Our future.

We owe it to our children or our future children to overcome, to rise above, to live well. We often do not realize the extent to which our struggles, demons and limitations act as a noose around the neck of our children. It is one thing to decide to give in to our own addictions, weaknesses or fears, it is another when that choice stands to greatly affect our progeny. The learnings of our youth whether direct or indirect have a greater impact on our actions, choices or beliefs than we realize. “Actions speak louder than words” is one of the truest statements. As parents we can say do as I say, not as I do. However, children believe what we do.

My parents did a great job at counseling me about certain issues. Regardless of the state of their marriage, they taught me about what is important in a relationship. I remember my father making me watch marriage videos when I wanted to watch cartoons. They taught me that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real, that I could do or be anything in life. They taught me that I deserved the best in life, that God loves us, the importance of eating healthy. They did an amazing job of telling me what to do. Sadly, they were not always able to overcome these issues for themselves.

All of their right teachings could not save me from the struggles that I would inherit by watching them. Somewhere along the line, I absorbed many of the issues that they have struggled with for life. Even though I know better intellectually, I do not feel that I am worthy or that I deserve the best. No amount of convincing or intellectualizing can convince me otherwise. Although I choose often to act in spite of fear, I often keep myself from doing things that I want in life due to fear. While I tell myself that God loves me, and even know it intellectually, I do not feel it to be true emotionally. I know that failure is a part of success, I still fear it, and often avoid it.

While these things may seem small in and of themselves, all added together, they make for a life less than what we are capable of. Due to all of the counseling my parents gave me, I am at least aware of it and work to change it for myself. That is half the battle. Too often, people are not even aware of the beliefs that they continue to live out unconsciously. If we desire to teach our kids that they are worthy, able, capable, loved, that there is nothing to fear, that they are prosperous, smart, beautiful, etc, you must live that for yourself. If you want your kids to have the courage to fly, you must fly yourself. If you want your children to be surrounded with love, you must treat yourself with love and surround yourself with those who love you. If you want them to be fearless, you have to be willing to stare fear down. It is simply not enough to tell them. It is no different in giving yourself oxygen on a plane before you give it to your children. You cannot effectively teach what you don’t have for yourself. Our children deserve the best version of ourselves.


I have come to see that my whole life has been about me. I go to the Lord with petitions of my heart. I come from a home where the dysfunction of others outshined any hopes and aspirations of my own. I did not know how to leave the dysfunction behind and seek out a life of my own. Instead, I always hoped the Lord would swoop in and save the day, delivering all of my unrequited hopes and dreams.

When the bomb dropped in my life, it destroyed every shred of a dream I once had. I know that no matter what, I am strong enough to “rise from the ashes…” The truth is, I don’t feel like I should have to. I feel like I deserve a break. But that is all about me. In reality, nothing is promised to any of us. I was blessed with the gift of life twice. What I do with that gift is mostly up to me. Rather than thinking about what I feel I deserve, I need to look to my Father. I owe everything to Him. For the gift of life, I owe it to Him to live well.

I feel the closest to wounded soldiers. However, they were living with the knowledge of the risks. Their sense of duty to God and country outweighed their fear of the risks. I have always thought scars to be badges of honor to show a life of taking risks, of working hard, of living well. Their injuries are in essence badges of honor. It feels like any losses they may have mean something…

I went from running coliseum stairs to a hospital bed to a wheelchair. While the wheelchair will not be forever, the scars and the trauma will be. I can only pray that I use it to make me rather than to break me. I pray that I use it to define my perspective. While I may not be serving my country,  I can serve my God and mankind. I pray that my life will make a difference and that rather than viewing things in terms of what I feel I want or need, that I will live to matter, to serve. I have petitioned to God for what I want. It is time to ask Him what He wants from me. He spared my life. It is a very real feeling to lay down and imagine what dead feels like…I had a glimpse of that, and it was more than enough.

It is my desire that we all learn to live well. That we not only live for ourselves in search of our desires,  but that we live in service of God and mankind. And that in the process we extract every ounce of joy available. Please stop wasting time sweating the small stuff. I promise you, from this perspective, life is far too short and precious. And cherish those who stand by you, and release with wellwishes those who walk away for they are blessing you with their departure. May God bless and keep you and yours.

