Technology is great, but never allow it to replace your family and friends. ~OC
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:
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
Today I choose to listen more than I speak.
Today I choose to speak words of encouragement.
Today I choose not to judge others.
Today I choose to love the immigrant.
Today I choose to look at the best in people.
Today I choose to speak out against injustice.
Today I choose love over hate.
Today I choose to love the unlovable.
Today I choose to love those that look different than me.
Today I choose to love those that worship differently than me.
Today I choose to love those who vote differently than me.
Today I choose to love those with different opinions than me.
Today I choose to speak truth.
Today I choose to check in on my friends.
Today I choose not to give up.
Today I choose to embrace adventure.
Today I choose to have a positive attitude.
Today I choose to spend time with God.
Today is all we have. Tomorrow is not promised. Yesterday is a memory. How will you choose to live today? ~OC
Over the years when I have faced another medical trial, I have stated “It’s just another bump in the road.” Yesterday, God changed my mindset. He shared with me that instead of looking at my current situation as another bump in the road, I should instead look at my health challenges as another blessing in the road. Pretty mind blowing. I also believe it could be a life changing way of looking at our circumstances. With every “Bump in the Road” has come a blessing. Let me share some examples.
*A Missionary. During my crazy beautiful health journey, God has allowed me to become a missionary at doctors appointments and hospital stays. God has blessed me with the incredible opportunity to encourage others during those visits.
*My Voice. Based on my health issues, I have lost my physical voice. I speak with a whisper these days. I use a voice amplifier to help me speak. But during this time, God has blessed me with the opportunity to speak out loudly against human trafficking, racism and other important issues.
*Listen. During this crazy beautiful journey, God has helped me become a better listener. I always thought I was a good listener until I got sick. It was then that I realized, I tended to listen so I could respond. So I could fix things. During this journey, God has blessed me with the incredible opportunity to just listen. Not to be the fixer. Not to share my opinion. Just to listen.
*Extra Weight. When I got sick again in 2009, I was prescribed the highest dose of prednisone (a steroid), that you can take. I put on a ton of weight in a short period of time. I went from my running weight of 150 to over 200 pounds in less than six months. All the weight went straight to my stomach. Based on the fact I could no longer run or exercise, it was difficult to take weight off. It was very frustrating. Then in 2014, I started losing my appetite. Then from the middle of 2016 to the first of 2017, I lost 90 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly. 90 pounds! That is when I had my feeding tube inserted. That extra weight saved my life. A bump in the road turned into a life saving blessing in the road.
*A Book. In March of this year, my memoir The Blessed Overcomer was published. If not for this “bump in the road”, I would have never written a book. You can find my book on Amazon or you can contact me about getting a signed copy. A little shameless plug.
*This Blog. Once again, if not for this crazy beautiful health journey there is no blog. I do not have a huge following and probably never will, but that was never the point. I am thankful for everyone who drops by and checks out my blog. Writing my thoughts down has been very cathartic. A wonderful blessing.
As I reflect on my crazy beautiful health journey, I have so many Blessings In The Road moments. It took God changing my mindset to realize this amazing truth. ~OC
Hate continues to rear its ugly head in America. We have have experienced four mass shootings. We have experienced more hateful tweets and comments from our elected leaders. It seems it’s gotten easier for people to choose hate over love.
It would be easy to get caught up in all the hate. All we have to do is turn on the tv, open up social media or just walk outside. Hate is all around us. Some of our political leaders have earned their PhD’s in the area of hateful rhetoric. How did we get here?
If you’re a conservative you’re told on a daily basis the liberals are to blame. How liberals are out to destroy America. If you’re a liberal, you’re told on a daily basis the conservatives are to blame. How conservatives want to take America back to the 1950’s. The talking points change daily, but the game has been the same for years; exploit fear and distrust. Make it Them Against Us. My prayer today is that we will make a Bigger Us and a Smaller Them.
We need to stop demonizing people who have different political views than us. We need to stop demonizing people who look different than us. We need to stop demonizing people who have a different faith than us. We need to stop demonizing people who were born in a different country than us. Instead we need to celebrate our differences, because that’s what has always made America great.
So we have a choice to make. We can keep pitting Them Against Us or we can all come to the Table of Love and have real and significant conversations. I believe we will find we have more in common than we realize.
As you know, I love to share take away points in my blog post. Here are some ways we can choose to Love More and Hate Less:
*We have a choice. We make the choice what we believe. We make the choice what we watch and listen to. We make the choice to be part of the problem or part of the solution.
*Replace Judgement with Grace. The world is constantly beating people down. Instead of being the Judge and Jury, make the choice to show some grace.
*Truly Listen. It is so easy to bombard people with your beliefs and opinions. Make the choice to take some time to listen to people who think, act, look and speak differently than you. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but take the time to listen to them.
*Choose Love. Choosing love can be difficult at times. Let’s face it, some people are hard to love. I bet that hard to love person just came to mind. I did not say choosing love would be easy. Choosing love is a daily choice. But I believe it is worth the hard work.
“I have decided to stick with love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
As you can tell from some of my previous post, I believe racism is one of the biggest issues facing our nation. Of course the issue of racism is not new to America. I believe it is one of the original sins of our nation. I could share a lot of data to support that statement, but I would rather share some practical steps white people can take to help improve race relations in America. Wait a second Todd. Why are you directing this towards white people? I am glad you asked. I believe for too long, we (white folks) have been afraid to have conversations about racism. We do not want to say the wrong thing and be accused of being a racist. I get it. I have been there. But we must have these tough conversations. I would like to share a few simple steps I think we (white folks) can take to help fight everyday racism. I have found them helpful in my journey to help end racism.
Listen to People of Color. To often when our brothers and sisters of color are discussing racism, we want to jump in and try to fix things. Or worse we discount what they are saying. We just cannot believe they would still encounter such blatant racism in 2019. They do! So the next time you have the opportunity to discuss racism with a person of color, just listen as they share the pain they face daily.
Educate Yourself. Take time to learn about All of America History. Not just the white history most of us learned in school. There are plenty of books, museums, websites and articles to help you become more informed.
Stand Up to Racism. Don’t walk away when that family member or coworker tells a racist joke. Confront them on their behavior. Call out the business owner who follows a person of color around the store. Stop and educate someone when they say racism is not that bad in America. It is! I know this might be difficult for some of you, but we cannot stay silent.
Ask Questions. Take time to asked people of color plenty of questions. It’s okay to admit you don’t know everything. I have no idea what its like to be a person of color in America or anywhere else. So the only way I can learn is by asking questions and listen. Remember to always listen.
What Happens If I Make A Mistake? If you happen to say or do the wrong thing, ask a friend of color how you can fix it. Apologize if needed.
Friends of Color. Okay none of this works, if you do not have any friends of color. No, the person of color you say hello to in passing at work or church does not count. Take the time to get out of your comfortable “white bubble” and engage with people of color. That might mean changing where you hang out or what church you attend. But I guarantee it will be worth it.
I know these six steps will not end racism by themselves, but I believe there a good start. Do not think you have to do them all in one day. That would be overwhelming. But I encourage you to start with one today. ~OC
*True friends Encourage you.
*True friends Respect you.
*True friends Support you.
*True friends Stand By you.
*True friends Reach Out to you.
*True friends Listen to you.
*True friends are Honest with you.
*True friends Forgive you.
*True friends Walk the Journey with you.
Dear God, please help me be this type of friend. ~OC