Sunday, June 29, 2008

Raise your victory stone!

The lyrics to a popular old hymn that has become a pretty awesome worship song are below. "Here I raise my Ebenezer," is an odd saying with great meaning. An Ebenezer stone is a stone raised when you are in victory! It could be raised for any victory or success you have in your life. So my prayer for you today is to have victory in something. You have conquered something tough--or decide you would like to try. Today I raise my Ebenezar in victory over Satan to have you as my friend reading this blog...

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Me and God have some good stuff most of the time!

Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. (Proverbs 19:20)

Not to be...

too Holy or anything but how can you go through your life and not love those who need you? How can you not stop and help and do something? I can't. A lot of the time I can't do much but people need people. People need a spiritual well-being in order to live day to day. If you don't you are just thrown into sadness and hopelessness. I refuse to live that I way and I refuse to let you do it too!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Don't Let Others Set YOUR Goals

Too many people choose goals based on what others think. Instead, think about what YOU really care about, and set meaningful goals to accomplish what matters to you!

A friend of mine gave me valuable advice--My friend, Gary, left the military after 20 years of service as a marine pilot. His military friends were surprised that he would leave with the possibility of promotion right before his eyes. They all wondered what could be so wrong that you wouldn't want that rank. He had a great answer. He said, "Holding the highest rank has never been my dream." "It might be your dream, and that's cool, but it isn't mine."

Gary's dream was to serve his country by serving children. He offered his services to his local school and church. In a matter of a few years he was the head of a prestigious high school academic program. He told me it's a lot like flying. "You have your hands on the controls, and you have the power to excel. It is all within your hands." Teaching was a dream come true and one that would have never come true if he had worried about what other people thought he should do.

You know you don't have to be great in everything to be happy. But you do have to believe you have maintained control over your own destiny. For me that destiny was designed by God, I messed it up for a while, then I discerned it. I couldn't be happier! I pray you are happy at what you do and take pride in how well you do it. If you don't, you are not a happy person because you have no sense of accomplishment.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All you can take

are the random acts of kindness that you give away everyday. Think about it, you want your life here on earth to feel like you did something while you were here. Well really the only things that matter are the things that you freely give of yourself to the people you love and the people you don't even know! So lay your head on your pillow tonight and know that you made a difference in this world. If you can't think of anything then know that you made my life better because you are my friend. Grace and Peace...

Saturday, June 14, 2008


John 15:12-13
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Do What You Say You Are Going To Do

Not much can kill progress or destroy enthusiasm more than someone who talks but never follows through. It is crucial in both your home life and your work life that you stay focused and committed to whatever you say you would do.

The difference between those who have happy relationships and those who have unhappy personal relationships is not the amount of conflicts they have. Indeed, each group has a similar number of conflicts. Instead, it is a greater commitment to following through on agreed-upon changes that contributes to the success of relationships and the 23 % greater happiness of those involved!!

This is something I really struggle with because I have a lot of commitments pulling me one way or the other--so like my dad told me growing up--"You make time for things that are important!"

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sad Glad Things

Many sad things have happened to me in my life and in our world. I try not to focus on them but instead have hope for the future. Think of the world's potential. I do a lot with this being an election year and having to listen to all the fighting. Perhaps the future holds the curing of diseases, the end of violence, the amelioration of poverty and hunger.

I read that over 9 in 10 Americans are uncomfortable or worried about aspects of their own lives. The difference between more happy and less happy people is what they do with that worry. Less happy people wallow in the problems they see, while happier people focus on potential and the future. Easier said than done but try it. I know God doesn't plan every day of our lives to be happy but every day can have joy...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Being busy is better than being bored

Find something to do! The feeling that we have too much to do is more pleasing than the feeling we have when we have nothing to do. Idle=TROUBLE!

