Category Archives: Wisdom

How Are You Gonna Handle It?

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“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”  —Epictetus

We’ve read or heard the inspirational stories of how people have overcome tragedy or being dealt a bad hand.  We can either follow their example, take ownership and believe in possibilities, or we can remain in a cycle of making excuses, blaming others, and playing the victim.  We can be either a victim or a victor.  Anything worth having is worth striving for.

“Don’t get tired of doing good, for you will eventually see results, if you don’t give up.”  —Paul in the letter to the Galatians

 


How to Begin

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“Begin with the end in mind.”  —Stephen R. Covey
After you begin and before you reach the end, when things become difficult or discouraging, try to remember why you started in the first place.

 

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Wisdom Wednesday: Making Plans

 


Wisdom Wednesday: Dance to the Rhythm

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Have you ever really, really looked forward to something only to have things change and cause your heart to sink? Seems like I’ve been experiencing a greater share of disappointments lately. I thought I was already pretty flexible and spontaneous, but with encountering so many changes in plans, I can’t help but realize God’s hand at work, teaching me to become more adaptive and able to roll with the punches.

If the rhythm of the drum beat changes, the dance step must adapt.” —African proverb

“The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher.” —Zen proverb

Sometimes we become angry when something upsets our plans. The apostle James explained that we become angry and fight because we aren’t getting what we want. (James 4:1-3)

“Flexible people don’t get bent out of shape.” —Unknown

“Satisfied desire is sweet to a person; therefore, it is hateful and exceedingly offensive to fools to give up evil [upon which they have set their hearts].” —Proverbs 13:19 TAB

Sometimes even if we don’t realize it right away, a change in plans can actually work out better in some way, or at least in the long run. One example involved two events scheduled for the same day. I had planned on attending a “Blessing of the Bikes” with a friend, and had to change plans when a zip lining birthday celebration for my mother-in-law was scheduled for the same day. Because the zip lining event was originally scheduled for early afternoon, I felt free to take on partial duty coverage for one of my firefighter brothers. I agreed to cover from the night before up to a certain hour the next morning. The night before the zip lining event, I was informed that the reservation was for one hour after my duty would end, giving me no time to shower and travel to the destination. Then it was changed to the very hour my shift would end. Fortunately, my daughter was able to take my reservation. I also thought that since I could no longer participate, I could possibly go on the “Blessing of the Bikes” ride after all! The possibility did, indeed, exist, until it was decided that they would be departing half an hour before my shift ended. At least I was able to have breakfast with them! Things worked out well in the end. My daughter was able to take my place and go zip lining and celebrate with her Nana, and I was able to do driver trainer on one of the fire apparatus for the first time.

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” —Proverbs 13:12 KJV

Another reason to be flexible, spontaneous, and able to adapt is because of love. I was talking to a former firefighter recently, and he related a time when he had come home late at night from a structure fire in -40° weather. He and his gear were frozen, and as he was thawing in the kitchen, his wife (at the time) complained that he was dripping all over the floor. Although it’s very likely as a firefighter’s wife, she had already faced many changes in plans and disappointments, to react in such a way to a frozen hero was… cold. Martin Luther said, “Faith, like light, should always be simple and unbending; while love, like warmth, should beam forth on every side, and bend to every necessity of our brethren.”

“Yielding flexibility is a virtue of an ever-expanding heart.” —Molly Friedenfeld, author

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If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Disappointment and Hope

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Wisdom Wednesday: Put Your Heart Into Caring

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It has been a while since I have posted a Wisdom Wednesday, but now that my EMT classes are over, and because I have a good friend who encourages and motivates me, I decided to post one today.  Thank you, Randell!

Have you ever been caught by surprise and left wondering, “How did that just happen?!”

While looking over proverbs that I had noted months ago, Proverbs 27:23 jumped out at me— “Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds.” That’s only part of the entire proverb, but it stood out to me for a few personal reasons, and I realized how multi-faceted it is. It’s not just about flocks and herds, being a farmer, or finances; it’s about stewardship, leadership, and relationships. Good shepherds know their sheep, good leaders know their people, and good relationships are kept intact when we know and love each other in the way we each need to feel loved. If we neglect to “know the face of our flocks” or “put our heart into caring”, as the literal Hebrew implies, we may find ourselves caught by surprise when something or someone slips away.

