Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Road to Success is Uphill

How do you know you are on the path to success? It’s uphill all the way!

Nobody coasts to their desired destination. Anything worthwhile requires overcoming significant difficulties and obstacles. It’s simply a part of the territory.

When you’ve given your best and failed, it’s tempting to throw in the towel and give up. Sadly, many people would have achieved the goal if they would have hung on just a little longer. Don’t quit too soon. You may be inches away from the breakthrough!

Refuse to cave into discouragement. Looking back, I’ve regretted almost every decision I’ve made from discouragement. Humans were made to hope, and that means believing in a better tomorrow.

I have always been inspired by this poem by an unknown author. May it bring encouragement to your heart:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out-- 
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, 
And you never can tell how close you are, 
It may be near when it seems so far, 
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-- 
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Five Little Words

After reading my newspaper column,  "Do You Need a Refresher Course in Pre-School, a friend from Iowa sent me this poem as a follow-up:

Five Little Words

There are five little words I'd have you know,
They are "pardon me", "thank you" and "please."
Oh use them quite often wherever you go;
There are few words more useful than these.
These five little words are filled with a power
That fame of moneyh cannot give.
So commit them to memory this very hour,
And use them as long as you live.
-- Anonymous

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Remedy for Irritability

When Dr. F. B. Meyer was young, he was often negative and irritable. One day an elderly saint told him how he had gained victory over irritability in his own life. "When irritation rises in my heart, I look up and say, 'Your sweetness, Lord!'"  Meyer said he tried this practice and it worked for him!

The great evangelist explained the best way to counter unhelpful thoughts and attitudes, is breathing a prayer of replacement.

For falsehood -- your truth, Lord.
For unkindness -- your kindness, Lord.
For impatience -- your patience, Lord.
For selfishness -- your unselfishness, Lord.
For roughness -- your gentleness, Lord.
For discouragement -- your courage, Lord.
For resentment -- your sweetness, Lord.

The cycle of negative thought patterns can be broken by calling to heaven for positive reinforcements.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Live Like a Dandelion

I love dandelions! Call me crazy.  Call me lazy.  Call me a weed lover all you want --I Iove dandelions.  I used to hate 'em, but now I love 'em.

Why in the world would I have an affinity for such pesky plants? Because they are a splendid illustration of how to live!

1. You can't keep a good dandelion down.
Try all you want, those little yellow flowers keep popping up all over the place. Weed eaters, lawn mowers, and even poisons don't phase them. They just keep coming back. Dandelion people are like that too.

When the setbacks and disappointments come, they refuse to cave into discouragement. They do not allow the circumstance to get the best of them. These folks figure out a way through the problem.

Instead of complaining about how bad the situation is, they figure out ways to make things better. Whatever comes -- they will always find a way to bounce back. You can count on it!

2. Dandelions add color to the landscape.

Isn't it boring to have a lawn of only one color? Just think -- dandelions are God's tools to brighten our day.  Think of those little yellow flowers as gifts! 

Dandelion People color the landscape too. They draw out the best in others, adds "spice" to life and bring joy wherever they go (others bring joy when they go!)

3. Dandelions don't play favorites.
They show up everywhere! I've seen them in gardens, sidewalk cracks, country roads, city streets, pastures, mansion lawns, and humble dwellings.

They don't seem to mind whose yard they inhabit. They're not "too good" for anybody. Dandelion people are like that too. They're not cliquish, and are willing to relate with people from all walks of life.

Will Rogers, a classic dandelion guy, said, "I never met a man I didn't like." You can find some good in everybody!

4. Dandelions are genuine.
When my daughter, Hannah, was five years old, she brought me a beautiful gift -- a dandelion!

It was a gesture of genuine love on her part. Nothing plastic or fake about this. She found a pretty flower and wanted to share it with her daddy.

I wore it behind my ear for the rest of the afternoon. Every parent can relate to the little glass of dandelions which sits on the window sill in our kitchen -- a bouquet representing the sincere love of a child.

5. Dandelions rise above it
Perhaps the thing I like most about dandelions is how they keep reaching new heights!

They know how to rise above the situation. Regardless of how tall the grass is -- the dandelions grow taller! You can pound them, cut them, and even steam roll them, but they keep popping back up.

Dandelion people rise above it as well. Their positive "can-do" spirit empowers them to move beyond any obstacle. Attitude, indeed, makes a terrific difference. Your attitude determines your outlook on life.

In once sense, dandelions are better than roses. I shared this thought with my friend Pastor Ben Drown, and he responded with an impromptu poem "Roses bloom, then fade away. Dandelions come back every day."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Do You Need a Refresher Course in Preschool?

Grown ups frequently forget the valuable lessons they learned as youngsters.  Maybe we all ought to go back to preschool for a refresher.  If we did that, here are a few important words we'd learn to say again:

1. Please.

So often, people make selfish demands of other people, forgetting that gentle requests are far more productive than dictates and ultimatums.
Just think how pleasant our world would be, if we all treated each other with courtesy and respect.  "Would you please. . ." goes much further than "You'd better. . . or else!"

2. Thank You.
Ingratitude is at the heart of most misery. Your emotional and spiritual health is directly linked to the level of thankfulness in your life.  If you go around thinking that "life owes you", your unhappiness is guaranteed. Gratiude at the root, produces joy as the fruit.

3. I'm Sorry.
A measure of maturity is how we own and admit our mistakes. Whenever we've hurt someone, intentionally or without realizing, we must go back and try to make amends.

Saying the actual words, "I'm sorry" is the first step towards healing in a fractured relationship. A failure to admit failure is the greatest failure of all!  Generally speaking, an offended person will be reconclied with a humble, heartfelt, honest apology.  Of course, the mere words, "I'm sorry", don't mean too much if they are not followed with appropriate action.  I recall my mother saying, "Sorry is as sorry does."

4. I Forgive You.
Forgiveness is difficult, but essential. It isn't "letting the other person off the hook", as much as it is
"letting ourselves off the hook of bitterness."  

Small children have a beautiful way of making up after a conflict. They can have a spat one minute, and then, get over it and be best buddies the next. Wouldn't it be great if we grown ups could learn to let our offenses go like that?

Yes, I think every grown up ought to go back every few years for a continuing education course in preschool.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Summer Residents

little flowers
familiar strangers
we have not learned each others' names
but that's alright
we smile the same
and give a friendly nod and wave
whene'er we pass
because they're summer residents