Posts Tagged: joy


25
Feb 13

Simply Divine

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Hi there, welcome back.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I am a sucker for anything creative.

I love it when I am stopped in my tracks by something completely unexpected because someone had a stroke of creative genius.

As you will see I have sprinkled a few pictures that I think are wonderfully creative and a few quotes thrown in for good measure.

How good is that?  Good pictures and a few good quotes.

Yes, I agree, this is a strange picture but I would have never thought of it.

The amazing miracle of creativity is that stirs that invisible something deep within.

I personally believe that we are moved by the creative because it reflects our Creator.  Don’t worry I’m not going to get all religious on you.  But there is something to be said about the Divine DNA we all possess.

Yep… whether you believe it or not, we all carry the marks of our Creator.

Don’t get all weirded out because you’re concerned I’m going to get preachy or syrupy religious.  I never have and I never will.  It’s not my place to get you to believe in a loving God.  I couldn’t if I wanted to.

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I think creativity is spiritual. I absolutely believe that.

F. Murray Abraham

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I just share interesting truths that make us think, cause us to ask questions, and just open our minds to consider new notions about life.

Creativity – what an amazing gift!

This gift allows us to step beyond the confines of the existing to the freedom of what’s never been.

Pretty cool sculpture huh?

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Creativity has more to do with the elimination of the inessential than with inventing something new.

-Helmut Jahn

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Creativity has as much with what you remove as what you add.  It causes us to see beyond where we are or what is known.

When we step beyond the confines of our current thinking there comes an irrepressible freedom.  It is a feeling of freedom because we dared to believe or explore the possibilities beyond the known.

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Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

- Erich Fromm

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Think about how good you feel when you come up with a creative solution to a dogging problem or create something out of your imagination.

Yes… creativity is divine… beautifully divine.

See you Thursday.


8
Feb 13

More than a SMILE

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If you read my last blog you know that I recently visited South Africa on a church mission trip and talked about the difference between the poor in Soweto and the American poor.

I was taken back by the amazing smiles on the people in the poorest of areas.  Beautiful wide-mouthed, teeth showing smiles.

I am in no way naïve to believe they were happy with their situation.  The surroundings are deplorable.

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Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.
- Dale Carnegie
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But the smiles, not just the children, were infectious.  Their was an endearing quality about the people that made me want to engage and get involved.

The type of engagement I am talking about was not the kind of “do gooder” involvement where you try to lift someone from the depths of their plight because you feel sorry for them.  NO!

I was saddened because of their living arrangements but their countenance did not demand sympathy.  Their smiles just made the desire for engagement easy.

It was as if they were a neighbor who could use a helping hand in assistance.

It has only been eighteen years since the fall of apartheid and full democracy in place.  One would think that a couple of busloads of white people winding their way through the narrow streets would be viewed with distain or considerable resistance or suspicion.

We felt no distain and little or no resistance or suspicion.  They smiled as we passed and freely waved as we responded in kind.

Somehow the American poor seem different.

I am sorry if this sounds judgmental, I don’t mean to be, but I don’t see the smiles or welcoming wave from the inner-city poor in the United States like I did in South Africa (SA).

So here’s my puzzlement.  Why?  Why such a difference?

The SA poor live in much worse conditions, have significantly less governmental support, with fewer opportunities.  To top it off health issues like HIV are rampant.

The majority of our mission trip was to clean up and repair an elementary school in a very poor area of Soweto.  The principle said that about 40% of the children were HIV positive.

Take a look at this video I took of the kindergarteners walking to their toilet break.

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Although the school appeared pretty nice is wasn’t… especially by U.S. standards.

I think there is something to be said for uniforms and order.  The teachers maintained a fairly high level of order while still allowing kids to be kids.

Once again, don’t misinterpret what I am saying.  Just because the people smile and engage more doesn’t mean that people are satisfied with their lot in life.

Crime in SA is rampant.  People are scrambling for survival.  The poor there do not have nearly the amount of basic governmental or NGO (non-government organization) support for food and shelter that we have here.

But for some reason they seem to stand taller, look you in the eye more, smile and engage more readily.

I do believe there is a difference between being happy vs. satisfied.

