Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Father's Day!!!!

One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be."

-- Author Unknown."

I apologize for repeating this amazing poem below, but it is so appropriate for the day that I could not resist!

I received the Greatest Gift since my children were born just yesterday and it has me on Cloud 9 as we speak.

My son brought home a compilation of his 3rd grade work in a pre-planned, formatted planner clearly designed and arranged by his teacher in advance in order to review his progress and as a keepsake of his development this year.  It was a truly wonderful idea and very special.

In amongst the various spelling tests, reading logs, math scores, etc, was an essay called "A Special Person".

My son chose me as his subject in this "Special Person" essay and that alone was enough to make me start tearing up. 

However, as I read his words as to why he deemed me a special person, I was blown away with pride, love and appreciation.

All of the things his mother and I have been stressing, pounding home, reiterating and preaching about were referenced in that beautiful tribute from a 9 year old boy to his Dad.  I tear up right now just recounting his words.

The point of the story truly is that even when you think kids have tuned you out, and are not picking up on anything you are trying to teach them - think again!!

My son gave me a gift this week that I would not trade for $1BB dollars or for anything in this world! 

Now, as in the opening paragraph above, I have the tremendous responsibility and duty to keep up my end of the bargain and pray every night and day that the Lord gives me the strength to do the right thing for both of my children!  My report card came in ok so far- but the hard part starts now and we all have the responsibility to deliver!!!

Happy Father's Day to all!!    Please enjoy the classic and timeless lesson below  -and let it be a reminder to us all of the enormous weight we carry every day!!

I can honestly say that in the times when I come home from work and my kids want to play some game, and my initial reaction is "NO" --" I am too tired", "I just got home", etc... I think of the lesson found in this work and I force myself to do the right thing!  It is never easy - but it is critical!!!
I will take this opportunity to share one of my most favorite poems ever written about Fathers, children and human failings - to put things in perspective for all of us Dads - so we Don't Forget!

Enjoy - God Bless - and Stay Strong!

Father Forgets
by W. Livingston Larned

Listen, son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead.

I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are things I was thinking, son:
I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread.

And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, "Goodbye, Daddy!" and I frowned, and said in reply, "Hold your shoulders back!"

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came Up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before you boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive - and if you had to buy them you would be more careful!

Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither.

And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me.

What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding - this was my reward to you for being a boy.

It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth.

I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself overthe wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night.

Nothing else matters tonight, son.

I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours.

But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh.

I will bite my tongue when impatient words come.

I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: "He is nothing but a boy - a little boy!"
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man.

Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby.

Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her shoulder.

I have asked too much, too much.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Live in the Moment!! Now!!

So often we hear familiar phrases such as "Live in the Moment" and understand what it means, but rarely do we really take the saying to heart. Rarely do we grasp what it means to REALLY live in the moment.

Well, do you know why?  Because it is darn hard to do so - that is why!

I know what the saying implies we should do - "Count your Blessings" - "Live in the Moment" - "Be Here Now",  "Live like you are dying" -- but it is very hard to do this without a real effort!

But it is critical that we do this - and put the effort in!

Try not to be totally distracted by the daily grind - the constant battles, struggles, issues, challenges and problems that we inevitably face every single hour - and step back to realize how good we all have it despite our current situations!!

Life is about the PRESENT!!   But often we look past the present to the future (often filled with anxiety, worry, and fear) and are mired in the PAST at the same time!

Where is the PRESENT?  The PRESENT is all that matters and all that should matter!

Sure, learn from the mistakes of the PAST - but leave the past where it belongs!!!  In the PAST!

The PAST does not by any means define you as a person, and has no impact on what you can be - what you are - TODAY or going forward!

Stop worrying about the FUTURE!!!   Take care of the PRESENT and the Future will take care of itself!!!!

It is not easy - but nothing worth doing is ever easy now is it??  

Start a New Chapter in your life right now!!!!!  YOU control it!

Live in THIS moment right now because there is no other point in the time spectrum that matters at all!!!!

