Courage 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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I’m Willie Shelton’s Daughter

Posted April 11, 2016 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

We rounded the corner of the old country road and the all familiar blue farm house came into view. Approaching the Shelton farm always draws me back to the Road to Freedom Bicycle Tour and meeting Willie Shelton for the first time.

Today though, I returned with one of his daughters, known to you only as Mary. We sat sharing a meal and like always, Mr. Shelton regaled us with his tales of serving in World War II. Recounting how he’d been wounded three times, his eyes grew distant, as though he was walking through the countryside in Europe.

A new part of the story suddenly emerged. Though wounded himself, he helped a fellow wounded soldier get to a place of safely out of the line of fire. Tears filled his eyes as he remembered the words the grateful young soldier said, “If you ever needed anything, I will gladly do it for you.”

I looked across the room through my own sea of tears only to see those same tears in his daughter’s eyes. But those revealing eyes also told so much more. They held admiration and gratitude. They proudly said, “I’m Willie Shelton’s Daughter.”

He never saw the man again. Eventually, Mr. Shelton came home to the rolling hills of southwestern Tennessee and raised a family on the farm. Mary and I walked through those rolling hills together that day. She pointed out the pond where they fished and the pasture where they rode horses. The rope they swung on from in the barn still hangs from the rafters decades later. But if you listen very closely, you’ll hear their laughter as it rides on the wings of the wind.

Mary is strong. Unshakable. Full of life and has a simple, yet cemented commitment to what she’s doing. She helps others even at her own peril and then just goes on to the next thing as if everyone does the exact same thing. I’ve watched it for years. Now, after meeting and getting to know Willie Shelton and the tower of strength and decency he is, I realize the acorn really doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The more I know Mr. Shelton, the more I see him in my friend. Though small in stature, she stands as tall as the pines on the Tennessee mountains and has a presence that changes the room by just walking in it. In heart, she’s the spitting image of her daddy. Mr. Shelton’s legacy will live on in her long after he goes home to be with the Lord.

I marvel at the fabric Mr. Shelton wove into his children. They are all strong, just like him. He brought them up to live a simple life where people matter and lending a helping hand is as natural as eating watermelon in summer.

I’m grateful to know all of them and honored to witness the countless acts of human kindness in my friend that gives her the right to proudly say, “I’m Willie Shelton’s Daughter.”

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Those Who Fought

Posted September 11, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I opened the door with sweaty palms and flipped the TV on as I dropped to the floor to stretch from my morning run. Matt and Katie were droning on the Today Show about some explosion. I wasn’t really listening.

Second by second, the views on the screen shook my awareness and I sat up straight realizing this was not a replay of some historical event. As I lay on plush carpet in sunny Florida, my neighbors in New York were under attack.

For hours, days and weeks following that day, we Americans tried to make sense of it all. We offered empty words of encouragement to those who lost loved ones. Bravely vowed we would go on, even rebuild.

Men and women stood in line to volunteer for our armed forces. As a nation, we went and we conquered our enemies. We took back that which we are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America: freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

Today, fourteen years later, some of us don’t feel the pain as raw as it was that day. We have found a way to go on living in America. We have found ways to honor those who fought and remember those who died by living our lives to the fullest.

I can only imagine that day when dust from a towering monstrosity of American capitalism darkened the streets of Manhattan, choking the life out of those who had built it into the success it was. If I listen, I can almost hear the crushing of metal as the buildings destroyed fire trucks and police cars as if they were toys under foot.

I cannot comprehend the hollowness of empty fire houses where brave men and women once served, or wives, husbands and children who waited in desperation to hear from their loved one they knew was in the line of fire. As the days and weeks passed, so did the hope that some miracle had saved them from that tragic fate.

No, I was not there and I can only look at video feeds and pictures and unsuccessfully conjure up in my limited imagination what it must have felt like. Many died that day, and in the years that followed.

Though I fail miserably at trying to understand the enormity of painful loss on that day, this I know with absolutely unwavering certainty. AMERICA DID NOT LOSE! That one event that rocked our world and sent Americans into a tailspin, also ignited the flame of freedom within the hearts of us all.

