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Purpose, Joy and Positives

GRACE:

Grace lies within us, always. It is in our souls, hearts and every cell of our being. It is defined as ‘unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration  or sanctification’ (Merriam -Webster).

Recently,  one of my  daughters and I were talking about aging and we agreed that to age gracefully is a worthwhile endeavor. Ahhhhhh…….yes, to be able to accept the changes that transcend our minds and bodies as we move through the decades; to look in the mirror and feel content with our reflection; to understand the wisdom of life’s experiences, positive and negative; to be genuinely accepting of those around us who can still do more; and to not feel anxious about things to come. Challenges will always be there, young or aging; it is all in how you chose to manage the challenges.

I think my mother, who lived to a remarkable 94 years of age, nailed it. She said that an important part of life was about having something to look forward to. I would embellish that thought not only to include planning and visualizing positive activities, but to also keep our minds focused on gratitude for our many blessings and work with where we are in life. Stay on today and make it a great one!!!  It is all about attitude and that is a choice we can make each morning.

“Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace.”  (French Proverb)

PURPOSE, JOY AND POSITIVES

SUMMER:

Here in the Midwest, until a week ago we were still asking  ‘where is summer?’ Today’s temperature in the high eighties, with a lot of humidity, says summer may have arrived.

Summer is my all time favorite season, heat, humidity and everything that goes with it, except for mosquitoes. My favorite place is on a beach with a good book. I will share with you a few books that I have read in the last few months that are worth taking a look at.

The  first is  The Nightingale, by Katrina Hannah, which is a story about two sisters during WWII who each in their own manner, as well as their estranged father, work diligently saving thousands of lives while France was being bombed.

The second is Where the Crawdads Sing by  Delia Owens. This was a real page turner and I read it in one night! (It was a really late night for sure). A young sister and brother under the age of ten are abandoned by their father after the mother’s death. Soon after due to abuse, the brother leaves the sister to fend for herself. It is the story of true reliance, survival, grit determination, self learning, and lasting friendship which eventually turns to love for the girl.

The third which I just finished yesterday is A Beach Wish, by Shelley Noble which is set on the ocean front town in New England. The primary character, Zoe, finds herself in unfamiliar territory to complete her mother’s final wishes and a whole new family she knew nothing of. Great read.

The final one to share with you is The Dream Daughter, by Diane Chamberlain. This is a great read especially if you enjoy time travel. Again, this is a war time story with a wonderful very special ending. I loved it!

So, happy reading wherever you are in your summer!

 

PJP

PURPOSE, JOY AND POSITIVES

PERFECTIONISM …TO BE OR NOT TO BE, THAT IS THE QUESTION:

Multi-tasking and managing lots of ‘stuff’ in life…….schedules, time, commitments, family life happenings, money, bills, health and our work domain have become the norm. Yet, we Type A personalities try to multi-task while always striving for perfectionism; but in reality, long term perfectionism IS NOT POSSIBLE! We drive ourselves crazy trying to keep it all together and everything in perfect, absolute perfect order.

It is certainly good to be organized in life, but that does not mean we have to be perfect. Are there options to getting it all completed and not everything perfect? Yes, I think there is an option, but it lies not out there; it lies in our thought process. The process that starts out like: “you know self, this project can be done a little differently involving a little less time and still be perfectly acceptable. It can be GOOD ENOUGH!”

An option is not having an all or nothing mindset. There is a lot in between all and nothing, and that is where our change in mindset lies……..in between. Learning to find that happy delicate balance between ‘this is good enough’ and ‘this still has work to become perfect’ is a process in and of itself. One has to let go of doing it until it is just perfect. Honestly, most of the time, no one will ever know that we stopped three steps ahead of our ideal perfect. Because, guess what? It turned out great and everyone loved it. Our stubborn steadfast ideals of perfect keep us from celebrating the much needed little victories we have in life. I will be the first to admit, I have gotten much better at this ‘good enough’ thing in life as I have aged. Maybe it has to do with that I have realized  I have only so much time and I want to make it count with lots of memories, not how long I spent perfecting something.

Anne Wilson Schaef, author of various meditation books, states it well: “Perfection is self-abuse of the highest order.”

Where do you fall on that continuum of all or nothing?

PJP

PURPOSE, JOY AND POSITIVES

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: April 27, 2019

Yes, that date is correct! The picture is compliments of my daughter who captured this last spring snow and declared ‘Expect the Unexpected’!

This reminds me of Murphy’s Law: ‘If anything can go wrong, it will’. Just for a little history, Edward J. Murphy was a real person who was a Major in the Air Force in the 1940’s, working as an engineer testing experimental designs; I guess he often experienced unplanned results.

