Happy Memorial Day!

This week’s Sunday inspiration is a day late. Memorial Day is marked by getting out the boat, the fishing pole, and the grill. It’s a time when many families enjoy spring weather. The holiday got its start after the American Civil War and is a day to remember those who have paid the ultimate price in the cause of freedom.

Abraham Lincoln, honoring the dead and encouraging a war-torn nation to look to the future, uttered these words at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, several months after a three-day battle that proved to be a turning point in the American Civil War:

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

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Where have you found inspiration?

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Sunday Inspiration

The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.

– Confucius

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Where have you found inspiration this week?

Sunday Inspiration

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

– T.S. Eliot, “The Rock”

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Where have you found inspiration this week?

To College or Not to College

The college years are a time when dreams become realities, people come into their own, foundations are laid for the rest of one’s life. Families are started, careers are founded, networks are built. So much of who we become is built during the college years.

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With so much apparently riding on this period of life there is a lot to think about before jumping in. First of all, you may not even know if you should go to college. Just because people refer to them as the college years does not mean that you have to go to college to be successful.

The key is to approach the college decision one step at a time. Let’s start with whether or not you should go to college. There are a lot of alternatives to attending college. College is not the only place where dreams can be made. College is not for everyone. Some people need a bit of time in between high school and college. Other people achieve great success without going to college at all.

  1. Join the military. The military is an excellent opportunity to get leadership experience. The military does amazing things all over the world. You can learn incredible skills like project management, problem solving, responsibility, self-worth, and much more, all while serving your country in the world’s greatest military. Is it for everyone? Absolutely not! Is a great option for some people? YES!
  2. Go to a trade school or a vocational school. If you want to learn a particular skill, you can attend a trade school. Learning a “trade” means that you are learning a particular skill set for a specific industry. Do you enjoy working with steaming hot metal? Learn how to become a welder. Do you like working with horses? Become a farrier (someone who puts horseshoes on horses and takes care of horses’ hooves).
  3. Work. You’re going to college to become a better worker. Why not get some experience working before you start school to help you better understand what it takes to succeed in the workforce? Providing for yourself and your family will give you confidence and a sense of pride. Or start your own business. For a lot of reasons, there is no better time to start a business.
  4. Go on a mission trip. I spent two years as a missionary in Ukraine after graduating from high school and spending one year at college. This was an incredible opportunity to learn Russian, get to know a different culture, help people out, and explore the world. I learned responsibility, how to overcome challenges and obstacles, how to manage time and resources, and how to interact with people who thought and interacted with the world differently than I did.
  5. Go to college. Going to college will definitely provide you with experiences that will impact you for the rest of your life. College gives you access to a wide variety of resources. You will have access to everything from business classes to language classes to photography classes to physics classes. You will be part of a group of people that is striving to create something be part of something bigger than the individual people that make it up.

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There are many ways to be successful. If you choose not to go to college, that does not mean you won’t be successful. You should think about all the options that are available to you and make a well-thought-out decision.

  • Parents: What do you wish you had thought about before deciding to go to college or not go to college?
  • Not parents: What questions do you have about attending college?

Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

―Washington Irving

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Where have you found inspiration this week?