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“Today – a time to begin again…”

When you get into your car, notice the difference in size of your wide, expansive windshield compared to your little rear view mirror. The reason the windshield is so large and the rear view mirror is so small is because what’s happened in your past and where you’ve been isn’t nearly as important as where you are and where you’re headed.
The one and only time we ever really have to live is right now. Yesterday is but a memory and tomorrow is just a dream. What we do have is right now, today.
There are only two reasons to go to the past:
  1. To learn from it
  2. To bring along some nice memories. Leave the rest behind – the hurts, the angers and resentments. We all can spend time on “coulda, woulda, shoulda,” but for what purpose? All we do is make ourselves feel bad, sad or self-righteous. Isn’t time better spent by learning the lessons the past has to teach us so we can do well today?
There is only one reason to go to the future:
  1. To set goals, dream and plan the game we want to play.
But right now, today, is the only time I can change my whole life if I want to. I can interpret my past any way I choose and determine my future by what I say and do today.
Today, I will live as if it is my last chance to listen, see, hear, feel and touch.
Today, I will live as if it is my last chance to give and share love and kindness, especially to those who need it right now, knowing full well I leave footprints on the hearts of those around me.
Today, I will act as if anything is possible. I will cast aside my fears, and trust that I am completely safe and secure in the arms of the universe. Based on universal laws, I trust everything is evolving as it is meant to.
Today, I will surrender to “what is”. I will interpret a difficult situation or person in a way that creates value and internal peace for me. I will see the difficulty as a gift to help me evolve spiritually
Today, I will be patient with myself and others because I know we are all just learning.
Today, I will be a source of love and healing, because deep in my heart I know love is the answer, and today I will actively practice it.
Today, I will be an example of my values. I will seek ways for life to work for everyone and I will courageously speak my truth to anyone who violates the dignity and rights of others.
Today, I have faith in myself to be able to handle any obstacle or barrier in my path and I will successfully find a way to move past it.
Today, I will frequently smile and fill my heart with gratitude for the many gifts in my life.
Today, I will forgive.
Today, I choose to realize this is a friendly world meant to work and I will find evidence for how true this is.
Today, I will be happy.
And tonight, when I lay my head on my pillow, I will glimpse in the rear view mirror and ask myself, “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s heart? Did I say words of healing and encouragement? Did I forgive? Did I love?”
And I will learn.

What Is Great Leadership?

The Rev Martin Luther King, Jr. was an example of one of the most remarkable and inspiring leaders of our time.

 

As we are desperately seeking good leadership in our country today, it is important to recognize that powerful leadership is defined in two ways. Hitler is an example of a powerful leader and so is Putin, Bashar al-Assad, Saddam Hussein and Idi Amin. Although they possess/ed some of the basic ingredients of leadership in that they are/were decisive, confident and focused, they are evil people with an evil intent.

 

Like all leaders, they took action and were able to communicate in a way that stirred up their followers. However, they appealed to the lowest levels of human nature and used hatred, fear and rage to manipulate their followers. Using lies and deception, they pitted people against one another and attempted to silence the media by calling it xx (literally “fake news”) and used every means possible to silence anyone who revealed the truth.

 

Like all bad (evil) leaders, they were arrogant, narcissistic and greedy, seeking only their own interests They had a dictatorial style that used power to overpower others. They neglected empathy altogether and had no problem inflicting pain on others to achieve their demands. (“I’ll be proud to shut down the government.”)

 

The definition of a powerful, great leader, however, is one who is a source of positive social influence, one who inspires, guides and maximizes the efforts of others toward the achievement of a greater good. Simply put, great leaders are persuasive and inclusive, not divisive. A great leader raises ones spirit, enlightens one’s thinking and unites his/her people behind a common vision. As John Quincy Adams put it,

 

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

 

Consider some of the world’s recent great leaders. Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela. Steve Jobs. Mother Theresa. Bill Gates. They also possessed power, but they used it to empower, not overpower. They all utilized their leadership talents – diverse as they may be – to make lives better in some way: achieving equality, justice, and freedom, making advanced technology available to all of us, improving living conditions in low-income communities, creating a global foundation that propels the idea that all lives have equal value.

 

A great leader is honest, tells the truth and has integrity. The 34th President of United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower once said,

 

The supreme quality of good leadership is unquestionably integrity.

Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

 

Honesty and integrity are two vital ingredients that differentiate leaders.

 

Finally, a great leader is accountable. They take 100% responsibility for everyone’s performance, including their own. They don’t blame others, hide behind others or avoid ownership for the role they play in the results produced.

 

In light of the past 2 years, it is clear that our President and Congress, leaders all, have demonstrated the characteristics of very bad leadership, not great leadership. Please reflect on the words of a truly great leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

 

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

 

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking.

