Tomorrow Is a New Day

Have you ever had a bad day? Of course you have. We all have them on occasion. I had one the other day. But it was a combination of little frustrating things that just made the whole day miserable.

A few of my friends had bad days, too, that same week. Some of theirs were caused by a bit more serious reasons. Nothing life threatening, but nevertheless situations that weren’t exactly pleasant to be in.

My situation was temporary. Theirs, well, not quite so temporary, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a little time.

Other people have bad days because of serious life events. Events that cause changes that really aren’t fixable, and will eventually result in major life changes. In the overall scheme of life, now THAT is a bad, bad day.

But one thing defines the aftermath from these bad days. Attitude. How we look at our situation. How long we’re going to allow ourselves to stay miserable before we start planning how to handle the situation which caused our bad day.

It all depends on our outlook.

Now I’m not saying you can get over a devastating life event overnight. The loss of a loved one, a serious medical diagnosis, a sudden job loss which also threatens the loss of your home…these and similar events take time to process and time to recover from. But at the same time you have no choice but to make immediate plans for how you’re going to survive. You have no choice but to go into survival mode.

I know it’s not easy when you have a bad day. And it’s not always easy to recover from it. It may take days, weeks…sometimes longer. But with a positive attitude, it’s a bit easier. We may not be able to change the circumstances that caused the bad day. But we can choose how we react to that bad day and what we do to make the next day better. Not perfect; not repaired; just better than the day before.

After all, each day represents a new beginning. It’s a day you’ve not seen before, and never will see again. That day is unique, a blank canvas for you to paint your new day on. Even those of us who have no artistic talent have the opportunity to paint each new day in our own unique image.

Moving forward in difficult circumstances is extremely hard. But the only way to survive is to move ahead. Put one foot in front of the other, and take a step out of those circumstances and into that new day. Find something, even if it’s one little thing, to be grateful for. One little thing that’s positive. One thing that you can honestly say was put there just for you. Even if it’s just a kind word from a stranger. A warm sunny day that you didn’t expect. A butterfly appearing out of nowhere and landing on a flower near you. Little reminders that you’re still important.

You are still the person you were before your bad day happened. You are still loved, although right now you may need an extra hug or two. You are still strong, but you may need a friend to help hold you up for a little while today, or the next few days. You are still important to so many people, and those people are ready to support you, stand with you, and walk you through the remnants of your bad day, to help you get back to the other side.

Bad days happen to all of us. But good days follow. Bad days do evolve into good days. Those new good days may look different, feel different, than the good days looked before the bad day happened, but they’re there. They’re what you make of them.

You can either choose to let your bad day ruin your week, your month, or even your year. Or you can choose to rise above it, and show that bad day that it won’t get the best of you. And you will come out the winner.

It may take a few days, or a few weeks, but with the right attitude, the right frame of mind, that bad day will be so far behind you, eventually you’ll look back and realize that bad day was only a prelude to the new things to come.

So what is your new day going to look like?

It’s Not Just About the Bunnies

For the last several weeks, all I’ve seen on Pinterest and other sites are cute little bunnies. Sometimes with brightly colored eggs, sometimes with pastel Easter baskets, and sometimes, well, they’re just there looking cute and adorable. All my favorite craft stores are full of bunnies and baby chicks and all kinds of colored plastic eggs. Then there are the grocery stores and candy stores with all the chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs and marshmallow peeps, you know, the colorful straight out sugar concoction that’s been around since we were kids!

Did you know you can even buy Easter ornaments and decorate your own Easter tree, sort of like a Christmas tree? Just what I need to start doing….me with the six Christmas trees! I can’t afford to start that.

And the Easter Bunny? Well, not only have we had our granddaughter’s picture taken with the Bunny, we also had our dog’s photo taken with him.

Obviously it’s close to Easter. And EVERYONE associates bunnies with Easter, right? Along with the colored Easter eggs, of course. And those previously mentioned marshmallow peeps. In all the colors.
But…it’s not about the bunnies.

