Serenity Prayer - Wise and Powerful!

The Serenity Prayer. So much wisdom in so few words.

The first sentence is well-known, but have you ever looked at the rest of the prayer? It’s filled with meaning and is equally beautiful.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Read through it again. Only this time, stop for just a second after each line and let the words seep into your mind, heart, and spirit. Wow! That’s powerful!

This prayer is all about enjoying, loving, and living in the moment. But it’s also about embracing the fact that this life is temporary. While we’re here, there will be challenges. We can’t fix and make right everything in this sinful world – but we can fix some things – or at least make them better, if we have the courage to do so.

We can’t change a starving nation – but maybe we can feed one child.

We can’t change a dangerous neighborhood overnight – but there might be a way to start by giving one kid a chance.

We can’t change a hostile environment at work – but we can be kind to our co-workers.

Alone, we can’t change the environmental destruction happening on the planet – but we can do our part by recycling.

We can’t change the reality that we will always have the poor – but perhaps we can donate funds and/or volunteer at shelters, soup kitchens, and food banks to make it easier on those who are struggling.

We can’t change the fact that horrible illnesses cause financial, physical, and emotional pain – but we can be there to support those who are sick with our love, prayers, presence, and help with daily tasks.

We may not be able to change others – but if we have the courage – we can change those things in ourselves that are not healthy or loveable.

I’ve taped the Serenity Prayer in a space next to my computer.
My plan is to read it every day.
My hope is to live it every day.

Do you want to join me?

Blessings for a great week!


The Power of Appreciation

Everyone needs and wants to feel appreciated. But how good are most people at showing it? How often do we neglect to express appreciation, even though it has the power to affect another person in a positive way?

I use an online pharmaceutical service because the medications are mailed to me, and the cost is cheaper than walking into a local pharmacy. This week I called to get my prior health insurance switched over to my current provider. My experience? Let’s just say it took four calls before I finally figured out how to maneuver through the automated voice system and connect with a live person. I explained what I needed and was transferred to someone else.

The rep understood my situation, but asked if I could hold while she checked with another team. She came back later, explaining she needed to get permission from a supervisor, and put me on hold again. Later – MUCH LATER – she returned, profusely apologizing for keeping me waiting such a long time. She explained that she'd worked her way up the chain of command before receiving confirmation that she could do what was required to switch me over.

I could tell by her voice that she expected me to “go off” on her. Instead, I thanked her for the help, and told her I really appreciated her persistence in getting the issue resolved for me. I could “hear” in her response the smile on her face and the release of tension in her shoulders. I knew because of being told that her efforts were appreciated, she was able to hang up the phone feeling good about herself and her job.

I always thank customer service reps and tell them I appreciate their help, regardless of how frustrating my issue may be. Why? Because I’ve been on the other end. In a previous job, I rarely had to call customers. But when I did, most often I had to deal with very irate people. It’s hard to be yelled at when you had nothing to do with creating the problem, and you’re only interested in getting it fixed.

Showing appreciation shouldn’t be limited to where, or to whom it’s given.

I try to acknowledge my husband and my grown kids whenever they do something thoughtful or helpful. For instance, if my husband cooks dinner, picks up groceries for the week, or washes my car - I thank him. If a friend does something nice for me, I give them a sincere thank you.

Showing appreciation relays that you don’t take the other person, or what they’ve done for granted.

This week, be aware of opportunities to show your appreciation to those around you.


Celebrate Life!

How good are you at celebrating life? See the young woman in the photo? That’s my daughter, Ana, having fun in Central Park while visiting her sister, Brooke, in New York. (Yes – she’s a former cheerleader.)

My girls have taught me a lot about taking risks, going for what you want, and getting the most you can out of life. Those things are important, because let’s face it. Time is fleeting.

In the past four weeks, three people I knew died. The most recent was a cousin only two years older than me. He had cancer, and although they thought treatment might prolong his life five years, he lost the fight a few months after being diagnosed.

People I grew up with have died from brain tumors and various forms of cancer. A college roommate died of cancer. My stepdaughter was only 19 when she was killed in a freak car accident.

