1. Never label any particular “race” of people as being stupid, ignorant, or bigoted. Stupidity, ignorance, and bigotry comes in all shades.
2. “Race” is a man-made term used to divide groups of people and often to build walls of division, derision, degradation, belittlement, and even hatred.
3. Accept all people for whom God created them to be, and always try to build bridges of hope, love, peace, and understanding.
4. To judge a person by the color of his or her skin is to prove your level of misguided ignorance, and not necessarily your level of intelligence. Intelligent people do not allow the color of a person’s skin to create walls of division, but rather they work together, regardless of “race,” to build bridges of hope, love, peace, and understanding.
5. Never make rash and hasty decisions or opinions about any person until you have tried to walk a mile in his or her shoes, and have strived to make some effort to at least understand what makes him or her who they are. In other words, at least try to view the world through their eyes and not always your own.
6. Never be quick to criticize another person, or quick to point out their shortcomings and faults, unless you have seriously taken the time to look carefully at the individual who looks back at you in your mirror and can honestly declare that person whom you see as being “perfect.”
7. Judge no person by the color of his or her skin, but only by the content of his or her character. The color of the skin has nothing to do with intelligence levels or anything else for that matter.
8. Be quick to show love, patience, and understanding, and slow and careful to despise or reject another because of supposed differences. Strive to find the commonalities that can bind you as brothers and sisters, and focus less on the differences that supposedly cause division between you.
9. Treat all humanity as persons of dignity and self-worth, and strive to eradicate the words “hate” and “hatred” from your vocabularies. For to hate another often, in turn, leads to more hatred, which eventually leads to a bloody battlefield of contention and strife. Always remember, hatred only begets more hatred. We need not be at war with one another, but should try to find ways to live together as brothers and sisters.
10. Those who are incessant to use the “race” card for every situation, or to judge another person according to the color of his or her skin or “race” are in and of themselves racist and bigots regardless of the color of their skin. Beware of being numbered among their ranks.
Today, 17 October 2015, is my 57th birthday. Where have the years gone? Am I really that old?
When I was born at 10:17 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, 17 October 1958, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. It is hard to believe that in the span of my short life, I have witnessed the election and administration of 10 presidents.
I was born in what was then known as the town of Salisbury, Maryland. I remember as a boy when out with my parents riding in the car going to different places, people would stop and ask them where Salisbury was, and my parents would always reply, “You just drove through it!” Today Salisbury is a major city on the Delmarva Peninsula. The hospital where I was born was known simply as the Salisbury Hospital. It has long since been remodeled into what is now the Salisbury Regional Medical Center. When I started school in 1963 at the age of 5, I attended an all Black elementary school. I would not experience integration of public schools until I was in high school and was bused across town to attend one of the local high schools.
In the same year that I started school, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, 22 November 1963, in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. I can still recall watching his funeral procession on television, and the image of John Jr. saluting his father’s flag-draped casket as it passed by. The Civil Rights Movement was still at the forefront of the news, and just three short months before the assassination of President Kennedy, on 28 August 1963, America was listening to Civil Rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his timeless “I Have A Dream” speech to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. In his immortal speech which became a defining moment in the American Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King called for an end to racism in the United States. I would have never imagined that at the young age of 9, on 4 April 1968, I would hear the television announcer say that Martin Luther King, Jr., at the age of 39, had been shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:05PM that evening. I also remember watching his funeral services on television, and the image of his endearing wife, Coretta Scott King, and their young children.
Yes, many things have changed since 17 October 1958, but some things have also remained the same on many levels. What I have admired about the people aforementioned, as well as other greats that have influenced my young life is that none of them lived their life just to be living it. Each of them worked hard to make even a small difference and to make the world a better place for everyone to live in. It is because of that inspiration that at the start of another year of life, I have decided to adopt the following as a new motto: “Anima plus est quam esse diem. Verum cum cupiam vivere incipiat qualitercumque porrexeris plenam potentiam quique ante destinatum est.” (Translation: Life is more than just existing from day-to-day. You truly begin to live when you yearn to reach for your full potential and become who you were meant to be.) I hope that you too will resolve to do more than just exist.
