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#26 become more tolerant

27 Feb

This world is extremely diverse: Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers, Independents, White, African-American, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, pro-choice, pro-life- I could go on and on. Over the years, and through my experiences (particularly within the past three years), I have become a more tolerant person. I am more aware of when people say things that aren’t necessarily politically correct and it does make me uncomfortable. I don’t think this is because they are racist or judgmental neccessarily, but rather they just don’t know any other way. If someone is raised a certain way and has certain beliefs, without certain experiences, their mindset is less likely to change.

I think an important aspect of humanity is to tolerate others. Not everyone will always be the same as you and believe what you believe- and that’s for the best. How boring would this world be if everyone thought and acted the same?! Yes, you are not always going to agree with someone, but it is so imperative that you attempt to understand their thoughts and actions. I appreciat my Teach for America experience and I am grateful for the people with whom I have interacted: fellow TFAers, my collegaues, and most importantly- my students.

Tolerance does not mean agreement; it simply means understanding and a mutual respect for another person. 🙂 Try it. With how the world is today, we sure could use more tolerance…in EVERY aspect. Check out more @ www.tolerance.org  There are some great articles on here that can be teachable moments and help to open your mind.

Today’s quote comes from a philosopher whom I enjoy:

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

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#331 ask someone to tell you their purpose in life

3 Feb

It seems like the eternal question that may never be answered… Why am I here? Just the other day in fact I was watching an episode of Greek and two of the characters had to answer that question for an assignment in their philosophy class. I’ve bought books about the subject: The Purpose-Driven Life & The Alchemist. I’ve never finished both…but while I am thinking about it, I may try to restart the former tonight. Whatever our purpose here has something to do with love, compassion, peace, truth, meaning, courage…maybe!

I personally have no idea what my purpose is…I think it has something to do with helping people. If I could just help people all over the world for the rest of my life, I would love it. I’m sure my actual purpose is not as broad as that endeavor though. 🙂

What is your purpose? Is that a question you have ever considered? I am interested in hearing your thoughts…leave a comment or reach me another way if you know how!

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”

  ~Erma Bombeck

…..&

“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”

 ~Emily Dickinson

#93 put into practice three-seven habits for success

2 Feb

Aye! Today was a crazy day at my work my friends. The kiddos were all out of sorts today. It’s always something. Since it was a slightful stressful day at work, I am pulling todays get happy tidbit from the “Put your career on a happy track” chapter. We’ve all heard of the 7 habits of highly effective people, which I will list a little bit further down. It is suggested that we establish three new habits and then expand to seven. The following habits are listed in the book:

  • learn to manage your time and not waste it
  • be curious and have a desire to always be learning
  • practice self-discipline because your motivation and work ethic depend on it
  • always follow through and complete what you start
  • be of service to others
  • do the right thing, show your integrity
  • keep your word

And the 7 habits of highly effective people per Stephen Covey?:

  • be proactive
  • begin with the end in mind
  • put first things first
  • think win/win
  • seek first to understand, then be understood
  • synergize
  • sharpen the saw

Here are my habits (as of 6:28 pm February 3rd, 2011)

  • get work done when it needs to be done (no procrastination)
  • be purposeful with my words and actions
  • be nicer than necessary
  • focus on small positives and not the big negatives of situations

Make your list and post it somewhere (I’m about to write mine in my many journals and planners!)

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. “

~Albert Einstein

#22 recite a prayer or make up your own

1 Jan

Happy 2011! 🙂

It has been observed that religious people tend to have healthier lives. This of course means you will probably be happier because you are healthy. Even if  you are not religious, you can still say a little prayer. “Watch over me” ; “Lead me” or “Thank you” are all little examples. When I was younger, I used to pray

“now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and in the morn if I don’t wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” 

everynight before I went to bed. My ex-boyfriend used to pray the Our Father and  Hail Mary in Spanish before he went to sleep. I don’t necessarily recite a prayer before I go to bed, but I do pray before I fall asleep. I pray for general things and specific things, general people and specific people. However, I do think I am going to add a little Hail Mary in there from now on.

If you don’t know of any prayers? Simple, google prayers! Google has the answers to everything, including sample prayers. I think the important thing is that since its your prayer, pray it whenever you want or feel like it. Pray when you wake up, in the car, at work, before bed, before eating, once a day, once a week, whatever. I think as long as you do it you will see results. Maybe not the results you want, but the results that in the end are the best for you.

A common prayer seen at various support groups is the Serenity prayer. Simple and easy to memorize, with powerful words when you really consider them. I’ll post it below…until tomorrow!

“God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.”

And the extended version….

“God, grant us the…
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.”

#21 attend at least one religious service this week

30 Dec

Yes, I did skip ahead. Todays way to be happy is in chapter 2. There are a total of 20 chapters in my book, so I am going to do 7 from each chapter and then move on. Chapter 2 is SEEK MEANING & PURPOSE TO HAVE A HAPPY LIFE.