From what I’ve been able to determine, the legend of the Easter Bunny bringing eggs seems to have been brought to our country by settlers from southwestern Germany in the 1800’s. Since that time the Easter Bunny has gradually become the commercially recognized symbol of Easter.

Folklore tells us the Easter Bunny brings baskets filled with colored eggs, candy, and sometimes even toys to children the night before Easter. Sometimes the baskets might be hidden, and the children have to go and find them. Most likely, that’s how the tradition of the Easter egg hunt began.

But it’s still not about the bunnies.

To those of us who are believers, Easter is about one thing. The resurrection of Jesus Christ. The very name of the holiday may have come from an ancient holiday depicting the rites of spring, or rebirth from the bleakness of winter, but to us, it represents much more than a rebirth of the world. Easter is a celebration of the eternal life we have when we accept Jesus as our Lord and savior. In fact, our belief in the resurrection is the very foundation of our faith.

John 11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

While Jesus was conducting his ministry on earth, He told His disciples what would happen to Him in order to fulfill the ancient scriptures, but of course, they really didn’t believe Him, and even tried to prevent it. Until they saw the truth for themselves.

We have read about the agony of the crucifixion. We have seen it depicted in countless movies and plays, sometimes in such a gruesome manner we have to look away. But the real crucifixion was much more gruesome than can be portrayed in a movie or a play. And our Lord suffered the most horrific pain, so those of us who choose to love Him and call Him Lord will be eternally with Him in heaven, along with all of the others who believed the same.

What a wonderful, unselfish, beautiful story. As wonderful as the Christmas story is, the Easter message is so much better. Because in this story, death is defeated for all time. The baby that was born at Christmas has grown up, became a man who is the son of God himself, and gave His very life to save ours, and has now defeated death itself.

Multitudes saw Him die that day. They saw the lightning and heard the booming thunder when our Lord drew His last earthly breath. They saw his lifeless body taken down from the cross, and many followed the procession to where His body was laid to rest in a tomb, the entrance sealed by a heavy stone and guarded by fierce Roman soldiers.

And on the third day after the crucifixion, just as the ancient prophecies had declared, when the women went to the tomb to anoint His body with spices, “…they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” (Luke 24:2-3)

And an angel was there as well, to remind them, “He is not here, for He has risen, as He said.” (Matthew 28:6).

No, it’s not about the bunnies. They’re cute and cuddly. But the true Easter story isn’t cute and cuddly. It’s real, and it’s brutal. But it’s also the greatest love story that ever took place.

Now, I was brought up believing in the Easter Bunny as well as Santa Claus, and I think I turned out OK. But there are still a lot of parents who don’t think they should let their children believe in such “fairy tales” because they won’t be able to distinguish what’s true and what isn’t as they get older. And they are entitled to their own opinions. But as far as I’m concerned, as long as you also teach your kids the true story behind these holidays, let them enjoy these children’s traditions while they can, because being a child doesn’t last that long! We took our daughter to see the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus every year, until she was old enough to not believe anymore, and we’re doing the same with our granddaughter. It’s fun, and to me, it’s part of our childhood traditions that should be continued.

But we also celebrate and appreciate the true meaning of Easter, so to all of you, from me and my family, have a blessed Easter!

Really, Mother Nature??

The calendar says it’s finally spring. At last! It’s supposed to be warm weather, budding trees, spring flowers. No more heavy coats and sweaters.

No more snow, icy roads, and thawing out the car before we venture out on those treacherous highways.

Right?

Well….there’s a problem, then.

Mother Nature is obviously a bit confused this year. Maybe her calendar is messed up, or she forgot to turn it to the next month. Maybe she’s going through “the change” and forgot to refill her medication. Maybe she’s developed allergies, and is putting off having to breathe in all that pollen for as long as possible.