From time to time I pause to reflect upon the events that have taken place as this pilgrim continues on his journey through life. As I have traversed the hills and the byways there have indeed been many wonderful mountain top experiences, but there have also been some down in the valley experiences as well.
The terrain upon which I have traveled has at times been smooth and easy to navigate, but at other times it has been extremely rocky and filled with obstacles that I have had to overcome to continue on my pilgrimage. Indeed at times I have enjoyed precious moments when I have had opportunity to rest for a bit from my travels as I have sat down in luscious green pastures. However, with the sweet, oftentimes comes the bitter, and at times I have traveled through some hot, dry, and dusty desserts seeking even just a cup of cool water to quench my dying thirst and cool shade to take shelter from the sweltering heat.
As I reflect upon these things I am reminded that no matter how rough the journey may seem at times, the Lord has been and continues to be right there beside me to guide my footsteps along the way. In times of loneliness and despair, He is always there to comfort me. In the darkest of nights, He is my Guiding Star. When I grow tired and weary, He is there to give me rest and to carry me. Though the way may seem hard and at times I feel that I cannot go one more mile, I am ever reminded that there is absolutely nothing that is too hard for the Lord.
To us, who are mere mortals, oftentimes what lays before us seems to be mountains of impossibilities. With our human mind which is finite, and with our mortal vision, there are things which seem to us to be impossible to do. In our own mind and strength this is indeed the reality of the situation. And so, many times we are left with a feeling of defeat because in our mind’s eye, the tasks before us are too hard for us to master and to conquer.
Of a surety, the Lord’s ways are not our ways. His mind is infinite and His vision expands beyond the widest horizon. What may seem to be too hard for us, seems as mere insignificance to Him. There is absolutely nothing that He cannot do, except fail. There is nothing that is impossible or too hard for Him.
To truly be at a success at what we do in this life, we must take our focus off of what we believe to be impossibilities, and place our full and complete trust in Him who is able to make supposed impossibilities – living realities. Yes, all things are possible if we only believe. For again I say, there is absolutely nothing that is too hard for the Lord.
It proves unhealthy and unwise to want to dedicate our entire life to being concerned about the welfare of others and never taking any time to take care of our own well-being. If we do not take care of ourselves we will eventually find ourselves stressed out and burnt out, and of no real service to anyone else or even ourselves.
There comes a time in all of our lives when we need to pause, take a step back, review, and reevaluate the priorities of our life. There comes a time when we need to take control of our own life, and not allow others to always be the “driver of the bus,” taking us only to the places that they wish to go. There comes a time when we need to reassess our situation in life and start to realize that everyone’s “that” is not necessarily any more important than our “this.” In other words, there comes a time when we just need to say, “No! I am not doing “that.” I am doing “this” now. When I get the time, I will get to “that.” And when we do so, we not cower, but stand our ground.
Unfortunately there are people in this world who enjoy nothing more than placing undue demands on our time and resources. They attempt to use us as their proverbial puppets on a string, never considering, nor caring, how much undue stress they place upon us in trying to always satisfy their needs and wants. In all fairness, however, we must get to the point in our life when we begin to realize that all the stress that we experience in life is not always the direct fault of others. Much of the stress that we experience is directly related to the stress that we place on ourselves. As a result, it is often that stress that we put upon ourselves that eventually causes total burnout.
Therefore, it proves unselfish to want to take some time for ourselves and to take care of ourselves. In fact, it proves foolish not to do so so. Although we may have a heart’s desire to want to try to solve the world’s problems, and to always be there for everyone else, there comes a time when the person that we should be there for the most is ourselves.
We cannot spend our entire life thinking that we have to always be the “go to” person. We need to take off our proverbial capes, because try as some of us might, we are not super beings, we are human beings – mortals made of flesh and blood, with emotions and feelings. If we do not take care of ourselves, the hard cold reality is that most of the time, nobody else will.
It is a good thing to want to help and care for others, but in all that we do, we must remember to always take good care of ourselves.
If I were to describe my life up until now, the two words that I would use are “stuck record.” You are probably asking yourself how a person’s life can be compared to a stuck record. I cannot speak for anyone else, but looking back on my life, there were several things that caused my “record” to become stuck.
