Archive for December, 2015

Leave it to a Woman

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

1376059845000-Mona-Lisa-2Two guys were sitting in the steam room at the Y discussing their consternation over the room not being hot enough to suit them. There wasn’t enough sweat to drip. Oh, the agony and disappointment of it all!  I was one of them.  About that time a woman came in and immediately said, “Gee, not much steam in here; do you fellows mind if I open the door to trigger the thermostat?”   Thank God for sending the woman; she saved the day!  We soon had plenty of   steam, sweat and humility.   The truth is I had actually thought about getting a cup of cool water to throw on the thermostat but I didn’t have a cup. It never entered my mind to simply open the door.

So often we go through life lamenting this or that, but doing absolutely nothing to make our situations any better. Instead, we settle for our default setting which, more often than not, tends to be the complaining one. That also happens to be the one that requires the fewest functioning brain cells. So, here are my take away from my steam bath: When life doesn’t suit you do something besides complain. Secondly, the simplest solution is usually the best solution.

Something to Think About

John

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

10 Really Good Ideas

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

logoEffective Immediately, please be aware that there are changes you need to make in your life. These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill My promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life. I apologize for any inconvenience, but after all that I am doing, this seems very little to ask of you. Please, follow these 10 guidelines in 2016.

1…QUIT WORRYING:

Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little thing that comes your way?

2…PUT IT ON THE LIST:

Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not your list. Put it on MY to-do-list. Let ME be the one to take care of the problem. I can’t help you until you turn it over to Me. And although My to-do-list is long, I am after all… God. I can take care of anything you put into My hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known. I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.

3…TRUST ME:

Once you’ve given your burdens to Me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in Me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on My list. Problem with finances?  Put it on My list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For My sake, put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

4…LEAVE IT ALONE:

Don’t wake up one morning and say, “Well, I’m feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here.” Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It’s simple. You gave Me your burdens and I’m taking care of them.  I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don’t you know that if I give you these problems back you will be right back where you started? Leave them with Me and forget about them. Just let Me do my job.

5…TALK TO ME:

I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I’m in control. But there’s one thing I pray you never forget. Please, don’t forget to talk to Me –   OFTEN! I love YOU! I want to hear your voice. I want you to include Me in on the things going  on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me. I want to be your dearest friend.

6…HAVE FAITH:

I see lot of things from up here that you can’t see from where you are. Have faith in Me that I know what I am doing. Trust me   you wouldn’t want the view from My eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

7…SHARE:

You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement.  Share your laughter with those who haven’t heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

8…BE PATIENT:

I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient, then when it takes Me a little longer than you expect to handle something on My to-do-list? Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect! Just because I created the entire universe in only s ix days everyone thinks I   should always rush, rush, rush.

9…BE KIND:

Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along for My sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please, know I love each of your differences,

10…LOVE YOURSELF:

As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one reason only –to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me. Love your neighbors, But also love yourself. It makes My heartache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me. Don’t ever forget.

Ten good ideas from God

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

What Will Baby Choose?

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

babyI overheard some folks talking about being pregnant. One said this: “It is like if I am having a bad day or a little down, he will move a bit and his movement will pull me out”. How is that for a poignant statement? I think what she is actually saying is when her baby moved it shifted her focus off herself and onto him — nothing new here.  2000 years ago Jesus essentially said the same thing. Matthew 20:26 Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave.  Many people will tell you that, from their personal experience, the quickest cure for a case of “ain’t it awful” is to get your focus off yourself and onto someone else.  I find that to be true and I expect you do too.

Perhaps the most miserable and insecure people seem to also be the most self-absorbed. By and large every waking moment is about their life, latest deal, new toy or their whatever. In one way or the other they are the subjects of all their conversations. Of course, not surprisingly, all the bad in life is somebody else’s fault. They seem to have a perpetual “I’m fixing to have a root canal” look etched onto their faces. Life is pretty much one big wad of negativity.  I doubt if all of that is a coincident. On the other hand, one of the happiest and most confident guys I know is just the opposite. Perpetually positive and upbeat, he is constantly looking outward to doing something for somebody else. At a time when I was at my lowest, he took me under his wing and in just a few months gave me a life’s worth of “how to love others” lessons. In the process he helped pull me out of the deepest and darkest hole I have ever been.  Whenever I see him he’s wearing his trademark big ear to ear smile. I doubt if that is a coincidence either.

