Written by Les Dahl on December 7th, 2015. Posted in Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll



document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Great sprinters like Usain Bolt spend hours in training perfecting their starts. They know that a good start propels them into position for a winning finish. A good start to your day empowers you to perform well and finish strong.

Let me ask what may seem a silly question: when does your day start?

When the dawn breaks” or “When I get up in the morning” (which for some of you night owls may be mid-morning!) are typical responses. But I have another answer for you to consider.

For years I puzzled over the creation story in the Bible. The fact that the Creator spoke the vast universe and the world with its many-faceted detail into existence is amazing. Talk about the power of words! That He accomplished this in six days is astounding—unbelievable for many! What caught my attention and bewildered me, however, was the phrase repeated after the completion of each day's activity: “And there was evening and there was morning, the ..... day.”

Clearly, the Creator's concept of day is quite different from what we are used to. His day begins with evening, which is followed by morning, the beginning of new activities. The Jews, to whom the Torah was entrusted, structure their days after this pattern.

The concept is significant. It describes how the Almighty thinks and there is intention, purpose and life in His thinking. We do well to align our thinking to His.

More than significant, this concept is transformational. As we begin to understand and apply its implications in our life, we are liberated of a whole lot of stress, we become much more productive at our work, and we derive greater satisfaction from our daily accomplishments.


'Evening' signals the completion of a day.


Evening calls for deliberate intention and action. The day is done. Stop. Close off the day's activities. Shut down the computer. Pack up your things. Go home. It's evening.

Most of us never close off our days. We carry the accumulated stress and burden of our work home with us. At home we find the kids are wired from their day at school. Our spouse is strung out and would appreciate a little sympathy, which we can't give because we are looking for some sympathy ourselves. Interactions with family are strained. What is intended to be a soothing, re-vitalizing refuge of joy and peace, i.e. our family, is threatened. Like a contagious virus, unresolved stress quickly spreads as wholesome, thriving relationships are infected.

Attempts to relax produce minimal results. We are exhausted emotionally and our muscles are tight. Our mind, whether consciously or not, is still weighted down with fallout from the day's activity.

Sleep does not come easily. When we finally drift off, neither our mind nor our body get the full benefit of sleep. Morning comes too early after a fitful night. We awake to another day of the same old grind.

This never-ending death spiral is broken by evening. It is imperative that we decisively terminate each day. Let it go. Take back our evening.

Family is a wonderful antidote against caustic bosses and negative co-workers. Evening is ours to enjoy our family.

The unfinished work will be there in the morning. After a relaxing evening with family and a good night's rest we are refreshed, re-energized and ready to tackle what's on our plate for the day with greater creativity and clarity of mind.

Reorganizing our day to conform to pattern established by our Creator is life-changing.

Question: How would implementing the practice of 'evening' transform the quality of your life?



(I observe four more ways in which evening transforms us. These I share in my next article. Meanwhile, enjoy evening, a new and empowering dimension to your day.)

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominic /


Written by Les Dahl on December 1st, 2015. Posted in Education, Family, Learning Solutions, Parenting Strategies



document.write(" geneva, sans-serif;">“TV provides no educational benefits for a child under age two.”(1) ... “Watching TV in childhood increased chances of dropping out of school and decreased chances of getting a college degree.”(2) ... “Watching sex on TV increases the chances a teen will have sex, and causes teens to start having sex at younger ages.”(3)

Is TV a “one-eyed monster” devouring our children? These strong statements backed by research suggest it is. Is there any good effect of TV on our children?

“The bad” and “the ugly” - some shocking statistics.

