The Four Candles – A Story of Peace in Troubled Times

Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

If you’ve ever felt despair, suffered tragedy or generally gone through the harshness of life, this is a wonderful story that will lift your spirits…

The Four Candles burned slowly. Their Ambiance was so soft you could hear them speak…

The First Candle said, “I Am Peace, but these days, nobody wants to keep me lit.”

Then Peace’s flame slowly diminishes and goes out completely.

The Second Candle said, “I Am Faith, but these days, I am no longer indispensable.”

Then Faith’s flame slowly diminishes and goes out completely.

Sadly, The Third Candle Speaks, “I Am Love and I haven’t the strength to stay lit any longer.

People put me aside and don’t understand my importance. They even forget to love those who are nearest to them.” Waiting no longer, Love goes out completely.

Suddenly…A child enters the room and sees the three candles no longer burning. The child begins to cry, “Why are you not burning? You are supposed to stay lit until the end!”

Then the Fourth Candle speaks gently to the little child, “Don’t be afraid, for I Am Hope, and while I still burn, we can re-light the other candles.”

With Shining Eyes, the child took the Candle Of Hope and lit the other three candles.

Never let the Flame of Hope go out of your life. With Hope, no matter how bad things look and are…Peace, Faith and Love can Shine Brightly in our lives.

~ Author Unknown

The Incredible Healing Power of Dogs

 

It has once been said that a dog is man’s best friend, and in many ways, they are. People have various kinds of animals for their pets, cats, birds, snakes, lizards, etc., and they use them for comfort, companionship, and security, just to name a few. But for the purpose of this story, I am going to focus on the incredible healing power of dogs.

A dog is not just a friend to another person or family, they are great sources of delight, happiness, and security. There is no better creature in the world that will a smile to a terminally ill person, comfort an individual in times of anxiety and stress, or simply become a fierce, loyal friend to someone in their time of need.

So, with that in mind, sit back and enjoy the following pictures of “man’s best friend.

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Finding Perspective In These Difficult Times

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julian-wan-DWaC44FUV5o-unsplash

The Corona Virus has brought the world to a virtual standstill. The things that people once enjoyed doing and the places they loved to travel has all come to an abrupt halt. The virus has affected the lifestyle of every individual and family. It’s a mess out there now. It can sometimes be hard to discern between what’s a real threat and what is just simple panic and hysteria.

Consider this; did any of us think, just a few short months ago, that we would all be required to wear masks, keep a six-foot distance between each other, be told not to touch, shake hands, or even hug each other for fear of spreading this dastardly virus? Did you ever fathom the thought that businesses, gyms, theaters, salons, eateries, and other establishments would be closed and millions upon millions would be out of work? And who ever heard of the term, “social distancing?”

The current environment has also affected people psychologically in various ways Some people have used the time of quarantine in positive ways: spending more quality with their families, spending more time in prayer and Scripture reading, enjoying the quietness of life. Unfortunately, this time has had the opposite effect on individuals: rise in depression, abuse and other negative effects. A current study showed that nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus.

Let’s put this whole period of time into perspective. So far, this pandemic has only been with us for about three months and, for some people, it seems like a lifetime. But let’s take a moment and put this into perspective.

Imagine for a moment, that you were born in the year 1900. (right around the time period that your grand, great-grand parents were born).

On your 14th birthday, World War I begins, then ends on your 18th birthday four years later. 22 million people perish in that war.

Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it during those two years with 500 million people infected.

Yes, 50 million perished!

On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33.

The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.

When you turn 39, World War II starts, and you aren’t even over the hill yet!

On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII.

Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war.

At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish. At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict.

On your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, should have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening.

When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.

Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How did they survive all of that?

Think about all of those things that you would have experienced in your lifetime. When your grandparents speak about, “when times were hard,” now you have an idea what life was like from their perspective!

Yet they survived through everything listed above.

What we are experiencing right now has been for a FEW MONTHS.

Perspective is an amazing art. We become refined, wiser, and more enlightened as time marches on. Let’s try and keep things in perspective and remember, the God, the maker of the heavens and the earth knows exactly what is going on in the world around us. We don’t need to fear the unknown for He will take care of us. He will keep us safe, free from harm, and watch over us every day!

