Many a follower claims to have no strength. Many a follower compares what they have with others. Many a follow doesn’t know the true strength they do have.

One day, I strolled out and met a startling sight – an oak tree was arguing … with a reed!

The might oak’s voice was deep and painted with strength. “Everyone knows that I’m much stronger than you. Just look at the powerful feats that I easily do. They use me to climb to see far away. They hide a tree house as fun for their young. They even tie ropes and swing from my branches. What strength have you to claim my sweet, little reed?”

The reed sat quietly and said not a word. The reed merely looked at the storm closing in.

A terrible storm struck with fierce wind and pounding down rain – the most terrible I’d seen in many a year.

The mighty oak puffed up and stood stoic and firm.

The simple, quiet reed did bend and lean with the wind.

When all was complete, the simple, quiet reed had endured the bad storm and looked out at a horrible sight. The might oak was uprooted and wrecked on the ground.

I stood there and marveled. Many a follower of God has stated quite plainly that they have no strength compared to their friends. “The truth is quite plain for all here to see. We all have our strengths and are made for our own unique purposes. You just never know, what storms God made you to endure.”

Be thankful for all the things you do have. When you lend your strength to those around you, you will be thanked for the power that God has given to you.

Amazing beauty, events and people are around us every day. We only have to stop, look, and listen to experience them.

I had just showed up at Sam’s place. It was time to go to work. I was greeted at the door by a pair of blood-shot eyes surrounded by a sea of black. He looked more like a raccoon. He had on shorts and a tee-shirt. And his hair was … well … everywhere. He was hardly ready for our trip into work.

Sam lived by this quote from “You can do anything you set your mind to when you have vision, determination, and an endless supply of expendable labor.”

I sighed, “Sam, can’t you ever be ready for work when I get here?”

Sam was exhausted. He never stopped. He never even slowed down. Well, he did stop when he fell over. “Sam, did you know that 100 years ago people averaged 9 hours of sleep every night? What do you get? Maybe 6.5 hours if you’re lucky?. And, you’re adicted to sugar and caffine. I bet every month you eat your weight in the sugar you put in your coffee. Maybe that’s why you’re tired, achy, brain fogged, anxious and unable to lose weight.”

Sam yelled over his shoulder as bumped the walls between the bathroom and his bedroom, “You’d make a great motivational speaker!”

I laughed, “Anger’s a great motivator.”

“How is it that I’m not taking you to the emergency room with everything that you run into?” I watched as Sam stumbled back and forth across the living room. I watched as Sam walked into doors, into coffee tables, and over couches. It was quite a sight. Surprisingly, it didn’t take him too long to get ready for work. That amazed me every morning.

We left his place and walked down the street that led to the subway. I followed Sam as he weaved in and out of the crowds.

When we got onto the platform I saw this guy playing the violin. Little weird. Someone playing a violin on a subway platform. I tried to stop Sam and point it out. I bet that you know what happened.

Sam didn’t stop. Sam didn’t even look! “Come on! The guy’s some street bum looking for change!”

“Hey Sam, that’s Josh Talon! He’s one of the best violinists in the world. Woah, he’s playing one of the hardest musically pieces I’ve every heard! People pay hundreds of dollars to listen to this guy. What was he doing on the platform?”

Later I found out that the violinist was doing a study for some school. The school was researching how many “Sams” are out there. It turns out there’re a lot!

On the subway, I tried to talk with Sam about the story I had just seen on TV. “Hey Sam, did you see the story about a Medal of Honor recipient. He said that he wasn’t a hero. That he was just doing his job. Yeah, just doing his job. He sees his buddy in way in front of him being carried away by the enemy. He runs through a hail of bullets. Get’s to his buddy and spends the next half an hour keeping him alive until help can catch up to him. ‘Just doing his job,’ he says. The Medal of Honor is the highest award that can be given. Only 3468 people have received the Medal of Honor since the civil war in the 1860’s. There’re only 88 people alive right now who have received that medal. In 2009 alone, we had almost 2.5 million people in the military. If this subway was filled with generals and the president of the United States and a lowly enlisted man who had received the Medal of Honor walked into the room. All of the generals and the president would stand up and salute. How cool is that?”

I couldn’t get Sam to Stop. I couldn’t get him to look. And I couldn’t get him to listen.

All of us miss so much of the beauty of excellence that surrounds us every day because we don’t follow those three simple rules. Stop, look, and listen. Studies show that we are happier when we take the time to talk to the strangers around us. We are happier. And, the stranger is happier.

I’m reminded of a quote that really struck me. Alex Campbell said “Progress has come to mean simply more power, more profit, more productivity, more paper prosperity, all of which are convertible into standards concerned only with size or magnitude rather than quality or excellence.”

