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WE ARE THE DREAMERS OF DREAMS - Part 4

star   Up Close and Personal with GARTH BROOKS!   star

Garth

This is not the place where I normally post my reviews of books, concerts, CD's, interviews, etc. (they appear on my songwriting / freelancing site here), but this all ties in with the "Dreamer of Dreams" journey I began writing about here last week.

*****

What would you do and how would you feel if Garth Brooks performed a private concert for you ... right in your own living room?  Not just Garth by himself, but with his band?  Playing songs from throughout his career, telling stories, cracking jokes ... just having a great ol' time!

Now, just to set the record straight, Garth and his band didn't actually come and play in our own living room ... we were just the lucky recipients of two tickets to a very private and very small concert ... so intimate that it FELT like he was playing just for us in our living room instead of to the tens or hundreds of 1,000's he's played to in arenas and coliseums worldwide!

Interspersing some of his most famous songs with stories from the road, some "down home" humor, personal glimpses into his family life while growing up, samples of different versions of songs he's written, encouraging audience participation on several songs, and including an unfinished song that left us wanting him to finish it on the spot, Garth made it an evening never to be forgotten!

One particular song stood out for me as a wake-up call - "Standing Outside The Fire" - and the line:

    "Life isn't tried it is merely survived if you're standing outside the fire."

That line is SO true, because if we're not diving into our lives every day and doing everything we can to make the most of them, we truly are just surviving!

After the evening appeared to have come to a close with two encore bows to a standing ovation that just didn't seem like it would end, Garth came back out to wrap up nearly three hours of music by offering us a solo set featuring many of his favorite songs by other singer/songwriters.  Songs by James Taylor, Jim Croce, Billy Joel, Cat Stevens, Dan Fogelberg and Don McLean brought a perfect close to an unbelievable evening!

To borrow from Garth's latest hit, he made the whole evening "More Than A Memory"!

Two tickets to a private concert with Garth Brooks   -   FREE!

An AMAZING and INTIMATE evening getting to know the man behind the music   -   PRICELESS!!

Jace

Copyright © 2008, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.

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Archive


20 YEARS AGO

2007 - THE YEAR OF MIRACLES

2007 - THE YEAR OF MIRACLES
PART 2


A NEW DAY

ANTICIPATION

ARE YOU THINKING TOO MUCH ?

BE YOURSELF

BEHOLD THE TURTLE!

BELIEVE !

BLUE SKIES !

CYA! - CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE

CHOICES

CLOSER and CLOSER

COURAGE

CREATING A DIAMOND DAY

DEVELOPING YOUR TALENTS

EVERY DAY'S A NEW DAY

FAITH

FINDING THE DREAM ... AGAIN

THE FIRST STEP

GO THE DISTANCE

GOOD TIMES

HONOR AND RESPECT

I DON'T CARE !

I DON'T KNOW HOW



IF ONLY IDA

IF YOU BUILD IT, HE WILL COME

THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM

IT ALL BEGINS WITH A DREAM

IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK!

IT'S OK

IT'S TIME

JUST DO IT !

JUST ONE KINDNESS

JUST ONCE

LESS IS MORE

LIMITATIONS

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

LOOK AROUND
 
MOTHER

NATIONAL FRIENDSHIP WEEK

NAVIGATE YOUR DESTINY

NEGATIVES UP -
POSITIVES ALL AROUND


NEVER GIVE UP !

ONE MOMENT IN TIME

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY

REACHING OUT

REALLY UP CLOSE & PERSONAL !



ROUGHING IT

SAY YES!!!

SETTING YOUR OWN STANDARDS

STARTING OVER

STARTING OVER, PART 2

STARTING OVER, PART 3

STARTING OVER, PART 4

TAKE A WALK

TAKE YOUR TIME

TAKING RISKS

THANK YOU!!

THE FIRE WITHIN

THE SECRET

THERE'S A LIGHT

THREE CHORDS and THE TRUTH

UNFORGETTABLE

WALKIN' ON FIRE !

WE ARE THE DREAMERS
OF DREAMS

WE ARE THE DREAMERS
OF DREAMS - Part 2


WE ARE THE DREAMERS
OF DREAMS - Part 3


WHAT DO YOU WANT?

WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN

WILL MIRACLES NEVER CEASE?

WILL YOU JUST LISTEN?!

WINDOWS ON THE WORLD

YOU'LL SEE IT ...
WHEN YOU BELIEVE IT!


YOUR DESTINY OF GREATNESS




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BELIEVE

Many people live at the level of disbelief, where the "Probably not's" and "No way's!" surround them and prevent them from reaching their potential.

I strive to live each day at the other end of the spectrum ... where the "Probably will's", "Why not's!" and "Absolutely's!" are.

I guarantee that if you'll try that you'll witness miracles and blessings the others can only dream about!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.

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FAITH

To step out into the darkness, not knowing for sure what lies beyond, is the ultimate test of our faith.

How willing are we to try?  How willing are we to do something different, something that we have never thought of doing before, in order to begin to make a difference in our lives, and perhaps even in the lives of others.

We don't have to do this on our own, you know.  There is One who waits for us to reach out to Him, and He will guide us through the darkness.  Our eyes may be blind through our lack of faith, but His eyes see our way perfectly and He'll never take us down the wrong path.

Our journey of discovery in this life is to find Him and let Him take it from there.

All we need is the faith to step out into that darkness ... and then we'll begin to see the Light.

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.

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SETTING YOUR OWN STANDARDS

Each of us has our own personal desires and goals that we hope to achieve in this life.  We also have our own levels of satisfaction and contentment.  What satisfies some of us doesn't come close to what satisfies others, and that's perfectly fine.  In fact, that's as it should be.

We're all individuals, with our own abilities, talents and interests.  Some strive for prominence in the business or political world while others prefer a life far removed from the spotlight, but still achieving things of immeasurable worth to themselves.  A strong, loving family is just as important as any CEO of a multi-billion dollar international corporation.

What are your standards of "success" and "excellence"?  Are they're defined or dictated by others and you often feel like you're missing the mark?  Who's mark is it?  There's?  How dare they presume to think their standards of success and excellence should be yours as well.

Take the time to discover where your abilities, talents and interests may lead you and then choose your own levels of success and excellence.  Be patient with yourself as you strive for your new goals.  Set your standards high enough that your goals and aspirations inspire you to want to do your very best, and when each job is done look back on it with satisfaction and a sense of achieving YOUR standards and not those of someone else.

Never compare yourself with others, for they have their own abilities, talents and interests, as well as their own struggles to overcome.  And remember ... if you're going to compete, then only compete with yourself, striving to improve with each attempt.

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.

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BE YOURSELF

We've all been there ... trying to figure out what this life is all about ... trying to make some sense out of our misfortunes and failures that are mingled with our blessings ... trying to understand why some people seem to just float through this life with nary a scratch, reaping rewards left and right, while others have to struggle so hard to just find their way.

Ahhh ... did you notice I said that they "seem" to float through this life with nary a scratch?  There's the key!  It's merely our impression of how their life is going ... we don't actually KNOW!

On the outside they may appear to be very successful in every aspect of the word, but what are they like "inside"?  What inner turmoils are they masking?  What personal hell are they living through?  It's possible, you know, that they may be worse off than us.  Their success may have come at too high a price, sacrificing their health, character, integrity, morals, family, love ... things not so easily seen by others at an initial glance.

Then again, they could be living a very moral, upright life, full of integrity and are being blessed for it in kind.

But why are we even thinking about them?  Are we trying to compare ourselves to them for some reason?  If so, we're searching for answers down the wrong path.  We'll find OUR answers in OUR own heart, not somewhere else.

If you find someone who's life "appears" to be outstanding, and you'd like to follow their path to success, look closer to make sure their heart is in the right place and their priorities are correct.  Then ... and ONLY then ... share the path with them.

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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LOOK AROUND

Take a moment, right now, and look around you.  What do you see?  What's all around you?

Do you see stacks of work yet to be done?  Letters to write, bills to pay, work to file away?  Are things piling up more and more each day?  Is your appointment calendar too full, with too many places to be all at once?  Is your stress level rising and you haven't a clue what to do next?

Or ... do you see calm surroundings, with everything in its place and all is in order?  Everything in your life being handled efficiently and on time, right?

More than likely you're somewhere in between these two opposites on the spectrum of Life.  The key is to approach each day with a positive attitude, expecting things to go well, looking expectantly for the opportunities that are sure to come your way, and take advantage in every moment to count your lucky stars AND your blessings.

Your alternative is waking up on the wrong side of the bed and allowing your day to go down hill from there.

The choice is yours.  It's all in the attitude you choose!  Miracles don't happen to people with bad attitudes.  They'd never see them coming and they wouldn't show the proper gratitude after they've arrived.

Choose wisely ... miracles are waiting to come your way!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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NEVER GIVE UP!

After reading Prime Minister Winston Churchill's speech, which I'm sharing today in Defining Moments, I thought back to my own misconception of the actual text of this speech.  Whether the actual words spoken were "Never give in" or "Never give up" doesn't really make any difference to me.  The important thing is that we don't miss the idea shared.

How many of us, when faced with seemingly overwhelming odds, have thrown up our arms in desperation and said, "That's it!  I can't take it anymore", or, "I quit!", or any number of other phrases you may have used to express the same frustration?  Another goal written off ... another dream crashing to the ground.

Some time after we've done this, how many of us have taken the time to look back and evaluate what we were trying to do, what happened that threw us off course, and what made us finally quit?  Did you ever discover something very terrifying about that evaluation?  Think about this for a moment and I'll come back to this point.

Since we were children we've all had dreams of doing something really special in our lives.  Some of us wanted to be astronauts, or jet fighter pilots.  Doctors, nurses, athletes ... the list goes on and on.  We wanted to be heroes, saving lives with the yell, "Here I come to save the day" echoing across the open fields we played in with our friends.

Whatever happened to those dreams?  Did we give up on them, or are we still fighting, with everything we have in our hearts, to make them come true?

A moment ago I asked if we've ever discovered something very terrifying when we looked back on those times in our lives when we've just given up.  That terrifying discovery?  Realizing just how very close we actually were to success at the moment we caved in and threw in the towel, thinking that, once again, we had failed.  Oh, so very close ... we'd given up too soon!!

I plead with you ... NEVER GIVE UP!  If your dreams are worthy and righteous, give them a fighting chance by giving them all of your heart, might , mind and spirit!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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TAKE A WALK

Remember when we were kids and we could hardly wait for recess so we could run outside and play?  Little did we realize at the time that it was also a time of relief for the teachers ... a time for them to catch their breath, review some notes for the next part of the day, chat with another teacher, or take that "refresher" look at the lesson plan.

Lunch time was especially fun because we could chow down quickly and then get out to the playground again and REALLY have some fun!  And, likewise, the teachers had a major time of relief from us!

Then we started to grow up.  We hit that stage in school when there was no more recess but only just enough time to pass from one class to another.  High school and college ... just the same.  And you really had to hustle if two classes happened to be on the opposite ends of campus!  What a relief it was to just get to a break when we could grab some lunch and back at it all over again for the afternoon.  And forget the night ... it was filled with nothing but studying.  We couldn't wait to graduate because THEN we knew we'd be able to actually have a LIFE!

But then REAL life set in and for most of us it's meant no time to get out every day to get some fresh air and exercise like we did so many ... well, I'll just leave it at "when we were kids".

Would you like to feel younger?  TAKE A WALK!  Push your chair back, get up from your desk, and take a break.  We may not have the same chance to get a break every hour like when we were kids, but we can still work in a few minutes here and there, in addition to a lunch break, to get up and get moving every day.

In no time at all we'll be feeling better, more alert, and better able to handle situations that come our way throughout the day.

Then, when someone says, "Hmmm, I don't know just what it is but there's something different about you", you can reply, "I feel like a kid again!" and mean it!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY

I don't know what the weather has been like for you this winter but where I live we've had a pretty wet one.  It's rained so much that in March we set a record of 25 days of rain.  And already into April we're expecting at least another two weeks.

All of this rain and lack of decent weather can really have an effect on our lives physically, mentally, emotionally.  And beyond that there's also the tremendous toll that's taken on our spirit when the rain causes damage to our homes, property, and the streets and highways we travel.

Whether it's landslides, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires or some other disaster, our lives need time to adjust and start anew when change is required.  Be patient in the process.  Some things just can't be hurried.

We can learn a lot from the past so we can act effectively in the present.  This will make for a better future for all of us.

In the meantime ... do you think we could get a little break from the rain?

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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CHOICES

I've lived long enough to have put a few miles under my belt.  Along the way I've seen my share of success and failure.

When I was younger I can remember how consumed I'd be when things didn't go right.  To me it was literally the end of the world.  People telling me to "Just hang in there" and "Keep trying" were usually met with a very frustrated look and perhaps even a deep sigh.  A big thought cloud would rise above my head and if they could see it they would have read, "Yeah, RIGHT!  What do YOU know?!"

Lo and behold, they were right.  The sun DID manage to come up the next morning (or soon enough, anyway) and I would realize that I just might have another chance.  I'd begin to feel a little better, the wounds of the heart or the ego would begin to heal, and I'd be out there trying again.

When life hits us between the eyes, which it so often does, we have a choice to make right then and there.  Am I going to allow this to take me out of my game plan, or am I going to find another way?  Am I going to let this person ruin my day, or am I going to stay focused and move on with my life?

Don't make your choices in haste.  Take time to think them through properly, and then, with the help of your heart, you'll make the right choice at the right time.

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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ANTICIPATION

Remember when we were children and we could hardly wait for something special to happen?!  It could be anything from the school bell signaling recess time, to blowing out candles on our birthday cake and we'd soon be opening our presents.  The holidays were another time of great excitement!

Then came dating, dances, our first job, our first car.  And then, the biggest moment in our life ... finally taking that long walk to the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance!  Freedom, college, getting married, starting a family!!!  We couldn't wait!

Do we still have that youthful anticipation towards events in our lives?  Or do we miss out on even the smallest things because we're too caught up sweating about "the BIG stuff" that we can't be bothered with all the small stuff.

Before it's too late, let's check our priorities.  Most, if not all of that BIG stuff isn't so big after all, and most, if not all of that small stuff is more valuable than we realize.

Start each day with that same excitement and anticipation we knew as children and our days will begin to be better, our problems will become more manageable, and we'll rediscover the joy in everything and everyone around us.

Want to see someone change their lives before your very eyes?  Well, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "We must be the change we wish to see in this world."

Make the choice to make today your BEST day ever, and look forward to EACH day with as much excitement and anticipation as you can!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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IF ONLY IDA

When was the last time we thought back on something that happened in our lives and wondered how things might have turned out if only we'd done one or two things differently?

"If only I'd have asked her out", "If only I'd have taken that shot a moment sooner", "If only I'd have studied a little harder", or maybe "If only I hadn't gone to work for THAT company".  The list can go on and on, right?

I like to call those our "If only Ida" moments and we have to beware of thinking like that.  That terrible mistress can be so deceiving!

Sure, out of all of those decision making moments in our lives we might have one or two that count as serious "If only Ida's", but for the most part we did a pretty darn good job of thinking things through long enough to have made the right decision for us at the time.  20/20 vision might be perfect in hindsight, but none of us are blessed with that kind of vision ahead of time.  We have to take those next steps, large or small, on faith and then hope for the best.

I was writing a book a few years ago and a question I answered was "If I were to return to my youth, what would I do differently?"  I pondered upon this for awhile and then began to write a few things down.  Before I knew it my list was growing!  I even started to organize it into how old I was or what grade in school I was in at the time.

When I was finally done I sat back and looked at that list and agreed, that if I'd have done even one of those things differently my life would probably be very different today.  However, most of us just assume that means our life would be better today, but that's not necessarily so.  Different?  Probably.  Better?  Who knows?  The fact is, it's even possible that we could be worse off today if we'd made a different decision about something all those years ago.

