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#314: Be a Beacon in the Dark

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What do you stand for? What are your standards?

I'd venture to suggest most people have not spent much time considering what their values are and would not be able to adequately expound on them.

But let me ask: Do you want to be a beacon in the dark? Do you want to shine the light of compassion, empathy, sympathy, joy, appreciation or other positive value on the lives of others through our words and deeds?

No, I'm not specifically referring to being a religious missionary. Not specifically. But, don't we want our lives to be remembered for something worthwhile? Spreading happiness perhaps, or offering caring support to another in their time of need?

Isn't it important to know we have made a difference for the better in someone's life before we pass on?

Let not a stranger pass by without a smile and a pleasant greeting. Let not a person in need see us pass by without extending a hand to help. Let that indescribable feeling of peace fill our hearts when we go to the aid of another. Even if we only try to lift another person's spirits when they are in despair, showing we care and offering encouragement, we will have done something that will be remembered far after our encounter is over.

We can't be a beacon if our light doesn't shine, the old song reminds us. With all of the troubles surrounding us today, what can we do to become a beacon of light and hope in the lives of those with whom we come into contact?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKLOVE 5/13/2010 3:18PM

    This blog reminds me of that little song I learned when I was a child.

emoticon "This little light of mine, I am going let it shine. This little light of mine I am going to let it shine -let it shine -let it shine- let it shine. Put it under a bushel NO! I am going let it shine. Let it shine till Jesus comes Yes! I am going to let it shine." When we show love for one another and help one another with words of encouragement or give from our heart something needed then our lights our shining. emoticon

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CYCLEMEL 5/12/2010 11:16AM

    Love, love, love this! Thanks for always making me think, analyze, grow, and hopefully work to become a better person! You are very much appreciated!

Mel

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IAMWINNING 5/12/2010 10:53AM

    YOU ARE a beacon, Lou, ministering/shining to us from God. Thank you. emoticon

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IUHRYTR 5/12/2010 9:17AM

    Dove Ministries, huh, Bee? That would put me in lofty company for sure. But these are my own original brief thoughts, not received from an email unless identified as such. It's nice to know I'm on the same wavelength with greater minds. Thanks for reading. -- Lou

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BEESPARKLE 5/12/2010 8:10AM

    I like this . I had it passed similar to me last week by email. From a Christian friend. From Cambridge Dove Ministries.
It sure makes one think.


Very good.



Bee

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DKWP614 5/12/2010 7:55AM

    Food for thought. An insightful reminder on our place in the universe and how we affect it. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement!

Have a fabulous day!
Diana Kathryn
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URSULA125 5/12/2010 1:04AM

    Excellent blog! This is so important to spend time pondering. Thank you for bringing it to mind.

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PEPPERLEAH 5/11/2010 11:58PM

    Great blog, Lou! It is so important to reach out to others with the right heart and attitude. We only have one chance to make that first impression. And, even if it is someone who already knows us, we still need to reach out in love. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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YATMAMA 5/11/2010 10:34PM

    That calls to mind this quote that has been attributed to so many people that it's now attributed to Unknown. lol But it's a very true statement about what we invest into the lives of others.

People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

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TINKERBELL200 5/11/2010 10:23PM

    Wonderful post Lou!
What can I say besides Serve, Serve, Serve, and let your light so shine while you are doing it!
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Lynne

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CHOOGIE2 5/11/2010 9:09PM

    Thank you for posting this. I really needed this today. I hope you consider yourself a beacon.

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#313: Letting Go of Resentment

Monday, May 10, 2010

Holding onto resentment is emotionally and physically harmful. We are reminded of this from such various sources as the Bible and mental health and medical professionals.

I admit I have been holding onto an unwarranted share of bitterness after a close friend inherited more than $70,000. His townhome and truck are paid for, he has three sources of retirement income and now he inherited from a friend more money than many families earn in two years.

But that is not the source of my feelings. I'm happy for him that his friend thought so highly of him to offer a bequeath for all of the years he cared for her and I admire his diligence in so freely offering her his help and companionship.

No, what has festered, against my better judgment and desire and basic personality, is that he asked me to go with him to advise him on buying his first new computer system.

No, I don't expect him to buy me a new computer even though he is aware of the problems I have had with mine lately. It just seemed as if he was flaunting his good fortune, rubbing it in my face so to speak. How I reacted to his insensitivity was my weakness and I did not like the feeling. So tonight I offered to go computer shopping with him tomorrow.

As I made the offer, my spirits soared and I felt as if a heavy burden had been lifted off of me. It was then that I realized the feelings I had held inside. I felt reborn and cleansed.

I realize now how easy it is for us to develop envy and jealousy, resentment and bitterness. I acknowledge that is was an insidious feeling that grabbed me unawares.

So, thank you Lord for releasing me from this piece of negativity and restoring a feeling of helpfulness and excitement as we head out tomorrow on our shopping spree. I'm eager now to be able to teach him the ins and outs of a computer and to see how his interest in the world of the Internet grows.

The lessons I have learned from this?

Be happy for our friends and their good fortune. Remain positive and faithful that our individual problems will be resolved favorably when the time is right. Also, be thankful when a friend thinks so highly of you that he asks for your advice. What a compliment!

I am thankful for these lessons learned and appreciate the lighthearted feeling that has again found a place in my heart.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKLOVE 5/13/2010 10:47PM

    I just read this blog today . Good for you Lou, working through that.

Your first reaction was coming from a place of scarcity - you turned it around and now you are operating from abundance thoughts and we attract what we think on.

Today before reading this blog , I had a similar experience. Since blogging myself on the 'Power of our thoughts" I am trying to put abundant thinking into practice.

I went to the Senior Center for Lunch today and they were having a rummage sale. I had to eat first because lunch is at a certain time and the sale was going on till 4pm. While I was eating I could see others coming in to shop and not eat lunch and a feeling of worry came over me if there would be much left by time I was done for me to look at, would all the good stuff be gone. I could of rushed through my lunch , not taking time to enjoy it and get over to the tables- No! I told myself. That is thinking from scarcity . I told myself there is enough abundance to go around in the world and if I miss out on something here I will run a crossed it somewhere else . Anyone who would buy up what I wanted or needed was in want or need too and I should be happy for them. I let go of my anxious feelings and took my time eating- happy for those finding things while I ate. This was a real lesson for me. Thanks for sharing your experience and lessons learned with us. Hugs, Joy

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TINKERBELL200 5/11/2010 10:17PM

    Oh boy Lou,
You got me again. I had a similar situation when I was a new Christian with a friend who was very prosperous. She although was always very generous to me, but we were so struggling in our finances, with one income. She had a lot of expensive jewelery and I was barely able to buy shampoo and face cream. I babysat for her, worked in her office, and I have to admit resentment built up. Eventually as you, I let it go. One day she wore this beautiful ring to church and I commented on it. She said, "It's a $20 ring I got at Wal-mart." Well. the next Sunday after church, she stopped me on the way out, took off one of her rings and put it on my finger and told me God told her to give it to me. She said God had been dealing with her for weeks to give it to me and she had been ignoring it. She told me she knew he wanted me to have it. It turned out that she had just paid the ring off from a layaway at the jewelery store and it was over a $1000 ring. Wow!
I think about that anytime I start resenting anyone for God's blessings on their lives. All I had to do was let it go and he blessed me. It was a good lesson learned. Now I rejoice with my friends and family, when they prosper.
Thank you for sharing this,. It really blessed me, as your blogs always do. any happy computer shopping my friend.
I pray that God would bless you with a new computer!
Thank you for sharing this Lou!
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Lynne

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PUDLECRAZY 5/11/2010 8:25PM

    This is so true. In fact, I was planning to blog about similar thoughts tonight, but feel to tired to be very articulate. At any rate, I like this quote from the Dalai Lama:

"Negative thoughts and emotions undermine the
very causes of peace and happiness. In fact, when we think properly, it is
totally illogical to seek happiness if we do nothing to restrain angry,
spiteful, and malicious thoughts and emotions."

It was addressing some of those thoughts that have been menacing my peace of mind since my friend was attacked, something about which I have been having a hard time letting go of anger.

Going with your friend to help select a computer is a good idea, if he is truly your friend. Sometimes, letting go of our need to grasp for 'things' is really what opens the door to true and deep happiness.




Comment edited on: 5/11/2010 8:26:44 PM

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BILLTMAN 5/11/2010 7:49PM

    Thanks for sharing. I have been dealing with some bitterness in my own life actually for some time now. I didn't really realize it for a while but as time has gone by, I find it rears it's head more frequently and more blatantly.

I was working in a job that was really a dream job except for my immediate supervisor, a nit picking micro-manager type. The large majority of the people I was working for loved me and the work that I was doing, but no matter what I did this fellow could not be made happy. Eventually I resigned from the position and within three weeks my ex-boss submitted his retirement papers. Soon he was gone, I had lost the job I loved, and for three years now I have resented it. Since I left two other people have had my position and have done a poor job.

I have prayed about my attitude, but for now I just can't shake it. It doesn't control my life completely but it is there.

Anyway, just thought I would share. Again thanks for sharing your blog.

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CAROLINE1000 5/11/2010 3:20PM

    Exactly.

Jealousy only deeply pains the owner. Human or not it's one of the least attractive and least palatable feeling I can think of. So wise of you to let it go and offer yourself as help - taking the request as a compliment - not a rubbing of the nose in another's fortune.

Positive reframe, baby!

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BBURGER62 5/11/2010 2:15PM

    Your blog is so true for most of us. I know I don't want bitterness to take root in my life. I have seen it's horrible effect on others. Just recently I felt like God might be wanting me to ponder something. To think about actually going back around people that I had perceived being hurt by in the past and showing them God's love. I realize now that I am older, that a lot of the issue may have been in my own head, how I perceived their actions. When I could I just got away from the situation. I'm not sure when I would have the opportunity to go back to where these folks are, but I am beginning to think, God isn't finished with me yet. LOL. Praise God!

Thanks again, for prompting me in this. God bless you!!!!!

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IAMWINNING 5/11/2010 8:58AM

    I second (third, fourth?) comments made already about this blog. I'm so thankful that you were aware of your un-Christ-like attitude and confessed it to the Lord; and that you went further and reached out to your friend. Hope you're having a fun day w/him. God has great plans for you, and He is using your honest, open witness to reach others.

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CARRIEANNE1027 5/11/2010 6:38AM

    Wow.. what brutal honesty! It's not always easy to confront some of the "ugliness" that rears its head within us sometimes, but what a release when we do.. I'm glad you came to the realization that your friend values you highly.. Enjoy the day shopping with your friend..

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JURI62 5/11/2010 6:04AM

    Thanks for an insightful blog.
Blessings, Judy

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YW84FRIDAY 5/11/2010 5:35AM

  Sometimes I find that what I thought was "intentional" (as in him rubbing it in your face) is merely thoughtlessness--not intentional at all (tacky...but not intentional). I try (the emphasis here is "try") to give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove me otherwise.

It's awesome that you can rise above that and continue to offer him your support and friendship. Have a great day, Lou.


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LEOLO_1 5/11/2010 12:29AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KRICKET4 5/11/2010 12:23AM

    But it is, oh so human.
I can very well understand your feelings and I'm glad that you found a way to make peace with yourself. Good for you - but still...

Have fun computer shopping tomorrow.

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YATMAMA 5/10/2010 11:09PM

    You're so right, Lou. It's not the money at all. It's the attitude, the pettiness of some folks. It's being treated shabbily. Harboring resentment over those kinds of things is in no way worth our peace of mind, though. Is it? Thank God that you followed your heart and offered to help, setting yourself free to be above pettiness, above all things destructive to our hearts. That says a lot about your character. I appreciate that about you a lot. I like it.

Missy

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#312: Ambition Versus Lethargy

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Most of us have likely seen pictures or maybe even visited the mighty California Redwoods, reputedly the world's largest trees. And, we also likely know what a Japanese Bonsai, supposedly the world's smallest tree, is.

What we may not realize is that both of these magnificent creations were, at one time, exactly the same size!

And we have probably traveled through the mountains or have an appreciation for their majesty compared to the flatland of much of the world. It is pretty amazing to imagine the vastness of such earthly wonders as the Redwoods and the mountains.

I thought of these things as I ran across an old comic strip of Hagar the Horrible in which Hagar and his small son were sitting in the middle of the desert, a stone at their feet and mountains in the background. "Do you know the difference between that mountain and that pebble," Hagar asked his son. "No, Daddy." "Lack of ambition," Hagar replied.

While it is true that not all trees and all hills will grow to supreme heights, the moral from Hagar is that people can achieve lofty goals if they are ambitious and are willing to work for their success.

It is easy to simply be one of the pack, never standing out, never achieving anything other than what happens to come our way in life.

But it takes an intrepid soul to step forward and say, "I want to be a Redwood and grow toward the sky." Or, "I want to be like the tallest mountains that reach for the heavens. I don't want to be ordinary. I want to rise above the herd and achieve mighty things."

Is that you, striving to be the best you can be every day? Have you set towering goals that you will work toward diligently with your head held high, searching for the rainbow of success?

If this is not you, why isn't it? Don't you deserve more than to be average?

Then declare today, now, that you will reach for the heavens, that you WILL become a mighty achiever.

Average people are plentiful. It is the person who says, "I deserve more," and works to get it that is uncommon.

Never settle for being average. Put all of your mind and your body and your soul into reaching your goals and you CAN be a success. You CAN become like a might Redwood or a majestic mountain. You CAN do it.

Make it happen!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WCATAP 5/13/2010 11:15PM

    You really are quite a good writer and motivator. I am curious what you do for a living.

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SPARKLOVE 5/13/2010 2:54PM

    We need to go that extra mile! Go above and beyond what others expect of us. emoticon

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YATMAMA 5/10/2010 6:04PM

    Hear, hear!!! *applause*

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IAMWINNING 5/10/2010 11:51AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DKWP614 5/10/2010 10:26AM

    You are tremendously motivating for me today. Thank you!
Diana Kathryn
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TINKERBELL200 5/10/2010 1:58AM

    Great blog Lou. I always try to be above average. I just try to do it unto the Lord!
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Lynne

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KRICKET4 5/9/2010 11:56PM

    I was going to send you a picture of a Mighty Redwood. I took it just a month ago, but I can't figure a way to insert a picture into my response.
Be well, Lou.

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GIBBLES5 5/9/2010 11:26PM

    Thanks Lou! I needed that, especially after yesterday. I think I would like to be a mountain or a redwood.... something new to aspire for!

emoticon
~Kim

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AGAWRITER 5/9/2010 10:58PM

    Thank you. I've been feeling very limited by my bonsai pot lately. Of course, breakingthings can hurt a bit....

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PEPPERLEAH 5/9/2010 10:49PM

    That reminds me of a couple of sayings I have heard over the years, that go something like this:

Our biggist limitations are those we place on ourselves.

Thanks for another booster shot!

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#311: A This and That Day Thinking of Mom

Saturday, May 08, 2010

My day has been one of joy and despair, of happiness and sorrow.

