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All city 08 18 2016Wow!  I overcame a 6-6-6-6 start in the first round of the Walla Walla City Championship, steadying my nerves to post my best round of the year.  Eight over after four, I finished the front nine in ten over 46.  A decent comeback for a twenty handicapper.  After double-bogeying number ten, the magic began. Par saves and a birdie chip-in were mixed with long, powerful, straight drives. I left a few wedge/9-iron shots WAY short of greens, only to hit sweet recovery wedges and crucial putts on some of them.  It was so fun!  I toured the back in 39, netting 65 for the day. It put me in position to challenge in the open division (white tees), sandwiched between the championship contenders (blue tees) and the seniors (gold tees).  I am so excited for tomorrow!

It feels so good!  It makes me want to do it more, to savor the delights. Why not?

Lately I have wondered if I can learn to do it even better. Will that suggest that I’m approaching my center?

There are many aspects of a smooth stroke, so it is easy to stray from the ideal. I can feel when the stroke is not right. I don’t always know what to do about it, however. This year, I have stroked poorly much of the time. It is frustrating and bewildering. But it also gives perspective on how awesome good stroking is.

Somehow, today my stroke was on. Not on every stroke, but on many. There are many ways to fail, but the good ones were so sweet today. Rising high into the sky, tonight’s wedge shots were mostly decent to good, while some were awesome. One seemed to be the highest, longest wedge shot of my life.  I was in awe that I hit it. I watched it climb and climb, seeming to rise 20% higher than the others. As it flew a great distance, I was engrossed in curiosity about what made it so different. Could I recreate that magic swing on a more regular basis? Will I move towards better scoring? The powerful draw of the greatest game has its claws in me.  I am hooked again.

There is much to remember: loose grip/relaxed muscles, appropriate stance, pushback/takeaway with an upright swing plane, and most importantly, balance.  Follow-through towards target, steady head, controlled swing length, hip timing, etc.  It’s really fun when all I need to think is “relax.” Then let it happen. I want more days when the ball flies straight where I aim. So I’ll keep practicing, and keep the faith. The high scores I’ve posted this year are not written in stone. They fade away fast, as fast as my mind realizes that my true destiny is to stroke it well. Though the scores are not my worth, they do paint a picture of my journey. I await its maturation.

FORE!

A golf view in a football town...

A golf course view of a football town…..

Faith. Is it the final frontier? Exploring it shows what it can do. Faith in God. Faith in human goodness. Faith in cooperation. Faith in oneself, built from faith in a God who creates masterpieces. Like my golf swing! Sometimes. When? When I let it! When I don’t feel the need to do too much. It’s like coach Mike Leach preaches in football: just do your job. You don’t need to score 14 points on any one play. Just do your job. I don’t need 300 yard drives, especially ones that end in deep grass, behind trees, on top of houses, in lakes, etc. I don’t need to do grand things at work. Just my job: cooperate, innovate, encourage and persevere. Little things, over and over again. Willingness and faith. A controlled swing. In the fairway. On the green. Near the hole. Easy tap-in. It seems like it could be easy.

Some shots go bad. Some holes even go bad, often from multiple bad shots. Lost focus? Is this lost faith? Leach also says that adversity will come. He is right. It’s not avoidance of adversity that defines us. It’s our performance in the midst of it. Like cheering on a team in the throes of difficulty. Giving our best to each shot in a wave of triple-bogeys. Birdies are out there, along with touchdowns and tackles. Winning can be born in defeat.

I saw that cold weather was expected soon. It was perhaps my last chance of the year to play what I considered to be a good round of golf.

Veteran’s Memorial Golf Course is one of my homes. The first hole is short and I started with an easy par. Nice. One down. The second hole is also short. A hooked drive under a tree, a topped punch, two fat wedges, a mediocre chip and two putts.  Easy triple bogey. And the sun shone on! No trees fell and the birds continued to chirp. Try, try again. Another short par four, with a severely left-sloped fairway. Bad time for another hook. So it happened. Self-fulfilling fear? Punch near the green, chip and two putts for bogey. Then what I told myself was a really sick hole: huge trees lining the right side of the fairway, stealing the line for a power hook. Hardpan on the left leading to a wheat field, seemingly magnetized for my balls. So I drove out-of-bounds and triple-bogeyed, moving quickly to seven over par. What if I had embraced the opportunity presented by the tee shot? We’ll never know for sure. Spilt milk. I know I can play good golf. I mostly hadn’t so far that day, but I KNEW I could.