So when you start thinking about all of those things you might or even should have done differently in your past, do it just for fun, don't judge yourself today by the decisions you made so long ago, and count all the blessings you have right now.

After all ... things could be worse.


Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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IT'S OK!

So you got up this morning on the wrong side of the bed - It's OK!  Just turn around, climb back in, and get out on the right side!

So you were late getting out of the house for work and now you're behind a REALLY slow driver - It's OK!  They're ahead of a speed demon!

So you think you're having a bad hair day - It's OK!  That mirror was really cheap.  And besides, that 60 mph gust of wind hit everyone else, too!

So the project you've been working on for SO long is almost completed and you find out that several new parts have been added to it, and now you have another four months to go on it - It's OK!  That's job security!

So you left your shopping list on the table this morning and now you can't remember what you were going to buy to fix for dinner this evening - It's OK!  Be creative!  Choose something different!

So your son or daughter waited until the last moment to tell you about a school project they need your help on - It's OK!  You really didn't need to go to that meeting anyway.  And besides ... that smile and "Thank you!" afterwards is priceless!

Each challenge that comes into our life is there to teach us something and give us the opportunity to change how we perceive them.  Do we act?  Or do we react?  Reactions come from old habits and how we think we're suppose to respond or how others expect us to respond.  Actions come from having our priorities straight, knowing what's REALLY important, and what we can let go of.

In his book "The Magician's Nephew" C. S. Lewis wrote, "What we see and what we hear depends a lot on where we are standing.  It also depends a lot on what type of person we are."  Let's choose our own attitude instead of allowing our environment and what happens to us to choose it for us.

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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BLUE SKIES!

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see


Those words from the Irving Berlin hit song, "Blue Skies", sum up exactly what I'm seeing right now outside my window after 37 days out of the last 43 have had rain!

It's great to see the sun again and I'll be out in it soon, taking a much anticipated and long overdue walk!

Sunshine, blue skies, fresh air ... ahhhhhhh ........ it feels like Spring is finally here!

It's amazing what new life you can feel when the sun comes out after being hidden for so long behind dark gray clouds.  Those clouds have brought a lot of darkness into many lives, altering some in very devastating ways, but the sunshine reminds us to have hope and to remember that no matter how dark things may get in our lives, there's a rainbow at the end of the storm and brighter days ahead.

The weather's predicted to bring more rain for the next week or so but that doesn't matter to me!  I'll just hold the memory of this day in my mind and in my heart and I can carry today's sunshine with me through any storms that come my way.

Try it!  It's ... MAGIC!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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I DON'T KNOW HOW

There's SO much to learn when we're children and it seems like we have a million questions!  "What's that?" asked over and over!  "Can I have a cookie?", "Why do leaves turn brown?", "Will you help me tie my shoelace, Mommy?", "Will you help me ride my new bicycle, Daddy?"

Most of the time we have answers for the questions our children ask, but sometimes we get stumped, especially with the "Why's?" and the "How's?"  Even as adults we still struggle with these questions in our own lives and that's where one of the greatest of all opportunities comes in!

When we don't have the answers what do we do?  We can either ask someone else for help or we can look it up in a book or on the internet!

When we're dealing with the How's and Why's of life's challenges -- career, relationships, health, etc. -- the one source that never fails to give us the right answer at the right time and in the right way is God.

When we take the time to make a list of our dreams and goals, some may be so wonderful that we may have NO idea how we're ever going to make them come true no matter how much we try to work things out in our minds.  Our hearts tell us we're on the right track, but our "rational" minds often rebel.  One of the things I've learned is that the "How" is none of my business ... it's God's!

Yes!  When we pour out our heart and soul to God in prayer He knows what we need and when we need it better than anyone else and He'll provide the way and the means to fulfill our dreams.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."  (Matthew 7:7)

Let's do our part, so He can do His!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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IT ALL BEGINS WITH A DREAM !

This is the day I've been waiting for for a LONG time and I'm SO excited to share the great news that visitors to Change Your Stars! now have a place of their own to share their dreams, goals, thoughts, ideas, and yes, even their concerns, anxieties and fears.

The Change Your Stars! Forums are up and running!!

It all started over seven years ago.  I shared an inspirational quote with a friend in the hopes of lifting her spirits and give her strength to carry on in the midst of many struggles she was going through, especially at work.  I hoped in some small way that I might make a difference in her life.  We strengthened our friendship and the interest in my daily quotes spread beyond just a small circle of friends.

Hundreds, and then thousands of people were reading the daily quotes I sent out, and then on January 1, 2005 the Change Your Stars! website was launched reaching even farther and wider.

That which was once merely a dream is finally a reality and today, April 18, 2006, we launch the Forums that will bring these wonderful people together and a whole lot more, offering them a place to gather, share ideas, and inspire each other!

When you dream alone, with your eyes shut, asleep,
that dream is an illusion.
But when we dream together,
sharing the same dream, awake and with our eyes wide open,
then that dream becomes reality!


Anonymous


Thank you for sharing this dream with me and helping to make it a wonderful reality for ALL to enjoy!  And please share this link  -  http://www.changeyourstars.com/phpBB/index.php  - 
with your friends!

Ya just gotta believe!!!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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TAKE YOUR TIME

What to do?  We're constantly bombarded by messages urging us to live life to the fullest and to many that means rushing through their days, trying to cram as much activity into them as possible, going here and there, buying this and that, and "Of COURSE we have to go THERE for our next vacation!",  believing all of this is living their lives to the fullest.

Their schedules are packed, and so are their children's.  School, soccer practice, a little league game, piano lessons, homework for 5 hours ("You HAVE to get straight A's to even THINK about getting into college, and you WILL be going to college!").  All that pressure ... and for what?

Others literally do  t-a-k-e  t-h-e-i-r  s-w-e-e-t  t-i-m-e  to accomplish something, refusing to get caught up in all of that pressure, driving others around them crazy who may be waiting on the results before they can proceed.

Somewhere in all of this there's a happy medium.  However, it's up to each of us, individually, to determine what that time frame is.  A lot has to do with how excited we are about a particular project, as well as how important it may be that it's done "just right".  There are too many variables in any situation for us to make a judgment on someone else's performance.

Sometimes we can zip right through our days with ease, no interruptions or distractions, other times it seems like it's one thing after another that seems to get in our way!

We just need to take one day at a time.  When things begin to get hectic, slow down and take a deep breath.  Ok, sometimes we may need to take a few deep breaths before the stress and pressure subsides, but, whatever it takes, do it!  Going for a walk also helps!

And the next time you get behind someone going "too slow" in your lane (whether it's on the freeway or in the grocery store) just remember, it was a series of choices YOU made that put you right there behind them at that very moment ... so don't blame them!

Breathe ... relax ... and live a longer life!

THAT'S living life to its fullest
!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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LESS IS MORE

When we make a conscious choice to simplify our lives we open up the door for new and refreshing experiences, meeting new and interesting people, developing new and lasting friendships, and learning new and exciting things.  This may seem like I'm contradicting myself, but it's not going to happen all at once.

What I'm talking about is simplifying our lives so that the unnecessary stuff is gone.  Not only getting rid of boxes of stuff we don't need and never use, but also loads of worry, concern, fears, negative thinking ... any attitude or feelings that are actually getting in our way of living a better life.

Sure, I have my share of boxes to go through (perhaps MORE than I should have!), but I look forward to getting through them, anxious for those new experiences that are coming my way as soon as the dust clears.

I start each day expecting a miracle, and hardly a day goes by without something special happening in my life that reminds me how grateful I am to be living, how grateful I am for my family and friends, and how grateful I am for the talents God has blessed me with.

When we get down to the simple basics of living we can see our treasures more clearly and we have more time to enjoy them.


Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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LIMITATIONS

How many times in our lives have we been frustrated by limitations, either those we find in ourselves or those imposed on us by others?  Personally, my own I can deal with and make adjustments for.  But those that are placed, and sometimes even forced on us by others, are the ones that can really push me near the edge.

Now, in all fairness, there are those we give our lives and our hearts to, like God and our personal religious leaders.  We exercise faith, trust and obedience and give love, comfort and service to others.  In return, we receive in kind for what we give.

The limitations I'm referring to do not come from religious sources, for God wants us all to fulfill our righteous destinies.  I'm referring to those people in our lives who've taken it upon themselves to tell us what they think we should do.

Who are they to determine that we can't or shouldn't do something?!  Who do they think they are that they can dictate to us what we can or cannot do?!  What gives them the right to stick their noses into our business and try to run our lives?!

Well, sometimes we, ourselves, are to blame.  We actually limit ourselves if we don't take responsibility for ourselves and our actions.  The results we get out of life are then dictated by those we allow to direct us down the path they choose for us.  We can't complain if we're allowing that to happen to us.

We wouldn't allow someone to come into our home, stand in the middle of our living room, and dump a garbage can full of foul smelling, greasy garbage onto our beautiful carpet or hardwood floors, would we?  Well, let's not let them into our heads and our hearts with their garbage or negative thinking and impossible rules.

Decide what you want out of life and stand up tall, straight and firm for it.  Desire the very best for yourself and your loved ones and you'll receive it.

You have no control over when and how your results will arrive, but you do have control of what kind you'll receive ... blessings or consequences.


Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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FINDING THE DREAM ... AGAIN

The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon,
or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth,
and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes
to build a woodshed with them.

Henry David Thoreau


Thoreau's words hit me hard as I read them, wondering how many people have lost the dreams they held so precious as youth.

What changed?  What obstacles got in your way?  What caused you to diminish your grand expectations for yourself?  They weren't illusions, you know.  They're just as real now as they were then, but something happened.

Was it something someone said?  Did you try something that didn't work out and now you're afraid to try again?  Did you read something somewhere that convinced you that all those childhood dreams were just foolishness?

It's never too late to rekindle that flame that used to burn so bright!  Is there still an ember or is the final spark merely a memory.  That's what YOU think!  Because, as you're reading this, you remembered those dreams, those desires, those goals that meant so much to you "way back when", they're still there in your mind and in your heart, and that spark is still alive!  All you need is the chance to dream again!

Remember how fun it was to let your imagination run wild and how fun it was to dream?

Here's to you finding those wonderful youthful dreams again!  Now ... GO FOR IT!


Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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YOUR DESTINY OF GREATNESS

You become great
only if it's your destiny.

Andrea Bocelli


American Idol is one of my favorite TV shows and with good reason ... it excites me to witness people striving for their dreams, giving all they have to fulfill the desires of their heart.

This week the guest artists are the great tenor Andrea Bocelli and producer David Foster working with the contestants on classic love songs.  I've admired both of these gentlemen for years and thoroughly enjoy listening to their music.

Last night, when Andrea Bocelli spoke the words I quoted above, I wrote them down immediately and have some thoughts of my own to add.

Our destiny is not something merely left to the stars, decided by order of birth, or determined by whether or not we were born into the "right" family or have the "right" connections.  History is filled with examples of people who refused to be limited by their environment, choosing instead to determine for themselves what contributions they would make to society and improve their circumstances along the way.

Helen Keller, Og Mandino, Steven Hawking, Wayne Dyer, Bruce Jenner, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Ronnie Milsap ... I could go on and on but you get the idea.  All of these and countless more are all examples of people believing in themselves and rising above whatever afflictions they may have had that have caused so many others to give up on themselves.

Ludwig van Beethoven's own words speak of his determination to rise above his deafness:

Free me of only half this affliction and I shall be a complete, mature man.
You must think of me as being as happy as it is possible to be on this earth -
not unhappy.  No!  I cannot endure it.  I will seize Fate by the throat.  It
will not wholly conquer me!  Oh, how beautiful it is to live - and live a
thousand times over!


I believe we can ALL create our own destinies!  Whether we ever achieve greatness as the world may define it is less important than fulfilling our own sense of worth and value.  We can choose to follow our dreams and we owe it to ourselves and others to pursue them with absolute passion!

THAT will be our Destiny and Legacy of Greatness!


Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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GO THE DISTANCE!

