What Will You Do After Martin Luther King’s Birthday? That’s What Counts

MLK

We expect parades, concerts, TV specials and community events on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Day of Service. 

When I was still teaching, my students looked forward to this and any holiday as time off. But if we want to truly honor King, his birthday should be a day on, not off

It’s a time for us to show up, not on just one day, but a time to follow his legacy of service everyday. You can get ideas here. 

Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1986 after 32 years of campaigning at local and national levels. It later became the national Martin Luther King Day of Service when former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994. His most popular “I Have a Dream” speech galvanized the civil rights movement, but my favorite King speech is the Feb. 4, 1968 sermon,  “The Drum Major Instinct”. In it he said

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

If King’s call to serve has a familiar ring, it’s because the same message echoes throughout history.  

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.’ If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else. Chinese Proverb

The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve. Albert Schweitzer

Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy 1961 inaugural address

Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve. Marianne Willliamson

Serving others is easy.

You don’t have to go far nor do you need loads of skill or buckets of talent. Connecting with an established charity, church or other community groups can do enormous good and be gratifying for you, even if you work with them only occasionally throughout the year.

In every age group from premature newborns to senior citizens are people longing for conversation, a visit or a touch. Local and global groups can help you find people in one of these groups if you are drawn to serve one of them.

Serving others is accessible.

One neighborhood rallied around to help each other when someone was recovering from illness and needed a hot meal or were unable to drive and needed transportation to medical or other appointments.

Serving others is contagious.

When I owned a gift basket business, the owner of a customized cookie company recognizing that I was new to the business took time from working in her booth at the California Gift Show to sit me down and give me some great marketing advice.

Her spontaneous and generous mentoring inspired me to help other aspiring entrepreneurs through a nationwide network, a newsletter, speaking at gift shows. and presenting workshops at gift basket associations. 

Serving others is mutually beneficial.

Research has caught up with ancient wisdom.  Scientific studies and positive psychology have toppled some of the myths we have about what makes us happy. What is consistent among the findings is  we increase our own happiness by expressing gratitude and helping others. If you are curious to find out where you stand on gratitude and assess your level of happiness, take one of the many free questionnaires on Authentic Happiness.

Serving others is most powerful when it extends beyond one day.

Many communities and organizations used the National Day of Service as the kickoff day for extended service. Some groups provide healthy snacks to nearby schools. Philadelphia holds a citywide event where citizens pitch in on various projects. Some health organizations hold events calling attention to health and wellness issues in their community. 

King filled a void when he spoke out for justice and freedom. I encourage you to fill a void in the niche you serve and show flair and style in the life you live.

Let the way you earn your living also enable you to serve others.  Even if you are working on a job that is just a temporary stop along the way to your ideal career, give your sincere effort and best service, not just for others, but for yourself as well.

To serve, as King points out, all you need is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. Thankfully, these things are within everyone’s reach. To tap into them all you have to do is go within, believing that they are yours.

Let the National Martin Luther King Day of Service be a reminder to start your daily activities from your heart and soul, and carry out all your interactions with integrity and joy.

Tell us in Speak Your Mind below how you plan to honor King’s legacy throughout the year.

(Revision of a 2017 post on ColorYourLifeHappy.com/blog.)

Let Famous Failures Inspire You to Keep Going After Your Dream

ribbonswirl

 

Have you ever failed at something and for a moment felt devastated?

If so, you’re in good company. History is loaded with examples of successful people who encountered many failed attempts before they discovered success in their fields.

The difference between momentary failure and your eventual success is trying again, and with passion. Perfection, however, is not your goal. Giving your best, making the world a better place and experiencing fulfillment is.

The problem with what the world calls “failure” is that it’s an opinion of someone who can’t see your full value, your inner beauty, and your limitless potential. Even well-meaning folks, like our parents, can diminish our efforts with their damaging evaluations.

Henry Ford who had lots of experience with what the world calls failure said:  “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently”. In fact, what you learn from failure paves your road to success.

Enjoy the following video about famous failures and let it be a reminder to keep going after your dream.

A Life Lesson that Ensures Happiness

After you watch this video, tell me in the comments what you learned that you can apply to your life right away.

Want more tips, get your copy of Color Your Life Happy: Create Your Unique Path and Claim the Joy You Deserve. It’s now available in paperbook, ebook, and audiobook at https://www.amazon.com/Color-Your-Life-Happy-Deserve/dp/0977218317/

 

 

7 Surefire Ways to Set Yourself Up for Happiness

Flora laughing at comment from Charlesetta from CSUF

Wow! You can see I had a lot of fun at the SCORE Women in Business Breakfast Series.

 

There’s NO secret on how to be happy. But there are ways to set yourself up for happiness everyday.

If you’re reading this, you are literate and likely have the freedom to choose what you read. Start there. Thank a teacher and environment that allowed this.

