Why Thanksgiving is the Color Brown

The plentiful trees outside my window are diligently shedding their leaves. The green foliage that once danced with the summer winds is now pale and crisp awaiting fate. These leaves have provided a shady relief on the hot sweltering days. And now as they succumb to their demise, I feel a vague sense of loss. This bereavement stirs in me every autumn when the warm sun has faded to cold days, daylight has diminished, and tawny landscapes portray a lifeless reflection.  Mounds of fallen leaves announce a visual end of terrain life that was in abundance during summer.

Autumn is a brown season. Brown is an earthy hue, suggestive of dried corn stalks and fields at rest after harvest.  Much of nature comes to an end in the midst of autumn—meadows stand still and stark, covered like a woolen blanket.

It seems a contradiction to have Thanksgiving Day noted in such a season.  Would not the life-renewing month of April be more likely to excite gratitude?  Surely, thankful hearts are found everywhere leaping and bounding on the green grass and fragrant blossoms of early summer.

Feeling gratitude in the brownness of November, in the midst of barren horizons, encircled by cold and dark dawns can be difficult to summon. It seems easier to be grateful when the sun is shining, the wind is warm, and gardens bloom from naked branches.

But an attitude of thankfulness requires no precedent. It seeks expression in all circumstances, especially in the stark rawness of the autumns in our lives. In fact, the heart that is thankful in all seasons will find the shadows in life easier to maneuver. The hearts that believe in the sun even when it is not shining have an umbrella over their stormy days. In all circumstances, they can site a list of blessings for which they are grateful.

Every new day magically unfolds in grandeur for each one of us to use. To use giving back. To make a difference in someone’s life. To be kind and helpful. To be generous if able. To tell another human being that you care.

May you know happy thanks and happy giving, even in the brown seasons of life.

Think about it.

drsandynelson@gmail.com

©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Did You Last Hear “Take Your Time?”

We are all ruled by time. It controls our daily lives. 

Do we ever have enough time?

Time is attached to all events—births, meetings, flights, dinner, classes, family visits, accidents, celebrations, weddings, and deaths.

Time changes the seasons. It ages all life and awakens the new.

Time. It’s a priority—so be on time. We give it honor—we thank you for this time. We curse it—what’s taking so long? It deceives us—we think we have more time. We live it one day at a time.

Time. A commodity that cannot be ruled or bought or threatened or bargained. It cannot be stolen, bribed, or tortured. It holds no bias. It passes with no thought of our peril.

It’s both a mentor and a master. It’s a lifetime.

Free time has a price. This minute becomes history in 60 seconds, never to be revived. It’s opportunities vanish. Another delay in a pursuit of dreams. Maybe another missed chance. Are we waiting for time?

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. –H. Jackson Brown Jr.

We can feel validation when we mark our time with worthwhile moments. Stop waiting, stop postponing. Reach for that destiny. Make a plan. It’s worth the time.

Make the choice to be mindful of every minute spent with family and friends. Take time. Be present. Remember the details. With each passing day, children and family are older.

The pressure of time is stress.

Things need to be done by a certain time. Maybe a lot of things need attention after a workday. Take it from a recovering perfectionist, not everything is urgent. Some things can wait, if not many.

Discovering and maintaining relationships is probably the best use of time. The ones that are supportive and understanding. The ones whom will rally when needed. Nurture those relationships. Be a friend, too.

Use some time running interference with your purpose in life–what you feel driven to accomplish. There will be obstacles. Some people won’t understand and won’t be supportive and won’t get it. That’s okay. Sometimes illness or something else happens that threatens to derail your calling. A genuine passion for something will not budge regardless of events.

Helping or inspiring other people is always a good use of time. This is a blessed time to give humanity. To contribute to something bigger than one person.  It steadies the belief that mankind is compassionate, capable, and helpful.

The trouble is, you think you have time. -Buddha

Think about it.

drsandynelson@gmail.com ♦ Life101Blog.com©

What Do You Deserve In Life?

What do you deserve in life? – by Dr. Sandy Nelson
Did you find yourself hesitating to answer the question?

 

I did.

What do I deserve? Nothing.