Ultimately, things in our lives do go awry from time to time. That is life and we are human. It is easy to push the panic button when things start to fall apart, but that doesn’t really help the matter at hand. Here is what I have trained myself to do in these situations.

Once I realize that I am moving toward exasperation, I take three deep breaths and list several catastrophic end results that could happen. After another three deep breaths, it’s thank you because these did not happen. Now, I focus on how to straighten the mess out, giving myself three choices; choosing one, acting on it, and reminding myself that this COULD have been a lot worse and THIS is definitely not the end of the world. So, much for expecting the unexpected.

I must admit that my method did not develop overnight, and it took me a few years in life to learn to use this approach. Try it for yourself and maybe it will work for you too.

Claire Cook, American author and speaker, stated “If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters!”  Now this is encouraging, right?

PJP

PURPOSE, JOY AND POSITIVES

 

A week ago, we celebrated Easter, only after the solemnity of Good Friday, the Christian Holy Day commemorating the crucifixion of our Lord.  Then He rose on Easter Sunday so that we could have new life. It is a Blessed Day that brings us Hope and Joy to our hearts forever, a renewal of our spirit and souls.

We as people do need this renewal of our spirit for there are dark days; we do experience human suffering, and there are many things within our culture that bring about concern. The Resurrection is our Hope, our Way and our Life that help us to walk through our humanness with faith. It is faith that keeps us in the present moment, knowing that is right where we are supposed to be; it is faith that gives us deep understanding of our past, and it is faith that instills in us confidence in the future.

May we continue to experience this hope and faith in renewal of our spirit and lives.

PJP

PURPOSE, JOY AND POSITIVES

SURPRISE!!

April 14, 2019, Palm Sunday, and 5 inches of new, wet, drenching SNOW!!! Surprise! It is not really spring yet here in the Midwest!

Isn’t that the way life can be also? Things are just going along, one day at a time, nothing too earth shattering and then boom……..a surprise awaits you! In an instant, life presents a new challenge that must be dealt with, wrestled with, and a solution found!

Options are always available for the choosing. One can ignore the issue, meet it head on, or dance around it for awhile. For sure, it is probably not going to disappear on its own, without some amount of work on our part. I have found that ignoring the issue never really works for me, and sometimes it just makes it worse in the end. I will admit though that sometimes I dance around an issue, going back and forth, until I walk up to it, grab it and solve it.

A new book by Tania Luna and Leeann Renninger, Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected, suggest that “surprise, whether good or bad, is important for bringing vitality to our lives. Surprise works on the dopamine system in our brains, helping us to focus our attention and inspiring us to look at our situation in new ways.”

The authors talk about the four stages of the surprise response: freeze (stopped in our tracks), find (trying to understand what is going on), shift (perspective adjusting), and share (with others).  In essence, Luna and Renninger support the idea that surprise can foster “curiosity, wonder, connection, vulnerability, growth and creativity” through embracing and engineering the surprise, negative or positive. I like this idea!

How’s your life…….any surprises?

PJP

 

PURPOSE, JOY AND POSITIVES

SILENCE:

Yesterday morning I took 30 minutes at the beginning of my day and sat in silence listening to at least 4 different types of birds chirping, including my favorite, the mourning dove. I could hear the trickle of some water running somewhere fairly near, the leaves rustling in the  slight breeze,  and a little animal scampering along the pavement. This not my normal routine and I often find it difficult to just ‘sit’ for any length of time. Always something to do!

Certainly the idea is not a novel one to me but I have been doing some reading on the benefits of ‘first morning silence’. Noise is abundant in our lives everyday from dawn to dusk…….T.V.’s, I Pads, I Pods, phones, emails,  text messages, Facebook, Instagram, and many other things that clutter our immediate world. It can almost be overwhelming. This seems to be especially so when you are trying to think something through or you are experiencing ‘burnout’….of something or everything!

Here are the eight benefits of silence and solitude as quoted in Outreach magazine, written by Charles Stone (July 26, 2018, the senior Pastor of West Park Church in London, Ontario, Canada and  the founder of StoneWell Ministries).

  • “It breaks the power of hurry, our addiction to a ‘have-to-do-this’ mentality.
  • It helps renew our souls.
  • It reminds us that life will still go on without us.
  • It clears the storm of life and mind for wise decision – making and planning.
  • It creates inner space to hear the voice of God.
  • It allows us to disconnect from the world and deeply connect with our soul.
  • It helps us control our tongue.
  • It helps us with the other disciplines.”

At the end of my first 30 minute trial, I felt a  calm sense of well – being. It will become a new part of my morning routine. It is most definitely worth letting go of those 30 minutes. More to come……..

PJP