Ponderings

9 Lessons From Abraham Lincoln (Because He’s a Fav)

I have no shame in my love of history, especially all things about the Civil War. I’m a huge fan of Lincoln (and memorized the Gettysburg Address because I love it so much and it’s what all the cool kids are doing these days). So to honor his memory, here’s a few lessons I’ve taken away from good ol’ Abe. Plus tomorrow is his 206th birthday.

1. Surround yourself with people who challenge you.
Lincoln choose men for his cabinet who opposed many of his politics and ideas. Why? He knew he would be challenged. Surround yourself with people who will challenge you in your personal life, your relationships and your work/school.

2. Sometimes short and sweet has more impact.
The Gettysburg Address, one of the greatest speeches in American history, was just over two minutes long.

3. Try things you wouldn’t normally try.
Lincoln studied math because he wanted to sharpen his reasoning skills. Exercise your mind and never stop learning.

4. Honesty always win.
Always.

5. Laugh.
Lincoln was all about a good joke. Don’t take things so seriously you forget what life is really about.

“Live a good life. In the end it is not the years in a life, but the life in the years.”

6. Live fearlessly.
Not recklessly mind you, but without fear. Fear can be a powerful thing if we let it guide us. Don’t let it stop you from trying something new. It’s not always easy, but worth it.

7. Don’t be afraid to fail.
It isn’t pleasant when we do, but some of the greatest lessons learned are from times something has failed. Learn from mistakes and failures. Pick yourself up, dust off your pants and take that step forward. Lincoln once said: “I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise.”

8. To be truly great, be about something bigger than yourself.
There are lots of people who have tremendous leadership skills, but that doesn’t make them great. Led by his faith and focus on others (like, say, an entire nation), Lincoln led with greatness.

9. And finally: Do what’s right, even when it’s costly.
Lincoln was assassinated because of what he did. I don’t know how many of us will have the opportunity to free people and save a nation, but we can make an impact in our circle of influence, no matter the size. It can be in small everyday decisions or life-changing decisions. Inspiring stories never feature people who cheat, lie or turn their back on others. Doing what’s right is always worth it.

High five President Lincoln. High five.

Who is one of your favorite President and what lessons did their life teach you?

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Author Interviews

4 Questions With Award-Winning Author Jocelyn Green

Unless you just met me 12 seconds ago, my love for history is a pretty well known fact. Two of my favorite eras include WWII and the Civil War. So if an author covers either one of those topics, I’m in for the win.

And y’all Jocelyn Green knows a thing or two about writing, military and the Civil War! I really enjoyed Green’s first book, Wedded to War, in Heroines Behind the Lines series and the second just came out! She also writes non-fiction, encouraging army wives across the globe. So pretty much she’s awesome. I’m so glad to have her here on the blog with 4 Questions!

Award-winning author Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage in her readers through both fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife herself, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry. Her novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration.

Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She is an active member of the Evangelical Press Association, Christian Authors Network, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Military Writers Society of America.

She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two small children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at http://www.jocelyngreen.com.

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
Well, five years ago, I didn’t have my first book published yet. (Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives was my first and released in November 2008.) So I would never have imagined that in five years, I would have written or co-authored four nonfiction titles, a devotional Bible, and two novels, with three more contracted and scheduled to release in the next 18 months.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I imagine that every author, when rereading a book she/he has published, can point to a passage and think of a better way to write it after it’s been printed. But as far as genuine life regrets, or publishing journey regrets, I wouldn’t change anything. There are some lessons you have to learn the hard way, or through hard work, so I don’t wish that my past was different.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
My two happiest days of my life were the days my children were born. Of course my wedding day was a joyous occasion too, but there are so many details and people to please on one’s wedding day. When our babies were born, it was just a much more intimate joy that I shared with my husband—and it was centered not on me, but on the miracle of new life.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
The value of true, flesh-and-blood community, and how to joyfully serve others. We live in such a me-first society, and it’s easy for each of us to be the stars of our own lives. Facebook has changed the meaning of the word “friend” and Twitter tells us we deserve to have “followers.” I use social media too, and I value it as a tool, but it’s no substitute for genuine friendships. I want the next generation to know how to get beyond themselves and reach out to others in need.