Sunday, December 21, 2014
Monday, November 09, 2009
In the background as I write this is a television special on the History Channel about a search for treasure supposedly hidden by outlaw Jesse James. Interesting show. But all shows about hidden treasure fascinate me, whether it be undersea sunken ships or buried treasure allegedly left behind by an entity like James.
In comparison to all of the lost treasure we will never find, however, is one treasure that remains abundantly available -- our treasure within.
This inner treasure may be as simple as an offer to help clean up after dinner or a party or driving someone to a doctor appointment or may be as complicated as organizing a neighborhood cleanup or coordinating a project focusing on literacy, or helping a Scout carry out work needed to earn a merit badge.
Sometimes the treasure within that we can offer someone is only to listen, to extend an ear to a shut-in or perhaps to read books to groups of children. Do you crochet or knit? How about making blankets for nursing home residents?
Are you skilled in woodworking? What about making a few small toys for presents?
Maybe you can offer to cut the yard of someone recovering from surgery or an injury.
We all have a treasure within we can share with others. Sometimes, if we are fortunate, we have more than one treasure waiting to be multiplied by being used for those less fortunate.
Love animals? What about volunteering at a local animal shelter or collecting unneeded blankets and towels to donate to the shelter? Even shredded newspaper is needed as a replacement for more expensive litter.
Whatever your inner treasure, don't hide it, but bring it into the light of day and watch it bloom, very likely into something more valuable than you began with.
For to help another, to offer a hand to one in need, is one of the most noble acts we can make.
What is your inner treasure?
Will you share it today?
Sunday, November 30, 2014
August 08, 2009
Once upon a time there was a little boy named Jack and his sister, a little girl named Jill. They were good little children. They were polite and respectful. They helped with chores around he house. They did their school homework every night. All in all they made their parents proud.
Every time the children did a chore or received a good grade on their schoolwork their parents gave them a treat such as chocolate chip cookies or a piece of cake or a cupcake or some other sweet goodie.
As the children grew into teenagers they discovered the world of hamburgers and French fries, pizzas, banana splits and other fast food delights.
When they became adults, Jack and Jill learned the pleasures of dining at restaurants and chicken wings at the sports bar and beer and wine and other adult gastronomic pleasures.
One day Jack and Jill happened to walk in front of a store window that showed them their reflections. They stopped to look at themselves and were aghast at what they saw. For reflected back to them were two people who looked nothing like the people they thought they were. The people Jack and Jill saw in the store window were FAT.
"Jill," moaned Jack, "how did this happen? When did we become so overweight?" Jill simply cried. They knew they had a difficult time climbing stairs and bending over and they knew that they were buying larger and larger clothes, but they never considered themselves FAT. Until that day when a simple store window showed them the reality of their lives.
"What shall we do, Jack?" Jill asked.
"Lets talk to Mary and Mark. Remember when they lost all that weight? Maybe they can help."
So the children, who had grown into very large adults, called Mary and Mark on the telephone and asked them how they had become so skinny.
"SparkPeople.com!" Mary and Mark yelled in unison.
Jack and Jill rushed home, turned on their computer and learned of a new world, one filled with people with similar weight problems, people who were on their way to better health and fitness, people who were caring and supportive, encouraging and inspiring.
At first it was hard for Jack and Jill to give up ice cream and candy and other sweet treats for fruit and vegetables. And when they tried to exercise they could only walk the distance of three houses before they became winded and had to rest.
But today they are close to their target weight and they both jog a mile at a time.
They each had to buy new skinnier clothes because they no longer had the need for their FAT clothes. They are happier than ever before in their lives. They now gain satisfaction from participating in their SparkPeople groups and by encouraging and supporting other SP members who are embarking on their own journey to fitness.
The moral of the story? Weight creeps up on us as we grow older and live in ignorance of the long-term consequences of overeating good-tasting food like pizzas and candy and ice cream and cakes.
But for Jack and Jill, their lives were changed forever by a simple piece of glass, one that showed them who they really were. After their transformation to fit, healthy people, Jack and Jill lived happily ever after.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Monday, November 01, 2010
This is a story about people who lived in Unhappy Land and were very unhappy.
Their unhappiness dominated their lives and kept them from being able to walk or bend over to put on their socks and shoes. They were unhappy because they couldn't climb stairs without breathing hard and having their knees hurt. They were unhappy because they couldn't fit into seats on airplanes or at the movie theater. They were unhappy because they had to use a wheelchair to get around when they visited a theme park and other attractions.
They were unhappy because they were all overweight. Some slightly, some grossly obese. All of their extra weight caused them health difficulties such as diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure. But no one knew what to do about their situation.
Until one day when several slim, in-shape visitors came into town promoting a fitness and weight loss program called SparkPeople. They educated the Unhappies about nutrition, exercise and healthy living. Their enthusiasm and especially their own fat "before" pictures showed the residents of Unhappy Land that there truly was a way out of their unhappiness.
The visitors explained that the Unhappies' weight did not accumulate overnight and so it would not evaporate overnight and told them if the Unhappies would simply focus on one healthy meal, one exercise, one positive day at a time, then they, too, could become fit and healthy and in shape.
