5 Simple Ways to Be Happy Now!

 

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When I used to be on the radio, this was one of my absolute favorite segments to share. I loved it so much, in fact, that I saved it in a drawer in my bedroom. Now, I’m excited to share it with you. It is packed with SO much practical wisdom!

Aristotle famously said that rituals define who we are. And scientific research backs that up! You can actually take charge of your own happiness and even boost it by doing certain things. Researchers at the University of California Riverside reviewed some 51 different studies that tested attempts to increase happiness through different types of positive thinking and they found that the following practices can SIGNIFICANTLY enhance your happiness:

1/BE GRATEFUL: Many in those studies were asked to write letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way. The study found that people reported a LASTING increase in happiness…over weeks and even months…after implementing the habit. And even more surprisingly, they didn’t even have to send the letter! Yes, even when people just wrote the letters but never sent them, they STILL reported feeling happier! One of my favorite quotes is: “It’s not the happy person who is grateful, it’s the grateful person who is happy!”

2/BE OPTIMISTIC: Another practice you should try is optimistic thinking. Now before you roll your eyes, let me explain. Study participants were asked to visualize an ideal future. For example, living with a loving and supportive partner, or finding a job that was fulfilling…and then they were told to describe that image in a journal entry. After doing this for a few weeks, these people also reported increased feelings of well-being.

3/COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: People who practice writing down three (just 3) good things that have happened to them each and every week showed a significant boost in happiness. See, focusing on the positive actually gives you reasons to be glad.

4/USE YOUR STRENGTHS: One particular study asked people to identify their greatest strengths, and then they were asked to try to USE those strengths in new ways. For example, someone who says they have a good sense of humor could try to tell jokes or funny stories to cheer up sad friends. Doing that helps YOU as much as the other person!

5/COMMIT ACTS OF KINDNESS: Yes, it IS more blessed to give than receive. Those behind this list have an iPhone app called “Live Happy Now” that you can download on iTunes to boost your well being. But if you don’t want to download the app, just pay for someone’s meal behind you the next time you hit a drive through.

Try implementing these, and you might just feel your heart swell… kinda like this:

The Ultimate Guide To a GREAT Vacation With Your Sweetie

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A few years ago, Bill Murray was asked by a bachelor at a bar the famous question….How do you KNOW that the person you love is the one you should spend the rest of your life together with?

His brilliant answer is coming up, but for now, suffice it to say that the answer revolves around taking a trip together. So, WHY do you think he said that? Well, because when you travel with your significant other, the tiniest issue can become a giant all out war.

So, I came across a cool article about traveling with the one you love. I really think if you follow these tips, and the spirit in which they were given, then you won’t return from your trip ready to kill the one you love so dearly.

They listed NINE tips for traveling with the love of your life. I’m going to give you just a couple, and you can get the rest in the link I will provide, along with the great Bill Murray love advice below, but first:

1. Identify the goal of the vacation.
It might sound silly, but this is where a lot of friction happens. One partner wants to spend the day in art museums and eat five-star meals at night, and the other expects to hang around the beach and nosh on fish tacos for three meals in a row. Before the tickets are booked, talk about your expectations for the trip and make sure you’re on the same page. Determine whether the point of your trip is to relax, explore, spend time with family or friends, etc. Once the trip goals are identified, it will make for more agreeable planning of your daily agendas.

2. Make a list of who will bring what.
A little organization goes a long way in reducing headaches, so once you decide why you’re traveling, figure out who’s bringing what. No one wants to spend their first night in a new place tracking down forgotten toiletries or a pricey phone charger. Make a list with your partner and check it twice!

3. Embrace downtime.
For some people, downtime is crucial to a happy trip. This is the proper time to schedule social media check-ins, bury your nose in a great book, or indulge in a power nap. There’s nothing better than a little alone time to reflect and recharge.

Get ALL 9 Tips RIGHT HERE

And, as promised….

 

 

How Do I Separate Myself From My New Appendage?!

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This is Rudy. He’s our Goldendoodle dog. We got him about 3 years ago. Admittedly, he likes men better than women. Not that he DOESN’T like women, he just prefers men. So, when I’m home I’m pretty used to him being near me.

Only trouble is, ever since I’ve been “unenjoyed” and not working, he’s around me ALL the time. And I do mean ALL the time. It starts when I wake up in the morning, and perhaps this is my fault. See, after I get up, have breakfast and my quiet time every morning, we go on a long 30 minute walk around the neighborhood. If you have a dog, you know that this is HEAVEN to them. All the other dogs they can smell, the squirrels and cats they can stare down and try to chase. It’s boundless fun for a dog.

The problem with that is that when I get up first thing in the morning, he EXPECTS a walk ASAP. I’m lucky to get my breakfast and quite reflection time in on the patio without him barking and barking, saying “hurry up Daddy, we need to go for a walk.” I get it, but it leaves little time for me. I guess I know how moms with young children feel. They always complain that they never get a single second for themselves. They can’t even go to the bathroom without one of their kids interrupting them, needing them, or shouting their name. That’s the way it is now with Rudy.

