Life's Challenges

Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are. ~ Bernice Johnson Reagon, Singer/Composer

Monday, February 28, 2011

20 Ways to be Encouraged

1.      Pizza and beer
2.     Affectionate kisses
3.     A smile from a passing stranger
4.     Rainy nights
5.     Music
6.     Holding a baby
7.      Watching courage displayed
8.     Displaying courage
9.     Getting a gift
10.  Giving a gift
11.   Seeing a really great movie
12.   Dancing without fear
13.   The greening of the grass and trees
14.   Your pet asleep at your feet
15.   Unexpected praise
16.   Discounts
17.   A project completed
18.  A clean house/apartment
19.   Reading a book you can’t put down
20.  Feeling loved

©2011 Timothy Moody

Sunday, February 27, 2011


A couple of years ago Neil Pasricha faced a series of devastating experiences. Instead of collapsing in despair he faced them with courage in the simplest way. It changed his life completely. See how in this extraordinary video: The 3 A's of awesome

Saturday, February 26, 2011


"One of the most satisfying experiences I know is fully to appreciate an individual in the same way I appreciate a sunset. When I look at a sunset...I don't find myself saying, 'Soften the orange a little more on the right hand corner, and put a bit more purple along the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color...' I don't try to control a sunset. I watch it with awe as it unfolds." ~ Carl Rogers, Psychologist

Another Way is Available

Choices are open to all of us. All the time. Here is something worth reading: Every moment you have a choice.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Being Ruled by Fear

To feel fear is not to be cowardly.  To show fear is a sensible and honest response, part of self-preservation, but to be ruled by fear is to be emotionally unable to function for your own best interests. ~ Sylvia Clare, Lecturer in Psychology and Child Development

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Secret Sorrow

Believe me, every person has their secret sorrow, which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a person cold when they are only sad. —HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feeling Imbalanced

A regular regimen of nurturing helps you achieve a balance in your life between inner exploration and outer involvement, time alone and time with others, work and play.  Feeling imbalanced – that things are out of whack in your life – is a sure sign that you need to step back and engage in self-care to regain your equilibrium. ~ From

4 Fitness Blogs for Weight-Loss Motivation

I'm not a nut about weight loss and fitness. But I do think we all, whatever our age, should try to stay healthy, eat nutritious foods, get exercise, and maintain a good attitude. Here are some pretty neat blogs that might help with that.

See them here:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Miniature Rocky Balboa

Most of the time we never think about the fragility of life.  We think we are invincible.

My newborn grandson Austin is making small but thrilling improvements.  He reminds me of both how fragile life is and how durable.  He’s a miniature Rocky Balboa, running up the steps of his own training field, ready to throw his tiny hands in the air.

He is facing several serious battles.  But no child has more love pouring over them.  His parents are examples of what parents should be in these situations.  Attentive.  Courageous.  Fervent in their faith.  Determined in their care.  Abundant in their love.

I am so proud of both of them.

It is easy when things go wrong to want to blame.  To feel as though life is against us.  To toss a look of disdain upward and ask what happened to all of that power God has.  To assume the devil is up to something and we are under some form of spiritual assault.

But the truth is, life is just a mystery most of the time.  It’s impossible to figure all of the good and bad things out.  And really, to be honest, it’s unnecessary.

The ancient Rabbis used to say, “Sometimes you have to rake through many ashes before you find an ember.”

That’s a worthwhile task in life.  There are embers to be found in the ashes of our hurts and sorrows and disappointments.  And from them warmth, comfort, light.

Ashes come to all of us.  And all of us come to ashes.  Searching for and finding those embers of okayness with life and with its mysteries is a significant part of understanding our humanness and our humanity.

It takes a little bit of Rocky in us to do it well.

Become Yourself

Now all that is left is for you to become yourself. ~ Goethe, German poet

Sunday, February 20, 2011

When Life Becomes a Volcano

What do you do in those times when life turns into some kind of volcano and erupts in an explosion of staggering experiences that send the debris of your stability across the landscape of your days?  You see the pieces of your normal existence floating down around you and suddenly you’re standing in a footing that is melting and cracking apart.

My second grandchild was born two days ago.  A beautiful baby boy.  But upon his arrival a series of critical medical complications appeared.  Doctors stepped in to work the magic of the astonishing resources now available to them.  Our baby Austin got here full term and in perfect weight only to begin a heroic battle of survival.   

