Be Willing to…Jack it Up

A few months ago, we camped on Edisto Island in South Carolina and had a spot right on the beach.  Every morning Amy went running and when she returned, I went out on the beach to set up our umbrella and chairs.  We camped in the State Park on the end of the island and it is hardly ever crowded.  Some days we really had the beach to ourselves.  It is beautiful.  Anyway, I went out early every morning this particular week and never saw another person…except for this one man.

This is him :


At first glance, I know it just looks like an old guy doing some early morning fishing on the beach, but I want you to look closely…It is important for you to see how the old man got to his spot…Do you see his walker now?  I watched the old man hobble and scoot to the edge of the water for three days.  He had his pole, his chair, and his little red bucket.  When he got set up, he sat down and stayed allll day.  I mean ALL day…just sitting and fishing.


Every day…for three days.  I found myself admiring the old man and was aware that he was inspiring me to write(which is why I started taking pictures of him), but I couldn’t figure out what it was about this man’s journey from his tent in the dunes to the edge of the ocean that was making me stop every morning to watch him as if I was about to see him suddenly do something rare and spectacular.  Then on the fourth day it all came to me when I saw the old man….and this:




How great is that?  I remember saying out loud in these exact words with a smile on my face…bad grammar and all… “That old man done jacked up his walker…that’s soooo AWESOME!”  And the lesson hit me…and now I’ll share with you:

If you are guessing that I’m going to write about being grateful for what you have…I’m not (though we should be grateful…always).  If you’re thinking I’m going to write about how to improvise, adapt, and overcome…I’m not(though it is true…and I love that stuff…and it is exactly what the old man did).  Instead I want to write about WHY the old man adapted…WHY did the old man jack up that walker?…WHY did the old man create the best champion monster 4×4 walker ever….WHY?

I believe it’s because…He loves to fish…really really really loves to fish.  So? He was able to fish those first few days right?  Why did he need to change anything?  This is important : It is true he was able to fish the first three days…but what were his last four days like?….BETTER…They were better right?  Take a look at his new walker:


Think about it…look at how much extra stuff he has…extra bags…extra bait…extra poles…he loves to fish…so if he can run two or three poles now, doesn’t he increase his chances of catching more fish?  Doesn’t he increase the number of times he may get to experience the battle, the joy, the excitement of reeling in a fish?  Look at the wheels…imagine the first time he came out onto the dunes…rolling over them instead of getting stuck in sand with every step.  And finally…most importantly, think about how fast he got to his spot.  He saved time.  When he saved time on the hard tedious part of his journey…when he became more efficient in his journey…He added value to his day by allowing more time to do what he loves…fish.

So what am I saying to you?  Figure out what you want from this life.  Figure out what is important to you.  Figure out what you love…what you would be willing to hobble, scoot, struggle, and drag yourself through the sand for…FIGURE IT OUT.  When you figure it out, work as hard as you can to get there.  You will have to improvise, adapt, and overcome…do it…jack up your walker…put it in 4 wheel drive.  Whether you are there…close to being there…or still hobbling…MAKE IT BETTER.  Do everything you can to make yourself better.  Be so concretely set on what you love, that you’ll do anything to be doing it.  I once heard a man(I can’t remember who said it right now…sorry) say it this way, “Be willing to sacrifice who you are right now…for who you want to become.”  If you want to be a better student, father, mother, child, husband, wife…If you want a better job or more income…if you want to start a business…if you want to lose weight, gain weight, or start eating correctly…if you want to travel, go back to school, or play a sport…If you want to stop losing, smoking, being sick, shopping, or screaming at your kids…if you want to do ANYTHING BETTER…You have to want it bad enough to BE WILLING to struggle through the deep sand….You MUST BE WILLING to make hard choices and be responsible for those choices…YOU MUST HAVE A CLEAR AWARENESS about what you want…and BE WILLING to DO ALL THINGS POSSIBLE to make the journey BETTER…not necessarily easier…BETTER…more efficient, more practical, more strategic…BETTER…all with the mindset that after you work hard on the things you need to work on…after you make many slow trips in the sand…after you put the big wheels on…after you put it in 4 wheel drive…You’ll feel blessed for the chance you had to take such a journey…and grateful to be EXACTLY where you are.

IMG_2269[1]     IMG_2259[1]   IMG_2310[1]








Keep Rolling…Even If It Stinks

As I was snapping pictures of our kids in front of animals and sculptures last weekend at the NC Zoo in Asheboro, I was inspired to write this blog.  It wasn’t the picture in front of the mighty elephants that inspired me.  It wasn’t the picture in front of the life-size animated dinosaurs(an unbelievably awesome exhibit!).  It wasn’t the picture of the alligator, polar bear, dippin dots, lion, giant pretzel, chimpanzee, or $5 bottle of Dasani water.  I was led to write about what is seemingly one of the most uninspiring little creatures in existence….the dung beetle.  I must admit, I would have never thought twice about the little rascal if Aleck hadn’t sprinted to the dung beetle sculpture on our way to see the elephants screaming, “The duuuung beeeetle!!! I love these guys!”.  I know Aleck has inherited and absorbed a curiosity and love for science from his science teaching mother, but I wanted to learn more about the beetle responsible for his excitement.  I took a picture and as we walked, I asked him why he loved the dung beetle.  He explained as if he was narrating a National Geographic dung beetle movie.  Over the week, I just couldn’t stop thinking about the information Aleck had taught me.  When that happens I know I’m supposed to write and this is what I have to share:



Dung beetles live on all continents except Antarctica and they feed on feces.  Gross right?  Stick with me…they are fascinating…and I won’t talk too much about eating poop…I promise.  Dung beetles use their sense of smell to find dung.  After they find dung, there are a few different things that can happen…and this is where the lesson is :  Dung is the beetle’s food…his way of life…his everything.  For purposes of this article let’s assume dung is…well…the mess we can find ourselves in…the big ball of poop we struggle through…the worst of the worst.  When we catch that dung, what do we do?  It depends right?  Everyone is different…just like the dung beetle.  Let’s take a look at what kind of dung beetle you are.  There are three types of dung beetles – 1.The Tunnelers  2.The Dwellers  3.The Rollers

The Tunneler

The tunnelers are dung beetles who bury the dung…wherever they find it. They don’t go anywhere.  Sounds simple right?  The dung drops…they attach…and bury.  There are benefits these beetles provide by burying dung(decrease in flies…clearing of pastures…enriching the soil).  But…what if a person is a tunneler?  What if you just bury your mess.  Still sounds simple right?  Guess what…it is easy…at first.  It is the worst thing you can do.  You saw firsthand from me two blogs ago what happens when you simply bury your mess.  It isn’t healthy…and it isn’t fun.  My advice : DO NOT be a Tunneler.