Maybe she and Old Man Winter had an argument, and he’s refusing to leave. Or they had some kind of bet going that she lost, which means he gets to give us yet another snowfall as a goodbye gift. Ugh.

Whatever is going on, please stop it! We’ve had enough! Our heating bills are out of control. Our snow boots are starting to leak and fall apart.

The birds that had flown south for the winter have canceled their return reservations. The brave “first flowers” of spring that had started poking their little heads up thru the cold ground have started pulling themselves back down to hide where they’re warm and sheltered from this unseasonable weather.

Even our plastic backyard flamingos are demanding I share my electric blanket with them! They’re even drinking hot toddies instead of their favorite frozen margaritas. And that, my friends, is serious!

The birds that came back home early from their Florida “winter” vacation are still their building nests, but this season they’re adding gas fireplaces and heated bird baths. And the backyard squirrels that our dog so loves to chase…well, they’re wearing winter coats and scarves, which really makes it tough to run faster than Benji! Even though he has his winter coat on as well!

Now I know the first few days of spring don’t automatically guarantee immediate temperatures in the high 50’s and 60’s, instead of the 30’s! But we shouldn’t have to be concerned about another thin layer of ice forming on top of the pool now…even the ducks that tried to land on its surface today went looking for ice skates!

So please, Mother Nature. Enough is enough! Don’t you miss those soft warm spring nights, the crickets chirping, the smell of fresh flowers swaying in the breeze? The birds singing on a warm spring morning as they bask in the sunlight?

Whatever is going on in your life, I can help you. Please, tell me, so I can give you advice, and we can work it out.

I can even buy you a new spring wardrobe. Big fresh-flowered hats. Bright colored dresses. New sandals to show off a spring pedicure. Whatever you want. I’ll even throw a fancy tea party in your honor.

Please. Just help out your friends.

We’re all tired of this cold, damp, miserable weather! Tell that Old Man Winter he’s outta here! And we can finally all have the fun we’re waiting for!

Thank you!!!

Now what’s the weather for tomorrow? Is it spring yet?

Family Feud is NOT Just a Game Show

“Name something you’d like to give your mother-in-law for Christmas.”
“A one way ticket to Australia.”

“What’s your favorite thing to do when your in-laws visit?”
“Help them pack to go home.”

“What famous person would you say your father in law reminds you of?”
“Herman Munster!”

“What do you think his/her family says about you?”
“I sure wish he/she had married someone else…anyone else!”

These answers are funny when they’re on a TV game show. We laugh along with the host and the audience, wondering which team will win the big prize.

But when it’s real life, and your real situation, it’s anything but funny.

I’ve written before that when we marry we marry the entire family, not just our spouse. But it’s not always the in-laws who create family disagreements and feuds. Our own families can do that quite well without involving any other families in the mix.

Sure, every family has their issues, and I’m speaking of our extended families, not just husband/wife/children, or divorced families, which is a whole other subject.

We always hear how “blood is thicker than water.” And yes that’s true in some cases, but more and more we hear stories about dysfunctional families and the rifts that certain family members can cause, many of which are never healed. Obviously the blood in that situation has really gotten thin!

And that’s sad. Because everyone misses out. We don’t get to share family stories, and we don’t have those happy holiday get-together memories that the media shows us every season. The ones we envy, and miss, or in some cases, can’t imagine what it would be like.

Some families have never experienced closeness. In fact, you almost wonder how the marriages of some of the members ever produced any children!

My own father’s family, at least the only few members I met were a prime example. I remember asking my dad one time when I was really little if he had any parents, because I’d never met them or even heard him talk about them. My mother quickly shushed me and changed the subject.

The subject never came up again until one day a few months after my father had died. I wasn’t quite 9 years old when a car came driving into our yard on a Sunday afternoon in April, just about three months after my dad had died. And I remember my mother saying “Oh my gosh it’s Mr. and Mrs. Chapman!” I asked her innocently who they were.

“They’re your daddy’s parents. Your other grandparents.”