Newborns seem so fragile to us, tiny and defenseless, wiggling and writhing in their attempt to acclimate themselves to their new existence.  Babies in early distress obviously seem even more vulnerable and we bigger humans gather around them to do our best from a distance to protect and heal them.

But every baby is born with invisible armament that works amazingly well.  And when it is supported with medical genius, dedicated physician skill, fiercely loving parents and other family with arms and hearts extended, the chances of winning the battle of survival, though not guaranteed, are nevertheless increased.

So far only delicate signs of progress are appearing.  But they are enough to offer comfort and the possibility that Austin might very well get beyond all of the obstacles inside his small frame.

In the meantime, those of us who love him dearly, struggle to find our own footing in what feels like hot slippery lava beneath us.

What Life is Like

Life is rather like a tin of sardines -- we're all looking for the key. - Alan Bennett, Award-winning English playwright and screenwriter

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Unrealistic Standards of Others

"You can either hold yourself up to the unrealistic standards of others, or ignore them and concentrate on being happy with yourself as you are." ~ Jeph Jacques, Carootnist/Writer/Blogger

What's Wrong with Religion?

Scholar and author Karen Armstrong invites us to see where religion today has gone wrong, how we are abusing it, and ways in which it can again have meaning. See the presentation here: Video on

Friday, February 18, 2011

How Men Are

by Dr. C.P. Estés

I met a man today
a young man
with muscles
lots of them…
a weightlifter/ bodybuilder…

People say, they’re so taken with themselves
you know,
“all about themselves.”

He was clerking in a power-vitamin store
where I was buying the 4# jug of protein powder.
Upon leaving, my daughter pointed out
I was driving around with my new
license plates on the seat
instead of on the bumper
where they belonged,
and my temporary paper tag in the window
had expired yesterday.

I didnt want to get a ticket, so…
‘Can I borrow a screwdriver,’ I asked bodybuilder man…
thinking the store’d have one in back.

But, no, bodybuilder man
bounded out the door, across parking lot,
rummaging in his Jeep, but came back empty handed.
‘Thought I had one there,’ he said.

Today I met another man,
old construction guy with tool belt…
you know how people say
all those guys really do is lean against the girders
and whistle at girls and plan the perfect beerfest
in the Stratro-lounger each night… all while pounding
a nail or two daytimes.

Well, muscleman had hiked three stores down
where he knew construction man was working.
‘Got a screwdriver?’ he asked.
‘Sure,’ said tool belt man.

I had my hand out, ready to take the screwdriver…
but no, bodybuilder man was already squatting
at my pickup truck, unscrewing the rusty fat bolts
and slapping the plates on front and back, right smart.

He stood. Grinned at me like he just caught
a mermaid on a safety pin with no bait.
I blurted out,
‘You’re one of the last of the royal knights, you know.’

And he did that ‘guy thing’ that any woman
who’s a woman, loves so much, that ‘duck and blush’
thing men do when they are heart-pleased.

And carpenter man came to the curb to get his tool,
and bodybuilder man said, ‘Thanks Bud.’
Carpenter man said, ‘Happy to help.’
I said thank you too, and his  whiskers expanded
and went wide as he smiled.
‘It’s my job Ma’am,’ he said, and he saluted me…
Marine eagle on his arm flexing over the anchored world.

You know how those tattooed carpenter construction
worker bodybuilding weightlifter young/ old guys are.
You know how they are.
They keep horses
down at the river,
an old underground river…
which still runs clear.

“You Know How They Say Men Are,” © 1999, All rights reserved.  Dr. C.P. Estes, poem from, La Pasionaria: Collected Poems of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes: A Manifesto on the Creative Fire

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Exactly is Humility?

"Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. It means you think of yourself less." – Ken Blanchard, Author/Leadership Expert


Where I have looked for God:

1.      In the architecture of a flower.
2.      In the gauzy haze across a day of light rain.
3.      In the mystery of the stars.
4.      In the sacred quiet of the cemetery.
5.      In the irresistible seduction of the ocean.
6.      In the warmth of another’s touch.
7.      In the tears of those crushed by sorrow.
8.      In the pain of the sick.
9.      In the dejection of the lonely.
10. In the hurt of the shamed.
11.  In the panic of the fearful.
12.  In the gentleness of the humble.
13.  In the care of the generous.
14.  In the faces of children.
15.  In the eyes of the old.