There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

 

I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.

 

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

 

The means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.

 

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

 

(Note: I delayed this WoW to see what the President of the US would do and say on Martin Luther King Day. The Leader of the Free World, the person who represents who we are as a country, made a TWO MINUTE photo op to drop off a wreath and WAS absolutely SILENT about Dr. King. Later however, he would tweet his support for the Kentucky students who mocked, ridiculed and threatened the Native American Man beating his drum. Most were wearing their red MAGA caps.)

 

Throughout history evil leaders have been racists, and held themselves to be superior to anyone else – every single one of them!!

 

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

 

Dr. King was not silent. He knew what he stood for and his voice was heard. He made a positive, powerful difference during his short lifetime and his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of those who stand for justice, equality and freedom for all.

 

“A Time to Begin Again.”

 There are only two reasons to go to the past: to learn from it, and to bring along some good memories.”

 

The past only exists to the degree we keep it alive.

Let go.

Resentment is like drinking poison waiting for the other person to die

Anger is a punishment we give to ourselves for someone else’s mistake

Jealousy doesn’t change the heart of another person, it only changes yours

Guilt is something you did wrong when it was possible to have done otherwise. Isn’t there more we all could have done? Clear your conscience by making amends and then forgive yourself.

Accept.

Every human walks around with a certain kind of sadness and although it may not be obvious, it is there if you look deep enough. Sadness is a normal part of life when it is expressed in a healthy way. Is it not the price we pay for loving deeply?

Forgive

Forgiveness does not mean condone or endorse. Forgiving someone is a gift you give yourself not the other person. There can be no internal peace without it.

As the world fights to figure things out, I’ll be letting people cut in front of me in traffic, saying good morning, keeping babies entertained in grocery lines, stopping to talk to someone who looks lonely, tipping generously, calling you by the name on your tag, waving at police, sharing food, giving children a thumbs-up, being patient with sales clerks and smiling at passersby, and as often as I have the opportunity, buying a total stranger a cup of coffee.

Because?

I will not stand idly by and live in a world where unconditional love is invisible.

Join me in showing love and judging less. Find your own way to swing the pendulum in the direction of love.
Be kind to a stranger today and every day. It just may be a friend you have never met.
Pay it forward for any kindness shown to you in the past.
Be the change! It starts with us!

(Copied from a friend who copied it from someone else, who copied it from someone else)

The moral character of our country is at stake and how YOU vote in November will speak volumes about you and your own character.

The following was written by John Pavlovitz who eloquently expresses my views.

VOTE

At times in this life, it can be a challenge to figure out who the bad people are, but sometimes they help you.

Sometimes they do the work for you.

Sometimes with their every vulgar, bitter word from their mouth, they testify to their personal malignancy and they make it easy to identify them.

Generally speaking, there are things that good people do and things good people don’t do.

Good people don’t refer to entire countries as “shitholes”—most notably countries that have given birth to our very humanity; ones that, for hundreds of years, have been colonized and poached and mined of their riches by powerful white men; countries whose people have been enslaved and sold and forced to come and build your country.

Good people by any measurement we might use—simply don’t say such things.

Of course, good people also don’t say they could grab women by the genitalia, either.

They don’t defend racists and Nazis and call them “fine people,” days after murdering a young girl and terrorizing an American city.

They don’t brag about their penis size during debates, or suggest protestors at campaign rallies should be roughed up, or crack jokes about captured war heroes, or make fun of the physically disabled.

They don’t.

Good people don’t tweet anti-Muslim rhetoric in the moments immediately following a bombing in order to bolster a position.

They don’t leave American territories filled with brown-skinned people without power for months upon months, after publicly ridiculing their public servants and questioning their people’s resolve.

They don’t pull children from the arms of their parents and place them in cages and detention centers.

They don’t erase protections for the water and the air for the elderly, the terminally ill, and the LGBTQ.

They don’t take away healthcare from the sick and the poor without an alternative.

They don’t gouge the working poor and shelter the wealthy.

They don’t abuse their unrivaled platform to Twitter-bait world leaders and to taunt private citizens.

Good people don’t prey upon the vulnerable, they don’t leverage their power to bully dissenters, and they don’t campaign for sexual predators.

But this President is not a good human being, and there’s simply no way around this truth.

He is the ugliest personification of the Ugly American, which is why, as long as he is here and as long as he represents this nation, we will be a fractured mess and a global embarrassment. He will be the ever lowering bar of our legacy in the world.

And what is painfully obvious in these moments, isn’t simply that the person alleging to lead this country is a terrible human being—it is that anyone left still defending him, applauding him, justifying him, amening him, probably is too.

