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An Irish Blessing in Honor of St. Patrick’s Day

Enjoy the stunning images of Ireland as actress Roma Downey recites a beautiful Irish blessing for you to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick was a visionary who was committed to his Christian faith and helped spread the message in an amazing way. So, keep in mind that Saint Patrick’s Day is more than green beer, running off snakes and marching in parades.

Who was St. Patrick?

Saint Patrick was born in 373 in Roman Britain (Scotland). Patrick believed at a very young age that he was destined to lead. In 389, pirates captured him and took him to live as a slave in Ireland. After having spiritual visions while working in the fields tending sheep, Patrick escaped from his captors in 395 to return to his homeland and reunite with his family.

St. Patrick’s Confessio and Crusade for Christianity

A Christian convert, Patrick underwent devout religious training for 15 years before he became a priest. In his Confession, Patrick reflected on his personal trials and tribulations on his journey to sainthood. As a young man of great faith and conviction, he began having more visions that predicted he would convert multitudes of pagans. In 405, driven by ambition and desire to save souls, Patrick arrived in Ireland and set out on his mission.

Patrick quickly gained the permission of King Loegaire to preach Christianity to the Irish natives who were Druids and pagans. Patrick knew that he must reach out to the people through inspirational sermons and devotional prayers to break the pagan tradition. For years Patrick preached about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ across the countryside and was able to sway many followers who denounced their paganism to join Christian congregations.

Shamrocks and Celtic Crosses – Symbols of St. Patrick’s Day

In Confessio, he wrote, “I must make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, without fear and frankly, I must spread everywhere the name of God so that after my decease I may leave a bequest to my brethren and sons whom I have baptized in the Lord – so many thousands of people.” Accordingly, he introduced religious symbols – shamrocks and Celtic crosses – to his Irish brethren. The shamrock, with its three leaves, symbolized the Trinity; while, the Celtic cross, with its superimposed sun, embodied elements of nature which were familiar to the former pagans. These deeds helped to spread the Christian message faster and farther. By 431, Patrick had converted all of Ireland, putting an end to paganism, human sacrifices and slavery.

On March 17, 493 Patrick passed on to his eternal reward, dying at Saul, Ireland and left behind a legacy of valor and service that is remembered to this day. Every year on the anniversary of his death, St. Patrick’s Day, people celebrate his life and times with parties, festivals, and parades. Although this day of remembrance has become secularized, the spiritual nature is always recognized by religious observers who show reverence to the Apostle of Ireland—St. Patrick.

(Source: Historical Biographies at Suite 101)

March 17, 2010   No Comments

Life Lessons from Pawn Stars

Okay, I admit it. I am definitely hooked. I love the show, Pawn Stars, on the History Channel.

The Harrison's of Pawn Stars

The concept of this weekly show is based on a family-owned pawnshop. The beauty is watching three generations of the Harrison family surf the free enterprise system with all the pizzazz of a prizefight. Each generation believes that they are right as they appraise merchandise that is either being pawned or sold. Their enmity for each other’s level of judgment is absolutely hilarious! As I’ve watched the show, it has become progressively apparent that the Harrison family/Pawn Stars are teaching me some valuable life lessons.

Lesson One: Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

Most of the people pawning/selling their item(s) attach a greater value to what they are selling than those who are doing the buying. The seller is typically high on what they want in dollars for their items. The buyers are rarely willing to pay what is first demanded. Emotional attachment is frequently the source of inflated beliefs about the value of what they own. (Seventy-five percent of people fail to make a deal with the pawnshop on this show.)

Lesson Two: What you see is not always what you get.

Many people come in to pawn/sell what they believe is a genuine article, only to find out that it is a replica or an outright fraud. Autographs that appear to be real are often poor fakes that were reproduced on a copy machine. More exotic items may turn out to be replicas designed to fool well-trained eyes.

Lesson Three: The sooner you call in the experts; the sooner you will get to the truth.

