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


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

The Power of Thoughts

A concept I came across while reading THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D. is “thinking regulates action.”  In order words, what I think about the most is where my actions spring from. Copy of FullSizeRenderIf my thoughts are negative and filled with stress, than my mood and actions will also be more negative and depressive. One the other hand, if I find the positive realities in my environment and consider those things which are blessings or positives in my life, my actions will be more upbeat and positive. I’m not a research scientist, but I do understand that certain chemicals affect our thinking. One alcoholic drink or two can lead to changes in behavior brought about by the chemicals influence on the brains function. This is why we have laws concerning these chemicals. Our bodies and brains in particular use chemicals in many parts of its everyday functioning. Some are depressive and suppressive substances while others are positive and uplifting. So there are chemicals which can encourage positive moods and work with your thinking and there are chemicals which will fight with our thinking and work against a positive mood. What one dwells on in their thoughts either assists the body in producing the natural feel good substances or the negative feel bad chemicals. Open your thoughts to see the blessings in life and meditate of them. Try it for a week or two and see the difference it can make in your life.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope & Laughter,

“Jolly” John


I am learning everyday about things which influence our attitudes and behavior. Today, I watched this TED Talk because I read about it in the Laughter Yoga newsletter. Dr. Madan Kataria has always said when it comes to the benefits of laughter we must, “Fake it until we make it.”  In other words our bodies receive the benefit from Laughter even if it isn’t real when we begin. Our bodies do not know the difference between “real laughter” and “fake laughter”. Humor is a cognitive reality while laughter is a physical reality. Professor Amy Cuddy a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, shares her research in how your body position influences others and even your own brain. She studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom. And her training as a classical dancer  is evident in her fascinating work on “power posing” ! Check this out.

Courage To Be Yourself

Old Port Washington Light

Old Port Washington Light

On August 12th I received a phone call from my mother telling me that my father had died. While he had cancer and it had spread to his bones, he courageously endured until he became so weak he could hardly walk. With a blood sugar above 800, he was taken to the hospital where he spent another week or two. Then to a rehab nursing facility where he was not really happy. All he wanted to do was go home. With my mother at his side, he is now with the Lord. If there is one thing I saw in my father’s life it was the confidence and courage to try new things. He invented a die casting machine, had it built and attended trade shows in hopes of selling his machine to the industry. It didn’t happen. That didn’t stop dad. He continued to think, plan and put his ideas into practice. He was creative and always looked for a good and positive solution to improve the world and the work that he did. In our world it seems as if the media and the dominate culture is telling us that we should be, “Like everyone else.” So we buy the clothing others are buying. We choose houses like everyone is living in. We vote the way everyone else is voting, but does this really bring a feeling of positivity? Or does it really leave us feeling as if, “we are not enough”?  If you are tired of these negative feelings, you have the power to change them. Build positive skills into your life. Write a thank you note to someone who touches your life. Keep a gratitude log of three or four things or people you are truly grateful for. The more you look for the blessings of life the more you will see.

Blessing, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

“Jolly” John


Still Under Construction

The road beside our house is under construction. While I have no idea how long this has been in the planning stages, I know that it has been several years.  Now that construction has begun it is a mess. My website is a mess for now but as I learn it will improve and will the information and resources.  Please comeback and grow with in in Positivity, Joy and Laughter.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope & Laughter,

Jolly John

A Work In Progress

For the major part of my life, I have ministered to people in various walks of life.  As a parish pastor, I stood with the sick, the bereaved, the desperate, the confused, the lonely, the aged, the lost and the dying. I rejoiced over new life as families welcomed new members. I cried as I considered the confusion of our world and the multitude of voices leading bright and creative people down roads that lead away from hope, affirmation and harmony with one another. Following the death of my own son, and the ensuing darkness of my loss and grief, I was given the opportunity to process the stress and the uncertainty of life with a bunch (I really wanted to say multitude, but I’m not sure I even now that many people.)of very special, who had the courage to allow me to lead them through their grief.  During this journey I was exposed to the benefits of positivity and the science based, hard facts, that people have the option and opportunity to get up and out of the mire of negativity. I have come to realize that our culture is what I call, “marinated in negativity.” This  unseen negative cloud that hangs over us creates stress and thwarts creativity making problem solving much more difficult, even impossible. So now I am embarking on the new passion of bringing the Joy, Hope, Laughter and Creativity of POSITIVITY to Bay City of Michigan and beyond. The more people who are willing to join with me on this journey the more joy’s benefit will “broaden and build” as Dr. Barbara Frederickson says in her book Love 2.0.  While I’d love to share all I’ve learned right now, I can’t. But I will tell you I haved  trained as a leader in the International Laughter Yoga organization, and will be showing people what sustained and unconditional laughter can do for them and the precious people in their lives, their families, and others who live in and around Bay City, Michigan. I could use your help to reach the goal of making Bay City, Michigan known as the Joy and Laughter Capital of Michigan. if you hear of Laughter “Yoga”, don’t let the “yoga” in Laughter Yoga to scare you because of past impressions. The “yoga” is about healthy breathing, and moving, and child-like playfulness. We do not do positions. In India they have groups which meet daily in the park to have a sessions before they go to work. The benefits of laughing and joy for stressed people are amazing. Thanks for reading this far. Look for more resources as I build this web site.

Blessings, Peace, Joy & Laughter,

Jolly John Wernecke