This news excited the residents who asked the visitors to create eating and workout programs for them. The next day everyone gathered in the town square and began walking around the block. Some made it only half way down the street, others made it most of the way around. Along the way they all cheered for and rooted for the others, urging them on, encouraging them to stay positive and take baby steps.
As the months passed from spring into fall the Unhappies began to realize they enjoyed eating healthy food and that they could exercise longer and with more intensity. Bending over, climbing stairs and other daily activities became easier to do. They noticed, too, that they all lost weight and were feeling, for the first time in their lives, HAPPY!
In celebration of their new lives the residents voted to rename their town Happy Land and started wearing t-shirts and buttons that had smiley faces on them. Signs appeared around town bearing messages such as, "You CAN do it!" and "NEVER give up!" and "Stay positive!" and other inspiring sayings.
The now Happies were surprised when reporters came to town after hearing of the residents' magical change. They were from "People" magazine, "Woman's World" magazine and radio and television stations and scrambled to interview and profile the successful transformation of Unhappy Land. The reporters all asked the same question: "How did you all change from being overweight and out of shape to being fit and healthy and happy?"
To a person the residents of Happy Land shouted in reply, "SparkPeople." Now they all tell strangers that they, too, can become a new person living emoticon lives if they will only try to change, if they will only take that first baby step to a more fulfilling and exciting life, a step all who are unhappy can take IF they try.
It was a message that passed around the world and changed scores and scores of people from being Unhappies to Happies.
Will you be one of them?
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Today is a milestone -- my 1,600th consecutive day logging in to SparkPeople. But during that time I'm currently only showing a 22 pound loss? What gives?
Actually, I was down from 290.4 pounds, my highest weight, to 235 at one point but then the addition of numerous medications, steroid injections in my back, subsequent limitations on exercise, operations, and a long bout with depression all combined to jack me back up to 280 pounds.
Frustrating? Definitely! Enough to make me give up the battle to lose 64 pounds -- my goal of four 16-pound bowling balls --?
Most of us have likely lost, gained, lost, gained, lost, and gained the same pounds over and over and over and over, haven't we?
But to give up is to admit failure and that is NEVER, EVER, an option!
We are NOT failures!
Success is ours for the taking! Yes, there has 'only' been a net loss of 22 pounds over 1,600 days but those 22 pounds represent nearly 1.5 bowling balls further toward my goal. My clothes are looser. I am in the last hole of my belt and need to punch new holes in it. People are complimenting me on the weight loss. Failure? I think not!
I will NEVER give up and neither should you.
One pound at a time, no matter how long it takes. Even if it takes to the next milestone of 1,700 consecutive days. The weight may go up then down again but the lesson to be learned is that:
We must NEVER GIVE UP!
We are NOT failures!
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
When discussing developing a positive outlook, many public speakers are fond of using the rhyming phrase, "An attitude of gratitude." To me, giving thanks for blessings throughout the day is a natural habit. Sometimes the blessings are small, sometimes so huge that merely saying, " ," is not enough.
Here is an example of a small (to me) blessing: Earlier this week the light bulb in my dining room burned out. I made a mental note to change it but promptly forgot. That happens often to us, doesn't it? Later, as I pulled laundry from the washing machine to put in the dryer, I turned on the laundry room light to see better. As the light came on, I recalled the burned out bulb, finished loading clothes into the dryer and then grabbed a new bulb to replace the burned out one.
I often receive "alerts" this way. Perhaps you do, too. Always, I give thanks.
A major blessing is what happened today. This has to rank as one of the most major blessings I have ever received. Maybe not on a par with not being killed, maimed or blinded in car crashes (not my fault), but major nevertheless.
I had parked in a library lot on my way to attend a seminar. For some reason, instead of putting my keys in a pocket, I went to retrieve several items from the front passenger side of the car and set the keys on the car's roof. I went inside and 90 minutes later searched frantically for my keys. Then I recalled that I had left them on top of the car.
Scared of what I would not find in the parking lot -- my car -- I ran outside without hope the car and keys would still be there. But they were. Praise the Lord! Cars around mine had changed so I figured either no one saw the keys (unlikely since they were so obvious) or were honest enough to not take them.
My heart was beating wildly with relief . Imagine the trouble a stolen car would have caused -- lack of transportation, loss of hundreds of dollars of bowling equipment, office files and more. Plus dealing with the insurance company and police, finding a way home, having to get rides to look for a replacement car, not being able to bowl league until I could afford new equipment, missing doctor appointments, etc.
The list could go on and on.
All I could do was look into the blue sky and say, "Thank you, Lord. Once again you saved me."
You may have different beliefs but if you develop the positive outlook of "An attitude of gratitude" and give thanks for every daily blessing (traffic lights on green, dropping something and not having it break, and so on) your life will be enriched.
Being grateful for blessings does not eliminate money woes, trouble at work, rude drivers, a disrespectful teenager, poor customer service or other things that could aggravate us daily, but giving thanks to God or to the universe for blessing you will allow peace into your heart and soul.
But don't take my word for it. Try giving thanks for everyday blessings for a week and see how life becomes more positive for you. It works for me and could for you, too.
And, yes, from now on I will put my keys in a pocket as soon as I get out of my car.
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