Waste Not Want Not

I don’t know about you but I don’t like to be wasteful. Sure, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, we get something we think we’ll like and that ends up not being the case and we can’t return it, sometimes we forget about something, or on the other side of things on rare occasions we may intentionally choose to pamper ourselves and go all out and splurge which to some would be wasteful. As far as splurging/pampering goes, I know plenty of people who have gone ahead and splurged in one way or another and felt it was an excellent use of resources. No, it wouldn’t be something they do on a regular basis, but every so often it’s nice to do something special. And when it comes to waste, we’re all human and these things happen.

But I think there’s an important distinction to be made between habitual waste, an accident, and a mistake. A mistake is something that we really did have plans for and really did want/need, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out that way and it was an oops (not something we’ll do again or do often). An accident would be when the power goes out and you lose all the food in your fridge and freezer. You didn’t intentionally cut the power to your house so you could waste food, something totally out of your control happened. Habitual waste for example is when you go to the grocery store and buy more food than you can eat before your next trip, large quantities of foods you’re not sure you would like (and don’t end up liking), or just buying new and not making use of what you have in your closets on a regular basis.

I always try to be conscious of the resources I consume, how much I hold on to, the ways I live my life and how that’s impacting my productivity and victories, and how much I’m spending vs. earning. But I think we can all do (a little) better, and that’s one thing I’ve been working on lately, and so has my partner. It’s also a movement in the food world to accept not-so-pretty produce and be more conscious of where our food comes from and how it gets to our plates. It’s also a movement in the world to consider the packaging things come in and how well we’re recycling things and caring for the earth.

If you want to make a difference even in a very small way this week you can choose to use what you have, to maximize your resources, to pay attention to how you’re living, and make smart decisions and actions that would have a positive impact on your life and bottom line as well as the lives of others and this planet that we all share.

Are you being wasteful of what you’ve been blessed with, purchased, contributed to, or been given?  If we all were a little more careful about our usage, we’d be better off at the end of the month, better off when the next climate report comes out, and better off when it comes to being accountable for our treatment of the planet and each other.

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An Autumn of Bounty

This week I’ve been meditating on a couple of verses from Psalm 13:

“But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because [the Lord] has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:5-6

The first reason this verse caught my attention was that it didn’t sound like a verse I remembered reading, and I’ve read the book of Psalms several times. This version of Psalm 13 came in one of the many newsletters I’ve signed up for and I can’t find the answer that I’m sure you’re asking: what translation is it? While I wish they would clearly post that information so we would both know, they didn’t, and so we’re left to guess. And with over 100 versions of the Bible in English alone, there are lots of possibilities of the translation it could be.

The second reason these verses caught my attention was a word in the second sentence: “I will sing to the Lord, because [the Lord] has dealt bountifully with me.” Right now we’re in the final push of the harvest season. Summer is winding down and the crops are all being gathered before the frost and winter arrive. In the US we’ve got the holiday of Thanksgiving coming up which began as a celebration of and thanksgiving for bounty for the Pilgrims. But how often do we use the word ‘bounty’ in our lives today? We tend to use words more like abundance, affluence, prosperity, or thriving today. Bounty is a word that isn’t used as often but I feel it paints a better visual picture of what it means than some of the other similar words do.

Lately I feel like all I’m hearing about is loss and fear, not to mention hate and anger, between all the hurricanes, politics and violence that have been happening recently. I’m concerned that we’re not talking about or looking for the bounty in our lives. No, we shouldn’t ignore the bad stuff that goes on, the sooner we learn to deal with and move through it the better. So this week my encouragement to you would be to look for the bounty, accept the abundance and be open to the blessings God can send your way.

Reality Reflection: Looking for Luck

Luck is an interesting concept, I’ve been thinking about it today as I was looking through coupons, discounts and special offers. We apply the concept of luck in so many different ways in our lives: there’s the luck of finding the perfect parking space, the luck of running into someone you were thinking about, the luck of what you need being available during the emergency trip to the store, the lucky lottery ticket, the luck of meeting the right significant other, and the luck of getting a great deal. From this list it really sounds like there’s no shortage of luck to be found, which is pretty good news in my book.

