I heard from an old friend today via email. He and I had traveled with two other people on a spiritual adventure to India in September of 2009. I was the only female in our group. My spiritual brothers!
We all had become initiates of a guru in Haridwar, India, back in the day, and had traveled there to celebrate the guru's birthday. I was quite smitten with the whole guru thing --until I wasn't. As a seeker, I was looking for something, I just didn't know what it looked like. I had spent 37 years in Spiritualism. I thought that was for me. But when I became disenchanted, I turned to a guru. When I became disenchanted again, I returned to Spiritualism. Always seeking truth. I never realized that it was right there under my nose. All I had to do was look back to my childhood.
So, out of the blue, I receive this email from my fellow seeker, my old friend. Let's call him Tom. Tom wrote to update me about how he was doing after the passing of his wife some years ago. I had officiated her memorial. Tom had been a mess, as I recall. We all were concerned for his well being. But Tom had surmounted the challenges, even remaining sober through it all. He had gone on to live a different life as a middle-aged single man.
Much to my surprise and delight, Tom wrote that he currently was a member of a Christian church in Florida. My spiritual brother! I'm not sure how that happened, since he had been a devotee for almost 40 years of the previously mention guru. I would never have expected him to turn away from that guru.
I wrote back to inform Tom of my conversion to Christianity. Surprise! I can't wait to hear back from him to learn what prompted his action. But I marvel at the fact that both of us have turned to Christianity. Although, in all fairness, Tom wasn't as rigid as I was. He seemed to have respect and a place in his heart for Jesus. Yet, that guru...I don't see how the two blend. But I am so happy he has found a nice Christian church. After all, church is where we can receive comfort and make friends. It's also a place where we can extend comfort to others. We're supposed to be watching out for our fellow human, right? I feel so much peace now knowing he's happy helping teens with addiction problems at his new church. That's what he wrote. My friend, Tom, helping others. You go, guy!
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May God Bless you! xoxoxo
How do you receive inspiration? I find it comes in various ways. Many times when I am driving along in my car, a thought comes to me that just penetrates into my consciousness. Poof! There it is. I can't help but pay attention because it is intense.
Sometimes I will receive inspiration while reading. Whatever the subject happens to be, stimulates my inspiration and, again, poof! There it is. That sweet kernel of inspiration; my gift for that time. In other cases, someone may be speaking and whatever he or she is saying piques my imagination. An independent thought will jump into my head from those spoken words. Sometimes that is the topic of my next blog. But not today. I am home with a cold, not having gone to church this morning, and I feel lousy. I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm just being honest.
So, where do you look to receive inspiration? It does seem to find us when we are doing humdrum, mindless activities. Or when we are in a relaxed state such as when we are reading or listening. That should be a clue as to how to find that inspiration we seek. It doesn't take effort on our part for inspiration to find us. We just have to be receptive. That thought will travel around until we are open and accepting to receive. All we have to do is be still.
Inspiration is something that can be a Divine Intervention when needed. All of a sudden --poof --inspiration strikes. And I do mean strike. When that kind of inspiration strikes, you can truly physically feel it. At least that has been my experience. Usually in such a case, for it to be Divine Intervention, we aren't doing anything that would cultivate it. Far from it. We are usually doing something we need to be drug away from. This could even be a warning not to do something. Funny how these things work, you know?
The most important factor to remember about inspiration is: pay attention. Don't ignore it or think, "Ah, this is just my imagination." No, this is inspiration being given specifically to YOU. Welcome it, see this as a gift. Okay, so your assignment this week is to pay attention! You can do this!
God Bless you! xoxoxo
If you haven't ever listened (and danced) to a TobyMac song, you have really missed out.
I see You in everything, all day
Sure, if I'm paying attention!
I see You in every little thing, all day
Yes, even when it's raining (or snowing) outside. God really is present everywhere at all times. We just don't notice.
