The Gratitude Factor

It occurred to me today that as we find ourselves in the midst of another holiday season, we should have many blessings for which to be thankful. If we approach this special time and find it difficult to come up with things that have blessed us over the course of the previous twelve months, then we should check our gratitude factor. I worded that sentence the way you read it on purpose.

You see, I have come to understand my ability to interpret and receive a blessing as being guided by my awareness of the good and true already present in my daily life. The fact that I am grateful for my excellent health allows me to be truly thankful for the overall health of my family. The gratitude I feel for the closeness of my relationships all year long creates opportunities for me to be openly thankful for all my friends and family during these special days.

My friends, I know as well that holidays can bring about memories that cloud our eyes with tears for days gone by. I have my own loss to deal with and this season brings back those memories. Allow those memories to fill you with gratitude for the times you had. Let those thoughts of loved ones be your motivation to make the most of the relationships that exist right now.

God bless you as we enter this holy time. God bless you as you contemplate all that you have for which you are thankful. God bless your memories of all that you have loved. May those memories serve as a reminder that having loved means never having to regret a thing. Love is all that matters... past, present, or future. And may God bless your present. May you receive the blessing in the present. And may you know deep down that the present is indeed a gift.

I will leave you with a link from Mary Robinson Reynolds, Author & Founder of Heart Productions & Publishing. I get these e-mails and they never fail to point my heart and mind in a positive direction. I fully understand how difficult the holidays can be for some of us. I am one who has first-hand experience with loss. Allow this short video to open you up to the good and the true that exists all around you. Read the message and/or scroll down for the movie. It will make you smile. Click here -- http://www.makeadifference.com/Success/081124.htm

Peace for the season, love for your family, and thoughts of gratitude for the everyday. -- jb

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know thy self

i know you think you know you

i thought i knew me too

then i met "we" sitting here

and found it wasn't true.

what i knew i only learned

from others who'd been burned.

they thought that i as well

should join in their concern.

i did because i was so sure,

and i wanted to be as pure

as possible, but i wasn't strong

i was always too demure.

i have my wings now friend

and my heart is on the mend

i trust my mind, i will always be

true to myself to the end.

for you see i had to go

down that familiar road you know

leads to joy, hurt, love, even loss

yet it taught me how to grow.

so i saw my self sitting next to me

i said, "tell me how to be as free

as my mind says i am, and why do i frown?"

i was hoping we could agree.

then self said to me so clearly

that i knew i was taken sincerely,

"you are we, we are one, you've nothing to fear

and i love you oh so dearly."


know thy "self" as the one

be it christ, buddha, allah, or sun

love thy god, love thy neighbor, love thy self,

you are good... so have thyself some fun.

no need to break man's many rules,

just don't follow any of the fools.

remember free is what we came here for

so give yourself and then offer your tools.

freedom from ego is why

you can't wait till "the sweet by and by."

i know that i can know myself now

and i can know "we" before i die.

life is really good my friend

so you are free to buck the trend

and live your freedom right here, right now

and maybe this world will never end.

-- copyright: jeff baker

for my dear reader friends: i write all poetry posts in lower case, no offense intended to deity. i have my rather elegantly understated-i'm screaming-no offense-type style of expression and i like it but i am always respectful. may i also remind you that as i state throughout my blog, for me the christ is my self, but my audience is as diverse as those that he chose to be with, in his day. from my readings in this wholly accepting blogging community i find my self becoming immersed in, i have learned even more about the many versions of the true self that exist around the world. i respect and honor each of them -- for they have gone out of their way to respect and honor me. remember, there is no them; whether you believe it or not we are one. god is one. we are one. so it is. one. one hope. one world... without end.

