Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Courageous Lives of Children and How They Beat Cancer

Have you ever heard that that the courageous lives of children are grounded in the principles of biology?

This is about super human powers, although you could say we have the ability to do whatever we want if we really put our mind to it.

A friend of mine was sharing on Facebook the other day that long time friends of his family have a 4 year old little girl that had been battling cancer for most of her short, young life.

Needless to say, they just celebrated her conquering cancer and had a huge party for the going away of that disease!

The thing is, although she was ill for so long, she doesn't see it that way. Her mind doesn't have that negative aspect of it that we tend to grasp and hang onto as adults. We have a tendency in our humanness to take information in, and then we wear it like it's the holy grail.

In this case, she didn't have the capacity to say, "if I get better", or "if I live to tell about it". When we get to be adults, we stop thinking positively and let life take over. There isn't any reason to live this way! Do you agree? Observing children tells us a lot about ourselves, in how we think and act. The mind is so powerful.

The courageous lives of children are evidence that we don't have to resort to that way of living. Children overcome illnesses rather quickly. If you have a toddler in your home, you know this all too well. They tire down when ill, but when they get up, they are still full of energy!

Children don't have the mindset that anything can stop them. You already know that they never give up! They will persist and persist until they get what they want. It's amazing! Children are the perfect example of going at it again and again until they wear themselves out!

It's a beautiful thing! When in doubt, always remember that there is something to be said by reading about and sharing more about the courageous lives of children!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Do Motivational T-Shirts Mean We Can Perform Better?

Believe it or not, we found yet another article today about the effects of motivational t-shirts. The biggest surprise is The Simpsons, a well beloved animated prime time TV show is what sparked the conversation for the two individuals that wrote about it.

Can we perform better as a result of what we are wearing? Do certain types of clothes make us feel better or do they make us look better and therefore we feel better?

Two researchers from Northwestern were curious when they saw an episode of The Simpsons that got them thinking about how Homer was perceived differently by the students at the school where he was a janitor.

What was the big deal? It was a drab gray uniform that was given to Homer to wear for work. Upon the event of a rainstorm, the dye was washed off revealing tye-dye which really got the students attention! They were a bit freaked out. So, I guess the students thought he was in a Hazmat suit or maybe a zombie?

Whatever the case may be, how we dress sends a message. Many people perceive how you dress differently dependent upon the style they like too. Those that dress with a Goth style appreciate others dressed in a Goth style. There are many who freak out when they see individuals dressed in Goth type clothing.

Motivational t-shirts are their own story, and you'll see tons of folks wearing them in the gym. In fact, the two researchers on this project coined the term "enclothed cognition", and talk about how it relates to how people feel better able to work out because of what they wear.

While in a lab, some students were given lab coats while others just wore what they showed up in. Surprisingly, those students wearing lab coats did much better than those without. Why? Lab coats trigger the thought that "Hey these people are smart." Some might say, "Wow, they look smart.."

The same applies to motivational t-shirts. Some people feel better about themselves just by wearing them. Naturally, if something is written or printed on a t-shirt, people will look at it. We are creatures of habit. We have to look, otherwise we wouldn't be human!

Aside from "motivational t-shirts", consider the company Lululemon that makes fitness apparel. Many women won't wear the yoga pants if they don't feel their shape is adequate enough to do so. They won't wear spandex or the Wunder Unders that the company sells for $82.

However, if you see someone wearing these outfits, you'll think, "Wow, they must be in good shape because they work out." It's all about perception, and certain types of clothing will no doubt send a message to those that see you. Would you like the impression to at least be a positive one?

Wouldn't you like for people to believe that you are courageous? What about getting people to believe that you stand for something? We can help. Please be sure to stop by and check out our full line of apparel designs to inspire courage, inspiration and motivation. You can go HERE to find our motivational t-shirts NOW!

Monday, December 16, 2013

How to Forgive Others

Have you been trying to figure out how to forgive others? Forgiveness is still a hot topic, no matter how you look at life. Whether you have always focused on the importance of forgiveness with others or you have struggled to forgive yourself, you know it's something that you need to do in order to live in peace. 

