Archive for October, 2013

Home Is Where the Heart Is

October 31, 2013

I lived in Minnesota my whole life until three years ago when I moved to Encinitas, half an hour north of San Diego. The night I arrived in Encinitas, I remember thinking, This is home.

Five months later, when I returned to Minnesota for a three-month visit, I honestly wondered whether Minnesota would still feel like home. Thankfully, It did. But halfway through my visit, I felt something shift. Oh, I get it, I thought. Minnesota will always feel like home. I just don’t belong here anymore.

During my current three-week visit to Minnesota, I shifted again. I was visiting some dear friends for dinner and was enjoying their company as always . . . except I was (more…)

Amira Willighagen—The Little Girl With the Big Voice

October 30, 2013

Amira Willighagen

Amira Willighagen

How does a nine-year-old girl go from obscurity in Holland to international fame in two and a half minutes?

If your name is Amira Willighagen, you step out on stage for Holland’s Got Talent and start to sing.

As soon as Amira, who taught herself to sing opera by watching YouTube tutorial videos, began her performance of Giacomo Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro, the judges’ collective jaw dropped to the floor.

“My brother Vincent plays violin, and I also (more…)

Top Ten Singing Auditions!

October 28, 2013

I love watching total unknowns come out of nowhere on TV talent shows and blow everyone away with their vocal prowess. Here are my top ten favorite auditions from The X Factor, America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

The X Factor (USA) (2013)

Lillie McCloud

Lillie McCloud

Lillie is what Whitney Houston could have been. She’s the epitome of authenticity. You can literally see the joy bubbling up from her soul to pour itself out in every note and every expression. I can’t stop watching her performances over and over.

Click here to see more performances from Lillie.

The X Factor (UK) (2012)

Jahmene Douglas

Jahmene Douglas

I love me some Jahmene! He disappears so completely in his music that he becomes a pure instrument of soulful expression. Music literally saved Jahmene’s life (more…)

A Beautiful Message About “The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life”

October 27, 2013


I received a wonderful e-mail by a woman overseas who is reading my new eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason. Here are some excerpts from her note:

It was the intercession of God’s Will that a beautiful masterpiece of a book crafted in words had to reach me.

But i know, God is acting right in my life at this point in time and your ebook has been a reckoner for me to be enlightened in the true Will of God.

As i unfold my (more…)

Forget Me Not

October 19, 2013

If I lived in Thailand, I would buy life insurance from this company. Heck, i still might! I have a soft spot for commercials that embrace what truly matters in life, what truly has meaning.

I wish nobody cold relate to (more…)

Say It Now

October 18, 2013

offering-flower-to-elderly-womanNext time you’re at work, in church or at a neighborhood gathering, look around at all the people who surround you. You’re probably good friends with some of them and are acquainted with everyone else to varying degrees.

Now imagine if one of them unexpectedly left this world. Chances are you’d wish that you had offered them a kind word or a genuine compliment when you had the chance. Instead, those words were left unspoken because you just weren’t comfortable or confident enough to speak them.

Don’t let that happen. Starting right now, be (more…)

It Is Still Night

October 16, 2013

homeless-man-holding-dogAnyone who considers themselves a spiritual person will affirm sincerely that every person is a child of God and is worthy of respect and reverence. Indeed, the word “namaste,” which is used so casually and ubiquitously, means “The divinity in me bows to the divinity in you.”

Intellectual understanding is one thing. Authentically applying that understanding is another. Whenever you treat someone with anything other than love and acceptance, you are only paying lip service to the concept of namaste. This oft-told story nicely captures this truth:

A guru asked his disciples how they could tell when the night had ended and the day begun.

One said, “When you see an animal in the distance and can tell whether it is a cow or a horse.”

“No,” said the guru.

“When you look at a tree in the distance and can tell if it is a fig tree or a mango tree”.

“Wrong again,” said the guru.

“Well then, what is it?” asked the disciples.

The guru replied, “When you look (more…)

Kindness Is Hard to Give Away

October 12, 2013

This poignant commercial from Thailand-based True Corporation brought to mind this quote by author Cort R. Flint:

One of the most difficult things to give (more…)

Your Old Life Is This Life

October 11, 2013

I’m reading the book, Hope Conquers All: Inspiring Stories of Love and Healing from CaringBridge, by Sona Mehring, the founder of CaringBridge. In the stories I’ve read so far, there’s a recurring theme. Here are just two examples:

Paula Coulter, who sustained serious injuries when her family’s van plunged off a collapsing freeway bridge, said, “Yes, I’m smiling. I’m here. I’m alive. But I would still give the world to have my old life back.” Mindy Fast, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma twelve years earlier, said, “Once upon a time I had a (more…)

Don’t Waste Time Counting Cars

October 10, 2013

In his posthumously published book, I Became My Heart, Leo Cocks tell stories of his experiences with Paramahansa Yogananda in the three years before the guru’s passing in 1952.

