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Relationships   1 comment

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This week I watched a TED Talk by Robert Waldinger entitled, “What makes a good life?  Lessons from the longest study on happiness”.  He was sharing what has been learned from a study which began over 75 years ago by a researcher from Harvard University.  I encourage all of you to take the twelve minutes to watch this video yourselves.  SPOILER ALERT…..  What the study has determined is that relationships are the key to a happy life.

As I listened to Dr. Waldinger, I had a mixed response.  On one hand, the conclusions which he shared did not surprise me.  Yet, there was a part of me that was surprised the simplicity and truth of these results.  I have contended for much time, based on other’s research, that we were born to be in relationship.  As a believer, I know that God created me (and everyone else) because God desired to be in relationship.  I also know that God intended us to be in relationship with others.

The core of Scripture and all of Jesus’ teachings is relationship.  Specifically, relationship in the context of love.  God created us to live in love.  Love can only be expressed and experienced in relationship.  So we are creatures who crave relationship because we crave love.  This has also been expressed through a song made famous in the musical, Moulin Rouge.  In the song, Nature Boy, we hear the great line, “The greatest thing, you’ll ever learn, is to just to love, and be loved in return.”  Only in relationship can this be a reality.

So today, I encourage you all to consider the relationships in your life.

Christmas Memories   Leave a comment

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Sorry that it has been a while since I posted on here.  With the holiday last week, life became busy and hectic.  I think that I am back in control of everything and will get back to more normal regularity in posting.

This morning I was thinking a lot about the memories which I have from my past Christmas times.  Over the years I have acquired some great memories.  So I thought I would share a list of them with you today.

  • Every year when I was growing up, my sister would purchase an Advent calendar for me which had a piece of chocolate hidden behind each day’s door.  I used to eagerly anticipate that calendar, the chocolate treat each day and the countdown to Christmas.
  • We used to string popcorn and cranberries to use as garland on our real Christmas tree.  I cannot count the number of times that I poked myself with the needle.  Or the number of times that Mom would have to re-thread the string through the needle.
  • We always had a lot of candles throughout the house during the Christmas season.  I would often light the candles, turn on the Christmas lights, and listen to Christmas records.
  • Attending Christmas Eve services and walking out of the church at midnight to find a light snow falling.
  • My Dad’s relatives gathering at our house on Christmas Eve.  One Christmas Eve when I was young the adults had all of us go to my room and stay there.  Soon there was a knock on the front door and when we were allowed to come out of my room we were surprised by Santa standing there.  I still have never figured out who was behind that beard.
  • Waking up on Christmas morning and knowing that I could open anything I found in my stocking but the rest of the presents had to wait until everyone was awake and sitting in the living room.
  • Decorating my college dorm room and having enough lights that we never turned on the overhead light until after Christmas break.
  • Listening to Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas album in my dorm room with friends.

These are just a few special memories that have come to mind this morning.  What memories do you have?

Energized   Leave a comment

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Have you participated in an event which causes you to feel energized by the end?  Recently I have been attending worship at a local church where this feeling occurs every time.  I enjoy the worship experience and find a great connection with the Spirit each time I attend.  There is a genuine sense of love and a high level of energy.  People of all ages gather and truly worship because they feel a connection.  The focus is on worshiping the Lord.

Another truly wonderful aspect is that I look forward to going to worship.  I know that no matter how challenging my week has been, I have an opportunity to focus on my faith and find fellowship.  The people whom I am with provide energy for me.  They share with one another and support one another in an uplifting manner.

Unfortunately, I am sure all of us have been in situations within the church where the opposite occurs.  I have attended worship in some churches where I walk away feeling drained.  The atmosphere, the worship style, and the people’s attitude extracts energy.  This has nothing to do with the style of music, the volume of music, the pastor’s style, or how liturgical the worship.  It is all about the feeling and attitude of those who are worshiping.

My hope for all of you are that you have the opportunity to participate in an event that provides energy to you.  I know that I am grateful to find this church and this worship experience.

Snow   Leave a comment

So today is supposed to be the first snow of the season.  I am becoming less enchanted with snow each year.  However, in view of the weather predictions, I thought I would share this music video for Music Video Friday.  Enjoy your day!

Posted November 20, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life, Music

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Who Are You?   1 comment

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One of the interesting aspects of all the social and professional networking sites on the internet is the creation of an online profile.  Each of these websites asks questions in an attempt for you to share information which will introduce you to the world and identify connections with others.  A person has to determine what information she/he chooses to share and how to best describe one’s self.  The major question which is being asked is, “Who are you?”

I find this question a bit daunting.  Most of us begin to answer this question by describing our employment.  We have been trained that one of the key purposes of our existence is to work.  This alone is an interesting topic which is best discussed in another blog post.  Once a person describes the type of employment, then the challenge is to determine where to go next.  Should the next response be to talk about my marital status?  Should the next mention be about my children?  Should I tell about where we grew up?  All part of my life, but does it really answer the question of who I am?

I struggle with this question for another reason.  I struggle with it because at times I wonder if I really know who I am.  Again, I can share endlessly about the factual aspects of my life.  Yet, I know that a life is much more than a list of facts.  I know that a person is much more than his/her career, family, or place of origin.  However, if I am going to go beyond the facts, I have to spend time trying to understand who I really am.

Then there is the issue of how much personal information to share and how comfortable others may be with receiving the information.  There are appropriate boundaries regarding personal information which should be observed.

So maybe this is not so much about trying to fill out the information for a personal profile on a website.  Maybe that is just a catalyst to ask a bigger question of who I am.  What I am truly grappling with today is if I really know who I am.  What would I tell someone if I was asked for more than just the factual aspects of my life?  I think this is a question which will require a much longer process than just one day.  I guess I have created a challenge for myself which will take a bit of time.

What would you share if you were asked, “Who are you?”


Follow Your Dream   Leave a comment

One of the most important thing to remember in life is to keep moving toward your dreams.  No matter what a person’s age, having faith in yourself and moving toward your dream is important.  I share this song with each of you today.

A Different Path   Leave a comment

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One of the joys of life is that there are many different paths from which to choose.  An advantage that our country provides is the truth that pathways are open to all individuals.  Some would argue that there are too many options of pathways which makes it very difficult to choose one.  Anyone who has, or has recently had, a college-aged person in their household can relate to the struggle of choices.  Other interesting aspects of the paths include the way in which they converge upon one another, come to dead- ends, or have forks along the way.

Over the past few months, I have been trying to determine some new paths to follow in my life.  Some  of these new paths have developed nicely.  Other paths have remained uncertain.  This week I have made the decision to return to a previous path in my life which I explored only a little.  As I have tried to take steps in developing a new employment pathway, I have found a lot of dead ends.  Now I am going to journey down a path which I believe combines my skills and my experience in an exciting way.

As I reflect upon the paths of life, I am grateful that I live in a place and a time where there exists so many different paths for us to follow.  I am also grateful that if a path leads to a dead-end, there is always the opportunity to choose a new path.

Posted November 12, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life