiply without ever parenting a child. But as we grow and mature, fill up, and finally open up/bloom, we are being fruitful and bearing seeds. Just as seeds are a plants’ offspring, our offspring are the seeds we have developed and planted in the lives of others. The seeds we carry and plant are meant to bring life to the surrounding area. The seeds we plant will bear fruit. The seeds we plant will multiply. That trusty “apetala 1” gene has programed the seed with exactly what to do – BLOOM.

I really believe this Spring is your Spring.

Your Spring to be reminded of the seeds that you have developed and planted in others. The power of your seeds to produce life. The power of the seeds you are planting. (Positive or negative?) The power of you opening up and showing the world your beauty. The power of you blooming. The power of your superbloom.

It’s time for us to bloom.

Cheers to you.

Lent? Ash Wednesday? What?

lint, ash???

True confession…

(Inserting a preemptive apology to my Catholic friends and followers… I am sorry.)

As a Protestant, (that even holds a Theology degree) I have never honored Ash Wednesday as anything unique, other than the start of the Easter season. But I have observed those who attend an Ash Wednesday service and usually receive a cross made of ashes on their forehead to wear for a day.

I’ve never done so myself.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday when this will be practiced by thousands all over the world, so I’d like to address a couple of things about it. Consider it a short Lent refresher class with value for you (and me) regardless of what we believe.

“Ash Wednesday (46 days before Easter) marks the beginning of Lent which is a 40-day period (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection and celebration.” (Christianity.com/Kelly Givens) It is intended to represent the 40 day period that Jesus spent fasting in the desert. It’s purpose is for believers to have a set time each year to focus on Jesus’ life, sacrifice and resurrection. For them to have a set time each year to self-reflect, evaluate, repent as needed and say no to their own desires by fasting (going without) some food or thing.

Without any ashes on my forehead, I see great value in that.

There’s no doubt in my mind that our world in general and my/your personal world would benefit from more reflective and evaluative times like this. Times when we intentionally deny our wants to pursue a new set of eyes, decluttered heart and fresh purpose.

Although the Catholic Church observes specific “rules” for this season, that is not my vision for us/this.

I truly believe that those who are looking for inspiration, change, breakthrough, effectiveness, wisdom, strength, and purpose will find it in this concept and can find it in this 40-day season.

Change doesn’t come by doing the same thing over and over. That’s called a rut. Others have called it a grave. Change comes because someone dared to do something different. Something different has been done and thereby reflected in something new and fresh in your life.

What do you have to loose should you give yourself to a season of personal evaluation & repentance? What’s the down side of refusing to indulge in something you like for a while? Seriously? You will not die without it! That’s sacrifice.

What just might happen in your life should you get intentional about the changes you may be looking for? What might happen should your effort match your desire? Isn’t the change you seek worth it?

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to preach. I am just so passionate about this right now because I am giving myself to this concept beginning March 1- April 9. Those are my 40 days! My lent. And I am excited… albeit a bit nervous, but I’m in. Going for it.

Anyone wanna join me?

Do whatever you feel, go without what you feel impressed to, but don’t stay in a rut. Let’s do some reflection, repentance, and celebrating change! Let’s get off the “rut” freeway.

Now is your time (and mine).

Cheers to you.

A Little OCD?

How do you respond to these?

Be honest.

Do they make your brain hurt, your eyes enlarge or your head shake? What is your response to the one (or ones) who clearly misaligned these pictures? What were THEY thinking?

I love these types of pics and am one who is driven a lil cray-cray by them. I am also the one who when reattaching the wall socket plug plate, screws in the screws so that they wind up facing the same direction.

screws lined up
screws NOT lined up

I also oftentimes rearrange the cups in the top shelf of the dishwasher and sometimes even the silverware too. At my boat, I have taken flack from my son because “I’m obsessive” about winding the dock lines.

