Life Is A Classroom!

Life is a classroom, and it teaches us every needed lesson for successful living.


Life is a classroom,and it teaches us every lesson needed for personal growth and successful living in all areas.
Many times the challenges we face are designed to help us get to the next phase of life, and if we are alert, we quickly understand what the lesson is suppose to teach us; the challenge comes when we know what it is suppose to teach, but we are reluctant to accept the “way” the lesson is to be taught.

Oftentimes, pain of some kind accompanies our lessons, and although the pain ultimately brings success,if we are persistent, we are still reluctant to go through ” the course”, as it were.
So often, we postpone advances of great value because we are afraid of the level of challenge the next step will bring.
Let me assure you of this: The longer it takes to learn the lesson, the more pain will be experienced.

Making an informed decision about the next step will help any of  us to move forward, quickly and successfully.
Yes, we will feel the pain of the new learning curve, but it usually does not last very long, because as each lesson is learned, we (the students) gain more strength, stamina, and confidence, and in no time, we have successfully finished the course and are now in a position to enjoy more of life because of our  personal and spiritual growth.

There are many lessons to learn as we travel  through life, and most of them are quite difficult, but as we decide to move forward through the challenges, we will experience a far greater degree of success in life.
Look at your classroom, your life; what lessons have you been avoiding?


*  Examine your classroom, (life);
* Decide what lessons you have been avoiding;
* Determine to learn them as quickly as possible;
* Share your decision with a loved one who can hold you accountable;
* Attend class daily(take relevant  action) until the lesson(s) is learned;
* Grow and shine!

If you want to use all or a portion of this blog, you can do so by adding the following: This blog was written by Barbara J Henry,author,inspirational speaker at: www. .

Coming Full Circle in Personal Growth and Development

It takes quite a while to learn important life lessons, but there eventually comes the moment when you know that  you have learned them well.


My second book, Coming Full Circle, Poems, Prayers, and Quotes, promoting hope, faith, and personal growth, is finally finished, launched, and uploaded to many sites (it will be available on this site soon). Its completion took  much longer than I expected because it was supposed to have been completed in April 2011, not in January, or March (depending upon where you look) of 2012.
The delay in getting it out taught me valuable lessons that I shall never forget, and it increased my productivity while doing so.

Every poem in the book is an original work resulting  from  some aspect of my life, and frequently, I did not think I would ever complete it, although it is much smaller (100 pages) than my first book (162 pages).
During the very slow times when I was not inspired to work, I found myself cheering me on by writing a poem that either described my challenging situation or one that caused me to take action.

The poems, NOW and  A MATTER of TRUST, propelled me out of my malaise and made me realize that it takes quite a while to learn important life lessons, but there eventually comes the moment when you know that you have learned them well.
NOW taught me to get things done as soon as possible, and even today, it keeps me aware of  how quickly I can slip back into being unproductive. Now, when I find myself procrastinating, I go to the book (it is kept on the table beside my bed) and read NOW aloud, and this is usually enough to get me moving again. The same is true with  A MATTER of TRUST; my faith in God and in the abilities He has given me are re-energized each time I read this  one because I believe what it says, and it came to me at a time when  I needed  inspiration.
FROM HERE, my favorite poem in the volume, gives me hope because it lets me know that I have made tremendous progress, and as I continue, I will get closer and closer to my goals which are not so hard to see and imagine from  where I  am now because of the work I have already done.

Working on the book also taught me to be my best advocate and to push forward, no matter how  difficult the situation appears to be.
As a result, I am much more upbeat, optimistic, and confident of my work ; I truly  believe  that  all things are possible, and with this belief, I move forward.
What about you? Are there areas or pockets of your life that need to be stirred? Have you come full circle in growth in a specific area? If  so, you know exactly what I mean and how I feel, and I say to you: keep growing, keep shining, and keep coming full circle in your life, hopes and dreams!


What to Do Next?

* Answer the questions found in the Blog as honestly as possible;

* Determine what actions you need to take to begin or to continue moving forward on an abandoned or new project;

* Pray for direction and insight;

* Find someone  interested in your success to help hold you  accountable;

* Continue to grow and shine!




You can quote, or use the entire contents of this blog, when you acknowledge Barbara J. Henry as the creator of it.

The Upside of the Economic Downside

Being out of work is challenging, but it provides an excellent opportunity for personal growth and development.