I was prompted to write about this very thing this morning, simply because it's something I have struggled with for a long time. It seems the hardest people to forgive are family and friends. I was having an inward struggle with forgiving a family member or two, and it was striking that God had such a sense of humor. 

I had just picked up The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian, and the third chapter was all about how she forgave her parents for something and how to work through forgiveness.

What bothered me the most was knowing that not only was I struggling to forgive people I loved, but I was learning that if I chose not to forgive, my prayer life would be hindered. 

Ah, that peace that we all long for was not being stolen from me, but I was actually allowing unforgiveness to suck the life out of me. I knew it was time to really allow this study to work on me, in me, and let God work through me. 

You know, we are never finished. Learning how to forgive others is not so much vital to our life as it is actually CRITICAL. Is there a secret to letting go and letting God? Is learning to forgive really a big mystery? 

If you want to let go and let God it really isn't a secret at all, but it all starts with making the choice to do so. Letting go is tough because our first reaction is to hang onto something that someone has said or done to hurt us and use it as a weapon. We almost want others to feel sorry for us so we use our hurts to get love and attention. 

It's only fleeting when people reach out, and we should do so, but to forgive is better and it cleanses the soul. Learning how to forgive others is the driving force to having peace in your life and with all others. Yes, even those that have hurt you. 

God's Word says to forgive seventy times seven, and not only that, but that is in one day! Matthew 18: 21-22-"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother and or sister 
who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." 

It's not optional, and you should also know that it doesn't mean that what someone has done to you is okay. It doesn't even mean that you have to speak to them again or be friends with them. No one is asking you to do that at all. However, this is about you getting it right for your heart, soul, and your relationship with God. 

God knows and sees all! Remember, God is the ultimate judge, and He will be the one to deal with the individuals for what they have done. So, let your peace come. During this holiday season it's so easy to focus on the good, forgiveness and loving others. 

Choose to make learning "how to forgive others" a lifelong journey and passion for your soul

Friday, December 13, 2013

Putting the Holiday Blues to Rest

News reports each year come out about how to beat the holiday blues. It seems that every year, there are more deaths, sadness, and that overwhelming feeling of aloneness that strikes many.

It's not something that happens suddenly because it's winter but often because it's been on the mind of the individual that it is affected. Perhaps they have experienced tremendous loss in their life and they are looking for a way to recover from it.

When loneliness strikes, it's hard to hide it for a long time. You find yourself looking for a reason to make connections, go out, take a walk, maybe even throw a party.

You find that you want to do this more often during the holidays because you start thinking about how much you miss a loved one that passed, or perhaps you have lost a friend.

The holiday blues are more than feeling sad, because this year so many are left without work, a loss of income or even a loss of public assistance that they had been receiving. There were thousands on unemployment that finally dropped off of the payroll, and now they are left without feeling as though they can provide for their families.

Kids go without Christmas gifts, they cannot feed their children, and all they can feel is despair. It seems other family members are doing just great, but somehow they cannot seem to make it work. Then, there is another piece to this puzzle.

There are families that live on a stringent budget, and now they battle holiday blues because of the commercialization of Christmas. They start to feel the pressure of not "being enough", or the inability to "not spend enough". Although they have shopped and have the ability to do so, it's all about how much they can buy and how big the gift is to those they spend time with.

It makes it tough when you are surrounded by even one of these issues, let alone two of them. Unless people have been through it, it's hard for them to understand how you feel. Where are you at with the "holiday blues"? Are things going pretty well? Do you have it in you to step up and share your heart with others?

If you are employed and enjoying your family this year, remember those who are not. It is not always true that people "live off of the system", or that they "don't work hard enough". In fact, now more than ever, there are so many that have fallen on hard times. How has God blessed you?

If He has blessed you, why not make it a point to bless others. If you know someone that is struggling with the holiday blues, reach out and share your love with them this season. Live courageously!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Courageous Acts Deserve Courageous Rewards!

It has been said that there are so few courageous acts, yet we can share the story of one we just came across today that will touch your heart.

Captain Bill Dowling of the Houston Fire Department performed one such act recently when he responded to a hotel fire in Southwest Houston in May of this year.

