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  • Medicine

    A dad found a letter from his 15-year-old son on his pillow. It read: Dad, I've decided to run away with my new girlfriend. She's older, has had many struggles, and she's pregnant. She needs me. We're moving into her trailer in the woods, where we have enough firewood for the winter. We dream of having many more children together. She's shown me that drugs aren't as harmful as you taught me. We plan to grow marijuana and trade it for ecstasy and cocaine. I'm confident that science will eventually cure all her illnesses. She has been so good to me, Dad. I can't wait to come back home with your grandchildren. Love, John PS: None of this is true. I am at Tommy's house. I just wanted to remind you there are worse things in life than a report card. It's in my center drawer. Love you, Dad. Call when it's safe to come home. This letter had me laughing out loud! I got so caught up in the story that the ending surprised me. What a clever letter! It reminds me of Reader's Digest's "Laughter is the Best Medicine." There are countless things to laugh about if we take the time to find or create them. Have you noticed how laughter is contagious? It's a social glue that strengthens people and relationships and enhances teamwork. Sharing a laugh with friends or coworkers can build a sense of connection. Laughter isn't just a response to humor; it's a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. It can boost your mood, enhance your immune system, and improve your overall well-being. When you laugh, your body undergoes physiological changes incredibly beneficial to your health. Whenever I feel down or stressed, I look for something that makes me laugh. Whether it's a funny movie, a joke, or a chat with a friend, remember that laughter is a great medicine. It is a highly effective way to boost your health and happiness. How about you? Is laughter a medicine you can use to lift your spirits? Watch for the blind spots. Thank you for your feedback. Like, share or comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • The Virtue of Patience

    The other day, I was getting a burger and fries. I was in a hurry, so I placed the order to go. I watched the process of taking the order and relaying it to the kitchen. I watched the order come out, but it needed to be prepared for a to-go order. The young man caught the mistake before I could point it out and apologized. He then turned to place it in a bag. He had difficulty getting the bag to open. He carefully placed the burger in the bag and closed it, only to remember he had left the fries out. After placing the fries in and closing the bag, he remembered the napkins and again opened the bag for the napkins. Then he turned to talk to one of his pretty coworkers. At this time, it seemed I had been standing there for more than 30 minutes. It was probably only 2. He then remembered that he didn’t put in the ketchup. The withered bag was opened again to add the ketchup. By this time, I figured the burger, and fries were ice cold. Isn’t it humorous that I was being so picky? I wanted to coach him about the importance of speed and pleasing his customers. I could see myself talking to the manager and letting her know how proper training would build better customer relations and more returning customers. Wow, the old me was really coming into play here. [Blind Spot] I suddenly remembered Sister Honora at Sacred Heart Jr. High frequently saying to me, “Patience is a virtue seldom in a woman, never in a man.” I had to laugh and reflect on my situation. I realized I was making a big deal out of nothing. The virtue of patience was absent until I caught myself thinking in completely unreasonable terms. Overall, patience promotes a calm and reflective state of mind, which supports peaceful thinking and behavior. In contrast, impatience disrupts this balance, causing stress, conflict, and ineffective behaviors. How about you?  Do you catch yourself impatient at times? Watch for the blind spots. Thanks for your feedback. Like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Wit's End or New Beginnings

    Every day, I have the privilege of meeting a diverse group of individuals. The people who truly captivate me are those who, despite feeling lost or needing new perspectives on life, family, work, or other circumstances, find the courage to seek help. They often describe their situation as being at their wits' end. When I say, "I'm at my wits' end," it means I am completely frustrated and overwhelmed by a situation. I've tried everything I can to solve a problem, but nothing has worked, leaving me feeling helpless and unsure of what to do next. It's a way of expressing that I'm out of ideas and patience. When I find myself at my wits' end, I choose to view it as a potential turning point. It's a moment that can either feel like a dead-end alley, if I allow it, or it can spark a glimmer of hope and anticipation for something new and fresh to emerge. This shift in perspective can be a powerful tool in navigating challenging situations. Experiencing being at one's wits' end can be profoundly overwhelming, yet several practical strategies can help manage stress and identify viable solutions. These strategies, such as taking a break, walking, meditating, or sitting quietly to clear your mind, have been proven to be effective in regaining control and finding solutions. Engaging in conversation with friends or family can provide emotional relief and offer new perspectives. Documenting your issues can make them seem more manageable, facilitating the prioritization of what needs to be addressed first. Additionally, breaking problems into smaller, more manageable tasks allows you to focus on each one individually, reducing the risk of feeling overwhelmed by the entirety of your concerns and making it easier to make progress. The complexity of being at my wits' end and how long I have been experiencing this determines what antidote I apply. At times, professional assistance is necessary. I can be immobilized or invigorated when I am at my wit's end. I choose invigorating. How about you? Do you find yourself at your wit's end or a new beginnings? Watch for the blind spots. Thank you for your feedback, it is invaluable. I appreciate you liking, sharing and commenting. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Change is inevitable, Growth is intentional  

