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  • Are My New Year's Resolutions Resolute?

    Oh, the trap of starting New Year's resolutions. It can be a setup for failure. They once were more popular. I can recall the time they were truly important and exciting in my younger years. Among the most popular New Year's resolutions are lose weight, exercise, earn/save more money, improve diet, read more books, take better care of oneself, have a happy attitude, and many other things. Looking forward to a new year with a fresh start can make it more exhilarating and revitalizing. It has been my previous experience that if I stay focused on all my resolutions for more than 2 to 3 weeks that I have exceeded my previous attempts. New Year's resolutions are exciting to begin with, but then they lose their luster as the excitement wears off. Change is hard. Breaking old habits and establishing new ones can be exhausting but even today I still like the idea of starting new resolutions. Wow, this is a lot, but I am inspired and ready to run fresh out of the starting gate to take on this new year, 2023, in fine fashion. I have found if I look at just two or three things that are important to me to accomplish over the next three to four months, I can quantify them into an attainable goal. This keeps me from the trap of becoming discouraged because I do not see results quickly. For me success comes by changing a few small actions or behaviors daily instead of giant steps. These small changes help create new habits. And a change of habit is the consequence of small and deliberate actions or behavior changes that are quite simple to implement and to track my results. Look at the following objectives. OBJECTIVE: To lose weight I need to change my eating habits. In order to do this, I will stop eating lunch in a restaurant and begin taking a healthy lunch to eat at work. Now I monitor this by counting the number of days that I take my lunch. With an objective of five days, I can see how I ended the week. I may not see any weight change, but I am working on a method that will cause it to happen. I experience daily success even though I might not have lost 1 pound. OBJECTIVE: To read more books, I need to change my reading habits. I need to identify how many pages I need to read per week, then break those pages down into daily quotas and track my progress. You can see how this works over time. Remember I am working on a method that will cause it to happen. Slow and resolute wins the race. Because it can take weeks to start seeing the results of the goals I want to attain. But if I will continue taking small steps and monitor them, I will see the wins and I win weekly when I tally up my results and compare them to my objective. To help me track my progress, I use the weekly display, which enables me to examine and assess how I am progressing toward my target on a daily and weekly basis. You can get your weekly display form by clicking the link jerrydclark.com/weeklydisplay to download. For both me and others, this is an incredibly motivating and helpful exercise. There is fruit in establishing resolutions. Are your resolutions resolute? Look for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. Get a copy of my book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #newyear2023 #newyear #newyearseve #newyearseve2023 #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #thankfulwednesday #friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation #fridayinspiration

  • Authority of Gratitude

    I get the opportunity to work with wonderful people. Many have blind spots chipping away at their future success and happiness. Blind spots frequently show themselves in harmful ways at home and work. Why? Because we struggle to understand others or ourselves when our perspective is clouded. It makes it more challenging to frame our interactions and behaviors logically. It quickly leads to misunderstandings, anger, disrespect, and isolation, none of which are healthy outcomes in professional or personal relationships. I like to say, "Practicing gratitude exposes these destructive, often invisible forces." Learning to be grateful will put you in a different emotional state, with intellect up and anxiety down. Without gratitude, we find ourselves in a negative emotional loop, making the blind spots worse. Gratitude releases two chemicals in the brain. It gives us a shot of dopamine and a swig of serotonin. Dopamine gives us a positive feeling and motivates us to achieve academic, personal, or professional goals. Serotonin improves our motivation, willpower, and mood. Gratitude improves your life overall by altering your viewpoint and way of thinking. Let's begin this practice of gratitude now. As soon as you wake up, express your gratitude, appreciation, and thankfulness, releasing those positive brain chemicals. The negative thought patterns will decrease, and the blind spots will diminish. "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." —GK Chesterton We can focus on the positive or the negative, as we've already discussed, choosing the positive will improve everything else in your life and those around you. Typically, there will be times you will sink back into your old patterns of behavior. Don't beat yourself up but adjust. Give attention to where you want to go, not where you've been. Let's be grateful and eliminate the blind spots. Please comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #thankfulwednesday #WednesdayWisdom #wednesdaymotivation #WednesdayThoughts #gratitude #happiness

