My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
purchase it at B & N, Amazon or (click on image of cover)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bed & Breakfast Thanksgiving

We took a different approach to Thanksgiving this year. With work stressing us out we took the opportunity to get away further up in the Hill Country of Texas to Uvalde, Texas. We rented a cabin at the Live Oaks Bed & Breakfast. I have a picture of the country styled cabin shown above. The cabin experience was a relaxing way to spend the holiday. Live Oaks had a beautiful tree covered yard which attracted deer at night.

The main reason for our getaway was to enjoy God’s amazing creation which provided us with an inner purpose for being thankful. We visited two state parts near Uvalde. On the way to the cabin we stopped at Lost Maples State park first. We were hoping to see some changing colors from the maple trees but we must have missed it by a couple of weeks. Still it was an awesome sunny day to view the water and the hillsides during out hike. On the trail we were surprised to meet a young couple from our church. It turned out their family was doing Thanksgiving as well at a nearby cabin. They were kind enough to take a picture of us.

The park we went to on Thanksgiving was Garner State Park. We thought we would be the only ones there but there was a line of cars when we went to the park. Then inside the park in the camping area we found a number of families with campers enjoying the holiday weekend in the state park. Although the parks are relatively close together the trees and surrounding are different. Garner has a shallow river that runs through it and the hillsides seemed steeper. We enjoyed hiking but realized we did not have the right shoes for the one trail we chose so did not make it to the top. We understood it was not the end of the world not to make the whole hiking trail. Again we were just thankful for another beautiful sunny day to enjoy hiking and the wonder of nature surrounding us.

For me I always enjoy finding time on Thanksgiving for reading. Back at the cabin I had evening time to read. I was able over the two days to finish a couple of books I had been working through.

This was a nice change of pace for Thanksgiving this year. We definitely will be returning to Uvalde to visit Garner State Park again (with more appropriate hiking shoes). We will go back to the same bed & breakfast as the atmosphere there was relaxing and clean. As for Thanksgiving though next year I will vote to stay home as I missed cooking the turkey in our kitchen and inviting friends who did not have a place to go.

Reflection: What was your favorite Thanksgiving experience? Are there any Thanksgiving rituals you regularly follow? Did you do any reading during the holiday?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thankful the Lord Hears Our Cry

Recently I had a client discuss songs that uplift him and give him energy. A couple of the bands he shared were U2 and Duran Duran. He told me I should check out the video of U2 doing the song “40” live at Redrocks. That is one of my favorite U2 songs so I checked out the video. The song is Bono’s adaptation of the first few verses of Psalm 40. Going into Thanksgiving this week I felt it is an important Psalm to reflect upon.

"40" U2 “40” at Redrocks (click on the title to listen to the video and reflect on the words. Below the lyrics I have the complete text of Psalm 40)

I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry
He brought me up out of the pit
Out of the miry clay

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song

How long to sing this song
How long to sing this song
How long...
How sing this song

He set my feet upon a rock
And made my footsteps firm
Many will see
Many will see and fear

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song

How long to sing this song
How long to sing this song
How long...
How sing this song

Psalm 40 King James Version (KJV)

1 I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

4 Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

5 Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.

10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: O Lord, make haste to help me.

14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.

15 Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.

16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified.

17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

The beginning and ending of the verses reveal the attitude of humility that is integral in calling out to God in prayer. The Psalmist presents himself as needing a deliverer and helper for the outside evils of life that face him and the inner sinfulness of his human nature that needs forgiveness. He waits patiently in prayer for the Lord’s answer as he knows God is not a celestial bellboy to jump at his beck and call.

Just like I stated in last week’s post there are times we feel stuck in a pit or other times -- forget the feelings – actual life situations put us in a virtual miry pit. Through crying out to God, the Psalmist reminds us God can lift us out and place us on firm ground. Our response should be a heart of rejoicing and thanksgiving.

In a worshipful response to God’s deliverance we each can create a new song to sing out about God’s wonderful works and how good it is to trust in Him. That song according to verse 3 is a testimony to the people around us. Living out the song can have a positive impact to those around us as they see God’s work in us.