Kiss your kids, your spouse, your friends -- experience the JOY of having these loved ones in your life every day - with you during your journey!!

Do not wait until it is toooooo late to enjoy their presence - their love - the joy their existence brings you!!

Stay Strong and do not only listen to those old cliches  - Grasp them, embrace them -- and use them!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Welcome Ava Rose McSherry!!

Ava Rose McSherry was born on April 25th. She was 6 lbs, 12 ozs. Thank goodness Jennifer, Emma and Ava are doing well.

Congrats to the McSherry family on their new beauty!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Feeling Down about you situation? Read this and rejoice in it....

If you are at all like me, you wake up each morning and are immediately bombarded with reminders of all the challenges you have in your life! 

It is like these negative thoughts take a seat at the wall when you go asleep and as soon as you stir, they pounce on you like mad dogs at a meat truck!

It is our job to stop those negative thoughts from getting inside our heads but we all know how difficult that can be and how varying the results are of those efforts!

Well if you woke today and lamented getting up out of bed, going to work, or whatever you have to do today - here is a little dose of reality for you!!

Read this story from the NY Times today - posted below. 

Read the entire piece and do me a favor - put yourself in anyone of these people's daily lives! 

Like waking from a bad dream to realize it was just that - a dream  - this story will hopefully make you sit up and say "I do not have it that bad"!!!

I for one cannot imagine life as it is described here - and bear in mind that there are places on this earth probalby 50 times worse than what is described here!!

Pray for these people -- pray for their families - and for the strength for them to endure their daily challenges!

And most of all -- Thank the good Lord that you have the "problems" you have today!!!

As Bono sang in the "We are the World" video/song.. "Tonight thank God it's them, instead of youuuuuuu...."

Count your blessings - shake it off - realize how GREAT we all have it -- and Stay Strong!

June 9, 2010

Views Show How North Korea Policy Spread Misery

NY Times

YANJI, China — Like many North Koreans, the construction worker lived in penury. His state employer had not paid him for so long that he had forgotten his salary. Indeed, he paid his boss to be listed as a dummy worker so that he could leave his work site. Then he and his wife could scrape out a living selling small bags of detergent on the black market.

It hardly seemed that life could get worse. And then, one Saturday afternoon last November, his sister burst into his apartment in Chongjin with shocking news: the North Korean government had decided to drastically devalue the nation’s currency. The family’s life savings, about $1,560, had been reduced to about $30.

Last month the construction worker sat in a safe house in this bustling northern Chinese city, lamenting years of useless sacrifice. Vegetables for his parents, his wife’s asthma medicine, the navy track suit his 15-year-old daughter craved — all were forsworn on the theory that, even in North Korea, the future was worth saving for.
“Ai!” he exclaimed, cursing between sobs. “How we worked to save that money! Thinking about it makes me go crazy.”

North Koreans are used to struggle and heartbreak. But the Nov. 30 currency devaluation, apparently an attempt to prop up a foundering state-run economy, was for some the worst disaster since a famine that killed hundreds of thousands in the mid-1990s.

Interviews in the past month with eight North Koreans who recently left their country — a prison escapee, illegal traders, people in temporary exile to find work in China, the traveling wife of an official in the ruling Workers’ Party — paint a haunting portrait of desperation inside North Korea, a nation of 24 million people, and of growing resentment toward its erratic leader, Kim Jong-il.

What seems missing — for now, at least — is social instability. Widespread hardship, popular anger over the currency revaluation and growing political uncertainty as Mr. Kim seeks to install his third son as his successor have not hardened into noticeable resistance against the government. At least two of those interviewed in China hewed to the official propaganda line that North Korea was a victim of die-hard enemies, its impoverishment a Western plot, its survival threatened by the United States, South Korea and Japan.

South Korea’s charge that North Korea sank one of its warships, the Cheonan, in March was just part of the plot, the party official’s wife said.