And while we’re on the topic of the boat, my philosophy definitely is “a place for everything and everything in it’s place.”

and yes, I am obsessive about it 🙂

Here’s the deal. According to a Healthline article by Julia Haskins, April, 2014

“Obsessive-compulsive thinking is completely normal, with about 94% of the population experiencing some kind of unwanted or intrusive thought…”

In a study across six continents and 13 countries, more than 90% of the participants reported having “unwanted, intrusive thoughts”. (UIT)

The article goes on to say, “unwanted, intrusive thoughts may be a nuisance, but even the strangest thoughts that cross our minds are really quite common”. “It’s how people react to these thoughts that’s of the greatest concern. Most people are able to brush off irritating yet benign thoughts, but for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder…it’s much more difficult.”

So, see, I am normal in that regard. And that would mean so is my husband (who measures inches from the wall to his desk), my son (who is detail obsessed), my friend (who notices when things are moved in her room), and my boss (who teaches me to properly align the jewelry showcases & notices when they are NOT perfect).

What about you? Are you part of the 94% who also have a touch of OCD?

You see, whether someone is in the 94% or the 6% (who don’t), it’s how people react to those thoughts that’s the greatest concern. Are you able to recognize the “obsessive” rolling of the ropes, and rearranging of the cups as a nuisance and brush it off?

Do you see that you do have control over those pesty UIT’s ? (unwanted intrusive thoughts). Do you understand that you CAN control them and make efforts to do so?

THAT’S the difference between it being an nuisance or a disorder.

I tease and am teased all the time about being OCD, and truthfully, 94% of us are to some degree. But it’s no joke to any who have been or should be diagnosed with OCD. That is 2.3% of the population, 2.2 million adults in the US in 2018, 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 kids.

Those diagnosed with OCD (Daniel Radcliffe, Frank Sinatra, Howie Mandel, Charlize Theron, Leo DiCaprio or Howard Stern) have had to learn how to react to those UIT’s. How to best control them. They have found help and a way to best manage them and so can you.

Take whatever step is next for you. Some may seek help. Others will adjust the jewelry cases or make a detailed list. Still others will look at the pictures at the top of this blog and marvel that someone would actually do THAT!

Because we are all a little OCD.

Cheers to you.

You were made to stand out

what stands out here?

I recently saw this on my walk (actually I’ve seen it hundreds of times but this time I stopped, studied it, and shot a pic of it).

Each time I’ve walked by it I’ve been struck with the absolute beauty of the perfectly sculptured tree in the middle (I don’t know what kind it is), how high it is, (probably 50-75 feet high) and how it just doesn’t fit in with the other trees. There’s no way this tree is weekly manicured and tended too, it’s just to high to reach. And yet, it’s stunning beauty, perfect lines and symmetry are impossible to miss. It stands out.

It’s easy to see why it seems like it doesn’t belong or fit on this hillside. There’s not another tree like it anywhere near this spot. It simply is not like the other trees, not even close. It appears to have nothing in common with the other trees, (except being a tree). The external comparisons are off the charts, bonkers! It is alone, significantly different from all the others, and totally outnumbered by the others.

And yet, here it is. Standing tall. Beautiful. Eye catching. And, hopefully proud.

The applications seem apparent, obvious.

You are THAT beautiful, perfectly sculptured, lonely, different, tall, eye catching and hopefully proud tree. Within your DNA is the design to make you stand out from the crowd, stand alone as YOU, and make a beautiful difference on your hillside.

When you feel like you don’t fit or belong or are too different, just look at this picture and remember “You were made to stand out” and bring stunning beauty to your surroundings.

Flourish. Be you. Stand out. Be different. THAT’S what you were made to do.

Cheers to you.

Uninspired?

a ship in the doldrums

Feel sluggish, low in spirits/energy, depressed, perhaps unmotivated, unchallenged?

In a state of stagnation? Experiencing a lack of activity or progress? Feeling “stuck”?

All of us, at one time or another have faced these feelings and have had to decide what to do with them. How to maneuver through them, how to learn from them.

