Open Road… Open Mind…

Posted August 27, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Behind the WheelPeople marvel that I would leave the “real” world behind and become a “Trucker Babe”. After all, truckers are grizzly characters, right? Ummm, not so much. Since taking to the open road, I’ve met nuclear engineers, doctors, former vice presidents of major corporations, and an attorney. Each of them traded in their corner offices and stock options for the highways of our great nation.

Why? They have their reasons. Some lost their jobs and could not get another job in their industry, a very sad yet true state of our economy. Some grew tired of the rat race and decided to escape it all. Still others love the adventure and sense of freedom that being on the open road affords.

What about me, you ask? Let me answer that by telling you a story.

I was four the first time I came close to a big rig. A family friend came for a visit in his truck. When he got ready to leave, he IMG_0939jokingly asked me if I wanted to go with him. I bravely began to climb the steps into the cab. My dad grabbed me and pulled me back. That was one of the most disappointing moments of my life. I really wanted to go.

There is always something “out there” that lures me, compelling me to come just a little farther. Some call it a pioneer spirit in me. Others say I’m an adventurer. All I know is that I’m never satisfied with things, or being in one place. When I’ve been in one place for a while, I get restless. I need to move… to explore… to see what’s over the next hill.

I always thought I was weird but since I began driving a truck, I’ve discovered it’s actually quite common. That’s why physicians gave up their practices and business owners sold out for an 18-wheeled office with an ever changing view. There is a need in each of us to discover… to become… to be in motion.

IMG_0965I’ve said it before but I’m experiencing in a new and BIG way how important it is to follow your dream… wherever that leads. People will not understand. Do it anyway. People won’t believe. Follow your own heart. Some will criticize. Pray for them. They have no idea what they’re missing in their own lives. Above all, be true to the yearning inside you that keeps you looking out there… somewhere… wherever that is for you. If you do, you’ll lay your head upon your pillow at the end of a grueling day and rest in peace and satisfaction knowing you’re doing what you were meant to do.

A very special thank you to all the wonderful folks at Lifeway Christian Store in Greenville, SC. You inspire me to be all I can be.

What do you aspire to do… someday? When is someday? Share it here!

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It’s a New Day!

Posted August 25, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Hello Friends, 

IMG_1041

My trainer’s truck. Dave, YOU ROCK!

I have about four weeks left to finish up my training. Once that is completed, I’ll get my own truck and will be blogging regularly about my incredible adventures, as well as the people I meet along the way. So far though, I’ve driven through 38 states, in all sorts of weather, terrain, traffic. I’ve met the most amazing people on the face of the planet. I’ve met doctors, lawyers, nuclear engineers and college professors all who left (or were forced to leave) their jobs to take to the road.

I’ve seen the sun set as the moon rose over the red rock buttes of high desert. I’ve driven in Nebraska with a tornado right in front of me, and a sand storm in Wyoming. I’ve inched through rush hour traffic in LA, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Albuquerque, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, Boston, Detroit and others. 

I’ve met hundreds of kids who spend summers on the truck with their parents, learning about US geography from the windshield

Buttes in the Navajo Nation in New Mexico

Buttes in the Navajo Nation in New Mexico

of a big truck. I drove through the rock canyon from Utah into Arizona and thought I was on a different planet. I watch the landscape transform from a barren sand wasteland in California to a plush mountainous paradise at Donner Lake and Pass. 

The heartbeat of America is alive and well and I am so grateful to be a part of it. I’ve gained a whole new respect for the men and women who leave their families and take to the open roads for weeks on end to keep America moving. My hat’s off to you!

I certainly hope you will take this journey with me as I see America, bring the message of hope to those who are hurting, and write about my adventures in trucking. Over the next four weeks, I’ll be running fast and hard. As a result, I may not be blogging as frequently as you are used to on my adventures. But once I’m in my own truck, you’ll get them regularly.

What I Left Behind in Appalachia

What I Left Behind in Appalachia

I look forward to taking you all on my journey on the Road to Freedom 2.0. Even though it will help women everywhere, I’ve found my own freedom… not being bound to one place but having the luxury of being in a different place every night… seeing new faces… meeting new people. I suppose I was born for this type of adventure. Truly, I’m having the time of my life.

Thank you faithful followers. Later this week, I’ll explain how I came to trade in my two wheels for eighteen. 

 

 

So what do YOU dream of doing? What’s stopped you? Share it here!