It was there that four firefighters died, and 13 others were injured as a result of the courage. Dowling lost both of his legs fighting the fire, and as of today he still cannot speak.

He currently has physical therapy each week, and naturally he only plans to make progress. The great part of this story is that the end result of his courageous acts aren't dampering his spirit.

Needless to say, his family is quite proud, and on Saturday he received an award for his courage from Liberty Mutual as part of the awards they use to honor firefighters around the country. While Dowling's wife Jacki would turn back the hands of time if she could to have her husband the way he was prior to this event, she could only smile when her husband was given the award over the weekend.

Kathy Huynh, the representative for Liberty Mutual that was at their home to present the plaque said that, "It was a very emotional moment for us." She shared with the family that 100 firefighters are honored each year, and only two are selected for this special award.

It was Dowling's co-workers at the Fire Deparment that shared his story of his courageous acts about his attempt at helping fight the fire. Dowling was in tears while trying to express a thank you for this award with this wife and children present, which in turn brought emotion from his wife Jacki.

Knowing that he was trying to show gratitude is how she knows he is sharing some joy and light through his brokenness that comes with the reality of losing limbs and being limited in the scope of one's job. How would you handle this?

Knowing the risks that come with the job didn't stop Captain Bill Dowling from his courageous acts. Instead, he did what he knew to do best, risking his life and limbs to save the livers of others. It is all too often that we don't think about the risks these firefighters take, along with police officers, and others that serve our community every day.

What would you do? Would you stop being courageous? Would you continue to do what you do best in an attempt to help others? We believe that our firefighters are so important, along with law enforcement officers, nurses and doctors that help people every day.

Don't ever let fear damper your "courageous acts"!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Anti-Bullying March Takes Place in Port Coquitlam

If you are visiting Port Coquitlam and you see hundreds of pink t-shirts and umbrellas without the pink ribbon, it's the anti-bullying march being done by the organization I AM SOMEONE.

This march took place last year in honor of Amanda Todd, a victim of bullying that made national headlines once she took her life. Last year, the march was  called The Snowflake Walk, but it's now under the new name.

The organizer Greg Moore wanted to change the scope of this year's event, simply because bullying has now made headlines with more incidents of suicide behind it.

Moore was rather sensitive to the Todd Family as they have created their own endeavors. Moore even changed the logo to exemplify the greater good for more teens rather than just one. Although, he always states that every life is just as important as the next.

The movement he is focusing on is one he works on with Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda. Prior to the start of the walk, there was music, other entertainers, and even motivational speakers present to help with the event.

One of the guests was Conrad Gray, another young man being bullied for his autism. He is plenty aware of the fact that others are being bullied for so many reasons, and as a result he wants to support this movement. So, what is the key to helping those that have been bullied? How can you create a strong anti-bullying effort?

Victims of bullying have said that the best place is to start at home. As parents, be involved in what your kids are doing. Talk to them, and make sure they know the door is always open. It's time to raise awareness, and there are still not enough anti-bullying campaigns to go around.

Events are great, support groups are great, and it's great to bring awareness out with some motivational t-shirts too. This is why we offer them here! We believe that bullying is wrong, and we support those that take a stand against it.

Will you take a stand? Check out our full line of motivational apparel, and make it a point to join up with the closest "anti-bullying" campaign you can find!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pilot Has Inspirational Message for Children to Reach for More

If you were to share an inspirational message with children, what would it be? We each have a story to tell, the question is whether or not we are willing to tell it.

It's not about getting fame or fortune, but whether or not you can help others achieve their goals and dreams.

Barrington Irving is sharing his story about  how he became a pilot, and how he achieved record breaking success.

At the young age of  15, Barrington was helping his parents run their bookstore in Opa-Lacka, when he met Captain Gary Robinson for the first time.

The meeting was one that would change his life forever. Capt. Robinson simply asked him if he had ever thought about becoming a pilot. In his mind, he doubted that he had the brains to fly a plane. This is where most kids start losing their ground to low self-esteem, and need a little boost.