TobyMac is a Christian musician, major recording artist, song writer, producer, and rapper. I love him! He sure doesn't sound like what we might associate with Christian music. His music is danceable and the lyrics are catchy.
In case no has told you, Christian music has taken a major turn into sounding very much like pop music. My car radio is only turned to Contemporary Christian stations. I don't listen to anything else. I love it.
While I toodle around in my car, the lyrics I hear inspire me, teach me, and make me happy. It's worship time for me. When I hear my boy TobyMac singing Everything, I am reminded that God is in everything. So, what do I do? I look around, of course. I cast my eyes around my environment to view what God has created. And it's gorgeous! The magnificent sunrise proclaiming a new day. The sunset announcing the close of a day. The green carpet stating it is well cared for. The jaunty flowers in the gardens, peeking up at the sun. The stars hanging in the sky, winking down on me. The moon shining my path home. All incredibly beautiful.
As I return to my house, I might have seen the ducks in mass congregation around the lake, or waddling up the street with their young following close. Squirrels streak out across my path in a frenzy. No, I am not going to hit you... Kitties nap in a child's wagon, not a care in the world, while dogs bark their warnings to intruders. This is God's beauty, His creations. And it's all here for me to enjoy. If I look.
I invite you to be a witness to the beauty we are blessed to be gifted. It is there -- everyday -- for your viewing pleasure and total joy. Check it out! And check out TobyMac as well.
No matter where I go I know Your love is finding me…
My friend, my spouse, my parents, my siblings; my coworkers. We have relations with all of those people. Maybe relations are good, and maybe not so much? Maybe relations with the parents are better than with the siblings? Everyone finds themselves in different situations.
I never had a sibling to have a relationship with. Well, almost. My mother had a stillborn birth when I was 11. I always wanted to have a sister. I think the smothering I received as an only child would have been much less if I had had a sister to share in the drama. But that wasn't meant to be.
How is your relationship with your family members? Yeah, I know, some of them are difficult. We all probably wonder at times why we can't get along. If they would just agree with us, everything would be okay. Right? Unfortunately, life isn't meant to be agreeable. Our family members aren't meant to be agreeable, either. They challenge us to think outside the box. We are tasked to redefine patience. Such lessons we are privileged to learn from our families!
Spouses also challenge us to think outside the box of reasonable choices, as well do our parents. Let's not forget our coworkers. Gee, I think everyone challenges us to some degree to expand our thought processes. And that's a good thing. Why? Because our thinking isn't always the right way. There are options. There is more than one way to make lasagna; more than one way to tie shoe laces; various ways to learn a new language; and more than one way to fold a sheet -- especially a fitted sheet.
The next time your dumb brother-in-law ticks you off, why not take a minute to understand where he is coming from? You may not agree with his take on things, but at least you will have an understanding. Understanding where the other person is coming from who is challenging your thinking can help immeasurably in your relationship. It's kind of like, agree to disagree. There is no harm in not agreeing, just be civil about it.
Love is so important in all of our lives. If we just try to understand the other person and love them, life will be so much easier. Who doesn't want an easier existence? You know, I have found that when we responds with love, it totally disarms the other person. While they anticipate an argument, you don't provide it. Instead, you extend love. Wow! Pulls the rug right out from under their belligerent stance.
Try love this week every time you are challenged and see what happens. I think you will be amazed.
Love and Hugs xoxoxoxo
When asked such a question as are you a follower, you might have the same response as I used to have. No! Frankly, I have discovered as of late that I have been rebellious all of my life, certainly not a follower. I flaunted that I could do a different thing than I was taught, once I had the freedom to do what I chose. I relished in the satisfaction that I could. "See! I'm doing it MY way!"
I chose to take any route but the one I was expected to follow. That was okay when I was a teenager. Teenagers aren't expected to act like they have some maturity because they don't. Life is all experimentation and learning from those experiments. It is natural to rebel until we come to a time where we must decide who we are and what we are going to do with our lives. We have arrived. We are adults.
