What would you do?
If you’ve ever watched the show, “what would you do?” You know that humans on camera are set up with a complex ethical equation, and we get to watch then make a choice. I first met the host of that show, John Quinones, on an airplane to Latin America.
We were both headed there for the same thing – to observe and work an airplane crash. But we were on opposite teams. I was the crisis worker who made him put his cameras away so that he couldn’t film the wreckage. He was the news guy chasing the story.
His current show makes you think… About your own choices.
I have had relationships begin and others end – because of a humans personal choice. I witnessed a man holding a baby in an orphanage in Romania and I married him.
I witnessed a CEO client who owns four homes, two lamborghinis and a jet tell a homeless man he was a bum and I fired him. He wanted a library of books. I wasn’t interested.
Yesterday I encountered a Romania gypsy (as the locals call them) on the street outside target with her child. Target, in suburban America.
Her sign said: please help. Hungry. Need money.
They looked like this.
A year prior I had seen a similar looking family on a completely different street corner in a different city. My heart went out to them – the entire family of five – and I brought them home to my house and gave them a meal, a talk, a prayer, and money and sent them on their way.
Later that week I read an article where the writer reported about bands of Romanian gypsies staying at hotels and how it was a scam, and they stood on street corners and traveled through cities taking money from people. They often use their kids, to tug at your heart. Wow. I thought at the time. It wasn’t random.
My eyes were opened.
Yesterday when I saw the mother and child
as I was leaving the store I stopped.
Looked her in the eye. Their eyes are a greenish hazel. Like the color of the national geographic poignant photo.
Buna! I said joyfully.
Her eyes lit up and she smiled a beautiful smile, missing and cracked teeth.
“Buna!” She said back.
“You’re from Romania!” I said confidently.
“Da, da,” she nodded excitedly – amazed that I knew.
“Te u besc,” I said, offering her the food in my cart. I bagged up the extra food into two bags and handed one to her and the other to her young daughter.
Now what’s really wild about that, is that I had bought double food of almost everything.
And things we never eat. Double cupcakes double burgers double soda. I definitely don’t those things. As I was checking out, I said; why did I buy double? As I walked out of the store I knew why.
Can I bless you? I asked.
I put my hand on her head and her child’s head and gave them a big positive blessing in Romanian and walked away.
That child noticed. The look in her eyes was pure gratitude and amazement. The love and gratitude of an innocent child.
Not only did they get food, but that kid got a huge bag of candy, cupcakes, and every junk food treat a kid could want!
What if it was a so called scam? Well, obviously it was. It wasn’t their first time doing it.
What if we reframed our desire for so called justice? What if we focused on abundance in that moment – and being a shining example. That child will either grow up a beggar or make a decision to be like me and work hard to change the world.
Humans are humans. We all need to eat.
It’s only my role to be the light and deliver words – that change lives.
It’s one thing to do that when there’s a stranger in need. But an entirely different thing to set aside your ego and pride and do it all over again when you have read that the stranger in need begs for a living, and that it’s their job. Some people would lecture or shame them. Others will say, “you’re enabling them. Teach them a lesson!”
Many people I know would think, “haha I know these people. They’re con artists” and proceed to give them a verbal beat down in front of their child. It never occurred to me to do that.
No one was watching and the kids weren’t with me. There was no reason for my giving except giving.
You’ve got double.
More than enough.
Give, and give without even asking why.
Because whether you realize it or not, someone once gave to you in your time of need – without asking questions.
As featured on the Discovery Channel, Wall Street Journal, Oprah and Huffington Post;
It can wait.
You know it can.
If there’s one thing you do this week, watch this. Take time and do it for me, for you, for your loved ones.
Let’s turn off our phones.
Warrior: I love the breakdown of the word.
War. I. or.
If you break down the word, you see War first, which is what life sometimes feels like. There are times you war for your soul, your family, your relationships. And, you. When your health and fitness takes a backseat – nothing else feels right.
Or what? The or in the word warrior,
is a reminder of what we don’t want to happen when we are not taking our rightful position as a warrior.
I recently started back running the trail after a car accident on a mountain, a torn sartorious, (Google it) a year of injury, and ten pounds gained.
Today I was inspired by the Reebok spartan race series. How can you not feel like a warrior when you see a poster like this?
I dusted off my first pair of Reebok trail shoes ever – the ones that replaced my old running shoe that I shalt not name – and fell in love again.
Is it time to get your inner Warrior back?
I always say there are 3 simple steps to doing it.
1. Lace up
2. Set a big goal
3. Move every day
By lace up, I mean, buy yourself some cool shoes. I find that when I invest in the gear, I’m committed to the process. Get the gear you want, and lace up everyday.
One great goal is a race. Go to www.spartan.com enter the code Memorial –
and join me in signing up for a race. Save the date, print the information sheet, and tape it to your refrigerator.
There’s nothing like a big goal to get you in shape for summer, and Spartan has a big Memorial Day discount. I’m on a mission to get stronger and fitter. For me the I in warrior, means I only have to compete with myself.
Letter to a Depressed mom,
on Mother’s Day
I met you at a joyful time in my life.
You were strong and beautiful. You were not crazy. You were not mentally ill.
But you were determined to kill yourself,
and you told me just ten minutes after we met.
This letter is for you, L.
I thought of you today when I looked out this magnificent window that you left behind.
Each day I open my eyes and this is my first view of the world. A magnificent forest alive with birds, trees, and brilliant shards of light. A slice of heaven on earth.
I heard your words ring in my head this morning when I asked about that window. “We’ve never had curtains,” you said.
And I was astonished.
