Let’s face it: it is easy to lose focus in a world full of distractions. Cell phones, laptops, people, school, jobs, animals, and worries are all vying for our attention. Personally, I love the sound of silence. Early mornings are my time to focus on the day. I get so much more done when everyone else is asleep. LOL.
Is it any wonder that lack of focus is a problem for most people these days? It stresses people out when they can’t focus. It is like someone switching the light on and off rapidly as they are trying to think! Just my opinion here, but it seems self-evident that if you cannot focus, you will never be at peace.
First of all, we need to get our priorities straight:
1. We need to focus on God. He is our rock, our refuge in time of need, our provider, our hope, and our salvation. Know God, know peace. No God, no peace.
2. We need to focus on our family. Next to God, family is the most important thing. Family comes before jobs, hobbies, me time, etc. If you lose focus of your family, there are lifelong consequences that you will regret. Blessed be the ties that bind.
3. Focus on your friends. If you are fortunate enough to have 3 or 4 really close friends, you are indeed wealthy! There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Be that friend!
4. Focus on yourself. Be the best person that you can possibly be. We are all works in progress. There is nobody that can claim they have arrived. We always need to be learning, improving, self correcting, and striving for excellence.
5. Focus on your work. Whatever you choose to do in life, do it with all your heart. Work is a blessing….not a curse. Learn to enjoy what you do. Bloom where you are planted.
6. Find balance in your life. It is hard to walk if you lose your balance, right? Same thing if events in your life are in constant chaos. Make better choices and take time to unwind. That is why God said, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” We all need time to recharge our batteries and refocus on what really matters in life.
1. Life is not fair. Get over it and quit whining.
2. Not everyone is trustworthy. Choose your friends wisely, and learn from your mistakes. Don’t give repeat offenders access to your inner circle.
3. Quit blaming someone else for your choices. You are responsible for the decisions you have made. This is part of growing up…so grow up. Own your mistakes.
4. You have to play the hand you were dealt. Play wisely. Consider the consequences.
5. You have two choices when you look at the glass of life. It is either half full or half empty. You have to choose which one you will drink from. Stay positive!
6. You don’t have to like everyone you work or live with, just learn to respect them and give them their space. If you want respect, give it. Remember that you can’t change anyone. Work on yourself and you will have your hands full.
7. Not everyone is going to like you, so quit trying to please everyone. Just be you…but make it the best you that you want to be.
8. Learn the power of forgiveness. If you forgive someone, they no longer have control over you. That is peace, power, and gives you freedom to move on.
9. Love conquers all. Let love rule your life. If you don’t know where to start, remember that God is love. Love God and love people.
10. Give thanks. Have an attitude of gratitude. A grateful heart will open the door for blessings.
11. Quit worrying about tomorrow. It does no good. Live today to the fullest. Trust God.
12. Learn the power of kindness. A simple act of kindness can help someone make it one more day. Be the person that extends a hand to help those who cannot help themselves.
13. Remember that everyone has issues. Cut them some slack and give them the grace that you need when you are having a rough day.
14. You find your purpose when you find your passion. Find what you are wired to do and you will love the life that you live. Everyone has a gift and a purpose, but we each have to find it on our own. Don’t give up on your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you who you are supposed to be. Let God direct your steps.
Can you believe it has been 20 years since we were attacked? I remember that day very clearly. I was still working in the medical field and was getting ready to call on the VA hospital in Oklahoma. I was eating my breakfast and watching TV as the news flash came on saying a plane had struck one of the twin towers in New York city. It was a surreal moment to be watching the smoke and flames coming out of the tower and the speculation was that a small private plane had run into the tower. It was just a few minutes when the next plane was seen plowing into the second tower and we knew that we were under attack.
Many people have likened that moment to Pearl Harbor, but that was before my time. I do remember watching the first man walk on the moon when I was living in Abilene, TX, and I remember hearing about JFK being shot when I was in elementary school in Dallas.
We tend to remember moments like these because it brings us to an understanding that we are witnessing history. Whether it is horrific or just historic, we remember those moments because we know that life as we know it has changed. The Covid Pandemic is the most recent shocker that has changed our world forever. While I don’t remember the exact day I heard about it, I will never forget that year. 2020 was definitely an eye opener for everyone.
I don’t know what today holds, much less tomorrow, but I am grateful for the sacrifices that have been made to safeguard us and protect our freedom. We still live in perilous times, and evil is alive and well, so we have to be diligent and on guard continually. To those who have given their lives, we salute you. To those who serve in our armed forces now, we thank you and pray for you. To those who work as first responders, you are our heroes. Thank you for the sacrifices you make for us on a daily basis. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. May God bless and keep you.
Last Friday I was asked to help out a teacher in 3rd grade who had a kid throwing a temper tantrum. He was throwing things around in the room and was out of control. I called him out in the hallway and asked him what was going on. He turned his back to me and didn’t respond. I said, “Come on. I just want to talk with you. You are not a kindergartner. You are in 3rd grade.” He turned around but still said nothing. I said, “Please look at me and tell me what is going on.” He looked up and said, “My parents are getting divorced.” I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Buddy, I know what you are going through. I have gone through a divorce and everyone hurts, but it will get better. You can still have a relationship with your Mom and Dad. It will just be different.” We walked down the hallway as he calmed down. It saddens me to think how many kids are going through this. Kids are the ones who suffer the most in a divorce. Just a reminder that you don’t know what you don’t know.
