Stumbled Blessings

I have spent time reflecting upon the past couple of years and the amazing doors that have been opened for my wife and I during this time.  We have truly been deeply blessed with opportunities that provide not only the ability to meet our basic needs but also allowing us to spend time together.

It dawned on me today that while I have been truly grateful for these blessings and have thanked the Lord every single day for his bounteous generosity in our lives that I have been allowing the success we have felt interfere with my worship to my very Savior.

I work a lot!  I have the opportunity to work from home, this is a mixed blessing, while getting to stop to spend time when my daughter needs me, it is also very easy to go back into the office and pull an all nighter.  This sadly happens too often.

What dawned on my was this…. I have been hiding behind how busy my work is and the crazy hectic schedule that my wife and I keep as a result of these opportunities that we have been blessed with that I have found myself using that as an excuse to skip part of my church meetings.   While thanking the Lord for his gifts, I have been hiding behind the very success that he granted us in faithfully attending my meetings.  I am too busy, too tired after an all night work session to get up on Sunday and go to all of my meetings.

What a hypocrite I had become!

How could I have allowed these thoughts to creep into my mind that we are helping create so many jobs for others and that my work needed me that this was more important than taking the time to fully attend to my worship.

I am grateful for a loving God who provides us with second chances,  to correct our errors,  and for still loving me so much that He would grant unto us such miraculous blessings in our lives while I stumbled on the receiving end of these magnanimous gifts!

The Hope of each new Sunrise

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Each morning the world awakens from the darkness to the glorious site of the rising sun.  The sun brings with it the surety of another day, another opportunity, another chance for us to leave the dark and enter into the light and allow the sun to warm us.

The rising sun brings hope and it represents that no matter how dark things seem, there will always be light, if we are patient and endure the darkness, light always follows.

Last night, my wife and I found ourselves discussing those times of deep, crippling depression that at moments in our lives we have experienced, both together and individually.  Sometimes the dark is so great and overpowering that we wonder how light can ever penetrate the darkness around us.   We need simply recognize the symbol of the rising sun that God has given us.

Just as at times our lives seem dark and dreary, difficult to see past the blackness that envelopes us, we too have learned that the light always comes when we endure. No matter the reasons we find ourselves surrounded by that fear that the light will never shine again, it does, it always does and each day the dark valleys are brightened and warmed.

I know that when life’s burdens, challenges, heartaches and despair come, the days that I force myself to wake up in time to watch the sunrise, provides a little glimmer of hope that the light will eventually arrive and I will overcome any burden before me.  The days when I stay in the dark, bring more despair.  Light provides hope.

When I speak with others who suffer from depression, heartache, or any emotional malady, I encourage them to watch the sunrise each morning, take time to watch the light as it creeps over the mountains and illuminates the darkened valley below it. Then as the valley slowly illuminates, the warmth of the sun can be felt on my face when the full brightness of the sun shines as it rises above the mountain peak keeping it hidden and the valley dark.

Take hope in the surety of a new day, a new dawn, for with each new day it brings with it a new opportunity.    Seek out the opportunities each new day brings for each day is as bright as the shining sun when we choose to see the light instead of remain in the dark.

 

 

The Positive Choice

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Negativity is exponentially increasing month to month.  The media blasts negative news stories continually, while positive ones are given little attention.  It is reasonable to believe that we as humans respond quicker to the negative than the positive primarily due the fact that the impact a negative event in our life has upon us often requires our immediate attention.

Studies have shown that for children to be emotionally healthy, they need to have 5 positive comments for every negative one.  It takes this many positive comments to erase every negative comment we hear, this just keeps us even.

When we compare a child’s needs and what it truly takes to stay level with the ratio needed, it is logical to assume that much of the increased divisiveness and hatred within our communities is directly being fueled from the inadequate balance of newsfeeds that focus primarily on negative stories. Positive ones are rarely shared by our news outlets, and certainly are vastly outnumbered by negative ones.

It would seem then logical, that if we are failing in this ratio as we are and we are seeing an increase in riots, protests, anger and divisiveness that the opposite effect would be possible if we focused our stories on uplifting positive ones instead.

I wonder what effect upon our nation we could experience if we spent 30 days focusing on what’s good and right with each other and the positive stories within our communities and gave no time to negative ones.

What change would occur within each of us?  Would we be more agreeable with one another?  Would we be happier?  Would we serve one another more effectively and help those in need?

We have seen the results when so much time and effort is given to what is negative and wrong with everything in our world, nation, communities and lives.

We attract to our lives that which we focus upon.

It is time to shut off the news and share with one another good things for there are many amazing, wonderful and uplifting stories happening within each of our communities every single day.  Let’s share these stories and uplift one another, life is worth living and should be filled with happiness and joy, not misery and sorrow.

 

Free Speech…….Forced Silence

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Arguably one of the most dangerous trends in our society is the relentless ongoing attack on and by businesses over personal and political beliefs.  We are attacking the very means that put food on our tables and a roof over our heads.

We have witnessed this with the small entrepreneur being sued for trying to exercise their personal and religious beliefs within their business dealings because they do not meet the lefts narrative.

