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Do You Know Why Bad Things Happen To Good People

(category: Inspirational, Word count: 746)
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This is a question that most people grapple with from time to time and it has largely been on my mind this past week.

You see one of the best people I know - my Uncle Carl - had a very bad accident this week. While working on the wood lot with his son, his hand got caught in a log splitter. In the end the damage was so severe that his left hand had to be amputated.

Although no longer a young man, my uncle is very active and enjoys working with his hands. He is right handed but clearly the use of two hands was an important part of his former life and just as clearly that will have to change.

I was devastated when I heard the news and am still shaken by it - even more so when I think about how much worse the accident could have been. My whole family is upset, especially Uncle Carl's wife and children, most notably my cousin John who was with him at the time.

As I worked through my worry and grief I kept asking myself that question: Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

I know people often say this when tragedy occurs, but this is not simple lip service - it is fact. My uncle is a good man.

He is a very strong family man who is still married to his high school sweetheart. He loves his four children as well as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a devoted son when his parents were alive and is loved by his siblings, nieces and nephews. He and his wife opened their home to many children and young people over the years and continue to open their home and hearts whenever family, friends, or community require it.

He has worked hard all his life - using his hands to service the land and master machinery and using his broad shoulders and strong muscles to complete every task set before him.

He has played an important role in his community serving as a volunteer firefighter as well as a cornerstone of his church congregation.

Yes, he is a good man, but his life has not been easy though and I had to question why one more burden needed to be added to his heavy load.

Many Christians will say that God sends us trials to test us. And there might be some truth in that. Many of us are stronger than we think and it takes difficult challenges to make this clear. But I didn't think this applied to my uncle - he has had many challenges over the course of his life and I think he has a good handle on his own strengths.

However loss also highlights what we have and perhaps have taken for granted. Yes, my uncle has had a difficult life but he has also had a tremendously rewarding one. I don't think there really is much that my uncle wishes for or envies in others. Yes, his siblings may have more money and professional success, but I am confident that Carl would not trade his wife and family for that money any day of the week. And I secretly suspect that if he did in fact have more money that it would be spent in large part on his loved ones.

And he is greatly loved by a great many people. Not just by his immediate and extended family but by the many people whose lives he has touched. I know there are prayers on his behalf winging from coast to coast. I don't think he'd trade that love and the respect that accompanies it for all the professional success his siblings have enjoyed.

We can grieve with him for the loss of his hand, but we can't pity him when we look at the many gifts that God has given him.

What is more, when you step back and take a look at the man he is then you do not even notice the missing hand. He is so much more than the simple sum of his parts and in the end it is the size of his heart that one notices most.

It is important to note that it was his right hand that was preserved - the very hand he has extended so many times to others to offer love, friendship, and help.

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A Century Of Hope

(category: Inspirational, Word count: 526)
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What would one initially think about someone who dropped out of school at the age of 16? Would there be any hope for this person? This person is Bob Hope. Comedian Bob Hope starred in over 50 movies and lived past the age of 100 years old.

Hope was born in England and his family moved to the United States when he was four. What can we say about our past? Have we let things from our past get in the way of achieving what we want and living a life we love? Where you came from is out of our control. Where you're going is up to you.

1. Bob Hope held many odds jobs before becoming a comedian

Long before Hope became a successful comedian, he held many odd jobs selling newspapers, was a delivery boy, worked in a soda shop, a shoe salesman. Newspaper reporter and was an amateur boxer.

Many of us have had to work at odd jobs in order to make money. Working at odd jobs gives us opportunities to discover what we want and don't want to do as a career. The skills you obtain through your experiences of working at odd jobs may prove to be valuable in your future career. For example, any job that can strengthen your communication skills is invaluable.

2. Hope took dancing lessons

Hope received on-the-job training while appearing in vaudeville. To hone his skills, he took dance lessons. Hope was such a good dancer, that he took over some dance classes to help his teachers.

Do you have a passion that you would like to expand? Do you like to write or draw, but don't know where to start? Do you like to play a particular sport or instrument, and want to get better? There numerous classes that are offered to help those who desire to improve oneself in a particular field and topic.

3. Bob Hope was versatile

Bob Hope was a successful dancer, singer and actor and comedian. Bob Hope was an enormously successful comedian. His ability to dance, sing and act very well made him a much better comedian because his options broadened on how he could entertain people.

Many of us are good at what we do in our careers. Becoming versatile could only make us better.

