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Presidents Day Countdown: Abraham Lincoln

Reading even a few Abraham Lincoln quotes helps you appreciate the depth and extent of his wisdom and character.

If George Washington kept the United States from falling apart before it had really got started as first president, fast forward to a time when it didn’t look like the United States would celebrate its 100th anniversary as a country. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president US president, a self-taught man from humble circumstances, cast a vision of integrity – despite the cost – for the union in his words and actions. Here are just a few thoughts from ‘Honest Abe’ – a common man with uncommon wisdom applied to personal success, politics, virtue, and even the practice of law!

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new at all.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.

Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

God must love the common man, he made so many of them.

Perhaps the most famous and immortal words that Lincoln ever spoke are known as the Gettysburg Address:

Four score 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 battle-field 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 can not dedicate…we can not consecrate…we can not 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.

The Grape Detox Diet

Larry Stone was owner and publisher of Rutledge Hill Press - where he introduced Life's Little Instruction Book to the world.

Larry Stone was owner and publisher of Rutledge Hill Press – where he introduced Life’s Little Instruction Book to the world.

Larry Stone is a publishing legend, someone I admire and, I’m proud to say, a good friend. We had breakfast last week and he told me about an annual detox diet he and his wife Lois do together each year. Having lost 50 pounds this past year, my ears perked up. I am interested in anything that will help me keep weight off – and be healthier. I think you’ll enjoy this guest post – and you just might  find a new health commitment to begin each year!

I have told many friends about the detox diet my wife and I have followed in January for the last 30 years. It may sound nutty, but it does make us feel better, more alive, and more energetic and keeps us at our target weight. My wife looks fabulous, and at 69, we both still water ski and climb mountains.

What makes this grape detox diet so interesting is its history. In 1927 Johanna Brandt left South Africa for the United States to tell her story of having been cured of cancer by “The Grape Cure.” Although she discovered this diet, she claims it had been known for centuries. I’m not claiming it cures anything. But I do know all of us tend to put poisons in our body, and this diet will eliminate them. [Read more…]

Labor Day: It Beats the Alternative

Labor Day

A celebration of a “worker’s holiday.”

Founded in 1882 (or 1884) by machinist Matthew Maguire (or by some reports, carpenter Peter McGuire). Labor Day in the United States was ratified as a federal holiday in 1894 (maybe; and maybe again in 1898) and subsequently by all 50 states as a state holiday. It is celebrated on the first Monday of September each year.

In the words of McGuire (no one can remember what Maguire said), Labor Day should be a “worker’s holiday” to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” (His reference to “rude nature” does take a little luster off the honor.)

By a resolution of the American Federation of Labor Convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement (Source: Department of Labor website.) But that seemed like too much work and conflicted with church services so it never quite caught on. Over time, another hallmark of the holiday, highly charge political speeches on the evils of the Bourgeoisie’s exploitation of the Proletariat, faded away also. We can thank long-winded politicians, the NFL, and the defeat of Communism for that.

Ever since Adam’s Curse in the garden (Genesis 3:17-19), though, there has been a definite negative connotation associated with work.

Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.

In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.

Karl Marx, writing from his comfortable upper middle class lifestyle in London, England, couldn’t help but express outrage over the horrific conditions for much of the worldwide working class, though his assertion that industrialization separated ‘man’ from the fruit of his labors failed to note that the life expectancy of farmers wasn’t very long either.

A negativity toward work, even by those who ply their trade in safe, comfortable, life enhancing environments with free coffee and real half and half, persists. For example, if someone works long hours today and shows a fondness for work, he or she is labelled a ‘workaholic’ – someone with an obvious and dangerous psychological deficiency. One of the fantasies presented by motivational speakers as a good idea to the modern American worker is to quit a job that doesn’t meet his or her need for self-actualization – without having something else that pays the bills lined up.

I have no desire to argue against the theology of the Curse. But I would posit that there is something a lot worse than work. No work.

Just ask yourself this question, who looks happier and lives better, the one who is out of work or the one who is gainfully employed?

I like what friend and author, Richard Exley, presented in The Rhythm of Life. The best life, the fulfilled life is one that has the proper balance of work, rest, play, and worship. In a culture obsessed with play – and certainly not going overboard in the area of worship – what a great paradigm for ordering your life in a way that opens you up to experience and express what matters most.

Wow. I feel like I have a better attitude toward hard work already. I plan to remember that tomorrow when I head back to the ‘salt mines’!