ANTS

Have you ever noticed how quickly ants (Pronounced, aints, in the South) are able to relocate? You run them over with the lawn mower, or even spray poison on them and the next day, three feet away, is a new mound that is bigger than the first. (That image is an anthill in Africa, by the way).

Read more

TODAY

Have you ever played the “Today Game”? Now, before I explain, let me give a little background. Maybe you have experienced this to some extent, too.

There are times in life when everything seems to be going wrong. Some say it comes in threes, but there have been times when I wished it would have stopped at three. Transmission goes out, roof springs a leak, drier stops drying, and then …

When we are going through these times, we hope for better times. We are assured that it will certainly come, although sometimes we wonder. Friends and family assure us that these better times are just around the corner, and it is these times that make us tough, so we learn to be strong. We forge ahead waiting for tomorrow and better days.

Then, there are the times when everything seems to be going really well. We finally get that promotion, raise and bonus all in the same day; the kids bring home perfect report cards; the cars and appliances are all functioning perfectly; and the cat isn’t pregnant after all! In fact, things are going so well that we begin looking over our shoulders. Our minds keep reminding us that these times can’t last forever. The wheels are certainly going to come off at some point! We think back to yesterday to recall how long this has been going on, and we think about tomorrow and when it might all come crashing down.

All too often what is lost in all the ups and downs in life is “today.” Today is a great day! It is such an easy concept. Yet, as with many simple things in life, we tend to make them complicated. Sometimes I think that it is so simple, we just ignore it, getting caught up in the moment(s). Life just isn’t that simple is it? Or is it?

*****

I challenge you to play the “Today Game.” Let today stand on its own. Forget, just for today, yesterday’s highs or lows, and put tomorrow out of your mind. For we all know, that tomorrow never really comes anyway. Think Today. This may seem easy and straightforward, but it can be a little more challenging than you think; however, the rewards are huge. It can be like a giant cleansing of the brain. Good luck!

  • I’m only dieting today (Ah, is that a comforting thought!).
  • I’m only exercising today, not all week (Ah, is that a comforting thought!).
  • I don’t care how fast I ran, or how many sit-ups I did yesterday, and I’m going to ignore my goal for some point in the future – Today … I’m going to do the best I can! I’m not even going to time myself or count. I’m just going to do what I can.
  • The hours I worked and what I accomplished yesterday don’t matter; I’m going to focus on today and accomplish all that I can today.
  • I’m going to spend time where I need to today.
  • Come up with your own focus on today.

Today is a Great Day! Make sure you enjoy all today has to offer you. Then with luck, you will have another Today awaiting you when the sun rises in the morning. Along with the sun, will be a rainbow just waiting for you to explore where it leads!

Don’t Be A Cow! Live a Happier Life – Today!

Soulful Quote: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day” Mathew 6:34 RSV

Song: U2’s, “It’s a Beautiful Day”

 

 

 

 

Blurred Vision? Blink, Blink, Blink!

If you are a frequent reader of our blogs, you realize that we love taking everyday life happenings and making analogies to a deeper meaning. I like to think of it as making the simple out of the complex; however, Jane tends to think I just do the opposite and make the simple complex. In any event, see if you can follow along with this thought.

We all experience times where our vision becomes temporarily blurred. So, what do we do? Blink! When do these moments tend to occur?

When we are too focused

Times when we are really concentrating and focusing hard to see something, even straining to see. Maybe it’s early morning or late evening or something almost out of eyesight. We stare so hard that we must blink to refocus.

When we are distracted

We are looking at something, and something quickly pops up somewhere in our field of vision, and we become distracted, if but for a brief second. We then have to blink to refocus on what we were looking at.

Life

There are the times, for no particular reason we lose focus and we must blink to refocus.

Now think about life in general. There you are focusing on your dream, your goals, really making progress and then all of a sudden you realize that something has happened. I have heard it said that it only takes a small object to derail a fast moving train. And, just like that we realize we have been derailed from pursuing our dream; something has happened! When and why do these moments tend to occur?

When we become too focused, we become so absorbed in a project perhaps submersed in the details that we are no longer moving forward. Blink, in these cases, blinking may involve a small vacation, a break in routine, some type of diversion. A chance to think and do something else for a while.

When we become distracted with all these outside issues that pop up and at times they seem to pop up one after another after another. After these times diminish, we often have a difficult time getting back to our dreams and goals. Blink, in this case blinking may involve finding a quiet place and turning the cell phone off. Find a place to write your goal or dream again so you can see it in writing and refocus.