Dedicated
to
those who dream
and never stop believing
in their dreams!


~~~~~

In any pursuit,
in any endeavor,
following any dream,
you must give all you have
and never give up!

It's not about you.
It never has been.
It's all about others who will benefit
from your commitment,
your dreams, your desires,
your passion!

Whatever your dream ...
go the distance!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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THE FIRST STEP

So many times we hear motivational speakers say, "Just Do It!", or "Do It NOW!", but often we're not sure what that "It" is yet.  That's SO frustrating, isn't it?  We want so badly to change things in our lives but we're just not sure where to begin.


I believe the first step is to decide what we want based on what I call our "deep heart desires". A great way to begin is to ask yourself the question, "What would you do if money were no object?"  The answer to that question can provide you with the foundation on which to begin to build or change your dreams.

Are you a lawyer who deep down inside would rather use your hands?  Maybe you've always wanted to build furniture or be a landscape architect.  Perhaps you're a stay-at-home Mother who'd love to do something special while the children are in school.  Maybe becoming a freelance writer could fulfill that desire!  The options are endless.  Some may mean a whole change in your life, others may mean just a few adjustments in how you spend your time.

One of my favorite movies is "Shall We Dance" with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez.  If you haven't seen the movie it's about a lawyer who feels something is missing in his life and he fills that need by taking up ballroom dancing.  He didn't need to change careers to fill that emptiness, he just found something that filled the need to do something different in his life.  This "review" is way over simplified, but you get the idea ... he took that first step.

You can, too!  Once again I ask you ... "What would you do if money were no object?"  Shut down your brain and listen to your heart (click for special quotes).

Now that you know what to do and how to do it I'll say "Just Do It!" and "Do It NOW!"

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS

We've all met at least one person who's made a difference in our lives, so much so that we never forget what they did for us and how it made us feel at the time or even today, so many years later.

From time to time I'll be sharing stories right here about the Unforgettable Characters in my life and the difference they made in my life, and if you feel so moved I encourage you to share some of yours with me.

Today I'd like to inaugurate this addition to Up Close & Personal by telling you a little about my 7th Grade Home Room teacher, Mrs. Lela Cummings.

Mrs. Cummings had a wonderful smile and a warm, loving attitude towards all of her students.  I was very lucky to have had her as my teacher in the first place because she had already retired, but her husband had passed away the year before and she asked the school district if she could stay on one more year to help her through the grieving process.  I'm so glad they granted her request!

One of the earliest memories I have from her class was when my parents joined me for "Back-to-School Night".  Mrs. Cummings was standing near her desk in front of the classroom greeting the parents and her students as they entered and began wandering around looking at the many exhibits we had tacked to the walls or stacked on our desks.

When it was finally our turn to say "Hi!" to her I introduced my parents to Mrs. Cummings and she graciously smiled and thanked them for coming.  Then my Dad said something that caught us totally by surprise, "I know you, Mrs. Cummings!  You taught one of my sisters back in Minnesota!"  At first she denied it, believing that it was merely a coincidence that she looked like someone my Dad knew.

My Dad continued, "No, it's you!  It was a small, red, one room school house in Minnesota."  He mentioned his sister's name and Mrs. Cummings stood there speechless!  With tears of joy, thinking back on all those many years ago and her own special memories of that small, red, one room school house, she reached out her hand to hold my Dad's hand once again, looked up into his eyes and, calling him by his name she remembered from all those many years ago, said softly, "Oh, Jimmy!  How sweet of you to remember me.  You don't know how much this means to me."  He returned her warm smile as they stood there for a moment in silence, and I could see a hint of moisture in my Dad's eyes as well.  Of course, my Mom had been crying tears of joy throughout this whole exchange!

Then my Dad turned to me and said, "You're going to have a great year with Mrs. Cummings.  She's a wonderful teacher."

One of the many things I learned that year was how to write more effectively.  I had begun to write short stories just for fun when I was in 2nd or 3rd Grade, but Mrs. Cummings had posted some word strips on the wall directly across the room from my desk and I could see them every day.  As a part of our lessons each week we were to present a current event report in front of the class.  The word strips were there to remind us what the important things were that we needed to remember when doing our report (and they also helped when we later did book reports!).

To this day I have a picture perfect memory of those word strips on the wall and have done my best to use them with everything I write from my journal to my song lyrics:

"Who", "What", "Where", "When", "How", "Why", and give us your "Opinion".

Mrs. Cummings officially retired after that additional year she was granted and treated herself to a fabulous trip around the world!  She sent me many postcards from far away exotic places like Tokyo, Bangkok, Cairo, and Buenos Aires.  I'm not sure where those postcards are today, but Mrs. Cummings left a lasting impression on me that helped to shape my career.

One day, eighteen years later, I was thinking about her as I was driving between appointments in my work.  I wondered if she was still alive, and if so where she might be living.  I found a pay phone and a local phone book and looked for her name.

To my joy and surprise I not only found her in the book but I was only 10 minutes from where she lived!  I called her, identified myself, and there was a moment of silence on her end of the line.  Finally, I softly heard her say, "Oh, my goodness.  How are you?"  I asked her if I might be able to come by and see her sometime soon and she said, "Why not now?!"

I called my next appointment and re-scheduled it for the next day and then drove over to visit with my 7th Grade Home Room teacher from Bohannon Junior High, in San Lorenzo, California ... Mrs. Lela Cummings - a most unforgettable character in my life!

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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A NEW DAY

Some people are "morning people", and others are "night people".  Personally, I'm one of the latter.  I just seem to think better, write better, and my imagination seems to be more creative later in the evening, just as long as it doesn't get TOO late.

However, there's something about a new day, a new beginning, that can also stir my soul.  I've  had some amazing experiences early in the morning that remind me how great it is to be alive.  Three such experiences happen to involve the same two elements ... the sun and snow-capped mountains.

When I was in high school I had the privilege of studying and traveling in Europe.  Very early one morning the group I was with hit the road in the Bavarian area of Germany and headed for Austria and Italy.  Just as we hit the summit of the German / Austrian border we could look down into the lush green Innsbruck valley and then up the other side to the Austrian / Italian Alps just as the sun was coming up.  The view was spectacular and we just had to stop to try and capture the moment in photos.  Close, but they just couldn't capture the tremendous emotions we felt at that moment.

The next time was about 10 years later when I was traveling and visiting friends in Oregon.  I was a relatively new freelance photojournalist and I had driven to Mt. Hood in northern Oregon, staying at the wonderful Timberline Lodge, and wanted to add a lot of photos to my stock library.  I captured several wonderful shots of the Lodge and the ski slopes around sunset, and then, early the next morning, came the perfect shot.  The sun was rising, shadows were deep and dark, and there stood the majestic Mt. Hood against a deep blue sky!  I've sold many copies of that photo to businesses and private collections.

A more recent experience came just a few years ago as my wife and I were driving through the Sierras on the California / Nevada border.  We were approaching the summit near Donner Lake when the sun came up.  The sky was clear and the air was crisp.  As the sun rose, casting awesome shadows from trees and smaller peaks across the landscape, all of the colors we could imagine stood out so brilliantly ... another awe-inspiring view.

We may not be able to start every day with breathtaking experiences like these, but we can all be grateful we have a new day in our lives to make with it what we will.  And when we can't be "on the road" to catch nature's wonders first hand, may we be blessed with the ability to close our eyes and let our imaginations run wild!

How did you start your day this morning?  How will you start it tomorrow morning?

Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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I DON'T CARE !

"I don't care, and for that matter, I don't care that I don't care!"  Sounds like the ultimate definition of apathy to me.  Something's wrong here, but what is it?

Feelings like that come from a heart that's broken or scared or both.  Hope?  Gone.  Faith?  What's that?!  Self image?  Shot!

Perhaps you've heard your son or daughter shout that in the midst of a conversation you're trying to have with them.  You KNOW something's wrong, and because you love them you're just trying to help.  Perhaps you heard it from a co-worker, frustrated with their job or a particular project they're working on and things just don't seem to be going right.  Or maybe it's a friend who's going through a particularly hard time right now in their life.  The key is that there's something that's just not right!  Something's not going right from what they were hoping or expecting and now they feel lost, wondering what to do next.  But they may also be afraid to take that next step because they don't want to lose or fail again.

They need to know someone is there for them that they can count on no matter what.  You can't force yourself into their lives, but you CAN let them know you care.  If they're crying "I don't care!" they need to know SOMEONE cares about them, that they're important to someone, and then the healing can begin.

Listen ... someone needs you.


Jace
© 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO MOTHERS

This Sunday, May 14th, is Mother's Day.  As a special tribute to mothers everywhere I'd like to share something I wrote many years ago and published in my book titled, "Rainwater Tapestry".  I hope you enjoy it.

Mother

My Mother told me about love
yet she never said a word.
She told me about it in such a way
that the slightest whisper
was never heard.
She always told me "I love you"
at what seemed to be
just the right time.
There's not another one like her
in the world ...
this Mother of mine.

She told me about
the beauty of Nature
and how to find joy
in all of God's creations.
I looked and found it
in the trees and mountains
and even in her eyes
whenever I gave her carnations.

When I was small
she would take my hand
and guide me.
And as I grew
she was always there
quietly beside me.
She prayed constantly
(and probably still does)
hoping and believing
I would turn out right.
And with God's hand in hers
she helped me to stand
strong and upright.

"What beauty there is in a sunset
and in people of all ages."
That special feeling
one just can't forget
as he leafs through
life's many pages.
"When you see a child
and see its smiles
and hear its laughter,
think about
what their life will be like tomorrow
and the years thereafter."

I think about them a lot
and pray they have a Mother
as beautiful as mine.
With a heart so full of joy, so pure,
and love that is so divine.

Yes, my Mother told me about love
in Her own special way.
And she continues to tell me
by showing me day after day.

Jace
Copyright © 1976, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
Copyright renewed © 2004, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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GOOD TIMES

No matter how old we are, from 5 to over 100, we all have memories.  Most of those memories are, no doubt, about the good times we've had in our lives, either with family or friends, or occasionally by ourselves.

Memories are so important to hold on to.  They remind us not only of the good times in our lives, but also about the trials and struggles we've been through and how we managed to pull through them.  We remember what we did to turn things around, who was there to lend a helping hand, and how good it felt to finally find some relief.  These memories give us hope when we face new struggles.

We all wish we could avoid the bad times, from the skinned knees and bruised elbows of our childhood, to the broken hearts and unfulfilled dreams of adulthood.  But there's truly a time and place for everything in our lives, and taking the bad times along with the good is necessary if we're to know true joy and peace.

Let's make some more memories!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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ARE YOU THINKING TOO MUCH?

We often spend lots of time planning.  Vacations, home repairs, work projects, personal and family goals all get plenty of our attention and effort to plan them out just right to make sure they'll be as successful as possible.

There comes a time, though, when the thinking must end and action must occur.  It's possible to spend too much time thinking things over too much, worrying about the most minute detail, and that can end up spoiling the whole plan, not to mention wasting valuable time.

It's important for us to think about and plan for the big things, but let's leave room for some fun diversions along the way that offer the opportunity of adding to the overall success of our vacation, project, or goal.

Serendipity is such a wonderful experience!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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JUST ONCE

How often were we told when we were children to try something new "just once"?  Whether it was something new our mother's had prepared for dinner (or some strange looking and "different smelling" vegetable we weren't used to) and were encouraged to eat it because it was "good" for us ("HEY!  If it's not chocolate, how can it be good for me?!"), or whether it was a new game we were trying to learn, we were encouraged to try it "just once".

Sometimes it worked out fine ... other times we probably could have done without.  But how would we have ever known for sure unless we tried?

There's a saying that goes, "We always miss 100% of the baskets we don't shoot for", and that's a great metaphor for life.  If we don't at least try we'll never know what we might have achieved.

You don't have try all by yourself.  Look around, they're plenty of people already doing what you're thinking about trying.  Talk to them, find out how they got started.  Some may even offer to assist you.

Isn't it worth a try ... just once?

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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CYA! - CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE

OK, so I know "CYA" has another, perhaps more common meaning, but that's the point I want to make here ... it's important to check your attitude constantly in order to be at the peak of your game!

How did you feel when you woke up this morning?  Were you regretting that it was already morning?  Or could you hardly wait to fly out of bed and get started on your day?  (It actually started with how you felt when you went to bed last night!)  Are you dreading the load of projects ahead of you, the stack of papers you have to deal with, and the mountain of bills left to pay before the end of the month?  Or are you excited about the unknown and unseen opportunities that will be coming your way today?

If you're doing your best to maintain as positive an attitude as possible, those opportunities will surely appear, and then it's up to you to capture them and make the most of them.  But, having a bad or negative attitude slams the door on those opportunities and they'll simply go to someone else who's ready for them!

Don't want to miss out?  Then "CYA!"

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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TAKING RISKS

Sometimes, no matter how bad we want something, we just don't feel we have what it takes to take the very next step that could put us over the top and ready to smile and celebrate a victory that's been a long time coming.  Why?  Could it be a fear of failure?  Or perhaps a fear of success?  How about the fear of the unknown?

Actually, we can make a list that's quite long as to why we don't take that next step, but when it comes right down to it I believe it's a matter of vision and determination.  How clear is our vision of what we are ultimately striving to achieve?  And ... how BAD do we want it?

The clearer our vision and the more passionate we are about it will determine whether we take that next step with confidence, or look back at this time in our life and ask, "What might have been?"

If your dream is worthwhile enough, you'll take that step!
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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CREATING A DIAMOND DAY

Have you ever had one of those days when everything just seems to go right ... and then keeps on getting better?  All the time?  Once in awhile?  Seldom?  Never?  Well, it's possible to have one as often as you want!

Now, before you write me off as some crazy guy who doesn't have his head screwed on straight, I assure you I've had all sorts of days in my life, from the most horrible, darkest piece of dirt kind of days to those that are just so amazingly wonderful that they literally shine as bright as, or brighter than, diamonds.  But, no matter which end of the spectrum any one day might be for us, or even somewhere in the middle, it didn't begin at the moment we woke up.  It actually started before that, anywhere from the previous day to several days, weeks, or even months before.

We lay a foundation for the condition of our lives and then we build the days of our lives upon that foundation.  If we build a foundation of positive thoughts, positive expectations, positive attitudes, taking positive actions we'll be laying a foundation on which our lives can generate days that are simply magical.

Some may accept good things coming their way like they're having a run of good luck, but then other days they rule off as just a run of bad luck.  Luck has absolutely nothing to do with it!  It's all in how we choose to live each day, planting seeds that eventually grow.  It's the choices we make each day that decide if those seeds will become dirt or diamonds
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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REACHING OUT

What kind of talents do you have?  Come on, think about it ... they don't have to be the kind that get you noticed or written up in the paper, but rather the kinds of talents that when you do them just make you feel so good.  They might include writing, painting, playing an instrument, sports,  sewing, woodworking, cooking, making jewelry, landscaping, gardening, scrapbooking, singing, sculpting, genealogy, photography, flower arranging, catering, etc.  Well, you see where I'm going.  There are SO many kinds of talents and each of us has at least a few.  Come on!  Give yourself some credit!  You really DO have many talents!

And I'm sure there are even more that you'd really like to develop, right?  And where would you go and who would you talk to in order to learn something new?  Of course!  Someone who already has that talent!  Call them teachers, instructors, guides, coaches, even friends ... they are the ones we turn to in order to gain the knowledge we need to develop that new talent.

Are you aware that there are many people around you who would love to know how to do some of the things you do?  Absolutely!  Perhaps even some of your friends and neighbors.  Talk to them, ask them about their talents, and if they do something you'd like to learn ask them if they'd like to share some tips and pointers with you!  And then you can make the same offer to them with your talents.

Of course, for those adventurous enough, there are always classes you can teach within the community, and even make some extra money for your efforts, but it's in reaching out to those around us and sharing what we know that can truly lift our spirits and improve our lives, whether we get paid to do it or not.

Look around you ... someone's reaching out to you!


Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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HONOR and RESPECT

Today is a holiday in the United States ... Memorial Day ... a day for Americans to pause from our busy lives and think about and pay tribute to all of the brave men and women who have given their lives defending our country and protecting our rights.

Right now our nation is involved in a war in Iraq that draws mixed support from Americans, but the vast majority of families and friends of the service men and women who have been called to serve there support them 100% and pray for them constantly.  One thing I'm very grateful to see, though, is that regardless of how Americans feel about the war, when our troops come home from the war they're greeted with the honor and respect that's due them for the sacrifices they've made and for the commitments they kept to their country, their loved ones, and fellow service men and women.

