Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a  choice. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be Happy   Ralph Marston

It seems a life time ago and yet it seems just yesterday that I was literally fighting for my life. I was severely depressed and in horrible physical pain. I was suffering from migraine headaches 24/7 and the pain and agony that accompanied those headaches were wreaking havoc with my emotional health.

I might have given up had it not been for my near-death experience. After my experience, I understood very well what the ramifications would be if I took my own life. I knew that if I chose to end my life, I would also be choosing to lose God, my family, and all that I loved and gave me happiness.

Upon my return from heaven and my near-death experience, I worked like crazy to overcome my depression. It was an uphill battle all the way – a battle that saved my life and that has brought me enduring happiness.

For me, overcoming depression and choosing happiness was a multi-faceted effort.

I had to be deliberate in the use of my time. My health no longer allowed me to work for pay but I still had to use my time wisely. I spent several hours daily reading scriptures and inspirational materials. I spent several hours a weeks seeing my chiropractor and doing all that I could to improve the structural issues that I suffered from. I spent untold hours reading about health and doing all that was in my power to try to find out the cause of my headaches. None of it was fun and I didn’t “feel” like doing any of it.

But here’s the deal – it was my life and nobody cared about my life and my pain more than I did – not even those amazing people that love and gave support their to me. Therefore, I had to be my very best ally. (We all have to be our very own best ally.)

When we make a choice to be happy – it cannot be conditional. It cannot hinge on if our boss is in a good mood. It cannot be influenced by our pocketbook or our fame. We have to choose to be happy and we have to do all of the necessary internal work.

All personal improvement, including the choice to be happy, comes from within. We choose with our thoughts and our true intents. We can present a fake facade for only so long and then our true colors start to show themselves.

Some of the most important ways we choose happiness is with our efforts to be grateful, the company we keep, the thoughts we choose to think (yes we have a choice), the entertainment we enjoy, the music we listen to, and the efforts we invest in to develop a  relationship with God.

We cannot always choose our circumstances but we can choose the attitude we will have no matter what our circumstances are.

The fight for happiness will not be won in one day or with one small change. It will be won with each day of consistent effort. Some days will be harder than others – but it will all be worth the effort.

I hope that you will choose happiness in your life. I hope that today’s excerpt from the article The Gospel Path to Happiness by Jeffrey R. Holland will further inspire you! I am praying that you will choose to make happiness a part of your life!

Choose Happiness

Second, learn as quickly as you can that so much of your happiness is in your hands, not in events or circumstances or fortune or misfortune. That is part of what the battle for agency was over in the premortal councils of heaven. We have choice, we have volition, we have agency, and we can choose, if not happiness per se, then to live after the manner of it. U.S. president Abraham Lincoln had plenty to be unhappy about in the most difficult administration a president of the United States has ever faced, but even he reflected that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”6

Happiness comes first by what comes into your head a long time before it comes into your hand. Joseph Smith was living “after the manner of happiness” in a very unhappy situation when he wrote from Liberty Jail to those on the outside who were also the victims of great injustice and persecution:

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God. …

“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth” (D&C 121:45–46).

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” That is not only good counsel against the modern plague of pornography, but it is also good counsel for all kinds of gospel thoughts, good thoughts, constructive thoughts, hopeful thoughts. Those faith-filled thoughts will alter how you see life’s problems and how you find resolution to them. “The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:34), the revelation says.

Too often we have thought it was all up to the heart; it is not. God expects a willing mind in the quest for happiness and peace as well. Put your head into this. All of this takes effort. It is a battle but a battle for happiness that is worth waging.

In a popular book a few years ago, the author wrote: “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and … [look] for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness … to stay afloat on top of it.”7

I love the phrase “participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” Don’t be passive. Swim upward. Think and speak and act positively. That is what happy people do; that is one aspect of living after the manner of happiness.

Today’s excerpt from the article The Gospel Path to Happiness by Jeffrey R. Holland is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng

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Miracles are All Around Us…All the Time

Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles Notice Them

I have witnessed many miracles in my lifetime. I won’t be able to list all of them today.

The thing that I have learned about miracles is that they are all around us. The ones that are most dramatic naturally get the most attention. However, the small ones deserve attention too!

