Sunday, July 31

Grace is Sweeter Than Bitterness: Experiencing Spiritual Growth

The happiest people don't have the best of everything...they just make the best of everything.(Photographer's caption.)

      I'm off to play my guitar and sing for Armida. I just received word from her son, Paul. She has from hours to 2-3 days remaining, according to the hospice staff. He asked if I could come and sing. Of course, I will. Two of my sons are joining me. I'd appreciate your prayers for Armida, her family and for me, as I try making a difficult time more serene. For more about my dear friend and her current situation, please click here.

      I'd be happy receiving your support. I'll be spending time with the family, now, and over the next few days. It would great having you as part of the Attitude of Gratitude team. I'm thankful I don't operate alone, relying only on my resources. That would be too dangerous. There's more balance in my life benefiting from the collective perspective of my supportive community. I also have more serenity now that I don't make decisions alone. My Balcony People provide the balance needed in life.

Thursday, July 28

Others Don't Determine Our Worth ...................7//28/11

    My gratitudes for Thursday:

1. I'll spend time with my two younger sons and my friend Kevin, tomorrow evening. They'll join me as I return to Armida's to sing once more.

 We don't get our worth by how others treat us
      I had a difficult time with someone today.  I wish it weren't so.  This person has been unkind, quite a bit, lately, prompting me to distance myself from him. I asked if we could be courteous towards one another and he waved me off, telling me to leave. No, I'm not thankful for this event. But ...

2. I am grateful I was able to process this person's behavior with a friend, talking with her on the phone while I walked for 30 minutes, this morning.

    The first thought when mistreated this morning was: "Breathe."   I exhaled the lack of courtesy and dignity that I experienced.

Wednesday, July 27

Armida, Part II. The Innkeeper Sang, Armida's Eyes Danced ....7/27/11

My dear friend Armida
          Last Thursday, I visited a dear friend, Armida.

         Her life is ending soon be-cause of a disease that's ravaging her body.   She took a strong tumble in late May. A MRI was performed, to see if she cracked her spine.

Monday, July 25

Help Needed. Some Are Unable to Post in this Inn. Any Ideas? (Also, not being triggered by others, being loved as I am, and humility allows me to grow.) ...7/25/11

The great men and women of history are remembered, not because they never failed,
but because they didn't let their failures stop them.   (Photographer's caption)
     Can someone please help readers of Attitude of Gratitude?  For some reason, there are readers of this inn who are unable to post. Any idea what's causing the problem? Please pray tell. One friend, tried three times this weekend and gave up.

Sunday, July 24

A Grateful Innkeeper 7/24/11

   Welcome to the visitors from Malaysia, Australia, Guernsey, Germany and Indonesia, let us know how we can make your stay in the inn more comfortable. 

My gratitudes for today: 

1. I rested today. I made my well-being my number one priority.
2. I studied.  I invested in my mind, doing so forestalls dementia, which is a good thing.
3. I straightened clutter at home. I like having more clarity in my life.
4. I was gracious towards myself when I made a mistake today. I exercised the principles I've learned

Reveries ...7/24/11

         I fought traffic, traveling in a moving parking lot, at 5 mph, across the Bay Bridge (see above),  as it snaked its way into---and through---the City. I prowled, intently hunted, while wearing a suit and tie, for a rare prize----a parking space, in this congested town, where this metropolis is squeezed by bay waters to 49 square miles. All this was the cover charge for the delights

Friday, July 22

The Innkeeper is Going to See Ballet 7/22/11

    Good afternoon everyone,

I hope you're having (or had) a delightful Friday. The weather is a gorgeous 73 degrees with no humidity, mosquitoes and a cool bay breeze. No sweltering heat, here.

     A business meeting took up my time, earlier today.  Since then, I've spent time at home, writing and editing. Some of you know I'm working on a book. My editor wants to take a look at what I've done since our last meeting. So, I'm a busy guy.  Meeting with her is always a time for brutal honesty on her part, and growth on mine. Life would be much easier if I had a copy editor, then I could really fly with my writing. Not so, in this case; at least, not yet.

