Attitude Archive

Johnny the Hotdog Vendor

Posted April 25, 2016 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

If you spend much time in Memphis, you’ll find him standing by his little hot dog cart. You’ll recognize him by the infectious smile and gregarious demeanor. He plays with the kids and strikes up intelligent conversations with the adults. And he provides the most excellent customer service I’ve ever seen. Johnny the hotdog vendor looks as though he doesn’t have a care in the world.

“I just LOVE what I do!” He is emphatic about how much he enjoys selling hotdogs on the street. Five bucks will get you a dog, chips and ice cold canned soda. Not a bad deal. He doesn’t skimp on the products. Only the best, Nathan’s all-natural hotdogs will do for his customers. People wait in long lines for his combo and he sells out at every event. Last Saturday at an event at the downtown public library, I bought the last one for a homeless deaf man.

A closer look at Johnny’s life revealed he is happy by choice. A very bright man, he worked twenty years for the same company servicing and repairing x-ray equipment. One day his boss in this family owned business told him he would have to let him go to make room for a family member. Family came first, even in business. Johnny was left high and dry with a family to care for.

As was with many Americans during that time, he could not find a job that would keep him home with his family. So Johnny decided to create one. He took money out of their savings, bought a hotdog stand, licenses and supplies and set up on the street corners of Memphis. He’s been there ever since.

“I have the best job in the world! I get to meet all kinds of people every day. I deliver what people want. It makes them happy and that makes me happy. I work and take time off whenever I want. And, at a big event, I make two weeks salary at my old job in a single day.”

Johnny’s zest for life is infectious. He prepares each hotdog to order and, unlike the workers at the national chain fast food places who slop the ingredients on haphazardly, he places the condiments on the dogs with precision. No mess. No worry about dripping when you try to eat one. He really cares for his customers, the tie they’re wearing and makes sure they don’t spill mustard anywhere.

Five years ago, thousands of Americans were faced with suddenly being out of jobs. Many of them lost their homes, cars, families, health and wound up in desperate circumstances. Some did not survive. But Johnny is a shining example of the American spirit, that tenacity that finds a way where there seems to be none. When times were hard, he picked himself up by the bootstraps and instead of trying to follow the same road that got him in dire straits hoping it would change, he blazed his own trail.

Saturday as I stood in the distance devouring the best hotdog I’ve ever eaten—and normally I don’t eat them at all—my heart was filled with pride, and joy as I watched Johnny the hotdog vendor joyfully dispense fun and food. My heart was filled with peace knowing that as long as there are citizens like him, the heartbeat of America will continue to be alive and well.

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Driven by What’s Inside

Posted February 19, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Those who follow my blog know I write stories of amazing people who do extraordinary things as part of their daily life. Today is not different. That being said, I feel I must set this story up just a bit. 

A friend, mentor and fellow trucker, Dee Sova, recently posted a picture on Facebook of a sign at a Walmart that read, “No Semis allowed.” This was a new occurrence since, if space permits, Walmart is very truck friendly. They allow truckers to park their rigs in their lots, get rest, replenish their supplies and head on down the road. 

When asked, the management of this Walmart said their customers were very frightened by all the trucker characters who filled the parking lots. Having met now thousands of truck drivers, this saddens me because my experience is that the majority of truck drivers are kind, courteous, hard working Americans.

And, in the year 2015, you’d be surprised at who is behind the wheel.

Take me for example. I have a PhD, have been very successful in corporate America and have long since earned the respect of my peers in my previous industry. I’m doing this because it’s an adventure and because I can. Sound dangerous to you?

Then there’s Dr. Randy (not his real name). He possesses a PhD and worked for decades as a aerospace engineer for NASA. When the space shuttle program was grounded, he was… ummm, outsourced. He had a family to provide for and the only job he could find to pay the bills was trucking. No welfare for him. He’s driving (and parking in Walmart parking lots) to be the head of his household. He probably won’t kill anyone as they walk through the lot.