    I have noticed that change is inevitable. It happens whether I like it or not, and it doesn't wait for my permission. Life moves forward, and with it, every relationship I hold. The passing of time ensures that no bond remains static. But here's the catch: while change is inevitable, growth within our relationships is not. Growth requires active participation, consent, and a conscious decision to pursue it. Every relationship experiences its share of changes—circumstances shift, people evolve, and dynamics alter. But growth? Growth is something different. Growth is intentional. It demands effort, reflection, and a willingness to look inward. It's about choosing to learn from my experiences and foster deeper connections. Why do some relationships flourish while others falter under the weight of inevitable changes? The answer lies in my approach to growth. It's easy to become complacent and let change wash over me without taking steps to grow. But growth requires more than adapting to change; it requires proactive participation. Change is inevitable, but growth is intentional. One of the most powerful tools for fostering growth is identifying my blind spots. These are the hidden areas where my behaviors, assumptions, and attitudes can hinder my relationships. By bringing these blind spots to light, I pave the way for emotional maturity. This process isn't always comfortable. Facing my shortcomings and vulnerabilities takes courage, and it's through this self-awareness that I can truly grow. Looking for blind spots is akin to shining a light in the dark corners of my mind. (Now, that can be scary.) It reveals truths I might prefer to ignore but are essential for my personal and relational development. When I recognize and address these areas, I unlock the potential for deeper understanding and stronger connections. While change in my relationships is unavoidable, growth is a choice I must make. By continuously seeking out my blind spots and committing to personal improvement, I adapt to change and thrive within it. How about you? Does change lead to your growth? Watch for the blind spots. Thank you for your feedback. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • A Bad Childhood Does Not Justify Bad Behavior

    I recently talked with a young man entangled in troubles at school and with the law. Despite his challenges, he struck me as a fine young man, grappling with conflicting emotions about what was best for himself and what was expected of him by his society. His dad and his dad's parents told him that because he had a bad childhood, he would always be in trouble. As we explored this, he said he had a bad mom, and he was doomed to a tough life. I noticed he couldn't accept compliments or say anything good about his life at home or school. Fighting was his go-to approach, and he didn't care if he won or lost. The scars left by a tumultuous upbringing can shape one's worldview, influence one's decisions, and even determine one's behavioral patterns, but they don't perpetuate bad behavior. It's a delicate balance, navigating between compassion for someone's troubled history and holding them accountable for their present conduct. While empathy can foster understanding and pave the way for healing, absolving individuals of responsibility for their actions undermines the very essence of getting better. Justifying wrongdoing based on a problematic upbringing perpetuates a narrative of victimhood, cementing the notion that one's past defines one's future. This approach diminishes innate resilience and overlooks the inspiring stories of individuals who have risen above their upbringing, shaping lives characterized by compassion and moral strength. While acknowledging the profound impact of childhood trauma, there is an unwavering truth: just because one had a bad childhood does not justify bad behavior. Often, what's lacking in individuals affected by trauma is trust, love, and connection. Fortunately, these qualities can be nurtured by anyone committed to positively impacting their lives. I choose to be an intervention for individuals who have suffered difficulty during their young and formative years. I want to instill hope and insight into their future. How about you? Does your childhood hold you back? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Thank you for liking, sharing and commenting. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Reboot

    I can easily slip into a slump and feel like a tangled mess, bogged down by outdated habits, unfulfilled dreams, and unproductive routines. Much like a computer overwhelmed with too many open tabs, there comes a point where I need to hit the "reboot" button and start fresh. Rebooting my life is a powerful metaphor for consciously resetting my path, shedding old constraints, and embracing new opportunities. It implies a fresh start, clearing away accumulated clutter and confusion. It's about taking a step back, assessing where I am, and identifying what needs to change. This process begins with self-reflection. I ask myself: What aspects of my life are not serving me well? What habits or patterns do I need to break free from? Once I have reflected and identified the change, I must create a plan. If the issues are minor, a quick reboot might reset my computer and life. But if things are deeply troubling, I might need to install new "software" to enhance my life's operating system. I must establish a fresh vision for a more fulfilling life. Whether pursuing a new career, adopting a healthier lifestyle, or cultivating more meaningful relationships, having a roadmap will guide my reboot process. I can reboot anytime, anywhere. When I recognize my emotional immaturity (when anxiety overrides my intellect) that lets me I need to reboot. When I find myself losing control, an emotional reboot can help me regain my sense of self. Knowing I have this option is comforting. If my life feels upside down, it's likely because I've endured too much for too long. When life gets complicated, it's easy to blame others instead of rebooting. Blaming means avoiding change and taking the easy way out. If I wait for others to change to improve my life, I might be waiting a long time. How about you? Can you benefit from the reboot process? Watch for the blind spots. Thank you for your feedback. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships.  Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Clear or Confusing?

