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Conquer

 

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My son played his first baseball game of the season today. His team won 16-9 in extra innings. He was 4 out 5 with 3 RBIs. He is one of the youngest players on the team.

While playing catcher, he took a pitch (machine pitch) to the face mask. No reaction. No tears. Just focus.

Obviously I’m proud of him. You see, last year he was very shy. He once struck out and quit the game out of embarrassment. If he would have been hit by a pitch then, he would have broken out in tears.

He conquered some significant fears today. He played aggressively. He played smart. He followed the fundamentals his coaches have taught him.

On my journey towards fitness, I can learn a lot from him. I can’t be stifled by fear. I need to go after my goals aggressively. I need to stay disciplined – follow the fundamentals that got me this far. I need encouragement from others.

What about you? Have you improved over last year?

 

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Keeping the End in Mind

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8 Ways Happy People Are Different From Everyone Else

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by Shelley Prevost

As a therapist-turned-entrepreneur (kinda), I have helped lots of people fight myriad mental and emotional setbacks.

Over time, I have learned that the skill set that helps you avoid depression or anxiety is not the same skill set that helps you experience a joyful, meaningful, and connected life. If you want to be truly happy, you need a new playbook.

Here’s a page from that playbook. It contains eight ways that happy people are different than everyone else.

They are resilient.

Happy people bounce back, often quickly, from setbacks. Rather than see life’s adversities as destructive and rigid roadblocks that they must quash in order to be happy, they see adverse situations as manageable and temporary fixtures in a pretty good life–the price they pay for renting space on the planet.

They are optimistic.

You know this to be true–most people want to talk about their problems and what’s not going right. Happy people have the same problems that everyone else does, they are just solution-focused and get bored and irritated talking about problems all the time. They have an uncanny skill for finding solutions where there seem to be none. There’s a time and place for venting, but when you’re ready for a solution, ask an optimist.

They experience a wide-range of emotions.

While happy people have more positive emotions than negative ones–three times as many, in fact–they do experience negative emotions just like everyone else. However, they experience them differently. They don’t squelch negative emotions. They face them head on in order to learn from them. They let negative emotions guide them into changing a behavior, self-examining, or getting out of a bad relationship. They see negative emotions as an internal wake-up call to change course or re-evaluate.

They savor things that most people take for granted or overlook.

Happy people are masters at the art of savoring. They joyfully anticipate events, stay present during events, and reminisce after events. They do this because they tend to keep the end in mind. They know that kids grow up, time passes, and we all die. Happy people live by a carpe diem philosophy, never needing a reason to celebrate.

They seek constant challenge and mastery.

Happy people continually look for ways to challenge themselves and develop or master a skill. Rarely complacent, they have an idea of what personal success looks like and use healthy doses of self-criticism to achieve their goals. They don’t self-loathe, but they are realistic with themselves and their deficiencies. They seek out people, hobbies, professions, or ideas that challenge them and their stale self-concepts.

Read more here: http://www.inc.com/shelley-prevost/8-ways-happy-people-are-different-than-everyone-else.html

No Boring Life – no fear!

“Fear is a manip­u­la­tive emo­tion that can trick us into liv­ing a bor­ing life.” Donald Miller

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What’s the Problem?

The Connecticut murderers of innocent children and their teachers have shocked us all. Almost immediately, the gun debate began to rage on Facebook and Twitter. I have my opinion on this, but I won’t share it here. I was called some pretty colorful names by someone yesterday who has a different opinion than I. But the question still begs an answer…

What’s the problem?

Is it assault weapons that are sold to the general public? Is it guns, any guns, that caused this horrific tragedy? Maybe it was violent video games. I don’t play them at all, but from commercials I’ve seen on TV, you can shoot up aliens, armies, and zombies in graphic detail.

Perhaps we can blame Hollywood for producing bloody movies. Or is it TV? Things seen on TV today would have shocked us all just 20 years ago.

Maybe we should blame parents for not being there? Or blame the Government for not having enough laws on the books to stop this kind of crime? Or should we blame bullying? Or Facebook, Twitter, or other social media outlets?

I’m sure there are plenty of other things we can blame, but will that really answer the question?

evil

Perhaps evil is to blame? But can we, do we really want to, point the spot light on evil? Really think about that. Does our society, our country, our world really want to focus on evil as the source of this nightmare?

If we do blame evil, then what is the answer to evil? Will a new law eradicate evil? Will doing away with a certain type of firearm remove evil from our land? Can Government wipe evil off the planet?

NO

From my perspective, only PURE GOOD, something…Someone…who is above evil, separate from evil, is the answer to evil.

Someone once said, “in this world you will have troubles. But be encouraged. I have overcome the world.”

That’s what we all need. An Overcomer. Not a brave legislator. No an tireless activist. Not a caring parent or school official. We need a Savior.

Many who read this will roll their eyes, turn to leave, and begin looking for another answer. Why?

To admit evil cannot be defeated with what we can conjure up also gets the whole conversation to a very personal one. Perhaps, you ask, I cannot truly change either? No self-help book or seminar, no new relationship, no new job, or more money or more stuff…no, nothing can make you a better, healed, whole person. You might feel better by trying some of those things. But deep down inside, you are still that flawed person we all are at heart. We need something more and a whole lot less.