Allow me to utilize some sailing similes as we drift through the afore mentioned feelings or “DOLDRUMS’. Have you been in the “doldrums”?

You younger ones perhaps have never heard that idiom used before. To be in the doldrums means – to be inactive, dull, quiet, sluggish, or lethargic. It was used in the 18th century when referring to a sluggish person, or a doldrum.

But alas, even that expression comes from the maritime use of doldrums. You see, sailors hate (and have for a very long time) the doldrums. Why? Because the doldrums are a monotonous, windless section of the ocean, where sailing ships sometimes get stuck on the water for weeks at a time. The doldrums are referred to as “an ocean parking lot around the Equator”. (Joano Turner, Theoceanrace.com)

The doldrums are a 50-250 mile wide strip of ocean that runs 5 degrees above the Equator to 5 degrees below the Equator. It is the section of the ocean at the Equator where there are no winds. The trade winds from the North meet the trade winds from the South and as they are heated, those winds rise up, leaving no steady surface winds on the ocean. “The doldrums are a band of calms & light baffling winds North & South of the Equator in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.” A sailor could sail for weeks in a flat, calm ocean.

The doldrums also have a reputation as being the “dead zone”. It can be a life and death issue for sailors, as running out of food and water while stalled out there can lead to delirium, scurvy, starvation and cabin fever. In addition, the intense solar air at the Equator makes this ocean area not only the “dreaded doldrums” but also “the desert of the ocean”.

Stay with me… besides science and sailing, we’re talking about you and me, too. But in a moment…

The sailing pros who deal with the doldrums most effectively are those who race in the 8 month, 45,000 nautical mile, around the world sailing race, called The Volvo Ocean Race. Every three years it is held, usually begins in Spain, consists of 9/10, 20 day legs, reaching 6 continents, until the world has been circumnavigated.

What to do in the doldrums?

What do you do in the doldrums? How do you get out? Get through? Here’s the advice from those pros.

” A major priority – avoid allowing boats to stop completely because overcoming inertia to get moving again requires significant increase of wind strength. A strategy for getting through includes a series of short term tacks…” (The Equator Doldrums Explained 11/15/11, Volvo Ocean Race)

Let’s bring this back to us now.

There are times we get stuck, feel unmotivated, uninspired, sluggish, stagnant & like we’re not making any progress. There are times we are in the doldrums of life. We’re in the “dead zone” or “desert”. It’s dry, hot, monotonous, boring and there is no noticeable forward progress. It can be dangerous, even life threatening too, if we don’t learn how to deal with it. We, like sailors, hate the doldrums, and we can escape them like great sailors.

The major priority – do not come to a complete stop. Do not. No checking out. No hiding. No withdrawing. Stay in the game. Keep up relationships. Keep plodding though. Be honest with yourself and keep moving. Small, strategic tacks (course changes) will get you out of the dreaded doldrums.

We can usually tell when we are approaching the doldrums. THAT’S the time to make a slight course change. Not when we are already stopped and totally depressed. Remember, it takes more strength to overcome the inertia of a stationary object (you/me) than it does to make a course correction.

With skillful sailing and wise choices, we can make it through the doldrums of life. We can avoid being stuck in the dead zone for any major length of time by making those strategic tacks. We can avoid cabin fever, starvation & delirium.

Cool thing too about the doldrums, as slow as they are, you can go from 1 to 100 in seconds, because of the erratic weather patterns.

So, hang on, change is coooooooommmmiiinnngggg!!!! We’re busting loose of those dreaded doldrums.

Cheers to you.

Seasons of love

One of the greatest musical theatre anthems and declarations.

Every day is the right season for love, not just on Valentine’s Day. It has nothing to do with having a special someone in your life, exchanging sappy cards or purchasing flowers or a nice dinner out.

It has to do with you. How you choose to love and be loved. How you love yourself. How you love others. How you recognize love in your surroundings. How you accept love. How you allow love to change you. How your love changes others. You are the object of love.

