Labonte’s Fables: The Lions’ Den

Throughout my career, I told a story that demonstrated how I saw success in the business world. Now that I am retired, I see that the story is about more than success in the business world. It is a story about how the world sees achievement.

Once upon a time, Roman guards marched three falsely imprisoned men to the entrance of the coliseum. Hungry lions roamed the coliseum floor, waiting for the prisoners to enter. The guard pushed the first prisoner through the gates. The prisoner bobbed and weaved past the angry lions, making it to the other side of the coliseum without significant injury. The second prisoner did not share the same fate. He darted around, dodging teeth and claws. The lions were too angry and hungry, though. And the prisoner was a little too slow and a little too scared. Lion after lion caught him. They dragged his body across the coliseum. They scratched him and bit him and tore off several appendages. He just made it across the coliseum floor before bleeding out and dying. In all the excitement, the third prisoner slipped away from the guards. While everyone was watching the lions destroying the second prisoner, the third prisoner found a way around the coliseum and met the guards on the other side without ever having to face the lions.

You see, some people face the lions in life and come out of the experience relatively unscathed. Sure, they might have a manageable, impressive scar or two attesting to their courage. However, they are still upright and functional. They still have all their body parts… and all their marbles. These are the heroes of success in our world. Then, there are the people who face the lions and get eaten. Even if they make it through the coliseum alive, they will never be right again. Often, our world mocks these people and labels them failures without even knowing what circumstances led them to their bloody end. Finally, there are the people who figure out how to make it through life and reach the goals to which most of our world aspires without ever going through the lions’ den.

Moral #1- Just because a person fights the lions and loses doesn’t mean he is a loser.

Moral #2- As noble as it can be to face the lions, it is sometimes better to avoid the lions when you can.

Alternate ending:

The prisoner who is circumnavigating the coliseum to avoid the lions was attacked by a far more vicious beast- a man with hate in his heart. The man with hate in his heart murdered the prisoner.

Moral #3- Everybody has scars, even when we don’t watch them happen.

Which moral resonates with you the most? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a lion-free day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

Disasters Ahead

The other night, I attended a continuing education session for a ministry in which I serve. The speaker talked to us about ways to help the elderly and infirm (which included me and everyone else in the room, as it happens) maintain the independence necessarily to age in place. The main focus of her talk was prevention of common potential catastrophes. She talked about falls, medication errors, fires, and food poisoning. She regaled us with wild and fearsome statistics that seemed to suggest that a person over 65 years of age is more likely to encounter some tragic end than to lose the tv remote in any given day.

As the speaker bounded from one terrifying possibility to another, I think she could see the people in the room starting to panic. The participants around me started to gingerly and shamedly confess to all kinds of folly, like ascending a ladder to undecorate the Christmas tree and relying on the date on the marked carton to determine if an egg was still good. I could see on their faces that they were calculating the odds of surviving to our next meeting in a month. It did not look good.

The speaker stopped mid-sentence, as if suddenly realizing she was scaring the pants off her audience. She asked, “is everyone here over 65?” She stared at me and I honestly told her that I was not over 65 yet. That seemed to make her feel better. At least one of us was not standing right at the door to disaster.

As we were leaving the building, several of the participants still seemed worried. They mused out aloud about leaving the Christmas tree up all year long to prevent standing on a ladder. I quickly volunteered my help. “Call me, “ I said. “I can stand on a ladder for you. But don’t delay. I’m only safe for another nine months!”

What home accidents worry you as you age? I think falling is the way I will most likely encounter catastrophe. I am fundamentally clumsy and convinced I am much more physically agile than I actually am. Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a safe day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

The Anti Resolution

Happy New Year to all of you. May 2024 bring us faith, hope, love, joy, and peace. I know that is a lot to ask of a year, but the Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.”

Dear Lord, my enduring prayer for my world, my church, my family (both of biology and of love), my enemies, and even myself is that you will grace us all with these blessings in the year that waits before us. Amen.