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Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
- Abraham Lincoln

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I would really like to know your theory or reason for the difference between the poor in US and SA.  It was fascinating to experience.

See you Monday.

Ciao.


20
Dec 12

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

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The title is a weird saying huh?  And the picture is ugly too.

I love these old axioms, but it seems their popularity has waned over the past few years.

Unfortunately they seem to have been snatched out of existence like a chicken leg on a Golden Corral buffet.  Gone… one minute it’s there and the next minute… whoosh… never to be seen again.

The wonderful thing about these old axioms is that although the verbiage is a bit dated the core truth remains sound.  That’s the beautiful thing about Truth… it never changes.  Regardless of the wording, the truth is still the truth.

And this is the time of year that elevates the magnificence of Truth even more.

Fair warning – GOD ALERT!!!!

Now for all of my non-Christian friends you don’t have to worry.  You know by now that I don’t get all preachy on you and expect you to believe what I believe.

Hopefully it will make you think but regardless of where you land spiritually you can still get a lot out of my meanderings.

The entire Christmas thing is that God came to dwell among us human types.  Some of you may be wondering what’s the big deal.

Believe it or not, it is a big deal… a very BIG DEAL.

God decided to go slumming with his peeps.  Let me be clear, gods do NOT do that sort of thing.

Christianity is the only religion on earth where the god being served comes down on our level to have relationship with man.  In all other religions man has to work their way up to become like the god being served.

If a person does enough good things and goes through certain rituals they eventually progress into some sort of deity.

The weirdest thing is that the nation of Israel had been expecting the Messiah to come for generations.

But here’s the other key to the story… He came… but not the way they expected.

If there is a pattern with God is that He doesn’t come in ways we anticipate.  That’s why so many of us miss His moving around us because He doesn’t come in a way we expect the God of the Universe to come.

If He came in a way we expected then He would not be God… because He would be within our grasp.  God is not within our grasp of intellect.

Any Spiritual insight always requires a step of faith.  A step beyond where we are and believe that God is at work.

If we are willing to crack that door our life will never be the same.

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You may be wondering why the weird axiom about the gift horse as the title of this blog.  God offers a free gift… yet we have difficulty just accepting it.

We want to examine, test, or evaluate the worthiness of the gift.

This time of the year is the time of gift giving.

But a gift is never possessed if we don’t receive.

Ciao.


14
Dec 12

Listen or Discard?

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Ho Ho Ho!

Yep… the smell of the scented candles, sounds of carols and the zip from Egg Nog is starting to take effect.

I feel the joy of Christmas beginning to rumble deep inside.  Or, it could be just the remnants of the questionable fish sandwich I had for lunch.  But something is beginning to rumble and I’m getting into the moment.

Without getting all mushy and Hallmark Cardish there is something very, very special about this time of year.

Sure, you have your occasional curmudgeon (or Grinch) who dislikes anything that makes other people feel good or happy.

It’s kind of weird.  If they’re not happy they don’t want others to be happy.  But of course they don’t come right out and say that.  They put a damper on everyone’s joy by spouting their unhappiness veiled by some very philosophical or insightful proclamation.

The biggest philosophical proclamation that becomes an emotional wet blanket is the verbal barrage that Christmas is too commercial.

Is Christmas too commercial?  Absolutely.  No question about it.  But the gross over commercialization of Christmas doesn’t stop me from enjoying the Holidays.  I still know what Christmas is all about.

If you’re really upset Christmas is over commercialized… keep it too yourself.

Yep, keep it to yourself.  Why, you ask.

NO ONE IS LISTENING TO YOU!

Usually when people are pontificating (emotionally spouting off) they come across self-righteous, judgmental and pompous.  That alone turns people off.

But there is another reason why people will not listen to your message.

It amazes me that people feel they are going to change the commercialism of Christmas by harping on the negative.  If you want to influence a person’s belief system you don’t hammer on the things that are wrong or in error.

This approach just makes people take a stronger stand on their point of view and makes it easy to discard your opinion like flicking a speck of dust off their shoulder.

If you really want people to hear your message… focus on the positive.

For example, if over commercialism of Christmas is an issue for you; the power is in sharing the joy of simplicity vs. the evil of excess.

Yes, I enjoy the lights, gifts, energy and happenings around the Holidays, but I also the simple joy of the spirit of giving, sharing and love.

