Ramblings

Life, family, business


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How to be Happy: Dis-Courage-ment or En-Courage-ment?

Have you ever felt discouraged?  Have you ever felt encouraged? Did either make you feel happy?

What does that even mean?

Discouragement, as defined by Google, is the loss of confidence or enthusiasm. Or hope.

Encouragement, defined by Merriam-Webster, is the act of making something more appealing or more likely to happen.

That makes me ask: what is courage?  Courage is the root of the words discourage and encourage.  Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you.

So now I ask, what frightens you?  What frightens you so much that you would be too scared to do it?  That’s dis-courage.

What is frightening to you that you have done anyway?  That’s en-courage.

I think sometimes we use the word “discourage” to mean sad.  I felt discouraged when the rain came.  I felt discouraged when I didn’t win the contest. We have lost our hope, our enthusiasm, and we feel sad about it.

How can we be happy?

There’s so many discouraging things going on in our world, and it seems like it just gets worse.  How can we have hope?  How can we get our enthusiasm back, or maybe even just a little to start with?  Some people always see the worst in everyone and everything.  They have discouraged themselves, and that makes them spread discouragement everywhere they go.  Why keep trying if its never going to get any better? If you let this continue, it can turn into depression.

Others see the best in everything, the eternal optimist, and they spread that joy and hope to others around them.  They may fall and they may lose, but they get right back in there with a smile on their face, ready for the next challenge.  They never seem depressed, even when they have every right to be.

Which of those people would you like to be?  I consider myself to be a realistic optimist.  I know there are bad things going on in the world that I myself am not able to change.  But I know there is a lot of good going on in the world too.  And maybe I can’t change the world for everyone, but I can change the world for myself.  I can be the encourager.   I can be the one to help change myself and my mindset so that I can see the good in people, and see the opportunities all around me.  And then, once I have changed myself, I can start changing the world for others.  I can be a better mother, I can be a better wife.  I can sponsor a child from a third world country, or I can spend time with the kids in my neighborhood and give them some attention that maybe their parents don’t have time or energy to give.  I can spend time with my elderly neighbors who maybe don’t get out much, or don’t have much company.

I can also spend my time learning new things or discovering new places.  Sometimes it takes a little courage to get out of our recliner and take a hike up that new trail, or take the different route, or the road less traveled.  Its takes courage to get out of our comfort zone and try something new.  Fear, dis-courage, can keep you from trying new things or going to new places.  Don’t be afraid.  Have courage!!

There are so many opportunities to help others, to encourage them to be happier people.  But you have to fill your heart with happiness in order to spread that happiness around.  I believe that God fills me with hope and love and peace, and that is my happiness.  Not everyone believes in God, and that’s up to each person to decide.  But either way, when you stop focusing so much on yourself, you are able to focus on others.  And by helping others, each of us can be an encourager.  Each of us can give help and hope to others, and that is infectious.

Helping others is a sure way to feel happy.  You don’t have to spend any money, but it will cost you some time.  But time spent helping is much better spent than time spent wallowing in our sorrow and unhappiness.  Again I tell you, don’t be afraid; have courage!!

Can you tell me about a time when you did something that really made you happy?  Or a time when you were encouraged, or discouraged?


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The First Day of Spring

The first day of spring is something I look forward to all winter.

Spring is baby ducklings, chicks, kittens, sprouts and buds and the early flowers turning the gray dull sky of winter into the blue sky of summer.  Its the old crusty snow retreating into the ground to make way for new blades of grass. Its about the rebirth of creation, like the death and resurrection. The old goes away and the new is born of the earth, fresh and green.  Its about babies of every species being born.

cardoon seedlings

Its about potential.  Its like New Year’s Day, with no pressure for a resolution. Its just you and nature and the awakening in your heart.

Here in my neck of the woods we are expecting our first rain tonight, like waking up to a clean house after a winter of hibernation. The dust and mold and dirt from the snow will disappear and the new growth will appear, and take over.

The potential to grow; it is something granted to each of us regardless of our age, gender, income, or anything else really.  If you are alive, you have the potential to become more than you are now.  You have the potential to learn new things, new crafts, new emotions, new affirmations.  You have the potential to be anyone you want to make yourself into.  You have a heart and a brain and a body.  You get to choose what you do with them.

I pray that you will choose the positive, the good, the smiles and the hugs.

I hope that you will choose freedom, forgiveness, optimism and joy.

I want you to choose that voice inside you that sings at the top of your lungs every time a good song comes on the radio.

Choose you, choose love, but always choose wisely.

What will you choose for your life today?  Happy Spring!


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Energize Yourself!

Samsung 022

It amazes me every time:  I can be tired, beat, ready for a nap,  and just talking to someone with a passion similar to mine can wake up my senses and energize me completely!  Its great to find like-minded people, there’s something so ENERGIZING about a shared passion, but only when its a positive passion, does it seem to feel that way.

Negativity breeds anger, hate, destruction.

Positivity breeds happiness, love, and community.

Energy is an amazing thing.  We each have an energy in us, a frequency that vibrates within us.  Some people call it a vibe, some an aura, and some, the Holy Spirit, but regardless of what you call it, its there.

Sometimes, I can hear it. It tells me through my gut instincts that something is good, or bad, or wrong.  My dogs can really feel a person’s energy, or maybe see it, and if they don’t trust someone, I tend to be leery of them, and vice versa. I have learned in life to trust my gut, to listen to the still small voice inside me that tells me things.  Sometimes it tells me about people, sometimes about situations, but I know if I ignore it, I may regret it.

Sometimes there’s a voice that tells me to be afraid of all kinds of things, and this is a different voice, the voice of oppression and pain, and low self-worth.  I have learned to ignore this voice, since its not an inspiring voice, its a destruction voice.  We all have this in ourselves.  I liken it to the angel and the devil on opposite shoulders trying to tell you what to do, like in the old cartoons.  The devil on my shoulder is always selfish, mean, and full of anger and hurt.  The angel is always trying to help others, to be self-less and others-more, trying to spread kindness and cooperation.

Each of us has to decide which of these little cartoon characters to listen to, and to trust.  Our life experiences play a big part in which we succumb to, but I hope that each of us takes the extra second to listen to those opposing views and pick the one that sounds the most like LOVE.

When we pick the love, the hope, the good things, the wonderful; we pick ourselves.  We pick to trust ourselves.  We choose to rise above. And by choosing to be self-less, we choose the higher road; the road less traveled, the road less polluted by the world.  The road we choose means a lot to those around us.

I remember hearing once that even though we can’t change the world we can change the world for one person.   That’s not hard actually.  But what if each of us truly did this.  What if each of us picked one person and worked to make their world a better world, their life a better life.  How many of us are there?  How many of us want to make the world a better place?  How many people would be changed?

I believe we would all be changed by this project. We would all be ENERGIZED.  We would all share this PASSION to help others, and we could work together, and we really could change the world.

Think about the last time you helped someone.  How did it make you feel?  If you had a chance every day to feel that way, would you do it?