So this past week I’ve thought about death, but I’ve also thought a lot about life. You can hardly think about one without the other.

What does it mean to celebrate life?

I know it doesn’t mean working just for the paycheck, or working seven days a week. It doesn’t mean putting off having fun until retirement. It doesn’t mean never taking a risk. And it doesn’t mean giving up on dreams.

Celebrating life means embracing it and the people around you. It means enjoying the sun on your face, smelling the fragrance in the air, exploring new things, and just plain having fun. It also means that when hard times come, trusting that better times are up ahead.

How good are you at celebrating life?


The Flowers at Your Feet

Mahatma Ghandi once said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

There’s a lot of wisdom contained in those few words.

But it’s hard for us to slow down, isn’t it? There’s always so much to do. We go to work in the morning, pour ourselves into our jobs, and arrive home exhausted to face a list of tasks. Then we fall comatose into our beds, only to get up the next morning and do it all over again.

But we pay for our speed and need to produce.

That’s been made even clearer to me these past weeks. The beginning of April, I was able to leave my day job and put all my energy into writing and working as a freelance editor from home. It took several weeks for me to decompress and let go of the stress I’d been carrying while trying to maintain two professional worlds.

Prior to that, I knew something needed to change. My husband, out of love, kept gently pointing out how out-of-balance my life had gotten. But now I see how spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically damaging it was becoming.

I still have deadlines. And I will continue to put expectations on myself to be productive. But, I’m so much happier and relaxed. Slowing down has provided a different kind of energy – unlike what is created by adrenaline and caffeine. Creative moments come easier. I’m able to enjoy moments with family and friends without a silent voice whispering in my ear that I should be working.

I can breathe . . .

“In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

I know people have responsibilities and obligations. I know it’s not possible for everyone to leave their occupation and work from home at their dream job. Trust me. I sooooo get that. I feel very blessed to have that option right now.

But I also believe that God desires for us to slow down, refresh, and enjoy time with family and friends. Jesus did. God also gave us the Sabbath as a day of rest and renewal.

Breathe in fresh air (whatever that means for you) and see the flowers that blossom at your feet.

Have a great week!


The Gift of Imagination

Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

I love that!

Not because I disregard knowledge. Quite the contrary. I strongly believe in the value and importance of learning until I breathe my last breath. There is so much to experience and take in, that it’s impossible to run out of new things to add to the brain’s library.

But I think that in our culture today, often times we put such an emphasis on book learning, degrees, and technical skills that we forget that without someone using their imagination – we wouldnt have the advances or opportunities we have today.

Imagination sparks the need for knowledge.

An imagination also provides society with fashion, architecture, music, works of art, and movies. Books written with imagination provide us with laughs, romance, and adventures to far-away places. They give us a break from the stress we may feel in our professional or home life.

As a child, I loved to use my imagination. I’d pretend with dolls, write stories, and act out plays with my neighborhood friends. During the summer, I’d sit under a tree, listen to the birds, and watch the clouds float overhead while I created a variety of characters and worlds in my mind.

I still write stories. My husband sometimes asks, “How do you come up with this stuff? Where does it come from?” It comes from my imagination. But, it takes letting go of things that “need” to be done. It takes quiet. And allowing my mind to wander to wherever it wants to take me.

“Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.” ~ James Russel Lowell

Solitude. It’s hard to come by for most people, isn’t it? And time. It’s rare for people to find time to sit and do nothing but think. But it’s vital if the imagination is going to create its best work.

You may believe that you don’t have an imagination. Or that you’re not creative. If you’ve ever daydreamed – you’ve used your imagination. If you’ve ever thought about what it would be like travel to a different country, what a recipe in a magazine might taste like, or how a sofa in a store will look in your living room . . . you’ve used your imagination. It’s all in how you look at things.

One more quote. Just because I love this one so much.

“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” ~Edgar Allan Poe, "Eleonora"

You have an imagination. Trust me. Take the time to discover and enjoy it.

Have a great week!


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