Add now the hypocrisy of Nordstrom decision to cancel Ivanka Trump’s line from their stores, a clearly political motive on behalf of Nordstrom because they disagree with her Fathers politics.  Hypocrisy at its finest!

On the one hand, telling the small business that they will be sued if they don’t serve everyone regardless of religious belief,  while on the other hand supporting big business for ending a long term business relationship over political disagreement.

How do you force one and allow the other?

The stark reality that no one discusses is that the big business like Nordstroms actually silence their employees through their actions like this and have a far more damaging effect on free speech than the small baker who for religious reasons refuses to bake a cake.

When an employer makes a business decision to retaliate against another business for political purposes, do you really think any employee will speak up with a contrary opinion without fear of reprisal?  Employees will typically silently disagree without ever voicing opposition as a result of that fear.

The left is adamant about silencing and punishing anyone who disagrees with their views, there is no tolerance from them for opposing opinion and they are leading this country down a treacherous path.

Speaking against the lefts agenda always brings heated arguments. They will always attempt to intimidate anyone into silence instead of discussing the issues factually.

America as a whole needs to unite and come together on these basic issues or we will all pay dearly for our failure to oppose these attacks.

When anyone is silenced or punished by any means because of political disagreement, the day will surely come when everyone is silenced and punished.  There can be no other end, for history tells us it is so.

The deceit of Free Tuition, Free Healthcare…

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Recently I spent time debating with a cousin regarding the free tuition being offered now in San Francisco.   I struggle with this concept just as many of our younger generations struggle to understand why this is not a good idea and the challenges it creates.

First of all NOTHING IS EVER FREE!  Someone has to pay for it.   Welfare isn’t free!  Healthcare certainly isn’t free! How in the world does anyone truly believe that tuition can be?

The issue is that the middle class are the ones that feel this pain and the burdensome yoke that this creates.  The youth clamor thinking this is such a fantastic idea, while the liberal elite sing it’s praises!  The wealthy find loopholes and the bottom gets things free with no way up from the bottom when they do.

Have you ever taken a moment to wonder why the wealthy in this country never complain about these policies that will supposedly increase their taxes?

When I asked my cousin about who was going to pay for this, he proudly proclaimed that the wealthy will pay it by increasing their property taxes on 5 million dollar and above homes!  For my cousin, free sounds like a great idea!  Make the rich pay for it!  They can afford it!

The problem is that no one ever talks about, especially the rich is that they will never feel the pain of increased taxes the way the middle class does.  Obamacare is perfect example of this failed logic!  The wealthy were never impacted by this policy, the middle class was slaughtered!  My premiums pre-Obamacare  vs current premiums for 2017 have risen nearly 80%

The other challenges are that food prices have climbed, eating out is more expensive, entertainment has risen and a myriad of other things.

The wealthy understand how money works!  This is why you never hear any complaints coming out of the financial elite on these policies and tax hikes.   They know that they will continue to thrive through multiple ways.

They will hire fewer employees to do the same amount of work.

They will increase the cost of goods to the consumer.

The poor, as well as the middle class will bear these burdens.  Not the wealthy.

Policies that offer free anything to the people widen the gap between the haves and the have nots.  This is why they support these options.   It keeps them in power and in an elite class.

Look at the minimum wage protests that have occurred.   Unemployment has skyrocketed in areas that have increased minimum wage beyond the federal minimum, fewer jobs are available as businesses have had to adjust and do more with less or simply close shop.

The mentality of “free” has poisoned our society, and primarily our youth!  They fail to grasp the cold hard reality that nothing is free, there is always a catch!  One day, they will be the ones caught in the net cast by those who promote these ideas with no way out of the freefall that will occur.

The Unintended Consequence of Choice

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We have become a society where we are so quick to make decisions while at the same time failing to assess each situation that we fail to look at the unintended consequences of those decisions.

We complain when those decisions then go rogue and we are left wondering what happened.  We see this in every aspect of our culture, from politics to personal hygiene to education, etc..

Oftentimes we choose the easy and quick way out or the rash decision to do something that will impact our future.  We then blame others when these choices we make come back with the unintended consequences that we then must face.

We see this playing out in a big way in our senate right now.  When Harry Reid made the choice to amend the senate rules many cheered his decision.   Now when these same rules are being used on the other side, people are railing against the methods which the republicans are moving things forward.  The unintended consequences of a choice made years ago have now come full circle.   If you supported that decision then by Harry Reid, you have no room to complain today when the opposition uses that same rule.

We are quick to use student loans freely when we have no payments and the balances rise, we believe that it will never catch up to us, then when we are straddled with the extreme debt that prohibits us from buying a house, a car or any other thing else, we blame the system instead of looking at the unintended consequences of our prior choices.

When someone decides to engage in unprotected sex we complain about the pregnancy and race to get an abortion refusing to face our unintended consequences of sexual behavior.

We as a society have gotten to the point of blaming everyone else for the unintended consequences of our own personal choices.  We fail to properly assess any choice we make and then try to force others to take the responsibility for unintended consequences of our choices.

There is no personal responsibility left.  We have abdicated that to others and as such we have traded our freedom of choice for the pleasure of the moment.