Life; it moves quickly at times (most of the time). I love the definition of life that goes like this: “life is what happens to you while you are planning what you are going to do with yours.” Sometimes life places, in front of us, some tough obstacles. Blink, check your resolve. What do you want? and just how bad do you want it? Maybe it’s not your resolve that needs checking but what it is that you want that needs to be re-evaluated.

Blink, an important visionary tool and an important tool in life as well. Have you ever noticed how cows are able to stare forever? It seems that they can stare without ever blinking! Don’t be a Cow, Blink! We would love to hear your comments!

Joe & Jane
PS Also please note that sometimes even after blinking several times, we still have a hard time focusing. In these cases, nothing works better than splashing the face and eyes with a little cold water!

Labor Day Weekend and the “Little Man”

Labor_Day_USA

The Little Man

Years ago, Alan Jackson recorded a song entitled the “Little Man.” The song tells the story of how many towns in this country started with the town squares, who were built by the “little man,” Years ago, Alan Jackson recorded a song entitled the “Little Man.” Years ago, Alan Jackson recorded a song entitled the “Little Man.” The song tells the story of how many towns in this country started with the town squares, who were built by the “little man,” Years ago, Alan Jackson recorded a song entitled the “Little Man.” The song tells the story of how many towns in this country started with the town squares, who were built by the “little man,” – the hardware, the five & dimes, and the local drug store could all be found within these squares – and through the passage of time, town squares were replaced by big box stores and strip malls and the town squares eventually died.

It is not the point of this Labor Day message to discuss the ramifications of this progression, but rather to focus on the “Little Man” and just who this is.

In my eyes the “Little Man” is the men and women who get up every morning and make this country move. It has been the “Little Man” that has made this country the strongest most prosperous, and well off country in the history of mankind. Although Labor Day was originally established to celebrate the “labor movement,” this part of America, as with the small town squares, has under gone drastic change as much of this movement is now in other lands. In many ways, the term labor has now shifted from a physical feat to one that is more mental, which is a tribute to the much maligned educational system of the country. Think about it: instead of making the proverbial widget we are now programming different functions of the widget. We are designing widgets, that are faster, slicker, and, of course, prettier.

All this to say, that the essence of things do not change, but merely the facades and the settings of things change. You see, the “Little Man” for whom Mr. Jackson sings was at one time considered the “Big Man” in that town. He was merely replaced by a bigger man, thus making him appear to be a little man. Just as with labor, the sweat, dirt, and grime have been replaced by blurred vision, migraine headaches, and anxiety from starring at computer monitors all day. I can assure you, the latter come home just as tired as the former.

It matters not

The one constant, since the beginning of time, is the “Little Man and Woman” who get out of bed every day and do their best to contribute to the betterment of life. It matters not whether you get sweaty at work, or if you sit in a cubicle starring at a computer screen, or whether you are a CEO of a large company – all contribute in their own way. This not only includes the labor of paid work but all those who labor running and working for the thousands of volunteer organizations in this country – absolutely amazing when you take the time to stop and think about it.

On this Labor Day Weekend, it is our hope that you take a few minutes to remember the “Little Man.” It is all of us “little” men and women, and always has been, that have made this a great nation. I like to think of it as the Labor of Love that we get up and do what we do every day. Also remembering, sometime this weekend take a good hard look in the mirror, take one of your hands, reach over your shoulder and give yourself a big pat on the back. This day, this weekend is for you!

Happy Labor Day Weekend, All! And don’t forget, cows had nothing to do with this labor movement!

Don’t Be A Cow! – Have a Happier Life!

Quote: “Employment is nature’s physian, and is essential to human happiness” Galen (Greek physian, surgeon, & philosopher – Died 210 AD)

Song: Alan Jackson’s – “The Little Man”

Game Exercise: Stand in front of the mirror and thank yourself for your contribution to this great country of ours. God Bless the USA!

Sunset

Sunset

I think we all know how beautiful a setting sun can be. I think the symbolism that goes along with it can be every bit as beautiful. In fact, when truly embraced, it can be so life changing that the visual beauty of a setting sun pales in comparison to the symbolism.Follow along for a few minutes and see if you agree.