“That’s why we have weapons to protect ourselves,” she said while visiting relatives in northern China — and earning spare cash as a waitress. “Our enemies are trying to hit us from all sides, and that’s why we lack electricity and good infrastructure. North Korea must keep its doors locked.”

Others were more skeptical of the government’s propaganda, but still cast war as an inevitability. “We always wait for the invasion,” said one former primary school teacher. “My son says he wishes the war would come because life is too hard, and we will probably die anyway from starvation.”

They and other North Koreans spoke only on the condition that they could withhold their names in discussions largely arranged by underground churches operating in China just across the border. If they were identified as traveling or working in China illegally, they could be deported and imprisoned, along with their relatives.

About half of those interviewed said they planned to return to North Korea; the other half hoped to defect to South Korea.

On many details, their accounts, given separately, dovetailed. They also reinforced descriptions by economists and political analysts of a stricken nation.

A Reeling Economy

Citing aerial photos of plumeless smokestacks, economists say roughly three of every four North Korean factories are idle. The economy has been staggering badly since 2006, when Kim Jong-il pulled out of multinational talks aimed at ending his nuclear weapons program. The sinking of the Cheonan will further damage the economy: South Korea has suspended nearly all trade, depriving the North of $333 million a year from seafood sales and other exports.

When the Korean Peninsula was divided in 1945, South Korea was poorer than its neighbor. Now its average worker earns 15 times as much as an average North Korean, according to cost-of-living-adjusted data. The number of defectors who make it through China to South Korea has steadily risen for a decade, hitting nearly 3,000 last year.

Infant and maternal mortality rates jumped at least 30 percent from 1993 to 2008, and life expectancy fell by three years to 69 during the same period, according to North Korean census figures and the United Nations Population Fund.

The United Nations World Food Program says one in three North Korean children under the age of 5 are malnourished. More than one in four people need food aid, the agency says, but only about one in 17 will get it this year, partly because donors are reluctant to send aid to a country that has insisted on developing nuclear weapons.

The currency devaluation has only heightened the suffering. Its aim was to divert the proceeds of North Korea’s vast entrepreneurial underground — its street markets — to its cash-starved government businesses.

The markets are the sole source of income for many North Koreans, but they flout the government’s credo of economic socialism. Theoretically, everyone except minors, the elderly and mothers with young children works for the state. But state enterprises have been withering for 30 years, and North Koreans do all they can to escape work in them.

Farmers tend their own gardens as weeds overtake collective farms. Urban workers duck state assignments to peddle everything from metal scavenged from mothballed factories to televisions smuggled from China.

“If you don’t trade, you die,” said the former teacher, a round-faced 51-year-old woman with a ponytail. She went from obedient state employee to lawbreaking trader, but could not escape her plight.

Too Hungry to Study

She taught primary school for 30 years in Chongjin, North Korea’s third-largest city, with roughly 500,000 people. What once was an all-day job shrank by 2004 to morning duty; schools closed at noon. At least 15 of her 50 students dropped out or left after an hour, too hungry to study.

“It is very hard to teach a starving child,” she said. “Even sitting at a desk is difficult for them.”

Teachers were hungry, too. Her monthly salary scarcely bought two pounds of rice, she said. A university graduate, she pulled her own child out of the third grade in 1998, instead sending her to a neighbor to learn to sew.

She quit in 2004 to sell corn noodles outside Chongjin’s main market, an expanse of stalls and plastic tarpaulins half the size of a city block where traders mainly sell Chinese goods, including toothpaste, sewing needles and DVDs of banned South Korean soap operas.

But noodles were barely profitable, so she tried a riskier trade in state-controlled commodities: pine nuts and red berries used in a popular tea. That scheme collapsed in October. After she and her partners collected 17 sacks of goods from a village, a guard at a checkpoint confiscated them all instead of taking a bribe to let them pass. She was left with $300 in debt.
Like her, the construction worker, a rail-thin 45-year-old with a head for numbers, figured that private enterprise was his family’s only salvation. But as a man, it was harder for him to shake off his work assignment.