And once the walk is over, it continues. Granted, he’s pretty worn out, but he won’t crash on the floor. Oh no. He has to follow me into whatever room I’m going, and THEN he’ll “think” about crashing. All day long, whatever room I’m going to , whatever I’m doing, Rudy has to be there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE dog person and I love Rudy to death, but it now feels like he is literally attached to me. There have been days when he hasn’t slept ALL DAY because he’s afraid he’ll be missing out on something that I’m doing.

He knows the noise made by each and every chair I sit in when I get up, and when I get up from that chair, so does Rudy. It’s really affecting his health. I understand that dogs (just like humans) NEED a certain amount of sleep per day. In fact, experts say they need between 12-14 hours per day if they’re an adult dog. Rudy IS an adult dog, but he is NOT getting 12-14 hours of sleep per day.

So, how do I solve this dilemma, both for my sanity and Rudy’s health?a

Feel free to comment below…and Rudy says THANKS in advance!

 

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How to “Be Still and Know He Is God”

When you lose your job and face a career crossroads, you tend to pray…a lot. Pray for peace. Pray for wisdom & discernment. Pray for provision. Pray, pray, pray. How do you know then when God is answering your prayers or at least speaking to you?

For me, the confirmation came during Sunday morning worship service (God has a way of making that happen for us that love & follow Him). First came the worship portion of the service where we sang “Great is His Faithfulness” and then the real clincher came with the song sung so beautifully by one of our church’s finest singers. It was his amazing version of  Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Be Still & Know”. The title is taken from Psalm 46:10:

“Be Still and Know That I am God,

I Will Be Exalted Among the Nations,

I Will Be Exalted in the Earth” (NKJV)

Many Christians have heard that verse many times, but what does it mean really to “be still”? Does it mean to quit moving around, settle down, and be still like your mother always told you when you were little? Not exactly. Actually, the Hebrew word for “be still” used in the text means to relax. In fact, it literally could be translated to “Relax and know that I am God”

Relax.

You may have heard the phrase “Let go and let God”. Well, the Hebrew here in Psalms pretty much points to that. Literally, it calls for us to put our hands down at our sides. When problems come our way, and they invariably do, we are NOT being told to get our hands all over those problems. We are told to relax, put our hands at our sides, and remember that God is GOD. The great “I Am” as He told Moses. He’s not bound by time or space or any other measure. He is simply, God. We, however much control we may try to assume, are not.

When we get a grip on “I am God” (you know, the creator of Heaven and Earth?), we can find rest for our souls.

Someone posted on Instagram a coffee mug with the following:

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

You know who can give us that kind of peace? Well, the PRINCE of Peace, that’s who. That is, when we can “be still and know that He is God.”

 

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

From Hymn entitled “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen H. Lemmel 1922

 

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(photo credit: www.shroudofturin.files.wordpress.com)

 

 

“Be Still and Know” by Steven Curtis Chapman (Lyrics Video)

Why I’m grateful I was fired from my job of almost 13 Years

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May 1st (“May Day” will always have a special meaning from now on), I was quickly and decisively dismissed from my longtime job at iHeart Media, Panama City after almost 13 years. I was the morning show host for almost that entire time and I had a pretty big name in our local community. Not to mention, this is the year I celebrate my 30th year in radio broadcasting. To say it was a shock is an understatement. However, after the initial gut punch disappeared, I realized something. This is something my wife and I had been praying for!

Yes, you read that right. It was an answered prayer. See, I had lost much of my passion for radio since I had been asked to assume several different positions- You know, the whole “do more with less” model that the business world has made the “new normal”.

I was doing a radio show, programming the station, doing social media for two stations, and serving as public service director for all the stations. I was tasked with helping to sell endorsements for my show, make public appearances as often as possible, and be available on weekends for programming duties.  I’m probably leaving something out, but I think you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, there were days that I really felt great about what I did. I loved serving the community and relished the opportunity to leverage my high local profile to make a difference. Those days, however, were the exception. It was just not the same as when I got into radio and I was really able to focus on expressing myself, and entertaining and blessing others. THAT was what I really enjoyed.

My wife and I had been praying that God would give us clarity on whether this job was where He wanted me to be. I always felt like I was destined for more than this, but I just
wasn’t sure where or how God wanted me to use the talents He’s given me to serve Him. I just knew that every time my wife Leanne and I talked about doing other things and letting me “spread my wings”, I was always limited because of my many job responsibilities. So, when we got the news that this job was no more a part of our lives, we took it as an answered prayer. Not only that, but if I would have quit, we would be in a much worse financial position.