There was another war many years ago that America was involved in that many Americans hated us having anything to do with.  Unfortunately, for the men and women who served in the Vietnam War, there was little or no honor or respect shown to them while they were there or when they came home, with the exception being from their families and very closest friends.  Instead, they were ignored, shunned, spat upon, outwardly hated and virtually ostracized by their own communities who saw them only as warmongers for having simply fulfilled their military responsibilities, even though so many of them had no choice because they had been drafted.

Whether you agree with our President and support his actions and intentions with the war in Iraq, or think it's absolutely wrong and that the President should pull out all of the troops and make Iraq fend for itself, doesn't matter right now.  What DOES matter is supporting our troops 100%.  There's no military draft in effect today like there was during the Vietnam War so each and every one of the members of our military today are there because they made the choice to serve their country regardless of where they might be called to serve.

My Father, James William Carlton, served our country in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, fighting in the Pacific, from Guadacanal to the Philippines and on into China.  He wasn't drafted ... he chose to enlist.  He came home to my mother, my two older brothers, and a Hero's welcome, and even though I was born some time after the war, he will always be my hero, and someone I truly Honor and Respect!

Soldier

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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NAVIGATE YOUR DESTINY

We all want to accomplish something very special in our lives, something that will say to future generations, "I made a difference".  It may be something on a grand scale like an invention or a medical breakthrough, or it may be something as humble and equally worthwhile as raising a happy family.

Your destiny may lie within the halls of commerce or legislation or enterprise, or on a ranch or farm or on the roads that cross a nation, or within the halls of your own home.  It doesn't matter what your destiny may be, it's there, waiting for you to accept the challenge, to lift the banner of your calling and lead the way.

Sailors know they can't rely on only themselves to navigate the oceans safely and they have man-made tools and the stars in heaven to help them find their way to their destination.  Adventurers have guides and road maps to help them along their way.  Business leaders who excel have high standards and principles of conduct to follow.

Obstacles along the way are sure to come and are merely a fact of life.  We're made stronger by these obstacles which may challenge the very fiber of our hearts and souls, but without them there could be no sense of victory from having fought the good fight.

What is your destiny?  You'll find it in your heart, and once you've discovered what it is step out in confidence knowing that forces mightier than yourself will be at work to assist you along your way
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM

When I was teenager I belonged to a great international organization for young men.  I had an awesome time participating in all of the activities it had to offer, and the high standards and principles they taught went hand-in-hand with those my parents taught me.

Along the way I had the opportunity to hold many offices and fulfill a variety of responsibilities.  I worked hard because I had a goal ... I wanted to lead the local "Chapter" I belonged to.  After a few years I was elected by the members to the first of three offices that would ultimately place me as their leader a year later (we held offices for 6 months).

Finally the evening came, the room was packed with over 300 guests of the members and officers.  In just a few minutes I would be installed as the Master Councilor with an awesome team of officers and a great group of members to support us.

The program proceeded flawlessly.  After the introduction of dignitaries and other opening ceremonies the installation of officers began.  Right after I was installed there was a musical number that was performed that I had chosen specifically for this moment ... "The Impossible Dream" ... from the musical "Man of La Mancha".  I was SO excited at that moment because a goal I had set for myself, and had worked hard at for over 3 years had finally been realized.  It truly was MY impossible dream!

After that term of office I was blessed with more opportunities to lead the Order of DeMolay on other regional and state levels, and was also blessed with many honors and awards, but that special night was more magical, more important to me than just about anyone can know, with the exception of my parents and family, my girlfriend, and my very closest of friends at the time who knew of the personal struggles and obstacles I had to overcome to achieve this goal and fulfill this dream!

Today I have new dreams.  Some might consider them impossible, but they don't know or understand what's in my heart.  The work is being done, the foundation is being laid, and the goal is in sight.  Each day I see fulfillment of pieces of those dreams and that spurs me on to keep trying and never give up!

What's YOUR impossible dream?  What do you want more than anything in this world?  Do you know the steps you need to take to achieve it?  Are you focusing your efforts towards that goal? Are you, as the song goes, "willing to march into hell for a Heavenly cause"?  How BAD do you want it?

My challenge to you today is to read the lyrics below very carefully, let them sink deeply into your heart and soul, and then ... decide to dream and then work for YOUR impossible dream!

"Impossible Dream"

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
And to run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
And to love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star!

Lyrics by Joe Darion

click HERE to listen to an mp3 recording of
Peter O'Toole
from the movie version of
"Man of La Mancha"


Now ... once again ... m
y challenge to you today is to read the lyrics above very carefully, let them sink deeply into your heart and soul, and then ... decide to dream and then work for YOUR impossible dream!!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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ROUGHING IT

Life is never a smooth road from beginning to end.  Each day presents its own set of ups and downs, opportunities and obstacles, smooth and easy stretches and pot holes.  It's learning how to deal with them that will determine at the end of the day whether it was a good day or a not so good day.  We can't expect every day to be a diamond day.  Sometimes we have to take the coal with the gem.

Have you ever had the opportunity to polish a rock using a polishing machine?  One of our son's did several years ago and it was fun to see the different stages, though we had to keep the machine in the garage because of the noise from the motor! ;-)

This was definitely an exercise in patience!  The process is not one that takes just a few minutes or even a few hours.  Try several days!  In fact, if I remember correctly, it may have been well over a week because there are several stages to the process.  Each stage requires many, many hours, and with each stage a different coarseness of compound is added to the tumbler, starting with the very coarsest grit and ending with the very finest powder that creates the finishing touch.  At the beginning you have just a plane old rock, but at the end you have a beautiful gem stone that's smooth and shiny, allowing all of the beautiful colors within to shine forth!

Let's be patient with ourselves and with others.  We all have our rough edges and it just takes some time, some effort, some grit (otherwise known as obstacles) to rub up against us, and before you know it you, too, will fulfill your potential, shining like the precious gemstone you're destined to become!
 
Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

Every day we're faced with a myriad of decisions.  Most are fairly simple to make and are made quickly and effortlessly.  But sometimes a decision comes along that we wrestle with, sometimes for days, perhaps much longer.  Decisions like that seem to carry the weight of the world on them, and we often transfer that weight over to ourselves.

Some decisions may be made both quickly and lightly while others do require much thought and contemplation.  It's at these times when we must exercise patience with ourselves in order to gain not only the knowledge we need to make our decision, but also the wisdom in order to make the right decision.

Sometimes we hesitate to make such decisions out of fear.  In most situations fear comes simply from the lack of knowledge, so as we make the effort to gain the knowledge we need we also find our fear begin to fade.  But there is still another element we need to consider ... wisdom.

Our mind is where we store all the knowledge we gather together to make our decisions.  It's a great and wonderful depository that we can call on at any time to give us what we need, and it can also let us know if we need more before a decision can be made.  But knowledge is not wisdom and so it is not found in the mind.

Wisdom is found in the heart and this is where you should look to make the right decisions for you and for those you may have responsibility for, whether in a family, a community, or a business.  It is gained through prayer and meditation, accessing the Source of all knowledge, truth and wisdom.  Decisions of great importance to you need not be made alone, nor should they, but rather be made in tandem with God's will.  For then you'll have assurance that your decision is right.

Using the knowledge you have in your mind is very important, because you've gained a lot of great understanding there from others, but listening to your heart is the most important factor because that is where all of your experience and the understanding of what is truly right for you is firmly planted.

Listen to your heart ... it will never mislead you, for only truth is spoken there!


Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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JUST DO IT !

Many years ago I worked for a great employer.  He always had a positive attitude, and he worked very hard every day to make everyone around him feel good about themselves, the company, and the work we were doing.  He was a former high school football coach and so he really knew how to get everyone pumped up and excited for the day and the newest challenge that would come our way.

One of my favorite "pep talks" of his was when he'd share his story about how he handled people who whined and complained, from the boys who used to play on the teams he coached to the people who were former employees.  The exchanges would go something like this:

A player who didn't want to lift any more weights: "But, Coach, I'm tired and I don't feel very good."  "Just do it!"

Or a player who wasn't giving his all during a practice: "But, Coach, my girlfriend just broke up with me and I just can't keep my mind on anything but her."  "Just do it!"

Or: "Coach, I have a ton of homework and a big test tomorrow, so I don't think I can't come to practice today."  "Do it anyway!"

Or from a former employee: "But, sir, I just can't keep my mind on my work.  I've got SO many bills stacking up and my wife is threatening to leave me.  What am I gonna do?!"  "Man, you REALLY gotta do it!"

Get the picture?  His answers were simple and to the point.  In his eyes everyone was special but no one was unique because we ALL face troubles and problems, we just have to press forward and do the best we can.

So, the next time we think about just ignoring a situation and hoping it'll go away let's remember what my boss loved to say, "Just do it!" or "Do it anyway!"


Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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JUST ONE KINDNESS

Think of a time when someone did something for you that you didn't expect.  It may not have been anything as dramatic as saving your life, but it still meant something to you.  How did you feel afterwards?

There's just something about kindness that can't be expressed in words.  Try as we might, we just can't describe what it feels like inside.

Love is another one of those experiences that words so often fail to describe adequately.  We love someone and say "I love you", but it just doesn't come close to saying how we truly feel about them.

Being kind to someone is an expression of love.  From one person to another, across all the many differences we might have - race, creed, color, religion, nationality, politics - none of that matters.  When we are kind to someone else it sets off a rippling effect.  We literally have the potential of changing the world!

Just think!  One kindness, offered to another with no expectations of anything in return, is pure love.  Both the giver and the receiver are changed in that moment.  And anyone that may see that kindness being offered is also changed, for it plants a seed in their heart to also be kind to someone.

You and I can change the world ... one heart at a time.  All it takes is just one kindness!


Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN

We've all been there, whether it was a castle made of building blocks or a tall house of cards as a child, or, on a more adult scale, our plans and goals even our very lives, when the walls all seemed to come falling down.  As a child we may have reacted with frustration, but we usually shook it off rather quickly and started to rebuild our "masterpiece" or decided to try a different design.  Is it that easy to shake it off and start again now that we're adults?  It depends on what walls come falling down.

If it's a project we're working on at work and the boss says, "That's not what I'm looking for", well, then we go back to the drawing board and start again.  Perhaps we need fresher ideas, a new perspective in order to get going in the "right" direction and create a better plan.

But what if it's more personal than some project at work or even at home?  What if it's really personal, like between you and someone you love?  There's a BIG difference between business (matters of the mind) and personal (matters of the heart) when it comes to facing challenges.  If we're having difficulties at work we're encouraged to "leave our troubles at the office", and for the most part I believe most of us are rather successful at that.  But when we're having troubles in our personal lives we truly struggle and it affects everything else we do.

Our sleep is restless or non-existent, our appetite disappears, we're distracted in our thoughts and often times while driving, our desire to accomplish anything literally goes out the window.  Our lives keep spinning in a downward spiral until such time as we're able to regain a sense of balance and are able to begin to "make things right".  It doesn't matter what may have caused the walls to fall down, what matters is how we begin to rebuild them.

Do we try on our own, relying on our own limited knowledge and understanding?  Do we make the effort to work with that special someone to rebuild or start from scratch to build something newer and better than what was there before?  Or do we move on, heading in a new direction, trying something different, believing that perhaps with someone different things might be better?

Well, things CAN be different AND better if we choose to include one very special person in our lives to build a new life with ... God.  If we will turn to Him first, He has promised that He can make weak things strong and so our burden is made light.  He can set us on the correct path to follow.  Our knowledge and understanding is finite, but His is infinite.

He is the rock upon which to build or rebuild our lives when it all falls down.

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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CLOSER and CLOSER

I received an email from my friend, James, today and he was sharing with me some great news.  He and another friend of ours, Susie Marshall, are partners in a music publishing company in Nashville and they continue to make progress in building their business inside the music industry.

James and I met by email nearly 6 years ago and shortly thereafter started writing songs together.  It was amazing to see how much we thought alike and how well we worked together, even at a great distance (he's in Texas and I'm in California).  Together we came to realize that our ultimate career goal is the same and we can both see it getting closer and closer to becoming a reality ... full-time songwriting partners in Nashville!

Along the way we've not only developed our own partnership but we've also created a "circle of friends" - contacts within the industry, mostly in Nashville, that we stay in touch with regularly.  This "circle" has been very beneficial to everyone involved, and it continues to grow on a regular basis.

Nobody becomes successful in any endeavor overnight.  Nearly everyone who gets labeled an "Overnight Success" has quite a story to tell about the years of hard work they've put in and the many sacrifices they've made in order to achieve their goals.  Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, but with consistent effort things can become easier.

Whatever your goals are, whatever your wildest dreams may be, keep working on them and never give up.  By making progress each and every day, even in the smallest amounts, you'll find that all of your efforts are paying off and you'll continue to gain the confidence you need to keep going.  John Wooden, the famous Head Coach of the UCLA Bruins Basketball Dynasty, and 6 time Coach of the Year said,

    "If you go as far as you can see you will then see enough to go even farther."

Whether it happens later today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year, or at some other point in the future the achievement of that special goal of yours will come into sight.  Just keep working hard ... because it's getting closer and closer!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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IT'S TIME !

OK, you've waited long enough!  It's time to get serious.  Really serious!  No more excuses, no more reasons, no more putting it off.  No more wasting your time.  It's time to turn up the heat!

You've been letting your dreams and goals become mere wishes.  You've been allowing "life" to set in and allowed its tentacles to surround your heart and just take over, creating in its wake a boring routine that's getting you nowhere fast!  You didn't get to this point in your life overnight and so it's not going to disappear overnight either.  It's going to take a concerted effort to make some changes, but change you must!

When mindless, unchallenging, routine existence and safety
are blindly accepted and become unthinking goals,
there can be no authenticity,
because you and everyone else has a mission,
a purpose in life that cannot be denied if you are to live fully.
If you have no purpose, you have no passion.
If you have no passion, you have sold yourself out.
I know that, because I know that within each of us there are passions that,
if acknowledged and released,
will energize and excite the experience of life.

from

"Self Matters"
by
Dr. Phillip C. McGraw

OK, so you're wondering, "What do I do now?  I don't really know where to begin."  GREAT!  You can make a fresh start!  What do you think blank sheets of paper are for?!?!?!  Grab a pad right now - yes, RIGHT NOW!  Now start writing down anything and everything that comes into your head.  Don't let the "editor" in your brain have any control right now, you're just letting your creativity and your ideas flow.  What are your wildest dreams?!?!?!  Write them down!  No one else is going to see this so don't worry about it being neat and organized, just do it!

You can do this!  You really can!  Down deep in your heart you've wanted to do this for a long time but you were just missing the passion that burns behind a special purpose and a special dream.  I know you may be afraid of what's coming next.  Are you afraid of failure?  Are you afraid of success?  Whatever you may be afraid of doesn't matter.  Your fears will disappear once you begin to take action. 
Turn up that heat!!

And in case you're wondering ... yes, you DO deserve to be happy and fulfilled and achieving the dreams of your heart.  When?  Right now!  It's time!
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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WALKIN' ON FIRE!

A few years ago I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Late one night, with a cool breeze blowing, I took a walk.  It wasn't a very long walk, and it didn't take me very long to complete, but when I was done I was a different person.  How so?  Well, I had just taken a walk on a 20 foot long bed of hot coals, in excess of 2000 degrees, and didn't get burned!

Why, you may be asking, would I do something as crazy as that?!  A dare?  A bet?  It was actually a challenge that I had a choice of accepting or not.  Yes, I made a conscious choice to face the potential of severe burns on both feet.  Was it foolish?  Crazy?  Insane?  It wasn't to me.

Now let me add a caution here.  Do NOT go out and try this in an unsupervised environment.  If you don't know what you're doing you CAN get hurt!  This whole activity was VERY carefully monitored by a very responsible staff and no one's allowed to walk until they're properly prepared for it.  No special coating is added to your feet.  No running is allowed.  The main preparation comes in adjusting your mental attitude as well as your belief system.  There's also staff members available to assist you during and after your walk, if necessary, so your safety is assured.  Many chose not to walk that night and that was perfectly ok with everyone.  Perhaps they'll try another time, perhaps not.  The choice is theirs and theirs alone to make.

