Morning Sunlight Through The Pines

Photo: ‘Morning Sunlight Through The Pines‘ – Copyright 2018 Frank J Casella.
The late winter morning sunlight through the pine trees created a silhouetted abstract pattern showing the details of the tree branches. How much more when we allow the Light of God to shine through our lives.

Smarts and Intelligence

Photo: Complimentary Medicine – Street Documentary Art Photograph Copyright 2014 Frank J Casella

Some people seem to be smart, as in intelligent, bright, or knowledgeable, and others not. What makes, or causes, the difference?

Someone asked how I come up with my topic for each blog post. Well, basically, I wake up in the morning and spend much quiet time, not to allow outside influences, and discern what is the most pressing thought or issue on my mind from the past week.

Today that happened to be about smarts. That is, I have come to realize how often people tell me how smart or intelligent I am. Or I find out others have said this about me. This troubles me a great deal, because I don’t believe anyone is really smart, it is just simply how we give to and treat others.

For example, in the business world I find many people make decisions based on how much providing their service or product costs them, or how much money they make from a business relationship.

The people who are smart understand by investing in these opportunities through what benefits others will always come back with more opportunity. Not always direct business, but sometimes referrals, or some other interaction.

It’s the basic principles of following what the Bible says about money, and the Ten Commandments, with a sprinkling of experiences and practicing integrity. Sometimes I’ve had to make business decisions that looked as if it, or I, was failing. But the decision was based on what most benefits others in the matter.

Sometimes months or years later I learn how my decisions like this really benefited others, other times I have confirmed how my decisions didn’t work at all, even though I had to struggle. And struggle is the key, because you don’t get wisdom without struggling through learning from experience.

Same goes for the struggle to develop the habits of reading the Bible daily, or seeking from a mentor and then taking action. Jesus struggled so that we could have Salvation, being submissive to God.

Books don’t make you smart, until it is how you give that knowledge to others that makes them see your wisdom. It’s not smart to keep that wisdom to yourself.

There are certain areas in business that I am not very good, and I found this out by trial and mostly error. So I decided that I would only do the things that I am highly skilled at, and turn to others who are highly skilled in the things I am not. Other times this taught me how I can be very good at something I didn’t think I was good at.

So when you mostly do only the things that God has gifted you with, is the smart thing to do. It is learning through our mistakes that we’re able to see the ‘red flags’ in situations, and respond to them more intelligently in this way.

So, again, this is the message for today: That to be considered to have smarts means, to me, that you give from your best self, skills, experiences, and following the Bible, in a way that makes a positive impact on others and in the world.

Changing Seasons of Time

Photo: ‘Changing Seasons of Time‘ – Copyright 2018 Frank J Casella.

When I see one tree almost bare from the falling leaves of Autumn, and another not even changing colors, it reminds me about the changing seasons of life, or a reminder how each of us is different.

All of us are individuals to the point that each of us has a right to our own opinion. I learned this in a profound way from a very good friend of mine. And as we get older we tend to change who we are, and what we think, based on our experiences.

Ask anyone who is married for a few decades and they most likely will attest to this.

If you look at the age of the trees, many variables cause them to grow to a certain size, in different directions, and how they react to the seasons over the years, etc. …

So the lesson, or point, here is that as we go through the seasons of life over time to ‘just move with it’. Be open to others viewpoints and how they change or respond to their environments, and not take everything too seriously.

It is then we truly notice the beauty of life and the blessings of this world we live in.

May God’s blessings Fall on you like the leaves of Autumn.

Wood Bench and Yellow Flowers

A place to rest along the preserve trail, this wood bench I found very inviting, especially with the yellow flowers ( that some may call weeds ). When I get a chance to walk the trail here at the Homewood Izaak Walton Preserve in Illinois, located a short drive south of Chicago. I love to see people at this bench in deep thought or enjoying the scenic environment, where there is always a breeze right off the lake. Wood Bench and Yellow Flowers Copyright 2016 Frank J Casella

Draw Near to God

Draw Near to God - Square Color Landscape Photograph - Copyright 2018 Frank J Casella
Photo: Draw Near to God – Square Color Landscape Photograph – Copyright 2018 Frank J Casella

The morning sunshine illuminates the clouds in the blue sky, and evaporates the fog in the tree tops as well.

God is love, and invites us to draw near to Him. So that we can be illuminated with His Light, and allow Him to remove the fog we often have with finding our purpose.

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds.”

— James 4:8

Thinking In Black And White

Photo: ‘Thinking In Black And White‘ – Thinking is very healthy. It is important to spend at least ten minutes each day to think about life and our goals. Listen to what God has to say to us. Copyright 2008 Frank J Casella.

Thinking is a rare commodity in our world today, especially with the distractions of our information age. It is important now to be mindful of how we are intentional about blocking out time with our own thoughts.

Our own thoughts help us to know what we mean about what we say. Sometimes it’s important to write this down, so that when asked we can picture in our heads the words on the page. It’s also important to share our thoughts and not worry too much about being understood, but rather to simply show how you understand our world:

“It turns out that I cannot compel someone to understand me, and if I had even one iota of the wisdom of Christ, it would not have taken me close to 54 years to figure that out. I once wrote in a blog post: “In the past, being misunderstood bothered me mightily. Ironically, I was the one with the comprehension problem.” Even then, I didn’t really get it, but now, I know that someone else’s opinions, thoughts, or reactions to me or what I share are really none of my business. Understanding myself, though: that’s a different story. It’s like what Andy Warhol said: “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

What if I change his statement a bit? How about this? “Don’t think about thinking, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, do more thinking.””

~ Cheryl Ruffing

God speaks to us through our thoughts and through our dreams, but many times we suppress it. There is too much noise and distractions in the way, or we are afraid of the silence or believe our thoughts are not important.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. God doesn’t.

What Dogs Teach Us

Photo: What Dogs Teach Us – Copyright 2008 Frank J Casella

A few years ago my wife and I went to our Son’s school open house. As we were walking down the hall another set of parents looked as us as if they knew us. In fact, I started to ask myself if I know them! Then the wife approached us and said ” we live on the block that you walk your dogs …. you have two beautiful dogs who are well trained!”

This happens more often than I wish to admit. Have you ever been known because of your dog?! Many people know us, but we don’t know them … because they can look out the front window of their houses and see us with the dogs, though we can’t see them.

So, this got me to thinking. In the window of life, for example, children learn more from our actions than from our words. … and, just like dogs, you never know the reflection that you make on others.