Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

As we’re entering this new year in just a few hours, I thought it appropriate to talk about moving forward with life.

What does I mean by moving forward with life?  I mean looking at 2010 and all of your past years, remembering the memories, and learning lessons.  I mean keeping memories that are important to you and leaving scars behind.  I mean making relationship decisions about who is healthy for you and who you should spend less time with.  I mean making sometimes difficult decisions about what is really best for you, and making the changes necessary in 2011.

That being said, the first thing to do is sit down and consider where you are vs where you want to be.  Once you’ve established not only your life goals, but the parts of your past that should and shouldn’t continue to travel with you, you can move to the next step in the journey.

There are many ways to move forward towards your life goals.  Electronically, you should subscribe to and unsubscribe from newsletters that are or aren’t of interest to you.  You should be reading weekly, if not daily, and should determine which books will help you achieve your goals.  Consider your friendships, starting new ones, working on old ones, and letting go of those who aren’t right for you.   Also think about getting or starting a new job, one that will be in line with your purpose or life goals (or just make you less stressed out).  Don’t forget about your family and take steps to either reconcile, rebuild or forgive relationships.

Yes you will feel fear, yes there will be struggles, but trust me if you begin making the decisions now that are for your best (and take action towards them), your future will be much brighter and better than if you don’t.

Share your 2011 goals and thoughts below.

What is Hope

Today as we’re approaching the new year I thought it was appropriate to remind all of us of one of the biggest keys that will make or break your new year: hope.

1: Have quotes about hope and pictures of hope around your home.  If you’ve got positive things around you, you will automatically be more hopeful.  If you put good things into your mind, you can’t help but have good things come out.

2: See the world with hope, not as failing.  Don’t let yourself get sucked into news programs and what the officials in Washington, and around the world, are saying.  There IS hope.  You can make a difference and have a great life.  It means that you have to be more creative, be willing to make changes and accept that it will never be the same as it was.  Be open to new things and do your best to look forward to the opportunities that this new time will bring us.

3: See the best in others, hope for better.  The world is a long way from perfect.  But if you decide to look for the good things in a person, not the mistakes and imperfections, you’re a lot closer to helping the world recover than you would be if you continue to look at the problems.  Encourage others, speak kind words and do your best to be a good and considerate parent, neighbor, partner, friend and coworker.

4: Share, watch & read inspiration.  If you exchanged one block of TV time (30 minutes-1 hour) each day with an inspirational program (teleseminars, books, other online seminars etc) you’ll actually start to think and perceive the world differently.  By not watching the news all day there will be less depression in the world.  You’ll think more about opportunities and have a better attitude about how things can go in the world.

There are lots of examples of hatred, violence and greed in the world.  But where has that gotten us?  Take 2011 as an opportunity to live with hope and share hope with the world.

Share your thoughts about hope and 2011 below.

Holiday Hope

Today completes our Monday holiday-themed verse posts.  I hope you’ve enjoyed them, and hope this one speaks to you as well.

Lamentations 3:21-23 “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

One of the greatest things about holidays is how they are all about hope!  I love that we can be cheerful and spread joy and positive energy around the holidays and it’s “normal.”  Today I encourage you to share some of that holiday hope with others all through the year.

Read the Bible: spend a little time each day reading some scripture passage.  Also read books on spiritual topics (by Max Lucado etc), they don’t replace the Bible readings, but they do add perspective you wouldn’t get otherwise.

Remember what God said: Once you’ve read some Bible, do your best to remember what God wrote there.  Posting note cards around the house is a great way to be reminded, and to cement in the verses that mean a lot to you.

You’ve always got hope cause you’ve always got God: There’s absolutely no reason to give up, be defeated or give in.  God is always there to bring you hope and a fresh start.  He never tires, grows old or doesn’t listen.

With a new year right around the corner, there are even more reasons to feel hopeful and be encouraged.  Why do you have hope today?  Share your thoughts below.

Christmas Truth

Today on Christmas Eve, I thought I would share with you a little Christmas message from Charlie Brown:

Charlie Brown: Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
[moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

In this season of busy, I encourage you to do all your preparations and have all your parties, but do so with the memory of a very special baby in mind.  You’re preparing just like they (Mary, Joseph, Angels, God) prepared some 2000 years ago.