On paper, he said, a Chongjin state construction company employs him. But the company has few supplies and no cash to pay its employees. So like more than a third of the workers, the worker said, he pays roughly $5 a month to sign in as an employee on the company’s daily log — and then toil elsewhere.

Such payments, widespread at smaller state companies, are supposed to keep companies solvent, said one 62-year-old woman who is a trader in Chongjin. Even a major enterprise like the city’s metal refinery has not paid salaries since 2007, she and others said, though workers there collect 10 days worth of food rations each month.
“How would the companies survive if they didn’t get money from the workers?” she asked without irony.

Recently, the construction worker’s firm has been more active. The state has resurfaced Chongjin’s only paved road and built a hospital and a university for the 2012 centennial of the birth of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il’s father and North Korea’s founder.

But the burst of projects bore a cost: each family was required to deliver 17 bags of pebbles every month to its local party committee. The construction worker enlisted his elderly parents to scour creek beds and fields for rocks that the family smashed by hand into grape-size stones.

With no state salary, he earns money by his wits. Every October, he sells squid caught from a boat he pilots in treacherous coastal waters. In other months, he bicycles about 20 miles every day looking for goods to sell, typically detergent bought from a factory that is resold by his wife at a 12 percent markup on a purple tarpaulin outside the main market.

The government periodically tries to rein in the markets, regulating prices, hours, types of goods sold, the sellers’ age and sex and even whether they haul their wares on bicycles or their backs.

Savings Wiped Out

In one 2007 Central Committee communiqué, Kim Jong-il complained that the markets had become “a birthplace of all sorts of nonsocialist practices.” The Nov. 30 currency devaluation upended them. The state decreed that a new, more valuable won would replace the old won, but that families could trade only 100,000 won, about $30 at the black market rate, for the new one. The move effectively wiped out private stores of money.

To cushion the blow, workers say, they were promised that their salaries would be restored if they returned to their government jobs. In fact, the construction worker and others say, they got one month’s pay, in January, before salaries again disappeared.

Some with political connections skirted the worst. One woman from Hamhung, North Korea’s second-largest city, said the local bank director allowed her relatives to exchange three million won, 30 times the official limit.

The party official’s wife, hair softly curled, a knock-off designer purse by her side, boasted about her six-room house with two color televisions and a garden. In the next breath, she praised devaluation as well-deserved punishment of those who had cheated the state, even though she acknowledged that it led to chaos and noted that a top finance official was executed for mismanaging the policy.

“A lot of bad people had gotten rich doing illegal trading with China, while the good people at the state companies didn’t have enough money,” she said. “So the haves gave to the have-nots.”

The former teacher gave all she had. After her creditors stripped her of all her money, she said, she walked across the frozen Tumen River at night and into China to seek help from her relatives there. Famished and terrified, she said she banged randomly on doors until a stranger helped her contact them.
Now safe in her relatives’ home, she said, she marvels over how they enjoy delicacies like cucumbers in winter. But temporarily deserting her son and daughter, both in their mid-20s, has left her so guilt-ridden that she sometimes cannot swallow the food set in front of her. “I don’t know whether my children have managed to get some money, or whether they have starved to death,” she said, her eyes brimming with tears.

For the construction worker, his sister’s news of the coming devaluation unleashed a furious scramble to salvage the family nest egg. He emptied the living-room cabinet drawer that held their savings and split it with his wife and daughter, telling them, “Buy whatever you can, as fast as you can.”

The three bicycled furiously to Chongjin’s market. “It was like a battlefield,” he said.

Thousands of people frantically tried to outbid one another to convert soon-to-be worthless money into something tangible. Some prices rose 10,000 percent, he said, before traders shut down, realizing that their profits soon would be worthless, too.

