Archive for Inspirational Quotes

A Vow for this Coming Day

While excitedly preparing my new journal last night – for the shiny new year, of course – I pasted in the very front, the words of my friend, inspirer, and provocateur, Jim Rigby.

Jim is the pastor at my folks’ church in Texas, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church of Austin. And, he is an exemplary human being. Or rather, he is a spiritual being having a human experience; and while doing so, he makes the world a better place by being in it.

Feel free to check him out for yourself. He has a blog, but is most prolific and active on his Facebook page.

But I digress.

Check out what Jim wrote. I think you’ll see why I pasted it into the front of my journal, and hope to read it every single day – at least this year. 😉


I vow not to let anything that happens this day rob me of my inner peace.

I promise to treat every ignorant word as opportunity to teach, every unfortunate event as a chance to learn, and every happy moment as an opportunity to be grateful,

Without trying to possess it, control it, or make it permanent. I vow to live this day in my own skin, not wishing I were different, but, instead, striving to make my life a work of art.

I vow to spend this day as a good citizen of the whole, and to be an ambassador for the common good.

I will be grateful for this day of life, remembering that the Universe owes me nothing.

Should I break any part of my vow, I will give no place to remorse, or shame, but time and time again, I will joyfully return to my path.

And to that I say, “Amen.”

What To Do When Harm Has Been Done?

I came across a beautiful story this week. I shared it with my current Daring Way™ group, and I just had to share with you, too, my faithful True Voices Blog readers.

It’s short, yet it really made me think. Maybe you’ll experience something similar. Enjoy. (FYI: I haven’t neutralized the gender-specific pronouns, but I’m sure you’ll see that it could apply to either gender.)

The person who shared it with me got it from Films For Action (, but beyond that, I don’t know the origin.

There’s an African tribe in which, when someone does something harmful, that person is taken to the center of the village where the whole tribe comes and surrounds him.

For two days, they will say to the man all the good things that he has done.

The tribe believes that each human being comes into the world as good, that each one of us desires only safety, love, peace, and happiness.

But sometimes, in the pursuit of these things, people make mistakes.

The community sees those mistakes as a cry for help.

They unite then to lift him, to reconnect him with his true nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth of which he had been temporarily disconnected: “I am good.”

And to that I say, “Amen.”

Make a Difference Day!

Hey! I’m posting this on October 24th, in the hope that you’ll read this post by October 25th, just in time to catch the wave of…

Make a Difference Day!

I know that a lot of these “special” days are often just for fun, but this one’s for real.  Surprisingly, Make a Difference Day has been around for over 20 years. It was started by USA Weekend along with Points of Light. It’s the nation’s largest day of service, and it always falls on the fourth Saturday of the October.

I wonder if that has something to do with the weather. But I digress!

It’s kind of sad that we need a day named Make a Difference Day to get us out there helping each other en masse. But what’s even sadder is that most of us, myself included until very recently, don’t even know about it!

So that’s my mission with this blog post. No philosophizing, no life story, no spiritual concept to ponder, although I could certainly do any of those here. Nope! Just a public service announcement about this truly special day, an opportunity to do something that improves the life of a neighbor – a neighbor you know or one you just haven’t met yet.

Not sure what to do?

Just go to the Make a Difference Day website, and you can find something fun and close to home. No matter where you live, I feel pretty sure that there’s some project you can join in on. Just go to USA Weekend’s website, or the Points of Light website and do a quick search.

Been wanting to get a project started? Gather some people in your community, and get it going!

I’ll be spending most of my day driving to and then performing a wedding, so I won’t be able to do one of the official Make a Difference Day projects here in the Atlanta area. But I’m making a commitment to you right here and now, that I’ll do my darnedest to make a difference everywhere I go. For one, I certainly hope I make a difference for the couple I’m marrying, but I’m getting paid for that, so I can’t count it as a volunteer project. But, I could pay for the coffee of the person behind me in line. I could offer my neighbor who doesn’t drive a lift to the grocery store and back. And/or I could simply give a smile to all those whose paths I cross.

