John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Be an optimist. Otherwise you'll piss off Henry Ward Beecher, an who wants that to happen?

The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one. 

He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game. 
                                                                      Henry Ward Beecher


The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) was the most popular and controversial Christian minister in the United States for more than three decades, from the 1850s through the 1880s.  A notoriously paradoxical figure, Beecher was famous both for both his warmhearted liberal theology, which he dubbed “The Doctrine of Love,” and his fiery public crusades.  As he liked to joke, “I am a peace-man, except when I wish to fight.”  

Beecher earned international notoriety as a “political preacher” in the tempestuous decade prior to the American Civil War.  He was a flamboyant antislavery activist, an early champion of the fledgling Republican Party, and an outspoken supporter of the war against the Confederacy, at a time when all of these stands were extremely contentious.  In an era when many Christians believed the Old Testament sanctioned race-based slavery, he showed how the New Testament could be interpreted as repudiating human bondage.  Along with his sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the bestselling novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, Beecher convinced thousands of Americans that the antislavery movement was both godly and socially respectable.

Beecher’s influence extended far beyond religious and political matters.  His irreverent and often iconoclastic opinions on science, psychology, art, entertainment, and popular culture helped liberate Americans from stifling prejudices and outworn conventions, and usher in modern patterns of thought.   As one admirer wrote after his death in 1887, "Abraham Lincoln emancipated men's bodies; Henry Ward Beecher emancipated their minds.  

The one delivered them from injustice; the other, from superstition.” 

But Beecher’s reputation as both a preacher and a pundit was nearly eclipsed in 1872 when he was accused of seducing one of his church parishioners.  For two years, the scandal dominated the press and public conversation.  For both his fans and foes, the question of his guilt became a national referendum on all that Beecher had ever said or symbolized.  “We can recall no one event since the murder of Lincoln that has so moved the people as this question whether Henry Ward Beecher is the basest of men," declared the New York Herald in summer of 1874.

Early Life

Henry Ward Beecher was born June 24, 1813, in Litchfield, Connecticut.  His father Lyman Beecher (1775-1863) was Connecticut's most prominent Congregational preacher, at a time when the Nutmeg State was one of the country’s last remaining theocracies, in which every household was taxed to support of the state-sanctioned Congregationalist Church.  Nationally, Lyman was famous as the last of the great Puritan preachers, a fierce promoter of religious revivals, a staunch defender of Calvinist theology, and a pioneering moral reformer and activist.  But Lyman Beecher’s greatest claim to notoriety was as “the father of more brains than anyone in America.”

Lyman instilled all eleven of his children with his sense of divine mission.  All seven of Lyman’s sons became ministers and three of his daughters became renowned public reformers. As the eighth born child, Henry was often intimidated by his brilliant, ambitious siblings and his demanding father.  Although Henry adored Lyman, he felt deeply scarred by what he saw as his father’s harsh theology and his high expectations.  As Henry later lamented, “I supposed myself to be a sinner in the very fact that I did not feel sinful.” 

In 1826, Lyman moved the family to Boston, Massachusetts to fight the rise of religious liberalism in the City of Pilgrims. After a rebellious year attending the Boston Latin School, Henry was sent to finish high school at the Mount Pleasant Classical Institute in rural Amherst, Massachusetts.
Henry entered nearby Amherst College in 1830.  It was the peak of the Christian revival movement later known as the Second Great Awakening, as well as a time of tremendous intellectual ferment on college campuses.  Although a careless student in the classroom, Henry was captivated by the Romantic literature flooding in from Europe and the new popular craze for science.  He learned from both the unorthodox principle that no idea is too sacred to test against practical experience.  Like most of the Beechers, he was also a passionate supporter of the many idealistic reform movements that promised to bring a new moral order to America.

After graduating in 1834, Henry followed his family to Cincinnati, Ohio, the booming capital of the West, where Lyman was appointed president of the newly established Lane Theological Seminary. (Following ecclesiastical tradition, the Beechers preached in Presbyterian rather than Congregational churches when they lived in the West.) 

While studying for the ministry, Henry became embroiled in the increasingly contentious battles over slavery.  In 1834, Lane Seminary split bitterly over the question of whether slavery should be immediately abolished.  Then in the summer of 1836, anti-abolitionist rioters swept through Cincinnati attacking blacks and white abolitionists.  Despite – or perhaps because of -- these traumatic events, in these early years Henry, like the rest of his family, took a cautious stance on the slavery question.  He condemned human bondage as a sin but was reluctant to embrace the radical social and political changes – and the violence -- that abolition would bring. 

Early Career

Henry’s first pastorate was in the rough river town of Lawrenceburgh, Indiana, where he married Eunice Bullard, his college sweetheart from Sutton, Massachusetts.  Eunice went on to give birth to ten children, only four of whom survived to adulthood.  In 1839 he moved to a new church in the fledgling state capital of Indianapolis.