  • Infants and toddlers exposed to programs designed to “teach” and enhance “brain development” learn less than children who play and interact with other children and adults instead. A child watching 1 hour of TV a day during his/her first 2-3 years increases their chance of developing attention problems by nearly 10%.
  • Watching TV contributes to obesity. On the tennis court, 8.1 calories are burned per minute; an “active” video tennis game like Wii burns about 5.3 calories per minute. Watching TV burns only slightly more calories than sleeping.
  • On average, children 8 years and older watch TV and/or computer more than 7 hours daily (this includes DVDs, video games, calling or texting on the phone). That's over 30% of their time. Usually kids are engaged in more than one of these activities while doing homework.
  • Kids immersed in TV are less likely to read books. Even watching kids' cartoons results in poorer pre-reading skills at age five. Language, which is developed by reading, conversations and play, is delayed and vocabularies are smaller.
  • In 1 year, the American child is exposed to 12,000 violent acts on TV. That's 1,000 per month! The American Psychological Association Help Center counted 20 violent acts per hour on children's TV programs. Children watching violence learn aggressive behavior, like hitting a child to get the toy they want. They get the idea this is acceptable from TV programs they watch.
  • Many parents do not discuss sex with their children, so kids get much of their information from TV. The number of sex scenes has doubled since 1998. Of the 20 most-watched shows by teens, 14 include sexual content. These include an average of 5 scenes per hour. Research documents the increase of sexual activity and teen pregnancy with this drastic increase of sexual content in TV programming.

“The good” - a silver lining around a dark cloud.

For years, “Sesame Street” was the most-watched and loved children's TV program. Melissa Kearney of the University of Maryland and Phillip Levine Wellesley College studied the impact of “Sesame Street.” They found that “the famous show on public TV delivered lasting educational benefits to millions of American children — benefits as powerful as the ones children get from going to preschool.” They also found that “the show has left children more likely to stay at the appropriate grade level for their age, an effect that is particularly pronounced among boys, African Americans and children who grow up in disadvantaged areas.” Kudos to “Sesame Street”!

How can parents salvage “good” out of TV?

  • Become informed about “the bad” and “the ugly” effects and make necessary adjustment to TV viewing habits, not only of the kids but of the entire family. Set limits about how much time is allotted to watching TV. Monitor what is being watched. Be a good role model.
  • Use TV effectively to complement what kids are learning at school. Kids who watch informative, educational and non-violent shows score higher on reading and math tests than those who do not.
  • Follow-up a “good” TV program with discussion and appropriate activities. (e.g. after a show that featured cooking, have kids join you in the kitchen; take the kids to the library to find books to read on a topic viewed; start up a conversation that will expand the kids' curiosity about the topic viewed.)
  • Create a culture of family in which the uniqueness of each individual is appreciated and the contribution of each individual to the whole is valued. Out of this springs family entertainment with meaningful conversations, engaging story telling and spontaneous laughter. Include outdoor activities and outings that create happy and satisfying memories. All without sacrificing the necessary private space of each family member.

“Any positive effect of television ... is still open to question, but the benefits of parent-child interactions are proven. ...[They] are far more important to a child's development than any TV show."

So says the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Public Education. I agree.


Image courtesy imagrymajestic /

(1) Chacha Tumbokon, <>

(2) (3) UNHS, Your Child: Development and Behavior Resources <>

University of Maine Bulletin #4100, “Children, Television, and Screen Time” <>

“4 Good & 6 Bad Effects Of Television On Children”, Dr. Saara Fatema

“Positive Effects of TV”, <>

“Study: Kids can learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool”, Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post, <

BLUEPRINT FOR SHALOM (Peace, Health and Prosperity)

Written by Les Dahl on November 30th, 2015. Posted in Health, Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll



document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Life is not without struggle and we are easily burdened with its pressures. Often we have more than enough on our plate on a daily basis and we are weary from the load we carry. It is precisely to us in our battle-worn condition that Yeshua (Jesus) extends the invitation:

“Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest (shalom). Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Shalom—peace, health and prosperity—is a gift of God's grace. Although we have a part to play in procuring shalom, it is not the product of our will-power nor of our self-help. It is an endowment from our Father in heaven. However, conditions apply and shalom is not obtained in our daily experience until these conditions are met.

Condition #1: “Come to Me...”

We must want shalom.

