You Deserve a Break!

This is the 21st day of “Nick’s 7 Day Challenge.” I don’t know about you, but I’m tired! I rarely say those words because in our house, as the boys were growing up, those words were taboo. Larry taught us all to say, “I’m sleepy” instead of “tired” because it was more positive. So I guess I should say “I’m sleepy!” I’ve been sorting through drafts and revising, editing, trashing, and publishing most nights from 11:30 pm to 12:30 and often later. I have enjoyed this so much, and frankly it is work that really needs to be completed. It will be. I’m grateful that Nick’s challenge got me started. As I’m cleaning out these files, I feel like I’m moving forward toward publication of something sometime not so far away.

Since I’ve developed the habit of working on this blog every night, I’m going to continue revising, editing, and trashing, but for the next 7 days, I’m not publishing. That’s right, the new Challenge is NOT to publish for 7 days. I plan to set aside time every day, 15 minutes or so to continue the work, but no more late night publishing for me this week because I’m sleepy!

You deserve a break too! Take a moment to think about all of the things you do every day. We somehow manage to fill up every waking moment with something. I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired to take a few minutes every day to make sure I stop and focus on the Lord. Some of you probably take a lot of time to do this, and sometimes I do too. Mostly I try to walk every day out with Him, but when I stop and just listen, I realize how little I stop and just listen. We deserve a break, so let’s do that this week. Find time to stop and listen to what He wants to say to us, and I know we will experience the touch and refreshing that comes only from being in His Presence.

If you’re looking for something to read for the next 7 days, here are 7 of my favorites from the archives:

The Other Side of the Die April, 2013

There Is Always HopeFebruary 2013

Words: Something to Ponder February, 2013

Charity Turns Things Around May, 2014

How Much Power Is In a Raindrop October, 2014

Believe January, 2014

Please Don’t Let Me Fall April, 2014

 

dare to be happy blog

Surf’s Up!

You’re standing in water up to your chest. There is a gentle  lapping of the water against you. Then a few yards away the water rises. It is swelling higher and higher and coming right at you! As it rises, you jump slightly and begin swimming with it. It lifts you higher, and you are one with it. You’re gliding to the shore! There is nothing like riding a wave.

As you are gliding, you look over your left shoulder to see a wave rising higher and threatening to overtake you; you see the wave coming. You begin to paddle as hard as you can knowing you have no chance against your foe. As the wave begins to slowly but surely catch up you begin to feel a rush of fear inside but you continue to paddle. As you become one with the wave again, you feel a rush of excitement, and you ride it all the way to the shore. The feeling of freedom you get while riding with that wave is like nothing else in the world.

Today’s words were written during a vacation Larry and I took to Siesta Key, Florida in May of 2014. We had anticipated a few days of paradise, sunshine, and relaxation in an enchanting bungalow. Let’s see what happens as the tide rolls in, and we learn the beauty of riding the wave in a different way.

We arrived at our bungalow which had looked and sounded enchanting online. It was on a lagoon, and we envisioned our own little cottage with a spacious bathroom and bedroom, possibly our own pool. We thought they might bring fresh flowers to our room daily. Bicycles and kayaks were available. Men in white jackets might even bring us diet coke poolside.

Our first surprise was that our private bungalow was a small unit sandwiched between two other units with paper thin walls. I can tell you first hand the conversation our neighbor had with folks back home, but that isn’t part of this story.  It had only one tiny bathroom, one tiny bedroom,  one small couch and a small hole in the wicker dresser in the bedroom. Everything was small. Water from the air conditioner leaked onto the kitchen floor, and it had kind of an old musty smell to it. A wave of disappointment came, and a choice had to be made whether to ride it out or let it take me under.

I made a quick decision and asked God to fill it with His Presence and to show me the good things about it. As it turned out, we fell in love with it. It was cozy. It had character. Every day when we put our dirty towels out in the wicker basket, it was placed back on our doorstep with clean towels and a fresh flower. The people were friendly, and everywhere you looked on the grounds, except for the pool, area there was a spectacular view of lush vegetation, a tranquil lagoon and colorful flowers. Bicycles and kayaks were available, and we enjoyed our accommodations in a fresh way. We didn’t have to have luxury to have a luxurious time. We rode that wave and thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the bungalow.