My who?

Up until that day I’d never known they existed; I’d never heard about them, let alone met them. To this day I don’t even know if they even went to his funeral. As I got older I finally asked my mom what had happened between her and my dad and his parents and the only answer I got was that when they met me for the first time as a baby, they weren’t real thrilled and kept making comments about me that weren’t very nice, and my dad evidently said “enough!” And stopped seeing them.

I thought it was really strange, because my mom’s family was very close, and loving, just the opposite of my dad’s family. But as I got older, I discovered almost every family has those issues to one degree or the other.

One man tells the story of how his mother used to stop speaking to him or one of his brothers or sisters if she got mad with them, and it would go on for weeks until the child apologized! Later when he was going through a nasty divorce he asked her for help, and she stopped having anything to do with him for ten years!

Another family refuses to invite their daughter’s husband to family events because they don’t like him. (They’ve never even tried to get to know him.) She brought him with her a few times and her family was so rude to him she hasn’t gone back. And sadly, now they have a baby, and her parents still haven’t met their new grandson.

Siblings and cousins aren’t immune to these types of threatening conditional love-hate relationships. Perceived slights and insults can separate once loving family members for years, never reconciling because neither side will make the first move; because they’re right and the other is wrong and that’s it!

Family feuds can be started by major events, or little things that, left unchecked, grow into big things. And sadly, most families never recover.

Who loses out? Everyone. But most of all, the next generation who will never have the opportunity to know their relatives; never have a chance to bond and learn family history and exchange family stories. They’re separated not necessarily by miles, but by canyons of anger, pride, and resentment. And building a bridge over those canyons is usually next to impossible.

But we still need to try. As another recently popular saying goes, it’s sad to think that most family reunions are now being held at funeral homes. And then it’s too late.

Feuds and disagreements happen in every family. I don’t know one that’s not been affected at some point in time. And there’s certainly nothing funny about it. That’s only on game shows; not real life.

What’s going on in your family that needs to be changed? Your attempt may fail, and you may not be able to fix it, but what can it hurt to try?

Have You Made Plans for the Rest of Your Life?

It starts today, you know. The rest of your life, that is. It’s all ahead of you.

It’s not just a line from a popular country song. So….have you made your plans?

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. That saying was heard all the time many years ago. And it’s still true. We just don’t seem to think about it much any more. Until someone reminds us.

Maya Angelou sums it up perfectly. “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” How very true. And what a great way to think about each new day we’re blessed with.

Every morning you wake up is the beginning of the rest of your life. A new day. A beautiful day. A wonderful day. A blank canvas to paint the rest of your life on.

What are you going to do with it? What’s it going to look like?

When we’re young, in our 20’s and even early 30’s, thinking about the rest of our life doesn’t even register. We’re invincible. Forever young. Why in the world do we need to make plans for the rest of our life? What’s important is right now. The rest of our life can wait.

And it might. Or it might not.

Many of us plan our careers, go to school to learn our chosen profession. We graduate, and some of us are lucky enough to find that perfect job, the one we’ve worked for, studied for. And we plan the rest of our lives accordingly.

Some of us have no idea of what we want to do. Sometimes we stumble into a job and discover a career we never expected. And plan our lives accordingly. We make plans for our life, at least for the next ten or fifteen years.

Others take a different route; marriage and staying at home to raise children, making that our chosen career, and being really good at it.

But what happens when those plans change, many times through no fault of our own?

Circumstances can change overnight. Businesses close. Jobs are lost. Careers are ended or forced to evolve into something new. Illnesses strike. Marriages dissolve. Spouses pass away unexpectedly.

Suddenly the plans we had for the rest of our life are gone. Unable to work for us anymore.

And suddenly we’re forced to once again make plans for the rest of our life, only now it’s not quite as easy, because we’re not in our 20’s or 30’s any more. We’re at an age where change is far from welcome.

We start thinking that we’re too old to make plans that we can actually carry out. We think no one will want us because we’re not young any more.

