Monday, December 25

My Favorite Christmas Story 12/25/17

Taken fromThe Christ Child, Illustrated
 by Miska and Maud Petersham 
     Merry Christmas.  That each guest of this inn had a lovely day, is my wish.  I did.

     What is Christmas?  Nope, it is not about gifts.  It is about one Gift, Christ.  This holiday is about God's incarnation, becoming a man.  This day celebrates His arrival.  He dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14) I know for many this is an outdated concept.

      What Christmas gift can I offer?  How about

Friday, December 22

My Third Favorite Christmas Story 12/22/17

WWII photo of the Ardennes Forest
       Good evening, one and all. I hope life is treating you well. For many, this is a frantic, mater-ialistic season.       
         Needn't be so.  In the inn, we're having a countdown for the biggest day of this month.  For

Tuesday, December 19

Maintaining Our Sanity and Serenity During This Season 12/19/17

      Now is a good time to slow down.

       I know this is the opposite of what we experience while gearing up for Christmas.

      But, many of us need to process the holidays.  This time of year usually involves interacting with others. Often, it means encountering disturbing people, people frantic because the true message of this season has escaped them.

      Or many will visit with difficult relatives not seen any other time of the year.

       When with them, there can be the combustion of clashing person-alities.  Or unpleasant shared history creates friction, awkwardness.  These challenging aspects of the holiday season motivate us to make time.

       For ourselves.

       We need to grieve and apply the balm of re-covery.  It is impor-tant processing what barrages us, emotion-ally and physically.

       Feeling and processing neg-ative interactions is critical. It helps us maintain emo-tional balance, equanimity.

      As children, we may not have been allowed to mourn.  Being in touch with our feelings when disturbed is being present. It is what it means to be alive.  It is important for our sanity.

      It helps us overcome crazy-making times when relating with others who trigger us.

      When we stay in our head, we distance ourselves from what we experience.  When we feel, we are the experience.  We are in touch with what we want.

      We are our au-thentic selves.  When we do the opposite and present our arti-ficial selveswe experience what Ann Wil-son Schaef describes as "soul murder."  It leads to many ills, depression, isola-tion, self-loathing and many neuroses.

       What causes us to not be authentic?  Toxic shame.  We believe if we present our transparent selves, we will not be accepted, loved.  We fear being ridiculed for our values or having a different perspective.

       What is the antidote for shame?  Enjoying unconditional love and acceptance from the good company we keep.  These are our Balcony People.

My Gratitudes:
1.  For the ongoing growth of the happiness that fills my life.
2.  I am thankful for sleep.  It restores my mind and body.
3.  For fantastic conversations. They nurture me.  I love heart-to-heart authentic conversations.  They meet my need for connection, closeness, and transparency.

   Wishing you a terrific Tuesday.  I know mine will be. 

Monday, December 4

The Miracle Gro Value of Using Boundaries....... 12/4/17

Boundaries: A Source for Sanity

         There are times when we are with a controlling person.

          That presents a problem.  It in-trudes upon our need for autonomy.  Being the gratitude guy, a diffi-cult relationship is seen as an opportunity to adhere to prin-ciples.

         Time with those who cramp our style is like practicing a tennis stroke by hitting a ball against a wall.  We have opportunities to exer-cise boundaries related to their behavior.  It helps us maintain sereni-ty, sanity, and dignity----just barely.

        If not careful, our equilibrium could be thrown off.  Creating distance with an un-safe person can be wonderful, providing the balance needed.
          Bound-aries are not for others to adhere to.  They are for us to adhere to. They are sanity savers, joy producers.  They provide the dignity we need.

        Often, we relate with with boundaryless people.

        Chaos is the measure of their lives.  Their lack of preparation does not make their crises our emergencies.   (See here, too.)  Even when they desperately wants us to rescue them.  Exercising boundaries  with those who lack them, maintains our sanity.

       Relating with boundaryless people pours Miracle Gro on our recovery---forcing us to tightly adhere to boundaries.  We are not loving when we rescue others from the natural conse-quences of their behavior or lack of initiative.

         Is there some-one or a situation that teeters your totter?  Could an in-dividual dump you into the morass of frustration?  How do you handle tough times?