When Larry got sick and felt terrible on the second day, we had to ride that wave. When I got sunburned on that same day, we rode that wave. Because it was our long awaited vacation, we chose to keep our peace and look for the best in each challenge.

We could have chosen to get upset and negative, rolling the negative thoughts around in our mind, pouting and whining and letting disappointment spoil our vacation, but we didn’t. We chose to ride the waves.

When we heard the washer at home had overflowed and three iinches of water stood  in the floor of the laundry room, we rode that wave, too.

When we got home, we found out we would have two more boys staying at our house, making a total of four extra people in the house. That was an easy wave to ride because we loved it!

The next day, our oldest called to say he had car trouble 45 minutes down the road and we had to ride that wave.
When I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to at work my first evening back, I had to ride that wave. When I found out I would not be getting a bonus for the month of April, I rode that wave.

Life is good as we ride the waves.

Riding the wave means keeping your peace. It means, refusing to worry about what’s going wrong. It is knowing that God is with you and trusting Him to bring good out of it.

Keep smiling, make the best of it. Keep thinking positive things. Keep having fun. Don’t focus on what’s going wrong. Ride it out. Prayerfully handle it and move on.

How many beautiful things do we miss because we’re fighting our circumstances instead of riding it out? Get ready to ride the waves. Surf’s up!

dare to be happy blog

 

 

Jokes, Quotes, and Thinking Right

Because “A merry heart does good like a medicine,”

A couple was going on vacation, but his wife was on a business trip so he went to the destination first. His wife planned to meet him the next day.

When he reached his hotel, he decided to send his wife a quick email.

Unfortunately, when typing her address, he mistyped a letter and his note was directed instead to an elderly preacher’s wife whose husband had passed away only the day before.

When the grieving widow checked her email, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor in a dead faint.

At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the screen:

Dearest Wife,
Just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow.

P.S. Sure is hot down here.

 

Another Joke

“Wake up, you’ve got to get up. It’s time for school!”

“I don’t want to go today. The teachers don’t like me; the kids don’t like me. I’m going to stay in bed.”

“You have to go, you’re the principal!”

Quotes

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
Dale Carnegie

 

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

Thinking Right

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Today’s Happiness Dare: Meditate on each of these words. Think about examples from your life to represent each word. Play it like a word association game. Experience your life being richer and fuller through following the instructions in this verse.

true, honest, just, pure, lovely, a good report, virtue, praise

Here’s my first attempt at this exercise:

True: The word of God is true. Truths: Jesus is the Son of God. He loved me and gave Himself for me. God loves me. My family loves me. Jesus is Lord.

Honest: Telling the truth is the basis for trust. I will be honest with myself and others today. Where can I embrace the truth more closely? Sometimes it is easier to agree with someone than to be honest. Being honest opens the window to your soul so they can see inside. Being honest and transparent builds relationships.

Just: It pleases God for us to speak ill of no one. Let Him be the judge.

Pure: My first thought is a red rose with drops of dew on its petals.

Lovely: Beautiful blue of the sky with fluffy floating clouds, and sunsets.

A Good Report: My children are thriving mentally, spiritually, physically, financially, and emotionally.

Virtue: Kindness, thoughtfulness, love, goodness, doing the right thing.

Praise: God is working in my life even as I speak!

There so much we can do with these eight little words or phrases. They can take us places that God wants us to go in our thinking and our living. Let’s see where He will lead us today. Think on these things!

dare to be happy blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rewind the Tape For A Fresh Start

If you have been keeping up with me in “Nick’s 7 Day Challenge,” you will be happy to know that we have safely made it to Day 18. There are now 59 documents remaining to be edited, revised, published or trashed. Twenty have found their way to the “trash” already and I am dedicated to ruthlessly sifting through the rest to bring you only the ones that I think merit your attention. Thanks for staying with me through the Challenge! I hope you are enjoying the adventure half as much as I am.

The one we are publishing tonight is another one for building a lasting, loving relationship. It also works when you want to rid yourself of the negative emotional attachment to anything that you might have done personally or that might have happened to you. We simply don’t have to let negative events, conflicts or even conversations have a lasting negative effect on us. God is able to restore, renew, and rebuild. Prayerfully consider using this technique the next time you want or need a fresh start.