The Paradox of Vulnerability

“…and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.” Audre Lorde

This quote drives me crazy as I have yet to tap into the ways in which vulnerability has made me strong.

There were many times in my life that I felt that I was more vulnerable than I would prefer. In hindsight, the vulnerability was in my mind, and most of it was due to choices that I had made. I am currently very vulnerable, and not something that I did to myself. But this isn’t about me…

God says when we clothe another, feed another, visit another in jail or in hospitals, administer to the least of His, we are doing it unto Him. And if we do it begrudgingly, it is almost worse than not doing it. Without having ever been in a truly vulnerable position, it is difficult to understand what it feels like. I have never liked allowing others to do for me because it has often been thrown in my face. Or I would put my needs out there only to have them ignored or denied. It is sad that this is the attitude we take with each other. Everything that we have and what we are is a gift from God to begin with…our time, our talents, our money, our means. So to do for one another while keeping record, throwing in each other’s faces, or doing it begrudgingly cancels out any goodwill we may have created.

“If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” J.K Rowling
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely  no good.”  Samuel Johnson

“It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.” Hubert H. Humphrey

How we treat those who are truly vulnerable says much about ourselves. One could argue that is the reason we are here, to administer to one another, to make the plight of others a little easier. A dear friend of mine reminded me that helping others is a gift and a privilege for those who are helping. We could all benefit to stop and think before extending our hand to another. The greatest gift is to help in a way which allows the one receiving help to maintain their dignity. You can do this by refraining from rubbing it in someone’s face, not keeping score, helping before being asked (as most people hate to ask for help), going the extra mile…and to view the other party as who they are, not what circumstance they may be in.

Something that I have been guilty of is hesitating, or assuming that the person is surrounded by love, attention, help, encouragement or prayer. I missed out on the blessing of being a blessing. We see a homeless person on the street and assume that an army of people after us will be the blessing to this person. Maybe God had intended for us to be this blessing for this person. What if they needed to know someone saw them, cared for and valued them, what if we were their lifeline? Not only did we fail to impact their life, but we failed to have our life impacted.

This struggle that I have been through has been far darker than I could ever have imagined. I in no way am sharing this for sympathy, only to provide an example of what others may be going through, to challenge you to look for opportunities to be there for each other. You would think when you go through something so horrific that you would be met with compassion, love, understanding and encouragement. While I have at times received an outpouring of these things from so many via facebook and texts, calls, etc, there has for the most part been the opposite.

In a few cases, even my closest of friends have walked away because they did not feel I had given them enough rather than having compassion that I did not have anything to give. I have often gone without eating when I was alone because I did not have the strength or energy to cook for myself, or the means to fill the fridge, I have hurt myself trying to clean the house in a wheelchair. I have laid face down in my bed crying my eyes out doing everything I could to convince myself that this too shall pass. I have known the deepest level of loneliness…one where you cry out the hollowest, saddest sound that you do not even recognize it as your own. Again, I do not share this for sympathy. It is very difficult to show myself in such a vulnerable light, but I have hope that doing so will help others in similar situations to know they are not alone, or to provoke others to reach out and show up for each other. I would NEVER do anything to harm myself, but I have known that kind of loneliness, helplessness, hopelessness and desperation, and it scares me for those who maybe do not have the strength, faith or self love that I do.

Often it is the strongest who need help the most because they will show a brave face, and have the hardest time reaching out for help. It strengthens us to be a strength to another. And please do not pass the buck expecting others to come along…for all you know, you may be the last in line.

Poetically Powerless

One of my greatest downfalls in life is my need to control.  Growing up in the midst of chaos, it was the mechanism that I used to cope, and I have continued clinging to it throughout my journey.  When I do so, I am tempted to think that I am the most powerful force in my life.  While in many ways empowering, this can become a scary feeling when facing seemingly impossible and insurmountable circumstances.  It is then that I remember that God, or whatever you choose to identify with, is there waiting for me to quit swimming upstream, and to relinquish the reins.

It is wisdom to do all that you can to control your own circumstances, but insanity to try to control the actions of others, or the outcomes of our actions. Choose instead to be powerfully powerless. Do all that you can, and release the rest.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, not managed or manipulated. The attempt to control steals us of that enjoyment. Do what you can, say a prayer, and let it go with a smile…and then let it be…

Words as tears….