So, regardless of your plans for Saturday, October 25th, I hope you’ll join in. If you have children and you live in the Atlanta area, there’s a group just for you. It’s called Pebble Tossers (I love that name), and you can check it out here. If you’re sans kids, just check out main website. And I think I read that they even have a Facebook page!

Who knows?

Maybe doing these things, big or small, will feel so good to us, we’ll start making a difference for our neighbors (two-legged and four-legged) on other days, too. 🙂

And please, do share this post widely so we can also spread the word! My Sun Deck Kwan Yin would greatly appreciate your pitching in. Thank you from both of us.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead


Throw Forward Thursday

It’s Throw Back Thursday on Facebook.  I feel sure you’ve enjoyed, as have I, seeing the pictures of your friends as adorable newborns, as toddlers trying to walk, teenagers striving to find themselves, couples getting married, and more.

Today, however, I want to offer you something different: Throw Forward Thursday.

You see, I’ve just watched an incredible video, one that I hope you’ll stop right now and watch along with me, as I watch again and again. It’s aimed at women, but I do believe the brave men who watch it will be just as inspired by it as I’ve been.

Please – whoever you are, no matter your gender, your age, or any other circumstance or situation you find yourself in –  please, give yourself the gift of the 4 minutes and 15 seconds it takes to watch this short, powerful film.

I wholeheartedly invite you do so, and then comment with your feedback. I’d love to hear how it affected you – what you thought, what you felt, what you are re-inspired to do, or what you are now inspired to do and/or be for the very first time. In other words, as a result of watching this motivating movie, how will you now Be You Out Loud as never before?

Here’s the video: Your Calling?

PS A favor: If you are willing, I ask you to please share this – specifically the post, and in general, my website and blog, too. You may not get a prize, but you will get my deep appreciation.

PPS Some shameless self-promotion: If you know others who could benefit from a conversation with me, about their callings or  anything else on their minds and hearts, please ask them to email me for an appointment.them to me. It would be my pleasure to offer this to them, as my gift. Why? Because it would mean I’d get t0 be myself out loud, while helping them get clear on how to do that for themselves! And if this person is you, and you’re not a current client, you’re just as welcome to contact me for a chat! Come on in, the water’s fine!

My Little Game

By Carolyn Cook, Guest Blogger.

I’m pondering another life change.  I don’t know if it counts as a risk, but I think any change is inherently risky, so here goes:

I’m thinking about closing in.  Cutting back.  Focusing.  Minimizing.  Simplifying for a while.

If you know me, you know this is a ridiculous idea.  I can’t resist opportunities for adventure, artistic growth, and discovery.  Give me a challenge, and I’m out the door like a shot.  So it would be really, really hard for me to do what I’m talking about.

Specifically, I’m talking about creating a daily routine where the paperwork and the housework and the prep work for my classes actually gets done, every day.  (Oh dear, I’m already terrified.)  I’m talking about planning meals and keeping healthy food in the fridge and getting regular exercise.

I actually have time to do this. For once in my life, I have just enough work to do outside the home, and I don’t want to take on any more.  I have time to see my mother, talk with my husband and daughter, cook dinner, and keep up with paperwork, while still pursuing an interesting career.  I even have time to study voice again.

Yet I find myself putting off going to grocery store, letting my mom’s papers pile up, procrastinating, and of course, feeling stressed.  It’s natural.  My husband and I have a favorite quote, which I believe is from Life 101:  “If your game is too small, you’ll screw up your game just to give yourself something to do.”  Oh, the drama.

What if I mustered the courage, the discipline, not to screw up this little game of mine?  What if I developed the discipline to meet deadlines, take care of my health, create interesting classes for my students, and practice my music?  I know I can do it; I only risk giving up the thrill of running on adrenalin when I get behind.  And the potential reward is so great:  a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of being true to myself.

Maybe being true to myself is the biggest risk of all.  What do you think?

This post originally appeared on my RiskADay blog.

 is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship.

Happy Ag Day

Although the day varies from year to year, in 2014, National Agriculture day is today!

According to the National Agriculture Day website,  Ag Day, as it’s more commonly called, is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. It’s a day to “recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture.”

