Friday, September 24, 2010

Can I or Can't I?


by the set of your sails.

Some ships head east, yet others head west, all from the same wind. The wind doesn’t decide to blow one ship in one direction and the other in the other. The captain of the ship determines in which direction he is going to go.

Same is true for you and for me as well.

Think of the sails as thoughts in your life. Are you harboring good thoughts? Are they steering you in the direction in which you want to go?

“If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.

“If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will –
It’s all in the state of mind.

“If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late,
The man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”
(Walter D. Wintle - late 19th early 20th Century)

Sometimes, conquering is a matter of breaking down a task into smaller, simpler parts. Master those one at a time, slowly, successfully.  Then weave them together with the bigger puzzle pieces, the bigger picture, increase your speed, assure your accuracy, and in no time you have climbed on top of that massive goal.

Could you read War and Peace in the first grade?

As a ten year old, could you lift 200 lbs. over your head?

Probably not. But in time, bit by bit, you grew in strength and understanding and with consistency and purpose you soon developed the mental skills and physical prowess to read a large volume or lift a large weight.

There are a few terms that are tossed about in a lot of goal setting and self-development books that speak to what we are talking about.
-Definite Chief Aim

The winds may be blowing in my face, yet by properly setting my sails, I can head into the winds and make progress, though the winds of adversity blow toward me.

It’s all in the set of your sails. How is your sail set? How securely is your mind fixed on your objective, dream, goal?

The Bible offers this thought.
“As a man thinks, so is he.”

Dozens of thought leaders, philosophers and gurus have said the same thing in other ways.
“You become what you think about.”
“If you think you can, you can.”
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”

I don’t know where you want to go, but I do know that if you set your course, determine where you want to be, give yourself a timeline, and do daily actions to move yourself along toward your goals, you will sooner or later reach your destination.




Pretty simple, right?

On paper, yes. Carrying through? That is up to you.

All I know is this …
Start where you are
to get to where
you want to go.

And begin today, whether you are ready or not.

Let’s go for a sail!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Power of Words

With appreciation to John C. Maxwell and his book Be a People Person, we find this great insight.

“The least important word: I.
“The most important word: We.
“The two most important words: Thank You.
“The three most important words: All is forgiven.
“The four most important words: What is your opinion?
“The five most important words: You did a good job.
“The six most important words: I want to know you better.

Let’s spend some time on these phrases.

Do people really care about what I think?

Denotes teamwork, companionship, joint effort, pulling together. Don’t you love it when your team says these things?
Look what we did!
What can we do?
Where will we be in the future?

Thank You
Sometimes this is the most under-used word in everyday conversations. We have the opportunity to say “Thank You” perhaps a dozen times every day. Do we?

All Is Forgiven
These are perhaps some of the most healing words one can hear.

Earnest Hemingway, in his short story The Capital of the World, tells the story about a father and his teenage son who lived in Spain. Their relationship became strained, shattered and the son ran away from home.

“Soon the father began a long journey in search of his son, finally putting an ad in the Madrid newspaper as a last resort. His son’s name was Paco, a very common name in Spain. The ad simply read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the Madrid newspaper office tomorrow at noon. All is forgiven. I love you.” As Hemingway writes, the next day at noon in front of the newspaper office there were 800 “Pacos” all seeking forgiveness.”

What Is Your Opinion?
This phrase speaks of openness and that you want to include others in forming opinions and policies.

You Did a Good Job!
Don’t you just love an appropriately placed word? There are few five-word phrases that work as effectively as “You did a good job!”

I Want to Know You Better.
We are social human beings. We form groups, join clubs, all with the purpose of expanding our social network. When I get to know you better, you enrich my life and hopefully I will add value to yours as well.

Well, there you have it. Six word phrases that make a difference in our relating to other human beings.

Come, let us sit
for a while
and become friends.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I love to laugh! Some wise person has said “laughter is like jogging on the inside.”

Laughter is contagious. When I hear someone giving a genuine full-bodied laugh it often makes me want to laugh as well.

When my step-daughter, Ashley, was little, she had the most infectious giggle. She was full of life and laughter and she was going to enjoy every minute life had to offer. Her giggles made me giggle.

Ava and Grey

My granddaughter Ava is the same way. When she is with her cousins you can hear her above all of the others, laughing and giggling and having the time of her life. She lets it all out. I love that about her.

When my siblings are able to get together, we always end up telling family stories, laughing and reminiscing and enjoying our family history.

I’ve seen a rather large painting of the Christ figure throwing his head back and laughing a good old belly laugh. Can you imagine that happening?

I can.

God has more of a sense of humor than we might allow him, don’t you think?

Carolyn and I have enjoyed some amazing sunsets this spring and summer particularly. During and after every one of them we marvel at the beauty and majesty of this world of ours and savor the moments we can share together watching the sun go down.

Seems at times I can hear God chuckling to himself as he watches us enjoy his handiwork.

I think God goes around laughing at my newest grandson Eliot. That boy is the picture of life and joy, smiles and laughter. Just look at the expression on his face? You gotta love that about him. He doesn’t have a care in the world, except scooting that wheeled cart across the floor, learning to walk, gaining new feet and wings and loving life at top speed.

I think God laughed the other day as I was holding Carolyn’s hand. We were going nowhere in particular, just enjoying our day together, holding hands, being in each other’s presence and enjoying the moment. I’m pretty sure I heard a guffaw come from somewhere up there.

Have you heard God laugh with you? Have you ever felt His delight just because you exist? He never mocks us – oh no. He simply delights in us. He delights in what delights us.

I seem to collect friends who also enjoy a good chuckle or a snort. When my long-time friend Brenda and I get together on rare occasions we end up laughing at the silliest things. We’re just being ourselves, expanding our friendship one more notch, and loving whatever our curious minds find to laugh about.

I have two close college friends and if you mention the words “milk donuts” you will throw the three of us into spasms of giggles and hooting and hollering.

So, laugh more. Giggle – out loud. Snicker occasionally. Hoot if you want to. Snort and cackle and especially chortle.

It’s good for you.