Friday, November 26, 2010


Courage is such a strong word. Everybody hopes for courage in moments when courage is most needed.

Winston Churchill once said, “One person’s courage can make a remarkable and lasting difference.”

History is full of instances of courage. What most immediately comes to mind is the courage and fortitude that our founding fathers demonstrated in the early years of our country. Before America gained her independence, it took tons of courage on the part of a great host of displaced Britishers to stand up and say in effect, “This we believe. This we declare as our right. This we clearly will establish and this we will fight for to the end.”

American prisoners of war have retold countless tales of courage in the face of pain, torture, suffering and hopelessness.

Olympic athletes have told amazing stories of enduring tremendous pain in the moment to give their all and then some to go for the gold and win. Courage in the face of pain – that’s the stuff of champions.

I’m not an Olympic athlete. You probably aren’t either. So, can we ordinary mortals also demonstrate courage?

You bet we can.

Read this excerpt from an email I received in response to another blog I wrote a few months ago.

“Thanks Michael. Timely words that helped soothe a slightly damaged psyche after a tough week at the office. The boss tried to force a significant ethical compromise on a colleague and me. We stood firm and did not cave in but still feel like walking wounded after the battle. I appreciate you and the "Up Words".

I know a lady who had to walk away from an abusive relationship in order to save her own life, both physically and emotionally. That took courage. To leave the semblance of some sort of security, defective though it was, and face the uncertainty of becoming a single mother, still raising a teenage daughter.

That was difficult. But it was also courageous.

What is courage? Read these wise words.

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”      
--Winston Churchill

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’”
--Mary Anne Radmacher

“Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.”
--Dan Rather

“Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.”
--Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

“Courage can't see around corners, but goes around them anyway.”
--Mignon McLaughlin

“Sometimes the biggest act of courage is a small one.”
--Lauren Raffo

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
--C.S. Lewis

“Courage is tiny pieces of fear all glued together.”
--Terri Guillemets

Beauty and the Beast and Macbeth both use one of my favorite new quotes
          “Screw your courage to the sticking place.”

Meaning: Gain courage, hold on to it. Never lose it.

So, gather up your courage. Face life. Hold onto essential truths and guiding principles.

“Screw your courage to the sticking place.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

When It's All Over You've Only Just Begun

Have you ever come to the end of yourself? Have you reached a dead end and wondered what next?

When it's all over
you've only just begun!

Remember that!

I’ve lost in a few relationships.

I’ve had jobs that ran out.
     I've wondered "What next?"

Dead ends don't always mean dead ends.  Look for an opportunity to rebuild.

With every ending there is a new beginning.  Embrace it one step at a time.

“It’s not over till it’s over”, quipped Yogi Berra.

Yogi was referring to baseball. As long as there were innings left in the game, the team still had a chance.

How about this twist on Yogi’s thought? If you’re breathing you still have innings left in your game. What are you gonna do in the next inning?

Are you still alive and breathing?
          Then you have the seeds of a new beginning.

Do ideas still pop into your head?
          Then you have the seeds of a new beginning.

"Every adversity, every failure
and every heartache carries
with it the seed
of an equivalent
or a greater benefit."
Napoleon Hill

My friend Ron is going through “stuff” right now. His boss is shutting down the business that Ron has worked so hard on for the last bunch of years. Is he discouraged? Not Ron.

I just got an email from him this week. Listen to the optimism in his note..

“The future is looking hopeful, I really don't know how to react other than to live in the moment, and enjoy a breath of fresh air compared to the stress I've been living under these past couple of years."

A setback could be
the launching pad
for your
next great idea.

Remember …

When it’s all over,
you’ve only just begun.

Friday, November 12, 2010

You're Not a Nobody

I hear you. I take note of your joy, your cries, your pain, and your confusion. I know more about you than you might think I do.

For instance, I was there the day you were born. I heard your first cries. I watched over you and marveled at your beauty and development at your birth. I noted the potential that I put within you.

Maybe that is why you cried. Maybe you were afraid, even then.

I watched you take your first steps, learn to eat with a spoon, learn to sip from a cup. I saw you try and try again in mastering the stuff of life. You kept at it. You didn’t give up. Everything was new and fresh, and a challenge to conquer. I watched. I knew you then, I know you know.