From the northern most part of main to the border of southern California, Americans stood up for our nation. We united together for one cause. We joined hands across racial, ethical and political barriers to stand for what we believe in: FREEDOM!

Years have passed and headlines have moved more toward politics and fashion but today we live in a thriving nation because of 9/11. America picked ourselves up by the bootstraps and did what we do: keep living.

Today we remember those who fought in New York City, at the Pentagon and Pennsylvania that day. We remember those who dropped everything and took up arms to fight since then. We pause with gratitude as we memorialize those who fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Freedom is not free. But free Americans we are on this sunny September day. Americans we will remain because of who we are, and in spite of who our enemies are.


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Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof

Posted August 27, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

As I not so patiently waited in line to be seated by a hostess at a local restaurant, I heard an unusual voice behind me say, “Hello gorgeous.” Assuming a very pretty lady had just entered into the place, I turned to take a gander. Instead, I saw a tiny little man staring up at… well… me!

I couldn’t help myself. I struck up a conversation with Willard, the “little man” or “midget” as he prefers to be called. “It just seems to fit,” he told me.

When I asked what he did for a living, he immediately said he was a forward in the NBA. Without missing a beat I asked, “So how’d your stats wind up at season’s end?”

He gazed at me with the eye of intrigue for a few seconds then said, “You see it, too! I can just tell.” He went on to say that he has lived in a BIGGG world as a small person all his life. Others see him as a little—and sometimes insignificant—part of society. But he says, “In my spirit, I’m ten feet tall! And bulletproof!”

I opted to sit at the counter so Willard opted to go right along with me. He managed to climb the high stool and made a joke about his feet dangling off the side of a cliff. Not the least bit self conscious about his size, he chose a long time ago to capitalize on it. “I believe you take what you have and just make the best of it.”

The more time I spent with him, the more I wanted to know so, ummm, I asked. He laughed when he told me he ran away from home to join the circus as a sideshow. Then he told me the truth. Willard works as a grocery store clerk at the local supermarket. He has a special ladder to reach the high places he has to stock, which he says is “anything higher than the floor.”

I laughed right along with him because I could tell he was genuine in his poking fun at himself. But I asked if he ever felt uncomfortable. He looked as if he was peering into a distant past and said,


When I was a kid, my parents didn’t understand why I was “abnormal”. They did not want to have anything to do with me. I don’t hold it against them because they just didn’t know. But even at my size in a great big world, I figured out that life was the greatest gift I could have. So, I decided right then and there I was going to LIVE!!!!

Far from being politically correct about his height—or lack thereof—Willard calls it like he sees it, and as far as he is concerned, he’s a midget. He’s accepted being short but if you were in his presence for five minutes, you’d know he is truly ten feet tall… AND bulletproof!

Thank you Willard, for a wonderful and entertaining dinner. You are my hero!


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How the Strong Survive

Posted August 26, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I sat in the restaurant at a truck stop in Wyoming and as usual, I was gazing around the room seeing who I could pounce on and find out their life story. In the back corner, a middle aged man sat all to himself. He seemed genuinely happy, yet there was a look in his eye that told a sad story.

So, I struck up a conversation with Milton.

He and his wife had only been married two years when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Louisiana coast. Milton lost his home and every belonging they had. Their dog drowned saving their new born baby. They were taken by bus to Texas.

This husband and father had two choices. He could steal or he could drive a truck. He decided to take to the open road. He went from being a white collar office executive for a Fortune 500 company to driving a tractor trailer.

When I asked him how he felt about that, I was amazed by his response.

“My wife and my baby are alive and well. I am blessed. Driving a truck is honest work. Hurricanes won’t stop them. It doesn’t really matter what a man does as far as his vocation. I did what I had to do to feed my loved ones. There’s no shame in that.”

I asked how he dealt with being away from his family for weeks at a time.