A philosopher once noted that people long for immortality but run out of things to do on a rainy afternoon. If we planned out our time line in long chunks, say 20 years, we would never consider penciling in five or ten of those hours wasting time. Yet during the average day, we often let a few hours slip away. Time is a strange commodity, because we seem to have too much to do with it, until the moment we have none at all. We often complain about having too much to do. Yet having too much to do is a positive problem of abundance, while having too little to do is a negative problem of shortage.
Metro Plastics Technologies in Indiana tested out this principle by cutting the length of the workweek for its employees from 40 hours to 30 hours. And do you know what happened after the switch? The quality of the company's product improved, and the company actually made more moeny. Management found that giving workers more to do in less time made the workers more efficient, energetic, and enthusiastic and gave workers more free time outside the workplace. IN college kids, those with more demanding schedules were 15 % more satisfied with life. Despite the more demanding schedules, the individuals studied did not experience any more stress issues than those with less to do.

(Stats derived from Bailey and Miller 1998) The rest is me!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

11th Grade is the worst! So Juniors get ready!!

An excerpt from Jonathan Kaufman that I thought was really interesting and true! Read and see if you think the same...

FARMINGTON, Conn. -- Jennifer Glickman, a 17-year-old high school junior, gets so stressed some days from overwork and lack of sleep that she feels sick to her stomach and gets painful headaches.
A straight-A student, she recently announced at a college preparatory meeting with her mother and guidance counselor that she doesn't want to apply to Princeton and the other Ivy League schools that her counselor thinks she could get into.
Casey Kelbaugh/WpN for The Wall Street Journal
Jennifer Glickman, 17, is a straight-A student, but some days she says she gets so stressed from overwork that she feels sick to her stomach and gets painful headaches.
"My mom wants me to look at Ivy League schools, but my high school years have been so stressful that I don't want to deal with that in college," says Ms. Glickman. "I don't want it to be such a competitive atmosphere. I don't want to put myself in this situation again."
High school has long been enshrined in popular culture -- from the musical "Grease" to television shows like "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Friday Night Lights" -- as a time of classes, sports and overwrought adolescent drama. But these days, junior year is the worst year in high school for many ambitious students aiming for elite and increasingly selective colleges -- a crucible of academic pressure.
Almost two-thirds of middle- and upper-middle-income high school students in the San Francisco Bay Area told researchers that they were "often or always" stressed by schoolwork, according to a series of surveys of 2,700 students conducted last year by Stanford University researchers.
More than half the students reported that they had dropped an activity or hobby they enjoyed because schoolwork took too much time. More than three-quarters reported experiencing one or more stress-related physical problems in the month prior to the survey, with more than 50% reporting headaches, difficulty sleeping, or exhaustion. About 9% said they had illegally used prescription drugs like Adderall or Ritalin to stay up and study; 25% said they used stimulants like Red Bull or No-Doz.
"On the surface, these kids look like the most privileged group in the world," says Madeline Levine, a psychologist who has been working with the Stanford study. "But their parents know there is something wrong. They are not getting the basic sleep they need, the basic food they need."
How did 11th grade become such a grind? High school has long been a painful rite of passage. And heavy workloads are typical for elite-college-bound kids in countries such as Japan, South Korea and France. Teachers and principals say homework in the U.S. started increasing in the 1990s, when national concern over falling test scores prompted the introduction of more standardized tests, increasing pressure on high schools to toughen their curricula.
Demographic Surge
The increasing competitiveness of college admissions -- fueled by a demographic surge in the number of teenagers that is expected to crest next year -- advanced preparation for applying to college to junior year from first semester of senior year. Guidance counselors, parents and college-admissions officers now urge students to start taking advanced-placement courses -- often with a minimum of 90 minutes of homework a night -- in junior year, as well as to start building a portfolio of extracurricular activities and community-service projects to bolster their applications.
