Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What is it about the word "joy" that almost inevitably brings a smile to your face, if not makes you completely laugh out loud? Maybe it's just me, but simply saying joy seems to always make me smile. It is only fitting, because it would be ironic to speak of joy while frowning.

The realization of this fact though should be used to our advantage. On those days when nothing seems to be going your way, just repeat the word joy a few times and see what happens. Maybe you will find another word that does the trick, but whatever it is, put it to good use. Granted, this always works even better if you are actually worshiping God through your words and in spite of your circumstances, but regardless of whether you are telling Him that He is your joy or just saying the word, it should help.

I guess the main point I am trying to make is that there is always a way to cheer yourself up if you really try. Maybe you need to have favorite funny quotes or words on hand, or maybe it's favorite scriptures. Regardless, we just need to put whatever it is to good use, so we overcome our circumstances instead of letting our circumstances overcome us.

I've heard it said that happiness is a state of mind, and it truly is. Yes, it comes and goes, and you often have to fight for it, but it is certainly worth the fight.

Good Times Daily

Some things to check out:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Miracles Do Happen

So the Thanksgiving break is over, and we are all back to work and life as normal. I hope that you all had a wonderful time with family and friends and are reenergized to face the next few weeks leading up until Christmas. I am certainly thankful for the time to relax and spend with my family.

Saturday night when I returned, I picked up a bottle of bleach to move it, and the apparently busted jug, soaked my best pair of jeans which I was wearing at the time. Though annoyed, I must say I didn't really get mad about it, though I knew they were probably completely ruined. I changed and washed them and put them in the dryer before going to bed. When I checked the next morning, they were perfectly fine with no signs of the accident. It was certainly a nice surprise.

The whole thing reminds me of so much of life though. Something happens that could prove to be detrimental in some way, and we assume the worst. Probably 9 times out of 10, it all works out perfectly fine, and our freak outs were completely unjustified.

In October, my best friend received a phone call late one Friday night that her 18-year old sister had been in a very bad car accident, and they were not expecting her to live. Obviously, that is the kind of news that would get to anyone upon receiving it. After packing our things, around 10 PM, I drove her to be with her family 9 hours away, and we prayed pretty much the entire trip. I guess being a little bit more removed from the situation, I was able to zone in on the peace I felt regarding the situation, but I know had the tables been turned, it would have probably been a completely different matter.

Fortunately, thanks to a lot of people praying, Samantha pulled through and made a miraculous turnaround within the next 24 hours that had all the doctors and officers who had seen her immediately after the accident astonished, as none of them thought she would survive. Granted, she is still dealing with complications from the accident, mainly resulting from the head trauma she endured, but God worked a miracle and will faithfully complete it in her life.

Every day we are presented with countless opportunities to react to people or situations, and every day most of us overreact and/or regret our decisions of at least one reaction. I know it's only part of being human and imperfect, but I know that I want to try to decrease the amount of times I freak out about things and instead trust that everything will come together as it needs to in just a short amount of time.

What is interesting is that when you look back at your life, you seldom remember half the things that upset you in the first place. Thus, today, I guess my advice is to just learn to let things go more often and to believe that miracles can and do happen every day.

Alisha Rena
Good Times Daily

For a few more reasons to be thankful:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Surprise Blessings

So today has given me a definite reason to be happy. The weather is still gloomy, and I am still working. Yet, after 4:30, I am off until Monday. Plus, my boss decided to pay to get my front brakes fixed on my car.

I’ve been meaning to take my car in to get that taken care of the past couple of weeks, but when I took this job two months ago, I also took a rather significant pay cut. Thus, money has been a bit tighter than it was. I’ve also just not really had time to take it in and be without my car.

I have always been extremely self-sufficient and love to help other people out myself, but I have seldom benefited from the other end of things. I guess it could be a bit humbling, but it is also a super nice gesture and a very pleasant surprise when someone does something above and beyond for you.

Something about the whole thing then makes you want to bless other people, too. It’s like the domino effect of blessing. What if every time someone did anything nice for you, you then did something similar for 2 other people? Can you imagine how much different this world would quickly become?

For instance, if someone gives you an encouraging word, you then encourage two other people. If someone buys your lunch, you buy two other people’s lunch that week. Perhaps that’s something we should all strive towards doing. It doesn’t even always have to be the exact same thing, because financially that might not always work out, but just finding two ways you can bless others when someone else blesses you. I’m up for the challenge, what about you?

Good Times Daily

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happiness In Spite of Monotony

Today is one of those days when I’m struggling to think of something encouraging to write. It’s not that I’m in a bad place even, but so much else is on my mind. I even searched to find some happy news reported elsewhere for sharing to no avail today. Of course, the gloomy, rainy weather, the fact that it’s Monday, and the desire to just start the long holiday weekend, are probably also factoring into the dilemma. It’s so easy to get caught up in so many things aside from your current circumstances and wind up just feeling blah.

It doesn’t even mean that something’s wrong with you necessarily. We are only human, after all. So what do you do when you find yourself in a place like this? I wish I had a perfect no-fail remedy, but unfortunately, I do not. Fixing your mind on whatever’s right, true, and holy is obviously a good place to start. Trying to turn off the part of your brain that is jumping ahead of the current moment to everything else is also helpful if you can master that art. Life really is hard, isn’t it?

