Halloween, Masks, Grandmas and the Royals

Charlie Brown is the one person I identify with. C.B. is such a loser. He wasn't even the star of his own Halloween special. -Chris Rock

A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween. ~Erma Bombeck

There is nothing that gives more assurance than a mask. ~Colette

If human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween. -Douglas Coupland

Who thought the Royals had a chance to get to the World Series?
It was a treat for KC but a trick to Oakland, LA and Baltimore. -Bob

Positive Fantasizing

Ran across a great NY Times article by Gabriele Oettingen, a university professor of psychology. The title of her piece is "The Problem With Positive Thinking". Here are a few clips from the article.
"In each of these studies, the results have been clear: Fantasizing about happy outcomes — about smoothly attaining your wishes — didn't help. Indeed, it hindered people from realizing their dreams. Why doesn’t positive thinking work the way you might assume? As my colleagues and I have discovered, dreaming about the future calms you down, measurably reducing systolic blood pressure, but it also can drain you of the energy you need to take action in pursuit of your goals. ... Positive thinking fools our minds into perceiving that we've already attained our goal, slackening our readiness to pursue it."
I suggest you read the rest of the article here. It is a good read and speaks to ways to balance positive thinking with a dose of realism. If this peaks your interest you might be interested in optimism defined as Proactive Realism.

Happiness follows Contentment

Not sure if it is God or just serendipity that has brought two happiness related images my way this week. I so struggle with being content these days. Difficult to be content with health related limitations. The doc took me off anti-inflammation meds a few weeks ago and I have struggled with pain in my wrists and ankles where I have bone-on-bone issues. Even so, I do understand the challenge to rise above my pain be content in this season of my life. And perhaps challenge is the best word to describe it? Maybe my struggle is not so much with the pain but more about my expectations of happiness that are not connected with being content where I am. So today I will try to focus on being content and see where that takes me. Can you relate?

Happiness as a By-Product

Love this quote from a former First Lady. Reminds me that the pursuit of happiness does not mean that we go after happiness but we go after the things that make us happy.

And by happy, I am not thinking of something that accompanies a superficial appeal to illicit desire or a dalliance in sinful activities. These things do not bring true happiness.

What I think of is the deep contentment and satisfaction that comes when we are following the impulses of our innermost being. Such pleasure seems to come when we are doing selfless acts and loving in a Godlike way. Perhaps it is the only way to really be happy?

When they are not sorry ...

Most of us can relate to the idea of forgiving a person who repents of their wrongdoing. Some of us can even forgive when a person offers a halfhearted apology. But it takes a rare person to forgive when an apology is not offered and the person does not appear to be sorry. Following is the advice that I recently gave a person who was faced with the decision to forgive the unforgivable.

Think of forgiving as an act of releasing the control that a person or their acts has over your life. It is not about saying that what they did is okay (because it was not) but about saying that we will no longer be greatly influenced by them or what they did. And, in the end, forgiveness empowers "us" for the future.

Made for the Valley

“We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life - those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.” -Oswald Chambers

My blogging buddy Andy posted this quote on Facebook today. It is a thought provoking idea. Especially when we travel through difficult places in life. In truth, I do not want it to be true. But in reality, I know that it is. Body builders know that resistance is important in the development of our muscles. Long distance runners believe that the race is often about running when your body is ready to give up. Even so it is so necessary to understand that we need mountaintops and sunrises in our life. Inspiring events and friends are so important because these encourage us to simply hang in there. So if you are walking through a difficult valley today ... hang in there and know that you are made for a place such as this.

God, be Merciful to me. A Senior.

"I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon.
Then it's time for my nap." -Bob Hope

"We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to
work its way through Congress." -Will Rogers

"Don't worry about avoiding temptation.
As you grow older, it will avoid you." -Winston Churchill

"Maybe it's true that life begins at 50... but everything else starts to
wear out, fall out, or spread out." -Phyllis Diller

"By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step,
he's too old to go anywhere." -Billy Crystal