4. Hope entertained Military Troops from World War II to Operation Desert Storm

Hope did a major service to increase morale among military personnel. For almost sixty years, Hope toured many countries to show his appreciation for the men and women of the armed services.

Is there something that you have been considering to give back to your community? Is there a charity in which you would like to raise money for them? Would you like to encourage youngsters to explore a particular career? Bob Hope was a great example of giving back to his community. Bob Hope was a great example of not settling to be great in only one area. He was a success at so many areas in entertainment. Bob Hope did not let his past dictate what he could do in his future.

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Rose Desrochers Thoughts On Taking Responsibility For Our Actions

(category: Inspirational, Word count: 626)
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When do we start taking responsibility for our own actions? It appears that we no longer own our actions. Owning our actions, involves taking personal responsibility for what we do. Why is it that when something goes wrong, we need some place to lay the blame? Part of being a mature, responsible adult is to know that when we make a decision in life we are responsible for the outcome, not someone else.

Let's look at the following examples:

A married man goes out and has an affair. He blames the wife for not satisfying his needs in bed. Did he ever stop to think that maybe his problem lies with him and not with his wife?

Your electricity gets turned off because you didn't pay the bill. Do you blame the mail man for not bringing the bill? Do you blame the electrical company, because you didn't receive the bill? You knew the bill was due. You pay it every month, don't you? It comes down to responsibility.

You join a website and the administrator bans you for breaking the terms of service. You blame the administrator? Why? You knew the rules of the website upon joining and had you not known the rules, you should have prepared yourself better by reading them.

Your daughter gets pregnant at 15. Let me guess you blame Britney Spears for influencing her to dress sexy. Yet you purchased the clothes for her and allowed her to wear them.

Your son gets suspended from school for fighting, drinking and drugs. You don't take responsibility as the parent. You blame the child. Well don't family values start at home? It is the rules that you set down and enforce that count.

When do we start taking responsibilities for our lives? We all have a responsibility to pay our bills, go to work, follow the rules and bring up our families within societal norms.

It is really unfortunate that we seem to be raising a generation of children that don't take responsibility for their actions either. They blame their friends, they blame their teachers, and they blame everyone around them, but never themselves.

When you feel you are mistreated, why is it that you just can't seem to let go of it, get over it and move on with your life? If you feel someone has wrong you and doesn't want to own up to the fact that they have mistreated you then there isn't much that you can do about it.You need to accept that the person isn't going to see no wrong doing on their part, pick up your bruised ego and move on.

When do we learn as adults to be responsible for our own actions? When do we start living with the consequences of our decisions? Let go of blaming and being a victim. It serves no one. It sure doesn't help you. Has not excepting responsibility for your actions made you happy? It is time to admit your mistakes rather than blame someone else.

Being a responsible adult means that you accept credit when you do the right thing and accept correction when someone tells you that you have made a wrong choice in your life.

We're adults here and we want to be treated as such unless it's not in our favor and then we want to blame someone else, anyone but ourselves.

I think it is time each of us assumed responsibility in life, by being liable for our actions and taking ownership of them. Please for goodness sake, stop making excuses for your life. When you have done wrong, admit to your mistakes and then move on.

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What Are Your Debts

(category: Inspirational, Word count: 716)
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This is a time of year when many people take stock of all that they are grateful for - or at least when we should do so. But this should also be a time when we take stock of all those people who contributed to those gifts - especially the intangible ones. Those gifts such as our self-esteem or confidence, our love of sports or music, and our spine. What person or group do you owe the greatest debt? Was there a special person or group that really helped you become the person you are today?

Was there someone who helped you believe in yourself and your ability? Was there someone who taught you to appreciate life in a new way? Was there just someone who was there so you could count on them no matter what?

Most of us have been fortunate to have not just one person but a whole team of teachers, coaches, and mentors who helped us grow and reach our potential. We should remember to thank those people again and again as we live the lives they helped us shape. Even more important we need to repay that debt - not to those individuals but to society. How is your debt? Have you paid it yet or are you still pretending it doesn't exist?

We often hear the expression as it relates to criminals. It is sometimes used as a euphemism for incarceration. The truth is though that we all owe a debt to society. Not because we have done some harm to the community but instead because we have benefited from someone else doing good.

I am a Presbyterian and our expression of the Lord's Prayer includes the phrase "And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors". Obviously no matter how good we are and how exemplary our lives we can never repay our debt to God or his son so that part of the meaning is rather clear. I also think this means that we should do good for goodness sake rather than any potential benefit we may reap from the act.

