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Dr. Don's 365 Reflections On Other People's Wisdom

(based upon his book How To Put Your Whole Self In)

October 30 — I've been thinking about this:

October 30 "Nothing is worth your unhappiness; not because the awful and ugly don't happen, but because there's always more of the really good stuff." (Mike Dooley)

My Reflection: The quote might be incorrect because it seems that there are approximately equal amounts of the "awful and ugly stuff" and the "really good stuff." The "awful and ugly" can no longer drag me down, however. I feel I will never again be unhappy, as long as I can define "happy" in such a way as to permit me to do such things as to grieve deeply and to "mourn with those who mourn."
"Happy" really is capable of such a definition, though perhaps "joy" is the right word in that case.

October 29 — I've been thinking about this:

"You always do what you want to do.
This is true with every act. You may say that you had to do something, or that you were forced to, but actually, whatever you do, you do by choice.
Only you have the power to choose for yourself." (W. Clement Stone)
My Reflection: Compulsive behaviors sometimes force each of us into doing things against our better judgment, but for the most part the quote is absolutely true. And since it is true, then today we might as well make those choices that will enable us to be good for ourselves, good for others, and good for Heaven's sake.

October 28 — I've been thinking about this:

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." (Victor Frankl)
My Reflection: Victor Frankl came to the insight in the midst of the horrors of a Nazi camp; death and destruction surrounded him. He was tormented physically and mentally by his captors. But he realized that at the depths of his spirit there remained an inviolate space in which his freedom to choose the nature of his response remained unaffected by his brutal and desperate circumstances.

October 27 — I've been thinking about this:

"The man who questions opinions is wise. The man who quarrels with facts is a fool." (Frank Garbutt)
My Reflection: For years I avoided the wisdom found in this quote, messing around with religious teachings and personal views that I knew in my heart were not based upon facts. I question opinions all the time but now accept actual facts without reservation, no matter how uncomfortable they are or how poorly they might fit it with comfortable preconceptions to which I have been clinging.

October 26 — I've been thinking about this:

"Dignity really means that I deserve the best treatment I can receive. And that I have the responsibility to give the best treatment I can to other people." (Maya Angelou)
My Reflection: Angelo's wonderful definition permits me to be the recipient of own self-respect as well as bestowing it on others. As long as I can prevent my own dignity from slipping into any sense of entitlement, this ongoing act of receiving and bestowing will always enrich my relationships with others through the "best treatment" that I am giving and receive.

October 25 — I've been thinking about this:

"Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves." (Dale Carnegie)
My Reflection: Sometimes I waste time but I'm getting better at focusing on the "little jobs," especially those that are important to the "big ones" having to do with relationships. I will never stop bringing coffee to my wife in the morning; I will always give a ride to the airport to anyone who requests one.

October 24 — I've been thinking about this:

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.'" (Phil. 2:14‑15)
My Reflection: I've got the 'without grumbling' part down cold, and I'm making some progress with the no arguing part. Such progress is good because the passage maintains that not grumbling and not arguing are the ways I become one of God's children.

October 23 — I've been thinking about this:

"Be excellent to each other." (Theodore 'Ted' Logan)
My Reflection: The iconic phrase from the 1989 blockbuster Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure contains more spiritual power and life-changing guidance than sermons and books by countless preachers and theologians who failed to miss the importance of that directive. I'm trying to "Be excellent to everyone." I can't imagine why everyone doesn't try.

October 22 — I've been thinking about this:

"Listening is the way. Listening is the beginning of all progress." (Bryant H. McGill)
My Reflection: See what happens when you practice the principle of not responding to every comment by attempting to add some opinion or additional comment of your own. It is far better, in many cases, to follow a comment with a thoughtful question or to restate the point to show the speaker you were listening — or simply to be quiet for a few moments and simply allow the point of the comment to sink In.
Just imagine how you feel if people listened to you like that.

October 21 — I've been thinking about this:

Make lists of things you love — and never complain about anything.... It is not your job to transform the world for others — but it is your job to transform it for you. (Esther Hicks)
My Reflection: Avoiding any pressure to change the world is liberating

October 20 — I've been thinking about this:

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for — in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it." (Ellen  Goodman)
My Reflection: Materialism is an amazingly dysfunctional lifestyle. Better to live on the edge of poverty than to endure this sort of mindless "normality."

October 19 — I've been thinking about this:

"Let us be the first to give a friendly sign; to nod first, smile first, speak first, and — if such a thing is necessary — forgive first."
My Reflection: I pray every day that I might be a blessing to everyone I meet. I'm glad to "be the first" with anything that can bring joy, comfort, peace, or simply a bright moment to anybody! Doing so is the surest way to elevate my own spirit.

October 18 — I've been thinking about this:

"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it!" (Jonathan Winters)
My Reflection: Years ago, when my daughter was only a teenager, told me, "Daddy, your ship is never going to come in because you never sent it out." I thought that was a really intelligent (if troubling) bon mot. The fact is, you have to plant some seed to reap any harvest of success. I'm planting these day; I've got a few "ships" out there. I'm filled with cheerful hopefulness, which I think is the best part of life, anyway

October 17 — I've been thinking about this:

"I've decided to be happy because it's good for my health." (Voltaire)
My Reflection: Attitude affects everything! I refuse to choose anything but happiness. Why not? What possible reason could I have for making any other choice?

October 16 — I've been thinking about this:

"If You Have a Choice, Don't Choose to Be Hurt." (Marianne Powers)
My Reflection: You have no ultimate control over whether people will hurt you or not, but you have total control over whether or not you will permit yourself to become victimized by the pain. Choose a path of indomitable joy! Why not? Pain may inevitable but suffering is a choice so I choose not to suffer, no matter how great the pain; not to be hurt, no matter how great the offense.

October 15 — I've been thinking about this:

"A winner loses more often than losers." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: Ty Cobb had the highest career batting average ever recorded by a major league ballplayer, 366. That means that he struck out, or "lost," nearly two thirds of all his appearances at the plate, which was many more times than a second-string player sitting on the bench. In life as in baseball, it isn't the number of strikeouts that count, but the number of times you stand up to the plate and take your swings.

Archive

October 14 — I've been thinking about this:

"Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude. I like fun." (Colleen C. Barrett)
My Reflection: "I like fun" as well and, therefore, will attack my work with enthusiasm and good cheer. Why not? What earthly reason could people give for not enjoying all parts of life? I'm becoming an evangelist for the reality that you can take control of attitudes rather than permitting them to control you.

October 13 — I've been thinking about this:

"If anyone would like to acquire humility..., the first step is to realize that one is proud.... Nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed." (C.S. Lewis)
My Reflection: Any claim by an individual to greatness points to a withered and scrawny spirit. The greatest among us never claimed greatness for themselves. "I claim not to have controlled events," Lincoln said, "but confess plainly that events have controlled me." If I ever achieve greatness at any level it will be a disaster to imagine that I have done so.

October 12 — I've been thinking about this:

"Show people you CARE:
Communicate
Apprciate
Respect
Encourage." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: Life becomes beautiful when, in fact, I really do show people I care for them in these four ways. I imagine it is a God-thing that I am, in fact, able to show them I care with enthusiasm, sincerity, and genuine love.

October 11 — I've been thinking about this:

"You are what you are and where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind." (Zig Ziglar)
My Reflection: Ziglar's insight is wonderfully hopeful because it means that we no longer have to be stuck "playing the hand" that DNA and circumstances have dealt us. By filling our heads with positive thoughts, our hearts with positive emotions, and our minds with positive intentions, we can change where we are to where we want to be and who we are to the person we wish to become.
(And that's just what I'm doing!)

October 10 — I've been thinking about this:

"Good people give you Happiness. Bad people give you experience. Worst people give you a lesson & best people give you memories." (Wisdom Quotes & Stories)
My Reflection: Far from merely suppressing negative emotions, we can actually replace them with heart-felt gratitude for the fact that the most wretched person we know provides opportunities to exercise such important qualities as grace and humility.

October 9 — I've been thinking about this:

"Cutting people out of my life does not mean I hate them, it simply means I respect me." (Wisdom Quotes & Stories)
My Reflection: I love everyone and, I suppose, I have to love some of them from a distance. But I don't cut anyone out. I memorized Edward Markam's great poem since I was a young boy — decades before I learned how to actually do that in real life:
"He drew a circle that shut me out —
     Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
     We drew a circle and took him in. "

October 8 — I've been thinking about this:

"Everyone wants what they can't have. But if you begin to love what you have, you won't need anything else." (Wisdom Quotes & Stories)
My Reflection: An attitude of gratitude prevents us from wishing for a more expensive car, a nicer house, or a more well-equipped office, which frees mind and heart from the materialism that would distract us from focusing on things that actually matter.

October 7 — I've been thinking about this:

"You can build any future you want if you let yourself grow, have faith in your dreams or visions, and become open to new ideas." (John F. Wasik)
My Reflection: I hardly ever succumb to the temptation to doubt whether my "dreams and visions" will ever be built, though sometimes there might seem good cause for the doubt. The act of building makes the trip beautiful.

October 6 — I've been thinking about this:

"Say to those that hate and curse you, 'You are our brothers and sisters.'" (Theophilus of Antioch)
My Reflection: This ancient churchman caught a quality of faith that is too often missed by Christian doctrine and practice. Nevertheless, achieving this level of godliness will expunge from our hearts the dark emotions of hatred, malice, and animosity that reduce our ability to joyfully embrace the world and all of life.

October 5 — I've been thinking about this:

"You don't have to attend every argument you are invited to." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: In fact, I'm going to begin turning down all of these invitations, unless the argument provides an opportunity for friendly sparring and sharing of ideas or of presenting one's views to people who are actually willing to be instructed.
Otherwise, what's the point? (There is no point.)

October 4 — I've been thinking about this:

"A propensity to hope and joy is real riches; one to fear and sorrow real poverty."
(Hume)
My Reflection: Hume's profound observation fills me with humble gratitude for the "riches" of hope and joy that continually flood my days and even moments. I am humble; the "propensity" is a gift that I've embraced.

October 3 — I've been thinking about this:

"Motivation is what gets you started.
     Habit is what keeps you going." (Jim Ryun)
My Reflection: Motivation that fails to encourage habitual changes in conduct will fail to have any lasting effect. We must be continually motivated to actually remain good for others and good for Heaven's sake.

October 2 — I've been thinking about this:

"True love isn't Romeo and Juliet who died together. It's Grandma and Grandpa who grew old together." (Wisdom Quotes & Stories)
My Reflection: The quote is a ringing assertion of a brilliant truth. True love will never let go; never turn away; never give up. It is the type of love that my wife Rae has for me (however grumpy she might get about my foolishness).