That is self-evident, you say. Who wouldn't wish for peace, health and prosperity? I am surprised, however, how many people are quite happy in their misery, sickness and lack (poverty). You very likely know some of these people—probably have to put up with them at work. They complain a lot and prey on your sympathy. No matter what you say or do, they really have no intention to change. They love the attention and pity drawn to them by their doleful condition and whining.

Condition #2: “Learn from Me...”

We must be willing to learn.

Creating shalom is a process that involves learning and comes with a learning curve. It takes time, study and practice to develop of shalom. We apply ourselves to His Word (the Bible). We attune ourselves to the lessons (parables) embedded in Nature. Fueled by our quest to learn, we discover insights otherwise hidden. We pay attention to people around us, particularly our elders, and garner knowledge. We hearken as experience teaches us discretion and wisdom.

If we are willing to learn, our Father rewards us with insights and promises relevant to the shalom (peace, health and prosperity) we need to live well. As a loving, caring father mentors his son and daughter, teaching them the art of living well, our Father in heaven disciples and instructs us.

Condition #3: “Take my yoke...”

We must be willing to change.

One of the great obstacles in our pursuit of shalom is the comfortable and familiar. We just don't like change. Change requires giving up old habits, thoughts, beliefs. Change demands letting go of hurts, bitterness, anger. Change calls for surrender of our will and way to His. That's not easy.

Fully aware of our struggle, our Father reassures us with the words, “I am gentle and humble in heart.” Have you ever thought of God as humble? But that's exactly what our Father is like—rock solid and firm (tough love) but gentle and humble with a big heart of love for us.

So if you accept the conditions which apply, here is a blueprint for shalom that I have discovered in my quest. (In subsequent articles, I will elaborate on each concept. Your feedback is greatly valued.)


1. Set your compass
Prepare for the day by properly aligning yourself.

2. Chart your course
Determine your path from here to there.

3. Create your aura
Create the eye of the storm and stay in it.

4. Activate universal laws
Cultivate good seed in good soil and give generously.

5. Engage in active personal development
Make necessary changes to achieve clarity and growth.

6. Expand your power source
Cultivate spiritual growth.

7. Stay in rhythm
Sing your melody, play your instrument in symphony of the universe.


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of His Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises. (Romans 15:13)




Image courtesy of lkunl /



Written by Les Dahl on November 24th, 2015. Posted in Health, Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll


document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Words have power to create and build or to tear down and destroy. Words have the characteristics of seeds. You reap what you sow.

The words we speak determine our atmosphere and our experience. They affect how we respond to circumstances. They regulate the power we have to deal with adversity.

The soil in which our words germinate is our heart. Jesus said that our thoughts and actions proceed from our heart. Our internal conversation (i.e. the words we sow) shapes our thought paradigms, our beliefs (which either limit or liberate us) and our habits (patterns of action).

As with seeds, our words are watered, nourished and nurtured. The good words we sow are watered by positive attitudes and body language (a smile, good posture, a firm handshake). They are nourished by acts of kindness and promises from God's Word. They are nurtured by hard work and persistence.

Seeds multiply as they reproduce. The mindset of authentic faith anticipates prosperity, i.e. success, increase and multiplication. Would a farmer seed his field if he did not believe an abundant harvest was the reward of his labor?

Affirmations are statements that declare our agreement with the concepts expressed. They are declared into the atmosphere to serve notice to heaven and earth of our expected outcome (harvest). As they are released, our affirmations become active to accomplish their expressed purpose.

The following affirmations about God serve to clarify. If we hope to find shalom, it is important that our thoughts and ideas about God are accurate and firmly rooted. The goal is to live and move and have our being in Him. But true relationship is two-sided. Thus, God's Spirit is present so He can live and move and have His being in us. The result of this synergy is shalom.


1. God is a person.

He is not an idea, a force, a theology nor a religion. As a person, God's primary objective is to enjoy personal relationship with each of us. As He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden, God invites us to walk with Him, enjoying conversation and communion in His Presence.

