New Thoughts For a Brand New Year

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life...Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

-Steve Jobs, founder, Apple Computers

Today was one of the best days of 2006 for me; and it happened on the last day of the year. For a long time I have been ignoring things my heart and intuition have been telling me about different things. Today I didn't bury my gut instinct and listen to others' words, and so much truth was revealed that it set me free to truly become unlimited!

I am grateful for all the success I've experienced this year. It came from having the courage to to listen to and follow my heart and intuition in certain areas of my life; proof that it works! Now as I do this with all aspects of my life, 2007 can be nothing but phenomenal!

As the clock counts the end of an old year and welcomes in a new one, reflect on the times you've had the courage to follow your instincts and the success that brought to your life. Promise yourself to do this more in 2007 and know how incredible this new year will be for you.

Best wishes and happiness in 2007!


Choose Wakefulness Over Worry

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.

-Corrie Ten Boom

I took the time to see who this person is. Corrie and her family were sent to Nazi death camps for hiding Jews from the Nazi's during the war. She survived, just as Viktor Frankl and Anne Frank did, on the strength of her beliefs.

"There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still" and "God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies" are two other beliefs Corrie created within herself that allowed her to survive the impossible.

You and I are also trying to survive the impossible; paying our bills, finding or holding on to true love, succeeding in our careers, etc. Isn't it funny what we see as "impossible"? Isn't it ridiculous that we worry about these non-impossible things instead of creating empowering beliefs to make them happen?

Someone took the time to post a comment on "The Gift of The Magi" while I was out of town, asking me what I do all day besides blog. I didn't think much of it at first, but when I woke up today the answer was just that, I wake up.

Here's my simple response:

I wake up. That's what I do all day. I wake up and decide to be awake to the world; its greatness, its lessons, its opportunities.

This "aliveness" brings happiness and insights (to my life) that motivate me to give back to the world through writing.

I follow my soul, and blog. I have a blogful soul :-)

This isn't possible to do with worry. I guess you can either fill your mind with "wakefulness" or worry, but not both. Thank you Corrie for your beliefs, they wake up my own.


From the Guy's Side of Things

Alright, Christmas is over. It's time to get back to reality. I can't remember who sent this to me but I appreciate it just the same. It helps me balance my deeply soulful side with my need to laugh and be ridiculous (see "Foo Fighters" in the December 17th archive). As motivated as I am to overcome any and all obstacles, one of my favorite contradictory sayings is:

If at first you don't succeed, QUIT! No sense being a fool about it.

We always hear the rules from the female perspective. At last a guy has taken the time to write it down from our side. These are the rules!
Please note.....these are all numbered "1" on purpose because they’re all equally important.

1. Men are not mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it
down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sports it's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let
it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!

1. Yes and no are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what
we do. Sympathy is what girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a Doctor.

1. Anything that we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In
fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

1. If you won't dress like Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act
like soap opera guys.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of them makes
you sad or angry, then we meant the other one.

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done, not
both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT read directions and neither do we.

1. All men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach,
for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no
idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing" we will act like nothing is
wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle. Besides,
we know you will bring it up again later.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you
didn't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to
discuss such topics as Football, Food, or.....

1. You do have enough clothes.

1. You do have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

Thank you for reading this.

Yes, I know I have to sleep on the couch tonight, but did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping for us with a TV.

Email this link (click the little envelope below) to as many men as you know to give them a laugh. Email this to every woman you know to let them know guys have rules too; it will give them an even bigger laugh.


My friend Julie sent these from Kuwait. They were so different I wanted to share them with you.


The Gift of The Magi

"Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating."
O. Henry

We get what we focus on, so I like this quote very much. I also like who said it. O. Henry is the author of a rich and beautiful Christmas story. It's the true meaning of Christmas and if you have this you are truly blessed. You have in your possession a wonderful and rare gift, and are experiencing a very Merry Christmas indeed.

If not, don't worry. The more beautiful inside we become the more beautiful people we attract in our lives. Read this story, believe unselfish love can exist between two people right for each other, and become more radiant in the process. Your light WILL attract the right person into your life.

by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."

Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

"Give it to me quick," said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"

At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."