The Dweller

These beetles don’t tunnel…they don’t roll…they just live in the poop.  Like the Tunneler, they aren’t going anywhere.  Do you know people who simply live in their mess?  This is a horrible spot to live right?  We sometimes look at these people and become frustrated, angry, unempathetic, and uncompassionate.  We judge them.  It is so important not to paint these people and their circumstances with a broad brush.  You know how difficult this world has become.  Drugs, mental illness, loss of hope, terrible tragedies, loss of spirituality, and so many other factors can play into why a person is living in a mess.  Please don’t think I’m making excuses for anyone who chooses not to get help or help themselves.  I do understand it is best to remove yourself from a person(s) when you or your family’s safety is at stake.  I get that it isn’t always clear as to what direction to take when dealing with a dweller.  But make your decisions framed by this : Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.  Then they also will answer Him saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?  Then He will answer them, saying, Assuredly, I say unto you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” – Matthew 25:42-45…. How often do we see people in a mess and think to ourselves or even say out loud, “Oh that’s terrible.  I wish he wasn’t going through that.  I hope someone helps her.  I pray someone rescues them.  I’ll say a special prayer.”…as we drive, walk, or run right on by in our own “busy” lives.  Well…my question is this – What if YOU ARE that someone?…What if YOU ARE the special answer to a prayer?   My advice: Help a Dweller….Work your hardest to NOT be a Dweller.

The Roller

The Roller…is awesome.  Male beetles can pull 1,141 times their own body weight….that is the equivalent of you pulling six double-decker buses…full of people!  Unlike the Tunneler and the Dweller, the Roller IS going somewhere.  The Roller captures the dung, rolls it into a big ball, and gets moving.  He puts his front legs on the ground and pushes the dung ball, using his back legs like a little axle.  Using the moonlight, the Milky Way, and star clusters to navigate he quickly rolls the dung ball away from the dung pile.  The Roller rolls the ball in a straight line…DESPITE ALL OBSTACLES.  Scientists observed other beetles lingering and hanging close to the working Roller and used to believe those beetles were there to help the Roller if he hit something or lost his way.  Scientists now know those beetles…are waiting to steal the ball of dung.  So the Roller rolls away as quickly as possible knowing he’s about to be robbed if he doesn’t work hard to reach his destination.  If the Roller gets disoriented, he stops rolling and climbs on top of the dung ball.  On top he regains clarity and direction and continues the journey.  Once he finds a safe soft spot he buries the ball and climbs in with the female(who attaches to the ball for a ride on the journey usually) and mates.  And the cycle of life continues.  Isn’t that amazing?  Yes…Like my son, I love the dung beetle!!!  So this is what I take from the Roller when I apply it to us: It is so important to have Purpose in our lives.  It moves us.  The Roller teaches us …yes…we all have a mess with us…sometimes its a big ball…sometimes a small ball…but we all have baggage…full of mess we carry.  And like the beetles waiting to rob and steal, there will always be people in our lives ready to kick us when we’re down, deflate our dreams, or attempt to steal hope right out from under us.  We must continue to push in a straight line…THROUGH these obstacles.  Yes…we get disoriented…we get stuck in the mess…we get weighed down by the crud in our lives…so what should we do?  I’ll tell you: Climb up on that poop…right to the top…climb up and clear your head…Refocus…Regain clarity…and GET BACK TO ROLLING!  No person can stop you…No mess can stop you…DO NOT BURY IT…DO NOT LIVE IN IT…ROLL IT UP AND GO WHERE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO GO!





The Spot

My Knees Are Dirty…But I’m Back

It has been awhile since my last blog.  It isn’t because I’ve been lazy.  It isn’t because I’ve forgotten.  It isn’t because my mind has gone blank and I have no ideas.  It isn’t even because I have a broken computer and a busy schedule.  There is a reason though.  And that reason is the very topic of this new blog post.

Let’s catch up.  I started my personal training studio eight years ago in Asheville, NC.  I leased a space 2000 sq ft in size.  I have been blessed with special clients and wonderful growth over the years.  A few years ago I decided to knock out a wall and expand my space, when the business beside us closed.  It was a decision that has made my life difficult for about 6 or 7 months.  My business has been great, but our growth has in no way kept up with the climbing rent.  I knew I would have to do something as each month passed.  I could see it coming, yet when the moment came when I could not make it…I could not pay my rent…it slapped me in my head, punched me in the throat, and put a foot on my chest as I was flat on my back wondering what in the world had happened to my dream?  I didn’t know what I was going to do.  This is what I’m going to write about to you today…not about how to make business work,  strategy, marketing, restructuring, or annnny of that “stuff”.  I’m going to write to you about a place in which these circumstances put me…a bad place…a place I’m not even sure I’ve been before…ever.  I have received e-mails in the past from people who ask me how I can put myself “out” there the way I do.  I have always said I would be genuine and honest when I write or speak and it’s funny because I have never felt I put myself “out” there…until right now.  Why is that?  I’ll tell you why.  It’s because I know what I’m about to write.  I’m a bodybuilder…with plenty of pictures that show my size.  I have many many pictures and recordings that show my strength.  I’m a father and a husband…with lots of stories and pictures of my leadership position and love in my family.  I’m a Strength Coach with a list of client testimonies that would take you hours to read or listen to about my training philosophy, methodology, and success.  I’m a man…that says it all.  Men aren’t supposed to share this kind of stuff right?  We keep it all inside, but I’m telling you, this instinct is part of what made things so hard on me as I struggled silently to climb out of a dark deep hole without a ladder.  Have you ever been in that hole?  This is what happened to me:

