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Posts Tagged ‘greatest’

Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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Today I spent a little time looking at a website that list different roadside attractions through out the country, http://www.roadsideamerica.com/. It was like a walk down memory lane. I remember when I was younger visiting some of the places listed. Sadly most are closed, but still it was nice to read about them and to see photos of some of them. It did bring back to mind the simplicity of youth that seems to be missing now. One of the remarks I read about the closing of one

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Thomas Aquinas stained glass window.

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I am finding more and more the richness of the Holy Bible, the more I learn the more little nuggets of truth I discover. As I was listening to Catholic Talks on CD’s (yes I know I have been on about these CD’s for days’… but I just keep finding something new in them) I have be re-wakened the the depth of knowledge each little passage contains. It amazes me that one word or phrase can contain a life changing truth.

As the owner and creator* of STATIC Solutions, a Catholic company the produces educational materials for middle school youth, I am always on the look out for new ideas, new bits and pieces of truth that can be used to excite and deepen the faith life of the youth and the adults who are charged with imparting the truth. I find that it’s not hard to find that one passage or phrase the hard part is deciding what one.

I have just started to develop some new material, I am in the beginning stage were I need to play the concept out, I need to define what it is I am looking for (or as the case maybe, what God is trying to get me to do). This process involves the selection of the main theme that is to run through the book, what basic idea or truth is the book to depart. It is a long process, one that sometimes takes months or even years, yes I have a few ideas that have been sitting in my head for years.

It’s interesting, because as I listened to the CDs I discovered that I could write whole books, teach a whole class on just on passage or phrase. The depth of that phrase or passage could fill volumes. I could take the simple phrase “I Thirst” or “You are Peter” and build a course around them. This is my new dilemma…. What phrase or word or passage do I use, how do I use it and what do I do with it.

The concept of STATIC Solutions program is to take the youth deeper in to the faith, to really look at one area, to show them the richness of that phrase or person or book. Each of our classroom books look at a subsection of the over all concepts. For example the one of the books is entirely on the Exodus of the Israelites for Egypt. We spend five sessions doing nothing but recounting the Exodus and it’s meaning to us today and it’s part in Salvation History. We dive in to the mindset of the Israelites and Mosses, we place ourselves into the moment and feel the desert heat on our backs and the aches and pains of the long walk. Our hearts break over the sinfulness of Gods people, yet we can see ourselves in the humanity of them all. It is five sessions that truly take us back in time. Each of our course books deals with a subset such as that, rather than covering the whole Old Testament in five weeks or even fifteen, we choose to create an experience that will envelop the youth, take hold of their imaginations and souls and with God grace, create a conversation moment for them.

Our philosophy is why “dump” thousands of years of Salvation History on them, it is better to give them nuggets of truth that will excite them and enlighten them, than it is to drowned them is Christian history. If it has taken the Catholic Church over two thousand years to come to Her understanding of the faith, why should we expect our youth to do it in eight years? Is it not better to give them the thirst for knowledge and truth than to drowned them in it?

So as you can see my dilemma is how to take the beauty of the book of Job and turn it into a five session gem, or to take the phrase “I Thirst” and keep it to only five sessions. The glory of God and the Catholic Church can never be contained in the mind of man, yet alone in books. Yet this is what I attempt to do, this is the calling I have answered and the challenge I am tasked with.

The CDs are examples of this, year of the speakers could have went on for hours and hours, if not days. Yet they were confined to thirty minute or one hour at most. To take the vastness of Gods glory and condense it into a book or talk… The concept is truly, well its just mind blowing.

This is what I love about my faith, the fact that each day I can learn and grow, that a passage I have heard one hundred times before can suddenly take on a whole new meaning.  That the truth of the faith keeps growing or should I say that my understanding of the truth keeps growing. That the smallest of details sometimes are the greatest of truths.