Next was a long par four, dog-legging to the right. Right-handed hookers like me prefer left-turning doglegs. But that’s the beauty of opportunity. It is where, when and how it is. On the tee I centered myself, re-gaining faith in my ability to execute a wide variety of good shots. I’ve hit them before. Calm, controlled and relaxed swings are a path to success. Hit the best shot possible. Regardless of the outcome of that shot, do your confident best on the next. And the next. And the next. This is the story of football and golf and all of life. Just hit it sweet!

So the same guy who was seven over par after four holes was still seven over after nine, after a nice two-putt birdie on number nine, set up by a conscious effort to swing easy and free on the tee. Not “hard” to hit it long; rather, easier to hit it better. So I hit it sweet and straight and onto the green. It was a good lesson for me. I need a lot of re-education.

The back nine went much like the front nine: two triple-bogeys in the first three holes, sandwiching a bogey. Seven strokes lost to par in three holes. Then another turnaround: three pars, two bogeys and another birdie, completing the back nine in eight over par.

It was a tale of extremes. Not an awesome score, but some excellent shot-making mixed into character building lessons. I’m awaiting better scores. I believe they’re coming. I will persist in doing my part to make it so. Even more importantly, I will enjoy the journey. What fun!

 

DCIM100GOPRO

Undeniably, much of life is far beyond our control. Yet it seems prudent to consciously develop who we are, instead of living reactively. Maybe we should work backwards? What would be cool on a headstone?

Adventurous, Believing, Calm, Daring, Enthusiastic, Funny, Game, Honorable, Innovative, Jovial, Kind, Loving, Motivating, Natural, Optimistic, Parental, Quenchable, Ready, Studious, Trustworthy, Uniting, Valiant, Wild, Xyzlacatotic, Youthful and Zesty!

Loving It Fully Everyday!

Still standing, after 27 miles!

Still standing and smiling, after 27 miles!

I was 53 years old and had given up on running a marathon. It just seemed too far. But never say never! My mind is opening up. I notice people dying, some rather quickly. I want to live! I have to open my mind to help my life blossom. I hope it keeps opening! I am very grateful for the fun, adventurous, open, friendly, willing, funny, helpful and creative people who inspire me!

Preparing to run our first marathon, Coeur d’Alene 2013, Annie and I were just a little more particular.  Pick out the right gear.  Don’t forget anything.  Eat and drink well to start with a full tank.  Adjust the socks and laces just right.  Mistakes we get away with on shorter runs could really cost us on long runs. I must have been a bit too hyped, as I found my watch in the garbage, just in time.

We exited the porta-potties with three minutes to spare.  The race started several minutes late, so we timed it right. No time to get cold and not late for the start.  We went to the back of the pack, so we could pass some people.  We started strong, cruising through early miles like they were chocolate cake.  Thank God for tapers!

We finished the first half on target, feeling strong and ready. Eventually, like any long-ass run, our legs tired. Our feet hurt. Annie’s toe blistered. Gel was not as available as they said it would be. The flavors were lousy. The asphalt trail was WAY too cambered. We found some relief on dirt trails next to it. Annie hit THE WALL. Hard! The miles beyond twenty, where we’d never been before, were tough. One was extremely slow and others were pretty slow. With 3.2 miles to go, we rediscovered motivation. We’d have to pick up our pace to break five hours. It seemed illogical to me. Nearly 4.5 hours in, with heavy legs and sore joints, we’re trying to speed up? We returned to belief that it could be done and ran a decent mile 24. Mile 25 was for Annie, who gave me so much support in becoming a marathon man. We powered through it faster than any mile since the first half. Mile 26 was for me. We ran it on autopilot, pulling reserves from deep in our hearts. Faster yet! Glancing at watches, we wanted to be sure to beat five hours, so we went even faster. The segment after the mile 26 marker was more like .35 miles, so we were literally sprinting at the end, side by side, dashing to the finish! It was a storybook ending, with a splash of speed I never would have imagined after so many miles. Perhaps we had more left in our tanks than our minds could muster for several miles. But we finished with great courage and strength, emblazoning our memories with a wonderful story. I’m a marathon man now. Annie’s a marathon woman. No one will ever take that away from us. It feels good!