  • Christmas Morning

    Yesterday I sat in church for our Christmas morning service. It was a festive service. There were many bible passages read forecasting the birth of Jesus and then in the New Testament announcing his birth. There were Christmas carols and beautiful choir singing. All of this was very spiritual to me. Then I began watching a family to my left in front. It was a young mom and dad with three children, about 8, 6, and 4. The dad reverently prompted the children to stand during the singing. He pointed to the words as his older son sang from the hymnal, especially when they changed lines. The younger boy sat with his mom. At times he was in his seat, then in her lap, and sometimes on the floor. None of his activities took away her beautiful smile nor did she allow it to interfere with her worship. She showed love to all three of them with her hands and warm facial expressions. She would hold the smaller boy’s hands then he held hers. It was all orchestrated in such a loving rhythm. As the mother stood holding the younger son, he hugged her so lovingly that the people behind her felt the same warm feeling I did. He had a Match Box car, and I was fascinated at his demeanor as he drove the little car on the floor, his seat, his mom’s arm, and any other place he could use for a racetrack. I wanted to take a picture of them but did not want to be an intruder. I closed my eyes, paused to absorb, and took a mental picture that I can recall at any time. At the conclusion, I went over to talk to them. They were so humble and said they had been blessed with wonderful children. It reminded me of my mom and all the sacrifices she made to give us the love and direction we needed. She was also a good disciplinarian. I received far more spankings than I deserved. Maybe I have that backward. I believe that mothers don't receive enough praise for all the sacrifices they make, including acting as a nurse, teacher, disciplinarian, and providing cuddles, care, love, and generosity. I am not a mother, so there are probably not enough words to adequately convey what mothers do. It is so easy to focus on the negative news stories we hear daily. This encounter has reminded me that wonderful stories are being told all around me. It is up to me to spot them, learn from them, and savor them. I understand that not everyone has had the same experiences with their family and mother. I hope this allows you to tell the story you want people to speak about you as a mom and dad. It is never too late to start. There are plenty of blind spots around us; watch for them. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaymorning #mondaythoughts #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #resetyourmind #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #counselingmatters #safelistening #listening #listen

  • Short Christmas Story

    Sometimes the strangest things can give us the best answers. It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas–oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it–overspending…the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together which was a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids – all kids – and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition–one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down the envelope. Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us. Watch for the blind spots. Story courtesy of WWW.whiteenvelopeproject.org Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. Get a copy of my book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #thankfulwednesday #friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation #fridayinspiration

  • Gently Curious Questions...

    Continuing our conversation from the post on Monday, “Safe Listening,” combined with gently curious questions softly probe thoughts and ideas causing others to learn more about themselves while you are also gaining information. These types of questions allow you to drill down and get a deeper understanding of the circumstances that may be contributing to one’s emotional distress. An emotional person cannot hear facts. I say that when someone is hurt, frustrated, confused, or at their wits end, the best way to connect is not to give them information to try to fix their situation. It is best to first connect with them emotionally by engaging with gently curious questions. Empathy can be the best way of connecting and defusing an issue with them in this emotional state. Generally, when an emotional person presents their issue with a sense of anxiety, it seems the cultural approach is to “fix them.” This is the last thing they are looking for and can cause more anxiety. As their anxiety rises, so will yours, and if you're not careful, an argument will ensue that will usually not address the original one's anxiety and will cause distance in the conversation and thus the relationship. Someone says, “I am not smart, or I am dumb,” our cultural response is, “You are so smart, or No you’re not dumb.” Notice how easy it is to interpret their statement as “they” are wrong. Now they can feel confused, frustrated, and wrong. The idea is to gently come along side of them in conversation, so they can talk more about their emotional energy rather than hear my attempt to fix them. Let me stop here and say that in my way of thinking, asking “why” is not gently curious. Why can mean prove to me and I bet you can’t. Why can be loaded with so much energy behind it that no answer can cause connection or diffuse the energy generated by it. Example: “Why are you late”, or “Why didn’t you return my call?" These are 'why' questions are repelling and not attracting. “Help me understand?” or “How come?” These are great gently curious questions. Opening with these questions will connect you rather than starting with the “Why.” Additional questions could be, “What else can you tell me about this?” “What is not being said that needs to be said about this issue?” “What do you need from me?” Do not challenge the answers to any gently curious questions immediately, this will allow you to drill down and generate another gently curious question. Example: The issue is, “I’m not very smart.” Dad: How long have you been thinking that way? Son: Since my last look at my grades. Dad: What did your grades tell you? Son: That I have all c’s and one b. I know you don’t think I’m smart. Dad: How come you don’t think I think you are smart? (notice, I didn’t respond and disagree) Son: Because my grades are down. Dad: Do you think I love you if your grades are down? Son: No. Dad: How come? (again, I didn’t challenge their wrong impression of me) Son: Because you are always asking about my grades. Dad: How can I support you without asking about your grades? Son: I don’t know, maybe just help me when I need it. Dad: I can do that. Now, I wait a minimum of 2 hrs. and return and ask, “Remember when you said that you were not smart, would it be okay if I disagree with that, (another gently curious question) I think you are very smart. It is easier for them to hear my disagreement or my compliment after their anxiety recedes. These and other gently curious questions can foster connection, allowing you to return to the person later and share some of your thoughts and ideas. You will not connect as well if you offer advice or attempt to fix too soon. Employ these gently curious questions and look for the blind spots. Please comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #thankfulwednesday #WednesdayWisdom #wednesdaymotivation #WednesdayThoughts #safelistening #listening #listen