As a child I lived in an extremely dysfunctional home environment filled with some very unhealthy and dangerous behaviors. Those behaviors eventually carried forward into my adult years. Knowing of no other solution to cope with the problems that I faced in life, I continued to exhibit the behaviors and practices that had become ingrained in me. Thus, I remained a victim of my circumstances, and because of my unhealthy practices and behaviors, I became addicted to drugs, found myself in environments and unhealthy relationships that were abusive, and I used sex as a tool to boost my self-esteem. I lived my life caught in a vicious spin cycle of repeating the same practices and behaviors over and over, perhaps expecting different results each time, but in reality, my life became nothing more than a cycle of insanity. It was obvious that living my life in that way was not serving me well, but alas, I was hopelessly stuck.
In order to get unstuck, I had to start taking complete responsibility for my actions, and realize that only I could pick up the needle off the “record” and substitute that worn out “record” with a different one. Not only did I need to change the stuck “record,” but I also realized that a change in the music choices that I had become accustomed to listening to was also in order.
You might ask, “Was it easy to get rid of my old music collection and start building a new one?” Absolutely not! However, if you want the “record” in your life to become unstuck, you might have to go through your collection and throw out some of the old music that you have listened to – some of the old behaviors and practices that have made your life toxic and miserable – and start building a brand new library of music that will help move your life forward. The heart of the matter is this, YOU are the one who must make the decision to quit being a stuck record!
Starting Over Again – A New Music Collection
Throughout my life, my behavioral patterns and attitude have been based on an unhealthy and poisonous music collection. The “music” that I was listening to created a realm of negativity in my life, and was literally destroying me. I had sold my heart and soul to toxic “lyrics” that either my mind was filled with as a child, or that I had stored in my memory as the years passed. I discovered that I could not get a new “music collection” until I had completely removed the old negative and toxic lyrics that were playing over and over in my mind. I had to retire the old artists that were enabling unhealthy behaviors which caused me to devalue myself, as well as relationships with other people.
I will be the first to admit that it is not easy to deprogram myself from listening to old lyrics that have never helped me in my life. Albeit, in order for me to develop a “normal,” healthy life, I know that I need to get rid of the old records and CDs in my life, change my environment, and revolutionize my way of thinking about myself and others. In order for me to evolve into the woman who I am meant to be, I need to throw out the old music collection and start a new collection – new friends, thoughts, attitudes, gestures, and ideas – that will help me to develop a new character within myself. I have to start listening to new artists whose song lyrics will help me grow physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
There are three important keys to starting a new music collection – honesty, open-mindedness, and a willingness to do so. The million dollar question that begs an answer is, “How eager are you to start listening to new artists that have better ideas and words of wisdom to impart that you have not been able to obtain before?”
Karlyn Kay Stebbins
April 10, 2015
Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:
I have a double major in sociology and psychology and a minor in communications. I was before a licensed addictions counselor in a treatment center up until recently. Due to a drastic series of some life-changing events, I now live in Hawaii and I am going back to school for my master degree in sociology.
I am a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter day Saints and have been a member since 26 March 2011.
My interests are furthering my education and spending time with my partner and her friends and eventually becoming active in the LGBT Community here in Hawaii, and doing some addictions counseling work within that Community. I love to read, write, and hang out at the beach.
Miles Batty is a 27-year-old (born 1 June 1987) track runner who specializes in middle-distance disciplines. Middle-distance running events are track races longer than sprints, and up to 3000 meters. The standard middle distances are the 800 meters, 1500 meters and mile run, although the 3000 meters may also be classified as a middle-distance track event.
He graduated from Jordan High School in Sandy, Utah in 2005. During his high school tenure, he was considered one of the most prolific cross-country and distance track runners in the state of Utah which earned him such accolades as state champion of Utah in cross-country with a personal best time in the mile of 4 minutes and 22 seconds.
After high school, Batty served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the country of Brazil. During his time as a missionary, he was not able to take part in any competitive running events. As a result, when he returned to Brigham Young University (BYU) after his mission, he struggled to get back in shape and even questioned being able to succeed as a college runner.
In 2011, he qualified and won the NCAA track championship, and received the title of Men’s Track Athlete of the Year by USA Track & Field (USATF). Also in 2011, he helped BYU’s distance relay team win the national championship. And by August 2011, he was ranked number 9 in the United States in the 1500 meters discipline.