At one point, while Leo was living at Lake Shrine, a temple and spiritual sanctuary owned by Yogananda’s organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, he professed a desire to go for a car ride with Yogananda (who was called “Master’ by devotees).

Here is an excerpt that tells how Leo’s desire was granted:

I was thinking I would finally get my ride with Master. I would just be there with him and enjoy his presence. So we got in the car and headed for the Lake. I waited for him to bless me and tell me some stories. But he didn’t do that. He was looking at a newspaper! Then he would put the paper down and see a car coming. Then he would ask me, “What kind of car is that?” Now when I was a kid, I was pretty interested in cars. I used to go down to the showrooms and see the new models and all of that stuff. I’d tell Master what kind of car it was and then I’d sit quietly again. Then he’d do the same thing!

Another car came and another. It seemed like he did that six, eight, ten times! And finally it came to the point where I realized, “Well, I’m not going to be able to meditate and just be with him like I thought I would. I might just as well relax.” I thought I would start to figure out what kind of car it was as it approached. That way, Master wouldn’t have to wait for the answer. I stopped trying to meditate and started watching the approaching cars. Right at that point, he reached (more…)

The Compassionate Cop

October 9, 2013

200380196-001You’re driving around with an expired registration sticker because you don’t have the money to renew it.

You hear the siren behind you and pull over, wondering how in the world you’re going to pay a traffic ticket.

You’re straightforward with the police officer. You tell him you chose (more…)

Father-to-Son Kindness Karma

October 5, 2013

“One good turn deserves another” may be a cliche, but it’s an accurate way to describe the karma of kindness. As Fulton J. Sheen noted:

Life is like a cash register in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded.

It is not ours to know when and how a debt will be repaid. Or that it’s even recorded in the ledger of life. As Buddy Shear of Cullman, Alabama, found out, it can take a generation to pay it forward. Buddy’s story appeared in the September 2013 issue of Guideposts.

He wanted to make his son’s wedding perfect, just as his father had made his.

what-goes-around-comes-around-signFather of the groom didn’t quite have the same ring as mother of the bride, but I took my duties seriously. My oldest son, Josh, was getting married, and I wanted to do everything I could to make his wedding day the greatest, most perfect day of his life. Like my father did for my wedding.

Dad died years earlier and I still missed him. Maybe never more than I did now.

I stood outside the door of a shop I’d never been to and gave the shoes I was carrying another despairing glance. The shoes that went with my son’s tuxedo. That I had promised I’d take care of.

Josh and his bride-to-be, Tara, were about the same height. She planned to wear heels and Josh had confided to my wife, Debbie, and me that he didn’t want her to tower over him at the altar. Debbie had suggested putting stacked heels on his shoes.

I’d dropped the shoes off at the repair shop we usually used. I’d picked them up this morning and the heels were stacked, all right… into (more…)

Thumbs Up!

October 2, 2013

We all ask the heavens to give us a sign from time to time. Rarely, however, do we get the precise response that Kelly Mahony of Charlotte, North Carolina, received.

Kelly’s story was featured in a Guideposts e-letter. Click here to sign up for Guideposts‘ free Mysterious Ways newsletter. You’ll also be able to download a free e-book, Mysterious Ways: 9 Inspiring Stories That Show Evidence of God’s Love and God’s Grace.

Worried after her doctor called her in for another sonogram, an expectant mother receives an unlikely sign of reassurance

Kelly Mahony and family

Kelly Mahony and family

On Halloween afternoon, I sat at work, daydreaming: little Liam dressed up as pumpkin, going door to door in his stroller, my neighbors saying, How adorable…

I stole a peek at the sonogram photo I kept in my purse, still finding it hard to believe that this blurry black-and-white peanut was my son. For nearly two years, my life had been consumed with infertility treatments, pills, nightly injections, and surgeries.

Even at this point, there was a high risk of losing the baby. My doctor monitored me closely. But the day before, the start of my second trimester, my husband, Brian, and I had learned our baby’s sex: a boy!

We had the name picked out. We were still waiting for more test results to come back, but I couldn’t help dreaming: Christmas morning, Easter egg hunts, his first day of school—I couldn’t wait to do it all with my little Liam.

The phone rang, a number I recognized. The doctor. I hesitated, afraid, then grabbed the receiver.

“Ms. Mahony, I’m calling about your results,” a nurse said. “The blood work came (more…)

A Hint About Finding Your Life Purpose

October 1, 2013

Mike Dooley

Here’s a message I received this morning from Notes from the Universe, which are daily e-mails from Mike Dooley‘s TUT’s Adventurers Club. Dooley describes them as “short and often humorous reminders of life’s magic and your divinity.” They’re free and sent out five days a week.

Phil, here’s a hint on figuring out your life’s purpose:

It almost never lies (more…)