Half-Empty : Optimism, Pessimism and Realism

John writes:

I’m getting pretty sick of people with the whole optimist outlook. Call me rude or whatever else, but isn’t it appropriate at times to be angry, upset, etc? I see optimists as people who don’t have the sense to take off the sunglasses when it starts raining.

Now, some people call this pessimism. I, however, argue that I’m a realist. I see the world more or less as it is.

Some say the glass is half empty; others say the glass is half full. I simply say the glass is too big. Maybe the person was expecting too much. I have at this point begun to see the world with resignation. Things are neither good nor bad. They just are.

Thoughts, gentleman?

Dear John,

Bad things happen, and they happen to good people. We live in a fallen world. It is a wonder than any of us are okay at any given time. From a spiritual perspective, I wrote about this in my post regarding the earthquake in Haiti.

While we don’t have control over what happens in life (and giving up control to God is very liberating), we do have control over how we react to them. We can choose to push back in anger, as if we are owed happiness and perfection — or we can accept the circumstances, make the best of them, and praise God anyway.

Another thing we can do is make a habit of doing good to others, even people who are not kind to us. As you pointed out, bad things are never in short supply. Consider for a moment, then, the impact you can have as a person by doing good things to others. Quite simply, it is shocking, heart warming and compelling to the recipient. It is unexpected.

My friend Nate started a site called ItStartsWith.Us — a “club” of sorts (free membership) where a mission is given each week to do something that will make a difference. It could be as simple as putting someone’s cart away in the grocery store parking lot (hmm… might have to suggest that one to him ;) ) or writing a thinking-of-you note to a child who is suffering from terminal cancer. Please take a moment to check out the site. Consider the Change the World statement and the idea behind it. We’d love to have you join us.

Since being intentional about helping others, I have realized just how far a little kindness will go, and how strong it is against the “bad things” in this world. Bad things can happen, but a little bit of love goes a long way.

We cannot see the love in this world if we are only looking out for ourselves.

SJA ;)

PS: You can follow Nate @itstartswithus. Please mention my name when you introduce yourself :D

How About Them Apples? Fruit of Reputation

Japanese farmers around here take a lot of pride in their work. Many of them even put their photograph on their packaged produce available in the “farmers market” section of our local grocery store. I would, too, if I was able to grow fruits and vegetables so deliciously full of flavor.

If you had your picture and contact information on the products you sold, would you change the way you do business? How about the quality of your products and services? Would you be embarrassed or honored if your customers recognized you on the street?

More Than Valentines Day : In Pursuit of… Your Wife

Just read an excellent post, “Solomon’s Song for This Sunday” by Kevin Deyoung who writes to his readers “as one who needs to learn.”

Deyoung writes,

“Even after years of marriage keep using words like “Come” and “Let’s.” Be a man. Be a leader. Try to impress her. You managed to do itonce, but chances are much of your impressiveness has worn off under
the rough edges of career, laziness, and time. Men shouldn’t get married
so they can stop pursuing women. We get married so we can perfect the
pursuit with same woman over a lifetime. Don’t give up the chase


In the book “Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God“, CJ Mahaney adds this advice for wooing one’s wife:

To learn how to touch your wife’s heart and mind you must study her….

Do you know how to surprise and delight your wife in specific ways in each of the following areas?

-clothing sizes, styles, stores
-books and magazines
-the arts
-food [and drink]
-places to visit
-intellectual interests
-and, of course, sex

Does anyone have ideas to add to the list?

What are some of the things you have learned about your wife recently?

What was the best surprise you gave to your wife that meant a lot to her?

Any advice for someone who has lost touch with their wife and wants to reconnect?

Photo credit: WebboT

January Giveaway Winner

This post wants to be longer, but I’m writing from a hotel room and I’m short on computer time!

Shauna’s name was drawn as the January Tamagoyaki Perseverance Giveaway Winner!

This past year has been a hard one for their family, but she is always smiling and handling her circumstances with grace. Her faith remains strong. Shauna has been of great encouragement to me both on Twitter and at The Homeschool Lounge.

Here is her winning comment. :

We’ve been through a rough time for the past several months and even before that because of the economic downturn; my husband lost his job last fall and was unable to find another until just this week (praise the Lord!!!). In the last month, I have moved to another state, enrolled my daughter in school, and started a new job. None of these things would have been my preference, but sometimes you have to persevere and make the best of your situation. My daughter enjoys school so far and seems to be adjusting well, and I like my new job and am settling into new routines. Would I rather still be a stay-at-homeschooling Mom? Yes, and one day maybe that will be an option for us once again. In the meantime, I will continue to move forward, persevere, and take advantage of new opportunities instead of lamenting what I don’t have any longer.

Please follow Shauna on Twitter@shaunarum and check out her lovely blog, Treasure Seekers.

Congratulations, Shauna! You and yours are in my prayers as you adjust to this new adventure!