These words are my tears. Their purpose is not pity, but to purge that which does not belong or serve my purpose and direction. I do not have time for tears as I am steady in pursuit of something greater than the place which I currently stand. My circumstances do not define me, but deliver me to that which God has spoken into my heart. I travel light for that is the only way to truly arrive at such a destination. I keep that which can be used further along my path, toss that which cannot, and cherish my two most prized posessions. My photos and my words. My pictures are snapshots of moments which I will never forget and that enriched me in ways difficult to articulate, yet which can be understood in the moment that I view them. It takes me back to the smell, the feeling, the hope, the fear, the joy, the tear…moments which have carried, and often pushed me to where I am today, and more importantly to where I am headed. I may not be able to carry each relationship with me, but the moments, the essence of each moment, and the affect they had on me, live among my photos. My journal is littered with words…my words, your words…those which were written, and those which were spoken. I remember every syllable of hope, of encouragement, of belief, faith, and friendship, and I forgive those which sought destruction.  I remember your words when you believed in me although I did not. I remember the words of the moments that I would never choose to relive, and those which I would give anything to experience once more. I remember the look in the eyes of the deliverer, and the feeling of the receiver. My words are my tears, and they are my power. They speak for me when I cannot otherwise speak. They cleanse that which pains, and empower that which stands ready to be empowered. When there is nothing else for me to do, I let my fingers type, or the pen write, and I am transformed to a place better than where I currently stand, from where I am or have been to where I am going. Please accept these words as my tears.

The wall

“Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” William Jennings Bryan

In life, there are two types of people…

Those who walk up to a wall, believing it to mean stop, finding it to be too difficult to climb, lacking the desire to know or experience what is on the other side. Turning right back around to where they came from, happy in their comfortability, yet lacking. Or they take a detour, a seemingly easier way searching for that something yet unwilling to be uncomfortable in pursuit of what drives them.

Then there are the dreamers, whose dreams are more than thoughts in the clouds…to them it is a vision, a forecast of what the future holds if they put action behind those dreams, leading them to the fulfillment of all they hope and desire.

What makes us think we deserve greatness by accident, by lying in bed, watching daytime soaps? It happens, but what value is there in that? Quick fixes were not meant to last for there is no lasting change in us. A miracle pill does not afford us the blessing of growth, it steals our progression. Those of us who enjoy greatness, happiness, excellence as the fruits of our labour, find the deepest enjoyment. For in the process we are changed. It is the blood, sweat and tears that we remember, more than the moments of fame, the fleeting celebration. When we sit back and ponder, it is the miles traversed, the sleepless rest, the late nights, early mornings, tears cried, prayers uttered, the determination to face our fears, our limits, and to push, to climb the wall, to push it down. It is those moments when we are faced with deep fear, exhaustion, the belief that we can’t go on, can’t do or try anymore, but do anyway…that is the moment when we change ourselves, our lives, our reality, our future, our destiny.

Get up!

“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.”

I have a deep relationship with fear. Growing up, I feared anything and everything…oftentimes, I feared myself. On deeper levels, I had a fear of success as well as failure. Talk about damned if I do, damned if I don’t. As many of us discover as we set out to navigate life, we are knocked down…again….then again….then again….sometimes so many times that we forget we can stand. There is no way to prepare oneself for such events…other than to do things which we think we cannot do and committ to always getting up. We get fired…get up. We get diagnosed with an illness…get up. We gain a little or a lot of weight…get up. We get our heart broken…get up. We suffer the loss of loved ones…get up. We lose our way…get up…forget who we are…get up. You must get up. It is not triumph to get up when it is easy…that is practice. It is getting up when we are certain that we cannot, when we believe it to  be impossible. Triumph is refusing to be knocked out or defeated, and then rising against all odds.