  • Safe Listening

    I was talking to a single mom many years ago. She reported that her15-year-old daughter told her everything. She knew, who was doing drugs, drinking alcohol, skipping school, sneaking out at night, and so many other things going on in her daughter's life. I was amazed at her honesty with her mom and immediately began to think about when my sons were 15. Had they even told me their friends were smoking cigarettes, I would have said, “I better not catch you smoking cigarettes. I better not catch you with a lighter or matches.” Ouch! I can see why my boys would never feel safe telling me anything. This goes to show you how we are all at different levels of parenting skills and emotional maturity. I didn’t want my boys to smoke or be around others who did, but the way I expressed it caused them to disconnect with me verbally and emotionally. This was a huge blind spot for me. I wanted nothing but the best for my boys but was very inept at providing the kind of discipline they needed. My idea of discipline was punishing, not teaching and molding. Ouch! I started thinking about what I might do to learn how to be a safer listener. I needed to receive important information about what is happening in the lives of others who mean so much to me. I typically learned the things I needed to know after the fact rather than at a time when I might be able to ward off a problem. I learned that safe listening involves self-control. This means, not allowing my emotions to override the way I process what I am hearing. Here is a short list of self-assessment questions I use today that enable me to be a safer listener. Do I interrupt? Am I too quick to give advice and cut the speaker off? Do I tell hero stories? Do they feel important when speaking to me? Do they feel intimidated or afraid of me? Do they feel safe to disagree? Do I demonstrate that their voice is important to me? Do I talk too much or not talk enough? Do I embarrass or shame them in any way? Every relationship is at a different stage of communication, trust, and intimacy. These questions are key to becoming a better spouse, friend, parent or neighbor, they are life-changing. A little pre-planning before a conversation can cause a much deeper conversation. The more we talk to connect, the closer and more trusting relationships we build. Once you put these self-assessment questions into practice, it is easy to see how gently curious questions follow safe listening and enhance communications, understanding and connection. Gently curious questions will be revealed in Wednesday’s blog. Stay tuned and watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaymorning #mondaythoughts #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #resetyourmind #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #counselingmatters #safelistening #listening #listen

  • Turn the other cheek.

    What an honorable thing to do. After all, The Big Play Book says, "If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also." Matthew 5:39 Taken out of contents, this can lead to difficulties in relationships. I see this verse, taken at times, as if I have to give in at every turn. Sometimes I call it being too nice. Givers can give into bitterness. Giving too much teaches others that we are always ready and willing to help them in any familiar capacity. When others point out that we were once very giving and now we are not, we tap into any and all available adrenaline or internal capacity to give even more. When that is depleted, we refuse or are unable to continue. The previously veiled difficulty in the relationship now becomes obvious. A giver decides not to continue when they are exhausted and do not feel fed or nourished. This can lead to a relationship ending in some cases. The capacity to give is unique to every person. The ones who have a great sense of self, seem to have a greater sense of giving. Giving out of richness and not poverty is also an important factor. What a wonderful thing it is to give within healthy limits. Determining what your healthy limits are can be difficult. I heard the saying, "If it’s not a Hell Yes, it’s a Hell No." I kind of like that. Sometimes I have given too much and didn’t recognize that it was contributing to bitterness. I am amazed at the number of people who fall casualty to this characteristic. It looks so good and sometimes creates a great feeling, but it can be catastrophic in relationships. Balance is the key. Feeling great about who you are in the presence of the one you love is a wonderful experience. It is a wonderful litmus test for any relationship. Givers must set great boundaries because takers have none. I hear these classic stories of givers who attempt to tell the other they are not getting the recognition or appreciation they feel they deserve. When the relationship erodes and the giver finally says, "I've had enough and I'm out of here," the standard response I hear is, "Why didn't you tell me?" and the typical answer to this is “I have been telling you for years, but you don't listen.” I can’t count the number of times I have heard this. Then blame seems to permeate the conversation. I say that both are culpable here. The sender of the message is responsible to see that the receiver hears the message clearly. The receiver is to hear it in a way that does not include, rationalizing, minimizing, or justifying the information. Sometimes additional assistance is needed to break this circular conversation. Turning the other cheek can sometimes be very appropriate. Other times it teaches others we can be mistreated or misused. I like to give as long as it feels good. The minute the slightest amount of bitterness appears, I must reorient myself. I do not want to be mad at me. How about you, can you be at fault of giving too much? Watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. If you need the perfect stocking stuffer, get a copy of my book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #turntheothercheek #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #thankfulwednesday #friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation #fridayinspiration