The challenges given to me to create the programs I create are a life lesson in humility and faith, and yes the CDs I listened to reminded me of this very fact. They have created in me a new desire to research and learn and to create. As the STATIC Solutions tag line reads “Educate ~ Innovate ~ Create… that is me calling and one I am willing to answer.

God Bless

Paul

Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith
1 Corinthians 15:55-57“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Brought to you by BibleGateway.com. Copyright (C) . All Rights Reserved.

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"The last of the human freedoms is to choose your attitude in any given set of circumstances." -Victor Frankl

 

For anyone who has ever read this blog or my other blog, you know that freedom is a major theme for me. Often times I use the word Authentic Freedom because we all to often mix up what we believe is freedom to what freedom really is. Well I think Mr. Frankl got it right!

Freedom is a slippery thing and has many sides, but we still are the masters of it and we decide how we choose to use or abuse it or is some cases how we neglect it or abandon it. 

I have long been a believer in the you make your own destiny, we choose to react to situations in a way that will give us the outcome we desire. I have seen two people process the same information yet each will tell you a completely different story and will react to it in an almost predictable way. A negative person will always find the bad, the down in any situation and they will project that feeling in to the situation causing it to be a negative feeling or outcome. Were as a positive person will take a negative and turn it in to a positive, they will find the positive in any situation and project that emotion in to the situation causing a more positive outcome. It truly is in our control, I myself have seen it and have participated in it,as have we all.

So what makes one positive and one negative? Why would one choose to be negative? Well there are many reasons or theories:

  • Genetics
  • Hard wiring in the mind
  • Life experiences
  • Attention
  • Born that way
  • Just want to be

All are valid and I thing in some small ways all are true and all play a roll in it. And the same can be said for the positive person, all the same valid reasons are just as true for the positive person, what I think it comes down to is this. I choose to be positive or negative because from being one over the other I gain greater joy, greater pleaser. Yes the negative person gains joy from there negatives. If they did not they would not be negative. Just like a smoker gains pleasure from smoking, a negative person gains please from the negativeness of there life. They create it and nurture it, so they must enjoy it. Now some may be saying well that’s just silly, no one would choose to be negative, but really is it that silly of a concept? People choose to be whipped and chained up for sexual pleasure, and most of us would have to say that, that doesn’t sound like pleasure to us. But to them it is, to them it is a great pleasure the pain turns them on. If this is so, than it stands to reason that a negative person must gain pleasure from there negativeness or they would not be negative.

It is our choosing, our freedom to choose our response to anyone given situation. This freedom to determine our reaction is one of the greatest freedoms we have, it truly is an authentic freedom. We read about people in horrific situations, Nazi concentration camps, torture chambers and such, yet we also hear of the love they felt or offered or the sacrifice they gave and the positive out look on life they still maintained.

The film “I am David” is a perfect example of how our outlook on situations will determine the outcome of the situation. It tells the story of a young boy who, with the help of a prison guard, escapes from a concentration camp in Eastern Europe, and of his journey to Denmark. Along the way he meets interesting people and has many adventures. In this movie David has a very negative outlook on life, with valid reasons, and yet he is met with some very positive opportunities that turn negative, based on his projection unto them. In the film David grows, and as he does, his negativeness changes in to a more positiveness, causing the events in his life to become more positive. Yes I know its a film, but the concept is the same.

We control our outcome, we determine the reaction we choose to give to any given situation. Life is full of opportunities to see good or evil, positive or negative it’s in our power to see it as we please, it is our last freedom, one that no one can take form us.

Paul

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My frustration levels are at an all time high, I feel the effects of no control and am ready to scream… This about sums up my current mood, if I twittered I would have posted it, and most likely received responses from friends and people I don’t know offering me words of wisdom I don’t want. But as it is I do blog, and so I will post my frustrations here, but unlike twitter I can express myself with a few more words, I will not be limited, my power to say as much or as little as I like is not taken away from me on my blog.

This over all feeling stems from the fact that power, my ability to make my own choice has been taken away from me. I am being forced to do something that I do not wish to do.