But what got me thinking about it really was that sometimes the win isn’t there. Sometimes we don’t get that winning lottery ticket or they’re all sold out at the store or we get in a car accident or the umpteenth significant other turns out to be a poor choice. That’s part and parcel when dealing with luck, but also sometimes with life in general, no matter how well you plan and take action. And yet we keep buying the lottery tickets, looking for perfect parking spots and dreaming about the day our dreams come true.

Which is actually a really good sign because it means we haven’t given up on life yet, and we’ve still got hope. I know it can be daunting to find hope when you’ve been burned so many times, but I believe it’s still possible to get lucky. Maybe it means we’ve got to look in a different parking lot or try a different lottery game or get counseling or coaching before trying to date again. Luck isn’t always about those instant wins, sometimes those wins take a little work and time to get to them. If you believe it’s possible to get or be lucky, and I do, maybe you’ve just been expecting luck to show up in the wrong places or ways, and it’s time to try something different.

Reality Reflection: What’s Enough?

This week I’ve been contemplating a difficult topic in our world of consumerism and extreme focus on success and wealth. If you’ve been in the self-help industry for a while, especially the success and career related portions, you’ve probably run across people who say they can help you grow exponentially, and they talk about the people they’ve helped earn multi-six figures and millions (or more) each year. Now, there’s nothing wrong with making good money and with being financially well-off. Having financial resources can make many things in your life easier, and you’ve got lots of opportunities to invest in others and in our world. So here’s the question: is it OK if I don’t really want to make millions each year?

I know it may sound like a silly question, but really, there are people who would be very happy with a fraction of the money some of us make (even if we’re only making 30k per year). Yet I also understand how valuable (and powerful) someone can become when they have all those resources at their disposal. And some people find the thought of having that much wealth intimidating or even fear-inducing. Yet I understand that for some of us that by really living our life purpose we’re going to make lots of money. So is it wrong to want to (or actually) make lots of money, and/or is it wrong to not want to make lots of money?

I think it’s OK to be comfortable where you are as long as you’re covering your basic needs (and the needs of your kids or others under your direct care), and have at least a little plan for the future. It’s also OK to want to earn more and to put in the effort that will get you there. I think it comes down to two questions: are you at peace with where you are financially in your life and are you fulfilled? If you’re not at peace and not fulfilled then it’s time to make some changes to your life and start making more money. That doesn’t mean you have to make millions, just more, and while you may not be ready for millions today, there may be a day down the road that you will be. What are your thoughts on how much is “enough”?

Mother’s Day Blessings

Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day we stop to appreciate and remember those women who have had an impact on our lives.  A word that I think really sums up this celebration is blessing.  It’s a word I’ve been sharing about quite a bit with you lately, because it’s an important word, one that often gets buried in our lives underneath “challenge” and “problem”.  This Mother’s Day think about these different blessings:

Bunches of Blessings:
One of the easiest and most popular gifts for Mother’s Day is flowers.  Personally, I prefer the potted kind instead of the cut kind because they last longer.  Whatever your flower preference is, don’t forget that what you’re giving isn’t as important as remembering to truly celebrate the one you’re giving them to.  Think of not only what you’re gifting, but also the gift of having a mother this Mother’s Day.

Bountiful Blessings:
In this world of abundance, abundant gas prices, abundant unemployment, and abundant opportunities for growth, change and development, one thing we don’t stop to think about is having abundant blessings.  Psalm 23:6 sheds some light on where we get those abundant blessings: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  More so than anyone, mothers should be dwelling with God.  If they’re to be amazing mothers, they need a lot of strength, wisdom and many blessings from God.