If you would like to read the passage Linus shares, it’s from Luke 2. You can also check it out in Matthew 1-2.

I wish you a Merry Christmas! Share your Christmas Prayer below.

Contributing Through Others

One of the best things about the holidays is that it inspires us to contribute to the lives of others.  I believe that contributing is important. Today I’m sharing two things.  First, are some charities and organizations that you can contribute to.  Before you jump the gun, I’m not asking you to financially support them, I’m asking you to be aware of them, share them with friends, support them in whatever way you can.  Whether you just sign up for their newsletter, sign a petition they start, donate resources or time to them or actually decide to financially contribute, do something to help them spread their message around the world.

Feed the Children

American Cancer Society

American Red Cross

The Nature Conservatory

Books for Africa

VH1 Save the Music

Habitat for Humanity

The Humane Society

Childfund International

The Sierra Club

World Vision

These are only a few of the many great organizations around the world, many of which I subscribe to.  Check out charitynavigator.org to learn more about each of these charities and many others.

I invite you to check out this other blog post I wrote about how you can contribute with your own life and inspiration, in both life and business.

Share the organizations you contribute to below!

Reminders of Love

Today is week 3 in our holiday themed Monday spiritual posts.  Today’s Bible verse is Proverbs 3:3 “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Love is an essential ingredient that is missing from many lives.  Without love the world is a very sad and depressing place to live in.  Love is so essential to all Christmas stories, including Santa, because what was given at Christmas was because of love.  Santa didn’t give because he had to, he gave because he loved to and loved to see the children happy.  Baby Jesus was a gift of love because it means eternity and blessings in Heaven for us.  I’m on a personal quest to see and share more love in the world.  Without love, the world has no hope.

Throughout my life I have learned about the faithfulness of God.  People aren’t perfect, but God is always reliable and trustworthy.  Believing in God and His love doesn’t mean your life will be easy or perfect, but it does mean He will continually show His faithfulness to you.  We should do our best to be faithful to others and to the promises we make.  Being reliable, trustworthy and believable (aka faithful) is a very good thing to be known for.  All that can be asked is that we each do our best to be faithful to God, ourselves, each other and the planet each day.

The best way to have more love and faithfulness in your life is by using reminders.  Now, I’m not suggesting you set an alarm for 2:15 pm every day to find someone to be loving towards.  What I am suggesting is having items around your home and workplace that remind you to share love.  Keep pictures of things that are important to you that help you be faithful about your promises and commitments.  Do your best to be conscious of what actions, words and thoughts are a part of your life.  Finally, don’t give up on someone because they have trouble being loving or faithful.  Do your best to love them and be faithful to them (without putting yourself in physical or mental/emotional danger).

Share your thoughts on love and what items serve as reminders for you below.

Holidays and Relationships

Holidays have a funny way of putting stress on relationships.  Today’s post is dedicated to healthy things to do for your relationships this holiday season.

Partners:

  • Get a babysitter and go shop for the kids presents together.
  • Plan a romantic dinner either at home or at a restaurant.
  • Get each other pre-Christmas gifts for a special evening mid December (December 9-16)
  • Watch a holiday movie together
  • One day plan to stay in bed late or go to bed early
  • Go food shopping together for healthy fruits, vegetables and other super nutritious foods
  • For more date night ideas, see this blog post

Friends:

  • Meet for coffee after work/after the kids are in bed
  • Email each other weekly with thoughts, challenges, struggles and joys
  • Get coffee together
  • Meet to go shopping together for mutual friends
  • Take a walk to combat holiday calories

There are so many responsibilities we have in the holiday season, on top of our usual responsibilities, that it becomes even more important than ever to be actually writing in time on your calendars to be alone together. Communication is one of the first things that fails, so make sure that clear, explicit, detailed communication is one of the highest priorities this season.  Focus more on quality not quantity this holiday season.

Share your thoughts and supportive relationship ideas for the holidays, and other high-stress times, below!

Love All Year Long

Love is definitely a topic that needs to be addressed in this holiday season!  Today I’m sharing some thoughts from A Course in Miracles.  Today’s two thoughts are presented early in the text (p11).