I'm not advocating that you go out and walk on fire yourself, but I encourage you to take a look at the obstacles you have in your life that you allow to keep you from fulfilling your destiny, and then explore ways to overcome them.


The firewalk is a metaphor for life, because if you choose to accept the challenge you'll learn an important lesson ... if you can walk on fire you can doing ANYTHING you choose to do in life!
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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ONE MOMENT IN TIME

Time is an interesting concept.  Have you ever stopped to think about how time effects all that we do in our lives?  For children in school it can't go fast enough as they wait for the school bell to ring for recess or being able to go home.  For the business executive who's up against a major deadline it can't go slow enough.  For someone in love it can both fly way too fast and seem like it's dragging on forever and ever, depending on if they're with the one they love or not.

One of my favorite songwriters, Mickey Newbury, asked in a song, "Did God make time to keep things from happening all at once?".  Cesare Pavese wrote, "We do not remember days ... we remember moments".  But perhaps one of the best all around descriptions is:

Time is too slow for those who wait,
too swift for those who fear,
too long for those who grieve,
too short for those who rejoice,
but for those who love,
time is eternity.

Henry Van Dyke

Life and death, happiness and sorrow, love and pain can all come to us in one single moment.  Let's treasure all of the moments we're blessed with in this life, and let's try not to lose sight of the fact that for every minute that we spend angry, upset, or holding on to any grudge or negative emotion or feeling ... we lose a minute from our life that could otherwise have been spent in happiness, joy and love.


Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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DEVELOPING YOUR TALENTS

All of us have at least one thing we're pretty good at.  For some it's playing an instrument, and for others it's being able to build or repair something, or being blessed with a beautiful singing voice, or perhaps being able to successfully inspire and lead a group of people.  Some have the ability to confidently speak in public while others are dreadfully afraid to do so.  We watch athletes in a variety of sports put forth their best every day, and we also watch parents raising happy and loving families.

Have you discovered your talents yet?  That's right, you do have more than one.  Are you using them to bless others yet, or are you still developing them and learning all that you need to know in order to do well.  If you're still searching for your particular talents here are the steps that can help you along the way:

1.   Discover - List your strengths, abilities and interests
2.   Invest - Be willing to spend the time and effort to develop your talents
3.   Faith - Have faith in yourself and others who may help you along the way
4.   Educate - Take a class, read, learn the skills necessary to be able to develop this talent
5.   Mastery - Practice, practice, practice!
6.   Share - We weren't given these talents by God for us to just keep to ourselves.  We                             must be willing to share it so that it can bless the lives of others.
7.   Desire - Develop a passionate desire to do your very best.  You deserve it and so do                         the others who you share your talent with.
8.   Inspire - When you develop your talent, and do your best when you share it with                             others, you can be an inspiration to those who may wish to learn from you.
9.   Patience -
Be sure to exercise patience with yourself as you begin developing your                         talents and all along the way.  Have fun with this and enjoy all of the                                 experiences you'll have.

For quotes on "Talent" click here
.

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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THE FIRE WITHIN

What's your passion?  What touches your heart and reaches deeper into your soul than anything else?  Are you living each day in such a way as to be working towards fulfilling that passion?  It doesn't matter what it might be ... what matters is your desire.

In this life there are so many wonderful options to choose from to occupy our minds and our efforts.  We could spend a lifetime just pursuing one or two of them and still not have enough time to fulfill our thirst for more.  Perhaps if we could live several lifetimes we might just come close to fulfilling that thirst, but then again, the more we learn and know, the more we want to learn!  It's not a vicious circle ... it's a great blessing!

If your life isn't what you'd like it to be right now reach down deep inside and be honest with yourself.  What lifts your spirits?  What makes you happy?  What fulfills your deepest needs?  What literally turns you on?

Whatever it might be, light that fire within and then fan the flames until you're filled with a burning desire to follow and fulfill your choicest dreams, your most meaningful passions!  When you do you'll be amazed at how your life will improve and, in turn, the lives of all those who love you.

And then you'll be able to see them light their own fire within!


Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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THERE'S A LIGHT

"There's a light".  I've heard this phrase a lot in my life.  As in the Bee Gee's song, "To Love Somebody" - "There's a light / a certain kind of light / that never shone on me ...", and "There's a light at the end of every tunnel".

Well, there's another kind of light we should all be very aware of ... the light that shines from within each and every one of us.  A light that is uniquely ours, different from anyone else's ... anyone who has ever lived, anyone living today, or anyone who will ever live in the future.

That light is who we really are.  No one has ever been blessed with the same combination of abilities, talents, intelligence, compassion, wisdom, charity, understanding, kindness and love, nor will there ever be again.

If we are not using all of these gifts to bless others, then we are cheating them of the richer and more fulfilling lives they could lead, and we, in turn, are cheating ourselves of blessings we could receive from them.

Have you shined your light today?!


Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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BEHOLD THE TURTLE!

Years ago I had a poster pinned to the wall of my first apartment with a humorous, but true, statement ... "Behold the turtle!  He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out."  It was one of many posters I pinned on the walls of my apartments, reminding me to think positive, have courage, and hope for the best in all things.

No matter how tough life might be sometimes, it is still a blessing ... especially when you consider the alternative!  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want it to happen before I'm done really living!  I once heard it said that "a rut is merely a coffin with the ends kicked out".  I have to agree and that's why I'm very careful about not getting into one!

My gratitude goes out to mothers everywhere, for they have taken upon themselves the greatest risk of all ... giving birth.  Modern medicine has greatly improved the odds of all going well during the delivery process, compared to just a hundred or so years ago or more.  But still, there is a period of time during which no doctor, no nurse, no loving husband can help her.  Only her faith, her hope, and her courage can help her through this as she takes God's hand in hers to bring a new life into the world.  The risks are great, but the rewards are greater!

Whether it's a baby attempting to take his first wobbly step or an octogenarian ready to take a step out of an airplane on her very first skydiving venture, life is an adventure that is full of risks at every turn, but if we face these risks, these adventures, with hope, faith and courage, we can live the life we're destined to live.  One that is full, one that is rewarding, and one that brings us joy
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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Will You Just LISTEN?!

We all have something important to say about a variety of things.  Some of us speak from how we feel about a particular subject, others speak from experience, and others merely pass on what they've heard others say regardless of whether they actually agree or not.

How many of us have found ourselves in the midst of a conversation and just couldn't WAIT until the other person finishes what they're saying so we can share more of what's on our mind (and not really paying attention to what they're saying).  Were we impatient because we were interrupted before we could make our point?  Or is the other person boring us because we feel they don't really know what they're talking about?  If so, then shame on us!  Who says WE have all the right answers?

Sometimes someone may even be trying to tell us something important but we might just be babbling on and on about something, not allowing them to get a word in edgewise.  They try to speak but we keep right on talking.  Their frustration finally overflows and we hear, "Will you just LISTEN!!!?!?!?!"  Why do we have such a hard time truly listening to others, placing value on their thoughts and ideas, and validating that they, too, have something important to say?

How about in our prayers?  Are our prayers just one way monologues as we pour out our hearts about what we need and when we need it?  Do we finish with "Amen" and then get right up off our knees, not giving God the chance to answer?  That would be like calling a friend and right off telling them how our day went and asking them for their advice with some problem we have and then hanging up the phone before they could answer us.  We should take some extra time on our knees, waiting in silence, because we can't hear that still, small voice when we're talking ... it can only be heard when we're silent.

In his worldwide best seller, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", Dr. Stephen Covey makes an excellent point to help us improve our listening habits.  Habit # 5 states,

"Seek first to understand, THEN to be understood" (emphasis added).

When we allow the other person to share their thoughts and ideas first, and we, in turn, listen carefully to what they're saying, then they are more likely to show the same respect to us.  It won't matter if we disagree, because what we're ultimately trying to accomplish is to understand one another.  This is true communication.

Whether it's between friends, business associates, husband and wife, parent and child, or even in our private time in prayer to God, listening is the key to improving our understanding of each other, ourselves, and God.

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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WHAT DO YOU WANT?

What do you want?  Why?  Do you really know?  Do you really need it?  Before you answer let me ask another couple of questions.  What do you have?  Are you using it?  Hmmm ... interesting approach, don't you think?  But, can you really know what you want until you know what you already have?

I write and speak a lot about dreams and goals and following your heart.  Being aware of what gifts and talents we already have helps us to be better aware of what things we want and truly need in our lives.  Not material things, the things that turn to dust and rust in the blink of an eye, but the things that truly matter and that can be a part of our legacy long after we're gone.

Clarifying the things that truly matter to us and then wanting to receive them into our lives takes a few very important elements ... faith, hope, desire and believing in ourselves!  American speaker and author Iyanla Vanzant wrote:

How Bad Do You Want It?

What are you willing to do to get what you say you want?
Are you willing to discipline your mind and mouth?
Are you willing to get up early, stay up late,
and work hard all the hours between?

What are you willing to give up?
Are you willing to give up bad habits,
negative thinking, negative people?
Are you willing to stand up for yourself?

As long as you can find one excuse not to answer these questions affirmatively,
you will never have what you say you want.

Sure, it takes desire, a BURNING desire to achieve our dreams and fulfill our destiny.  But desire needs those partners: faith, hope, and believing in ourselves!

Napoleon Hill wrote, "Whatever the mind of man can conceive AND believe, it CAN achieve" (emphasis added).  So, when you think about the things that you want, don't think about the material things that crumble in decay and blow away, because they don't REALLY matter.  Think about the things that matter most, that underlie ALL achievements, great and small, and say to yourself:

I want FAITH
I want HOPE
I want a BURNING DESIRE
I want TO BELIEVE
and then I know I WILL achieve!

The scriptures remind us, "... Ask, and it shall be given; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For EVERY ONE that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it SHALL be opened.  (Luke 11: 9-10)  (emphasis added)  EVERY ONE!  Not just the rich.  Not just those who have the right "connections".  EVERY ONE!

When we remember to include Him in all of our efforts then we stand a MUCH better chance of all of our worthy goals and dreams being fulfilled.

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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STARTING OVER

"Starting over."  For some of us those words are encouraging.  They mean we can start fresh, with a clean slate, having wiped away everything from the past and now we can create something brand new!  We're filled with enthusiasm and there's a sense of wonder and awe at what may come from this new opportunity.  Uncertainty and apprehension are replaced by anticipation and the thought and hope that THIS time we WILL succeed!

For others, "starting over" can have an ominous feel to it.  Perhaps we're facing the end of a job we really enjoyed and now we have to start over to find another one.  Or, maybe a relationship we've been involved in and given our heart and soul to has come apart at the seams, leaving us virtually lifeless and numb.  What to do now?  We may be bitter, resentful, afraid, perhaps even feeling like there's no hope, no reason to try again.  It was too hard the last time we tried to turn things around in our life and now it'll just be that much harder.  We may even feel that nothing and no one is worth going through this ever again and we might want to pull away from everything and everybody, trying to find some sense of peace and security in what's left of our world.

Whether starting over is an exciting event or a dreadful undertaking for us the one common denominator is change.  Some of us handle change better than others depending on so many factors in our lives: previous experiences, self confidence, self esteem, and our group of friends and family we can rely on for support, just to name a few.  Tony Shalhoub in his character as Adrian Monk from the hit TV series once stated, "I don't have a problem with change.  I just don't want to be there when it happens."

If we're starting over with anything in our life, facing a change large or small, faith, hope and believing in ourselves will pull us through.  If we don't feel we have any of those right now then we need to find someone we can trust, a family member or close friend, to help us through this time.  And if we're one of those lucky enough to be able to look on the bright side and are excited about starting over then we should look around us and be aware, be very aware, of family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, even strangers who might need a helping hand, an encouraging word, ANYTHING that might just help them turn their world right side up again so starting over won't be so difficult and ominous for them.

to be continued ..
.

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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STARTING OVER, Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about two different perspectives to starting over in our lives.  One was with a positive and enthusiastic approach when we're truly excited about some changes we want to make.  From a young adult moving out and getting their first apartment, or someone who's working hard at losing weight, to someone who's confidently left a previous job or relationship and heading out with their head held high into the morning sun, ready to take on the world and accept whatever new opportunities it has to offer, starting over means a fresh, new beginning!

The other perspective is from just the opposite direction.  We're faced with starting over with little or no warning and we may be overwhelmed with the events that led us to this point and the decisions that have to be made now, too often to be made alone.  But it doesn't have to be this way.

I've been on both sides of this coin, excited about a new start, a new adventure in my life and anxious to see the changes take place that I'm anticipating.  I've also been through the awful state of being overwhelmed by the loss of a job, a loved one, and fortunately I haven't had to deal with any serious health issues of my own, but I've assisted others who have and so I can begin to comprehend their struggles during the healing and recovery process.

For those to whom "starting over" means "the sky's the limit!", you're already on your way and my thoughts, prayers and blessings are with you.  I wish you much success and happiness on your journey.  You have the right attitude to overcome any obstacle.  GO FOR IT!!!

For those to whom "starting over" means "I'm so lost, I feel so alone, and I have no idea what I'm going to do next", I ask for your patience for one more day.  Tomorrow I'll offer some insight that just may help you to begin to find your way out of the darkness and into the light.  In the meantime, be patient and gentle with yourself as well.  There is hope, there is a way, and tomorrow will begin to bring you some peace and comfort to your heart and spirit.

Never give up!


to be continued ..
.

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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STARTING OVER, Part 3

I'd like to offer a few ideas for those to whom "starting over" means "I'm so lost, I feel so alone, and I have no idea what I'm going to do next".  Yesterday I asked for your patience for one more day.  Today I hope I can satisfy your need to begin to understand what to do now.

Before I share with you my thoughts on this subject I feel it's important that I clarify one point ... I am not a licensed psychologist or professional therapist.  What I'm about to share with you are strictly my opinions and what I believe in my heart, based on four decades of personal research and experience.  If what I share with you is helpful in any way, fine.  However, if you are in need of professional assistance in any way I urge you to find it, even if it means asking a friend or family member to help you do so.  With this point now behind us let's proceed.

First off, we have to be honest with ourselves.  If we've suddenly lost our job, or a very special relationship, we're in shock.  Our whole system is thrown off mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  We feel lost, alone, and bewildered, perhaps even unable to make decisions.  We may lose our appetites, lose any desire to be with friends or family .... basically wanting to withdraw from anything or anyone else who we think or fear might hurt us.  But, the chances are very high that we've been here before and if we look back on those times we'll see that we did recover and after some time of adjustments we managed to start over.

As soon as we can we have to take a positive approach to this situation.  This is a good time for us to reflect on not only the bad that's causing us such pain, but also the good that bought us joy.  Let's take the good and that joy and look for it again in the future, and let's take the bad and look for ways to make positive changes.

Over time we all change and so perhaps we need to re-evaluate our needs, wants and desires.  What really worked for us 5 or 10 years ago may not work anymore.  We may need a different challenge or a different environment.  I know someone who's a landscape architect.  She really enjoyed working with home builders to design wonderful landscaping for the homes they built.  One day she just decided she'd had enough of the "office" work, took some time off her job, re-designed all the landscaping for her own home, did all the physical labor herself (with the help of a couple of family members and friends) and loved it so much she changed her career, started her own business, and now works outside in the beautiful sun!  And on those off days when it rains she has several choices available to her: work on some new design ideas, visit with friends, take in a matinee, or relax at home with a favorite book or movie!

I'll close today with the following story ...

The Little Hut
 
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.  Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.  But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.  The worst had happened - everything was lost!  He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me?" he cried.
 
Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island.  It had come to rescue him.  "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.
 
"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.
 