October 1 — I've been thinking about this:

"When someone is rude, keep a smile on your face. When you stay on the high road and keep your joy, you take away their power." (Wisdom Quotes & Stories)
My Reflection: Wise advice! It takes two people to be ugly with each other; I am determined to not react to an insult, but not even to recognize the insult when it comes. What would be the point?

September 30 — I've been thinking about this:

"The less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people, the more peaceful your life will become."
(Wisdom Quotes & Stories)
My Reflection: Not responding to negative vibrations that anybody sends out, neither outwardly nor (especially) in my spirit, is an effective way of maintaining the "peaceful life" that the quote talks about. Better than this, however, is to find opportunity of somehow blessing "rude, critical, argumentative" people. They probably don't deserve kindness and gentleness, which makes it even more an act of grace to try to extend those gentle qualities to them.

September 29 — I've been thinking about this:

"Life is really about a spiritual unfolding that is personal and enchanting — an unfolding that no science or philosophy or religion has yet fully clarified." (James Redfield)
My Reflection: The quote exactly captures the nature of my own journey inward. I've discovered that the Real World continually breaks through the confines of my dogmas, beliefs, and assumptions. Life is a mystery, but a glorious one because of the continual evidence I find for the truth that "...behind the dim unknown stands our God within the shadows keeping watch above His own," as Master Lowell said.

September 28 — I've been thinking about this:

"To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out." (Roger Ebert)
My Reflection: For a long time I made the people around me and especially myself "less happy" because I hadn't yet learned that it was "criminal" to do so. But it really is! I don't always help bring joy to everyone I meet, but my intention is to do so. Why wouldn't I? I appreciate it when others try to lift my spirits and make me joyful, so it's the Golden Rule thing again.

September 27 — I've been thinking about this:

"A Puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things." (G.K. Chesterton)
My Reflection: I was raised among people with a Puritan attitude towards life and have to admit that we tended to measure righteousness by our indignation at things like not attending church or attending the theater. We were not indignant about gossip nor about the judgmental attitudes that separated us from real fellowship with those very neighbors whom Jesus commanded us to love. We become positive change agents through joyful attitudes and love that is truly unconditional.

These days I'm "pouring indignation" about the enduring traces of Puritan arrogance and the ease with which we neglect the very qualities of serenity, joyfulness, and love that the Bible maintained were fundamental to everything else.

September 26 — I've been thinking about this:

"One of the happiest moments in your life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can't change." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: We can experience happy moments continually by simply getting into the habit of never getting upset by anything that we can't help anyway.

September 25 — I've been thinking about this:

"We struggle for the joy that life is haunted by." (Death In June)
My Reflection: Happiness will overflow into anyone's life who will simply permit it to come rushing in. With practice, the habit of such permitting will eventually produce an inexhaustible lifetime supply of joy.

September 24 — I've been thinking about this:

"Friends are the family we choose for ourselves." (Edna Buchanan)
My Reflection: Most of us are surrounded by brothers and sisters who carry none of our DNA.
"There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother," the Bible says. Right! A bunch of friends, actually — many of them far closer to us than our own siblings.

September 23 — I've been thinking about this:

"Nobody is who they are based upon one decision, one day, one path, one chance, one relationship, or one anything else.
    "Every day is brand new and opportunity never stops knocking." (Mike Dooley)
My Reflection: A great philosophy to follow, and one that I intend to live by forever.

September 22 — I've been thinking about this:

"All life is an experiment.
          The more experiments you make the better." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
My Reflection: I am continually starting off in different directions. It's a wonderful way to live! Life becomes like a happy laboratory where I can keep trying things out.

September 21 — I've been thinking about this:

"Be positive! It's not about who hurt you and broke you down. It's about who was always there and made you smile again!" (Wisdom Quotes & Stories)
My Reflection: My life is filled with amazing human beings who by their presence continually lift me up and make me "smile again." I don't pay attention to hurtful and malicious human beings. I usually don't even know who they are; they don't register on my life screens.

September 20 — I've been thinking about this:

"We always weaken everything we exaggerate." (La  Harpe)
My Reflection: Exaggeration can be an effective teaching tool; even the Bible uses it for that purpose. But overstatement should be used sparingly, as a savory spice. Otherwise, as the quote said, exaggeration will only diminish whatever point I'm making. A little salt enables us to eat a boiled egg with enjoyment; a tablespoon of salt makes us dump the egg into the garbage disposal with relief.

September 19 — I've been thinking about this:

"There are no miracles for those that have no faith in them." (French Proverb)
My Reflection: The quote is an echo of Jesus' teaching, "Without faith you can accomplish nothing." The kind of faith that is being spoken about seems effortless to me these days. After all, what is the alternative?

September 18 — I've been thinking about this:

"My body sometimes feels sore, but it works. I don't sleep well most nights, but I do wake up to fight another day. My wallet is not full, but my stomach is. I don't have all the things I ever wanted, but I do have everything I will ever need. My Life is by no means perfect, but it's my life and I'm happy."(Anonymous)
My Reflection: I decided a few years ago that I might as well be continually filled with joy. We are in the hands of a benevolent God; all is well. Whatever comes to me — whether illness, poverty, or loss — is no more than better people than I have had to face and have come through with joy that has been enhanced by the struggles and suffering.

September 17 — I've been thinking about this:

"Today me will live in the moment unless it's unpleasant in which case me will eat a cookie." (Cookie Monster)
My Reflection: In an old story, a young boy named David saw the words on a sun dial, "I count no hours but sunny ones." and instantly realized that he had discovered a philosophy for living life on a high level.
     The Cookie Monster's philosophy has become mine. Worse case, "Me will eat a cookie" too.

September 16 — I've been thinking about this:

"There are two kinds of people in the world givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better." (Marlo Thomas)
My Reflection: Acts of genuine giving are often rewarded by good things "pressed down, shaken together, and running over," as the Bible promised. But even when there is no outward reward, the act was still worthwhile because acts of kindness and generosity are their own reward.

September 15 — I've been thinking about this:

"One of the happiest moments ever, is when you find the courage to let go of what you can't change." (Wisdom Quotes & Stories)
My Reflection: By not hanging on to things for too long or struggling to keep working when the time for useful effort has passed, we will enjoy finally laying down that useless weight and moving on with a light spirit.

September 14 — I've been thinking about this:

"The ones who love you will never leave you. Even if there are hundred reasons to give up, they will find one reason to hold on." (Wisdom Quotes & Stories)
My Reflection: Stability is a necessary mark of true love. People who I thought were close friends have turned their backs on me, but there is a group of people who would continue to remain at my side me no matter how tiresome I became or how dysfunctional my behavior.

September 13 — I've been thinking about this:

"We can complain a rose bush has thorns or rejoice that a thorn bush has roses." (Abraham Lincoln)
My Reflection: The quote is a lovely reworking of the glass-half-full-half-empty analogy. The thorns that cut and tear in difficult circumstances often bear beautiful flowers of blessings. Very often, the sharper and more awful the thorns, the greater the subsequent blessing. I have no theory about how that happens, but it happens continually.

September 12 — I've been thinking about this:

"Be happy when God answers your prayers, but be more Thankful when God makes you the answer to someone else's prayer." (Wisdom Quotes & Stories)
My Reflection: I've stopped praying for myself. I give myself continually in the hands of God and then enthusiastically embrace whatever difficulties or blessings come into my life. On the other hand, I continually pray that Heaven will make me a blessing to everyone I meet and am thankful for any comfort, encouragement, or even laughter I can share with another person.

September 11 — I've been thinking about this:

"The beloved of the Almighty are: the rich who have the humility of the poor, and the poor who have the magnanimity of the rich. (Saadi)
My Reflection: I'm delighted by the transposition in these verses. Wealth mixed with humility and poverty with a generous spirit are two of the world's great combinations.

September 10 — I've been thinking about this:

"The real trick for confronting boredom is to ask more questions. For tackling loneliness, it's to take more action.
And for easing sadness, it's to think more of others.
     "Then we dance!" (Mike Dooley)
My Reflection: I can't remember the last time I was bored. I've discovered that being curious, working hard on worthwhile projects, and focusing my life on serving others really does put a spring in my step. I'm dancing through life these days.

September 9 — I've been thinking about this:

A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not be endured with patient resignation." (Bertrand Russell)
My Reflection: There is a distinct difference between liking someone and loving them, but it should be difficult to do one without the other. If I really love you, I will be kind to you, respect you, honor your strengths, and forgive your weakness. It is hard to do those things sincerely without coming to be fond of you. I find it nearly impossible to truly love people without coming to like them, as well.

September 8 — I've been thinking about this:

"It is possible to walk through the darkness without walking in the darkness." (Oswald Chambers)
My Reflection: Chambers makes a powerful distinction in the quote. We can't help coming into contact with dark forces and terrible circumstances. We can draw on the strength of Heaven, however, and never allow the darkness to victimize us. "He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world." That's true!

September 7 — I've been thinking about this:

"Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there." (Annie Dillard)
My Reflection: "Beauty and grace" have been surging about me throughout my whole life. However, only during the past decade or so have I been lifting up my head and opening my eyes in order to actually "be there," to receive them.

September 6 — I've been thinking about this:

"When you are down to nothing, God is up to something." (Robert A. Schiller)
My Reflection: The greatest testimonies in the world are from those who have gone or are still going — through troubled times. We have the blessing of God's presence and that presence is all we need.

September 5 — I've been thinking about this:

"To be upset over what you don't have is to waste what you do have." (Ken S. Keyes, Jr.)
My Reflection: It would be great to be wealthy so that I could be in a position to help others, but I frankly can't think of a thing I am longing to purchase. Being happy with what I have is a great blessing; I'm not wasting any of it by wishing for more or better.

September 4 — I've been thinking about this:

"Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work." (Aristotle)
My Reflection: I find work to be as satisfying as play. The enjoyment comes from the fact that I feel I am doing something good and something I am good at. As a bonus, the pleasure I take from my work enables me to do it even better.

September 3 — I've been thinking about this:

"I admire those people who can stay calm in spite of too much pain. But, I love those who cry for a while, but after the tears have fallen, you'll see a real fighter the moment they start to smile." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: Real bravery isn't fearlessness but it is the strength to work through fear. Courage isn't the minimizing of pain and loss but is the display of valor when someone goes through hell but then keeps going.