Marathon Annie! What will she think of next?

Marathon Annie! What will she think of next?

Marathon man!  What to do next?

Marathon man! These ARE the good old days!

What a day! Yesterday was a really big day for me. I’m not sure what was most important, but growth happened.

We anticipated our twenty-mile run, the pinnacle of our training for next month’s Coeur d’Alene marathon. To fuel up, Annie made green smoothies (Kale for breakfast; move over Popeye!), followed by coffee smoothies (over the top AMAZING!!!) and peanut butter and jelly toast. These accompanied hours of more research and then final selections of toys for our next big thing: standup paddle boarding. I ordered boards, paddles, racks, leashes and personal flotation devices. I’m so excited!

Throughout the day, I learned and re-learned about myself, noting impatience, apprehension, frustration, determination, perseverance and jubilation. When I recognize my motives, they can teach me valuable lessons. It’s even possible to grow from them!  Who knew? Serve, rest, recover, fuel, release, praise, accept, observe, enjoy, admire, bask, encourage and belly up! Food never tastes better than after a long-ass run. I don’t know it there are tougher “walls” yet to come, but we tackled some tough ones yesterday!

Perhaps we needed this mental challenge to round out our preparation. The eighteen-miler seemed almost easy to me; if it wasn’t, my mind has beautifully blocked out the tough parts. The half marathon up and down Badger mountain boosted our confidence further. Yesterday boosted it again, in a new way. We started with little spunk, and our bodies became tired, sore and weakened rather early in the run. Maybe that’s “the wall”? Did something inspire us to add those big hills early on, to help our growth? As we faced trepidation, around halfway done, a cool inspiration re-surfaced: “when your legs get tired, run with your heart.”  Yes! Now we know that even when we start partially tired and weakened by our training, we can still push through a long run.  Strong or weak, high or low, we can get it done!

You never know what you’ll feel like on race day. You never know about any day! But bringing our best, enjoying the process, loving the now, seeing the beauty, slowly blossoming and keeping the faith are paths to growth, joy and peace.  Sometimes they even end with curry! Yay!

John Denver’s “Colorado Rocky Mountain High”:

But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high
(Colorado)

A delirium recollection from yesterday:

On that Bennington twenty-mile high…I’ve seen a lot of country passing by…The rush of adrenaline is sweeter than chocolate pie….Bennington High…Walla Walla…

Twenty miles give a LOT of time to talk, think and trip out!  🙂

TC half shirts

Running fourteen miles yesterday was growth for Annie and I. It was a faith builder. We really didn’t feel like running the last two or three miles, but we did. Those last few miles were a growth frontier, a persistence test. Do we have what it takes to push to the goal? The run sharpened our mental toughness and extended our physical frontier, so that in a couple of weeks, we’ll likely be able to run sixteen miles. Will we feel the same after that run? I don’t know, but I’m guessing so. We’ve done four runs of eleven or more miles in the past month, and they’ve all been tough. Yesterday, it was hard to finish a short cool-down walk. We should have walked farther, but we could not.

Since that was so hard, what makes me think I’ll be able to run twice that far in a couple of months? The people who inspired me! All the people I’ve known who have run marathons before. You made it! You’re tough, mentally and physically. That’s the new me as well. I want to join your club! Without this commitment and the resulting accountability, it would be way too easy to give up. I want to see how it feels to climb this mountain!

It’s a little shocking to me, because I had limited myself to half marathons. Until last month, I hadn’t run one of those for over five years. I thought ten kilometers was far enough. Then I decided to move past self-limiting thoughts. I was cornered. How to escape? RUN!!!

Parasailing Frank

That’s me!  I’m a youngster, because I feel that I am. If I’m lucky, there may be time for being old later. If not, such is life. This youthfulness is really fun!

Stretching. Massaging. Toning. Pushing. Re-fueling. Resting. Meditating. Letting go. Researching. Imagining. Believing. Embracing. Accepting. Observing. Staying the course. Helping. Loving. Feeling. Joining. Solving. Releasing.