The pawn store has a vast array of “experts” who are on-call to give them the truth on items that are about to be pawned/sold. Experts can keep you from making big mistakes, not only in a pawn store, but in other fields as well. Never be afraid to admit what you don’t know, so that you don’t end up with something that you don’t want.

Lesson Four: Be very careful that you do not undervalue that which has true worth.

Some sellers are so pressed for cash that they are willing to sell their items far below a price they could have commanded. Benjamin Franklin was fond of saying that ‘haste makes waste.’

Lesson Five: Tender loving care can transform one person’s trash into another person’s treasure.

Sometimes an item that has great potential value will require some up-front money to put it into tip-top shape. Once restored, the item can produce huge dividends if you are willing to make the investment. When you are willing to the pay the price up front and in advance, great things can happen.

Tune in each Monday at 10pm on the History Channel to check out the action and the lessons that you, too, can learn from the pawn stars.

February 25, 2010   No Comments

Power of the Pen

Recently, I came across an absolutely fascinating blog called Letters of Note. The site has an amazing array collection of all types of letters, postcards, telegrams and memos which reveal personal details in each piece of correspondence.

My daughter, Abigail Reighard, writing at the Wailing Wall in Israel, 2009

One letter is entitled “A Cunning Suggestion,” and was written by a 10-year-old girl during WWII. The letter was addressed to President Roosevelt. The young writer wanted to suggest changing the drafting of new recruits from a lottery system to an alphabetical system. The fact that her last name started with a “W” goes a long way in explaining why she wanted this new selection process. She, of course, was attempting to help her father who had a very low lottery number by substituting the alphabetical system, which would have increased her father’s chances of avoiding the draft. Interestingly enough her father was not drafted and the copy of her letter is now part of history. Through this blog you get a real heart tug as you look at the childish writing and realize the depth of thought of a little girl attempting to keep her father at home.

Hand-written words on paper have an uncanny affect on us. There is something very personal and gratifying when someone takes the time to send us a hand-written note.

When you flip through a pile of mail, don’t you always open the hand addressed ones first? I know I do. Because it instantly signals my mind that someone has taken time to communicate with me in a most personal way.

Abigail Reighard, my daughter, placing a hand-written note at the Wailing Wall (Israel, 2009)

The pictures above are of my daughter, Abigail, while visiting Israel last year. She is doing what literally millions of people have done in the city of Jerusalem at the Wailing Wall. She is writing her prayers and subsequently touching history as she slips her notes into what I consider one of the most holy sites in the entire world.

So, here is my question . . .

WHO do you need to write?

WHAT do you need to write?

and

WILL you have the courage & wisdom to write that note today?

February 16, 2010   No Comments

The First Two Jobs of A Leader

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner and the Indianapolis Colts will be playing the New Orleans Saints. The Super Bowl is familiar territory to the Colts franchise, but it is rarefied air for the Saints of New Orleans. For 41 years the

Saints have been the “Aint’s” but now everyone is asking, “Who Dat” going to beat the Saints. This game is bigger than a football contest. This game – no matter the outcome – is about a city and a state getting back on its feet after being knocked flat by a Hurricane named Katrina. In this game, the Saints represent the hopes and dreams of a region for a better tomorrow.

Source: National Geographic News

Three seasons ago Sean Payton, coach of the Saints, ushered his team into the empty Superdome on a Friday night. (Only 13 months earlier the Superdome was the epicenter and the image of the impact of Katrina.) That Friday night preceded the upcoming Monday Night Football game against the Atlanta Falcons. Coach Payton gathered the team at midfield and replayed the scenes on the JumboTron: The images that television coverage had transported all over the world now played again – rooftop rescues, black swirling waters and widespread devastation. It showed images of the Superdome with its roof pulled back like a giant half-peeled onion.