I knew for months things were getting tough…and I told no one.  I continued to work with a smile on my face.  I continued to go home to my family quietly.  I eventually talked to Amy about what was going on, but it was all “surface” talk.  I didn’t want her to worry.  I continued to train and support my clients in the way I do, but my own training started to become sporadic…and eventually came to a screeching halt.  I stopped writing.  This is the hard part to talk about…because of all the things I listed above about how others see me…what the pictures and stories and smiles said…they were all soooooo far from how I saw myself…from how I felt.  I would close the gym mid-day when I normally lift but instead of lifting, I would try to catch up on sleep I missed during the night…then I would re-open in the afternoon, put a smile on my face and train more people.  When the last person left, I would turn the lights out and sit in the dark looking at what I knew I would lose.  This routine went on for days…then weeks.  This was so not me…yet I could not escape it.  Some of you probably know what I’m talking about.  I’m not even sure right now exactly what “it” is.  Discouragement?  Hopelessness?  Feeling of Nothingness?  It’s almost like a cloud that stays with you…a pressure that stays on your shoulders…a parasite on your soul.  It’s with you when you wake up in the morning.  It’s with you while you shave…shower…and drive to work.  It’s with you when you come home to your family…when you pick up each child and kiss them…when you talk to your wife as you eat.  Tossing and turning because you can’t sleep, you roll over only to see it staring you in your eyes daring you to even remember when you last slept.  You all know me.  I’m a Christian.  I prayed and prayed.  I’m a motivator…a coach…as positive as they come.

969  1067

For this reason I had years of material to use on myself.  I’m serious…I read my own quotes…my Instagram posts…tweets…Facebook posts….this very Blog…and the words on the back of my own T-shirts and sweatshirts.  Some days it helped a little…most days it frustrated me.  I got angry and hurt when I thought about how deeply I cared about people…checked on people…worked for people…encouraged people…and now I needed ALL of that…and I needed people to lift me…and I didn’t get it…no one even knew…What about me!!??…I felt selfish…and to me that was screwed up…really screwed up and sad.  Then one night as I sat on that little plyometric box in the middle of my gym…in the dark…I put both my hands on my bald head and tucked my chin…and I started to cry.  Tears streamed down my face as I thought about working eight years… and having nothing to show for it…Eight hard years…so many hours and now I had to go tell my wife and my children it was all for nothing.  I cried when thinking about how many people I helped but now I was about to let them all down.  And then as clear as if I had head phones on, I heard a voice.  I’m not being dramatic and I’m not looney.  I heard a voice…and as I have always said, I promised you I would be 100% honest and truthful when writing…and I know some of you share this blog in your church, with your kids, in youth groups, your sports teams, etc…but I have to tell you what I heard in exact words as I sat on that little box, head tucked, and tears dripping on the rubber floor…I heard : “Boy…get your A#$ UP!….You think this is hard?!  You’ve been through some real sh#@!  You’ve been through it boy… Get your A&$ UP!  You’ve held two of your children in the palm of your hand…You’ve seen through their skin…You’ve watched them hurt…you’ve seen real pain…Get Up NOW!”  So I did.  I went home and filled Amy in…never saying anything about the voice to anyone until this very moment.  And to make a long story not as long…I worked out with my landlord to keep half of my space.  It worked out to stay open and I get to continue doing what I feel I am supposed to be doing.  Don’t think it has been easy though since I heard that voice.  It wasn’t smooth.  I suspect if you’re familiar with any of these feelings I have written about you know the ups and downs come and go….and they will continue to come and go…because that’s life right?  So what  have I learned and what can you learn from my experience? :

1. NEVER ASSUME PEOPLE ARE OK…all the time.  I was talking to one of my clients as I neared making a decision about keeping half the space(she actually has helped me tremendously in getting through this period) about what makes people successful…you know those people who have it together?  She asked me, “Who in Underdog has it all together?…excluding you…we all know you have it together.”  I remember almost choking on the lump in my throat as I told her what was going on with the studio and how far far far away I was from having anything together.  NEVER assume ANYONE has it all together…because they don’t…and if they think they do, it can change in a flash.  CHECK on people who are normally “up”…who are encouragers…who are “natural helpers”…You know who I’m talking about.  The people who do so much for so many.  The people who would give you the shirt off their back, the money in their wallet.  They’ll give you all their lunch if you say you are hungry… as their own stomach growls.  Teachers, coaches, preachers, mothers, grandmothers, volunteers, foster parents, friends, fathers…you KNOW these people!  Check on them…because they’re the best at hiding their own needs…and when they crack, it can be bad because what caused that crack has been building for a long time in these people.  Trust me…I know.  I still deal with it because I don’t always communicate the stress of this change.  For example, after pulling and stacking 7000lbs of flooring until midnight and someone coming in the next morning and calling you a hoarder or the mess in the back of the gym ridiculous and disgraceful makes me want to scream “Do you even know what is going on here!?”…but I don’t…because I don’t scream…because my reaction comes out of exhaustion…and because they don’t know.  Most of the time we DON’T know the battles people are facing and fighting.  So…Please…Just check on them.

2. STOP HIDING… Men…we are the worst.  We think we aren’t supposed to share our “stuff”.  I can tell you from my experience of thinking about starting over, it’s hard as a man to share a hurt.  It means we’re vulnerable…and oohhhh how we hate being vulnerable.  I don’t care how strong you are or how strong you think you are…this kind of vulnerability brings you to your knees.  Hiding also causes stress in a marriage, family, business, and with friends.  When we stay quiet, we risk missing the help we need.  As I talked to the client I mentioned above about not having it together, I felt like I could breathe easier.  Without even knowing it, I spilled my vision and plan to make it happen because of her questions.  She now denies saying these words(she says she put it in a nicer way) but I remember her exact words : “I have never met anyone with so much going for them…who is such a mess.  You have so much together but you’re going nowhere…floundering.”  She was right.  It was true.  Which leads to the next lesson.

3. FIND YOUR PURPOSE… As my client said, I was a mess.  But I have to say, I believe one thing remained constant even in the worst moments…I knew my purpose.  I know what I’m supposed to do…how I’m supposed to do it…and the gifts I have been given.  That kept me from sinking into a deeper hole I believe.  I knew my purpose.  Find your purpose because it can be one of your anchors in a storm.

4.YOUR PAIN FROM THE PAST CAN GET YOU THROUGH YOUR PAIN RIGHT NOW…Most of you know our story of having 1 pound premature twins.  In the midst of it, it seemed impossible.  I can’t tell you how strong that experience made me.  It was painful at times…very painful…but as the voice told me that night in the gym…I can get through anything I’m going through now when I remember what I’ve already been through.  Remember how strong you HAVE been…and remind yourself how strong you ARE RIGHT NOW.