I also think there is another level of meaning and this comes back to the central idea of our debt to society. I think when it comes down to acts of kindness there cannot be a one-to-one relationship. Obviously in many cases when a person is in need of help they may never be in a position to return that help in kind. But it isn't really what we want or need when we offer help or kindness in any case.

Whenever I do something charitable, helpful, or kind, I tend to view the act as contributing to a vast fund of kindness. Many times in my life I have profited from this fund and very likely I will continue to profit from it.

One of the reasons I like this concept is that I do think of it as a sort of fund or bank. The value grows exponentially rather than incrementally just as money would do if similarly invested. We should all be grateful for this because the truth is that we usually don't pay our debt to society.

Most of us will write the occasional check, buy a ticket for some raffle, and/or spend a few hours working here and there on some pet project. There are a few who will go much further than this and spend a large portion of their time, energy, and/or money for the greater good but they are far too few.

Often whenever we face pressure on our time or finances then it is our philanthropic activities that are the first to be sacrificed. I have been all too guilty of this myself. I wonder what would happen if we reversed this and instead put helping others first rather than last?

My challenge to you this week is simply to find a way to add to our goodness fund. Borrow from the concept of "Pay It Forward". When someone offers you a helping hand then be sure to pass the favor along at the first opportunity. Don't pick and choose. Don't balance your checkbook first. Don't take the easy path. Do what is right. You will know it when you see it.

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As Long As You Try Your Best There Is No Such Thing As Failure

(category: Inspirational, Word count: 310)
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I always say to my children, as long as you try your best, there is no such thing as failure. I believe this one hundred percent and it is a philosophy I am trying to install into my kids.

When I worked in the insurance industry, I used to sit the insurance examinations. I would always study hard and give it my all, however there were only three options as results. These were, distinction, pass or fail. I hate this word fail, in their eyes I failed twice, but did I though? As already stated, I could not have tried any harder, therefore how dare they call me a failure.

This result of fail is also a very negative and some what cruel mark. The question I would like answered, is did I fail by a long way, only a couple of points or quite a few points? Seeing the word fail tells me nothing. I personally think that everybody should be given a mark, possibly with an A for the best mark, going down to a G for the worst.

I was discussing this very subject with a colleague from work. He actually agreed with the points I was making and told me about an argument he had with one of his teachers when he was at school. He had overheard this particular teacher, discussing his sisters previous years examination results, with another teacher. They were being very critical about her, basically saying how badly she had done. My colleague knew how much effort his sister had put in and told the teacher as much, stating that in his eyes she had passed every one of those exams.

Whatever you do in life, as long as you try your best, your can do no more.

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Make Their Day

(category: Inspirational, Word count: 159)
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"Use every man after his desert, and who shall 'scape whipping? Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty." - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

When was the last time someone made your day - or you made theirs? In the national bestselling book, FISH!, by Stephen C. Lundin Ph.D., Harry Paul, and John Christensen, the fishmongers at the world famous Pike Place Fish Company in Seattle do it daily. They do it by throwing fish and joking with their loyal customer-fans, and by just having fun.

I made a point recently to look for people I could "treat" this way, and it was really fun. I think I felt better than they did. I realized that when you make someone's day, it bounces back on you. It's a great feeling to witness the joy and surprise on their faces.

It can be little things, like:

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Mid Life Crisis Mlc Fact Or Fiction This Too Will Pass

(category: Inspirational, Word count: 424)
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I turned 40 this year in January and thought not too much about it, however as the year has progressed I've felt like a frustrated 13 year old. What used to work for me as far as the opportunities that would fly my way have stopped. What in the hell is going on I asked myself. So as is my nature I did some research and found out I was going through a mid-life-crisis (MLC).

The changes that generally a lot of MLC people go through and which are misunderstood, can lead to some big choices that can be mistakes.

The cravings for change and a sense of "the grass is greener" can to varying degrees lead one to really shake up the boat and maybe lose a few shipmates along the way. Even little shipmates.

So its change we MLC passengers sometimes pine for, dreaming up illusions of change that may not really be in our best interests and not in our budget.

The challenge then is there are many choices of change. Black and White'ly speaking there's positive and negative, ying and yang, good and bad, even non action and Action. 'All is in action with or without your permission in the larger consciousness of Universal Law.'

I can only share that I have been led to a place in my MLC that I believe is the most challenging I've had to face in my whole life.

Do I resist the changes because they are challenging therefore causing much pain? Or do I receive the challenge which is really 'ONLY WHAT I THINK' will be painful and uncomfortable.

