Sunday, January 17, 2010


Happy mid-January to you all!

This week's word may have you wondering why I chose it for a "Words to Live By" post. I was thinking about control the other day when I was adjusting the firmness of my side of the bed. Yes, we bought a "sleep number" bed several weeks ago and it gives me the luxury of adjusting the firmness of the mattress I sleep on.

As I adjusted the sleep number to make my side "softer," I thought how nice it would be to be able to adjust the firmness of our lives the same way. After a week of 2 sick animals, a husband with dental and vision issues, my back pain setting up camp, a couple of jobs cancelled and a couple of new ones added - complete with new preparations - I am yearning to "soften" my life for a bit. It's amazing how much "hardness" can come into our lives in such a short period - and let's face it, most of what happened this week is relatively trivial compared to the tragedy in Haiti, those who got devastating news about their health this week, others who are on the verge of losing their homes, etc.

Believe me, I realize that my week was a "walk in the park" compared to others'. And yet...even though we know with our minds that things aren't nearly as difficult as they could be (and maybe have been in the past), still it can all pile up on us at once and life feels hard.

Here's the deal, though - even though we can't control the hardness of our lives (although we do bring some of it on ourselves sometimes), there are things we can control ~

We can control our thoughts, for instance. Yes, I know, sometimes those negative thoughts attack us like a hungry lion and we may not be able to control the initial "attack." We can control how long we decide to hang out with the lion, though - and we can also control what actions we take as a result of the attack. Will we ferociously fight back (and kick those negative thoughts out)? Or will we let the lion hang around and gnaw on us for awhile?

We can control what we you really have to bite back at someone who took a potshot at you? I find it particularly hard to control a response when someone snipes at me in the name of humor - and others laugh. I'm getting better at it now though and I realize it says something about them that they feel the need to say it - and something about me, if I can't resist biting back.

We can control the people we associate with...sometimes we need to distance ourselves from people who don't make us feel very good about ourselves - or even about the world we live in.

We have some control over our physical well-being. Even if we are facing some challenges, we know what we should be eating and doing to at least keep those challenges in check.

We can control what we put into our minds...I do miss some news once in awhile, but I have found that shutting out much of what the media screams about the loudest (which, you gotta admit is usually the negative stuff and something I can do nothing about) helps me to stay on a positive course.

So, what do you need to gain control over? Your thoughts? Your tongue? The people you spend time with? Your physical well-being? What you are putting into your mind?

Whatever it is, you can do it...but it does take awareness and...focus.

So go ahead - be a control freak! And I mean that in the nicest way :-)


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