Taming the Foolish Child

Photo Credit: Tim Oiler via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Tim Oiler via CC Flickr

A little while ago, I came across a great story told by Rudy Ruettiger, a renowned player for the Notre Dame football that inspired his squad for years with his determination and work ethic. Hollywood eventually made a motion picture about his exploits and help to inspire thousands of people around the world.

In the following story, Rudy tells a touching story of him and his father and how a certain situation turned his life around…forever.

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Notre Dame is a legendary place. A spot on the team means a chance at great fame. Rudy Ruettiger is a legend himself. He made the Notre Dame class. He then went on to become the heart of the Fighting Irish. His dad, Daniel Ruettiger, was a war hero and legendary dad. 14 kids. Married a world-class mom. Worked three jobs. Yet he always found time to attend his kids’ games.

“Bullied, badgered and mad, I became a rebel in school. Sophomore year it came to ahead. I befriended a rough kid who well could have spelled my end. A big fight was planned for that Friday night. My friend said, ‘Rudy, we’re tough. Let’s go.’

I foolishly agreed. I had a big head. It was a chance to show off. I’d smear those kids who had made me so mad.

I waited until the family was fast asleep. Quietly, I slid out of bed, pulled on my clothes, and tiptoed to the back door. I was careful not to make a sound.

Dad knew something was up. He cut me off at the door. With his hand on my shoulder, he insisted we talk.

I admitted where I was headed. The kids we would fight had belittled us. It was our turn to teach em’ some stuff.

That’s when Dad rescued my future, and maybe my life. He replied, ‘You are no man when a meaningless fight is your way. You become a man by knowing when to walk away. Learn it now and remember.’

I’m blessed that Dad stayed up to catch me that night. Bad news came the next day. Several were badly hurt in the fray. With a blow to the head, my friend was now dead.

It could have been me, or I might have been cuffed and taken away. Either way, that would have spelled the end of my dream – no Notre Dame.

Dad, you were the best: You taught me to stop the big talk; to get in life’s game, then go out and fight to make the big plays. You taught me to know when to walk away.”

By: Rudy Ruettiger

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” ~  Proverbs 1:8

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A Second Chance at Life

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Have you ever thought to yourself how “good” your life REALLY is? What if the direction of your life suddenly changed and you found yourself in a situation that you had never thought that you would be in? One minute you think your life is great, you are healthy and everything is “smooth sailing?” then you find out that something in your body or mind wasn’t as good as you thought and that you were “very close” to experiencing a life-changing event?

Such was the case with me…

I have always enjoyed my life: talking with other people, spending time with my family and friends, enjoying the taste of delicious food, taking in the pleasures of seeing the beautiful things in the world, generally speaking, loving the life that I have been given.

But a little over a week ago, my life drastically took an unexpected turn. What was supposed to be a simple two hour screening procedure turned into a four day stay in the hospital.

It was during those four days that I discovered that my heart had been beating at an outstanding rate (150 beats per minute) and because of that high tempo, my heart had weakened to a dangerous level. Unbeknownst to me, I had had this condition for the past couple of years!

After leaving the hospital and meeting with the doctor the next day, I was told that the doctor was surprised that I hadn’t had either a stroke or a heart attack. YIKES!! What a shocking, wake up piece of news. I had NEVER KNOWN that my heart was 1) beating at such a high rate, and 2) that my heart had weakened to such a bad state.

So, imagine my thoughts today, when the doctor told me that despite the condition of my heart, everything would be ok. The doctors found out what was causing my elevated heart rate, the proper medicine to take to control my heart rate, and that my condition was totally correctable and curable!

The doctor simply said, “look at it this way…you have a second chance at life.

Needless to say, I am ecstatic for a couple of reasons…1) I feel great. I feel like I did 10-20 years ago, 2) I feel excited that now that I know that the doctors diagnosed the problem, everything will be OK, and 3) I have a new lease on life and I am going to take full advantage of it and take care of myself and love life even more than I did before.

Just thinking of “what could have happened” has left me feeling very humble and aware of my mortality more than it ever was. And it has taught me a lesson. It has taught me to live my life to its fullest. I shouldn’t be afraid to fail because, many times, it is when we fail that we grow and learn lessons that will benefit us in our lives.

It has made me value and love my friends, loved ones and family more so now than ever. I has allowed me to REALLY appreciate the things around me that I have taken for granted every day. But more importantly, it has strengthened my faith and assurance that my Lord and God never once abandoned or left me. He has always been there by my side throughout my life when things were going well and He was guiding the doctors and comforting me during my stay in the hospital.

