Saturday, March 29, 2014
Trust – a simple word to speak, yet the most challenging word to regain once lost. It is my sincere belief that we all desire to trust those around us. It is most similar to believing that all people are inherently good. When we look at the philosophical and religious aspects of inherent goodness, we find a spectrum of takes on the issue. Philosophically speaking, the structure of society weighs on the idea that most men/women do not want to harm their neighbor; yet society creates and enforces laws to maintain civility (see Socrates and Plato). Religiously, the Bible tells us that we are “born sinners” (Psalm 51:5), yet we are commanded to ‘love thy neighbor’ (Mark 12:31). The multi-faceted dynamic of human nature leaves us in toil of self-possession. Since it is the responsibility of each of us to implement self-control, and decide daily, or perhaps moment by moment what our behavior is going to reflect, we must learn by which qualities we desire to be known.
Do we believe people are inherently good? Can people be trusted? Have we experienced negative circumstances with people that have caused us to lose trust or even faith in humanity?
If we can remember that forgiveness is a key component in moving forward, regardless of the circumstance, a healthy perspective can be achieved. Although every situation is different, forgiveness will be a helpful tool in healing. It is important to remember that we must be conscious of our inter-personal relationships, beahvioral patterns, and individual perspectives, that are all too often shaped by negative experiences. If someone has broken our trust, but seeks sincere forgiveness from us, it may be worthwhile to learn to trust them again. However, if someone does not seek forgiveness after having broken our trust, it may be helpful to take a quiet moment and offer up forgiveness to them within ourselves, for our own inner-peace. The courage we find to forgive will ultimately keep us from becoming jaded, and weary towards humanity.
I would be remised if I did not mention the unique portrayal of sacrifice, forgiveness, and trust, found in scripture. A beacon of self-sacrifice, unconditional love, and forgiveness, is Christ, as He uttered, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). We should view this as the pinnacle of humanity; where we find the most heinous of pain inflicted on the human body (and spirit), but from those pangs restoration and life is found. In the spoken word forgive, trust in a higher purpose is revealed and life regained.
I leave you with this quote from Timothy Zahn, author of Vision of the Future (Star Wars), “Without trust, there can be no genuine peace. Neither in politics, nor in the quiet individuality of the heart and spirit.”
By Malarie Roxanne Rodriguez | Founder of P.S. Chic
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
About two years ago I found out from my doctor that I had pre-cancerous cells in my body. Terrified that they would turn cancerous, I changed my eating habits drastically. After about six months of my lifestyle change, I was informed that all my cells were back to normal! Since then, I've become obsessed with nutrition. It is incredible how much nutrition impacts your sense of well being and your body's ability to heal itself. I find it all incredibly interesting.
As a rule of thumb, I try to consume food that comes from the earth. I take my time when I grocery shop to really look at the labels of what I am putting in my body. I do not look at the calories of the foods, as that is not important to me. What I look for is natural ingredients. 80% of the items I purchase at the store are fruits and vegetables. I also purchase some lean meats, whole grains, and soy, cow, or almond milks. When I can, I purchase organic, and non-GMO.
If you are looking to change your eating habits, take it one day at a time. You are likely to go back to your old eating habits if you make a drastic, overnight change. In order to be successful, I recommend slowly replacing the foods that you currently eat with more nutritious options. For example, if you regularly drink sodas or sugary drinks, start replacing every other one with water or all natural unsweetened or lightly sweetened tea instead. If you crave desserts or sweets, start replacing them with a cup of lightly sweetened granola and vanilla soy milk, frozen fruit, or a Herbalife protein shake.
Many of the foods that are sold in the store contain chemicals and additives that do more harm than good. By watching what you put into your body, you can ensure that your diet is helpful and not harmful to your health. As a result, you will look and feel better!
By Monica Shuster | Guest Blogger (first posted on July 3, 2013)
Monday, March 24, 2014
The road to America’s independence was both long and brutal. Americans fled from Britain for a reason: freedom. The colonists did not agree with Britain’s monarchy form of government. In addition to opposing much of the British Parliament’s laws and policies, they also sought religious freedom. A series of burdensome taxes imposed on the colonists coupled with a continuously encroaching government was the tipping point that ultimately led to American independence. Here I will provide a summary of the major events of the American Revolution.
The French and Indian War and Pontiac’s Rebellion:
The battle between Britain and France for colonial dominance in America was known as the French and Indian War (1754-1763). The colonists dutifully fought alongside British soldiers, while the French allied themselves with several Native American tribes. After the British captured most of France’s major cities and forts in Canada and the Ohio Valley, the war came to an end. Worried that the British would take more tribal lands from the Native Americans, the Ottawa chief Pontiac led a series of raids on British forts and American settlements in the Ohio Valley. This Native American uprising is known as Pontiac’s Rebellion. It did not take long for the powerful British forces to squash the rebellion. However, in an effort to make peace with the Native Americans, Parliament issued the Proclamation of 1763, which forbade American colonists to settle on Native American territory unless native rights to the land had first been obtained by purchase or treaty.
The End of Salutary Neglect and Taxation Without Representation:
After the French and Indian War, Parliament moved to end the age of salutary neglect. The British government began to impose numerous burdens and taxes on the American colonists. These included the enforcement of the Navigation Acts, the Sugar Act to tax sugar, the Currency Act to remove paper currencies from circulation, the Stamp Act to tax printed materials, and the Quartering Act requiring Americans to house and feed British troops. Americans throughout the thirteen colonies did not like being taxed without having representation in Parliament, hence the famous phrase “no taxation without representation”. Colonial leaders petitioned Parliament and King George III to repeal the Stamp Act. In response to intense public pressure, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act in 1766. However, it passed the Declaratory Act, which allowed the Parliament to tax the colonies anytime it chose.
