Change Archive

Days Gone By

Posted October 24, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Hidden 1TrainAt the back of an inconspicuous building in industrial Greenville, SC, history sits silent, slowly rusting in the elements. Deep within the corridors of the once vibrant passenger train cars, the voices of the past call out, longing for days gone by. Train cars of yesteryear transported countless people and their dreams to cities all over America. Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis and points west.

Mothers held tight to their children who had no idea the trip back home to grandmas marked the day their family was torn apart. A young woman spread her wings for the first time and left the security of home in search of her identity and her own way to live life. A doctor answered the call, closed up his practice back east and headed west to provide medical aid on the Navajo Nation.IMG_2303

Each hallway echos with the sound of hope and promise. Each seat holds secrets revealed to a total stranger sitting next to them as tiny towns clicked by out the window. Bellman, porters and conductors mindlessly spouted rote commands to cars of passengers who’s ears were deafened by consuming thoughts of their destination.

Hundreds of miles away to the north, ancient buildings sat abandoned and silent, worn by the fierce winds of Lake Ontario. Railway cars that once carried necessities now rusted on abandoned rails. Just on the other side of the tracks, a graveyard provided the resting place for cars that had seen better days.

Everywhere I looked as I drove through rural upstate New York, I saw remnants of days that had long since retreated into the innermost hiding places of history. Life built up around the history and continued on. Locals don’t even notice the old buildings and other pieces of their past, but I did.

IMG_2306Our history forges our future. Perhaps a young man road that train to Greenville and grew up to become governor and changed the world. Or maybe the old buildings on Lake Ontario housed furs trapped by the Native Americans and grizzly trappers who braved the cold to help America stay warm.

Time does wait for no man. It marches forward with a determination to continue ticking out the hours and days until they become a part of the past, then releases it as if it never were connected. History, on the other hand, is the bedrock of today upon which we build our tomorrows. It is undeniable. Unshakable. Unmistakable. The days gone by point the way. It shows us where we missed and weaves a fabric of hope and future.

I love to reminisce about my days gone by. Yes, even the worst of them are part of who I am and I gain so much wisdom from them. I’m grateful for each one. Many I would not wish to return to but I treasure them all. They whisper to me on a cold dark night. They compel me down the roads of our great nation in search of the heartbeat of America.

Days gone by…

 

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Things Will Always Change

Posted February 17, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Last Tuesday afternoon, it began to snow.

Wednesday morning, we were in a blizzard whiteout.

Thursday afternoon it warmed up just enough to begin melting the snow before freezing again that night.

Friday the world was slick ice.

Friday night an earthquake shattered the ice.

Saturday temperatures in the mid-50’s melted the ice and things returned to normal.

Enduring the roller coaster weather of the last week, one truth played out on Mother Nature’s stage: Things will ALWAYS change.

Always.

If you’re going through a good time in your life right now, please don’t gloat. It will change. On the other hand, if you’re going through the depths of the valley, don’t dare fret. That, too, is about to change.

Nothing ever remains the same… other than the universal truth that nothing ever remains the same.

I find that refreshing. Life is full of ups and downs. Problems crop up and then disappear as quickly as the sun rises in the east, races across the sky and drops down beyond the western horizon.

On Friday I could not get out of my community because inches of slick ice covered the entrance. There was just one little problem. I had a radio appearance at 10am. I was less than two miles from the entrance so I decided to hoof it. Shanks pony. Walk it.

I’m a Florida flat-lander. I had to learn to walk in the snow and ice. It was quite a harrowing experience. I finally reached a point where I could not safely go any further because I had a long downhill slick ice road that promised more of the same going back up the other side.

I called my host to explain the problem. She hopped in her vehicle and came to pick me up. What I saw in my circumstance turned out to be an amazing couple of hours together. It was a lot of things but certainly not the end of the road on that adventure.