High schools, too, have became more competitive, vying for top rankings on lists of the "best" high schools by encouraging students to take advanced-placement courses, a common measure of high school excellence. More than 60% of the students at Farmington High, a public school in this middle- and upper-middle-class bedroom community near Hartford, take at least one advanced-placement course; 80% of all students go on to four-year colleges.
Faced with such pressures on their kids, some parents find themselves in the paradoxical position of urging their high school children to work less and play more.
Tim Breslin, principal of Farmington High, recently talked to his own daughter -- a junior at a different high school -- about cutting back some of her activities and classes. These include advanced-placement history and English, voice lessons, mock trial competition, vice president of student council, jazz ensemble, an SAT preparation course, crew and a boyfriend.
"I asked her: 'Do you think you can drop something?' " says Mr. Breslin. "She said 'no.' "
Ms. Glickman is a talkative, outgoing girl with an easy laugh and an open manner. She thinks about becoming an elementary-school teacher or maybe going into international relations. "I love politics," she says. Like most teens, she enjoys spending the occasional Saturday at the mall and going out to Chili's and Ruby Tuesday with friends. She attended the prom last weekend. But she also likes renting a movie and watching it at home with her mother. (Her father passed away in 1993. Her older sister attends New York's Colgate University.)
"When you talk to her, she is very mature and self-aware," says Ms. Glickman's guidance counselor, Sheilah McConnell. "But she can be silly as much as serious."
Ms. Glickman typically wakes up at 6 to get ready for a school day that begins at 7:30 a.m. The night before, she packs her lunch -- usually a bottle of water, a ham-and-cheese sandwich, and a treat like Scooby-Doo fruit snacks. The cafeteria at Farmington High School offers a wide selection of dishes. But Ms. Glickman's packed schedule doesn't have time for a sit-down lunch because one of her elective classes, chorus, meets at lunchtime. Her chorus teacher lets the kids quickly grab lunch out of paper bags in the back of class.
Hours of Homework
As she moves from class to class, the demands of being a junior pile up. Honors Spanish -- 30 minutes of homework a night. Advanced-placement English -- 30 to 90 minutes a night, depending on which books or documents the class is studying. Honors pre-calculus -- another hour of homework. Honors biology -- 30 minutes more. At the end of the day comes Ms. Glickman's favorite class and her toughest -- advanced-placement history, with two hours of homework a night, including reading and regular essays.
Total: an average of four-and-a-half to five-and-a-half hours of homework a night.
"Sometimes at school I will stress out when I start adding up everything I have to do tonight," says Ms. Glickman. She typically goes to sleep at 11:30 p.m., though sometimes she needs to stay up later to finish a project or study for a big test. "There's not a lot of sleep going on," she says. Her 98 average ranks near the top of her class, school officials say. "I need to put in all the effort possible," she says. "If I get a grade back that I don't want, I say, 'Why didn't I work harder?' "
As Ms. Glickman heads off to a study hall, a group of juniors gathers in a conference room to talk about the pressures they face. Many are taking two or three advanced-placement courses, playing sports and spending time on after-school activities.
"Sometimes you don't know whether you are doing things because you want to or because it looks good on your résumé," says Daniel Jin, who is taking four advanced-placement courses, plays lacrosse, is on student council and involved in an after-school community-service program. "You have to be careful you're not doing things just to get them on your college application."
Kevin Putney has a brother at Dartmouth. He says his brother finds college less pressured than junior year of high school. "I know that my parents -- they want me to be happy. They would like me to get out more," he says. "But with all the work I have I can't get out as much as they would like."
Students say that while parents may tell them to have more balance in their lives, they also feel pressure from parents to excel. "If you get good grades, your parents let you do things -- a car when you get a license, a later curfew," says Kelsey Darch, who has gotten both.
Todd Darch, Kelsey's father, says that getting his daughter a car means less driving for him as well as "a reward for good grades and good behavior." He says he only asks that his daughter "put her best effort forward. If her best effort meant a C in a course, that would be fine."
