Thursday, February 7, 2008

Day 100 - Spread the Word

The 100 Days of Love has been a great experience for me. I have learned so much about love and the many different qualities. There is so much power in love... and that power has a much more lasting effect than hate or fear. I was talking to my dad the other day about what it takes to make changes in the world. We talked about how awareness is just the first step. I hope by doing this blog many of you have become more aware of love and how to give it, I know it has for me. The next step in making change is doing something. That is why I did this blog... I wanted to do something, and I wanted to do something bigger than myself. My final challenge to you all in the 100 Days of Love is to go and do something bigger than yourself. Make a difference in the lives of those around you.

I would also like to ask you all to share with us the difference that 100 days of love has made in your life. This can be done via email ( ) or by simply commenting below.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Day 99 - The Big Give

Oprah is doing something right now that she calls "The Big Give." She gives $100,000 to people with the instructions that they must use it to help as many people as possible, and they cannot use any on themselves. The person who is able to help the most people is rewarded one million dollars. This got me thinking. If I had $100,0000 what would I do to help people? What could I do to really reach out and touch others and make a difference in their lives? So I pose the same question to you all. What would you do if given that opportunity?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Day 98 - Physical Touch

I had an interesting experience in one of my classes today. Without going into all the details, I learned a very important lesson about the power of touch. We did an exercise where we talked about the emotions of another class member. We stood behind them with our hands on their shoulders and talked as if we were them. As I participated the depth of care and concern about my classmates increased dramatically. I thought about how the activity would have been different had we not stood behind and had the physical contact. I know I would not have felt the depth of what others said. There is power in being physically connected to another in a caring way. Some of us need that power of human touch to feel the love others have to share. This can come in the form of a hug, handshake, or just putting your hand on another's shoulder. Let others FEEL the love and care you have for them.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Day 97 - Optimism

There are so many challenging and unhappy things in our lives begging for our attention. The more we give it our attention, the more of it we notice. The more we notice the negative, the less capable we are to see the good and spread love. Let's all have an optimistic outlook on life. My optimistic thought for the day: All the snow my area has been getting lately will help fill the resevoirs and help get us out of the drought.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Day 96 - Purposeful Sorrow

I was watching the funeral of a man I deeply respected today. His daughter was speaking about his life about when he lost his sweet wife a couple of years ago. She spoke of his overwhelming grief and how he expressed this to those around him. The words she spoke next really hit me. She said that this experience (and I paraphrase) carved out a deeper well of compassion and love in him as he made purpose out of the suffering. It made me think about how I react to the trials in my life. I must admit, I often resort to upset and bitter feelings more often than I would like. However, there is great truth that we can allow our hardest trials and sorrows to deepen our capacity for empathy and love.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Day 95 - Loving Our Bodies

Today I went to a yoga class, and one of the basic premises of yoga is tuning yourself into what your body is trying to tell you. The instructor even encouraged us to thank our bodies for the power of movement. Every ligament, joint, tendon, socket, down to the last cell, is a miracle. We forget sometimes what exactly goes into even the smallest twitch. We should do everything possible to be grateful for and take care of our bodies. It sounds trite but it really behooves us to eat well, sleep and excercise. (AND STAY THE HECK AWAY FROM TANNING BEDS!!!) This is different than loving oneself. This is taking care of our bodies so our bodies can take care of us and the people that we LOVE.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Day 94 - Prejudice?

My dad sent me an email yesterday of some thoughts he has had lately. I thought I would share it with all of you as it is very powerful and an important element of love.

"Why is there prejudice in the world? I was talking to Marzia, one of my assistants whose family escaped the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan when she was just 5 years old, about an article in the most recent National Geographic about one of the several traditional tribes of people in Afghanistan that is considered inferior by all the other tribes and has been for centuries. They are descended from the horde of Genghis Khan who intermixed with the locals. Because she shares features with these people although none of her siblings do, she was teased a lot as a little girl. The words to the song from the musical South Pacific came to mind:

You have to be taught to hate and fear!
You have to be taught from year to year
It has to be drummed in your sweet little ear.
You have to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade.
You have to be carefully taught.

You have to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate.
You have to be carefully taught.

TIL: Prejudice is a silly, irrational behavior that serves only to make one’s group feel elite only to itself. It is divisive, and along with religion, causes much hate and alienation in the world. Anti-love.

To do: Make a list of my prejudices and analyze them. Examine how they get in the way of love.

I am fortunate to have friends from many different backgrounds so I can expand my ability to love all."

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 93 - Surprise Someone

Our daily routines can often become very monotonous. While we may not be bugged by that fact, this does not take away from the fact that a little variety or surprise can go a long way in making someone happy or cared about. Do something out of the ordinary or unexpected to show your love and see how your efforts can increase your love for that person.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 92 - Inconvenience Yourself

A friend of ours came over last night and was telling us about his day. He shared that while he was driving home from school he saw a guy in a backpack running and thought he should see if the guy needed a ride. He passed him, and by the time he got home he felt bad for doing this, so he turned around and caught up to the guy. Just as he got to him the man's bus pulled away and he had missed it. So, he picked him up and took him to school. This happened a couple more times during the day, and he was able to help a couple more people get to school on time (and out of the cold weather for a couple minutes).
This made me think about the person I know that has most embodied love. He was constantly serving and loving others, and often did this while he was his way to do something else. He took time out to serve and love because that is what this life is really about anyways.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 92 - Wikipedia's version...

The word love has many different meanings in English, from something that gives a little pleasure ("I loved that meal") to something one would die for (patriotism, family). It can describe an intense feeling of affection, an emotion or an emotional state. In ordinary use, it usually refers to interpersonal love. Probably due to its psychological relevance, love is one of the most common themes in art and music.

Just as there are many types of lovers, there are many kinds of love. Though love is inherent in all human cultures, cultural differences make any universal definition difficult to establish.[1] One definition attempting to be universally applicable is Thomas Jay Oord's: to love is to act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others (including God), to promote overall well-being. This definition applies to the positive connotations of love.

Expressions of love may include the love for a "soul" or mind, the love of laws and organizations, love for a body, love for nature, love of food, love of money, love for learning, love of power, love of fame, love for the respect of others, etcetera. Different people place varying degrees of importance on the kinds of love they receive. According to philosophers, the only goal of life is to be happy. And there is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved. Love is essentially an abstract concept, much easier to experience than to explain.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day 90 - Memories

This morning I was checking up on some friends blogs and came across a slide show of some wonderful memories of our younger days. It's amazing how memories of the past can brighten our day so quickly. Let's brighten others days be sharing the wonderful memories we have with them.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day 89 - Share

We each have been given many things in this life. If we were to take all the gifts, talents, goods, etc. in the world and made them accessible to all, the world would not have any needs. And yet we are surrounded by people in need every day. Sometimes these needs are physical/tangible, other times they are emotional/spiritual. We never know how we might bless the lives of others and fill their needs until we start sharing the things we have with them. What a blessing it is to share what we have been given with others.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Day 88 - Love the Earth

Today we had the wonderful opportunity to go hiking in the desert with some great friends. Being outside, where things haven't been developed, always puts new energy into my soul. I hope places like that will be preserved so that my children and others can enjoy them the way I do. And yet as we walked, there were several places where man had made his mark with deserted trash. I am shocked by how others can just leave trash lingering in the most beautiful places. It is so degrading to the beauty that has been given us. It is a selfish and thoughtless act, not only to the Earth, but to those who come after us. Lets all do our part to preserve the beauty around us, and to clean up the trash left by others.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Day 87 - Conversation

I am grateful for my wonderful wife for many reasons. One of these is because she is a great conversationalist. I love to wake up in the morning and just lay in bed talking to one another. There is something about talking with others, fully invested, that draws one closer to the person with whom they are talking. There are so many people in the world who just need someone who will have a real conversation with them. Let's all take the time to just talk and enjoy one anothers company.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day 86 - Anticipate the Need

Hi everyone, it's the wife...My husband has a horriffic schedule today. No wonder there isn't any blog yet (it's about 7 p.m.) I know he really cares about the blog and hopes to finish it every day in the morning so all of you can read it. I guess you could say that he loves you. And I love him. I'm going to shout it from the rooftops! Anyway, this is how I'm going to show my love for him today. He's going to come home at 9 tonight (he leaves at 8 a.m.) and have a few things to do before he crashes, but this blog will not be one of them because I already did it. I anticipated his need. Do you think it's going to work? I hope so. The message today? Try to do something for someone to make his/her life a little better. Anticipate that need before it even comes up.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Day 85 - Lust?