          We want to be mindful of a quote posted months ago.  You can read this post here.  This article is especially encouraging when finding ourselves in difficult circumstances.  The following inspires me when confronting challenges:
We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed.  For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a per-sonal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement.
When we are no longer able to change a situation---just think of an incurable disease such as in-operable cancer---we are chal-lenged to change ourselves.                                       Viktor Frankl

         Many good things happened this week. Even though it has been a time rife with tension.  Filled also with deep, negative emotions.  With-in the past seven days, the following gratitudes emerged.

1. Receiving practical support this week.

     It was beyond my wildest dreams. Those in my supportive network emboldened me with their encouragement and wisdom.
2. Love from many gave us a strength we won't have if we go it alone.

      The compassion, empathy, fellowship and sensitivity I've experienced gave hope during a most difficult season. It has been one of the most difficult times in my life.

      I was stunned by the outpouring of affection received.  It gave a bounce to my step that was missing earlier this month.

     Loved ones and friends, visited.   Phone calls and acts of loving service ministered to my well-being in ways beyond imagining.  Their loving concern buoyed my spirit.
3. I'm adding new dimensions at work.  I am participating in my growth.  Good for me!  I'm thankful for opportunities that expand my creativity and resourcefulness.
4.  I have a business mentor.  His help has been like a steady lighthouse, guiding me in directions that were once foggy and unclear. .

Saturday, October 28

Calmness In the Eye of the Emotional Storm Part VI......... 10/28/17

Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us
 for better things. Image: "Countryside: Across theVal-
ley" by Tim Blessed.  Copyrighted photo. Used by permission. .
       It's great being in touch with our emotions, and not  perseverating  when stressed. Be-ing agitated never helps.  How can we be mentally clear, when panicking?

        Having equili-brium, drawing from God's strength and basking in His love and that of good friends is preferred.  It's an amazing gift when this is our reaction during turbulent times.  Knowing peace, when we are swirling in the eye of a circumstantial storm helps us maintain our focus.

        Serenity is an amazing gift.  It happens when we apply healthy principles above the vulnerable parts of our personality.  Peace of mind is ours when we have the habit of leaning on God.  We trust his strength.
        Fullness is ours when we are connected with emotion-ally safe friends.  These options are better than the inadequate coping methods our younger selves used when immersed in life's drama.

        With recovery, isolating, anger, resentment, bitterness and self-loathing no longer reign over us.  No longer are they our default mode, when experiencing life's drama or disappointment. Using heal-thy, constructive alternatives, putting one foot in front of the other, is more effective.

       Often, it is better to not think.  Just do.   If we don't live by recov-ery principles, our nature is to analyze too much.  This is trying to control the uncontrollable and futility.

       Retiring the cape, we know ease, emotional safety.  Our joy in-creases.  We no longer carry the weight of the world.  It's not our job to deal with every crisis, to solve every problem.

       Peace now transcends our circumstances.  We know tranquility because we are gentle towards ourselves.  It's a result of moving away from isolating.  We allow our Balcony People to undergird us with their love.

       We are gentle towards ourselves.  When wrong, we treat ourselves with love and tenderness. For many of us, we did not experience it as children.

       Especially when we erred. Back then, it was the end of the world for our parents.  We were punished.  Mercy was nonexistent.

        There is hope for our past.  Recovery allows us to create new legacies. We replace ineffective methods that were used when we lived in our family of origin.  We learn to love ourselves even when we goof.

        When we experience a sad, disappointing or frustrating moment in our lives we have two responses.  Tough times can be a monument to our past pain.  Or, by how we respond, it can reflect the healing, growth, and grace we know because of recovery.

        Sure, it may feel good----temporarily---being petulant.

        But, would we really want to trade that for the peace, joy, and harmony we feel, when we replace character defects with new and better alternatives?  We can be glad we're learning a better way to live.  Life now is not only about being at peace with others, and circumstances, but with ourselves.

How About You? 
What are your three gratitudes for today? I'd love hearing them.  Thanks!

Friday, October 20

Responding, Not Reacting to An Emotional Bully 10/20/17

        Today,  I spoke up when relating with an unpleasant person who tried dominating me.

         If we say noth-ing, when something bothers us, there is zero possibility of things getting bet-ter.  Expressing what troubles us makes it

Sunday, October 8

Spiritual Weightlifting----Developing Better Coping Methods 10/8/17

       As we grow in our relation-ships with others, diffi-culties will arise. Everyone has different vaues which at

Tuesday, October 3

A Pensive, Subdued Innkeeper 10/3/17

       I am at a loss for words, saddened by the recent carnage in Las Vegas, Nevada.