"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"

Jim looked about the room curiously.

"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.


Christmas Eve

'Tis midnight, and from the heavenly plains
Is borne the song that angels know;
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior's woe.
-William B. Tappan,
"'Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow"

He sees you when you're sleeping. Sleep tight my little ones. Daddy loves you.
Santa Claus is coming.

Wisdom of a Maya, Angelou

One of the best cards I've ever received had this quote by Maya Angelou on the cover: "Your life is much more important than you can imagine." I still have the card.
These are more positive thoughts from this great-thinking lady as she was interviewed by Oprah on her 70th birthday. Both of these women are proof that one life can positively influence so many.

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow."

"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."

"I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life."

"I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life'."

"I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance."

"I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back."

"I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision."

"I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one."

"I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.

People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back."

"I've learned that I still have a lot to learn."

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

The TRUE Spirit of Christmas

Why mention the word "true"? Because it means this spirit is real, and honest. The reason it feels so good at Christmas time is because so many people choose to be real, honest and loving. It's such a good feeling as you and those around you do this, even those you normally don't get along with. Everyone puts aside their feelings, memories and thoughts of anger, bitterness, resentment, etc. If you've read or seen "The Celestine Prophecy" you more fully understand how and why this happens.

But after the holidays are over will you continue to feel this way? If you do, will others around you do the same? There is only one way to attract real and honest people in your life who have the real spirit of Christmas inside of them all year through. You will attract these wonderful, rare and unique people if you are being real and honest not only with them, but also with yourself.

This is a wonderful feeling that rarely happens, and only to people who decide to become truly unique.

If you don't feel you are one of these people, ask yourself some important questions. Are you putting up with dishonesty from others, telling yourself that they'll change someday and that you can put up with the pain they are causing you? The soul cannot stand being lied to. Read Gary Zokov's "The Seat of The Soul" to learn more about this. And if you continue to do this, you will continue to attract dishonest people.

Are you lying to yourself, saying you don't deserve better treatment from others? That's a lie. We all deserve to be treated well and to have the self-respect to require this. Treat yourself really well and you will attract others who will do the same.

Are you giving to everyone but yourself; meeting their needs but not yours, making time for them but not yourself, loving them fully but not yourself? This is also dishonest. As long as you continue to do this, you will only attract those into your life who will take advantage of you.

Are you telling yourself you want better people in your life while complaining about the dishonest people in yours? Whatever we complain about we are telling ourselves we want more of it. Whenever we play the victim we are telling ourselves we want to continue playing the victim. It's no wonder we keep allowing or attracting people in our lives who aren't good for us. This includes those who victimize us as well as those who allow others to victimize them. We want both these types of people in our lives so we can continue to feel these emotions, to continue playing the victim. Louise Hay has a great CD called "How to Heal Your Life" that can help you realize this and stop it.

The same is true when we focus on how hurt we are, how bitter, or how sad. We bring in our lives what we focus on the most. Every thought is an affirmation, and it is our dominate thoughts that affirm and order the universe to bring what we think about the most into our lives. Even the thought "Affirmations don't work" is an affirmation that they won't work for you. And this is also why "the true spirit of Christmas" doesn't last all year. For a few days of the year we choose to think of positive thoughts, while most of the other 365 days are filled with the negative and unhealthy.

Let's say we begin everyday with positive affirmations, then spend the rest of the day stressed out, angry, or depressed by negative thoughts. What we are doing is bombarding every cell in our body with terrible, dominating, poisonous thoughts.

So there's your answer. The solution is simple, it's just not easy to do. The most important thing to do is make improvements. Small improvements are believable and therefore achievable. So at least set goals for that. But how fast you want your life to change for the better depends on how fast you can change the ratio of your positive-to-negative thoughts.
Dream big! Affirm big! Be truly happy!


Life is Fragile. Love is Not.

My son and I were alternating between "A Perfect Day" (2006) and "The Creature From the Black Lagoon" (1954). Unless it's Buster Keaton, he doesn't really go for black-and-whites. So we'd watch when the creature was on, then quickly flip back to the movie with color to keep up with the plot. Being single has it's benefits. You can flip through all the channels you want:)

I liked "the color" movie because it was about a struggling writer. After he gets published and becomes famous though he loses sight of what's really important and leaves a loving and supportive wife and daughter. Then he's told he's going to die on Christmas day. Life is fragile.

