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God will Help The Moment we Ask

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I took a walk along the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California.  Leaning against a stoplight was a young man of about twenty-five. He was holding a sign that read, “Help, please. Down on my luck.”

He did not look up as I approached. I took five dollars out of my wallet, touched his arm, and said, “Here, take this.”

When he did look up, he gently took the money and smiled. I noticed that his teeth were badly deteriorated—a sign of possible methamphetamine abuse. Yet within his pale blue eyes there was a familiar, alert presence.

I squeezed his arm and told him, “Respect yourself, you are worth it.” He said, “Thank you. Your words mean a lot.”

I kept my hand resting on his arm for a few seconds until the light changed, then I stepped off the curb and into the street. Halfway through the intersection, my tears of compassion began.  I said a prayer for him to find a better life because one significant heart-lesson I live by is that every soul is whole, no matter how wounded the human being.

As ambassadors of love we lead with our heart and look beyond the outer human to clearly see and unconditionally love the soul within others, and ourselves too. God loves us no matter what. God also is there, within our soul, when we are ready to make changes to our lives for the better. All we must do is ask.

The Magic We Cast

World in hands

If I had a magic wand I’d create a world filled with love, respect and peace. A world where equality, cooperation and treating others as we want to be treated is the norm. A world were the pursuit of knowledge, self-actualization and emotional awareness are lauded above money, beauty and fame. A world where children do not know bullying, abuse, war, hunger, or persecution. A world were labeling one another by race, sexuality, political party or religion is obsolete. A world where being a person of impeccable character is regarded the benchmark for success. A world where freedom to speak, act and think is balanced by personal responsibility for the consequences. A world where responsible and sustainable environmental stewardship is a fundamental practice.

I don’t have a magic wand. But I do have faith in you and me and our ability to create the world I describe.

You and I make big changes to our world by making small changes to ourselves, in our homes, neighborhoods and cities. When you and I live the positive change we want to see in the world, to treat others and all life as we want to be treated, our part of the world changes. And one day, I know without doubt, our parts of the world will meet and you and I will see the huge impact of the magic we have cast as ambassadors of love.

Five Important “aha’s” that Change Life

  1. No matter how much we may fear death we will die someday. We face the fear of death logically by asking ourselves –  instead of fearing what I cannot control why not spend the same energy on having the best life possible? As soon as we truly accept that yes we will die someday, we can truly began to live, in peace.
  1. We are not perfect and we don’t have to be in order to be worthy of love. The people who love us don’t expect us to be perfect. Our goal is to work hard to be a better person today than we were yesterday. That is the healthy and achievable goal.
  1. Not everyone is at the same level of emotional awareness and empathy. This “aha” allowed us to let go of the idea he/she should have, would, have, could have done better. This “aha” also allowes us to stop beating ourselves up for knowing now what we did not know at the moment we made a mistake.
  1. Life is only real in the present moment. The past is over the instant we step from then to now. The future is never a real moment in time because the future is the next moment’s present over and over – forever.
  1. Our mind has a mind of its own which means unless we know what we are thinking and why (the motivation behind our thoughts) we are not connected to the present. Not present in the now means our mind is in charge of us rather than our (soul) being in charge of our mind.

Ten Tremendous Tips

Be a Superhero

Money does not make you rich, character does. There are lots of poor people who are absolutely wealthy in character. You cannot buy a reputation for being a person of good character. It is earned by being a respectful, kind and responsible. You are truly wealthy when you accept the greatest legacy you will ever leave is choosing how well you live.

Be genuinely grateful for what you have in life and tearing up the list of what you do not have will be gratifying. Attitude is everything. Have an attitude of lack, and life will be a never-ending search for the next “thing” to fill the holes within your heart. An attitude of gratitude magically plugs those holes.

Treating other people as you want to be treated does not mean waiting for them to go first. Leaders lead by “being the change they want to see.” Frustration, anger and disappointment come from waiting for others to go first.

You cannot change anyone other than yourself. When you change yourself for the better, the world changes for the better because your positive actions influence those who see your behavior. That is why changed people change people, without trying. They lead change by example.

Every soul is whole no matter how wounded the human being. No matter how low you have gone in life, there is wisdom and strength within you that will get you successfully to the other side. The key is to accept you are not your problems. You are bigger than any challenge you face.

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God’s Gift of Free Will is a Huge Responsibility

ambulance

Five teenagers in Michigan, ranging in age from fifteen to seventeen years, thought it was a good idea to hurl several rocks, including a six pound boulder, off an interstate overpass into traffic below. They thought it would be a great prank.

The rocks damaged several cars but the six pound boulder killed a man who was returning home from work, leaving his five year old daughter without a father.

The young men were denied bail. They were charged as adults with second degree murder. They could spend many years in prison.

My heart breaks when I hear of tragedies like this. My heart breaks for the man who was killed, his daughter, and all who knew him. And my heart also breaks for the five young men, their families, friends, and all who know them.

They are young people whose lives lay out before them and they, as a group, chose to make a very stupid and thoughtless mistake that tore apart the lives of so many.