"Every week or so my Dad sends me a text message: 'Do what others won't today so you can do what others can't tomorrow,' " says Jordan Haviland. "My parents have been so good to me, I feel like I would be letting them down if I didn't get into an Ivy League school."
Mr. Haviland's father, Timothy, says he doesn't press his son to get into a certain college, although he suspects Jordan does feel pressure because his older brother goes to Harvard and his older sister to Brown.
"I think he probably wants to keep up," says Mr. Haviland, who works for an investment company. "These kids put a fair amount of pressure on themselves. They read the papers and go on the Internet and they see how many students are applying to some of these schools."
Some students say that pressure comes from inside themselves as much as it does from parents. "The whole game is who is beating [whom]," says Spencer Noon, looking across the table at Mr. Jin with a smile. "In the end, if I don't get into Harvard and Dan Jin does, I will be upset."
Keeping Up
Mr. Breslin, the principal, says Farmington High sometimes reschedules tests and other events if students complain the pressure is too great. But he doesn't favor suggestions by some parents that the school limit the advanced-placement courses or activities that students participate in.
"We try to make it so kids make thoughtful choices about what they are doing. But if a student says they want to take an AP course or five AP courses, and their parents support them, it is very hard to limit that student," says Mr. Breslin. "They don't want to experience all this pressure, but they feel that in order to keep up with everyone else they have to."
Classes for Ms. Glickman end around 2:30 p.m., but her day isn't even half over. Typically she spends two hours after school working on the school newspaper, where she is news editor. She also volunteers for a program that works with disabled students and helps them participate in sporting events.
She used to play volleyball freshman and sophomore year but stopped because "it was just for fun."
"I knew junior year was going to be pressured," she says. "I like volleyball but if I played it, the practices would mean I would have four hours less for homework." Also, she says, "colleges don't want to see you do 10 things. They want to see you doing three things passionately."
Since March, Ms. Glickman, like many of her classmates, has been attending an after-school SAT preparation course designed to boost scores for the important test in the fall. That means she doesn't get home until 9:30 p.m. two days a week to begin her homework -- interrupted by occasional forays onto Facebook to chat with and instant message friends.
When she went to a party on a recent Saturday night, she got home at 11:30 p.m. and did homework until 2 a.m. She slept in until 11:30 a.m. the next day.
"Over the weekend you have to choose," says Ms. Glickman. "Do you go out or stay home so you can get your homework done? You can never do an all-day thing."
Time for Bowling
Maria Glickman, Jennifer's mother, grew up in New York, attended Catholic school and was the first in her family to go to college, commuting to New York's Pace University. "I loved high school. It was more carefree," says Maria Glickman. "We worked hard. We had a lot of fun. There was a lot more time to just enjoy ourselves -- going ice skating, going bowling. I don't get that sense from kids today. They don't seem to find as much enjoyment in high school as I did."
While Maria Glickman says she urges her daughter not to work so hard and that "getting a B is OK," she also has been encouraging her to look at Ivy League schools including Columbia and Princeton.
At a meeting in late February to kick off the college-application process, both her mother and Ms. McConnell, her guidance counselor, suggested that Ms. Glickman consider some Ivy League schools. Ms. Glickman is adamant: She wants a school that she thinks will be challenging but less pressured. She's interested in the College of William and Mary, American University, or Boston College, though she recently added Brown to her list. During vacation in April, Maria Glickman suggested stopping by Princeton on a family trip "just to see the campus," but her daughter said no.
"She said she doesn't want so much pressure in college -- she wants to enjoy her four years," says Maria Glickman, who says she supports her daughter's decision. "I want her to find a place where she will be happy and comfortable."
Ms. Glickman recently started a project in her "Personal Wellness" class. The assignment: change one aspect of your daily health routine to reduce stress, and keep a journal of your progress.
Ms. Glickman's goal: Getting more sleep by making sure she goes to bed at 10 every night. A friend of hers, another junior, tried the same goal recently and couldn't do it -- too much homework.
"I am really going to try," says Ms. Glickman with a laugh. "We'll have to see."