      A lone assailant shot people who were enjoying an open-air concert.  The death tally so far

Monday, October 2

Perseverance Needed For Progress.......... 10/2/17

The Angel Oak on Johns Island in So. Carolina. 
   The oldest oak tree east of Mississippi. It is cer- 
          tainly one of the most beautiful. 

 It's 1500 years old.  It's 65 feet tall, over 6 stor-
ies. The crown covers 17,000 sq. feet. Its longest
         limb is 89 feet long.

         It's maintained by the city of Charleston. It 
         grew from one acorn. Here's to our growth
Patience With Our Progress

         Today, I'm leaving several quotes. May they help us maintain an Attitude of Gratitude. Avail-ing ourselves to God on a daily basis, seeking  His will, helps our patience

Friday, September 29

Courage and Support Helps Us Face Our Fears 9/29/17

       hope your day was fantastic.                                                                             If not, you are at the right place.  Having an     Attitude of Gratitude is critical if we want to get the most out of life.  It is the forward driving per-spective that enables us to thrive. 

      For more about that, click here.

Sunday, September 24

Creating A Better Today................ 9/24/17

       Beyond pretense. That was our subject.

      A friend of sever-al decades-----a Bal-cony Person of mine, and I lunched. The freedom enjoyed when facing our vul-nerabilities was covered.

Thursday, September 14

Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort........ 9/14/17

        Feeling elated, frus-trated, excited and dis-appointed at the same time. Embracing multiple feelings, is a sign of emotional maturity.  When we have it, difficulties do not distract us from life's beauty.

         Living by healthy princi-ples---using recovery---crises no longer shock us.  They

Monday, September 4

A Helpful Thermometer of People's Character 9/4/17

Now they are lemon flavored, not lime
   The other day I was talking with someone.

    Not using discre-tion, and being unwise, I said something that made her feel awk-ward. (I bet you would like to know).  She stopped me.

     "I want to be

Thursday, August 31

A Wonderful Event 8/31/17

    There's a wonderful story I want to share.  It happened Tuesday.  I was wrong.

     Someone called me on something I said.  I wasn't wise.  Her correction excited me.  I am thrilled how present  I was when this event took place.

    When we justify what we

Tuesday, August 29

Gratitudes of Another Kind 8/29/17

    It is dismaying.

   The destruction and lives lost in Houston, Texas.  I am with you, I am alarmed and sad-dened with this part of the country devas-ted by Hurricane Harvey.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will be

Saturday, August 26

Happiness Is A Choice, Revisited 8/26/17

       "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."

      Abraham Lincoln echoed this thought with,  "Happiness requires very little, it's all in our way of thinking."  [And, I

Sunday, August 20

Resiliency Revisited.............. 8/20/17

    Thriving during difficult times.

     This is the stuff that emo-tional resiliency is made of.  It is not cowering to abusers.  It is the inner strength that pre-vents us from surrendering when the feet of our character is put to the hot coals of stress.

      Without recovery, this stress is usually self-induced, the result of our projections, judgments and interpretations of the behavior or others. 

      Resiliency is relating with difficult people and not being moved.  While such engaged, we maintain our confidence.  Our happiness is

Thursday, August 17

The Value of Boundaries ....... 8/17/17

Gratitudes for Today:
1.  For boundaries.  They allow me to keep my sanity. Today, I told some-one I was annoyed by his assumptions about me.
    He told me he knew my motives.  He doesn't.  He has

Wednesday, August 9

Being A Swami Is Not Our Job, Revisited ............ 8/9/17

A great way to avoid etching lines in your
 face is being internally referented. 
      I see the fol-lowing post, "Being a Swami Is Not Our Job"  is climbing the sidebar to your right.  I am leaving a copy here for those not acquainted with it. Here it is:

    We don't ex-perience an inter-pretation.  

 We imagine them.  Speaking my feelings without interpreting is being present. Whenever we state what is alive without judgment or presump-

Monday, July 31

Hope For Our Past 7/31/17

     I am posting again.

     This is the fourth post in two-and-a-half weeks.  I am glad.  Writing meets my need to self-express.

