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Last Updated: Dec 24, 2008 - 9:35:54 AM 

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Positive Talk

By Bill Hodges
Dec 25, 2008 - 9:35:16 AM

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One cannot help but sense the feeling of joy that is in the air. It is a time of peace on earth and good will toward men. A time to appreciate God’s gift of Jesus to all mankind and, in his name, give gifts to each other. To add to this wonderful season, our friends in the Jewish religion celebrate Chanukah, The Feast of Lights or Feast of Dedication. For eight nights, a candle is lit and gifts are given to thank God for his benevolence and protection. Even if one is not a Christian or a Jew, it would be hard not to be affected with this wonderful feeling of love.
This feeling of love makes us want to share what we have with those around us and to be generous with those who are less fortunate than we are. I watched some people put money in a Salvation Army pot this week. Everyone looked happier after they gave than they did before. I think there is something inherently good in this human species -- something that gives us a warm feeling when we are able, in even a small way, to help others.
I would like to give you a gift this week by suggesting some presents you can give yourself. So here they are:
• Regardless of your age, let yourself be a kid again. Get down on the floor and play with the children. Encourage them to show you how that new toy works. Try to see it through their eyes. Remember, we don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing. Roll back the calendar of your life. Give yourself the gift of life by playing with the children.
• If you are going to eat it, ­enjoy it. Contrary to popular opinion, food does not taste any better nor does it have lower calories if you complain about eating it first. Whatever food you decide to put in your mouth, enjoy it without recriminations. Don’t say, “I shouldn’t eat this.” If you are ­going to eat it anyway, smile and say, “This is going to taste great.” Then enjoy it.
• Brighten your life and others by calling a friend. Is there a friend you would just love to hear from and whose number you have? Don’t wait. You make the call! The gift of friendship is one of the most precious possessions one person can give to another. It is sad when we lose a friend to death, but it is even sadder when we lose a friend because we failed to make an ­effort to stay in touch.
• Lighten your soul by giving the gift of forgiveness. There are those in our lives who, through design or thoughtlessness, have hurt us; and they are often the very people we love the most. Give yourself a gift by forgiving them. Recognize that some people are just weak. They hurt us, not because they want to, but because it gives them an easier path than doing what they know to be right. To carry hurt in your heart is a very heavy burden. Give yourself a gift by laying it down.
The good part is that none of these gifts will do great damage to your budget, unless you get long-winded on the phone. All of them should bring a little holiday joy into your life.
Finally, on a personal note, I thank all of you who have honored me by reading these columns for so many years. Your comments to me on the street, in the mail, and by e-mail have brought me great joy. From my wife, Phyllis, and me -- Happy Holidays from our house to yours!

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

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Copyright 2008 Hodges Seminars International

© Copyright 2008 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

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