My friend, sometimes what seems like impossibility actually turns out to be a greater blessing. Had that not happened, I would have spent a total of twenty-six minutes with my host. Instead, we had over two hours to encourage each other, glean from each other’s experience and wisdom, and share our dreams. It was priceless.

No matter what you’re going through, always remember two things:

1) Things will always change

2) There is always a way and it’s usually better than your plan

Hang in, dig in, but whatever you do, don’t give in!

Have you had something like this happen in your life? How’d it turn out? Share it here!

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How Quickly Life Can Change

Posted November 13, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Yesterday I took a break from writing, gobbled down lunch and headed out for a run. The sun shown bright against a cobalt sky and the calm air rose to the mid-sixties. 

Golden Tree2

Squirrels chased each other up and down trees as a red tail hawk circled and shreaked overhead. I turned onto the main road as cars whizzed by on their way to who knows where.

The low temperature and humidity allowed me to run faster than I’d been used to in Florida and I pounded out a great time on the five mile route. I turned around at the ampetheater and ran up and down hills back home, all the while offering thanks for the sunshine, the warmth and the health to run.

Gray skies2

On the way back, I noticed the wind picking up. I’d heard a cold front would be moving through this afternoon. The meteorologist on the news at noon reported snow just on the other side of the mountain. When I observed dark blue sky and not a cloud anywhere, I passed it off as a weather guesser sensationalizing again.

Gray skies 1

By the time I got out of the shower, the sky had grown dark and gray. The wind was swirling leaves around in the yard and I felt as though I was in the frozen tundra. 

Things had really changed. And quickly. The temperature plummeted and the ominous clouds threatened to dump feet of snow. My sweaty body running had produced was now dotted with goose bumps.

Out Back at Edies

I marveled at how quickly things changed. Nothing gradual about this cold front. 

Last night, as I sat looking at the fire in the fireplace, I realized how quickly life can change for all of us. One minute someone is alive and well and the next, they are being flown by helicopter to a hospital for emergency life-saving treatment.

Fireplace

In the blink of an eye, what we thought would last forever disappears and we find ourselves in a brand new world. As I listened to the crackle of the fire, I thought of how things have changed for me over these last several months of the Road to Freedom Tour. And how instantly many women were set free from the bondage that has plagued their lives for decades.

I’m grateful I ran when I did today. It turned out to be the best part of the day. As I type this, it’s forty degrees here. That’s the predicted high for tomorrow. 

I’m also thankful I experienced such a rapid change in my environment in Appalachia. Sure made me appreciate life as it is… at this moment and reminded me yet again how quickly life can change.

How have things changed for you recently? Share it here!

 

 

 

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So Why Are You So Passionate About Your Tour?

Posted October 8, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Early yesterday morning, I hugged my great friend and author, Roxanne Sherwood Gray, goodbye and Dakota and I pedaled off into the morning mist. I wound my way into Orlando through a series of roads and trails. 

Saying Goodbye to Friend and Author, Roxanne Sherwood Gray

Saying Goodbye to Friend and Author, Roxanne Sherwood Gray

At one place on the Cady Way Trail, two men road toward me on bikes of their own. Suddenly, one of them stopped and asked me to stop as well. He said he wanted to talk to me about what I was doing. His friend rode on while Don began asking all sorts of questions about why I was out on a bicycle alone fully loaded with gear.

Don wanted more information so I invited him to join me for lunch. I’d already planned to stop by a local eatery and visit one of my favorite waitresses, Donna. I didn’t expect him to but Don showed up right on time.

Lake Baldwin at Baldwin Park

Lake Baldwin at Baldwin Park

Over chips and salsa, I explained Road to Freedom to him. He was intrigued and asked if he could ride with me. He offered to show me a less congested route through Orlando. When ominous clouds opened up and dumped on us, he found us refuge in a city park.

We sat on picnic tables as he asked question after question. He just couldn’t figure out why I was so passionate about Road to Freedom and the women I serve. I tried the best I could to explain it but, in all honesty, I don’t quite understand it my self. All I know is those women are suffering and I must go to them. 