There’s no question the glitz can be distracting… but the simple joy in the hearts and eyes of the young (this is not an age thing) is glorious.

Relax… enjoy the simplicity of the season.

Ciao.


11
Dec 12

More Christmas Frivolity

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Welcome, great to have you hang out with me for a while.

Since it is the Christmas season I have been talking about what types of gifts men or women like.  So I will continue to unwrap the topic a bit more.

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Side Note: “…unwrap the topic…”

Yes, I know, that was really bad.  I couldn’t resist the easy layup of a pun.  And yes, I realize that puns of this nature do not reflect well on my intellectual prowess.  But it is what it is.

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The fact that men and women are different is not new news to anyone.  But the fact that we are so different is something for which I am very, very thankful.

In the last entry I mentioned that all you need to get for a guy is something that makes noise, a tool of any kind to take something apart (putting it back together is optional), a toy or some sort of electronic gadget.

Yes, women are different.  The fairer gender tends to like things that fall into one of four categories.  As I started to list them I found that they all started with the letter “S”.

Girls like things that are – Soft, Sentimental, Smell good, or Shiny.  I could throw in another “S” that girls like.  No, not Sexy, even though it is a good guess and it’s something that is both a guy and girl thing.

The other “S” I was thinking about is Silliness.  Now let me explain.  There is “goofiness”, which no girl likes.  And there is cute silliness, which girls tend to like, especially if it involves a cute guy.

I ran across a video that will perfectly illustrate my point.

As a guy I could relate to doing something like this… but would never attempt.  I wouldn’t try it because 1.)  I’m not a cute enough guy; 2.) I can’t dance; 3.) Cute is hard to pull off when you’re over 30.

Girls… enjoy the video.  Guys, it’s ok for you to watch too.  It’s a good idea to consider if you’re under the age of 30.  Make sure you get to the dancing part.

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One of the comments below the video had a very good description of this little escapade.  They mentioned that it was so cool and uncool at the same time.

I have never been able to pull off something that is cool and uncool at the same time.  I have mastered uncool pretty well but I’m still working on the cool part.

Regardless of what you thought about the video whether it was cute silliness or just plain stupid goofiness, the guys were having fun.

FUN!!!  Innocent fun.

Regardless of age, cuteness, or ability to dance, fun is for everyone.
You may find this hard to believe, but God created fun.  What really throws some people is the notion that God is really fun.

Most people see Him as a crotchety old geezer that has no sense of humor.  Boy, are they ever wrong.

I think after Christmas I will need to dig into the funny God thing… because He really is funny… not goofy… funny.

Yes, I even believe that God can pull off the cute silliness thing… even though He is over 30 and probably can’t dance.

Ciao


4
Dec 12

Stress of gifts!

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Hi, good to see you again.

It’s early December and I can already feel the intensity of the season beginning to crescendo.

It’s the same kind of intensity one feels when standing between a group of seniors and the Golden Corral buffet – you see the object closing in but helpless to get out of the way.  It’s not a pretty sight.

Christmas is coming at full steam and there’s nothing you can do except brace yourself  for the impact.

I, like most of you, have started feeling the stress of what to get for gifts for the people in my life.  Personally, I think women are harder to buy for than men.

Men are easy (in more ways than one).  The only type of present you need for a guy is to get him something that makes noise, a tool of any kind to take something apart (putting it back together is optional), a toy or some sort of electronic gadget.

As you can see, we men are easy to tend to for the most part.

But women are a bit more complex.  Selecting a present for the fairer sex requires more thought and consideration than for us guys.

Women are just made differently… not bad… just different.

That’s the problem.  Guys think that everyone should think and see things the way they do.  That’s why we end up buying you wonderful women stupid stuff.

So I have decided to incorporate things into the blog this December that appeals to women… I may throw in a man thing or two but primarily it’s for women.

The first thing that I found that women like (other than jewelry) is anything that has something cute and cuddly gets their attention.

There are few things more cute and cuddly than puppies.

So the video below will give all of you that smiley, happy attitude that only comes from something cute.

Enjoy the video about the Christmas puppies.

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How cute is that?  Yep… a puppy video like the one above will make any girl happy.