As He nurtured His relationship with Abraham, God invites us into friendship that grows deeper and stronger as thoughts, feelings and experiences are shared mutually.

Affirmation #1 — God, I acknowledge You as a person. I declare that my relationship with You is characterized by mutual friendship. I welcome Your Presence and listen for Your still, small voice of shalom.


2. God is our Father.

As we journey with God, we discover endless nuances of friendship and communion. But the essence of His relationship with us is the love and care of a Father.

The disciples once approached Jesus. “Master, we recognize you have special communication with Almighty God. Teach us how to obtain that kind of access to the power of heaven. Teach us to pray.”

Begin like this,” Jesus answered, “Our Father...”

He then explained, “Everything else in heaven and on earth flows out of that relationship.”

Many of us face a wall of resistance associated with the word “Father”. Our experience with our earthly father was less than perfect. For too many, the experience was rife with abuse and trauma. The wall protects us from being hurt again—by anyone.

Resentment, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness and even hatred seethe within. There is no room in our hearts to think of, let alone feel, the loving, caring embrace of “our Father in heaven.” Deliverance must come; healing must follow.

Affirmation #2 — God, I embrace You as my loving, caring Father. I release all my feelings of resentment, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness and hatred in me because of what my father did to me. I release all my feelings of disappointment and hurt because my father was not there for me when I needed him. I allow Your empathy and compassion to replace those destructive emotions with feelings of safety, security, love and shalom.


3. God adopts me into His family, and loves me dearly.

As the Creator contemplated the Universe, He gave attention to our place in His family. This may be difficult to fathom, but it is a fact highlighted in the Scriptures. It strikes at our basic need to belong, to be loved and to matter. It speaks to the feelings of alienation, loneliness and despair.

None of us is an accident and without purpose—your life matters!

None of us is an inconsequential cog in the impersonal machinery of the Universe—you are important!

All of us have Someone who loves us and thinks the world of us—you are loved!

Affirmation #3 — God, I embrace my adoption into Your family. I am no longer an orphan without a family and without a home. I release all my feelings of alienation, loneliness and despair. I declare that I am blessed and highly favored because You love me, I am important to You, my life matters and I belong.


4. God takes personal interest in each of us.

Our Father knows us. He knows our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses, our potential and our limitations, our horizons and our boundaries. He knows and cares!

Jesus asked the crowd, “Why do you worry about food or clothing? Your Father in heaven knows you need these things and is happy to provide them for you.”

Paul continues this thread as he writes:

"Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in every circumstance and situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your specific requests known to God. And the shalom of God—that peace which reassures your heart, that peace which transcends all understanding, that peace which stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus—is yours.”

Affirmation #4 — Father in heaven, I acknowledge Your personal interest in me. You care deeply about what I'm going through and what I need. I thank You for Your many blessings and Your faithfulness to provide all that I need. I embrace Your shalom which dispels all worry and anxiety and reassures my heart and my mind of Your loving care and compassion.


5. God has a bright future for you.

When God's people were exiles in Babylon, He gave them a word of hope through the prophet Jeremiah.

"I will come to you in your darkest hour and keep My good promise to you, to bring you through. For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for shalom—peace and well-being and not disaster—to give you a future and a hope. Call on Me, pray, and I will hear your voice and answer you.”

Our journey entails many twists and turns, narrow places and rough patches. But of this we can be sure, our Father is watching over us, leading, guiding and empowering by His Spirit within us—making sure we make it through. He has a personal, vested interest in our success. It is His good promise to us. And He stakes His honor on keeping His promise.

Affirmation #5 — Father, I embrace the hope and the future You have prepared for me. I acknowledge Your vested interest in my success. I put off every negative thought, debilitating emotion, destructive habit and limiting belief that prevents me from being all that You have created me to be. I put on shalom—peace, health and prosperity—like a new garment and I embrace the joy which comes from knowing You. I am free to be who I am in You.