Now, just like this blank computer screen I’m filling with these words, my future is wide open. The possibilities are many, and with God’s guidance, continued prayer
and support from so many like you reading this, I can focus on exactly how God wants to use me. It’s scary, but at the same time, pretty exciting to say the least!
And for THAT, I’m very grateful. And gratitude is a very powerful thing. Let me explain…

William Arthur Ward said “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings”.
Now to say that this is an “ordinary opportunity” is really understating it. I have a tremendous, powerful, once in a lifetime opportunity ahead of me. For that I give THANKS! I’ve learned that a thankful heart is a full heart. One of my favorite quotes is “It’s not the happy person who’s grateful, it’s the grateful person who is happy”. Not only that, but science PROVES that gratitude is essential to our overall happiness.

In several studies, participants were asked to write letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way. The study found that people reported a lasting
increase in happiness…over weeks and even months, after implementing the habit. Not only that, but studies show that people who practice writing down just
THREE good things that have happened to them every week showed a significant boost in happiness. See, it really IS the grateful person who is happy!

William A. Ward said “God gave you a GIFT of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used ONE of those to say “thank you”? Start doing it today and feel the blessings overflow.

Meanwhile, this grateful guy will talk to you soon. Right now, I just want to say THANK YOU for reading this AND for being part of my new journey. I can’t WAIT for what’s ahead!

How To Make The MOST of Each Day of Your Life!

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I confess that I am a very impatient person. When it comes to driving, my impatience flares up rather quickly, especially living where I do. In our small town, you can pretty much set your cruise control on 35 mph and you can stay with the flow of most local traffic. Nobody around here seems to have much of a sense of urgency.

Does your life have a sense of urgency? So many of us are stuck in a routine, thinking the same things, reacting with a certain predictability to most every circumstance.

What if you suddenly found out the exact number of days that you have existed on this earth? Would it give you more of a sense of urgency? Robert D. Smith one day realized that he’d been alive for exactly 20,000 days, so he took the opportunity to spend 48 hours in a fancy hotel to plan out his NEXT 20,000 days. The result is the book 20,000 Days and Counting.

In the book of Psalms we read, “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”. Scripture also tells us that a person’s life is like a vapor or a breath (Psalms 39:4-6) and it’s like a “shadow that only temporarily appears” (Ecc. 6:12). If you’ve ever lost a loved one suddenly, you know first hand how fleeting life can be. So what do we do to maximize the uncertain time we have here?

Certainly we all should be seeking to gain wisdom. The book of Proverbs devotes much of its content to the importance of wisdom.  Proverbs 8:11 says that wisdom is “better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.” Wisdom comes to us in many ways, but often we find wisdom in listening to those wiser than us. Yes, listening, and not talking. Of course this mostly applies to the ultimate source of wisdom, God. God’s wisdom is found throughout the Bible.

Speaking of others, Robert D. Smith points out many times the importance of relationships in our lives. He exhorts us to “say I love you to all those who matter”, and know that everyone matters. He tells us to “maximize your relationships. Be more loving, more forgiving, more unselfish.” Put your heart and your thoughts into others. He even encourages us to give someone a standing ovation every chance you get. Think of all the people who have NEVER gotten a standing ovation. Be an encourager!

So many of us live life without much of a sense of purpose. Robert tells us we should distill down our purpose in life focusing on our strengths and the value that we can bring to others. Make it a few sentences and then whittle it down to one or two sentences. Then, keep it in front of you daily to point you to where you need to be directed.

We should start EVERY day thanking God for the things for which we are grateful. That simple practice can serve to give you a serious “attitude adjustment”.  It literally fills you heart with joy. Remember, “it’s not the happy person who is grateful, it’s the GRATEFUL person who is happy”.

Are you spending life merely reacting to events as they happen, or are you moving forward each day with a clear objective? Robert D. says when you form a clear plan for your life, every day becomes part of something so much bigger….the process. College football fans are probably familiar with Alabama head coach Nick Saban and his belief in “the process.” Robert D. Smith wants us to become “process fanatics”. In other words, love the activity. List what you have thought about and what you want to become. Plan your work, and work your plan!

Every day, Robert D. tells us, we have a chance to make ripples…impacting others and your future in a much bigger way down the line. You never really “arrive”. No matter how big the accomplishment. Write a book, sign a big long term contract, win a prestigious award. It’s at that point you say to yourself, “now the real work begins.”

Go ahead, put your birthdate into the widget in the link below, and see how many days you have lived:

CLICK HERE FOR THE DAY CALCULATOR

Are you shocked? Amazed? Then determine the answer the these two important, ongoing questions:

1/What is important to you RIGHT NOW?

2/What is next for you?

If you’re having trouble answering these questions, ask yourself:

What I have not thought of yet? What is one immediate need I can fill for someone I know? What is a huge dream I have? How can I make it bigger?

Robert D. Smith says that life is not about FINDING yourself, it’s about CREATING yourself. Take chances. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They are your biggest teachers. Be impatient with yourself daily. Make the most of each day. Impact those around you. Know that everyone matters.

Smile, he says. Smile bigger. Start acting happy. Remember, act first, and the feeling will follow.

**Excerpts taken from “20,000 Days and Counting” by Robert D. Smith. 2012. Published in Nashville, Tennessee by W. Publishing, an imprint of Thomas Nelson

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