Think of all your mountain-top successes and face-grinding failures. Your valiant victories and deadening defeats. Your golden trophies and locker-room second-guessing. All those wonderful wins and heart-breaking losses.
Before you take too much credit and get swollen with pride or stand on your toes, pointing your finger, blaming everyone in sight, just remember this: For every swig from your victor’s cup, someone, somewhere helped you cross your finish line.
I am honored to count Scott Johnson as a friend. He’s the one with arms raised, celebrating Army Ranger, double-amputee Cedric King’s finish of this year’s 2014 Boston Marathon. After Cedric lost both his legs in an IED explosion in Afganistan, he could have called it quits. For good. But even with prosthetic limbs, he didn’t stop walking or running. Yes, that’s Cedric King kissing the finish line after thousands of Boston Strong spectators cheered him the final 500 yards. A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?
I read in a recent issue of Outside magazine that their mission statement of “Live the Active Life” was a failure. Seems nobody really knew what the Active Life meant. The Outside editors and staff found that no one they interviewed could definitely answer whether they were living the Active Life or not. It was all a bit too vague. Heck, if you can walk to the bathroom, that’s an active life.
Living bravely was another matter. Everyone they spoke to could determine if they were living bravely or not. I suspect the same is true for you and I. We instinctively know if we’re living bravely or not. So my challenge to you (and myself) is to live bravely today. To live a beautiful life, we must live bravely. I have a few ideas what that might look like…
I hope you’re having a great summer! Now it’s my family’s turn! I’ll be on vacation and off the grid for the next eight days. I wanted to leave you with one of the most popular posts that I wrote last year. It struck a nerve with many people who read it. I’d love your thoughts too. It’s about Kelly my niece, her wedding and some things I learned after attending a wedding and a funeral. Here’s a happy little ending…Kelly and Nick have been married for almost a year now…and they’re now expecting a little baby! If you know someone attending a summer wedding…or funeral…I hope you’ll be inspired to pass it on. I think there’s little reminders in here for everyone.
[L]ast Saturday, I went to my niece’s wedding. It was an event our family has eagerly been waiting for all summer long. Kelly Dale, the bride, was gorgeous and Nick Giuni, the groom (a San Clemente City Lifeguard) looked smashing! The next Monday, though, I attended a funeral. A wedding and a funeral in three days…that’s a whole lot of emotion! Each gathering was filled with beautiful moments, but for different reasons. Allow me to explain…
[I] have a question for you: Have you answered the call of God for your life? It’s a question worth asking. And an answer worth pursuing. For summer reading, I’ve been immersed in the New York Time’s bestselling biography, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in years. It’s also provoked the question and call of God on my life in a deep way.
Metaxas offers a compelling chronicle of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s courageous life as a German pastor who stood up against the Nazi regime at the cost of his own life.
As I read this morning, one quote stood out in particular that I hope will encourage and challenge you. Bonhoeffer writes…
[H]ere’s a fun video to share with all the warrior dad’s in your life this Father’s Day. We produced this little piece to remind father’s to get in there and yuck it up with their kids. In my twenty-one years of parenting, I have lost many a pillow fight! But one of the greatest privileges and joys in my life has been being a dad. I love raising my four kids with Krista, but as you know, parenting is not for cowards! On many a day, life is a battle and men truly need the heart of a warrior to take a stand for what’s right. This includes the humbling task of modeling what is true, good and right…even though we don’t always get it right. (Take it from this dad who knows…) If you’re a father, enjoy this coming Father’s Day in honor of you. Fight the battles worth fighting for. Stand for what is good. Lead and guide your children in a way that will make them want to be a loving, strong father just like you. And don’t forget, you don’t have to go it all alone. Look to God the Father to lead and guide you first. “The Lord is a warrior.” Exodus 15:3
A couple weeks ago, I received the most remarkable prayer from a friend asking me to pray for him. When I read his words, I was blown away at his courage. Blown away at what a truly dangerous prayer he had just written. His words are so real, honest and authentic, I believe they capture the hearts of many people I know who desire real change in their lives and in their relationship with God. My friend wrote about the debilitating impact of paralysis, depression, fear, failure and regret. Yet, he also writes about the hope of change, finding true strength in God and living with confidence in the days ahead.
As a boy, I loved action-figures. GI Joe was my hero and if there was one guy I’d ever want in my foxhole, it was him. I had the GI Joe Navy S.E.A.L. Scuba set. The G.I. Joe Egyptian Explorer Jeep set complete with sarcophagus-mummy-winch holder. The G.I. Joe Jungle Python-Slashing set complete with authentic plastic machete. I was all things G.I. Joe. Boy, could I accessorize that man-doll: grenades, ammo, M-16, Howitzer, you name it.
What did I love about G.I. Joe? Popping muscles and cammo aside, G.I. was a man of action. He represented courage, initiative and risk-taking. Every quality one needs to be an action-oriented artist. Though G.I. Joe never practiced “The War of Art,” he has a lot to teach writers, actors, filmmakers, musicians, visual artists–every kind of artist imaginable–about the importance of being an action-oriented artist.
Note: Flying over to the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship last October, I wrote this post about my recent experience with Scott Rigsby and his unthinkable venture into high surf on Memorial Day. Whatever “high surf” you currently find yourself in, I hope you’re encouraged to persevere through whatever stormy seas you’re in. If you think you can’t persevere, with God’s strength, think again…In the video below, watch Scott exit the water after his two and a half mile swim at the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship. Read the story. Watch the video. Not every race counts!
I am loving SAFE, AJ DeGrasse’s new CD, which is why I want to introduce you to my singer/songwriter friend. AJ DeGrasse has been a long-time friend, co-worker and artist-collaborator with the ministry I serve, The Grove Center for the Arts & Media. Like many musicians and artists, his path to pursuing his creative gifts has not been a straight path…
I speak to a lot of people who write, who want to write or who like the idea of writing. What I’ve found is that people need both good writing tools and the inspiration to get writing. (I know I do!) The top two questions I’m always asked about writing are: 1) What do I need to submit a book proposal to a publisher? 2) What books will help me become a better writer?
In mentoring young or new writers, one of the reasons I started this blog was to put all of my ideas, favorite tools and resources in one place. What has emerged over the past year are a number of posts that offer the practical tools and resources I use.