I thought the puppy thing would be enough but I ran across a cat video that the girls would enjoy too.

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Okay guys, I know cats are not generally the type of animal that you enjoy.  But the ladies like it.

Visit me in a couple of days and I will try to find something that will appeal to both the guys and girls.

Ciao.


21
Nov 12

Yep… Thanksgiving Meanderings

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Believe it or not… I am still alive.

Yes, your calculations are correct.  It has been nine days since my last blog entry… nine days.

I have no real excuse, but things have been pretty weird.

The unfortunate reality is that this entry also is being typed in a hospital room.  It has not been a good nine days.

Thankfully it looks like my family member is not in a life threatening place… but there were some touchy moments.

So there is a lot to be thankful for on this day before Thanksgiving.

But don’t get yourself all worked expecting a syrupy sweet, heart tugging, tear jerking, schmaltzy Thanksgiving Day list of all the things to be thankful for.

Yes, there is plenty to be thankful for.  Blessings galore.

You ought to know by now that I am not going to be that predictable.

I love Thanksgiving but I think I love unpredictability more… with a splash of irreverence thrown in.

So I went on a search to find a couple of funny, slightly irreverent, somewhat questionable and not very politically correct videos.

Enjoy.

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OK, granted the last video was not the best video in the world but I needed something to break the monotony of sitting in the hospital room.

The next one has some big stars in it and is pretty funny.

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Regardless of where you are… make time to be thankful.

Yep, I’m still sitting here in a hospital room and I am very thankful… bored (as you can see from the videos) but thankful.

Gobble, gobble… have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


12
Oct 12

Digging out of a Funk

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Hi all.  I’m vibrating at a pretty high speed today.  I know that you are thrilled for me.

If you have no idea what I mean by vibrating you will need to check out the last blog entry.  Just so you know, vibrating at a high speed is a good thing.

Also, please be assured that there will be no vibrator jokes today.  I am sure you can see a person can easily go in a lot of different directions (no pun intended) with that topic.

Now that I have escaped the Monday funk, life is all blue skies and happy dust.  I can’t help but smile and bob my head back and forth in happiness as I vibrate in my chair.

OK, enough with the happy dust and vibration.

In the last blog I passed along some helpful hints on how to get out of a funk that I found on the web.  Frankly, they were pretty pitiful.

Those ideas may work for some folks but for me they just depressed me more.  They were too gooey or something.

So I thought I would share my own tips on how to get out of a funk.  I will call them my Funk Busters.

FUNK BUSTERS

Buy a Vibrator – sorry… I couldn’t help myself.  It was too good of an opportunity to throw in at least one vibrator joke.  But then again, it could be a Funk Buster for you.

The Andy Griffith Show – I am actually somewhat serious about this one.  You can’t help but feel better when you watch something upbeat, funny, and especially wholesome.

Actually the point isn’t The Andy Griffith Show specifically, but something that lifts you up, takes you to a better time, and appeals to the better part of us.

For your entertainment pleasure I found a rare video of someone singing the words to theme song with some scenes from the show.

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Find a puppy to pet – How can anyone stay in a funk if they pet a puppy?  I found a couple of cute videos.  The first is about someone putting puppies to sleep and the other is waking a puppy up.

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Feel better?  I do anyway.

A Baby’s Laugh – Yep, my reputation is officially ruined.  But the joy of a baby’s laugh is infectious.  And frankly, this is the kind of infection we all need.

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I do have one more Funk Buster.  There is no video for this one but it is the most important one.

Do Something – Seriously.   I am no different than anyone else when I am in a funk.  It feels like I am swimming in molasses.  Everything is difficult… even the simple things.

The trap of a funk is that it causes us to focus on ourselves.

The videos I showed are a small start because they make you feel better.  This is when you need to make the decision to do something.  Take the joy of the moment and translate it into action.

It doesn’t have to be something big.  It can be anything that causes you to move and change focus.

So… after watching these great videos and reading this blog, turn off your computer and take a quick walk, go get a coffee, do something.

See you Monday.

Ciao.


3
Sep 12

A different look at shoes

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The blog today may seem a bit morbid… but it is not.  Not at all.

A friend of mine has only a few weeks to live and is in Hospice care.

