Today is the 4th of July, but that’s simple the date on the calendar. What’s it all about?
It’s the day that the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states. Today we celebrate “Independence Day.”
I think to myself how blessed I am to be born an American. I am able to live and practice the gift of freedom that comes from above all, our Creator. With this gift comes a great responsibility. While I am as independent as each state is, what I choose to do, think, and say, affects the better good or bad of all. There is voice I hear inside when something doesn’t feel right, it says, “something’s happening here, and what it is ain’t exactly clear.” It’s the voice of warning that calls for each one of us to make a choice; will you simple do what you please or do what is right?
For in the end It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more then our personal desires.
Even a Toad is Divinely created! -Connie Rife
My reading today is called ”Tommy Toad.” it’s about a Toad who wishes it was a Frog so it could sing along with the frogs at night around the pond.
I recently made a judgment that someone was a Toad, not a Frog. I’ve always had a fondness for frogs; I don’t know why, maybe I was a Frog in another life. I liked them so much as a child that I even tried to grow them in my own little dug out pond. Needless to say the baby polliwogs were gone the next day along with the water that seeped into the earth.
What I learned in this reading was a simple reminder that everything and everyone has a purpose onto his own. As Tommy Toad learned that his dreams to sing in the choir would never come true unless he stepped out in faith to give it a try. He became the only baritone in the choir and his voice added something special that had been missing all along.
We all have something special to add to the choir of life, so don’t judge a Toad by comparing him to a Frog. One can be as easily kissed as the other, and you never know what they have to offer until you open your heart and let them in.
This morning as I tuned into the Today show Al Roker made the most torturous looking face when reminded that today is the beginning of the 2020 presidential election. I turned it off feeling the same unpleasant feelings that Al’s face portrayed.
Sitting in the quiet with my cup of coffee felt as blinding as the sunlight did after all this ran.
It felt like a much needed rude awakening, and I went into prayer:
”Hi God! It’s me! Do you remember me? Cause I was kind of hoping you could remind me who I am and what I’m here for.”
”Hi Connie! It’s God! Can you hear me cause I’ve been trying to get your attention but you’ve been kind of preoccupied lately.
-I’ve been trying to tell you to untether yourself from fear.
-To speak your truth, than let it go.
-That there is always hope as long as you’re living.
-To respect the uniqueness of each individual because as different as I created you each to be there is purpose in what each soul has to offer.
-Be mindful of what you think, say, do and eat.
-Remember the gifts I give you are the same I give everyone else freedom, choice and above all else love.
-Who you are is an expression of that from which you were created.
-Your soul’s purpose is to experience life right where you are and to be a living expression of that truth from which you come.
-Finally stop making things harder than they actually are, let go and let yourself…be.”
“The Freedom to Be Me”
America, the land of the free. Who wouldn’t want to live in a country where they could say, “I’m free to be me?” Is that not why our own ancestors came to this country in the first place? To live their lives in a way that would fulfill their potential and personal calling from God? But freedom is not merely entitled to those who come to America. The source of freedom was given to us by God from the very beginning when he created us in likeness. He taught and continues to guide us through his example. That through our thoughts, words, and actions we create the world we live in, the country, the family all the way down to ourselves. Freedom is not just a word. It is nothing without choice. That choice is like the stone you toss into the still waters, it creates a ripple effect and touches everything around you. So, while the freedom to be me is a beautiful God-given gift. It also comes with a great responsibility not just to the people around me but to this great big wonderful world I live in. The real power of freedom begins with you and me right where we find ourselves…now. So, on this special day of freedom and independence maybe we could all take a moment to pause and ask ourselves, am I adding to the better-good of all through my thoughts words and actions? Or could I make a new commitment on this 4th of July to do the best I can to forgive and love one another as God first loved us? I’m in! How about you?
I was sharing with a friend the other day how uninspired I’ve been feeling lately with my writing. These times of disarray, fear and anger going on in our country, and the world, feel awful familiar to me. It brings me back to the 60’s a time when my own life was turned upside down…let alone what was going in our country at the time. No wonder I can’t get inspired, the feeling paralyses me like it did back then when all I wanted to do was roll up into a ball and disappear. I remember my Dad telling that life is like a pendulum swinging back and forth between the good and the bad times. That every generation has its own painful experiences to go through and overcome.
I’ve always wanted to help others. To make people feel more hopeful, but sometimes even the flower girl runs out of flowers to offer, and she just needs to have one offered back to her so she can remember how good it feels to receive. So, as I pray for guidance I come across a fable in one of my daily readings, and I receive the flower that it has to offer me. Today I pass it onto you with a hopeful heart that you can find some peace in the midst of these stormy days.
*There was a king who offered a prize for the person who could paint the best picture of peace. There were two finalists. One drew a picture of peaceful mountains, fluffy clouds and a calm lake. The other drew a picture of an angry sky, lightning and a rushing waterfall. Behind the waterfall was a tiny bush growing from a crack in a rock, and there sat a mother bird in her nest in perfect calm. The king chose the second picture, because, as the anonymous author described, “Peace doesn’t mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart.”
