Category Archives: Career Issues

Sampling Courageous Love: Many Shades of Light

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I’ve been working on a lot of wonderful quotes to share about love tomorrow, but today I want to talk about what real love is, because I believe too many people have become confused and no longer understand the difference between love and lust. Case in point will be the contrast between two new releases that are coming out: Courageous Love, and Multiple Varieties of Blacker Evil…or something like that. If you’re wondering what genuine love looks like, here are a few examples from Courageous Love:

actress-addilyn-houk-with-actress-jessica-koloian-copyLove protects and is tenderhearted: “Love is patient and kind.”  courageous-love-protecting-sisterLove confronts possible evil and seeks truth…but for the right reasons:
“Love does not envy or boast.”  courageous-love-helping-serveLove serves humbly: “It is not arrogant or rude.”     courageous-love-administrative-assistantLove speaks wisdom but allows free choice: “It does not insist on its own way;” actress-jessica-koloian-playing-michelle-long-7 Love listens and cares: “It is not irritable or resentful;”  courageous_love-timkaiserLove demands integrity: “It does not rejoice at wrongdoing,” courageous-love-telling-the-truthLove sacrifices self-interest: “but [love] rejoices with the truth.” courageous-love-faithful-sisterLove is faithful: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,” courageous-love-keeps-working-hard Love keeps working no matter how tired: “[Love] endures all things.”  jaredwithrow-jessicakoloian True love is sincere…forever: “Love never ends…”  courageous-love-lawyer-helpsLove reaches out to help even when it doesn’t know all the answers:
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.” courageous-love-solving-the-mysteryLove never stops trying to figure out the truth and learn more:
“Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
  courageous-love-sisterLove is undyingly loyal: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;” courageous-love-shelby-engineeringLove leads to happy endings for all! “but the greatest of these is love.”courageous-love-cohort(Quotes above from 1 Corinthians 13)

I hope this inspires you to watch Courageous Love.
It would be a great way to celebrate genuine love this Valentine’s Day!  🙂

courageous-loveWoe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) courageous-love-knudsenSee that none render evil for evil unto any man;
but ever follow that which is good,
both among yourselves, and to all men” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).actress-kristina-kaylen-2Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

(The best photos were used by permission of Daniel Knudsen,
who directed the movie; the rest I took while watching the film.)

Are You Living Life “Full Out”?

full-out-movieSpeaking of persevering in your dreams against all odds, we recently watched an incredibly inspirational movie, Full Out, based on the life of Ariana Berlin. Ariana was just fourteen and a budding Olympic-quality gymnast whose dreams were smashed in 2001 when she and her mom were hit by a speeding car on a freeway in San Diego. Ariana spent 5 days in an induced coma at the ICU: Both her lungs were collapsed and both legs broken as well as one wrist, a collar bone, and cracked ribs. Her injuries were so severe and her therapy so protracted that Ariana gave up her dream of becoming a world-class gymnast, although she eventually joined a troupe of hip hop dancers who were working at Sea World.  full-outFull Out is the fascinating story of Ariana Berlin’s recovery and all she went through to fulfill her gymnastic dreams. She made a tremendous comeback, graduating from UCLA with the rank of #4 in the nation! adriana-berlin-and-ana-goljaOne of the most exciting things to me is that Ariana actually served as her own stunt double! So, making the movie took Ariana’s dreams to a new level. At 26, Ariana decided to “go for it” and train again so she could impersonate what she’d been like at 18, even doing the “Full Out,” which she hadn’t been able to do for over 5 years. (A “Full Out” is a double somersault with a full twist done during the second somersault.)

full-out-ariana-berlinIf you’re looking for a family-friendly video that will motivate you
to persevere despite setbacks, try Full Out. It’s really awesome!

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.
(Luke 18:27)

Is it True that “Everything is Possible”?

everything-is-possible“A life without fear is a life without limits” (Jen Bricker). Have you ever heard of Nick Vujicic or Jen Bricker? I’d never heard of Jen Bricker before I read her book, Everything is Possible, which was just released last week, but she really does give me the feeling that with God, everything is possible…at least everything that God calls us to!  jen-bricker-with-her-adopted-brothersBorn without legs, Jen was abandoned by her parents at birth. Thankfully, an incredibly nurturing family adopted her and brought her up to love God and embrace her life and her body, learning to overcome what most of us would consider impossible barriers to become what she is today: an aerialist, a motivational speaker, an author, and best of all, a joyful, healthy individual who has turned her liability into an asset and lives an incredibly rich, fascinating, and fruitful life! jen-bricker-performingEverything is Possible has made me re-evaluate the way I look at challenges. If Jen could overcome huge physical, emotional, and spiritual obstacles without legs, it makes me realize that I’m a wimp by comparison. If you’re down in the dumps about your life problems, take a break to be inspired by Jen’s life story, then get to work realizing your dreams. As Jesus taught us:  “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).   jen-brickerA few of my favorite quotes from Jen’s book:

“As we try new things, we discover how strong we are and realize the only limits are the ones we impose on ourselves.”