America is in a very sensitive position right now because of the sluggish economy, and as a result, people, in all economic classes, are feeling the negative effects of it.
Many have been out of work so long, they fear they might not be called back, or worse, become unemployable. Being out of work is challenging, I agree, but it provides a wonderful opportunity for personal growth and development.

Others have decided to go for polishing their real interests, the things they enjoy doing, but could not do as often when they had jobs. The great thing about this is that passion or talent may be where the focus should have been in the first place.
I am talking from experience here because  for several years, I worked as a high school English teacher , and for some of those years, I enjoyed the work because I was helping  teenagers find their place in the world, but I often thought about how much I loved writing;  I wasn’t motivated to write very often after spending five days each week  with five classes of students who  really needed my attention,and the weekends, more often than not, were spent grading endless papers and/or creating lesson plans for the upcoming week.

Finally, in 2007, I decided to retire (quite early in fact) to give myself  an opportunity to write, and I have to tell you: It feels wonderful! I have written and have had published two(2) books since ’07; I have also written a great number of blogs, poems, and articles all on some aspect of personal growth and self-help. Now, smiles come easily because I truly enjoy what I am doing.

What about you? Are you unemployed or under-employed? Do you find yourself  thinking about doing something else, something you enjoyed doing at one time before you got a job?
Consider returning  to that skill, or hobby, and see if you can make a go of it.
For personal growth and development in the area, take classes at your local community college to hone your skills so that you can get started. Who knows? You just may become the next Emmy or Oscar winner, or best selling author.
Isn’t it worth a try now, that you have time to explore the possibilities?

Be real honest here, in addition to putting food on the table, and paying the rent or mortgage, what satisfaction did the job give you? Sure those things are important, but shouldn’t there be more to life than that?
Take advantage of your  hiatus  from a job and rediscover what it is you really enjoy doing. I bet you too will begin to smile more as you start using your God given talents and gifts.


What to Do Next?

1. Think about what it is you really enjoy doing;

2. Make a decision to explore it now that you  are not working;

3. If necessary, take courses at your local community college to get or

to polish the skills you need to get started;

4. Get started as  soon as possible;

5. Smile and shine?

Single and Glowing

“You can not be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with”.  Dr. Wayne Dyer


Remember Elvis, the King, asking in a song:  “Are you lonely tonight?”
For many singles this is a very sensitive question. Too often, we who are single  fail  to take advantage of this stage of life, nor do we realize  that this status can be the most productive period of life when the focus is on personal growth and development.

More often than not, this phase of life is zoomed through while one wishes and hopes for marriage. Believe me, there is nothing wrong with marriage ; I have been there, and, had I focused more on pursuing my dreams and getting rid of more of  the  warts  in my life when I was single, I believe my marriage would have lasted more than seven years. I say this because  first, I would have married someone different, someone who had a lot more of my interests and values, and, I would have dated my prospective husband longer.
These three, I believe are still very important in selecting a husband or wife.

Singleness is such an adventurous time when we are experiencing life at every level, and as a result, we are also growing and glowing in all areas of life. As this happens, we automatically attract the people most like us in mind and spirit. Think about this the next time you find yourself alone on a weekend with the newspaper, the pet, and a pint of your favorite calories, I mean ice cream.

What to Do Next?

1. Ask yourself the hard question: Are you joyful and active while single?

2. Is there an area(s) of your life you need to tweak so that you become more like the person you desire to become?

3. Are you taking daily actions to improve this area (s) of your life?

4. Do you like yourself and where you are now?

Honest answers to these and other questions like them, can be invaluable in getting you to the point where you begin to see and like the many advantages you have being single, and when your status changes, you will take into your marriage the best You imaginable! Still lonely?

What’s On Your Mind?

Our thoughts determine our direction; thinking it really does make it so!


Life can get extremely challenging sometimes, and what we think during our most difficult moments determines the outcome of the challenge as well as the direction of our future, because our thoughts determine our direction; thinking it really does make it so.

Too often we allow our thoughts to mimic the difficult situations we face, and when this happens, a negative shift in our thinking takes shape. If the negative pattern occurs regularly, it becomes the way we view life, and as a result, what we desire to achieve becomes more and more difficult.