Our carnal passions can be a huge block to genuine love. This does not primarily refer to passions of a sexual nature. For some it may be for attention, for others it may be for food. Whatever it is we lust after, it tends to lead us towards selfishness. We quickly decrease our ability to care for others the more we give attention to our lusts. Therefore, in order to fill our lives with love, we must keep our passions, or lusts, in check and under control.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day 84 - Set Goals

Sometimes it is difficult to increase our love when we simply say, "I am going to be more loving today." I know it is hard for me to do this as the day gets going and all the issues of life toot their horns at me. However, if I can set a specific goal of what I am going to do each day, I am more apt to accomplish it. For example, I could say, "I am going to compliment 3 people today" or "I am going to write 10 Thank You notes this week." Set specific goals for how you can increase you love.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 83 - Enjoy the Moments

Even on days when things are not going very well there are moments that are pleasant and loving. Waking up to snow this morning could have been nice, but I had things to do that made it just cold. Also, some plans for the day had to get changed unavoidably. Yet, in each of those things... there were moments full of love. Early this morning, out in the snow, I paused to talk to one of my older neighbors who was out shoveling his driveway. I was able to chat and share a nice moment joking with him. Later in the day, my wife and I seized the spontaneous moment to just dance together in the kitchen to the music that was playing in the background. Our young son just smiled at us and laughed. These are the moments we must focus on when things do not go as planned, and then cherish them and let them enrich our lives.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Day 82 - 10 Ideas to Show Someone That You Care

1.Play! This works for children, spouses, neighgbors, etc. Invite them to play a game with you. They will love it and so will you.
2.Get Active – After dinner, go for a walk. Feel-good endorphins will generate feelings of happiness.
3.Make a Card – It is easy and very thoughtful. Everyone loves to get a valentine!
4.Boogie Down – Share moments dancing together or just enjoying music!
5.Say it Sweetly – Cooking is one of the oldest and best ways to convey your adoration. If you aren’t up to cooking or baking, share a box of sweets.
6.Look for the Good – Tell someone in a note or verbally what your favorite thing about them is. Honest praise is remembered longer than a gift.
7.Make Coupons – Easy enough for kids to make, they can be redeemable for just about anything; a hug, a kiss, chores, etc.
8.End a Fight – Be the first to say, “I’m sorry” This inspires a lot of love.
9.Fill the Days – Write down silly and serious reasons you love someone on his/her calendar. It will make them smile all year.
10. King/Queen of the Day – Treat someone like it is his/her birthday even if it is not.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Day 81 - Think Before You Talk

I am so thankful I have a slow tongue. I know I would get myself into trouble if I said a lot of the things that came into my head immediately. The 100 Days of Love has been a blessing for me because it has given me something to measure up my thoughts to. Before, I might have been ok with some of my thoughts, but now I am amazed by the quantity of unloving thoughts that swirl around in this noggin of mine. I have been able to work through my thinking and change my thoughts. Sometimes it is hard, but it definitely feels better to have more loving, understanding, and merciful thoughts towards others. Hopefully this can be seen as I let these new words out of my mouth.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 80 - Quality Affirmations

A wonderful way to show love to others is by letting them know the things they are doing well. However, in doing this, it is much more effective to be specific in our praise. For instance we could say, "good job, you are good at that." But it is more effective to say, "I like the way you smile at others. It really makes me and them happy." This shows the person why you think they are doing something good, and it is much more personal. This is especially important when giving children praise.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 79 - Love a Stranger

Today I am going to try to show love to a stranger. I am going to smile and genuinely thank the person in the check out line. I am going to pop that door open for the person coming in behind me. I am going to be courteous to others while I share the road with them. Why? Because we are all connected. We to them and them to us, and somehow, the fruits of those relationships is what nourishes our souls. If we sow anger, our soul will reap it. If we take time to nurture our relationships with family, friends, and yes, even strangers our souls will reap the benefits of pure love.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day 78 - Understanding & Boundaries

In answer to a comment from yesterdays post.... It is often very hard to continue loving someone when that person continues to do or say hurtful things to you. This is especially hard when that person should be one of your closest allies and supports. Often, others do not know of the impact their words have on us... sometimes they don't care. Yet does that qualify us to step away from our own loving sphere and enter another's of malice and discontent? One hard element of love is understanding that others attitudes and hurtful words are not always about us. It is about them... and how they have experienced (or not experienced) love in their lives. Maybe they are hurting inside and do not know how to make themselves feel better. At times we ourselves bring others down in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. Sadly, this is just a temporary and false solution... the problem still remains. So how do we deal with these people in our lives? I confess I do not have all the answers. All I know is that the answer lies somewhere in love. I also know that setting boundaries and holding to them is one way of showing love to ourselves and those who try to cross them. Firmness does not take away love... sometimes it solidifies it.

For those who veiw this blog, I would appreciate feedback and help to answer some of the difficult questions of love. I am no expert, but I know we each have experiences and successes that have taught us more about genuine love.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day 77 - Build Up (Not Put Down)

I find in my life that when people point out the things that I am doing well I am so much more likely do continue doing it. Also, I feel closer to the people who are building me up. There are millions of people out there that do not feel good about themselves because of the things that others have said to them. What they need now more than anything is for others to believe in them, support them, and build them up. Let's be that agent for change in others life by building up all the people around us and filling their lives with love.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Day 76 - People are Individuals

Each and every one of us is unique and has our own set of beliefs and experiences. As such, we have learned different ways of dealings with things in our lives. Parents will admit that what worked for one child did not necessarily work for the next. So they learned to adapt to the needs and personalities of each child. We come in contact with many people each day and these people are as unique and different as one child is from the next. If we could learn to treat people as the individuals they are, rather than trying to lump them into categories, we will find our capacity to love them grow. We will be more understanding, and we will take the time necessary to get to know them.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Day 75 - Appreciation

I would like to show my appreciation to my mother for taking over the blog for a couple of weeks. I had to take my computer in to get fixed, and she took over for a couple days while I was computerless. She enjoyed doing it so much, and I was busy with life stuff, that I let her keep going. She did a marvelous job of inspiring us in new ways of love. In each of our lives we have people that support us and strengthen us in various ways. Some we may not even recognize. How important it is to show and give appreciation to those who support us. Take time out of the day to address those people in whatever way possible and let them know how much we appreciate the things they do for us.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Day 74--Journaling

We often have significant experiences in our lives. As the years go by, we remember some of the details. It is always fun to go back and read any of the experiences we wrote down. Journaling is a wonderful way to remember what is happening in our lives. It has several useful purposes. One is that as we write, we are able to clarify what we have thought or experienced. That alone can give us perspective. Another is that we can see how we have grown, or what we have learned when we look at the writing another time. Another is that sometimes others can benefit from reading what we have written. Our family members would benefit from reading and knowing about our lives. Another fun thing would be to write about your loved ones and tell stories about them. Journaling is a great way to record your memories and feelings.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Day 73--Good Health

Oftentimes we take our good health for granted. We don't notice how well our bodies function until something goes wrong. A year ago Bryce seemed to be fine, and today he is gone from us physically. Just like we need to watch our interactions with the sun, we need to be conscious of what it requires to have good health. There are no shortcuts to optimal health. There are the big 3: diet, exercise and rest. One of our gifts to ourselves (first) and our loved ones is to take care of our bodies. We don't need to be unrealistic in our goals. But I believe it is a very important priority to take care of my body so it can serve me, and then I can serve others.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day 72--Thanks and Please