“The Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” ~ Psalm 212:7-8

The Riches of Life

DJIt was once said that depression is caused by focusing on the past, anxiety is produced by exceedingly worrying about the future, but true happiness and peace occurs when a person lives and enjoys the present. David Steindl-Rast once said, “We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: for having good weather, to have slept well last night, to be able to get up, to be healthy, to have enough to eat. . . There’s opportunity upon opportunity to be grateful; that’s what life is.”  What is the focus of your life? Is it making a lot of money? Buying a lot of cars? Owning a big house? Or is the emphasis of your everyday existence is enjoying the little things…the small things…the things that money can’t buy?

Today’s little story serves as a great reminder to take the time to appreciate the true riches in life.

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One day, a fisherman was sitting near seashore, under the shadow of a tree, relaxing and smoking a pipe. A rich businessman passing by approached him
and asked him why he was sitting under a tree smoking and not working. The fisherman replied that he had caught enough fish for the day. He had all the fish he needed.

Hearing this the rich man got angry and said, “Why don’t you try to catch more fish instead of sitting here in the shade of the tree wasting your time?”

The fisherman asked, “What would I do by catching more fishes?”

The businessman replied, “You could catch more fish sell them and earn more money and buy a bigger boat.

The fisherman then asked, “What would I do then?”
The businessman explained, “You could go fishing in deep waters and catch even more fishes and earn even more money.

Again, the fisherman asked, “What would I do then?”
“You could buy many boats and employ many people to work for you and earn even more money, said the businessman.
Once again, the fisherman asked, “What would I do then?”
The businessman went on to say with great pride, “You could become a rich businessman like me.”
One final time, the fisherman repeated his question one final time, “What would I do then?”
The businessman said to his fisherman friend, “You could then enjoy your life peacefully.”
“What do you think I’m doing right now?”
You see folks, you don’t need to wait for tomorrow to be happy and enjoy your life. You don’t even need to be constantly trying to gain wealth and become powerful to enjoy life. LIFE is at this
moment, enjoy it fully. Joseph Brotherton once said, “My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants.”

 

Enjoy the Day!

The Professor

close up of apple on top of books

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In a classroom full of students, a professor asks:

Let’s suppose that you had $86,400 and someone stole $10 from you, would you throw away the remaining $86,390 that you still have and try and get your $10 back? Or would you just let it go?

All of the students said that they would let it go.

Then the professor told them this…everyone has 86,4000 seconds to live every single day and this time is far more valuable than money. You can always work for more money, but once a second passes, you can never get it back. Every time someone upsets us, it probably took 10 seconds, so why do we throw away the other 86, 390 worrying or being upset about it?

Occasionally, we all make this mistake…so it is time to start learning how to let the little things go and focus on the important things in life.”

Great food for thought!

Sunken Ships

abandoned beach boat clouds

Photo by Samir Belhamra @Grafixart_photo on Pexels.com

Today’s blog is a quick encouragement for us to remind us to stay positive despite the fact that you may be going through some hard, sad, or desperate time right now.

I hope and pray that the following little ditty speaks to your heart today!

Ships don’t sink

Because of the water around them;

Ships sink because of the

water that gets in them. Don’t 

let what’s happening around

you get inside you and weigh

you down!

A Secret to Inner Peace

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What is inner peace? What are the attributes of a life that can give us peace and solace in the things that we think and do each day? What are the true secrets that will calm our soul and soothe our spirits in today’s tumultuous world?

Well, today I am sharing with you a checklist, of sorts, that might give you an idea of how much inner peace you may have…and discover who might be the perfect “person” that holds this treasure.

 If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without alcohol,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

Then You Are Probably

The Family Dog!

And you thought I was going to get all spiritual …

Handle every Stressful situation like a dog.

If you can’t eat it or play with it,

Pee on it and walk away 🙂

Have an awesome day and share a smile with someone!

A Marvelous Kind of Medicine

drink girl glass hands

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

There is a medicine that has been around for thousands of years and has been used by millions of people around the world in every culture known to man. It is known for its power to change the way people feel about themselves and have a powerful and positive effect on people that are experiencing anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, depression, and a host of other issues.

The great thing about this medicine is that it will cost you nothing and is available for your use at any time, anywhere.

What is this marvelous medicine? Where can you find it?

Simple. It is called kindness. It is available at any time of day and you can use it wherever you may be.

You see, kindness is an amazing and powerful thing, The simple act of being kind to people and developing a habit of thinking of others instead of focusing on ourselves can have a huge, positive effect on an individual’s total well-being.