Getting real with someone is being willing willing to share the pain.
He was a feeble man who held the hand
Of his bride of 60 years
A stranger noticed her stop one day
As if looking through her tears
When he questioned the husband
Why she looked away
The old man explained
What was hard to say:
“Her memory was robbed from her long ago.
She doesn’t know who I am.”
The stranger asked him why he stayed.
He marveled at the man.
“She may not remember who I am,
But that is still OK
Because I still remember her,
I’m there for her every day.
God gave her to me years ago
When we were young and free.
So now I give her all I have,
A love that helps her see.
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
It does not envy.
To pride it’s blind.
It doesn’t boast.
It isn’t rude.
Puts others first,
Doesn’t come unglued.
It readily forgives,
And evil it shuns.
It embraces the truth,
To the light it runs.
1 Corinthians 13
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It is pretty easy to find something to complain about these days, and some folks seem to be masters at the art of complaining. I try to distance myself from the negative folks, but they seem to chase me down at times to spread their misery and invite me into their pity party. LOL.
This past weekend I had the privilege to attend a men’s conference in Arlington, TX called Promise Keepers. The highlight of the weekend was getting to hear Nick Vujicic. Nick is a pretty unusual guy. He was born without arms and legs, and yet he has the most positive attitude of anyone I have ever heard that has a physical handicap. The truth is, Nick would tell you he is not handicapped. He has no limits.
Having been born that way, I can only imagine what life must be like for him to have grown up and having to have someone help him do pretty much everything. He had a quote that really hit me between the eyes: “God will not allow you to go through the pain in vain.”
Nick prays every day that God gives him arms and legs, but he adds, “Even if you don’t, God, use me today with what You’ve given me,” and boy has God used him! He has traveled all over the world and had the opportunity to speak to millions of people. His message is simple: God has a purpose for each of us, and He will give you what you need to walk out your purpose if you let Him. He truly has the most remarkable attitude of anyone I have every heard. After hearing Nick, I told the guy I rode with to the conference, “I don’t have any problems!”
Life is pretty amazing when you think about it. We all have problems. We all have issues to deal with. We all have pain to overcome. What makes the difference is how we look at the problems we face. Every problem presents new opportunities, and we have to decide if we are going to give up and quit, or are we willing to commit? Nick would be the first to tell you, “Don’t quit. Trust God.”
God has a plan despite what you see, what you feel, what you know, or what you hear. That is where faith comes in. The good news is even when we don’t have enough faith to sustain us, God will give us that too! I came away from the conference with a new sense of gratitude for all that God has done for me in the past, is doing for me now, and will be doing for me in the future. Now abides faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love. That about sums it up.
P.S. Did I mention that he married a beautiful Godly woman and they have 4 children?
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people, evil people seem to thrive when you are in need, and the team that you KNEW was going to win loses! What is up with that?
I am reminded of the story of Job in the Bible. He apparently was a pretty good dude and did nothing to bring on all of the problems that hit him. He lost his wealth, health, and even his wife told him that he should just curse God and die! Kind of makes you glad you are not Job, right?
The lesson from Job is that no matter what life throws at you, God is still there with you to see you through it. In all of the trials and tribulations that Job faced, he never lost his faith. God ended up restoring to him double of everything that was taken from him.
We may never understand why life if unfair, but we can trust that God is there. He will never leave us nor forsake us. His promises are “Yes and Amen.” If you are struggling with making sense of the bad hand you have been dealt, look up and let God direct your next steps. When you are pressed upon, press in to Him.
Once upon a time there was a Rut. He was not happy. His life was boring, monotonous, and meaningless. Every day was a repeat of the day before. Nothing ever changed. He wondered if everyone lived like this, or was it just him?
As luck would have it, this particular day would change his life. As the Rut was going though his daily grind and lamenting his cursed luck, he came across a Groove. This guy was happy, thankful, and full of life. He seemed to have his act together, and frankly, that made the Rut mad! He did not like seeing others happy, and felt like everyone should experience his pain and agony.
He asked the Groove why he was so happy, and you know what he said? He said, “Life is what you make it. You choose whether to be a Rut or a Groove. You get to choose whether you see the glass half empty or the glass half full. You choose whether to embrace changes and obstacles as opportunities or whether to look at them as your enemy. You choose whether to live in fear or faith.”
The Rut was not expecting that answer. He figured the Groove had been given all of his good fortune, but it turned out that the Groove had worked hard for everything he had. This day was the one that changed the Rut’s life forever. He decided that he had control over one thing and that was his attitude. He had the ability to change how he looked at life, and he did! He started by being grateful for all the things God had done for him. He quit complaining and started praising God. He started to focus on the beauty of life and got the focus off of himself. Miraculously, the transformation began as he put aside his fears and chose to live a life of gratitude.
The lesson was simple: If you want things to change, YOU have to change. That is the secret of living a Groovy life. Here’s to getting you Groove on!