one peace. one love. one thought: namaste'. (look it up) -- jb


these days

i love days when everything's certain
so why are there days like these?
i can't see the future at all anymore
my crystal ball's broken to pieces
yet when i rest my mind for a moment
i can see that today is still mine
no need for seers, incantations or potions
i can see where before i was blind
i know all is well when i let it
controlling is futile at best
i knew it as soon as i said it
allowing allows me to rest
these days are created for living
no worries, no hurries, no fear
i find that when i am giving
peace, joy and patience appear
let it go, let it out, let it be
live today like tomorrow won't come
remember your choice makes you free
and freedom today wrote a poem
-- jb

i drive myself crazy sometimes by forgetting that i choose how i see it. i see large amounts of abundance, freedom, and peace for these days... there, i feel better already. how do you see it?


the answer

i know of a place so near
how to get there is not always clear
yet knowing i can
keeps me seeking it still
for seeking is part of the plan
how valued your treasure my friend?
that forsaking all to the end
you would search high and low
leaving nothing to chance
it's a promise on which you depend
this place is not there it is here
nothing between us to fear
we seek the same place
moments lost till we wake to
the voice speaking right in our ear
questions we ask not believing
riddles that burn us, deceiving
don't be fooled by the lies
truth is waiting inside and
the answer is ours for receiving.
-- jb
asking is good. if it doesn't make sense, question it, and if the answer doesn't help... keep searching. never settle for someone else's version of the truth. know your truth.


they love me . . .

as i sit with my coffee i see

that today is a great day to be

in love with this life

alive with this love

living free

as i sip from the cup i know

that tasting the moment aglow

with memories of laughter

smiles for those times

when friends take time to show

that they love me . . .

they love me

and as i close my eyes and sigh

i know that it's no lie

these friends are true

the truth is my friend

i am a really lucky guy

because they love me . . .

It is good to be loved. It is good to have friends. It is good to have friends to love. It is even better to be loved by good friends. Today, I want to say thank you to my PT family.

God bless you, and thanks for the memories.

Luvz -- jb


Happy New Year

Christmas decorations have been up since the last week of September, even though Thanksgiving is still weeks away, so I thought it would be fun to get a jump on New Year's 2009.

Now, I don't care too much about New Year's resolutions. I don't make them and most people I know never follow through with them. No problem. I just want to keep things moving ahead, onwards and upwards. So in that spirit, I want to talk about new beginnings.

I always look forward to new things. Spring, a new home, a new plant, a new friend. I like new stuff, and today is as new as any other day so why don't we get off to a good start by thinking of "new beginnings" as being the equivalent of simply having a chance at starting over. A mulligan if you will. A do over.

I have succeeded and failed. I have made it and lost it. I have fallen, and I have gotten back up. This getting back in the game can be described in different ways by different people. One way might be by calling it persistence or bullheadedness. One might say conversely that someone like me is just lucky. Either way, there is something to be said for not giving in or giving up. I am a believer in second chances (I have had my share), and a new beginning is just like a second, or third chance, etc.

The question is: Do I believe I deserve a second chance?

My friend, not only do you and I deserve second chances, I have come to recognize second chances as God's way of saying, "I believe in you, and no matter what, if you are willing, I will give you as many opportunities as you need to get it right." So, don't quit. Don't let the circumstances you are facing drag you down. If watching the news depresses you, stop watching the news. If your friends do nothing but complain and whine about how hard life is, get away from those friends. If you can't get your face to smile, tickle some other part of your body.

You get the message.

It is never as bad as it seems, it never is. And life is really good, it really is. The fact is, whatever we think is bad could be worse, and those things that we hope for could always turn out to be better than we ever dreamed. Hang in there. People believe in you. I believe in you, and I believe in the people who make up our incredible human family. We are not quitters. We have that Divine spark which is inherently ours that kicks in when things get fuzzy and we need guidance. It is good and it is true. Focus on the good and the true. Think thoughts that lead to happy emotions, and leave the rest of it to the worriers of this world. They need something to do too.