September 2 — I've been thinking about this:

"It is no use to grumble and complain; It's just as cheap and easy to rejoice; When God sorts out the weather and sends rain — Why, rain's my choice." (James Whitcomb Riley)
My Reflection: I absolutely agree with the quote. Years ago I decided that an old piece of common wisdom, "What cannot be changed must be endured," was too weak, and changed it to "What cannot be changed must be enjoyed." I don't "endure" anything these days. I find ways to enjoy even the blows and buffets that are sent my way.

September 1 — I've been thinking about this:

"Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.... It is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change." (Brene Brown)
My Reflection: The quote is a recap of St. Paul's assertion, "When I am weak; then I am strong." We can provide far more genuine help and encouragement for others when we operate out of our weakness than out of our strength. I know that's true because I receive more real help from another swimmer battling the currents with me than from anyone standing safely on the bank and attempting to throw me a lifeline.

August 31 — I've been thinking about this:

"The proper function of man is to live, not exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." (Jack London)
My Reflection: Jack London died when he was only 40 years old. He apparently would never regard his death as the life-cut-short tragedy that the rest of the world thought it to be. He lived life to the full; 40 years was enough. I'm well into the bonus rounds of my life. If I die tomorrow, it will be enough. (Nevertheless, I would like to live to be 100 just to see what happens next.)

August 30 — I've been thinking about this:

"Blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort." (Brene Brown)
My Reflection: Blame is nothing more than an attempt to discharge pain and discomfort — and an ineffective one, at that. In normal social relationships, blaming another actually increases the levels of "pain and discomfort" because the act of establishing blame diminishes or even destroys the possibility of blessing the person and of receiving any blessing.

August 29 — I've been thinking about this:

"God made the world for the delight of human beings." (Mother Theresa)
My Reflection: I find gratitude and worship to be more satisfying responses to flaming sunsets or roaring thunderstorms than to any dogma or philosophical position.

August 28 — I've been thinking about this:

"If you are right, take the humble side — you will help the other fellow. If you are wrong, take the humble side — and you will help yourself." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: I've learned that humility never has a downside. Arrogant people suppose that they get recognized only by always appearing to be in the right. But the fact is that when they run over their opposition, whether by force of argument or fact, the rush they might receive is of no account whatsoever in building and maintaining relationships — quite the opposite, in fact. Arrogance diminishes us all; humility helps everyone.

August 27 — I've been thinking about this:

"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." (Samuel Johnson)
My Reflection: Fortunately, new habits can sometimes drive out the old. If we get in the habit of trying always to be a good influence with everyone, for example, that alone will help push away any habit of becoming inappropriately grouchy or irritated. (But it isn't easy.)

August 26 — I've been thinking about this:

"He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty." (Lao Tzu)
My Reflection: I've known for a long time that the real fight is internal and that Heaven is more interested in what is happening within me than whatever I might accomplish in this world. However, the potential for making genuine change only comes about through victories that I win within my own spirit. I really can't be good for anyone else until I am good for myself.

August 25 — I've been thinking about this:

"Maybe your goal should simply be to ... be brave." (Brene Brown)
Reflection: Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. If we can only be brave, perhaps in many cases we need nothing else.

August 24 — I've been thinking about this:

"My philosophy is: It's none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier." (Anthony Hopkins)
My Reflection: It is exhausting and wasteful to attempt to manipulate other people's opinions of you. To the extent possible, determine simply to love on them and to treat them with respect and even admiration. After that it really isn't your business how they react because you are not trying to manipulate them into responding in any particular way. (Try it! See how wonderful it feels!

August 23 — I've been thinking about this:

"Ego reacts; Spirit responds." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: When operating out of spirit, we will let insults, disrespect, and even curses pass by so we can continue enjoying the joy and peace that we are entitled to as part of our heavenly birthright as human beings.

August 22 — I've been thinking about this:

"He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, his head, and his heart is an artist." (St. Francis of Assisi)
My Reflection: If writing books, articles, columns, and bits of wisdom like this constitutes "working" with my "hands" then perhaps I'm an artist of sorts. My work seems to include the three faculties that St. Francis believed to constitute art as a way of life.

August 21 — I've been thinking about this:

"Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking." (Carl Jung)
My Reflection: Jung would have disparaged some of the macho attitudes held by people who imagine that their supposed love for their girlfriends or wives entitles them to exercise control over them. True love is indicated by the intention to serve others and even to give one's life on behalf of the beloved.

August 20 — I've been thinking about this:

"For a long time it seemed to me that real life was about to begin, but there was always some obstacle in the way. Something had to be got through first, some unfinished business; time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." (Bette Howland)
My Reflection: The quote principle that I've come to myself. I'm not living for some purpose, goal, or future event. Today is my life. Embracing current circumstances is what life is all about. Hopes and dreams are truly good only as they serve to give energy to life at this moment.

August 19 — I've been thinking about this:

"I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act." (G. K. Chesterton)
My Reflection: The Universe is constantly sending good things my way but they sail by me unnoticed unless I have the attitudes, expectations, and intentions that will provide them a place to land.

August 18 — I've been thinking about this:

"I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all the good I know of everybody." (Benjamin Franklin)
My Reflection: Ben Franklin wasn't particularly religious but he had mastered a godly principle that has been missed by some people who go to church every week; his quote catches something at the very heart of the Golden Rule.

August 17 — I've been thinking about this:

"Life is too short to only learn from the mistakes you will make!" (Anonymous)
My Reflection: Mistakes are efficient teachers if I will actually learn the lessons they are able to teach. However, the best learning, perhaps, is the product of such things as curiosity, passion, and the need to "find out" —if only to gain clarity and insight, which after all are the foundation blocks of true wisdom.

August 16 — I've been thinking about this:

"Friends are friends because they've discovered how much they have in common.
Opponents, adversaries, and foes are friends too, who have not yet discovered this." (Mike Dooley)
My Reflection: Some people would hotly argue Mike Dooley's point with him, but I will not. If there are people out there who wouldn't be my friend under any circumstance, I'm not interested in knowing about them. For everyone else, I'll put my whole self into establishing a basis of friendship whenever given the chance to do so.

August 15 — I've been thinking about this:

"I am still learning." (Michelangelo)
My Reflection: Like Michelangelo, I am still learning. I go to Wikipedia for something multiple times every day and read New Yorker Magazine faithfully. So now I know more than I knew last week. However, Michelangelo lived in a world with a total body of knowledge sufficiently small that a person could master nearly all of it. My increase of knowledge at any point leads to a huge increase in my awareness of those things that I now know I know nothing about. It's an exciting time to be alive!

August 14 — I've been thinking about this:

"It's not always easy to fight the good fight. But it is always good and it is always right!" (Fulton Davis)
My Reflection: Many people imagine "the good fight" to be aggressive attempts to impose their particular worldview and values system upon others. However, the "fight" that is actually "good" is an internal one in which I master harmful attitudes.

August 13 — I've been thinking about this:

"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance." (Echart Tolle)
My Reflection: My wife and I practice prayers of thanks before meals, but telling God I am thankful feels like telling Him I have grey hair. I can't remember the last time I didn't feel that my heart was overflowing with gratitude. Coming to this point has changed my life for good and forever.

August 12 — I've been thinking about this:

"I can't give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time. (Herbert Bayard Swope)
My Reflection: Pleasing the people around me is a happy thing to do. Having a need to please them is a weakness. Deliberately causing others displeasure is evil.

August 11 — I've been thinking about this:

"At any given moment you have the power to say: This is not how the story is going to end." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: I love this quote! Jesus said to the thief on the cross, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." In the wretched man's final hours on earth he experienced the happiest possible ending to what otherwise would have been a tragic life.

August 10 — I've been thinking about this:

"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much." (Jim Rohn)
My Reflection: I'm working on my life plan every day, but really do feel that I really am following "someone else's plan." I know Who He is. His plan for me is good!

August 9 — I've been thinking about this:

"Sometimes God doesn't give you what you think you want. Not because you don't deserve it but because you deserve more." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: I've given up even guessing what is good for me and what is not. Life is beautiful! Life is a symphony! I imagine Heaven thought I deserved this amazing life and withheld wealth and fame because those things would have ultimately dragged me down.

August 8 — I've been thinking about this:

"Rust Never Sleeps." (Album by Neil Young and Crazy Horse)
My Reflection: Dark and dangerous forces continually seek to diminish our lives. Things fall apart. The words of an old hymn ring true: "Change and decay, in all around I see." The cure is constant vigilance and the determination every day to grow stronger and more open to the energies of Heaven. I'm fighting "rust" and it is a joyful and successful battle!

August 7 — I've been thinking about this:

"Finally you have to say, 'This isn't about me. I didn't wage this war. I didn't pick this war. I don't understand this war. I'm not going to think about this war, and I'm not going to use it as my excuse to not feel good any more.'" (Esther Hicks)
My Reflection: One of the great principles of maintaining a peaceable nature is to resist permitting others to get me caught up in the issues that are bringing them down. I wouldn't permit myself to experience anger, disappointment, or rage if I were in their shoes so I certainly won't let it happen while standing on the sidelines of whatever conflicts they are getting worked up about.

August 6 — I've been thinking about this:

"Love makes the time pass. Time makes love pass." (Euripides)
My Reflection: The growing divorce rate would seem to support Euripides' observation about time making love pass, but that's not necessarily so. After five decades of marriage, my love for my wife is different now than when we were teenagers dating but is more certain now than it was then.

August 5 — I've been thinking about this:

"An entire sea of water can't sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can't put you down unless you allow it to get inside you." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: I'm on what has become a life long program of keeping the hull of my life's little vessel calked and sealed against the negative energies that threaten to flow into my spirit and overwhelm me with bad attitudes, pointlessly negative opinions, and harmful actions.

August 4 — I've been thinking about this:

"Lacking clarity is clarity itself. If you aren't sure about something, that alone has meaning. Honor uncertainty. It's the womb from which all-knowingness comes." (Mike Dooley)
My Reflection: I have learned that my former "clarity" concerning many difficult and confusing subjects was a product of ignorance rather than of insight. I have sometimes remained deliberately ignorant of the nuances, rival hypotheses, and contradictions that made a particular subject confusing in the first place. One part of wisdom is nothing more than remaining deliberately confused about those things that, after all, are not yet actually clear to me — and in some cases will never be clear.

August 3 — I've been thinking about this:

"Why does the Lord command us to love our enemies and to pray for them? Not for their sake, but for ours!" (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)
My Reflection: It is difficult to forgive malicious acts and whatever inexcusable insensitivity that we might encounter, but I forgive them.... Forgive all of them! I do it for my own sake, so that I can retain the joy and happiness that, after all, I believe to be my birthright as a human being and child of God. Thoughtless and even malicious people can do nothing to eclipse my joy! Not ever!