When the rain finally stopped, we said out goodbyes and headed off in different directions. I turned, and rode, backtracked and improvised my way through heavy Orlando traffic. A second wave of storms roared through. I stopped put on my Burley rain gear and pedaled on, grateful for my 100% waterproof panniers.

Up in the distance I saw a woman walking with a small child in tow. Neither she nor the child had any protection against the storm. I rode up to her got off Dakota, took off my raincoat and put it over the child. It drug the ground. Through the raging storm, I asked her where she was going. Fortunately, they were going to where she worked, right up the street. 

Weeping Willows at Baldwin Park Before the Rains Hit

Weeping Willows at Baldwin Park Before the Rains Hit

I asked her if I could sit the child on my bike, and offered to push him to her place of employment. She almost melted in gratitude. I zipped up the rain gear around his ears, hoisted him to Dakota’s seat and off we went. When we finally got to the store where she worked, I pulled out my camp towel from my pannier and dried her son off, then handed the towel to her.

As she wiped away what raindrops she could, she asked me what I was doing on the road in the rain. When I told her about Road to Freedom, she told me how she and her son escaped domestic violence at the hands of the child’s father. Things are unbearably difficult for her but it was better than the abuse.

I told her I was out there to help her…to give her the courage to keep moving forward in spite o

The Familiar

Posted September 26, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

As I plan for my latest departure on the Road to Freedom Tour, I feel a bit nostalgic being surrounded by so much that is familiar. I lived in Jacksonville, Florida for over forty years. I know the streets. The history. I’m able to pick out even the smallest subtlety in any area of town.

144 W. 4th Street, where I lived in the inner city

144 W. 4th Street, where I lived in the inner city

There aren’t many roads I could travel down in this town without a memory of some sort flashing on the silver screen of my mind. Many of them good. Some painful. All a part of the history that is Reba J. Hoffman. 

I marvel at how I survived the inner city high school as a teenager with a slow Texas drawl. I ran the same cobblestone streets as a child that Dakota and I rode down as we wound our way through downtown. Only God could have protected me in that environment.  My heart filled with gratitude at how He cared for me when I didn’t even know it. He met my need when I didn’t know I had it.

Andrew Jackson High School, where I graduated. It looks much better today than when I walked its halls.

Andrew Jackson High School, where I graduated. It looks much better today than when I walked its halls.

As I rode through the Avondale community, I noticed the old Shell service station had been replaced by shops and eateries. While I’d been away–or perhaps just not paying attention–someone repaved memory lane.

There is a blessing in the familiar. I didn’t have to ask directions or MapQuest it when I needed to go to Barnes and Noble to research my latest book I’m writing. I just went. No wrong turns. No relying on GPS or written directions. I knew the way.

The familiar.

My heart pulls me away from the familiar to… well… out there, somewhere. To a place I’ve never been on roads I’ve never ridden. It beckons me to come. I must obey. I know this has to be the restlessness felt in the heart of every pioneer as they left comforts and comrades, opting for the unknown and uncharted in search of… something.

Jacksonville, Florida Skyline from the River Walk Trail

Jacksonville, Florida Skyline from the River Walk Trail

The Road to Freedom is all about exploring the unknown. For me, it’s traveling alone by bicycle to places I’ve never been and meeting women I’ve never known. For these women victims of violent assault and sexual abuse, the unknown is trying to face a world free from their abuser or the shame they’ve lived with for years, or even a lifetime.

Just like I feel comfortable, yet unsatisfied and restless in the wonderful city of Jacksonville, Florida, these women have learned to exist in their familiar. They don’t like it. In fact, they hurt deeply but it is all they know. It’s easier to maintain than to blaze a new life for themselves.

It’s easy to accept the familiar and not try to live your dreams, heal your wounds or live the abundant life God intended for you to live. The unknown carries fear. But it also can open up a whole new and fulfilling world. 

 

Out there... somewhere.

Out there… somewhere.

