Although I'mÂ a few days too late, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!Â As we look forward to the year 2011, I know many of you have resolutions.Â Sometimes New Year's resolutions are balked at because they often do not make it past January.Â But, there are some New Year'sÂ goals that can always be met.Â For instance, resolutions to change and grow can always be accomplished.Â No matter what happens in 2011, there will be circumstances that will make you change and through the good times and hard times, you will also grow as a person.Â Â
Growth is always regarded as a positive thing, but change is not always for the better.Â Depending on how we respond to circumstances and people, we can make decisions to change ourselves for the worse.Â But, we don't have to.Â We can face the challenges of life and decide we're going to grow through them, not become embittered by them.Â Through theseÂ eventsÂ we realize things about ourselves that we didn't know before and if they're things that we don't like, we can resolve to change them and not let them fester and grow.Â
So, when events in our life challenge us this year, let's resolve to not only change and grow,Â but toÂ do so in a way thatÂ changes our life for the better.Â Then, weÂ can truly have a successfulÂ year!Â
This time of the year we're all hoping for something.Â Whether it's a specific gift, a fresh start in the New Year, or special times with friends and family, we all have a "miracle" that we desire.Â A lot of times I find myself looking for change: change in myself, change in other people, or change in life in general.Â The funny thing about change is, however, that's it's not as simple as a Christmas miracle.Â As much as we all love the Charlie Brown Christmas tree that miraculously transforms from three scraggly branches to a beautiful tree in a manner of seconds, life doesn't work that way.Â Change usually comes slowly and often there's pain in the process.
Pain.Â Nobody likes it . . . well, most people don't like it.Â Yet pain does have an up side.Â It is usually a sign that change is taking place.Â Granted, this change may not always be a positive one, but usually whether it is or not is up to you!Â Maybe you're hurting but the pain is teaching you how to love more.Â Maybe the pain is helping you mature to the next level.Â Maybe the pain is causing you to handle difficult people better.Â Pain in an impetus for change, but you need to have the right attitude about it.
So this holiday season, as much as you want the world around you to change for the better overnight in a Christmas miracle.Â Remember how slowly you've grown in your own life, and cut those around you some slack.Â It's not so much where you are that's important, it's the direction in which you're moving.Â The more you learn from pain in your life, the less pain you'll cause in someone else's.
Change is coming, just maybe not always the way you wanted it to.Â Adapt and make the most of every situation.Â You'll grow by leaps and bounds and be a blessing to those around you.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and wishing you all the best this holiday season!Â
Life is full of interacting with other people.Â We do it so much on a daily basis, that we don't often realize how much time in a day is spent communicating with others.Â Aside from just face-to-face interaction, in this day and age we also have other avenues of communication such as texting, twittering, facebooking, not to mention justÂ talking onÂ the phone.
With all that dailyÂ interaction, it is necessary to have some moments of solitude.Â As humans, we need relationships and communication, but there are times when we need to just stop and take a break.Â In those moments, we can regroup, reflect on the events of the day, think ahead and set goals for ourselves, and all of this done distraction-free.Â So, today I would encourage you to take a moment to pause--even if you only have time for a matter of minutes--sit back and enjoy some of the simplest pleasures in life.
As this holiday season continues to rush by, there are so many things clamoring for our attention.Â Work, bills, presents, family, friends, parties, and get-togethers all hit us from every side and demand our undivided attention . . . which realistically, none of them actually get.Â So today as I was feverishly working, a Christmas song came on called "I Choose You."Â Now I don't know if you believe in the Christmas story or not, but regardless, the story in this song hit me in powerful way.Â This song specifically focused on Mary as she is confronted with the fact that she is going to have God's baby.Â Â I thought about that for a second and it blew my mind.Â Try explaining that one to your parents:
"Mom . . . Dad . . . I'm pregnant."
"And who may we ask is the father?!"
Yeah, that would be (and still is for many) a tough idea to swallow.Â But despite all the doubts, ridicule, and accusations, Mary remained faithful to what she knew she was chosen to do.Â And fortunately for her, an angel let her finance in on the secret too, so that he wouldn't stone her.Â So where am I going with this?Â Well, I believe that we all have something in this life that we're meant to do.Â Some purpose that we're called to fulfill.Â Some people find this calling, and others don't.Â Many are called but few are chosen.Â Â Mary was chosen.Â And as a result of her acceptance of that, regardless of your beliefs, millionsÂ have been affected, and the very course of history has been changed.Â
Now I know I won't have that kind of impact on the world, but I hope to leave a mark.Â And I hope it's a good one.Â But I need to stay faithful.Â I need to keep going regardless of the opposition and opinions of others.Â And finally, I need to believe in my calling.