Joy! Beauty! Love! Excitement! Passion! Challenge! Desire! Success! Freedom! Blessings!

Kindness. Compassion. Gratitude. Sharing. Being.

Life is new, fresh and full of mind-boggling possibilities! Spring has sprung again, in a place that is dear to me: my soul!

Happy new day!

r-STRESS-FREE-MARATHON-large570

Is running a marathon right for you? Can you really know before you’ve done it?

Some of us decide “no!” quickly, for a myriad of reasons. It takes too much time. “That’s insane!” It hurts to run (usually due to technique issues, which often can be corrected). The list goes on and on, sometimes driven by shortages of motivation, belief, openness, curiosity, awareness or desire.

Potential rewards? Empowerment, achievement, cardiovascular health, endorphin highs, cholesterol reduction and increased blood flow to our brains and other important body parts! Yay!

Since I embrace my running time as therapeutic meditation, I’m left with physical questions. Can I prepare my body without suffering life degrading injuries? How to really know? Am I truly in tune with my body’s signals? Is there more to learn and practice about awareness, refueling, recovering and stretching?

If I don’t try, will I fly as high? Is this a defining moment in my spiritual evolution? Are the forks in the road as pivotal as they’ve always been? Should I shrink or expand?

To run or not to run. THAT is the question! Where did I put those shoes…..

Belief.  Spiritual centering via faith.

Acceptance.  Honesty, letting it be, without spiritual disruption.

Love.  Emotional maturity, embracing the beauty in others.

Adaptation.  Accepting powerlessness, optimizing our power.

Nurturing. Ourselves first, via diet, rest, inspiration.

Commitment.  Intellectually, spiritually, physically, emotionally.

Exercise.  Today = 70 minutes level 9 intervals = 305 floors.   🙂

Personal Training Outdoors - Lunges Category:F...

I was determined to get a good leg workout tonight.  I think it worked.  I hope I can walk tomorrow!  The lunges with hand weights had me breathing hard.  I did three sets of fifty, which is more than I’m used to.  Since my legs felt unstable upon departure, after a bunch of other leg lifts, I believe I made progress.  I have been happy with the results of my latest weight lifting plan.  I will keep pushing my mind, trying new things, and believing in amazing dreams.  I’m grateful to those of you who help me think and live this way!  Thank you!   🙂

Frankly speaking, here are some of my beliefs:

  1. I can’t turn chocolate into muscle!
  2. Variety really is the spice of life!
  3. Our ideas and actions can inspire others.  Your blog posts inspire me!
  4. Belief, or faith –> positive change.
  5. Inspiration + action = success.
  6. Success –> more success –> synergistically better life!

Belief.  Faith.  Trust.  Confidence.  How self-limited are we?  Some of us do amazing things.  Are all of us capable of so much more?  What evidence do I have to support any claims?

Well, let’s consider physical achievement.  Obesity is a widespread health problem.  Do some of us feel that physical health is beyond us?  Other people can complete Ironman triathlons.  Were they destined to do so, or did they simply believe in health, practice healthy habits, continue to believe, and dedicate themselves to their chosen course?

Some amazing singers have jumped to the big time stage from shows like American Idol.  One day they’re a normal person with a normal life.  In a very short time, they become big stars.  They believed in their dream and found a way to make it happen.  I’m guessing many performers with even more talent have never become famous.  That’s just fine, if their path is what they wanted.

Many of us have big ideas about how to improve society.  It’s a bit tricky trying to control how others conduct themselves.  But we certainly can have faith in our own ability to live our ideas.  If they’re good, perhaps they’ll be contagious!  If I think the answer to the world’s problems lies in love, then I can practice loving!

There are thousands of impressive rags to riches stories.  Are the ones who succeeded simply the ones who never stopped believing and worked persistently?

I like to do a variety of things in life; perhaps variety really is the spice of life!  Does this lack of specialization prevent me from becoming great?  Perhaps, but should it be used as a rationalization to be less than my best?  Can I write something better than my best so far?  Can I work out just a bit harder, or in new ways?  Can I serve people better?  Can I listen more patiently?  Can I make tastier and healthier meals?  Can I seek out exciting adventures?  Can I do my best in everything I do?   Can I inspire others?  Can I find inspiration from their masterpieces?  Can we work together to do even more amazing things?  Look at what people have done so far!  They’re people like you and me.  Creative, open-minded, resourceful, inspired, dedicated, faithful, persistent, strong and loving people.  That sounds like us!

