Halfway to BlackBelt and Even Further to Healing

I’m celebrating the one year mark of my Taekwondo journey today. From the time that I began, I have heard that Taekwondo is an individual journey—there’s no race to black belt. As I have moved up the ranks, I’ve told new students, frustrated by their perceived lack of progress, the same thing. There is a great honor in finishing what you set out to accomplish, no matter what finishing looks like for you.

Similarly, the reason why each person begins their journey is different. I was never interested in the martial arts. When I was a kid, I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Michelangelo was the coolest, let’s settle that right now) and the lesser known 3 Ninjas (I see you Tum Tum) but it never really transferred over into a personal goal like those movies do for some. My brother actually won a year’s worth of Karate lessons but my parents refused to let him take lessons for fear that he would be beating people up in the neighborhood (way to go mom and dad!). All of that to say, I never imagined that at 32 years old, I’d don a white belt and a dobok and eventually find my ki-hap inside of me. However, as I reflect on the past year, I’ve realized there’s so much more under the surface of my journey. For me, Taekwondo has been a key component of my mental and emotional health. Struggling with a lot of anger, anxiety, fear, hurt and trauma from people and circumstances in days past, I was sitting in my therapists office when she suggested, “what if you took Taekwondo?” and she listed the benefits of the martial arts. I took her suggestion seriously and went home that day to do some research. I made a phone call and from that moment, my journey was more than just earning a black-belt, it was another tool to help me heal.

I see God’s hand in the timing of me finding Taekwondo. My Taekwondo Master has been teaching for 38 years. As I reflected on my “Taekwondo birthday”, I realized that before I was even born, God began a solution to a problem that I didn’t even know I had yet. And now today, one year to the date of sitting in that office, crying and scared, I am half-way to black belt and even further in my journey of personal healing. 

If you’d like to read about the benefits of Taekwondo for children and adults, CLICK HERE. ***Note, this website is not the location where I train but has great information regarding the benefits.

12 Facts About Abraham Lincoln You Probably Don’t Know

When I was in third grade we were learning about the difference between auto-biographies and biographies. Our assignment was to pick a person and read either a biography or an auto-biography about them and write a report that would also serve as a presentation to the class. 

I couldn’t think of anybody interesting that I already knew about because everything that I read was fiction. So, in true form, the date came where we had to pick our person and I ran into the school library before class began to just pick someone already. I strolled to the other side of the library that no one ever seemed to go to and began perusing the shelves. I came across a book with a man on the cover. The book was a picture biography (score!) and the man on the front seemed interesting. It was Abraham Lincoln and I figured that reading about a President would only help me get a good grade. Thus began a life-long fascination with all things Abraham Lincoln. If you weren’t aware, today is his 210th birthday so I thought we could celebrate with learning a few fun facts about my historical hero.

  1. Three states (Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois) claim the title of “the land of Lincoln”. He was born in Kentucky, moved to Indiana as a boy, and lived his adult life in Illinois before being elected President.
  2. Abraham Lincoln is the tallest president to date at 6’4″.
  3. He is the only president to have a U.S. patent; Lincoln invented a device that would help free steamboats that had run aground.
  4. He was a big animal lover–there are stories of stray cats regularly following him home from his law office in Springfield, Illinois. He had a dog named Fido, multiple cats, horses, turkeys, rabbits and goats.
  5. Do you like Thanksgiving? You can thank President Lincoln—he established the day as a National Holiday and pardoned the first turkey at the behest of his youngest son, Tad.
  6. Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd had more formal education (attending school for 12 years) than he (less than 1 year total). However, her family was a source of many political connections for Lincoln, even initiating a face-to-face meeting with his hero, Henry Clay, a personal friend of the Todd family.
  7. He was the first president born outside of the 13 original colonies (Kentucky)
  8. Thomas Jefferson was President of the United States when Abraham Lincoln was born. (James Madison was sworn in as President a month later).
  9. Abraham and Mary Lincoln had four sons, Robert, Eddie, Willie, and Tad. Robert was the only son that lived into full adulthood. 
  10. There are no living descendants of Abraham Lincoln. 
  11. Abraham Lincoln was named after his grandfather. While working the land, grandfather Lincoln was shot and killed by a Native American. His oldest son, Mordecai ran inside the cabin to fetch a gun, his middle son Josiah ran to get help and the youngest, Thomas, stood in shock beside his father’s body. As the shooter came close, he appeared to reach out for Thomas (whether to kill him or to take him), however, Mordecai shot the assassin from inside the house.
  12. Edwin Booth, the brother of Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, saved Lincoln’s son from an oncoming train in New Jersey just a few months prior to Lincoln’s assassination.

I hope you learned a tidbit that you didn’t know before. Do you have any historical heroes? Who are they? When did you first encounter them? Why do you consider them a hero?