Just as any teenager would ask, Barrington's only question was, "How much do you make?" I am sure you are laughing, because I did too. As it turns out though, it was a great question. His honesty in his concern for how much he would make was valid, and it spurred him to want to learn more.

When Capt. Robinson responded with the answer, "$117 an hour, he was determined that this was in fact a great choice for him for a career! What is the inspirational message?

The inspiration is the determination of Barrington Irving. He didn't let his dream go, and at the age of 16, he was buying simulation software. He was determined to save up for that, an take it one step at a time to getting his license at age 19, and at age 23 he flew solo around the world.

The inspirational message is never giving up, pursuing your dreams, and never stopping when people tell you that you cannot do something. It''s never letting someone else control your thoughts, and doing what you want to do.

If you have a goal then set out to accomplish it, and taking it to the next level to see just how far you can go. He mastered every inch of the plane, learning the ins and outs of the mechanics and how the plane was built. He knew it was so well, he could probably build that plane and fly it in the dark.

What "inspirational message" do you have? Have you accomplished something that you want to share with others? Barrington is sharing his message with kids in schools all around the country, as a reminder that yes, you can do whatever you want. You can have whatever you want if you put your mind to it, and do the work.

If you would like to share your inspirational message with us and others around the world, connect with us here at Courageous Life, and you can connect with us on Facebook too.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Heroic Motivation of Karyna Douglass

Heroic motivation is the kind that you only see once in awhile, when someone does something because they want something so bad they will go to any length to accomplish it.

This is true for Karyna Douglass, a young woman from Portland, Oregon that wanted to join the Army.

Karyna was told that she had to lose 110 pounds for her to join and she did it. It is no surprise that an endeavor like this takes motivation and dedication.

Needless to say, Karyna did it and even during the holiday season right now she remains true to her plan to keep the weight off for her new adventure into the military. So, how in the world did she do it?

When Karyna was interviewed by Fox, she told her story about working out at the fire station with the guys she works with, and she avoids those situations where she might find the pie, cookies, and other culinary delights that we all see this time of year.

Naturally, the crew at Fox had their own questions about what stirred this heroic motivation in her. Was in people making fun of her? Was it health problems? Karyna dug a bit deeper than that. I tend to think of insults as something that we can all resonate with, and honestly, insults make it easy to go out and perform better to make changes.

It's having your own reason that most people struggle with. I know I had to learn that it was about doing it for me and NOT for other people. While going on a whale watching tour, she was amidst the Coast Guard. It was that reminder of watching them serve that made her refocus on NOT meeting the weight requirement.

She wanted to be admired, the way she saw others admired members of the Coast Guard and other members of the military. She wanted to be revered. While working at the Zoo in Portland, she just didn't get the physical activity she needed to get there. It was time for a change.

Karyna was on her own mission to complete this time, and knew that if she could do that she could do anything she wanted. Now that she has reached her goal, she is ready to be sworn in on December 12, which is just a few days away!

Do you have this same type of heroic motivation to accomplish something? What would it take for you to make a positive change in your life? Do you have to be pushed or does something have to go wrong for you to do something right?

It's time for all of us to make changes, but as you go into the holiday season, don't lose sight of living the way God intended us to live. Make it a point to live each day with "heroic motivation", and live courageously.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela Passes on a Great Legacy of Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Hope

Credit: Photo by Trevor Samson/AFP/Getty Images 
The news of Nelson Mandela passing on last evening has everyone astir this morning.

There is plenty to say about a great man that leaves behind such a great legacy, and today we thought it would be a great idea to share our thoughts on why we think he is pretty great too.

This isn't to say that he was just a "good person", but Nelson Mandela left us with so much more.

Whether you are a South African or not, it doesn't matter. You can be moved just by learning a little bit more about why Mandela was so important, and why he was so revered by his country.

A Beautiful Lesson from Nelson Mandela

After a 27 year incarceration, Nelson Mandela had a message for all people, and it was to simply "Forgive". That takes courage, and it takes a change of heart from what we as humans know. With the severe degree of apartheid that South Africa had been living under, he could have remained a bitter man.

