Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happiness is You! Chapter 11 & 12 - Be Happy with Who You Are and Choose the Right Thoughts

Hebrews 13: Let your conversation be without love of money, satisfied with your present circumstances; for he has said, I will not leave thee, neither will I forsake thee.

This is hard to do isn't it? Hard for me anyway. I sometimes look at what the other guy has and I envy them and sometimes have bad feelings toward that person. What a negative way to look at things! I need to concentrate on what I do have and be thankful for it! Living an attitude of gratitude also means being grateful for what others have as well and being happy for them. Novel concept, heh?

Patty and I recently went down to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to spend a little time with Tori, Caleb and Kaya (Sierra was in Colorado with her Dad). Tori, who is notoriously not an early riser, insisted that we all get up to view the sunrise on the winter solstice. This meant getting up at 5:30 am on a Saturday morning. Now I am typically an early riser and this is my regular time but on Saturdays I try to sleep in. I got up a bit unenthusiastically but I did get up and we made our way to the top of the Crescent Hotel in the wee dark moments right before sunrise. I was so glad to have done so. The photo for this blog came from that morning and I wrote a poem to show my gratitude for the sun! Here it is....

Winter Solstice 2007

Eureka Springs, Arkansas via the top of the Crescent Hotel

Oh Man Sol, we love you so!

You bring us life, joy and fun

And we are eternally grateful to you,

The all life inspiring Sun.

We sometimes take you for granted

And that is indeed shamed,

But without you we would be nothing

But ice, stone and animals untamed.

Thank you Lord, for the gift of your Sun

Because you speak through it every morn

To each, to all, to every one.


Patty said...

I love that picture and am so glad we watched the sunrise that morning too. I am reminded of another saying from Max Lucado in which he reminds us that God sends a sunrise every morning because He loves us and thinks we are wonderful. If He thinks we are wonderful, then we really do need to be happy with who we are.

Patty said...

I decided that this post would be a good place to start the discussion for Chapter 12: "Choosing the Right Thoughts". Now that the holidays are over, and we have started a brand new year, I would like to explore the power of our thoughts. Joel says, "The battle is for your mind......thoughts determine actions, attitude, and self-image...thoughts determine destiny." Because our mind is so powerful, "we draw in what we constantly think about." That is why it is so important to think positive, happy, grateful thoughts. Frank printed off a sheet of paper that says, "I am so happy and grateful now that...." Fill in the blank. We try to think of several blessings before we get out of bed in the morning and then turn again to our attitude of gratitude before we go to sleep at night. Joel says, "Our thoughts also affect our emotions. We will feel exactly the way we think. You will never be happy unless you first think happy thoughts....success or failure in life begins in our minds and is influenced by what we allow ourselves to dwell on." The good news is that we can choose our thoughts. Through our thoughts, we can control our own destinies to a large extent. Praise God!

Jeanie said...

Attitude determines how we will face the New Year. A saying I have heard before that I like: "I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again." That would be a great New Year's resolution for everyone. Other words of advice "The New Year lies before you like a spotless track of snow; Be careful how you tread on it, for every mark will show."
It is hard not to envy those who have more luxeries but they may not be as happy as we are. They say a rich man is never happy, he is always wanting more. I have learned through working with an Hispanic pastor, who's family doesn't have much, that material things aren't important. I have received joy & happiness by sharing some of my material items with them, even the little things we take for granted. Having a positive, happy mind and a smile on your face will hopefully spread, one to another, during the day. I just can't thank you enough Frank and Patty for this blog. I was granted the favor of God when we had the grandkids and a couple of mornings Dean fed them breakfast and got them dressed and then brought them to my work later in the a.m. so I could get some work done. He also kept them so I could go to Curves. At first, it didn't look promising he was going to help much. But he pulled through for me when I least expected it. Thanks be to God.

Patty said...

Thanks for sharing the new years sayings. It is nice that we have a clean slate to begin the new year. Your words of appreciation for us starting the blog really touched me. Your contributions make the blog meaningful, Jeanie, so I am so glad you take time to express yourself here. It makes it feel so worthwhile to post every week. I'm grateful that Dean helped with the grandkids. I'm sure they are a blessing to him. I hope the new year brings happiness for each of us. Acts 2:28 says "You have made known to me the ways of life. You will make me full of gladness with your presence." Whenever we think we must wait for some time in the future to be happy, we are consciously choosing not to be happy now. Happiness can be our natural state of mind. It is a decision and an inner choice. Ultimately it has nothing to do with events or experiences in the external world. When we think that happiness depends on getting something in the future, we need to remember that it can only be experienced in the present. Since now it the only moment there is, we can be happy at this time by choosing peace of mind as our only goal and by giving our unconditional love. I think that you were showing God's love by helping that Hispanic minister and his family. Good for you! I remember you sending a little care gift bag with me to Kimball once for Teresa and Jess. I thought that was so nice and caring of you. I really appreciate you, Jeanie, and feel you are an example of God's love.

Patty said...

No matter what happens in our lives, we can still experience joy, peace, and victory if we choose to control our thoughts and dwell on God. Joel points out that "we can't ignore our problems and live in denial, pretending that nothing bad ever happens to us", but we can focus our thoughts on Isaiah 40:31 which says, "Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength." John 16:33 says, "In this life you will have trouble, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world." When you dwell on these verses, you will be full of hope.

Patty said...

Ephesians 4:22-24 says, "Strip off the old nature and put on the new man. Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind, having a fresh and spiritual attitude." One of the ways I renew myself on a daily basis is by letting go of fear. Joel says to start dwelling on the good things of God. I'm convinced this is the way to good physical, mental, and spiritual health. It leads to inner peace. I think Kim quoted the following verse on the blog before, but I want to repeat it because Joel reminded us of it in this chapter. Philippians 4:8 says, "Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." Joel says to continually choose to keep our minds on higher things....positive things of God. Colossians 3:2 says "Set your minds on the things which are above." "Learn to look for the best in every situation. No matter what you're going through, if you look hard enough and keep the right attitude, you can find something good about the experience," advises Joel. Romans 8:28 says, "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord." This verse has been of the blog before as well. This is one of my favorite chapters because it lets us know that we have the power to choose our thoughts and improve our emotions. That's awesome!