Boxes of Blessings:
Sometimes our blessings come in disguise.  I’ve been meditating a lot on a song by Laura Story, Blessings, (on YouTube).  Her song reminded me that sometimes our blessings are like items that we get in boxes in the mail.  We don’t really know what’s in the box, but we hope it’s what we want.  Sometimes, the box doesn’t contain what we want, or what we did want is in the box but it’s not in good condition.  It’s the boxes of blessings that most often bring us to our knees asking for guidance.

Bundles of Blessings:
Mother’s Day is a celebration of the gift of life. Psalm 139 contains David’s thoughts on how God begins our lives with us.  God’s special plan for each of our lives includes our mothers.  If you are blessed with the opportunity to be a mother, remember to thank God for it, because not everyone is blessed with that calling.

This Mother’s Day, in all of the hustle and bustle, don’t forget to say a prayer for all of the mothers around the world, and those who have a desire to be mothers.   Also, consider the bunches, bounty, boxes and bundles in your life.  These aren’t just lessons for Mom, they’re lessons that everyone needs to gather in their life.

Psalm 16:5 says “Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.  You guard all that is mine.”  I hope that blessings overflow in your life (and your mom’s life) this weekend, and I encourage you to take the time to celebrate and recognize all the blessings God sends your way.

Reality Reflection: The Luck of the Irish

Friday in the US, Ireland and other countries around the world St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated.  So of course in addition to thinking about drinks and pots of gold and Celtic crosses I’m thinking about the topic of luck. Honestly, I think there is something to it.  I think that sometimes fortune shines on us.  If you’re not comfortable with the topic of luck or believing it could be real, you could call it karma and see it as a return of a good thing you did in your past or a gift that you can make good on later.

Why am I convinced it exists? Because things happen that had no reason to happen.  People don’t intentionally lose pennies for other people to find, parking spots don’t just wait for you, perfect jobs don’t come with labels on them “held for you”, deals aren’t waiting for you to take advantage of them, people don’t hang around doors just to open them for you (unless they’re doormen/women :)), perfect quotes don’t show up because they knew you needed some encouragement, the list goes on.

If we do think of luck as a karma thing, there are definitely things you can do to make luck show up more in your life.  Karma runs on the principle that what you do is returned to you, so if you’re acting in ways that help others and the world, you’ll see the same returned to you.  If you want more luck in your life, show up in ways for others and the world that give them blessings, are considerate and open the door for something good to happen to them.

The other thing about luck is that you have to be open to receiving it.  I think it’s much harder to be lucky if you’ve totally ruled it out as a reality and don’t think that it’s something that can happen to/for you.  Like many other things in life, if you’re closed off to the possibilities you’ll only receive what you’re open to.  So this weekend with a lucky clover in your yard or a bit of Irish soda bread on your plate I encourage you to let a little luck into your life, whether you’re Irish or not.

Reality Reflection: Present Participation

I’m a big fan of Mike Rowe.  I always enjoyed watching Dirty Jobs when the reruns are on and seeing how the world really works, how things are made, or all the behind the scenes things that go into what seems so simple to us, usually with things going on that most of us have no idea about.  This week in considering different things including life purpose, I re-read an article and video about the big lesson that he’s learned.  You can watch the video and read the article here.  In it Mike says 2 important things:

“Looking for your soul mate and looking for the right job are great ways to make sure you don’t get either.”
and
“It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs. Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way they feel…What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.”

It was a really good reminder for me this week as I struggled with a bit of an attitude issue about some things.  It reminded me as I’ve learned before and have tried to incorporate into my life that as great as the future may be, all I have is right now.  And if I can’t learn to be happy with the right now, why will I be happy with the future?  Sure things might change, I might move, make millions, have a couple puppies or have kids, but if I can’t appreciate and work with the here and now and do my best to live fully now, I’ll never get to a happy future.

So what about you?  Do you need to take a step back from pursuing the future and work on your present?  It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, we all get swept up in the excitement of what is coming.  But I believe that part of the journey of life is learning to be in the moment and appreciate what you have and who you are.  It’s not a lesson you learn all at once, Mike admits to needing to be told it over 100 times, but one that you learn as you live.  Will you choose to live with me this week?