5. THE VOICE…ahhh the voice…Call it what you will…my conscience, the wind, whatever… I call it my Foul Mouthed Angel.  I have written in other blogposts about the importance of being quiet in order to hear God’s whisper.  I now believe that He loves us so much…that sometimes He’ll find a louder way NOT to lose us…He sent me a motivational, no-nonsense, call-it-like-it-is, cursing Angel.  The truth is…as bad as it all can get…loss of a child, sick family, suicide, disease, unspeakable tragedies and violence, learning disabilities, empty nest syndrome, financial disaster, divorce, inability to see a reason to even get out of bed, unemployment, abuse, abandonment, etc…the truth is…We are never alone.  Remember this:   “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6 ….. I know you may be thinking it’s easy to say these things and I may even be upsetting you right now…I get it…I promise…and it leads to my last lesson:

6. NEVER STOP WRITING…NEVER STOP ENCOURAGING… I stopped writing.  You know that.  When I was going through the last few months and trying to “get out of that hole”, I was reading everything I could to lift myself.  I read my own blog as I said because I love it…I do…I love it.  However, during this time, I found that nothing I read or listened to seemed to help me. Not even my own stories or motivational posts…to be quite honest, I often ticked myself off.  I would read my words and think “easy to say…means nothing”… and I realized how some of you may take my words because of the pain you’re in…I started understanding that being in such a bad spot hardens your heart and makes you pessimistic to anyone who writes to encourage.  Then I made a big mistake.  I stopped encouraging.  I started telling myself none of it mattered and that no one cares.  Even with all the comments and e-mails…the hugs…and thank-you-s…I told myself it was worthless.  I was wrong…and I will write.  To those of you who encourage…NEVER stop.  I started thinking about this last weekend while swimming with Emma Grace.  She was trying to show me that she could swim with her face in the water.  She was nervous and wanted me to stand close to her.  It didn’t make sense to me but I did it until Ella grabbed my attention in the middle of one of Emma Grace’s attempts.  Emma Grace pulled her head up and started screaming for me…and I looked at her like she was crazy and then I said, “Just stand up Emma Grace”…..which is why it all didn’t make sense to me because I knew she could stand up…but she forgot.  She forgot all she needed to do was put her feet down and stand up.  She did it and started laughing.  So sometimes in our struggles and pain…we forget…we flounder and splash and worry…until someone tells us to “JUST STAND UP.”  Encouragers…that’s what you do…and though you can get weary…and be in need of encouragement yourself…you CAN’T give up…I can’t give up.  I won’t give up.  Thank you all for reading my blog. God Bless you 🙂

1156  1168

1178 1031










The Moment…Again

This blogpost is very special to me.  Let me give you a backdrop to this story.  Many of you know our story about the birth of our premature twins…for those of you who do not, click on the “Hello World” tab in this blog.  Many do not know our story about the birth of our little Ella three years later.  To make a long story short(I have journaled about this experience and will blog about it at a later time), Amy was put on bed rest…in the hospital…for about 8 weeks because everyone thought Ella would come even earlier than the twins(Aleck and Emma Grace were born at 27 weeks).  This was a very tough time…for all of us.  I haven’t blogged in awhile because of some things I have been going through lately.  I came across this story as I flipped through my old writings today…seeking inspiration.  This story became the very first printed newsletter piece I wrote for my clients at Underdog.  Last week I posted on Facebook about a guy walking in on my workout and asking me why the heck I was listening to Taylor Swift.  I told him because my little girls sing it to me…that’s why.  I then told people to find their WHY…to know WHY they do what they do…to not care what anyone else thinks…to go get what you want.  A couple of my friends commented on that post.  They asked me where all my wisdom was 20 years ago…when we all could have used it.  I loved that question….but I had no answer.  Today I found it.  Flipping through my writings I found the answer.  I didn’t have it 20 years ago(sorry guys).  The truth is…that wasn’t an accident.  God not only knows what we can handle…he knows exactly when we can handle it.  My experience with our children staying alive when they could have easily died…My experience in seeing other parents suffer a different outcome with their babies…My experience in witnessing miracles…My experience in facing hardships I would have never guessed I could survive… My experience in giving up control…of things I never had control of in the first place…My experience in seeking lessons and hope in everything that happens…Wisdom and awareness were given to me in each and every MOMENT…of each and every experience.  Wisdom is a true blessing and gift given to us ALL…in each of our “moments”.  So I think the answer to the question : Where was this wisdom twenty years ago?…is…It was waiting on me.  The piece you are about to read is one of the main reasons I started to write…to others.  This piece, though roughly and simply written, changed my life.  It changed my life on the exact January night I wrote it in 2008.  It has changed my life today…as I am inspired to finish my next project for my next blog…telling you all where I’ve been for the last month or so…Posted today exactly as it was written 5 years ago…  I hope it changes your life….

“The Moment”

As most of you know, my wife Amy was in the hospital for the last 7 weeks on bedrest.  She was released to go home on bedrest December 22nd.  During those 7 weeks, we were able to settle into a routine with the help of family and friends.  The twins were able to see Amy every day.  Thank you to everyone for so many genuine offers of help and prayer.

The day after Thanksgiving, I brought Aleck and Emma Grace to the hospital to see Amy.  Aleck and I were playing LEGO blocks and Emma Grace, wearing her wig, was dancing circles around us.  I looked up at Amy to see her watching us with a smile on her face.  I felt an immediate peace and overwhelming sense of joy.  I thought, “It does not get ANY better than this.”  After saying our goodbyes for the night, I started to think to myself on the drive home.  I thought, “Your wife has been in the hospital for the last 5 weeks, the twins have had their lives turned upside down, you have a business to run in the middle of all this…and you’re thinking – It does not get any better than this?  Are you insane?”  The more I thought about it, the crazier it seemed.  Later that night, as I was giving Aleck and Emma Grace a bath, and performing a puppet show with Mr. Dragon and Mr. Frog, a burst of happiness occurred again.  Lying in bed that night, a twin on each shoulder, I stared at the ceiling thinking of the day and my moments of happiness.  I want to share with you my theory of “the moment” that came to me as I reflected on the day.  We all have the ability to feel true happiness, joy, and peace.  We all have the ability to have our hearts feel like they will explode because we can’t contain our happiness.  It’s in all of us.  How do we get to it?  Live in the moment.  That’s it.  Live in this very moment.  I had those feelings that day because I experienced a genuine happiness and love from my children and wife.  In the very midst of normally gloomy circumstances, I was able to have the love of family overcome anything and everything else.  How many of us(myself included) have put off our happiness, joy, and/or peace saying, “Well, after I get this job… after I have a child…after my child starts driving…after my child graduates…when I finally make this much money…when I can afford a bigger house…after I remodel this part of my house…when I drive that kind of car…when I can finally stop taking care of my mother or my father…after I lose this weight…when I can just get past this last obstacle…over this last mountain………GUESS WHAT?  Those obstacles and mountains…ARE your life.  We spend so much time trying to get what we think we need to be happy that we miss “the moment” that brings true overwhelming happiness.  There are blessings in each and every situation we face.

