Friday, January 26, 2018

What other people think about you is none of your business.

You will find this sentiment echoed in many lists that give advice on how to find peace in the world.
I understand that always doing things to please everyone else is a lifelong sentence of misery, but the truth remains that we do want others to think well of us. Perhaps it would be better stated that -- "What people you have no respect for think of you isn't important."

We have little control over how other people will react to the things we do and say.
Sure, we can appeal to their egos and say and do things to manipulate their idea of who we are and what we believe, but what does that gain us? Most of us don't live out our lives as politicians and fund raisers that are dependent on persuading people we don't like to shower us with their favor. All we can really do is be true to ourselves and our beliefs.

I've been told (by someone with obviously opposing political views) that I have let my political beliefs shape my (apparently heretical) religious beliefs. That is simply not true.
My beliefs on what is right and wrong, good and evil shape my views on everything else -- politics, social issues, economics, ecology -- everything. People that know me well already know that. Anyone that believes otherwise doesn't know me well enough to comment or is trying to manipulate me into changing my point of view and has an over inflated idea of how much I care about their opinion of me.

I have to admit that I do care about what people might think of Jesus because of me. And I care what people might think of Jesus because of others, too.
Actually it would be more correct to say that I care about what non-believers think about Jesus because of me and others that profess to be Christians. To that end -- all I can do is be true to the teachings of Jesus and live life accordingly.

Recently, many Christian leaders have come under fire for their politics, for sexual immorality, or for poorly thought out comments.
I am not (nor should you be) a follower of other Christians. I am a follower of Jesus.
I am not a Christian leader. I have no desire to have followers.
But if you are (or desire to be) a follower of Jesus, I invite you to walk with me. I know that your path may not always be the same as my path, but if we can encourage one another for a short time, let's do it.

I've taken a bit of a break from blogging in the early weeks of 2018, but I think I think it's time to get back to it. I do want to write more about my beliefs and the Un-organized Religion that I started writing about late in 2017.

Have a grand weekend!
John <><

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Finding Happiness with (and without) Social Media

I've been spending less time on most social media forums, and I've been making my presence on forums less visible. In a weird sense, I've put blogging into the social networking category, even though I never intended for it to be that way. I think that it made its way as a social media tool when I started using social networks as a means of sharing it.

I've had people question why I bother to blog. (It usually comes from someone critical of something I've written.)
I think it's mostly because I like to write and it can be therapeutic at times. I put it in a blog because it's a convenient place to store what I write. 
I suppose I should counter with a "Why do you read my blog?"

In any case, I'm certain that I'll keep writing. I'm still not certain about the continuing social media links. I can see that much of the blog traffic is generated from Facebook, so I may continue those links.

I have been pleased with the results of disconnecting the Facebook app from my phone. Along with that, several notifications have been disabled. I need to remember to check my email from time to time now -- sometimes several days go by. I'd like to report that spending less time on social media has put me into more real life conversations with people -- but it hasn't. I have been doing more reading and a little more exercising.

Less time on Facebook, fewer comments, and fewer responses to stupid, provoking comments has made me a happier person. I've decided that people have to be free to choose ignorance and misinformation as their standard if they what to do so. I also know that I can't inform them of my thoughts and perspectives if they choose to ignore me. I know that we can often look at the same subject from different perspectives and see something totally different. The only way to understanding is to see it from the other's perspective. When we only want people to see our perspective but have no desire to see their's, understanding and compromise becomes impossible. Most of us are eager to talk about what we believe and why. Few of us are willing to listen to someone explain what they believe and why. Even fewer will listen with an open mind instead of listening to criticize.
I'm finally realizing it is easier (and way less frustrating) to just be quiet rather than arguing with someone that won't listen and doesn't want to accept new information.

Never argue with ignorant people.
They drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

John <><

Friday, January 19, 2018

Jan 19; TGIF

Thank God it's Friday!

Okay, the truth is that Friday isn't such a big deal in the life of a retired guy, but this weekend promises a break in the colder weather and temperatures around 60f (15c)! The snow should be gone by midday tomorrow and I may have to take the bike out for a ride.

Today's post is to bring you a moment of hope. I realize that there is little (if anything) that I can do to bring hope into your day/weekend/life. That's kind of an inside job. Perhaps I can encourage you to pause from the daily grind long enough to look around and find something positive in the day. Perhaps saying it, writing it, sharing it with someone will make it more real for you and encourage someone else at the same time.

From time to time, one of my brothers posts something on Facebook encouraging his friends to "tell me something good" that is going on in their lives.
This week's photo prompt in my Project 52 group is Hope.
This morning one of the Instagram accounts I follow posted a morning ocean/sky picture and reminded her followers that each day is a fresh start and asked what we are doing today to grow.

