I believe . . .

I Believe . . . . .
A Birth Certificate shows we were born; a Death Certificate shows that we died; and pictures show that we lived.

I Believe…
That just because two people argue, doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, doesn’t mean they do love each other.

I Believe…
That we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe…
That no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe…
That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.

I Believe…
That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe…
That it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe…
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe…
That you can keep going long after you think you can’t.

I Believe…
That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe…
That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe…
That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe…
That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe…
That my best friend and I can do anything, or nothing, and have the best time.

I Believe…
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe…
That sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe…
That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had, and what you’ve learned from them…..and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I Believe…
That it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe…
That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe….
Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe…
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.

I Believe…
That even when you think you have no more to give, if a friend cries out to you…….you will find the strength to help.

I Believe…
That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe…
That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I Believe…
That every day of your life is an opportunity to be a blessing to someone else.

I Believe…
That because of Jesus, we can have victory over anything that would try to hold us back!

I Believe . . .
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; rather, they just make the most of everything.

I Believe…
That you should share the link to this with all of the people that you believe in. I just did.

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What happens when someone reads between the . . . stalls?

We heard this funny – slightly embarrassing – joke in our humor support group. Hope it makes you chuckle too!

I was in the public restroom – I was barely sitting down when I heard a voice in the other stall: Hi! How are you?

Me (embarrassed): Doin’ fine thanks!

Person in next stall: So, what are you up to?

Me: Uh, I’m like you, just sitting here.

Person in next stall: Can I come over?

Me (now slightly irritated): Are you serious?!

Person in next stall: Listen, I’ll have to call you back. There’s someone in the other stall who keeps answering my questions!

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Ever realize that all the faces in the world are actually mirrors?

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was place known as “The House of One Thousand Mirrors.” A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the House, he thought to himself, “This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often.”

In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, “That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again.”

What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet?

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What do you think about this?

Recently a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives they would be home in time for Friday night’s dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of the salesmen inadvertently knocked over a table which held a display of apples. Apple flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

All but one that is. One paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the floor.

He was glad he did. The 16-year-old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled around her; no one stopping nor caring for her plight.

The salesman knelt down on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of the apples were battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

When he finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl “Here please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay? She nodded through her tears. He continued on with “I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly.”

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, “Mister . . . . ” He paused and turned back to look into those blind eyes. She continued, “Are you Jesus?”

He stopped in mid-stride . . . and he wondered. He went back and said, “No, I am nothing like Jesus – He is a good, kind, caring, loving and would never have bumped into your display in the first place.”

The girl nodded: I only asked because I prayed for Jesus to help me gather the apples. He sent you to help me, so you are like Him – only He knows who will do His will. Thank you for hearing His call, Mister.”

Then he slowly made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: “Are you Jesus?”

Has anyone ever mistaken you for Jesus?

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From where do our blessing flow?

1. Our blessings should flow to others.

The Bible teaches us that we are blessed not just so that we can feel good, not just so we can be happy and comfortable, but so that we will bless others. God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2, “I will bless you … and you will be a blessing” (NIV). This is the first law of blessing: It must flow outwardly.

How do you bless others? By serving a need, whether it is physical or emotional support, financial help, or practical advice. “Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 1:4 MSG).

2. When we bless others, God takes care of our needs.

God promises that if we will concentrate on blessing others, he’ll take care of our needs. There’s almost nothing that God won’t do for the person who really wants to help other people. In fact, God guarantees this blessing. In Luke 18, Jesus says, “I guarantee this. Anyone who gives up anything for the kingdom of God will certainly receive many times more in this life and will receive eternal life in the next world to come.”

When you care about helping other people, God assumes responsibility for your problems. And that’s a real blessing, for he’s much better at handling your difficulties than you are.

3. Our blessings to others will come back on us.

The more you bless other people and the more you help others, the more God blesses your life. Luke 6:38 tells us, “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back — given back with bonus and blessing” (MSG). You cannot out-give God. The more you try to bless other people in the world around you, the more God says, “I’m going to pour blessings out on you. We’ll play a little game here. Let’s see who will win. Let’s see who can give the most. The more you bless others, the more I’m going to bless you in return.”

4. The more we’re blessed by God, the more he expects us to help others.

Jesus said it this way in Luke 12: “Much is required from the person to whom much is given; much more is required from the person to whom much more is given” (GNT). We are blessed to be a blessing.

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Is there a bit of dirt in your own eye?

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments. A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this? ” The husband replies, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

And so it is with life… What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.

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Will you leave a legacy?

What are you going to be remembered for? Will people talk about the relationships you had with friends and family? The once-a-year dish everyone looked forward to? The impact you made on a company and its employees? How is a legacy created and cultivated; and what can you do to build your own legacy? These are all huge questions with small and critical answers. Here’s the story of my legacy, and a few pointers on how to build yours.

The beginning will have twists and turns:

When I was in high school I actually thought I should be a minister one day, but for whatever reason, I never received the “calling” required for that career path, so I started college wanting to be a lawyer or a doctor. I wanted to help people. After taking both a chemistry and personal/business law course during my freshman year I realized I wasn’t cut out for either profession. I shifted to business which was more consistent with the legacy my father gave me.