Henry thrived on the western frontier, with its easy manners, wide-open opportunities and unashamed pursuit of happiness.  Preaching constantly in log-cabins and raucous open-air camp revival meetings, he shook off his stiff Yankee training, developing an emotional, melodramatic style all his own.  Soon, he found that the less he preached of his father’s fire-and-brimstone theology and the more he spoke of Christ’s unconditional love and forgiveness, the more people flocked to him.  As his popularity grew and his religion beliefs grew less orthodox, his antislavery views gradually became bolder.

As his reputation rose in the west, Beecher began to attract attention back east.  In 1847, when Beecher was 34, several wealthy New York businessmen recruited the promising young preacher to head a new Congregational church in the up-and-coming suburb of Brooklyn Heights, New York.   Brooklyn was then known as “The City of Churches,” but no one had ever seen a minister like Henry Ward Beecher, with his odd combination of western informality, eastern education and unabashed showmanship.

Beecher behaved more like a jovial farmer than a somber clergymen, without a trace of holier-than-thou.   He shocked the city’s Christians by making jokes from the pulpit, bringing flowers into the church, and inviting his congregation sing the hymns rather than hiring a profession choir, all common practices today.  He blasted pretension and hypocrisy of all kinds, especially religious bigotry. “What is Orthodoxy?” thundered Beecher. “I will tell you. Orthodoxy is my doxy, and Heterodoxy is your doxy, that is if your doxy is not like my doxy.” 

Even more shocking to many Americans was what he called his all-forgiving “Doctrine of Love,” which upended the dogmas of his childhood.  (Opponents gleefully renamed it the “Gospel of Gush.”)  God, he insisted, was not an exacting judge, but a loving parent who wants his children to be happy here on earth as well as after death.  “It is Love the world wants," Beecher proclaimed to startled audiences in the 1850s.  "Higher than morality, higher than philanthropy, higher than worship, comes the love of God.  That is the chiefest thing.”  

While carefully maintaining the mantle of the Protestant establishment, Beecher’s thinking was increasingly influenced by the iconoclastic ideas of the Transcendentalists, with their emphasis on imagination over reason, spontaneity over formality, self-expression over social convention, and individual conscience over the rule of law.   

Every now and then stop and reflect on this

Every now and then stop and reflect on this; the greatest moments of your life will consist of small, nameless moments that flash by. 

Those are the ones you'll remember. 

I have lived many years and I know that to be a true thing and if you're paying attention to your life, eventually, so will you.  

Don't doubt yourself.

Don't doubt yourself. Self-doubt is dangerous and has killed more hopes and dreams, large and small, than failure ever has.  

When in doubt, push on. Faith is doubt’s brother. 

Willpower and determination, especially when you don’t know the answer, when you don’t what’s ahead, is the mark of a successful person because they strive on no matter how lost or confused they feel. They push on past past apathy, doubt or fear.

That’s what a hero is. A regular person who who, in spite of weakness, doubt or not always moves ahead goes ahead and overcomes anyway.

When I was 17 years old I looked at my life

When I was 17 years old I looked at my life and this is what I saw; a high school drop who attended 8 grammar schools, raised in the foster care system, forced out to face the world with no means of support, no family and no money, in constant trouble with the cops. 

That was what I saw and it didn't mean a damn thing because this is what I knew then and I know now; Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go nor what you are capable of accomplishing.  

The only damn thing present circumstances are good for is let you know where you're starting point is. That's all. That's all it means.Circumstances don't determine what you're made of. You and the good Lord determine that. 

The rest is up to you.   

Be careful who you give an opportunity to.

Be careful who you give an opportunity to.  Think it through before you do it because if they fail they will never, ever forgive you for it.  

It is a great thing, a great thing, to believe in a dream when we are young.

It is a great thing, a great thing, to believe in a dream when we are young.
It’s also an easy thing to do.

But it is a far, far greater thing to believe in a dream when we are older. There is a certain bravado, a glory, in having spent our years fighting to fulfill that dream of our youth.

It doesn’t matter if the dream comes to be.

What matters is never having given up the ability to see a better tomorrow because as you go through this life, more often then not, holding on to your dreams  is  a hell of a lot harder than you would think it to be.  

Here’s why.

I no longer a participate in organized religion nor am not a deeply religious person, yet I am careful never wander far from God because it’s a dangerous thing to do. 

Here’s why.

All of us adore and obey. Think about it. Large parts of our lives are devoted to adore and obey. Both are pillars that make society work and they come naturally to us.

I believe that without having a higher power to adore and worship in my life, I would be in danger of creating other divinities, yet I know there is only one true God. Without having a higher power to adore and worship in my life I could fall prey to making my passions my lord and master.     

These could happen not because I’m weak but because I’m human.

So, as I said, I never wander far from God in my life.

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Do no harm.