The three said they returned home with 66 pounds of rice, a pig’s head and 220 pounds of bean curd. The construction worker’s daughter had managed to purchase a small cutting board and a used pair of khaki pants. Together, he said, they spent the equivalent of $860 for items that would have cost less than $20 the day before.
His daughter tried to comfort him. “Father, I will keep this pair of pants until I die!” she pledged. He told her the cutting board would be her wedding gift.
“At that moment, I really wanted to kill myself,” he said. He gestured toward the safe-house window and beyond toward nighttime Yanji, brightly lighted and humming with traffic. “It is not like here,” he said. “Here, it is not a big deal to make money. There, it is suffering and suffering; sacrificing and sacrificing.”
He said he lay awake night after night afterward, fixated on the navy track suit his daughter had coveted. She had said it put her thick winter sweater and plain trousers to shame. He had put her off because the cheapest ones were nearly $15. When she brought it up once too often, he had cursed and shouted, “People in this house need to eat first!”

“I cannot describe how terrible I feel that I didn’t buy that for her,” he said, his voice trembling.

A Profound Isolation

Those North Koreans who have never crossed the border have no way to make sense of their tribulations. There is no Internet. Television and radio receivers are soldered to government channels. Even the party official’s wife lacks a telephone and mourns her lack of contact with the outside world. Her first question to a foreigner was “Am I pretty?”

Slowly, however, information is seeping in. Traders return from China to report that people are richer and comparatively freer, and that South Koreans are supposedly even more so. Some of the traders have cellphones that are linked to the Chinese cellular network and can be surreptitiously borrowed for exorbitant fees.

Punishment for watching foreign films and television shows is stiff. The trader said a 35-year-old neighbor spent six months in a labor camp last year after he was caught watching “Twin Dragons,” a farcical Hong Kong action film starring Jackie Chan. Yet to the dismay of the former teacher, her 26-year-old son takes similar risks.

Her sister is married to a government official in the capital, Pyongyang, she said, but neither is a fan of Kim Jong-il. On her most recent visit, she said, her sister whispered to her, “ ‘People follow him because of fear, not because of love.’ ”

Since the currency devaluation, she and others say, people are noticeably bolder with such comments.

“Now, if you go to the market, people will say anything,” the construction worker said. “They will say the government is a thief — even in broad daylight.”
His wife was not among them. For weeks after the devaluation, he said, she lay on a living-room floor mat, immobilized by depression. “I had no strength to say anything to her,” he said.

Finally, he told her to get up. It was time to start over.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Happiness May Come With Age, Study Says

Happiness May Come With Age, Study Says


It is inevitable. The muscles weaken. Hearing and vision fade. We get wrinkled and stooped. We can’t run, or even walk, as fast as we used to. We have aches and pains in parts of our bodies we never even noticed before. We get old.

It sounds miserable, but apparently it is not. A large Gallup poll has found that by almost any measure, people get happier as they get older, and researchers are not sure why.

“It could be that there are environmental changes,” said Arthur A. Stone, the lead author of a new study based on the survey, “or it could be psychological changes about the way we view the world, or it could even be biological — for example brain chemistry or endocrine changes.”

The telephone survey, carried out in 2008, covered more than 340,000 people nationwide, ages 18 to 85, asking various questions about age and sex, current events, personal finances, health and other matters.

The survey also asked about “global well-being” by having each person rank overall life satisfaction on a 10-point scale, an assessment many people may make from time to time, if not in a strictly formalized way.

Finally, there were six yes-or-no questions: Did you experience the following feelings during a large part of the day yesterday: enjoyment, happiness, stress, worry, anger, sadness. The answers, the researchers say, reveal “hedonic well-being,” a person’s immediate experience of those psychological states, unencumbered by revised memories or subjective judgments that the query about general life satisfaction might have evoked.

The results, published online May 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, were good news for old people, and for those who are getting old. On the global measure, people start out at age 18 feeling pretty good about themselves, and then, apparently, life begins to throw curve balls. They feel worse and worse until they hit 50. At that point, there is a sharp reversal, and people keep getting happier as they age. By the time they are 85, they are even more satisfied with themselves than they were at 18.