On EverydayPowerBlog, I share  a guest post with  seven small ways to create happiness in your life each day. After you read them, tell me in the comments which one(s) resonated with you. 

 

 

Love Shouldn’t Hurt on Valentine’s Day or Any Other Day

Can Stock Photo/fmarsicano

For florists it’s one of the biggest money-making days along with Mother’s Day and the December holidays. For candy makers it means millions of dollars, even during a recession.

For the wives and children who are victims of violence and abuse,  Valentine’s Day is just another day of fear, dread, and anxiety.

It was just a few days into the semester at a local community college where I was teaching a critical thinking class. I had just dismissed the class  when an attractive female student stopped by my desk before leaving the room. “I just want to let you know that I’ll have to drop out of school for now,” with a distinct sadness in her voice.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I shared. “Are you moving?”

“Actually, yes. I’m moving into a shelter with my two kids to get away from my husband.”

“Oh,” I could hardly catch my breath.

“He knows my schedule, and so to be safe we must go into hiding for a while, she said.” Her fear was palpable. “I don’t know when I will return,” she said as she slowly turned and left the room.

I never saw her again.

In my 40 years of teaching, she was not the first nor the last of my students who left school as part of their escape from domestic violence.

I never saw any of them again, but I think about them often.

Many women (and some men too) are hurt by the same people who once promised to love and protect them.  When this happens, the fear of abuse and even death can be overwhelming.

Here’s hoping that you have a great Valentine’s Day full of love and affection with your significant others.

Unfortunately, there are some for whom Valentine’s Day is not a happy day at all.

Troubling concerns associated with Valentine’s Day

1. For the wives and children who are victims of violence, the abuse may escalate on Valentine’s Day.
2. Many cheaters get caught on Valentine’s Day because they  show up for both their lovers and spouses too.  For this reason, Valentine’s Day  can be a banner day for private investigators.
3. Some suspicious lovers set traps for Valentine’s Day.

More troubling concerns associated with cheating and domestic violence

1. If you’re one of those people who asks why women stay in abusive relationships, watch the video above and read this article where Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of Crazy Love , shares her own disturbing story and those of others. She is in an advisory group for DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

2. In the video above, Steiner shares these chilling statistics:

  • One in three women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.
  • 500 women and girls a year are killed as victims of domestic violence.
  • It’s extremely dangerous to leave an abusive relationship. More than 70% of domestic violence murders occur after the victim has left.

3. Out of marital cheating often grows other endeavors. One writer was so upset at catching her husband cheating on Valentine’s Day that she started a website, www.revengelady.com to give advice on revenge, she says, so that you can bring happiness and humor back to your life.

4.  It’s not unusual on dating sites to see applicants admit in their profiles that they are married and just looking for a fling. But how about a website like http://www.ashleymadison.com/ devoted to encouraging cheaters who are looking for affairs.

5. As many as 90% of the women in jail today for killing men had been battered by those men. See the Fact Sheet on Battered Women in Prison.

6. Approximately 1.5 million U.S. high school students will be physically abused by a dating partner this year.

What can you do about all this?

1. Learn to recognize the early signs of abuse. The abuser usually seduces and charms the victim before slowly isolating her from her friends and families.

2. Break the silence. It’s because of our silence that violence continues.

3. Look for ways in your community and online to promote healthy love

LOVE SHOULDN’T HURT: I Stand For Healthy LOVE Campaign

4. Educate yourself. Safe Horizons, one of the largest U.S. victims services agencies reports that one in four women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes. It is estimated at over 3 million children who witness this violence not only are traumatized, but may grow to believe this is acceptable behavior.

Lorri Galloway, executive director of Eli Home, speaks with reporter.
Lorri Galloway, on the right, executive director of Eli Home for Abused and Neglected Children,
in Anaheim, CA speaks with reporter. Date unknown.

5. Help break the cycle of abuse.

Don’t let these grim facts and  experiences turn you against love and Valentine’s Day.

Instead. . .

  • Learn to be your own Valentine. Here are 28 ways.
  • Spend the day with loving friends or relatives if you are without a mate this year.
  • If you are going to be alone on Valentine’s Day, watch movies that suit you on Netflix, Amazon Prime, AcornTV (British) or get free or low-cost DVDs at your public library.
  • Check out an interesting history of Valentine’s Day here
  • Call to extend loving thoughts to someone else who will be alone on this day and will be uplifted to hear from you.
  • Visit a nursing home to spend some time with those residents who never get visitors.
  • Attend religious/spiritual services or community activities.
  • Extend random kindness to a stranger today.
  • Leave random love notes in a public place you visit today. See Writing Letters Brings Double Happiness.
  • Share this post with folks you love on your social media sites.

[This is an update of a post I publish every year during Valentine’s Day week.]

Can you think of other ways we can celebrate love and Valentine’s Day? Leave your ideas in the Comments.