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Monday, March 29, 2010

"Words really do matter, don’t they?"

A blind man sat on the steps of a building on a beautiful spring day. His hat was at his feet along with a sign that read, “I am blind. Please help.”

A woman walked by and stopped to observe the man’s situation. She noticed that the blind man had just a few coins in his hat. So she dropped in a few more coins and, without even asking permission, took his sign and began writing on it. She replaced the sign and left.

The woman returned to see the blind man later that afternoon. She noticed that his hat was full of not just coins, but bills also. The blind man recognized her footsteps and asked, “Are you the one who stopped earlier and did something to my sign?”

“Yes,” the woman said, “but everything I wrote was true. I just wrote the message a little differently than you had.”

The new sign read, “Today is Spring and I can’t see it.”

Words really do matter, don’t they? Look for the words you can best say today as you listen to life and make a life, not just a living.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Who are you with?'

Once upon a time, I had an exercise bike. I rode it for a while, but pretty soon I threw a pair of jeans on it, then a shirt, then some clothes waiting to be ironed, and it became an expensive clothes rack. So one day I moved it to the storage room.

Then I got a ski machine. It was great, after I became coordinated enough to swing my arms and legs simultaneously. And I used it for a while, but then one day I threw a pair of jeans on it, then a shirt, then some clothes waiting to be ironed, and it became a super-expensive clothes rack. So I moved it to the basement.

Then I wanted a treadmill. And I remembered the bike and ski machine.

Instead I bought a membership at a fitness center. And I go exercise there several times a week.

What’s the difference? At home, I exercise alone. At the gym, I’m with lots of people, all of them doing the same thing. I discovered I’m encouraged by people doing what I’m doing.

Surround yourself today with people who make a life and not just a living.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"What are your challenges and tests in the New Year?"

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The Great Barrier Reef stretches some 1,800 miles from New Guinea to Australia. It’s a real study in contrasts. The lagoon side of the reef looks pale and lifeless, while the ocean side is vibrant and colorful.

The reason for this phenomenon is that the coral on the lagoon side is in still water with no challenge for its survival. It’s not stimulated to grow so it dies early. But the coral on the ocean side is constantly being tested by wind, waves, storms—surges of power. It fights for survival every day of its life which forces it to grow. It changes and adapts as it’s challenged and tested. It grows healthy and strong every day.

Now you would think it would be the exact opposite, wouldn’t you? That the still water lagoon side would grow. But it’s the stimulated ocean side that grows instead.

We’re like this coral. We come alive and grow when we’re challenged and tested by life. And I’ll bet you’re already being challenged and tested by life in this new year, aren’t you? Listen to your life and focus on growing more alive as you make a life, not just a living today.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

"Who do you lean on when the weight of life is too much for you to stand by yourself?"

A stand of pines grow in the yard part of our farm. Their limbs have grown together. Also in our yard was one pine growing by itself.

A snowfall came and the ice and snow lay heavy on the branches of those pines, so heavy that the weight bent their branches down toward the ground, so low in fact that in the stand of pines, the branches from one tree were on the trunk and branches of another, but none of the branches broke because the trees leaned their branches on one another.

The pine that stood by itself didn’t do as well. There were no other trees to lean against so the lone pine's branches became so heavy they broke off. So many of them broke off that we had to cut the tree down.

We have each other to journey with in life. Together we’re stronger and live longer than any one of us by ourselves. Who do you lean on when the weight of life is too much for you to stand by yourself? Listen to your life and make a life with the people in your life, not just a living.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"It was a little easier to help others during the holidays, wasn’t it?"

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Charles Shultz, creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip, died some years ago, but his comic strips live on. In one of my favorite “Peanuts” cartoons, Snoopy is shivering out in a snowstorm beside an empty food dish. He looks expectantly toward the house. Lucy comes out and says, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled!" Then she goes back into the house and slams the door. In the last frame, you see a confused Snoopy looking toward the house, still shivering and hungry and now, confused.

During the holidays, it was a little easier for you and me to help shivering, hungry people what with the “holiday spirit” and all. We got caught up in the season of giving. But it’s easier for us to slam doors now what with the decorations retired back to the basement or up in the attic.

Even though the holidays are over, warm and feed others today. When you do, the holidays—the season of giving’s holy-days spirit—live on. Just listen to life and make a life, not just a living today and you’ll discover more opportunities to keep the season alive than you ever imagined.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

"Got perseverance?"

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We moved to the Appalachian mountains when our younger daughter was less than a year old. So she spent her preschool years hiking up and down mountains with us. When she was small I would carry her, but when she was around two years old, I decided that it was time for her to hike. So she did for a while…

…until she would get tired. “Help me, Daddy,” she’d say with her arms outstretched. At first, I always picked her up and carried her for a while. But as she got older, I started telling her, “Just keep walking for a little while longer, honey, and you’ll feel better in a few minutes.” So she would and in a few minutes she’d say, “I feel better, Daddy.”

Our daughter wanted to quit, but persevered long enough to get her second wind. If you want to keep your New Year’s resolution, you’ve got to stick to it when you feel like quitting. Sure, you’ll get tired, maybe even worn out, but to reach your goals, ask God to be your partner, develop a winning attitude, celebrate each success, and persevere in the New Year as you listen to life and make a life!

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

"Got success?"

Duke basketball player J.J. Redick scores a career-high 41 points against Texas and says, “I was just feeling it tonight. The basket was huge.”

Tiger Woods wins yet another PGA tournament and says, “I had my A-game this week. It was like putting into a bucket today.”

Barry Bonds sets a single-season home run record and says, “It was like swinging at a grapefruit up there. I couldn’t miss.”

What do all three of these athletes have in common? Success.

How did they get to their current level of performance? Success.

You see success brings more success. That is, you succeed in a small way, in a little thing, and that builds your confidence. You begin to see yourself as successful because you celebrate the small wins. The small wins build and build until pretty soon, you are successful.

And that’s how you accomplish your New Year’s resolution. Celebrate one pound lost or one hour at the gym or one bill paid in full. See yourself as God sees you—as a successful person who listens to life! And celebrate as you make a life!