P.S. If you have ever considered becoming a truck driver (or know anyone who does), please follow your heart. Prime, Inc., is an amazing company. Even if you have never driven a truck before, don’t have a Commercial Driver License or know how to double-clutch, Prime can provide all the training you need. Give my recruiter, Tabitha Smith, a call (417-521-5610, ext 6658).

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My BIG Announcement: Road to Freedom 2.0!

Posted August 10, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I’ve been silent for a couple of months, but with good reason.  It’s been a long and winding road but I’m happy to announce that Road to Freedom 2.0 has begun. I have the privilege of combining two things I dearly love: to help others and to drive. 

 

Big Sky Wyoming

Big Sky Wyoming

On my birthday in June, I said goodbye to Appalachia and my new friends there and set off on my new journey. I’ve spent the last six weeks traveling to eighteen states from Northeast Maine to Idaho. I saw the sun set over the wheat fields of Illinois, the corn fields of Iowa and the buttes of Wyoming and Utah. I’ve met hundreds of amazing people all across this land we call America.

Last Friday on a foggy morning in middle America, my new adventure was sealed when I took and passed my road test to earn my Commercial Driver License. Now I get to help thousands of people I meet all around our nation while living a lifetime dream: driving a big rig. 

Behind the Wheel

In my new office

Road to Freedom 2.0 has begun, only now rather than covering one state in five days, I’ll be able to cover five states in one day. I’ll be able to spread the message of hope faster, farther and with more power than I did last year. I’ve already been able to help so many people find hope and the courage to pursue their dreams. 

You all have been so faithful and supportive of the Road to Freedom Tour. You would honor me by coming along with me on this new and exciting journey as the tour continues. Last year I learned that the heartbeat of America is alive and well. Last month I discovered how critical it is to live your dream and follow your heart wherever it leads. My heart led me to the heartland of America and to the driver’s seat of an eighteen wheeler.

 

At school on the driving range.

At school on the driving range.

Thank you all so much for following, supporting and taking the Road to Freedom Tour with me. As 2.0 begins,  I look forward to our continued journey together.  I hope you’ll continue to follow this incredible and fun trip as I explore America, meet so many people, help others live their dreams and overcome whatever obstacles stand in their way.

Also, if you or anyone you know has a desire to be an over-the-road truck driver, please email me privately at reba@rebajhoffman.com. I’ll get you connected with an amazing opportunity with an outstanding company! Be sure to put something in the subject line like “Need Trucking Information” so I’ll be sure to respond promptly.

So, what is your dream? What have you thought of doing with your life that you just haven’t yet done? Share it here!

 

 

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Where in the World is Reba?

Posted May 6, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
From my deck in February.

From my deck in February.

I bet you all are wondering where in the world I am. Well, I’ve been on spring break. I couldn’t help it. I’m on a lake in Appalachia and the Canadian geese hatched little “geese-lings”. I just had to sit and watch them. They’re so cute—and fuzzy—when they first hatch. The dogwoods began to bloom and the azaleas lured me into their clutches. Oh, and Brandilyn Collins launched her latest novel: Sidetracked. I suppose that’s just what I did: got sidetracked! If you haven’t read it yet, I just have one question: what in the world are you waiting for?

My view today

My view today

 

I’ve also been preparing for my next new adventure. I can’t wait to tell you all about what I’ve got planned next but I can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet. You’ll have to stay tuned for that but it will involve a lot of video blogging (VLOG) from a lot of different places.

I’ve been contemplating, praying and weighing my options and will be making an announcement soon. In the meantime, enjoy the springtime!

As I write this, geese, ducks and feral cats rest on the banks of the lake soaking in the morning sunshine. It’s supposed to get to ninety degrees today, a stark contrast to the ice and snow I experienced during my first winter outside a sub-tropical climate in decades.

 

Meet Mr. & Mrs. Geese and their lovely children

Meet Mr. & Mrs. Geese and their lovely children

Life is an incredible adventure. This past year has been the most amazing ride of my life. Around every turn I learned something new about myself, about life and about the faithfulness of the God I serve.

I can’t believe it’s May already. I feel like a grizzly bear just coming out of hibernation after a long, long winter’s nap. I’m excited about my new adventure and can’t wait to share it with you. Well, actually, I’ll have to wait to share it with you. We’ll endure the wait together!

Thank you all for following my journey. You honor me with your friendship and support. May God bless you in ways you could not imagine today.

 

So what wonderful things are you up to during this incredible springtime? Share it here!

 

 

 

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It’s Extremely Important

Posted March 14, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

It will never happen.

It’s impossible.

I’ll always be stuck where I am.

There’s no way out.

You’ve heard these before. Most likely you’ve said those things a time or two as well. We all do.