Before there was electricity – pre-electricity – it was easier to appreciate and understand the significance of a sunset. Most people relied on natural light for their livelihood; sunset simply meant the day is done! Easy concept. I’m sure many managed to carry to bed with them the same anxiety that many of us take with us: All that plowing, all that seeding, all that weeding, when will it rain again? If it doesn’t rain soon all will be lost, how will we make it through the winter? (And it’s only April!)

At least for these pre-electric people, when the sun left the sky, the day was over. They had done all they could do, the rest was up to the powers to be. The faith this must instill.

Today, for us electricity-era folks, the end of the day can become very muddled. Because of this, it is easy to fall into the trap. Trap? Yes, trap! The trap where one day runs into the next and the next into the next and on and on it goes! If we leave the office, there are lights and laptops waiting for us at home.

For the pre-electricity person, nightfall meant the body rested. And although the mind may have been filled with anxiety, the soul provided the faith, which calmed the anxiety.

The sunset is a beautiful thing to observe. Not merely because of the array of colors, or the fact that no two are exactly alike, but because what is represented when the sun sets. The visuals are very soothing for the mind; however, to the soul it is the realization that the day has officially ended. Wow! What a restful and peaceful thought. The day is done: let me be done with the toils of today. For tomorrow, very early, the sun will arise in the opposing sky and with it, opportunity and adventure. Unless, of course, we didn’t allow our sun to set; therefore, a new day has not arisen, but you are still living yesterday, and yesterday’s yesterday, and on and on it goes!

Our creator gave us a day and a night. I don’t think this was an accident.

We hope you enjoy a sunset each and every day. No matter your work schedule, no matter what conveniences electricity affords you, no matter where you are, allow your soul to enjoy a sunset each and every day. And, to make it extra special, share that sunset with another soul! Then with excitement embrace the opportunities that arise with the rising sun in the morning.

Joe

PS To emphasize the importance of the setting sun, I am borrowing the format from our book Don’t Be A Cow. A soulful quote, a song, and a game exercise.

“Don’t let the sunset on your anger” Ephesians 5:21

I don’t think Saint Paul would object if we added ‘and anxiety’ to the ending.

Song: From the movie Frozen “Let it Go”

Game Exercise: Find a picture of a sunset. One you really enjoy or some sort of statue if you like. Slap it as you walk out of the office door every day. You could also place it just inside your door at home or possibly across from your bed so you see it before you go to sleep. Whatever works good for you and hopefully your spouse as well, so that you can make sure that each and every day, actually ends. Thus, the excitement of the opportunities that await with the rising sun in the morning.

Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

As what seems like the entire country mobilizes to catch a glimpse of such an event as the solar eclipse, I find that I just can’t let such an opportunity go to waste.

When we are plodding along through life, following the herd, our paths become blocked just as the suns path is being blocked by the moon. The big difference is that this solar eclipse last only a short time. When our paths get blocked it can last many years denying you the life that you were meant to lead.

Don’t be a Cow! Get out of line so you can find your path and Happier Living!

Start today by taking a few moments to see what might be blocking your path and then join us!

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube

Don’t Be A Cow!

Running Through Life – Where is Your Head?

Keeping your head down in football

As the aging clock continues to tick away, the body really starts to feel all of our mistakes from the past. Worn out knees that don’t like to bend much anymore, to ears that were exposed to too much rock and roll and shotgun blast. Whatever the past culprits are in your life, I’m sure you will agree it s _ _ _ s! For you younger readers, just you wait!

One of culprits from my past is posture, or should I say lack of good posture. A life time of walking, running, standing and sitting can be rough habits to change. As a forester, always walking through heavy brush, I never got the tracts that look like National Parks; I have come to discover Read more

An Interesting Phenomenon

A long narrow road

Have you ever noticed how the scenery is different as you travel in opposite directions on the same road? This is particularly true when traveling uphill in one direction and then traveling downhill in the opposite direction. I experienced this phenomenon several weeks ago.There is a road where I normally only travel in the same direction – northwest. On this particular day, for various reasons, I decided to travel this road going in the opposite direction, which is southeast, and I was traveling downhill instead of uphill. I had never really even thought about the slight grade changes before when traveling this road. (When traveling in a motorized vehicle, it’s easy not to pay attention to grade changes, but rest assured, when traveling on bicycle or foot, you notice all grade changes, especially uphill or downhill!)

As I traveled southeast – and downhill – I had views of things off in the distance. There was a large field,  I never knew existed. There was a nice house and yard, offset in the woods, I had never before seen, and I was offered vistas of the distant horizon and the onset of sunrise, all pleasant surprises.

