For 39 years, the Householder children have been determined to get to the presents without waking the parents.
For the last two generations, Dad has gone to great lengths to prevent it.
What do booby traps have to do with the true meaning of Christmas? It’s a tradition that is too well established to throw away, so instead I’ve thought about what spiritual metaphor can be drawn from it. Turns out, I didn’t have to think very long:
Life is like these traps – nobody gets through it without making mistakes. We can be grateful that all the blessings God has to offer can still be ours (the presents are still under the tree waiting for us) if we keep moving, keep trying, and keep trusting in his grace.
Enjoy the 6-minute show, and please share your comments!
Positive Thinking Tip: De-clutter your life and you’ll more easily recognize the subtle, inspired indicators that will lead you to success
A couple years ago, my husband and I took our seven children to a neighboring state for a read-a-thon. On the way home, we stopped half-way and stayed with my sister for a night to break up the trip. The next morning, in our rush to be on the road again, we gathered our blankets and pillows, said our goodbyes, and loaded the van. My husband was at the wheel and I glanced back to ask the kids, “We got everybody?”
Nobody indicated otherwise, so I said, “Great!”
We had just begun to roll down the road when I looked back again and noticed my 15-year old missing.
Oh, no, I thought, not Nathan! He’s the one we forgot last time!
So I exclaimed, “Hurry! Back up and I’ll run in before he realizes we almost forgot him again!”
Within a minute I was back inside the house. Hearing Nathan upstairs, I exhaled a sigh of relief. Whew! He didn’t notice.
My sister’s husband had a questioning look on his face, so I just said quietly, “We forgot Nathan… don’t say anything.”
Soon after, Nathan opened the door so I hollered nonchalantly, “Nathan… time to go!”
He ran downstairs, said his goodbyes and we climbed in the van. Just as we were getting ready to pull away, someone in the back said, “Where’s Nicholas?”
We gasped. How did we miss Nicholas?
So I asked, “Nathan, will you go find Nicholas?”
“Sure.” Nathan said, and then ran to the house.
Pretty soon, out came – not Nathan – but my brother-in-law. Standing there in his robe with his hands out and eyes wide, he gestured, “What the –?”
Chuckling, we watched him disappear back into the home. Then suddenly, he stepped into the doorway again with a look of utter disbelief, and three fingers held high.
What’s that supposed to mean? We wondered.
Just then, Nathan emerged from the house with Nicholas…
Okay, in my defense, I will say that we were driving a 15 passenger van full of blankets, pillows, and backpacks. Most of the time, you can’t see everyone in their seats even when they ARE there. When you rely on one child to let you know that their buddy is missing, but that child is missing, too… well, you see what can happen.
Did you know you can leave three children behind and not even realize it?
I do now.
It reminded me of the family who stopped at a gas station during a long road trip, and then hours later realized that the mother had left her prescription glasses there. Regretfully, they had to turn around and go back for them, costing them in a lot of extra time and gas. When they arrived, they discovered their son waiting, too.
This kind of absent mindedness can get really expensive in terms of time, resources, and most importantly, damaged relationships.
I my case, I thought we were ready to go, but I was wrong. The added clutter in the van, and my hastiness, distracted me from the indicators (empty seats) that would have told us exactly what we needed to do next (find our children), before driving away. Had we proceeded anyway, without fixing the immediate problem, it could have cost us in extra time, gas, and again, most importantly, potentially damaged relationships.
So how can we avoid absent-mindedness? Maybe it’s just a matter of addressing the clutter. Too much clutter in life can distract us from subtle indicators that would clearly tell us exactly what we really need to do next on our journey to the desired goal.
What are you trying to accomplish?
Stronger family relationships?
Peace of mind?
A sense of fulfillment?
It could be that there’s something critical you aren’t even thinking about… something urgent and important that you must dofirst.
If life’s clutter is keeping you from recognizing it, then there may come a day when you have to turn around and go all the way back to this place to fix what was neglected right now. There are subtle indicators ready to get your attention, but you may need to slow down and clear up some clutter before you’ll notice them.
So… what kind of “clutter” can become a distraction from the subtle indicators?
“Clutter” might include:
Too many unnecessary activities filling your day (life is short – be selective about how you spend your time!)
Too many unnecessary things laying around your home or office (things were created to be utilized, to benefit people – if you no longer benefit from possessing an object, transfer it to someone who will put it to use.)
Too many meaningless conversations (do your discussions center on the topic of things, other people, or uplifting ideas?)
Too many meaningless non-family relationships (is there a positive exchange of service, knowledge, or value taking place… or not?)
If you get caught up in the clutter and miss the subtle (but otherwise oh-so-obvious) indicators that something else is an urgent priority (like a child left behind), at some point you may have to go back and make things right before you can arrive at your desired destination with all the right parts and pieces in tact.