It’s amazing, that it’s not always the devastating news and situations that can wear you out, but just the every day living and thinking and existing. I guess this all goes back to what I said Friday about having to find time to rest and to decompress.

I think sometimes though, we get down on ourselves for not being over-the-top happy, when life is full of ups and downs. If you were happy all the time, you wouldn’t appreciate being happy. Granted, you don’t want to go the opposite extreme to depression, but some days you are just in the middle. That’s where I am today.

The funny thing is that oftentimes those days when you feel like you’re in the middle, or even the days when you are really sad, oftentimes turn out to be some of the most life-changing days for you.  Perhaps God just really likes to surprise us when things look bleak or mundane and our expectations are non-existent. I think maybe it is because when we create our own expectations, we’re limiting Him and telling Him what we want Him to do, but when we reach the point where we’re just trying to make it through the day, He sees our needs and jumps into action.

I guess that’s why no matter how unexciting or depressing a day may seem, it’s always good to know that it can all change at any second. It’s what makes life exciting if you allow it to instead of dwelling on the nothingness around you and becoming indifferent towards everyone and everything instead. So today, I’m trying to just embrace the monotony of another Monday, and trust that excitement is just around the corner. It may be later today. It may be tomorrow. One way or another it’s coming, and it’s going to be amazing when it does!

Good Times Daily

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today, I find myself realizing how appreciative I am of discipline. Granted, it's a word that few people like or want to hear, but it's amazing just how much you can accomplish with a little discipline and follow through. It's a concept that I struggle with sometimes, and that has been known to stress me out from time to time as well.

Being a very driven person, I have so many things I want to accomplish in my life and from day to day. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming if I don't stop to regain focus, and particularly if I'm not spending time in prayer about what I should and should not be focusing my attention on at the present time. I think we often get so wrapped up in doing for the sake of doing, that we completely throw priorities, and oftentimes, our dreams right out the window. Obviously, people seldom consciously decide to sabotage their own lives and future, but we let so many minute and unimportant things fill up our time to the point that we have no time for the things that matter. Who wants to spend their entire life doing meaningless things and die exhausted from accomplishing none of their dreams? This is why discipline and prioritizing are so important in our lives.

I guess, in a way, appreciating discipline, also requires learning to rest at times as well. In our generation, everyone is constantly going, and we seldom stop to relax. One of the commandments is to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. God knows we need a day off to do nothing but rest in Him and to just rest in general. As counterintuitive as it may seem, you can often accomplish so much more in life, when you actually schedule in some time to sleep a little later, do the fun things you never get around to anymore, and to even just be a bum from time to time.

So my challenge to myself and to you today is to think about what things you are letting slide that you need to be doing, what things you can let slide and stop doing, where can you make time this weekend and following week to do something fun you have not done in a while, and finally to take the time to schedule at least an hour to just rest. Maybe resting to you looks like watching a movie or TV, spending an hour alone with God, or soaking in the bathtub for a while. Just figure out what it is you need to do to unwind and for once follow through. If we are ever going to get where we want to go in life, we are going to need our good friends discipline, prioritization, and rest to help us get there, so let's get all three in our corner and forge ahead to bigger and better things.

In skimming the news today, I read that the theater in Opry Mills Mall is reopening today for the first time since the flood in May of 2011. I cannot help but think, what if the people of the city had just decided it was ruined and that they did not have time to follow through with restoring it? Yet, how many of us allow our past trials and obstacles to prevent us from continuing on with the dreams God has given us? This world would be a miserable place if everyone gave up all the time, and not to mention quite a devastated place to live if no one ever took the time to rebuild after tragedy struck. So toss all of your excuses aside, let go of past hurts, and let's start building towards our dreams and futures.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Good Times Daily

Now, if you haven't already heard this story, it's one of the best I've read in a while, so hope you enjoy:

Also, if you want to test your Bible knowledge, here's a quiz from the front page of our local paper today:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Welcome to the Good Times Daily!

If you ever get tired of only hearing and reading negative news from reporters and the people in your life, you have come to the right place. In an effort to bring a little lightheartedness and encouragement to your day, I am starting my own “paper,” devoted solely to sharing the positive things I experience in my own life, as well as the positive news I discover from the world around me. The world can be such a dark and miserable place, so it is my hope to be able to shine a little light into the darkness and warm your soul with cheerfulness.

You might wonder how I have so much happiness to share. Well, the truth is that my life is far from perfect and nowhere near how I thought it would turn out at this point in the game, but I have God on my side and hope in my heart. As I am obviously human, I have gone through times when I was way too down in the dumps about my circumstances, and I have just made a choice to focus on more positive things instead. This blog will share some of the results of this effort, as well as display quite a bit of my random and silly humor.

Besides, I have plenty of reasons to be happy. For one thing, I am a young, hot female, and therefore I don’t have to deal with a sternum bush (A.K.A. chest hair), so what’s not to be happy about and thankful for? Maybe I am not in my dream job just yet, but I will be soon, and until then I work on music and write this blog and books as my creative outlets. God is good, and life is good. As a song I wrote with my friend Nicole says, “Good times, good times. These are the good times. I believe I’m gonna see the good times rolling right in front of me.”

So if you are a bibliophage who thinks you can handle some good news and a whole lot of silliness then here you go….

Alisha Rena
Good Times Daily