We Get To Decide

Just a quick reminder this week, that we get to choose how we respond to events in our life. 

It’s easy to think that we can’t help ourselves, or to blame others (or our emotions) for how we respond to the stimulus in our life.  While we can blame, the truth is, we get to decide how we respond.

Let’s decide, and then follow through, on making good choices. 


Challenging But Worth It

I’m going to talk about one of Jesus’s principles this week, so be warned.  If that’s not your thing, come back next week.  😊

“If you only love the loveable, do you expect a pat on the back?” Luke 6:30 Msg.

It’s easy to love those who love, us, or to be kind to people who are kind to us.  However, Jesus teaches that we’re also to be kind to those who aren’t kind to us.  And to love those who don’t love us.  This is challenging teaching.  It’s even more challenging to put into practice.

I’ve had the “opportunity” to put this teaching into practice with a couple of people for the past 11 months.  It has, indeed, been challenging, but I can also report that with prayer and commitment to Jesus’s teaching, it has gotten a little easier.  Not easy, just slightly easier that it was 11 months ago.

Jesus’s teaching is for our benefit, because he wants what’s best for us.  Following this particular principle has kept my heart from festering with disdain or hate toward others, and has instead caused me to regularly cast my gaze toward Jesus for his assistance, strength, and peace.  All of which I have received.

So, while it’s been challenging, I can also report that it’s been what’s best for me.  I have peace instead of anger, and gratitude for His teaching instead of animosity toward others.

It’s a nice place to be.


This week I’ve been reading one of my journals from 2015.  Reading old journals is like being in a time machine, because I can read what I was thinking in that particular moment and also know how things turned out 8 years later.  Journaling is a great way to establish benchmarks (where we currently are) and our goals/destinations (where we want to go).   

I was encouraged to see that for several of my personal growth destinations I was writing about, I was able to arrive at the destination envisioned at the time.  This was reassuring, as I was able to read my thought process and understand my desire, as well as actions to take, to get there.

My journals also revealed that I have areas that I wanted to improve on back in 2015, that I’m still working to improve at in 2023.  I was encouraged that there are areas of growth that were important to me then that are still important to me today.  And while my improvement has been slow, I still have the desire to improve moving forward.  My journaling from 2015 is still motivating me to continue to grow and improve, today and beyond.

Are there any areas in your life where you’d like to improve?  If so, I strongly suggest journaling about where you are, and where you want to go in life.  If journaling isn’t your thing, I’d suggest at least writing down the areas you want to improve, and what that improvement looks like.  This will provide a wonderful benchmark for your future self, so that they will know if they are on track or need to recalibrate.  It will also make for a nice conversation with yourself at a future date.

Lift Or Limit

As I was journaling this morning, I was reminded how our self-talk can limit or lift how we see ourselves.  Think about that, the words you tell yourself, about yourself (whether audibly or simply thought), have a direct impact on how you feel and think about who you are.

Taking this thought a little further, what we think/feel, about ourselves, will influence our actions.  And, the actions we consistently take are what shapes the lives we ultimately build for ourselves.

The question that feels like it needs to be asked is, “Do you like what you’ve built?” 

If your answer is, “Yes”, great!  However, if your answer is, “No”, it might be reflecting on you’ve talking to yourself to discern if there’s any negative thoughts or talk you’ve regularly had with yourself.

It might even be time to start a new, positive conversation with yourself… because you’re worth it.

Plan For It

Several years ago, my wife and I opened a savings account and titled it, “Travel”.  It’s where we regularly save money for the sole purpose of traveling.  Not only does having this account show that we prioritize traveling and getting away together, it gives is the freedom to go somewhere on short notice, or add a day or two to our existing plans.  It’s given us the freedom, as well as the encouragement, got travel.

If something is important to us, we need to plan and execute to make it happen.  Whether it’s setting aside time, money, or some other resource, our planning and execution shows our true level of commitment.  If we say we want to do/have/become/change something, yet we haven’t taken any steps to bring it about, that may tell us quite a bit about how committed we actually are.

Is there something you want to do/have/become/change?  If so, begin planning for it.  Then, follow up on those plans with specific action.  That “something” awaits.

