Category Archives: News

Build up your self-respect and never sacrifice your dignity.

“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered.” ~ Michael J. Fox …

Whether we keep our dignity, or surrender it, can only be done on our own terms–no one can take it away from us without our consent. If you think about it… there really is nothing in life that anyone can take from us if we do not allow them.

When Nelson Mandela was thrown into prison for leading protests against the South African government’s segregation policies in 1962, he kept his dignity and he held onto hope. Rather than expressing anger or allowing his unjust imprisonment to derail his inner balance, he held on to his beliefs that his time in prison served a greater purpose.

And when Thoreau was jailed for not paying his poll tax, he was amazed that they thought they had taken away his freedom. He wrote, “I did not for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar.” If he had allowed himself to feel as if they had taken his freedom, then it would be so–he would have lost it. Yet since he refused to surrender his freedom, he still held on to it even while locked away in a jail.

There are, of course, some individuals, who out of their own insecurity, try to hurt others and to take away their dignity and self-respect. But what does that say about us if we let such a cruel and insecure person do so? Many individuals have kept their dignity when faced with grave financial loss, public humiliation, bodily harm, and even death, such as Anne Frank in the concentration camps of Germany, and Louis Zamperini in the prison camps of Japan during World War II. Shouldn’t we, too, hold on to ours?

Build up your self-respect and never sacrifice your dignity.

Questions to consider:

How do you define your sense of dignity? How do you describe your resolve to keep it?

Think of some individuals you have seen lose their dignity? What happened to make them lose it?

What might cause you to surrender your own dignity? How can you strengthen your ability not to do so?

For further thought:

“Knowing when to walk away is wisdom. Being able to is courage. Walking away, with your head held high is dignity.” ~ Sallie Felton

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Living Or Existing?

“The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; one may live long yet live very little.” ~ Michel de Montaigne … 

It seems to me that society has become infatuated with living forever–or at least living extended lives. With the launch of Calico, even companies such as Google have jumped in to searching for ways to increase life expectancy and perhaps discover immortality. Yet when I see others trying to escape or avoid death, I immediately begin to wonder as to the reasons why. Is it fear or despair? Is it unhappiness or discontent? Do such individuals truly feel that living life completely, even for just a day, is perhaps not fulfilling enough? <!–more–> 

When I became a father, I started to think more about family and raising children–about where my life was going and about where I wanted it to be. I began to question how and where I was seeking purpose and fulfillment in my life; to ask myself, “Am I truly living my life… or simply existing?” The answers I found led me to make changes in those places of my life that were perhaps selfish or not exactly life giving. In addition, I came to the realization that the purpose of life is much greater than simply surviving the time I am alive… it is about happiness and contentment, accomplishment and legacy, compassion, love, and kindness, service and sacrifice, giving and receiving, growing and sharing. And when I think of the individuals I know who have the highest amount of discontent in their lives, they are the ones who have not made–or are not making–the decisions to do the things in their lives that they truly love–things that they deeply enjoy and that give them a strong feeling of accomplishment and purpose.

There is a song by Tim McGraw in which he sings about a man that says, “Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.” And although it ironic that one would consider “living” to be the process of “dying,” when we are faced with our own mortality, we often begin to live our lives more fully, more deeply, and with much more purpose and zeal, and that is the difference between living and simply existing.

Life is not all about accomplishment–many of my best days have yielded little to nothing at all. They have, however, helped me to rest and recuperate, to contemplate and meditate, to wonder and marvel, to experience gratitude and appreciation, to add new layers of paint to the multi-colored canvas of my life. Life is truly about using our days effectively. It is about making a living and carrying out the necessary duties of the day. It is about caring for those we are responsible for ensuring that they have everything they need to live their day to the fullest. It is about giving our all and performing to the best of our abilities–knowing that in doing so, we are making valuable contributions to the lives of others. As it has been said before, “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”

Invest in yourself by making full use of the day that lies before you.

Questions to consider:

What, to you, is the difference between “living” and “existing”?

How does it become so easy for us to start to coast through life without expecting ourselves to make decisions that will cause us to make more of each of the days that we live?

What does it mean to you to “live long yet live very little”?

For further thought:

“I have never given very deep thought to a philosophy of life, though I have a few ideas that I think are useful to me. One is that you do whatever comes your way as well as you can, and another is that you think as little as possible about yourself and as much as possible about other people and about things that are interesting. The third is that you get more joy out of giving joy to others and should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

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Merry Christmas!

xmas

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25 December 2015 · 1:31 am

Enjoy The Day

“Today, just take time to smell the roses, enjoy those little things about your life, your family, spouse, friends, job. Forget about the thorns–the pains and problems they cause you–and enjoy life.” ~ Bernard Kelvin Clive, Your Dreams Will Not Die …

How often do I stop to enjoy the day that is happening around me? Sure, there are tasks that need tending too and requirements of me for the day; and perhaps I am facing difficulties and pains today. But there really is no reason that I cannot experience the whole of today–the beauty, the good, the marvelous and glorious that surrounds me. Continue reading

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True Talents

“I believe a “talented” person is one who has learned how to effectively cultivate and polish any of the many desirable capabilities with which most of us are born but few of us nurture.” ~ Marilyn Vos Savant …

We are all have talents–some we are born with, some we have acquired. They can be personal skills or strengths–something we are exceptional at such as the skill to throw a curveball or to run several miles. They can be an ability–something we are capable of such as the ability to judge a person’s character. They can even be a quality in which we were born with–such as the quality of being a compassionate person or a good listener. The thing is, all our talents are wasted if we never cultivate, polish, and nurture them. Continue reading

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‘Pipe’ And ‘Pencil’

“I believe that many who find that “nothing happens” when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.” ~ C.S. Lewis, On the Incarnation …

We often feel that practicing our faith should yield discernible results; that sitting down in reflection, reading a good book of devotion, or time spent in prayer will touch our hearts and minds. But what if “nothing happens?” What if we do not feel moved? Perhaps, it is then time to roll up our sleeves a bit, and get ourselves dirty in theological studies. Continue reading

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Be Patient With Yourself

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ~Aristotle …

Now is a good time to reflect upon our patience as the new year progresses. With the new year already fast on-going, most likely we are thinking about goals and things we’ve resolved to accomplish this year, as well as reflecting on our accomplishments and shortcomings of the past year. Often times, however, there seems to be a sense of urgency to achieve our New Year’s resolutions and to make the changes in our lives that we wish to see. We must remember though, that no one changes in a day… it often takes a lifetime.

If we wish to partake in the “sweet fruits” of our labor, as Aristotle puts it, we must patiently endure the time it takes to season, grow, and flourish. In all honesty, nearly every meaningful change I have made in my life that has had lasting value has taken time. And although I have not always been as patient as I know I should have been, I have slowly come to understand the important roles that patience plays in my life.

This new year, be patient with yourself. Nurture your plans and desires. Lay the foundation and groundwork upon which you will build. Take each step in stride and put your trust within. Remain committed and focused. You will not be a completely different person next day. But if you make a resolution to begin the process of change, and adhere to it with patience and diligence, you will find that positive change will happen.

Take a moment to think about the changes that have occurred in your life.

Questions to consider:

What are some of the changes you would like to make in your life? Do they have to happen by tomorrow?

What are some of the processes you will need to go through to make those changes?

How can you start the processes necessary to begin on your journey?

For further thought:

“Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.” ~Unknown

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