In February 2012, at the 2012 Millrose Games, Batty broke the indoor collegiate mile record by almost half a second with a time of 3:54.54. In February 2013, His record time was beaten at the 2013 Millrose Games by Chris O’Hare with a time of 3:52.98. Batty dropped to number three on the NCAA all-time mile list in 2014 when Lawi Lalang clocked a 3:52.88 at the Millrose Games. He finished 10th at the 2012 US Olympic Trials for the 1500-meter race.
Batty is currently studying neuroscience at BYU and has aspirations of going to medical school.
Other Media Files of Interest:
There are people in this world who seem to make it their life’s mission to continually fan the ever glowing embers of ignorance and hatred. When one little spark from those embers ignites into a flame, they will continually fan that flame until it turns into a raging inferno. Once the inferno is raging, they will try to keep it ever-burning by incessantly dowsing it with the gasoline of unrelenting ignorance and hatred. In time if someone does not combat the fire, and try to bring it under control, it will eventually destroy lives and livelihoods.
It proves of no sound purpose to ever retaliate against ignorance and hatred with more of the same. Hatred only begets more hatred, and ignorance only begets more ignorance. The result only leads to a blood stained battlefield populated by all too often innocent victims, many of whom never know or understand why they ever became a “soldier” in the proverbial battle. They only know that it seemed like the right thing to do then, but they never stopped to question the validity or justification for the proverbial battle cry.
We need more “firefighters” in this world, and fewer people who continually start fires, oftentimes for unclear or nonsensical reasons. Once a fire has gotten out of control, the only way to bring it back under control is to repeatedly douse it with a solid stream of the cool healing waters of brotherly love and compassion, and completely smother any remaining glowing embers with a blanket of human dignity, self-worth, and patient love.
Sometimes we cannot see the proverbial forest because of the trees that impair our vision. We sometimes exert our energy in concentrating on what makes us different and fail to recognize the commonalities which should help to unite us as brothers and sisters. We may not agree on everything, but our differences should not cause us to become bitter and mortal enemies, but rather friends who are willing to live together, learn from one another, and most of all love one another.
However, let us be ever mindful that if we want to have friends in this life, we must first prove ourselves as being friendly. If we want to live at peace with those who would otherwise seemingly be our enemies, then we must not show hostility and malice towards others. If we want that people trust us, then we must prove to them that we are trustworthy. To live at peace in this world requires the efforts of many, not just the few or the one.
Let us also be mindful that respect is a reciprocated process. We cannot and should not expect others to support us and give us due respect when we at every turn find ways to undermine, demean, embarrass, or utterly disrespect them. If we want people to respect us, we must FIRST learn to respect others.
I humbly pray that I shall never be faced with the decision as to which people to love for I strive to live at peace with all men and have a heart’s desire to love everyone as my brother and sister. No barriers, artificial or otherwise, can nor should separate us because we can all share a common blanket of love. It is our love for one another that unites us and strengthens us.
Regardless of our race, regardless if we are rich or poor, regardless of our occupation and station in life, we are all brothers and sisters. We are all members of The Royal Family with a Father who loves each of us equally and unconditionally. It is impossible for a man to say that he loves his Father, but yet holds malice and ill will towards one of his brothers or sisters. If we say we love our Father, we must love ALL of our brothers and sisters as well.
No, we cannot fight fire with fire, but all of us can do our part to help extinguish any fires by drowning them out in an ocean of love.
Don’t ever think that you are a lone soldier on the battlefield in the midst of a war with the enemy encircling your camp, the ammunition supply almost depleted, and communications down. Soldiers are never sent into battle alone. They always have other soldiers in front of them, behind them, and fighting right beside them. Help is never far away.
Likewise, we may at times feel that we are all alone and that no one has ever experienced some of the same things that we have experienced or are experiencing in life, but rest assured that is not necessarily the case. No matter how rough and arduous our road may seem, it is a guarantee that there is someone, somewhere, whose road is a lot rougher and arduous to travel than our own.