But that’s old school thinking. That’s my unhealthy and incorrect thinking from decades ago.

You see, I was raised as a Missouri Synod Lutheran with a doctrine that preached, in my opinion, self-abnegation in church and you-don’t-deserve-crap in its parochial school.

My takeaway experience with religion by junior high graduation was: Jesus died for my pathetic existence and worthless life. I should live in continual disrepute, guilt and shame that He was killed in my stead.

I came to learn that many religions have a knack of guilt-tripping and adversely branding people who believe in something different than what the churches are preaching and demand within their denomination.

I believe in the full and true Grace of God.

In my opinion, there is no religious guilt, judgment, self-denial or shame under the Grace of God. We are free and we are to love one another as Jesus said.

It’s pretty simple when you take out all the bylaws and rules and rituals associated with many sects.

We have no right to judge or condemn others or ourselves.

Each of us has been given talents, skills, gifts, strengths, and abilities for use to better our lives and to help the lives of other people.

So, what do I really deserve? I deserve happiness, love, and success. And you deserve joy, affection, and achievement from your endeavors, too.

We deserve shelter and sunlight and shade and warmth. We deserve the free will to determine our destinies. We deserve the moon! And we have it. We deserve a universe! It’s all ours.

But, be alert to any invalidating thoughts you hold about yourself. They can cause you to sabotage relationships, success, and happiness.

If you do not treat yourself with love and respect, you can not experience the love and respect that other people want to give you.

So, seriously jump on any negative thoughts in your head about yourself. Refuse to criticize your mistakes or degrade your limitations or weaknesses—we all have them.

Self-love is necessary to succeed, to be happy, and to love other people.

Listen to the words you choose to use every day. Are they complaining and critical words? Are they judgmental phrases? Or do you hear encouraging expressions? Phrases of kindness? Words of gratitude out of your mouth?

The words you speak reflect your character. Your words reflect what you believe about yourself.

Stay aware of the words you choose to verbalize. Do they match the character you want to role model to your children, family, co-workers or other people? Are they in agreement with the integrity in which you want to be associated?

Where you are today can be attributed to the words you tell yourself.

What do you deserve? Are you ready to answer the question?

Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Any photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

What Negative Thinking Guarantees

What negative thinking guarantees is a longer journey in the pursuit of solutions, answers, and remedies.

Have you ever known a pessimistic person to be immersed in enthusiasm and a positive outlook? Me either. In fact, the negativity that appears to reek from pessimists reminds me of static electricity—energy in the vicinity that gets encased and stuck in its sphere.

Negativity in a person tends to guarantee a toxic energy that breeds ill—physically and emotionally. Negative-focused persons have the appearance of mentally shackling the people around them into a mindset that diminishes any encouraging conditions in life. It’s all Armageddon to them.

Pessimists spend a good portion of time engaged in discussions on only what’s dreadful, what is deficient, and what is wicked in the world. Their focus tends to lack any concrete observations of what’s effective, what’s good, productive, and positive. If this describes you, allow me to stretch my hand out and shock you back into worthwhile thinking.

Imagine a planet where blame was missing. Picture a world absent of faultfinders and pessimists.

Now, try to be a part of creating that vision. Put down any doom and gloom binoculars. Stop peddling criticism. Stop the negative rehashing of the problems we face in this society.

The more we stop the blame and catastrophic views, the more of us there are available to focus on solutions, answers, and remedies. Blame keeps us glued to the dilemma instead of adhered to a resolution. Explanations keep us attached to the problem instead of fastened to improvements.

We all hold a position on this earth. And our positions are better served in discovering tonics for peace and understanding instead of judgment and condemnation.

In Working and Thinking on the Waterfront, Eric Hoffer wrote:

Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us.

 

the problem with religionThink about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

How To Stop Hate

Only a person with self-contempt can contemplate murder. Self-esteem and self-respect can’t co-exist with hatred. But organized hatred helps give new meaning to the lives of those who feel marginalized. That’s how one learns to hate.

In 1915, D.W. Griffith used the technology of motion pictures to make Birth of a Nation. This film prejudiceportrayed African-Americans as being stupid, lazy and inferior, and glorified the Ku Klux Klan for standing up for the rights of the white supremacy majority. It was so effective in fostering hate against African-Americans that even Griffith himself was said to have been shocked.