It's easy to get discouraged sometimes when things appear to be going badly.  But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground, it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.
 

to be continued ...

Tomorrow:  "I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends"
.

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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STARTING OVER, Part 4

This part, otherwise known as "I get by with a little help from my friends", may be a struggle to begin but it's a VERY important step.  Once you've been honest enough with yourself to realize that you truly can not start over all on your own you're halfway back to feeling right with the world.

Who do you trust?  Who can you confide in who you know beyond a shadow of any doubt you can share your deepest concerns and fears with and know that your secret is safe with them?  In trying to decide who to select don't take into consideration if they may have the answers you're looking for ... that's not important and that's not their job.  What IS important is whether they're a good listener because the main thing you want is someone to listen to you and not judge you.  Once you can begin to open up to them you'll be amazed at how you'll begin to become aware of ways you can change certain things in your life for the better, simply because you started talking about it!

If you haven't already done so I highly recommend starting a journal and writing down any and all thoughts that come to you.  No one's going to see it so feel free to write whatever you like.  It's a great help to get our thoughts and feelings out of our minds and down on paper where we can see them.  No judging or editing is allowed while you're writing because the uninterrupted, unedited flow is the most true and honest.

From all of this sharing with a friend and journaling you'll begin to recognize certain areas in your life that you can change and improve upon.  Write them down in your journal.  You may also begin to receive ideas, either from your friend or your own intuition (what some of us call that "still small voice" that inspires and directs us), and you'll want to write them down in your journal as well.

Spend some quiet time alone, briefly reflecting on the past and preparing to let it go.  We can't go back and change it, but we can learn from it.  All we have is right now, today, and the opportunity to make it the best we can.  So write down what changes you'd like to make in your life and also write down ways you can think of to accomplish those changes.  Some may be easy enough to do virtually overnight, others will take longer, but however long it takes won't it be worth it? 
You can once again regain hope.  There IS a way out of this darkness.  And be patient with yourself throughout this process.

"It was meant to be that life would be a challenge.
To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal.
... if [we] have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row,
[we should] stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out.
There is great purpose in our struggle in life."


-  Boyd K. Packer  -


OK, these last few days have had a rather somber tone in these messages so I'd like to finish by lightening things up a bit with something that one of my best friends sent to me this morning and could be very appropriate for some of us to use right about now:

I dialed a number and got the following recording:
"I am not available right now, but thank you for caring enough to call.
I am making some changes in my life.  

Please leave a message after the beep.
If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes."

OK, now go out and get ready for your new life!  And I believe it won't take long for you to find that it's not as hard as you feared to start over
!

Set your sights far above the merely secure and mediocre,
and whatever course you choose will not be a chore,
but an adventure!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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THREE CHORDS and THE TRUTH

There's a saying around Nashville that country music is "Three chords and the truth".  Simple as that!  Now I'm not trying to say that country music is simple or "simple minded", but I believe what the saying means is country music cuts right to the heart.  They practice the K.I.S.S. method perfectly - Keep It Short and Sweet.  No fluff, just the honest-to-goodness truth about matters of the heart.

There are a few groups of people I wish would adopt that credo, namely politicians and corporate execs, to name two.  I've worked for a variety of companies, in a variety of shapes and sizes, and I'd have to say the smaller the company the better, at least for me.  I found that the larger the company got the more rules and controls they imposed throughout the company in order to make everyone "toe the line".  The more rules they add the more difficult it becomes for everyone to actually perform their jobs!  In fact a whole hierarchy is established within these companies just to make sure the rules are followed!

Eight years ago I had just started working for this very large, nationally known company (I hadn't learned my lesson yet about BIG companies!), and one day it was announced that the founder and CEO was coming for a rare visit and everyone shifted into panic mode.  Clean the office!  Straighten up the cubicles!  BURY that photo of your family in the drawer!

I decided to stay calm and wait to see what all of this panic was about.  I had just started working for the company less than 2 weeks before so it was interesting to me to see people's reactions to this man.  "My gosh", I thought, "he's coming to see US not our cubicles!"  Nothing seemed to me to be out of order, but the "warning" had been sent down from the home office that everything had better be perfect for the CEO's visit, or else!

Well, when he showed up the next morning he never even came into our office!  We ended up gathering in a vacant office downstairs where we could all gather together for a few minutes while he gave us some sage words of wisdom.  After several minutes of what I considered to be nothing but fluff (a lot of words spoken with absolutely no value to them) he opened the floor for questions.  I raised my hand to get his attention but instead my manager pulled it back down and sternly whispered, "What are you doing?!  He doesn't REALLY want to answer any questions!"  Was he SERIOUS?!  I couldn't believe my ears and raised my hand again, much to his chagrin, and got the CEO's attention, off guard I might add.  ("What?!  I'm actually going to have to ANSWER a question?!?!)

"You have a question?" he asked cautiously.

"Yes, I'd like to know what the company's mission statement is.  I just started less than two weeks ago and I haven't found it in the employee handbook or anywhere else and no one I've asked so far has a clue."

Oh, my gosh!  It certainly wasn't my intention to do this but I HAD him!  He stood there motionless and speechless for a moment and I felt a jab in my side from my manager, as well as catching a quick glare from the CEO for stumping him.  I thought to myself, "What's the big deal?  Mission statements have been around for a LONG time, especially catching on fire in the corporate world in the 80's and here we are in 1996 and the CEO can't even say what the mission statement is for his own company?  I'll let his words "tell the truth" ...

"Well, we don't have one, but if you'd like to create one for yourself to use that's fine with me."  With that he thanked everyone quickly and disappeared through the crowd of employees and out the door.

Back to the "three chords and the truth".  If that company had just taken the time to define a simple and direct mission statement it would have served as a compass for ALL operations within the company to work from.  Without it there were more and more chiefs creating too many rules and the chaos within and employee discontent simply grew and grew.  They're still around, but they're nowhere near as good as they could have been.

"Three Chords and The Truth" ... short, sweet, simple and right to the heart
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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SAY YES!!!

How many times have we hesitated when someone has asked us to do something with them?  Do we hesitate because we're not sure if we really want to do it?  Or because we're not sure if our "schedule is open"?  And do we also hesitate when someone asks us to try something new?

How about when we discover something new all on our own?  Do we wonder what it would be like to try it, whether it's a new restaurant or skydiving?  Now, granted, there's a lot more to take into consideration when we're talking skydiving, but the point I want to make is that we so often hesitate to try something new and then the chances pass us by, perhaps forever.

We're given just one life to live here on this glorious earth and we should try to fill our time and our lives with as many different experiences as possible.  Now, I'm not advocating jamming our schedules so tight we can't breathe ... let's do this in moderation.  But let's not get caught up in putting something off "until conditions improve", they may not!  Don't wait until a rainy day to do something, because it may rain tomorrow and you already have something else planned for then!

As long as it's not a threat to life and limb, yours or someone else's, be willing to try!  Break through the shell that's protected you too well for too long and grow!  Learn to play an instrument or take voice lessons.  Learn a new dance.  Do you love the buttered popcorn at the theater but nothing fun is playing there right now?  You don't need a ticket to go in and buy a monster size bucket of popcorn and then stop by your local video store on your way home and enjoy that great popcorn in the comfort of your own home watching a movie of your choice!  Try out that new restaurant you've had your eye on lately.  Go white water rafting!  Travel to a foreign country, and just for fun, if you don't know the language take a course ahead of time so you may have the chance to speak with the wonderful people there!  Whatever it is that intrigues you, whatever it is that can bring additional joy to you life ... GO FOR IT!

And say "YES!" to life!!
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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THIS IS REALLY UP CLOSE and PERSONAL!
The Story Behind "The Circle"

I woke up at my normal early time this morning to get ready for my pre-sunrise walk and a very direct thought hit me.  As I sat on the edge of the bed waiting for the midnight fog to clear from my brain, I pondered what this very strong and clear message meant.  In the quiet of the still morning, with only a bird or two chirping outside our window, the thoughts which I'm about to share with you began to pour out and they continued to flow and crystallize throughout my walk.  This is the story behind "The Circle".

Many people from a variety of walks of life strive for the level of accomplishment known as "peak performance".  Most commonly this is referred to as "being in The Zone".  The baseball pitcher who throws not only a no-hitter but a perfect game (facing only the minimum number of players - 27 - like Kevin Costner in the movie "For Love of The Game"), the football quarterback who can consistently guide his team to victory week after week even when at times they're down by 2 touchdowns with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game (Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49er's), a financial advisor that consistently guides his clients towards stable financial strength with honesty and integrity (I'm speaking specifically of Charles Schwab, and I believe his company strives diligently to follow in his footsteps).

It takes a clearly defined personal mission, as well as a relatively small but loyal group of people working together for one common goal, in order to achieve peak performance.  Even in a perfect game, a pitcher still relies on his team to catch any ball a hitter might connect with in order to get the batter out and preserve and protect the perfect game.

This is the story about my personal, loyal group of friends and supporters I affectionately refer to as "The Circle".  Actually, I'm grateful for the rare blessings of having not one but THREE "Circles" in my life - the first is my wife and family, the second is one that my close friend and favorite songwriting collaborator, James Odle, Jr., and I formed several years and add consistently to as we work towards our mutual goal of becoming songwriting partners on Music Row in Nashville (it's getting closer all the time!), and the third and final circle is the small, but very loyal group of people behind "Change Your Stars!".

Yes, I may be the one who created and designed this website, and I'm ultimately responsible for producing what you see, the daily "Change Your Stars!" and the new weekly "The Quest!" messages, as well as what appears on my website, but I couldn't and wouldn't think of doing all of this alone.  A MAJOR part of the credit goes to "The Circle", as they're affectionately called.

"The Circle" began long before the website was even planned.  There were just three of us back then;  my wife, Kathi, my friend, James, and I.  It has since grown to a total of 15.  When I first created "The Circle", Kathi and James were a given, but the others I've added over the last 19
½ months were carefully selected and invited to join because of their contributions to "Change Your Stars" as well as their open and honest comments they've offered when I present something new to them that I'm considering for the site or the messages.  I trust their opinions and enjoy the open discussions they generate.  What you see and what you get with "Change Your Stars!" is not just from me, but it's with the wonderful assistance on my trusted "Circle".

One person I'd like to offer a special thank you to before I share their names is Ron Atchison, the creator and inspiration behind the wonderful website, www.InspirationPeak.com.  We became friends just over 14 months ago, have supported each other in numerous ways, and Ron has unselfishly offered me many wonderful tips to help improve my website as well as my email messages, even though some would say we're competitors.  Ron and I see each other as friends and allies, not competitors, because our mission is the same ... to reach out to the world and offer inspiration, direction, strength, encouragement, hope, faith and support in all we do, and along the way enjoy ourselves tremendously in this mutual labor of love.  The intrinsic rewards we receive from this endeavor cause our cups to "runneth over".

Also, another special thank you goes out to William "Bill" Marin.  We've only known each other for a short time, but his friendship and ideas have proved invaluable!  "From sea to shining sea", Bro ... THANKS!

James, what can I say?  Over six years of writing together and we're just getting started!  I've never met James face to face, but 6 months into this friendship / collaboration we exchanged photos in an email and we were both stunned!  We're TWINS!  Just from different mothers!  All I can say is ... NASHVILLE or BUST, Pardner!

And Kathi ... you inspire me to do my best!  You make we want to be a better man, and I'm tryin'.

The Change Your Stars! Circle

Kathi Carlton (CA)     James Odle, Jr. (TX)     Ron Atchison (CA)     William Marin (NY)
Lani O'Connor (CT)     Susie Greathouse (CA)     Anu Ram (CA)    Cassie Ladensack (TN)
Jeannie Lovell (AZ)     Paula Reeves (TX)     Teresa Myers (AL)     Rosemarie Huysman (CT)
Phyllis Reed (WV)     Eranga Jayalatharachchi (Sri Lanka)

This close network of friends receive sneak previews of potential new pages, asked for their opinions on new ideas, design, layout, color, content, etc., and in general make Change Your Stars! what it is today and what it will become in the future.  There are three others that are VERY close to receiving an invitation from me to join The Circle, but I don't want to ... wait a minute!  Let's do it right now!  In front of the whole world!

If they'd like, I'm inviting Dorian Bell (CA ... soon to be UT), Rob Sorensen (CA) and Gail Johnson (CT) to join "The Circle"!  I look forward to hearing from you by email!

In its own special way this is a message that normally may have been saved for sharing in November, around Thanksgiving, when we all tend to become aware of the many people and things that we're grateful for in our lives.  But I remember so vividly a newspaper column in the San Francisco Chronicle written many, many years ago by Charles McCabe titled, "If you love them, tell them".  He urged us all NOT to wait to tell someone whom we love, how much they mean to us, and how grateful we are to them and why.  When the thought comes to mind to write, call or visit someone, we must always PAY ATTENTION and DO IT!

Helpful suggestions, contributions of quotes, inspiring stories, good, clean humor (paramount because Change Your Stars! is a family friendly site), are always very much in need and are very much appreciated.  Who knows, because of your contributions and support, at some point in the future YOU just might receive an invitation to join "The Circle"!  I'm ready for it ... are you?!


Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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WINDOWS ON THE WORLD

One time many years ago I had to catch a last minute flight for a unexpected business trip.  The travel agency our company used booked the last available seat for me and I had to do a lot of rushing around, leaving an afternoon business meeting early, fighting rush hour traffic for an hour to get to the agency and pick up my tickets, another 45 minutes fighting traffic to get home and grab the suitcase my wife had hurriedly, but efficiently, packed, then heading out for another hour long fight with traffic in order to JUST make my flight in time!  (This was long before airport security lines!)  I was looking forward to unwinding and catching my breath during the hour and a half flight, but it didn't quite work out that way.

As I walked down the isle of the jet I looked for my row.  It didn't take me long because I was right behind First Class.  I put my briefcase in the overhead compartment and took my seat.  Oh, GREAT!  I'm in the bulkhead row!  And that carpeted wall felt like it was only 12 inches in front of my face!  (It was probably closer to 18 inches, but no more!)  Needless to say I was NOT happy about this,  but I couldn't do anything about it so I just grabbed a magazine and tried to read my way to my destination without looking up.  I felt so shut in and blocked off from being able to see.

I compare this to what I enjoy now.  Beyond the computer screen I have a view of the world.  I know, not the WHOLE world, but my corner of it, anyway.  It's not a busy street, but there's some traffic.  There are walkers and joggers of all ages, shapes and sizes, dogs and squirrels, birds of all kinds (including the occasional woodpecker).  I watch the gradual turning of the seasons and occasionally picture myself looking through the windows in my memory.

I've been blessed with opportunities to travel and see a pretty good variety of this world.  Many years ago I spent 6 weeks studying and touring in Europe.  When I wasn't right out in the midst of all the action I could still look through the windows in hotels, castles, hostels, coaches and trains.  I tried to absorb as much as I could and brought home nearly 50 rolls of film that documented nearly every step I took.  I walked where kings once walked and where knights once fought battles.

I'm also blessed with opportunities to learn about today's world from people of various countries and cultures around the world who subscribe to Change Your Stars! and visit so often.  Not a day passes that I don't make a new friend from a foreign land.  I thank you all for your wonderful emails!

From my desk I can see my small portion of this world, but through my friends, my "Windows on the World", I can see it all
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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20 YEARS AGO

I recently saw a newspaper headline that got me thinking about several things.  "20 Years Later" it read.  A quote under the headline read, "It was one of those defining moments in your life that you will always remember."  I had to agree.  The event referred to certainly is one of those defining moments in my life.

As I sat there staring at that headline and the photos accompanying the article I was struck with the realization that the event was TWENTY years ago, not the 10 or 15 it seemed like.  TWENTY YEARS?!?!?!  Oh, my gosh!!!  Where has that time gone?!?!?!

Normally I would have taken a long hard look at those 20 years, measuring it by everything else I'd experienced during that time; all of the good as well as all of the bad.  I'll admit, I started to fall into that mode this time, but I caught myself when I realized I was spending too much time thinking about the negatives, because I didn't want to fall into that trap that we, as "normal" human beings all too often fall into ... dwelling on the bad and forgetting the good.

Who said it's "normal" for us to dwell so much on the negatives in our lives while not acknowledging enough of the good we've done?  Personally I think it was some high priced psychiatrist or psychologist who just wanted to keep his or her patients coming back week after week, fattening their bank account along the way.  It's been said enough that people have learned to believe it.

I, for one, completely disagree.  I don't believe it's normal to spend so much time on the negatives.  Generations have been conditioned to believe that way, but that doesn't mean it's right!  After all, how does it benefit us?  What good does it do for us to waste so much time when there's absolutely NO benefit that comes from it.  That's right ... I said WASTE.  Well, stop and think about it for a moment.  If we do something and no one receives ANY benefit from the time we've taken to do it ... isn't that a waste of time?