Source: NOAA

The Superdome became a morgue. Bodies were stored in catering freezers. The images stopped and then the players at midfield talked about how the entire city could be energized by their football team giving the city something to cheer about. They talked about how their loyal fans would fill the seats (now empty) on Monday night. It would be the Saints first game back in the Superdome since December, 2004.

I remember the game well. I started the game as a Falcon’s Fan. Two minutes into the game, Atlanta was stopped on its first offensive series and they had to punt the ball. New Orleans blocked the punt, recovered it for a touchdown. And the cheering began. As a former disc jockey, I know that having ‘dead air’ is an announcer’s nightmare, but for 37 seconds, the announcers did not speak a word. The cheering was a deafening roar. The Saints were back and so was a city.

Source: J Bottoni/AP

New Orleans went on to win that game (23-3-) and it became the new foundation for a better tomorrow. Sean Payton taught us one of the greatest lessons a leader can ever teach: Your first job is to define reality. Your second job is to inspire hope and cast the vision of where you want to go and what you will become in the process.

In closing, I will not say “Go Saints” but I will say, “Way to go New Orleans.” We are all pulling for you!

January 28, 2010   No Comments

New Year, New You

New Year!

The New Year is well known for inspiring pledges and promises that often go unmet. Many of these ‘resolutions’ revolve around some aspect of personal improvement or self-development. There is something magical about January 1 because it carries with it a promise of renewal, re-engagement and the opportunity for creating a fresh start. The sad reality, though, is that in spite of new opportunities we often return to old familiar patterns and habits.

Someone once described insanity as “doing the same things you’ve always done and somehow expecting different results.” We can give mental ascent to the fact that if we keep on doing what we’ve done, we will keep getting what we’ve got. Yet, we still fight the battle of falling into the rut of our former way of life. It would be an insane thought to believe that our lives could have positive change if we just keep repeating our negative patterns.

So, here’s the question: What will you do differently in 2010 that will help you achieve different results in areas where you want to experience a change?

Here are four ways that you can realign your life for the New Year for new results.

  1. The people that you will meet. We all know that the people we spend time with will help shape our thinking process. Who is someone that you would like to develop a friendship with in 2010 that could shift your life in a positive direction? The Bible uses an interesting phrase, ‘as iron sharpens iron, so does the countenance of a friend.’ This simply means that you become like the people you spend time with.
  2. The books that you read. Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones is famous for saying the two (2) things that will change your life the most are the people you meet and the books that you read.  Why not make a commitment to read one new book per month in the area of your life that change would make the greatest positive impact. A few recommendations for the New Year: Discovering Your North Star, by Ike Reighard; The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam Confidently With the Cultured Class by David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim, Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Ike Reighard. Check out Recommending Readings for a complete list.
  3. The tools you use to learn. A current favorite is Andy Stanley’s Leadership podcast, which is available on iTunes. I also think learning how to have gratitude is key. You can use this simple iPhone app to help you in this area. (www.happytapper.com) Also, you can check out www.veryshortlist.com for a daily dose of what’s cool in media (books, movies, music, etc.).
  4. Set three goals for the New Year. Make sure that they are SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-lined.

December 29, 2009   No Comments

The Greatest Motivational Poster Ever

In 1939 the Nazi’s were making their move to capture all of Europe. Germany knew the linchpin was Great Britain, and Great Britain was well aware of its precarious position. In an unprecedented effort, the Department of the Ministry of Information commissioned a series of three posters to help bolster the flagging spirits of its countrymen.

Keep Calm Carry On

One poster stated, “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory,” another,  “Freedom Is In Peril.” The third poster in this series is the greatest motivational poster I have ever seen when it comes to simplicity and wisdom. The poster states, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

I would say that our times of uncertainty require us to follow its timeless wisdom – Keep Calm and Carry On. The alternative, of course, would be to panic and run amuck, but I doubt that will do any one any good!

http://www.keepcalmandcarryon.com/

December 8, 2009   No Comments