 

 I’ve lived in the familiar and I’ve traveled down unknown roads not knowing where they would lead. I have to tell you, given the choice I will always choose the road untraveled to the familiar. It’s exciting, liberating, and completely fulfilling. I wouldn’t trade my life on the bike for anything. I took a chance and stepped out of the familiar. Lives have been changed… including my own. The familiar isn’t worth giving up that for.

What about you. Are you holding on to the familiar when you’re being nudged out into a new world? Share it here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Just Different

Posted September 3, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Oh, that hurts!

Oh, that hurts!

As you all know, I’m hanging out on the farm outside Henderson, Kentucky as my knee slowly begins to heal. I’m grateful to my friends, Melody and Rick, for opening their home during this time. 

It’s been a whole lot of fun but I’m learning things are different here on the farm than in the city. It’s not like I’m from the real big city, like the Big Apple or LA. Still, it’s just different. Here are some of the things I’ve experienced that take on a whole new meaning in the country:

1) When you’re asked what sides you want with your meat, they go out back in the garden and pick it. In the city, if it ain’t on the menu, that means you won’t get it.

2) When your vehicle breaks down, you just deal with it. There’s no such thing as AAA here like in the city. The problem gets solved a whole lot quicker here, too.

3) Distance is measured in time, not inches, feet, yards or miles. But that’s a good thing. We can drive all the way intoKentucky Countryside

town in fifteen minutes. I sat in traffic in Orlando much longer than that to go five miles. 

4) When a woman grabs a 9mm pistol, loads two clips and runs out back to where her husband is sitting, it’s only because she’s trying to get in the target practice she needs before the sun goes down and it gets dark. Good thing since I’m not sure whether 911 works this far out in the country.

5) When folks ask you “did you eat”, it’s because they really want to know and they are prepared, willing and able to feed you if you’re the least bit hungry.

6) Food is not wasted. If you have extra, you find somebody to give it to. You just don’t throw it away. If the veggies are getting soft, you freeze them for the long, cold winter.

 

Henderson, Kentucky

Henderson, Kentucky

Today, I’m in town, taking in the sites and people of Henderson, Kentucky. It’s a beautiful place right on the Ohio River. The people are like none I’ve ever met. And, I haven’t  met a single one yet that I didn’t instantly “take a likin’ to”. 

I could have done without a torn ligament in my knee, but if it had to happen, I’m so grateful that I’m mending in this neck of the woods. It’s a place where folks come visitin’ on tractors and white tail deer walk up to your doorstep. People stop to help you if they think you might need it, or just to jaw with you if you don’t.

One of the things I set out to prove on the Road to Freedom Tour was that the heartbeat of America is alive and well. I can’t vouch for places west but I can tell you it definitely is in Kentucky. I thank God I’m mending on the Ohio in the little town of Henderson, KY. Though I’ve been accused of being a yankee (haha), I feel right at home.

Thanks Henderson and all my wonderful friends I never knew before two weeks ago but feel like I’ve known a lifetime. You make a gal feel special!

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The Age of Change

Posted June 3, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Winter ForestIn the 1960’s the dreaded “C” word was cancer. (or so they tell me. You know I’m too young to remember.  J  ). Today it appears we have made great strides in controlling that disease, only to be faced with another worrisome one. And it seems it is spreading uncontrollably throughout your life and your dreams. Change is occurring at lightning speed and since I live in the lightening capital of the world, that makes me somewhat of an expert.

Seriously, I used to shout the mantra from the rooftops, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And even if it is broke, if you ain’t used it a while, you don’t need it. So don’t bother fixin’ it!” Your world has and is facing dramatic changes. You know they’re happening rapidly when go to grab a soda from the frig and return seconds later only to find that things changed—again.

It may worry you. Discourage you. Make you want to slap your mama. Ok, not the last part but you may want to quit. Perhaps you bluebell walkcould be a barista at Starbucks or a greeter at Walmart. Rather than screaming “Uncle!” and giving up when that happened to me, I decided to study change.