Do no harm.
Treat others as you would want yourself to be treated…and with that said…..always be aware of the unseen dark soul of tyranny in your fellow man.
Always be aware of man’s insatiable lust for power.
 It is that need for control that makes even the best of us childlike.
 It feeds our discontentment and makes us love and desire the things we don’t have and probably don’t need.
It is one of the core factors of evil in the world.

 Be aware of it and it will be less likely to harm you.

The rules

The old Irish in New York had a saying “It’s better to know the judge than the law” and in that vein, knowing the rules is a good thing, but knowing the exceptions to the rules is better.

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This is how I feel when I have to stay in and work but I want to go out and go swimming.

Here is one key to happiness.

Here is one key to happiness.

I love what I do.

I don’t kinda sort like it. I love it.  I love everything about it.
This is the only life you’re going to get so don’t spend it on boredom.

Keep your feet on the ground and use common sense, but find something you can throw yourself into. Find something you believe in, that you believe in with all of your heart and do that.



Here are the synonyms for the word Tenacity.

Persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of purpose, tirelessness, indefatigability, resolution, resoluteness, resolve, firmness, patience, purposefulness, staunchness, steadfastness, staying power, endurance, stamina, stubbornness, intransigence, obstinacy, obduracy and pertinacity.

I grew up in foster care. I lived in a car when I was 17. I was educated late in life. At times I’m sort of dumb. I can be na├»ve. I don’t catch on fast. Most of the time I don’t have a friggin clue about what’s going on. A lot of times, things have to be explained to me.

But I have never, not once, failed to achieve every goal I have set for myself.
Never have I failed in that mission.  

And here’s why; tenacity. Got knocked down a thousand times? Then get up a thousand and one.

Tenacity is the secret to my strength. 

I worry..............

I worry about sin, I feel guilty over almost everything and I’m slightly neurotic…….but I don’t worry about it. It’s all the same thing with a different name and it comes from the fruit of the tree of knowledge. It’s the price we pay for deciding to live a cognisant life. Only children and the unthinking are without guilt, sin and are seemingly normal.

Your success isn’t hidden away in some place or in a different time

Your success isn’t hidden away in some place or in a different time, a time to come or an opportunity that passed. Your success isn’t a matter of your circumstances.

Your success is within you. It always was and it always will be.

It’s okay if you didn’t know that. You learn stuff as you go along.

(You're going to be fine, so be happy)

You are the answer

You are the answer. You decide if your world is a prison or a palace. The good Lord gave you, gave us all, that kind of power. What we do with it, what we create with it, is up to us.

...it's also very important to stop and goof off at least once a day. 


Live now. Live in the moment.

Live now. Live in the moment. Throw yourself in it. Drench yourself in every drop of now because now is where eternity is. Thoreau, God bless him, said it best “Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”   So live now. Live in the moment….and enjoy yourself too. That’s the important part.

Quiet pleasures

Quiet pleasures seem to last longer and leave better memories because, I think, maybe we’re just not made to bear the enormous burden of great joy.  

Walk and talk

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. [James 1:22]

I.E: Don’t talk the talk and not walk the walk because then you’re only lying to yourself.

The way of life

Here is one sure, absolute way to fail in life; be untrue to the best you know.

Here is the way to lead a successful life.  Always to the right thing. That means do what you know is right in your heart.

That’s pretty much all there is to it.

Life is boring

Life is boring. Know that. And in knowing that, recognize your daily routine, as predictable 
as it may be, is the true rhyme of life.

Understand that even in the hum-drum steps of daily life there is a kind of suspense in the story of living from day to day.

Always make yourself the hero of that story. It’s a simple but noble and honorable goal.


 Immortality Fear Of The Dark

The thing that frightens people is the new experience, the fear of facing what is different for the first time. And it’s a universal fear.

Do it anyway.

But it won’t be an easy path. It takes guts to live a life that is always evolving, to live a life that willfully goes to those places that are new and unknown, and to test our limits.  

Strive to live that life and to hell with the risks. If you are true to your mission you will find that the risk that it takes to remain safe and unchallenged is more painful and costly than the risk you took to grow as a human being.

True success

Success in life doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the positions we reach or don’t reach. Nor does it have anything to do with wealth or material goods.

 Those earthly things are cheap because they are easily had. They are common place and usually held in high esteem by common people.

Be kind to yourself and measure you’re success by the obstacles you had to overcome in this life.

Measure your success in how many times you wanted to give up the fight but didn’t.

Measure your success in how far you have come along in the journey of trying to be a rational, decent human being.

Drive, determination, the refusal to quit in a worthy cause, decency.  These things are not easily had and there is not any fortune on this earth that can match their value heavenly value. 

A single day.

A bad day doesn’t make or change your life any more than a good day does because the effect of a single day on our lives fluctuates. One day can make you feel stronger or wiser or better. The next moment or the next day can make you feel weak and drawn, even defeated.  Things change. Don’t worry about it. Examine the situation because our attitude has a lot to do with how we see things.  Stay focused and take the day as it comes. You're going to be just fine.