Wow! A New Post

How don’t know how long it has been since my last post but I do know I need to get back to writing.   I have been reading some new books. I’ve been fighting the good fight of losing weight and gaining a little control over what goes into my body. Or should I say I am taking back some of the control I though was not under my control. Either way I hope that I am on a roll. I completed the Veteran’s Administration MOVE Intensive program which is a 12 day program of classes, weigh-ins, exercise and eating an 800 calorie diet all under the guidance of the best medical personnel in the VA. Since June 22, 2017 I have lost over 30 pounds and I continue to walk around 10,000 steps a day. Many days I do this with Gus, our new rescue dog. I’d like to thank the people at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, Michigan for their tenacity and love in providing this program. So that is one very positive aspect that is happening in my life these days.

As I sit down to write this post, I know there are many negative things happening in our world, most of which I have little control over, but I also know the blessings which are even closer to home. I have an awesome wife of 46 years, who has been with me and did a fantastic job guiding our children into adulthood. She continues to play her violin, viola and sing to praise the Lord and uplift those she touches everyday. I am very remiss in communicating to her the very special blessing she is in my life. In fact, right now, she is sharing a “tea time” with her granddaughter and friends (It was her idea and she provided the necessary utensils for this to happen for our 5 year-old Pepper Sue).  So my life is full of blessings and it is my desire to share the practices which will help to raise your level of “positivity resonance” as Barbara Fredrickson says, in Love 2.0.  (This is a very good book to hep you get started in finding ways to bring positivity into your life and family.

Until next time, Seek your Positivity,

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

“Jolly” John

While I Walk

Today, as on many days, I walk along the Saginaw River as I listened to a book on tape. I finished the newest book byby Glennon Doyle Melton titled  “Love Warrior”. I cannot begin to tell you how powerful a message she shared . She gives us an understanding of what love is. It is a very profound  reality as she opens up about the “rules of the world” she  believed and the way those beliefs or should I say “lies” she used to guide her choices and the choices of those she trusted. These “lies” lead to some very grave problems and separations that have destroyed many people and families. This was the very first thing I have read by the author. As she shared things about her life and journey, I knew such things really do happen in this world but she shared her behaviors. What they did and eventually the meaning these insights opened on her journey of healing. The honesty and tragedy of some of the events broke my heart and I found myself, as a male, waiting to see if the broken bits of her life would ever find a positive resolution. If I hadn’t had things to do when I first began to read, I most likely would have read this book straight through.

Along the River

Along the River

As I finished listening, today,  a ship taking cargo downriver passed by. It happened about the same time the author recognized or shared that she saw herself as a ship bringing gifts to “her people” as she called them throughout her book. The gifts she gave them and us included love, courage, vulnerability, true beauty and wisdom. As I list these few gifts, I know in my heart this list of blessings she bring or gives is very incomplete. I wish I could share all the unique ways this book’s message touched me, I struggle to remember it all at this time, but please know this if more people had the courage to make such a journey our communities would be much better off. Check it out.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

Enjoying the Wisdom, Courage & Vulnerability of Others, Jolly John

A Summer View

As the summer days continue their march forward and the sun beats down many people stay in doors to remain cool. Today was just such a day for me. I really wanted to write another post for this blog and this time instead of adding the pictures as a after thought I decided to place one in the heart of it all.

 

East Across the River

East Across the River

By why this picture? As I I was eating my lunch today, my wife was reading about balsamic vinegar and how it is made. She read that to make it some is aged for 25 years. The person or company that makes this stuff must be thinking twenty-five year into the future. Will there even be people who want this stuff in 25 years? The idea of creating something that takes that long before it is ready to use in a world of instant gratification is so refreshing. It is like taking in an amazing vista for the first time. Then I look at this building and so many older building that were built to last a long time. I also think about the way they must be cared for by their owner in order that to provide for the future generations.

Today, I am thankful for those individuals, groups and companies that have sacrificed rewards today to provide blessing and benefits for those in the future. I know that struggling with  choices today can be very difficult when the resources are not there and waiting is not something I do well, but when I think of what it means for someone’s future it makes is much easier to bear.