  • Legacy

    I was listening to a friend talking about legacy and what he wanted to leave behind when he is gone. He was wanting to make a difference in the world around him. I have thought the same thing. Just look at the people who have left amazing legacies such as business moguls, artist, musicians, politicians, educators, ordinary people, the list is endless. Who would not want to be on the list of major legacy makers. Of course, there are some who might say they don’t care what legacy they leave behind, and it will probably be evident in the end. Looking at these giant legacy makers, I doubt it will ever be me and I’m okay with that. Then my friend said, “We are creating our legacy every day in all the things we say and do whether large or small, whether with many or just a few.” This makes sense to me. I often ask the question, “What do you want your family, friends, and neighbors to say about you?” Looking at this question from a work or business perspective is also very important. In Tim Sanders book “The Likeability Factor”, he talks about our likability. His message is how people who show up as likable seem to get the best opportunities. I say, when we suffer from our blind spots, we are the opposite of his message. Unlikeable people don't often succeed. Sometimes, we show up unlikable and aren’t unaware of it. [Blind Spot] Has anyone ever been passed up for raises or promotions even if they were qualified but unlikable? Has anyone ever lost a job because they couldn’t hear the kind of feedback that would make them better? Does this really happen? How do we show up? This question may be answered differently from our point of view and the point of view of others. This is the purpose of my book, "Blind Spots in Relationships." When I only look at my relationships from my point of view I am blinded by my own opinion and desires. When I dare to seek feedback, I can grow and prosper infinitely. I am always seeking the opportunity to build a better me. Build a better me means to look at my gifts and talents and expand them in every way possible. What am I good at and could use more mastery in attaining it? What am I not so good at and could use enhancements to build a better me? I want to be in search of finding all the gifts God has given me, especially the ones he gave me to give away to others. I believe we owe it to each other, as we journey down life’s highway, to assist in improving our greatness. We can only do this by our openness to hear and give feedback that makes a positive difference. Being closed gives the impression to others that we are perfectly fine with who we are and how we present ourselves, and it can be used to push them out of our lives. The way we present may be the limiting factor in our lives. Build a better me has been my script for many years. I say, “We write the script others use to talk about us. Others talk about the experience they have of us.” What script are you writing today that will be spoken as your legacy? It is so important to remember that we are scripting our legacy in every choice, behavior, conversation, and in every day. What do you want others to say about the real, authentic, day by day you? Watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. If you need the perfect stocking stuffer, get a copy of my book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #thankfulwednesday #WednesdayWisdom #wednesdaymotivation #WednesdayThoughts

  • I ran out of pride...