Here’s the standard for love.

” Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyously celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving.”

The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (The Passion Translation)

If that is the standard for love, and I believe it is, then I have a lifetime job of living up to THAT love. I don’t need a boyfriend, husband, wife, girlfriend or lover. I don’t need a best friend, sister, brother, child or acquaintance to work on this love. If I’m being honest, this love, is my homework application everyday of my life.

As I learn to accept this lavish love it will change me. This love will show in my life with patience, gentleness, kindness, humility, respect, honesty, faith and perseverance. This love will be more than just a season of love, it will become the measure of my whole life.

On THIS day, when Hallmark’s business is off the charts and florists are filling orders like crazy, know this – YOU ARE LOVED. You are loved by the very one who wrote the standard of love and then demonstrated the full extent of that lavish, pure and freeing love. You are loved by the very one and only one who can empower you to live by His standard of love.

Renew your pursuit of love and allow Love to overcome you. Not just for a season.

1 John 4:19 – “We love because He first loved us.”

Cheers to you.

Love is all around us

Are you an “Influencer”?

Hey, y’all, follow me

My husband was recently told that because of his 4,500 Twitter followers, he is an influencer. (who knew?)

PewDiePie, is the number 1 most followed YouTuber with 80.6 million. The Brazilian, Whindersson Nunes 77.2 million followers. Kylie Jenner 147 million Instagram followers, earning her a hefty $1.2 million per post. All of these are referred to as influencers.

According to those who study such things, influencers are described in the following categories:

  • mega influencers = more than a million followers
  • macro influencer = 100,00 – 1,000,000 followers
  • micro influencer = 1,000 – 100,000 followers
  • nano influencer = less than 1,000 followers

Although the nano influencer is a relatively new breed, marketing companies find great benefits in working with them. Some of the benefits are: they are authentic, they are approachable, they work hard and they are cost effective. “Sometimes thinking big involves thinking small.” (“Nano Influencers: Everything You Need to Know”, izea.com, 10/2019)

On a related tangent, remember the Six Degrees of Separation idea? Everyone is connected to each other through others they know, by 6 rounds of introductions. There is significant data to support this, even in a world of 7 billion people. In 1990 the play came out which took the 1929 idea to stage. But in 2011, FaceBook did a study that said it is no longer 6 degrees that separate us but merely 4.74 degrees that separate us from one another.

Well, again I ask, are you an influencer?

Most of us would probably say “no”. Then, we’d qualify it in some way, especially in light of the categories listed above. However, consider this.

Data shows that the average person probably touches over 80,000 lives in their lifetime! Here’s how-

  • average lifespan 78.3 years
  • we remember people after age 5
  • 365.24 days per year
  • 3 new people/day
  • (78.3 – 5) x 3 x 365.24 = 80,316.276
  • (blog.adioma.com)

Are you an influencer? ABSOLUTELY, YES!

You have family and loved ones in your tightest circle. Maybe a few good friends. Other friends. Meaningful contacts. Acquaintances. And people you recognize. Within those circles of influence, the average person will have 2,220 people! ALL AFFECTED by YOU. Granted, you’re closer to some more than others, but you are an influence in their lives.

Let that sink in, lest you have thought you weren’t an influencer. You have a unique influence on those around you. You have had influence your whole life up to this point and you will continue to have influence long after you are gone.

Please don’t diminish your influence. Don’t let anything, any one or any voice depreciate your valuable influence on those around you. Expand your influence. Increase your influence. Use your influence. Nano influencers have tremendous influence, value and importance. They are, you are, the building blocks of life’s relationships, the chains in our interconnectedness.

Within your circle of influence you are authentic, approachable. People need that, need you. Your circles are connected to someone else’s circles, and so on goes your influence. We are all connected, and at it’s core is your influence. My influence. We ARE influencers. “Sometimes thinking big, involves thinking small.” One person at a time. 80,000 in our lifetime, connecting the world one degree at a time.