And what about Dee? Well, when she’s not driving or endangering those customers’ lives by parking in the lot, she’s speaking to groups of people all over the country, telling them the importance of not drinking and driving. Her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Oh yeah, Dee’s a real scary person!

Let’s not forget Dave, who risked his own life on the infamous Cabbage Patch in the middle of the night when another driver’s brakes caught on fire. First, he stopped the driver who did not see his own flames. Then he pulled over and helped him put out the fire. Yeah, the world is a better place by keeping him out of that parking lot.

Here’s my point. Truck drivers are some of the most incredible, responsible, patriotic, hard working Americans I’ve met. They drive night or day, cross country or through LA to get the goods into the stores. When the storms rage, they drive through them and more times than not, they deliver on time. They are seldom thanked, often discriminated against, treated unjustly and yet you rarely hear them complain. They just take all in stride and keep on trucking.

People are people and what makes them good or bad is not whether or not they sit behind the wheel of a big rig. Driving an eighteen wheeler doesn’t make them a criminal any more than wearing black leathers and driving a Harley makes someone an Outlaw gang member. 

We are Americans and true Americans do whatever they must in order to care for their families. Americans are driven by what’s inside- a compelling to earn an honest living. Driving a truck is an honorable and noble profession that I am proud to be a part of. When I’m out on the open road hauling goods from one place to the other, I feel so patriotic. I’m doing my part at keeping the heartbeat of America alive and well. 

I’m proud to be an American. I’m proud to be a trucker. I’m proud to live in a country where I have the freedom to live a life of adventure. Judge me if they must. Drive me out of their parking lots if they can but I’ll still have the satisfaction knowing that when they get inside, everything they buy was delivered by one of my brothers or sisters who took to the open road to keep this great nation going.

The Heartbeat of America remains alive and well. 

 

 

 

 

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Matters of the Heart

Posted January 24, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Those of you who follow me in social media (if you aren’t, why not?), you know that week before last I injured my knee. I slipped in ice while performing my pretrip inspection on my truck at 4am in Alabama. I endured several days of serious pain. It was my clutch knee.

Last Friday night, I took Austin (my brand new Freightliner Cascadia Lightweight truck) in for his very first oil change in Amarillo, Texas. On Sunday afternoon, Austin broke down in the middle of Wild West-and wild wind-Wyoming. God always provides. If you’ve ever driven on Interstate 80 across Wyoming, you know there is nothing there but it just so happened that when my truck broke down, it was at one of very few exits. Literally.  AND, there was one thing at that exit: a TA truck stop.

I coasted down the ramp, to the right into the truck stop (I didn’t stop for the stop sign. Nothing was coming), and into a parking space at the truck stop. I remained there for two days until the folks at my company had Austin towed 100+ miles into Salt Lake City to the Freightliner dealership.

Today is day seven of this adventure and I’m still in a hotel. The week has been a rollercoaster of events. My emotions have run the gammit from patient to furious, positive to hopeless, determined to wanting to chuck it all and pull Dakota (my bicycle) out of storage and take to the open road on him again.

Those who know me know I don’t have family. I can’t go cry on sis’s shoulder, get a hug from dad or have big bro punch someone’s lights out. But, I have you and so many of you have reached out in support. Emails, phone calls, texts, FB posts. The outpouring has been amazing! Thank you, by the way. I wouldn’t have been able to endure this week without you. But even with that, I have to admit there have been moments where I looked out to the surrounding snow capped mountains and felt all alone in a great big world.

Then it hit me. I feel and sense emotion on a very deep level. God gave me that gift so that I can understand what others go through on an experiential level. That way I can help them. He showed me decades ago that I cannot show others the way unless I’ve traveled that road. Remembering that took my attention off my troubles- and my broken down brand new truck- and to those I serve… and those whom I’ve never met who need to be encouraged.