Have you thought about the miracle of the human body? The miracle of a rose? The miracle of the spacing of our planet in relation to the sun? The miracle of our autonomic system? What about the miracle of healing?

When you look…really look for miracles, they are ever present and we are surrounded by them! Take time to look and take time to drink in the feelings that will warm you as you seek to see and acknowledge the miracles that God has surrounded you with!

I hope you enjoy today’s story! Remember…We don’t have to be part of a tragic event to understand how important our life is and the potential that we have been blessed with!

Miracles Happen – Brian Boyle true story

They said that I was in God’s Hands because I was; I am living proof that miracles happen. My name is Brian Boyle, and this is my story.

A month after I graduated high school in 2004, I was coming home from swim practice and was involved in a near fatal car accident with a dump truck.

The impact of the crash violently ripped my heart across my chest, shattering my ribs/clavicle/pelvis, collapsing my lungs, damage to every single organ and failure of my kidneys and liver, removal of spleen and gallbladder, losing 60% of my blood, severe nerve damage to my left shoulder, and in a coma where I was on life support for over two months at Prince Georges Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland, USA.

I don’t have a memory of the accident, or the few days before the day of the accident. The first thing that I remember after the collision, which is still so vivid in my mind even today, is being in this very large white tube. In this tube was a boy sitting to my left, and many other boys and girls on my right side (I use the term “boys and girls” because they appeared to be my age); I didn’t know why I was there or how I even got there in the first place.

The more I sat there, the more I was able to visualize my surroundings. The boy to my left had a cell phone, and he asked me if I needed him to call anyone for me. I told him “yes, can you call my parents and tell them that I love them.” The next thing that I remember is waking up in a hospital bed, chemically paralyzed and hooked up to all these machines. Through all the buzzes and beeps going off from the medical equipment that was saving my life at that instant, I could hear my mom and dad telling me in between dramatic pauses of crying hysterically that I was going to be okay.

Only moments before, I believe I was waiting in line to meet my final judgment, but it must have not been my time. Moments later, I had come back to life. This was just the beginning of my suffering.

I died eight times while I was in the intensive care unit and even when I woke up from my coma, I couldn’t talk or communicate. The day that they knew that I would live, was the day that I either left my room in a wheelchair or a body bag. As far as the future, it didn’t exist. Walking was never going to happen again due to all the extreme injuries and because of the shattered pelvis. The thought of swimming was just that, only a thought. Just like my body, my dreams were shattered. But, I didn’t give up because I knew that God had a plan for me.

After spending two months in a coma, 14 operations, 36 blood transfusions, 13 plasma treatments, I lost a total of 100 pounds and had to go to a rehabilitation center in Baltimore. I had to learn how to talk, eat, walk, shower, and live independently again. After that agonizing experience, I had to go to outpatient therapy in Waldorf, MD. After spending a few months in a wheelchair, I took baby steps to walk on my own. It was a miracle that I could walk again, but I wanted to prove the doctors wrong and not only walk, but run. After I accomplished that, I wanted to get back in the pool again. After a few lung tests, I was able to go in the pool a little bit each week.

Before the accident I had three goals: to go to college, swim on the team, and compete in an ironman triathlon one day. After a few months of swimming a few laps here and there with my training partner and good buddy, Sam Fleming, I decided that I was not going to let my injuries stop me from living my dream, and six months after that I began my freshman year at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and also was one of the swimmers to watch on the team. It’s very easy to go through and list these facts and make it look like everything just seemed to easily fall in it’s own perfect little place, but the truth of the matter is that it didn’t. It wasn’t easy, not then, and not now. The pain and the agony was real and it existed all the way through, in the good times and the very bad. It was not an easy situation to be in where you’re laying in a bed, staring at the ceiling, knowing that your life is over while your looking at a priest give you the last rights. I thought to myself over and over, why this situation had to happen to me. I was always a good kid, received good grades in school, and went to church. Why would something as horrific as this happen to me? Why would God allow this? I went on and on for days asking why?