Think about Sam: So concerned with more money … more power … more productivity. He’s missing the excellence all around him and the pure joy that flows from that excellence. It’s the beauty of the excellence around us that feeds our souls! Not the more, more, more…

I don’t want to be a Sam. How about you?

A quiet mind allows us to be amazingly more effective. Where does a quiet mind come from?

Why is it that some people can handle extremely stressful situations and bounce right back, and other people just fall apart? Why is it that some people can be calm, cool, and collected while others are acting out of rage. Where does that resiliency come from? Part of it comes from a quiet mind.

For example, consider John whose son is in the hospital for testing to determine the cause of multiple siezures. John is in the middle of telling James the preliminary results of the first round of tests when James simply walks away.

How should John feel? Should John get angry and tell James off for being rude? Or, should John consider that James didn’t understand and thought that John had finished? John’s feelings about the situation will be determined by John’s thoughts about the situation. It’s not James’ actions that determine John’s feelings. It’s john’s own thoughts about the situation.

A quiet mind begins with the realization that our feelings and experiences are being generated by our own thoughts about our circumstances. Our feelings and experiences are not being generated by the circumstances themselves.

That’s why it’s so important for us to encourage one another, to give people the beautiful image of hope that we’ve found through our own stressful situations. To give others a gift so that they can focus their thoughts on confident expectations and become better, not bitter. To help the John’s of the world see that James was trying to be a good friend, not rude.

When the realization finally hits us that it’s our own thinking that’s generating our experiences and feelings, then we can begin to see what thoughts are worth holding onto and what thoughts should be let go.

Is it possible for us to take every thought captive and see if those thoughts are adding value or tearing us apart? How much is a quiet and joyful mind worth? We all get to make that choice for ourselves.

New Motivational Quotes page added to

New Motivational Quotes page added to
Click here: Motivational Quotes

During the light and heavy storms of life that happen every day, I look to well crafted words to help me to focus up instead of giving up. As Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Please enjoy. I will regularly add new ones to the top of the list.
Click here: Motivational Quotes

How do you suppose God feels when we turn our backs on Him? What kind of relationship are we building?

How do you suppose God feels when we turn our backs on Him? What kind of relationship are we building?

Let me tell you a story.

Anna stood in the stark silence that engulfed her. She stared at the large oak doors that had signaled the start of seven of the happiest years of her life – now, just a harsh reminder. The neighboring wooden frames waited in silence. The groves of evergreens that surrounded her whispered a cold wind that pierced her.

Jonathan spoke. “Anna darling, why do you always stop and stare at these doors.”

Anna replied simply. “The doors are closed.”

Jonathan laughed. “Do you expect them to open by themselves?”

Anna replied demurely. “Do you honestly expect you’re sweet little princess to open the doors for herself?”

Jonathan gave a deep, loving laugh, “Of course I would never lose an opportunity to let my sweet princess know that she is the most beautiful and special person in the entire kingdom. Please, allow me to open the doors and let the world know royalty is here.”

Jonathan laughed again.

Anna cried. “Oh Jonathan, why did you have to leave me so early.”

Anna stared at the closed doors. Tears streaming down her cheeks. She couldn’t bear to touch the doors. She turned and walked away. How could I ever have been that happy? Was that even me?

Suddenly, the doors burst open and yielded a shapely brunette in a long green dress. “You little whore, Anna. You killed Jonathan and you know it.”

Anna stopped slowly as her chin reached for her chest. Her long blond waves of silky hair covered the flash of anger.

Jonathan’s voice pierced Anna’s armor. “Don’t let Jamie bait you into another fight. Remember, when you yell, you lose.”

Anna sighed deeply, refusing to turn around. “We’re all hurting, Jamie.”

“How can a frozen, armored heart feel anything? Or, is the frozen princess thawing?”

“Please, don’t make this any worse then it already is.”

“What’s wrong, Anna? Does the truth hurt? Still, if there’s any opportunity to make this harder on you, rest assured, I’m happy to try it.”

Anna turned seamlessly on her heals and headed straight towards Jamie, her pants scuffing against each other was the only sound to be heard. Steal numbness replaced any sadness that had only just enveloped Anna.

Jonathan’s voice whispered urgently in Anna’s ears. “Don’t do this, Anna. Rage on rage won’t help anyone.”

Anna’s hand held tightly onto the hilt of her lethal dagger.

Jonathan’s voice pierced again. “Anna, it’s what she wants. Anna? Anna!”

Steal can be used to create magnificent buildings or beautiful and useful tools. In Anna’s face, that didn’t apply. In Anna’s face, her steal radiated armored and efficient rage.