© 2011 Timothy Moody

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Be Your Goal

If you are serious about your goals, drop the conditions. Go directly to your goal. Be your goal! Conditions often disguise strategies for escaping accountability. Why not just take charge and create the experience you are looking for?  -- Eric Allenbaugh, Leadership Consultant

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reinvent Yourself

When you learn to take full responsibility for reaching a goal, you'll reach it in no time.  When you learn to totally own a problem, the problem doesn't stand a chance....Taking ownership is the highest form of focus: It's the willingness to bring everything you've got to the situation.  When you do that, your spirit wakes up and joins you in the battle. ~ Steve Chandler, Reinvent Yourself

Saturday, February 12, 2011

An Amazing Presentation

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on

When I Have Been Heard

When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and to go on.  It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.  ~ Carl Rogers, Experiences in Communication

Friday, February 11, 2011

We All Have Masks

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. – James Baldwin

Be Tough

Be tough in the way a blade of grass is: rooted, willing to learn, and at peace with what is around it. – Natalie Goldberg, American Author 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Fundamental Misunderstanding

“Studies of human performance over the years have proven there are only two kinds of people in any given situation: victims and owners.

A victim is someone who sees power as something beyond one’s control.  Victims have a habitually lonely and pessimistic way of viewing and describing the world and its people.  And although self-victimization can often last a lifetime, it is only a habit.  When it’s understood, it can be quickly replaced….

Victims do not get their habit from heredity.  They think themselves into it.  And what is tragic is that their thinking is based on a fundamental misunderstanding, a misunderstanding that is as fundamental as thinking the world is flat: Victims think all power is outside of them.  They think power is in other people and in circumstances….

Owners, on the other hand, take full responsibility for their energy.  They continuously tap into the power of the human spirit.  They use that spirit as a fire to invent and then reinvent who they are.  They don’t look for outside sources to supply their motivation.  They’re not waiting for deliverance.  They don’t wish they were someone else.” ~ Steve Chandler, Reinventing Yourself: How to Become the Person You’ve Always Wanted to Be

Winter: It Can Be Beautiful

Stop a Cold in Its Tracks

See these practical tips to help you fight a cold:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Animals & Therapy

Animals Can Assist in Psychotherapy
January 18, 2011

DENVER (USA TODAY) -- No matter what problem has compelled a person to visit this homey psychotherapy practice just steps from a busy urban avenue here -- post-traumatic stress, anxiety, family problems, abuse -- an animal will participate in the session.

It could be Sasha the mutt; semi-retired tiger-striped Norman the cat; Conner, Charm and Summer the Belgian Tervurens; or Harmony the bay Thoroughbred (granddaughter of Secretariat). All are part of the treatment protocols developed by the four therapists at Animal Assisted Therapy Programs of Colorado.

"We have found we can reach therapeutic goals much faster" by incorporating the animals into the sessions, says Linda Chassman, a therapist for more than two decades who first began using kitty kindness with clients 10 years ago and went on to seek certification in a specialty known as animals and human health.

Unlike at most practices, where a counselor may occasionally have a pet sit in on a session, at AATPC the therapy animals -- many of which have endured difficult histories before finding homes with these therapists and, ultimately, their calling -- are at the core of helping patients sort through their problems. And AATPC is one of a handful in the nation where animals play such a fundamental role.

"Rapport-building is much faster" when animals are part of the process, Chassman says. Not only is their presence soothing, but when they're around, "people are much more willing to get to the issues, especially kids, who, rather than directly confronting something, can speak to or about the animal."

Says therapist Ellen Kinney, "Incorporating the animals into our work here makes this a fun, welcoming place ... and helps make therapy feel much less threatening."

This isn't just another way of capitalizing on the nation's obsession with animals, Chassman says.

"When I see a client, I use all of the skills I've developed in 25 years of being a therapist. We simply add the benefit -- confirmed as a benefit by research -- of an animal."

Moreover, it's impossible to go on professional cruise control. Employing the animals "forces us to be inventive in therapies, allows us to be creative," Kinney says.

So convinced are they of animals' helpfulness in working through human trauma, they've launched their "filial pet therapy program" where, after some in-office sessions, they'll teach parents to use therapeutic play with the family pet to help kids with behavioral issues. (Sometimes the pet requires outside training first.)

And this month they've begun conducting workshops for human services professionals to help them with the specifics of what's needed to incorporate animals into their work.