And, then it hit me. All that thinking and pondering on the what-if scenario’s and the questionable doubt only stirred up another question – why was I saved? I didn’t have anymore questions after that. I know what my purpose in life finally is. With the 50 year life expectancy I was given from the doctors, I am just trying to live each day to the fullest and motivate and hopefully inspire other people, in their lives and in the faith. I have been labeled on several occasions that I am “Lazarus-like” because God brought me back to life. To inspire even more, I just successfully completed the Steelhead 70.3 half-ironman race in Michigan a few months ago, and was also given the inspirational athlete media slot to compete in the 2007 Ford Ironman World Championship where my story and race footage was broadcasted in the Ironman show premiere as the main feature on NBC on Dec. 1.

My story is about the recovery and the comeback, but I want to make it much more than that, I want to make a positive impact on the world. I am just trying to live each day to the fullest and motivate and hopefully inspire other people through my endeavors to never give up on their dreams, and to never stop believing in their faith in God no matter how bad a situation is because everything happens for a reason.

By Brian Boyle

Brian Boyle Photos Gallery:

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Today’s story shared from the following website: http://academictips.org/blogs/miracles-happen-brian-boyle-true-story/

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If Any of You Lack Wisdom…James 1:5

If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men  liberally, and  upbraideth not;  and it shall be given him   James 1:5

I learned in Heaven that God is completely perfect and without flaw or lack of comprehension in any way. He truly has all wisdom, all knowledge, and perfect love and understanding.

I also learned in a way that mortality seems challenged to convey, that God desires to share His abundance and attributes with us. Mankind tends to be inherently selfish. God is inherently giving. That doesn’t mean He is willing to give us everything we want. It does mean that He wants to give us everything that we need.

Both mortality and heaven have taught me that when we need (want) assistance from our Creator, the best way to get it is to ask. I have also found that the closer I bring my life and my intentions to God, the more help I receive and recognize.

If it feels like your relationship with God is strained, or needs a little lift; I hope you will take a few minutes to talk to Him. Don’t tell him the things you think He wants to hear – share your heart with him. He knows you perfectly and He knows what you need.

He will answer – not always in the way you want or expect – but He will answer!

May His blessings be an abundant part of your life!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!

A Call From God

One Saturday night, a pastor was working late and decided to call his wife before he left for home. It was about 10:00 PM, but his wife didn’t answer the phone. The pastor let it ring many times. He thought it was odd that she didn’t answer but decided to wrap up a few things and try again in a few minutes. When he tried again, she answered right away. He asked her why she hadn’t answered before, and she said that it hadn’t rung at their house. They brushed it off as a fluke and went on their merry ways.

The following Monday, the pastor received a call at the church office, which was the phone that he’d used that Saturday night. The man that he spoke with wanted to know why he’d called on Saturday night. The pastor couldn’t figure out what the man was talking about.

Then the man said, “It rang and rang, but I didn’t answer.”

The pastor remembered the mishap and apologized for disturbing him, explaining that he’d intended to call his wife.

The man said, “That’s okay. Let me tell you my story. You see, I was planning to commit suicide on Saturday night, but before I did, I prayed, ‘God if you’re there, and you don’t want me to do this, give me a sign now.’ At that point, my phone started to ring. I looked at the caller ID, and it said, ‘Almighty God’. I was afraid to answer!”

The church that the pastor attends is called Almighty God Tabernacle.

Story shared from the following website: http://varietyreading.carlsguides.com/christian-stories/call.php

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Gratitude…It Has Power to Empower!

Gratitude is so empowering that it ignites us to action Ed J. PinegarI carry a card with me everywhere I go – it is not a credit card or a gift card – it is a card with special meaning for me.

It is a Ronald McDonald room card. It reminds me of the kindness of strangers and the miracle of my granddaughter’s survival. Both fill me with gratitude!

During those weeks that I remained away from home and assisting with my granddaughter the kindness of strangers surrounded me. Sometimes it was a group from a business that was extending their support by cooking and providing breakfast for residents of the Ronald McDonald house. Other times, it was someone just asking how my granddaughter and all of our family was doing. Always, the support and kindness we received from others warmed our hearts and made a difficult situation more easily bearable.

The healing power of gratitude and kindness are undeniable to me – I have seen their effect too many times to discount them!

I was not surprised, when I read the book recently called The 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness by Greg Anderson, that one of those laws was the law of gratitude!