One last time, are you an influencer? (Am I hearing a resounding “YES!”?)

Cheers to you.

IF

IF – intermittent fasting
  • … one of the latest health and fitness trends
  • … helps to improve health, simplify lifestyle and weight loss
  • … has powerful effects on the body and brain
  • … helps cells initiate the repair process
  • … skyrockets human growth hormone 5 fold
  • … reduces bad cholesterol
  • … may prevent cancer in animals
  • … promotes positive brain health (BDNF hormone increases)
  • … extends life expectancy (in rats) 36-83%
  • … all stats according to HEALTHLINE.com

What is it? What do you think?

We’ll get to it, hang in there, (if your’e still wondering).

I was researching this particular topic last fall because it was interesting and piqued my curiosity. In my view it represented a much larger principle and need in our society. And forget society even, it represented a much larger NEED in MY LIFE .

What? IF. Intermittent fasting.

“Periods of eating and fasting – an eating pattern. Fasting from time to time.”

I won’t spend time here giving you the value of periodioc fasting, although there are vast lists of physical, mental, lifestyle and spiritual benefits. Check them out should you be interested.

To me, diet or health were not the major issues or interest. The greater principle at hand was SELF DENIAL.

We live in a “must have” world. We have unlimited streaming, 1-2 day shopping/delivery, snacks anytime we want, fast mobil connections to pretty much anyplace we choose. We can get it delivered, get picked up at our door step, shop at will, buy in bulk, and upgrade or increase our limits for more.

More, more, more. Indulge, enjoy, repeat. We always want more. And often a voice within tells us we deserve everything we want. But having more doesnt make us happier.

“As people grow accustomed to material goods, they often experience hedonic adaptation and are less inclined to savor daily pleasures.”

Psychology Today, Dr. Allen McConnell Ph.D.

In the same article, Dr. McConnell suggests that intentionally withholding access to pleasurable things would boost savoring daily pleasures. He then designed a scientific study at the University of British Columbia to test

“Could self-denial increase happiness?”

Dr. McConnell

His research included 55 undergraduate students and chocolate. It’s a fun study to read. At the end of his study, his outcome

“The restricted access participants (to chocolate) were happier than members of the other two groups.”

In his Quiodback and Dunn study he demonstrated that self-denial actually makes people happier, in part because they learn to savor more and look forward to it.

When was the last time I denied myself, actually said a big, fat no to something I wanted (and didn’t really need)? Humph…

Well, I began the new year determined to practice that helpful and healthy habit. I would intentionally deny myself what I wanted (and didn’t need). I found myself doing this across the boards in my life. “Self-denial – restraining, curbing one’s desires- to reduce”. Besides curbing physical appetites I wanted to add the spiritual dimension too. So my 2020 lifestyle has included not IF/intermittent fasting in the trendy diet sense, but fasting in the Biblical sense. Denying self to gain bigger, borader, more powerful and important goals. I needed to practice self-denial.

The results? WELL WORTH the sacrifice! The Benefits? Beyond this world. AM I happy? Never been more. (and my Amazon shopping has plummeted!)

IF, it’s not just a health and fitness trend. Denying self (and fasting) is an eternal principle with eternal benefits and with rewards of happiness and daily satisfaction. (and spiritual breakthrough)

When was the last time you said “no” to your wants? When was the last time you denied yourself?

Greater happiness is waiting.

Cheers to you (unless you’re denying yourself tonight ) 🙂

Not schandenfreude

You know, schandenfreude…?

When someone falls out of a chair and you laugh, or thows a ball and it bounches back and hits them. You know, the kind of stuff that makes the TV show “Americas Funniest Videos” so funny and Youtube videos so watched.

Defined, it means = finding joy in others troubles.

I’m not bagging on it today, but I’m not writing about it either. Nope, not schandenfreude.