August 2 — I've been thinking about this:

"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world." (Mother Theresa)
My Reflection: My enthusiasm for life would be dramatically reduced if I ceased to regard myself as a "pencil" such as Mother Theresa described and was not being held in the hand of the "writing God" that she herself served.

August 1 — I've been thinking about this:

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."
(Ben Sweeland)
My Reflection: The quote is a brilliant recasting of a familiar truth. Today I'm going to brighten their path for as many people as I can.

July 31 — I've been thinking about this:

"Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind!" (Henri Frederic Amiel)
My Reflection: The quote captures one of my central passions. I will encourage, amuse, inspire, amuse, or do anything else I can think of to "gladden the hearts" of everyone I come in contact with today. For one thing, doing so is the surest way I know to "gladden" my own heart.

July 30 — I've been thinking about this:

"Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
My Reflection: For years I have been puzzled by the fact of people living up to (or down to) my expectations for them, but Emerson is right. The fact is undeniable and is the best reason possible for treating everyone I meet with dignity, respect, and even admiration. (I'm going to do that today!)

July 29 — I've been thinking about this:

"What I need is someone who will make me do what I can." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
My Reflection: I appreciate the "reality check" quality in Emerson's quote. It isn't essential to exceed my natural abilities; it will be enough to merely live up to my potential, but that is no walk in the park. Like Emerson, I need accountability.

July 28 — I've been thinking about this:

"A soul without a high aim is like a ship without a rudder." (Eileen Caddy)
My Reflection: The quote is profoundly true. If my life has no high purpose or goal then it really doesn't matter where I am headed because any direction will be aimless. However, I know where I'm going, and I know Who is setting the course that I'm following today.

July 27 — I've been thinking about this:

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." (Maya Angelou)
My Reflection: I constantly remind myself of the need for improvement. If I don't keep getting better I will, in fact, inevitably decline. "He not busy being born is busy dying," Dylan said. He got that right! There's a light at the end of the tunnel because life is a birth canal.

July 26 — I've been thinking about this:

"One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others." (Archibald Rutledge)
My Reflection: Being as delighted over another person's success as we would be over our own is a sure sign of genuine humility and really is a source of rich happiness. Being even more happy at another's success than our own is an authentic mark of godliness.

July 25 — I've been thinking about this:

"Children need love, especially when they don't deserve it." (Harold Hulbert)
My Reflection: It is most difficult to love those who need it most. Let's do it, however. Nobody said that living abundantly with love flowing freely from our hearts to others would be easy. But unconditional love is the right way to live. And the most joyful.

July 24 — I've been thinking about this:

"Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things. Success is doing the right things, right, right now." (Nisandeh Neta)
My Reflection: Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Success are certainly bound together. The first two qualities are like sunshine and rain that grow the harvest of third. Getting to this level of "right" is really tough, but making the effort to do so is a fundamental requirement for success at any level of life.

July 23 — I've been thinking about this:

"We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery." (H. G. Wells)
I am working towards more plans and goals now than when I was a teenager. In another sense, however, I live minute-to-minute because my hopeful expectations provide zest and flavor to my current activities. I'm aware of "the miracle and mystery."

July 22 — I've been thinking about this:

"Self-interest is but the survival of the animal in us. Humanity only begins for man with self-surrender." (Henri Frederic Amiel)
My Reflection: True wisdom comes as I finally realize that "self-surrender" is ultimately the most important act that I can make in my own ultimate self-interest. Selfishness is living death, no matter how long a person remains on earth. On the other hand, generosity creates life that's worth living no matter how brief the life might be.

July 21 — I've been thinking about this:

"Be better than you were yesterday." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: The quote identifies a powerful engine for continual improvement. Nothing can stop me if I go to bed every night having improved my skills even a little bit or made even a little progress towards my goal. Today I'm going to get better.

July 20 — I've been thinking about this:

"When you really matter to someone, that person will always make time for you. No excuses, no lies, and no broken promises." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: By the quote's standard, many parents Do not really "matter" to their children and vice versa. Some married people no longer "matter" to each other. Perhaps you could argue that we can still love people who no longer "matter" to us, but who cares? Love is an empty sentiment when attached to someone I won't make time for.

July 19 — I've been thinking about this:

"Negative people need drama like oxygen. Stay positive, it'll take their breath away." (Tony Gaskins)
My Reflection: The challenge to "take their breath away" from negative people is difficult and sometimes impossible, but it can be a real kick when I'm successful in actually doing this!

July 18 — I've been thinking about this:

"The desire of gold is not for gold.
             It is for the means of freedom and benefit." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
My Reflection: Emerson's quote is horribly wrong for a number of wealthy people who, in fact, are enslaved by their greed and have no interest in using it for any "benefit" but their own. However, the observation is accurate for people whose hearts are in the right place. Having resources for serving Heaven and humanity are the only two reasons I can think of why anyone should have wealth.

July 17 — I've been thinking about this:

"You can't steal second base by keeping one foot on first base; you always have to let go of something to get something better and taking risks is how you do it." (John Maxwell)
My Reflection: to put it another way, life is an arial performance and we are trapeze artists hanging with both hands to worldviews and opinions that offer comfort and support. But at some point we have to let go and grab for the next trapeze. If not, we gradually lose momentum and finally end up hanging motionless amid the outworn behaviors and prejudices that we couldn't let go of.

July 16 — I've been thinking about this:

"Every single second is an opportunity to change your life, because in any moment you can change the way you feel." (Rhonda Byrne)
My Reflection: My greatest accomplishment (in a life with admittedly few great accomplishments) is the mastery of my ability to change the way I feel.
Almost anytime. About almost anything.

July 15 — I've been thinking about this:

"As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being directed to something better." (Stever Maraboli)
My Reflection: The quote describes my own experience. Every closed door directs me towards another door that is in the process of opening. The new open door is often unanticipated, sometimes astonishing, and alway ultimately good.

July 14 — I've been thinking about this:

"Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself." (William Faulkner)
My Reflection: Achieving "personal best" is better than being the winner or leader in anything without doing our best at it. Personal best is the way to excellence. Without it, merely winning is empty.

July 13 — I've been thinking about this:

"He that has once done you a Kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged." (Benjamin Franklin)
My Reflection: I was impressed when I learned of the Ben Franklin Effect.
We can be kind to others as a way of encouraging our future displays of kindness to them.

July 12 — I've been thinking about this:

"Believe those who seek the truth but doubt those who say that they have found it." (Andre Gide)
My Reflection: We become wise by searching for meaning, purpose, and reasons for life but vain and foolish by imagining that we have found them and, therefore, are free to abandon further searching. Dogma is a cul de sac on the journey towards genuine Truth.

July 11 — I've been thinking about this:

"Sometimes the best way to remain sane is to love like crazy." (Mike Dooley)
My Reflection: Some people think it is useless to devote themselves to "senseless deeds of mercy." However, acts of kindness, compassion, and generosity permit our joy to bloom and thrive by distracting us from brooding on our own condition and behaviors.

July 10 — I've been thinking about this:

"There is no good in trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why he used material things like bread and wine to put new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it." (C.S. Lewis)
My Reflection: Years ago I came up with a concept of "holy hedonism," — the idea that physical pleasures, practiced in the presence of God, are to be enjoyed. They come from the hands of the Creator and, after all, were put here for our enjoyment.

July 9 — I've been thinking about this:

"Broken things can become blessed things if you let God do the mending." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: I'm a big fan of being fully engaged in life, but when it comes time for the healing that the quote refers to, the best thing is simply to sit back, relax, and let Heaven do the healing. Any hope we have of "fixing" anything, even ourselves, is a foolish dream from which we will awaken in despair. In the end it is about transformation not reformation.

July 8 — I've been thinking about this:

"If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse." (Jim Rohn)
My Reflection: I've had ample experience both with "ways" and "excuses." I'm trying to do those things that I should do even when I am unmotivated. Getting to that point is a process.

July 7 — I've been thinking about this:

"I really haven't been angry for about 17 years.... I've learned to adapt to stress in life and reserve my fear or anger for imminently physically dangerous situations. I rarely, if ever, get upset with what people say, do or don't do, even if it inconveniences me. I've learned not to sweat the small stuff." (Denis Waitley)
My Reflection: Except for someone attacking my wife of a child, perhaps, or making a racist or sexist remark to a third party in my presence, I can't imagine ever losing my temper again. My lack of anger isn't due to any super-human power of self-control. I believe that a benevolent God is ultimately in charge of the events and direction of my life. Therefore, only by ignoring that blessed truth could I entertain feelings of disappointment, frustration, or useless rage.

July 5 — I've been thinking about this:

"You are the Michelangelo of your own life. The David that you are sculpting is you. And you do it with your thoughts." (Joe Vitale)
My Reflection: Today I will use my thoughts to be good for myself, good for others, and good for Heaven's sake. I mean, I really will! I'm channeling all my thoughts in the direction of making this day a shining homage to grace!

July 4 — I've been thinking about this:

"While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious of violating the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case they are answerable." (George Washington)
My Reflection: The quote is a perfect Fourth Of July reminder for us to use the power of freedom to preserve the freedom of others who have values, beliefs, and opinions that differ from our own. May the boundaries of freedom in America be pushed back far enough to embrace us all!

July 3 — I've been thinking about this:

"If you don't let go of the wrong people, the right people won't show up. You have to make the first move." (Joel Osteen)
My Reflection: I have a problem with Osteen's concept of "wrong people." If our intention is to love on everybody and serve them from our hearts, then everyone becomes a "right person" — none of them could influence us for evil. Admittedly, there are some people I can only love from a distance, but I'm always willing, whenever possible, to let even those relationships grow closer.

July 2 — I've been thinking about this:

"Devastating life experiences can lead us to make fabulous decisions." (Wendy Lipton‑Dibner)
My Reflection: Like roses growing out of manure, the most marvelous flowers of wisdom and spiritual strength can grow from the most horrible soil of tragedy and loss. Good comes when we respond in faith to whatever bad is happening.

July 1 — I've been thinking about this:

"Positive wishing and hoping can turn a person into a very optimistic and happy failure." (Brian Tracy)
My Reflection: Failure and success result from more than emotion and attitude. I'm trying to do more than merely wish for success. However, I'm working for the kingdom of heaven and am perfectly willing to let God decide what success for me actually entails.