     It also allows us to be together. Thank you, for dropping by.  It fills the rooms of this inn, which makes the innkeeper happy.

Saturday, July 29

Tested, Not Found Wanting................ 7/29/17

Take a guess. Who is the colorful penguin? 
     Good evening.  How are you?  I'm resting today after an intense week.

     I did something different over the past four days, in-between seeing clients.  I negotiated with someone on the East Coast.  It required

Wednesday, July 26

Rolling With Manipulative Punches, Enjoying Life.................. 7/26/17

     Good after-noon, everyone,  I am getting back to the vision of this inn of gratitude. This is the place where we can share what we are thankful for.

     I would be happy, if you could join me, by adding your gratitudes. I only ask for three.

 My Grati-tudes for Today:
1.  I am sleeping better.  I am getting more hours of it.  This is progress in the right direction. When I sleep more, my thriving and equanimity increases.

Friday, July 14

Signs We Are Toxic 7/14/17

    Many of us strug-gle as we hurdle through major is-sues. We experience conflict. We try to find ways to over-come them.

      A pattern emerges, however, that, when present, halts progress.  We refuse to acknowl-edge our contribution

Tuesday, June 6

Making It Through Storms: The Instrument Panel of Healthy Principles 6/6/17

You'll notice my knees are not shaking. 
An Attitude Check
  Innkeeper's Note: 
I see this post, written years ago is climbing the sidebar on your right.  I am presenting it again for those who haven't read itHere it is:

      How is your attitude?

      Like an airplane, is your attitude nose up, and climbing, or is it nose down, heading for a crash?

       Mine?  You know the answer.  Hopefully, it's one reason why you drop by.  The thing is, our disposition can be positive----even when times

Sunday, May 14

A Tribute to A Special Woman 5/14/17

     Good early evening, on this Mother's Day.

      Please notice the request at the end.  It would make me happy, hearing your responses.

      May you have a terrific day.  I know I will.   The Innkeeper

      A special thanks to all the mothers reading this today. Your work is unending.  Often not appreciated.  Thank you,  for your role.  Your

Tuesday, May 9

Bonding and Separating, The Best of Both Worlds.............. 5/9/17

       I noted this post was climbing the sidebar to your right.  I revised it.  About 80%.  It was fun seeing how much I've grown since this was written years ago.  I hope it helps you.

     A key point I leave out in this post.  How we create the healthy supportive network essential for us to stand firm with our boundaries.

Here's the post:

      Yesterday, there was a date with a young lady.

       We had lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant for two and half hours. It was totally unexpected.  She wants to visit again.

      I'm not sure about that.

     I need balance.

Wednesday, April 26

Codependency: Getting Enmeshed In Unhealthy Relationships

    No, I am not dead.

    I recently got my laptop back from the repair shop.  How are you?  Are you glad to see me?  I am speaking somewhere tonight, so I have to leave the inn.

     But, not before I leave a post with you.

He's in a bog. Care needed when enmeshed
in a bog of circumstances that don't serve us.
This fellow is a codependent. That's why he's
happy. He's accustomed to being stuck in a
mess.  Life offers more: peace of mind. 
      Below, is a letter written to someone enmeshed in a destructive, emotionally abusive, addictive relationship.  I'm sharing it with guests to this inn.

       It deals with externally referenting  (another view of codependency), low self-esteem, the need for character discernment and defensive hope.
     Dear _________,
A big part of our disease is that, without working on healthy alternatives in the areas where we are vulnerable, using the resources of a mentor, or connecting with emotionally mature others, we allow those who disturb us to own big chunks of our mind and heart. We give away our serenity.

Friday, March 24

Gratitudes ............... 3/24/17


     My computer remains broken. It's been a few weeks now.   I'm using a borrowed laptop to make this post.

My Gratitudes for Today:
1.  I love what I do, my profession.  I am thankful I am able to serve others.  I help them become the person they want to be.  They learn how to find the direction needed to have the life they want.
2.  I look forward to resting tomorrow.
3.  I will spend time with family tomorrow and next week. We'll have a special occasion next Friday.
4.  I ran this week.  I love taking in nature as I run in the hills at a local regional park.
5.  I love my home and the peace of mind I enjoy after and before a hard day of work. 

Monday, March 13

Special Day.............. 3/13/17

      Celebrate with me.

      Hello there, friends, guests and passersby.  Today is special.  I'm publish-ing this post before the day changes its name, for good reason.