What have you been chosen for?Â Are you fulfilling it?Â There's noÂ time like the present!
Have a great Wednesday, everyone!
"I Choose You"
Performed by Rachael Lampa
When everyone around you sees an ordinary life
Fit for nothing more than common dreams.
I can see the stars of heaven shining in your eyes.
Soon the world will hear the angels sing.
Mary, I know it's hard to understand
You hold the Light of the world in your hands.
I know there are many questions weighing on your mind.
What is becoming of your life?
Just remember why I called you to leave your fears behind
To walk by faith and not by sight.
Mary, I know it's all a mystery
My hand is leading if you'll only believe.
I choose you to bring the world a Savior
I choose you to bring the world a King
I choose you to be the arms of love that hold the answer
For the world to see my promises come true, I choose you.
Life keeps marching on and things are constantly changing and fluctuating.Â Whenever we come to a fork in the road, we can stand and stare at it and wonder what to do, or we can choose.Â Change can be for the good . . . it can also be for the worse--you alone are the deciding factor how you let change affect you.Â I've witnessed many people sit in fear of a big decision and as a result, have their progress in life stagnate.Â Making any decision is better than making no decision at all.Â If you choose something that turns out to be a mistake, you can learn from it and move on.Â But if you sit and worry about whether or not the decision will be a mistake, you'll never learn anything.Â Some of the best decisions I've made have been some of the craziest.Â Life's to short to live in fear.Â Go out and get it!Â New horizons may bring trials, but at the end of the war comes peace!Â
Have a great Tuesday, everyone!
So I meant to post this last night, but I was tired and didn't.Â But I saw the movie The Social Network last night with a friend and apart from being a great, thoroughly engaging and beautiful film, I was struck with a profound theme as I walked away from the screening room.Â Now, the jury is out on just how true to the actual life of Mark Genius the film actually was, but from the film, this is kinda what I got. *Mild Spoilers Ahead if You Haven't Seen the Film*
So you have this brilliant kid.Â Genius!Â He gets this great idea, and it just explodes!Â He goes from a nerd to a billionaire, who could have anything that he ever wanted . . . except the one thing he wanted the most.Â At the beginning of the film his girlfriend breaks up with him and tells him that he will be extremely successful someday, but that he will always be alone, not because he is a nerd, but because he is an *insert expletive here*.Â As the story unfolds, Mark becomes more and more successful and popular but the people who were closest to him drift away and in the end, he betrays his best friend who then ends up suing him.Â And in the end, after he pays everyone off, he's left sitting alone on his Facebook, hopelessly refreshing his ex-girlfriend's profile, hoping she'll accept his friend request.
Wow!Â What a trip!Â But what a sobering reminder to us that fame, fortune, and success is empty in and of itself.Â That is why, regardless of your business, other people always have to come first.Â If it costs you some profit, who cares?Â Money comes and goes, but your impact on the world around you can last forever.Â So as you're building your own "Social Network" for success, take a lesson from the world's youngest billionaire.Â Pursue your dreams, strive for your goals, but never at the expense of what's more important: the ones who love and care for you whether you're a success or not.
Hope everyone is having a great week!Â Only 11 days until Christmas!
Please pardon the sports allusion, my brother was an avid baseball fan.Â Sometimes life throws us a curve ball . . . you know, something goes in a way that we did not expect.Â If you're anything like me, you've planned out what's going to happen in the near future in detail, and you think have the more distant future at least penciled in.Â But regardless of what we plan, life happens.Â Sometimes it happens the way we thought it would, but more often than not, we're surprised by what happens.Â
When this happens to people like me, it can crumble months of "planning" in seconds and leaves the victim a little dazed and confused, scrambling to pick up the pieces and figure something else out.Â Others might take it in stride.Â Others might not have thought far enough ahead to make a difference!Â However, I think for most of the world, we prefer to have life pitch it right over the plate . . . after all, that's how we can hit it out of the park, right?
Wrong!Â Because life is too good at striking people out to pitch it right over the plate.Â The best players learn how to adapt their approach to each pitcher and pitch depending the situtation.Â "Keep your eye on the ball" is a phrase I'm sure most dads have said to their kids at some point in life, and it's true.Â If you're afraid of the ball, chances are you won't catch it or hit it.Â So when life throws you a curve ball, step up to the plate, change your stance if you need to, focus on the goal, and keep swinging (unless of course you can't hit it, then wait for the next pitch).Â Fortunately in life it's not three strikes and you're out.Â We get as many chances as we're willing to take until we die.Â So don't be afraid of the ball.Â Even if you get hit by a pitch, you'll still get to take your base.Â
Have a great weekend, everyone!