I wanted to quit. I admit it. I wanted to tell the wonderful company I work for and the dealership who built Austin to take their broken down truck and shove it. But one thing stopped me. I’m not a quitter. I wonder how many people have been driven to the brink of their emotional cliff and jumped. I know some. I’m sure you do, too. I also know most of them regretted having made that decision.

I’m writing this in the lobby of the hotel in a nice comfy chair in front of the fireplace with a view of the rocky mountains. The ambiance is wonderful but the main reason I do it is when I’m all alone up in my room, my thoughts turn negative and my positive attitude that keeps me strong begins to crumble. I begin to suffer all alone in the silence of my room.

I know there are thousands of people out there who are doing just that. They don’t tell anyone they are suffering. Their tears are not seen. Their hearts cry at moments when others are not around. Their sad and painful matters of the heart are not shared with anyone. One day, they just disappear… or die a lonely death.

What I’ve been going through this last week has nothing to do with trucks, oil changes, my company or Freightliner. It has everything to do with my purpose to help others overcome… and to become. Someone has to know how they feel. They need to find the way through the emotional quagmire to freedom and then go back to show others the way.

I’m an encourager. I know that. It’s my God-given purpose. The Heartbeat of America blog will continue and I’ll continue to bring you stories from the amazing people I meet. In addition to that, I’m also going to share insights with you on matters of the heart. I’ve been working for a while on a new podcast that will be uplifting, encouraging and hopefully will help you see life’s events in a different light. I’m also considering BlogTalk radio.

I really need your help. You have all been so faithful and supportive both during my Road to Freedom Tour, and with my trucking adventure which I unwittingly termed Road to Freedom 2.0. Little did I know at the time that title would be so profound.

In the weeks and months to come, I will be sharing some deep things of the heart. Those things that pluck at your heart strings. I’ll share hope in the midst of what appears to be hopelessness. I’ll share stories of those who have overcome… stories of triumph, my own and those of others I meet along my journey.

If this resonates with you, I would like to ask you to help me in the following ways:

Please pray that God will lead those who need to hear this message to the blog, the podcast and any other media outlet that opens up.

Please share the blog with others in your social circles and ask them to pray about doing the same.

Please comment on the blog. I will do my best to respond to each comment as my life on the road allows. I utilize a service called LiveFyre to filter out spam from my comments so you’ll have to sign up once and be approved by me to leave comments. It’s not an email capture and sell scam. LifeFyre is my spam filter service. It’s completely safe for you to give your information to.

That would mean so much to me as I ratchet up my blog a notch or two and include matters of the heart. So many of you have asked for this. God is showing me it’s time to do it.

Thank you all for being such faithful supporters during the Road to Freedom Tours. Your encouragement has kept me going forward, helping to heal the wounded, encourage the discouraged and bring the truth of God’s joy to a hurting nation. You honor me.

This blog post is long today but for some reason, I cannot bring myself to apologize for its length. God bless you, my friends.

 

 

 

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I Bend But I Don’t Break… Much

Posted January 16, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Last night I arrived at my fuel stop in Van, Texas eight minutes before I would turn into a pumpkin. I only had that many minutes I could legally drive for the day so I found a parking spot and decided to explore. Loves was wedged between a local Barbecue buffet and a family style restaurant. I checked them both out but finally opted for veggies.

While walking through the truck stop, I almost ran right into Ralph. Standing upright, he would have been almost seven feet tall but he was permanently bent at the waist. As a result, he stood less than four. He was busy grabbing a soda, snacks and whatever else he felt he needed to keep him going. 

I expected Ralph to exit to the auto parking lot after making his purchases but he did just the opposite. He lumbered out the back door to the fuel isle for trucks. 

Ahhh, a ride-along, I thought to myself… until he began to climb into his rig. I had to stop him. And with my typical fascination, I bombarded him with questions like, what happened to you? Is it difficult to drive? Are  you in pain? Do you have any limitations?