The animals-and-shrinks combo isn't for everyone, they acknowledge. But, Chassman says, "a specific group of clients benefit," and the program "shortens the length of therapy for a lot of people."

Copyright 2011 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

To Cease Being Fearful

I have not ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me. I have accepted fear as a part of life - specifically the fear of change, the fear of the unknown; and I have gone ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says: turn back, turn back, you'll die if you venture too far.

~ Erica Jong, Novelist

Who Will You Be?

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. ~ Emerson

8 Ways to Make Shots Easier for Kids

Flu, colds, allergies, immunizations, all create painful times for children who visit the doctor for a shot. Here are some helpful ideas about how to make that office visit not quite as scary.

See the article here:

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Reality We Cannot Avoid

There are realities we cannot avoid.  One of them is the importance of self-esteem.

Regardless of what we do or do not admit, we cannot be indifferent to our self-evaluation.  However, we can run from this knowledge if it makes us uncomfortable.   We can shrug it off, evade it, declare that we are only interested in "practical" matters, and escape into baseball or the evening news or the financial pages or a shopping spree or a sexual adventure or a drink.

Yet self-esteem is a fundamental human need.  Its impact requires neither our understanding nor or consent.  It works its way within us with or without our knowledge.  We are free to seek to grasp the dynamics of self-esteem or to remain unconscious of them, but in the latter case we remain a mystery to ourselves and endure the consequences.

~ Nathaniel Branden, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

The Right Questions

"Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation- in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. The key question causes germination of consciousness. The properly shaped question always emanates from an essential curiosity about what stands behind. Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open." 
 Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run with the Wolves)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Want to be This Famous

by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth   
before anybody said so.   

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds   
watching him from the birdhouse.   

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.   

The idea you carry close to your bosom   
is famous to your bosom.   

The boot is famous to the earth,   
more famous than the dress shoe,   
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it   
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.   

I want to be famous to shuffling men   
who smile while crossing streets,   
sticky children in grocery lines,   
famous as the one who smiled back.
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,   
but because it never forgot what it could do.
© Naomi Nye

Saturday, February 5, 2011


A little advice about feelings kiddo; don't expect it always to tickle. 

~ Dr. Berger to Conrad Jarrett in the movie, "Ordinary People"

Beyond Nancy Drew

Resources regarding the role of girls/women in the home, society, culture. For parents who want to offer their daughters resources to be themselves.

See the article here: A Guide to Girls' Literature

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Love Is What We Are Born With

"Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us." 
 Marianne Williamson, Author/Lecturer, Founder of The Peace Alliance

Attention Sappers: Reasons You Can't Concentrate

See the article here:

The World is Beautiful

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How I Stopped Feeling Guilty About Food

See the article here:

Wisdom About Love

"Sometimes the one who is running from the Life/Death/Life nature insists on thinking of love as a boon only. Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings- all in the same relationship." 
 Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run with the Wolves)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What Does Discouragement Feel Like?

Sometimes when we are feeling emotionally lousy we get discouragement confused with depression.

Although discouragement can certainly lead to depression, is sometimes an element of it, there are differences.

Discouragement is not as debilitating as depression but it can still interfere with our daily routine: work, home life, friends, hobbies, etc.

It can also affect our health, our relationships, our ability to enjoy things, our capacity to make good choices, and our willingness to take on new challenges.

What does it feel like?

·        Cold feet.  Not being able to move forward.  Lack of confidence.  Fearful.
·        Sadness.  Not overwhelming sadness but enough to make you feel down, blue, full of the blahs.
·        Restrained.  Unable to express yourself the way you normally do in terms of joy, pleasure, love, laughter, care and other positive emotions.
·        Defensive.  Not wanting to have to explain yourself.  Annoyed with useless suggestions: “Get over it” - “What’s wrong with you?” -  “Cheer up!” and so forth.
·        Doubtful.  We don’t feel certain about much.  We especially question ourselves. “What is wrong with me?”  “Why can’t I get over this?”  “Why did this happen to me?”  “Why doesn’t anyone understand me?”  “Why is life so unfair?”
·        Loss.  You feel as though all the good things are not for you or meaningless for now.
·        Dull.  When we are discouraged our thoughts slow down.  We get easily confused or distracted.  We have a kind of brain fog. 

If you are struggling with discouragement seek help.  Talk with your physician or a therapist.  Consider the services offered here.  You do not have to live discouraged all the time.

Relax. Breathe. Enjoy a few minutes of Bach