You see, that’s the beauty of true FAITH. Faith is that knowledge of believing in someone or something when you cannot see it but you KNOW it is there. When you sit on a chair, do you bend down and test it first to make sure that it will hold you? Or do you simply just sit on the chair without closely inspecting its durability and strength?  Having faith in the Lord is exactly the same thing. I KNOW that He will take care of me and I KNOW that He is there to hold me up and to strengthen me. I don’t have to question or test anything that He does for me..My life is in His hands and if my time on earth is done, He will hold me close to himself and take me home. I have total peace and total fulfillment in my life knowing that He is always there with me.

So, how has your life treated you? How much do you appreciate the ways that you have been blessed? How well do you REALLY love and appreciate your loved ones? How strong is your faith? How secure are you if things were to suddenly go in a negative direction in your life?

Take the time everyday to truly be thankful for the good things in life. Find the moments in your daily routine to be grateful for your family and friends and show them how you feel. Discover the paths that you can follow and explore to give yourself a second chance in life.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  ~ Colossians 3:17

Slaying the Dragon of Anxiety

Photo Credit: Rubyblossom via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Rubyblossom via CC Flickr

Anxiety and stress…millions upon millions of people struggle coping with this monster every day. The effects of anxiety on some people can be downright nasty, frightening, and frustrating. People suffering from anxiety can have an assortment of symptoms: insomnia, irregular heartbeats, trembling, fear of dying, chills or hot flashes, dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, sudden overwhelming fear, nausea,  trouble concentrating, breathing rapidly, just to name a few.

Unfortunately, as with many medical conditions, the exact cause and the genesis of anxiety is not exactly known or understood. There are some things that can contribute to anxiety such as traumatic life experiences, inherited traits, a vast assortment of medical causes, or medications.

I recently had a bout with anxiety (as I also did a year or so ago). In both cases, the anxiety was caused by something different. The first time, it was triggered by a medication that had an adverse effect on my body…unfortunately, it lasted quite a while. A short time ago, I began to experience a high level of anxiety again, due mainly to an accumulation of a number of factors such as a medical problem (kidney stones), an overwhelming work load, and a private emotional time of my life.

I decided to go to my Face Book page and ask my friends for their suggestions as to how I could deal with my anxiety and I found many of them to be VERY helpful and successful. I also researched other ways and techniques that individuals deal with anxiety…and It is for these reasons, that I decided to share a list of them with you!!!

It is my hope and prayer that the following “weapons” will help in your “fight” in slaying the dragon…anxiety.

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Anxiety-Busting Ideas

  1. Chew Bubble / Chewing Gum – The next time you feel the axiety coming on, unwrap a stick of gum, start chewing and enjoy it! According to studies, knowing on a piece of gum lowers anxiety and eases stress. Some researchers believe that the rhythmic act of chewing may increase the blood flow to your brain, while others believe that the smell and taste help you to relax.

2. Get Outside – Fresh air and the feeling of openness, freedom, and the enjoyment of everything that Mother Nature has for you ca have an adverse effect in the way that you feel. The feel of the warm sun, a nice breeze, nice smelling flowers, the songs of the birds, and many other things, will lower your stress. Levels

3. Smell Some Lavender – It has been believed for hundreds of years that certain smells can have a tremendous, positive effect on a person’s mental state. The proof is in the pudding…how often are you doing something, then suddenly experience a certain smell which in turn, “takes you back” to a time that you may have long since forgotten…maybe it brings you to a place that gives you happy memories. Such is the case with Lavender. Lavender has a relaxing, soothing effect with people when it is smelled.

4. Smile and/or Laugh – Don’t be a crab! Just as negative feeling and mind thoughts can have adverse effects on a persons psyche…when a person smiles, it can do just the opposite. When times get difficult and arduous, put a smile on your face…a REAL one. Believe it or ot, when you smile, the muscles around your face and mouth , reduces your body’s stress as well as lowers your heart rate faster once the stressful experience ends.

5. Pray the Alphabet – This technique had a tremendous positive effect with me. I am a Christian with a strong faith in God but it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t do something like that yourself. When I pray the alphabet, I begin with the latter. A, then pray for every person I know whose name starts with the letter “A”…the on to “B”, etc. I very rarely ever got to the letters in the middle of the alphabet…especially if I did the prayer while I was in bed at night. It is effective because it takes the focus off of my “problem” and think of something else.

6. Listen to Music – Try to listen to something that you enjoy like music or a podcast and try to listen to every word or every note. Music has “magical” powers…it can make you dance, helps plants to grow, lulls babies to sleep, marches men off to war, enchant people and nations, drive out evil spirits, etc. Music can slow down the brain waves, as well as affect a person’s heartbeat and blood pressure. Music can also boast the immune system, boost productivity, and strengthen memory and learning. The point? Listening to music can uplift your soul and spirits sometimes in ways that you could never imagine.

