November 20, 2012

Too Blessed

READY… "Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received.  Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.  Thanksgiving is the following of that impluse."  ~ Henry Van Dyke 
AIM…  Ahhh, Thanksgiving week.  The one day a year when everyone looks forward to an amazing meal cooked to perfection.  The one day a year folks take time to be thankful for life and all their comforts.  The one day…wait a minute!  Why in the world do we wait all year for this ONE DAY to gather, cook and be grateful?  Earlier this month, many of my friends on Facebook started a daily thanks post about things they were thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving.  All their posts have been lovely, valid reasons to be grateful.  However, I also realized that initially, many of the things they were all mentioning, I was thankful for EVERY DAY of the year.  Granted, it’s difficult to gather the extended family every day (nor do some of you want to be gathered with your relatives every day.)  With working and family responsibilities, it can be difficult to prepare and cook the perfect meal for several people every day.  However, it doesn’t take any real effort to be thankful every day for the blessings in your life.  Just a brief moment while you’re sipping your coffee or during your morning commute is all it takes to recognize and utter words of gratefulness to the one who gives us our comforts, provides for our needs and loves us unconditionally every day.  Psalm 147:7 says to Sing to the Lord with grateful praise.”  This Thanksgiving, let us sing to God our thanks for all He has blessed us with, be it your loving family, good health, financial provision or food on your table. Take time to feel blessed; not stressed.
FIRE!   We all know the typical things most folks are thankful for: God, family, friends, jobs, money, food, warm house, clothes, etc.  I’d like to know what quirky or unusual thing you are most thankful for this Thanksgiving.  It can be the one thing we all take for granted or something completely profound. Whatever it may be, give thanks, for all things!

**For me, well, I am thankful for coffee.  Coffee wakes me up in the morning.  It warms my body when I am cold.  It provides a great excuse to get together with friends to catch up and chat.  I enjoy it in all varieties of flavors and creative beverage and food concoctions.  Coffee is one silly little thing I am grateful for in my world this Thanksgiving.**

Be Excellent!

November 6, 2012

It's Your Right

READY...Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” ~ John Qunicy Adams, 6th US President 1825-1829

AIM…  It was an exciting morning.  I got every family member ready and out the door for work and school in normal fashion.  However, instead of heading to work, I drove straight to my polling place where I, like many other Americans, would be casting my vote for the President of the United States along with many other local leaders.  When I arrived, the parking lot was already full. Wow!  I was thrilled to know that so many of my neighbors and friends were excited to vote today too.  As I got out of my car and walked toward the door of the building, I felt this huge swell of pride rise up inside of me.  I, yes I, Lori Bodkin, was going to VOTE!  Sidebar - I have voted many times before, but never really felt like I did today.  Before today, I voted out of obligation because it’s my civil duty and because I, as an American, have the freedom to do so.  Today, however, was different.  Today, I was feeling overwhelmed with gratitude that I COULD vote.  I am a woman.  In other countries, women do not get to vote and their opinions do not matter.  I am an American citizen.  The men and women in the military have fought and died so I would continue to have the freedom to vote and choose the leaders of my country.  I am a human. I have feelings and morals and values and concerns about the community and nation in which I live.  I want only the best for my family and our future.  Today, I was simply overcome with the idea that other men and women in our nation could also vote and celebrate our freedom to choose by placing our opinions in the hands of God (and the hopefully, well-trained poll workers.)  It was a day I realized that no matter what, we all love to live in America and we all respect the positions of our leaders and all we really want is to feel like we are a contributing member of society.  So, into the building I went and collected my ballot; I VOTED for the people I felt would do the best job for all of us and the rest will soon be history.  I happily skipped out to my car wearing my “I Voted” sticker like a badge of honor.  I hope you voted today too.  Regardless of your political views and opinions, let’s all remember we were originally called the melting pot for a reason and we can all be thankful we still have the right to share our decisions with the entire nation.  For that, we can all be truly grateful.

FIRE!   Tomorrow is a new day!  Let’s put aside our selfish pride and hidden agendas and remember above all else, we are Americans.  We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, and we must continue to be ONE nation under GOD, indivisible, providing liberty and justice for ALL!

Be Excellent!


November 1, 2012

In The Midst Of A Storm

READY Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.  He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.”  Psalm 107:28-29 NIV 

AIM…  Frankenstorm Sandy just moved through our nation with vengeance this week.  What did you do to prepare for the storm?  How did you handle yourself in the midst of it?  Life sometimes hands us our own Frankenstorms. When that happens, how do you respond? What do you do?  

We all know seasonal storms and the storms of life are going to occur whether we want them to or not.  Some folks like to be well prepared to withstand a weather catastrophe with water, food, gasoline in their vehicles, a generator, candles, batteries, etc.  Others don’t get too excited and tend to wait to see what really happens and then approach their circumstances in a more reactionary mode - if anything happens to them.  I find that the same is somewhat true about personal storms. Some folks like to be emotionally prepared by surrounding themselves with supportive friends, reading self-help books, praying and trusting God to assist when life will inevitably get ugly.  Others, however, wait for the difficult situation and then find themselves in the middle of a crisis.  Suddenly, because there was no self-preparation, these ill-equipped folks go into panic mode and stress out over life’s attacks; oftentimes they spiral out of control.

I think we can all learn a lesson or two from this week’s wicked storm.  First, when the authorities tell you to evacuate – you pack up and leave!  If you are in a harmful or difficult situation in life and God nudges you to make a big change to save your sanity or your family’s circumstances, then listen, pack up and leave.  Second, be prepared!  We all know the storms of life are coming.  Whether you are in the midst of a storm, dealing with the aftermath or heading into the next downpour, you can do a few things to make the journey a bit easier.  You can heed the advice of trusted friends and family members who can speak from past experiences.  You can read books, watch shows, attend classes, and take action regarding your specific circumstances to prepare, prevent and be productive when your storm strikes. And finally, you can lean on the one who created you, who knows your storms and when they are coming, and who can be ultimately trusted with your life.  Just ask God to help.  After all, He alone is the one who has calmed the storms in the past and is fully capable of calming any storm in your life in the future as well.

FIRE!   Create emergency plans this week.  Work on putting together a plastic tote with things like water, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, etc.  Then prepare for your personal storms by putting together a support system of trusted friends and daily prayers.  By preparing for both storms, you are setting yourself up for success when the next storm decides to strike.  

Be Excellent!