As adults, we are expected to follow in the footsteps of our parents, our friends, to become productive people in society. We conform. No more flip flops. Now we wear heels to work or suits with a choking piece of fabric around the neck. Some people actually do shovel out their own path and are highly successful in their endeavor to be authentic. That's okay. It really is. Bravo to independent thinking, and having an entrepreneurial mind. But even the independent thinkers need to be a follower sometimes.
I have found that it is wise to be open and receptive to being led by the Holy Spirit. Years ago I would never have made such a remark. But today I can tell you, it makes life so much easier. Casting our burdens on the Holy Spirit relieves us of the stress of everyday life and crucial decisions. We have help. We have a partner. A friend who will not turn their back, but always be present. Supportive. Even through the worst of times.
Yes, I am a follower. I reach out my hand to gain support when I am weak. "Please lead me. Please help me see my way out of this mess." What could be easier than asking to be led? If that is a problem for some, then I have to state, that's the ego talking. That big, fat ego is rearing its ugly head in an attempt to throw you off course. Don't pay attention. Ignore the prodding, just let it all go. If you are a believer, you know what I mean. If you aren't a believer, then just experiment with this idea. You've done plenty of experimenting all of your life, so give it a shot. Turn the problem over to God and see what happens. Life certainly won't get any worse. Trust me, it will blossom into a new beginning.
God Bless You!!
So far, I am feeling very upbeat about 2019. I have projects I am continuing to work on and a few that I haven't attempted yet, but they are on the list!
How is the new year going for you? Might I make a suggestion? Two words: think positive. A long, long time ago I was taught that thoughts are things. This is so very true for everyone, no matter your nationality, gender, religion or cultural upbringing. When we think negative, we attract negative to us. I've seen it over and over again, the negative thoughts enter in and wham--a locomotive of nothing going right roars by. Everything that is touched turns to dust. It's like we put out a curse on our existence. And that is actually what we did to ourselves. We prevented anything positive from entering into our life simply by jumping onto the tracks of negativity. We actually, although unintentionally, created the not-so-nice things happening around us.
When we think positive, we attract positive situations. More importantly, we recognize that something positive is present. Unfortunately, when we think negatively, we are blind to anything positive. We could trip over a positive and not recognize it for what it is. Because we are in a negative frame of mind, we just can't see the good. We have blinders on.
This morning Joel Osteen was talking about being positive. Well, actually he does that every week. But today he was speaking about how we think, and encouraged us to think positive. This wonderful man's message every Sunday morning is that we must strive to live in a positive state of mind. I find his teaching uplifting. I like a positive message. I walk away feeling like I can conquer any problem that comes along.
What earthly good do we gain by thinking negative? Who wants to roll around in the muck and mire? I'd rather roll on clean sheets, frankly. Some years ago I used to teach that when we are presented with a perceived negative event, we are to turn the negative around to the positive. It's simple, when something lousy is happening, turn it around to the positive. When the water faucet breaks, adopt a different perspective. Didn't you want a new fixture for the bathroom anyway? Well, now you can have it. So, you burned the dinner. Now you can out to dinner and be waited on. Your child missed the bus. Oh, well, so now you can go shopping after you drop him off to school. Whatever... You can turn it around to the positive.
There is a saying that practice makes perfect. We have to teach ourselves to think positive. I put up reminder messages on my bathroom mirror for things I want to improve on. THINK POSITIVE has appeared on those reminders frequently. It's a particularly good reminder so that life keeps flowing smoothly. And when it isn't flowing downstream, I just say, turn it around to the positive.
God bless you!!
I know everyone says this, but I can't believe it's 2019. I remember standing in Times Square watching the ball drop as the year 2000 entered our reality. That was 19 years ago!
The big question at this time of year is always, what changes are we going to make? (I will refrain from using the phrase, New Year's Resolutions.) In other words, how are we going to improve ourselves? That question makes me ponder, what was wrong with the old me?
