Happiness is a choice. Today, let’s intentionally make the conscience decision to choose happiness. I’m going to do it with you! Let’s say this statement out loud: “Today: I WILL smile. I WILL believe in myself. I WILL accept that I am more than enough. I WILL praise myself and others. I WILL appreciate each breath. I WILL choose to be happy!”
How do you react when things don’t go the way you expected? What about when someone says something you disagree with? Once the storm has calmed, have you ever wished you reacted differently? Sometimes, our initial reactions can be a bit irrational, disrespectful to others, and not display a positive representation of who we are. I’m sure we are all guilty of this at least once in our life…or more. (Raising my guilty hand.)
Last night I sat back and watched community members participate in a heated debate. This was regarding the approval to build a swine operation that would house 11,000 pigs. As you can imagine, the discussion included initial reactions that were far from positive. We are all human, it’s bound to happen at some point. The important thing to remember is that we all have our own beliefs, as well as the right to stand up for ourselves. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with voicing your opinion or reacting to others. Matter of fact, it’s a good thing! However, there’s a way of doing it respectfully and productively. I’ll share a tip in a few minutes that will help you do just that.
During the debate, I watched as my father, an adjoining landowner and generational farmer, stood up for his neighbors who had concerns for their children/grandchildren. They weren’t present due to a death in their immediate family. I’ve always been proud of my dad, but last night I wanted to stand up and say “that’s my dad!” He was one of the few that was respectful. As he spoke, you could tell he was cautious of the words he used. He would pause for a second, take a deep breath, then speak. He didn’t attack either side. Matter of fact, he offered up a suggestion that would please both parties. No one else did this…not a single person during the 2 hour debate. They were all too busy attempting to get their jabs in and focusing solely on themselves, while he shared words about both sides in a kind manner. Before the debate started, people (fellow farmers and friends included) came up to my dad. Their reactions to just seeing him present were negative. Before even knowing what he would say during the meeting, they were completely disrespectful towards him. Their words hurt him, yet he handled each word and action with grace.
So what’s the trick to controlling your initial reaction and blending in positivity? Here it is: take a deep breath, count down from 10, and think of one positive thing to say BEFORE reacting. Let’s practice this technique for the next 24 hours. Ready, set, go!
My positive thought this morning is: “I GET to go to work today!” I’m thankful to work for Elwood Staffing, a company that truly cares about each employee and treats them like family. Does your company reward you with a Rolex watch, company-paid week long trip to your destination of choice (for you and a +1), or $10,000 bonus check? Elwood does all of these things and more! What positive thought do you have on this Monday morning?
This summer, Jennifer Mohr began studying for the APTD (Associate Professional in Talent and Development) credential, which is a new offering through ATD. Matter of fact, she was in the first pilot group. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications and being an eLearning Developer for 7 years, Mohr knew she had the knowledge and skills but desired another credential to display and reaffirm her talent.
After 3 months of waiting, Jennifer Mohr recently learned that she is officially an APTD credential holder. The timed 2 hour test was not an easy one. It focused primarily on instructional design, training delivery, and learning technologies. Evaluating learning impact and global mindset was also included in the exam. The 115 questions were pulled from 500 pages worth of content she had studied. Out of the 300-some people who joined the pilot group, 99 participants passed the rigorous test and earned the credential! Jennifer Mohr feels extremely honored to be a part of this elite group!
This week you may have noticed purple weeds like the ones shown above, that have suddenly taken over entire fields. During my afternoon walk today, I caught myself being drawn into the beautiful scenery, smiling with each step. After thinking to myself “how could something so pretty and appealing be a weed?”…I crouched down to take a few up-close pictures. Changing my perspective allowed me to see the weed for what it really was, instead of what it was disguising to be. This beautiful flower-like plant was using it’s beauty to fool me. In reality, this weed will choke desirable plants and crops, preventing them from growing and producing a crop.
Mark 4:18-20 suddenly entered my mind, as it was included in my Bible study this week. “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
We encounter “weeds” in our daily life that try to deceive us, using their beauty as a disguise. What worries or desires of life are you combatting today that are preventing you from being fruitful?
Life. It has it’s ups and downs, laughter and tears, memorable moments and those we would rather forget. It’s not promised to us…no one is guaranteed tomorrow. Yet as we go through each day, are we truely appreciating the gift of life? Or does it seem easier to go through the motions, watch time as it ticks by, dwell on our challenges, and wait for tomorrow to start (hoping for a better day)?
Lately, the second option would best describe me. That may come as a surprise for those who know me. I’ve often had people ask how I remain so positive and happy, with a constant smile on my face, even through traumatic situations. The answer is…I’m not always that positive, confident person. I’m human. I experience sadness, negativity, and struggles too. I need pep talks, encouragement, and support from others. I’m not superwoman.
My faith and knowing that I can trust God has gotten me through the “not so fun” parts of life. Recently, I’ve experienced a situation that broke me completely, and for a moment my trust in everything in this world. Getting through the day was a struggle, having conversations with people without crying was nearly impossible, my heart literally ached. Slowly I’ve started to put the broken pieces of me back together.
A large part of the healing process occurred this week. Josh had business to take care of in Wisconsin and Iowa, so I took the week off to go with him. During the drive from Wisconsin to Iowa we came across a site that I still have a hard time grasping. Rather than explain it myself, I’ll let the videos do the talking…which really doesn’t do it justice either. Keep in mind we were driving down a busy highway in the middle of nowhere.
After sitting along the road for a short while, we realized there were many more of these creatures over the hill…totaling to at least 30, if not more! It makes me wonder how many people drive by and didn’t see this unusual site. How often in life are we so focused on getting to where we need to be that we don’t pay attention to the “now” and appreciate what’s right in front of us?
An hour away from this awesome site, the hotel we stayed at was located on the Iowa River. It was a peaceful view, which became even more eye catching when we realized there were bald eagle nests right outside the hotel. As I wrote this blog, I watched those eagles soar outside our room. Occasionally, they will swoop down to the water and catch supper for their young. One day I sat on the bed for 30 minutes just watching them fly, appearing to be at ease as the wind carried them.
Between the quiet, devotional time I had this week, many “goosebump – ok God, I’m listening” moments, and these two sites, I was reminded that all of us on this earth…no matter the circumstances…are blessed. We are here for a reason. There’s a plan for all of us. In order to truly understand what good times feel like, we must experience difficult situations. Even though it may not seem like it at the time, things could always be much worse. It’s all just a part of life…a gigantic puzzle that’s being put together, jumbled when something runs into the pieces, then starting over with thankfully a few of the pieces still intact. God didn’t put us on this earth to please us in every aspect of our life, we aren’t in control of the puzzle, we are here to live out HIS plan and HIS desires. Who do we think we are to tell God his plan in wrong? The video below was in a book I read this week (Crazy Love), and boy does it make you think!