It was the day I was about to buy your house, and I recall thinking it would be impossible to sleep with the unknown of the scary forest peeking in the wall of windows that surround the bedroom!
I was coming from a place of fear –
that has since been rooted out of my heart by love.
Before I met you that day, your
realtor took me on a tour through the home.
In the master bedroom I felt an unexplainable sadness when I sat on the corner of your bed, and I began to cry.
The realtor looked at me uncomfortably.
Today I understand what I didn’t back then. That there are things we cannot see, but that we can feel. I understand that humans are mind, body, and spirit and that we can sometimes feel the grief of another even if we haven’t met them yet.
When I made the offer on the house, I knew I would have to leave behind my dream. I had a seven acre ranch with nine animals including horses, and a pretty adorable black and white cow. I had a barn, an ATV, and an amazing little pond to fish in.
I told the realtor the truth. “I can’t explain this. I love my ranch. I just feel as if buying this new home is not about me.”
He sat there, stunned, and later he told me that it was the deal that changed his life.
He told me that the wife had tried to commit suicide once already, and that the husband and kids had been living there alone.
You had checked out, L. Somewhere between school activities, making dinner and folding laundry you had decided it wasn’t worth it anymore.
When I met you I knew exactly why I was supposed to live in your house. The house itself has become a metaphor for possibility. It feels as if anything is possible, here.
On the day you handed over the keys to a stranger, your eyes were flat and your body
soulless as you told me, robotically,
“I’m going to kill myself.”
It was you, but you were not there, as if something had taken over your soul.
You were a walking zombie, flat and cold.
Already dead. Deadened by years of inner conflict and discontent, and by whatever demons had corrupted your heart.
It was just me and you sitting there in your dining room, because your four girls were upstairs running through the bedrooms and halls, saying goodbye to their childhood.
You were ready to move on.
I could hear their footsteps, and I felt the shivers of a thousand years and the souls of regretful suicides.
And then I felt anger.
I’m writing this letter to you today,
because I know you’re healed.
And I want you to know I am too.
I told you about my father that day, and how he took his own life. I told you about the anger that crept into my heart as a child, hollowed it out, and turned it into stone. I told you about my youth, my difficulty in understanding relationships, my fear of being abandoned as a child and my decision, at twelve, never to love anyone. And then I told you about my transformed heart.
I spoke to you not as another mother but as a daughter who had suffered from a parents decision.
“If you commit suicide,” I said, “Your children will never believe you loved them. They will know that you didn’t care enough about them to stay.”
We left it at that.
I spent that first night in my new empty house, (yours and mine) thinking of you. Praying for you. Pleading with you silently.
I slept on the floor by the fire because there was no furniture, and stared at the ceiling.
To all the mothers out there who think there’s no other solution, this letter is for you, too.
hang on. The sun will rise on another day.
L, I thought of you often and then again years later, when a mother a few miles away took her own life, and killed her children and husband too. There had been no argument. She was not crazy. But she was depressed and suicidal, and she kept it inside.
When I read the story I wanted to turn back time.
“If only,” I thought.
Even though she was a stranger, I had a feeling of loss and regret that our paths hadn’t crossed before she made that horrific decision. Could I have said something to make a difference? Yes, I thought. I would have tried.
But you can’t live in that thought.
You cannot reverse a bad decision.
You have to choose not to make one.
This letter is to wish you a happy Mother’s Day, L.
What kind of mother have you decided to be?
I have two children of my own now and their laughter fills the rooms that your children were once raised in.
We’ve had hundreds come through these doors – for fun, for counseling, and for celebrations, events for kids, and music by the fire. A little girl with one leg, battling cancer, sat in the living room with a fight in her heart to hang onto life.
Each day is a gift.
I’ve taken good care of your house, and the lives within it. These floors are covered with crayons and cars and nerf guns and shoes, just the way I like it.
Sadness and depression are not welcome here. They are not friends of mine. They are enemies in fact, and I don’t let them inside. I hope you don’t, either.
for having the courage to reach out that day. Thank you
for saying something about your pain.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for stopping by the house years later to tell me that my words made a difference.
for letting me know that you made the choice to live, and to be the mother you were created to be.
I cannot change my fathers decision but I can have peace and comfort that you changed yours.
On this Mother’s Day, it is one of the greatest gifts I can remember.
Words are currency
and the man in the Orange shirt
In the photo I’m wearing my fathers watch.
He died from a lack of hope when I was 7 and it’s the one thing I have that was his. I wore it on this day to signify hopelessness, as we journeyed downtown to deliver hope.
When I saw this photo of the man in the orange shirt, after our day on the streets with the homeless, I felt 7 again. I see the hopelessness in this mans eyes. I see my father, I see friends and strangers, I see someone’s mother or grandfather. Hope is essential to life.
Without hope, we can see no future.
It makes me sick inside to look at this photo and I cannot stay in that emotion for too long.
If I do, I’ll become what I once was. Someone stuck in the past, unable to experience the full joy of the present.
There are children to feed, sporting events to watch, lessons to teach, and a magnificent world to experience.
We can help change lives, but not if we lose our own.
I brought a team downtown Dallas on this day and in our hands we have nothing but words.
We do not serve them a pizza, or a meal, but we serve them words. Specific words that were designed just for them individually.
The time is now.
Never give up.
The same words are important for anyone, even the rich man who is homeless in his heart.
Look in the man’s eyes again, and you’ll see that homelessness is not about a lack of food or poverty. Homelessness originates from poverty in the soul.
Be prepared to deliver these cards whenever you see someone in need of hope. It does not require much effort, it does not even require a conversation, you can hand out the note card and go on about your day.
Use your words, and change a life.
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