Normally, as I travel uphill (northwest) on this road, I only noticed the forest and small fields adjacent to the roadway. As I experienced this change in scenery with a change in direction, I thought of scenes from tv shows set in San Francisco, for example. The scenery going up a steep hill flanked by row houses and cars is decidedly different than viewed downhill which may take in the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

As I travelled uphill, my eyes saw the adjacent right-of-way and the immediate surroundings – forest, farm land, or tall buildings and houses –  but traveling downhill, I took in the entire landscape, oceans or bays in the distance, and often as far as the horizon. And I thought: It’s as though when traveling uphill we have tunnel vision that is narrowly focused whereas, when we travel downhill we are able to see the entire “big picture.” The reality is that, regardless of which way you are traveling, you are surrounded by the exact same things. The only difference is what you see.

I think the phenomenon has a lesson for life in general: Often we have the same surroundings, but what we need is a change in direction so we can draw a different vision. As we know, it’s not always possible to change our surroundings.

How do you propose I change my direction you ask? Try Something New! (Day 25) is what I would say.

You can accomplish this by literally changing directions and driving a different route to or from work, yes even if it means leaving a few minutes earlier; however, if taking the literal approach doesn’t work for you, try a new restaurant, a new grocery story, visit a different church (just for one Sunday), cook a new meal – by yourself, with your spouse or with the whole family (this can be a challenge, but worth the effort – it can be as simple as pizza).

The list is endless and part of the fun can simply be coming up with “something new,” and certainly don’t limit yourself to just one thing (Word of caution, though, no cheating: you can’t just think about it though, you have to do it!)

Trying something new can bring about a rejuvenation that is refreshing and up lifting. It is an interesting phenomenon, just as traveling downhill instead of uphill.

Try It!

Remember: Cows do the same thing, and eat the same thing every single day.

Don’t Be A Cow! Try Something New!

 

Please share your experiences!

Do You Want To?

Happiness spelled out on a scrabble holder

Want To: Do You Want To? This one seems so obvious. Of course, you want to, especially when we put in terms of do you want to be happy? It always amazes me, after a close hard-fought sporting event, one of the commentators will state, “well it came down to which team wanted it more. I never felt that I ever competed in any event, sporting or otherwise, where I thought my opponent had a greater will (more want to) to win than I did. I say this because I doubt when asked that many people would answer ‘no’ to the question: “Do you want to be happy?”

As with the winning sport team, it boils down to technique, methodology, or possibly even a little luck, and often it’s the little things. When we talk about happiness versus a sporting event or a spelling bee, happiness is a 24/7/365 issue and not merely a few hour event. Because happiness is a 24/7/365 effort, you must check your resolve on a regular basis. This is an area where it is so easy to get in a rut and end up following the herd.

Sometimes the remedies are so simple, if we just stop and think about it. It may be as simple as turning off the T.V. or the radio, both of which serve as great lead cows in today’s world; It may involve finding a different lunch partner or a new crowd to hang out with after work if they are constantly discussing things that anger or upset you. In either case you must first check your resolve: do I want to be happy?

Then, make a conscious effort to remove those things that lead you away from being happy. Remember there is only one thing in life that you can control and that is YOU! Jane and I hope that you have the “Want To” to stay in control of you and not leave it to others.

And remember, check your resolve on a regular basis. Don’t Be A Cow: Have Want To:

Want To Be Happy!

Joe

P.S. We encourage you to share with us, negative influences that you have separated yourself from that has brought about happiness. We can all learn from each other’s experiences.

4th of July – What a Difference It Would Make!

Fireworks surrounding the Statue of Liberty

An Independence Day message using a slight tweak to the phrase spoken by our 35th President, John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address. Just think what a difference it would make if everyone’s first thought every morning or afternoon (if you’re not a morning person) was,

“Ask not what others can do for me, but what I can do for others” today.

Sounds simple enough, but remember, to do so you must first be good with you. For this Fourth of July celebration, I will utilize some phrases from one of America’s biggest pop stars – Katy Perry – from her 4th of July appropriate song “Firework,” one of our favorites, and a featured Soulful Enlightenment Song in our book, Don’t be a Cow! 

DontbeaCowFireworks

 

Jane and I wish you a very happy 4th of July and our sincerest hope that as you watch the fireworks this 4th, you will think of letting the fireworks within you burst and illuminate the world in which you live!

We all have it within us … but, cows don’t!

Don’t Be A Cow!

Joe