How Full is Your Cup?

It’s fall and the weather is delightful here in Baltimore – no humidity, glorious temperatures and a great time for outdoor activities like hiking and biking. I love this time of year and the changing of seasons. A certain joy fills my being and I am reminded of just how blessed I am.

Now, does that mean I have a perfect life? No, it does not. But what it does mean is that I choose – notice the word choose – to see the positives in my life. Many times we get so caught up in the drama of everyday life, relationships, work, etc we lose sight of the good things in our lives.

We all have a ton to be thankful for. Every morning and evening I praise God for his goodness to me. As I say in my new book,”The Power of Faith”, no one has a perfect life. As singer Natalie Grant says in one of her songs, “There’s no such thing as perfect people. No such thing as a perfect life.” There will always be bumps in the road, to use a biking analogy once again.

The question is how am I going to look at life? Is my cup half full or half empty? When unexpected things come, do I choose to view them as negatives or positives? One tip I’ll share is to ask myself the question “How can I look at this differently?” We get so used to seeing things one way, we are blinded to the fact that there is another perspective.

So, dear one, how do you see life? Will you choose to look at life with rose-colored glasses and remove your dark shades? Let the light shine into your heart and you will be amazed at how much more joy you will experience in your daily life.

Until next time, keep the faith, keep looking up and send me a note on your thoughts!

How Important Is It?

Gas prices. Traffic. Gaining a few pounds. Having a fight with your significant other. Stress from the job. Not having a date on saturday night. Getting older. The list of things that irritate us can go on and on, can’t it? What’s bothering you these days?

Many people like to complain. They complain about the weather, their spouse, the health care system, their aches and pains, ya da ya da ya da. We can always find something to complain about. But what’s the point? Complaining only gives life to that which annoys us and makes us relive it one more time.

Now, I am not saying deny reality. We do have to deal with situations that are unpleasant, that is for sure. But, do we have to dwell on them? It’s bad enough we have to live them one time, but to talk about it again and again only makes us more miserable. Instead of complaining, why not do something about the situation?

A phrase from Al-Anon that I find helpful is to ask myself the question,”How important is it?” Most of the stuff that annoys us is pretty trivial in the big scheme of things, isn’t it? When it comes to life or death of a loved one,now that is important.

As I said to my youngest the other day, life will always have positives and negatives. It’s up to us which we will focus on. We can choose to focus on the good things that happen to us during the course of the day or the bad things. It is a choice we all have to make, whether we realize it or not. What we focus on determines the level of joy in our lives.

So, if you have lost the joy in life, try listening to yourself and see what you’re focusing on. Are you dwelling on the negatives or the positives in your life?

As for me, I like to remember the verse from Phillipians that encourages me to think on things that are pure, noble, and of good report. The Apostle Paul knew the secret to maintaining his joy and he had a very rough time, don’t you think?

Until next time, keep smiling and keep looking up!

Lessons from Biking – # 2

After a very busy week at work, I decided to take another ride on the trail this morning. It’s a good way to destress and clear the mind while getting exercise and enjoying the outdoors all at the same time.

Unlike last week, the trail was practically empty. The quiet of the morning allowed me to hear the birds chirping and the gentle sounds of the river as it kissed the rocks along the way.

The greenery of the trees and brush were speckled with bright spots of yellow and purple wildflowers. It was truly a lovely morning to ride. Since there weren’t many others on the trail, I decided it was time to kick the pace up a notch from my normal speed. Now, keep in mind, I am not a speed demon by any stretch, so going faster takes a bit of courage for me.

When I stopped for a break, I noticed a group of bikers chatting. One woman wore a biking jersey with these words on the back:
“All those who wander are not lost”. I chuckled to myself and thought about it for a few minutes. Is that really true?

Looks like I’m not the only person who waxes philosophical on the trail. So here are a few more analogies to life that occured to me today that I thought I’d share. Hope they speak to you the way they spoke to me.

– When you get accustomed to the pace of life and there are no distractions, it’s time to step it up a bit.

– Stepping up the pace takes courage.

– When the road gets rocky, slow it down so you don’t fall over.

– Following the pack can slow you down.

– Clearing the mind is good for the spirit.

– Enjoy the sights and sounds of life while on the journey.

– Some people are oblivious to where they are going.

And last but not least, when the road is long, take time to rest.

It is so true that sports can teach us a lot about life. What lessons have you learned from your favorite sport? Drop me a note and share.

Until next time, keep looking up and enjoy the weekend!

Lessons from Biking

I love to ride my bike! As soon as I start moving, a feel an exhiliaration of sorts. I feel free! The air in my face, the speed of travel, and the beauty of the scenery all make for an enjoyable experience. I can lose myself in thought and get into the “zone”. It’s great.

Yesterday, however, was a different story. I decided to take a ride on the trail near my home. Biking helmet, gloves, & water bottle in hand, I was off for what I had expected to be a relaxing ride.

It turned out there was a race going on – a marathon perhaps – and the trail was full of runners, in addition to the regular die-hard biking groups, families with strollers, and people with dogs. It was not going to be quite the relaxing ride I had anticipated. In fact, it turned out to be more like navigating an obstacle course.

As I pedalled along, trying to keep a decent pace, avoid hitting anybody or running over someone’s straying child, several thoughts occured to me that I thought I’d share. Perhaps you, too, have considered some of these.

1. Biking is like life. We’re all on the path, and we’re all going at different speeds.

2. There are a lot of obstacles, sometimes unexpected, to watch out for.

3. Staying safe is a top priority if I want to keep moving forward.

4. Remember to look ahead. Keep my eyes open for what is coming down the road.

5. Some people are in another world and not paying attention. Watch out for them too.

6. Despite all the distractions, listen and watch for what’s really important.

7. Enjoy the moment!

All in all, it was a fun ride. The sounds of nature reminded me of the true pace of life. So next time you go biking, share some of your thoughts with us!

Until next time, keep moving forward and keep looking up!