Thanks for listening to these words and may the gifts we’ve been give and have been blessed continue to remind us of how we are living for those who will follow us. May God grant us the wisdom to live with compassion and grace.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

Enjoying the Your Summer Days, Jolly John

Positivity, Life & The Wholehearted

Viking Ship

Viking Ship

Sometimes, no all the time, it is tough to be positive in a society that is constantly belittling, criticizing what is wrong ( and there are things which are wrong) and just looking at all the mistakes. The sad thing is that most of us regret hurting others, choosing the wrong path and then finding out later how wrong it really was, but by then it is too late. Remember, hindsight is clear and 20/20. Yet, the damage has been done.

So making different choices and seeking to live with honesty and wholeheartedness will be difficult. You will be swimming upstream and going against the tide. However, the life we create for ourselves and others will be worth it.The more smiles we can give to others, the more smiles we will get in return. The more smiles going on in our world means there is more of the positive, fell good hormones or chemicals coursing through the blood streams in the folks around us as well as our own.

BC Street Art

Street Art in Bay City, Michigan

Taking time to write this, putting words to page and thoughts out in the open, has already made a difference in my life. I’ve said in the past that I’d really like to write more often. So I’m going to make another great attempt to share my thoughts with my readers. I really pray that you have an opportunity to smile today and share some hope and positivity with someone in your life.

The pictures are of some positive things in my life this summer. The top one is of the Draken Harald Hårfagre which is the largest Viking ship which was sailed to Bay City, Michigan from Norway. They have had some challenges as they made the trip. You can read about the journey by clicking on the name above.

The second picture is the Bay City Street Art that was a project completed through a “Leadership Bay County class, a giant, colorful compass featuring a sailboat has been stamped in the middle of the intersection of Center Avenue and Water Street, just outside the entrance to Wenonah Park.” The cool part for me is that they asked my son, Adam to design the piece of art for the project. Again you can check the link for more details.  I am going to try and continue to share the pictures of my journey.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

Sharing a Smile :-), Jolly John

 

Building a Wholehearted Community

The project has begun. I am embarking on Building a Wholehearted Community. In her book Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection, Dr Barbara Fredericton talks about the  “broaden and build” principle that happens as people connect in positive ways with one another and experience positive emotions, like live, hope joy, generosity and many others. I believe that when people are happier and more positive everyone in the community benefits. My project aims to broaden and build this hope within our community using the principles and skills of positivity. I believe we live in a culture that is marinated in “negativity”. The culture’s negative message surrounds us in the advertisements which tell us we are not beautiful enough, smart enough, loving enough and good enough.  Daily the news and other media highlight the things which are bad, gruesome, wrong and hurtful, even sensationalizing it. And unless we recognize how these messages are influencing our thinking, the confusion, distraction and frustrating “dis-stress” they bring will continue to slowly erode our courage, compassion and connection to one another. My passion is to help people in my community see how they might more fully realize a “wholehearted life” by learning to use the skills of “shame residence”, “positivity” and “happiness” to overcome the culture’s negative influence. The Apostle Paul said,”Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.” My project seeks to spread the benefits of “thinking on these things”. We will show others the benefits of using very easy, very simple, small, daily or regular positive skills.  We will communicate how these skills can make a positive impact on one person, one family and whole communities.  If I tell one person or two people, and they each tell someone, we can spread this message. We can help others gain the practices they can use to bless their own lives as well as the lives of others. I will be sharing more about this project right here at Upwithpositivity.com.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

Enjoying the Learning, Jolly John

A Sunny Day

Tree2How does a sunny spring day make you feel?  Even when it is cold but sunny, it seems to add a brightness to my mood. Sunny days seem to hold out so many more possibilities. Could it be that the darkness of gray overcast days really keep us from seeing the great details that add a vibrancy and excitement to life in our world. Our eyes just seem to soak in the light and our bodies bask in the vitamins that enrich our whole being.