Thursday, July 21

The Innkeeper Is Off to Go Sing

    Welcome to my friends from Canada, India, Malaysia, Russia and the United States, thanks for dropping by today.  A few moments, I have,  to post. Dropping by to visit a friend who's dying from cancer, is on today's agenda.  I'll take my guitar along and sing. Please pray for her and her family during this season in all of their lives. her name. Thanks!

      I've been crying more lately. That's okay. As I experience more healing in my life, I find that tears come easily. Often, the cause is joy.  This is a big turnaround for me. As a youth and young man, I bottled things in.  I've learned over the years that it requires strength, to be gentle.

Wednesday, July 20

God Does the Work, All We Do Is Ask ............... 7/20/11

        Areas in our lives improve when we turn them over to God.  Progress is not a matter of working harder. Nor is it a result of thinking positively, despite what the self-help book proclaim.  Sorry, Oprah, Robert Schuller,Tony Robbins and Norman Vincent Peale. Our best efforts and thinking brought us to the state where we find ourselves.

        Life improves when we rely upon God.  We need His transforming power.  We get better when He works in the vulnerable areas of our lives.  He helps us transcend weaknesses.

     There's no humility in self-will.  How often we say, "I'll do this and I'll do that," without taking a moment to consider what God wants

Tuesday, July 19

The Need for Boundaries: Being Responsive To, But Not Responsible For Other People's Struggles ..7/19/11

    Good evening everyone, 

I'm about to take off for an evening ride on my bike. The day has been good and restful. Just what I needed. 
She's not opening her
mouth for a dental checkup
         It was a dramatic day, today.  I prefer avoiding them, when possible.  An intriguing conversation with someone I almost did business with, took place this afternoon; thank God for intuition---we need to trust it.  Glad, I am, that I did.

         A woman pressed me----expected me----to do a favor for her. Twice she asked me, while leaning into my personal space, to complete a financial transaction with her.  It would "really help me out," she said.  I did not answer immediately. I paused.  That's better than reacting, giving in to her pressure.

         What was shocking was I didn't even know her. The setting off the the red lights on my discernment dashboard, prompted me to say no.  Everyone is responsible for their circumstances. It's not my job rescuing others, especially when are forcing me to do so.  You know what that's called, right?  Yes, manipulation.

        The problem with being treated this way is that we are not allowed  to make choices. We are not allowed to be an adult.  Choices are a basic right for adults.  Having my free will definitely meets my need for autonomy, safety, harmony and peace of mind and soul.

        For more about that, click here for a great review of what is our responsibility, or rather, what isn't.  I'm not interested in pleasing unpleasant people. I don't have "stupid" or "abuse me" tattooed across my forehead.

         We are not "nice", when giving in to pushy individuals.  We are scarring them. Did you know that?  We are empowering them to continue their bullying.

Not Allowing Others to Dictate Our Mood Part II (Saying our no as gently as our yes. Also, the value of owning our emotions.) 7/19/11

       Good afternoon, everyone,

 I've a minute to jot a few notes in this registry to the Attitude of Gratitude Inn. Yesterday I met with a friend who blew her top. I'm not talking about her blouse. You know what I mean. It was interesting watching her reaction and mine. She crossed boundaries doing something disturbing. The results damaged work stored on my computer.

     What was frustrating, was that three or four times I asked her to stop playing with my computer, before it happened.  She didn't. I was not going to physically restrain her.

Saturday, July 16

Propelling Past Perfectionism, Procrastination and Paralysis; Not Allowing These Qualities To Stymie My Vision

Opportunity knocked. Today, I opened the door.
      Hi there,

How you be?  Welcome to our new guests from Latvia, thank you for giving this inn a look. Hello to Germany and Malaysia, good seeing you, too.

      Whew, today was a doozy!  I went to bed at 4:20 a.m. this morning and my alarm woke me at 8:04 a.m. Those four extra minutes helped. :->  To a business meeting this morning, I went. The meeting commenced at 9:00 a.m. It was 10 miles away, but I made it there early.