But each of those declarations is a bit extreme. Okay, they’re a LOT extreme. And, to make matters ever worse, many of us are in the habit of spouting them out when we feel the least bit discouraged by what life throws at us.

Truth is, never isn’t a time frame in any language, impossible is just a word that has no relevance on your circumstance, and no matter where you are, there is a way to get someplace else.

And yet, we’re always saying our dream will never come true, or It’s just not possible to get that job or writing contract. We live in a world of extreme statements, as though we’re either in or out, remembered or forgotten, alive or dead. Well, there’s a whole lot of journey between opposite ends of a road that we’ll surely miss if we concentrate on one end or the other.

I know a man who rode in a bicycle event in central Florida. At the end of the event, someone said, “Wasn’t the view of the space shuttle amazing?!”

The man looked at the other person as if they just climbed out of an alien space ship and said, “What space shuttle?”

Obviously this rider was polarized… thinking only about one extreme, the finish line. I’ve run in many races, and pedaled through countless bicycle events and the finish line was only remarkable once in all those races. By concentrating on the finish line, he missed the most important part of the entire ride… the VIEW!

He zipped right by the space shuttle on launch pad 39A at Cape Canaveral, completely missed the largest known bald eagle’s nest in the US, and a plethora of alligators, herons, pelicans and other creatures in the Florida wild.

How sad. He’d fallen into the trap of living in the extreme.

It’s a hard habit to break. For that reason, I don’t recommend it. Yes, you read that right. DO NOT TRY TO FIX YOUR PROBLEM! Instead, why not capitalize on it? As long as you’re polarized, why not use it to your advantage?

Instead of saying you’ll NEVER succeed, why not say, “I’ll always succeed, no matter what?” Or rather than declaring things are impossible, why not say, “All things are possible to those who believe.” Or, “I’ll ALWAYS keep moving toward my goal, regardless of the circumstances.”

Positive polarization—or declaring in the extreme—is completely within your control, just like its negative counterpart we’re so quick to blurt out. You’re already doing it, so why not change a word or two and make it work for you?

Go ahead, be extreme! Just do it in a positive way! It’s extreme-ly important that you do that. You’ll feel better, accomplish more and propel yourself toward reaching your goal. And, you’ll have fun along the way. How fun is that?

Do you speak in polarized extremes? Of course you do. What do you say? Share it here!

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They’re All Around Us

Posted March 12, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Last weekend I sat in a local restaurant waiting to meet a friend. An elderly lady sat a couple of tables away from me. We exchanged nods of greeting and both went back to our tasks.

I was so engrossed with planning out my week, I didn’t notice that she had gotten up and shuffled to my table. When I looked up, she held out her watch.

“Darlin’ are you good at setting the time? I just mess it up every time and it would mean a lot to me if you can do it.”

It was a simple watch with a stem that you pull out, turn and set the time. Easy, peasy. So, within seconds I had her watch running with the correct time.

She thanked me and shuffled back to her table. I sat grateful that she’d asked for my help, thinking what a blessing it is to be available and able to help someone in their time of need.

Moments later, she gasped and said, “I thought it was only 10:30 but you set my watch for 11:30.”

“Yes ma’am, the time changed last night to daylight savings time.”

She giggled and blushed that she’d momentarily forgotten the reason she’d needed me to change the time on her watch. We struck up a conversation and I realized how lonely she is.

Earline only bought coffee. I have no doubt she had coffee at home. And, looking at how nimble her fingers were, I also realized she probably could have set the time on her own watch but she needed human connection. That was her greatest need on Sunday morning. So I gladly helped her out.

We chatted for the longest time before she called herself a cab.

Here’s the thing. They’re all around us. Somewhere out there, they’re waiting.  Just look around. You’re sure to find someone who is lonely, depressed, or generally deprived of human interaction and connection. It’s sad really, particularly since we’re so close to them.

I blessed Earline that day but she blessed me more. Being able to provide human connection and caring to someone else is by far the one thing we can do that will give us the greatest return.

It took maybe fifteen seconds to set her watch. No big slice of my time but it helped her. And when we chatted, I discovered she was a very pleasant woman. I really enjoyed the banter.

Please take a look around you. See who needs your help. Your connection. Your caring and offer it to them. It won’t be time consuming and it will bless you way more than it blesses them. I promise!

When was the last time you reached out to someone like that? What was the outcome? Share it here!

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Don’t Take Your Eyes Off the Road

Posted March 10, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I sat in a restaurant hangout the other day and gazed out the window at the traffic of a nearby intersection. You can learn a lot about people, their behavior and habits by doing that.

