So, when you listen to yourself what do you hear?  No doubt we have all had up close and personal, mountaintop experiences in life only to find ourselves back down in the valley even before we knew what happened to us.   I’m certain too we have all heard it said many times before that “life is full of peaks and valley” or perhaps as more often stated, “life sure has its ups and downs.”  Indeed it does!  If you’re like me you can probably think about some valuable lessons you have learned along the way that have come out of these valley times of life.  For sure it seems the valley is normally the place where many of us go to wrestle and struggle against the intricacies of living life here on earth.  But what else is there to be learned from the valley?  Well, I’d like to share with you something I recently learned from a great lady named Shirley, one of life’s peaches.  You see a number of us were gathered in conversation a few months back when we came upon the topic of “valleys.”  Shirley piped up and said, “I’ll tell you something about valleys!”  She then proceeded to tell us about how she had been watching a Western movie the night before.  A Western that had two cowboys laying in wait to ambush the armed bandits headed their way.  It seemed one cowboy, in his impatience and anticipation, just couldn’t stop talking.  Finally, to quiet the guy up so as not blow their cover the other cowboy had to look at his compatriot and whisper, “Shush, don’t you know your voice echoes in the valley?”  So Shirley, a well-spring of street wisdom, asked the group “Isn’t that just the way it is in life?”  Wow what truth! That what we say to ourselves while in the valleys of life has a way of either leading us out of the valley back to the mountaintop or causes us to remain stuck in the quagmire of the valley.  When we dwell on the negatives and speak these to ourselves when life has us on the ropes it makes it close to impossible to get up off the mat.  The negative voices just keep echoing back to us as more negatives as we get further and further beat down.  But in contrast the seemingly shortest route to get “back to the mountaintop” is to speak positives and give praise even while we’re in the valley.  So, if you find yourself in one of those valley times of life call out the positives, give praise for the richness of simple blessings and listen for the echoes of good things beginning to ring truth in your life.  In doing so it would my hope that each of us can once again be lifted up as we can begin to enjoy the amazing and fantastic views from the mountaintop vistas of life.  Peace.