7. Be Nice to Yourself – Some anxiety and negative thoughts and feelings are self-induced. They are sometimes brought on because of the way an individual may think of themselves. If person is continually putting themselves down, pessimistic, and cynical about their life, they will bring much added stress and strain upon themselves…sometimes, more than they should have. Therefore, BE KIND TO YOURSELF! Tell yourself every day when you wake up (and throughout the day) how awesome you are, how much you are loved and cared for. Staying positive and using compassionate self-talk will help you to relax and get a better grip on your situation. Remind yourself in a calm and assured way…the same way that you might help a friend, that “everything will be OK, etc. Also, do things that you enjoy!

8. Write Your Anxiety Away – Take the time each night to find something to write about…things that make you anxious, happy, or anything else that you may find helpful. The act of writing out words and putting your thoughts on paper is very therapeutic. It doesn’t matter if you write it out with a pen, pencil, or crayon…the important thing is to be honest with yourself. Again, this was one of the biggest things that helped me fight off my bouts with anxiety. I slept better at night and helped me to focus on not only the things that bothered me or caused me the anxiety, helped me to realize the things NOT TO FOCUS ON…and to move on with my life.

9. Breathe – When you feel your anxiety coming on or if you are in the process of experiencing it, take the time to focus on your breathing. Focusing on your breathing takes your focus off of the thing that may be causing you the stress. Find a quiet place to go then sit quietly. Take a nice, long, slow breath through your nose (count to 8 while you are doing so), hold your breath for 4 seconds, then release your breath in a slow, soothing fashion (again, count to 8 while you are exhaling). When you start feeling your anxiety begin to build, force yourself to focus on one thing around you instead. Take a relaxing breath and very slowly describe to yourself every detail about that object or person. Keep doing it and don’t allow yourself to focus on your anxiety. Keep focusing outward. Within a few minutes your anxiety attack will go away. It takes practice but with every anxiety attack it gets a bit easier.

10. Talk to A Friend – I found this to be a very, very helpful way. There is nothing better than talking with someone who has gone through the same things that you have. There are many times, that your friends can give you great strategies and techniques how to battle your stresses and anxiety. This blog is a great example of that! Sharing with a loved one allows you to “open up” easier and be more honest. More importantly, you will feel much less alone.

11. Meditation – I’ll keep this one short…take at least 8 minutes, once a day, to focus on something that brings you pleasure…music, a movie, or something that makes you smile. Play it in your head and only focus on that. Eventually, your heart rate will slow down and you will soon return to normal.

12. Yoga / Tai Chi – Learn the good, helpful techniques to slow down your breathing and focus on positive things. Again, this is turn will lower your blood pressure and heart rate.

13. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – There’s many skills for distress tolerance in dialectical behavioral therapy. They suggest trying to hold ice, using imagery, playing with play dough.

There’s also an acronym that help with mindfulness: RAIN. Recognize that it’s happening. Accept without judgment (no judgment is crucial) it is happening. Investigate how your body feels. Note mentally when/how I t happened and what it felt like.

14. Lay Your Problems at the Feet of Christ – ..and do just that…LEAVE THEM THERE! Don’t go back and dwell on the past or the things that cause you distress or anxiety. Leave your problems and sorrows with the Lord…and keep them there!!

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Matthew 6: 25-34 – Do Not Be Anxious: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his ispan of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, Oh you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Comforting Thoughts About Life – Part 1

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn via CC Flickr

Life is strange. At one moment, it might seem tough, unfair, and if it just can’t get any worse while at other times, we are happy, joyful, or plain delighted with the good things in life.

I decided that it would be a great idea to collect some thoughts and ideas from other people that will encourage and uplift our minds and souls every day. The power of positive thinking is a tremendous asset to have. When we will feel good about ourselves there are many, many ways in which we benefit from these optimistic thought patterns and habits…less stress, lower blood pressure, we are happier, kinder to other people…just to name a few.

So, as you read some of the following thoughts, I hope that you may find comfort in them and that they will help and guide you on your path and you continue your journey through life.


We often forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but of deeply appreciating what we do have.

The story of your life has many chapters. One bad chapter doesn’t mean it’s the end of the book. Just turn the page.

You’ll never be able to see the great things in front of you, if you only look at the bad things behind you.

A big smile is the lighting system of the face, the cooling system of the mind, and the heating system of the heart.

We don’t stop dreaming and exploring because we grow old. We grow old because we stop dreaming and exploring.