When you went to kindergarten and first grade, I was there. I marveled at your adaptability then and you still have that within you. Don’t lose it. You struggled with math, and in English you thought you would never remember all the nuances that were being thrown at you. But you proved time and again that you could do it.

Your social skills grew. 
     You learned to say “please” and “thank you.”
          You learned to share, to make friends, to distinguish
               between right and wrong.

Some of those choices were hard at the time, but you began learning the necessary lessons of life. I was so proud of you.

As you grew and moved on beyond high school and college, you experienced your first job choices. You learned more. You continued to grow and rely upon those life experiences you’ve stored – such rich experiences.

Life hasn’t always been fair. Tough decisions have come and gone. Relationships have been tough to manage sometimes. Financial successes haven’t always been in your favor. But you’ve hung in there, you’ve managed, and I’ve watched, and believe it or not, I’ve been there by your side all along.

Remember, you’re not a nobody. You are a somebody.

I know your name.

I even know what is going on right this moment in your life. I know your joys and your concerns. And I am here, now!

You have proven in the past that you can make good decisions. Make them again as you face this stuff of life. Remember, I’m with you.

I know you.
  I made you.
    I Love YOU.

You are somebody to me. Always remember that.

I’m calling to you. Can you hear me? Oh, how I love to speak your name. Just resting my eyes on you makes me happy.

I know you.
 I was there at the beginning of your life and I’ve never left you.
  I’ve never abandoned you.
   I’m here, now.
    I’ve always been by your side.

Turn and look for me.
          Listen for my voice.
                    Trust me.

I Love You!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Give Me An Enlarged Heart

I hope I die of an enlarged heart.

“Wow! Hold on a minute” I can hear you saying. “Are you crazy?”

Not really. Just thinking about my life and whatever legacy I may leave behind to show that I passed this way. I would be hanging out with some pretty impressive individuals you know.

Mother Teresa had one. Mother Teresa was the epitome of compassion and caring to the world. She cared wherever she went. She had a heart of love and compassion that knew no bounds. She walked among the sick and afflicted, she served the poor, and she suffered with those physically racked with disease.

Mother Teresa had an enlarged heart.

Billy Graham has one. His passion and mission is and has been to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and around the world. He is one of the most consistent, focused and respected ministers this world has ever seen and he has remained a man of integrity and has stayed true to his purpose.

Billy Graham has an enlarged heart.

Patch Adams has an enlarged heart. His unorthodox medical practices have garnered him volumes of criticism and praise. He is passionate in recognizing the patient as a human being first, with a name, a personal identity and uniqueness.

Patch stated in an interview that “during my own hospitalization in a psychiatric ward I realized that many of the patients around me suffered from extreme loneliness. They didn't have people in their lives who loved them as I loved them.”

He made friends with the patients, and he soon discovered that the key to human happiness is having loving and caring people in your life. It was then that he decided that the best way to spread his newfound knowledge was by becoming a doctor.

Patch Adams has an enlarged heart.

One of the great feel-good movies of 2007 is a movie called Freedom Writers. Based on the life of Erin Gruwell. Freedom Writers tells the story of a school teacher in an inner city school system. She possessed compassion and a burning desire to make a difference in her students, and not let them become just another statistic on the charts of Wilson High School in Long Beach, California.

Erin’s heart appeared to be near the breaking point and she was close to defeat, but her enlarged heart beat another beat, and little by little she won the hearts of her students. They started paying attention; they learned, and they grew to love and respect this amazing woman named Erin Gruwell, who had an enlarged heart.

When you meet a person with an enlarged heart, rarely will you sense anything ‘wrong” with them. They don’t swell up, smell badly, look strange or take medication. Rather, people with an enlarged heart often live their lives without seeking a lot of public lime-light. They have an attitude of “What can I do for you today?”

What exactly is this enlarged heart thing all about? Here are just a few of the symptoms you’ll probably sense.

-Focus and a passion for something worthy for mankind
-A desire to make a positive difference
-A desire to leave people better for you having come along their pathway
-Demonstrating unconditional love
-An attitude and spirit of self-less giving

How is your heart? Is it a bit more swollen after thinking about this? You’ll change your world you know. You’ll most likely make a difference in the middle of mundane living.

I hope you become afflicted with an enlarged heart.