When we have had a conflict with someone we love, it is often possible and advisable to “rewind the tape” together. Early in our marriage, Larry and I learned to do this. We would sometimes carry on a disagreement to a place where unpleasant feelings resulted. Once it was resolved, as it always was, we followed these three steps which got us back on the right track without any emotional residue.

  1. Think back to the last thing that was said before the unpleasantness started.
  2. Mentally rewind the tape back to that point.
  3. Imagine cutting the tape at that point and then cut it again at the other end right where the conflict was resolved when love, understanding and kindness returned.
  4. Splice the tape together and push play. (Of course, we were using imaginary cassette players, popular at that time.)

This little technique called “rewind the tape” served us well as we soon learned to settle things agreeably much more quickly and once it was done, it was done.

So don’t despair when you “mess up.” Just rewind the tape, splice it together and get a fresh start.

Today’s Verse : Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath. Ephesians 4:26

dare to be happy self improvement self help blog

Will You Pass This Test?

I love questions! More than questions, I love answers. When I was in college, everyone wanted to study with me because in preparation for a test, I would go through the text and make up every possible question that could be asked. As I studied, I would type each question and the answer with it. Usually by the time I had finished this procedure, I knew the material and could ace the test. My classmates wanted me to go over the questions with them so they could benefit from the work I had put in. Looking back, surely I could have turned a profit for my effort, but what are a few questions and answers among friends?

Recently I’ve discovered that a fun and profitable way to get the most out of scripture passages is to use the same procedure. Come study Psalm 107: 1-22 with me. I think you’ll be amazed at what is contained in these few verses, and I’m pretty sure that together we’ll be ready to pass our next test.

  1. Why should we give thanks unto the Lord? Because He is good and His mercy endures forever. vs. 1
  2. Who is this Psalm about? Those whom God has redeemed from the hand of the enemy. vs 2
  3. What did He do? He gathered them from everywhere. vs 3
  4. What did they do? They wandered in the wilderness. They found no place to live. They were hungry and thirsty. vs. 4, 5
  5. What did they do next? They cried unto the Lord in their trouble. vs. 6
  6. What did He do? He delivered them out of their distresses and gave them new direction. vs. 6, 7
  7. What should men do? Praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works. vs. 8
  8. What does He do? He satisfies the longing soul with goodness. vs. 9
  9. Who does He satisfy with goodness? Those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Those bound in affliction and iron. vs. 10
  10. Why are they bound and in darkness? Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of God. vs. 11
  11. What happened next? They fell down and were helpless. vs. 12
  12. What did they do next? They cried unto the Lord in their trouble. vs. 13
  13.  What did He do? He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death. He broke their bands in sunder. vs. 13, 14
  14. Why are “fools” afflicted? Because of their transgression and their iniquities. vs. 17
  15. What should men do when they are in trouble? Cry unto the Lord. vs. 19
  16. What will He do? He will save them out of their distresses. vs. 19
  17. What else did He do for them? He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. vs. 20

Because of His marvelous redemption, we have but one recourse: to praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works, and to sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and declare His works with rejoicing. How could we do anything less? vs 21, 22.

And your essay question is this:

How many times will God deliver those who cry out to Him? Give examples from your own life.

I am so in awe of His mercy to all of us who have sinned against Him over the ages. He is ever ready to deliver us when we cry out to Him.

Indeed, let us praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.

dare to be happy self improvement self help blog

12 Reasons I Believe in Prosperity

I believe God wants you to prosper. Here’s a dozen reasons I believe this:

1. Abraham

2. Isaac

3. Jacob

4. Joseph

5. Ruth and Boaz

6. David

7. Solomon

8. Jesus

9.  His disciples

10. 3 John 1:2

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

11. Deuteronomy 28

And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.

Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.

12. John 10:10

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Then why are so many not prospering? As you believe so shall it be done unto you. We have to believe to receive. Mark 11:23, 24 and Matthew  8:13

How can you believe when you don’t?

Change your thinking. Renew your mind. Romans 12: 1-2

How do I do that?