    Pride has many meanings. It can be a sense of warm feelings about family, school, sports teams, and many other examples. It can also mean self-righteousness, arrogance, better than, in control, and other negative characteristics. The latter definition is what I am talking about here. Yesterday I was talking to a great friend who mentioned that at some point in his life he ran out of pride. What an interesting thought? We were talking about our early childhood experiences, and he mentioned growing up with a very harsh dad. This wasn't meant as an indictment of his dad; rather, it was a genuine account of how his early experiences in life shaped the man and dad he became. We are shaped by our interpretation of our experiences. It is easy to replicate our way of life by passing it along to others. He unintentionally instilled this harshness in his son because he felt being beaten down was the way of life. This caused him to be as distant from his son as he and his own dad had been. He could not see what he was doing that created the distance with his son. He just wanted to be a good dad but was not equipped. He was using tactics that didn’t work and just as I have done, he tried the same things harder and louder. Isn’t it interesting that when someone doesn’t understand our message, we think they will if we say it louder. [Blind Spot] After running out of pride, he is now making a successful effort to rebuild the kind of relationship he wants to have with his son and his grandchildren because he recognizes all the mistakes he made. Wow, this has truly brought back my old ways of thinking. I generally felt inferior as I compared myself to my peers. So, I created a shiny outside to mask the dullness, weakness, and lack of value, I felt on the inside. In a sense it made me want to excel which was a good thing. Who doesn't want to look good and excel? Oh, how this desire to look good got in my way. Early on, I have done some fantastic things in life. They all had to do with looking good on the outside but not being equipped to look good on the inside. If I don’t like myself, who will? It took most of my life to run out of the pride that kept me distant from the ones I loved the most. I treated them as I treated myself and I was harsh. People who only knew me superficially knew only the positive aspects of who I was and how I presented. People who really got to know me could see that I was angry, very shy, not confident, and emotionally immature. I wanted others to validate something within me that was nonexistent. It’s great to look back and see how I have matured. Thank you, Lord. The Big Playbook states, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." Proverbs 11:2 “I ran out of pride,” that comment from my friend opened the door for me to also see that I too had run out of pride. Man, what a relief. It changed my life. I remember not being able to laugh at myself. Being the butt of any jokes was very uncomfortable, embarrassing and took me down emotionally. Today, I see my faults and weaknesses as opportunity for growth and not debilitating characteristics that condemn me. The warmth and glow caused by self-confidence allows me to feel good about who I am and continue the journey of building a better me, being genuine and authentic. Oh, what a difference it makes. When I feel good about me on the inside, nothing on the outside can harm or insult me. Today, I seek humility. I'm not interested in projecting an air of superiority on the outside. I aspire for myself and others to radiate from the inside out. I want to assist people to feel good and bring out their best inside character. I can accept everything I have done wrong and use these things to make great choices for my future. How about you? Is it the outside or the inside you desire to display? Watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. If you need the perfect stocking stuffer, get a copy of my book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaymorning #mondaythoughts #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #veteransupport #veteransuicide #veteranshelpingveterans #resetyourmind #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull

  • We focus on where we look...

    I am reminded of an interview of a famous race car driver. When asked what the most important thing a race car driver could do, he answered, “Don’t look at the wall.” When he was asked to clarify his response, He said, “I go where I am looking.” Enough said. This causes me to reflect on how exposing our blind spots sets us up for emotionally healthy relationships. I need to look for what I want and what I am missing not what is agonizing or troublesome. “Reading Blind Spots in Relationships has been humbling and very eye-opening. With the holidays upon us, I had no idea how often I got annoyed, how much I corrected my husband, and how bad my tone could be. How embarrassing. I’m so glad for the chance to “see this stuff,” so I can make a change!” —D Campbell I think it is time for all of us to “see the stuff.” Tis’ the season, right?! Without realizing it, we can quickly ruin any daily interaction. It is too easy to get busy and caught up in the whirlwind of the season to see when we are being rude or unkind to others. I like to say, “we focus on where we look.” If I focus on the annoying things said by my sister-in-law on social media, I will “see” even more of that and get more annoyed. But if I focus on the fact that my sister-in-law has repeatedly offered to help watch the kids so I can finish decorating and shopping, I will have far more gratitude and far less annoyance. I can’t help but think of the big playbook, Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about these things.” If I am focusing on other things this holiday, well . . . I might be missing something big. Let’s make a conscious effort this month to “focus our thoughts” on the good things. We will surely have victory in our situations and that is exactly what we want to see! Keep looking for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. If you need the perfect stocking stuffer, get a copy of my book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #veteransupport #veteransuicide #veteranshelpingveterans #resetyourmind #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation #fridayinspiration