Ralph broke his back in a car accident almost twenty years ago. He was hit by a drunk driver at speeds over 100 miles per hour. His wife was killed and he was pronounced crippled for the remainder of his natural life. Ralph was not pleased with that prognosis and decided to reject it. 

He worked very hard to overcome. Enduring excruciating rehab, he was finally able to walk again. Unfortunately, the fusion in his back failed, leaving him permanently bent at the waist.  He has a really good sense of humor about it though. He says he has a birds eye view of the floor. He doesn’t miss many pennies that people drop.

Ralph also loves to be a trucker. His odd shape is perfect for driving. He is in the exact position his body needs to be in to sit at the wheel all day long. While most drivers get stiff and need to stretch, it doesn’t bother Ralph in the least. Others give him a wide berth because they are afraid they’re going to hurt him. 

“How much pain are you in?” I just had to know.

“No more than you are. I’m sure at your age you have aches and pains. Well, so do I. Hey, it’s nothing more than I would have had anyway. It’s just different. That’s all.”

Ralph is a shining example of overcoming adversity, sorrow and enormous loss. He lost his health, his mobility, the love of his life. As if to mock him, the cure made him worse. Yet today Ralph had a smile on his face, eagerly embraced the day and didn’t give it a second thought when he had to ask for my help to get his soda off the top shelf. 

On the driver’s side of Ralph’s truck, he’d placed the inscription: “I bend but I don’t break… much.” The truth is he’s been broken more than most of us will ever endure and yet he continues on his journey as if nothing bad ever happened to him. He embraces life and takes tragedy in stride. He is alive an well living life at 90 degrees. He cherishes each breath he takes and doesn’t take anything for granted. 

My life is greater because I bumped into Ralph last night. Hopefully, yours is as well. 

 

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Larger Than Life!

Posted January 12, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Last Thursday as I drove  up and down the endless hills of Appalachia, I listened to satellite radio as the Grand Ole Oprey paused and paid tribute at the passing of a legend. At 4’11”, Little Jimmy Dickens was an icon around the Oprey, and all of country music. As a little girl, I watched the old black and white TV as he sang his funny songs. I remember thinking his guitar was bigger than he was… until I looked in the mirror.

This incredible Christian man played a huge role in my life that most of you are completely unaware of. Most of you know me as a normal size person but the truth is, just like Jimmy, I was 4’11” when I graduated high school. With very small features, I’ve had to live as a little person in a great big world all my life. I endured ruthless teasing and chiding from schoolmates and neighborhood kids.

When I started playing the guitar, one look in the mirror revealed that I was as abnormal as the great Little Jimmy Dickens. But I noticed he was always so happy. So jovial, he never seemed to let his size bother him. Truly, he was larger than life. One day I figured if he could do it, so could I. From that day on, I decided to not let my physical stature have any impact on what I wanted to accomplish in life. I charged forward with fervor and a new commit.

I played sports that all the experts say I was too small for. Although I never scored a single point in three years of high school basketball, I held county records for steals. I was so short I could easily sneak up on the taller players and snatch the ball right away from them.  I landed a tennis scholarship and went to college even though I only stood twenty inches taller than the net. 

To this day I have to buy my gloves and hats in the children’s section of stores, as well as glasses and sunglasses. My bone structure remains tiny. One day while my dentist was trying his best to do the necessary work on my teeth, he sighed and said, “Reba, if anyone tries to tell you that you have a big mouth, you tell them you dentist said NO YOU DON’T!”

Country music lost the last remaining original member of the Grand Ole Oprey. It will never be the same. No one will be able to fill his void. What he did for the genre is unequaled. I never knew I’d be stand so tall and reach so far by standing on the shoulders of such a tiny little man. I am what I am today because of a little man who played guitar and sang funny little songs. 

I would say, “rest in peace” Jimmy, but I know you’re up in Heaven wearing one of those glittery suits, strumming a guitar and singing your heart out. Thank you for being big. Thank you for teaching me to be BIG. I once said that when I grew up I wanted to be like you. Today, I realize it came true.