      In the meeting I mentioned I'm starting a writing group----the response was positive.  I believe you'll see some of the results of this writing group in this inn, in the near future. Some of my writings and that of others will grace this inn.  If you would like to add your to this inn, send me your best shot and we'll see. How many of you are crazy enough to do that?? :->

I'm just one molecule in the ocean of life. (Remember that's what Paul means---small.)   I know this place will be enlarged as we hear from others----perhaps that can be you!

Happiness is a Choice, Part II .............................. 7/16/11

In all the ages there has never been and never will be a man or woman just like you. You are unique
and have no double. Every life is a fresh thought from God to the world.  (Photographer's caption)

       I know you might think it's late. But another way of looking at this post, is that it's early. My day was satisfying, even in spite of encountering someone's unkindness. I met with someone I mentor, in the afternoon. A bit of fireworks, took place during our time together, but that's fine, it didn't shake me: it was an opportunity to practice emotional Aikido.

        I asked this individual to start thinking about doing community service. (That's not what caused the fireworks.)  It's time he does. He'll think about it, he said.  What he doesn't know is

Friday, July 15

My Character Determines My Destiny 7/15/11

I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence
our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines
our destiny.   (See below)
    Good early morning everyone,

Welcome to our new visitor from Ireland! It also nice to see our new visitors from Guernsey and Jersey Islands. Thanks for dropping by. 

My gratitudes for Thursday: 

1. This evening, I rested. Taking care of ourselves, is a good thing. If we're not careful, we can easily push our lives harder than what is best for our sanity or serenity.  It's difficult being in touch with our feelings if we are caught up with busyness----there are too many distractions competing for our attention and our feelings lose out.

Wednesday, July 13

Today Is An Anniversary 7/13/11

Being that this is a special day, I thought I'd show you a picture of the exterior to this inn. What
do you think? My back hurts me from pushing the lawnmower, grooming the lawn for this shot.
    Good evening,

How was your day? I spoke this evening. It was fun. I had some clients travel to hear me speak at this public event. I wasn't expecting that. I spoke about staying in the solution and how we want to invest in ourselves by taking the time to learn principles that will allow us to overcome the weaker areas of our personality.  I  mentioned that complaining only makes problems loom

Tuesday, July 12

Slowing Down; Removing, Inspecting and Placing a Fomerly Spinning Plate in the China Hutch: Taking Care of Self: The Circus Season is Over .........................................7/12/11

      Hello everyone,

My computer crashed while posting, all I wrote is lost. It's frustrating when that happens. I'm not in the mood to practice patience: I'm tired. Otherwise, this would be a good time to do so. Knowing my limits, however, is also a form of self-care. I've had a good day; but it was long. I'll try

Monday, July 11

Taking Care of Self, Relationally, Practically and Professionally .... 7/11/11

     Monday. What can I say?

Today was a study day, the type of days I love. A dear friend from Indiana and I briefly visited, it was a start. I invested time writing, developing my craft. This evening, I met with a client; afterwards, I met with others who are building their businesses.  Meeting with them, hearing their tips and successes  motivates me

Sunday, July 10

Basking in the Kindness of Others. Not Going it Alone, Part II 7/10/11

Healthy support from others is like the sun shining through on a
cloudy day. Click on the image to get a larger, unimpeded view.

     How is everyone?

Yesterday was marvelous, miraculous, magnificent and moving. The resultant gratitudes:

1. I marveled at the uplifting support I got from several professional colleagues as I addressed an urgent, pressing, practical business issue yesterday.  I was comforted, supported, inspired and strengthened. All this while in the midst of an occupational storm. I experienced a miracle because I did not "Lone Ranger" yesterday's situation.
       The Lone Ranger was a terrific TV series; but, it isn't the ideal way of getting through life's journey. We were meant to be in relationship with emotionally healthy, supportive others.  The benefits of of having such friends paid off yesterday.

Saturday, July 9

Serenity: No Longer Making Financial or Relational Decisions Alone (Not Going It Alone Part I) ..7/9/11

My Gratitudes for Saturday:

1. I slept in today. Thank God for rest.
2. It's great hearing from several of you. I enjoy the community, communication and celebrating life, along with the honesty and openness we share with each other.
3. I love my work, my profession. Today, a prospective client wanted my services without paying me. No can do. I'm thankful that I know my boundaries and I exercised my discernment.