I so enjoy my walks, and often observe interesting things while on them. Today was one of them and it is the capstone of a series of thoughts that have been brewing inside my crazy head. Today, I saw this –

water bowl & treats for a dog

I walked several steps by it but then turned around, returned and shot the photo, all the while amazed by the thoughtfulness of whoever lived there. And I thought, I don’t know these people, but I do know that they love dogs. On the same street are several signs posted in yards about cleaning up after your dog. But this home/yard/driveway was blessing the doggies. Doing something for them, just because. I was blown away. (And kinda sad I hadn’t brought Gunner, our dog.)

But that reminded me of other things I had observed on walks that were surprising. Things that were left on the trail/walk that someone had taken the time and thoughtfulness to purposely leave for someone else’s joy. Here are a few-

Each time I was totally amazed that someone would do that. Especially build that driftwood path covering. They specifically intended it to cover the path. I’ve seen other driftwood shelters on the beach, but this was strategically placed to cover the path. You HAD to walk under it. (Where shade was)

And the fairy homes???? More than 1 mile of trail (a very steep and mountainous trail too) was beautified with the meticulous and precisely designed homes and with much personal cost from the creative artisans.

All of these, I’m sure brought joy to the builder, but they were left to bring joy to others. The doggie treats too, were left to bring joy to others. All were intentional, sacrifical, and selfless. Each, not knowing who would pass but wanting to impact their day. Not schandenfreude!

Blown away. Amazed. Surprised. And blessed! Huge, goofy smile each and every time.

I want to do that. Unexpectedly surprise and bring joy to others. Be selfless. Do things for others without any need for repayment. Bless others on their daily walk. Not schandenfreude.

Cheers to you.

SEIZE LIFE!

It’s too bad that we seem most impressed with living a full and meaningful life in the face of death or loss. Kobe hit us that way, and I’m sure you could name others, either from your life or the public who also brought this truth to life for you.

I can name several times in my life that I felt that urgency in the face of death & loss. This one time, I even acted on it and got this tattoo, to remind me to live life each day fully.

my tattoo from 2015

I recently read this portion, and it brought home the issue again. I felt impressed to share it with you.

SEIZE LIFE! Eat bread with gusto. Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes – God takes pleasure in your pleasure. Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it…

Solomon

That’s quite the message. But isn’t it so true?

Take from Solomon whatever YOU need to challenge you to SEIZE YOUR LIFE. The only thing stopping you is you.

Each day is a gift. Dress colorful. Eat with gusto. Enjoy your glass of wine. Relish your family. Whatever turns up each day, grab it. Do it, with heart.

Seas the day. SEIZE LIFE!

Cheers to you.

Is it time for a tune up?

This week we finally got our piano tuned and it got me thinking about how we use “tune up” and it’s related phrases in our language and life. Here are the ones that quickly came to mind.

  • car tune up
  • we tune in (to a program) or
  • we tune out
  • we try to get in tune with ( with someone or a way of thinking)
  • we change our tune
  • an instrument is in tune or
  • out of tune

Can you think of others?

There were two “lessons” that came to me during our piano tuning process.

piano tuning

Standard – there is always a standard for the tuning. In music the standard is tuning to A-440. For car tune ups, the standard is the manufacturers code, for radio/tv frequencies there are specific “fixed frequencies” in hertz. Even if we are attempting to get in tune with someone or some thing – that person or thing is the standard we are seeking to adapt to.

Accommodation – THIS one surprised me! Our piano man told us that the piano was going to be tuned low, to A-427. (That’s 13 degrees below “standard”) He said, there would be too much tension on the strings and hammers and some would possibly snap if we went too high. “The stress would be too great.” So, it is a perfectly normal practice to tune all 88 keys, in tune with one another, but to 427. The piano would be “in tune”, but to an accommodated standard. (Down the line, he said we would get another tuning to bring it up to 440.)

Application of “my lessons”:

There is and ought to be a standard in our lives for tuning, adjusting, configuring our thoughts, attitudes, ideas, beliefs, etc. It is what we should strive for – The Standard.

