You can’t disco…

You can’t discover your own higher purpose without awakening to the greater purpose of life itself. Rather than ask, ‘What is my purpose?’ ask instead, ‘How might I serve Him or the Universe in realizing its purpose?’

By aligning ourselves with this larger context, we can discover higher levels of meaning, which leads to true and lasting fulfillment and happiness. — Claire Zammit

Turkey Day + 5 Steps = Peaceful Holiday

IcicleEverything is energy and that is all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.  – Albert Einstein

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Whether you are elbow deep in flour or making a last run to the grocery store, there may be thoughts like these lurking under the surface of the busyness of holiday preparation:

I hope that Aunt Rachael and Dad don’t get into politics or the economy this year.

What if Jan (my mother-in-law) hates the way I made the turkey?

Did we have to invite Bob? He is always such a downer at the holidays ever since he lost his job.

Everyone has difficult people in their circle of family and friends. And the holidays brings everyone together, to simmer in their opinions, judgments and criticisms.  For some, it is an annoyance to be born for a few days. For others, it can be a looming disaster that threatens to effect relationships far into the future.

It doesn’t have to be that way. 

I have discovered a 5 step process that helps me fly through the holidays, enjoying myself and feeling great at the end of the night.  I remind myself of the following truths before I enter a potentially stressful situation. I visualize interacting positively with the people who upset me in the past.  And I touch base with the 5 steps if I feel myself getting drawn into a negative or emotionally charged exchange.

1.  I only have control over myself. No one else.

I accept this fact and I remind myself of its truth whenever I am tempted to point out someone else’s faults or mistakes.   I have no idea what that person is dealing with or what cross they carry, so my opinion of their words or actions is not necessary or helpful.

2.  I only have control over my reactions, not others.

I cannot control anyone else’s reaction. So when I present the turkey or other dishes that I made, I know I created it with love and happiness. I did my part and I leave it at that.

3.  Everything is energy.

When I hear what I think is criticism, I remind myself that “It’s only energy.” That takes away the emotional charge and allows me to choose my response from love instead of hurt. It also give me room to consider that I may have misinterpreted the comment.

4.  I decide how I want to experience the holiday.

When #1 + #2 + #3 are added together, I always reach the logical conclusion that I get to decide how I want to experience the holiday.  I make that decision before the event, by visualizing how I want the day to proceed. I hold that vision or idea in my head as I move through the day, making sure that I am responding and reacting in ways that are consistent with my vision.

5.  I leave the rest up to God or the Universe.

I know that I can’t control others, so I do not set unrealistic expectations. I focus on what I want to experience and let go of the rest.

This 5 step process has worked its magic for me – consistently and predictably… as long as I did my part and stayed within my zone of happiness. Try it tomorrow and let me know if it also worked for you.

Remember – Albert Einstein said that “This is not philosophy. It’s physics.”  Put the laws of physics to work for you and you will reap the benefits.

A Warrior or a Believer?

The third and final book in the Marc Royce series, Strait of Hormuz provides a gripping story that will satisfy even the most die-hard action adventure fan.  The added bonus is that Davis Bunn is a Christian author and he boldly explores what it means to be a Christian in a violent world.

Straits of Hormuz picks up where Rare Earth (Book 2 in the series) left off. But Bunn is so adept at providing the back story that Straits can also be read as a standalone book.

Marc Royce is again entangled in an international web of intrigue that he does not understand, but that has far-reaching consequences. He must decipher the clues to determine whether he is on the correct trail or chasing rabbits while the real threat remains inbound.

Along the way, he discovers what he thought he would never see. Small, hidden communities of Christians composed of Turks, Kurds, Syrians, Lebanese, Ethiopians and Iraqi.  Sworn enemies who lay down their arms and found each other in the arms of Jesus.

Impossible if they followed their traditions and societal rules.  Possible only because of the gift of salvation.

Marc must seek their help in his quest to stop the evil that is about to descend on the Middle East. But these people have a well-hones sense of credibility and Marc must prove himself worthy of their support. He is forced to come face-to-face with his own doubts and fears, and to choose to “follow Jesus even when it is painful to do so.”  His training as a warrior and combatant has to be set aside so he can seek guidance in prayer.

His primal dilemma: remain cold and angry as a warrior or step into an unknown place of weakness and wait for direction from God.

As Marc states so eloquently, “There is no harder lesson for me to learn than to recognize the moment when I am called to be weak.”

Marc must also face his personal conflict of whether to love someone and therefore become vulnerable, or remain in the comfort of his “warrior mentality.” He already knows that the warrior mentality does not produce warm, trusting relationships, but the obstacles he faces in Straits sends him straight back to his warrior comfort zone.  Will he also shed that attitude and open himself up to the gifts of love?

Davis Bunn excels at weaving the themes of Christianity, love and forgiveness in a story that is both compelling and thought-provoking. Because the reader is allowed to see directly into Marc Royce’s conflicts and dilemmas, the resolution of his conflicts also provides a possible solution for the reader. We see into Marc’s world and gain insight into our own.

Straits of Hormuz is a book worth its weight in gold. It will change your perspective about the Middle East and what it means to be a “warrior” in Christ.

The Ocean of Relationships

My daughter just went to her first High School Homecoming Dance/party and “After-Party.” 

Her entire class of 14-15 year-olds attended, so the social pressure of being “cool” or “funny” or “just-don’t-do-anything-stupid” was extremely high.

For some reason, the image of pushing her out onto the ocean of relationships flew into my mind. Please indulge the following analogies and metaphors while I sort through the possibilities that may lie in her future.

English: Two Sunfish with instructors teaching...

When she first sets sail on the ocean, her boat may be a humble dinghy or a Sunfish sailboat. Small and unsure, she is waiting for the first connection with another.

It could happen many different ways, but that connection, once made, could determine how she views herself inside that new relationship.

Unless she remembers the secret.

Her first real relationship with a boy could be like riding in a speed boat…the feeling of exhilaration and speed could wipe away any thoughts of common sense or safety.

Or it could be like a sailboat, moving in sync with the wind and the waves…peaceful, calm and serene.

But what if it is like the Titanic…glittering and seductive but a tragic end is ensured, whether the participants know it or not.

What is a Mom to do?

My imagination runs wild with the possibilities…drugs, sex, STD, drugs, sex.  I cannot listen to those fears though, because I know that her future is hers to determine. All I can do is to pray, ask for guidance and help her through the good times and bad.

Because in the end, it is not what happens to her as she moves on the ocean, it’s what she learns from the experience and how she integrates those lessons into her self-image.

And that is the Secret.

She is still and will always be a child of God, loved and adored.

She cannot lose her relationship with God. She can only ignore it or forget that it is there.

God is the most patient partner, always waiting for you to acknowledge him.  He set you forth on the ocean of relationships to discover who you are and who you are not.

And to learn that in the end, no matter what happened while you were adrift, that you can always come home to a safe harbor.UniverseCrush