A Quick Shoutout To Public Libraries

I love the idea that there’s a place in my town where I can walk in, grab as many books as I want, and borrow them for several weeks at a time.  From this same place, I can borrow audio books, guitars, and ukuleles as well!  From a self-improvement standpoint, I can think of no place more beneficial than your local public library.

If you love to read and/or consider yourself a life-long-learner, I suggest (if you aren’t already) to make frequent visits your public library. 

What a blessing to have such a wonderful gateway to learning right in our own towns!

Take A Closer Look

Last night after work my wife and I went to the national wildlife refuge by our house to look at the birds in the area.  (There is a nesting pair of bald eagles that has been cool to see!)  At first glance, when we pulled up to the big duck ponds, it appeared that they were full of the regular birds you see all the time.  After a closer look, that turned out not to be the case.

As we combed through the crowd of ducks with the binoculars, we started noticing out-of-the-ordinary birds we hadn’t seen before were also part of the mix.  We saw a Green Winged Teal, a Cinnamon Teal, and a Ringed Neck duck.  It was amazing to me how much variety there was hidden within the crowd.

That experience got me thinking that it’s probably a lot like that with how we see the world around us.  Do we see all the negative things happening, or are we on the lookout for the good being done.  Are we on focused on just what’s popular and mainstream, or are we looking at other forms of music, film, literature, people, food, and experiences? 

There’s a lot of different and interesting things in the world that can be easily missed, unless we slow down and take are time to have a closer look.

Before You Say No

My cousins were in town this week, and Thursday evening one of them text me to see if I’d be available for lunch on Friday.  My first thought was that I would be working that day.  After about 2 seconds I said, “Lunch sounds great!”  We all had a great time.

I share that little story as a reminder not to be too quick to say, “No”.  We can always find reasons not to do something, but we can just as well find reasons to engage, especially when it has to do with building relationships. 

In 10 years, I won’t remember what I would have done at work for those couple of hour, if I had said “No” to lunch with my cousins.  However, I’ll never forget the time we had.

I made a good choice!

Grateful For The Example

I was listening to a podcast recently about the book, “Up From Slavery” by Booker T. Washington.  The positive attitude Mr. Washington possessed, both during and after facing terrible social injustices, blew me away.  I’ve since gone to the library and checked out this book so I can read it for myself.

Based on a few of excerpts from the book, that were read on the podcast, I was struck with how Washington chose positivity, focus, and growth, when he could have easily chosen bitterness, anger, and apathy.  Regardless of what happened to him that was outside of his control, he was focused on becoming a certain type of person.  Excuses were shattered by him, and circumstances were simply part of the landscape he had to navigate to get where he wanted to go.  Quite simply, the guy was remarkable.

Washington reminds me that if he can become a positive man of character, in spite of all the roadblocks and injustices he’s faced, then what excuse do I have not to do likewise?  I’m grateful his example.      

A Changed Perspective

Last night my wife and I went to a presentation/story telling session on homelessness in our community.  There were 4 different people, that either were, or currently are, experiencing homelessness.  It was an eye-opening look at homelessness from the perspective of people who have (or are) living it.

The first person to speak said that the 2 primary causes of homelessness are a lack of empathy (the feeling that no one cares or understands) and/or broken relationship.  The other speakers, knowing it or not, confirmed this statement through their stories about how they became homeless. 

If you would have asked me before the presentation, what I thought the 2 main causes of homelessness was, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have picked a lack of empathy or broken relationships.  I probably would have said something like drugs, or mental illness.  From what I heard last night, it seems like those things came a little further downstream. 

Suppose lack of empathy and broken relationships are, indeed, the primary causes of homelessness.  If so, doesn’t it seem like human connection and compassion would go a long way in preventing homelessness?  It seems like the most important place for these antidotes is in our homes, and with our families and friends.  It also seems like there are no boundaries with regard to where human connection and compassion would not be beneficial. 

The presentation not only changed my perspective on homelessness, it also gave me much to think about regarding what I do with what I heard.  I’m thankful that others are willing to share their story, in order to provide a perspective, I might not have.