We need a Savior.

Evil must be (and has been) addressed by Someone who has already defeated it and will end it once and for all. That Someone is Jesus Christ.

His death on a cross for the sins of the world paid the debt we all owed to God. We are free. His death defeated pure evil once and for all. Evil does not have to have a hold on our lives. God has given us a free gift through Christ’s sacrifice. Accepting this free gift of salvation guarantees our eternal future.

It does not, however, remove evil from our land. That process takes salvation being realized and accepted by every single person. As Jesus said, “in this world, you will have trouble…” Evil is a part of our landscape…for now. Some will accept the gift. Many will not. Many will not want to change their lives. Many will be fooled that another law, another restriction, another seminar, another book, another relationship, another…will be enough. When it is not, they will try again.

Eventually, Christ will return and evil will be defeated. Once and for all time. Those who have accepted the gift will live forever in the place that has never seen evil. A place filled with awe and wonder. A place where we will meet those children of last Friday’s tragedy.

But in the meantime, we who have the gift must share the gift. Live the gift. Show those around us that

JESUS + nothing = EVERYTHING

9/11 Memories

A good friend shared this memory of 9/11. Be blessed as you read it…

“I was at work when the planes hit the towers on 9/11. Mario was at his 2nd day of 4th grade at a new school. I remember watching in disbelief and praying my New York friend and her staff were safe. Then I got the phone call. My friend’s personal assistant, Taryn, was safe, but her husband was in Tower 2. He never came home. Taryn was 8 1/2 months pregnant with their first child, (Baby boy Collin). When I tried to explain what had happened to Mario, his only concern was Taryn’s unborn baby boy. Without me knowing, he went to his room and wrote the following:

Dear Baby Collin,

I’m Mario. I will help you and pray for you. It may be a little lonely at first not having a daddy but you get used to it. You might get buged by kids saying do you have a daddy? It might make you a little sad because about 10 or 11 dads pick kids up on there sholders, but when you have a mom it’s a little more harder for her to do it. It will be okay because mom’s can do a lot of other stuff. They tuck you in bed. They really, really, really love you and always say they love you. They kiss you all over the place and it can bug you crazy, but you need to let them do it. It’s not so bad to not have a daddy. I will be your friend. You can ask me whatever you want because I know a lot about this stuff.

Love, Mario W

And with that, I knew this date would never be the same in my eyes again. I will NEVER forget, especially the children who lost their mommy or daddy that day. Taryn has since remarried and Collin has a wonderful Dad but I still pray for Collin. . . and for the hundreds of other children whose lives were forever changed.”

Personal Impact

This morning, I dropped my kids off at school. I saw a very cute little blonde girl on the sidewalk. When my son, Karsten, got out if the car, her face lit up with a big smile and twinkles in her eyes.  She immediately ran up to him to say hi. 
 
I think his day will be made by that greeting.  And yet, just Karsten getting out of the car seemed to make her day. 

Whose day are you going to light up today?

The Awesome Power of a Wife’s Love

 

A very old man lay dying in his bed. In death’s doorway, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookie wafting up the stairs.  He gathered his remaining strength and lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort forced himself down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands.

With labored breath, he leaned against the door frame, gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death’s agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven.  There, spread out on newspapers on the kitchen table were literally hundreds of his favorite chocolate chip cookies.

Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted wife, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man?

Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself toward the table. The aged and withered hand, shaking, made its way to a cookie at the edge of the table, when he was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife.

“Stay out of those,” she said. “They’re for the funeral.”

First Grieving Experience

Yesterday, we discovered our cat, Chloe, had died.  She had been missing for a couple of days.  We asked the neighbors.  No one had seen her.  Then we saw a couple of turkey vultures in the field behind our house.  My wife, Laurie, asked me to go out to investigate.  Sure enough, Chloe was dead.

We first told our son.  Lots of tears flowed.  “This is the first pet I’ve lost!” my 7 year old cried.  He was a favorite of Chloe’s.  They were both born in 2005 just a couple of weeks apart.  I picked up our 8 1/2 year old daughter from dance later in the evening.  I had her sit in the front seat with me so I could look her in the eye when I shared the news.  She immediately began crying and reached out to hug me.  The evening was filled with more tears, hugs, and “I miss Chloe” comments.  We woke up this morning to find a gray, rainy day.  More tears came.

As a dad, it’s hard to watch my kids grieve.  Both Laurie and I explained that it is ok to cry and to feel sad.  It’s normal and natural.  It’s normal to ask questions.  And it will be ok to laugh and move on in the future.  All this is part of grieving.

I wonder if these kinds of events help prompt kids to be able to handle grieving that they will experience when a family member passes.  My kids are fairly shielded – they’ve not had to deal with a relative dying oversees with the military nor have they lost a grandparent.  In a way, I’m grateful for this experience and the lessons they are learning through it.  None of us wanted Chloe to die.  She was only 7.  We figured she would be around for many, many years.

But, life lessons sometimes happen when we least expect them.  My prayer for Laurie and I can help walk them through this grief so the kids will grow up to be healthy individuals who can express their emotions during times of joy and times of sorrow.

We will miss you, Chloe.

Sweet Words from a Sweet 7 year old Son

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