No matter how small our actions, you and I have the responsibility to think before we act. We have the responsibility to ask, “If I do this, what could be the possible outcome?”  We have the spiritual responsibility to care how our actions and words will impact ourselves and others.

God gave us free will. God also gave us a big heart so we can feel what it will be like to be on the receiving end of our behavior. It is always wise to consult our heart, the only part of us capable of putting ourselves in the position of others, before we do something that will change our life and the lives of others, forever.

Doing the Right Thing Feels FANTASTIC!

5

I was walking behind a man who was smoking a cigarette. When finished, he flicked it high into the air, aiming for the street I guess. In an odd twist of circumstance the wind caught the still lit butt, sending it back over his shoulder and into my face, leaving a small burn on my right cheek.

He did not look back to see where his cigarette landed. I brushed myself off, crushed out the burning cigarette, and put it into a nearby ashtray on top of a public trash can.

I smoked for twenty-two years. There were many times I threw the butts out without thinking about the consequences of my actions. Did I ever burn anyone? Did I start a fire on the roadside? Did someone ever step barefooted on a still lit cigarette of mine? Did a toddler ever pick up one I threw out? Who did pick up my tossed out butts?

I understand what it is like to behave without thinking about the consequences of my actions. I am grateful for the day I accepted the behavior I put out eventually comes back to me in one form or another. That was the day I began caring how my actions impact me and how they may impact someone else.

The interesting thing is we are ones who benefit most from caring about our behavior. Other people may never know how our remaining self-aware of our actions benefits them but it never fails that we feel FANTASTIC about ourselves from choosing to do the responsible thing.

Father and Parent: Often Two Very Different Things

Copy (1) of Dad and Regina 11-05

I have two fathers. One was my biological father who got my 13 year old mother pregnant. She gave me up for adoption then out of guilt married him and they had four more children.  I met him once along with my biological mother, brothers and sisters.  It was not a pleasant experience. He was a gruff man who I later learned frequently threatened the children with a gun and was often physical and verbally violent.

My other father is the man who raised me. Jean and Reagan Cates could not have biological children but they badly wanted little ones to share life with. So they adopted my sister, Rachel, and me.

I remember when mom told me. I was about five years old and we were sitting on the kitchen floor in our little house on Mistletoe Street in Victoria, Texas. She said I was deeply wanted and loved. So much so that she flew all the way from Victoria to Plainview, Texas to get me. I don’t think there was a time in life when I did not feel like their child just because we lacked a biological connection. LOVE is not conditional. That is a lesson Jean and Reagan began teaching me at three days old when they gave me a home.

Very early in life I learned anyone can father a child. But not everyone can parent to raise a child so they feel loved, appreciated, respected and worthy as an individual and as a woman.

Although my dad, Reagan, is far from perfect just as I am not, he was and remains at the age of 94 a man who chose to learn how to be an excellent father.  I am honored to have been adopted by him and I am honored he is still alive for me to tell him how much I appreciate him.

Free Speech is NEVER Free!

Angel with finger on lips

Although we may live in a free country, and have a constitutional right to the freedom of speech, we are not entitled to say whatever we want without caring about the consequences of our actions. Freedom of speech does not mean we are free to do what we want, say what we want, text what we want, post to social media what we want, without regard to the consequences of our actions. Action without accountability is not free. There are always consequences!

As ambassadors of love we accept extensive personal freedom requires us to operate at the highest levels of personal integrity. Doing so maintains our integrity as we navigate within social systems that often allow and encourage pushing acceptable boundaries to intolerable and ridiculous extremes.

The idea it is suitable to act without caring about short- and long-term consequences is completely egotistical, motivated by the impatience, immaturity, and thoughtlessness of self-centered ego.  Ego is not interested in treating others as we want to be treated.  Only heart cares what Jesus would do.

Love is ACTION!

 

Love is gentle.

Roses heart love symbol

Love is respectful.

Love is truthful.

Love is committed.

Love is patient.

Love is cooperative.

Love is loyal.

Love is forgiving.

Love is honest.

Love is peaceful.

Love is kind.

Love is responsible.

Love is compassionate.

Love is thoughtful.

Love is happy.

You and I create the most amazing life when we live as love in action.

Right or Happy? Your Choice!

Through e-mail, I agreed to pick up and return my friend Katherine to the airport. Two weeks before her arrival, something came up that required me to change plans for transporting her back to the airport. Still through e-mail, I assured her I would find someone to give her a ride back.

She arrived and I was at the airport to greet her. After some time together, I confirmed I was unable to give her a ride back to the airport. The news came as a shock. Nothing I said could convince my friend I had sent a second e-mail two weeks earlier; she thought I was lying.

It was not easy, but the truth was that no matter how much I wanted validation from Katherine, there was absolutely nothing to be gained by arguing with her. Leading with our heart is caring more for friendship than pride, so I chose to let go of my ego’s need to be recognized as right. I did not want to be angry with her, nor did I want our time together to be uncomfortable. The only option I saw to ensure peace of mind was to be patient, accept what was, and allow the situation to resolve itself.

A few weeks after my friend returned home, she was having repairs made to her computer when several mysteriously lost e-mails arrived in her in-box. Among them was the one I had sent.

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