However, changing a bad mood into a good mood is not as easy as walking out into the sunshine and breathing in the cool fresh air of spring.  The process is a little more complex than that.  The sunshine may produce a chemical reaction when out skin or eyes sense its presence, which then may tell the brain to release other chemicals into our blood stream. And yes, this is where it becomes more complex because if there are no receptors within the body to “feel” those chemicals the process stops and our mood remains unchanged. Or the change is so small it’s not recognized. Or the change does not happen because there are too few receptors and now the body must produce more receptors, so the “feeling can be felt” and registered as change..  If I’ve lost you by this point in this convoluted process do not become stressed because even though I may not be clear about the way it works, just know that it does.  Yet, also know that the process of changing a mood is not that simple and it takes time. In our instant everything world, however, finding the patience to allow the process time to happen just derails the process even more, so relax.  Get some sunshine and enjoy the feeling, anyway!.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

Enjoying the Sunshine, Jolly John

Joy

Cammi smiles

JOY on the Face of a Dog

Just six pages so far and I am hooked. My sister gave me a book yesterday titled, “JOY,INC; How We Built a Workplace People Love” by Richard Sheridan.” I’ve read the “Preface to the Paperback Edition”, the Introduction and the first six pages and I am excited and can’t wait to learn what this author has to teach.  If everything I’ve been learning about positivity and and hope for our lives and world is true than this books looks to take those principles into the workplace. Dogs are an animal that seems to relish their life of JOY!  The one thing I believe to be true is that it all starts with me, the one person I have any control over.  One of the challenges I have is the recognition that joy, laughter, hope and all things positive are missing in our lives but we have been deluded into believe they are impossible to achieve and if we do they are really not that important to the grand scheme of life. I disagree! I believe these are the very realities that will make the difference for humanity’s well being.

In a later post, I hope to share with you the lessons and skills I’ve learned as I read this book. As information and knowledge increase in our world it is harder and harder for each of us to assimilate it all so that we can put it into use, so I hope my little thoughts and discussion can bring this good information out into a wider audience so that more people can benefit from it. If you learn one new thing that bring a benefit to your life then my purpose for this blog will be served.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

Enjoying the Learning, Jolly John

Words and Meaning

I took this picture on Mackinaw Island looking east toward Lake Huron. Is it just a natural rock formation? Or is it several natural rocks that have been piled up on one another? IMG_0168 Each one of the words in bold above has a dictionary definition. The picture may also be helpful in discovering the meaning of the words as long as you recognize the connection between the words and the picture. But, what would happen if the picture didn’t have anything to do with the words on this page? Everyday our brain in coordination with our eyes, memory and thought processes are making choices about meaning based not only on the words, ink on pages or pixels on a screen but also what we’ve learn about the meaning of those words. If I were not able to remember those meanings, these words and the letters that bring the words and pictures together would not communicate or provide any type of information. Yet, having learned the meaning on some day in the past, today we take this process of reading, understanding and being informed for granted. If we were blind, we’d have to rely on someone else’s description to pain a mental picture and bring meaning to us.

Having typed these words, what is the underlying message? People naturally take much they’ve come to know in the past for granted. The processes that were not so easy as a small child are now forgotten until we are faced with learning something really new. Remember, back then learning new stuff came naturally as we were like sponges soaking in things about our world. Then we didn’t ask if and when that stuff would be useful, we just enjoyed the journey. Friends, that’s the real lesson we adults need. Just enjoy learning new things. It’s fun!

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

Enjoying the Learning, Jolly John

Getting Started

It has been a long time since my last post. A friend of mine told me I should get writing no matter what. So today I am going to start once again. The challenge is writing something that will be worth reading. Something that will be coherent and clear and make a difference for those who take the time to read it. With millions of blog posts flying out into the world wide web, how can the words I write be found, let alone bring the skills of positivity to people so they can incorporate them into their daily lives? I am concerned about grammar and punctuation, logic and value, but will I be able to fulfill that standard. Right now, I am content to admit I am a novice when it comes to getting everything right and perfect before I share it with the world. However, I have insight, courage and a message that could help others and so I can’t remain silent even in the face of my fears.

In Elie Wiesel’s acceptance speech before the Nobel Peace Prize committee, in talking about his experience of surviving the evil of the German Concentration camps, he said, “I must explain how naive we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.” These words echo in my ears as I think of the challenge of helping people to see the dangers that our cultures face from the enemy called, ‘Ignorance.’ Then Elie goes on to say, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”  Interfere when bullies act, when intimidation and shame are heaped to gain power and supremacy to keep awesome, creative people from reaching their full potential. Being and remaining positive helps people by providing their brain, mood and body with the best building blocks necessary for find the creative solutions for peace, harmony and life. The truths are available for us when we listen to those who won’t remain silent.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

Sharing Positivity, Jolly John