So this is my invitation to you: take inventory of your life. Where are you trying to go?
Do your activities, conversations, things, and non-family relationships, truly make the necessary contribution to your journey? Clear what you can, and then take a look around. You might find a gaping hole right under your nose that requires your immediate attention now. Address it now, and you’ll get to your destination successfully a whole lot faster.
(And, if you’ve ever lost track of a child as we have, don’t feel too bad… it even happened to some of the most famous and well-respected parents in history: Joseph and Mary, when Jesus was 12, two thousand years ago.)
To your success!
PS. Be sure to check out the FTMF course. It will help you more than you realize.
“I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I took your FTMF course and it changed my LIFE! I would not be where I am today without the guidance of someone helping me to learn how THINK correctly. I feel like my world completely changed after I took your course.” – unsolicited email
Positive Thinking Tip: What you want/need may not be as far away as you think it is
One morning, my husband and I slept in a bit, because the day before had been so jam-packed with preparations for an event we were conducting.
Still tired, rather than rolling out of bed, we both just grabbed our laptops and got back to work in our pajamas: I kept preparing files for the printer, and Trevan continued to troubleshoot some bugs in our online systems.
Pretty soon, our daughters Bethany (7) and Sarah (4) wanted to come in, so we invited them to use the master bath where they could be near us and play with their toys in the water.
As they played, their giggles grew louder and their role-playing became more melodramatic until finally my husband had to say, “Hey girls, I realize this this is a play area for you, but it’s a work area for us. We need you to settle down!”
Bethany obediently responded with, “O-kaay.”
Sarah’s response was a bit more authentic. She explained, “But we’re having a lot of fun…”
We chuckled to ourselves and got back to task. Sarah has always been so incredibly quotable.
Time flew. Before we knew it, the girls had been in the water for more than two hours, singing, giggling, and playing with their toys. Again the volume became too much, and this time it was me who said, “Okay girls, time to get out!”
So Bethany got out of the water and went downstairs. Lingering behind, Sarah finally said, “Mom, could I just please stay a little longer?”
I said, “Well, you’re being really quiet now… so, okay, just a little longer.”
Pretty soon I could hear Sarah singing to herself and role-playing independently with her toys. It was so sweet, hearing her talk about princesses and mommies and singing away. It didn’t bother me – I hardly noticed it. I was able to keep working on my files and sort of enjoyed the cute little munchkin voice in the background.
Then, apparently exasperated beyond what he could tolerate, my husband suddenly exclaimed, “Argh! I need a tranquilizer gun!”
Stunned by his comment, I turned my head and glared at him, wide eyed. After a long pause, and assuming he was just trying to be funny with a really bad joke, (and to make my point without chastising him too bluntly) I matched his comment with these equally tasteless words: “Don’t… you think… we would need to… at least… drain the water… first??”
He looked at me confused, and then finally the lights went on. He insisted with just as much shock in his voice, “I was talking about the dogs!”
Dogs? What dogs?
That’s when I finally noticed them. There were quite a few still barking incessantly outside our back window, and he had had it. He had been trying so hard to keep from losing his train of thought while solving a really tough dilemma, so cracking a joke about a tranquilizer gun was his best attempt at channeling his frustration energy into humor.
What he didn’t realize was that his comment was actually funnier than he intended. Once he realized how it sounded to me, we both erupted into laughter and continued to laugh out loud whenever we thought about it.
Isn’t it interesting… how our minds had been focused on our work, and subconsciously, I was enjoying the playful sounds of a 4 year-old in the background, while my husband was becoming increasingly annoyed by the barking of the dogs in the background?
Same environment, two completely different experiences.
When your brain hones in on certain data input from your environment instead of some other kind of available data, that’s a function of your brain’s Reticular Activating System. The “RAS” draws from past experiences, calculates the amount and intensity of emotion that you have added to those experiences, and sees to it that you notice the elements in your environment that correspond to those dominant thoughts and feelings.
The point of this story is that there is always more going on in your environment than you are noticing. When you’ve set your goals properly (according to the principles of success), your Reticular Activating System becomes a great friend.
It goes to work for you, helping you notice and pay attention to the resources you need to be able to accomplish your goal.
The resources you need are already in your immediate surroundings; your Reticular Activating System helps you recognize them.
Sadly, those resources can remain unnoticed your whole life (completely within reach, but never utilized) when you don’t set and carry out your goals properly.
That’s why I do what I do. That’s why I teach.
So, don’t just stop with this article, keep reading all the tips and tools I’ve created for you, so that the gaps in your understanding can be filled, and you can come away ready to change your life, equipped with confidence, and empowered to discover and implement every next genius idea you’ll ever need.