I am in the fitness industry. It is as much a part of me as my DNA. Most of my life I was fit without perceived effort. I had always run, always played sports, always gone to the gym…I didn’t really know life without it. There came a time when I was knocked down in every area of my life, and fitness seemed like just another demand on me…something else to cause me pain. Then the weight became emotionally and mentally paralyzing. It had never been a part of my reality, I didn’t know where to begin…I knew intellectually how to deal with it, but I didn’t know mentally and emotionally. That struggle revealed a lot to me about fear and the role it plays in our health and fitness directly. We as humans probably fear change the most. Even more than the fear of unknown in terms of change…is the fear of who we have to become, what we have to do to create a positive change in our lives. We would rather life happen to us and deal with the circumstances than to create change for ourselves.  However, coming face to face with that dark place within us, that place that not only fears whether we can do the task, but the fear of living up to who we want to be in order to experience what could be…we would rather stay in the dysfunction, shy away from the task. We make it take far longer than it needed to because we avoid it, shy away, make excuses. All we need to do is make peace with our present reality, take the first step forward again and again…and committ to ourselves to get up no matter what tries to knock us down. It empowers us when we step up to the plate. Step up and then get up!

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
H. P. Lovecraft

A single step…

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-tzu

This is how God designed it…too often in life, we sit around waiting for the profound arrival of a significant blessing in our lives, expecting fireworks, birds chirping, symphonies playing, and our opportunities presented on a silver platter wrapped in a big, red bow. So when it arrives in the form of an out of the blue phone call from someone presenting a seemingly simple and unrelated opportunity, or a chance encounter from someone out of the blue, we are too busy looking past it for our grand parade…

We then sit around asking God and life why He isn’t listening or doesn’t care. More often than not, things will show up silently and unexpectedly in the form of one simple step.  It may seem innocent, or it may require bold faith, but in either case, it will require the understanding that as we move to take each small step, the next steps will continue to be revealed like clues in a treasure hunt. This not only makes life fun and interesting, but it also protects us from shying away from our blessings in fear. God desires to bring our hopes and dreams to pass for He is the one that placed them there. However, His plan is bigger and better than anything we could ask for, and revealing it all at once would confound us. Just as with everything else in life, we must grow, learning one step at a time, perfecting each step.

Had I have known from the first day that I would be where I am at this moment, I would have ran away in fear….I stand today in gratitude for I wouldn’t change a single moment or aspect of my current reality and journey. I know abundant joy, love, and adventure. Stay open, anticipate, and continue–one step at a time.


If that day comes when you cannot see yourself, hear yourself, feel yourself, except as a ghost…do not begin to dig up the bones, frantically clawing through the dirt, searching behind every corner in every place where you once existed…let your non existense exist. Panic will only cause yourself to further elude you. Action will only drive yourself farther away. Fear will only magnify a situation which cannot be defined. With every death, life is borne. It may be for the best that you have become a ghost. Your heartbeat promises an opportunity to begin again, anew, when you are ready, when you have mourned your death, let go of the past, and have the courage to seize and create your future. When you have the wisdom to assess if any partial possession from the ashes should be salvaged, or merely let go with the ruins…This day may never come, come once, or come often…If it does, be a silent spectator at your own funeral, and then when ready, begin again. If it does not, stay ahead of death, cheat it, live life fully and authentically, being true only to yourself…for you are the one constant part of your life.

Goodbyes and Endings…Beginnings and Inbetweens…

Life has its own agenda, the incoming and outgoing of the waves. We sit on the beach building castles in the sand. Our fortresses comprised of our hopes and dreams, expectations and aspirations. In the moment when we gaze to the sky, daydreaming of our realities, or what we perceive them to be, we return our gaze to find all that we knew, or believed to be, in total devastation, heartbreaking destruction. Who are we to stop the tide? No foresight could have avoided the inevitability…no avoidance could have spared the sadness, the feeling of loss, of betrayal, of desertion.

Such is life…We walk along believing that we understand or have it figured out, only to realize that it can all change in an instant. The bottom can fall out, lambs can become lions, winter becomes spring. There are times when nothing that we can do will change the fact that our lives are becoming forever altered. When those we thought we knew like the lines on our palm will dissolve into a shattered reflection. When we are left standing in the ashes of all that we knew. It is in those moments when we can chase our tails trying to glue back the pieces into what once was, or we can rise and begin anew from where we currently stand taking with us the strength of fortitude, the blessing to begin again, to choose wiser and different. Goodbyes Endings Beginnings Inbetween. All precious, all with purpose, all unavoidable, all necessary.