My Relationship With God and an Awkward Time with an Inquisitive Stranger 7/9/11

"Where are you from? My, what passion you have when
you speak! Oh, you are just a caregiver, right?" 

     At one point last Sunday evening (click here for more details),  as some friends and I ate at a restaurant, I was posed awkward, judgmental questions, "Where are you from?  I notice you say things differently,"  a woman asked me.  Here, I thought that I had tucked my antennae neatly under my thick head of hair!

Friday, July 8

Defensive Hope, Not a Good Deal, It Ensures Disappointment 7/8/11

       The following material is from page 97, Safe People, by the authors, Drs. Cloud and Town-send, published by Zondervan.

                              Defensive hope is hope that [we think] protects us against grief and sadness.  
        Sometimes simply hoping a person will change keeps us from the pain that we need to face.  Hu-mans are incredible optimists. Especially when it comes to destructive relationships.  For some rea-son we think that a person who is hurtful, irrespon-sible or out of control, abusive, or dishonest is going to change.  All we have to do is love them correctly or more or enough. We think that if we just let them know about their mistakes or cry the blues, or get angry, they will change. 
        In short, we have hope. But it is a hope that disappoints. In this scenario we use hope to defend ourselves against facing the truth about someone we love. We don't want to go through the sadness of realizing that they probably aren't going to change. We don't want to accept the reality about who they are.  So, we hope, not wanting to face reality. 
        Usually this kind of hope did not start in our cur-rent relationship.  We usually have an old pattern of not facing grief and disappointments in many past relation-ships, dating back to childhood (Emphasis, mine.)
        Facing sadness is difficult.  It places the respon-sibility of change on us, instead of hoping that unsafe person is going to change.  We have to learn to not expect that he will change.  We have to make other friends.  We need to adapt to a nonfulfillng marriage.  
        We want the courage to set limits and conse-quences.  We will want to make many more tough choices that may change our relationships.
        Yes, hope is easier in the beginning.  In the end it is more difficult. Not facing reality is to stay stuck and to get more of the same in the future. Defensive hope is one of the biggest reasons that we allow des-truction to continue in life.

        Looking at reality helps us to thrive and get emotionally healthy.

       Grieving our losses is critical.   It is a big part of acceptance: mourning.  We need to do this.  It is vital for our sanity to let go of fantasies.

       This is essential, for us to move beyond this painful area.  When we do this, we are also exercising self-compassion.
"Came to believe in a power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity."                            Step Two
       We need to move away from dreams that things will get better.  This is especially true about our  fantasies about unhealthy people who disturb us.  They prevent us from seeing life as it really is, which is the sanity referred to in Step Two in Recovery.

        This is the first step towards healing. As we move from victims to individuals making healthier choices, we are seizing control of our lives.  2 (See footnote.)
      By the way, what is said in the quoted passage is also true regarding circum-stances.  We may fantasize about them.  We may not want to face the truth.  Again, facing disappoint-ment is important if we want to move forward.

        After we grieve, we let go.  We decide what to do next.  We consider our healthiest, most constructive options.  

        When we make peace with our reality, we'll have a greater Atti-tude of Gratitude to complement the increasing sanity and serenity we enjoy.

My Gratitudes:
1. My work is satisfying.

      I love what I do.  No two days are the same.  I contribute to the positive well-being of the world.  How could I not have an Attitude of Gratitude?

      I'm moved when others get more out of life, because of my work.  I celebrate the purpose my life holds.