That’s just not true. Why can only the young make plans for the rest of their life? After all, the rest of your life can go on for a really long time. And you have to do something with it; use the years of experience you have in a new way.

Many people go back to school when they’re older, either to finish degrees they’d started years ago, or to learn a new career. Many go to a trade school to learn a skill they’ve always wanted to try.

And they use their new knowledge to begin a new career, many times combining skills they’ve learned over the years to put together a whole new package. A whole new rest of their life.

Yes, it can be scary. But it can also be exciting! You say the world left you behind and you have no hope for a future? Well, when you wake up tomorrow morning there’s a whole world out there waking up as well, and there’s a whole new future awaiting you. One that only you can make happen.

You just have to realize that. Accept it as a fact. And start making plans for the rest of your life.

You’re only limited by the limitations you put on yourself.

And you can’t let discouragement keep you from fulfilling those plans. Great futures are only great because someone kept on trying, even when they failed time after time. Because that last time they tried, they succeeded.

Every day I wake up to is a start to the rest of my life. And I’ve still not begun to do all the things I want to do.

Yes, I’m older, in my later sixties. And that didn’t stop me from finding a new job a few years ago that I totally enjoy. I’m certainly not ready to retire. I have too much I want to accomplish.

I’ve written one book, and plan to write another. I’ve always wanted to draw, and while I’m not very good at it, at least right now, one of these days I’m going to take lessons so I can not only write, but also illustrate children’s books for our grandchildren.

I’d like to re-open my Etsy shop and begin selling my diaper and bridal shower “cakes” again.

I’d like to sit down, dust off my music, and start playing my piano again, and re-learn the skills that I’m sure are only resting, and not lost.

Maybe I’ll even take the property management and leasing skills I’ve learned over my years in real estate and try to teach a class or two at the local community college.

And eventually my husband and I can sell our current house, and buy a little beach house that we’ll decorate with beach stuff and flamingos, and spend our remaining years enjoying the salt air and the sound of waves breaking onto the sand, playing with our dogs and our grandchildren.

Every day we should be making plans for the rest of our life, no matter how long or how short we think it may be.

I don’t want to waste a minute of the time I have…the rest of my life. Yes I’ve made plans, and plans can and do change, but without them, without something to look forward to, how do we get through each of our days?

Have you made plans for the rest of your life? What are they? I’ve told you mine, now what are yours?

When Worry Consumes Your Life

Who, me worry?

Yes, as a matter of fact. We all worry at times. Some of us more than others. But no one is immune.

And sometimes that worry may be justified, especially if it’s over something we cannot control. Or about someone we love who may be making bad decisions, or may be very ill.

But when worry takes over your mind, consumes almost your every thought, prevents you from enjoying anything about your life, that’s a big problem.

Worry can keep you awake at night, laying in bed while your mind runs wild in every direction with every worrisome thought you can imagine. Small worries turn into bigger than life problems as your thoughts take you to places and circumstances that don’t even exist…except in your mind.

Worry can consume you to the point of becoming physically ill. You’re so focused on not knowing how you’re going to fix something in your life, that you don’t eat properly, which in turn makes you ill. You worry so much that you develop headaches that last for days, and then worry that the headaches could be a warning of something else wrong in your life.

Or you dwell on a specific problem you have for so long that you can’t find a solution for it, because all you’re doing is concentrating on the problem itself and not doing anything to find a way to solve it. Your friends or family offer their advice, but all you can think about is why their suggestions won’t work…without even giving them a try.

Or you concentrate so much on that problem, on various scenarios that could happen, your mind runs away with you to the point that every solution has a disastrous ending. In fact, you convince yourself that not matter what you do, that problem is going to have a very unhappy ending. And suddenly your worry becomes a paralyzing fear.

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you done this? Or maybe you’re doing it now. Or someone you care about is doing it.

