real secret of happiness is simply this: to be willing to
live and let live, and to know very clearly in one's own mind that
the unpardonable sin is to be an unpleasant person.
those moments when we forget ourselves-- not thinking, "Am I
happy?", but completely oblivious to our little ego--we spend
a brief but beautiful holiday in heaven.
is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can
sincerely try to help another without helping him or herself.
and thanks much for your visit! We're well
a new week in our lives, and we hope that you're
able to make
this one into one of the most special weeks that
you've ever had!
What small things can you do each day to make that
day something different?
asked me once why I paint so many houses and cottages with
warm, glowing windows. At first I didn't know what
to say. After all, how does an artist explain why he
paints what he does?
thought a lot about that question, though, and now I think
I have an answer. I paint glowing windows because
glowing windows say home to me. Glowing windows say
welcome. They say all is well. They say that
someone's waiting, someone cares enough to turn a light
person like me, who grew up in a single-parent household
and often had to come home to an empty house, that
"someone's home" glow is irresistible. It
draws the eye like a brightly wrapped present, a promise
of wonderful secrets inside. Can you see a brightly
lit window without even the smallest urge to go peek in,
to see what the people are doing and what their lives are
like? I can't either.
as I am dabbing brushfuls of golden paint on those
windows--whether on a rambling Victorian mansion or a tiny
little fishing cabin--I am always imagining a world of
family gatherings, of quiet times spent in the company of
almost smell the toasty aromas of popcorn or pie
baking. I can hear the lively sounds of laughter and
perhaps the tinkle of a music box. . . .
too, is what I imagine going on behind the glowing windows
in my paintings.
conversation--about books, about old movies, about hopes and dreams,
about the many blessings God gives us. Conversation that can
occupy a whole evening. Conversation where people's lives
touch in a meaningful way.
That kind of
conversation has almost become a lost art in our high-tech
age. We became aware of this loss during a summer we spent in
a little English village. There, social activity is built
around the town pub. People gather there to eat a simple meal
or drink the famous English ale, but mostly to talk and laugh.
Here in America,
we've installed television sets everywhere so that people never have
to converse. Even restaurants have given in to this trend, and
it is often difficult to find a table where you can escape the
distracting glare of a television set. Have you ever walked at
night by a window where the television light was on? The light
is dim and cold. But walk at night by a window where a fire is
flickering, where a candle is lit, and see the difference. The
warm glow in the windows is so inviting that it draws you in.
It's not high-tech
entertainment that puts the warmth in the windows, but human
connection. It's human warmth that makes up the golden
glow. And I think that most of us are instinctively drawn to
And yet the glow in
the windows is not reserved solely for families like mine. The
warmth is not exclusive, not unreachable. The windows can
shine wherever you find a resting place for your heart.
I think of my
mother. She and my father parted ways when I was very young,
and she has lived alone for nearly twenty years, since the day my
brother and I left for college. And Yet her house always glows
with that "someone's home" light because my mother, more
than almost anyone I know, is serenely at home with herself. . . .
You can put that
same light in your windows by surrounding yourself with your work
and your play and your memories. If you love art, cover your
walls with paintings or prints that speak to your soul and bring you
peace. If you love music, put the piano in the center of the
room and keep the stereo tuned to your favorite station. Pad
the sofa with fluffy pillows. Drape a soft afghan on your
favorite chair--and put a favorite book nearby. And yes, you
might want to light a candle on the windowsill.
You also put the
light in your windows by sharing your life with others. Invite
neighbors or friends for an evening of checkers or chamber music or
conversation, giving them a taste of your life.
But most of all,
you put a light in the window by coming home to yourself. By
becoming friends with who you are and who you can be. by
finding a resting place for your heart.
a place you're yearning to be.
A place where work, home, and play are
properly balanced, where people exist
peaceably, where relationships flourish.
A place where there's time for what's really
Picture life the way you're hungry to live it,
in your deepest heart of hearts.
Picture simpler time.