Here’s to the not-so-Little Jimmy Dickens, the man who demanded to live LARGER THAN LIFE!

 

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For My Girls

Posted January 7, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

On Sunday I wheeled my big rig into a very tight parking lot, backed into door fifteen and returned to the guard shack to check in. A very handsome and well built young man sat behind one of the desks. He obviously worked out on a regular basis.

John looked at my paperwork and said, “That will be $90 to unload your truck and would you like to buy some candy for a dollar?” I followed  his hands as he pointed to the boxes of assorted candy bars that lined the wall next to his desk. I figured he was selling the sweets to earn his way to the Olympics or something but when I asked, he pointed to the photo of two beautiful little girls he’d tacked to the wall above the candy.

“It’s for them.”

“Oh they’re doing a fundraiser?”

“No, I’m doing the fundraiser so I can provide them the life they deserve.”

That got my attention so, much to the man’s surprise, I pulled up a chair and said, “Tell me all about it.”

For the next twenty minutes, I listened as this man described his life over the last four years. His master’s degree had landed him a high level position with a prestigious company in central Florida. He quickly rose to become very successful but then the unthinkable happened. The company was shut down for unscrupulous practices and with no warning, John was out of a job. 

They quickly ran through their savings when he was unable to land another job. He was in the same boat so many Floridians–and Americans–were in at that time… overqualified and unemployed. He had no way to support his wife and two young daughters. But John had his brain. He discovered that most companies were outsourcing their work to third parties so rather than trying hopelessly to get a job with those companies, he went to the third parties.

He landed a job working for a “lumper” company–folks who unload trucks at the big warehouses. Contrary to what you may think, most companies do NOT unload trucks that deliver to their warehouses. It’s outsourced.

With his skills, John quickly rose to managing a team and runs a very tight ship. But, he still could not make enough money to provide the life he wanted for his daughters. But rather than becoming discouraged, he put his brain power to work. He realized that he was dealing with truckers who would sit at his dock for hours. Many of them did not have food and wanted to munch on something. So he went to Sam’s Club, bought candy bars at wholesale and made them available to truck drivers for a buck.

He’s sold enough candy to take his daughters on vacation every year, buy braces for both of them, pay for them to enjoy the activities they had been used to. 

John was a victim of our economy. He could have thrown in the towel. He could have given up. After all, it doesn’t get much worse than what he endured. But John used what he had… his brain. He found a way to make it work. Now, he unashamedly asks drivers “Would you like a candy bar for a dollar?” And John doesn’t bat an eye when telling them it’s to provide the life his daughters should have. 

There is no remorse in John’s eyes. They sparkle and glimmer with satisfaction that in the midst of trial, he figured out a way to provide for his family. He is a gutsy man. He said no to defeat. That’s the American way and thanks to John, the Heartbeat of America is alive and well!

 

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Through the Storms

Posted January 5, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Because I am so mobile and always on the move, it’s not uncommon to wear flannel shirts in the morning and shorts by the time I arrive at my destination. I experience all sorts of weather extremes, many times all in the same day.

Since Christmas I drove through over four thousand miles of snow, got hit by a 100mph micro burst, slid on black ice before being shut down outside Abilene, Texas. And, as I write this, I’m in shorts and t-shirt in Florida after enduring overnight thunderstorms with tornadic activity. It seems no matter where I go, I run into some sort of storm.

Such it is with the very life we live. No matter where we find ourselves while on our journey, a storm surely arises. And when it does, we sometimes want to be someplace else… any place the storms aren’t raging. But as I high-tailed it out of Abilene heading back east thinking I’d drive out of the ice storm, a weather watcher friend told me the entire country was under some sort of storm. There was no way I would enjoy clear weather that day or the next.