I graduated with a double-major in Finance and Marketing and was hired by the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware. While working there, I felt very far removed from the help that I originally wanted to give. I began to think I would leave this earth without making it any better for anyone. Finding my true place wasn’t as simple or clear as I’d hoped it would be. But, I kept moving forward in search of my calling.

Start looking for your calling immediately:

I personally didn’t realize the importance of reflecting on my legacy until I had children and realized that I needed to do something to make this world a better place for them to live. Like my father’s business legacy to me, I knew I would leave a “business” legacy for my kids. And I did. They are both excellent global business leaders today and I couldn’t be more proud of that legacy; afterall it was the same legacy my dad left me! Without a purpose, life at times can feel meaningless and tasks feel daunting. If you feel this way, try to find the things that you are passionate about, and dive into how you can create a legacy while doing what you love.

My work is a part of my legacy:

As a parent and a business professional, my legacy simply felt self-centered and selfish. I was successful and so were my kids. But I wanted more, and wanted to influence and help shape the minds of others who might never get to know me on a personal level, so I decided to write a book and leave that as another part of my legacy. My goal was simple: In our radically changing world, I felt compelled to somehow keep the truth of Jesus Christ alive for generations to come. I shared my story in my book entitled I Fought the Lord, and the Lord Won. My memoire describes the challenges that following Christ openly in the business world presented for me, and what might be required from someone who chooses to take that path.

Find a profession that will help you to build your legacy:

I believe that “any” job has the potential to aid in leaving a legacy. It’s all about how you treat people. Kindness, compassion, and understanding go a long way in any field of work. I remember telling my staff that if they needed a decision that was above their authority, and I was unavailable for some reason, to go ahead and make a timely decision using the “Golden Rule” as their guide. You know, do unto others as you would have them do unto you; if for some reason you were making a decision that would impact that welfare of another. It was amazing how such a simple act of fairness is perceived and honored by others, especially customers, over the years. In such instances our customers perceived fairness was so over-the-top that it resulted in extraordinary customer loyalty for the various businesses I managed during my career!

Remember what a true legacy is about:

A lot of people aren’t aware of the legacy that they’re leaving. If there’s a point where you ask yourself, “What am I doing with my life?” or “What are people going to remember me for?” then you need to reevaluate things. At this point, you must begin to create goals for the type of life you want and the type of life you want to be remembered for.

While I found my legacy through my offspring and my career, writing my book was the single most significant contribution I would leave for those who followed me, perhaps for even generations from now when they check my book out of the library! I wanted to leave the world a better place by being positive, kind, and caring. Every single interaction you have has the “potential” for building part of your legacy. Remember this, and cherish each opportunity.

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7 steps to make happiness last

The experience of happiness simply doesn’t last. It can’t, given the very nature of the brain. But that fact by no means suggests that happiness is not a worthy pursuit. Of course it is! The key I believe is to pursue happiness in a dedicated way that actually works. And the fact that this path to happiness is proven to work says everything about who we are deep down, and what we truly aspire to.

1.  Keep a journal of blessings. Every day write down something in your life for which you are grateful. And write why that makes you grateful.

2.  Perform an act of random kindness before noon and another before sundown. Hurry. Make sure you will get no credit for them and that no one else will ever know about them.

3.  Write testimonials of gratitude to someone who meant a great deal to you in your life. If they are still alive, hand deliver them in person. If they have passed away, deliver them in person to their next of kin.

4.  Fill out a blank thank-you cards each morning.

5.  Send a book anonymously to a friend who might benefit from the book.

6.  Make an apology for a wrong you have committed.

7.  Give of your earnings anonymously to a charity in the name of someone who wronged you.

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The Value of an Executive Order in the Wake of Sandy Hook

Recent mass-murder has everyone yearning for a solution to make our country a safer place. Our Constitution protects our freedom and includes provisions for things that were sacrosanct to our founders: The Right to Bear Arms and The Separation of Church and State. Both of those precepts are inextricably linked.

Concerning the Right to Bear Arms, wouldn’t a prudent first step be to legalize concealed-carry laws in all places in all states?

As regards the Separation of Church and State, God has been systematically removed from every meaningful place in America, yet, when we look for answers and find none, we are instructed by our leaders to pray?

Teaching evolution, Higgs-boson, intelligent design and other sciences in our schools might renew the conscience of America. Why not present religion in school and let children decide what to believe? No one should be required to pray, nor pledge allegiance, but making young minds aware of the alternatives can’t be a bad thing.

An optimal solution might be accomplished by states broadening concealed-carry laws, and an Executive Order directing our courts to provide less separation of church and state as they decide cases brought by the American’s Civil Liberties Union.

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How are you defined?

You are not defined by your feelings. You are not defined by the opinions of others. You are not defined by your circumstances. You are not defined by your successes or failures. You are not defined by the car you drive, or the money you make, or the house you say you own (even though the bank really owns it).

You are defined by God and God alone. He identifies you as his own.

The thing is, if you don’t know who you are, then you are vulnerable to other people telling you who you are. But the concrete, solid, gospel truth is that you are who God says you are and no one else has a vote in the matter.

Jesus was able to face the incredible demands of his mission because he knew exactly who he was. He knew that he mattered to God, and that gave him confidence to move purposefully in faith.

You are God’s precious child. Because you are identified with Christ, you have the power of the Holy Spirit within you. Use that gift, that power, to be a blessing to others!

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