We need not go through life thinking that we must fight the battle alone. God has promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us, thus we are never alone. In the heat of the battle, when it seems that all hope is gone, and there is no one whom we can call on for help, He is our very present help in time of trouble, and He will send His angels to protect us from the front, from the rear, and to walk right beside us. The communication lines between us and Him are always open. Let us always remember that the battle is not ours, but the Lord’s.
God never intended for any of us to be someone’s footstool for them to rest their feet upon, or a door mat for others to wipe their feet on. He also never intended for any of us to be someone’s punching bag to be punched and kicked about when the need to release pent-up frustration and anger arises. Furthermore, He never intended for any of us to be the object of, or the subject of, constant undue ridicule and criticism.
Each of us are special sons and daughters in our Heavenly Father’s eyes. There is not one person who is any more special than another. Our Heavenly Father loves all of His children the same – equally and unconditionally. His love for us is not based on the color of our skin, religious beliefs, religious affiliations, culture, background, or even our sexual orientation. It does not matter to Him if we are married, widowed, single, divorced, rich, or poor. All of us are special and precious in His sight.
How sad it is that there are people in the world who always seem to want to treat others as being beneath them. These are those who live under the misconception that the world revolves around them. They think that the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening upon them, and so in their mind’s eye they are the only ones that really matter. Everyone else as far as they are concerned are mere insignificant beings. Consequently, they feel that they are the lords and masters and everyone should bow before them as lowly servants. They believe that they can do and say whatever they want, when they want, and treat others any way that they want, and no one should say or do anything about it less their actions become misconstrued as an act of treason or insubordination.
Sadder still is that there are many wonderful people in this world who have allowed themselves to be literally robbed of their dignity and self-worth because daily they live under the tyrannical reminder from those who think of themselves as being better than they, that at best they are hopeless and unworthy to be treated any differently. Though these precious souls may not agree with the way that they are treated, they, for whatever reasons, choose to retreat to being silent and endure such harassment. Some are simply too kind hearten, loving, and caring people to ever want to retaliate in any way or otherwise voice their anger and frustration. And so, in utter desolation, they stay the often silent victims of those who continually take their kindness as a sign of weakness.
We are all someone special. Each of us are a precious soul of worth. As such every one of us is entitled to be treated with dignity, respect, and self-worth. No one should ever be left feeling that they are inferior to another. No one should ever feel that there is another who is master over him, for we have only one true Master – the Lord Jesus Christ – the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. And it is at His name that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He alone is LORD!
If we find that we are the victim of maltreatment that does not automatically give us a poetic license to become vindictive towards our offenders. Instead we need to take a step back for a moment, and then move forward to handle the situation in such a way that a resolution can be reached in a peaceable and sensible way without leaving any of those involved in the conflict feeling lonely, rejected, or otherwise feeling inferior when compared to the others. Let the conflict be resolved with the full understanding of all concerned that we are all indeed someone special, so let us treat each other so.
There are political platforms on which our country stands and bases its principles of governance to support enacted laws. There are also other platforms on which people build their lives such as religion, friends, social media, marriages, and relationships with various people. We put a lot of trust and confidence in various platforms in our lives, but when those platforms begin to collapse, we find that we begin to lose our footing and our safety nets are not as secure as we thought.
The one sure platform or foundation upon which we can build our lives is the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament in 2 Samuel 22:32-34, David exhorts, “For who is God, save the Lord? And who is a rock, save our God? God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places.” Hannah, in singing praises to the Lord, exclaimed, “There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:2). And David further exclaims, “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved” (Psalm 62:2).
Life is full of constant changes on many levels and platforms. Jesus Christ is Our Rock, and if we anchor our lives to the Rock, the strong winds of adversity that begin to blow, or the storms that begin to rage cannot shake us. Popular opinions will have no immediate effect on the decisions that we make. And as we face day-to-day challenges, we will not find ourselves always having to pull ourselves up from the ashes and brush away the rubble from platforms which have their foundations built upon the sand, “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:27).
In my life I have stood on various platforms and have been shaken because of the many uncertainties connected with them. However, there are no uncertainties with the Lord Jesus Christ. For, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Until we meet again friends, keep your eye on the prize!
Karlyn Kay Stebbins
February 21, 2015
Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:
Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.