Challenged 

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  Life is not always easy, but that does not mean that it is bad. I am thankful for the challenges, thankful for the people who push me.  It is not during the easy parts of life that we become better people. It is through the struggles and the triumphs that we become more. 

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Far better it is to dare might things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” 

It is when we are challenged that we rise to the occasion. It is when we are challenged we find what we are capable of. It is when we are challenged that we see something new. To never face a challenge is to never push ourselves, to never find our full potential.

Challenges are not just physical things that get in our way. It could be a word from a friend, a word in a book or a line in a song. Challenges are what motivate us to change. To be challenged is to live and to live is to be challenged. 

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Little By Little

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Fall has arrived and the leaves on the trees are changing. Each day the color changes a little bit more. It reminds me of our lives. Little by little things change and we end up where we never expected.

These changes can be beautiful and amazing, but they can also be sad and hurtful. One way to recognize the changes is to look back. Think about where you were a year ago or 5 years ago. What is different now from then?

The opinion of others can also help to show us where we have changed. When people do not see you for a while and then they see you, the changes are more apparent to them.

The most important way to look at out lives is through the eyes of God. Psalm 26:2 says, “Examine me, O Jehovah, and prove me; try my heart and my mind.” When we ask God, He will reveal the areas to continue in and the areas we need to reconsider and divert from our current course.

In our business, school, families, habits, we have to be watching for the changes happening. Whether good or bad, we need to be aware of the changes occurring little by little.

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Tada

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Tadaedited

At Christmas time and birthdays, people tend to ask one general question of people.  What do you want?  This was always a hard question for me.  One of my favorite things is surprises.  This applies to life too.  While we have general knowledge about what we are going to do, where we will go and who we will see, each detail is not known to us.  This is what makes life interesting.

In the movie Paycheck with Ben Affleck, there is quote which is an interesting thought… “If you show someone the future, they have no future. You take away the mystery, you take away hope.”  To me, the mystery is the surprises.  Each day is different and new, holding some things we could never imagine.  I am thankful for these surprises and unknown in life.

Gift # 16:Surprises.

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Don’t Know

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Don't know

There is power in saying you Don’t Know.  We often try to be the best, the smartest, the brightest.  However, understanding can come from admitting certain knowledge is not in your possession.  If we do not admit that we don’t know certain things, first off, our friends would not like us and second, we would not learn more.

Each person has a unique perspective and even the exact same things will be seen differently by different people.  With each of these viewpoints comes different knowledge. Admitting that we don’t know opens doors to connections and shared experiences with other people.  To learn about new things, to expand our minds.

Saying that we don’t possess certain knowledge can be hard, at least it is for me, but to make that admission can change your life and the experiences that you have.  Rethink what you do and don’t know and never be afraid to admit this information.

 

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Friends

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Friends

 

The friends that we make and the company that we keep can define who we are.  1 Corinthians 15:33 says “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Our friends influence the decisions that we make, the places we go, and other people we know. It is important to choose friends carefully.

Gift #12. My friends.

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Far and Away

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Durham CathedralFor a few weeks this summer, I have been traveling in the United Kingdom.  While doing some touristy things, I am also trying to observe and learn from the experience too.

Purple Tree    Durham and Durham Cathedral were some of the places that we visited.  One of the things that struck me, even during my first few days here, is the colors.  Even as we were leaving the hotel I saw this amazing tree.  This picture does not do it justice, it is a massive deep purple tree and it stands out, even from a good distance.

 

Durham StreetsThe city of Durham is not large, but the streets are alive with people.  Exploring these streets, we found everything from little cafes, to supermarkets, to souvenir stores, to charity shops (a version of a thrift store).  There were gray sky’s most of the day, but this did not stop people from getting outside.  The Market Square is the center of town and where there is always something happening.

The former Bishop's Palace.  Now part of Durham University.

The former Bishop’s Palace. Now part of Durham University.

Traditions and heritage are themes which seem to permeate the area. While there are modern buildings or modern store fronts, the primary structures are built to mimic the old buildings, to keep a similarity between everything.  We were told on a tour, “100 years is to us like 100 miles is to American’s”. To them traditions and heritage go back centuries and the way they live shows the love they have for their country.

City Market

City Market

This unity is also spread through to the culture. In America, we are very independent, everyone who can owns a car and a cell phone, our grocery stores are made so that we Phone Boxencounter as few people as possible.  We eat as fast as we can and our tables at restaurants and placed so as to still give some privacy.  Over here, there is a sense of community between everyone. From the wide use of public transportation or at least the fact that there are hardly any cars around, the public telephones and the use of market places promotes joining together.  They understand that each person is dependent on many others for the food they buy and the way they live their life.

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian’s Wall

We also hiked along Hadrian’s Wall, or what is called the “northern end of civilization”. The variety of greens in the grass, the deep blue of the sky, and the animals which dot many of the fields bring tranquility.  We had a beautiful day, but even when the sky is gray and threatening, I never feel the uneasiness of a storm.  You prepare for a storm and enjoy it when it comes, if it is sunny you eat lunch out on the grass, we have done this multiple times.

The feeling I get over here is that humans or modern times are intruding into life and that this effect should be kept as limited as possible. Open countryside had been the primary vista, so far during our trip. The houses are small and the few cars even smaller. The building materials are usually stone or brick, or are made to look like such. There is ivy growing over many walls and gardens at most homes. Nature is given the priority in this areas. The sound of sheep, the wind and running water are commonly heard sounds.

Farm House  I think that the culture of the people and their enjoy life attitude is displayed in the way they build their homes and cities. And in turn, this heritage is passed on to others. The sweeping vistas and the clean fresh air that is present even in cities are characteristics which make this country special…  These are a  stark difference from the smog and chemical smells of many areas of America.  The United States would do well to consider adopting some of these characteristics into our society.

England Landscape

 

 

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