      Six years ago, on this day, this inn

Thursday, March 9

Overview of Nearly Six Years............. 3/9/17

The Attitude of Gratitude Inn
        My computer is broken.  Now, for several weeks.  Not working is the space bar.

        The last post was a pain.  In between every sing-le word, I added a letter.  Then colored it black, thereby

Wednesday, March 1

Calmness in the Eye of the Emotional Storm 3/1/17

Troubles are often the too;s by which God fashions us for
better things.  Image:  "Countryside: Across the Valley by Tim
      Blessed.   Copyrighted photo
      Thanks for drop-ping by.   Please remember the vision for this inn. This is a gratitude journal for those who drop by in cyberspace.

        It's a great feeling, not persev-erating when stressed. Getting agitated

Monday, February 13

Authenticity, Revisited ............ 2/13/17

     How hard it is, genuinely relat-ing.

     It is sensa-tional having a heart-to-heart connec-tion with someone, where we are accepted. What a joy it is, being seen for who we are.  Our weak-nesses are reveal-ed and we are loved nonetheless.

      Expressing vulnerable thoughts.  Scary idea, saying what we feel, letting others know what

Friday, February 3

The Source for Strength, Hope and A Dynamic Life 2/3/17

      It is in our best interests, connecting with God.

     Several hours before work that is something I do.  It is best that before mundane concerns distract us from drinking in His Presence.

     Avoiding the Internet, and video games is a good idea, too.  Little personal growth happens when we are consumed by e-mails, Facebook, YouTube, and TV.  It is better profiting our souls.

      Yes, we can find a biscuit in a garbage can.  But that is not where we

Monday, January 23

Joy, Love and Peace Discovered While Cooped-Up 1/23/17

       Went through a box of Kleenex yes-terday.  My bed and I have been compan-ions for nearly a week.

Insights gotten during this time:

1.  Never take for granted the ability to breathe normally.  I have been abnormal since last Thursday.  My friends will say I have

Friday, January 13

Another Video: The Three A's: Awareness, Acceptance, Action: Getting Unstuck.... 1/13/17

   The key point for per-sonal growth is under-standing acceptance.  It is a critical stage we must go through to overcome difficul-ties.  Acceptance is active.

    It is not yielding to nega-tive circumstances. Nor is it believing there no alterna-tives for our plight. We can transcend whatever challenges

Wednesday, January 11

Being Present Conteracts Manipulation From Others. Also, Coming to Your Neighborhood, A Visit With Your Innkeeper

      I made a mistake.

      I gave a title to a second video I created.  It goofed things up.  I am not able to upload it to my Youtube channel.  Accomplishing this would let me present it here.

      I am working on this glitch.  Being the positive guy I am, I see this problem is

Friday, January 6

The Courage to Wait During Restless Times 1/6/17

      What is written below is a comment from a visitor of this inn.  It is his response to "Expressing Feelings," written on New Years Day.  He sent it to me in an e-mail.

       Please, join me in welcoming Tony Barreto as today's guest blogger!  Let me know your re-sponse.  I appreciate his insight and sensitivity.

      Thank you, for dropping by.

         Dear Innkeeper,

         I love this stuff, too.  Thank you for your share.  I re-read a book I interestingly found at a used bookstore, on New Year's Eve.

         I was familiar with it years ago.  It's a small thin book with 88 small pages. It comes with a strong message.  The book is called Practicing Peace in Times of War, written by a Buddhist monk.

     The main theme was about having the courage to wait.  Wait for what, one might ask.

Thursday, January 5

Discernment Needed For Healthy Relationships. The 1st Video Message From the Innkeeper ...................1/6/17

      Today's content is different.

      And how.  It fol-lows my strongest suit as a public speak-er. This is my foray into using video at this inn.  It is the first of many that will be shared here.

      Today's topic is in line with the previous post, "Expressing Our Feelings."  It deals with discernment.  There are indicators that help us determine whether it is wise relating with someone.

      It is important to know who is safe and those we want to

Sunday, January 1

Expressing Our Feelings, Revisited 1/1/17

        It great expres-sing feelings.

       It helps to be constructive, when we do.  If we are sup-portive and affirming while communica-ting, that's even better. Ongoing prac-tice is necessary if this way of conver-sing is to be a part of our lives.

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.