“Our physical presence is only part of who we are as human beings. What’s inside is just as important, and maybe more so.”

“You too have talents, gifts, and abilities (I like to think of them as your personal superpowers) you were born with that are unique to you…The beauty of how God made us it that we don’t have to be jealous of someone else’s superpowers, because they weren’t meant for us. This one thing I would tell you to keep in your back pocket at all times: know that you are significant, you do matter, and what you have to offer is powerful.”

“God shows us the opportunities and puts them in our path, but we have to be strong enough to grab them and then hold on for all our worth.”

“I’ve learned that the more I surrender and let God take care of things, the better off I am. I get out of my own way, I get out of His way, and then I let Him do His work….My dreams are laughable when compared with God’s plans for my life! His gifts, ideas, and blessings are so much bigger and better than anything I could possible imagine!”

“CAN’T is a 4-letter word.”

“I finally realized something: God didn’t owe me an explanation. Sometimes He’s simply protecting us, and we have to trust that there is a lesson to be learned.”

“Sometimes you have to be your own hero. What I mean by that is that you have to fight for what you believe in and for what you want to happen.”

Anyway, Everything is Possible has a treasury of inspirational ideas on how to overcome what appear to be tragic circumstances. It also gave me many insights into how to interact with those who have body shapes different from the norm.  Baker Book House has graciously given me an extra copy to give away, so if you’re interested in reading the book, I’ll give it to the first person to contact me via this blog, email, or Facebook. If you have a story to share about yourself or someone you know that might benefit us, please add it in the comment box. Thanks!!

2016 Olympics and Michael Phelps: “Live Your Passion!”

Michael_Phelps_wins_8th_gold_medal by Bryan Allison. FlickrAs the 2016 Olympics drew to a close yesterday, I’m sure all of us who participated—even if it was only marveling over the achievements of the contestants—were inspired by some of the exciting events we witnessed. To me (and many), the most exciting story is that of Michael Phelps, who was the flag bearer for the U.S. in the Parade of Nations and is the most decorated Olympian in world history. As of today, Phelps has participated in five Olympics and won 28 medals, 23 of them gold (dwarfing the second highest record of 9 golds). Michael_Phelps_2012 by Jay Baker. Wiki Commons via FlickrIf you don’t know his story, let me tell you just a few of the highlights I’ve learned. Michael Fred Phelps II started swimming when he was seven, and by the time he was ten, he held the U.S. record for his age in the 100-meter butterfly. By fifteen, he became the youngest male to make the U.S. Olympic swim team in 68 years. Although he didn’t win any medals in the 2000 Olympics, he did finish with the team, and his career path was set! During the 2004 and 2008 Olympics he became increasingly famous for his incredible achievements, so much so that he was even suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs, which was proved to be totally false after he passed all nine tests that were administered to him during the 2008 Olympics.

Although Phelps played it straight as an athlete, he had serious problems with alcohol, which caused him trouble as early as 2004 when he was arrested for  driving under the influence in Maryland. Over the next decade, his personal life continued to deteriorate, until, as he explained on ESPN, “I was a train wreck. I was like a time bomb, waiting to go off. I had no self-esteem, no self-worth. There were times where I didn’t want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost.”

In 2014, Phelps was arrested again and given a DUI (for driving under the influence). According to a report in Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint, “In the immediate aftermath of that DUI arrest, he cut himself off from family and other loved ones and ‘thought the world would just be better off without me . . . I figured that was the best thing to do — just end my life’.”  The Purpose Driven LifeAt that point, a friend (Ray Lewis, All-Pro linebacker and devout Christian) persuaded Phelps to enter a rehab program and gave him a book to read: The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren, which Phelps read. Phelps told ESPN that the book “turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet.” In fact, reading the book had a radically transforming impact on Michael Phelps. He told Ray Lewis, “Man this book is crazy . . .  The thing that’s going on . . . oh my gosh . . . my brain, I can’t thank you . . . enough, man. You saved my life.”

And, indeed, it seems to have done just that! According to the Los Angeles Times, 31-year-old Michael Phelps at times “shook his head in disbelief at the stream of victories. He repeatedly laughed, kissed his son, Boomer, after races and shed tears during some medal ceremonies.”

The motto for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has been “Live Your Passion,” and it’s obvious that Michael Phelps has been doing just that. But, he’s learned to lean on God to turn his passion into joyful reality. His story has inspired me, and I hope it also encourages you! What’s your passion? God can do in us what we cannot accomplish on our own! He is able.

And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

(For the fuller story of Michael Phelps conversion, see http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/discourse )

Thoughts on Success and Leadership

U.S. Capitol Building. Feb. 2016Reflecting on the movie Rise, it occurred to me that Mack Lindon “rose” from the pit of prison by persevering and living well, and it appears to me that he’s made a success of his life. So, today I want to share a few more thoughts on how to become a success, both personally and professionally.

“To succeed in life you need three things: A wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone” (I don’t know who penned this, but isn’t it good?)