Worrying is a natural thing to do when circumstances in your life start to go wrong. But how you deal with those circumstances makes all the difference in how quickly the circumstances can change.

Worry doesn’t make the problem go away. It only escalates it to a higher level. And it solves nothing.
But what do you do?

Instead of continuing to dwell on how bad, how bleak your situation is, and worrying that it won’t get better, start focusing on ways to fix it. Make plans that can help you make the problem go away, or at least become easier to deal with in the interim.

Worrying about your situation never solves your problem. Neither does ignoring it. It never makes it easier to deal with. And instead of making it go away, it becomes larger and larger, until you feel like you’ll never get ahead again…you’ll never get out of the situation you’re in.

And guess what!? Your situation won’t change, and you’ll be stuck in your circumstances, wondering why everyone else is doing so well while you’re barely hanging on.

Worry can suction the very life out of you if you let it.

So what do you do?

It’s easy to say stop worrying, but that’s easier said than done.

You simply have to start finding solutions to your situation. That’s not always easy either, but it’s the only way out. Many times the short term solutions are the only way, and even though you may not like that short term solution, it may be the only solution available for now. It’s a start, at least.

But “now” doesn’t mean forever. It means just that…for now. In six months or a year that “now” may be gone, and a permanent solution found. One that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t taken the temporary solution.

You’ll notice up to now I haven’t mentioned any of those specific worries you may be burdened with. There are all the big ones, like losing a job, an unwanted or unforeseen divorce, having to quickly find a new place to live, facing a serious medical diagnosis, paying medical bills for a prolonged illness…and the list could go on.

Sometimes the situations we worry about have no good solutions, but instead of doing nothing but worrying about them, we have to make plans on how to deal with them. You may want the problem to go away, but sometimes you can only find ways to deal with it rather than solve it, because there really may be no real solution.

But worrying is not a solution. And neither is ignoring it. Because chances are, that problem won’t go away, but it sure can grow!

What are you worrying about today?

What are you going to do to solve that problem you’re worrying about?

Or are you going to keep worrying and not do anything about it until it’s almost too late?

Only you can make that decision. But make it now before it’s too late.

Falling in Love…With Falling in Love

Is it love or the idea of being in love? Yes, there’s a big difference. And it’s one many people get confused.

“I met this great guy a few weeks ago, and I can’t help it! I’m already in love with him! He’s everything I ever wanted!”

A few weeks ago? You haven’t even had time to get to know him. You may think you do, but do you really? You may know his favorite color, his favorite tv show, his favorite food. But do you know who he is inside, under that list of favorites?

“I know we’ve only been seeing each other for a month, but I KNOW this is it! His last name sounds so perfect with my first name! He has a great smile, and we look so good together! Life is going to be so perfect!”

And then another month later, “I don’t understand. I finally couldn’t take it any more, and I told him I loved him. He didn’t say it back…instead he told me I was a good person, and a lot of fun to be with, but he wasn’t in love with me. In fact, he said he wanted to start seeing other women as well. What I thought was going to be the best night of my life so far…it was the worst. I’m devastated. My life is ruined….”

It’s not just limited to women either. Men do the same thing.

“I met her and it was instant attraction. I mean really, really strong. We were together 4-5 nights a week. We’d talked about moving in together when my lease was up. And then after two months…nothing. She said she just didn’t want a full time relationship. So I took the ring back I’d bought her… I won’t make that mistake again.”

Until the next woman comes along.

There’s a difference in falling in love…being in love, and being in love with the idea of being in love.

When we’re lonesome, tired of being alone, it’s really easy to imagine that we’re falling in love with the first person who starts paying a lot of attention to us.

And we overlook things we shouldn’t overlook. We put warning signs out of our mind.

They’ll change, we think.

It’s not that big a deal, we think.

That was in another relationship; ours is totally different.

Because we’re in love. And we’re surprised how quickly we fell in love. No, he/she isn’t perfect, but none of us are. We overlook all the little criticisms he/she makes. The times he/she is inconsiderate of our feelings, and we just go along for fear of angering him/her and risking losing the person we know we’re in love with.