As seeds take time to germinate, grow and mature before the harvest is ready, so too, these affirmations require time and diligent care to bring them to full manifestation. As the farmer sows in faith, trusting the Almighty for the harvest, be conscientious to declare each affirmation and be patient as our Father in heaven transforms your life from within.



Image courtesy africa /


Written by Les Dahl on November 16th, 2015. Posted in Peace, Sage's Scroll



document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">The men nestle into the old wooden fishing boat. The quiet and solitude is welcome respite from the pressing, demanding throngs. Exhaustion quickly succumbs to slumber under the soothing ripples of the water and the gentle rustling of the sail in the chill night breeze.

An uneasy stillness settles over the lake as the darkest hour of night approaches. Suddenly, out of nowhere angry billowing clouds smother the stars. Jagged lightning splits the skies followed by ear-splitting thunder. A blustering gale churns scowling waters with violence that threatens to capsize the boat and snatch the lives of all aboard. Desperate attempts to bail water are no match against the wash of waves filling the boat.

Panic grips these grown men as reality comes into sharp focus. There is no hope of riding out this storm. Adrift in the middle of the lake, not even the best swimmer among them could survive these extreme conditions. Some cannot swim at all.

The men search the hellish darkness for the Master. Hysteria turns to utter disbelief. There, in the stern, huddled in a heavy cloak against the elements, he lies—unperturbed by wind, waves or his disciples' frenzied commotion!

“Asleep! We're going down and you're asleep!”

“We're in the middle of no-where, in a raging storm, fighting for our lives! Does none of this move you?”

“We're drowning! Don't you care that we're dying? Save us!”

The Master arises. His gaze pierces their fear-stricken souls. “Why are you afraid? I'm right here. Where is your faith?”

The Master turns to face wind and waves. “Enough! Back down! No more!”

Immediately, “a great calm” settles on the lake.

Who is this?” the men mutter amongst themselves. “He commands wind and waves? And they obey? Instantly!”


Five powerful lessons emerge from this incident.


1. Storms are a part of life. Some are incidental, others are cataclysmic. Some signal their approach on the horizon, others strike without warning.

Calm is found not in the absence of the storm but in the midst of the storm.


2. Storms batter us until we face our worst enemy—fear—and our greatest weakness—faith. Faith is not the absence of fear, nor is it blind.

Authentic faith chooses to trust the Father, stand firmly on His Word, and follow His instructions in the face of fear and despair.


3. Until we learn how to find calm in the storm, the realities of our situation (i.e. the wind and waves) hold us hostage to fear based on self-imposed limiting beliefs.

The greater reality is that the Master is with us in the boat; He is our power-source of authentic faith that will ride out or quell the storm.


4. Calm in the storm is by no means passive—it is not a retreat from reality until the storm passes over. Calm, which comes by faith, is carved out of adverse circumstance by aggressive faith in action.

Calm is a stance from which we activate faith in battle against the forces that impede our progress toward determined destination.


5. Calm is not defined by unflinching will-power, mind-over-matter, nor power-of-positive-thinking. Sometimes these are simply not enough! 

Calm in the storm rests on the assurance that when our effort and our faith fall short of subduing the wind and waves that batter us, the Master arises to fight for us—he's got our back!


As we stay close to our Master through the storms, a little of His calm and His power rubs off on us. Eventually, we become like Him—calm and commanding.

Question: How do you find calm in the storm?


TAKEAWAY: I find the 5-minute relaxing exercise available free at <> an effective tool to create calm. Try it daily and observe the results.



Image courtesy



Written by Les Dahl on September 27th, 2015. Posted in Education, Family, Learning Solutions



document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Children have a hard time listening. You carefully explain what you want them to do, and they turn around and do something completely different. Exasperated, you ask, “Were you not listening?”


Listening is an acquired skill necessary to be fully present and fully engaged. 


Listening is an essential skill in a child's learning process. Without it, s/he will be confused about what to do and how to do a given task. Good listening skills are particularly important for children who struggle with ADHD issues.