The Psalmist points a realistic picture of the harsh times in life. Sometimes it is other people that put us into the pit. Sometimes it is our selfish sins that make us be stuck in the pit. The promise is as we keep our relationship with God growing He will help us rise above the harsh realities of this life. At this time of Thanksgiving take time to remember and humbly reflect upon the majesty of God who reaches down to us with mercy and love.

Reflection: What do you feel when you think of the majesty of God and his amazing works? What does it mean to you to wait patiently upon the Lord? What New Song is God placing in your heart and life this Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Break Through From Being Stuck

At times we feel we are stuck on a treadmill on our life journey. We are moving and becoming exhausted but as we look around we are in the same spot. Living More Than OK the idea behind my book by the same name encourages a life journey that spirals up into abundant living. The idea is about continually growing and moving higher up to new goals and purposes. That is not happening when we are stuck and exhausted.

I came across a book from Simple Truths that speaks to these times of being stuck. The book is Getting Unstuck: 10 Simple Secrets to Embracing Change and Celebrating Your Life. The authors, George and Sedena Cappannelli, are founders of Age Nation. They have a rich history in media and are motivational experts in the area of helping organizations and individuals deal with change.

Change – we all face it. Each day is a new change with new directions, challenges and opportunities. Just think of their subtitle though. How many of us are good with embracing change? We are more comfortable initially being stuck in the comfort of the knowable. Many wind up hiding in their comfort zone closet and miss out on the celebration that is waiting for them if they would step out and try new possibilities.

The book looks at 10 secrets they offer to help us break out of the comfort of the recliner of the comfortable knowns or the fear of the closet of the mundane routines we settle for in our lives. I will make a few comments on a few of the secrets that stood out to me the most. For the other 7 you will need to buy the book or request it at your local library.

1. Rules are made for the guidance of wise men and women.
2. Begin at the beginning.
3. Learn to say yes.
4. Build a strong and stable base.
5. Celebrate excellence.
6. Eliminate limiting beliefs and negative self-talk.
7. Connect, understand, and accept.
8. Worship spontaneity.
9. Take (almost) nothing seriously.
10. Become an instrument of grace and gratitude.

Secret 3 “Learn to say Yes” stood out to me first of all. Concerning this they say ”Where resistance , tension, and stubbornness are often the by-products of no; yes can become our gateway to openness, greater joy, and a rewarding and adventurous life.” (p,33). Often the no’s we say to ourselves keep us stuck as we fail to step out in faith to new opportunities and possibilities. How much do we miss out in life whether it is in meeting new people, helping someone, or a new opportunity for success when we are locked in fear with our saying no instead of saying yes.

With secret 6 which is “Eliminate limiting beliefs and negative self-talk.”, I believe it fits well with secret 3. Our negative thinking and false beliefs are often behind many of the no’s we tell ourselves. The negativity of our thinking keeps us stuck in our doubts about moving in an upward spiral to abundant living. They encourage in the book to be reflective and meditative in our thinking so we can mindfully be aware of the negativity filling our thought life. In doing so we can change the negative statements to positive thoughts that move us forward in vibrant living opportunities.

Secret 10 was another secret that stood out to me. That secret is stated as “Become an instrument of grace and gratitude.” One thought in this section is ”Your life is a gift, even with it’s most daunting challenges, difficult people, circumstances and significant changes.” (p. 100). When we are in stuck mode we are whining and complaining too much to view our lives as a gift of grace. We need to take time not just at this Thanksgiving season but throughout the year. Being grateful, helps to pull us out of being stuck to be open to new things to be thankful for. Here they mention one of my many favorite quotes, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. “ (Meister Eckhart)

There was a wealth of information to reflect upon with the other 7 secrets. I focused on 3 in hopes to whet your mental appetite to seek out the book for yourselves. If you find yourself stuck in your life remember your Creator made you for more than sitting is a comfortable recliner or exhaustingly treading in one spot. Make this a time for a break through and become unstuck.


Think through a time of being stuck in your life. What did you learn about yourself and how did your break free? What did you think about the 3 secrets I presented from the book?