Despite Jamie’s best efforts, she leaned away from Anna and held tightly onto the door handle for support.

Jonathan whispered urgently.

Anna stopped inches from Jamie and hissed through clenched teeth. “Excuse me. Inside, their asking for me.”

Jamie’s mouth went bone dry even as her palms dripped with sweat. She silently moved aside.

Anna quickly moved through the mud room, down the hall, and into the great room. “The less time that I spend in this place, the better.”

Jonathan’s jovial voice spoke. “I made a roaring fire for you, Anna. I know how much you love to get lost in the dancing flames after a brisk afternoon ride.”

Anna replied, “Thank you Jonathan. You think of everything. What would I ever do without you.”

Anna’s heart suddenly stopped in her chest as what she said sunk in. “Well Jonathan, I guess I’m going to find out now.”

Nothing in the room moved for a long time. Only the sound of a crackling fire could be heard.

Finally a servant appeared in the door. “Anna, you’re here! We had no idea. We’re so sorry to make you wait. I apologize for not removing the tapestry as you requested. But, no one can bear to lose the image of you and Jonathan. You both brought so much life into this hall. I’ll be right back with the Lord and Lady.”

The flames danced in Anna’s large brown eyes. Her ears reveled with every crackle and pop. Her mouth remained firmly shut.

Jonathan came back, “I’ve always loved that tapestry, Anna. What a wonderful gift you gave to me. Now I can always see you. Now I can forever revel in the love that we will always share.”

“How can I possibly shed any more tears for you Jonathan?”

The next thing Anna knew, she was standing before the Lord and Lady in the midst of a sea of astonished faces. “Anna, do you have anything to say?”

Anna looked down with shoulders hunched. Her breath held no life.

Jonathan spoke. “Anna, say something! Tell them!”

I have no idea what you’re talking about Jonathan. I have nothing to say.

The lord spoke again, “Anna Dubois, with nothing to say, you have been found guilty of murdering Jonathan Dubois. You are hereby banished from the no-tech zone. You will be sent to Acropolis where you will spend the rest of you natural life in the Ashburn maximum security prison.”

Jamie cheered. “Finally justice has prevailed!”

For Anna, nothing prevailed. For Anna, nothing mattered. Without Jonathan, life meant nothing.


Relationships are born in beauty and forged in fiery circumstances. The stronger we intentionally craft our relationships with trust and hope, the less our criticisms and murmurings will destroy. The more we know of the other person, the less we will be deceived. The more we share and support the dreams that we both have for a beautiful tomorrow, the less we will grow apart. Relationships require work to unlock the incredible benefits.

Could Anna have killed Jonathan?
What will Anna do now?
If you were Anna, what would you do?

How do you suppose God feels when we turn our backs on Him? After He sacrificed His only son to set us free. After He’s given us the wisdom of the bible. After He’s given us the path to justification and freedom and forgiveness and happiness. After He’s given us so much. How do you suppose He feels?

What kind of relationships are we building?

Are you just interested or committed? Your schedule will tell you!

When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. ~ Kenneth Blanchard

What passions and convictions has God given me to do?

If I’m just interested in building a strong marriage, I’ll do it when it’s convenient. If I’m committed to building a strong marriage, I will find ways to make it stronger.

If I’m just interested in being a good parent, I will find ways to improve my skills as I have time. If I’m committed to being a good parent, I will make it a priority to improve my skills and maintain a well balanced family life.

If I’m just interested in being a follower of Christ, I will do it as I have time in my schedule. If I’m committed to be a follower of Christ, I will make it a priority to be thankful for what He has entrusted to me. I will make it a priority to daily seek His wisdom. I will make it a priority to know Him better so that I can better discern His voice through my daily activities.

What father, when giving his child a fishing pole, would not also teach His child how to fish? What passions and convictions has God given me to do? Am I just interested in doing what God has asked? Or, am I committed to follow Him?

Together, we are more then just interested. We are committed.
Together, we find trust through experience.
Together, we have confident expectations because of our trust.
Together, we all succeed because we care enough to help each other.
Together, we are stronger.

I’m going to succeed because I’m crazy enough to know that I can!

Throw what you can to try and weigh me down

Throw what you can to try and make me fall

Throw what you can to try and cause me pain

Throw what you can and think that you have won

The miracle of a single sprout

In the end I will not feel the weight

In the end I will be standing tall

In the end I will not be in pain

Throw what you can, I know that you can’t win

Jesus carries the weight that you did give to me.

Jesus clears my path so I can stand again

Jesus hung on a cross to heal my every pain

Thrown what you can, Jesus takes care of me

In the end, I choose to follow the steps of the Christ

In the end I win because Jesus has already won