Greetings from New England!

I love Southern California but the beauty of New England in Autumn never ceases to take my breath away.  Seeing God’s paintbrush in action helps remind me that no matter what may be going on in the world, God continues to bless us in a multitude of ways.
 
The years we spent living on the road and traveling across the US and Canada were daily reminders of God’s creativity every day.  Unfortunately, we get so caught up in our day-to-day lives, we forget to see all the beauty around us.
 
Traveling to different places – especially when we are out of our routine – helps us see with new eyes, the wonder of God’s expressions everywhere. However, an even greater blessing would be if we took the time in our daily lives to spend time finding a bit of this beauty in the world around us rather than taking it for granted.
 
Try this exercise – every day find one thing that is not about you – the moon, the sunset, flowers, the sound of the birds, or just the feel of the sun on your face.  Write it down each evening as part of your gratitude list.  When we do this, every day can feel like a new journey through the gallery of God’s handiwork in this world.  
 
Quote of the Week
 
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.”  
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Change as a constant

Fall is here – officially!  In some parts of the country, it may be more obvious than here in So Cal.  I love autumn, the colors, the smells, the anticipation of the holiday season to come, and the cooler temperatures (some days!).

Change is inevitable both in the world, whether it be the natural world or that which we as humans create.   It is not just all around us, but within us as well, whether we want it or not.

When we look back on our lives many of us can recall how we fought a particular change. At the time we are certain we cannot survive it.  The change can be brought about by the loss of someone close to us, or a forced change in job or home, or a change in our health or wealth. 

Looking back, we can see the good from the change, and we can see how necessary the changes were for our spiritual growth along our journey. We can see that each change was necessary for us to continue on our path.

When we have faith that Spirit only wants what is best for us, we can trust that whatever is going on in our lives, that these changes, too, are for our highest and best good.

So this fall, let us celebrate change, embrace it, and know that there are some new and different things heading our way by trusting that God wants only the best for us.

Quote of the Week

“Change is the one unavoidable, irresistible ongoing reality of the universe.”

 Octavia Butler

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5 Ways to a great day!

Every day in our life is a brand new baby day – one in which we can make the decision to either embrace and be grateful for or looked upon with trepidation.  The choice is ours.

Years ago I heard Mary Morrissey speak about how to have a great day and I still remember it to this day. When you start your day look at your hand. It is a map to having a great day.

We start with the thumb and decide to have a thumbs-up kind of day.  Sing a song, do some exercise, meditate – whatever helps you begin the day with a “can do” attitude.

The next finger is the pointer finger.  Point the way to the kind of day you want to have.  Deciding to have a good day is a powerful tool to it happening because we know that our thinking determines not only our day but how our lives as well.

The middle finger represents “flicking away fear”.  When fears come over you affirm that it has no power over you other than what you allow it to have.  God is greater than anything we fear, so turn your fears over to It as often as needed.

The ring finger, the fourth finger, reminds us to go forth into the day, determine that one step at a time, we are moving in the direction we decided with our pointer finger.

The little finger may be small but mighty.  It reminds us to be grateful for the little things in life.  It is not the big things but the little things in life that add up to a fulfilling life.  Remember “good things come in small packages” so look for the things taken for granted most days and be grateful.

Our hands can be a wonderful source to remember that we can determine our day and thereby our lives, one day at a time.

Quote of the Week

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

Marcus Aurelius

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Out of the Darkness of Fear

Fear is something most people face.  However, some people allow their fears to control their lives and keep them from living the full life God intended for them.
 
When they are faced with a tough situation, they often become too scared to make a move, cursing the situation, rather than making the effort to do something about it.  Can anything be gained by doing nothing but worrying about the situation?  Nothing changes, the issue is not affected by our outbursts of the injustice of something.
 
It is not until we acknowledge the situation, turn a light on it, that we can begin to make some progress toward a resolution or an acceptance of it.  Problems and fears cannot be fixed at the level they began.  It is necessary to move ourselves to higher consciousness to get some answers or direction.
 
When we turn on the light to any of our fears, we often find that they were unfounded.  It is like a child who is afraid of the dark because of a “monster” under the bed.  The only way to change the child’s mind is to shine a flashlight under the bed so he/she can see that in reality there is nothing there.  So too, we need to shine a “spiritual flashlight” on our fears.
 
If we can’t do that ourselves it helps to seek prayers from a friend or a prayer group to help us lift our consciousness and shine a light onto that which we face. When we do this we can begin to find a way out of the darkness.
 
Quote of the Week
 
“The light of understanding dissolves the phantom of fear.”
Ellie Harold 

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Shana Tova!

This week is Rosh Hashanah (New Year) for those of the Jewish faith.  Unlike our New Year, it is not so much about making resolutions but about growing and deepening our faith in God and our connection with others.  Most of us can certainly benefit from these as well.

First, it is about spiritual realignment.  That is not just about connecting with God but about forgiveness – of others and of seeking it for ourselves – as well as remembering we are all part of the One and each other.

Next, it is about seeking a deeper connection with God through deepening our prayer (and meditation) life.  The Shofar (Rams Horn), blown during this time is a call to awaken to God.  We may not hear a Shofar, but we often get a call of some kind (usually a crisis of sorts) that brings us closer to God, not just during prayer time, but a greater awareness of Its Presence in all areas of our lives.

The third thing Jews are asked to do during this time is to help bring justice into the world.  That can be in our families, in our workplace, and in our community.  It is about looking for opportunities to be of service to others.

So Rosh Hashanah is a holiday we can all learn from and each day of our lives is a perfect time to renew our spirits.  So “Shana Tova” – may you find peace, joy, love, and hope today and all the days to come.

Quote of the Week

“The world is new to us every morning—and every man should believe he is reborn each day.”                                                                        Baal Shem Tov

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