June 30 — I've been thinking about this:

"The joy, the tragedy, love, and happiness are all interwoven with one single indescribable whole that is called life. You cannot separate the good from the bad and perhaps there is no need to do so either." (Jackie Kennedy Onassis)
My Reflection: Long ago I realized that from my limited perspective I could trust Heaven to manage both the bad things in my life and the good things. The fact is, some of the apparently best things turned to ashes while some of the worst things created energies that changed me for good and forever.

June 29 — I've been thinking about this:

"Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple." (Richard Branson)
My Reflection: For much of my life it seemed that I wrestled against the complications of my personal moral universe. It turns out to be amazingly simple to be good for myself, good for others, and good for heaven's sake and then, with a smile, to just let the complications slide by.

June 28 — I've been thinking about this:

"Knowledge without courage is wasted; knowledge without compassion is dangerous; knowledge without contribution is selfish." (Diane Collins)
My Reflection: I greatly appreciate the three standards by which Collins judges knowledge to be useful. However, he might have added, "knowledge without humility is useless," because playing the role of know-it-all as a way of trying to secure the approval and admiration of others is probably the most pointless thing that knowledge can be used for.

June 27 — I've been thinking about this:

"Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can be felt only if you don't set any conditions." (Arthur Rubinstein)
My Reflection: I'm conducting my life according to Rubinstein's principle. I continually expect to be happy but never set conditions that must be met for happiness to occur. Not for myself. Not for others. Not for life itself.

June 26 — I've been thinking about this:

"There are only two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them." (Denis Waitley)
My Reflection: Judging conditions correctly and then boldly applying whichever of Waitley's two "primary choices" is appropriate is a tough challenge! But learning how to do this and to do it well is a requisite for improving myself, the social relationships I belong to, and for the world.

June 25 — I've been thinking about this:

"The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves." (William Hazlitt)
My Reflection: My willingness to love the people around me without reservation opens doors that free my spirit to "soar to realms unknown." On the other hand, attempts to seize and use power to get the better over others will always inhibit and diminish my spirit.

June 24 — I've been thinking about this:

"It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." (Edmund Burke)
My Reflection: Surely the quote is true: drunkards do not really enjoy their drink; compulsive gamblers never derive lasting enjoyment from their cards or at their tables. In both cases, their addictions diminish them; their pleasures shrink. However, Burke's principle can work in a positive direction. Intemperate and unregulated desire to engage in "random acts of kindness" liberates the mind and frees the soul of any "fetters" of despondency and depression that otherwise would threaten to bring us down.

June 23 — I've been thinking about this:

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." (Pablo Picasso)
My Reflection: Like all reflective people, I've given a lot of thought to the question of the meaning of life and am enchanted by the fact that Picasso was able to succinctly identify two essential ingredients of any life lived with meaning and purpose. I've found my gift; I'm giving it away right now.

June 22 — I've been thinking about this:

"No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn't trying." (Tony Robbins)
My Reflection: Occasional discouragement and feelings of futility come to everybody, but any progress is better than sitting still. Some days I seem to be crawling forward like a caterpillar. Perhaps someday I'll take wings and fly, but until then I'll simply keep inching along.

June 21 — I've been thinking about this:

Joy is not to be sought outside — it is intrinsic. If you do not mess up your mind, you will naturally be joyful." (Sadhguru)
My Reflection: How satisfying to find this wise man reflecting a truth I've been saying for years — that happiness and joy should be regarded as a birthright handed down to us by our loving Father.

June 20 — I've been thinking about this:

"Here's what I know about people who are servants: They are people who are loved by others and they are people who make a difference." (John Maxwell)
My Reflection: I think the quote is mostly true — some servants are not loved by others. At times they are despised or even hated. However, being loved even if sometimes, and making a difference even if only on rare occasions, are two happy things for anyone.

June 19 — I've been thinking about this:

"It takes around two years to learn to speak. But a lifetime to learn what not to speak." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: I feel that only recently, following nearly seven decades of being able to speak, that I'm finally learning to use my words to positively influence other people. Most importantly, as the quote says, in many situations I've learned what not to say, which is no less important a skill but even more difficult to master.

June 18 — I've been thinking about this:

"Everything you do that makes other people feel good about themselves makes you feel good about yourself as well. You can actually improve the way you feel by making other people feel important." (Brian Tracy)
My Reflection: The quote is a specific instance of the general principle announced by Jesus, "Give and it will be given unto you." Today I'm going to do what I can to make people feel good about themselves. There is almost no better way than this for me to also feel okay about myself.

June 17 — I've been thinking about this:

"Perhaps the very best question that you can memorize and repeat, over and over, is, 'what is the most valuable use of my time right now?'" (Brian Tracy)
My Reflection: I've put this question at the top of my todo list. It's a tough thing for me to deal with, but I'm determined to get better at it! I am moving forward, even though many days it seems to be at a creeping pace.

June 16 — I've been thinking about this:

"Positive self-direction is the action plan that all winners in life use to turn imagination into reality, fantasy into fact, and dreams into actual goals." (Denis Waitley)
My Reflection: I've been wrestling with this for years. It's a good fight! (Everything is positive!)

June 15 — I've been thinking about this:

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience." (Eleanor Roosevelt)
My Reflection: According to the quote, the "purpose" for life is reflexive — involving full engagement in life simply for the sake of the act of living itself. Roosevelt's prescription is perfectly reasonable if we conclude that life does have a purpose, even if we don't know what it is. In fact, a purpose-driven life is the only one ultimately worth living!

June 14 — I've been thinking about this:

"Happiness will never come to those who don't appreciate what they already have." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: The quote states directly a truth that I've known for years. No amount of wealth will make me happy if I can't be happy without riches.

June 13 — I've been thinking about this:

"What you see is what you get, and who you feel like is who you really are." (Denis Waitley)
My Reflection: True wisdom and strength are characterized by a simplicity that avoids empty show and that lives openly and honestly before others. "I am what I am!" Popeye's philosophy is a good one for me. It is good for anyone trying to live an authentic life!

June 12 — I've been thinking about this:

"The greatest battle is not physical but psychological. The demons telling us to give up when we push ourselves to the limit can never be silenced for good. They must always be answered by the quiet the steady dignity that simply refuses to give in. Courage! We all suffer. Keep going!" (Graeme Fife)
My Reflection: The cadences of Graeme's quote ring like a trumpet call to joyful battle. I will never give up. I will keep fighting to be good for myself, good for others, and good for Heaven's sake.

June 11 — I've been thinking about this:

"You must realize, fear is not real. It's a product of thoughts you create. And do not misunderstand me, danger is very real. But fear is a choice. (After Earth)
My Reflection: Appropriate fear fills our hearts with necessary "fight or flight" energies. However, awareness that fear is simply an emotion no matter how real danger might be provides an effective mental resource for managing and controlling it. I have lost the slightest fear of dangers for which neither fight nor flight would be of any value, simply accepting whatever disaster might follow as from the Hand of God.

June 10 — I've been thinking about this:

"I don't think of work as work and play as play. It's all living." (Richard Branson)
My Reflection: I've lived like this for years. Work and play are ingredients that blend together in the satisfying life that I live these days. I embrace it all. Why wouldn't I?

June 9 — I've been thinking about this:

"My opinions change with new information." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: Conforming my beliefs, opinions, and attitudes to the world as it continually unfolds before me is a difficult but worthwhile battle. Perhaps the struggle is essential to my happiness because shutting my mind to new information that doesn't conform to my current worldview is intellectually shabby and ultimately debilitating. I won't do it any more!

June 8 — I've been thinking about this:

"Keep praying, but be thankful that God's answers are wiser than your prayers." (William Culbertson III)
My Reflection: The point of prayer isn't to get God to do our bidding but to do His will more completely and especially to serve others more effectively. He answers the prayers we would pray if we possessed His wisdom and knowledge. (I'm thankful for that!)

June 7 — I've been thinking about this:

"Don't be in such a rush to figure everything out. Embrace the unknown and let your life surprise you." (Robert Tew)
My Reflection: When I was a child I was certain that I had figured everything out. Since then my confidence in my world-view has slipped so far that now I'm absolutely certain about very little. But it's been great! I really am embracing the unknown and life is surprising me in wonderful ways at every turn.

June 6 — I've been thinking about this:

"Even in the meanest sorts of labor, the whole soul of a man is composed into a kind of real harmony the instant he sets himself to work." (Thomas Carlyle)
My Reflection: For a dozen years I engaged in the lowest kinds of physical work and wonder how much of "the meanest sorts of labor" Carlyle actually did. However, any labor performed with the right intentions and making some positive impact on the world brings with it a sense of harmony. At least in my case it always has.

June 5 — I've been thinking about this:

"For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
My Reflection: Habits and learned behaviors control our actions, so we might as well train ourselves to never lose those "60 seconds of happiness." (And I have.)

June 4 — I've been thinking about this:

"Always smile back at little children. To ignore them is to destroy their belief that the world is good." (Pam Brown)
My Reflection: The quote catches a profound truth. We can harm children — possibly wound them in ways from which they may never recover — by merely not attending to them. They will learn that the world is good if we will be good to them.

June 3 — I've been thinking about this:

"When I was five years old, my Mom told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wrote down 'happy.' They told me I didn't understand the assignment and I told them they didn't understand life." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: We have to admire the child's wisdom in understanding the difference between what you do for a living and what you actually are. I understand life. I want to be happy. (And I am!)

June 2 — I've been thinking about this:

"No person on earth has the power to make you unhappy. There is no event, condition, situation, or person. Nobody told you this.... But it's self-evident." (Anthony de Mello)
My Reflection: People can cause me pain, circumstances can be agonizing, but the quality of my underlying joy is a rock that will never again be shaken. This was not "self-evident," but came as a happy discovery. I've learned to remain joyful in the face of any circumstance.

June 1 — I've been thinking about this:

"There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do." (Freya Stark)
My Reflection: I have maintained congruence between my philosophies and behaviors by discarding beliefs and dogmas that I had known for years were outmoded and erroneous while embracing truth in whatever form it comes to me. Doing so isn't always comfortable but continuing to "believe" what I know isn't true is crazy.

May 31 — I've been thinking about this:

"The very purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to criticize others. Rather, we must criticize ourselves. How much am I doing about my anger? About my attachment, about my hatred, about my pride, my jealousy? These are the things which we must check in daily life." (Dalai Lama)
My Reflection: Obviously, not everyone considers religion to have the high "purpose" that the Dalai Lama finds in it, but it is one that I am focusing on. The main one. (These days, nearly the only one!)

May 30 — I've been thinking about this:

"There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in — that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible." (Mother Theresa)
My Reflection: I'm spending my life avoiding the danger referred to in the quote. I put my whole self into my writing and speaking, focusing on "heaven and the future's sakes," as Frost noted, and thus trying to do it "as beautifully as possible."