    People often say, "I tell them repeatedly, and they still don't do what I ask." I've been guilty of this myself. I've found that the more I repeat myself, the less attention I get, and the more it feels like I'm being ignored. For example, I get little response when I casually tell children to pick up their backpacks or stop whining. Similarly, my words go unnoticed if I keep telling my team, "We need to work together on this project," without clarity or authority. When these words are spoken with little or no authority, nothing happens. After the tenth time, I get loud and "go out of control to gain control." What an ineffective means of communication. Have you ever noticed how a foggy mind can spread confusion? When I achieve personal clarity, it's like turning on a light in a dark room—everyone around me can see more clearly, too. Here's why getting clear myself can help align and focus my team, friends, and family. I communicate more effectively when I clearly understand my wants, needs, values, and plans. This clarity in communication ensures that everyone understands the direction and objectives. It eliminates guesswork and prevents misunderstandings. Clarity also fosters confidence. I inspire confidence in others when I know what I want and how to get there. They trust my decisions and feel secure in following my lead. My clarity sets a precedent. Those around me begin to value and seek clarity in their tasks and roles. This can lead to healthier, more open communication in personal relationships and drive productivity and innovation in professional settings. My clarity acts like a ripple in a pond, spreading outwards and influencing those around me. My key is to be clear and assertive. Unsurprisingly, my words get ignored when my instructions are vague or lack conviction. How about you? Are your requests or orders clear or confusing? Watch for the blind spots. Thanks for you feedback, I appreciate it. Please like, share or comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Nothing Changes

    Too often, I notice things aren't going well and realize that change is necessary. I find myself stuck in a rut, wishing someone else would change so I could stay the same. Surely, I'm not alone in feeling this way. Change feels unnatural and rigid, making me think it would be easier if others would change instead. I am too familiar with the saying, "Nothing changes as long as nothing changes." It's a simple yet profound statement that underscores the importance of taking action. Whether it's personal growth, career advancement, or improving relationships, staying stagnant ensures that no progress will be made. I resist change because I find comfort in familiarity and fear the unknown. But staying in my comfort zone can lead to complacency and stagnation. If I want different results, I have to take other actions. (Now that's profound.) What if getting uncomfortable is the first step to change? It might be scary initially, but stepping out of my comfort zone is the key to growth and improvement. The more worthy and comfortable I feel, the easier the change becomes. I've realized that wanting others to change while I am staying the same doesn't work. I've come to understand that the more I change myself, the more I can influence others in their changes. If I'm unhappy with my current job but don't improve my skills or seek new opportunities, I'll stay unhappy. If I'm dissatisfied with my health but keep the same habits, my situation will likely get worse. The cycle continues until I decide to break it. Embracing change also involves a shift in mindset. It's about being open to new experiences, learning from failures, and constantly seeking ways to grow. It's about recognizing that discomfort is a sign of progress and that every small step is a step toward a better version of myself. Remember, "Nothing changes as long as nothing changes." How about you?  What small changes in yourself would open big doors in your life? Watch for the blind spots. Thanks for your feedback, it is very important to me. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Freedom Isn't Free

    Bay Harbour UMC celebrates Memorial Day by placing crosses and flags on the lawn. These crosses and flags represent the ones who lost their lives serving our country. Our veteran group, Transition-Plus, desires to place these crosses as a reminder to our community that freedom isn't free. I like to delve deeper into Memorial Day. The lives lost, those who gave everything, deserve the utmost honor. Each death carries with it collateral damage—the pain and grief felt by those left behind. We can imagine this impact in concentric circles. At the heart of this loss are the immediate family members: mothers, fathers, spouses, children, and close relatives, who bear the brunt of the sorrow. Their lives are forever altered, their grief a constant companion. The next circle encompasses close friends, coworkers, other relatives, and neighbors, all deeply affected by the loss. Finally, the outer circle includes the broader network of acquaintances and extended family, each person touched by the sacrifice in their own way. Everyone is grief-stricken initially. Over time, those in the outer circle resume their daily lives, and their grief starts to fade. Letting go is more challenging for those in the middle circle, and their suffering lingers longer. Understandably, those in the center circle have the most difficult time letting go. Their grief feels like a heavy lead blanket. Within that circle, parents and spouses struggle the most. Typically, mothers hold on the longest. They cling to anything that reminds them of their loss—a shirt or jacket hanging in the closet, photos that never seem enough. When a mother speaks of her loss, her voice resonates with profound pain and reverence, reflecting the depth of her sorrow. As you revel in the freedom our country offers, I urge you to remember the ones who have paid the ultimate price, and those who continue to do so. In your celebrations, take a moment to pause, reflect, and honor those who have and continue to sacrifice for our beautiful country. Please take a few minutes this Memorial Day to pause and reflect on why we enjoy all our freedoms, remembering that freedom is not free but paid for by the ultimate sacrifice. Watch for the blind spots. Video : Americo Zapata a Senior at Arizona State University is playing Taps. Thank you for your feedback. Like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Teen Communications