What a great way to celebrate the winter solstice: building muscles and watching a classic movie.  The common theme is ass whippings!  After work, I stopped by the gym to do leg weights and spinning.  I’m either building muscles or becoming a sadist. I hope it’s the first option!  Who does Bulgarian split squats for entertainment?  Leg presses for pleasure?  Why should dead lifts bring smiles to my face?  Why am I grinning after adduction and abduction?  Joyful lunges?  Is this perversion?  Or is there a wonderful secret hidden here?

Captain America was very fun to watch again!  The good guy wins!  It’s sad that he slept through his dream date, but the beauty of the romance before the preempted dance painted a masterpiece.  The joy of the chase!  Captain Steve was a great guy who won the heart of the soulful woman by being the best that he could be.  I LOVE happy stories!  Who needs more depressing examples of how not to live?  I love sagas that show good morals, positive living and faith!  It pleases me to see that sometimes, good movies are still made.  The Avengers is another one.  Maybe I should watch it again now!

Wow!  It’s so amazing to me how life/God deals me what I need when I need it.  Or maybe I see what I need exactly when I’m ready to see it.  In any case, there are many lessons for me to learn along the path to a better version of myself.

Annie is so fun!  We went to our second concert in as many days on Friday, and it was incredibly inspiring!  Jo Dee Messina had more life perspective than when we saw her at the Pendleton Roundup concert about five years ago.  Marriage and giving birth to and caring for two kids changed her world quite a bit.  But she has not lost her love of the stage, nor has she lost her powerful voice, or her passionate delivery.  Asked if marriage had dampened her tendency towards man bashing, she suggested that it had only given her more material!  Jo Dee delivered humor, songs about bouncing back from life’s hardships, and commitment to her dream when others thought her career was winding down She was better than ever.  Richer in the ways that matter.  She was real and she was in her element.   The crowd was not huge, but we were passionate, and she felt the love.  Her encore lasted half an hour!  We all left richer, inspired and full of treats for our souls!

Annie and I treated our bodies to her amazing culinary creations:  whole wheat pizza, zesty pesto, protein cinnamon bread, red pepper humus and quinoa with vegetables.  My taste buds and my health are loving them!  We also organized my kitchen and rode our bicycles for 95 minutes yesterday on the Bennington Lake/Mill Creek trails.  I was excited to keep finding ways to better my life, so I went to “The Dark Knight Rises” last evening and ran five miles this morning.  I plan to continue the re-organization and purging of my possessions today.  It feels good!  ( :

Yes it’s a word!  I’m learning who and what inspires me, getting to know myself better.  I’m defining my dreams and optimizing my health, striving to be the best possible version of myself.  Endorphins fit nicely into this plan.  They help me feel optimistic, content, grateful, peaceful and successful.  So I feel best when I push myself.  Yesterday, after sleeping in and sipping coffee, I went for a run in the sun.  It was past 10 AM, so it was already quite warm.  I went without expectations of how far I would run.  My right ankle has been a weak link.  Heat makes running hard.  I was pampering myself to celebrate my birthday.  After walking two minutes, I felt the need to start running, before it got even hotter.  I focused on keeping my column straight, leaning the column forward and landing on the middle of my feet.  I hoped these Chi Running tips would help my body hold up.  I also focused on relaxing my ankle muscles, so I wouldn’t be fighting myself.  When I relax well, I can run farther.  I found some big trees that offered shade, so I fit them into my route multiple times, avoiding cooking my brain and sapping my energy.  Then, as I ran, I became mentally tough.  I found determination to make progress.  I remembered past running highs.  I recalled basking in the joy of being fully alive.  I felt the refreshing, almost cool, breeze in the shade.  I kept on plodding, left, right, left, right……

I diverted my attention from the heat, sweat, tiring muscles and sore ankle with mind games.  I strived to balance the benefits of achievement with the risk of lasting injuries.  So I targeted four miles, after feeling good to start.  Then I kept ratcheting my target up, checking in with my ankle, and relaxing it.  I ran for sixty-two minutes, or about 6.5 miles.  When I was done I felt so good!  I felt great!  I knew in my heart that my attitude would be good for the rest of the day.  I knew I’d made progress on my physical and mental health.  I knew that whatever came the rest of the day, my cup would be running over.  I had faith.  My kids chose to spend time with me, so it was a great day.  Today I’ll find ways to have another great day.  Perhaps a long bicycle ride?