Let’s see what the positive impact kindness can have on a person who consistently uses this practice…

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Like many medicines that treat depression, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin which is known as the “feel-good” chemical. Seratonin assists in healing wounds, relaxation and is responsible for making people happy.

Acts of kindness can be very contagious. Once someone witnesses another person perform an act of kindness to another individual, they, in turn, will use it to help others. You can see this happen quite often. For example, a person is going to enter a building and the person in front of them stops and holds the door open for them. Sometime later, that person holds the door open for someone else. These actions can create “domino effect” and can improve the day of many people!

It has been shown that kindness can actually reduce a certain amount of pain that a person may be experiencing. When an individual does something nice, their brain releases hormones called endorphins to the nervous system. These hormones interact with receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain and act similarly to drugs such as morphine and codeine.

It that been found that people who are kind have 23% less cortisol in their bodies than people who are living under stressful conditions. This results in a person’s ability to have lower blood pressure and stress levels. Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” and can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems. Perpetually kind people also age slower! According to Dr. David Hamilton, not only does acts of kindness lower blood pressure, but it also creates emotional warmth, which releases the “love hormone” called oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of the chemical nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. which in turn reduces blood pressure and protects the heart.

Research from Emory University proved that when people are kind to another person, an individual’s brain’s pleasure and reward centers “light up”…as if that person was the recipient of the good deed…not the giver. This phenomenon is otherwise known as the “helper’s high.”

In a study done by the University of British Columbia, it was demonstrated that a group of people who were classified as “highly anxious individuals” performed as little as six acts of kindness a week for a month. After that one month, participants reported an increase in positive moods, relationships, and a decrease in socially anxious people.

Another interesting fact about the power of kindness was reported by Mr. Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine who discovered that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortunes are increased.

In addition to the aforementioned information, people which practice consistent acts of kindness also enjoy other attributes of a quality life. In a 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who were altruistic…in this case, people who were generous with their money…were the happiest overall.

Lastly, individuals who steadily show kindness to others can have a longer lifespan. According to Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness in Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”, people who volunteer their time, tend to have fewer aches and pains. giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an incredible 44% lower likelihood of dying early…and that’s after eliminating other contributing factors such as physical health, smoking habits, exercise, gender, and a host of other things.

(Resource: http://www.randomactsofkindness.org)

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There are two great quotes about kindness from two well-known people that I would like to leave with you…

The great philosopher, Aesop, once stated one of my favorite quotes regarding kindness…“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Mark Twain, the legendary American author, once said about kindness… “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” 

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So, increase your quality of life today…go out and be kind to someone today. It will make you feel great, make your life happier, increase your physical well-being, build your self-esteem, and lead to good fortune!

 

 

Left Alone in a Forest

Moon Over Redwood Forest

Photo Credit: Zest-pk via CC Flickr

There are many, many causes and circumstances throughout a person’s life that may make an individual fearful and afraid of the future or a situation that they might be presently experiencing and can cause a great deal of hardship and turmoil. Some of the leading causes of anxiety and distress in today’s world are things such as stresses in school, work, relationships, financial/money, the death of a loved one, a serious medical illness, drugs…the list goes on and on.

It is during these times, that people may begin to feel isolated, lonely, and hopeless. Friends, family, and other acquaintances may seem a million miles away and it can appear like no one is around to help.

Well, I have great news for you!!! Today, I am going to share with you an old American Indian legend regarding the Cherokee Indians and their young boy’s “rite of passage” into manhood. It is my hope that this story will supply you with a positive sense of comfort and reassurance when you are experiencing the “valleys and shadows” of life.

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At the time the ritual begins, a father takes his young son into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. The boy is required to sit on a stump the entire night and not remove his blindfold until he sees the dawns first rays of sunlight shine through it. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

The boy is not allowed to tell any of the other boys in his village of this experience because each male must experience and come into manhood on his own. Naturally, the boy is terrified and scared to death. He can hear all kinds of noises…some are familiar, but many are strange and scary. There is no question that wild animals are all around him…or maybe even another human that may be wanting to cause him harm!

The wind blows the grass and the earth and shakes his stump…but the boy sits quietly and stoically, never getting up or removing his blindfold. This is the only way that he can become a man!

Finally, what seems like an eternity, the terrible night is over. Dawn’s first rays of sunlight appear, and the boy now takes off his blindfold. It is then that he discovers his father sitting on a stump next to him. He had been watching his son the entire night, protecting him from harm.