“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.” —George Lorimer

“For willful waste makes woeful want, and I may live to say, ‘Oh! How I wish I had the bread that once I threw away!’” —Unknown

“When you’re dying of thirst it’s too late to think about digging a well.” —Japanese Proverb

“He who would enjoy the fruit must not spoil the blossoms.” —Gaelic proverb

“When men say [“Oh, I’ve loaded my shotgun”], ‘cause I know when men say that, they’re trying to pretend they have taken their position of leadership. You don’t need to load your shotgun, you need to love your daughter. You need to know your daughter. You need to pray with your daughter. You need to invest in your daughter, ‘cause the main thing is not to blow his head off, but to keep her heart.” —Mark Driscoll, pastor in Honor Your Father and Mother

“Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.” —Proverbs 27:23, 24 NLT

“Effective leaders are engaged in the lives of the people they are leading and are constantly seeking to understand how they can create an environment in which people succeed.” —Nathan Mellor, president of Strata Leadership, LLC

“He who wants to travel far takes care of his beast.” —French proverb

 
 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Neglect Destroys

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Independence vs. Freedom

Let us never forget the sacrifices made.

Let us never forget the sacrifices made.

Is there a difference between independence and freedom? Our nation fought for independence from a ruling body that allowed us no representation, as well as for the freedom to worship God freely without government interference. Like the relationship between a child and a parent, independence comes with maturity and doesn’t mean ties are completely severed. It means we have become responsible enough that we no longer depend on them to survive. I think freedom has more to do with ruling ourselves and making our own choices, while independence has more to do with being responsible and not dependent.  Similar, but different.  Both come with responsibility and consequences.  In either case, exchanges and sacrifices are made in order to obtain and maintain freedom and independence. Neither is free, so let us never forget the sacrifices that have been made and are still being made today to keep both!

Happy Independence Day!!!

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Wisdom Wednesday: Freedom

Wisdom Wednesday: Freedom


My Heart Is…

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“If you want to know where your heart is, look at where your mind goes when it wanders.” —Unknown

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  —Jesus

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Wisdom Wednesday: The Heart Revealed

Wisdom Wednesday: The Heart Revealed


Happiness Isn’t Free

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A recent conversation with a friend about being happy reminded me of a quote I had saved years ago, because I thought it was so profound.

“To be free to sail the seven seas, you must make yourself a slave to the compass.  Every freedom has a corresponding slavery.  We can be free from the toothbrush and a slave to cavities or a slave to the toothbrush and free from cavities.  For everything we want, we must give up something else.” —Quiet Walk Daily e-Devotional

Just as freedom isn’t free, happiness isn’t free either.  Sometimes sacrifices must be made in order to obtain both freedom and true happiness.  Oftentimes we have to give up one thing in order to have what we ultimately want.  Is it worth it?  Sometimes it’s not a matter of having to give up one thing entirely in order to have another, but it may just be a matter of moderation and setting boundaries.  Both moderation and boundaries have to be maintained, and that takes both time and energy, so it’s still a trade-off.   As my friend, Scott, would ask, “How badly do you want it, and what are you prepared to do?”

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” —Thomas Jefferson

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Freedom

Photo credit:  Luca Zaninoni - www.sxc.hu/photo/1330210


Wisdom Wednesday: Sing, Whistle or Blow Bubbles

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One of the easiest and fun things we can do to improve our mood and health is to breathe. Have you ever found yourself breathing so shallowly that you were almost unconsciously holding your breath, especially in moments of concentration or stress? Breath equals life.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” —Genesis 2:7

“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and all good things will be yours.” —Swedish proverb

As you may have heard or read, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” and while doing deep breathing exercises can help us feel better, there are fun ways to get more oxygen into our bodies.

 

Sing!

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“Singing lightens sorrows.” —Spanish proverb

 

Play a wind instrument or just whistle!

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“Breath is the music of life.” —Indian proverb

 

Blow bubbles!

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Bubbles are like wet kisses floating in the air, waiting to pop and tickle the one who touches them.

Although all these things may not equal deep breathing exercises, they do encourage a greater intake of oxygen and can create a positive mood and improved health.  Blowing bubbles is also whimsical, relaxing, and can produce fun and entertainment when children leap and run to pop them. So the next time you feel stressed, take a moment to breathe.

