Rick Warren’s message…

Do you ever listen to Rick Warren?  I have been reading his Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope and TODAY he really hit home with me.  It explains that  we should be HAPPY for everything we HAVE, rather than be filled with envy.  Rather than explain it (Jill would have to help me), I will include the info down below:

“Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need.”

(1 Corinthians 4:7-8 The Message)

Instead of focusing so much on what we don’t have and what didn’t happen, we can be grateful for what we do have. This doesn’t come naturally to me, probably not for you either, and not even for the apostle Paul, who said, “I have learned to be content.” Being content is a learning process.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:7-8, “Isn’t everything you have and everything you aresheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need” (The Message).

Envy is based on the myth that you need more to be happy. Envy always looks at others and asks, “Why them? Why did they deserve it? I deserve what they have.” But gratitude says, “Why me? Why did God give me this? I’m blessed because I don’t deserve what I have.” It totally flips our perspective.

Struggle With Envy

Although we all struggle with envy, it’s hard to admit it because it’s such an ugly emotion. When you’re envious of others, you really want them to fail, because it makes you feel better that they don’t have more than you. That’s pretty crazy, isn’t it? If we could only learn to be grateful for what we have, we could begin to get rid of these feelings of envy.

It’s important to understand that envy is not having a desire or a dream or a goal. It’s good to have those. Envy is not looking forward to something or hoping that something can happen in your life or even wondering if you should have some thing. Envy is instead resenting somebody who already has what you desire or has reached a goal you have yet to obtain. Envy says you can’t be happy until you get that desire or goal. Envy is not being grateful for what you already have.

Yet the Bible tells us that we already have more than we need and far more than we deserve. Every good thing in our lives is a gift from God, and it is up to him to decide when and how he blesses us. It’s up to us to choose to be grateful and make the most of what we’ve been given.

As Ecclesiastes 6:9 says, “It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to be always wanting something else” (GNT).

About Rick Warren

And one more testimonial this year….

We were very grateful to have Gordon and Jill open our 2019 International DI Society Conference. Their story of overcoming such an unexpected challenge in their lives with determination, teamwork and faith was simply put, inspiring. Gordon infused into his speech humor and a positive attitude that was infectious. His talk reinforced the need for all the 130 advisors, wholesalers and corporate leadership attending our meeting to promote the benefits of a sound income protection plan.

We were especially impressed by the tenacity Gordon and Jill showed to painstakingly build on every day, smaller successes that ultimately led to sustained progress. Their journey is one of triumph from which we can all learn.

Thank you, Gordon and Jill, for joining us in San Diego.

Don Schamay, CFP®
International Disability Insurance Society

3 things about my stroke that make me happy…


photo by motherdedia.com.au

I had a stroke almost 8 years ago.  Can you believe it?

As I think back, I marvel with how far I have come.  Of course, I am not where I WANT to be!  That is normal…right?  When I look at pictures of me in the hospital, I think about all the people who visited me during that time and I am grateful to all of you who visited me during those tough times.

I said it best in my talk:

After the stroke…

You might think those first few days after the stroke were tough, but they were EASY compared to the next 3 weeks at Rehab.  I was completely dependent upon others for all my needs… but really…. all I wanted to do was just sleep.  But they don’t let you “just sleep” at Rehab.  Recovery is the total focus.  Goals, instruction, repetition and discipline. These were the elements I had to embrace if I ever wanted to get up and get out of my wheelchair, and if I ever wanted to speak again.  That was my Everest, that was my Olympic medal — to get up…and walk and talk and think and function like the person I had been only a few days before.

It was so hard. I was so tired, and my brain was so scrambled – I couldn’t make sense of anything.  In speech therapy, I couldn’t point to a red triangle or a green square because I couldn’t make sense of those words.

In Occupational Therapy, I watched the therapist move my arm but I felt no connection to it.  In physical therapy, I couldn’t move my right leg because my brain didn’t recognize those muscles anymore. My whole right side slumped and sagged, forgotten by my damaged brain like a virus that has been deleted from a computer.  Everything I did or tried to do required all my attention.

How am I now?

  • My right side is at 90%.  I still can’t write, but that is my next goal.
  • Golf is coming back…slowly
  • I am still TRYING to get back to work.  That is more difficult than I ever imagined!

But why am I happy???

  • I walk 10,000 steps per day;  I have peaked at 16,000 steps per day!
  • I love my wife…even after 25 years together
  • I wake up and thank God I am still alive …and I truly look forward to the day ahead of me

I can look at  how I am now….or I can look at why I am happy just to be here. I am choosing number #2: why I am happy just to be here.

Regarding #1: I will eventually get there; it just takes time. Who knows:   When I do this again in another 8 years, I may be cured!  I am banking on it!

Focusing on the Bright Side

After Gordon and I speak to various audiences, I am always struck by the stories told to us privately by a few audience members.  People confide in us with their own difficult journeys, whether it be from illness or injury or whatever might have happened.

With each story, I am reminded to be grateful that Gordon has the opportunity to get better.  Not everyone has that chance.  Some must endure the long, slow decline of affliction, facing each day without the hope of improvement.  These people and the people who love them live with that reality.

Gordon and I have hope for a better tomorrow.  Rather than endure a long, slow decline, we persevere through a long, slow recovery, always optimistic that improvement is around the corner.  We remind each other how far Gordon has come in his recovery and talk about our goals for continued improvement.  We don’t want to squander this chance we have–a chance that many people don’t have.  We will focus on the bright side of our difficult journey.

Jill Viggiano