Call your Mother, Father, Grandmother, Grandfather, child, brother, sister, friend.  Tell them how much you love them, miss them, appreciate them.  Listen to your child – look them in the eyes – really listen to them.  Ask someone how they are doing because you really want to know.  Smile at someone.  Hug someone.  Forgive someone.  Before you know it you’ll be in “the moment”…I guarantee it!!!   Love,   Anthony

“Nothing is worth more than this day.” – Goethe

*** We were blessed to have Ella hang on and come naturally in February of that year… 🙂

IMG_3626 - Copy

How to Feed a Wolf

A few years ago, one of my clients gave me this old Cherokee story.  It still hangs on my office wall today…..


A Cherokee man was teaching his grandson about life.  He said, “A fight is going on inside me…it is a terrible fight between two wolves.

One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, and superiority.

The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

The same fight is going on inside YOU, and inside EVERY OTHER PERSON, too.”

The grandson thought for a minute and then asked his Grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old man simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Many of you have probably read this story.  And for those of you who have just read it for the first time…it seems pretty easy right?  This story does a great job of simplifying the way we should live our lives.   Separate the bad from the good…feed the good…and you never have to worry about the bad wolf right?  The problem is…Life isn’t so easy to navigate.  I’m not saying it’s hard to LIVE life…I’m just saying it can be hard to make your way through…some days…some weeks…some months…some years.  Reading this story over and over…one question keeps popping into my head – Why is it hard to figure life out?

“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.” 

I think we make life hard because we expect to know EVERYTHING.  When we don’t have the things we think we need…or the solutions we desire…or the clear path to follow ahead of us…guess what?….We start feeding the hungry hungry bad wolf.  Take a look above at all the things the bad wolf represents…It is such an ugly list.  I suggest taking each one and thinking about how powerful the bad wolf becomes if you feed it even a little.  For example:  Fear…we all know how feeding fear can make us crazy…like a snowball rolling down a mountain…becoming bigger and bigger and bigger until we are paralyzed…afraid to do anything in life.  Anger…regret…arrogance..etc.. I could go through them all, but I want you to do it for yourself…because everyone is different…YOU know YOU…What is making YOUR bad wolf so powerful and strong?

I think a life changing point to remember is this : We aren’t supposed to know everything.

Can you imagine being one of the twelve disciples?  Can you imagine being approached by a guy…dropping what you are doing on the spot…and following him?  Do you think they knew exactly what was coming?  It’s easy for us to say yes because we KNOW the story…but they WERE the story.  They didn’t have it figured out…but what did they do?…They fed that good wolf…look at the list of things the good wolf represents.  Jesus and the disciples were the ultimate feeders of the good wolf.

Now can you imagine being a prisoner of war?  If you haven’t read the book “Unbroken” by : Laura Hillenbrand, I highly recommend it.  It is an amazing story of survival, resilience, redemption, forgiveness, and faith.  Louie Zamperini survived a bomber crash in World War II, the ocean and sharks, and a Japanese POW camp(s).  The story will leave you inspired…and extremely extremely extremely…grateful.  When I think about the Cherokee wolf story and Louie, I can’t believe his good wolf survived.  How in the world do you feed your good wolf through terrible times?

Ultimately…It boils down to Faith.  We may have faith in God and his guidance, but we start to feed the wrong wolf when we simply rely on our own plans, reasoning, and expectations.  The wrong wolf gets stronger when we sit worrying…or feel sorry for ourselves…or let our pasts prevent us from moving forward…or let our failures define us…he eats and eats and grows and grows.  So what is the answer?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5

Look your bad wolf in the face when times are tough…but do not feed him…starve him…leave the bad people…do not give them your time…and show others how to do the same.

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”

Hang out with good people.  Have faith.  Pray.  Feed your good wolf…make him strong and powerful…and show others how to do the same. 🙂


Can You Be Great?

Aleck and I sat high in our seats in Time Warner Cable Arena waiting for the Oklahoma City Thunder to take the floor.  He cheered as his favorite player, Kevin Durant ran out.  He elbowed me when my player, Russell Westbrook, entered the court(When Aleck and I play an NBA game on the Wii, he is always Durant and I am Westbrook).  Durant and Westbrook immediately teamed up to put a thrashing on the Charlotte Bobcats, just like they do in his video game.  As the game went on, I found myself admiring the Thunder, but I couldn’t put my finger on the reason why.  Looking back at a sound asleep Aleck on the late night drive home after the game, it came to me.  The home team’s arena was filled that night with what seemed like a zillion little boys and girls wearing the visiting team’s number 35 jersey….Durant on the back.  I realized the Thunder took it to the Bobcats without any flashiness…theatrics…drama…showboating…or baby powder being thrown in the air(Lebron).  And there it was…Kevin Durant’s name was on so many jerseys probably because we, as parents, don’t mind…and even love for our kids to have a hero who is….Humble.  I was so moved by his skill, leadership, and focus, that I came home and started researching Kevin Durant.  The word that comes up over and over again if you take a look at Kevin Durant is…Humble.  As a matter of fact, one article has him listed only second to Tim Duncan in a list of the NBA’s most humble players.  So why does any of this matter?