Listening is an acquired skill. It must be learned and then practiced until it becomes a habit. Well-honed listening skills ensure success at school and in the child's broader experience of life.

Listening requires that a child be fully present and fully engaged. All the 'moving parts'—ears, eyes, mind and heart—must be activated and synchronized before communication is fully and accurately received (and given). The ears capture sound, the eyes connect with the source of the sound, the mind processes the sound into the message, and the heart filters the communication through the bias of emotions.


What happens when a child is given clear instructions yet executes something quite different?


The child's ears catch the sound waves coming through the air but because none of the other components of listening are engaged, all that registers is a series of sounds something akin to, “Blah, blah, blah, blah...”

Meanwhile, his/her eyes are flitting about like a butterfly gathering and sending random data to the brain. Added to the sound bytes and visual images flashing through the child's mind are meandering thoughts and cameos of imagination. Emotions are stirred and attached to the messages and images according to temperament and mood. This barrage of multi-sensory data is processed in nanoseconds! You are lucky if your child receives any clear message, no matter how explicit you are.

Zoe is a bright eight year-old with dyslexia and ADHD. Both her mind and her body are constantly in motion, seldom pausing long enough to actually hear instructions let alone stay on the task at hand to successfully complete it. Yet, she is creative and capable—when fully present and fully engaged!

My challenge: how can I introduce and activate the four elements of listening within the small window of attention, against an ever-changing backdrop of swirling stimuli and emotion?


Imagination is a powerful tool that can activate listening skills.


A particular strength of dyslexic, ADHD children is a hyper-imagination. This creates problems such as distraction and daydreaming, but it is the very gift that produces brilliant artists, musicians and entrepreneurs. It is the powerful tool which I chose to activate the listening skills lacking in Zoe. After instructing Zoe to settle comfortably in her chair—upright, back against the chair, hands on thighs—and take a few deep breaths to relax, I guided Zoe to use her imagination to identify and activate the four elements needed to listen an truly hear.

“In your imagination, find the inside of your ear. See a is locked. See a key hanging by the door...take the key, unlock the door and open it wide. Now step across to your other ear...see the door...use your key to unlock and open this door. Are your 'ear doors' open?

“Next, in your imagination, find your eyes. They are windows. Open the curtains to let the sun shine in. Spray on some window cleaner and wipe the glass with a clean rag. Can you see clearly through your windows? Is the room bright and cheerful?

“Now, in your imagination, let's go upstairs to your's your computer room. Open the door...step inside...switch on the light...see your computer on your desk. Find the power button and boot up your computer. Is your computer up and running?

Now let's go downstairs into the sitting room.This is your heart...where your feelings and moods are. This is where you like to hang relax and enjoy yourself. See the comfortable couch and chairs? Look there dust...dirt...cob-webs? These are bad feelings, bad attitudes and bad habits. Take a broom and sweep them out...or take a vacuum cleaner and suck them all up...Is the room messy...or is everything in its place? Make sure this room is just the way you like it...clean and comfortable.

Take a deep breath...hold it for a few seconds...and then release it. your eyes. How do you feel? Are you ready to begin today's lessons?”

Once the initial procedure is completed, it is much easier to maintain or regain attention. As you notice the eyes shifting, remind your child that listening involves the eyes as well as the ears. When you sense their mind is wandering, ask something like, “Is your computer still engaged?” If negative attitude surfaces, you may need to stop and revisit the 'sitting room' and sweep out or vacuum up the negative emotion.


“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”*


Whether I am teaching in the classroom, coaching a struggling learner or home-schooling my two grandchildren, this simple exercise is effective and fun. Not only have the listening skills of my students improved, I have become a better facilitator of learning as I actually listen to what my they have to say. In time and with practice, student and teacher have become skillful listeners and communicators.


How do you develop listening skills in children which enable them to become fully present and fully engaged in the task at hand?




*Source: "Bryant H. McGill." Xplore Inc, 2015. 25 September 2015.>

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominic /