Continue to Grow   Leave a comment


Image provided by www.gipom.com

Image provided by http://www.gipom.com

One of the goals that I have for my life is that I will continue to grow.  Now it should be obvious that I am not wishing or expecting growth in my physical attributes (I am too old to grow taller and striving to not to grow rounder).  Instead, I want my growth to occur in the areas of knowledge, perspective, and attitude.  I view this type of growth as being vital to continued life.  The question is how to work on continued growth.  So here are some actions that I take which I perceive help me to grow:

  • Read often (newspapers, books, magazines, blog posts)
  • Listen to others (both those who share your views and those who disagree with your views)
  • Take advantage of opportunities to see different geographical areas (in communities, in our nation, in the world)
  • Experience a variety of volunteer opportunities
  • Create regular times for contemplation

I believe a combination of these actions have helped me to continue a growth process in my life.

What would you add to the list?

A Day at a Time   Leave a comment


Image provided by en.wikipedia.org

Image provided by en.wikipedia.org

My father has entered what appears to be the last stages of his life.  I had the opportunity to visit him yesterday and have some conversation.  The conversation was far from normal since his ability to process thoughts is fairly limited.  He quickly jumps from topic to topic which can be unrelated or jump back to the same topic over and over.  There is no benefit in correcting his thoughts since he will not recall the information that you share with him.  His health is a series of good days and bad days like a roller coaster.  I share this information not in an attempt to seek sympathy or kind words from anyone but instead to give you information regarding how my family is experiencing this transition in my dad’s life.  I also share it as a basis for the thoughts I am about to write.

With my dad’s situation, it would be very easy to be discouraged and frustrated.  I could easily go into a litany of concerns which could dominate my thoughts.  I could worry about the future and how disruptive to future plans dad’s precarious situation might be.  I could sit in sadness and grief.  I could complain about all the uncertainty.  However, none of these emotions or thoughts are actually what I am experiencing.  Instead, I have adopted the approach of “a day at a time.”  I do not sit and ponder what tomorrow might mean in regards to my dad, instead I appreciate that today, dad is still present and I have an opportunity to be with him.  I am focused on his comfort and his quality of life.  I am focused on his day and what it entails.

This is an important lesson for me.  I think all of us should deal with the day that is at hand and not get anxious about the days, weeks, months, years that lie ahead.  There is value in planning for the future but there are drawbacks to trying to live in the future.  I need to live today, plan for tomorrow, and enjoy life now.  Jesus said this very eloquently:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34, NIV)

Well said!

Windy   Leave a comment


Today’s song video is based upon what is happening outside on this beautiful fall morning.  (Sorry for the poor video quality)

Posted October 17, 2014 by thoughtfulbeliever in Music Video

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Beauty All Around   Leave a comment


Sun, leaves, and beautyToday I was struck by the image of the sun shining through the yellow leaves on the maple tree outside my office.  So I stopped to take a picture (the one with this post).  The beauty was so overwhelming.  Even though it was pretty chilly this morning when I was walking into the building, this image expressed warmth to me.

How often do we go through life and miss the beauty that is around us?  Some of that beauty is contained in the nature that we encounter each day.  Some of that beauty is contained in the people who enter our lives each day.  Some of the beauty can be found in ourselves, in our thoughts and our feelings.  There seems to be an endless amount of beauty in our lives each and every day but so often it goes unnoticed.

So I encourage each of you to look for the beauty in your day today.  For those who are believers in the Lord, give thanks to the Lord for the beauty which the Creator has placed in our lives.  If you are not a believer in the Lord, take time to reflect upon the source of the beauty which you encounter.  Either way, do not let the beauty escape your attention.  You may be surprised how it will add warmth into your life.

A Change Is Coming   Leave a comment


You can definitely feel it in the air this morning.  With the wind blowing more intensely, the moisture in the air from over twenty-four hours of rain, and the gray skies, you know that the weather is changing to a different season.  It also helps that there are tons of colored leaves that lay scattered upon the ground which have fallen from the trees above.  Autumn is truly upon us and hints of winter are starting to arrive already.

As I thought about these changes in weather and seasons this morning, I pondered the effect of change upon our lives.  I am the first to admit that I dislike the change from spring and summer to fall and winter.  I do not enjoy the colder temperatures and the regularity of cloudy skies that seem to accompany this time of year.  So for me, some changes are less than enjoyable.  When I encounter this type of change, I tend to see an adjustment in my attitude.  I have to work harder to remain positive and to vision into the future.  These are not impossible tasks but I do realize that they take more deliberate effort when my attitude goes in this direction.

Some changes in life are more enjoyable.  I greatly enjoy the arrival of spring and summer.  You can probably easily understand why based upon my earlier comments.  I find myself more upbeat and with an eagerness during those changes.  When you are energized by change, you definitely see possibilities and opportunities.

What all of this says to me is that in regards to change, attitude is very crucial.  I am the one who can impact my attitude the most.  I can have an attitude of resistance and negativity in regards to changes in my life.  Or I can have an attitude of possibilities and positivity as I encounter change.  While I am not going to try to fool any of you into believing that choosing the later attitude is easy when I am not eager for the change, it still is possible.

Life is full of change.  A change is generally always coming.  The question is what to do with that change.

Needing Others   Leave a comment


Today as I look out my office window and see the falling leaves scattered on the ground, I was reminded of this song from my childhood.  It reminds me that we all need someone in our lives.

Posted October 10, 2014 by thoughtfulbeliever in Uncategorized

Not Perfect   Leave a comment


I had the privilege of spending some time in Washington, D.C. this week.  During some free time, I explored some of the monuments and museums, some which I have been to many times.  I thought about some of the people these monuments honored.  I thought about some of the amazing pieces of the history of humanity and nature that were represented in the museums.  I thought about the government of my nation.  One of the thoughts which recurred to me many times was none of these are perfect.  The greatest leaders, which the monuments are tributes to, were not perfect.  The men and women who are remembered for their bravery and their sacrifices in battles were not perfect.  The government of our nation is not perfect.  The very monuments themselves are not perfect.  Yet, they all have a lasting impact on our nation, our world, and myself as I stand and reflect in their shadows.

This has led me to realize something which is very important about myself, and I would dare to say about each of you who read this…. I am not perfect.  However, my imperfections do not limit my ability to have a positive and lasting impact upon others.  Much like the women and men who are acknowledged and honored throughout our nation’s capital, in spite of my imperfections, I can contribute in meaningful ways to the lives of others, my community, and my nation.  As a believer in the Lord, I can acknowledge my imperfections with confidence that in my weaknesses and failures, the Lord can still use me and can bring forth good.

So my challenge to each of you today is to not allow your imperfections to limit your contributions.  Give the best of what you have in your service to others.  Let the Lord overcoming your imperfections with the Lord’s perfection.  Contribute and do not sit idle.  While you or I may never have a memorial erected in our honor, none of the men and women with monuments ever expected such an honor.  They just did what they could to contribute to the world around them for the benefit of the world.

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