Dream Killers

If God has placed a dream on your heart, do not let anyone or anything try to destroy that dream. Dream Killers can be the the following:

Doubt

Criticism

Comparison

Intimidation

Failure/Discouragement

People

These dream killers can happen everyday. Do not allow them to destroy the dreams God has put on your heart. Step out and trust God. ~OC

How To Help

During my 17 year crazy beautiful health journey, I was often asked how people could help Laura and I. Here are a few suggestions:

Stay in Contact: Nothing brightens a patient’s day more than hearing from friends. It could be a phone call, visit or a simple text. Even when I could not eat or drink, I loved the interaction with friends. So never be afraid to call that loved one or friend. Also the doctors have shared keeping a person’s mind active is very important. So, when you are thinking about someone, take that opportunity to reach out to them. Do not miss out on a beautiful memory.

Remember to Check On The Caregiver: The caregiver can get lost during the journey. As my caregiver, Laura had the toughest job. Working full-time and taking care of me could be overwhelming. And remember, she did this for over 17 years. So, make sure you are asking about the caregivers physical, mental and emotional well-being. One of my main concerns during my journey, was that Laura take care of herself and enjoy life. A caregiver can always use a night out.

Don’t Start a Pity Party: Dealing with health issues is tough enough. At times people want to go crawl in a hole and isolate. Don’t let them do it. Offer some words of encouragement. Get them out of the house. Go make some memories. My journey was a tough one, but so many people had it tougher than me. Remember, a lady gave birth in a tree. True story!

Just listen: Sometimes hurting people just need someone to listen. Not to fix. Not to have all the answers. Just listening is a beautiful gift.

Be Flexible: The one thing about illness is everyday is different. My health issues bought new challenges each day. Sometimes each hour. So be flexible when dealing with a family member or friend struggling with health issues.

Learn About the Illness: Some people are dealing with illnesses we have never heard of, but asking questions and maybe a quick Google search can help. This can help you better support that loved one. Just don’t believe everything you read online.

Be Available: People dealing with health issues face different challenges. So be available to help when possible. That help could come in the form of bringing someone meals, sitting with someone during their treatment, visiting them in the hospital or transportation. For years, I could not drive based on my health issues. So, having rides to my appointments were important. I am thankful for my team of drivers during my journey. Getting out of the house and enjoying live is so important.

The Long Haul: Be there for your family and friends. Did I ever think my journey would last 17 years? No way! But what I learned was that some friends put an expiration date on how long they could endure my new normal. Having friends that have stuck it out and supported me has been a true blessing.

Acceptance: Stop comparing who someone was before they got sick, to the person they are now. Simply accept that who someone was and who they are now has changed. So when that family member or friend has a life changing experience, embrace the new them.

I hope this helps. There is really not a blueprint for this stuff. So don’t beat yourself up, if you say or do the wrong thing. The most important thing you can do is be present and engaged. ~OC

Words Matter

Today’s a new day! Our words are powerful. Make no mistake. They can inspire and elevate or they can cut down and destroy. A seemingly simple comment, without consideration, can devastate and once it’s out there you can never get it back. ~OC

Running With Endurance

As some of you know, I am a former long distance runner. I would still be running today, if not for my failing health. I still miss running and competing in marathons.

We marathon runners are a rare breed. That’s putting it mildly. Not many people wake up before dawn to go run 26.2 miles. People often joke with me that they get tired just driving 26.2 miles. I used to run multiple marathons a week. Yes, you read that correctly. I just loved running. Did you know that only half of one percent of the population in the United States has completed a full marathon.

Can we be honest? Completing a full marathon is hard. There is the training. The diet. The miles. The cost. The time and effort. For what? A t-shirt and a finishers medal. The t-shirts and medals are great, but there is more to running marathons than all the things I listed above. But I really did love the medals.

So, it is not surprising that not many people actually complete a full marathon. It takes a lot of effort and commitment.

As Christians, we are running a race that requires proper training if we want to finish well. It takes a commitment. It takes some work. It’s not always pretty. Here are just a few tips for running this race called life.

Prayer and God’s Word. Marathon runners do not head to Krispy Kreme or a buffet before a race. No, we full up on food that will give us the proper energy needed to cross the finish line. We also stay properly hydrated.

God’s word is our fuel. It fills us up. The Word prepares us for the long race ahead. God’s word draws us closer to Him. The Word helps us stay on course. God’s word and prayer strengthens us when we fill like saying No Mas. The scriptures and being in prayer sustains us for the journey.

Watch Your Pace. Every runner has their own pace. Some runners are just naturally gifted as runners. They have perfect stride and can cover more miles at a quicker pace. That was not me. I definitely did not have perfect stride. Thank goodness God blessed me with the ability to run for hours.

As a runner, I had to be realistic about my finishing time. I definitely was never going to be an elite runner. But that did not stop me from training and striving to be an elite runner.

In life, we will be tempted to run someone else’s pace. Their pace is so much better than ours we tell ourselves. Look at their stride. If only I could run like that we tell ourselves. But God did not design us to run someone else’s pace. We were not created to run someone else’s race. God designed a beautiful race just for you and me. Maybe it’s not at the pace we want, but it is the perfect pace for us

Never Stop Training. I was not your average runner. I never took a day off from running. Probably not recommended by the experts, but it worked for me. I believe God knew my running days would be short, so He gave me the extra energy to run everyday. Oh the memories. Wait a second, get back on track OC.

I did not wake up one morning and run a marathon. No, I trained and worked my way up to completing 26.2 miles. As my endurance increased so did my miles.

