Life’s Like a Roller Coaster Ride!

In October this year,I got to do one of my favorite things in the world, RIDE ROLLER COASTERS!  I may have officially lost some of you but try hanging in there with me.

Last week in my women’s small group we were discussing where we thought our lives were at this moment in time. A few of us said it was like a roller coaster ride.  So this got me thinking about how roller coasters compare to life.

I love roller coasters! Something about the thrill of the ups and downs that prepare me for life. It reminds me that there are always going to be highs and lows, moments of excitement and moments of despair, times when you are thrown for a loop,but at the end it is always worth the ride.

Roller coasters are fast! Like life you seem to wait forever for the ride and then it is gone in an instance. Everything passes so quickly.

James 4: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Roller Coasters evoke fear! How much of our lives have we spent in fear.ALOT if you are honest. It seems to overtake us. We are worried about so many things. Fear out of respect is good but Fear with worrying can cause unnecessary pain and strife.

Isaiah 41:10‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  

Roller Coasters have ups and downs. Life is a series of ups and downs. You can’t appreciate the highs if you don’t feel the lows. I love the feeling inside my stomach when I start the decent down the coaster. You know you have totally lost control, but you also know you are in for a thrill! When you start back up the hill you remember the drop but you are reflective of the journey. The drops are the best parts!

1 Peter 1:6-7
So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

What about those Loops! I hate getting thrown for a loop in life but I love it on roller coasters. Funny thing about those loops, you seem to be suspended in time. When something doesn’t go your way in life you have those ” Really” disbelief moments that seem to just hang out for a while. You just know you are going to drop and descend to your death. But then you round the top and sail on through.

 Joshua 1:9
…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Roller Coasters like life are worth the ride. Nothing can beat the exhilarating feeling at the end of the ride. I hope when I finish my ride in this life I have the same feeling of contentment and satisfaction.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith

So where is your life right now; Are you starting up the hill, sailing down it or being thrown for a loop? How does knowing that God is with you help you handle the ups and downs of life?

Life’s a Roller Coaster

I sit and wait in anticipation

my heart reads record palpitation

its started

I gulp in fear.

Slowly I climb thinking this isn’t so bad

then how quickly the change…

Zoom, yikes, I have lost my insides

can’t tell my left from  my right.

Up and down ,tossed around

is there an end insight.

Loop D Loop

6 times through

rickety rock

Fun- says who?

One more time we make the climb

then back down again.

Is this ride ever going to end?

It straightens out and comes to a stop

A smile comes across my face

I take a deep breath and hear my ears pop

Yes I have finished the Race!

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History of The Jack O’Lantern

 
History Of the Jack O’ Lantern

 

Pumpkin carving is a popular part of modern America’s Halloween celebration. Come October, pumpkins can be found everywhere in the country from doorsteps to dinner tables. Despite the widespread carving that goes on in this country every autumn, few Americans really know why or when the jack o’lantern tradition began. Or, for that matter, whether the pumpkin is a fruit or a vegetable. Read on to find out!

People have been making jack o’lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O’Lantern."

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o’lanterns.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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It is not Rocket Science or is it?

So often we go through our days wanting to be closer to God but we just don’t know how. We think about what we must "do" to be close to our heavenly Father. I think a great deal of the time we don’t "do" anything because we become overwhelmed with the task. We think this isn’t Rocket Science it shouldn’t be this hard. When deep down if we are true to ourselves we really do think it is Rocket Science.
  • Only a few people are that holy and close to the heavens
  • Only intelligent scholars can know what everything means
  • Only the elite get in

Ever feel that way? I have!

If you really stopped to think about it you can’t imagine someone so important wanting to spend time with you. Someone wanting to love you! Knowing your every breath and need. But he does!

So I have a twist on the whole Rocket Science thing. Hang with me a minute. Let’s all be Rocket Scientists and always have our focus on the heavens and the one who created it. If we are focused on heaven all the rest will fall in place. It IS that simple! Our heavenly father has our back.

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and Earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in form this time on and forevermore."

Psalms 121 Verse 22

Lift it and Live it up!

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What Do You Expect?

Over the last couple of months I have been learning a great deal about people. After we were affected by the “Nashville Flood” I couldn’t help but watch how different people reacted. 
 
Now that I have had time to reflect one of the things I have noticed is that there are 2 types of people.