Mandela was imprisoned based on the word that he was seeking to topple the government, and at the time it was a white government. However, when Mandela was let go, he walked out of the gates and looked back stating that he would rather leave the bitterness inside those prison walls.

One of the most important lessons we could ever get from Nelson Mandela, was that if we remain bitter, we stay inside our own prison. It never works out when we hold onto things. Have you experienced this in your own life?

Forgiveness may feel uncomfortable, and it may be something that you don't want to do, but we would urge you to reconsider that thought! Perhaps we could all learn so much from reading more about this man and other leaders like him that became the change that they wanted to see in the world.

"Nelson Mandela" believed that it all started with him, and that is what we all need to remember today and everyday to live courageously.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lift the Holiday Spirit for Those in the LGBT Community This Year!

Do you know someone in the LGBT community that is struggling with family issues right now? Right now during the holiday season it's easy to reach out to others and it's easy to show love. When that holiday spirit goes away, where does it leave you?

I was reflecting on the struggles of many friends I have that have come forward to say they are gay, and yet their families do not accept them or welcome them home during the holidays. What kind of world are we living in?

I began to realize how much I still don't understand regardless of the number of friends I have in the LGBT community, what they feel when others are so close to their family and enjoy holiday traditions. It seems that no one would have to go without a place to go for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I find out that this just isn't true.

There are so many left without a home to welcome them at this time of year, and probably almost any time of year they don't feel the love and acceptance of even their parents. One of the greatest pains I've ever experienced is the lack of feeling of love from a parent, whether it was through an argument or other issue that came up.

So, how can we fix it? I don't know that we can fix it, but I do believe that we can spend more time and energy reaching out to others less fortunate, meaning even those that have income but those without family to share holidays with.

The LGBT community has been experiencing ups and downs for years, but the focus right now isn't rights, licenses, jobs, or anything else. This is about people. It's time that we STOP separating people upon their gender, sexual orientation, and by their incomes.

What if we just stopped looking at people differently just because they aren't like us? Why can't we just strive to share what we have with others no matter who they are or where they come from? It seems to me that this should be fairly simple, but it's a mystery as to how there are still so many folks left out because they are lesbian or gay, or otherwise.

One organization, Your Holiday Mom, has been receiving letters and phone calls since 2011. The idea behind this was to welcome those that are without family during this time of year. It's a great thing for the LGBT community, and so we thought we would share it and what they do.

This virtual holiday welcome has spread joy to so many, and continues to do so. Loving moms are opening up their hearts to adult children from the community and saying, hey, we love you and wish you a wonderful holiday season. Just the idea that someone cares enough to act as a mother would to them is touching and nothing short of amazing.

Where is the love folks? What have we been doing all of this time that we have been here on this Earth and NOT loving all people? This holiday season, we are asking you to not judge, but open your hearts and homes to those from the "LGBT community" that are without loved ones to share their holiday season with.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Paul Walker's Inspiring Purchase for Soldier and Bride-to-Be

Paul Walker is no doubt a star to be remembered after his tragic and sudden death earlier this week. Although his death was sudden and tragic, he leaves behind a great legacy for his daughter, friends, and other family members as well.

Today in the news, it was discovered that Paul Walker had purchased an engagement ring for a young couple that couldn't afford to buy their own. While this young couple was inside a jewelry store, Paul Walker was nearby listening to the conversation about their inability to afford a diamond ring for their engagement.

This diamond ring was for a soldier and his bride-to-be that wanted to marry several years ago. At the time, the young soldier had no idea who the actor was, and actually spoke to him while in the store.

Irene King, the sales associate at Bailey Banks and Biddle spoke with Paul Walker after the couple had left, and purchased the ring for the young couple. On top of this $10,000 ring purchase, Walker asked that his involvement remain anonymous.

Irene had agreed to keep the purchase to herself, but now that Walker has passed away, she wanted to let his good deed be known. His compassion for others and his big heart was never a real secret, but he always did things without wanting attention to be drawn to him.

While you might believe it's unreal, Irene King was surprised as well, never having experienced that level of generosity, with such a huge price tag attached to it. She was absolutely stunned, and as you may imagine pleasantly surprised to see someone step up and give so much to a total stranger.

