Inspiration Mind Prayer Spirit

Decide To Be Happy

Like so many things in life, happiness is a choice.  Even in the most difficult of situations, we can usually find something to be happy about.  During this last night of October (where did this month go?), here’s some tips on becoming a happier person, taken from Dottie Billington’s Life Is An Attitude:

  • Decide to be happy.  To a certain extent, you create your own happiness, from the inside out.
  • Happiness can survive the loss, suffering, and grief that are part of all our lives, and make us stronger.  What matters most is not what happens to you, but how you react.
  • Since no life can always be happy, when you feel miserable, remind yourself you can move past it.
  • True happiness consists of getting out of yourself, of focusing your attention on the world, instead of yourself.  This means having an active life and absorbing interests.
  • Test your known and yet-to-be-discovered skills through some meaningful activity.  Anything that challenges you will work.
  • Genuinely care about other people.
  • Make it a habit to consciously remind yourself every day of things for which you are grateful.

Let’s make an effort this week to focus on the good things we have in our lives.  Everyone I know has at least one thing going in their life that should bring a smile to their face.  Choose happiness this week.


Inspiration Mind

Overcoming Fear

Fear was made to be overcome.  Because we are afraid of so many things, most of the time fear holds us back and keeps us from reaching our potential.  We have a fear of failure, a fear of loss, a fear of ourselves, and an endless sea of doubts about our security, our identity, and on and on.  But fear is made to be overcome, because once fear is overcome, we are able to be the people we are meant to be.

There are lots of people in financial difficulties right now.  There are lots of people dealing with health issues, or it might be a relationships that is falling apart.  Some of us are afraid to get out of bed, check the mail, answer the phone.  Is this any way to live?

Inspiration Mind Prayer

A New Day

The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent. They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Did you wake up today expecting God to do great things in your life, or did you wake up stressed out, worried and anxious about all the problems and concerns you’re going to face?

I don’t turn to the book of Lamentations much, but this passage really spoke to me recently.  It’s a gentle reminder that God’s mercies, his love, and his kindness to us is renewed each and every day.  Do you ever think about that when you’re rolling out of bed?

Body Inspiration Mind Spirit


Beloved, I hope you are prospering in every respect and are in good health, just as your soul is prospering.  3 John 1:2

I think I’m done watching TV for the next week.  With so many political attack ads running right now, it’s hard to keep from getting depressed.  So much negativity can really drag us down, and for a lot of us, we’re already struggling in so many ways.  Maybe you’ve found yourself asking, can it get much worse?

Ignatian Spirituality Inspiration Prayer Spirit


As I was driving home from Virginia yesterday, I was able to see some magnificent fall color.  If I had to pick one particular season that I like the best, I think it would have to be fall. Growing up in Southern California, we didn’t see much when the seasons changed.  In my neighborhood, the Pilcher and the Blaines families had Liquidamber trees, whose leaves changed when the weather cooled, but that was about it.  Not that they didn’t put on a show.  According the WikipediaThe autumnal coloring (of the Liquidamber) is not simply a flame, it is a conflagration. Wow 🙂

During my first fall in Baltimore, I got to see some of the most beautiful foliage I had ever seen.  Next to Johns Hopkins University is an area called Wyman Park.  The various trees planted there many years ago put on an unbelievable display. Right then and there, fall became my favorite season.  Fall is also a season of gratefulness.  I’m not just talking about Thanksgiving.

diabetes type II diabetes Vegetarian

An Scary Statistic

I’ve been attending some conferences down in Virginia the past few days and am glad to be able to sleep in my own bed tonight. I always enjoy traveling, but there’s no place like home 🙂 Although I don’t usually read the USA Today newspaper, there’s always plenty of them at hotels.

So, this morning I picked one up on my way down to get some coffee, and on the front page was a huge article about diabetes. The info in the article was not good. 

Italy Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews

Tuscan Harvest Soup

As we continue to move into cooler weather, I’ve been looking for some new soup recipes.  This one comes from the folks at Moosewood Restaurant in New York.  According to them, this hearty soup is usually made around the time that olives are harvested.  I know I just wrote about Italy yesterday….

One day, I hope I can make it there during the olive harvest.  I heard recently that someone invented  a machine that shakes the olives from their branches.  That’s not what I want to see.  Instead, I want to go someplace where they still do everything by hand.  A place where they use heavy stone wheels to crush the oil out, as they have done for centuries.  Take that back.  Millennia.

Wouldn’t it be great to dip some crusty bread into that fresh, spicy, cloudy oil?  I bet there’s nothing like that taste anywhere, certainly not out of a bottle.  Of course, you’d have to be there to try it. 

Catholic Church Italy Travel

Another Adventure

A priest friend of mine and I had to scrap our initial itinerary for an Italy trip we were planning for next summer.  With the dollar as weak as it is right now, the trip was just  too expensive.

I’m being cautious about it because, when I brought my last group over, some people traveling with me were just overwhelmed by the costs.  It made for a stressful trip and took away a lot of the enjoyment I usually get from visiting my second favorite country.

So yesterday, it was back to the drawing board.  We’re going to shave off three or four days (sorry Milan, Padua and Venice), and go back to a pretty standard trip I have done many times.

Landing in Pisa, we travel a short distance and stay for a few days in Florence.  Personally, Florence is one of my all time favorite cities.  Just amazing.

Inspiration Mind

Finding Our Way

Last weekend, I went to a conference in Richmond, Virginia.  I can’t remember the last time I had to drive through Northern Virginia traffic, but it had to be one of the worst driving experiences I’ve ever had. Between the massive traffic congestion, the construction, and the unfamiliar roads, I was a wreck when I arrived at my destination.  A big part of my stress was caused by my need to continually having to follow the Mapquest directions.  They’re great on the open road, or when you are only going to be on a couple of different roads, but it seemed like every five minutes, I had to get onto another highway.  Ugh.

Inspiration Mind

Take Your Time

Have you been finding it hard to make long-lasting changes lately?  I know I have.  Every time I think I’m making progress with some area of my life, something comes up and I end up taking two or three steps back.

As I’ve been talking with other people over the last couple of weeks, I have realized that I’m not alone in feeling this way.  Maybe you do too?

Many of us have this sense of being stuck.  We are trying to make changes, but things keep getting in the way of real progress.  What’s the answer?