In the past, I wouldn’t have given this date much thought. It’s not that it wasn’t worthy of thought, it’s just that now, thanks to the generations of farmers in the Brinson family, and the generosity of my father, I own a farm. It’s called Brinson’s Race and the pictures above and below are of the cotton field. For pictures of other parts of the farm, check out the website,

farm cotton trees

But, back to Ag Day…

Whether or not you have a farm, I invite you to join me in honoring this day. In fact, here are a just a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Spend a little time to better understand how fibers are produced, and what life is like for those who produce it, 
  2. Encourage the kids in your life to at least consider agriculture as a career, or
  3. Eat well today, and as you do, think about all that goes into bringing that food to your table.

Happy Ag Day!

Happy Happiness – From Me and Macy the Pit Bull

In my previous post, I talked about the United Nations International Day of Happiness. And I teased you by saying that if you’d come back, you would see what the UN has deemed the Face of Happiness. Well, now you see it. It’s the glorious face at the top of this post, the face of Macy, the pit bull!

Macy, like so many dogs in shelters, particularly pit bull mixes, was once on the PTS list. In case you don’t know, the lable of PTS means the dog (or cat) is scheduled to be put to sleep, the widely used euphemism for to be killed. Do you know just how bad the pet overpopulation has gotten? Check out what the Humane Society has to say.

But let’s get back to Macy. Fortunately for her, she was rescued by Grateful Dogs, the oldest all-breed rescue group in San Francisco. In the attempt to help Macy get adopted, photographer Jayme Heimbuch took a series of pictures of her, and Jackie Shen agreed to foster her. Of course, Jackie fell in love with Macy and eventually adopted her. This is what we gratefully call a happy ending.  But, as you now know, there’s more!

Jayme posted this picture of Macy on a stock photo site,  and somehow, in their worldwide search, that is where the UN found her. And they must have fallen in love with her, too, because her beautiful smile is now a part of the United Nations Postal Administration’s commemorative stamp collection honoring the relevance of the Happiness Campaign of the UN.

David Failor, Chief of the United Nations Postal Administration said, “Our first commemorative stamp for 2014 celebrates the United Nations proclaimed International Day of Happiness which recognizes the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world. Is there anything better than celebrating happiness?”

You can see the full Macy stamp, called “A Sweet Dog’s Muzzle,” the other five happiness photos, and even order copies, in the UN’s postal bulletin called FASCINATION.

As you enjoy this picture of Macy and the other photos chosen by the UN, I invite you to ask yourself, “What is the faces and other images of happiness to you? And how can you keep those front of mind for yourself and others?”

And I will join you in pondering the same…

Happy Happiness to us all!

(International Day of) Happiness – Our Right and Responsibility

Laura_B_IMG-1952_optimized verticalIn an effort to acknowledge and promote happiness as a universal desire, the United Nations proclaimed yesterday, March 20, to be the International Day of Happiness.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The pursuit of happiness lies at the core of human endeavors. People around the world aspire to lead happy and fulfilling lives free from fear and want, and in harmony with nature. Let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”

And to every word of that, I say amen! In fact… What if we all reinforced our commitments “to inclusive and sustainable human development” and our pledges “to help others?” What might happen then? Oooh – just the thought of that makes me happy! So, even though it’s the day after, or month after, or years later, depending on when you are reading this post, let’s join together in remembering that happiness is among our inalienable rights. and that it is our right and responsibility to foster that in ourselves and the lives of others.

Thanks for reading… and stay tuned for the next post, which is about what the UN says the face of happiness looks like!


PS This picture of me was taken by the talented Cindy Brown!

The Secret Language of Birds?

We have a barred owl. Every night, as we settle in for sleep, it greets us with the unmistakable call, “Who cooks for you?” You can hear and see it here. It’s quite delightful to experience. I’m even smiling as I write this. I’m so grateful it’s chosen to light for awhile in our wooded yard and serenade us most evenings.

Lots of birds visit our yard, actually. During one of the warmer afternoons last week, I went outside to get some Vitamin D, and was overwhelmed by the decibel level of their multiple conversations. So much was being said!

This got me thinking: “What are they really saying?” So I did some research, and found that they really do have a lot to say! Check out all of the possibilities here.