I remember a song I learned when I was little. The words are: "There are two little magic words that can open any door with ease. One little word is thanks and the other little word is please. Oh, you will be surprised what these two little words can do. One works like a charm for me and the other's like a charm for you." I was thinking about how powerful it is when I use these words, or when others use them to me. A genuine thanks can really make my day. I may be thinking how I appreciate what you do, but if you can't read my mind, how do you know? I'm going to try and tell people THANKS more today.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Day 71--Be Positive

When you see a cup with water in it, do you notice it is half full or half empty? The same amount of water can bring different perspectives. We can anticipate seeing the optimistic side of things rather than the pessimistic side. Realities are what they are. We might have health challenges, financial problems, relationship issues, etc. But our attitude towards them will be a big part of the battle. I want to choose to look at things with a positive spin. I find my quality of life is much happier if I laugh than if I feel depressed. There are certainly sad things for all of us. But we lose our power if we give into the sad things. We keep our power by being proactive and positive. Look back at the different days and remember the fun positive things you can choose. I'm going to smile today!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Day 70--Patience

Lily Tomlin said "The trouble with the rat race is even when you win, you're still a rat." We get so caught up in the busy world, that we don't always enjoy life. The insanity of hurriedness has permeated every facet of life and prevents us from being able to enjoy our friends, families and ourselves to the fullest. Our lives would be richer if we would take time to "smell the roses." Patience is not only a virtue, but it can also be the road to mental and physical well-being. Maybe we can slow the processes down so that we can enjoy our lives more fully. Life is more of a journey than a destination, so what's the hurry?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Day 69--Schedule Priorities

We get such busy lives. Often we look at our daily tasks and think about the lists of things to do. We have learned to schedule our priorities for the day. But perhaps an even greater way to look at our lives is to think about what our priorities truly are. Sure we have the daily things we must do. But what about the really important things--building our relationships. Perhaps the one you need to nurture is yourself. When you look at your week ahead, you can plan to take care of important things to you, often that are not demanding. Schedule your priorities more than prioritize your schedule. That might mean taking time to go to lunch with a friend, write in a journal, email a good friend, etc. We have to think about these things ahead of time. They won't just show up on our list of things to do. I found I sometimes took Wednesday mornings to do some of these kinds of things and I was amazed how much better I felt when I planned in things that really mattered to me that I never seemed to get around to otherwise. I wondered why I often did jobs that were not fulfilling regularly, but neglected some meaningful things. I know with planning I can choose to do things that matter. Schedule some priorities and see how good it feels!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Day 68--Reason for living

I was listening to some music this morning and heard an old song. I thought about the lyrics and they were: "Love is nature's way of giving a reason to be living." What a wonderful thought! Our lives are so much happier and fulfilled if we have love in them. There are possibilities everywhere. There are different levels of love. It is loving to just be kind and smile at the people we casually meet. But the deepest reason to love comes from having meaningful connections. There is a purpose to loving. I am excited that our world has embraced more people being able to tell others that they love them. See how many people you truly love today, and TELL THEM!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Day 67--Seasons

We recognize the seasons of the year. Right now we are reminded about winter with all the snow we have received. It is beautiful--but cold. It's always amazing to think that spring will follow winter. If I can hang on through this cold season, I will feel something warm and beautiful soon. Each season has it's beauties, it's lessons, and it's challenges. I prefer spring and fall to winter and summer. But I can learn to enjoy all of them. (I'm glad to live in a place where we experience 4 different seasons.) We have seasons in our loving as well. Sometimes I am warm, sometimes I am cold. But the warmth brings more blossoms, more fruit. I look forward to some rich times ahead because I know it is my choice to make this a season of joy and caring for others. I choose to have a warm heart, not a cold heart. I determine my own seasons.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Day 66--Our View

How we treat others is determined by how we "view" others. We typically think it's by how we treat others. Our view about others matters a lot. It's easy to see our involvement as a task to be accomplished, or not as an individual but as a member of a group, or as a pest or nuisance, or for what they can do for us. But the way we look at them is very important. When we "view" them as important, we find we have a greater capacity to love them.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Day 65--Tender Mercies

Today I saw the tender mercies. Someone who had made some serious mistakes was given another chance to prove that he could make better choices in the future. Our lives are a series of choices and consequences. Sometimes we don't make the connection between a choice we made and how it affects our own life and the lives of others. Or other times we are very critical of someone else and their choices. If we got what we deserved, it would be a very sad state. Hopefully we can get better than we deserve. I want to look at others and give them the benefit of the doubt. I believe that everyone has a story. When we know about that story, we can love them--often more than before. I want to extend mercy to others the same way I want that for myself. I don't want to be the judge, I don't have all the information. Leave that to someone else. What a great experience it was to watch this friend get a second chance today. I want to give others another chance in my efforts to be more loving.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Day 64--Looking Ahead

It's 2008! It is always so busy with the holidays. It's nice to have sweet memories of the things that happened this year. But it's time now to look ahead and see what's coming for 2008. I remember a story about a group of POW's that were caught in the war. They were each interviewed to see what they had planned for their lives. The ones that didn't know were held in light security. But the ones who had actual goals and knew what they wanted in life were kept in maximum security. They were the ones that they knew could come up with plans to break out. They were the ones who really cared about making their lives great.
There is something significant about taking the time to think about what you want from this new year and then WRITING it down. Chances are greater that you will do something if you write it down. It doesn't mean you have to accomplish everything you think you want to do. But having a purpose helps us be more proactive about our lives. Start thinking about what you want. Don't just think in terms of the doing, but about the BEING. (See yesterday's post) What kind of a person do you want to BE? And then look at goals for how that kind of thing can happen.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Day 63--Having, Doing, Being

It's fun at this time of year to reflect back on 2007 and ahead to 2008. I think a fun way to look at the years can be through 3 areas: Having, Doing and Being. What kind of things do you have? Sometimes we get caught up in our accumulations and think that's what's important. What kind of things did I do? This can be a collection of activities and events, some minor and others significant. The kinds of things we do with our time is important to build our character. But the really fun way to look at our growth is through our "being." What kind of a person am I? How did/do I treat others? What is my purpose? Not what I have or do, but what I am. The reason we have been touched by Bryce's life is not from what he had or did during those last 100 days, but by what he WAS. He chose to be cheerful. He chose to let go of things that didn't matter. He chose to let others into his life to support him. He chose to look for the good as much as he could in difficult circumstances. Maybe we can reflect on the person we have become through the highs and lows of 2007 and CHOOSE to have our goals for 2008 reflect more what what we "ARE" than what we will "Have" or "Do."

Monday, December 31, 2007

Day 62--Presence

We have just come through a season of giving presents to those who are special to us. Another wonderful gift we can give them is "presence". The best gift you can give anyone is your own presence, your willingness to be fully present for a family member, friend, child, or individuals around you. That means to not be distracted or simply dutiful in listening, but to be sincerely interested in what they are saying. It means to live in the here and now--be present. Not to be thinking about something else, or what you might say next. We reaffirm others (and ourselves) when we give them attention and importance. Look in someone's eyes and enjoy the time with them! Give them your presence!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Day 61--Conversation

Sometimes with our world of technology, we have neglected simple conversations with each other. Text messaging, emails, playing with our computers, watching TV, etc. have taken the place of families and friends just sitting around and having good conversations. Our most meaningful connections can be made through personal conversations. Last night we turned off the TV and sat and talked. We got out some old photo albums and laughed about times from the past. We talked for over 2 hours and the time just flew by! Sharing our thoughts, listening to others, exploring events and feelings are wonderful ways to connect. A wonderful gift we can give each other is to simply give the time to have a personal conversation. Find out how great it is for you!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Day 60--Memories