May 29 — I've been thinking about this:

"We all have insecurities, but we are not all controlled by them. Many people summon the necessary discipline to counterbalance those doubting inner voices with more productive truths about themselves and others." (Carolyn Hax)
My Reflection: I am no longer mastered by my insecurities because I focus my thoughts and reflections on positive truths about myself and the world (as in these daily reflections, for example).

May 28 — I've been thinking about this:

"Fear does not have any special power unless you empower it by submitting to it." (Les Brown)
My Reflection: Terrible things are going to happen to our planet and to me. However, "I will fear no evil" has become more than a pleasant thought; I no longer "empower fear" by "submitting to it" about anything. I fear nothing.

May 27 — I've been thinking about this:

"It isn't the big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little ones." (Jean Webster)
My Reflection: Perhaps the greatest wisdom that has come to me is to take delight from the little pleasures that the quote speaks about. From my invigorating morning exercise to the pure delight of resting my tired bones at night, my life has become a rich harvest of daily blessings from which I deliberately reap the fruit of joy and satisfaction.

May 26 — I've been thinking about this:

"It isn't the big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little ones." (Jean Webster)
My Reflection: Perhaps the greatest wisdom that has come to me is to take delight from the little pleasures that the quote speaks about. From my invigorating morning exercise to the pure delight of resting my tired bones at night, my life has become a rich harvest of daily blessings from which I deliberately reap the fruit of joy and satisfaction.

May 25 — I've been thinking about this:

"The world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape." (Bono)
My Reflection: I've ceased any attempt to beat other people's lives and actions into the shapes that I have determined that they should be. However, simple acts of creativity (as inspired by the promptings of the Great Creator) become a golden hammer for beating the world into joyful shapes, starting by forming my own life into a blessed place for mind and spirit to occupy.

May 24 — I've been thinking about this:

"Don't let people pull you into their storms, pull them into your peace." (Kimberly Jones.)
Attempting to pull people into my peace is a good way to live; the intention of maintaining a peace that I can pull people into is a shining goal indeed!

May 23 — I've been thinking about this:

Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in." (Anonymous)
I intend to do anything I say I'm going to do. For one thing, there would be no way to continue in the sunshine of joy if I regularly or even intermittently let down the people around me because of a change in my attitudes or feelings.

May 22 — I've been thinking about this:

"The most powerful combination in the universe is imagination mixed with love." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: Love in the absence of imagination will grow dull; imagination without love will be cold. I want my acts of love to be vivid and bright; my dreams to be warm. And they are! By the grace of Heaven, they really are.

May 21 — I've been thinking about this:

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it." (Maya Angelou)
My Reflection: I enthusiastically support all three of Angelou's standards for success in my own development while encouraging them in other people whenever opportunity presents itself to do so.

May 20 — I've been thinking about this:

"Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward." (John Maxwell)
My Reflection: If I can learn anything from a failure, then the act of learning transforms the failure into a positive event no matter how much pain might be involved. On the other hand, any "success" that fails to move me in a forward direction might be a disguised fiasco no matter how much satisfaction I might derive from the experience. Such "satisfaction" itself becomes debilitating in the long run.

May 19 — I've been thinking about this:

"What is opportunity, and when does it knock? It never knocks. You can wait a whole lifetime, listening, hoping, and you will hear no knocking. None at all.
You are opportunity, and you must knock on the door leading to your destiny." (Maxwell Maltz)
My Reflection: This rebuttal to accepted wisdom has a ring of truth to it. I'm knocking on doors and having a great time anticipating what will be behind those that open to me! The act of knocking and the sense of anticipation have sufficient payoff by themselves to justify never giving up. As has been noted so often, the journey is itself the destination.

May 18 — I've been thinking about this:

"Commitment makes you capable of failing forward until you reach your goals. Cutting corners is really a sign of impatience and poor self-discipline." (John Maxwell)
My Reflection: The commitment Maxwell speaks about is a diminishing quality in our modern society. Commitment isn't the only requirement for excellence but without it I will never accomplish anything worthwhile. Lack of commitment has been responsible for mediocre accomplishments and failed projects in my past. Thank God I am teachable! (But it's tough.)

May 17 — I've been thinking about this:

"Every test in our life makes us Bitter or Better. Every problem comes to make us or break us. Choice is our's whether we become Victim or Victor." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: I'm sure the quote is true. I'm determined to be better, to never be broken, to never become a victim. By the grace of Heaven, I will overcome anything life throws at me. Everything will make me better!

May 16 — I've been thinking about this:

"There isn't a person anywhere who isn't capable of doing more than he thinks he can." (Henry Ford)
My Reflection: I imagine some arrogant and delusional people escape Ford's blanket statement. But it is usually true. In my case, I'm sure it is true! But I'm willing for my horizons to expand. I'm working to overcome inertia and all the ways I can waste time.

May 15 — I've been thinking about this:

"We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated." (Maya Angelou)
My Reflection: Any intention to learn from failures and blunders will help convert them into valuable resources. The big challenge is to stop repeating failures; to actually move on in order to make space for better failures in the future. (My success rate in doing that is below 100 percent, but I'm getting better.)

May 14 — I've been thinking about this:

"I believe in the miracles of God ... that can turn a mess into a lesson; a test into a testimony; a trial into a triumph; a victim into a champion." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: My days continually overflow with good things because, on one hand, I put my whole self into life, and on the other I commit myself to receiving "the miracles of God" referred to in the quote that come as a dependable flow of lessons, testimonies, and triumphs. I'm no champion, but a merry survivor.

May 13 — I've been thinking about this:

"It is difficult to live in the present, ridiculous to live in the future, and impossible to live in the past. Nothing is as far away as one minute ago." (Jim Bishop)
My Reflection: It may be difficult to live in the present but developing the habit doing so yields wonderful results. Cheerful anticipation and blessed memories contribute to making my present a cheerful place to dwell. I won't permit anything less.

May 12 — I've been thinking about this:

"Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul." (Dr. Wayne Dyer)
My Reflection: My body is wearing out and in a few years it will be gone. But the real Don Huntington will be just fine. "Dust thou art, to dust returnest," Longfellow said, "Was not spoken of the soul."
He was right!

May 11 — I've been thinking about this:

"Never underestimate your ability to change yourself. Never overestimate your ability to change others." (Dr. Wayne Dyer)
My Reflection: I'm responsible to others, and to serve them as far as opportunity and resources permit. But I am responsible for none of them. Not one! Simply being responsible for myself is a large enough burden for me to carry!

May 10 — I've been thinking about this:

"With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose." (Dr. Wayne Dyer)
My Reflection: No event or circumstance will be an unmitigated tragedy for a teachable person. Viktor Frankl found a shining gift within the horrors of a concentration camp. The crucifixion turned out to be a blessing for everyone but Jesus' enemies — and ultimately became a blessing even for some of them. I'll find the good in the worse circumstance that will ever befall me.

May 9 — I've been thinking about this:

"A beautiful expression of love is to want the best for someone whether it includes you or not." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: The quote perfectly nails the single "expression" that divides love from lust. Desiring the best for the beloved is the essential ingredient that is missing from the heart and soul of any abusive spouse, parent, or friend.

May 8 — I've been thinking about this:

"Forgiving isn't something you do for someone else. It's something you do for yourself. It's saying, 'You're not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.' It's saying, 'You don't get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.'" (Jodi Picoult)
Forgiveness is one of the main forces freeing us from the chains that other people's behavior can impose on our spirits. I've cast off those chains forever! I forgive everybody! I even forgive myself! Cultivating an attitude of indomitable forgiveness makes pure joy possible

May 7 — I've been thinking about this:

"If you are going through hell, keep going." (Sir Winston Churchill)
My Reflection: Wise advice from a man who, after being involved in two world wars, knew first-hand what "going through hell" was about! The admonition contains a fundamental wisdom that will be helpful in the midst of the worst thing that I am bound to go through today or any day.

May 6 — I've been thinking about this:

"In Los Angeles, it's like they jog for two hours a day and then they think they're morally right. That's when you want to choke people, you know? (Liam Neeson)
My Reflection: This makes me laugh every time I read it! Even though I centered on other things than jogging, I used to be one of the "morally right" people that Neeson wants to choke. I got over it, however. Now I'm content with simply being good for myself, for others, and for Heaven's sake without any need to judge anybody for not accommodating their opinions to my beliefs or their behaviors to my standards. (The sense of letup is still wonderful!)

May 5 — I've been thinking about this:

"If you are still being hurt by an event that happened to you at twelve, it is the thought that is hurting you now." (James Hillman)
My Reflection: When I realized that it was my own thoughts bringing me down, I began to deliberately cultivate better thoughts. Positive "self-talk" can bring the healing of Heaven to a troubled soul who is determined to be healed.

May 4 — I've been thinking about this:

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." (C.S. Lewis)
My Reflection: I turned 74 last month and have more goals and dreams than I had when I was 24. (More than when I was 64!)

May 3 — I've been thinking about this:

"The act o f forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person." (Louise L. Hay)
My Reflection: The liberating truth is that I can forgive somebody whether the person is worthy of being forgiven or even desires to be. I refuse to have my own spirit soiled by the morally greasy residue left behind by the slightest feeling of anger or resentment. Unbounded forgiveness is the way to joy! And it is simply the right way to live.

May 2 — I've been thinking about this:

"It's never too late to start over, never too late to be happy." (Jane Fonda)
My Reflection: If you spent only the end of your life in a state of grace, you would have redeemed whatever failures, betrayals, and wickedness had gone before. Winning the game on the final swing is a satisfying win; the thief on the cross changed the direction of his life during his final hours. He hit one out of the ballpark! Fonda was right. It's never too late!

May 1 — I've been thinking about this:

"Mistakes are proof that you are trying." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: The ability to make mistakes and then quickly correct them can create good out of almost any condition or situation created by even the worst choices. The lessons learned, remedies applied, and wisdom gained can be powerful. I've got the mistake-making part down cold; the learning, wisdom, and improvement part is proving more difficult. But I'm obviously "trying."

April 30 — I've been thinking about this:

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." (Helen Keller)
My Reflection: I've learned what Helen Keller discovered — that "overcoming suffering" helps develop the greatest strengths and the most beautiful character traits.

April 29 — I've been thinking about this:

"A good man would prefer to be defeated than to defeat injustice by evil means." (Sallust)
My Reflection: The principle referred to in the quote seems increasingly absent from our contemporary culture of ruthless competition, which might account for the malaise that seems to be abroad — a sense that life is ultimately dreary and useless. True joy and genuine satisfaction can't be maintained while using "evil means." Nor will an underlying sense of joy be completely absent from any noble defeat.