When the topic of death surfaces most people avoid it because it’s unpleasant.  We have a natural self protection instinct that keeps our minds from going in that direction.

Somehow we believe that if we don’t think about death it might delay the inevitable.  Fanciful thinking.

Although my friend is facing death we had an extraordinary talk about life.

It is life that I wish to talk about.  There were several things that struck me about life during our conversation.  It is these insights I would like to share.

Our view of life is from the context of life.  Life is all we know.

We look forward and charge the hill of life.  We identify our goals and mission and advance forward the best we can.

A person who is dying views life from the perspective of death.

Unless a person has had a serious encounter with death we cannot fully understand life.  We the living may think we understand… but we don’t.

But I did get a taste of it while visiting my friend.

Relationships and conversations with people who are nearing death are on a different level.

Our time talking together was simple and unguarded.  We laughed, swapped stories, talked about life and death, and ordinary things from an extraordinary perspective.

This is the kind of communication that I believe God intended originally in the Garden of Eden.

Simple, unguarded, open, powerful.

What struck me too was the beauty of the details we the living miss.

As we visited my friend talked about the things that bring him joy.  Interestingly, the things that brought the most joy from a death perspective of life were things he never thought of while going through life.

I asked him to give me an example.  He said the animals on the bottom of kid’s shoes.

Huh?  Animals on the bottom of kid’s shoes?  Please repeat that.

As he shared the details I knew exactly what he was talking about.

When his oldest adult daughter was about two he would transport her everywhere on his shoulders.

She would run to him, jump in his arms and then with the father’s strength that two year olds only know he would throw her on to his shoulders.

After she was safely on his shoulders he remembers grabbing one of her feet hanging next to his chest and lifting it up and look on the bottom to see which animal she was wearing for the day.

This is something he never really thought of at the time.  But this is a view of life from a death perspective.

The joy of life is the small stuff.

His mind did not race back to the career advancements, the deal made or the new car he drove.  Joy was found in a little girl’s shoe.

As we go through life we easily get caught up in career, bills, decision… life stuff.  At times things become so looming that it is overwhelming.

Added to the cacophony of life stuff there seems to be a constant unseen weight.  These are things beyond our control that adds to the already weighty pressures of life.

We worry about the economy, the state of the world and safety for our children.

All I know is that as my friend drifts closer to death, the things that we see as big issues of life have become unimportant.

It is the details of life that are bringing joy… tiny, seemingly insignificant details.  Details that he had not thought of for years.

Although death does take the body it need not kill our spirit or rob our joy.

We may not have much choice over the former but we have full control over the latter.

One of the greatest blessings I have learned in my life is that out of the ugliest of situations there are wonderful joys to be discovered.

Joy comes in the strangest forms.  Even the bottom of a little girl’s shoe.

See you Thursday.


28
Aug 12

The Good & Bad of Different

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Hi… thanks for checking in with me.

The photograph above is another beautiful shot of ballerina Aesha Ash.

Like the picture in the last blog, the stark contrast of a poised ballerina on the streets of New York enhances her beauty not distracts.

Being different from your surroundings forces attention in your direction.  Some people thrive on the attention of being different.

The weird thing is that many people try to be different only to end up looking like everyone one else in their crowd.  They look different… just like everyone else.

But there is more to the being different story than meets the eye.

Yes, being different can enhance your positives, but it also magnifies your negatives.

As I said earlier… different screams attention.

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Photos like this are visually striking.  Two contrasting worlds collide and makes for a great picture.

But in real life different can be a blessing, or a curse.

Being different always brings pressure.  The surroundings always try to force us into conformity.

I have several friends and have heard numerous stories where good performance in a job was frowned upon because it made all the other workers around them look bad.  They became the subject of ridicule and pressured to conform.

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Another interesting dynamic about being different is that pressure is created.  The majority always seems to press for conformity.  It doesn’t have to be intentional… difference feels pressure to conform.

Take for example the media barrage of societal expectations.  The pressure is not direct for conformity but the sheer volume of messages will beat the crap out of your self image.

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All I know is that there is good different and bad different.

I struggle just like the rest of you.

I like being different but I’m not weird… well… maybe sort of… but not much.

Well, I think I have rambled enough.

Ciao.