When the right things aren’t adding up in your life, start subtracting the wrong things.

Surround yourself with positive people who will support you when it rains, not just when it shines.

Don’t make too much time for people who rarely make time for you.

The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.

We spend money that we do not have, on things we do not need, to impress people who do not care.

Friends who believe in you when others doubt you, friends who tell you can do it when you doubt yourself… these friends are a gift.

Life is too short to worry about needless issues. Have fun, live through love, explore, regret nothing, and don’t let others bring you down.

Remember, people who try to bring you down are already below you.

Enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.

You may not have everything that you want in life but you are blessed enough to have all that you need.

Never lose hope, because as night falls, a new day is about to dawn and you never know what a new day will bring.

Having a thousand credentials on the wall will not make you a decent human being…but genuinely helping one person everyday will.

If you’re smiling right now, you’re doing something right.

Defeating Despair: The Power of Encouragement

Photo Credit: Jessiee Cuizon via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Jessiee Cuizon via CC Flickr

There is nothing worse in the world today than a person who has lost their vision, desire and hope to fulfill their dreams. Negative comments, hurtful words, and discouraging actions, can all lead an individual to having a disheartening sense of doom and despair. If left in this state for lengths of time, it can cause un-needed levels of distress and deep scars that can last, sometimes, for a lifetime.

So, what is something that can counteract despair? What can people do to help someone that is struggling with their life…or better yet, what can they do to prevent someone else from facing despair? Through Encouragement. It was once said that for every 1 negative comment a person said to another individual…it takes 7 positive comments or actions to counter. Sometimes, just giving people simple words of encouragement or a nod of satisfaction can do wonders to a person’s self-confidence. There are many, many times, that all a person really needs is a hug or that human touch. I previously posted a story called “The Power of A Human Touch” that you can check out here.

What I decided to do in today’s blog was to post three separate stories of encouragement which show the true power of a positive word or action. It is my hope that these short stories will, in some way, touch your heart in a helpful way.

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It wasn’t like Scott Kregel to give up. He was a battler, a dedicated athlete who spent hour after hour perfecting his free throws and jump shots during the hot summer months of 1987. But just before fall practice everything changed. A serious car accident left Scott in a coma for several days.

When he awoke, a long rehabilitation process lay ahead. Like most patients with closed head injuries, Scott balked at doing the slow, tedious work that was required to get him back to normal — things such as stringing beads. What high school junior would enjoy that?

Tom Martin, Scott’s basketball coach at the Christian school he attended, had an idea. Coach Martin told Scott that he would reserve a spot on the varsity for him — if he would cooperate with his therapist and show progress in the tasks he was asked to do. And Tom’s wife Cindy spent many hours with Scott, encouraging him to keep going.

Within 2 months, Scott was riding off the basketball court on his teammates’ shoulders. He had made nine straight free throws to clinch a triple-overtime league victory.

It was a remarkable testimony of the power of encouragement.

~ Readers Digest

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC FLickr

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC FLickr

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Jean Nidetch, a 214 pound homemaker desperate to lose weight, went to the New York City Department of Health, where she was given a diet devised by Dr. Norman Jolliffe.

Two months later, discouraged about the 50 plus pounds still to go, she invited six overweight friends home to share the diet and talk about how to stay on it.

Today, 28 years later, one million members attend 250,000 Weight Watchers meetings in 24 countries every week.

Why was Nidetch able to help people take control of their lives?

To answer that, she tells a story.

When she was a teen-ager, she used to cross a park where she saw mothers gossiping while the toddlers sat on their swings, with no one to push them. “I’d give them a push,” says Nidetch. “And you know what happens when you push a kid on a swing? Pretty soon he’s pumping, doing it himself. That’s what my role in life is–I’m there to give others a push.”

Irene Sax in Newsday.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

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Edward Steichen, who eventually became one of the world’s most renowned photographers, almost gave up on the day he shot his first pictures.

At 16, young Steichen bought a camera and took 50 photos. Only one turned out — a portrait of his sister at the piano. Edward’s father thought that was a poor showing. But his mother insisted that the photograph of his sister was so beautiful that it more than compensated for 49 failures.

Her encouragement convinced the youngster to stick with his new hobby. He stayed with it for the rest of his life, but it had been a close call.

What tipped the scales?

The vision to spot excellence in the midst of a lot of failure.

Bits & Pieces, February 4, 1993, pp. 4-5.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

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Pictures That Speak Volumes #54

Power of Words

This is a picture that demonstrates the true power of words by a photographer that visited this Central American country. Imagine the effect that we can have on others when we find just one positive thing to say about them!!