1. Those who give of themselves and their possessions and time without expecting anything in return

AND

2. Those whose agendas and days are filled with expectations and what they can get in return for their actions and gifts.

Don’t get me wrong there is room for expectations in business and return on investments and relationships to a certain degree,but when our motive in doing something is tainted by the “What is in it for me” attitude that is when it can get ugly. 

 
I know at first you think, I am not that #2 person, but before you classify yourself and pat yourself on the back consider some of the follow…..
 
  • Do you say Thank You and expect a Your Welcome?
  • Do you expect or even demand gratitude when you do something or get irrirtated when you don’t receive a thank you?
  • Do you create and build relationships with others based on what they can do for you?
  • Would you have a relationship with someone in need,or invite them to dinner even if it wouldn’t benefit you personally?
  • Do you do the right thing even when it could cost you, or you could lose something vitally important to you?
  • Is your life so focused on what you can get out of something that you are constantly working relationships, social media. ect. for your agenda in the middle of someone’s crisis?
  • When is the last time you gave of your time, money without expecting something in return?
  • Do you give just because you love to give?
  • Do you give quietly or do you make sure that everyone notices?
 
We live our lives  in the “What is in it for Me” mode. Stop and think about it. Next time you do something for someone, tweet something, say something, what is your motive? Consider these verses.
 
Matthew 6:3-4
 
3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
 

Luke 6:35

35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

2 Corinthians 8:2-5

2Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.

1 John 3: 17-18

17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Luke 14:12-14

12-14He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

 
 
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Book review on “Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes” by William Bridges.

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes

by William Bridges.

 

A few ago my life was in major transition moving from a vocation in which I had worked for 40 years into a slowdown vocation for the last 5 or 6 years moving toward my retirement. I wish I had knowledge and access to William Bridges book, Transitions: Making Sense of Life Changes (2004, DeCapo Press, a member of the Peresus Book Group.).

The book acknowledges that life a series of transitions whether it is in personal, job, marriage, dreams or physical challenges. A transition involves specific steps that take us from the ending of something, through a period of limbo, to a new beginning.

Bridges refers to the three stages of transition as the ending, the neutral zone and the new beginning. Each portion of the transition has movements that to understand is to help one now where in the process one might be. When I looked back over the changes vocation of my career I saw a pattern of detachment, a time of limbo, and then a recommitment or attachment to something new. I discovered that an emptiness or void usually occurred as a prelude to a new beginning. This gray area between the old and the new is area of letting go of the past and realigning ourselves to new dreams and goals. The Neutral Zone is a normal part of human life, disorienting and painful, confusing and frustrating, but necessary for our personal growth.

Bridges noted that frequently we fail "to discover our need for an ending until we have made most of our necessary external changes." We get to the new house or new relationship, waking up to find that we have not let go of our old ties. Or we find that maybe the old thing was somehow right for us and the new thing is wrong.

One of the book’s greatest lessons is the necessity of letting go and saying goodbye to some part of ourselves or our lives in order for anything new to happen to us, or for real change to occur. Often, we hold onto the past for dear life, refusing to let go of an old self image, a career or dream we no longer love, or a person we no longer want to be with, just because of our dread fear of the unknown future. Only by learning how to end things can we really learn how to begin things.

This Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition updated and expanded will impact your daily life. Perhaps the outline of the book will encourage you to pick up the book.

Part one is about The Need for Change. The chapters are: Being in Transition, A lifetime of Transitions, Relationships and Transition, and Transitions in Work Life.

Part two discusses The Transition Process Itself. The chapters are: Endings, The Neutral Zone, and You Finish with a New Beginning.

Author William Bridges presents us with a powerful plan for understanding the many stages of life a human being is destined to go through, how these changes lead us into new experiences, and how to cope with the endings that are inevitable before we can have these new experiences. With tools and techniques outlined in this book, transitions don’t have to be scary and tentative; rather can be something to anticipate with excitement.

One constant about life is that it will change. This book will help you get ready for it.

 

Review by Gerard Howell

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Book review on ” The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die”

Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die

“We do not have to wait until we are old to become wise.

We can discover these secrets at any age and the sooner we discover them,

the more fulfilling our lives will be.” – John Izzo, Ph.D.

 

I just read a great book that should be read by everyone of any age. 

What makes life worth living? How can we live in a meaningful and joyous way? Do we need to fear death?