Peace is the way, love will help us, and thoughts that are good and true will speed it all up. -- jb

life as we know it...

life as we know it is good

our earth runs just as it should

we can help it along

by joining her song

and not chopping all of her wood

see forests are very much needed

so our oxygen won't be depleted

not to mention the rain

and the carbon exchange

helps keep her from getting too heated

if you think i am being dramatic

the earth could run on automatic

but we were given the chance

to share in god's plans

which i think is quite democratic

life as we know it is good

free will says i will chop her wood

but free will is free

not so for a tree

but then trees wouldn't do what we would
-- jb / copyright: jeff baker

i'm not really trying to think like a tree... not sure i could. but i do think we are about at our time limit for finding new and better ways of producing our stuff while inflicting less (no) further damage to the ecological balance of the incredible, beautiful, perfectly designed planet that we call home. more and more people are waking up to the responsibility we each have for looking out for mother earth. if we don't do it, who will? if we don't take the time to teach our kids, who will teach them? who will teach their kids? it is indeed a wonderful world. i think it is the apple of god's eye... as we are. i think god is prompting us to intervene on earth's behalf by looking at the impact we have had while living here. i think we should do something... what do you think?


United We Stand

I have a friend who is very politically savvy. He recently shared with me an interesting perspective on the overused terms "conservative" and "liberal." He looked up the definitions of these words in a Webster's Dictionary circa 1988. As he was sharing his findings with me, the most amazing thing happened: I decided to write a post.

It seems that these decidedly divisive words (as we see them used today) had different meanings when they first became "famous." In fact, a conservative used to be one who was simply resistant to the idea of making changes to existing institutions, while a liberal was unbiased, accepting of change, and even catholic (universal) in their view of others. (Look it up) And sadly, as I observed tonight, the definitions have not really changed much, but the way some people now hide their agendas behind these descriptive terms has got to be an unprecedented occurrence.

Now, as you know, I do not like labels. However, there seems to be a sector of our society who are conservative by proclamation and who are actually fearful about the election results to the point of coming across as "freaking out." I've read posts calling on us to pray, "God help us. We are headed for higher taxes and interest rates." Come on, we have simply elected an another American who happens to be a Democrat, and a somewhat unfamiliar African-American Senator (got a problem with that?) And some would have us believe that we are on the brink of disaster? Get a grip!

I beg your pardon, this change is good. And I can say that without calling myself a liberal, a conservative, a Christian, a Muslim, or any other worn out label. It is time for change! As a matter of fact, changing the course of American history at this time is not only welcome, it is long overdue. Republican, Democrat, Preacher or Pimp, all one has to do is look over the last eight years and it is clear to see that the American Dream has been distorted to mean something bad to the rest of the world. It has come to mean greed, apathy, arrogance, and colonialism. I support our new president. He is an American; I am an American, and I share in his dream of creating a more balanced landscape not only for the well being of Americans, but for the rest of the world who count on us to continue that dream. Many are counting on us... Why do you think so many people want to move here? What do you think about that fact?

I don't want to hear another person complain about redistributing wealth either. What were the early Christians attempting to do when they started the Church? They shared everything. Stop quivering in fear. Have you even thought about it?

Think. About. It.

Barack Obama's proposed tax plan is nothing new. It is in essence the same one we had during the Clinton administration, and together we accomplished a balanced budget by our participation via our tax contributions. I think that we should be able to agree that the last eight years have sufficiently upset any balance that might have existed, whether economical, social, or international. Let's quit freaking out and saying that God has forsaken us.

I believe (you are free to disagree) that we have elected the best candidate we could for redirecting our government and restoring trust in the processes that govern the people. We as Americans have the historical privilege of living in the era that will save America for our children and their children. We will be remembered not only for electing, but hopefully supporting the man who made "change" a healthy term once more; one absent of fear, one that brings about hope, and for me personally a feeling of true patriotism. God I have missed that feeling.

Peace for these times, love for our neighbors, and no more thoughts of fear! -- jb