At this time of the year we often recall stories of this nature, and it's truly heartfelt that Irene chose to share it. What if Paul Walker were still with us? Would he still be a great teacher to others about how to give, and how to do it year round and not just once a year?

Truly, this is a remarkable story, and one that is worth sharing. Have you ever done anything for someone you didn't know? Have you ever done something for someone that could NEVER pay you back?

Perhaps it's time for you to do something like this. It doesn't have to be a $10,000 diamond engagement ring,but what about doing something for others that cannot do for themselves? What if you reached out and did something for someone else as a random act of kindness?

This holiday season, let's reflect on the big heart of "Paul Walker", and perhaps learn a lesson that will last the whole year through.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Does Motivational Apparel Really Empower Women?

From time to time we talk about motivational apparel and how it may or may not help people. Some folks think motivational t shirts are great, and others don't seem to think much about them at all.

However, we have shared a few stories with you about this topic, and interestingly enough, we are NOT the only ones that think it works and is a worthwhile endeavor.

In fact, if you have been following our blog for awhile you probably read about the tshirts worn by runners, and those that were being sold by the gal that posted fortune cookie messages on tshirts.

Simply genius.

Now, we are hearing about an endeavor to help empower women through motivational apparel, and it's catching on folks. This "Kickstarter Campaign" is what many women have been waiting for from Neva. So, what is this all about?

Motivational Apparel by Neva 

Just in case you are wondering, Neva isn't the latest sportswear brand like Under Armour, but it stands for:
Nicole + Geneva. The founder, Sacha Nana started this company due to the inspiration she got from her nieces.

Sacha wanted it to be stylish, but also to employ women from South Asia. The motivational apparel is hand-stitched by women only, employing women that would otherwise have no work. As a result, these women are getting a bit liberated, earning nearly 10 times what they would with a standard job in their country.

It's not just the apparel we think about, but the opportunity the apparel creates. It's life giving in that it is giving these women a purpose, and a sense of being able to provide for their children. That is pretty amazing, and it's powerful for those of us that take our work for granted.

In our endeavor to help inspire you and encourage you each day, we want to offer you the chance right now to check out our motivational apparel that we offer, especially right now during the holiday season.

You can click HERE to view our selection of hats, decals, t shirts and more, and you can also check out the rest of our site to find out how we are helping to empower all people. We hope that we can encourage  and inspire you to do better, to do more, and that you'll be touched by what you find in our motivational apparel here at Courageous Life!.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Inspiration for Monday-Autistic Children Get Time with Santa!

Generally, I enjoy looking for inspiration for Monday because it seems to be the hardest day of the week for me. After a holiday even more so, but that doesn't mean that I am NOT in the holiday spirit.

What I find I have to recover from is all of the hoopla about shopping Black Friday and people using stun guns on each other to get the best bargain. However, there are still some good folks out there that think otherwise.

This bit of inspiration for Monday I wanted to share with you, and I am sure you will agree that it's touching, and will inspire you and others to take action this holiday season.

Inspiration for Monday Out of Malls?

As it turns out, there are several malls in the US and Canada that have found a way to make some autistic children very happy. They get to meet Santa on their own terms. 

This is because they will have some time to meet Santa set aside for them, rather than their parents bringing them to meet Santa when the other children do. Great idea or what? This time with Santa is before the malls open, which means they won't have to be uncomfortable in crowds and loud noises which many autistic children don't do well with. 

If you are reading this and you are the parent of an autistic child, or perhaps you foster one, you know all too well what they often miss out on. As a parent, you struggle to figure it out and how you can find the balance. Lights and music are turned down too to help out with the setting for a calm visit with Santa for this Christmas season.

While you may still be in need of inspiration for Monday, there is no doubt that this story sheds light on how you can help those that are not only less fortunate, but those that just need to celebrate a little differently. It's all about the children isn't it? As well, it's all about putting a smile on their little faces.

Do you have a story to share? If you have your own inspiration for Monday, we would love to hear from you here in the comments below, and we would also love to hear from you on Facebook on our page for Courageous Life!