I think as humans we cherish our freewill, we consider it to be one of the most important aspects of our lives. I know I do… The ability to make up my own mind, to chose what I want or don’t want is, to me, the most important freedom I enjoy. All other freedoms stem from this one. Freewill is the mother of all others…

If I do not have the freedom of Freewill, than I could not choose to believe or not believe in God, with out freewill I could not choose to remain faithful or not, nor would I have the freedom to decide what kind of life I choose to live.

When we perceive our freewill is under attack we react, we fight back, if we can. The current problem is I have no ability to fight back, I have no freedom from this decision, and that weighs heavy on me.

The idea that I can not control the situation, the fact that I am being made to feel helpless is a very taxing idea, real or not, it is all the same. Since freewill is not a tangible object, not something that Wal-Mart sell, we are left with only or “feelings” and “perceptions” of what freewill is or does. To me, it is the essence of all other freedoms, it is the greatest of gifts from God and it is the very being of our humanhood. To have this freedom striped away from me, to have my ability to exercise it or not trampled on is a travesty.

In our current society we see this happen all the time and we see the effects of it in our everyday life. For me it is the fact that as part of my bankruptcy I must turn in my current vehicle and purchase a new vehicle with very limited funds (like I said I am in bankruptcy). The fact that the courts do not seem to care, that they seem to make it almost easer to just walk away is in it self a shame, but that’s another blog. The simple fact that I am being forced in to a situation that does not serve me and my interest the best, the simple fact that they have taken away my ability to use my freewill is dehumanizing. And before any of you start saying, “Well what did you expect, your in bankruptcy, it was your own bad choices that got you there in the first place”, all I can say is Yes I know, and You have no idea why I am in my current situation… My complainant is not about bankruptcy, but rather about the dehumanization of the process.

Example:

I my case I have to get rid of the current vehicle, it’s lease runs out in September, but the courts want me to return it now, fair enough. To be able to continue to work I need a dependable car, so I looked in to a  Kia, and inexpensive vehicle with a warranty. With the credit market tight, and the fact that I am in bankruptcy the payment would have been over $400 per mount, about what I am paying for my current lease. I asked for a used car, or the cheapest payment, but the condition of the bank would not allow it. I looked at a Ford dealership, won’t even consider me. So my options are limited.

So in-order to make the payments on the new vehicle my payments to the courts has to go down, logical I would say. Well the courts don’t seem to think so, in fact they won’t even allow me to skip a payment to have the down payment needed to get the new vehicle I need to get to work.

My lawyer than recommends that I just turn in the current, skip this payment and purchase a used vehicle with the whole $2000.00 I have. Here is the problem:

1. Not many reliable vehicles for that kind of money

2. By skipping my payment the courts can decide to toss out my case, leaving me holding the bag

3. I have a total breakdown due to the fact the our court system is (insert bad word here) up!

 

So, and I started off this blog, I and extremely frustrated, and ready to blow! I woke up at 3am this morning and was wide awake until 4, dozed in and out until 5:30 when my alarm went off… My 3am wake up call was a good time for me to practice my deep breathing skills and to say a few prayers to a select few saints… It will all work out, of this I am certain, like I have sated in this blog, we must have a positive attitude for a positive end result.

 

 

Paul

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Today is the start of a great day, we all have the same opportunity to make this day be the best day of our lives. The great thing about being a human is that we all can choose our own paths, we all can decide what kind of day we will have. And if we decide to make it a bad day that is what it will be but if we decide to make this the greatest day in our lives, than that is what it will be. Each day can be the greatest day or the worst day, you decide.

That is the great thing about like, each morning we get a fresh new start, we can choose to make it something special or something not so special. Me, I decide that each day will be the best day of my life. Sometimes it is hard and yes sometimes I fail, but I try.