April 28 — I've been thinking about this:

"Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death." (Anais Nin)
My Reflection: Perhaps arrested spiritual development is the most terrible of all human failings. So long as I resist change at any point in my life I will throttle the power of the spirit for renewal and growth. I'm never going to do that again!

April 27 — I've been thinking about this:

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
My Reflection: Pressure will reveal the true character of both a rock and a person — creating a diamond and a hero on one hand or gravel and a coward on the other. May Heaven equip us to respond with courage and grace to both challenge and controversy.

April 26 — I've been thinking about this:

"Life doesn't happen to you; it happens for you." (Byron Katie)
My Reflection: The quote succinctly captures what my life has actually become during the past decade, or so. Negative energies including disappointment, rage, and jealousy have been swallowed up by my continual expectation that life is just what it should be — worthy of being embraced and enjoyed rather than confronted or ever resisted.

April 25 — I've been thinking about this:

"Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day." (Bertrand Russell)
My Reflection: For the past decade, or so, I've been on a mission of trying to rid myself of the "flies" that Russell refers to. I have a number of convictions, of course, but only some of them are "comforting." I no longer allow any belief to "move with me" that doesn't play some role in preserving my joy or in making me more effective in serving others.

April 24 — I've been thinking about this:

"If your morals make you dreary, depend on it, they are wrong." (Robert Louis Stevenson)
My Reflection: I've come to believe that happiness and joy are part of our birthright as human beings, so the quote must be accurate. Good morals necessarily contribute to qualities that bring love and sunshine into our lives, making us good for ourselves, for others, and for Heaven above.
     No dreariness allowed! Even in the Valley of Death, no dreariness allowed!

April 23 — I've been thinking about this:

"When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sandpaper. They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: I love the sandpaper image! I search for and welcome some good to be found in every negative person, circumstance, or event — a benefit that will strengthen me, help me to be more sensitive to the pain of others, or at least give me an an opportunity to demonstrate patience. The worst things will become my greatest stories!

April 22 — I've been thinking about this:

"The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit." (Nelson Henderson)
My Reflection: I don't know if the quote actually captures "the true meaning of life," but my life obviously becomes more significant by making contributions to the world that may only be important long after I've vanished from the scene.

April 21 — I've been thinking about this:

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal." (Irish prayer)
My Reflection: Contrary to the quote, when death takes from us a person who was close, the heartache will be healed when healthy processing is complete. The memory itself then becomes a source of solace and comfort. The loss is permanent but the memory is powerful. Poignant smiles and even laughter finally (if not completely) replace frowns and tears.

April 20 — I've been thinking about this:

Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes — goodwill among men and peace on earth." (Albert Einstein)
My Reflection: I'm joining Einstein in raising my voice — not in protest, complaint, nor accusation, but crying out in joy and singing the praises of a world that absolutely envelopes me in beauty and with people who bathe me in love. I'm spreading as much "goodwill among men and peace on earth" to the extent possible.

April 19 — I've been thinking about this:

"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." (Carlos Castaneda)
My Reflection: I used to be miserable at times and the energy required by the misery was more than is now required to maintain my sense of happiness. In fact, such strength comes simply as a byproduct of maintaining myself as one awash in the grace of Heaven. It comes without struggle or battle.

April 18 — I've been thinking about this:

"Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful." (Annette Funicello)
My Reflection: A lot of grumpy and grouchy people are living miserable lives because they don't grasp the disconnection that the quote points out. They are sad and unhappy over the imperfection of everything that comes into their lives, from their spouse sitting next to them at the table to the behavior of the waiter serving their meal. I have learned, however, that life can be wonderful in the face of imperfect or even horrible people and circumstances. It just makes sense for a person to apply him/herself to mastering that essential lesson.

April 17 — I've been thinking about this:

"Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time." (Marian Wright Edelman)
My Reflection: All truly wise people, from Jesus to Einstein, have embraced the truth of today's quote. Acts of service are building stones for a life well-lived; service for others becomes a gift we give to ourselves.

April 16 — I've been thinking about this:

"To be content does not mean that you don't desire more, it means you're thankful for what you have and patient for what's to come." (Tony Gaskins)
My Reflection: Successfully balancing desire, patience, and gratitude is one of the fundamental keys to genuine happiness, but the balance can be elusive to find and difficult to maintain. We will be successful only when achieving the balance remains a core value guiding our choices and behaviors.

April 15 — I've been thinking about this:

"Mark how fleeting and paltry is the estate of man — yesterday in embryo, tomorrow a mummy or ashes. So for the hairsbreadth of time assigned to thee, live rationally, and part with life cheerfully." (Marcus Antonius)
My Reflection: There is a tendency by people to become depressed when they fully realize the reality of their mortality. How much more reasonable, like Antonius, to "live rationally, and part with life cheerfully"? I am enjoying every day. I fully intend to enjoy my last day, when it comes. On that day, I'll say a cheerful goodbye, and then turn to take the next step, which I expect will lead to the greatest of all adventures.

April 14 — I've been thinking about this:

"Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf." (Jonatan Martensson)
My Reflection: Perhaps nothing has been more important to my remaining awash in a sea of grace than my ability to divert dark emotions away from my heart whenever they begin to appear. This is more than positive thinking — Heaven fills me with the ability to dance in the rain or, in the words of today's quote, to get up on the surfboard of faith and ride the waves of positive energies right up onto the beach.

April 13 — I've been thinking about this:

"You teach people how to treat you." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: The observation is true but such "instruction" is never deliberate; we teach this by example. When I cherish, respect, and honor the people I come into contact with, they are naturally inclined to respond in kind. However, trying to manipulate them into treating me in these ways would be desperate and ineffective. Any sense of personal privilege or entitlement is odious and detestable.

April 12 — I've been thinking about this:

"Most problems in life are caused by two things: We act without thinking and we keep thinking without acting." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: I'm working these days to ensure that thinking comes first followed by whatever action is appropriate — and that I actually undertake the appropriate action. (Neither of these is easy because I'm capable both of folly and indolence.)

April 11 — I've been thinking about this:

"Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college." (Lillian Smith)
My Reflection: Following decades of learning and a dozen years of higher education, I know that at every point true learning came as the result of a process that seemed very much like self-instruction. Teachers and professors could lead me to the fountains of knowledge and to the rivers of wisdom, but I did the drinking myself. I'm thankful for the principle since it frees me to continue my education. I'm learning new things all the time. I learned something amazing just yesterday!

April 10 — I've been thinking about this:

"Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone." (Robert G. Allen)
My Reflection: I derive comfort from many blessings in my life including fellowship with my family members, friends, and fellow workers. I also take comfort and satisfaction from my work and from the rhythms of life, But such comforts must always remain byproducts. When pursuit of comfort becomes the goal or purpose of my life, I will always become anxious and unsatisfied — ultimately uncomfortable indeed. Some discomfort is essential to any progress; some dissonance and pressure is essential. However, I've learned to not let them have the slightest effect on my underlying sense of indomitable joy.

April 9 — I've been thinking about this:

"Life is not a static thing. The only people who do not change their minds are incompetents, in asylums, and those in cemeteries." (Everett McKinley Dirksen)
My Reflection: I love how Dirksen phrased this particular truth! May Heaven help me be sufficiently flexible about my beliefs to remain competent and sane until I end up in the cemetery.

April 8 — I've been thinking about this:

"The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" (Arabian Proverb)
My Reflection: The three "gatekeepers" mentioned in the quote are essential because I've learned by bitter experience that my tongue can get me in a lot of trouble if I speak when even one of the three are absent.

April 7 — I've been thinking about this:

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." (Dale Carnegie)
My Reflection: I constantly resist feelings of hopelessness about the possibility of ever achieving my goals because such feelings are useless. I may ultimately fail even if I keep on trying, but I will surely fail if I ever stop. In fact, the surging uplift brought by hopefulness and anticipation might, themselves, be as important to my happiness as the success, if it comes. More important, perhaps!

April 6 — I've been thinking about this:

"Every person you talk to is a chance to change the world...." (Hugh Elliott)
My Reflection: Perhaps I will not change the course of history in some way through acts of kindness or generosity that I perform today, but I'm going to perform them anyway. By doing so I will, at least, change my part of the world for the better.

April 5 — I've been thinking about this:

"Expectations are resentments under construction." (Anne Lamott)
My Reflection: My life has become more peaceful and sweeter as I've consciously eliminated expectations concerning other people's attitudes and behaviors. The loss of resentment over lies, insults, and even betrayals has been a great relief.

April 4 — I've been thinking about this:

"You can't have a good day with a bad attitude, and you can't have a bad day with a good attitude." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: The quote is demonstrably true since I haven't had "a bad day" for several years, even though the span of time has included a massive pulmonary embolism and a major colon operation. Good things are to be found in every circumstance, so I look for them. And I find them. By the grace of God I always find them!

April 3 — I've been thinking about this:

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." (Henry Adams)
My Reflection: The principle can be powerful for any of us who attempt to facilitate other people's spiritual growth. We are sewing seeds, most of which fall on hard ground or among the weeds. But some of them have the potential of growing into harvests beyond our anticipation or imagination.

April 2 — I've been thinking about this:

"You only have so much emotional energy each day. Don't fight battles that don't matter." (Joel Osteen)
My Reflection: I've learned to conserve my emotions by directing them only towards things that really matter — issues and circumstances that I can actually affect for good or that will amuse and encourage me and/or the people around me.

April 1 — I've been thinking about this:

"The only way to do great work is to love the work you do." (Steve jobs)
My Reflection: I will never come close to doing the "great work" that the author of today's quote — the founder of Apple — accomplished. It is not important for me to do so. But what is of supreme importance is that I do the best job I can and to perform with excellence whatever tasks come my way. I'm working hard at that and really do love my job.

March 31 — I've been thinking about this:

March 31 "We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." (Anais Nin)

My Reflection: The quote points out the important truth that circumstances are unable to alter my personal reality because, through intense and cheerful engagement in life, I am creating the wonderful emotional and spiritual realities in which I live from day-to-day.

March 30 — I've been thinking about this:

"The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and show your distrust." (Henry L. Stimson)
My Reflection: The world changes to meet our expectations, so we really can help people be better by expecting them to be good; help them to become trustworthy by trusting them. That is the manner in which other people have greatly helped me — and continue to do so. (Thank God!) I would rather take the chance of being cheated and defrauded than to express dark suspicions towards anybody who, as it turned out, deserved my trust.