It was this line near the end that stirred me the most: "Life is fragile. Love is not". I think that when we are feeling fragile we are lacking in love; from ourselves, from others. In "Meet John Doe" (1941) Gary Cooper's character, the every day common man, monologues how simple life can be when you continue the Christmas spirit for 365 days throughout the year.

The reason so few people do it is because so few people do it. Just as Robert Harlin (played by Rob Lowe) in "The Perfect Day", most people care about the less important things (money, materials, status, success, etc) while what they really want slips away from them, leaving them unsatisfied and fragile. I know I've been guilty of the opposite, thinking this love I have makes me fragile, vulnerable, and alone. And it has at times, until I decided to take control of my own feelings.

But love for who you are, and who you could be, is strength. Enough of this type of love and you become so strong that you become invincible, and no longer fragile. Money can't do this. History has proven it can be taken away at any time from anyone. So can another's love. That's why co-dependancy is so unhealthy. I joked in a previous post that if your lover leaves you they should give you two weeks notice and find you a temp to replace them, just like in the workplace.

The only thing not fragile in this life is love for yourself. This is because it is the only thing you have real control over. With this self-control comes self-respect, happiness, confidence, action towards making your dreams become reality, and the ability to fully and faithfully love others. I'm convinced the reason relationships fail is because one, or neither, partner(s) doesn't love themselves enough to fully and faithfully love the other.

For those on the "losing" side of a failed relationship, don't take it personally. That person didn't love themselves enough to be able to love you enough. Once again, my man Gary Cooper plays a character in "The Fountainhead" that I end up studying and learning from versus merely watching and enjoying. This character, Howard Roark, has more true self-respect and self love than the 100 wealthiest men of his time put together. He is incorruptible and triumphant as he stays true to who he is.

And when's the best time to do this; to decide to love yourself with enough self-respect, happiness, and confidence that you can do the same to another? How about today? No tomorrow is guaranteed to anyone. Robert Harlin's last tomorrow was this Christmas.


Penny Serenade

I just finished watching this 4 star black and white movie from 1941. It stars Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as Roger and Julie Adams, a couple who go through tough times and even tragedy but still manage to make it in the end.
A modern day fairy tale, or a lesson for modern times?

As Julie prepares to leave her husband Roger, she begins to play through a stack of recordings, each of which reminds her of events in their lives together. One of them is the song that was playing when she and Roger first met in a music store, "The Night We Fell in Love". Other songs remind her of their courtship, their marriage, their desire for a child, and the joys and sorrows that they have shared. A flood of memories comes back to her as she ponders their present problems and how they arose.

They first meet when Roger spots Julie in the window of the penny serenade shop where she works. He's too nervous to tell her he likes her so he ends up buying 27 records from her even though he has no record player to play them on. I was hooked when he confessed this. No games, no one-liners, and no pickup lines; just an honest "I'm guilty" look on his face when she realizes how much he likes her.

Beulah Bondi (who played George Bailey's mother from It's A Wonderful Life) has a great supporting role as Mrs. Oliver, the head of the adoption agency who has doubts about the couple at first, but then grows to care a great deal for them. The ending is heart-wrenching. Will they stay together? Will they stop talking about how it's over?

I don't know because Santa dropped off early Christmas presents at the front door and my son screamed and hollered until I paused the movie and came down to see. His sisters aren't here so he had sole rights to seeing which packages were for who. Before I went back upstairs to finish the movie I had to remind him not to change all the names to "Brosden".

And just as the movie finished, a real surprise, I heard him calling again, albeit somewhat muffled. As I descended, each time my foot touched a step I felt my heart touched by a thought. Love is absolutely the most wonderful, powerful and terrific emotion we have. Yet it can also be the most elusive. How in the world do you make it last? How do you know when someone really loves you? How..........

And there it was. My son had "boxed" himself up, as a gift to me. How loving is that? How unelusive, how lasting, and how real is the love of a child.

I hope your holidays are wonderful, powerful and terrific. I hope they're filled with love.