One the opposite side of the intersection from where I sat, cars drove up a hill in my direction and did not crest the top until the intersection itself. It creates a blind spot just on the other side of the traffic light.

I watched as a car slowed down in the left lane. Unfortunately, the car behind it topped the hill and saw the slow vehicle too late to stop. It crashed into the back of it. Moments later, a third car repeated that and three cars were crunched together like and accordion.

Fortunately, no one was injured and the police cleared the wreckage within minutes. Just moments after that, this exact same scenario was repeated with three additional cars. Why? Because the drivers took their eyes off the road.

You’re in the middle of something right now. You may be pursuing a dream as a writer. You may have your own business or are finishing up college. Whatever it is, it’s your life right now and demands your full attention.

Don’t take your eyes off your journey. If you do, you may crash. Instead, watch where you’re going and keep an eye out for those things (or more commonly-people) that could suddenly derail you, delay you or destroy you. Steer clear of those obstacles.

You’ll most assuredly have people standing in your way. Right there in the middle of your lane, someone is forcing you to slow down. Don’t allow them to do that. Steer around them. Oh, and don’t just sit there on their bumper honking your emotional horn at them. It’s been proven many times it just causes them to go even slower. And worse, you have to slow down to do it.

Steer clear of them!

If you’ve ever driven or ridden in a car, you know the roadways are congested with an endless barrage of things to distract you, stand in your way and prevent you from reaching your destination. Most of the time, those obstacles are mindless other folks who don’t even know where they are going, let alone realizing they’re in the middle of your lane.

Look, where you’re going is important. It’s designed to change our world. Umm, yes, I just said you’re supposed to change the world. Accept it. It’s your lot. Keep going. Keep your eyes on the road and navigate around everything that gets in your way. Don’t stop believing. Don’t stop weaving. Keep moving forward!

Ever had someone in your life trying to roadblock you? How did you handle it? Share it here!

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What I Learned About Dreams From Susan Boyle

Posted March 6, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I’m not one to sit around watching reality TV or shows like America’s Got Talent. Just not my thing. In fact, I rarely watch TV at all. But there is one YouTube video that I do watch and never grow tired of viewing it. It is the April 11, 2009 initial audition by Susan Boyle as she appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.

The country looked on as an odd woman marched out to the center of the stage. No one thought she could carry a tune in a bucket.  In fact, they whistled and cat-called as she introduced herself. The auditorium erupted in laughter as she announced she’d be singing I Dreamed a Dream from the musical Les Miserables. Moments later she opened her mouth and instantly changed the world. Before the end of the second sentence, the entire audience was on their feet applauding her and remained standing throughout the duration of her performance.

From start to finish, that night she was on TV for five minutes and fifty seconds but during those three hundred and fifty short ticks of the second hand, Susan completely transformed the way the world thinks about living our dream.

She became an instant celebrity… a household name. And that was before the actual competition ever began. Forget her record smashing album sales. Susan became the hero of the average man, woman, boy and girl across the globe that night on the audition stage. It became the song hear around the world.

There are so many lessons I learned from watching that five minutes. Here are but a few:

People will be quick to judge us. When she walked out onto the stage, the judges and audience instantly concluded that her entire audition—other than to humiliate for sport—was an enormous waste of time.

Those same people are usually wrong. They were proved wrong the instant Susan began singing. 

You don’t have to defend your gift. Susan didn’t spend a moment trying to convince the judges or a cackling audience that she was a singer. She let the gift speak for itself.

No one laughs when your gift goes forth. Susan’s voice instantly pierced the hearts of everyone there and before she could sing the second line, they were on their feet cheering her. A fickle lot… we humans.

I could go on and on. I would encourage you to view this video. You’ll have to do it more than once. And as you do, remember you’re just like Susan. You may not have her voice but you do have gifts unique to you. And you also have those in your life who don’t believe in you. As sad as that is, it’s true. But that doesn’t change the gift, or your need to use it to change the world!

Stop spending time trying to convince people of who you are. Just be who you are and when you do,  your gifts, talents and fruit will speak for themselves. Even more importantly, you’ll change the world!

Like Susan Boyle on that night in the spring of 2009, this is your time. Seize it. Change the world. Make your mark… that lasting imprint and legacy that will flow to generations to come.

How many more ways can I say to take your rightful place. The world needs YOU!

Have you had a situation where people didn’t believe in you or your gift, only to have the gift prove them wrong? Begin changing the world right now by sharing it here!

