Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Change your thoughts and you can change the world." Norman Vincent Peale

Every year at this time, I hear others claim they are glad the year is nearly over because it has been such a bad year for them. Most look to the new year with hope and a belief that the upcoming year will be better. While I don't knock their optimism, I am struck by the belief that turning the calendar to a new year will somehow change their lives for the better. Many will go forward into the new year without examining their beliefs and without taking any responsibility for the bad year they have had. Some continue to do this year after year without ever recognizing that if every year is bad, they may be contributing to that. If you catch yourself repeating this habit, it is time to stop and evaluate your part in your run of bad years.

Don't misunderstand, I recognize that some things are out of your control. Bad things happen to good people all the time. I know. Bad things happen to me too. Our family suffered a great loss this year with the passing of a family member, but that didn't make it a bad year and turning the page on the calendar won't suddenly make it better. But, changing our thoughts may.

Let go of looking at your life as a series of good and bad days or weeks or years and invest time into learning to change how you think and how you look at your life instead. The old adage to count your blessings and not your worries, really will change your life because you will begin to see it in a different light. As your focus changes from all that is wrong in your life to the wonderful blessings you have already received, you will soon discover that you are happier and have more energy for the things you want to do.

If you feel compelled to make New Year's Resolutions or set new goals for the new year, make changing the way you think the top of your list.

Today, I am grateful for snowflakes in their various sizes and shapes, for sun glittering off ice and for evergreens blanketed in snow.
I am grateful for houseplants that thrive in the midst of winter, for my Christmas cactus who will bless me with glorious blooms by mid January and for raindrops that will fall again in spring.
I am grateful for the light of the moon on dark winter nights, for the lengthening of days and for the bright light of the sun as the earth begins the journey towards spring. 
I am grateful for family and friends, for a home that provides me shelter and warmth, and for healthy food on the table.  
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day. May you embrace the upcoming year by focusing on changing your thinking to change your world. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

It's not what your look at that matters, it's what you see. -Thoreau
A few weeks go I watched the movie The Abundance Factor. I had been putting off watching it because I thought it would be all about MONEY and I really wasn't ready to focus my attention on money at the exclusion of other important aspects of life. I was wrong. This movie is about Abundance in all areas of your life. Like many of the movies and books that focus on how our perspective and attitude affects our reality, it reminded me of how important it is too look at life through fresh eyes and with an open heart. If you haven't watched it yet, I strongly recommend it. It made a big impact on me.

I have recently taken up nature photography and have been immersed in finding the unique perspective that brings a photo to life. Learning to see through new eyes and to focus on the details has taught me much about life in the past year. Photography serves as a metaphor of life for me and helps me work through its complicated (or do we just make it so) nuances.

It has taught me how important it is to see beyond the ordinary and seek the extraordinary in both my work and my life. As Thoreau so aptly puts it: "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

For today, try to see life and people through a different lens and practice seeking the extraordinary in the ordinary or mundane. Look for the little things that make your life unique and special and take the time to appreciate them.

Today, I am grateful for my furnace to keep me warm in sub-zero weather, for the sun that creates sparkles in the snow, and for the white carpet that blankets the world.
I am grateful for evergreens that brighten the holiday decor, for candles that flicker in the night, and for fluffy socks that warm my toes. 
I am grateful for books to read that challenge my mind, for talented photographers who are willing to share their knowledge so I may learn, and for children who brave the cold to play in the snow. 
I am grateful for my family who gave me the gift of photography, for the wondrous world of nature that serves as my subject, and for discerning eyes that can see beyond the ordinary. 
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day, May you find the extraordinary in the ordinary today as you learn that its not what you look at that matters, it is what you see.

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It is easy to express gratitude when things in your life are running smoothly, but a little more difficult when things get rough. We ha...