I hope you will join me in making it a daily habit to find something to be grateful for! Reasons to be grateful surround us no matter our circumstances!

I hope you will enjoy today’s story!:

The Train Story – a journey, an experience, and a feeling!

I was traveling by train from Circular Quay to Central (in Sydney) one morning some years ago. Quietly sitting there reading, I found myself suddenly listening to the train guard’s announcements. Now train travellers reading this will readily testify that when the guard makes an announcement, rather than the recorded message, it’s often quite dull or hard to understand. Whether it’s the recorded message or the guard’s message, few people (apart from tourists) listen to these messages.

This one was different.

As I looked up from my paper, I noticed that other passengers (previously engrossed in their smart phones or tablets) were also looking up and appeared to be listening. Not only that, everyone was smiling!

Why was so much attention being paid to this message?

As best I can recall, the guard said something along these lines, ‘Good Morning Ladies, Gentlemen and Children, this is the 7.35am from Penrith to Central and you’ll be pleased to know that we are right on time. This means that we’ll get you to where you’re going in plenty of time. And what a lovely morning it is in Sydney today. The sun is shining, temperature is about 21 degrees, birds are singing, and all’s right with the world. I trust you have a great day wherever you’re going. Thanks for catching my train this morning and I hope to see you again soon. Have a great day.’

Wow! Have you ever heard an announcement like that? I certainly hadn’t.

And how contagious was it? As well as getting everyone smiling, there were quite a few people (obviously previously strangers) who started talking to one another. They were all talking about the guard’s fabulous message and how good it had made everyone feel.

I started thinking about this and as I exited the train at Central, I approached the Guard’s cabin and started to thank him, to which the guard replied ‘Don’t know what you’re talking about mate, I’ve just come on’. So I asked where the other guard had gone and he pointed to the exit stairs.

I raced down the stairs, taking them two at a time, and caught the young guard at the bottom. He had obviously finished his shift and was on his way home.

I tapped him on the shoulder and said ‘Were you the guard on the 7.35 from Penrith?’

The guard seemed a bit stunned at first replying, ‘Yes, yyyyes.’ (In hindsight I think I too would have been a bit stunned if someone had approached me like that).

Pressing on I said ‘Well, I just wanted to thank you for your fabulous message this morning on the way from Circular Quay to Central. The message was so upbeat and pleasant. Most importantly, it got everyone’s attention and had everyone smiling. Thank you so much for giving me and the other passengers such a good start to the day. Please keep doing it.’

There are two messages for me in what happened that day. Firstly, when people are happy in their work it shows in what they do and say.

Secondly, the story highlights the benefits that can accrue from thanking people for something they’ve done, particularly when it’s not expected. Can you imagine the conversation that guard would have when he got home . . .  ‘Guess what happened to me today – a customer actually thanked me!’

Written by Bob Selden

Story shared from the following website: http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/attitude/index.shtml

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When You Reach Up…Receiving the Lord’s Blessings in Your Life

When you reach up for the Lord’s Power in your Life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, Power from Jesus Christ will be yours Russell M. NelsonI am a very blessed person. I get to wake up almost every day next to my best friend. I could never prove it scientifically, but my best friend (my husband) and I were brought together by God.

Statisticians probably find God and His micromanagement of this world a statistical nightmare. Just think…how many times has something happened in your life that you knew just seemed orchestrated by God because probability said it shouldn’t have happened.

I has been my experience that there are various levels of God’s assistance. The worst level being provided to those who rebel against and don’t believe in God and the best level being afforded to those who earnestly seek His guidance, strength and assistance.

What level are you? If you want to have the best of God’s Power in your life, it is always available to you. It is always available to each of us if we are willing to pay the price of knowing Him and serving Him!

I love today’s story! It brought such a smile to my face! I hope you enjoy it!

An Explanation of God

Written by Danny Dutton, age 8, from Chula Vista, California

“Explain God”.

“One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way He doesn’t have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

“God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because He hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off. “God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting His time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.

“Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren’t any who come to our church.

“Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind, like His Father and He told His Father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

“His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So He did. And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

“You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

“You should always go to Church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God. Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.

“If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

“But you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases.

And that’s why I believe in God.

Letter shared from the following website: http://www.rogerknapp.com/inspire/god8old.htm

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