But how do they feel? Are our feelings reciprocated? Are we afraid to find out? Why?

Is it because we’re in love with the idea of being in love? And not necessarily the person we’re with? Or want to be with?

It’s human nature to want someone to love us, and someone for us to love. We dream of that perfect relationship of happily ever after.

We love the idea of being in love.

And sometimes we try to make every person we begin to date be the one we fall in love with. Because we’re afraid no one else is going to come along.

The idea of being in love is only the first step to actually BEING in love. There are a lot more steps ahead that you both need to take in order to realize you actually love each other.

Love is commitment. Love is caring more about the other person than yourself. Love is a deep knowing in your heart that no matter what happens to him/her you’ll still be there, and vice versa. Love is accepting each other with every fault, every irritation, every piece of baggage that comes with him/her from past relationships. Love is not jealous. Love is not conditional. Love cannot be turned on and off like a water faucet.

True love takes time to develop. It is born into infancy and needs to take time to grow into that feeling which can develop into a lasting commitment, a lasting relationship.

Like a fire, it always starts with a tiny spark. Without that spark, it’s almost impossible for true love to develop and grow. And that true, lasting love requires two sparks; one for each of you. How the fire develops from those sparks, no one can really predict.

When we’re in love with the idea of being in love, it takes awhile to get that spark, if we ever really do. Sometimes we imagine we have it, just to convince ourselves we’re in love. But the spark never really takes hold; we imagine our future with him/her, but we imagine in our minds we just can’t seem to recreate in reality.

And if that’s what you find yourself doing, then you’re only in love with the idea of being in love; not the person you’re seeing.

So which is it? Are you really in love with that person? Can you imagine a happy future with them in ten or fifteen years? Or do you find yourself wondering if you’re trying to love someone who’s really not trying to love you?

The idea of being in love is wonderful; it’s easy to imagine. Being in love, and staying in love, is much harder.

But much more rewarding. And worth waiting for.

How You Treat Others is a True Reflection of Who You Are

“Don’t talk the talk if you don’t walk the walk.”

How many times have you heard that?

How many times do we all profess our love and concern for others…and then demonstrate it by acting just the opposite?

We’re all guilty, you know. We all know better, and we all eventually end up doing or saying something we instantly regret and then smacking our head in disbelief? How could we have done that?

Easy. We’re all human. We’re not perfect. But most of us try not to make those mistakes a second time.

The bigger problem comes when we repeat that same mistake over and over.

Or when we’re so oblivious, or arrogant, that we just don’t realize, or care, what we’re doing, or how we come across to others.

And yes, I’m about to step on some toes. My own as well as other people’s.

Our public figures are guilty of this, saying one thing, and many times denouncing or condemning others for doing something wrong, then being caught doing the same thing themselves. Or even worse, publicly making fun of other people in such a way as to not only be rude, but offensive and bullying. Then becoming upset if someone does the same to them.

And how many of us, especially our youth, see this happening and think it’s ok because of the stature of the persons doing it?

How you treat others is a true reflection of who you really are.

We all know people who make it a point to tell everyone they meet how they can’t stand people who gossip about others; they can’t stand people who have no empathy or patience for the misfortunes of others; or people who are constantly bragging about their own self-worth.

Then, before you know it, those same people are talking trash about someone you know, or making fun of someone else who has an obvious disability. Just a joke, they say.

But not to the people they’re making fun of.

How you treat others is a true reflection of who you really are.

And unfortunately, many times I see this happen from people who profess to be Christians; who say they love everyone, and treat everyone the same.

But they don’t. Just like almost everyone else.

They can quote scripture like you wouldn’t believe. They use it to talk to others and give advice. And sometimes if that advice isn’t followed, or if the person wants to question or debate what is said, they’re turned away, ignored, dismissed, by the very people who profess to love and care for everyone.