At this point, the only reason left to support this President is that he reflects your hateful heart; he shares your contempt of people of color, your hostility toward outsiders, your toxic misogyny, your ignorant bigotry, your feeling of supremacy.

A white President calling countries filled with people of color shitholes, is so far beyond the pale, so beneath decency, and so blatantly racist, it shouldn’t merit conversation. It should be universally condemned. Humanity should be in agreement in abhorring it.

And yet today (like so many other seemingly rock bottom days in the past twelve months) they will be out there: white people claiming to be good people and Christian people, who will make excuses for him or debate his motives or diminish the damage.

They will dig their heels in to explain away or to defend, what at the end of the day is simply a bad human being saying the things that bad human beings say because their hearts harbor very bad things.

No, good people don’t call countries filled with beautiful, creative, loving men and women shitholes or do most of the horrible things he does.

And good people don’t defend people who do.

You’re going to have to make a choice here.

John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. In the past four years his blog “Stuff That Needs To Be Said” has reached a diverse worldwide audience. A 20-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, John is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities. In 2017, he released his first book, A Bigger Table. His new book, Hope and Other Superpowers, arrives November 6th.

Frankly I Wish you wouldn't - PIC

Bill Kemp
October 27 at 7:14 PM

Frankly, I wish you wouldn’t come.

We are in grief, here in Pittsburgh. Not just because of the number dead, or the fact that it happened during worship, but because many of us consider Squirrel Hill to be Pittsburgh’s most beautiful neighborhood — a short, busy strip of stores surrounded by places of worship, stately old homes, and the trees — yes, the trees — an arborist’s delight. Didn’t the killer know that when he entered the Tree of Life Synagogue, he was stealing this particular moment of beauty that all of us Pittsburghers share when fall arrives, and children rustle the yellow, red, and orange leaves; these gifts from previous generations who wisely respected God’s creation enough to plant trees.

Faith teaches us to put down deep roots into our respective traditions, but also to branch out in love for our neighbors. The block where Forbes and Murray meet, is lined with successful shops owned by immigrants from around the world. It is a community that mirrors Pittsburgh’s respect for diversity.

A mile away from the Tree of Life, a diverse group of medical researchers work together to bring about healing — a collaboration that depends upon a steady stream of talent arriving from Africa and the Middle East. At nearby Carnegie Mellon University, engineering classes focus on using technology to develop sustainable energy systems and efficient public transportation, things that don’t seem to interest you, Mr. President.

If you wish to continue to divide the world into winners and losers, Americans first and sh_ hole countries last, then please don’t come. You won’t understand the spirit of the place.

A few weeks ago, you declared yourself to be a “nationalist.” It seemed strange at the time. Obviously, you wanted the White Nationalist base of your party to notice. Well, one of them did. You may have many Jewish friends and even one as a son-in-law, but you haven’t bothered to learn the link between nationalism and antisemitism. Please don’t come to Pittsburgh and speak. Nothing you say will comfort us until you learn that words matter.

The news had barely sunk in and you were offering advice. You thought it made sense to support the death penalty. Most mass murders would agree with you. These shooters seem to desire to die in a blaze of glory, taking down as many first responders as they can in the process. You also said that there should have been an armed guard there. Like most religious communities, including some that I have served, Tree of Life, had less than one hundred in attendance. I can’t imagine the congregation’s leadership appreciating your input.

Before you come to Pittsburgh, at least take a moment to understand our history. We are in the heart of coal country. Our houses often settle and crack, or sometimes even collapse altogether, because coal mining companies have raped the very ground beneath our feet. As a child I suffered from asthma. Our region still has a high rate of respiratory diseases related to the burning of coal.

There was a day when laundry couldn’t be left out to dry on the line here, because coal dust would turn it grey. But we Pittsburghers have put those days in the past. We are busy growing green economy here, or haven’t you noticed?

You say today’s tragedy, as well as last week’s bombings, are the works of isolated mad men. We have read what they post on their social media accounts and what you post on twitter. It is hard to tell who is who, except they tend to spell better. Until you can see the connection between their madness and yours, please don’t speak to us.

Frankly, you scare us more than they do. We see you breaking things; big things like healthcare, nuclear arms treaties, international trade deals, and reasonable plans to limit greenhouse gases. I wish you wouldn’t.

Why don’t you stay home and read a book?

Sincerely,
Bill Kemp

Is It Too Soon?

candle

Is it too soon to talk about gun control…?

or should we wait for the next mass murder?

VOTE

– like your life depends on it!!

May the eleven beautiful souls who were slaughtered in cold blood by a very bad man with a gun, rest in eternal peace. . .