    I was talking with a young man with two early teens. He and his wife have built a stable family with God at its center. He shared that, for a while now, almost every night, the kids come downstairs for a drink or a snack. Inevitably, they wander over to where he's watching TV or reading and end up conversing about their day and asking questions relevant to their situations. They hang out for 10 to 15 minutes and then return to their rooms. How amazing is that? How many parents do you know who have that relationship with their early teens? The level of trust I see in this family is truly remarkable. My boys didn't come to me in the evenings like that. They were smart enough not to wake the sleeping ogre, even though I wasn't actually sleeping. Feeling accepted and loved opens many doors to parent-teen communications, and trust is the key that unlocks them. I loved my boys to the max, but I don't think they trusted that I would accept what was troubling them or provide helpful feedback. My harshness kept them at bay. I was not equipped to create the inviting atmosphere they needed so greatly. [Blind Spot] This dad created a safe environment for communication. Below are a few key elements I observed with this dad and his teens: Showing genuine interest in their lives, avoiding distractions, and validating their feelings. Avoiding criticism and judgment fosters a sense of safety and shows enthusiasm for their interests. Understanding and managing emotions to respond thoughtfully and model respectful, honest, and open communication. Being reliable in responses and encouraging deeper conversations with open-ended questions. Giving them time to express themselves without rushing. Building this kind of a relationship requires time, early connection and relationship development. The good news is that we can always create new beginnings. How about you? Reflecting on your parenting, can you learn from this dad's example? I certainly can. Watch for the blind spots. Thanks for your feedback, please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Drifting

    Imagine a large branch falling from a tree into a flowing river. As it drifts, it gets snagged on rocks or other low-hanging branches. It might get pushed into still waters where it could remain indefinitely, potentially becoming waterlogged and sinking, never to continue its journey. It might get caught in small eddies or whirlpools and detained for an unknown period. This drifting branch can symbolize my journey through life. Often, I fail to recognize the forces pushing me off course. Without a clear direction, how can I know where I am going? I get sidetracked by circumstances or people who exploit me for their gain. Without a strong sense of self and purpose, it's easy to veer off course, get snagged, interrupted, or caught up in unwanted situations. I often find myself pushed or pulled into places that don't align with my desires. I believe in having clear targets on life's highway. Knowing what I want to achieve helps me use my time and energy best. Identifying the things that drain my time and energy—like mindless TV, YouTube videos, social media, and other distractions—can hold me back or derail me from my destiny. So, what do I want? What's my plan? What am I waiting for? Who am I, and where am I going? These are the questions I need to answer so I can get on the course and realize my destiny rather than being a drifter. Don't get caught in life's drift. Be intentional and strategic about your destiny. I've declared that I will spend the next 20 years leaning forward, significantly impacting myself and everyone I encounter. How about you? Are you drifting? Watch for the blind spots. Thank you for your feedback. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

    I have often found myself stuck in a situation where I have yet to measure up to the world's standards. In school so many years ago, I measured myself against the grades of others and usually found myself being left behind. I would be hyper-critical and focus on my limitations. At times, I considered myself unintellectual and limited in my abilities. Because my thinking was fixed, I could not rise above my supposed intellectual skills. However, as I pursued my education over time, I could get excellent grades despite my previous beliefs. In Carol Dweck's book Mindset, I am fascinated by her distinction between fixed and growth mindsets. Dweck reports people with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities and intelligence are static traits. They think you are born with a talent or not, and no amount of effort will change that. This mindset leads to a fear of failure and a tendency to avoid challenges. Dweck notes that those with fixed mindsets often feel threatened by the success of others, viewing it as evidence of their inadequacy. Early on, this description fits me perfectly. In contrast, Dweck's concept of a growth mindset is based on the belief that dedication and hard work can develop abilities and intelligence. People with growth mindsets embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, and see effort as a path to mastery. She emphasizes that those with growth mindsets are likelier to achieve their full potential because they view failures as opportunities to learn and grow. Carol Dweck's research offers profound insights into how my mindsets can shape my life. By understanding and adopting a growth mindset, I can unlock my potential and embrace a lifelong journey of learning and improvement. I have found that any negative thinking or conversation sets me in a fixed mindset. Resilience and the search for opportunity point me to growth. How about you? Do you need to shift your mindset and transform your approach to challenges? Watch for the blind spots. Thank you for your feedback. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire. #blindspots #mindset #mindsetmatters #growthmindset #fixedmindset

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