Reining in our thoughts takes conscious effort and self discipline, but this must be done for the positive, the true to emerge.
In the future, when negative “head trash” tries to take you hostage, do the following to shift to the positive side of the challenge:

* Determine the facts about the situation;
* Determine how you can work through things as they are;
* Repeat an appropriate scripture daily such as: ” I can do all things
through Christ who gives me strength”, Philippians 4:13;
* Create a positive affirmation about the situation;
* Repeat it daily until you see a positive shift in your view of the problem;
* Get the help of a supporter who can assist you in keeping a positive
view of the challenge;
* Determine how the challenge can help you to grow in some area,and
allow it to do so.

All of us fall prey to the negatives in our lives sometimes, but we should
not dwell on them; instead we should try to find the good, the positive side of the challenge. Usually, it’s not that far away.




Growing Pains

Pain accompanies any type of growth; one does not exist without the other.


Have you experienced a personal, spiritual, emotional or other type of growth spurt lately? If  so,  I bet there was an equal amount of pain of some type. It is no secret that pain accompanies any type of growth. One does not exist without the other.  The saying, ‘No pain, no gain’, is true, and it relates to all types of growth, personal or spiritual, no matter where it takes place  on planet earth.

Too often we shy away from the opportunity to grow in some area because we fear the hard work, the pain that is inevitable, but pain, no matter how intense, lasts a relatively short time when compared to the benefits that follow.
One well known example which explains my point perfectly, I believe, are the pains  of childbirth; I am told by family members and friends  who have experienced this precious phenomenon, that the pains of childbirth are some of the most excruciating  one can experience, but they also result  in  nature’s most blessed event, and when the baby is held for the first time, the pain (swollen feet, nausea, cravings, etc.), is completely forgotten, and the event is memorable for the new life, the new miracle that has occurred.
Growing pains are real, and they can stop our progress if we allow them to do so, but we should look beyond the short-lived pain (whether it lasts for minutes, hours, days weeks,etc.), and focus on the results produced. When this is done, the pain is put in the proper perspective.

Whatever has you afraid to grow, remember the benefits you are going to receive on the other side of the pain, and let this motivate you to push forward toward the growth and goals you desire to achieve.


What To Do Next?

1. Take a realistic look  at the goal you are interested in achieving;
2. Determine the amount of  work, energy (pain) it is going to take;
3. Visualize yourself on the other side of the pain;
4. Decide to take daily, relevant actions to reach your goal;
5. Celebrate your successes along the way.

Giving and Receiving

“You can get whatever you want if you help enough people get what they want.”  Zig Ziglar

We help ourselves when we help others.


Zig Ziglar is a renowned speaker and writer, among other things, and one of his quotes has had a major impact on my life. Zig said: “You can get what ever you want if you help enough people get what they want”.
I believe this is true; we help ourselves when we help others, and as a result, we grow into more caring, considerate,and selfless people.

Often, we miss out on many opportunities to help because we think it will hinder or thwart our progress, or we do not see any immediate benefit for ourselves. That “what’s in it for me” attitude, dies a slow death, and it works against our personal and spiritual growth.

True growth, the kind that lasts, can only occur when we begin to consider the conditions of others and how we are connected to them in ways that we may not ever completely understand.

Since there is always something that can be done to help those around us, we must be willing and alert enough to seize the opportunities that present themselves throughout a day, week, month, or lifetime.
As we habitually seek ways to help others, we will clearly see the many benefits we receive as a result.

Test Zig’s quote in your life and affairs as you relate to others and see what happens.


What to Do Next?

1. Look around you for someone whom you can help achieve a goal;
2. Offer your help as quickly as possible;
3. Notice the feelings of euphoria you experience as a result;
4. Make it a point to regularly seek out someone to encourage,and help in your unique way.


Leave your comment below; I want to know your thoughts on this post.



13 Years of Persistence and Personal Growth

“Perseverance requires passion and a sincere belief that you deserve what ever it is you are trying to accomplish.”


In last month’s blog post, you were encouraged to persevere for maximum personal growth and development, and you were given strategies to help you succeed.
As a result of working with a close friend for the past thirteen (13) years to help her finish the requirements for her B.A. degree (I helped her with the papers she had to write), I learned that perseverance requires passion and a sincere belief that you deserve what ever it is you are trying to accomplish.