Dr. John Izzo addresses these questions in his latest very readable book, The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die (2007 Berrett- Koehler Publishing, Inc). Izzo found that the two things humans want most are to find joy and contentment (happiness), while living a full life with meaning.  After interviewing 200 persons between the ages of 60-106 from every sphere of the work-world, race and religion, he discovered five inspiring secrets that provide a good blueprint or roadmap to use for our journey toward finding happiness and purpose.  The following is a brief synopsis of each secret:

1.             Be True to Yourself. Follow your heart and your dreams, not the dreams someone else has for you. This may mean making a radical change in your life, or simply making small adjustments. Continually examine your life is to make sure you are following your own true path. This is largely a western value, linked to the Greek philosopher Socrates, who said: "The unexamined life is not worth living."  One way to do this is to look more carefully at what you call a “good day” and a “bad day.”  If you are having more “bad days” than “good days” you may not be true to yourself.  One can agree that if one doesn’t engage in self-reflection one will likely live another’s life of one’s own. 

2.            Leave No Regrets. Although all of the people whom Izzo interviewed had some regrets, people who had the fewest were the happiest. Izzo found the purpose-filled women and men interviewed were proud they’d taken risks. "People regret what they did not do, even more than what they did."  A common theme is that people were less regretful about failed risks that they were about the failure to risk more. At the age of 68 I resonate with that insight, though I am so far from some of those events where I failed to act that I wonder if I have forgotten the circumstances that created the hesitation.

The greatest fear expressed was not the fear of death, but the fear of dying with regrets about life.  What about the conversation you intended to have with your parents before they become infirmed or died?  Are there conversations that you, the parent, need to have with a child? 

3.            Become Love. Love not primarily being a feeling, but a choice. Being kind is something you can choose even in hard situations. However, the more you focus on acting with love, the more you will find happiness, says Izzo. This begins with choosing to love one’s self and breaking away from thoughts that are self-defeating and self-critical.

Make loving relationships a priority in your life.  Am I spreading love and kindness in the world of my inter-actions?

4.            Live the Moment. Living the moment means living your life now rather than simply planning it. “We must always live in the present moment, the only moment in which we have any power,” writes Izzo. One woman said, "You have to stop judging your life and start living your life. Stop keeping score trying to decide if you are winning. Instead live each day fully and stay in the moment." 

Rather than focus on the past or the future, Izzo says, "… experience each moment with gratitude and purpose." Several wise elders revealed how they start each day with a prayer of gratitude for the opportunity to live that day, and end the day with thanks and appreciation for the day’s experiences.

Do I anticipate with a sense of joy what I will be doing today?  For what am I grateful at this moment?

5.            Give More Than You Take. Even while our society prods us to strive for worldly "security" through wealth, power and fame, Izzo’s seniors reminded him that people really do get a deeper sense of meaning by feeling they’ve made a difference. Izzo indicates, "When I asked people what gave their life the greatest meaning, people told me again and again people that being of service and knowing that you made things better because you were here was by far the greatest source of meaning.”

You have the power to give freely.  People long to make a contribution. Giving connects people to something larger than themselves – whether it’s a Supreme Being or the entire human experience on journey.

Is the world a better place this week because of my contribution?  What kind or generous act have I taken today?   

Izzo says there is a great deal of difference in knowing and going.  When you know you have to go – you have to put the five secretsinto practice daily.

I strongly recommend this book for reading.  I read it on a plane flight and spent much of the night thinking about how to put these secrets into action.

What secret speaks the most to you and what plan of action to you plan to implement in regards to that secret?

 

Gerard Howell

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My Maker’s Plan

My Maker’s Plan

 

 

To all there is a goal in life

Sometimes it is hard to see.

What may be right for others

May not be right for me.

 

I can’t stop to smell the roses

In someone else’s lawn

For the touch of jealous envy

Only brings on decline

 

I will forget about uncertainties

And be joyous of suspense

For the best things in life are spontaneous

And the grandeur more intense.

 

My life could be a hassle

With stumbling blocks array

Or it could be the best thing

That has ever come my way

 

It is all at how I look at life

My perception must be right

So I will give it to the Lord

And see it through his sight

 

For this way I know

My vision is clear

There is no need for worry

For God’s always near

 

All else will be

As he wills it to be

For I know that my maker

Has the best plan for me.

 

 

 

Anita Howell Ryan

 

 

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