Now I'm not talking about taking the time to relax, or play a game of solitaire, read a book, or listen to music ... these all have some benefit from it since they can all result in reducing stress.  But have you ever reduced stress in your life by dwelling on negative thoughts or memories?  NO!  In fact, they usually, if not always, lead to increased stress and disharmony in our lives.  And the longer we dwell on them, the higher the stress and disharmony.

So whether something happened 20 years or even 20 minutes ago, it's still in the past and good or bad we can't do anything about it.  If something good came from it, GREAT!  Keep a wonderful memory of it.  But if it doesn't hold a good memory for you, let it go!  Good memories grow more wonderful with time, bad ones just hurt worse.

Choose to live and enjoy your life!
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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THIS REALLY IS NATIONAL FRIENDSHIP WEEK!

As I mentioned in the introduction to today's Defining Moments page on "VALUES", I receive lots of messages throughout the year all about "National Friendship Week"!  This has been going on for years and I've always been curious if there really IS such a thing as "National Friendship Week", and, if it really does exist, then when the heck is it?!

A few months ago I did some research and found several VERY reliable sources that claimed it's in August, and further research pointed it to being the third week in August.  Now, depending on how you want to look at THIS year's calendar, we're either in the 4th "general" week of August or the 3rd FULL week of August, and since National "Whatever" Weeks run from Sunday through Saturday I figured that this week is the official National Friendship Week for 2006!

Mark you calendars NOW for next year - August 19 - 25 - so you won't forget and so you'll know when to send those Friendship Week messages to your friends!  But then again, when it comes to friendship, NEVER wait to tell a friend you care about them!  Just be sure to make an extra special effort during Friendship Week!  ;-)

I want to extend a big THANK YOU to all of my family and friends, especially to those of you whom I've never met but who are such an awesome support of this website and are so willing to continue to pass on the word about this site to your friends
.  Because of each of you I've made SO many wonderful new friends that I truly cherish.  And every new week brings even more into my life!  How grateful I am and how I blessed I feel!  Your messages of support, your comments about how a particular quote or story made your day, arriving at JUST the right time, or how you agree with something I've written right here on my "Up Close and Personal" page, I'm just so grateful for your taking the time out of your busy lives to share these comments and stories with me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We get by with a little help from our friends!
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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THANK YOU!!

I am so grateful.  So many wonderful people, so many wonderful experiences - all since I began sending out my daily "Something To Think About" messages over 7 1/2 years ago.  It's been over 20 months since I changed the name to "Change Your Stars!" and created this website.  It continues to reach more and more people in more countries around the world all the time.

Obviously I believe that change is good and I also believe that it needs to be for the right reasons at the right time, following inspiration and guidance from a Higher source, whatever you conceive that to be.

From time to time I've been inspired to make changes and add features to this site to enhance the quality of the experience you receive when you visit.  Along the way friends like you have made some very valuable contributions to the many pages on this site, as well as suggestions to help make it better, and I'm grateful for your willingness to participate in the process of touching other people's lives.

For those of you who are regular visitors to this site you'll quickly notice the newest changes and additions which I've been working on since mid-summer.  I'm grateful for your patience and continued support and encouragement during this time, because on top of creating and implementing all of these changes I also ran into some really tough problems with my computer which hampered my work.  This ended up delaying the launch of the new site by a few weeks, during which time this site may have seem to have gone "dark" with so very few pages updated. I assure you the light is shining once again!

With the desire to continue to keep things fresh and relevant I encourage you to share your thoughts with me on how you think we can continue to improve this site.  I assure you each and everything comment / suggestion will receive a personal response from me.

Once again THANK YOU for your continued support and your patience during the brief down time.


We get by with a little help from our friends!
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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COURAGE

From the time we're babies we learn and grow through the courage we develop within ourselves.  It takes effort for a baby to learn how to take that first step, but after it's fallen, especially if the baby has bumped its head on the way down, it takes courage to try again.  But the wonderful thing is, the love and encouragement a baby is surrounded with provides it with the ability to develop that courage.  Helping, guiding, patient hands are there to guide each step, and soon, after perhaps several more attempts and bumps, the baby is walking and a major victory for the inner spirit has been won.  That courage, if nourished with continued love and support, will help that baby to go on to develop more skills and abilities.

But somewhere along the way in our lives many of us seem to lose that support and encouragement, or we're unable to recognize it.  We begin to feel alone and isolated, our courage wanes, and we retreat and withdraw to safer ground, where hopefully nothing and no one can hurt us.  Our thoughts begin to dwell only on what's wrong in our lives and gradually we begin to forget the things we did well and that brought us joy.  We become confused.  "What's wrong with me?", "Why do I feel so horrible all the time?" and "What am I going to do?" run over and over in our minds like a broken record.

How do we break this downward spiral?  We need to find just ONE thing we can grasp on to that gives us some sense of safety and balance!  Hold on to it with ALL of our might!  It may be the one saving grace we have in a world that's swirling around us.  What's that ONE thing for you?  The answers are too numerous to list all of them, and with everyone's unique creativity and imagination who knows how many different things there may be for any one of us to find that safety and solace within.

For some it will be a friend, either old or new it doesn't matter, just someone you KNOW you can truly count on through thick and thin, someone you can turn to and who will listen to you and never judge you, but who can and will offer love, encouragement, support, and a helping, guiding hand that never fails.

For some it will be a book that's lifted them up and given them strength in the past and they return to it and read it over and over.  For others it will be a specific activity - anything that has helped them to feel good about themselves in the past and where they believe they can gain that feeling back once again.

It could be an exercise like walking or cycling, sports like tennis, golf or bowling, or more quiet activities like writing, gardening, flower arranging or reading (ANYTHING that lifts you up like the scriptures, a romance novel, an inspiring story, etc.).  If a specific activity doesn't come to mind right away don't feel bad about it (negative feelings separate us from the strength and growth we're desiring right now!), just relax and ponder on it awhile while you do something else, like taking care of some shopping or returning books to the library.  Keep a pen and a small notebook or date book handy so you have a place to write down your ideas when they hit.

Courage isn't about taking that next step because you now know the complete way to go.  It's taking the first step in the direction you believe you'd like to go.  If you change your mind later that's ok!  You haven't lost anything, but merely gained more useful experience!  Set off from where you are now into your new direction with increasing confidence in yourself that you ARE making progress!

Think about it for a moment ... how many times did we change our minds about what subject we wanted to major in when we were in college?  For me it was 6 times (I eventually managed to earn 3 degrees out of the 6 choices).  For you it may have been more or less than that, but it doesn't matter how many times because we're all different.  What matters is what we DID when we felt like we needed to make a change.

Did we just throw our hands up and say, "Forget it!  Even though I'd REALLY love to do that instead, I already have too much time and energy invested in this path I'm on now.  Maybe someday down the road I might think about it again, but for now I'm staying where I am."  How sad.  The world has lost someone who's passion for something special to them could have given the rest of us so much!  Who says we have to limit ourselves to just one path when there are so many wonderful ones to choose from and we can choose many throughout our lives!

If you're struggling, if you feel like you're in a downward spiral, find that ONE person or thing that'll help you put the brakes on so you can begin to make the changes you'd like to in your life.  Courage isn't about the whole journey ... it's just about the next step.  You can do it!  I KNOW you can!!


We get by with a little help from our friends!
!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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EVERY DAY'S A NEW DAY!

Gosh!  I felt SO good when I woke up this morning!  And I'm not joking around either.  I REALLY did!  And no, it hasn't all gone down hill from there ... it's gotten BETTER!

You see, I EXPECT to have a GREAT day EVERY day!  I open my heart, my mind and my arms to ALL kinds of possibilities that might come my way throughout the day.  They might come right away, or somewhere at various times during the day, or maybe not until long after dark, but I KNOW they're coming!

I believe in miracles and I also believe in God's good Grace.  Along the way life's been good to me.  Even the hard times have been gifts in disguise!  The good times keep things flowing along smoothly (evidence of God's Graces!), increasing my confidence that all is well and will continue to be so.  The hard times give me opportunities to toughen my resolve, improve the focus of my energies, and also to increase my reliance on powers greater and MUCH more perfect than mine alone (MORE evidence of His Grace!).

I can't make it through this life alone.  No one can!  And when someone tries they usually find themselves really struggling at times and asking, "What did I do to deserve this?!"  We weren't created to be islands unto ourselves.  We are here on this earth at this time to bless OTHERS, not ourselves!

No matter where in the world you are or what time of day it is when you read this, you can literally change your life, or should I say "Change Your Stars!", in the blink of an eye.  It's completely within our power to choose for ourselves how we'll see our day, every single moment, and our own circumstances.

If it's not morning where you are right now, and if this isn't the very first thing you've read today, it doesn't matter!  DON'T wait until tomorrow morning to make changes.  Do it now!  Drop everything else you're doing!  Change your mind, change your attitude, change your plans, do whatever it takes to make changes in your life for the better, and you'll see that you can literally CHANGE YOUR STARS!  And THEN see how you begin to feel about yourself and your life and everything and everyone around you!  You can do it!  I KNOW you can!!

I EXPECT to have a GREAT day EVERY day!  And I do!!!

Wanna join me?!
!!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK!

Wow!  It's been a long time since we last met!  It seems like ages ago, and yet it's only been two months.  To me it's been two very l-o-n-g months struggling with re-building my computer and all of the mighty and wonderful programs that make magic at my fingertips each day ... or did until the Great Crash of '06!  It's taken quite a while to get back to this place where I can begin again to send out my daily Change Your Stars! messages along with the other features like Defining Moments, Quak Trax, and my personal commentaries, but everything appears to be in order and working just the way it's supposed to.

I'd like to thank ALL of you who've hung in there with me through this ordeal, sending inquiries of "Where are you?", "Where's my 'Change Your Stars!' messages", "Are you OK?", and one message - reminiscent of an old MTV commercial from the 80's (remember "I WANT MY MTV!"?) - politely demanding "I WANT MY CHANGE YOUR STARS! MESSAGES!!!" and surrounded by a large assortment of smiley faces.  Well, as you can see, as of today they're back!

If you're reading this message but haven't begun to receive your daily Change Your Stars! messages yet then please follow this link - http://www.changeyourstars.com/Subscribe.html - and please re-subscribe.  I lost 1000's and 1000's of email addresses of subscribers from around the world and I'm hoping to recover them ALL as quickly as possible!

Have an AWESOME week!
!!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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NEGATIVES UP - POSITIVES ALL AROUND

Many years ago I had the privilege of being a part of an amazing company with a founder and CEO who was truly one of a kind!  His enthusiasm for his job was infectious!  He loved to come to work every day!  He loved to be around the people he worked with, and they gave that love right back to him!

He was always looking for ways to reward the people who worked so hard every day to make the company the #1 company of its kind in America.  In the early years it was a hard climb up that mountain, facing a lot of very harsh competition along the way, but his belief in himself, in the company, in the people who performed that work everyday, and in what we could do for people was so focused that our mission was soon accomplished.  When we became #1 it wasn't by a sliver ... we blew out the competition and never looked back.  All because we were doing what was RIGHT for the consumer!

Those were exciting times and they seemed to just get better and better.  Naturally, when you become #1 in anything you get a lot of attention and there are a lot of people who want to jump on the bandwagon and tag along for the glory, but they don't necessarily want to put in the kind of hard work that's necessary to maintain that championship status.  Pretty soon there's some mumbling going on among the people as those "glory hounds", as I call them, try to change things within the company so they can reap the rewards in an easier way than those who came before and blazed the trail.  Discontent starts to brew and before long the company's growth and progress begins to slow.

Ever watchful for any weaknesses in the national "team" our CEO jumped right on the issue and stated quite firmly in an early morning business meeting that under no circumstances would he tolerate any problems like this to continue.  Basically he said, "If you've got a problem don't go talking to anyone about it unless it's your manager or someone else higher up in the company who can actually DO something about it!  In short, I want you to pass ANY negatives UP, but you can pass the positives all around!!!"  Every level of management was then empowered by our CEO to handle any problem or misunderstanding in order to strengthen the overall organization and improve the development of the company.  And believe me ... it worked!!!

We can all do that in our daily lives.  It doesn't do anyone any good, and we're just wasting our time to moan and complain about something, unless we're talking to someone who can listen sincerely and then help us do something about it.  If we're struggling with any problem at all, we can share our concerns with someone else; a parent, teacher, counselor, coach, manager, religious leader, mentor, husband or wife, and with a fresh perspective they can help us see a better way and things will improve.

Might I also suggest that we can take our concerns to the best counselor and guide of all?  All we have to do is hit our knees and offer a prayer.  He always hears and answers our sincere prayers for guidance and relief.

Have an AWESOME week!
!!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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2007 - THE YEAR OF MIRACLES!

Do you believe in miracles?  I sure do!  And I hope you do, too.  Our humble birth is the first miracle in our lives!  And if we look close I'm sure we can see countless miracles, large and small, that have filled our lives since then.  At least you'll see them if your heart is open.

Miracles come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes we're the recipients, sometimes we witness a miracle in someone else's life, and sometimes, when our heart is filled with love and charity we can be the miracle in someone else's life, whether they're aware of it or not.  Sometimes the best miracles come from anonymous sources (like you?), but the most wonderful miracles come from God, and He can work His miracles through us.

I'd love to hear about the miracles in your lives, and to help celebrate these great blessings I've created a new page for the Change Your Stars! website titled MIRACLES!  I'll be launching it next week with the start of the new year!

Share your miracles so others can be touched and our lives will be richer for it!  From the brief description of how a stranger's smile on a bus made you feel better after a horrible day at work, to your baking a cake or cookies to give to a neighbor "just because".  Our children are daily miracles in our lives, so why not share something they've done so unselfishly for you or someone else in your family, or perhaps for that widow down the street.  We can always learn so much from our children, and we can also be miracles in their lives!

Was your life saved by a miracle?  Or do you know someone else whose life was saved?  Were prayers answered regarding an illness or surgery or a difficult birth?  How about the miracle of peace that is such a sweet gift after a loved one has passed away?  Or how about a difficult decision you had to make and then, once you had made it, something very special happened that you hadn't anticipated?  All of these miracles and more await to be shared!

Please join me in my quest to make 2007 a year of wonderful miracles for all!  The network we have through Change Your Stars! reaches around the world.  Let's not miss any opportunity to create miracles in our lives or the lives of others.

More details will be available next week on the new MIRACLES! web page, but in the meantime if you'd like to be one of the first to share a miracle please click here and submit your story!

Together let's make 2007 THE YEAR OF MIRACLES!
!!

Jace
Copyright © 2006, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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2007 - THE YEAR OF MIRACLES! - Part 2

I'm starting out this new year of 2007 the way I finished off 2006 ... talking about Miracles!  I'm SO excited about what this new year has in store - mysteries, challenges, opportunities and, yes, miracles we can't even imagine!  They're all here ... just waiting to happen!  All they need is for us to open up our eyes, our ears, and our hearts so we can witness these wonderful blessings in our daily lives.

Sure, some miracles are more evident than others because they effect a larger group of people, hundreds, perhaps thousands or tens of thousands ... or maybe even millions?  Then there are the smaller ones, but miracles just the same, that touch only a few, or ... maybe only one.  But these smaller, lesser known miracles are no less important!

The young, pretty wife, pregnant with her first child, visiting the doctor with her anxious husband and hearing the heartbeat of their baby for the very first time ... the three-year-old little girl, playing in her back yard, watching a butterfly flitting from flower to flower, and then stopping for a brief moment on her outstretched hand ... the little leaguer taking a mighty swing and hitting his first home run ... the 16-year-old opening a small present with a BIG surprise - his own key to the family car ... the young lady meeting the young man of her dreams and sharing their first kiss - - - these, and millions more, are all very special moments and exciting miracles in our lives, and when we share them with others, more and more lives are touched and blessed.

Only you can describe your own feelings when you heard that first heartbeat, or had that first butterfly land on your finger, or hit that home run, or opened that special present, or shared your first kiss.  Only you can say it in your words, no one else can read your mind and your heart.  When we share those thoughts and feelings, in our own words, we share that miracle with others and we can all celebrate and share in each other's joy, awe, wonder ... and miracle!

As I mentioned in my last commentary, we'd love to hear about the miracles in your lives, and to help celebrate these great blessings I've created a new page for the Change Your Stars! website titled MIRACLES!, and it was launched earlier this morning to kick off our announcement of
  
2007 - The Year of Miracles!