I could have gotten upset about it but that wouldn’t have changed the weather. I could have stopped but then I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. No, I just needed to use the resources I have to go through the storms. I could navigate through the ice, dodge the puddles from the thunderstorms and steer clear of the tornadoes. Because I made the decision to keep moving forward, I’m sitting in eighty degree sunny weather in central Florida. 

I’ve learned a lot about storms since Christmas, both the ones I endured on the road, and those we face in life. Here are just a few insights:

The storm is going to come. You may be able to navigate around some but eventually, you’ll be faced with one head on. Face it.

No two storms are alike but everything you learned in previous storms will help you navigate the present one. Trust it.

While there are times when storms will stop you dead in your tracks, most times you can maneuver through them and safely to the other side. Navigate it.

The storm always passes. When all else fails, stop, regroup and wait it out. Endure it.

I’m so grateful for the storms. Don’t like them but I’m grateful for them nonetheless. Because of them, I’m confident I have within me the inner strength needed to weather whatever life throws at me.  So do you. 

Storms are good but the object is to navigate through them. Trust in your own God-given ability, skill and wisdom and you’ll get through every storm that comes your way. You’ll get through it and be a better person for having done it.

After all, it’s only a storm… right?

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Omar’s Journey: Coming to America

Posted December 31, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

The young boy was frightened awake from his slumber on the dirt hut floor by gunfire in his village. The rebels had staged another early morning attack. They drove through shooting anything that moved. Amazing how civil war and bloodshed had become routine. He’d come to expect it and like other African boys, he’d quickly developed the skills needed to keep himself from being captured by the rebels. There was a premium price for young boys that could be brainwashed and taught to fight against the government.

The country Somelia and this young boy dreamed of a land he’d been told about by a missionary. It was called “Merica” and if he could just swim far enough to get there, he would be free.

Omar grew up in this tyranny, all the while dreaming of coming to America. One day, he got his chance. He and a few other of his twenty-seven siblings snuck out of village under the cover of darkness and made their way across two countries to a refugee camp. Seeing their scars from countless attacks, they US embassy officials finally granted them sponsorship to the US.

Omar took every job he could to earn money and send it home to free the rest of his family. Finally, he discovered he could become an over-the-road truck driver and make enough money for his entire family. He has been driving for six years and because of the opportunity he found in the United States, almost every one of his family members have made it to our country. His country. Omar is now proud to be an American citizen. 

Omar will viciously defend our great nation against anyone who speaks badly about it. He has lived through the worst of circumstances and clearly sees the blessing he has in America. He is the hardest worker I’ve ever seen behind the wheel of a truck. He is polite, respectful, diligent, and now quite successful. 

I sat and talked to Omar for quite some time. I drank in his enthusiasm.  It was my honor to meet this fellow patriot. He is a hero in his quiet sort of way. Even though he was born on foreign soil, this man is as patriotic as they come. He proves that the heartbeat of America is alive and well!

 

 

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Special New Year’s Post: Expand!

Posted December 29, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I recently heard a story about golfing great Arnold Palmer. I do not know whether it is fact or fiction but the story’s message ignited something within me that I felt so compelled to share with each of you, my loyal readers and followers. The story goes like this:

Arnold was invited by the king of Saudi Arabia to play in a tournament his royal highness was hosting. When Arnold agreed, the king sent his private jet and flew the golf legend to his country. After several days of play, the king approached Palmer and expressed his gratitude to him for coming and wanted to give him a gift. “Anything you wish”, the king offered.

Arnold declined the gift, saying he’d been such a gracious host, that would be enough. The king was so insistent, Palmer knew he would have to accept something. Since he was a collector of golf clubs, he asked for one. He returned home and as he waited, he imagined what a golf club that came from the king would look like. Maybe it would be solid gold or perhaps be studded with diamonds and other precious stones.

One day he received a certified letter from the king. Arnold signed for the letter and opened it. To his utter amazement he found the deed to a golf club. The king had purchased and entire golf country club and gave it to Arnold as a gift.