One hundred years later, in Charleston, South Carolina, Dylann Roof, a Caucasian male, walked into a Bible study on Wednesday evening, June 17th with a mindset of hate. His reason for attending was to shoot and kill everyone there—all African-American’s. For an hour, Roof sat with the group and participated in their discussions about Scripture. Later, Roof told police he almost aborted his plan to kill the group because they were so welcoming and kind to him.

Michael Daly of The Daily Beast wrote:

But that would have meant giving up the hate that filled the hollowness of being born of a fleeting reunion between his parents three years after their divorce and of getting no further in high school than the ninth grade, but wearing a jacket with an “Academic All Stars” patch rightfully worn only by seniors in the top 10 percent. 

He had compensated for that false claim by sewing two other patches on the jacket, flags of apartheid-era Rhodesia and South Africa, symbols for those seeking another kind of supposed supremacy. 

And his older sister, Amber, was to be married on Sunday. To have just left the Emanuel A.M.E. Church on Wednesday night would have meant going to the wedding at the end of the week as a rank loser from a fractured family who could rightly declare himself supreme in nothing at all.

Even so, Roof seems to have understood in his moments of indecision that these warmly devout people of the Bible study group were putting the lie to his racism. He may have sensed that the faith filling their lives might also fill his own.

After an hour, just as he was apparently losing his resolve and his hate was slipping away, Roof seized it anew. He allegedly produced the Glock .45 automatic that he is reported to have purchased with birthday money from his father.

That was when Tywanza Sanders is said to have told him, “You don’t have to do this.”

Roof is said to have replied as if he were also trying to convince himself. He was not some loser. He was a champion of the white race about to start a race war.

“I have to do it,” he reportedly cried out.

His next words were the language of white supremacists. “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

Hate is a painful state of being because the mind is not ordained to hate. Everybody is born to love—to love our Creator, to love ourselves and to love others.

IMG_2247It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also, and above all, our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves, wrote Catholic Monk Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation.

A zero self-love is a developed misery. It’s miserable because it’s painful and unnatural to hate one’s self—it goes against our very nature. Our core disposition is to love, not despise; to include, not shut out; to embrace, not isolate.

When we, as a society reverse the hate, overturn the prejudice and embrace all human beings with dignity and respect they’re entitled to, then maybe the violence will rescind. When we encourage and support one another, then the inner flames of self-esteem and self-respect are not extinguished.

FullSizeRender (6)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com

You Are The Difference

Someone once said:
The highest reward in life is not what you get from it, but what you become by it.

You are capable of doing something that makes a huge difference in this world every day, HUGE! Do you believe it? It’s true.

Your caring attitude, your kindness, your respect for yourself and life makes a difference not only in the lives of the people who cross your path but also makes a difference within you.

No one can be exactly like you. No one will make a difference exactly like you will.

We have significant challenges as adults on this planet. Many people believe themselves too inadequate to make a difference or too flawed to contribute. Great things are rarely done by high intelligence or great ability, but by average folks with great hearts who care.

11146234_892893444102272_2153184672065849917_nI promise, you will make a difference in the lives of everyone you come into contact with every single day. It will be either a positive difference or a negative one. It will be one of encouragement or of dismissal; kindness or cruelty; respect or rejection. Which difference will you make?

American social critic and scholar of education, Edgar Z. Friedenberg said:
What we must decide is how we are valuable, rather than how valuable we are.

When we explore our personality and characteristics for positive features and skills, it can be a bit awkward. We do the world a service when we recognize how we are valuable in any scenario of need.

What we can give is more important than why we can provide it.

Sharing particular talents with a community or volunteer organization goes a long way to better the world. Even if that’s not what you can commit to, it will make a difference, and it takes no time from your schedule to smile and be pleasant to people you see each day.

Author of Think Great, Lailah Gifty Akita, wrote:
Encouragement is life. Many people would have given up in life without encouragement. May your words be gracious to those who hear it.

Words have no price tag. It doesn’t cost a penny to speak. But the impact of what you say holds life-altering power.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com