2. I grateful others appreciate my efforts.

      I get plenty of that.  It's wonderful that clients value the work I do.  Not that I need appreciation in order to have serenity. 1 (Footnote below)
3. I value each comment visitors write. It builds the community we enjoy here.
4. I'm thankful for each person who drops by.  It's nice having you here. It makes the work I do as the innkeeper worthwhile.
How About You? 
1.  What losses have you been grieving, regarding a relationship?
2.  What are some tough choices that you are making?
3.  In what ways have you been facing reality, lately?
1. "If  I can learn to evaluate my own actions and behavior and value my own judgment, then the approval of others will be enjoyable, but no longer no longer essential to my serenity. Just for today, I will appreciate myself.  
    "I will not look to others s for approval; I will provide it for myself. I'll allow myself to recognize that I am doing the best I can. Today my best is good enough."
                Courage to Change, p. 9
2. "Focusing on ourselves doesn't man that we let other people walk all over us and pretend not to notice, or that whatever others do is acceptable.  Nor does it imply that we should stop caring about our loved ones.  Focusing on ourselves simply means that when we acknowledge the situation as it is, we look at our options instead of looking at the options available to other people.  
     "We consider what is within our power to change instead of expecting others to do the changing. As a result, problems have a better chance of getting solved, and we lead more manageable lives."   Courage to Change, p. 359
      Our life becomes somewhat more manageable ("have a better chance") because we do have some control over how we choose to live our lives.  I say "some" because our character defects get in our way, even here, as we attempt to transcend our errant ideals, past history and pain. This points to the value of having Balcony People.

       For more information about them, you can read here. Have a great and grateful day!
Image: Cumbria: Dervent and Skiddaw  by Tim Blessed © all rights reserved, used by permission

Wednesday, July 6

Family, Friend and Fourth of July 7/6/11

    How is everyone?
My Fourth of July was fine. My sons, a friend and I spent the day together, enjoying the patriotic occasion in warm weather tempered by breezes from the San Francisco Bay. We gathered at 9:00 a.m. and hung out until 8:30 p.m. At that point I spent the rest of the evening with one of my sons until 12:30 a.m.

     Witnessing a parade, allowed us to take in some Americana. There's something to be said

Tuesday, July 5

Responding, Not Reacting Part II (Saving a Relationship, in the Process) ..7/5/11

Good morning everyone!

It's a lovely outside.  The promise of a lovely summer is today's reality.  I'm luxuriating in California weather: it'll be in the 70's today. No humidity, a cool bay breeze making the day's weather fantastic. Meeting a new client today is something I look forward to, it's like a blind date. 

            I oversee a business meeting today.  Sometimes  they are contentious, an opportunity for me to practice grace and patience.  Nine years working in a psych hospital, dealing with out-of-control moments, prepared me for occasions like these.  Wish me luck

Responding, Not Reacting
         My middle son and I stayed up last night, baking a Devil's food cake.  I like 'em tall.  So, it's  a double layered chocolate delight with crushed almond slivers spread on the sides.  It's soul-satisfying spending in-depth time with a son.  

          At the beginning of the evening, we hit a rough patch, before we started the evening project.  Empathy goes a long way in restoring frayed relationships.  Such was case last night.  Everyone enjoys being heard.  1 (See footnote) 

         Connecting to the feelings and the needs beneath our feelings, helps.  When I understand what's going on within another person, their needs are more likely to be met.  Hostility or defensiveness does not help, during tense moments. When the beast of my son's anger raised its head, we addressed the it's needs.  We fed it. We didn't slay the critter. The creature became happy and went to sleep, satisfied. 

         Responding versus reacting, I've found works best.  I've learned, that for every year I spend working on my character, I get one second of response time---when crises arise. This  past April 3rd  made it seven years since I've been applying new ways to respond to crises.  Seven seconds of response time, is my lot. That's plenty of time.

        I respond, not react; click here for more about this.  It's been good thing, a relationship saver, a serenity saver and a joy producer.  It helped, last night.  Our evening could have ended poorly, with my son and I parting ways.  

        Fortunately. we reasoned and loved things out.  He's a terrific young man.  Bonding sometimes occurs when shoulders and hands touch, working together.  Last night was such an opportunity.  I'm indebted that it helps when we place principles above our personality. 

       As we baked, decorated and ate warm, moist cake, the night was also consumed with calmly enthusiastic dialog.  We bonded.  Having an adult son wanting to spend time with me warms the soul. Entrusting me with his feelings and thoughts is not something I take lightly.  I'm a lucky guy.