“Darkness is a lack of light as sin is a lack of love”

“If a mind perceives without love, it perceives an empty shell and is unaware of the spirit within.”

Both of these quotes shed a little light onto the immense topic of love.  The first thought presented today has really been on my mind of late.  Essentially, the world is made up of two “things:” love and a lack of love. If we accept this as truth, the solution to all of life’s problems is obvious: love more!  It we spent more time honestly, openly and authentically loving each other and the world, the world would be a much different (and better) place.

The second thought presents that if you’re not living with love, you’re missing out on portions of yourself.  So not only is love the key to transforming a world filled with war, poverty and hatred, but it’s also the solution to really knowing yourself.  Everyone wakes up at some point in time in their life and asks themselves what on earth are they doing with their life.  You feel empty, passionless, alone and confused.  Accepting the statement as truth, the way to feel fulfilled, joyful and alive is to love yourself more.  This means treating yourself and your body with respect, caring for them, feeding them well and exercising both mind and body.

This holiday season, I encourage you to spend time with love, quietly with yourself, and with Spirit.  Love yourself, love others, don’t be all about imposing your beliefs and views on the world, listen for the truth in others’ perspectives, and spend time connecting with Spirit.

What do you love about yourself, and this holiday season? Share your thoughts below.

The Source of Joy

We’ve arrived at week 2 in our Christmas verse themed Monday blog posts! Today’s verse comes from 2 Corinthians 2:3b:

“Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful.”

2 Corinthians is a great, and deep, book in the New Testament.  So what can this verse teach us about Christmas?  When Jesus came to earth, the angels sang with great joy and spread the joyful news to the shepherds.  Mary (Jesus’ mother) shared her joy in Luke 1.

The whole idea of joy is to share it!  So, our joy should come from others!  We are joyful when others are happy, and others are happy when we are happy.  Sharing joy means being a part of an amazing cycle of love and sharing among men and women around the world.

If you are a parent, think back to past Christmases when your young children opened up gifts they really wanted.  Do you remember that look of excitement and joy? (If you’re not a parent remember back to when you opened gifts that you really wanted.)  As a parent did you feel that joy that your children expressed too?  The great part about Christmas is that it’s easy to spread and feel joy, it’s almost “built-in” to the holiday.

Spreading and sharing joy doesn’t require any money, or physical investments.  It does require that you be you, and that you share some love and Christmas Spirit.  How will you share joy this holiday season? Will you do it with hugs, kind words or something else?  Share your thoughts below.

Life Purpose in a Time of Holidays

Christmas is the perfect time to talk about life purpose!  Depending on your spiritual roots, you’re thinking about Jesus coming to earth as a baby to fulfill his purpose of saving humans from their sins and giving us an incredible future.  Many people are thinking about Santa (St. Nick) whose purpose was to bring presents and joy to boys and girls all around the world.  They lived to fulfill their purpose, how about you?

You’re purpose is the reason you’re here on earth.  Dictionary.com defines purpose as: “the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.”

What are simple guidelines to know you’re living your purpose?

  • you’re helping others
  • you’re making a difference
  • you’re doing good in the world
  • it feels right while you’re doing it
  • you feel a sense of satisfaction after doing it
  • you enjoy doing it
  • it comes easily to you
  • you know what to do

Now, these items may not be true for you initially as you step into living your purpose.  It may take some time for you to enjoy doing it, for it to come easily to you or any of the other items I listed to be true.  However, one criteria that I really feel is a must when considering your purpose is that it helps others or makes a difference in the world.  Your purpose is not for your enjoyment and use solely.  Santa would have the biggest collection of toys in the world, but he would have probably been the most unhappy person if he had kept them for himself.  Heaven would be pretty lonely if Jesus didn’t come to earth to fulfill his purpose too.  (Sidenote: how you fulfill your purpose may change over time, but what your purpose is won’t.  You can check out my purpose and one of the ways I live it here.)

Think about your life and what you would consider your life’s purpose, or the reason you exist. I’m positive that there is a reason you’re here.  If you already know your purpose I encourage you to share it below.  Also ask questions or share thoughts below too!