Today is the 50th Anniversary of some of our good friends. We have known them for 27 years now and have watched their family grow up. When we think about our lives, we are enriched by thinking back about the many experiences we have had. One of the difficult things about moving or changing is that we don't have memories and past experiences with the people, and it's not as fun to relate to others when we don't have background. One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the opportunity we have to "catch up" with friends and family that we don't regularly get to see. I love the newsletters from families--whether by mail or email. It's a great time at the end of the year to reflect about our memories of the past year and see our growth. Enjoy some time this weekend reflecting (and maybe even writing) about your memories of 2007. It will be wonderful to have something to remember as the years go on.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Day 59 - Family

Some of the most important people to love in our lives are our families. No matter how hard we may try sometimes to separate from them, they remain our family. Our families can be some of the most important relationships in our lives. Even when friends go away, our families are often still there. These relationships must be fostered and strengthened. What an important area to increase our love. This may be through a phone call, a card/letter, a visit, or any other way you can think of that might improve the relationship. When all is said and done, it will not matter what you have accomplished in life, but the strength of your relationships. The strength in your relationships will be determined by the measure of love within them.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Day 58 - Laugh

An important lesson to learn in life is to laugh. There are so many times when we become frustrated, tired, annoyed, or whatever else we may feel. At these times these emotions make it so difficult to be loving. Yet we can diffuse those feelings and situations by allowing ourselves to laugh. This is one thing that I am still trying to learn, and yet the times when I have been able to laugh I have felt so much better and have been more ready to love. Lets overcome the stress with laughter.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Day 57 - The Ultimate Gift

Today we watched a movie called The Ultimate Gift. It gives a wonderful perspective about the ways that we really grow. A grandfather gives his grandson some gifts to help him learn--and earn his inheritance. He gets the gifts of work, value of money, friends, laughter, problems, gratitude, dreams, gift of a day, and others. We often want our days to be happy and carefree. But those aren't the times we learn the most. Out of our problems can grow our deepest insights. Out of our efforts will we find our greatest rewards. It is wonderful to have these days to have some fun times with our family. We give them wonderful gifts by spending time sharing, laughing, and just being together. We are enjoying just this time to BE with each other. What wonderful gifts we can give.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Day 56 - Ultimate Love

Today we celebrate one of the ultimate expressions of love. A Father's gift to all of his children. Within this gift is another marvelous gift. Complete surrender to the Father's will enabling all of us to overcome sin and be made clean, thus enabling us to return to our Father's presence. How grateful I am for this gift and the example set on the full expression of love.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Day 55 - Laced with Love

"When love and skill work together expect a masterpiece."
John Ruskin

This is a wonderful season for giving gifts. I know for me it is easy to get into the habit of just making sure I have gotten a gift for each person on my list. However, I find that my gifts go so much further and mean so much more when they come straight from my heart and are laced with love. That is the joy of giving.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Day 54 - Talent

Each and every one of us has been given talents to bless the lives of others. Often our confidence, or lack there of, inhibits us from sharing it with others. Notice the emotion you feel as you watch this clip and the love that enters your heart. Step out of yourself and bless others with your talents.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Day 53 - Free Rice

Today my dad showed me a cool website that provides a fun way to give. It is Not only does it help you to improve your vocabulary, but it provides rice to third world countries. Jump on this site and give as much rice as you can.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Day 52 - Believe

I believe in Santa. During the last few days, I have been able to be a part of delivering food, gifts and cash to families who have been having hard times. I am in a position that others have brought these items to me and wanted me to give them anonmyously to others. The recipients have been very humble and grateful. One lady just cried and hugged me. I had one "giver" tell me that they wanted to make sure some of their friends had money for Christmas, but didn't want their friendship to change. So she gave me a check to cash for this other family. Somehow the magic of Christmas is still happening for me. I believe. People care about each other. It is blessed to give. It is humbling to receive. I'm grateful for the magic of this season.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Day 51 - Build Up (Not put down)

I have noticed in my life that although I notice the good and the not so good traits of others, I am more inclined to point out the not so good. In the long run, this does not do any good, even if my intention is to help the other person understand what they can improve on. All of us need to know what we are doing good to feel some satisfaction that our lives are worthwhile. I am a firm believer that if we consistently point out and recognize the things that people do well they will increase that behavior. Beyond that, they will feel respect, importance, and love. Lets build up those around us by pointing out the things they do well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day 50 - Share

It's interesting that this is something we try so hard to teach our children, but somehow the concept is completely lost on us. It's almost as if we think that since we "earned" our things that they really are "mine." Sometimes we are just simply childish. For example, sometimes after I have made a sandwich for myself my wife will come and steal a bite. And for some silly reason I let this bother me. If I really understood the concept of sharing, I would be happy to share a bite of my sandwich, and would have even offered if she wanted some. There is something inherently loving about sharing.

We are now halfway through the 100 days. It has been an interesting learning experience so far for me. Please, all of you, share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences with us. You have no idea how much this helps us to continue with our motivation to be more loving people. You can either leave a comment, or email us at

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Day 49 - A Precious Human Life

Several weeks ago, a comment was left on this blog on something one of you did to help increase love. I have printed it, and posted it inside my shower, and I read it every morning. It is a wonderful way to get my day started. Thank you for sharing it with me, and I hope you will all gain a benefit from it as well.

A Precious Human Life

Everyday, think as you wake up:
Today I am fortunate
to have woken up.
I am alive;
I have a precious human life.
I am not going to waste it.
I am going to use
all my energies to develop myself,
to expand my heart out to others,
to achieve enlightenment for
the benefit of all beings.
I am going to have
kind thoughts towards others.
I am not going to get angry,
or think badly about others.
I am going to benefit others
as much as I can.

-His Holiness the XIV Dali Lama

Monday, December 17, 2007

Day 48 - Love Your Enemies

It is easy to love those who love you in return. The real challenge is to love those whom you feel have wronged you. I ordered a Christmas gift recently through an online company that originally appeared to be pretty decent. It turns out it was a bait and switch operation and managed to con me out of some money. My wife and I were really stressed out for awhile due to tight finances, and just feeling lied to. This lingering feeling of anger was really affecting my day to day life, and I did not like the way it felt. I tried to do things for others, which helped, but my mind would return to this "transaction" and some of those feelings would resurface. So I recognized I needed to have a change of heart to make this go away. I began to pray for the people I felt were so dishonest. Gradually, the bitterness I felt went away, and I was able to be more at peace with the past. I hope during this season and beyond we can all strive to have love in our hearts for the ones we may call our enemies.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Day 47 - Recieving is Giving

Really? Yet another paradox. This time of year is the best time to really understand and learn from giving and recieving. There are two extremes to recieving. One extreme is the person who demands all and gives nothing. The other extreme is one who is unwilling to recieve. Both extremes are characterized by selfishness. During this season, make room in your heart to recieve the goodness that others may want to give. Giving helps both the giver and the reciever to make place for greater love. Recieving with love can also be a gift.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Day 46- Giving is Getting

Giving is Getting. Is this a cliche? The salvation army gives, the food shelter gives, Toys for Tots give. They give money, food and toys gathered during the season, but most of all they give us a chance to get over ourselves. The opportunity to give is a gift in itself, the opportunity to become something better. The other day a man approached me for some change to buy some gas. I gave him some money, grateful for the opportunity to have exercised some generosity. It was actually a little selfish on my part. I needed him to become a little bit better, a little bit kinder. It really is a paradox and a cliche at the same time.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Day 45 - Be an Idealist

Today I am stealing the words of Tammy, not only because they are so eloquent, but because they are so inspiring as well. I hope we can all learn from her lessons.

"Tragedy, especially of such magnitude, has altered my perception of every aspect of life. Something that would have ruined my day a year ago is inconsequential to me now. Heavy traffic? Big deal. Flat tire? It happens. Get in a fight? So—grow up and make up. Did somebody say something to you that wasn’t loud enough for you to hear? You better not have yelled at them to speak up. Somebody made a mistake at work which cost you a few minutes? Then fix it—and I really hope you didn’t ruin the other person’s day out of the spirit of selfish retaliation! Yes, I realize this sounds Pollyanna-ish. I only hope I can hang onto this attitude, because life is much too short to be controlled by anger and stress. I’m becoming an idealist."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Day 44 - Expressions of Gratitude

Maybe this is a repeat of a past post, but it is such an important part of love it deserves to be highlighted again. My life has been really stressful lately, and many things have happened which have been frustrating and disheartening. My wife has stepped up and helped me with far more than her fair share lately. I am deeply grateful for the wonderful, loving, selfless, and responsible person she is to me. She is patient when she needs to be, and understanding. I am striving to express my gratitude to her for all that she has done for me the past couple weeks. Lets all make sure to express gratitude to all those around us who make our lives easier and more full of love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Day 43 - Give

Yesterday I wanted to show appreciation to a family in our neighborhood who is wonderful example of faith, love, and humility. Three members of the family of six currently have cancer. Two of those are the parents. A couple of teenagers in the neighborhood and I made a simple little Christmas ornament to show our gratitude. When we gave this simple gift to them they gave each one of us a tin of cookies to say thank you and Merry Christmas. They proceeded to inspire us by showing their selflessness. One of the teens I was with is going in for surgery today, and they told him they would make dinner for his family. They then offered to bring dinner to the rest of our families. I know this family is struggling financially as they have many expensive treatments for all their cancer. Yet they continue to give and have the most beautiful attitude.

Lets all learn to really give. Giving is more than gifts, it is an attitude, one that is tangibly felt by the receiver.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Day 42 - Apologize

Often, many of us have unintentionally hurt those around us. We can never be sure the effect of the things we do on others. I work with people everyday who struggle with their relationships and have hurt their most important relationships. Even as I evaluate my daily life I can find some way I may have offended or hurt someone. These things happen no matter how hard we are trying to be loving. A measure of our love is how we respond to our offenses to others. I notice that when I genuinely am sorry for the things I do or say, and express that to others in a heart felt apology, it does wonders to mend the offenses that may have been made.

Take the time to make the apologies that need to be made in your life. This may be small things that happen each day, or the larger ones that have been left unsaid in the past. We never know how much longer we have to actually make those amends... let's not gamble with that time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Day 41 - Quality Time

This weekend I learned some important lessons about love. I am really busy at this time studying for tests and writing papers. I wanted to get as much done during the weekend to ease the stress of the rest of the week. It snowed most of the day on Saturday and left a beautiful white blanket all over the yard. Snow has always been an exciting thing for me, so I took the challenge of altering routine to heart. I got my wife and son, bundled all up, and went and played in the snow. It was the first real snow for my son, and he enjoyed being outside with his mom and dad. We built a huge snowman together and laughed and had fun together. It was a wonderful time. I felt a little bad though, because I didn't do much of the work I had planned. However, as I thought about it longer, I realized that in 5 years from now, those papers and tests are not going to mean much, but the quality time that I spent with my family will mean the world.

Lets all remember how important quality time is to the people we love. Keep the future perspective in mind and use the time we have to strengthen our relationships.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Day 40 - Discipline

To go along with yesterday's challenge, I realize that love takes discipline. Any change of behavior does. Genuine love requires consistancy. It is the unwavering, non-judgemental, persistant love that sinks deeply into a person's heart. There are times in our lives when we do not feel to love, I experience it often. Yet these are the times when we must discipline ourselves to push forward with love and care despite our mood. Often we spend time worrying about our own needs, this is when we must exercise our discipline to think of the needs of others. Love is an action word, and action requires discipline. Let's all increase this quality of love in our lives.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Day 39 - Routine?

I have been thinking a lot about what I have been learning from the 100 days of love. I keep wondering if I have really made any lasting changes in my own life. Sometimes I worry that I haven't. I pondered this for most of the day yesterday, and I have come to the conclusion that it is difficult to break out of the routines of life. It really takes a mental shift to change behaviors, however, if that shift only stays mental, less is accomplished. I don't go out of my way as much to love others, simply because I am stuck in the routine and business of my life right now. I am going to make a stronger effort do do something different in my behavior each day to break out of routine and start a newer routine of love. We challenge you to do the same.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Day 38 - Bear One Anothers Burdens

I am constantly amazed at the incredible displays of love during the holiday season. It seems that many people have made traditions to find people they can help to alleviate the stress that is all too common at this time. There are many people who have lost their jobs, gotten sick, or have had financial burdens haunt them. And each year, around this time, I see others turn their hearts out and serve. Love that fills needs and lifts burdens is so powerful. I thank those who are so keenly in tune or aware to those in need and extend your love and service to them. Even when that burden is not mine, witnessing these things brings love into my heart and life. Lets start and continue to traditions of this season to bear one anothers burdens.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Day 37 - Too Busy?

It is easy for our lives to get so busy that it doesn't seem like we have time for anything else. However, sometimes love only takes a couple of extra minutes. We may need to "sacrifice" something good for something better. Yesterday I was very busy with writing term papers that are due today. I was very eager to get them done, and I didn't have a lot of time to do them. However, I really love my wife, and I want to make sure that she knows that. So I took some time out to clean up the kitchen and mop the floor while she was at work. Those few extra minutes away from what was really important were well worth the sacrifice as I heard her excited voice when she walked in from work.

Let us all remember that we are never too busy to love.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Day 36 - Notice

Yesterday I had a really long, hard day. I had gone a couple days with just a little sleep. I had fallen asleep in the evening, and my wife let me sleep and got several things done around the house without waking me. She was sensitive to my needs and did not complain about the extra work. I am thankful for the love she so subtly showed me.

Every day people do loving things for us. Most of the time we fail to notice the things they do. Sometimes this is because we are busy, tired, distracted, or simply oblivious. It is easy to gain the attitude that others may not care or that others are selfish. However, that is simply because our peceptions are tainted. Just like with normal sunglasses, we cannot see through the glare on the water or glass, we miss what is there because we are not able to see what is deeper. Lets put on our polarized lenses to see the bountious love others show to us.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Day 35 - Awareness

We are in a season that sadly can magnify stress and distress for many people. It is a time where parents may worry if they can provide for their children and bring happiness to them. How important it is to be aware of the people around us who are struggling and in need. As we become aware of the needs we can do more to bring love into their lives as we serve them. Filling their needs is a powerful way to show love and to change lives.

Lets do what we can to focus our attention out of our own little worlds and be aware of the many needs that surround us each day, spoken or unspoken.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Day 34 - Priorities

How often do we find ourselves giving the most attention to the things that are lower on our list of priorities? Does the TV show take presidence over spending quality time with a spouse or friend? Do we allow the "things" in our life more attention than the relationships? If we carefully analyzed our lives we might be surprised to see how out of whack our priorities may have become. As we strive to increase our love lets make sure that we give the most love to our top priorities.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Day 33 - Don't Let The Man Get You Down

It seems like, during the season that we should love the most, we also feel the most stress. Examples of this can be, shopping for everyone, insane holiday traffic, parents getting into brawls over the last Transformers toy, and waiting on hold for 10 minutes only to be cut off at the end. Anger happens, but we don't have to let it fester. Replace it with something happy. Remember, lovers take the high road. This is supposed to be a joyous season, a peaceful season, a loving season. This is a great time to start a new tradion, to reach out and really serve others. Pretty soon, you'll forget all that stress and you'll be singing too.

Everyone that reads this: Take some food/coats/etc. to your local food bank to help those less fortunate this season.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Day 32 - Humility

A major blocker to genuine love is putting one's self as greater than others. Sometimes it may seem that the way to make ourselves seem better is to point out how we did something better than the next person. However, what purpose does this serve? Simply to extinguish the love that may have previously existed in our heart.

I see many people mistakenly assume that in order to be humble they have to point out their own flaws or even disregard complements and praise of others. This too is a block to love. Humility is not thinking less of one's self, it is just thinking more of others. It is the willingness to recognize the good in others without having to contrast it against one's self. Others can be good and worthwhile independent of how you feel about yourself, good or bad.

Let us each strive to have a more humble heart and notice and acknowledge the good in others. Lets stop minimizing the accomplishments of others to make ourselves feel better in some ways. You may be surprised at the love that fills your heart and mind as you do this.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Day 31 - Reactive vs. Proactive

I sat talking with my wife the other night about the things that we are learning from the 100 Days of Love challenge. She commented that she noticed that as she has been trying to be more loving she has primarily been reactive in her love. In other words, she has been working on reacting to others with love in all the things she does. While she had been making good progress with this she noticed that she did not feel as though she was progressing in her ability to love as much as she would have liked. She decided she needed to be more proactive in her expressions of love.

We all are at different stages of increasing our love. Both being reactive and proactive are important parts of this, however, it is important not to neglect either of them. Let's be committed, as my wife is, to be more proactive in our expressions of love.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 30 - Care

The other day I was with a bunch of high school students who had become aware of the 100 Days of Love. They were all kind of teasing each other, and at one point, some of the teasing was pretty mean. My sister, their high school teacher, reminded them of the 100 Days of Love, and they replied, "Oh yea, we got to be nice to each other. I took this as a teaching opportunity... and it turns out it was a good one for myself too. I let them know that there is a difference between love and just being nice to others. The difference is that with love, one actually cares about the person they are being "nice" to. It was a simple little lesson, but I have been thinking about it ever since. If we are doing all of these challenges without caring about or for those around us are we really developing and increasing love? No. This has caused me to focus more on caring about the people around me.

Let's all take the time to care more about the people around us. As you do so, you will find your ability to love naturally growing and expanding.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Day 29 - Sacrifice

This is one of the most difficult and defining characteristics of love. It is very easy to express love when in a good mood, or others are expressing love to you. It is much more difficult when love is not reciprocated, or when we do not feel like we have the time or energy. Our greatest expressions of love come when they are not convenient or easy, when we have to sacrifice. Mothers are notoriously good at this as they sacrifice so much of their lives for their children. For me, it is often difficult to get up in the morning to serve my wife and make her life easier because usually what I want in the moment is to just go back to sleep.

Show your love by making the sacrifices that show your love goes beyond mere convenience.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 28 - Enjoy Life

This morning I woke up to my wife saying, "I bet there is a beautiful sunrise outside." She was right. As we opened the blinds we were blessed to see magnificent colors painted across the sky with majestic mountains in the foreground. I sat and marveled at the momentary blessing that is so easily missed and ignored. This started my day out in a grateful mood. Each day we are surrounded by simple beauties that we may skip over. Let's love life, and the beauty of the earth. Breathe in the cold air, look at the colors, see the gentle movements of the landscape, and be thankful you can do all those things. Share these simple joys with the people around you and let them share in the beautiful life that is always waiting for us to notice and enjoy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Day 27 - Sensitivity

Each of us have many different experiences in the course of a day, week, month, year, etc. Often our experiences and circumstances paint the world we live in with our emotions and moods. It is not always easy to see the hardships, struggles, and insecurities of those around us. As a result, many an insensitive comment, look, suggestion... have been made. How important sensitivity is to showing love. My wife is a great example of this to me, and teaches me (often in the face of my insensitivity) how I can be more sensitive to those around me.

Lets try to be sensitive to the needs and pains and insecurities of those around us and let them feel of our genuine love.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Day 26 - Accepting Differences

As I sat around today I observed that there is such a wonderful range of personalities and beliefs amongst us. Some of these personalities are quite different than mine, and in my still limited capacity for unconditional love I ignorantly thought that my personality and beliefs were "better." My mind was going to that unloving place (i.e. critical, judgemental, not understanding) that I don't really enjoy being in. Thankfully I stopped myself and recognized that differences are not a measure of the quality of a person. We all grew up in different circumstances, whether we had the same parents or not. Instead, I started to accept the differences, and to find the good in each person. It felt better to be in this mind set and to feel greater love. It is not always easy to catch ourselves being distant because of our differences, or to always be accepting of them, but it is always worth it.

I hope we can all realize that differences are not all bad, sometimes they are just differences. If we learn to accept them we can push forward in our relationships with greater love.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Day 25 - Be Present

It is often very easy when others are talking to us to be thinking about something completely different, and be wishing you were somewhere else. One of the great characteristics of loving and caring people is to be present when talking to others. They are there now... be there with them. Listen to the words and meaning of what they are saying. This lets the person know that they are important and what they are talking about has meaning to you.

In the grander scheme of life, what will be most important? I believe it is the relationships we have established, and the loving natures we create in ourselves. All other things are secondary. Let's make first things first and be present.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Day 24 - Be a Friend

It is amazing how a little friendship makes our lives more tolerable. We have spent the last few days, not with our family, but with some really close friends that might as well be. It has been such a fun time, and they are so good at being really great friends. We have laughed, joked, played, and listened. I know there are people out there that do not have this, and really need it. Let's reach out to those who are in need of a friend, someone who cares.

Do not limit this to those outside of the family either. My dad is a wonderful example of a loving person to those outside and inside his family. Last night, during a conversation, he expressed his gratitude for us in a very sincere and loving way. It felt so good to be loved and appreciated. Find a need, and fill the need.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day 23 - Gratitude

I'm sure you all saw this one coming! What a wonderful holiday Thanksgiving is. I love that we have a holiday set aside to celebrate the things we are thankful for. I know of no other thing that leads us away from being self absorbed as showing gratitude, and reflecting on all of the things we have been given. Each and every one of us, no matter how depraved, grieving, happy, or blessed we are, has something to be grateful for. Gratitude prepares our hearts to love.

Today, to all who read this blog, leave a comment about the things you are grateful for. Help us all to remember the true blessings we share in our lives. How inspiring it will be tomorrow to read all the comments of gratitude, and continue the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day 22 - Patience

As the holidays come upon us, many of us may be faced with busy crowds and frustrating travel. Such was the case with us yesterday as we traveled to visit some close friends for Thanksgiving. Traveling to the airport we got stuck in traffic due to an accident. In the airport, our flight was a little delayed. Once we finally arrived at our destination, we ended up having to wait in the airport for our ride for over an hour. It was late and we were tired. It would have been very easy for us to complain and be rude and unloving. However, we recognized that our ride was stuck in traffic for over an hour just trying to get one more mile to the airport exit. We decided to take the patient stance and understand that things were out of her control, and life was probably no fun for her stuck on the freeway not moving. Our hearts were filled with compassion as we thought of her situation instead of complaining about ours. It was much easier to be patient, and that patience increased our ability to be loving.

As we are all presented with many opportunities to test our patience the next couple of days, let's let patience fill our hearts with love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 21 - A Considerate Heart

This morning, as I was driving to work, the car just barely ahead of me in the right lane put on her blinker to get over. I could have sped up, to make sure she didn't get in front of me... but I was feeling considerate and slowed down so she could get over. Turns out, she needed to get into the turn lane which was coming up soon, and if I had sped up this would have been more difficult for her. She seemed shocked that I slowed down for her, but it felt so much better to have an other's centered attitude rather than a self centered one. Also, yesterday I talked with a friend who I had just found out was going through a very difficult time in her life. I let her just vent to me and express her deeper emotions. I stood there just being understanding and considerate of how she must be feeling. Again, it felt good to have my heart focused on the needs of others.

Let's all try to be a little more considerate today and not let our own selfishness get in the way of treating people with love and compassion.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day 20 - Take care of yourself!

Taking care of yourself is not always for yourself. There are many people around each of us who truly care about us and our well beings. My wife well knows that I struggle at taking care of myself (stubborn family genes) and often the only way I will go to a doctor, etc. is for her to remind me that I'm not doing it for myself, but for her. We have been painfully reminded in past weeks how important this is. Taking care of yourself is a great way for you to show love to the ones who love you. Get your moles checked, take care of your skin, be cautious in your driving, the list could go on. Just make sure you do what is in your power so you can go on.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Day 19 - Tell Someone

I remember growing up a picture on my wall with a couple of dogs licking each other. The caption said, "If you love somebody, let them know." I always thought it was just a funny poster, but as I get older I recognize the wisdom of it. How often have I allowed my love for someone to go unexpressed? I don't know, and I am afraid to count... but I am committed to stop that number from getting bigger. There are so many people that I truly care about and love, and I am working on actually telling them this. I am starting with my family, and it feels good to say, "I love you." I often tell my wife, "I'm glad I married you." Though she hears it often, I know it brings a smile to her face every time.

Take time to tell the people you love that you really do love and appreciate them. It will make a difference for you and for them.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Day 18 - Child Like Love

Having a young child has been such a blessing in our lives. Not only because he is so fun and loveable, but because of how much we are able to learn from him. There have been several occasions over the last couple weeks in which our son has truly taught us the true nature of love. As we grow older we sometimes are judgemental and uncomfortable with people who are different from us. Our 6 month old has thankfully not developed this characteristic. He smiles and flirts with people who are diabled, ugly, awkward, different, or normal just the same. Sometimes I think he gives the bigger smiles to those who need them the most. It is fun to see how much he can light up their day with his happy demeanor. Our goal is to look past the surface we can see with our eyes, and develop better vision with our hearts.

Also, if you have not commented on the Roll Call... please do so. It is a couple posts down.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day 17- Finding Love in the Car

I'VE HAD A BREAKTHROUGH!!! For months I have been shocked at my attitude while in the car. For some reason, I found it totally acceptable to call someone a dirtbag just for cutting me off. Would I ever call someone a dirtbag in another circumstance? No! So why was it OK to feel so much hate while I was driving? I know this sounds silly but it was really one of my top priorities when I took the 100daysoflove challenge. I am not a hateful person, but I was downright bitter in the car. So, each day as I drive to work, I make a conscious effort to control my thoughts and words. It happened slowly, "dirtbags" became "slowpokes" and then came tolerance. Yesterday a man pulled out in front of me and I had to hit my brakes. Instead of honking my horn or tailing him, I slowed down and thought, "He probably didn't realize how fast I was going when he pulled out." The thought shocked me and I realized that I truly am making progress. Yea! I know I haven't been cured yet, but it is definately a step in the right direction.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day 16 - Smile

It is amazing how smiling can make us feel better. Equally amazing, how contagious that smile can be. Let's bless the lives around us today with contagious smiles. You never know how much of a difference that may make in another's life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 15 - Love Surpasses Awkward Moments

I was watching a speaker on television yesterday and he shared a story that I think is an awesome example of love. There was a couple young men who decided to serve at an old folks home. One of the young men brought a violin to play. As he played, the notes became sweeter and more beautiful. This was a special treat for those in the audience. At times, when people get older, their inhibitions and sense of appropriateness tends to wear off. In the middle of the performance, in a rather loud voice, an older woman exclaimed, "I'm cold." Calmly and gently, the other young man stood up from the front of his room, walked to the old lady, took off his jacket and placed it on her. This simple act of service dispelled and strengthened a potentially awkward situation.

May we all strive to show love, even when we may feel awkward or out of place. This is where the true growing takes place.

Roll Call

The 100 Days of Love challenge has now been going for two weeks. Thanks to many of you, the word has spread far and wide. We would like to see just how far and wide it has spread, and how many of you are following the blog and have taken the challenge. Please click on the "comments" at the bottom of this post and tell us where you are commenting from. Please continue to spread the challenge to your friends and families.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day 14-In Memorium- A Dear Friend

My dear friend passed away a week ago. It has been a privilege to know Ken. He filled his days with service and love. He never hesitated to compliment, thank, and express love. It simply flowed from him when you were in his presence. What a wonderful example to us all! Both of my Grandfathers had passed away and Ken was willing to be my sweet Grandfather. He always seemed to have a smile for anyone who saw him. Despite terrible heart break, he always persevered. He always found the silver lining. About a month ago, I felt like I should go and see him. I didn't go. How I wish I would have taken the time! To all who read this, please don't suppress those promptings. Live each day to the fullest! Live like Ken!

Day 13 - Unconditional

I had an interesting experience last night that taught me much about love. I wish I could say it was because I somehow increased my ability to love, but rather it was something I learned because of my limited capacity for love. This was made more clear to me through the example of love in others. Several months ago I was working with a family and helping them through some hard times. They often called on my for help. Through the experience I left with a feeling that they were not grateful for the help they received, and I felt somewhat taken advantage of. Last night, my wife and I were trying to do a little simple service by taking cookies to people in our neighborhood. She suggested we take some cookies to this home I had worked with months previous. Because of my experience with them, my heart was hardened to showing further love. We went to a different house instead to give cookies. Not 5 minutes after returning home someone came to our house saying a member of this family needed some help. I was humbled in my pride and went with this person to go help. My wife, the loving woman she is, gave me some more cookies so I could take them over. The experience of helping this family filled my heart with the love that I had been pushing out earlier. I realized I was blocking my ability to love because of my limited judgements.

Lets all be aware of the limits we often place on our love. Are those limits placed there by ourselves in order to preserve our pride? If so, we are only prohibiting our ability to love more.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day 12- To Love is to be Vulnerable

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket--safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from the perturbations of love is Hell.

(C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day 11 - Love Yourself

Often, when people hear, "love yourself," thoughts of conceitedness and pride come to mind. However, the love towards self suggested here is much different. Our capacity to love others is greatly diminished when we do not have genuine love and care for ourselves. This is not to say we cannot love others... simply that we cannot give love as deeply. We sometimes neglect ourselves in our pursuit to be more loving, and that may be a disservice.

"The art of being yourself at your best is the art of unfolding your personality into the person you want to be. . . . Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others." - Wilfred Peterson

Take the time to love yourself. Maybe write a list of qualities you admire in yourself. Recognize your own self worth... because you have great worth!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 10 - Recognition

We sometimes develop a hierarchy about the importance of people and positions. A great leader is someone who notices even the people who have small parts. We give others a great gift when we treat all people with respect. In the BEE MOVIE it talks about how all the bees are busy with small jobs, but they are all happy because they each matter. Imagine if the yeast thought it was so small that it didn't matter to the bread.

It is an important factor of love to recognize even the things we perceive are small. There are many people who feel like they do not have any power and their contribution, no matter the size, is unimportant and unappreciated. Imagine the change that can happen when they are recognized and appreciated. Lets be the start of that change... look for even the smallest contributors, and show appreciation and recognition.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Day 9 - Me Monster?

It is not uncommon for us to play the one uping game with people. When they tell stories about themselves, often we think about our own experiences and are just waiting for the other person to finish so we can tell ours. This is not loving. When we think of others, we are thinking of them, not ourselves. Lets try to listen to others and let them share their stories rather than thinking about what we are going to say to make their story less important. As one person said on the first day, it was important just to listen to his son. Let us all avoid being the ME MONSTER.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Day 8 - Selfishness?

Last night, as I sat thinking about the first week of the 100 days of love, I evaluated my progress in becoming a more loving person. I must admit that there have been several times over the past week that I have not felt very loving, nor in the mood to be so. As I thought about this I was able to trace back the unloving feeling to some sort of selfishness. Whether it was wanting to sleep in longer, being satisfied with my comfort zone, dwelling on my own needs and wants, or even just looking for the praise of others. These things, and many others, were blocking my ability to give love at a deeper level. This was a frustrating realization for me... I am the kind of person who wants results fast. Maybe many of you are feeling the same way as me. If so, be patient with yourself, and evaluate your own selfishness, and make a commitment to overcome at least a little of it.

The themes of each day are merely thoughts that I have had, or ideas others have given me. They may even be helpful suggestions. Feel free to work on increasing your love in whatever way seems best to you. If you are struggling to increase your love, just read through each day, and comments from others for ideas. This is what I do.

Also, I have had another idea. On Monday, a friend of mine shared a story of how the 100 days of love has made a difference in her life as well as her family's. It was a very touching and inspiring story to me. I realized stories like these might be inspiring to you as well. So I am requesting that if you have success stories to email them to me at Names will be kept confidential, but I will post these stories as I see fit to help inspire us all to love more.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Day 7 - Comfort Zones

Part of increasing our capacity and ability to love is stepping outside of our comfort zones. The past few days I have been trying to do this. Normally I am the kind of person that keeps to myself. However, in pushing this, I have been able to show more love than I have in the past. Yesterday, I noticed that a lady at work, whom I have never talked to, got a haircut. Normally, I would have let her walk by and kept this thought in my head. But I want to push myself further. So I yelled out to her from my office as she walked by and let her know that I thought her haircut looked nice. She walked back to my office with a big smile on her face and started talking to me. It was a good experience. Make a goal to get out of your comfort zone today, it feels great!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Day 6 - Attitude

I am grateful for my wonderful wife (and others) for being an example to me of a good attitude. I must admit that I woke up (sort of... I didn't sleep much last night for various reasons) this morning with a complaining and unloving attitude. Before I was even up and moving, my wife had fed our child and was making a special breakfast. She came into the bedroom with a very cheerful and happy attitude. She has one of those smiles that can make even the saddest person cheer up. Normally I would have been bugged by her cheerfulness in the face of my crabbiness, however, thinking of lessons I learned last night, I decided to appreciate her warmth. I thanked her for her cheerfulness and the wonderful breakfast, and that attitude change really turned my morning around. Her attitude was contagious.
Last night I had the opportunity to share Sunday dinner with Tammy and her family. It was a great experience. We talked about the power of attitude, and Tammy talked about how Bryce always believed that our attitudes were our choice and a decision we had to make. This inspired my decision this morning to change my attitude. I believe this is an act of love. We are more able to love when our attitudes are congruent with giving and receiving it. Let us all CHOOSE to have a good attitude each day.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day 5 - Premature Judgement?

Yesterday my wife and I were filling up our gas tank :( and saw a couple of teenagers that looked like they could be trouble makers. Before the impulse to lock our doors hit, we remembered our commitment to react with love in all circumstances. How wrong it is to pass judgement without really having all the information. We very rarely have all the information. There were several times during the day where it would have been very easy to judge others around us who may not have "looked" lovable. Whether it be the clothes they were wearing, the smells they were emitting, or just the look on their face. We found ourselves checking our thoughts often and trying to give others the benefit of the doubt.

What a difference it would make in the world if we could each live without the fear of others looking down their nose at us! To be accepted for who we are. People do not generally change unless they feel cared about by someone. Let us each be the person who cares for someone and looks past the imperfections we ALL have.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Day 4 - Simple Service

Thank you again for all who have taken the challenge and are already making a difference in your own life and in the lives of those around you. Share the challenge with all your friends and family.

Yesterday was a day to simply serve. I woke up in the morning and realized I could make breakfast for my wife while she got ready for work. This simple act allowed her to sit down and enjoy breakfast instead of having to hurry off to work. I also live on a street where most of the people are older and retired. A few have a harder time getting around. I noticed that the leaves were pilling up on their lawn. Normally, I would have thought... man, they should rake their leaves. But instead, having the spirit of love, I grabbed my rake and did it for them. One of them even came outside with a big smile and said thank you.

We can all do simple things to serve one another, and we never know how much of a difference it will make in another person's life. Everyone, keep up the great work... not every day will be easy, but that is to be expected. Just do your best.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day 3 - Hug O' War

Thank you all for your wonderful comments and inspiring stories and thoughts. You help strengthen us in our resolve to love more. Please, everyone, continue to make comments to help inspire everyone who visits the site. The purpose, as stated before, is synergy... your comment may inspire others. You do not need to have known Bryce or Tammy, you just need to have even the smallest desire to improve your life.

Yesterday I tried to focus on the small things that are easy to forget and look past. A few weeks ago someone I know asked me to do a favor for them. At the time I was a little bugged, which was silly of me, but as I did the favor I got a lot out of it. Yesterday I took the time to go and thank that person for the opportunity they provided me. I also made sure to compliment people more. I love the peaceful feelings that come as I do these things.

Here is a little inspirational thought from Shel Silverstein:

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day 2 - Forgiveness

Thank you to all who have responded to the challenge so quickly! I was overwhelmed with the response yesterday. I had no idea this would take off so quickly. Tammy, thank you for finding our idea so fast and linking it to your blog. I was nearly brought to tears as I read the comments of so many who are pushing forward with love. You all inspired me throughout the day and I cannot describe the love and excitement I felt in my heart.

My challenge yesterday was forgiveness. Unfortunately, there are people in the world who are bitter and angry, and some of those people thought it necessary to make comments on this blog. I was shocked by the rude words and misunderstanding of the challenge. Thankfully, I was focused on increasing love and I remembered the example of some who have come before me. I took the viewpoint that these people did not understand what they were doing, and had obviously been hurt at some point by someone. I forgive them for the comments they made, and I am truly sorry if some of you had to read them before they could be deleted.

I was reminded of the response of the Amish people to the gruesome murders of some of their people. A man, whom we respect greatly, and who has recently passed away, related the experience as such:

In the beautiful hills of Pennsylvania, a devout group of Christian people live a simple life without automobiles, electricity, or modern machinery. They work hard and live quiet, peaceful lives separate from the world. Most of their food comes from their own farms. The women sew and knit and weave their clothing, which is modest and plain. They are known as the Amish people.
A 32-year-old milk truck driver lived with his family in their Nickel Mines community. He was not Amish, but his pickup route took him to many Amish dairy farms, where he became known as the quiet milkman. Last October he suddenly lost all reason and control. In his tormented mind he blamed God for the death of his first child and some unsubstantiated memories. He stormed into the Amish school without any provocation, released the boys and adults, and tied up the 10 girls. He shot the girls, killing five and wounding five. Then he took his own life.
This shocking violence caused great anguish among the Amish but no anger. There was hurt but no hate. Their forgiveness was immediate. Collectively they began to reach out to the milkman’s suffering family. As the milkman’s family gathered in his home the day after the shootings, an Amish neighbor came over, wrapped his arms around the father of the dead gunman, and said, “We will forgive you.” Amish leaders visited the milkman’s wife and children to extend their sympathy, their forgiveness, their help, and their love. About half of the mourners at the milkman’s funeral were Amish. In turn, the Amish invited the milkman’s family to attend the funeral services of the girls who had been killed. A remarkable peace settled on the Amish as their faith sustained them during this crisis.
One local resident very eloquently summed up the aftermath of this tragedy when he said, “We were all speaking the same language, and not just English, but a language of caring, a language of community, [and] a language of service. And, yes, a language of forgiveness.” It was an amazing outpouring of their complete faith in the Lord’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”
The family of the milkman who killed the five girls released the following statement to the public:
“To our Amish friends, neighbors, and local community:
“Our family wants each of you to know that we are overwhelmed by the forgiveness, grace, and mercy that you’ve extended to us. Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need. The prayers, flowers, cards, and gifts you’ve given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe. Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you.
“Please know that our hearts have been broken by all that has happened. We are filled with sorrow for all of our Amish neighbors whom we have loved and continue to love. We know that there are many hard days ahead for all the families who lost loved ones, and so we will continue to put our hope and trust in the God of all comfort, as we all seek to rebuild our lives.”
How could the whole Amish group manifest such an expression of forgiveness? It was because of their faith in God and trust in His word, which is part of their inner beings. They see themselves as disciples of Christ and want to follow His example.
Hearing of this tragedy, many people sent money to the Amish to pay for the health care of the five surviving girls and for the burial expenses of the five who were killed. As a further demonstration of their discipleship, the Amish decided to share some of the money with the widow of the milkman and her three children because they too were victims of this terrible tragedy.
Forgiveness is not always instantaneous as it was with the Amish. When innocent children have been molested or killed, most of us do not think first about forgiveness. Our natural response is anger. We may even feel justified in wanting to “get even” with anyone who inflicts injury on us or our family.
Dr. Sidney Simon, a recognized authority on values realization, has provided an excellent definition of forgiveness as it applies to human relationships:
“Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.

We feel that forgiveness is one of the supreme acts of love. May we each seek it and give it to those around us.