  • Carpenter

    Dave and George were brothers and had adjoining properties for many years. These properties were adorned with beautiful trees, lush grass, and a small, flowing creek that separated them. Their relationship had grown distant over the years. One would try things to mend the relationship and the other would bring up past grievances. Then the roles would reverse, and the same results came about. The brothers’ inability to unite continued to cause frustration. Their families cherished spending time together on special occasions, whether they were involved in sports, kids’ school events, holidays, or other occasions. Over time, these relationships deteriorated, and everyone was saddened. The brothers' disputes worsened, and they each felt increasingly righteous about their positions. As a result, their relationship reached a crescendo. They agreed the only resolution was to have a tall fence built along the creek to separate them and their properties physically and permanently. And though this agreement satisfied the two of them, it caused terrible grief among the members of the families. Disregarding the family's request, they began to look for The Carpenter who would build the fence. They talked about how high the fence should be and what materials should be used. The expense was unimportant because it would spare them from the pain of seeing each other. They agreed on The Carpenter and trusted him to know just what to do. The Carpenter, along with others in the community, witnessed and were troubled by these two upstanding men who seemed to be so unforgiving of each other. Because The Carpenter knew them and their families very well, he asked them to go away on separate vacations while he completed the project. The Carpenter knew there would be more squabbling and arguing during the construction if the brothers were present. They both arrived back at roughly the same time. They were eager to step outside and take in the peace that the new fence would bring. After all, The Carpenter whom they both knew and trusted, conceived and constructed it. They both stepped out and looked toward the stream that separated the two of them, and to their amazement, they didn’t find a fence, they found a bridge. And it was no ordinary bridge; it was made of heavy timbers that would stand the test of time and the architecture of this beautiful bridge added to the landscape. This was a masterpiece constructed by The Carpenter. There was a sign on the bridge that stated, “We build fences to keep people out. We build bridges to invite them in. Have a great day.” It was signed by The Carpenter. What a wonderful story. How many times do we build fences where we truly know we need to build bridges? I love it when we invite The Carpenter to assist us in relationships. Two bright men, who had allowed something from their past to separate them, could now see an opportunity to connect and that reconnection created joy within their families as well as the community. Life is short, let’s build some bridges. Look for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. If you need the perfect stocking stuffer, get a copy of my book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #veteransupport #veteransuicide #veteranshelpingveterans #resetyourmind #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #thankfulwednesday #WednesdayWisdom #wednesdaymotivation #WednesdayThoughts

  • 22

    What a wonderful nation we get to live in. Sure, there are many grievances and issues that cause us separation. However, we are linked together by a tapestry of history that is woven together by our veterans who have proudly worn the uniform of this powerful country. Our church has a veteran’s ministry, and we meet to talk about the difficulties that face too many of the proud men and women who have served. This group of veterans comes together weekly to talk about their difficulties fitting in after serving in many different theaters. This is the safest group I have ever participated in. It is difficult to imagine veterans of Korea and Vietnam still suffering after 50-plus years of coming home. Veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and so many other conflicts that our military have proudly served are the newest casualties of veterans attempting to come home. Don’t get me wrong, many veterans who have suffered military and war casualties have reentered civilian life with little or no repercussions and have successfully joined civilian life. Others continue to suffer from personal wars of PTSD, depression, anxiety, military sexual abuse, divorce, drugs, alcohol, jobs, getting VA benefits, and so many other issues. None of these are to be compared or judged. Each veteran has had their own experience of military and war. Our veteran's group was formed to have a place to vent and get the support they need and so deserve. It serves as a place to reflect while also feeling valued and understood. It is impossible to genuinely understand someone else's suffering until you have walked in their boots and gone through their experiences. The inability of not being able to tell their story keeps too many things bottled up and sometimes veterans believe that suicide is the only answer. Say what you will about suicide, but when you see the strongest and toughest who have suffered for years, take their lives, I request that they not be judged. I have the utmost respect for all veterans and will proudly defend them. Some go wayward and get into trouble, and I say perhaps we have not done enough to protect them from what they were taught and experienced. They have been trained for months and years and when they are released, there is not enough done to recondition them back to the civilian world. A few months ago, I lost one of my dearest friends to suicide. I loved him so dearly and watched him battle his demons for years and they finally wore him down. And just this week our neighbor, Sara Fontana, lost her nephew, Sean Leahy, to suicide. It has truly saddened me to feel another loss. Sara wrote a poem about Sean and has given me permission to share it with you. It is a powerful message to us all. SUICIDE OF A VETERAN Dedicated to Sean Leahy, my nephew A Veteran Strong, outer presence Crumbling inside Insights within Moments of clarity Authenticity with self and others Is interior strength possible? Constant, relentless Visions, thoughts Tearing at the insight Breaking down strength within Crumbling inside seeps outward The strong outer presence begins to crumble “You would be better off without me…” Offering the ultimate sacrifice, The battle ends with gunfire. Sara Fontana December 3, 2022 Oh, did you wonder about the title of this blog? Well, this is the number reported by the Veterans Administration who take their lives EVERY DAY. YES, 22, EACH AND EVERY DAY. I stand tall and desire to make these folks feel appreciated even though they might not be understood. I encourage you to do the same. Watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. If you need the perfect stocking stuffer, get a copy of my book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #veteransupport #veteransuicide #veteranshelpingveterans #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaymorning #mondaythoughts #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #resetyourmind #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull

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