 

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Live Like an Apple Tree

Posted February 28, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

While in Tennessee on the Road to Freedom Tour, I met the AMAZING Jeff York. You can read about him and his story here. As he stood propped up against his desk, he said he didn’t know much about trees. If he walked out through the forest, he’d be hard pressed to identify one tree or another by its trunk.

On the other hand, if he passed one and apples hung off the branches, he’d know immediately that it was an apple tree. He’d recognize it by the fruit.

Did  know that most people spend the majority of their day and energy trying to convince others they are NOT something rather than just being who they are? It’s true.

When I hear or witness that, I always think of an apple tree. I imagine that tree frantically running around the orchard and the forest trying to convince all the other plants and people it’s not a rose bush.

I imagine how tragic it would be come harvest time in the mountains of Appalachia if all the apple trees had done that same thing. We’d have no apples, no apple cider or apple butter. No apple pie. That’s un-American!

Thankfully, the apple tree doesn’t do that. Instead, it spends all its days, nights, energy and resources just being who it is, and doing what it was created to do: be an apple tree.

It doesn’t try to convince anyone it’s not a rose bush. It just lives as an apple tree.

It doesn’t try to be a rose bush. It just works at being an apple tree.

Pretty soon, the fruit shows up and no one has to wonder whether it’s a rose bush, or even an orange tree. Apple trees don’t talk. They can’t shout and tell everyone it’s an apple tree and yet, everyone knows. Why? Well, the big, fat, juicy apples hanging off the branches are enough of a clue that anyone would get it.

Here are just a few things I learned from the apple tree:

 

  • It didn’t have to convince anyone of who it was. It just had to be itself. The fruit speaks for itself.

 

  • It didn’t have to try to NOT be something else. It didn’t put forth a second’s effort trying to NOT be a pecan tree.

 

  • What’s on the inside will one day be on the outside for everyone to see. It’s no secret. It is what it is and that fruit will one day announce the apple tree’s identity to the world.

Look, please don’t waste another moment convincing the world of who you are… or aren’t. Instead, spend the time just BEING who you are and let your fruit speak for itself.

Live like the apple tree. The world will get it… and appreciate it. I promise.

Has that happened to you? Have you tried to convince others that you’re NOT something rather than just being who you are? Share it here!

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Only the Strong Survive, But Who is Strong?

Posted February 27, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

You’ve heard it just like I have… that old saying, only the strong survive. You’ve seen it play out in the episodes of National Geographic as the more powerful animal overtakes and conquers the weaker or perhaps wounded one.

With that in your emotional hip pocket, during those moments when you feel especially vulnerable, know what happens? You feel you’re doomed. When you’re beat up, beat down and in the middle of an immense battle, you feel anything but strong. And, naturally, your emotions tell you the lion is about to devour you.

But there’s just one tiny little omission your emotion is guilty of. And leaving out that one truth makes all the difference. You see, the TRUTH is:

1) Greater is He that is in You than he that is in the world.

2) His strength is perfected in your weakness. Therefore, when you are weak, HE is strong. Therefore, your strength is perfected.

3) You can do ALL things through Christ, which strengthens you.

Just a little thing your emotions—or the circumstance—forgot to mention when it made you feel you’re being overtaken by the lion.

Look, the truth is that even on our best days, we’re not strong enough to carry the whole world on our shoulders. We can’t even support our little portion of the world. So if we use that as our frame of reference, we’ll always conclude we’re peep squeaks.

While that’s true, it’s not the truth and there’s a huge difference between those things that are true and that which is truth. The truth is YOU ARE AMAZINGLY STRONG through Christ whose strength is made perfect in you.

It is true that only the strong survive. Oh, I suppose a weak on will slip through in the underbrush and avoid being eaten for dinner, at least for a while but eventually, a lion or bear will lick their chops and dig in for a feast.

But the truth is no weapon formed against you will prosper. The truth is you are weak but He who lives in you is strong, mighty and able to easily withstand any and every foe.

Big difference, huh?!

You may be feeling pretty weak right now. Life has been beating you up. You’re weary from the battle. You think you couldn’t lift a wet noodle off the counter. And you may be feeling pretty badly about feeling pretty bad.

Well, I just have two words: STOP IT!

 

You are STRONG in Christ. Embrace His strength and use it to your advantage like firefighters use the hydraulic strength in the jaws of life to rescue someone from a mangled car after an accident. Do you honestly think they care that it’s not their own strength? Nope.

Hook onto Christ’s jaws of life and use His strength to get you out of your circumstance.

You are strong! Remember that today!

How strong—or weak—do you feel today? Share it here!

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