I love what James says in James 1:2-3, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

Just as a runner needs to train for a marathon, we have to continue exercising and developing our spiritual muscles. During this marathon called life, we will face many obstacles and trials. Something or someone will try to knock us off course. Our spiritual training will help us overcome those trials. Can I get a amen?

I love 1 Corinthians 9:24, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

Thankfully when this marathon called life weighs us down, God is there to shower us with His amazing love, patience, understanding, grace and mercy.

Maintain Your Vision. Finish Strong. During my running days, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish. I had my eyes on the prize. Having goals helped me to keep running towards the finish line. To finish strong.

Knowing that our hope is in God, encourages us to keep running forward even when life gets hard. God has given us everything we need to run the race. To strive for the prize. To finish strong.

I love Philippians 3:14, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

We all have a race to run. I pray these tips help you to run the race God designed specifically for you. ~OC

What My Crazy Beautiful Journey Has Taught Me About Living

When people meet me, they are always amazed how positive and upbeat I am. I have been asked more times than I can count, why I am not depressed? Doctors love asking that question. I guess people just think I should be hiding under the covers and living in pure devastation. Obviously they have never met me.

No, I have decided to live a life full of adventure and gratitude. It is a choice I have to make on a daily basis. Sometimes a hourly basis. I made the decision early on in this crazy beautiful health journey, to not allow my health issues to consume me. Not let it become my identity. I made the choice to be grateful for all the blessings I have experienced on this journey. That has truly been a life changing choice. Choosing to live with a heart of gratitude has allowed me to remain upbeat and full of joy. Yes, there are still some very tough days, but the blessings far outweigh the negatives of this journey.

I have also found that writing and talking about my journey has been very healing. It has also given my family and friends permission to ask about my journey. That has been important for everyone.

Humor has also been positive. If you know Laura and I, you know our humor tends to be on the dark side. And we do not apologize for it. Laura and I have been given the stink eye more than once when it comes to our dark humor. Our humor is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it works for us. Hey, if you don’t like it, go get your own life threatening health issues.

This crazy beautiful health journey has taught me that when I am truly living, I do not have the time to worry about the negatives this storm brings.

During this journey, God has also revealed his purpose for my life. It’s pretty simple. My purpose is to encourage and love others. Not just people who look and think like me. No, that would be easy. No, God has called me to encourage and love everyone He brings my way. That is not always easy, but the blessings have been unbelievable. I love this crazy beautiful journey God has me traveling. I would not change a thing. ~OC

Some Lessons Learned On The Journey

During my crazy beautiful health journey, God has shared many lessons with me. I have shared some of these lessons in earlier blog post. Today, I would like to share some more lessons learned during my journey. Some of these lessons have been difficult to walk through, but they have brought me closer to God. They have made me a better person. They are lessons I never want to forget.

Don’t Live In Fear. Surrender everything to God. Including your fear. My life is filled with a lot of unknowns. It would be easy live in fear. For moments I have. Thank goodness, I chose not to live in that fear. No, instead I continue to choose to live in Hope. Not always easy, but making the choice to not live in fear has been life changing.

Let God’s Word Empower You. Spend time in God’s word. Speak it. Pray it. Sing it. Live it out. During my good days and bad days I choose to let God’s Word pour over me.

Embrace Every Moments. Make every moment count. Tell your love ones you love them. Share some hugs. Take that trip. Give freely. So some grace. Love without prejudice.

Be Grateful. Take time to be thankful for your many blessings. My journey has been filled with some rough moments, but I have so much to be grateful for. My wife. My family and friends. My medical team. Great insurance. Beautiful moments.

Never Give Up. The temptation is always there. The journey is too hard. The pain is too great. There are plenty of reasons to give up, but I encourage you to keep fighting. Reach out to trusted family and friends to walk with you during those moments of wanting to give up.

I hope these lessons will encourage you. They are not easy to walk through. Believe me I know. I have been trying to live them out for the past 17 years. ~OC

The Gift of Brokenness

Sometimes I feel broken.

There are times I look at my life and see all the ways I fall short. Maybe it was my negative attitude or words that negatively affected someone else.

There are so many ways to feel broken- physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. In the middle of our brokenness, it’s easy to agonize over whether or not we can ever be acceptable to God or be used by Him during our brokenness. I know I struggle with this sometimes.

During this crazy beautiful health journey, God has taught me a valuable lesson about being broken.

Our brokenness is a gift. A gift? Yes, a gift because our brokenness connects us to other people walking through their own brokenness. A gift because our brokenness brings us closer to God. It is during our brokenness that God makes us whole.

Sharing our brokenness brings meaning and healing to our crazy beautiful journey.

Blessings happen during the brokenness. As I have shared my health journey with others, people have reached out to me and shared how my journey has helped them walk through their own crazy beautiful journey. It has been a blessing to see God move through my brokenness.

Being broken is a gift, because through our brokenness we recognize our need for God. Because only through God can our broken life be made whole.

I am so grateful for the gift of being broken. During my brokenness God has continued to love me and use me in spite of my brokenness. What a gift.

My prayer for you is that during your brokenness, you will look to God and allow Him to use you during this time. I pray you will find the gift of brokenness as God puts your broken pieces back together. ~OC

Thankful And Grateful

Thank God throughout this crazy beautiful journey called Life. A thankful attitude opens the windows of heaven. A thankful heart opens our hearts to God’s Presence. I am thankful and grateful for the many blessings and lessons learned during my own journey. ~OC

I will give thanks to God with everything I’ve got. God’s works are so great, worth a lifetime of study- endless enjoyment! Splendor and beauty mark his craft. His generosity never gives out. His mercies are His memorial. This God of Grace. This God of Love ~Psalm 111:1-5

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