I commit to the challenges and yes they are all for the benefit of greater growth and evolution of being an "authentic me".

MLC has the opportunity for the passenger to realise their most heartfelt dreams and take the positive steps to claiming them. Answer the age old questions of "what am I doing here" and "what my true purpose is here in (mysteriously) the years I have to live on earth?

Alls well to share this revelation yet I still would love to escape and be backpacking around the world instead, sometimes!

The changes need to happen within me, not to create them from the outside. Then I'm only escaping the truth and the gift of the MLC.

A couple of things I've had to change to cope with the incessant feeling of inner anxiety and inner restlessness are as follows.

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Your Mediocre Mind

(category: Inspirational, Word count: 377)
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Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. ~ A. Einstein

I've always had a love affair with that particular quote. Today, while doing some organizing I came across my favorite quote again. As I looked at it, a higher level of awareness sang out a deeper meaning than I'd ever recognized in the past.

Realizing we are spiritual beings, we each have a Great Spirit within us crying out for a well-lived life without fear, without compromise, without limitation. You recognize that deep inner desire, don't you? It's greatness is specific to you, your desires, mine is specific to me, my desires. Initially, our spirit is always battling opposition from the opinions of others, media, peer pressure, and family obligations. Then I realized that there is more.

Just like that, a flash of insight revealed something I had never seen before. My Great Spirit has encountered violent opposition from my own mediocre mind! I was stunned with the insight. Our mind is a tool for the body and for the spirit. Identifying ourselves with the mind we entrap ourselves and the spirit becomes enmeshed in a battle for freedom! Wow! What a revelation I realized as I became aware of the mediocrity of my choices based upon my mistakes, my lame-brained thoughts of defeatism, poor self-esteem, bad-hair days, and so on.

All of a sudden, I see that I won't rely solely on the thoughts and opinions of others. I won't rely on the intellectual capacity of my mind, the same mind and intellect that can offer up rational excuses to not achieve just as easily as it can offer up excellent reasons to go for the gold. This is also the same mind that can perpetuate the emotional state of despair so the emotions will further feed the negativity of the mind. It is such a trap. The mind, in all of its intellectual prowress is mediocre on its own.

Here on in, I will engage in spiritual awareness, having command over the mind and the emotions. The spiritual awareness will harness these tools, the mind and emotions, and the Great Spirit within will inspire action and achievement like never before!

What about you?

Best wishes, Lee

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Tips To Increase Your Self Esteem And Confidence

(category: Inspirational, Word count: 478)
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Whenever one is beset by a situation that he or she is unsure of - facing someone admired, having to perform in front of an audience, or simply talking to others - he or she is facing a goodly amount of stress. Confident people are usually able to face these situations without blinking; but the rest of us will probably melt away and try to run away from the situation.

For most people facing this kind of low self-esteem, these situations present an opportunity for them to make fools out of themselves. This is a very embarrassing prospect.

If you are one of the millions of people that would like to stop fidgeting in front of others, trying to squirrel out of such situations, and being so unsure of yourself when facing presentations, here are a few tips to set you on your way.

1. Competence is Confidence - Some organizations, like the Toastmasters, help those afraid to speak in public toughen up by stressing this credo - and it really works. One secret to confidence and self-esteem is to be able to trust what you are able to do. This comes with a lot of practice and study. Whenever you practice a given skill, you increase your own confidence in your capability to perform even in front of other people.

Before a big presentation, study up. Try to know everything about the topic before you step in front of the audience. If you have practiced way before the presentation, you will be in a better position to knock their socks off.

Practicing in front of supportive people you trust will help you get feedback on how to improve your performance.

2. Believe in Yourself - One of the reasons people are not confident in themselves is the fact that they are already convinced that they will fail even before anything happens. Never underestimate the power of the mind. If you believe you will fail, you indeed will! A better exercise would to be to believe that you can succeed. Set your mind towards succeeding and you probably will!

3. Take Criticisms, whether Good or Bad - Most people are bad at taking criticisms. Instead of taking the criticisms personally, use every comment and suggestion to make yourself better. However, you will also have to look out for some criticisms that were never meant to benefit you. Ignore them and move on.

4. Remain Calm at All Costs - Panicking never benefited anybody. If you are suddenly in a situation where you are unsure of what to do or what will happen, keep your composure. If you don't know the answer, say so calmly. If you do not know what to do, it would not be bad to admit it. However, beneath your cool fa

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