Positive Thinking Tip: Ask and ye shall receive – when you ask “right”
Learning to consciously apply success principles (such as the law of attraction) for a better life is just like learning a whole new language. At first, with every intention to communicate your desires perfectly, everyone makes mistakes. It’s happened to me: what was intended to communicate my desires clearly has often turned into something that I never intended at all.
But that’s okay… it’s part of the learning process. Think about it:
Imagine going to a Spanish speaking country with nothing more than a rudimentary understanding of the Spanish language and an English/Spanish translation handbook.
(I tell people all the time that I can speak Spanish: Ta-co Bell, burrito, chimichanga, enchilada…)
So you arrive in the foreign country and climb into a taxicab. You open your book and intend to tell the driver, “I want to go someplace quiet and beautiful where I can feel the spirit of God.” So word by word, you search your translation guide and say, “Deseo ir en alguna parte tranquilidad y hermoso donde puedo sentir el alcohol del dios.”
The driver, who is a native of the country hears, “Desire to go beautiful tranquility somewhere, and where I can feel the alcohol of the God.”
Where do you think he will take you??
When you end up at a saloon, you might look at your book and throw it away saying, “This Spanish language doesn’t work!!!”
Do you know anyone who has been introduced to the principles of prosperity through “The Secret” or elsewhere, made an attempt to live according to the guidelines and then throw it all away because the “tool” didn’t work?
Maybe you’ve also thought about giving up.
Realize that the language of faith is just that: it is a language… of the spirit. It takes time to develop fluency. It takes time to understand the cause and effect of thinking, feeling, and acting in a certain way.
When things don’t go the way you expect them to go, accept the results and simply learn from them. Take the lessons that are available in every challenge and let them work in you so you can get closer to your goal the next time.
Don’t throw away the principles that you know deep down are true, even if the results you get aren’t what you intend them to be.
When you end up at a saloon instead of a beautiful botanical garden, it wasn’t because the “book” or the “language” didn’t work! It actually worked perfectly.
Let me give you an example. For a long time I had a goal statement that said, “Money comes to me frequently and easily from multiple sources in increasing quantities on a continual basis. People want my products; God helps his children through me.”
After about a year of this I realized that the part, “People want my products” is exactly what I was getting. Thousands of people wanting something I have doesn’t exactly translate into revenue.
That’s when I changed my statement to more accurately reflect my true desire: “People buy my products; God helps his children through me.”
See the difference? It’s a language thing.
We communicate our desires and receive what we ask for. “Ask and ye shall receive” is a true principle. But this language of faith that we are trying to learn comes from a culture that is part of our divine nature, but something we have temporarily forgotten.
In God’s world, when we ask for increased faith, He doesn’t necessarily give us faith, but opportunity to exercise our faith. When we ask for financial freedom, He doesn’t give us piles of money but opportunity to develop a growing income.
The more fluent we become in the language of faith, the more peacefully we will grow toward accomplishing all we desire.
As explained in The Jackrabbit Factor, that is why a person who sets a goal to lose weight can very easily end up with more pounds than where they began. It is also why a person who focuses so much on getting out of debt may very well end up with more debt than they ever expected.
We learn the language of intention one concept at a time.
On a side note:For our Spanish readers, we had my Jackrabbit Factor book professionally translated, but in order to give them a place to retrieve it, I once quickly created a special web page just for them. Instead of waiting for the completion of the professional translation, I used the Altavista Babelfish online translation tool, and did my best.
If you don’t speak Spanish, here’s an example of the lingual mess I created:
What I meant to say: “Don’t worry, the book was translated professionally. We’re sorry for the translation errors on this webpage!”
What it actually said: “No se preocupe, este libro fue traducido al español profesionalmente. ¡Estamos apesadumbrados para los errores de la traducción en este Web page!”
What it meant: “One does not worry, this book was translated the Spanish professionally. We are grieved for the errors of the translation in this Web page!”
Even better than that, here were a few of my glowing testimonials. Wouldn’t these comments make YOU want to read my book? (LOL)
“Within a pair of weeks I received the promotion to the director and an important increase of the pay… To Harper”
“I tripled to my retired rent and my husband of its work of the day… To say the information is to change of the life would be an underestimation! Thanks! – Marnie”
“… we will double really to our rent the east next year. Thanks, Leslie, to share these principles… CREALMENTE WORK! What excites more to me, is than there is no limit to which we can reach in the future! Thanks again! It smooths H”
Alas, I was grieved for the “errors of the translation.” Ultimately they were all corrected (I’m pretty sure, at least).
An underdeveloped understanding of Spanish may be enough to get me to the bathroom in a Mexican restaurant south of the border, but it may not help me when I need to navigate my way through town in search of a post office.
Likewise, an underdeveloped understanding of the laws of success may help you accomplish something on one level, but a continued study of the “language” and practicing it often is what may be required to re-invent the most significant aspects of your life.
Keep learning, keep studying, and keep practicing! You’ll get there!