If I was going to face it everyday, I wanted to know everything I could about my opponent. I became a student of it. I stayed up way too late at night reading about what happens during seasons of change. I glued myself to the History Channel. I found one thing that was common throughout the major changes in history, or at least those events I studied.

It ushered in an age of experimentation and innovation!

To tell you I was excited about my find would be a gross understatement. It seems the entire season of change was nothing more than a laboratory where experiments took place. They found ways that worked and tossed the ones that didn’t in the idea dumpster. And always, in every case I studied, awesome—downright world-changing incredible—ideas were implemented.

Those innovations changed the landscape of civilization.

Sunlight Shining Through ForestMy friends, what you are facing right now is making history. You are gifted an innovator in the laboratory conducting experiments. What will happen? Well, you will change the face of your world. It will be better, more focused, and revolutionary.

I’ve heard that we are agents of change. I’m not really sure what that means. But I sure know what it means to experiment. To try new things. Get creative and figure out a new and effective way to accomplish things and that thrills me. Energizes me. Makes me want to stop writing this and go back to work.

The point is, when you finally realized who you are in this unstable, uncertain environment called life, you are able to get creative, work to find solutions and create a new world in which you can live your dream. That’s something you can hang you hat on. You can dig you spurs into the buckin’ bronco and stay on for the full eight seconds.

Change is good, YOU go first!

How do you feel about change? How do you deal with Change? Share it here!

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 In today’s episode, I interview novelist Beth K. Vogt.  Her second novelCatch a Falling Star,  hit the bookstore shelves yesterday. She candidly shares about life’s story question, “What do you do when life doesn’t go according to plan?”

Author Beth K. Vogt is living her dream

Author Beth K. Vogt is living her dream

 

You can also see an interview I did with Beth on May 1, 2012, the day her first novel, Wish You Were Here, launched.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-ti0X4DRHU

 

 

 

 

 

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Today I am trilled to release my new E-Book:

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 Enjoy today’s podcast!

 

 

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Your Success Guaranteed… Or Your Old Life Back

Posted April 8, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Scared to deathI know you have a dream that you want to accomplish. In fact, it’s building inside you. There’s just one problem. Every night you lie awake and watch as your dream spars with your fear. 

Unfortunately, most of the times fear wins and your dream retreats to some dark corner of your heart to lick its wounds. Before you throw in the dream towel and settle for the mediocre, let me remind you of a couple of things:

1) Fear always shows up. Always. Think about it. Even when you settle for the safe like, you fear you’ll go to your grave without having lived your dream. Talk about building you up for the big letdown.

2) Fear and exhilaration are two sides of the same coin. Instead of worrying when the fear shows up, just spend the coin. 

3) Trying and failing is not a sin. Never trying is the sin.

When you move in the direction of your dream, your success is guaranteed. Well, if you don’t Dream Roadsucceed you can always go back to your old life. What a GREAT motivation!

I have never coached a woman who hasn’t had fear. What’s more, I’ve never done anything worthwhile without fear being my copilot. And, I must admit that I had times in the past when I let that fear drive me in the opposite direction as fast as I could run.

Know what happened? I went back to my old life and it wasn’t fulfilling. I remember the day when fear showed up and I said, “Oh, there you are! I’ve been expecting you.” At that moment, the fear has not had power over me. 

It still shows up. That’s natural. It’s the way we were wired. It’ll show up for you, too, no matter how far you go toward your dream.  What you do in that moment will determine how far you go, toward your dream, or deeper into the life that doesn’t satisfy you.

Mountain SunsetWhy not take steps toward your dream? What’s the worst that can happen? I dare you to take a step. Then another and one more. And when the fear shows up, greet it like an old friend. It won’t be able to control you or talk you out of stopping the dream momentum you’ve built.

Live your dream, one step at a time. Your success is guaranteed… or your old life back. It’s up to you. What will you do?

What’s your dream? I know you have one. Has the fear shown up yet? Share it here!

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