How’s your outlook on life these days?  My glass is not half full.  It’s overflowing!  Can I learn to remember this, knowing it deeply in my heart, mind and soul?

Someone stole my new rain jacket with clip-on sunglasses in the pocket.  So I ordered prescription sunglasses, for the first time, and I’ll get to shop for another cool rain jacket later!

My right elbow and index finger have hurt, limiting certain activities.  I get a different variety of experiences!  If I’m unable to water ski at the lake this year, I’ll find other fun things to do.  Yay!  My pains also give me perspective to stimulate compassion for the sick and elderly. 

I relapsed with addictive eating.  I learned the depth of this substitutive addiction and my imperative need for fully working step one on this.  I am reminded of the persuasive nature of my addictive mind.  I now have nine days of clean eating and I’m moving to better health and confidence, fat loss and greater strength and endurance.  Yay!

The ropes course experience showed me that I can quickly jump to a defeatist attitude.  Perhaps this is tied into self-esteem issues.  Maybe it’s like the chicken and the egg .  Which came first?  Does it matter?  I can understand how I interpreted the outcomes of experiences in love, addiction and other events as failures.  Perfectionism seemed to hone in on the negative aspects, rather than the sometimes bigger positives.  Now I’m reminded of the amazing successes that positive living has brought to me.  I’m powerless over almost everything and certainly everybody, which sets me totally free to focus on being a better version of me!  I just need to do my part and let everything else happen as it will.

My assistant mistakenly wiped out most of the budget work I performed last week by neglecting attention to details when projecting her part of our budget.  I gained greater ability via repetition in troubleshooting budget problems, and was able to let go of the frustrations.

My son sometimes suggests that we go lift weights or do something else together; he often changes his mind and cancels at the last-minute.  I learn to do the next right thing, which is usually to stay active myself, leading by example, as well as staying calm and demonstrating and enjoying the benefits of healthy living.

My boss sometimes gets wound up over job pressures, bringing the heat on me.  I learn to stay calm myself, calm him down and prioritize tasks.  I also learn to focus on solving problems, instead of being overwhelmed, and have faith that things will work out just fine.

I’ve experienced incredible highs of being in love with beautiful women, with some amazingly fun attributes, only to have them opt out later.  I’ve learned that I can’t solve their problems and I can be more aware of different aspects of people by using patient observation.  I can work to become a better version of myself and embrace the beauty of life as it is now.  I’ve learned how I can be more loving to others and more true to myself.  I strive to stay out of expectations.  I’ve learned to enjoy the simple moments even more, as they stream into my life.  I’ve come to peace with having absolutely no idea what is coming.  I have faith that whatever is coming will be “good!”

I missed Silkie Baby, whatever to do?

Slip into despair, or lace up my shoes?

Breathe deeply the air that inspires my brain,

and build up my muscles while easing the pain.

Heart healing’s a process where faith saves the day,

God blesses us all as we search out our ways.

I know that He loves me, I feel it inside!

His challenge to me is to trust in the ride!

 

Sometimes in life I’m flying high,

then lasting love seems to pass me by.

I can’t neglect my higher power

or the storms of life will make me cower.

A balanced life springs from many lessons,

clarified for me in therapy sessions!

The incredible gifts of loving bliss

seem to change to pain when life’s amiss.

But staying on a course of healthy ways

keeps gracing me with joyous days!

I trust I’m healing each time I find

another lesson in being kind!

So on I go, in search of me.

When I’m found, what else might be?

 

 

 

 

What’s your will, God?

The days of my life, they keep on rolling by…

Sometimes I pray to God, staring at his sky.

Do I find satisfaction in helping others grow?

What will measure my life, when it comes time to go?

Have I loved all the people who have filled up my days?

