Here's to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Philadelphia represents many things for different people. Philly is known for cheesesteaks; I'm a confessed "cheesesteak snob". It's known for its sports teams. Famous underdog stories have become synonymous with Philadelphia, such as the unforgettable, fictional Rocky Balboa and legendary Vince Papale. As many major cities, it is also known for crime; media reports would make it seem Philadelphians are killing each other. The reality is that crime reaches even the "safest" of places, and we're still heavily populated :). I grew up here and so did many others who've managed to survive notorious neighborhoods; not only have we survived, but many of us have become victors, not victims of the society in which we live.
With all these connotations, to me Philadelphia represents history. It represents freedom. It represents the foundation to our nation--a place to which many have fled to seek refuge from oppression and poverty. It's the key location where our "Declaration of Independence" was signed. In it are found the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, and the Independence Center. Here we coined terms used in Washington, D.C.: the Upper House and the Lower House. People literally were either on the ground floor or on the second floor. Philadelphia was a meeting ground for brilliant minds and brave men who fought for our freedom.
In addition to its rich historical significance, it balances of stunning architectural history and modern marvels. It's a city of the arts. I'm proud to be born and raised in Philadelphia. Though I've always loved discovering new places, it has never diminished my love for my hometown. I lived away for roughly thirteen years, during college and for eight years in the Midwest. I believe each places has its charm, but none of those places has compared to my city, the City of Brotherly Love. When people discover that Philly doesn't exactly meet their expectations of "brotherly love," I often think that love between brothers isn't always pretty :). Think about it!
Being a proud Philadelphian, I also embrace the significance of the freedom Philadelphia represents. It's a core value of mine to experience freedom in life. I once heard a minster say that freedom comes at a high cost. To fight for freedom means to make an investment, to put in effort, sweat, and tears. To fight for freedom is to take risks. I've taken many risks over my life. Some have been foolish and impulsive because of the naivete and idealism of youth. Others have been calculated risks, which have appeared to be foolishness to some due to the perceived naivete and idealism of my youth. My calculated risks have never disappointed. The journey from taking the risk to seeing the results has included a number of ups and downs, yet the end has tasted sweet. There's nothing like savoring the fruit of your labor and sacrifice. You value most that for which you've worked hard.
It's in my DNA to be a fighter, a hard worker, and an optimist. Optimism is underrated and has been dismissed by the wounded soldiers on the battlefield of life. What I label as optimism is nothing more than faith. Faith is that which you believe to come though it's yet unseen. Our forefathers had faith we could become a great nation free of tyranny. Their ideas have been dubbed "revolutionary"; they were counter-cultural. Most colonists preferred to remain subject to the crown. Some feared independence was unattainable and unsustainable. What would have become of our nation had these forefathers not marched onward?
It's forged into my city's history and into our country's structural bones. It's also a core value in my faith. In John 8:36, Jesus says, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" [NIV]. John 10:10 quotes Jesus's mission statement: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" [KJV]. The emphasis is mine.
My goal is to be a champion of freedom. This site is dedicated to sharing principles for you to live the abundant life you were meant to live. Through my Biblical training and coaching, I plan to guide you to the path of abundance and to cheer you on 'til you savor the fruit of your labor.