Accept these thoughts as true:

  • God is blessing me in everything I do.
  • God is showing me how to  prosper financially.
  • God is showing me how to manage my money.
  • God is showing me how to prosper in everything I put my hand to.
  • Money is flowing to me from expected and unexpected sources.
  • All my bills are paid on time and I have plenty for everything I need.
  • I am blessed coming in and going out.
  • Thank you God for: Provision Increase Abundance (Repeat these three words until you can see yourself progressing from God’s provision in your life, to His Increase and then to His abundance flowing to you and through you.)

Why wouldn’t God want you to prosper?

Matthew 7:9-11

Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Rest assured, God wants you to prosper. It is the enemy of your soul who does not want you to prosper. Agree with God’s Word and allow Him to bless you the way He wants to. You will then, in turn, be a blessing to others, bringing many into the Kingdom of God!

dare to be happy self improvement self help blog
dare to be happy self improvement self help blog

 

Six Simple Keys to Spiritual Growth

If you are visiting here for the first time in a while, you may want to stop over at the beginning of the series, “Nick’s 7 Day Challenge.” Here’s the short version of what I’m trying to accomplish here: I’m going through all of my unfinished works, looking for that which might be worth publishing. I’m challenging myself to publish every night until my unfinished works are either “trashed” or published. Cheer me on! Here’s number 14 in the series.

From I Thessalonians 5:16-21: 

16 Rejoice evermore. – Be happy always.

1Pray without ceasing.-Talk to God about everything all through the day.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. –God wants us to be thankful for everything as we go through our day. Here’s a quote that inspires me to thankfulness, “Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” (John Wooden) Be thankful.

19 Quench not the Spirit.- The Spirit of God is like a river flowing; don’t try to dam it up or stop the flow. Things that stop the Spirit of God from flowing through us: negativity, doubt, fear, worry, selfishness, anger, strife, lack of focus or expectation. What can enhance the Spirit of God flowing through you? Focus, expectation, praise, thankfulness, obedience, prayer, filling up with His Word, meditating His Word, listening for His Voice, pursuing peace, finding joy. (More on this verse here.)

20 Despise not prophesyings-Prophesyings are Words form God that you hear in your spirit directly or that other people may give you that they feel are from the Spirit of God. You may also experience this at church or in a small group, and it can be directed to more than one person. Don’t be afraid of prophesyings. They could be life-giving for you. In fact, embrace them after proving them. Your spirit will witness with their spirit when it is for you. It will have a different “quality” about it than general words that someone speaks to you from their own mind.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good-When someone gives you a Word from the Lord, test it to see if it witnesses to your spirit and lines up with Scripture. You can also get counsel from others regarding the authenticity of what is being said. If it is a good word that encourages you, embrace it! God wants to speak to us by His spirit and we can nurture that by learning what is His Voice. Obeying this voice and allowing Him to speak to our spirit will produce a life of joy, victory, peace and all of the fruit of the spirit. 

We have all six of these keys available to us every day. Which key will we use today to open the door to the Spirit of God? He is waiting for us to turn that key! Have a wonderful day in the spirit of the Lord today!

dare to be happy self improvement self help blog
dare to be happy self improvement self help blog

Three Trees

This was first written about a year ago.

Sometimes in life, you think about what your dreams really are. Tonight Jay prayed for me that my dreams would come true. Through teary, closed eyes, I saw a picture of three trees. My dream was that those three little boys who used to stuff their pockets with acorns would one day become mighty trees themselves.Trees that wouldn’t necessarily stand out among the the other trees of the forest, yet trees that stood tall and sturdy. These trees would still be standing even if strong winds blew and storms came. Trees whose roots went deep and spread out wide. Trees that would point others heavenward. Needless to say, my dream is coming true.

And so will yours.

dare to be happy self improvement self help blog
dare to be happy self improvement self help blog

I Beat the Green-Eyed Monster!

This 13th post in “Nick’s 7 Day Challenge” was started on July 27, 2014.

What do you do if you are having negative feelings because someone is doing better than you?  Or what do you do if someone has something you wish you had?  I found out the answer last week as I was driving home from North Carolina. I rarely do this, but I was surfing through the FM channels hoping for something to sing along with. What I found was an answer to this question even before I knew the question.

I happened upon a message being preached about the Genesis brothers, Cain and Abel. The minister declared a truth I had never heard before. He said,

“Jealousy is simply a corrupt version of admiration.”