Share your miracles so others can be touched and our lives will be richer for it!  From the brief description of how a stranger's smile on a bus made you feel better after a horrible day at work, to your baking a cake or cookies to give to a neighbor "just because".  Our children are daily miracles in our lives, so why not share something they've done so unselfishly for you or someone else in your family, or perhaps for that widow down the street.  We can always learn so much from our children, and we can also be miracles in their lives!

It doesn't have to be anything as dramatic as a life being saved, but that works, too.  Was your life saved by a miracle?  Or do you know someone else whose life was saved?  Were prayers answered regarding an illness or surgery or a difficult birth?  How about the miracle of peace that is such a sweet gift after a loved one has passed away?  Or how about a difficult decision you had to make and then, once you had made it, something very special happened that you hadn't anticipated?

Or how about the miracle that comes after all of the effort you've put into earning a promotion at work, or perhaps the years and years of work and so many sleepless nights you've endured to earn a college degree?  All of these miracles and more await to be shared in your own unique way!

Please join me in my quest to make 2007 a year of wonderful miracles for all!  The network we have through Change Your Stars! reaches around the world.  Let's not miss any opportunity to create miracles in our lives and the lives of others.

Visit the new MIRACLES! web page, and be one of the first to share a miracle with us by either clicking here or on the link on the MIRACLES! page and submit your story today!

Together let's make 2007 THE YEAR OF MIRACLES!
!!

Jace
Copyright © 2007, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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WILL MIRACLES NEVER CEASE?

So, I ask you ... will miracles never cease?  I sure hope not!

Yesterday we announced 2007 as "The Year of Miracles!".  This is purely a personal and independent effort; I'm not aware of any other movement or effort anywhere else, nor any website that has identified the year 2007 in such terms, but I invite anyone and everyone else to join us!

This personal mission comes from my heart and is inspired by my desire to do what I can to make a difference.  I'm starting right in my own home, with my family, and I'm also reaching out to my community, to my friends (wherever they are in this world!), and then to that great worldwide internet community which we are all a part of!

Since the website was updated early on New Year's Day, with the unveiling of the new MIRACLES! page, followed by the email announcement to all of my subscribers, I've been inundated with emails from subscribers and new visitors alike, each expressing their excitement over this bold idea!  I'm hoping that as the year progresses they'll write back and share with us some of the wonderful miracles they're discovering and creating in their lives and in the lives of others.

To quote a passage from Wikipedia, under the subject of Chaos Theory:

Sensitivity to initial conditions is popularly known as the "butterfly effect", so called because of the title of a paper given by Edward Lorenz in 1972 to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. entitled Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas?  The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena.  Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different.

OK, I know, that all sounds very "scientific".  So what does all of this mean to our "Year of Miracles!"?  Simply that no matter how small an effort we make, EACH of us DOES matter!  Everything we do effects something and someone else, so let's all make choices that benefit each other. 
Just as the ripples from a pebble dropped in a lake continue to flow and expand from the point of impact, everything we do ripples from us and it's OUR choice whether it's good or bad.  It ALL matters!

As I've requested before,  please join me in my quest to make 2007 a year of wonderful miracles for all!  The network we have through Change Your Stars! reaches around the world.  Let's not miss ANY opportunity to create miracles in our lives and the lives of others.

Visit the new MIRACLES! web page, and be one of the first to share a miracle with us by either clicking here or on the link on the MIRACLES! page and submit your story today!

Together let's make 2007 THE YEAR OF MIRACLES!
!!

Jace
Copyright © 2007, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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YOU'LL SEE IT ... WHEN YOU BELIEVE IT!

Have you taken the time to write down your New Year's resolutions yet?  How about your goals for the new year?  The new start to the new you!  It's not too late.  In fact, it's NEVER too late!

I have a confession to make ... I'm a recovering perfectionist.  "Hi.  My name's Jace, and I'm a recovering perfectionist."  "Hi, Jace!" is heard from the collective voice of the crowd in the room.  This is no joke!  At one point in my life it was such a serious addiction that I believed that unless I could make sure before I started ANYTHING that it would turn out PERFECT I couldn't / wouldn't even start it!  No kidding!  At that time in my life I suffered from a severe case of "Fear of Failure".  That doesn't mean I never did anything, it just meant it would seem like it took me forever to get started, but once I was on my way I had complete confidence in myself that I would succeed!  It made for quite an "interesting" life.  I came to realize that I don't have to be perfect, all I need to do is try and let the rest take care of itself.

But as I said, I'm recovering.  I'm doing better.  And that's good, because speaking of New Year's resolutions and setting goals (I was, wasn't I?  Oh, yeah!  Up above!), they can be set ANYTIME during the year, not just at the end of one year and into the new.  But since we're beginning the new year let's talk about your goals and resolutions NOW!

First off, select things you can be passionate about!  Losing 10 or 50 pounds isn't fun, but how you'll look and feel after is!  SEE the results in your mind first and THAT will make you a believer!  Same thing with starting college or a new job, or even changing careers.  Think about it for a moment ... would you begin a remodeling job on your home without seeing the completed changes first in your mind's eye and then getting the plans drawn up before picking up a hammer?

Next, lock the editor in the closet!  As you write your list don't hold ANYTHING back.  You must be willing to suspend your current reality and just dream!  Example: fill in the blanks for "If _______ were no object I would __________!" , as in "If money were no object I would change careers!"  Let those dreams flow!  There's no harm here, because everything you've ever wished for and later received or achieved started as a dream!  Did you hold back then?  NO!  So don't hold back now!

Then determine your needs, as in "What will I need in order to make this happen?"  I guarantee, if the dream is big enough and your excitement is also big enough to match it, you'll also need the belief system to back it up.  BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT!

If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.
If you can dream it, you can become it.


William Arthur Ward


Need to exercise and/or watch what you eat in order to lose weight?  DO IT!
Need some specialized classes before you can get that promotion?  DO IT!
Need to take vocal lessons in order to sing better?  DO IT!

OK, we've rounded second and we're heading for third.

Surround yourself with a support group, people who believe in you and are willing to help you achieve your dreams, because you're likewise willing to help them achieve theirs!  Check in with them often, letting each other know how you're doing and how much progress you're making.  Cheer each other on!  Get pumped!  YOU CAN DO IT!

Last, but definitely not least ... DON'T GIVE UP!  At this point you're just a few steps from scoring, so you mustn't give up on your dreams ... or on yourself!

When the end of 2007 rolls around you'll look back and say, "WOW!  Did I do THAT?!?!?!"  And won't it feel good?

I've written down my goals and resolutions, and I have to say 2007 is going to be The Year of MIRACLES
!  Will it be for you, too?  YOU'LL SEE IT ... WHEN YOU BELIEVE IT!!

Jace
Copyright © 2007, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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THE SECRET!

Today I'm going to keep this very brief.

Recently, two good friends of mine, Tony Rita and Jeannie Lovell, acting independent of each other, wrote to me and urged me to check out a VERY special website.  Words cannot express my feelings at this moment.  What I found there has changed my life forever.  I was given the option to view a video, which I chose to do, and which I urge you to do as well.  The video contains "The Secret", which, it turns out, are concepts and principles I've gathered over the years from a variety of sources, but because they came to me so gradually they didn't hold the same impact that this single video does.  Perhaps you, too, will recognize the truths behind "The Secret", but unless you're one of those one in a million who is living up to or surpassing their potential RIGHT NOW, you need this!  I know I do!  Let's learn from "The Secret" together!

Please, take the time to view this video!  I'll give you a head's up right now that it costs $4.95 to view it (cheaper than ANY movie in the theater!!!), and also let you know I receive absolutely $0.00 for my endorsement.  It's said that great things can come in small packages, and while your investment in this "package" may not be very much, it will pay off in HUGE dividends afterwards, financially and otherwise.  It's actually the "otherwise" that's so exciting!!!  You will gain SO much out of this video, and it WILL change you life!

When you're done write to me and tell me what you think
!  And before you click on the image below, turn on your speakers!

What Is The Secret

Jace
Copyright © 2007, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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IF YOU BUILD IT, HE WILL COME

"If you build it, he will come."

Prophetic words that open one of my all-time favorite movies, "Field of Dreams".

Shhhhhh ... are you listening?  Can you hear the inspiration that's intended for you?  If you're too busy, you won't.  If you're surroundings at home, at work, or in the car are too loud, you won't.  If your life is too hectic, you won't.  Each of us has a destiny that's waiting for us.  Is yours still waiting, or have you already found yours?

We tend to think that the busier we are, the more likely we are to achieve success, to fulfill our dreams.  Being busy, being over booked, over scheduled, has NOTHING to do with it!  Success comes with focus.  I'm not talking about financial success, though that can be a byproduct of our efforts.  I'm talking about fulfilling our DESTINY whatever that may be for each of us.  It's different for everyone, so whatever your friend's, your neighbor's, or your co-worker's destiny is, it's not necessarily yours, too.  It might be, but chances are it's not.  You have to find your own!  And you can't let anyone else do the work for you.  This is YOUR destiny I'm talking about here, YOUR dreams, YOUR goals, YOUR inspiration, YOUR LIFE!

Where are you today?  Are you where you want to be?  Are you where you thought you'd be by this point and time in your life?  If not, don't worry!  You haven't failed, you just didn't have the right plan, or perhaps didn't have a plan at all.  That's ok, because you can begin TODAY to discover what your destiny is and then begin to fulfill it!  When you do you WILL be a witness to miracles in your life!

Need some ideas on how to get started?  Or do you need a boost to keep going?  Write to me and I'll work with you on this!  This is TOO important for you to let this go by another day without taking ACTION!

I repeat ---
Shhhhhh ... are you listening?  Can you hear the inspiration that's intended for you?  If you're too busy, you won't.  If you're surroundings at home, at work, or in the car are too loud, you won't.  If your life is too hectic, you won't.  Each of us has a destiny that's waiting for us.  Is yours still waiting, or have you already found it?

Your destiny is calling ... ANSWER THE CALL!
!!

Jace
Copyright © 2007, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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WE ARE THE DREAMERS OF DREAMS

It's been too long since I last shared the thoughts from my heart with you.  I've been on quite a journey and today I'd like to begin to tell you about it.  I say begin because at this moment I have no idea if I'll be able to share everything in one sitting, or if it will take several days to get it all out.  Either way ... let's begin!

In his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T. E. Lawrence wrote, "There are dreamers, but not all human beings dream equally.  Some are dreamers of the night, who in the dusty recesses of their mind dream and wake in the morning to find it was just vanity.  But the Dreamers of the Day are dangerous people because they act their dreams into reality with open eyes."

Regardless of what anyone may say about it, good or bad, I'm a Dreamer of the Day.  If they  have a Dreamers Anonymous meeting somewhere you won't find me there because I don't WANT to change.  Some changes in life are good, even necessary, but for those of us who are Dreamers of the Day we'll be more than happy to stay that way.  It's not a weakness ... it's a blessing and a strength.

I had a daydream many years ago.  At the time I had this dream I had already been writing songs for many years.  The thought had crossed my mind a few different times about moving to Nashville but the timing just wasn't right.  The desire was there, but it wasn't a burning desire ... yet.

On my birthday ten and half years ago I made a decision.  I committed the next three years of my life to get more serious about my songwriting than I had ever been before.  I would join songwriting associations, I'd co-write as much as possible, I'd attend conferences and open mics, I'd meet people in the music industry from Nashville and Los Angeles and learn all I could from them, I'd put forth more effort than ever before to really learn my craft.  At the end of those three years I would take a long hard look at what I'd accomplished and determine, after everything I could do, if I had made significant progress on my journey, and, if I had, then I'd focus on a brand new dream ... to live and work in Nashville as a fulltime songwriter.

Those three years seemed to fly by as I stayed involved, not only with my songwriting and everything else associated with it, but more importantly with family and friends, because it was most important to me to maintain a balanced life.  On my birthday three years later I sat down and carefully reviewed what I'd accomplished and determine if I'd done enough.  What I found amazed me
!

Part 2 ... tomorrow
!

Jace

Copyright © 2008, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.

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WE ARE THE DREAMERS OF DREAMS - Part 2

Yesterday I began writing to you about my journey - a journey that all started with a very special dream - a dream that has transformed my life!  Today the journey continues.

*****

Yesterday I told you that on my birthday ten and half years ago I made a decision.  I committed the next three years of my life to get more serious about my songwriting than I had ever been before.  I joined songwriting associations, I co-wrote as much as possible, I attended as many conferences and open mics as I could, I met people in the music industry from Nashville and Los Angeles and learned all I could from them, I put forth more effort than ever before to really learn my craft.  At the end of those three years I took a long hard look at what I'd accomplished and determined, after everything I could do, that I had made dramatic progress on my journey, and now it was time to focus on a brand new dream ... to live and work in Nashville as a full time songwriter!

My new goal was an extension of the first, but instead of allowing only three years to "git 'er done", I weighed all of my options and decided that I'd set seven more years, and if all went as I dreamed, hoped and planned, I'd be in Nashville by the end of that 10 year span.

During those next seven years some truly amazing things happened.  I met my #1 co-writer, James Odle, Jr. from Houston TX, by email, and since that time we've written some great songs!  I was blessed to receive very high praise from top songwriters from both the Los Angeles and Nashville markets, including one songwriter from Nashville with a wall full of Gold and Platinum albums to his credit sharing with me that I had "mastered the craft of songwriting" and that I needed to "move to Nashville as soon as possible!"  Sweet words to my ears!  Other opportunities to co-write came along with mixed results, but the ultimate goal of living and working in Nashville stayed clearly in focus.

I was also blessed with the opportunity to join the staff of Nashville's Songwriters Connection eZine (published by Susan Tucker), contributing articles about the music industry, concert and book reviews, along with personal commentary about the industry.

I had the opportunity to visit Nashville ever so briefly in 2004 and fell in love with the city and the people!  I crammed so much into those 36 hours that my head was spinning, but it sure was fun!  The stage was set and my commitment became even stronger ... I NEEDED to be in Nashville ASAP!

Part 3 ... Monday!

Jace

Copyright © 2008, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.

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WE ARE THE DREAMERS OF DREAMS - Part 3

Last week I began writing to you about my journey - a journey that all started with a very special dream - a dream that has transformed my life!  Assuming that you've already read parts 1 & 2 (if you haven't then click here to catch up with the story), I'll bring you up to date today as the journey continues.

*****

As I left off last week I had mentioned about my all too brief visit to Nashville in August 2004, and even though it was a short visit I managed to get a LOT done, including visiting with my songwriting mentor, Mary Ann Kennedy, for nearly 3 hours, and taking in some of the great places to visit, like Music Row (several stops and connections made!), the world famous Bluebird Cafe, the Wildhorse Saloon, and the amazing Opryland Hotel!  I now knew beyond a shadow of ANY doubt that I NEEDED to live and work in Nashville!

Over the next two and half years I intensified my activities - more co-writing, more open mics, more attention to the business of songwriting, making more contacts within the industry, doing whatever it would take to make my dreams come true!  Then, just one year ago in February 2007, my wife approached me with the most amazing comment ... "I think it's time for Nashville."  I couldn't believe what I had just heard!  As crazy as my dream had seemed for all those years, she had finally seen that it was time, not just for me to come and give it a try, but for us together as a couple, and as a family, to make the commitment to the dream!

We created a plan and put it in motion.  Late in March my wife and I flew to Nashville so I could introduce her to our new future home and returned to California with a clear focus on what needed to be done and when.  A month later I was packed and ready to hit the road.  On Wednesday, May 2nd, I waved good-bye to family, neighbors, friends and California and later that day I was heading east on Interstate 40, and on Friday evening, May 4th, I was in Nashville!

As the Nashville skyline came into view I realized something very important ... the goal I had set so many years before to be living in Nashville by my birthday in 2007 had come true ... over two months early!  The POWER of a DREAM!

My wife and I and our youngest of 5 sons are now settled in and lovin' it! 
And with each new day this awesome journey continues ...

Tomorrow ... You're not going to BELIEVE what happened two days ago!
Up Close and Personal with ... GARTH BROOKS!

Jace

Copyright © 2008, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.

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ROUGHING IT

Life is never a smooth road from beginning to end.  Each day presents its own set of ups and downs, opportunities and obstacles, smooth and easy stretches and pot holes.  It's learning how to deal with them that will determine at the end of the day whether it was a good day or a not so good day.  We can't expect every day to be a diamond day.  Sometimes we have to take the coal with the gem.

Have you ever had the opportunity to polish a rock using a polishing machine?  One of our son's did several years ago and it was fun to see the different stages, though we had to keep the machine in the garage because of the noise from the motor! ;-)

This was definitely an exercise in patience!  The process is not one that takes just a few minutes or even a few hours.  Try several days!  In fact, if I remember correctly, it may have been well over a week because there are several stages to the process.  Each stage requires many, many hours, and with each stage a different coarseness of compound is added to the tumbler, starting with the very coarsest grit and ending with the very finest powder that creates the finishing touch.  At the beginning you have just a plane old rock, but at the end you have a beautiful gem stone that's smooth and shiny, allowing all of the beautiful colors within to shine forth!

Let's be patient with ourselves and with others.  We all have our rough edges and it just takes some time, some effort, some grit (otherwise known as obstacles) to rub up against us, and before you know it you, too, will fulfill your potential, shining like the precious gemstone you're destined to become!


Jace Carlton

Copyright © 2009, Jace Carlton.  All International Rights Reserved.
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