In measuring immediate well-being — yesterday’s emotional state — the researchers found that stress declines from age 22 onward, reaching its lowest point at 85. Worry stays fairly steady until 50, then sharply drops off. Anger decreases steadily from 18 on, and sadness rises to a peak at 50, declines to 73, then rises slightly again to 85. Enjoyment and happiness have similar curves: they both decrease gradually until we hit 50, rise steadily for the next 25 years, and then decline very slightly at the end, but they never again reach the low point of our early 50s.

Other experts were impressed with the work. Andrew J. Oswald, a professor of psychology at Warwick Business School in England, who has published several studies on human happiness, called the findings important and, in some ways, heartening. “It’s a very encouraging fact that we can expect to be happier in our early 80s than we were in our 20s,” he said. “And it’s not being driven predominantly by things that happen in life. It’s something very deep and quite human that seems to be driving this.”

Dr. Stone, who is a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, said that the findings raised questions that needed more study. “These results say there are distinctive patterns here,” he said, “and it’s worth some research effort to try to figure out what’s going on. Why at age 50 does something seem to start to change?”

The study was not designed to figure out which factors make people happy, and the poll’s health questions were not specific enough to draw any conclusions about the effect of disease or disability on happiness in old age. But the researchers did look at four possibilities: the sex of the interviewee, whether the person had a partner, whether there were children at home and employment status. “These are four reasonable candidates,” Dr. Stone said, “but they don’t make much difference.”

For people under 50 who may sometimes feel gloomy, there may be consolation here. The view seems a bit bleak right now, but look at the bright side: you are getting old.

What Pets Can Teach Us About Marriage

What Pets Can Teach Us About Marriage

Do you greet each other with excitement, overlook each other’s flaws and easily forgive bad behavior? If it’s your pet, the answer is probably yes. But your spouse? Probably not.

In an article on PsychCentral, clinical psychologist Suzanne B. Phillips of Long Island University explores what our relationships with pets can teach us about our relationship with a spouse or romantic partner.

“What is interesting in my work with couples is that although couples may vehemently disagree on most topics, they usually both soften in manner and tone to agree that the dog, cat, bird or horse is great,” Dr. Phillips writes.

She argues that we all have much to learn from the way we love our pets. People often describe pets as undemanding and giving unconditional love, when the reality is that pets require a lot of time and attention, special foods and care. They throw up on rugs, pee in the house and steal food from countertops. Yet we accept their flaws because we love them so much.

Dr. Phillips suggests we can all learn how to improve our human relationships by focusing on how we interact with our pets. Among her suggestions:

Greetings: Even on bad days, we greet our pets with a happy, animated hello, and usually a pat on the head or a hug. Do you greet your spouse that way?

Holding grudges: Even when our pets annoy us by wrecking the furniture or soiling the floor, we don’t stay mad at them.

Assuming the best: When our pets make mistakes, we don’t take it personally and are quick to forgive. We give them the benefit of the doubt. Yet when our spouse does something wrong, we often react with anger and blame.

“The old expression ‘you get what you give’ may apply here,” writes Dr. Phillips. “Maybe you give something very positive to your pet that invites the unconditional love and connection that makes you feel so good. Maybe it has potential to enhance your relationship.”

I am sinking!

"But when he (Peter) saw the wind he was afraid, and beginning to sink he called out 'Lord, save me'. Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught  him."

How many times do we feel like we are sinking?

Life is hectic and challenging at best and often we find ourselves like Peter does in this passage - afraid, panicked, sinking....

Hours before Peter was at ease with Jesus and enjoying a nice day. Later, while trying to cross the Sea with his fellow Apostles, a mighty storm appeared out of nowhere and threatened to overtake and sink the boat.

They feared for their lives and did what we all do when faced with fear or harm....he called to Jesus to save him.

Peter could have swam for it. He could have taken his own route and taken matters into his own hands and said, "I will figure this out myself." 

But he did not do that.

He exercised his Faith and asked for help! 