Hopefully that baby boy will choose to live his life more like the guy with the smile. I hope I do too because ultimately the quality of our lives hangs in the balance!

Something to think about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Fresh Turnip Greens

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

turnip-greensA few weeks ago on a nearly perfect fall morning, I was enjoying a cup of coffee on the patio of Starbucks in Bellevue, when I noticed a 1980s Chevy pickup pull in and park a short distance from the coffee shop entrance.  A “seventy-something” gentleman in overalls got out, opened the tailgate and pulled out a hand-lettered sign on the back of a cardboard box saying “Fresh Turnip Greens”.  Then as each coffee thirsty Starbucks customer hurriedly made their way from the parking lot to the front door he would shout, “Hey, do you want some fresh turnip greens?  I’ve got fresh greens here.”

There are many things of which I eat too much; turnip greens are not on that list. As far as I can remember, those soggy, slimy, limp leaves have only passed my lips once during my time on earth and that time was extremely short lived. For the life of me, I can’t comprehend how people eat them.  However, I do recognize that countless folks love them with a fanatical kind of love. Fresh turnip greens right out of the garden would be simply too tempting for many folks to pass up, including my wife and my son. Cathy was raised in the country so I can understand her fondness, but it is beyond me how Michael acquired a taste for greens.  Must have been his time a UT.

As I sat there watching the farmer hawking his homegrown delicacy, it occurred to me that there seems to be a wide, deep and seemingly unbridgeable chasm between turnip greens and the typical Starbucks customer, for not a single turnip green was sold that morning. My take is that the farmer was simply in the wrong place. I’m assuming a bit here. He had worked hard in his garden and had a good product. I’m sure he had a fair price and he seemed to be a good salesman. But still he didn’t sale any turnip greens. If only he had sought marketing advice; perhaps someone would have told him that if he moved his truck 100 feet west of Starbucks to the Kroger parking lot he would certainly have a more receptive audience. People actually buy turnip greens at Kroger! For some reason folks who drink lattés don’t eat a lot of greens, even if they are southern born.  The farmer probably had no way of knowing that on his own. All he knew was that there sure seemed to be a lot of people coming and going over at the coffee place. To him it made perfect sense.

Life is full of what I’m calling “Turnip Green Folks” – people who tend to live in their own reality; who come to conclusions based on their own opinions and hunches without seeking advice and input from others. That is a risky way to live. The inevitable pitfall of such decision making, more often than not, is disappointment, frustration, wasted effort and coming up on the short end of the stick. Simply thinking you are right doesn’t make you right.

Something to think about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Life Changing Lesson

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

lifesaversThe other day I stopped for gas and picked up a roll of Five Flavor Life Savers. Immediately, I thought back to grammar school.  Whenever we exchanged Christmas gifts, I felt like I had hit the jackpot if I came home with a Life Savers “book” of candy.  Gee, how times have changed. I was surprised when my mouth discovered that the original lemon and lime flavors have been replaced with watermelon and raspberry.  Cherry is still the same as it used to be, but I think they have tinkered with the orange and pineapple a bit — seems to have more of a kick. Market research indicated that younger folks prefer tart and bolder flavors over the old standbys of years gone by.  So what? Who gives a flip? What can we possibly learn from a small roll of candy wrapped in wax paper and aluminum foil?  Quite a bit actually.  The Bible says there is a time for everything; sometimes it is time to change.  Life is about change.  It is important to recognize that Kraft Foods didn’t discontinue the roll of Five Flavors. The product was basically a winner that could become better with a few changes. They kept what was working and replaced what wasn’t. The sales figures indicate the change has been highly successful.  A whole new generation is sucking away on those little candies with the hole in the center. As with all change there was some risk.   What if the new flavors bombed?  No doubt there was an element of fear going into the change, but that didn’t prevent the Life Savers people from doing what they knew needed to be done.

Someone said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results”. Perhaps it is time to take an objective look at our lives. Not so much to determine what needs to be changed; most likely we already know that. But to come up with a plan for implementation. Some of us are past due for making drastic modifications in our personal lives and relationships, but are paralyzed by fear.  I have discovered that the fear of change is much worse than the change itself. I expect that is the way it is with most folks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the people over at Life Savers came to the same conclusion. Are you choosing to live on a “lemon / lime” level when you could experience the zest and zing of watermelon and raspberry?

Something to think about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877