“I miss them… but not as much as I would have if Katrina had snatched them away from me. At least I can go home to them. We got another dog to replace Buddy who died. We also had two more kids since then but there’s no way we could have replaced Shamika if Buddy hadn’t saved her.”

I was so curious how the baby wound up being saved by the dog so unashamedly I asked him that, too.

“The wall of the house caved in from all the water. My wife had been sitting there just holding the baby but was knocked down by the rush of water. She hit her head and was unconscious. It was almost dark and I didn’t see where the baby had gone. I was trying to save my wife. The baby was swept up and away from us. Buddy jumped in, swam to the baby and held her head above water until we could get to her. He swam and then drug the baby to a high place. Then he got swept away and drawn under by the strong current. By the time we got to the baby, Buddy had taken in too much water and died.”

I wanted to feel sorry for this man but somehow, I could not. He had a resiliency like few I’ve ever seen. He was happy, grateful, proud and prosperous, despite being caught right in the crosshairs of the biggest storm of the century. Milton and his family has built a new, albeit very different life than he ever imagined. They endured danger, destruction and death, but insist on continuing to live life, and living it to its fullest.

As we said our farewells and headed off in separate directions, I felt honored to have met this man, if not a bit guilty for complaining about anything that happens in my life. If I listened closely, I’d hear the heartbeat of America within him that, despite the hurricane force winds of adversity, is alive and well. 

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Reunion With a Hero

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

I wound through the hills and narrow curves until the familiar blue farm house came into view. Though it had been two years since I’d been here, it was almost as though I’d never left. Within moments, Willie Shelton opened the door with his distinctive smile welcoming me inside.

Well into his nineties, Mr. Shelton is a decorated World War II veteran. He was wounded in battle three times. Yet, today he is a mild mannered man who just farms his land and refuses to wear his medals of a distant war on his chest as he just goes on living life.

I met Willie while on the Road to Freedom Bicycle Tour 2013. He’d opened his home to me—a total stranger—and fed me with vegetables right out of his garden. He is humble but there is an unmistakable inner strength that guided him through Europe as an Army infantryman during the height of the big war.

I sat glued to Mr. Shelton on Saturday as he told how he and one other soldier captured fifteen German soldiers and while escorting them to a prison camp, they captured more and more soldiers. By the time the two soldiers reached the prison camp, they had compelled over seventy Germans to lay down their guns and march to the American POW camp.

When he was shot, Mr. Shelton survived by playing dead when the Germans came through, even when they poked him with bayonets to make sure he was lifeless. Once he survived attack by diving into a pile of manure.

As with most World War II veterans I’ve met, Mr. Shelton was not boastful about his experience. He just went. And he fought. Then he came home and lived his life to his fullest in the hills of Tennessee. He received a purple heart and two clusters for his wounds. Though he never ascended above the rank of Private First Class, he did the work of many while on the battlefield in France, Germany, Africa, Italy and Austria.

As I tried desperately to understand what it was like for him to be on another continent fighting for freedom, I also wondered what type of country I’d live in today if it hadn’t been for Willie Shelton. He willingly fought for my freedom over a decade before I was born. I don’t live in tyranny. I am not abused or mistreated, all because a quiet man from Tennessee and thousands just like him went across the ocean, took up arms and defended the most precious gift America as given me—freedom!

It’s not free. Mr. Shelton paid a handsome wage to secure my freedom. He has the scars to prove it. I am honored to know such a man. Today he lives his life in peace in the gentle rolling hills of Tennessee. I know there is nothing I can do to repay him for what he’s done for me. Even if I could, he would never allow it. That’s who he is. He is a patriot. A soldier. A hero.

Thank you Willie Shelton for allowing me to spend time with you once again. Thank you for your sacrifice so I can live in the greatest nation on earth. Because of you, the Heartbeat of America remains alive and well! 

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Whatever It Takes

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

I crowded around the counter with a dozen other drivers at a local hangout. After ordering my dinner, Melanie the server told me she was leaving. My momentary sadness that she’d no longer bring me my Diet Pepsi without my asking for it was replaced by my natural curiosity about what her next adventure would be.