“If at first you don’t succeed … welcome to the club.”~Israel Harold Asper

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~Winston Churchill

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” ~Indira Gandhi

“Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced. Even a proverb is no proverb until your life has illustrated it.” ~John Keats

“Leadership can’t be claimed like luggage at the airport. Leadership can’t be inherited, even though you may inherit a leadership position. And leadership can’t be given as a gift — even if you’ve been blessed with an abundance of leadership skills to share with someone else. Leadership must be earned by mastering a defined set of skills and by working with others to achieve common goals.” ~David Cottrell

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

“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.” ~John F. Kennedy

“Success is the dynamic collision of an ordinary moment and an unyielding motivation.” ~Chris Novak

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” ~John Wooden

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” ~Dale Carnegie

“We are not here to merely make a living. We are here to enrich the world, and we impoverish ourselves if we forget this errand.” ~ Woodrow Wilson

“If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which
I have control — myself.” ~Stephen Covey

In the King James Version of the Bible, the word “success” is only used once, but for me personally, it’s been key to my conception of what true success is: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).

Learning to Convey Respect

Frog Parking.I initially wrote today’s post using some images Dis Humorshared by friends on Facebook that reminded me of  “life in these United States,”Definition of Musician from WOLF fmTeachers DM 2but what my age-mates and I thought of as humorous commentary on life was not considered appropriate by the younger generation, so I’m trying again.

Mother and SonI’ve just started working my way through a book called Mother and Son; The Respect Effect, by Emerson Eggerichs, on “What every mom needs to recognize in her son,” and it dawned on me that I need this book much more than the author needs me to publicize it, because I clearly do not understand how to convey the respect I feel to my grown children! When I’ve finished the book, I’ll tell you what I learned (and they gave me an extra copy to share if you’re in the market), but meanwhile, if you have children, I’d like you to join me in pondering this question: Am I giving my children the respect they deserve? RespectIf you and your kids are at a stage where you’re constantly disagreeing, then you may not even feel a lot of respect for them at the moment, but I believe God wants us to treat everyone with respect, following the example of Christ. I used to think that respect had to be earned, but Christ didn’t disparage anyone, not even the woman caught in adultery or the thief on the cross. He expressed anger and confronted evil, but he still treated people with dignity, and he himself always retained his own dignity, even when he was dying on the cross.  Love Quote by PigletOn the other hand, if you admire your kids as much as I admire mine, and you get along well with them, then it’s probably not so much whether or not you feel respect for them, but whether or not you’re able to convey that respect in a meaningful way to them. That’s where I’m at, and that’s what I’m trying to learn. Sometimes it’s not just what’s in the heart that counts, it’s learning to speak the language of the person you love, and for men, I hear that language is spelled R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (which is not as natural to a woman as L.O.V.E.).  Ann LandersDo you find yourself concerned about your relationships with your kids? Join the club. But, just remember this, our adult offspring deserve not only our love, but our sincerest respect, and if we love them, we need to learn how to convey that respect to them in ways they understand.

“Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any:
he is mighty in strength and wisdom” (Job 36:5).

(The signs and photos are from internet forwards. If any of them belong to you, please let me know so I can credit you or remove them. Thanks.)

Have You Felt the Joy of Joy Mangano?

Joy MovieOkay, so I’ve never bought or owned a T.V. and have hardly watched any since becoming a Christian back in 1960, so I can only give a blank look when people talk about things like QVC or HSN, but I really did enjoy watching Joy, and even if only 50% of the information was true and the other 50% from the amalgamated machinations of David O. Russel’s imagination (based on real and fictional characters), the life story of Joy Mangano is very impressive! Joy Movie 2A young divorcee with three children to support (two in the movie), Joy has had a meteoric rise from poverty to being worth 50+ million in about 25 years. This woman has 100+ patents to her name, some of the most famous inventions being her Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers, and Forever Fragrant products. joy manganoThe real Joy Mangano is the president of Ingenious Designs, can sell a million dollars of product in one hour on T.V., and was honored by the Fast Company in 2010 as one of the “10 Most Creative Women in Business.” Besides that, I don’t think she’s been involved in any scandals, so what’s not to admire about her record? Cast-of-JoyI was disappointed to learn that she didn’t do all this while living with a totally dysfunctional, crazy family (although I’m glad they weren’t as bad as depicted), Joy Mangano HSNbut she still looks like a superwoman to me! All the trials and tribulations she went through to succeed, if not as humorous and horrible as portrayed on screen, were doubtless real and heart-rending all the same, and I think the message is worth hearing: It’s never too late to go for it if you have to good idea, so keep trying ’til it turns out right!Joy ManganoI couldn’t find much about Joy’s personal life, which she (understandably) keeps very private, but in our own pursuit of good things, God encourages us to call on Him for help in working out our bright ideas: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3). I don’t know if Joy is aware of this offer, or if her faith has anything to do with her amazing success, but I do know that God’s open invitation is something I’d never want to refuse!

“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).