Like his warm, engaging paintings, this
celebrated artist will help you discover how
to create calm, not chaos; peace, not
pressure, in your own life--a life of simpler
Life Fully, the e-zine
exists to try to provide for visitors of the world wide web a
of growth, peace, inspiration, and encouragement. Our
are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do
mean to present them as ways that anyone has to live
from them what you will, and disagree with
whatever you disagree
with--just know that they'll be here for you
means love for another self not because of any lovable qualities
he or she may possess, but purely and entirely because
it is a self
capable of experiencing happiness and misery
and endowed with the
power to choose between good and evil.
The love of humans is
thus more than a feeling, it is a state of the will.
I don't listen to country music stations all that
much--in fact, I don't listen to much radio at all
because of the commercials and the number of lame songs
that you have to hear in order to hear the occasional
great song. But I recently heard a song by Brad
Paisley that I liked a lot. It starts out like
"I called to say I'm working late tonight
To cancel our dinner date
But she just said that's alright
And just like that she makes some other plans
Saw a movie with a couple friends
Had herself a ball 'cause after all
She's her own woman
Without me, she does fine."
I like about the lyrics is the fact that they go against
so much of the tendency of songwriters to focus on
obsessive and addictive relationships. We see this
tendency in songs that say things like "Without you
I am nothing," "Now that you're gone there's
no reason to carry on," or "Life is nothing
without you." Songs like this aren't hard to
find--they're all over the place, in every style of
music, by songwriters of all ages and races and
nationalities. And they teach an awful lesson to
the people who are hearing them, especially the kids who
haven't learned yet all there is to learn about
grew up listening to such songs, and I know that they
didn't help me a bit when I grew into the age at which I
wanted to start relationships. I had developed an
idea that relationships were all-or-nothing
propositions, and that rejection was one of the worst
things in the world, something from which recovery was
difficult if not impossible. I didn't find solace
in such songs--I found misery, and as we all know,
misery loves company. They didn't make me feel
better--they kept my feelings at a low point, and they
helped to keep me feeling miserable. And because
there was no one in my life to give me words of hope and
encouragement, the words in the songs were stronger in
my life than they would have been otherwise.
I always keep in mind that what we choose to let into
our brains, stays with us. And what we choose to
dwell upon, helps to determine how we feel about lives
Think about being a young, impressionable person and
constantly hearing messages like these:
"I don't wanna live without you, live without your
"How am I supposed to live without you/How am I
supposed to carry on/When all that I've been living for
"Without you, there'd be no sun in my sky, there
would be no love in my life, there'd be no world left
"If you should ever leave me/Though life would
still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me/So what good would
living do me?"
And of course, the ultimate "romantic" idea:
"I can't live, if living is without you/I can't
live, I can't give anymore."
None of these songs reflect love, though their writers
would claim that they do. These songs reflect
obsessions and addictions--they reflect people in
unhealthy relationships who are trying to manipulate
their partners through subtle threats of giving up on
life, or even ending their lives, if the person should
Relationships shouldn't be like that, though. When
we know ourselves well, when we love and respect
ourselves, we know that loving someone isn't about
controlling them, and we also know that we can live full
and happy lives even without certain individuals in
them. Yes, we can feel pain when someone leaves
us, but we know that such an occurrence doesn't end our
lives--it simply causes us some pain that we will be
able to work through.
happiness does not depend upon any other people.
It depends upon me, my perspectives on life and living,
and the decisions I make. What I love about
Paisley's song is that the woman in the song doesn't get
mad at him, and she doesn't get resentful. She
shrugs her shoulders, says "okay," and goes
out on her own and enjoys herself. She doesn't
focus on what she's missing--she focuses on potential,
and takes a great opportunity to spend some time with
other people who are special to her. The choice
that she makes helps her to have a wonderful evening,
while so many other songwriters would have her pining
away at home, dealing with the disappointment by wishing
he were with her, and probably even drinking a bottle or
two of whiskey to help her deal with the pain.