“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2

     The very same day and time Aleck and I were watching the basketball game in Charlotte, there was a high school baseball game going on in Fairview, NC.  The game was between TC Roberson and Reynolds high schools.  The two schools are rivals anyway, but with two players having transferred from Reynolds to Roberson….and Twitter, the rivalry seemed more intense.  The trash talking on Twitter and other social media spots was…in my opinion…disappointing.  Let me tell you why : I have trained many of these boys…some as young players and some as recently as this past offseason… and these athletes know better.  If you play baseball for TC or Reynolds…if you’re a student at either school…if you’re a parent that took to Twitter(yes parents got in on the trash talk)…ACTUALLY NO let me change that…if you are a coach, parent, or athlete ANYWHERE…Let me ask you this : Are you great?  Is your team great?  Is your school great?  Really?  Then let me ask you this….If you’re so great, why do you respond to the trash talk?  In all my years of competitive bodybuilding I have trained with these words in my mind and in my training journals: THE LION DOES NOT CONCERN HIMSELF WITH THE OPINIONS OF THE SHEEP.  I adopted this philosophy early on when a particular bodybuilder in Asheville started trash talking me when he didn’t even know me.  I won’t say his name because I believe he still competes, but the guy hates me…I don’t know why…but he does.  This guy would send messages through my training partner or through my clients about how he was training harder than ever…how he had gained muscle…how he was coming after me…blah..blah..blah.  He even had a friend of mine call me from another gym with himself in the background to tell me he was going to get me the next competition…that he was unbeatable.  I simply said to my friend, “Please tell —– good luck in his training and dieting and I wish him good luck this year.” …and I hung up.  I have beaten this guy in every competition I have been in with him.  This is important though:  I trained the way I train and did the things I knew I needed to do…and he had no bearing or influence in any of it.  THE LION DOES NOT CONCERN HIMSELF WITH THE OPINIONS OF THE SHEEP.  I tell you this story because I want to paint the picture of you putting your head down as an individual or as a team…blocking out the chatter…and doing work.  Be quiet and do the things YOU need to do.

IMG_1705[1]     IMG_0758[1]   IMG_1704[1]

“Talent is God-given.  Be humble.  Fame is man-given.  Be grateful.  Conceit is self-given.  Be careful.”  

                    John Wooden 


Remember when I asked you if you, your team, or your school was great?  Do you know why I asked that question?  If you are a parent, coach, athlete ,business owner, teacher, preacher…or breathing person… you should know this : There is a direct link between being humble and being great.  I know what you are thinking…There are many great arrogant people.  Look at Usain Bolt who said after winning his gold medals “I am now a legend.  I’m also the greatest athlete to live.”  Or what about Kobe Bryant who said he was the best post player on Team USA and there was nothing he could learn from his teammates.   Terrell Owens said it best right?  He said “I love me…some me.”   All of these guys “made it” right?  No.  Just because one has an overhyped sense of self,  money, cars, fame, fancy house(s), does not mean they are great.  Doing well…acquiring money and fame DOES NOT EQUAL GREATNESS.  Always remember this : You cannot become great if you cannot be humble.  Knowing that it isn’t all about you is the beginning of humility.  Be confident…but accept criticism.  Believe in yourself…but be open to improving yourself.  Keep your chin up….but be modest in your victory.  Expect much of yourself…but be gracious in defeat.  Be quiet….but be deliberate, purposeful, and urgent in your work.  Be fierce…but have class.  Listen….but be a Lion.

“Wisest is he who knows he does not know.” – Socrates

“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” – Proverbs 25:9   

Uneasy…with a Smile

“If you haven’t time to respond to a tug at your pants leg, your schedule is too crowded.” – Robert Brault

Last week Amy and I were covering our plans for taking the kids to school and arranging pick-up.  Amy had a field trip the next day so it messed up our normal schedule.  As Aleck, Emma Grace, and Ella listened, we finally hatched out a plan.  Then a little voice piped up, “Daddy, how about I just go with you?  I can go with you to work.”  Normally I would have probably ignored the request, but I had cleared the afternoon so I agreed.  “Sure…You can come with me,” I said, smiling at Amy and then Ella.  Her face lit up as if she had just received the Christmas gift she had been waiting on for the last 11 months.  She ran to her room to pack her bag and pick out her clothes.  Aleck skipped to the bathroom to brush his teeth.  Emma Grace collapsed as if she was standing on a beach and a powerful wave knocked her legs out from under her.  “It isn’t fair…This is terrible!!!  It is…not…fair!” she sobbed…until she fell asleep(and continued without missing a beat when she woke up….all the way to school Amy told me)….And people ask us if Aleck and Emma Grace(twins) have different personalities…uhhh slightly.

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” – Stacia Tauscher

It is no secret…I work a lot.  It may be a secret…I tend to worry a lot…about my children.  I want to be a good Father.  I want them to be ok.  When you put the two together…a lot of work hours and worry…It makes for an uneasy life.  Not a terrible life…just somewhat uneasy.  One summer my father bought an aluminum boat with a 15hp motor on it.  My younger sister and I were told to bring the boat to my parent’s house from the marina where he bought it…by water.  I don’t know how many miles it is between the two points, but it’s a pretty good distance.  We were going from the Camden Causeway, down the Pasquotank River, to Newbegun Creek into Weeksville(just to give you an idea if you are familiar with where I grew up).  This was not an unreasonable request from my father…I actually felt honored to be assigned the task.  I’m not sure how my younger sister got roped in….but there we were cruising down the smooth glassy causeway…until we went under the bridge and headed down the big part of the Pasquotank.  Clouds came from nowhere and whitecaps appeared.  It got darker and darker.  I tried to steer in a way to minimize the spine crunching wave impact on the small boat.  This meant I had to concentrate on each…and every wave…for a long long time.  And we took a beating…a real beating.  Finally we turned into Newbegun Creek and into calmer water.  As we pulled into my parent’s dock I remember thanking God.  When I stood up I felt like collapsing because every muscle in my body had been working so hard…including my brain…my eyes…my mind(I have to admit…my sister Annette was a rock…she isn’t known for her calmness or sense of adventure…but she was awesome that day).  I worked so hard for hours…trying to steer that boat…and fighting and fighting…focused on nothing else…one wave at a time…and it…wore…me…ouuuut.  It seemed like hours of fear…calmness…then anxiety…then quietness…then more fear…but really…a plain and constant uneasiness.  And so…. for me, that’s what life can be like.  Believe me I know we aren’t supposed to feel that…I know we aren’t supposed to have anxiety…and that having anxiety may be a bit of an insult to God..because we know he will take care of us right?…Always.  But…when you’re getting the mess beat out of you…whether it is nature, people, or other circumstances holding you down and smacking your head over and over and over….it’s hard not to feel uneasy…and just plain tired.  It is at this pointI believe God understands…and quietly slips into our lives… a person…a quote…a sunset…a book…a song…a sunrise…a pet…an article…a snowfall…or in my case last Tuesday…a little 5-year-old girl who wanted to go to work with her Daddy. 