They can be quick to show themselves to the world as being totally in tune with God on an hourly basis, and take every opportunity to preach their faith to others, but privately scorn anyone who doesn’t agree with them, or those who don’t live their lives the way they think they should.

Until a family member or close friend does the same thing, and then it’s a different story. Or, they hide their own private lives and indiscretions, thinking no one will ever find out because of how good they show the world they are. And if someone calls them out on it, they always have a convenient excuse to explain their reasons.

Being a Christian doesn’t make you perfect, either, especially if you use your faith as a weapon against others.

How you treat others is a true reflection of who you really are.

I am not perfect. I have done many of these same things, and deeply regret them. I have no right to judge someone else’s motives or second guess where their hearts are coming from.

Just as others have no right to second guess mine.

I am a work in progress, and I am certainly trying to be the best person I can be; to
live my life in a way that is pleasing to God as well as my friends and family. And I know I don’t always succeed.

But I still try.

How I treat others is a true reflection of who I really am. And I don’t always like that reflection. But I’m working on it.

Are you who you profess to be in public, or are you someone else you really don’t want anyone else to see?

Only you can answer that question.

Does how you treat others reflect who you think you are?

Who Do You Listen To?

She had a great job offer. Everything she’d wanted. A good salary and excellent benefits. A company car. The chance to do something she knew she was good at, and the opportunity to travel while doing it.

What to do? It required moving two hours away, to a city she’d only visited but always wanted to live in. But she didn’t know anyone there. Recently divorced, she wanted a change in her life, but she was hesitant. What if she didn’t like it? What if she couldn’t do the job? What if she didn’t make new friends right away? What if…?

So she asked her friends. Some said go for it. Take the chance. You can come back and visit, and we’ll come see you. Some said “it’s an opportunity you can’t pass up.” They encouraged her.
Then there were the others.

“You don’t know anyone there, and you’ll be alone.”

“It’ll take a long time to make friends you can trust. Especially men. You’ll have to be so careful. There won’t be anyone you can turn to if you need something.”

“You won’t know your way around, and you’ll be so far away. Why do you want to take such a chance anyway?”

“What if it doesn’t work out? What if you don’t like it or the company decides you’re really not right for that position and they let you go? Then where will you be?” (Wow, talk about a pessimistic attitude!)

So what did she do?

Who did she listen to?

Or did she follow her heart?

Many times we’re faced with decisions we really don’t want to make. Or we think we know what decision to make until we mention it to friends who give us all the reasons we’re totally wrong in that decision. And suddenly we’re doubting ourselves to the point we don’t know what to do or which way to turn.

And an opportunity to make a change in our life flies out the window, and is given to someone else, because we’re afraid to make a decision on our own.

Maybe we’ve made bad decisions in the past and are afraid it’ll happen again.

Maybe others have adamantly told us many times what we should or shouldn’t do; actually scared us to the point where we didn’t trust our own instincts, our own decisions and began second guessing everything, to the point of not being able to make any decisions. Why? Because we’re either afraid of making the wrong one, or angering those other people who delight in telling us what to do. And all the time.

It’s certainly a good idea at times to run important decisions by other people, just to get other opinions. This is especially true if you’re married, because certain important decisions which impact the entire family need to be made as a family.

But when it’s a decision that impacts only you, what do you do? Do you trust your instincts, your reasoning ability? Certainly talking to friends about it is good, to get other ideas. But your friends and co-workers aren’t going through the same exact things you are; they aren’t in your position. They may even secretly be a bit jealous of the opportunity you have and want to talk you out of it for their own selfish motives.

But….in the end, you are the only one who can make that final decision. You have to not only follow your instincts, but your heart as well, after you’ve combined the two, and thought carefully about it. Even imagined yourself in the situation you’re considering.

So who will you listen to?

Just remember…you’re the one who will have to live with the outcome of your decision; not the ones who tell you what to do.

It’s your decision.