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If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Laughter

 


Wisdom Wednesday: Keep Your Heart

Photo credit minus type:  Nithya Ramanujam via Free Images

Photo credit minus type: Nithya Ramanujam via Free Images

This post is mostly for young people, but since I’m not immune, it’s a good reminder for those of us who are on the other side of the hill, too, especially for those who may be just starting a new stage in life.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” —Proverbs 4:23 NLT

I, and I’m sure many others my age and older, can confirm the validity of Proverbs 4:23, because the course of our lives has been determined by what our hearts have followed. For some, it has been a pretty good road, but for others, it has been hard and filled with regrets. Although some people would say they are grateful for the lessons learned, if they could go back and have a do-over, they would.

“To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.”  —Chinese proverb

“We’re prone to let circumstances fuel our emotions. Then our emotions dictate our responses, and so we become victims of our circumstances and of our emotions…” —Nancy Leigh DeMoss in Trials That Reveal Your Heart

“Look not upon your desires and your heart will not be confused.” —Chinese proverb

Sometimes flattery grabs the attention of our hearts, because it fills the common need of acceptance and love. Compliments and encouragement are one thing, but be careful of flattery that is intended to capture your attention for selfish reasons.

“The ear is the road to the heart.”  —French proverb

Sometimes our present circumstances are tough or even bad, and all we want to do is escape, and we go for the first person or circumstance that would appear to rescue us.

“A fleeing person is not choosy about his road.” —Japanese proverb

“Whether you understand the motivations of your heart or not, really what’s driving your actions, and what’s driving your life and how you fill your day, actually comes back to what you believe is actually gonna bring about the most fullness of life possible for you.” —Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Fig Leaves, Lies and the Grace of God

“If you want to know where your heart is, look to where your mind goes when it wanders.” —Unknown

“Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.” —Irish proverb

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  —Jesus

“For where your treasure is…”

The deeper meaning of Proverbs 4:23 reveals the value of our hearts. Most other English translations more accurately read similarly to the NKJV, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Our hearts are like a water spring, a source, and everything in our lives flows from it, and that is what determines our course. It is like a life giving spring, but if it becomes polluted, it can mean disease or death, suffering and heartache, so we must guard it well.

I would be the last person to tell you that it’s easy to control the direction and affections of your heart. And changing the course of that direction can be especially difficult when it involves the heart of another as well. Have you ever found yourself involved in a relationship and found it difficult to let go because you didn’t want to hurt the other person? They usually end up getting hurt in the end anyway, so it’s better to guard your heart— and theirs— from the beginning.

“He is most free from danger, who, even when safe, is on his guard.” —Latin proverb

“It’s okay to follow your heart, but take your brain with you.” —Nicole Hill

 

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Breaking & Making Habits and God’s Plan for Your Life May Not Be What You Think It Is

 


Wisdom Wednesday: Balance Is Key

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“Moderation in all things.”

“Even in adultery?” a response was shot back.

The responder was being facetious in trying to defend his position in a discussion, but even though he used a logical fallacy, his retort does bring up a good point.  Moderation in all things obviously does not include immoral things.

“Immoderate desire is the mark of a child, not a man.” —Democritus

“Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…” —1 Corinthians 9:25a KJV

“If there is one single secret to long life, that secret is moderation.” —George Gallup

Moderation and temperance for one person may be different for another, because the idea of moderating something has to do with measuring it, and temperance has to do with self-control.  One person might be able to eat a pint of ice cream without gaining weight, while another person gains weight just by looking at it.  One person might be able to have a glass of wine with a meal, while another person cannot stop at just one.

“Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.” —Epicurus

“Hast thou found honey?  Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” —Proverbs 25:16 KJV

“Even nectar is poison if taken to excess.” —Hindu proverb

“Enough is as good as a feast.” —English proverb

Moderation and temperance are not just about food and drink, it’s about every area of life— work, recreation, relationships, hobbies, sleep…

Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?” —Ecclesiastes 7:16 NASV

“Nothing brings more pain than too much pleasure; nothing more bondage than too much liberty.” —Poor Richard aka Benjamin Franklin

“Better learn balance.  Balance is key.  Balance good, karate good.  Everything good.  Balance bad, better pack up, go home.” —Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid

 

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