March 29 — I've been thinking about this:

Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change of attitude." (Katherine Mansfield)
My Reflection: Mansfield's quote is demonstrably true, but the nagging problem remains that attitude really is difficult to change. I'm doing so only through an ongoing process of reflection, prayer, and repentance. The effort required for success at this isn't trivial, but I'm winning battles.

March 28 — I've been thinking about this:

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd." (Bertrand Russell)
My Reflection: I'm amazed at how long I held on to opinions, beliefs, and dogmas that I later came to realize really were "utterly absurd." I'm engaged in the liberating (though uncomfortable) process of questioning everything because I really want to know the truth.

March 27 — I've been thinking about this:

"It's the most unhappy people who most fear change." (Mignon McLaughlin)
My Reflection: The fear that causes resistance makes such people unhappy. One of the reasons for the indomitable sense of joy that I experience these days is the fact that I'm not afraid of any change. I'll find energy and growth in whatever change that comes my way. Death's approach most of all!

March 26 — I've been thinking about this:

"One person can have a profound effect on another. And two people...well, two people can work miracles. They can change a whole town. They can change the world." (Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider)
My Reflection: I'm prepared and even eager to support other people on whatever central-life visions and projects they have going on. Who knows what particular collaboration might, indeed, "change the world" for good and forever?

March 25 — I've been thinking about this:

"When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another." (Helen Keller)
My Reflection: One of the most liberating releases comes from letting go of any responsibility for the outcomes of our choices and actions. Once we've taken any action with the appropriate intentions, energy, and prayer we can simply permit the results to come, whatever they may be.

March 24 — I've been thinking about this:

Many can argue that reality is as it is, but my experience is that the opposite is exactly true. Reality is ours for the making." (Asara Lovejoy)
My Reflection: The quote catches what has become for me one of the most important and even dazzling truths: I really do create the reality that I then occupy. It is a great mystery to me, but it is a truth that I continually experience and that many wise people have reported.

March 23 — I've been thinking about this:

"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." (C.S. Lewis)
My Reflection: Many people who are confident about the leading and protection of Heaven are, nevertheless, concerned about this issue. If my goal is to be comfortable and peaceful, I should worry about this. However, life is an adventure; the increase in wisdom and joy that comes while passing through dark valleys with the Shepherd's constant presence is better than simply remaining comfortable. I really would like to remain comfortable, but when trouble comes I'm going to get all the good out of it I can; I'm not going to waste it.

March 22 — I've been thinking about this:

"When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established." (William P. Young)
My Reflection: I'm not sure the quote is completely correct. I will not permit any broken thing to bring darkness into my life so I will seek to restore harmony, at least from my point of view, with someone who will not repent of an evil act against me. Through forgiveness I can, in effect, change the past in essential ways without requiring anyone else to cooperate in the change. And I will do so whenever possible — for God's sake and for my own peace of mind.

March 21 — I've been thinking about this:

"If I were allowed to give advice to the Churches, I would tell them to begin with a conversion among themselves, and to stop playing power politics." (Albert Einstein)
My Reflection: Einstein, a non-practicing Jew, offered the same advice to churches that I can imagine Jesus Christ offering. Righteousness is always an inside-out process; the world needs transformation not coercion. It should start with us. With me.

March 20 — I've been thinking about this:

The Wisdom of Dr. Seuss

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
     You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
     And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...."

My Reflection: The best wisdom is that which makes people smile and that a child can understand. From beyond the grave the beloved Dr. Seuss speaks profound wisdom to my heart as well as to my head. Today I'm going to "decide where to go."

March 19 — I've been thinking about this:

"A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used,to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together. (Margaret Atwood)
My Reflection: I am striving to eliminate from my life both unproductive silence and useless chatter. But doing so is a difficult goal. May God help me to use my voice for such "fully human" purposes as encouraging, cherishing, and love. And may He do so today!

March 18 — I've been thinking about this:

"Miracles never cease to amaze me. I expect them, but their consistent arrival is always delightful to experience." (Mark Victor Hansen)
My Reflection: Hansen's quote illustrates once again the puzzling and powerful truth that reality lives up to (or down to) our expectations. For this reason, I am constantly moving among miracles myself. I live in a state of constant expectation.

March 17 — I've been thinking about this:

"If someone treats you like dirt, there is something wrong with them, not you. Normal people don't go around destroying other human beings." (Akhenaton)
My Reflection: For a number of years I have been conscious of the importance of being able to deny to other people the power rob me of my sense of well-being through such things as malice, hatred, and jealousy. This isn't learned in an instant, but it gets easier through practice.

March 16 — I've been thinking about this:

"It really doesn't matter how many classes you attend, what you read or what you say. If you are not willing to do something different, nothing will change." (Marie Kane and Kay Hunt)
My Reflection: The quote gets at a fundamental problem I wrestled with for years. I finally became "willing to change" when I felt that not changing had simply grown intolerable.

March 15 — I've been thinking about this:

"Adversity borrows its sharpest sting from our impatience." (Bishop Horne)
My Reflection: I finally realized that any impatience never did a bit of good whenever people weren't doing what I wanted them to do, or an appointment wasn't showing up on time, or things were happening at a tempo slower than I preferred, More importantly, impatience always damaged the sense of peace and the joyful spirit that I now believe should be my normal state of mind. I simply refuse to be impatient about anything any more.

March 14 — I've been thinking about this:

"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not." (James Samuel Gordon)
My Reflection: I am planning and working for the life that I hope to receive. It is still a struggle, full of failures and setbacks, but my life really is headed in an upward direction because there's been a sea change in the weather between my ears.

March 13 — I've been thinking about this:

"They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom." (Confucius)
My Reflection: I have embraced the principle of flexibility in my beliefs, behaviors, and especially my opinions in order to ensure the happiness and wisdom that Confucius refers to. The qualities of stubbornness, dogmatism, and obstinacy always pull down relationships. How many times have I thought that I was being firm when I was simply being mule-headed? I'm done with that forever!

March 12 — I've been thinking about this:

"The difference you make in someone else's life will always be smaller than the difference it will make in your own." (Mike Dooley)
My Reflection: It is "better to give than to receive" because the emotional and spiritual "payoff" really does become more important than whatever small thing I did in helping another.

March 11 — I've been thinking about this:

"You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger." (Attributed to Buddha)
My Reflection: Each of us is born into the world with a birthright of happiness and joy. I fall short of my potential to experience joy fully whenever I allow any circumstance to rob me of that blessed legacy. I punish myself every time I give way to any anger except that which will produce righteous fruit. (I can't remember if that ever actually happened.)

March 10 — I've been thinking about this:

"When you blame others you give up your power to change." (Anonymous)
My Reflection: I am reluctant ever to give up the power to alter a situation by blaming another person for it. What's the point? If I'm not responsible then I can't fix it; I'm simply a victim.

March 9 — I've been thinking about this:

"A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart." (Jonathan Swift)
My Reflection: All of us are in contact with people who hold their wealth in their hearts. They are beautiful people to know and to associate with. On the other hand, greedy, grasping, stingy people — whose hearts are tuned to acquiring and holding on to their money — become tiresome companions, or worse.

March 8 — I've been thinking about this:

"Sometimes it's a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence." (David Byrne)
My Reflection: The quote encourages a "form of love" that I am trying to embrace. I know that doing so is good and even righteous because I have greatly appreciated the rare times when strangers have embraced me in just this way. (It's another Golden Rule thing.)

March 7 — I've been thinking about this:

"Life becomes religious whenever we make it so: when some new light is seen, when some deeper appreciation is felt, when some larger outlook is gained, when some nobler purpose is formed, when some task is well done." (Sophia Blanche Lyon Fahs)
My Reflection: I'm on a decades-long process of pulling away from religion as a system of belief that is insulated from and denies the possibility of anyone except co-religionists having any wisdom, faith, or standing before God. However, if we could define "religion" as the quote does, I would confess to being a devoutly religious human being — or at least intend to be.

March 6 — I've been thinking about this:

"The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything — or nothing." (Nancy Astor)
My Reflection: I'm successfully avoiding the two extremes that the quote warns against by a sense of confident and wholehearted submission to a heavenly plan that I feel is constantly at work through the circumstances surrounding me. Frustration and impatience no longer find any place in my mind.

March 5 — I've been thinking about this:

"Turbulence is life force. It is opportunity. Let's love turbulence and use it for change." (Ramsay Clark)
My Reflection: I imagine the hatching eagle wishes to return to the warm comfort of the shell and given a choice the caterpillar would remain safely in the cocoon. However, the turbulence and discomforts of the world must to be faced or the chick, the caterpillar, and I will never take wings and soar.

March 4 — I've been thinking about this:

"The mind has exactly the same power as the hands; not merely to grasp the world, but to change it." (Colin Wilson)
My Reflection: I'm never going to solve the current world problems nor am I particularly interested in doing so. But a century from now, by the grace of God, the world might be a better place because of the little differences I am making today. Perhaps right now....

March 3 — I've been thinking about this:

"In times of revolutionary changes it is the life-long learner who is best able to adapt." (Eric Hoffer)
My Reflection: I'm a life-long learner and have already learned things today that I didn't need to know. I simply learned them for the sake of the learning. At least in this way, I might be preparing myself for the "revolutionary changes" that Hoffer speaks about.

March 2 — I've been thinking about this:

"Changes are not only possible and predictable, but to deny them is to be an accomplice to one's own necessary vegetation." (Gail Sheehy)
My Reflection: Life is wonderfully satisfying to me, but I am always ready for a change. I can't wait to see what happens next. This feels like the right way to live!

March 1 — I've been thinking about this:

"Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right." (Max Lucado)
My Reflection: For years I've been thinking about the supremely important truth that Lucado catches so clearly. Prayers that are simply attempts to get God to do what we want Him to do are pointless and arrogant. Rather, through prayer we discern His will and receive His power for obedience, forgiveness, and for cheerfully or at least courageously embracing His Plan for us and for others, whatever the Plan turns out to be.

February 28 — I've been thinking about this:

"If you are miserable or bored in your work ... or dread going to it ... then God is speaking to you. He either wants you to change the job you are in or — more likely — he wants to change you." (Bruce Larson)
My Reflection: Thoughtful and reflective people are able to find some satisfaction in doing any job. A passion for excellence is the "change" that naturally promotes satisfaction — a passion that will be created and sustained if we learn to do everything "for Heaven's sake." Such passion is the most effective way we can wait for the big Purpose of our lives to show up, or to finally become aware that we are already following it.

Dr. Don's Fan Page Notes
Created by Don Huntington (
don.huntington@gmail.com)
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