Whenever my wife and I hear lyrics that reflect horrible
relationships, we look at each other and say, "What
awful lyrics!" We never want to get caught up
in that type of feeling for each other; we want to
develop a healthy relationship that allows us to live
and grow as individuals. Our union is a wonderful
thing, but we don't allow our happiness in life to
depend upon one another. If we did, that would
have us creating guilt in the other person if that other
person decided to do something without the other.
My wife is free to do as she pleases, when she pleases,
and if it's something without me, well, I'm just
fine--there are plenty of things for me to do without
pining after her while she's gone.
It's important that we recognize the inputs into our
lives and thoughts and perspectives so that we can be
aware of just what kinds of ideas are being
planted. Do we really want to allow to grow in our
minds thoughts that came from people in dysfunctional
relationships? Not me--I want to learn from people
in healthy relationships, so that I may develop healthy
relationships of my own.
I have never been bored
an hour in my life. I get up every morning wondering what new strange glamorous
thing is going to happen and it happens at fairly regular intervals.
Luck has been good to me and I fancy she has been good to everyone. Only
some people are dour, and when she gives them the come hither with her eyes,
they look down or turn away and lift an eyebrow. But me, I give her the wink
and away we go.
William Allen White
Check out our bookstore,
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Giving is a
miracle that can transform the heaviest of hearts. Two people,
who moments before lived in separate worlds of private concerns,
suddenly meet each other over a simple act of sharing. The
world expands, a moment of goodness is created, and something new
comes into being where before there was nothing.
To often we
are blind to this everyday miracle. We build our lives around
accumulation--of money, of possessions, of status--as a way of
protecting ourselves and our families from the vagaries of the
world. Without thinking, we begin to see giving as an economic
exchange--a subtracting of something from who and what we are--and
we weigh it on the scales of self-interest.
giving is not an economic exchange, it is a generative act. It
does not subtract from what we have; it multiplies the effect we can
have in the world.
tend to think of giving only in terms of grand gestures. They
miss the simple openings of the heart that can be practiced anywhere
with almost anyone.
We can say
hello to someone everybody ignores. We can offer to help a
neighbor. We can buy a bouquet of flowers and take it to a
nursing home, or spend an extra minute talking to someone who needs
We can take
ten dollars out of our pocket and give it to someone on the
street. No praise, no hushed tones of holy generosity.
Just give, smile, and walk away.
perform these simple acts, little by little you will start to
understand the miracle of giving. You will begin to see the
unprotected human heart and the honest smiles of human
happiness. You will start to feel what is common among us, not
what separates and differentiates us.
you will discover that you have the power to create joy and
happiness by your simplest gestures of caring and compassion.
You will see that you have the power to unlock the goodness in other
people's hearts by sharing the goodness in yours.
And, most of
all, you will find the other givers. No matter where you live
or where you travel, whether you speak their language or know their
names, you will know them by their small acts, and they will
recognize you by yours. You will become part of the community
of humanity that trusts and shares and dares to reveal the softness
of its heart.
become a giver you will never be alone.
Truths. Kent Nerburn
A very nice, simple collection of thoughts and reflections on many
of the aspects of our daily lives that most of us take for
granted--possessions, giving, love, money, travel, and many
others. Very readable and thought-provoking, and well worth a
take care that
their neighbor shall
not cheat them.
day comes when they begin
to care that they do not
cheat their neighbor.
Then all goes well.
their market-cart into
a chariot of the sun.
is the privilege of adults to give advice.
It is the privilege of youth not to listen.
Both avail themselves of their privileges, and the world rocks on.
May your joys be
as bright as the morning,
and your sorrows merely be shadows
that fade in the sunlight of love.
May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet,
Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
Enough hope to keep you happy,
Enough failure to keep you humble,
Enough success to keep you eager,
Enough friends to give you comfort,
Enough courage and faith in yourself to banish sadness,
Enough wealth to meet your needs,
And one more thing:
Enough determination to make each day
a more wonderful day than the one before.
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