Between customers she explained that she has a masters degree but when her job was eliminated and she had little ones at home to feed, she began waiting tables and pouring up beer on tap for tips.

Her temporary measure lasted for two years but she’d finally landed a job back in her field: Education. Had she not told me, I would have never known she’d fallen on hard times. It never showed. Not once. She just brought my chips and salsa, laughed at my goofy jokes and was an all- around pleasant gal. 

Last year, between the Road to Freedom Tour and my trucking adventure, I spent a few months helping out at a Lifeway Christian Store. One of my coworkers also has a masters degree. And two children. And, because of some sort of strange illness, a suddenly legally blind husband. She’s a social worker licensed in another state. Unfortunately, she had to wait to get her license in her current state so she had to take a job earning minimum wage in a bookstore. It had to be agonizing, yet it never once showed. She was always pleasant, upbeat, and could always be found encouraging others. She decided that, whatever it takes, I’ll take care of my family.

America is full of individuals just like these two ladies. They are working at jobs they are grossly overqualified for, earning far less than they should be just to care for their families. America is like that right now but the spirit of our great nation is persevering. They don’t complain. They don’t put on a sad face. Americans just get up, walk to work if need be, sling hash or flip the burgers because the are doing whatever it takes to keep their lives afloat.

That’s the American spirit. We do whatever it takes to keep going. We dream. We pursue. Life happens. We do whatever it takes to meet the needs while keeping the dream alive. Melanie made drinks and served jalapeno poppers to unappreciative people. The social worker arranged trinkets on glass shelves and scanned items for purchase. The law school graduate who’s father broke his leg came back home and took a job driving a septic tank evacuation truck. The engineer climbed up in the cab of an eighteen wheeler, leaving his family for weeks at a time.

It’s the American way. We’ll do whatever it takes to not only survive, but to thrive. As long as there is a heartbeat, there is hope and the heartbeat of America is alive and well. 


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Knock and It Shall Be Opened

Posted February 28, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I had just settled into my bunk to relax with a movie when there was a knock on my door. Thinking it could be a fellow driver in need, I pulled back my curtains only to find a pregnant woman, her husband and their dog. The young lady looked very surprised to see a woman in the truck.

I lowered my window to hear what she said.

“Ma’am, is was wondering you could spare some change so we can get something to eat. We haven’t eaten in a couple of days and we’re really hungry.”

I studied them both for a moment, then offered, “I won’t give you any money but if you’re really hungry as you say you are, I’ll be glad to take you both inside and buy you food.”

Relief washed over her face and she quickly accepted. 

I got out and as we walked into the Walmart where I was parked, she explained that they’d come here hoping for a new start on the advice of a friend. Once they got here, their friend abandoned them and they had no place to go, no job, no money.

I bought them sandwiches at the Subway and some meat for their dog. I also told them they could get out of their circumstances. There really was hope and I did my best to convey it to them. When I left, I prayed that I had gotten through to them and that our encounter had given them the courage to try.

The next morning I heard a commotion outside and pulled back my curtains. The same couple stood outside the truck next to me. I instantly thought they were begging again. Perhaps that was all they did and I’d been duped the night before. But when the young woman saw me poke my head out, here eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. 

“I’m so glad to see you! I wanted to let you know I took your advice yesterday. I went out and applied for a job and they hired me right then and there. I start today!”

Hooray! Congratulations!”

“There’s just one thing…”

“What’s that?” 

“I need bus money. Do you think you could spare some change so I can ride the bus to work? If you’re going to be here when I get paid, I promise I’ll pay you back.”

I reached into my pocket and pulled out all the change I had. It was enough to get her to and from work for a couple of days.

“Don’t bother paying it back. Pay it forward, first by excelling at this new job, then by giving to others in need. Don’t ever forget where you came from. If you do that, it will be payment enough.”

She erupted into tearful laughter, took the money and off she went to begin her new life.