This is the time of year when people make resolutions to improve themselves. I often resolve to make changes in my life, but rarely do I follow through on those changes. I saw a quote on Facebook yesterday. The poster said, “I’m going to open a new gym called Resolutions. There will be exercise equipment in it during the first two weeks of January. After that, it will become a wine bar.” That pretty much sums up my experience with new year’s resolutions. Just change “wine bar” to “ice cream parlor” and you will have me pegged. It can be discouraging.

Why do we make resolutions? We want to be healthier and happier. Does making resolutions really help us meet that goal? I’m not sure it does.

First of all, what we want is usually an outcome, not the process. Everybody wants to go to Disney World, but nobody really wants to spend 7 hours on a cramped airplane with dozens of hyper stimulated children. We may want to be thinner, but don’t particularly want to stop eating ice cream. I think for a resolution to be meaningful (and have even the tiniest chance of success,) it must focus on the journey and not the destination. If I resolve to increase my level of physical activity, it may work if I genuinely believe and honor the notion that increasing my level of physical activity will make me happier and healthier just for its own sake. It won’t work if the reason I make the resolution is because I believe I will get thinner if I increase my level of physical activity. I am unfairly raising the bar for success if I resolve to increase my physical activity but “really” mean that I resolve to lose weight- an outcome over which I don’t have complete control. It is a recipe for failure.

Secondly, a year is a very long time. The average life expectancy for a woman in the United States is 79 years. I have already lived 64 years of mine. That leaves me with about 15 years to go, statistically speaking. The year 2024 may represent 7% of the time I have left. Deciding in January how the year will go and how I will want to live that year seems a little reckless. There are a lot of variables that can impact the facts and circumstances of my life over the course of a year. The improvements I consider making on January 1st may not be healthy, possible, or beneficial in the landscape of the life I end up living on March 12th or August 9th or December 25th. Again, setting resolutions that assume everything will be the same throughout the year as it is on January 1st is just resolving to fail.

I do not know quite how to describe the impact of the year 2023 on me. I ended 2022 with gratitude, exhaustion, and a relatively clear vision of what I thought the next year would be. More importantly, I think I had a pretty clear vision of who I would be during the new year. I learned and grew a lot in 2022. The resolutions I thought about making for 2023 had a lot to do with recrafting relationships to accommodate the new me. To be honest, I thought I had done the work I needed to do in 2021 and 2022 to be the person I wanted to be. My resolutions for 2023 centered on how to reap the rewards of that work.

Yes, I did do some reward-reaping and relationship recrafting in 2023, but the truth is that I was still a long way from who God intended me to be. This year 2023 was one of the most painful, most challenging, and most precious years of my life. I resolved some decades-old pain that has eaten away at my soul for over 40 years. I learned to stand up for my own convictions. I embraced the idea that I can still be right, even if someone else thinks I am wrong. I have shared some of my epiphany year in this blog, so I won’t delve into specifics again. The other revelation I had during 2023 is that the only way to live effectively is to live in the moment. I have always been a compulsive planner, creating detailed action plans for everything and strategizing solutions to every possible scenario. There is nothing wrong with planning. I believe that it is important to be present and in the moment during the planning process. I am never going to stop being a planner and I do not want to stop being a planner. However, it is just as important to be present and in the moment during the doing process. I’ve done things in 2023 that I never, never could have even imagined as possibilities in the past. I did not always manage these new, unplanned scenarios perfectly. I did not always do what I resolved to do. However, there was NO failure. Even circumstances that did not yield the results I wanted or expected were huge triumphs in my personal development. No harm, no foul.

As I go into 2024, I am making no resolutions. I am choosing instead to observe the world around me and my responses. I am choosing to be curious and open to what God has in store for me. I am choosing to embrace unexpected conditions and adapt in order to sail with the wind. I am not choosing resolutions to develop myself into a happier, healthier person. I am choosing explorations and experiments.

Who’s with me? Do you make resolutions? Why or why not? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a wonderful 2024!

Terri/Dorry 😊