LIFE CAN BE complex and frustrating. Sometimes, we can make it more complicated than it needs to be. Often, the simplest solutions and perspectives are the best.

About 12 years ago, I clipped out a column by Shawn McMullen, a minister of the Church of Christ in Milan, Ind. He offered a list of simple and practical suggestions for daily living. Here is a sample of what he said.

Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want. When you say “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye.

Believe in love at first sight. Never laugh at someone’s dreams. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt, but it’s the only way to live life. Don’t judge people by their relatives.

Remember that great love and achievements involve great risks. When you lose, don’t miss the lesson. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self, for others, responsibility for actions.

Don’t let a small dispute destroy a great friendship. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. Smile when picking up the phone, the caller will hear it.

Marry a person you love to talk to. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of values. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. Trust in God, but lock doors.

Live a good, honorable life; as you grow older and look back, you’ll enjoy reliving the memories. Do all you can to foster peace and tranquility in your home. Share your knowledge and skills.

Never interrupt when you are being flattered. Mind your own business. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before. Use some of the money you make to help others while you’re still living.

Learn the rules, then break some. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.

Remember that your character is your destiny; that it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular; that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you;

That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss. That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. That the easiest way for you to grow as a person is to surround yourself with people smarter than you.



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AFTER A lot of study, a wise man found these secrets to inner peace. If you can start the day without caffeine; if you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains; if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles;

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it; understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time; if you can take criticism and blame without resentment;

If you can conquer tension without medical help; if you can relax without alcohol; if you can sleep without the aid of drugs; then you are probably . . . the family dog.



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WITHOUT A doubt, there is no greater treasure than a good friend. With that in mind, thanks to a good friend, I can share these Christian one-liners with you.

For example, some people are kind, polite and sweet-spirited, until you try to sit in their pew. Folks want to serve God, only as advisers. When you get to your wit’s end, you’ll find God lives there.

The Lord didn’t create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes and fire ants come close. People are funny; they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road and the back of the church.

Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on the front door forever. If a church wants a better pastor, it needs to pray for the one it has. We’re called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.

Some minds are like concrete: thoroughly mixed up and permanently set. Peace starts with a smile. I don’t know why some people change churches; what difference does it make which one you stay home from?

Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous. Don’t put a question mark where God put a period. Forbidden fruits create jams. God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.

God loves everyone, but probably prefers fruits of the spirit over religious nuts. God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. He who angers you, controls you. Prayer: Don’t give God instructions, just report for duty.

The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us. The will of God never takes you to where the grace of God will not protect you. We don’t change the message, the message changes us.

You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage him or her. If God is your copilot, swap seats.