Research has suggested that participating and belief in some sort of religious faith or spiritual tradition is vital for a purposeful, meaningful, happy life. The author, as I do too, recoginizes that some people do not have a specific faith. In this case, create some sort of ritual to do once a week on your own: read inspirational quotes, or maybe reflect upon your week and special things that happened.

I grew up with a church up the street. Then, I attended Saint Vincent College, which as you can imagine had a student chapel, in addition to the b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l Basilica. See it below.

I would say that in college,I generally attended mass at the student chapel once a week. This was especially true the second half of sophomore year, right up until graduation. We had one of the best priests: Fr. Brian Boosel. He was lively, friendly, and gave sermons that we as college students could understand and relate to. He always had a classic story he told at finals time (he slept through one of his finals freshmen year).

When I moved to Vegas, Shay and I went on adventures to find a church. We went to a terrible place in that there were flat screens, prayers omitted, and other I guess “modern” adjustments. Finally, we found St. Thomas More, which is great. The priests too tell jokes, make sermons interesting, plus the church community is great. There are several donations to kids and elderly (angel trees, back to school drives- which I blogged about earlier), pancake breakfasts (by the Mens Club…yum), and a Thanksgiving meal delivery program (which I also blogged about earlier).

So all in all, even though I don’t consider myself the most religious person, I like to attend mass. I find that when I do attend, I can clear my mind for an hour and feel apart of something that is bigger than me (in this case, God). I also find that when I am having stressful times, the readings and/or the songs are often applicable to my struggle in some way. Whatever your belief is, find something to do once a week….until tomorrow (New Years Eve! and my friend Megan’s birthday!)

My quote today comes from the Bible. It is from a reading that I first (and only) heard at SVC as a sophomore during the Lent season. The sentences resounded with me, and while I remembered part of it, I never heard the reading again. I always looked for it in the missilettes when Lent came around, but never found it again…until this past Christmas Eve. I was looking ahead and found the reading passage. I was so happy.  So here it is 🙂

“Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.  He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.”

– John 2: 23-25

#6 cultivate hope when disaster hits

28 Dec

The disaster above is a picture from the earthquake from last year in Haiti

Hope being cultivated by Red Cross volunteers 🙂

Hope is defined as: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best (noun) or to believe, desire, or trust (verb). We have all lived through some sort of disaster or tough situation. When a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina or the oil spill or the earthquake in Haiti occurs, the better parts of humanity shine through. People band together and create hope: hope that there are more survivors than thought, hope that they can make a difference. With these disasters, hope is cultivated through volunteers, donations, and prayers.

Thankfully, such disasters are not as prevelant as our own personal disasters are. A lot of times it is easy simply to give up and cave in to the feelings of despair, anger, and frustration. However, we all know that those feelings aren’t beneficial and do not alleviate the situation. In these situations, it is easy to think “why me” and/or “great something else goes wrong in my life”- I know I have done that… but it’s best to hope for the best of the situation… Maybe that minor car accident can lead to you getting a new paint job on your car- or overdrawing your bank account will allow you to really assess where you are spending your money! Like the age old mantra “everything happens for a reason”- even though that is sometimes annoying to think or have other people tell you, I truly think it is true.

“What seems to us are bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”

-Oscar Wilde

#127 protest injustice whenever and wherever your see it

2 Oct

Raymond Chase, 19. Tyler Clementi, 18. Billy Lucas, 15. Seth Walsh, 13. Asher Brown, 13.

All lives recently lost…to suicide….as a result of bullying because they were gay.

Bullying is a serious problem in schools and in society today. It is something that really makes me upset- who are you to think you are better than someone and can hurt them and make fun of them? This is an issue I find myself frequently addressing in my classroom. I feel that today’s culture does not acknowledge the fact that words hurt- the old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” is false. Words due hurt- as evidenced by the lives lost.

Injustice can take various forms- but you know it when you see it or hear it. Address it. Stand up to it. It may be hard, but it is the right thing to do. Watch the news. Educate yourselves, your children, your family, your friends. This is important. This bullying has been on my radar, but after reading about Tyler on CNN and Raymond on another blog (see link below), and watching the clip from the Ellen show, I knew I had to blog about it.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with someone’s lifestyle, it is imperative that you do not engage in actions/behaviors that harm them. Think about the Golden Rule….a blog that was fairly recent.

Read about Raymond: http://talkaboutequality.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/another-suicide-not-just-a-number/

Watch the Ellen clip: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/10/01/levs.ellen.anti.bullying.cnn?hpt=T2 

Signs your child, student, friend may be getting cyberbullied (which is the new form of bullying) : http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/10/02/p.kid.being.cyberbullied/index.html?hpt=T2 

Until tomorrow….

“Raymond Chase was a person who liked Harry Potter and Rugrats and was a member of the popular facebook group “I cant spell “bananas” without singing hollaback girl.” He’s not number five in a week of suicides, he’s a unique special person with friends and family who are devastated by his loss. He’s a gay college kid who sure seems happy but not that day, or maybe he’d never been, and something happened or something had always happened and he couldn’t do it.”