You see folks, we, too, are never alone…even when we don’t know it, God is always with and watching over us…sitting on the stump next to us!

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!

Navigating the Seas of Grief and Despair

Jeremy Segrott

Photo Credit: Jeremy Segrott via CC Flickr

The death of a close friend, a dear sibling or spouse, or a loving relative can lead a person to great depths of grief, despair and hurt. There are times when the death seems like a blessing because the person was suffering from an illness or some other misfortune, and they are now free from their suffering. In some instances, the individual expires because of old age or in other occasions, the passing of an individual is sudden and shocking. Regardless, when someone a person knows passes from this life, there is usually a time of great sorrow and pain.

Over the course of this past year, I have had the unfortunate experience of knowing some family and friends of mine who either died suddenly or have been going through the dark valleys of their lives. I came across the following story a while back that was written by an older gentleman, who had written his response to someone who had asked the following question in an editorial in his newspaper: “My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.” Many people responded but there was one old man whose incredible comment stood out from the rest. What he stated might just change the way we approach life and death:

“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, parents, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.

 I wish that I could say that you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever someone I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if that scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and love. And scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

 “As for grief, you’ll find that it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with all of the wreckage around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was…and is no more. All you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and hang on for a while. Maybe it is a physical thing. Maybe it is a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float and stay alive.

 “In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they crash over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. If might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave keeps crashing…but in between waves…there is life.

 “Somewhere down the line, and it is different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall…or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at an airport. You can see it coming and for the most part, you prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

 “Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come…and you will survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of love…and lots of shipwrecks.”   ~ Source: Pinterest

It is my deepest hope and prayer that this commentary can help you or someone you know who may be “drowning” in a Sea of Despair or Grief. I know this…it helped me when I read it a while ago when my lifelong and best friend died, and who I miss every day…my Dad. So’s here to hope, grace, and happiness…and remembering the times with your loved one…the memories that will last a lifetime!

Coping With Grief and the Shipwrecks of Life

Lookas PHT

Photo Credit: Lookas PHT via CC Flickr

Grief. Despair. Pain. Suffering. These are just a few words that describe the feelings and emotions that millions of people experience everyday around the world. The death of a family member or loved one, the loss of a job, a separation from a spouse, personal injury, loss of a job, the passing of a pet, sickness, cancer…the list goes on and on.

 Grief and depression can sometimes be overwhelming and lead an individual to suffer from a variety of physical problems such as fatigue, headaches, sore muscles, heart and chest pains…just to name a few. People can also experience emotional stresses such as numbness, bitterness, detachment, inability to show or feel joy, etc. Like I said, grief and depression can be downright devastating!!

 If you have experienced times like these or are currently fighting through a difficult time in your life, the following story might, very well, be just for you. It tells of a great approach that you may be able to use to help you deal with grief in a positive fashion.

 I read the following short story that I felt would be a fantastic post for my blog. It is my hope and prayer that this illustration might help you, even in a small way, to change your outlook and perspective on your life and help you heal a wounded soul and a broken heart!

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Someone on Reddit wrote the following heartfelt plea online:

 “My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.”

A lot of people responded. Then there was one old man that wrote an incredible comment that stood out from the rest that might just change the way that we approach the turmoil of life, death, and other negative experiences.

“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here is my two cents.

“I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever someone I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep…so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. All you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it is a physical thing…a happy memory, a photograph, etc. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. staying alive.

“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing…but in between waves…there is life.

“Somewhere down the line, and it is different for everybody, you will find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging onto some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

“Take it from an old guy…the waves never stop coming and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you will survive them. And other waves will come…and you will have to survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves…and lots of shipwrecks.”

Dealing With Anxiety Can Be As Simple As 1, 2, 3!

lifeandshape,org

Photo Credit: Lifeandshape.org

There are literally millions and millions of people around this country and the world, who deal with large amounts of worry, stress, and anxiety every single day. Individuals may pay thousands and thousands of dollars on various therapies, medications, etc. While there are definitely some individuals who are authentically in need of medication, counseling,etc., many people suffer from self-induced anxiety.

So, I have good news!! I recently came across a nice and simple guideline, that people might want to use to help them deal with the tough times in their life. I found these ideas to be as helpful as 1, 2, 3!  I hope that these 10 steps will help you when you face stressful situations!