He told of how jealous he had once gotten of a pastor who had a larger, more extravagant building than he had. The Lord really dealt with him about it. He was miserable and angry at himself for feeling this way. After he begged God for the cure for his jealousy, he said the Lord told him to give $1000 to a ministry every time he got jealous. He then realized he couldn’t afford to be jealous any more. He came upon the revelation that “Jealousy is simply a corrupt version of admiration,” and by learning to express the admiration, he found he was free of jealousy.

I am thankful I wasn’t asked to give a $1000 away every time I got jealous, but I did hear the truth that night. I had no idea I would have an opportunity to test it the very next day.

I have had a measure of success in the past five years with my company and feel fairly confident that I am pretty good at what I do. I am a marketing representative and had the opportunity on this day in question to work with a new person. As I worked side by side with this gentlemen, I observed his interactions with the guest in front of him. I said to myself, “This guy is terrible!” I was looking forward to “helping” him when he finished by giving him a few tips since he was so new at this. As he finally wrapped up his presentation, no one was more surprised than I was to realize he had gotten the desired results. After he accomplished the same results a second time to my 0 score for the night, I was ready to call it a night. He did everything wrong, (in my opinion) and it turned out right.

The negative feelings began to spiral downhill and all the happy thoughts I had been having dissipated. Then I remembered the minister’s definition of jealousy. I had already been meditating on “What would Love do?” and when you put the two truths together, there was nothing to do but express admiration for what my co-worker had done. When I told him how great he had done, he beamed.  It was nothing short of amazing to see how quickly my jealous feelings fled when handled this way. From now on, I am expressing  admiration before it can be corrupted into feelings of jealousy. That way everyone wins, and that’s what Love does!

 

dare to be happy self improvement self help blog

 

 

You Need A Partner

And here’s another one on relationships to be added to “Nick’s 7 Day Challenge.” This subject is so dear to my heart because one of my greatest desires is to see families strengthened and marriages thriving with life, love, and happiness.There’s also a message here for those who are currently single.

In 1998, I developed a project called “Love Your Husband Action Pack.” I thought it would be “my life’s work.” I was so passionate about it. This was long before self-publishing became sophisticated, and I muddled through creating, printing and cutting the cards myself and selling a few online. I was also privileged to teach from them when given the opportunity through our ladies’ ministry. It was a wonderful time for me yet I never got the project off the ground. I lost the masters when my computer crashed and I have barely one complete set left in my possession. At one point, I considered blogging all 50 cards, and the one you are about to read was the first card in the set. As you will see, it’s suggestion is vital to the success of any marriage, and I happily share it here because the “trash” is no place for this priceless truth!

The greatest thing you can do for your marriage is to make sure that you have a third party, One Who is stronger than both of you together, One Who can knit your hearts together in such a way that nothing or no one can separate you.

If you have never accepted Jesus into your life, now is the time to do it. If you have made that commitment, but you have not been acknowledging His Presence with you, now is the time to do it. Please pray this prayer:

Heavenly Father: Please forgive me of all of my sins. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness and make me a new creature in Christ Jesus. I accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead. He is now on the right hand of the Father ever making intercession for me. Thank you for coming into my life and making me a new creature in Christ. Thank you that you will always be with me. In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.

Every day this week, thank God that He is always with you and that you are a new creature in Christ. Begin to read the Word and find  out Who Jesus is and what He has done for you. With Him as the Third Party in your marriage, you will weather every storm, and your lives will be so entwined with one another and with Him that nothing can separate you.

Ecclesiastics 4:12 A triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

If your marriage or your relationship already has Jesus at the center, this might be a good time to add something that the two of you do together with God to strengthen your triple-braided cord. You might want to try taking 5 or 10 minutes a night extra to do one of the following:

Communion

Prayer time

Worship time

Bible Reading time

Devotional time

Please feel free to let us know what you are doing to strengthen the triple-braided cord. If you are currently single, it’s a great time to strengthen your relationship with God. He is the One who will bring the right one to you to complete your triple-braided cord, and you will have a head start to the happiness that is in your future.

dare to be happy self improvement self help blog
dare to be happy self improvement self help blog