My friend persisted, during good and bad times, to move toward her goal, a college degree in Elementary Education; on Monday, August 8th, she submitted her last paper in her last class, and you can imagine how happy she was, as well as how happy I was for her.

Over the past thirteen (13) years, my friend has had some major challenges: several relatives died, and she lost her job, but she got married, adopted a lovely daughter,and she always moved toward her goal by taking a course or two here and there when she could afford to do so,and now, years later, because of her persistence, she is ready to receive that coveted “sheepskin” for which she has worked so hard.

I applaud my friend for her drive and persistence, and I also applaud you who have accomplished your goals as a result of your perseverance.
Do what my friend is going to do: Celebrate; reward yourself  for completing your goal; do not focus on how long it took.
Take time to relax, then get started on the next adventure which should be considerably easier now that you have a major success to your credit.

What to do next?

1. Celebrate with family and friends who supported you throughout the challenge;

2. Do something “real special” for yourself to savor the moment;

3. Give feedback on this blog by telling me how long it took you to reach a major goal and how you now feel as a result of having reached it.

Persevere for Maximum Personal Growth and Development

It takes perseverance to remove the warts in our lives, and to achieve maximum personal growth, we must not only acknowledge the existence of warts, but we must also be willing to work on them daily until their unhealthy effects become negligible.


Each one of us has an area(s) in our lives that needs improving if we are to move forward in our personal growth and development efforts. The work becomes easier as we identify the area(s) and begin the work needed to correct it.
It takes perseverance to remove the warts in our lives, and to achieve maximum personal growth, we must not only acknowledge the existence of warts, but we must also be willing to work on them consistently until their unhealthy effects become negligible.

I know: None of us likes the idea of slapping ourselves around, in a manner of speaking, but we must become our most effective critics so that we can continue to ‘raise the bar’ on our personal growth and development.

This challenge cannot be done alone; we must actively seek the help and encouragement, as well as feedback, from those who have vested interests in our lives and successes.
So, how do we get them on board? That’s done by sharing plans and ideas with them and by letting them know how much you need them to help you succeed.
Don’t be shy or defensive; get your supporters on board early and share your concerns with them.
As you share with them and begin the work needed, you will start to see the results you desire, and that too will help you to retain your momentum.

Celebrate every accomplished goal, along the way, no matter how minor or insignificant it appears on the surface.
Perseverance will help you reach your goal(s)more quickly because it helps to build momentum and confidence, and once these two kick in, success is imminent, as long as you persevere.


Let me know your thoughts on this blog. Post a comment in the space provided.

June-Men’s Health Month, the Perfect Time to Get Our Men More Focused on Self-Help

June is men’s health month, and it is the ideal time to help our men focus on self-help efforts that promote their general health.


You probably know already that each month of the year has been designated as a month to highlight a specific focus or area. Most months have several areas on which to focus during its time in the spotlight.
Take the month of March for example; it is recognized as Women’s History month,but it is also National Nutrition month,as well as Brain Injury Awareness month, among other things.
Each May, the focus is mental health which affects all areas of our lives,but physical fitness and sports are also spot lighted.

The overall purpose of highlighting specific things monthly, I believe, is to keep the focus on anything that will help us to become more informed and proactive.
It is no wonder then, that June is men’s health month, and it is an ideal time to help our men focus on those self-help efforts that promote their general health.

Not surprisingly, men have many health issues that need attention during the month of June and thereafter.

According to one source, “The Leading Causes of Death in Males, U.S., 2004,” the seven (7) top causes of death among men are: Heart Disease,27.2%; Cancer, 24.3%; Unintentional Injuries, 6.1%; Stroke, 5.0%; Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease, 5.0%; Diabetes, 3.0%; Influenza/Pneumonia, 2.3%.
Following closely are: Suicide, 2.2%; Kidney Disease, 1.7%, and Alzheimer’s Disease, 1.6%.

The numbers are sobering, and they should help us to see the serious problem our men face. We should also understand that we, each of us, must do what we can to help our men, now and later to reduce the numbers.
Now is an excellent time to turn the focus onto men’s health, and it is also a good idea to keep the momentum going until the numbers of serious death-causing illnesses have have been reduced dramatically.

June, men’s health month, is the perfect opportunity and time (30 days) for each of us to help  raise awareness of the many health issues that are so common to the men in our lives.


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