Every year we vow to lose weight, read more, begin exercising, quit smoking (does anyone still do that?), curb our anger problem, and a whole host of other ideas for change. I know the YMCA and other health clubs are seeing a huge increase in attendance. It happens every year in January. Have you seen all the ads on TV regarding diet plans? They are merely responding to the public's desire to change. Who doesn't want to go on a diet at this time of year? I must admit that I have chosen to devote my menu to Keto. Yes, I am on a much needed diet...sigh.
When it comes to our appearance, we are so hard on ourselves. We strive to be perfect, or at least improve. So much pressure we place on our appearance and changing it to look "better." Why do we stress ourselves? I have to ask this question: are we doing this for ourselves or for how others see us? Who are we trying to impress? I would hope we are doing these changes for us.
I remember hearing how Judy Garland, as a child, was told to lose weight. This caused her great angst into her adult years. She had to lose weight, change her appearance, for someone else. That's just wrong, especially when she wasn't even fat. As for losing weight and exercising, it is true that we all need to maintain a decent weight and move our bodies so we remain healthy--or regain our health. That's simply common sense and a proper endeavor for all of us. But not to please someone else.
If you find yourself reading this and thinking, I need to join the group and lose weight, do it for the right reasons. And if you don't feel inspired until May of 2019 to lose weight, so be it. Most people who start out the year all fired up to lose weight and exercise find themselves eating a Cinnabon by mid February. And not exercising. But we should see the rare few in March who are still jogging down the road of healthy eating as inspirational. They set an admirable goal and are pursuing it.
In the year 2019, my hope for you is to come to know that you are a child of God, and He loves you no matter what. Fluffy or skinny, it doesn't matter. You are loved. Breathe it in and feel that love. When you blow your diet, and we all do, just remember that you are still lovable, and get back to it the next day. No big deal.
At this time of year we are all met with the problem of what gift to buy someone. Usually there is at least one person who is a real chore. My issue is my husband--impossible to buy for! One big reason for this is, as we have grown older, we just don't need more stuff.
How many of one particular item do we really require to exist? How much more jewelry do I need? Even I have to admit that I have enough jewelry! I have even come to the point of recycling my jewelry to others. It pains me to have jewelry sitting in a box when I know a pair of earrings I haven't worn in years would be very appreciated by someone else. Why am I hording those earrings when they would cause a happy smile to flash across someone else's face?
This Christmas season I seem to be on a sentimental bend. I have been focused on Christmases of the past rather than what I want for Christmas. I've been thinking about my parents, my cousin, other family members and how we used to spend Christmas. The company I keep is far more important to me than a gift I might receive. A a gift is a token, a symbol of our affection for another. When we present someone with a box, it represents our love for this person. It is our gift of love. Except we really can't wrap love up inside a box.
Love is an expression, an emotion, a feeling, a gesture. Love cannot be purchased. Love belongs to us and is meant to be shared. We don't give our love away, really, because we still have love remaining. Love is shared with someone we care about. That tangible item in a box is not real love because it can dissolve, rust, tarnish, burn or be stolen. Love is indestructible.
Rather than "things", I appreciate companionship, the company of others, because some whom I love are no longer here. Life is short. As they say, we are not promised tomorrow. But we have today, a day in which we can share our love. This particular Christmas, for some unexplained reason, I really miss my parents and some special relatives. I would love to hug my mother, hug my father. I would love to talk with my Uncle Frank, and comb my grandmother's hair. I miss my family because they are now mostly gone. I would delight in having the opportunity again to share love with them. We just can't take those special moments for granted.
During this Christmas season, please share the gift of love with others. That gesture costs nothing, but is worth more than any jewelry or kitchen appliance ever could. Your time is priceless. Make the most of those special moments together.
The other night I attended a Christmas Spectacular at the First United Methodist Church. It was absolutely wonderful, really putting me into the Christmas Spirit. The music, the voices, all were superb and did their job in preparing us for Christmas. I have discovered that attending such a musical production really places me in the mood to celebrate Christmas.