As she disappeared around the corner, I offered thanks that God had provided a job for her. I believe she will do well. She’s not a deadbeat. Truly, she was just down and out… and six months pregnant. It proves that a person can get back up again each time they fall. 

In the day and time we live in, anyone can fall on hard times. Intelligent, well-meaning, hard working folks can find themselves out of a job. I know it was demeaning for her to ask for money but hungry people do desperate things. 

No matter where we think we are in life, status or accomplishment, we are just one withholding of God’s extended grace away from being right where this woman was. Except for God’s grace, I could have been looking in the mirror. 

I’m so thankful that I opened the curtain and answered the knock on the door. I’m so glad that God never leaves us or forsakes us, even when we’re down. He’s always working on our behalf and He will make a way where there seems to be no way. 

Knock on doors. They will open. Seek and you will find. It’s not over until God says it is.

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Still Believing

Posted January 26, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Last night, despite my truck having been in the shop for a week and my wariness about it’s drive-worthiness, Austin and I made it to Idaho. After snagging a parking spot with easy exit so I could make it to my morning delivery, I entered the mom and pop truck stop to have a look around. 

Even though I’d stocked up on food before leaving Salt Lake City, I was in the mood to be around people so I headed for the all night restaurant and grabbed a booth. The place was nothing special. Looked like it was built in the 1950’s. So did most of the people, both customers and workers. They even piped in country songs that were popular when I was born.

Halfway through my chicken fingers and tator tots, two young men sauntered in and took the booth directly in front of me. They were as conspicuous as the Gerber baby at a dentures convention. Apparently, I was not the only one who noticed. After a sudden crash of ceramic plates to the floor and a deafening shrill from behind the counter, my waitress came running over to them and hugged the big member of this Mutt and Jeff duo.

“I knew you’d come back,” she uttered between tears and gasps. “While everybody else didn’t think so, I was still believing. And here you are.” “Here I am, mama.” He finally managed.  The brute swiped a tear away from his eye as he stood and embraced his mother.

I allowed them their moments of bonding but after what seemed life forever to me, the curiosity in me escaped and I did what I’m so famous at doing. I began bombarding them with questions. I just had to get the scoop in this joyful mother and son reunion. When Chipper was a boy, his estranged father took him and fled. That’s kidnapping in the state of Idaho, but although a manhunt ensued, they never tracked them down. All of Evie’s friends and relatives eventually gave up hope that Chipper would ever return. After all, he was only eight and even if he could get away, he wouldn’t remember where to come back to.  But not Evie. “No matter what they said, I told them I was still believing that Chipper would come back. I just knew I’d see him again.”

I asked Chipper how he was able to pull it off. 

“Well, first of all, I turned eighteen last week and as of that day, he couldn’t stop me. For for ten years, I saved every penny I got. I worked mowing grass, washing cars and anything else that would pay me. I stashed the money away where he couldn’t find it so that whenever I could, I’d be able to fly back to here. I waited until I was legally an adult so I could be on my own and not be taken by DCF.

“Last week on my birthday, I called the police while he was passed out drunk and when they came to our house in Minnesota, I told them what had happened. They checked it out and he still had an outstanding warrant. So they arrested my dad. I took his truck since I knew he wouldn’t be needing it and drove back as fast as I could.” Chipper then turned to his mother and said, “I told you I’d come back.” Evie hugged him again and said,”That was the last thing you said and I never stopped believing that.” 

Before the moment Chipper and his still nameless friend entered the lazy diner as the Idaho sun dropped below the horizon, it had been a normal day. Nothing special. Nothing noteworthy. Or so I thought. It made me realize nothing is ordinary. Nothing routine or mundane. God is forever orchestrating reunions, working miracles, and manipulating the entire universe to bring about His will.  As I walked back to my truck, I felt secure and blessed that through all the difficult circumstances I’ve faced in my life, like Evie, I’m still believing. I understood what a gift that truly is. 

I believe.

I believe in miracles. I believe in the goodness of others. I believe in the resiliency of the human spirit. No matter how tragic life becomes, I still believe. My hope and prayer is that you do, too.

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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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