I learned how to replace a front turn signal light bulb today. I love the staff at Advanced Auto Parts for being so helpful. Such a minor job but when you are as un-mechanically inclined as I am, every little thing turns into a huge, frustrating project. But now I feel empowered and almost want the right side bulbs to go out so I can show how fast I can change those little devils. emoticon

Then I was tempted to take a nap but looked at the mini-jungle in the back yard and decided to make a dent in mowing. Finished the entire yard but now my back is cramped and sore. A good sore of accomplishment. Took about two hours to stop sweating what with the 90s temperature and heavy humidity we're having here in Central FL. emoticon But, the yard looks nice and the dogs are enjoying being able to run easier. Plus, it counts on SP as cardio! emoticon

Went out for dinner and tried to start the computer to do some work before the meal arrived and it wouldn't turn on, Reset button didn't work, nothing. This computer's problems have been ongoing for a month now but it worked fine before I left the house. Tried to find the positive and could only think of the decluttering I could do if it didn't work at home and the editing that needs to be done. Got back home voila, okay again. Go figure but praise the Lord. emoticon emoticon And, I was able to give a musical angel snow globe to one of the waitresses, something of Mom's I appreciate but I have nowhere to display it. emoticon

I've been thinking of Mom today since tomorrow is Mother's Day. Sadly, she passed away in 2004. Hard to believe it has been so long. With both grandmothers also gone, there is only my aunt Alice in Indiana to wish a Happy Mother's Day to. Plus, of course, all of my emoticons who have been so encouraging and supportive and inspirational during my time here.

Please cherish your Mother as the treasure she is. Thank her for all of the things she has taught you. Mostly, though, tell her how much you love her. And may you all have a wonderful Mother's Day tomorrow. emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEPPERLEAH 5/9/2010 10:44PM

    I talk to my mom often; and even though we are several states apart, it is always a blessing to be able to talk to her.

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SPARKLOVE 5/9/2010 9:11PM

    I called my Mom, today and told her I loved her. Mom, will soon be 85 years old. I sent her gift down to her by my daughter, who was able to go and take her out to eat today.

I live in Michigan, My Mother lives in W.Va and my Daughter just moved to North Carolina about 3 hours from my Mom.

I ran across this touching poem today and since your Mother is no longer with you I thought you might like it.

" If roses grow in heaven, Lord, pick a bunch for me ~ Place them in my mom's arms & tell her they're from me ~ Tell her that I love & miss her, & when she turns to smile ~place a kiss upon her cheek & hold her for a while ~ Because remembering her is easy ~ I do it everyday ~ There's an ache within my heart that will never go away. Happy Mother's Day in Heaven óż."

God Bless You Lou. Joy

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IAMWINNING 5/9/2010 3:52PM

    Kudos, Lou, for getting yard work done. I know w/the heat and humidity it was miserable, but now your yard looks nice, and you can cool off.

I'm glad your computer woes were so minor (worked again after returning home), and am
still praying for a new one for you. God will provide when He's ready to do so.

My M-I-L died in 2004, and my Mom lives in a group home (assisted living) over 1,000 miles away. I don't even have a phone number for her! But I did send her my love in a card. I'm hoping my older sister was able to travel the 45 mi or so to visit w/Mom today. Mom will be 86 on Wednesday.



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DKWP614 5/9/2010 12:54PM

    I enjoyed reading your blog today, and hearing about how you are motivating yourself toward a healthier lifestyle. Outdoor yard work is not my favorite. Kudos to you for getting it done!

Have a great day.
Diana Kathryn
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LN7777 5/9/2010 8:44AM

    Nice blog!! Happy Mothers Day emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 5/9/2010 8:06AM

    Mother's Day is hard for me, too. I lost my mother in 2008, only weeks after losing my dad.

Thank you for the Mother's Day wishes today.

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YATMAMA 5/9/2010 12:39AM

    Big Amens, Lou. My mother has been gone 15 years now and I miss her so. Having our parents still with us is such a fleeting treasure, never to be unappreciated. *hugs* from one who is missing Mama today, too. Kudos on getting that grass cut, my friend. No easy feat in this horrid weather.

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GIBBLES5 5/8/2010 11:20PM

    Thanks Lou for another great, inspiring blog.