When I was a little girl, Christmas meant toys. LOTS of toys! As an adult, it usually meant jewelry. Hey, I like jewelry... However, toys and jewelry aren't really the reason for the season. The season is love. We are reminded during this time of year of the love of a father and a mother, and the love that would come to the earth due to the birth of a child. And not just any child, although all children are precious, but the birth of one who would show us how to love each other, as well as ourselves.
This season is about the love we share with our spouses, significant others, children, parents, relatives, extended family, and certainly love for our friends. It's also the time of year where it is perfectly acceptable to love a total stranger, and to give that stranger a monetary gift. It's the time of year where we have the opportunity to give to a charity, like that one with a person clanging a bell in front of Wal-Mart or Publix.
This is also the season for hope. Some hope for a better year to come, and possibly will attain their dream due to the love someone has shown them. Love is key throughout the entire season. I love the fact that LOVE is all around us, if we just look. I guess we could have a negative focus instead, but why would we want to choose that perspective when we can select love? So many opportunities avail themselves for us to show our love for another and, hopefully, LOTS of others!
I choose to place my vision on that which is positive and filled with the light of love. This year I am even watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies! I figure if I keep being associated with love, if I keep filling my spare time with love, then love will be all I feel. Sure beats the opposite!
During this Season of Love, maybe we can put aside those grudges once held toward certain family members. Perhaps we can open a new chapter of understanding and compassion. Hey, why not? If Jesus can forgive us, surely we can forgive a foolish mistake made by another. Please share the Season of Love.
Have you decorated your house yet? Or are you still looking at all the boxes stacked up waiting for you to have time to trim the tree? Worse yet, are you still waiting for someone to bring down all the Christmas decorations from the attic? Well, it's that time of year...
We have so many jobs to do, not to mention the purchasing of gifts for everyone from the newspaper carrier to your boss at work. The cookie baking, pie baking, Christmas cards to address, after you write the annual holiday letter. Sheesh! Who has the time? If you are a woman, the load grows heavier with each passing day. It seems like everyone wants a piece of you. I can only imagine my pastor's wife and how she must feel. Besides all the additional duties she must accomplish at the church, what about her personal life situation? There is always someone with a more crushing load than us, isn't there?
I love to give advice. Actually, at one time I wanted to be the next Dear Abby! Yet I don't have a decent bit of wisdom to share regarding how to sail through the holidays with peace and sanity. Learning to say no might help when your child's teacher asks you to bake cookies. But then you'd feel like a jerk for saying no. So you'd do it, adding an additional four dozen cookies to what you had already planned to bake. Hey, what's four dozen more? Sure, you can always address all those Christmas cards later after the kids go to bed, and after you wash the kitchen floor with all the cookie flour spread around like snow. Oh, but first, put in a load of laundry. No big deal...
Women deserve a rowdy, loud round of applause, with a few whoops and hollers. What they must accomplish is mind boggling. Talk about multitasking! Women do it best! I'm not complaining, not me. I don't have all of those duties many women have to do. I can sail through the holiday with peace and sanity. But I recognize and appreciate that others really do have a more crushing load than I. So I will deliver my own whoops, hollers and applause to those women. And I'll pray for their sanity. And peaceful heart. I'll also pray that some sweet person will recognize the stress and fix her a cup of hot chocolate as she attends to the decorating, card addressing, gift wrapping, cookie baking...
But ladies, really, please try to eek out a few minutes to enjoy the season. Find time, somehow, to sit quietly viewing your newly decorated tree and the stack of addressed envelopes; smelling the delightful scents emanating from the kitchen; and sipping the hot cocoa as you reminisce about Christmases gone by. YOU deserve some peace and blissful whimsy. Yes, you! Now, quit reading and go enjoy yourself!
(c) 2018, Elizabeth Owens