So, My Gratitudes for Today:
 (Yes, this is a chocolate color)
1. The weather is fabulous, the birds are chirping and I hear the buzz of lawnmowers hard at work this Summer day.
2.  My son and I made memories last night that will last a lifetime.  He encountered, once again, that what he says is more important than anything else, when we are together.
3. The smile that slowly lit upon his agitated face when he saw that I was emotionally available for him, along with my ears.  He realized I cared.
4.  I'm grateful for the difference seven seconds provides. It allowed me to respond and not react.
5.  For the gift of a fatherhood. It provides me a deeper understanding of  God's unconditional love for me. It is humbling knowing He loves me more than I cherish my sons.  God delights when I open myself to Him.  That's called prayer.
 Related Post: 

1. We even like hearing ourselves, listening to our soul speak to our heart. To do so, we have to learn to relax and make ourselves still.  "Be still and know I am God." Psalms 46:10
Activity, school, work, projects, obligations all helped me focus outward.  That way I didn't have to rest long enough to feel how frightful was. 
There is nothing wrong with working hard and producing results, but I was abusing these activities.  They were socially acceptable ways to deny [listening to] my feelings. Both family and society supported my hiding behind them until, [I'm] beaten down and exhausted.   Courage to Change, page 198

Fourth of July: Great Time Was Had

We learn from the mistakes we make and the suffering they bring. The universe is a soul-making machine, and part of that process is learning, maturing, and growing through difficult, challenging and painful experiences. The point of our lives in this world isn't comfort, but training and preparation for eternity. Peter John Kreeft  (Photographer's caption.)
   Good morning, gang,

I got in a little while ago. I hope your Fourth was grand. Our time as a family was wonderful. More to be revealed after I get some shut eye.

1. Great weather.
2. Great time with family and a friend.
3.  Lovely views, all day.
4.  Fabulous conversations. I appreciated the honesty and transparency we had with one another.

Sunday, July 3

Connecting with God---- Being Judged by Others 7/3/11

     Hello everyone,

The computer I use is acting up. At some point I'll take it in, it needs to be overhauled. It's crashed four times while writing this post.  Each time, I lost what I wrote. I don't memorize what I write so, those thoughts are lost.Gee whiz!

      I rested earlier in the day; later, I met with friends. The weather was warm, but not unbearable, sort of comfortable, like our family cat, Tigger.

         A subject came up when I  was with others, "what do we do, to draw closer to God?"  Mind you, this was not a meeting at a church. There were many who were from different religious persuasions, or of none.  Some had different lifestyles. I marveled that this subject was discussed calmly. No heated arguments ensued.  What is your answer to this question? I'd love hearing your replies.

Saturday, July 2

Gratitudes from a Rested Innkeeper

        Good evening everyone,

Or, good morning to you early birds, who drop by this inn, as I'm sleeping.  I'm back. Rest, it's wonderful and refreshing. I woke up this morning, exhausted, my mind in cobwebs. I fumbled around throughout the day. I studied, but was tired. At 5:15 p.m., Left Coast time, I took a five hour nap. Wow!  I feel better.  Soon enough, I'll bed down again, I want to keep my body on a reasonable time schedule.

    I had emotionally demanding experiences this week, they are physically exhausting. Typically, I have lots of stamina. Listening to our weary bodies and getting the needed rest serves us in good stead.

My Gratitudes for Saturday:

1. As we approach a patriotic holiday, in the U.S., I'm mindful of the fabulous nation in which we live,

Friday, July 1

Random Gratitude Thoughts and Bon Mots from the Innkeeper (Also this blog is featured by a new organization.) 7/1/11

  Good evening,

Eight hours of sleep, I had last night; it felt great. I don't know if you can tell---- that's not something I regularly do. My body and mood felt rested throughout the day.

      My gratitudes before the clock strikes midnight--I'm slipping them in, under the wire:

1.  I relish the way my body feels. I'm glad I took care of myself and slowed down.
2.  An especially wonderful time with friends last night made my

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.