He put his life in Jesus' hands.

And Jesus, who was not on the boat with them answered their call by crossing the Sea and catching them.

How symbolic of life is that story?

Just when things appear to be going well, out of the blue comes a danger, a challenge, a storm that threatens to harm us!

We must all do what Peter did that night in that storm - cry out "Lord, save me."

He will appear and He will catch you!

He always does and although at times it seems he does not hear our me, He does. And like Peter, no harm will come to you if you place your life - day to day - in His hands!

Stay Strong and call for help to He who will never abandon you in time of need!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"You will become Clever through your Mistakes" - German Proverb

You know what I realized today?

I realized that I do not make enough mistakes!!!

Now, do not misconstrue that comment for arrogance, hubris or anything besides the mere, humble fact that I believe I do not make enough mistakes in my life!

Do not get me wrong -- I make A LOT of mistakes - almost hourly  (minute to minute if you listen to my wife - lol)!!  

However, I am beginning to understand that I need to make more and a large regret I have in my life review is definitely the fact that I SHOULD HAVE MADE MORE MISTAKES over the past years!!!

You may be saying to yourself - "Is this guy nuts"?   "Why would anyone want to make MORE mistakes in his life?"  "Isn't the goal to make LESS mistakes?"   "Doesn't LESS mistakes lead to success - and MORE mistakes lead to failure?"

But those assumptions are FALSE!

Life is about making mistakes!   It is about Risk and taking chances and exploration!! 

We are here on earth to GROW!  We are Growth Seeking beings!!

However, Growth will not come to us without making mistakes!  It just cannot occur to the magnitude that it ought to occur!!

I play ice hockey and just began playing regularly in the past 2 years. I do not fancy myself a fast or strong skater, and I realized just recently that this is a function of my "lack of mistakes" on the ice as well!! 

I am not as fast or aggressive or strong of a skater and guess what -- I do not fall down a lot!!   I used to think this was a result of my "good balance" but I came to the realization that it was more the fact that I do not take chances, do not go all out, and do not open myself up to mistakes -- which is falling down on the ice!!!  I equated falling down with failure, embarrassment, etc. I tried my best to stay up - even if that meant being beaten to the puck, or not getting that break away opportunity!

Even the pro hockey players fall down quite a bit... it happens all the time - and it is because they Push themselves and risk that in exhchange for speed and aggressiveness, etc!

I recently resolved to fall down more as I play - and to allow myself to fall in the pursuit of faster, stronger skating!  I am all for taking chances with speed on the ice and not caring if the result is a wipe-out!!

This is true in life as well!!

How many opportunities have you and I turned down due to fear of embarrassment, fear of making mistakes, or thinking we could not do it??

Just last night, a veteran Major League Baseball umpire made a collosal mistake of historical proportions!  He made a SAFE call on a close play at first base that in review was clearly an OUT call. The result and impact of that call?

A young pitcher, one out away from pitching an extremely rare PERFECT GAME, lost that chance as the play was ruled a Hit.

That umpire made a mistake - and he is paying for it dearly today.  And NO ONE is more devastated by the mistake than HE is!  Pray for him - it is that bad!

However, he will GROW from this mistake -- painful as mistakes are - and will be a stronger, better umpire and probably human being as a result of this one, glaring, public, historical mistake!

Thank God - and pray to God that none of our mistakes are as public and have such historical consequences attached to them as this poor man's mistake did!

STOP this MADNESS today!

We HAVE TO make mistakes -we should welcome mistakes - and also LEARN from them! 

I resolve to ask more questions, take more chances, open myself to making more mistakes in my life, my career pursuits, etc.

Please join me in this new perspective and EMBRACE the fact that mistakes lead to mastery and wisdom and opportunity!

The old saying is "That which does not kill you only makes you stronger." 

This is very true and if we resolve to learn from our mistakes, make a whole bunch of them in the pursuit of excellence and success - and teach others that it is ok to err if the goal is Growth!!

Stay Strong!