Life is funny that way, if you think about it. We often times choose not to try, to just allow the world around us to push and pull us were it likes. Than when we end up were we don’t want to be we complain and wine about it. Yet we had the power all along to not be pushed and pulled. But you know why we do allow it, we allow it because we convince ourselves that that is easier than to fight it. That if we just sit back and allow life to push and pull us, we will have no strife in our lives that life will be ok. But it never works out that way, we never end up where we want to be, and it is always more damaging than if we where to fight it.

Think about it, if a storm is coming, a really big storm, we know that it is smarter to put things away, tie things down and protect what we have. If we have animals we bring them in so they wont get hurt, if we have outdoor tables and chairs we secure them down. We know that the table will suffer less damage and cause less damage if it is not just being pushed and pulled by the storm. The same holds true for us, we will cause less damage to others and ourselves if we are secured if we don’t allow the storms of life to push and pull us. Sure the work to secure everything may take time, and it is hard work, but in the end the pets are all safe and the table and chairs are still were we want them. In life it means that we are still on secure ground and we are were we want to be.

Life is going to try to toss you around some but the more you push back on it and chose to fight for yourself the better you will be. You will know the ground you are on, and you will know that you are secured and safe and you can weather the next storm.

Paul

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John Wooden, one of the greatest coaches to ever coach the game of basketball, was reported to have consistently encouraged his players to “Never let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can do.”

How true that is, we often times talk ourselves out of doing great things because we focus on the things we can’t do. We tend to look at the negative in ourselves. I know from past experiences I have done the same, I have looked to my weakness and failed myself in doing so.

Today it is a different story for me, I now look to my strengths my goals and dreams, I lay my “can not do’s” aside and focus on my “can do’s”. I still faultier and some may say fail (I  personally do not look upon them as failures) but I do not allow that to sway me, I keep on keeping on, borrowing from the 70’s.

So what made the change in me, why do I now look to what I can do and ignore what I can not do? It’s simple, I got tired of failing myself, I got sick of always not trying, of never not knowing if I can do it. But mostly I hated the feeling inside, the feeling of being a failure, of not being good enough of always being second or third or maybe even last best. I needed to change, to move on to grow up to see life in a new way, but mostly I needed to see myself in the true light, not in the light that I shinned upon myself.

My high school years were years filled with second guessing and self doubt. I lived a life of dreaming of being not myself, the life of others was always a better life than mine. I felt no value with what I can do because I only saw what I could not do. I strived to fail, and failed I did.

Post high school I started to see the world and myself through a new light, in truth I can not state what one thing started me on this road of self discovery, but it was a slow road, one that from time to time I still must walk. Unlearning the skill of self doubt is a skill with in it self, so I needed to unlearn and learn new skills all at the same time, what a heavy weight for a young man to carry. But carry it I did, stumbling along the way, and skinning a few knees as I went.

Nothing worth achieving should com easy, i truly believe this now, no so much back then, but now, yah, I truly believe that we must suffer to achieve greatness with in our selves. And suffer I did and suffer I do. But now I look upon that suffering in a new light, a light of truth and light that I choose to shine upon it.

The light of truth is the light that makes me examine myself, to see where I have caused the issue and suffering, the light that forces me to take responsibility for my actions. It is a bright and blinding light at times, a light of extreme heat. But I choose to face it, to allow it to blind me and burn me, if it will, in the end, forge a new me.

But the light of truth has no power unless I shine it upon myself, not others. It is the self incrimination of that light that gives it it’s power. The power of self over self is awesome, its a power of overwhelming consequences, yet it is one that we must unleash, it is a power we must learn to us if we ever wish to become more.

I am still walking that road, I am still stumbling and scraping my knees, and yes I still shine that light upon myself, but now I do not see the sad self of before, one who could not and would not do anything great, but now I see someone who has and will continue to do great things. They may be small small greatness’, and to some not even that great. But to me they are life changing and world enhancing greatness’. And I know that when I shine the light upon myself, I know that I will see someone who has strived for greatness, not allowing the “Can not’s” to interfere with the “Can”.

Paul

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