It also lead me to write a little poem. It’s a series of haikus, and I hope you enjoy it.

You Talkin’ To Me?

The featherweights fly
High in the intricate lace
Of the wintertime.

They chase and land and
Sometimes they peck, until they
Chase and land again.

What is their message
For those of us who are bound
To earth for life and

Death that surely comes?
What have they to say about
How we spend our time,

Mostly chasing and
Sometimes pecking but hardly
Landing? Rest, maybe?


©2014 Laura Overstreet Biering

Are You Chasing Your Hero? Or, Some Great Oscar Acceptance Speeches

There are many things I like about watching the Oscars. While I don’t know much about fashion, I do enjoy seeing my favorite actors “all gussied up.” I also like seeing the clips from the nominated movies. It’s nice to remember the ones I saw the year before, and it helps me determine whether or not I want to see the others.

But the main reason I watch the Oscars is the acceptance speeches. I like them all – the funny ones, the tearful ones, the unabashedly gleeful ones, and the even the ones that are more like grocery lists of gratitude.

My favorite speeches are the ones that include a little of all of the above, and then some. What’s the “then some?” It’s when the actors talk about love, peace, or justice. It’s when they tell personal stories about where they came from, and how, if they can do it, anybody can. It’s when they talk about the way that making their particular movie changed them, and/or the world, in some significant way.

I originally meant this particular post to be about Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech, given at the at the 2014 Oscars after winning the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in Dallas Buyers Club. I was going to write about him saying that he was chasing his hero – himself, always ten years older. It was really lovely, and it reminded me of an exercise I do with many of my clients. It’s one I learned long ago in coach training at the Coaches Training Institute, called the Future Self Meditation. Matthew McConaughey’s take on it is unique and certainly working for him. I encourage you to see what I’m talking about by clicking here.

However… As I was doing my research about Oscar acceptance speeches in general, I realized that this post had to include many more than just Matthew McConaughey’s. My goodness, there are some great ones out there! And, we are so lucky that YouTube exists now, so we can watch them loooong into the night, if we like.

The first speech I want you to see is that of Hattie McDaniel. She was the first African American to receive an Academy Award, winning Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of “Mammy” in 1939’s Gone With The Wind. Her acceptance speech, which can be seen here, is as beautiful as she is, glowing while she speaks of gratitude and hope. There is much more to say about Hattie McDaniel, including the facts that she was in over 300 movies and only received credits for 80, that she was the first black woman to ever sing on the radio in the United States, and that it’s currently unknown where her Oscar is! Her story is heart-wrenching and encouraging all at once, and you can read more about her, and her too-short life, here.

Next, I encourage you to watch the gorgeous and emotional 2002 acceptance speech of Halle Berry, especially right after Hattie McDaniel’s. She had just won the award of Best Actress in a Leading Role, for her performance in Monster’s Ball. There are no words that can augment what she said in her speech, which can be watched here. What I will tell you is that, with the winning of this award, she became the first woman of African American descent to win an Oscar for an Actress in a Leading Role, and is still the only one, as of this writing in 2014.

The speeches I’ve spoken about above are only a few of my favorites. I can’t possibly point you to all of them. However, I have listed a few more, below. I hope that you will take the time to watch each of them and maybe even allow yourself the gift of “going down the rabbit hole” of the many more great Oscar acceptance speeches.

With that said, may your “rabbit hole” experience start with these:

1985 – Sally Field, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Places in the Heart

1997 – Cuba Gooding, Jr., Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Jerry Maguire

1998 – Roberto Benigni, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Foreign Language Film, Life is Beautiful

2001 – Julia Roberts, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Erin Brokovich

2001 – Russell Crowe, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Gladiator

2005 – Jamie Foxx, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Ray

2005 – George Clooney, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Syriana

2007 – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Best Original Song, “Falling Slowly” from Once (Make sure you watch this one – there’s a part 2; and you can hear the song itself by clicking on “Falling Slowly” above)

2008 – Tom Hanks, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Philadelphia

2014 – Lupita Nyong’o, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, 12 Years a Slave

2014 – Jared Leto, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Dallas Buyers Club

So, which are your favorites??? 


Photo of Laura Biering taken by April Groome.