~Kim

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TINKERBELL200 5/8/2010 9:55PM

    I lost my Mom in 2001 to Alzheimer's disease. I also lost my ex mother in law almost the same day a year later, to lung cancer, who was almost as dear to me as my Mom. I still have my current mother in law and my aunt on my Dad's side, who I'm close with. You just always wish you had more time to serve them as they served you for so many years. Thank you Lou for the reminder to cherish these women, who have had such an impact on our lives.
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Lynne

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GEODAWG 5/8/2010 8:44PM

    I lost my Mother in 07 and I know what you mean. Mama only has two sisters left but both have Alzhiemiers. Bless all mothers and you too!

Comment edited on: 5/8/2010 8:45:10 PM

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#310: Overcoming Stress

Friday, May 07, 2010

We all encounter days filled with stressors. Many times these are major health, financial and physical problems. Other times our stress comes from a series of troubles, trials and tribulations that may appear minor in comparison but which are no less mentally and emotionally exhausting and frustrating

When we are faced with stress, how do we overcome it? A bedrock of positive thinking is a beginning, trying to find the positives in all situations, allowing us to put our problems in proper perspective.

But we frequently need more. Many experts suggest exercise to help overcome our stress. Something as easy as walking for those physically able to do so. Weightlifting, bike riding, yard work, anything to get us out and moving and focusing on something other than our immediate problems.

Others recommend meditation, tai-chi, yoga, prayer or some reflective sessions to calm our minds.

I have even heard a suggestion to list on paper both the problems and what could be done short- and long-term to resolve the problems. This lets us see the problems in their entirety and to see a bigger picture of possible resolutions.

I have also read that when we are under stress we could benefit from taking a nap, if possible, that being asleep releases us from conscious thoughts about our difficulties.

Of course, talking to a trusted friend or family member is always a good way to solicit advice and a fresh outlook on things.

Or, primal scream therapy, best done at home rather than in a store or parking lot. :)

Whatever of these or other methods or a combination work for us, what is of vital importance is that we do not allow ourselves to wallow in the pit of despair, that we try SOMETHING.



It helps, too if we remember that rainbows do not appear until AFTER a storm, when life always appears brighter.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINKERBELL200 5/8/2010 9:38PM

    i agree with Missy too! Sometimes just hearing what other people have or are going through lightens your load and makes you feel blessed, and as though your problems aren't so big after all. My problems arise when I get the snowball effect. When one thing after another compiles on top of each other, to where one tiny thing on top seems to be the straw that broke the camels back. Kinda where you were the other day with your laptop. The thing to learn is they are just situations, and situations are subject to change when you get God involved. That and not to assume! We always make the outcome in our minds to be 10 times worse that what they really turn out to be. Life is good!

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DKWP614 5/8/2010 1:15PM

    I'm a fan of primal scream therapy - best in the shower to take full advantage of the echo; and then the soothing hot water afterward!
Diana Kathryn
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SPARKLOVE 5/8/2010 12:51AM

    When an Artist is painting a picture, they stand back from the painting from time to time, to get a better perspective . Sometimes what we need is a better perspective on our problems before we can solve them. If we listen to others problems it often gives us a better perspective on our own. Also in doing so we feel comfort knowing we are not the only person who is having a string of problems and struggle to keep going. We can learn from each other, encourage and inspire one another.

I agree there is not just one way to handle stress -find whatever works for you and do it! Don't wait for the storm to pass- "Dance in the rain".

Thank you for stopping by my page and your kind words. Hugs, Joy


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LOSINGLINNDY 5/7/2010 11:56PM

    This is a great reminder of stress reduction solutions. I was out working in my garden off and on for about 3 hours today. Some of it just spent gazing.

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PEPPERLEAH 5/7/2010 9:51PM

    I so agree with you, and with Missy, too. This is an awesome place. Coming here at the end of the day feels like coming "home". I always know my friends are here, to comfort me, encourage me, laugh with me, share with me...all wonderful blessings.

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YATMAMA 5/7/2010 9:26PM

    Having this vast community of friends so dear goes a long way to reducing stress for me, always someone in better and worse places than I, so much to learn from each other. What seems impossible to me, one here has already overcome. When all seems lost, along comes one who benefits from my own struggles and victories. What a wonderful recipe SP is.

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