Encouragement Archive

The Road Less Traveled

Posted December 29, 2016 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

You have followed me for the last three years that I’ve taken the road less traveled, first on the Road to Freedom bicycle tour, then from behind the wheel of a BIG rig. Many of you have wondered how I can do it. Most of you ask why I do what I do. So, as we get ready to put the period at the end of 2016 and open a new chapter, I thought it would be a good time to tell you.

I’m not normal. Never have been. I’m a tomboy, don’t like girly things and conformity makes me feel like I’m in prison. I worked for decades in Corporate America with big companies like Merrill Lynch and AT&T. I had the house, the sports car and—at least according to most people—I was very successful.

There was just one problem. I was horribly unhappy. Depressed even. I felt I had no purpose and generally hated life. I also felt like I was terminally ill. Each and every day I literally felt like I was dying.

As it turns out, I’m not cut out to be like most people. Putting me in a business suit and sitting me in an office all day is like putting a hamster on a wheel. Know what’s funny? I was good at it. Really good! But I learned the hard way you can be good at a lot of things you are never meant to do.

I have a doctorate degree in clinical counseling. I have been very well respected in my field on a national level and yet, I drive a truck. Sounds like a horrible lack of ambition and a waste of talent, right? At least that’s what former friends and colleagues told me.

But I came to realize my lot in life is to take the road less traveled. Not have a home with kids, two dogs and a white picket fence. No, I’m destined to experience hooking to a trailer in  negative 23 degree weather and 40 mph winds at 2am in Nebraska. I feel it in every ounce of my being. The piercing, cutting blade of cold that slices through you. And my job is to tell you about it so you can experience it without getting frostbite.

My place in this world is on that road less traveled and bring the stories back to you. My purpose is to experience the sunset in the painted desert in New Mexico and tell you it really does exist by painting the portrait for you with words. It is to tell you about a lone wolf on the Navajo Nation that felt it needed to protect me from wild animals and to bring the Nation’s wild ponies to your back yard.

For many of you, the only way you will experience the Mojave Desert is through my words. You will only meet Kevin the war veteran by reading my blog. You wouldn’t know December 22nd was two minutes longer than the day before. You would have no idea that our country is filled with great Americans who are the fabric upon which our nation is built.

No, I won’t be attending any fancy parties all gussied up or spending the day at the mall. You won’t find me in a cubicle or mahogany office in a high-rise business complex. If you’re looking for me, you’ll have to come down the road less traveled. It’s where I belong. That’s my white picket fence. 

I took some time off from blogging for several reasons. All the while, the Heartbeat of America has continued to beat and I have many, many stories to tell you. I will resume the blog in the new year.

Thank you for following my journey and for appreciating that I have taken the road less traveled.

From my road to your house, I wish you a very happy new year. May you be exactly where you were destined to be, doing what God created you to do.

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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’ve Missed You

Posted May 4, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I haven’t blogged about my adventures around our great nation for two months. It hasn’t been because there have been no adventures. As I’ve reported all along, the heartbeat of America is still very much alive and well. I got another brand new truck and it took two months to have a special motor installed to help use electrical devices on the truck. Until I got that (last week), It was very challenging to charge up and use my computer.

Now that I have “go juice” again, the blogging resumes. Thank you for your patience. You all are amazing. I’ve gotten so many emails, calls, texts from you wondering about me. You’re the greatest followers a blogger could ever ask for.

Since I blogged last, I’ve traveled over 20,000 miles and covered the four corners of America. I’ve seen snow and sprouting buds of dogwood trees in the same day. I watched the blood moon lunar eclypse over the blue grass hills of Kentucky. I watched as our land awoke from a long winter sleep.

The news reports the turbulent times we live in. What they don’t report is that in spite of it all, America is picking itself up by the bootstraps and living life to its fullest. Total strangers are reaching out to help others. Thousands of individuals are paying it forward because someone helped them.

America. How I love the sound of that word and what it means. I’m so proud to be an American. The more I run up and down the highways and biways of our great nation, the more I appreciate what I have in our country. And the less I take it for granted. Yesterday in downtown Chicago I saw a man pedaling his bicycle selling ice cream out of an ice box on the front. In the farm lands I watched as farmers plowed fields to ready them to plant our nation’s food. In Kentucky I saw dirty faces emerge from the coal mines outside one of the largest makers of charcoal.

In Arkansas a trucker sat at a chicken plant doing homework as he inched toward a PhD in education.  In Pennsylvania an Amish couple plodded along the roadway in their black horse drawn buggy. In Kansas, Hispanic Americans found a better life for them and their families and fled their former homelands.

Life is filled with tragedy. True enough, but it is also filled with wonder, adventure, splendor, joy, humor. It is filled with the most amazing trinkets of truth and wisdom. It’s all around us. All we have to do is open our eyes and see. Open our hearts and feel. The heartbeat of America… it’s alive and well.

God bless America!

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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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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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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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It’s Extremely Important

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

It will never happen.

It’s impossible.

I’ll always be stuck where I am.

There’s no way out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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They’re All Around Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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