The big deal isn't that it's Friday.
The big deal is that is a new day.

I'm going to enjoy another cup of coffee while listening to some classic rock and then go out for my daily 3 mile (5k) walk.

What is going on in your day?
Tell me something good.
How are you growing today?
What have you accomplished this week?
Who loves you?
Who are the people that you love?

Speak up and be an encouragement to my other readers (both of them!).

God loves you.
Jesus died for you.

John <><

My week 3, Project 52 post.


There is an ancient proverb that says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.
Last fall we were sitting outside at an Italian restaurant on The Hill is St Louis. My wife commented on the magnolia tree across the street and how she would love to have one. This little magnolia tree was her Christmas present from my son and daughter in law.
Hoping to get to see it in 20 years!

Thursday, January 04, 2018


I don't remember how long ago I started following a fun little blog that went by the name "Gooseberried" (I think). That blog no longer exists, but I have continued to follow the author on other social media venues.

She has been a busy woman over the past several years. She has started a photography business in the Flagstaff area, gotten married and has now two little kids. I always appreciate the pictures that she shares on her business page and can tell that she has a very creative mind and artistic sense. I am sure that she is a very successful business woman.

Her passion for photography has inspired her to start a Facebook group called Project 52.
Each week of the year, members will receive a different prompt to inspire their pictures. You don't have to be a photographer to join. You can use your cell phone or professional equipment.

Week 1 is Celebrate.

I took this picture this morning.
It was about 30 minutes before sunrise in the Ozarks and the temperature was 8f  (-13c).
In spite of the early hour and chilly temps, I felt like a new day is a good reason to celebrate.
I hope that you also feel life is worth celebrating.

By the way, if you are on Facebook and would like to join the group,let me know.

John <><

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

2018, Day 3

Since it's only the third day of the year, I would think it's safe to assume that most resolutions are still intact. I don't remember how many times you need to do something to make it a habit. I just know that it is a buttload of  times and usually not enough to overcome the bad habits that have been ingrained over a lifetime. It's difficult to imagine that a couple of weeks of walking could overcome years of sitting on my butt. However, I do know that daily walking was once a strong habit. Perhaps it will be so, again. It would be easier if it was a few degrees above freezing while I'm trying to set the habit!

I've also managed two whole days of not posting anything negative or offensive on social media!
I doubt that will last long since it seems impossible not to offend people these days. We seem to be offended by disagreement and have accepted the idea that if we disagree, we can't get along. In any case, I'm trying to be a little less offensive and a little more focused on being nice to people -- whether they like me or not.

Today, like most days, will be easy.
I probably won't need to interact with anyone other than a few members of my family.
I'll refrain from posting or commenting on Facebook.
Life will move quietly along and I will look forward to being on a warm beach with Chris and our Canadian friends in just over a month!

Be nice!

John <><

Monday, January 01, 2018

2018: chapter 1, page 1


Table of Contents


*****     *****     *****

January 1

This year's story begins cold and clear.
The sun is shining and it looks beautiful outside!
But it is cold! 0 degrees (-17.8c to the rest of the world)!

The rest of the crew is still sleeping as I sip my morning coffee. Soon we will be out for breakfast (or lunch) and then the kids (Aaron and Jenny) will be on the road to Chicago. Hannah and Daniel will be preparing for the house closing at the end of the week and Chris will be back to work tomorrow after her 6 weeks off from surgery.

And I'll be back to my simple routine of ...well, I guess I don't really have a routine.
A little routine would be a good thing. I want my 2018 to have a little consistency; at least in some areas. I'm okay with taking life as it comes at you, but being prepared by being healthy takes some steady planning.
The fitness plan for January is in place and the first goal is simple -- get healthy and in shape. I'll be over on Healthy Living a little more often as the year begins and keeping up with health and fitness over there. I'll try to get there later today with my early goals.

More reading and more writing are also in the plans for 2018. I just finished two fiction books which were enjoyable reads. I should read more fiction.
January will also include some Spanish refresher time in preparation for our February trip to the beaches of Cancun, Mexico.

We each have our own stories to write.
We each begin the year with blank pages.
As we begin to fill in those pages with the stories and what will be our memories of the days to come, I leave you with this thought...

In the latter part of 2017 a black and white photo challenge made its way through Facebook. I like the classic look of black and white photographs, but is no way to live life and a poor way to remember the past. For 2018, I will choose to live life in full color.

Here's a little bonus.
I'm no longer a big fan of country music, but this song speaks to living life in color:

John <><