Though I have no way of knowing whether the story is true or not, it’s truth cannot be denied. Many times I’m guilty of thinking too small… dreaming to finite… trying to live life within the confines of my limited vision. Riding my bicycle around America on the Road to Freedom Tour in 2013 showed me I don’t have the capacity to dream visions big enough. Around each curve, over each hill a blessing immeasurable awaited me. That truth expanded when I began my new adventure of being an over-the-road truck driver in the summer.

You may be thinking you’d never do either one of those. Doesn’t matter. There is a destiny you were created for. It is so big, you cannot phathom it, conceive of it, or even dream it fully. But you can expand your thinking. You can enlarge the camp of your vision and move in a greater direction than you have been. 

In these last two years, I have grown more, experienced more, been challenged and stretched to a greater measure and been blessed more than in all my other years combined. I have definitely expanded, but I’m not stopping there. I need to enlarge my thinking and dream bigger. So do you.

As you put the period at the end of 2014 and usher in a brand new year that is yet a blank sheet of paper, I urge you to expand. Tear down the walls of your limited vision and let yourself out of your box. Be all you were destined to be. Take your rightful place!

The world needs you. What’s more, your dream is too important to remain unlived.

Happy New Year of being the best you can be!

 

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A Whole New Respect

Posted November 21, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

IMG_3095Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve not spent much time up in the northern part of the US. Not ever. I mean, why would a southern-to-the-core country girl leave a perfectly good homeland and venture to the, well, north? Right?

I have to admit I’m as green as grass when it comes to things northerly… like weather. It took me three days to figure out that the white stuff on the ground was snow. After outrunning this week’s lake effect snow storm that dumped six feet of snow on Buffalo, driving through a clipper storm and doing pre-trip inspections on my truck in ice and single digit temperatures, I’ve gained a whole new respect for my friends up there.

I lick my lips and taste the salt, though unlike the salt air along the coast of Florida, it’s mixed with cold, slime and road grime. It IMG_3146sticks like glue to everything. Windshield washers don’t really work. Every fuel stop requires going inside and purchasing an anti-gel liquid that must be added to the diesel fuel when the temperatures are expected to be below twenty degrees.

Driving in snow requires skill. No texting. No talking on cell phones. No blinking. When the wind swirls, you lose complete sight of the road all together. And with everything covered in that white stuff, it’s impossible to determine if there is a shoulder or a drop off. It’s enough to make a southern driver’s heart skip a beat or two. 

IMG_3152I made it through the storm but I couldn’t help but think that for northerners, this is just a way of life. For months out of the year they put on every stitch of clothing they own and venture out into the fierce wind and cold. 

Day after Day.

Judging by the looks on their faces, they don’t particularly enjoy it. They just do it. For this southern gal, the winter storm was an EVENT! For them, it was just another day. I’m amazed. Truly impressed at how they just take the snow and very high winds in stride, think nothing of it and continue to live life.

By the fourth day in the frozen tundra with snow surrounding me, I began to grow accustomed to it. I automatically put on my IMG_3196SmartWool quick drying wool socks and waterproof boots. I dressed in three layers and had a fourth handy to put on when the need arose. I even was hot when I returned inside my truck after being outside for a few minutes. 

I was adjusting.

It made me ponder how adaptive we really are when we allow ourselves to settle into the circumstance. Our minds will block out that which is uncomfortable. By the fifth day, I didn’t notice that fierce biting cold that sliced through my cheeks that I once thought was going to be the death of me. 

IMG_3209I’d still prefer not to drive through snowstorms but I have adapted. God designed us to adjust to whatever our life presents and not only survive, but thrive. No matter what the circumstance, God will take care of us. Our bodies- and our emotions- can handle it. We just have to trust it. 

I’m so grateful that I came to the frozen tundra. Not only do I have a whole new respect for my northerly neighbors, I recognize how masterfully God created this southern gal. 

Adapt. Adjust. Acclimatize. 

Truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made!

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