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2012 February


By | giving grace | 5 Comments

By Mohan Karulkar:

Target decided to pull a greeting card that had a joke about Whitney Houston. Considering her recent death, the card is clearly in poor taste (via TMZ):

But what about before her death?  Was it in good taste then?  And if not, why didn’t anyone care before she died?

When someone’s personal struggle becomes such common knowledge that it shows up on a greeting card, it probably makes embracing a second chance kind of hard.

Think about that for a minute, and ask yourself, have you ever advertised someone’s failure on a greeting card? Not literally, but maybe things like:

  • Held a grudge against them?
  • Talked about them behind their back?
  • Dropped a suggestive “prayer request” or concerned Facebook post about them?
  • Poked fun at them about something that happened years ago?

Let’s not fall for that junk.  Let’s be sure that we’re making the world an easier place for second chances, not a harder place. No one’s struggle belongs on a Hallmark.



By | identity, inspiration | 12 Comments

By Ashley Smith:

A second chance is a leap. A courageous leap.

When I saw the date on my calendar today, I first looked at the meetings, appointments, and my to do list… and it hit me, February 29th only comes around every 4 years.

Usually, I would listen to the loud voice of the task master and seek perfectionism over dreaming and creating. I would rationalize that I can be brave another day, like on a weekend. I would tell myself that I have emails to finish and a list to check off and a quota to accomplish. Up until now, I would have been held prisoner by my people pleasing.

That’s when I heard it- the small, soft whisper of the creative voice emerging inside of me.

Not today.

Today I am not going to fall into the trap of chasing perfection.

Today, I am taking the leap. I am going to choose to be brave and to be me. To be imperfect and messy and unique. Today, I am going to set aside the loud voice of my inner critic and let the soft whisper of grace lead me.

Today, I am going to listen with empathy. I will be present and connect with human beings over checking my email every 10 seconds or being ruled by my iPhone.

I will act with courage. I will live outside of my comfort zone today. I will be brave with my story and my imperfections.

I will push through my fear with tenacity. I will persevere when it gets difficult, even when I am tempted to go back to what is familiar. There is nothing that I cannot handle today.

I will live with clear purpose. I will embrace that my life is significant and impacts the world for good. I will choose to be confident and secure and know that I matter.

I will hold tightly on to hope. That healing is happening and I will be stronger because of my journey through failure and deep pain. That it will get better. I do not have to fear impending doom. Hope is stronger.

Today, on leap year, I am going to live my life in the context of grace, not shame.

I am going to be free to embrace the beauty of second chances.

Today, I am leaping into who I really am. Today, I am risking the courageous leap and embracing my second chance. Who wants to leap with me?


By | identity, resilience | 22 Comments

By Karen Hammons:

I’m slightly broken.

And I don’t like saying that out loud. It’s quite painful saying it.

Who knows how many eyeballs landing on those words will subconsciously begin judging me or think how I need to be “fixed”.

This past week I’ve had a “fight” on several fronts.

Children with school issues.

Dealing with legal issues that are three years old and finding out it could take another year – or longer.

Forgetting to give four teachers a present before the holiday break. (Small in the grand scheme of things, but that “perfect Mom” label is relentless.)

And a body showing signs that it just can’t handle my addiction to food any longer no matter how comfortable I am (or my hubby is) with my “wobbly bits” (yes… Bridget Jones. Go Netflix it).

Right now I am in a raw season. Processing all of this while trying to figure out who the hell I am at 32 years old.

Not who I’m supposed to be.

Not who others want me to be.

But who is this woman that God has taken so much time to create, pursue, grow, and love passionately?

This woman is trying to demolish the labels I have within different circles of my community.

Except that the stickiest ones are in my own mind.  It’s a mind that feels a little scrambled. A mind that is a little scared to process through it all on my own, let alone allowing anyone else in on it over the fear that they will run as far as possible.

Or judge.

Because I’m Karen. The happy one. The one with the pink faux-hawk who is always happy and encouraging. The fearless leader.

However, sometimes the happy girl struggles too. And when she is leading the charge, sometimes she is shaking in her black corduroy Toms, questioning herself and her abilities.

And that is ok. It’s ok to not be ok.  I have to choose not to be afraid of the “mess” any longer.  I don’t need to be “fixed,” as some might think. I’m learning. I’m being stretched. And all the boxes I’ve kept everything hidden in are being crushed one by one.

It’s all for good.  And I just need to give myself some grace so I don’t miss the lesson or any part of this journey.

Perhaps the main lesson is this:  Grace is HUGE.  Grace has power. And through grace, I can make it through anything.


By | inspiration | 2 Comments

By Mohan Karulkar:

I’m not much of a basketball fan.  Haven’t been since Bulls/Sonics in ’96.  Seriously.

But, being the news junkie that I am, Linsanity has been hard to miss.  And being a person of second chances, Jeremy Lin’s story has been hard to beat.  Undrafted out of Harvard.  Cut from the Warriors and Rockets.  Sent to the D-league by the Knicks.  Sleeping on a couch.  In a van down by the river.

Then, moved back to the Knicks out of desperation, and rest is history.  Averaging 23.9 points and 9.2 assists over his first 11 games in the Knicks’ rotation.  Outscoring KobeSinking crazy baskets.  And showing humility the whole way.  A class act.

Talk about the perfect second-chance story.

But last night, the Knicks faced the red-hot Miami Heat, and Linsanity came to a hard stop. Lin walked away 1-11 from the field, with just 8 points and 3 assists on the night.  I have to say, as an outsider Lin fan, I was a little disappointed.

And the naysayers might be having a field day today, but I think Lin’s own comments on the night speak volumes:

“I’m not going to hang my head or anything like that,” Lin said. “I know I went out there and I played hard. Can’t win `em all. Can’t have a great game every game. But at the same time, I need to understand, `OK, what’d I do wrong? How can I improve?’ I think that’s going to be exciting.”

You see, what inspires the world isn’t just class on top; but class all the way through. If you want your second chance to count for all it should, see it through to the end. And if it doesn’t work out, learn from it, and get back up.  Don’t hang your head, and don’t throw in the towel.

You might have thought you were alone, but you’ve got a whole team by your side now.  We believe in you, and it’s time you sparked a little Linsanity of your own.

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