*Science of Mind Magazine daily reading Sunday August 20, 2017 by Rev. Ron Fox
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“The sun, without intent or will or plan or sense of principle, just shines, thoroughly and constantly. By being itself, the sun warms with its light, never withholding or warming only certain things of Earth. Rather, the sun emanates in all directions all the time, and things grow. In the same way, when we are authentic, expressing our warmth and light in all directions, we cause things around us to grow.” -Mark Nepo *
Lately I’ve been reading a lot about being authentic. Being human we’re much more complicated than the sun and the flowers. They are what they were created to be without wondering what they have to offer. They simple do what they do best. The very question of authenticity takes us outside ourselves looking in comparison at others. Thinking I’ll never be as good as so and so, all the while missing out on who we are and what we have to offer the world. How can I shine my light on others? How can I be the expression of Love in which I come from? How can I wrap that warmth around others and help them grow? The sun and the flower show us by example and in their nonverbal language tell us…just be.
How? By looking within and recognizing what makes you feel the most alive when you’re doing it. Maybe you enjoy singing, playing an instrument, cooking, gardening, making crafty things, giving massages, doing Reiki, or writing, just to name a few. Anything we love to do can be used to warm someone’s else’s heart, light their day and help them grow into their own authentic self just by being who we are. There’s nothing more affective then showing rather than telling just as Mark Nepo’s does with his beautiful metaphoric writing about the sun and its intent. I wonder, can you see the picture he draws with his words?
*A Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo March 30 reading
One of my daughters called recently to see how I’ve been doing. As we talked and I shared how difficult my recovery has been. I began to hear an echo of my own words coming out of her mouth. My spirits were lifted not only by her words of encouragement, but the fact that the very same words I’d said to her had so resonated that she was now feeding them back to me. A true gift for any parent to receive. But it didn’t end there. She was trying to find ways I could cheer myself up looking toward the end results of my recovery. So she encouraged me to plant some spring bulbs inside and as they grow I could see my own growth along the way anticipating the end result that blossom with hard work and time.
Sometimes those of us who try to inspire others, need to step back and let others inspire us. Thank you!
December 24, 2015
A Note from Ollie
“I’m ready for this party to get started!”
“The Grandkids are coming that means I’ll be cleaning up the floor tonight! Can’t wait!”
This popped up on my Facebook timeline this morning, and I lost it. There’s no Ollie this year here, they’ll be no grandkids here for our annuel Christmas Eve celebration because of my condition. I do have a lot to be gratful for though. My family and friends who have done so much in these past few weeks to make things easier for me. And we are still having our celebration at Shannon’s this year as our kids pitch in together to carry on our family traditon. Letting others do things for me is not easy, but has been a good lesson in humility. In turn I’ve been blessed with much grace. I guess the lesson for me is to remember with change comes much pain, and yet beneath it lies the grace that gets us through it.
Merry Christmas and may we all be blessed with a health happy New Year!
I was thinking today that this will be my 63rd Christmas celebration in my lifetime. Wow! I know, that’s a lot of Christmases when you look at it that way. When I was a child, I was more excited about what I was going to get under the tree than for what Christmas actually stood for. When I had my own children, I tried to teach them that it was Jesus’s birthday we were celebrating. As much as a child can try to articulate the true meaning of Christmas it still takes a backseat to the anticipation of the gift beneath the tree. The true meaning comes with time, maturity and the challenge that faith brings into our life.
There’s nothing I really need or want at this point in my life, materialistic anyway. However, there’s still a bit of that child in me that lights up with an unexpected surprise. But the real gifts come when our consciousness is in line with the spirit within us. It is than that I am able to wrap my mind around all the gifts that Jesus’s birth has to offer. It is than that I get down on my knees and look beneath the tree for the gifts that are hidden from sight. There is always a gift to be unwrapped at Christmas time, and many times it’s the same gift over and again. Like the gift of love, hope, joy, faith, forgiveness, gratitude, friendships and family. Celebrating Christmas for 63 years has giving me the opportunity to reopen these gifts over and over again, but each time seems like the first. With the same childlike anticipation I’m eager to gather up my gifts, and let the spirit of Christmas lead the way into the New Year.
“It is impossible to be unhappy and grateful at the same time.”-Dr. Tom Costa
This is very true. I awake each morning thanking God for giving me another day to live. Then I go down the list of all things I’m grateful for. Since Ollie’s been gone I’ve been saying the words, but not truly focusing on what I’m saying. It is impossible to be grateful when you’re feeling unhappy. It consumes your life and you forget all the good things that still exist.
It never ceases to amaze me how God finds a way to get my attention. I saw this quote this morning and it made me think about the other times in my life when I’ve had to work hard to find something positive to focus on. Practicing gratitude taking one small thing at a time, building one on top of the other has a transformational effect on us. I know it’s happened to me before.
I realized that even though I no longer have Ollie in my life to be grateful for. I can be thankful for the years we had together. Thankful for all the unconditional love he gave me. Thankful for the inspiration he gave me. Thankful for the comfort he gave me when I needed it. Thankful for all the lessons he taught me about the simple things in life. These are things that can never be taking away from me, and that is the most important thing I should be grateful for.
It may be impossible for an unhappy person to be grateful. But it’s not impossible for gratitude to have a positive effect on an unhappy person. It certainly softens my pain. You know the biggest thing it reminds me of is that I wouldn’t have anything to be thankful for if it weren’t for the gift of life God gives me each day.