Have I built for the future, giving God his due praise?

When push came to shove, did I stand for what is right?

Did I lavish them with love, instead of showing them my might?

Did I often think of others and what might be said?

When I saw someone floundering, did I leave them for dead?

Did I reach out in love, telling stories of joy?

Did I speak of recovery and avoid being coy?

When confused did I pray to my savior to find

His spiritual answers which grace peace to my mind?

Have I learned to really trust in a God I can’t touch?

Or did I  turn to him only when I needed a crutch?

Have I seen him in others all the times that I can?

Do I see how God works through each woman and man?

Can I smile wide and say: thank you God for this day!?

How grateful am I, for all the times I get to play?

Do I thank him quite often, for the people I love?

Do I wear him on my soul, like a protective glove?

Have I seen his spirit radiate from many glowing smiles?

Have I thanked God enough for the growth gifted from trials?

 

It’s April 4 and it’s a beautiful snowstorm!  This is typically among the warmest spots in the beautiful state of Washington, so the snow is an unexpected pleasure.  I love watching snow fall!  Perhaps that’s partly related to the many wonderful experiences I’ve had while nordic skiing, alpine skiing, sledding and snow-shoeing.  Natural beauty,  as I see snow, seems to show God smiling at us.  Beauty helps me be grateful.  Life itself is a gift beyond description.  Gratitude for life and the amazing joys that it brings enables even greater joy.  Gratitude facilitates an upward spiritual spiral, just as self-centered thinking causes a downward spiritual spiral.  Basic truths cannot be changed; they can be useful.  Today I get to serve my son as he has his wisdom teeth removed and recovers from the procedure.  Thank you Lord for Nicholas and the chance to serve him.  Help me be the best servant I can possibly be.  Help me always seek your will for me and grant me the power to carry it out.  Open my mind to new ways to serve, surrendering my old ideas to better ones.  Help me spread love!

Where is life headed?  I don’t get to know, so obviously I don’t really need to know.  I’ve spent a fair part of my life thinking I knew what would happen next.  I’ve been wrong a lot!  Experience has taught me that specific expectations about future events are illusions of the mind.  We don’t know what will happen.  That’s what keeps life interesting, exciting and challenging.  What is the meaning or purpose of life?  Perhaps to find an answer to that question?  Maybe it is to continue to learn to love better, more unselfishly.  Love is giving, serving, listening, praying and trusting.  Love is the greatest joy of my life.  Seeing love in others reveals the greatest beauty I’ve ever seen.  I call this seeing God in them.  To me, God is love and love is Godly.  When I act selfishly it drags my spirit into a downward spiral.  When I act unselfishly, it lifts my spirit up.  When I continue with unselfish acts, I experience spiritual freedom.  All is well with the world.  I can more easily tolerate selfishness in others.  I stick to observing the behavior of others and judge them less, focusing on how I can better give to a positive environment where we all can continue to grow.  This life is a process that is sometimes bewildering, joyous, saddening, invigorating, depressing, exciting, challenging, enriching and endearing, to name a few.  What a gift!  It’s taken me many years to actually thank God for the most difficult challenges of my life.  These challenges offer the greatest growth, because they show my utter reliance on God, when no human power can relieve me of my afflictions.  In these moments, God works His most amazing transformations in my spirit.  I become a little less selfish, a little more loving and thereby a little more like His perfect image.  I’ve been blessed with incredible people in my life, people whose smiles glow with amazing images of God.  Thank you for the love you’ve shared with me!  You build my faith by serving as living examples of God’s love.  Love is the mightiest power of all.  Love is everything.  All you need is love.  ( :

What do you think of my equation/causation?  Perhaps add “in” on  the front of my “sanity”?  Sometimes so!  I’ve certainly been there enough.  My deep belief is that recognition of my powerlessness over all people and emotions, most situations and many substances holds the key to true freedom.  Powerlessness relieves me of the overwhelming challenge of trying to play God!  Lack of control necessitates a measure of humility, which opens the door to acceptance.  Acceptance allows for the possibility of gratitude, which paves the path to service.  Serving others is the source of true happiness, the definition of love and the polar opposite of selfishness,  known to me as the bed-partner of insanity.  Lord, help me do the next right things!  ( :

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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