The Townshend Acts and the Boston Massacre:
Another series of taxes, this time on lead, paints, and tea, were levied on the colonists through the Townshend Acts of 1767. At the same time, Parliament also passed the Suspension Act, which suspended the New York assembly for not enforcing the Quartering Act. Fearing a violent response from the colonists, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson requested assistance from the British army. In 1768, four thousand British soldiers landed in the city to help maintain order. Nevertheless, on March 5, 1770, an angry mob of rebels clashed with British troops. The violent and bloody event, in which five colonists were killed, became known as the Boston Massacre. News of the massacre spread like wildfire throughout the colonies.
The Boston Tea Party:
In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act, which granted the British East India Company a trade monopoly on the tea exported to the American colonies. Tea merchants in many American cities refused to purchase British tea. In an effort to uphold the law, Governor Hutchinson of Massachusetts allowed for ships arriving in Boston harbor to deposit their cargoes and ordered that appropriate payments be made for the tea. On the night of December 16, 1773, sixty men boarded the ships and dumped the entire shipment of tea into the harbor. This famous event, known as the Boston TeaParty, was a turning point in American history.
The Intolerable Acts:
The Intolerable Acts (the Coercive Acts), were passed by Parliament in January 1774. The laws closed Boston Harbor until the British East India Company had been fully reimbursed for the tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party. People from all over the colonies sent food and supplies to help their fellow Americans survive the brutal northeastern weather.
The First Continental Congress:
Prominent colonials gathered in Philadelphia in 1774 at the First Continental Congress to take action against the Intolerable Acts. They petitioned King George III and the British government to repeal the acts. They also instituted a boycott of all British goods in the colonies.
Lexington, Concord, and the Second Continental Congress:
On April 19, 1775, British forces in Boston marched to the town of Concord, Massachusetts, to seize a colonial militia arsenal. Militiamen of Lexington and Concord intercepted them and attacked. The first shot, famously quoted as the “shot heard round the world” was followed by many more shots that forced the British to retreat back to Boston. Thousands of militiamen from nearby colonies went to Boston to assist.
In the meantime, leaders held the SecondContinental Congress. They drafted the Olive Branch Petition, in which they expressed their loyalty to Britain and asked King George III for peaceful reconciliation. The king rejected the petition and formally declared that the colonies were in a state of rebellion.
The Declaration of Independence:
The Second Continental Congress chose GeorgeWashington, who would later become America’s first president, to command the militiamen defending Boston in the north. They also appropriated money for a small navy and for developing a professional Continental Army. Support began to grow for America’s succession from Britain. A vote was held on July 2, 1776, to declare independence. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776 the United States was born.
By Diane Durbin | Guest Blogger
In 1961, Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the Commission on the Status of Women with the purpose of documenting and eliminating discrimination against women in the workforce, including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave and affordable child care. The Commission only lasted two years, and today, it is hard to imagine that such a federal agency even needed to be created. Today's woman is free to work. She works equally alongside men. She is a CEO, a doctor, a judge, a business owner, a military veteran, while also filling the role of mother, wife, sister, daughter and best friend. Today's woman can run the PTA, coach a soccer team, and lead Bible study - and I personally believe she does it fabulously.
In this day and age of 6 am-conference calls, protein bar lunches, and multiple Starbucks runs, there's only one way to stay ahead of the pack. Let me explain a term that I have come to know, live, and love: pro-fashionalism. Pro-fashionalism is the unique and marvelous combination of wit, grace and polished execution of tasks in the workplace. It is a trait that every working gal should master.It's knowing that the power suit that got you through your dream interview doesn't have to be Yves Saint Laurent if you have a talented tailor in your back pocket.It's winning over your boss with those extra heel Band-Aids that you always have in your Stella & Dot tote. Pro-fashionalism doesn't mean working untilmidnight 6 nights a week or skipping church on Sunday in order to meet a deadline. It means delegating and hiring only the smartest and most-skilled co-workers who not only love to help you, but also love to chat about The Bachelorduring coffee breaks. When utilized correctly, pro-fashionalism enables you to climb the ladder in your favorite pair of heels.
Not only does pro-fashionalism apply in the work place; it's also a state of mind that extends into other aspects of life. Let's face it: you can have the gig that pays the money, but every smart woman knows that if it's not a job you're passionate about, then you're a girl that simply doesn’t have it all. Pro-fashionals know that in order to succeed, you must do what you love, combine your passions with your skill-set, and the rest will eventually fall into place. Finally, in order to be your happiest and most successful self, you must foster relationships outside the office with other amazing beings. Whether you're a wife, a girlfriend, or a single gal doing her best to be a fabulous friend, it's important to surround yourself with other like-minded people who support your ambitious endeavors and will go through the ups and downs with you. After all, anyone can ride next to you in the limo, but what you really want is someone to walk with you when the limo breaks down.
Pro-fashionals are dynamic in their own right. They can work the 9-to-5, bring home the bacon and cook dinner for their family, but know the best restaurants in town for to-go tiramisu. My challenge to women is this: don't let the fusion of grace, skill and compassion fizzle out of corporate America. Set goals and reach them, but do it with the pro-fashional mantra: stepping on people to climb to the top of the ladder will only scuff your Italian leather soles.