And the point here is not be tough… but to persevere. To last through the valley. To endure, cultivate patience, and live humility. With that, we develop our character which allows us to serve our world and neighbors more effectively.
So we encourage you to last. Sometimes the road might seem long, but look at that beautiful, eternal sunshine. Keep reaching for it.
Dr. Robert Schuller was a minister and founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. He was born in Alton, Iowa and he was the youngest of five children. His grandparents were both Dutch immigrants, and he was part of a tight-knit Dutch community. After he graduated high school, Dr. Schuller attended Hope College and then received his Master of Divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary. In 1950, he married Arvella De Haan, who would help shape the music of Crystal Cathedral. Together they had five children.
He wrote over thirty books and six of those books became New York Times bestsellers. He was best known for starting the popular TV program Hour of Power; as a result he became a popular Televangelist. After retiring as the principle pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, he became the chairman of the church’s board of directors.
“At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.”
— Christopher Reeve
What a lovely quote…and a good reminder for us all…
Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) was an American actor and activist. As an actor, he is best known for his portrayal of Superman, for which he won a BAFTA award. When Reev was nine, he discovered his love for acting in a school play called The Yeomen of the Guard. He excelled in high school and he went on to Cornell University to get his degree as he promised his mother to do before he pursued his acting career. While at Cornell, he met an agent who would help him find opportunities to act during his summers. Instead of finishing his senior year at Cornell, he applied and got accepted to the Advanced Program at Julliard for acting, which would replace his senior year of college. Through the help of his agent, he was able to secure his role as Superman despite only having done one minor role in Hollywood before. He received very positive reviews for his role in the movie and he began to star in a number of films and plays afterward. Reeve was married to Dana Morosini and had three children, two from a previous relationship.
In 1995, Reeve was injured in a horse-riding accident which shattered vertebrae in his spine and left him a quadriplegic. He became an influential activist for individuals with spinal injuries, bringing attention to the cause through speaking and media, and founding the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Reeve inspired many with his personal story of persevering through his physical challenges. He made his directorial debut after his injury, and also performed in small acting roles, including on the Superman-based TV show, Smallville. He authored two autobiographical books after his injury, Still Me and Nothing Is Impossible.
Thank goodness he struggled, persevered and progressed. It helped him, me and our entire world be fairer, more compassionate, and true in our relations with one another.
We all struggle. And we all face lovely times of hope and joy. That joy is indeed waiting for you, which aids all mankind.
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping slavery, Douglass helped lead the abolitionist movement, acquiring a distinguished repertoire of his oratory and writing against slavery. He proved the slaveholders’ argument wrong in their claim that slaves did not possess the intellectual capacity to be independent American citizens. Douglass participated as an impressive player in changing history: rather than quietly living the rest of his life as a free man after escaping slavery, he risked that attainment to speak out for freedom and better treatment for all African Americans.
Douglass and Anna had five children: Rosetta Douglass, Lewis Henry Douglass, Frederick Douglass Jr., Charles Remond Douglass, and Annie Douglass. Charles and Rosetta helped produce his newspapers. Anna Douglass remained a loyal supporter of her husband’s public work.
“You have to make things happen. There are bumps in the road: my agent, my weight, an industry looking for cool girls more than a commercial look. These are hurdles, and you have to find your way. You have to find out: How do I fit in here?”
– Heidi Klum
This might look daunting, but there is a way up. This person found a way!
No matter what the challenge is you are facing, you will find a way to
do so. We can learn, challenge ourselves, and believe.
Up you go!
Heidi Klum, born in 1973 in Germany, is a supermodel, actress, businesswoman, and television producer. She produces and hosts the award-winning reality television show Project Runway and has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire. She became widely known after appearing as a Victoria’s Secret Angel because she was the first German model to become a Victoria Secret Angel. Heidi has also worked in philanthropy, specifically with Walk For Kids in 2011 and the American Red Cross. She has been nominated for six Emmy Awards, worked with H&M, and became the official ambassador for Barbie in 2009. Heidi is mother to four children, ranging from ages 2-8.
“Never allow the circumstances of your life to become an excuse. People will allow you to do it. But I believe we have a personal obligation to make the most of the abilities we have.”
– Jim Abbott
Jim Abbott is a former Major League baseball pitcher, who played despite having been born without a right hand. He played for teams including the California Angels, New York Yankees, and Chicago White Sox. In 1993, Abbott threw a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians, and in 1988 pitched the final game to win the United States an unofficial gold medal in the Summer Olympics. Throughout his career, teams tried to exploit the fact that Abbott played with one hand, but their tactics were never effective. Today, Abbott works as a motivational speaker, living in California with his wife, two children and their dog. His parents still live in Michigan, where he grew up. Abbott and his family take the summer off each year to stay at the lake and visit with family and friends.
I love how Howard Zinn focuses on maintaining the human spirit. Throughout his life dedication to combatting injustice, striving to help those marginalized, and being involved in a brutal World War, Howard held his views of hope.
“…I intend to be the voice of reasonable optimism, to figure out a passage through this tough time. To have hope, one does not need certainty, only possibility.”
Let’s keep our minds open to the great possibilities which abound before us. There is always a way, a pathway, a new opportunity, a new possibility. A New Hope!
Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a historian, author and activist.He was a pilot in WWII, an experience which shaped his outspoken opposition of war.He was a professor of political science for many years at Boston University as well as Spelman College.He is best known for his book, A People’s History of the United States, presenting history from the point of the view of the marginalized.
In the 1900s, Madam C.J. Walker made her mark for black women (and all women) by becoming the first African-American self-made millionaire in America. She had a problem herself; in setting out to solve it, she helped others.
Madam Walker was losing some of her hair. So she created a hair product company which addressed this need, while helping women feel stronger, prouder, more beautiful. She was a millionaire within fifteen years.
Yet it wasn’t just enhancing women’s beauty and self-esteem that made her unique. She employed thousands of women; she shone with brilliance by being a great CEO. And she left us with some inspiring mottos by which she lived her life.
Two of my favorites are:
“I got my start by giving myself a start.”
“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”
Go “start” whatever you would love to do. It can be small, it can be on the side, it can be modest. But begin today. You will know yourself more, giving of your “only-you” talents. You will also be providing opportunities and inspiration for others.
In honor of Black History month, we honor Madam C.J. Walker. She was the first self-made American millionaire who was African-American or female. Her own hair loss inspired her to experiment with home remedies, and then sell them throughout the country. She began by selling Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, a healing conditioner for scalps. She traveled door-to-door throughout the South and Southeast to sell her products. Her corporation employed as many as 3,000 people at one point. Madam Walker also founded Lelia College to train “hair culturists,” assisting other black women to start their own businesses. She was a Civil Rights activist and philanthropist.