“There’s nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child.”-Frank A Clark

When I opened the gym that morning, I knew it would be a different kind of day when Ella asked me not to punch the code in for the alarm so we could set it off and see how loud it would be.  We set up and waited for the first clients to arrive.  She helped me all morning…training, timing, and cleaning.  It was wonderful having a special little helper.  When everyone left, we went to Biltmore Park to have lunch and shop.  Ella ordered macaroni and cheese from the kids menu at Hickory Tavern.  When it came out we burst into laughter because it was the biggest bowl of mac and cheese either of us had ever seen.  Seriously, it looked like she could have jumped in and had a cheesy pasta hot tub swim.  We went to Barnes & Noble bookstore and she came around a corner carrying a stack of books so high I could barely see her little eyes trying to look at me.  “These are for Emma Grace and Aleck” she said.  I made her pick one book for each and put the rest back on the shelf.  We went to the O.P. Taylor toy store where she picked out a little hand massage ball(even with baby dolls everywhere).  The lunch and shopping were great, but the best part was holding hands with my little girl, answering questions and talking along the way.  The next stop was TCBY(my kids love love love TCBY)…Ella fell asleep on the way there.  I picked her up and carried her in….where she fell back asleep in my arms while waiting in line.  I took her back to the car…where she woke back up…and asked to go back in to get ice cream…and so we went back in and stood in line…she giggled the whole time about our back and forth zig zagging effort to get a little ice cream.  We returned to the gym and she played.  I collapsed on my back on the mat and watched her set up a cone obstacle course.

“While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about.” – Angela Schwindt 

After about ten minutes, Ella looked up, sprinted to the mat, and jumped on me.  She rolled to the side and we sprawled out on the mat…flat on our backs…as if we were in a field looking at animal shaped clouds.  She said, “It was busy this morning. It’s fun here.  You have nice people in your gym.”  I said, “Yes I do.”  She then said, “Daddy, this was the best day ever.”  I said, “Yes…it was.  It was the best.  Thank you for giving me the best day ever sweet Ella.”  “Yeah…now let’s go get Aleck, Emma Grace, and Momma,” she answered, while hopping to her feet..  We started the drive home and Ella fell asleep before we got out of the gym parking lot.  As I looked in my rearview mirror at the exhausted little girl sleeping, I began to think about the day.  I thought about how wonderful my morning had been.  I thought about how I wasn’t as tired as usual.  I thought about that little girl speaking to our waitress, the bookstore worker, and the toy store worker.  I thought about how she smiled and said thank you to all the people we passed who told her how cute she is and how beautiful her curls are.  I thought about how she wanted to buy her brother and sister the entire bookstore.  I thought about how not once…had I checked the time.  And I thought about how she wanted to share her ice cream with me.  And then I thought….We are doing ok.  She is going to be ok.  And just like I did that day many summers ago when I finally got my feet on my parent’s dock,  I took a long deep breath…thanked God…and smiled. 🙂

IMG_1618[1]  IMG_1620[1]  IMG_1619[1]  IMG_1624[1]

IMG_1627[1]  IMG_1630[1]  IMG_1628[1]

“Pausing to listen to an airplane in the sky, stooping to watch a ladybug on a plant, sitting on a rock to watch the waves crash over the quayside – children have their own agendas and time scales.  As they find out more about their world and their place in it, they work hard not to let adults hurry them.  We need to hear their voices.” – Cathy Nutbrown


The Pothole…

One day last week I was able to leave the gym earlier than normal.  It sounds great, but it actually put me in the middle of rush hour traffic(well…rush hour for Asheville…which I know doesn’t even begin to compare to what some of you go through in Atlanta, Charlotte, or any other big city you may be living in right now).  I was heading home on Interstate 26 driving over the bridge before merging onto Interstate 40.  This bridge abruptly goes from two lanes to one and as a result is often the scene of an accident.  I had already escaped no less than two accidents at this point and had noticed how aggressive and downright mean people are to each other during this busy commute time.  I had forgotten because I have worked late for so many years, but this was not fun…or safe.  On the bridge I slowed allowing another person to merge into my lane(with a tractor-trailer riding my bumper and honking at me).  It was either that or let him run out of a lane and force him off the road.  Just as he pulled in front of me I looked in my rearview mirror to see the trucker about an inch from my back bumper.  Exactly when I returned my eyes to the road in front of me, a pothole appeared and I hit it.  It made such a bone chilling noise and jolted my body so hard, I was sure my front wheel was gone.  I just knew I was driving a three-wheeled jeep and was about to be flattened by the big rig behind me.  Instead, to my surprise, I was able to keep driving and nothing appeared to be wrong with my car.  As my heartbeat began to slow, the nauseous feeling subsided, and traffic began to thin, I thought about the pothole I just hit.  It wasn’t there yesterday.  There weren’t any warning signs…no chunks of concrete…no gravel…just a big stinking hole.  How does a hole so suddenly end up in the middle of the road?  And where is all the displaced concrete?  I started researching potholes as a result of these two questions.  Of course cars and trucks weaken the concrete, but it seems the real devil in pothole creation is moisture.  Combined with chemicals and temperature changes, the moisture weakens the concrete from within.  And of course, I found a simple wonderful lesson in this experience.  I would like to share it with you.  I know what you’re probably thinking…another “pothole in the road of life” lesson.  There are great well-known “pothole life lessons”.  For example : Avoid the potholes on the road you’re travelling in life…or : Make sure you are skilled with “anti-pothole maneuvers” in your journey…Swerve around the potholes that may bring you down…or : Patch your potholes to make your trip better…or finally : Choose a different road.  Great lessons….but I don’t want to talk about any of those because my obsession became…Where in the world is the displaced concrete?  How can a hole appear and we don’t see the concrete, gravel, or rocks that once filled it?  It just disappears…is that right?  Further research explains : The material gets broken loose…it gets crushed….or thrown to the side of the road by tires…it gets blown away…it gets washed away.  So what’s the lesson?  BE KIND…BE KIND…just please…BE KIND.  What?  Why?  I bet you’re wondering how this makes sense…Follow me:

IMG_1569[1]         IMG_1568[1]

We all have potholes right?  We get beat up by life…we get ran over…stuff happens to us that absolutely…leaves holes in us…potholes all in us…in our minds…our hearts…our souls.  Now let me ask you…what happens to potholes?  They get patched right?  This is important :  Just because you don’t see the broken concrete, rocks, gravel in a pothole…just because you don’t see the pain, recovery, tragedy, darkness, and sadness in a person…doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  It didn’t just disappear…it may have been overcome…crushed deeper into their soul…blown over…washed away…or patched…but it did not disappear.  So…BE KIND.  How can we be kind?  Just as you drive to avoid potholes, drive your thinking in a way that makes you a kind person.  Use your own “stuff” to inspire empathy and compassion you can share with others.  Many times people only need a kind and special hearted person to LISTEN to them…you will be surprised at how it can change their world.  Make a kind phone call.  Send a kind e-mail.  Let someone merge into your lane(watch for big potholes and crazy truck drivers though).  As much as you can’t stand a person…ask yourself “What kindness can I do for him/her?”   I once read : “Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.”  How true is that saying?  BE KIND…BE KIND… because we all have…or have had potholes in our lives.  They may be new, old, or even patched…but kindness can only help make them a little smoother…and sometimes we’re put in people’s lives to do that…and thankfully people are put into our lives for the same reason.  So let’s do a little roadwork this week…  Mother Teresa said it perfectly : “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”   🙂

Big shout out to my girls for riding with me on the pothole picture hunting mission :

IMG_1140[1]    IMG_1129[1]

It’s Not About The Rims…

A few years ago I traveled to the coast to my boyhood home.  As I pulled into the trailer park, I noticed a group of boys parking their bikes and heading to the basketball court.  I made my way through the trailer park(I have written an in-depth story about that day and may post it in the future…it was an amazing experience for me to travel back to Wedgewood Lakes 30 yrs later) and as I pulled back in front of the park, I saw the boys playing basketball.  I drove into the park, rolled down the window, and cut the engine.  As I watched and listened to the boys playing, I took notice of the court.  It looked slightly better than it did when I left so many years ago.  It was the same old court…except the concrete rectangle had been extended all the way around by about 12 inches.  At least the goals were now the same height…the rims weren’t bent or as rusty…but of course…the they still had no nets.  I listened to the boys razz each other as they were playing and I thought about how we used to play on that court almost every day.  We had mastered where not to step to avoid breaking an ankle on the tiny rectangular raised concrete court…we had perfected the speed and agility needed to avoid fishing the ball from one of the “lakes” in Wedgewood Lakes…which was really a pond…after someone made a shot or dunked on the netless rim.  We had skillfully learned to adjust our shots depending if your team was shooting on the short extremely bent goal…or on the straight rim but entirely tilted goal.   The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. I couldn’t help but think I…my friends…deserved better. Why hadn’t any adults taken care of our court? Why didn’t they look out for us?  I was snapped out of my flashback by a boy’s voice “Hey..Hey you!..Come on..We need you to play!”  I hopped out of the car and made my way to the court.  It was a hot hot hot Eastern North Carolina day…and humid…You guys in Eastern NC know what I’m talking about…It’s so hot you see birds pulling worms out of the ground using pot holders…and when a breeze finally hits you in the back, you turn around to see where the dragon is…Anyway, I made my way onto the court and was quickly assigned to the skins(shirtless) team.  My nickname became “Muscleman” even though I told them they could call me “Old Man”.  We played and played….and joked and joked.  Toward the end of the game the ball rolled toward the pond(which I was at this point thankful for because I needed the rest)…and I stood with my hands on my hips…soaked with sweat…gasping for air.  I looked around at the boys, the court, and the trailers in the background and felt an overwhelming  joy and peace in my heart…and I said out loud “It’s not about the rims…”  One of the boys asked “What?”  “Nothing” I said, “Let’s play.”  And this is the lesson I learned…and would like to share with you :

IMG_0774     IMG_0775      IMG_0776

Sometimes in life we get focused on the wrong things.  Sometimes in life we think we need something to make us happy…to get a job done…to accomplish a goal or task…or to even start a task…to even begin to pursue a dream.  Sometimes in life we focus so much on that something, we MISS the important lessons in what we’re doing…and it can be a miserable…regretful…painful…MISS.  As I played basketball with boys who reminded me of myself and my friends that day, I realized it wasn’t about the rims.  We never even noticed the rims…and certainly didn’t care about the size of the court.  We had each other…we had the game.  Those boys were just like me 30 years ago…getting around everywhere they needed to be on their bikes…taking care of each other…making the best of their circumstances each and every day.  We didn’t need any adults to fix our court for us back then…and they don’t need it now.  It isn’t about the rims for them.  And it shouldn’t be for us. Don’t lose the value of the relationships you have with each and every individual in your life by looking at the negatives…stop looking at the rust on the rims.  Don’t miss your kids growing up because you think you need to work long hours to give them a big house or more stuff…stop focusing on the size of the court…they don’t care…they just want you to play with them.  Stop being afraid that if you shoot and miss on a netless rim that you might have to chase down a loose ball…Just shoot!…Go for what you want!  Lastly, it’s OK to feel stress…about being poor…being unhappy…being overwhelmed…being out of shape.  It’s OK to feel anxiety about an addiction…a perceived failure…a problem forgiving…a tragedy…an abuse.  All of this is Life.  It’s Ok to feel…It’s not OK to sit around and be angry because no one is taking care of your problems.  You decide what you need to see in your life.  And I suggest Prayer…Pray for clarity and vision…then move forward…focus on what you can control…and stop looking at the bent and rusty rims.  Get in the game!  Move forward and enjoy the game!  Enjoy your life.  It was a blessing to return to my childhood trailer park basketball court.  It was a blessing to be reminded by those boys what life is really about.  We have one game…one life…no matter where it’s being played…that’s it-only ONE…It’s up to us to appreciate it and to live it fully.  Now go play!!! 🙂

“The secret to having it all…is believing you already do.”