However, God has no interest in having us snap and live in constant tension under the stress of reaching for what appears to be an unattainable standard at this time. So He, in His grace, allows accommodations for us. For this time and space in our life, He allows for “baby steps” in our tuning. Smaller degrees of change that will eventually lead to “living up to the standard”. So we can be in tune, and still not up to standard. The standard is our goal, and will always be this side of heaven. But to be in tune now is what is attainable, needed and up to us.

What’s your standard? What accommodations are needed? Is it time for a tune up?

Cheers to you.

Den, trying it out

Bust Loose

My theme for the start of 2020 has been “Bust loose”, or put another more active way, “Bustin loose”.

Although I don’t often reference The Urban Dictionary, I will here. Bust loose means, ” to lose ones temper in a surprising & entertaining way, exhibiting courage & testiness that clearly proves one’s status as a non-sissy.” (I exchanged “sissy” for the less crass word they used.)

SO here’s my take-away: It’s time to get down right angry at the things that have bound us up and bust loose in an entertaining and surprising way. Prove to God and the world you are not a sissy, or whimp. It’s time to BUST LOOSE.

From whatever is holding you back
From your longstanding fears
From those things (or that thing) that has tied you up
From the shame of the past
From mediocracy and the rut of familiar

” Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”

Galatians 5:1


Cheers to you

Your Voice

Your voice is important. No one else can speak with your voice.

Your voice is as distinguishing as your fingerprint and your DNA. Your voice is uniquely you. It is determined by the finely tuned working of your specifically designed lungs, larynx, vocal folds, and 19 other points between those folds and your lips. The custom shapes of all of those parts of your body make your voice uniquely – your voice. You are an engineering masterpiece.

“Voice” is defined as:

  • a sound produced…
  • a particular opinion or attitude
  • to express something in words

Your metaphorical voice is as unique as your physical voice. The way you express yourself, speak truth, is to be like no one else – unique. Your metaphorical voice is based on your experiences, your values, beliefs, and your perspective. Expressing your voice is vital. Expressing your voice is more important than being heard. Of course, we want to be heard, but finding your voice should not be dependent on someone to hear it.

Recent studies have shown that “the human voice is more powerful a tool for expressing emotion than previously assumed.” The Human Voice Can Communicate 24 Emotions (UC Berkeley), awe, adoration, interest, sympathy, and embarrassment to name a few.

An Israeli company, “VoiceSense”, in a recent article entitled, “Mining Secrets in Your Voice” declares,

“Give us someone’s voice, and we’ll tell you what they will do.”

There is evidence that there are personal insights contained in our own speech. Insights that reveal emotions and tendencies to act. Your voice is highly personal and hard to fake the emotions behind it.

So what’s the point here?

You were given your uniquely designed voice – physical and metaphorical. No one can use it. No one controls it. No one knows what personal insights your voice will reveal. It’s yours alone. Finding and using your voice is key to freedom, value, purpose, healing and happiness.

And best of all, The Creator designed your voice and gave it to you because He wants to hear it. He is listening for your voice.

Your voice is unique.

Cheers to you.

Awaken 2020

I was there!

Tempe, AZ

January 18, 2020

There are times when you just know you gotta do this. You can’t let it pass, you can’t procrastinate, put it off, or ignore it.

This was one of those times for me and my husband. And it did not disappoint!

We heard fantastic preachers, songs, and leaders from all over the nation. We met others who were driven by the same desire to be a part of this. We were stirred, challenged, ignited and I trust forever changed. (on the inside)

I believe when “I gotta do this” opportunities are met with “nothing’s gonna stop me” determination, forever change is a forgone conclusion. Persistence pays off. Reward comes with risk. And there is no greater feeling of achievement, gratification, fulfillment, purpose, and contentment.

What is YOUR “I gotta do this”? Let this be the time you DO IT. The reward is amazing!

Jumping in, going for it.
Eddie James and his team were phenomenal